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and on that account he would deny any authorship of Confucius in connexion with it; while I have ventured to reason on those defects as syrnptomatic of defects in the character of the compiler.
While not scrupling to brush away traditions with a bold hand, Yuen yet mentions one which served his purpose,—that Confucius ceased his labours on the Ch'un Ts'ëw when the lin was taken in the 14th year
of duke Gae. Some say that it was the appearancc of the lin which induced Confucius to set about the compilation of the classic as a lasting memorial of himself. Others say that the appearance of the lin was to signalize the conclusion of the sage's Work, but how long he had been engaged upon it previously they do not pretend to say. Nothing really is known upon the subject; and the silence of the Analects in regard to it, to which Yuen calls attention, is really note-worthy.
THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE CH'UN TSEW:
WITH TABLES OF SOLAR ECLIPSES; OF THE YEARS AND LUNAR MONTHS OF THE WHOLE
PERIOD; AND OF THE KINGS, AND THE PRINCES OF THE PRINCIPAL FIEFS,
FROM THE COMMENCEMENT TO THE CLOSE OF THE CHOW DYNASTY,
THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE TEXT.
1. I have observed on p. 10 that natural phænomena, supposed to affect the general well-being of the State, formed one class of the things recorded in the Ch'un Ts'ëw. Of this nature were eclipses of the sun, included by Maou K'e-ling, in the note on pp. 11, 12, among the “calamities and ominous occurrences,” that are the 18th of the divisions under which he arranges all the subjects of these Chronicles. It must not be supposed that these eclipses were recorded with a view to the accumulation of astronomical facts for any scientific purpose;—the whole doctrine of the ancient Chinese concerning them was that given in the 9th ode of Book IV., Part II. of the She, made on occasion of an eclipse before the Ch'un Ts'ëw period, and which gives us the first certain date in ancient Chinese history.
“The sun was eclipsed,
How bad it is!"
The eclipses recorded in the Ch'un of the utmost value for determining the Ts'ëw determine its chronology.
chronology of the time comprised in our Classic. It contains altogether the entries of thirty-six eclipses, the table of which given by Mr. Chalmers at the conclusion of his article on the “ Astronony of the ancient Chinese,” in the prolegomena to my third volume, with his own calculation of the times of their occurrence, I reproduce here with some slight variations.
2. In the table in the prolegomena to vol. III. Mr. Chalmers has referred these eclipses in the Ch'un Tsëw to the emperors, or kings rather, of Chow in whose reigns they occurred; as we have to do here only with the period of the Ch'un Ts'ëw, I have substituted for the titles of the kings those of the marquises of Loo, in connexion with whom the eclipses are mentioned in the text of the Classic. At his request also I have given the years in his calculation as -719,708, &c., instead of B.c. 719, 708, &c., as being in accordance with the usage of astronomers.
of astronomers.1 His calculation of the month and day, according to new style, remains unchanged, because it makes the comparison of the Chinese moons with our own, in relation to the solstices, plainer and easier for general readers. I have also introduced a 37th eclipse, which is recorded, in the brief supplement to the Classic, in the 4th paragraph after the text proper terminates.
Comparing now the times of the 36 eclipses as recorded and Results of the comparison of the calculated, it will be seen, first, that two eclipses as recorded and calculated. 5 of them are entirely erroneous, and could not have taken place at all. Two eclipses are given as having occurred in the 21st and 24th years of duke Sëang, corresponding to—551 and—548, on successive months;—a thing physically impossible. On
p. 491 of this volume I have given the remark of a scholar of the T'ang dynasty that such a thing perhapsdid occurin ancient times! No reasonable account of the twice repeated error has ever been given. Possibly two eclipses did occur some time during the Ch'un Ts'ëw period on the months and days mentioned, but in other years; and the tablets of them got misplaced, and appear where they now do. In the mean time the records must be regarded as entirely erroneous.2
1 Mr. Chalmers has sent me the following extract of a letter from Professor Airy--now Sir. G.B. Airy-the Astronomer Royal, with whom he corresponded through a friend some years ago on the subject of these ancient Chinese eclipses :—“The year [of the eclipse in the She-king] may be expressed in either of these forms:
-775 for Astronomical purposes;
B.C. 776 for Chronological purposes.' 2 The three early commentaries do not touch on this error. Their writers, no doubt, were not aware that there was any error. In the note appended to the article on The Antiquity of the Chinese proved by Mouments,' in the 2d volume of the Memoires concernant les Chinois,' the texts of these eclipses are given and translated without any intimation of their being wrong. In the article, however, p. 98, the writer says on the eclipses in the Ch'un Ts'ëw:-“Si, dans la multitude, il s'en trouve quelques-unes (comme il s'en trouve en effet), qui n'aient pu avoir eu lieu, disons alors que, comme la coutume a toujours eté que les Calculateurs fissent part du résultat de leurs Calculs, plusieurs jours avant où devant arriver l'eclypse, afin qu'on disposat tout pour les cérémonies qui se pratiquoient dans ces sortes d'occasions, il est arrivé que les Astronomes, faute de bonnes Tables, ayant prédit une fausse eclipse, dont l'annonce a eté livrée aus Historiographes, ceux-ci en ont tenu registre de la méme maniere que si elle avoit eté vraie; soit qu'ils la cruissent lelie, parce qu'un ciel obscur et chargé de nuages avoit empêché d'observer; soit que, par negligence, ou par un simple oubli, ils eussent manqué à la rayer du catalogue des evenemens.' The explanation here suggested is specially inapplicable to the two eclipses under notice.