It is precisely five years since we wrote the Preface to the first volume of this work, - the twelfth part of an average long life. We do not say that the whole of this protracted period has been devoted to the undertaking. On the contrary, lengthened intervals occurred, during which no progress whatever was made with it. This arose out of events which cannot well be explained. The want of a Publisher - engaging to run the risk of the second volume - occasioned an unavoidable and serious delay. Nearly two years elapsed before Mr. Stevenson, the publisher, came forward, and undertook the responsibility of completing the work. Since that time, we have been enabled to move on - slowly, or more expeditiously, according to circumstances. No doubt, the attention required in managing the business of a printing-office, however small, has been a material drawback; still, when the magnitude of the undertaking is considered, the time consumed in bringing it to a close may not appear so extraordinary after all.<br><br>To us it has been, in one sense, a labour of pleasure, but, in another, of much anxiety; and, we may add, of considerable pecuniary loss.