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TO THE MEMORY

OF

THE HON. JOSEPH JARDINE, ESQ.,

BY WHOSE MUNIFICENT ASSISTANCE IT IS NOW PUBLISHED,

AND BUT FOR WHICH IT MIGHT NEVER HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED,

This work is inscribed.

PREFACE.

The author arrived in the East as a Missionary towards the end of 1839, and was stationed at Malacca for between three and four years. Before leaving England, he had enjoyed the benefit of a few months' instruction in Chinese from the late Professor Kidd at the University of London, and was able in the beginning of 1840 to commence the study of the first of the Works in the present publication. It seemed to him then--and the experience of one and twenty years gives its sanction to the correctness of the judgmentthat he should not be able to consider himself qualified for the duties of his position, until he had thoroughly mastered the Classical Books of the Chinese, and had investigated for himself the whole field of thought through which the sages of China had ranged, and in which were to be found the foundations of the moral, social, and political life of the people. Under this conviction he addressed himself eagerly to the reading of the Confucian Analects, and proceeded from them to the other Works. Circunstances occurred in the Mission at Malacca to throw various engagements upon him, which left him little time to spend at his books, and he consequently sought about for all the assistance which he could find from the labours of men who had

gone before.

In this respect he was favourably situated, the charge of the Anglo-Chinese College having devolved upon him, so that he had free access to all the treasures in its Library. He had translations and dictionaries in abundance, and they facilitated his progress. Yet he desiderated some Work upon the Classics, more critical, more full and exact, than any which he had the opportunity of consulting, and he sketched to himself the plan of its execution. This was distinctly before him in 1841, and for several years he hoped to hear that some experienced Chinese scholar was preparing to give to the public something of the kind. As time went on, and he began to feel assured as to his own progress in the language, it occurred to him that he might venture on such an undertaking himself. He studied, wrote out translations, and made notes, with the project in his mind. He hopes he can say that it did not divert him froin the usual active labours of a Missionary in preaching and teaching, but it did not allow him to rest satisfied in any operations of the time then being.

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In 1856, he first talked with some of his friends about his purpose, and

among them was the Rev. Josiah Cox, of the Wesleyan Missionary Society.

The question of the expense of publication came up. The author's idea was that by-and-by he would be able to digest his materials in readiness for the press, and that then he would be likely, on application, to meet with such encouragement from the British and other foreign merchants in China, as would enable him to go forward with his plan. Mr. Cox, soon after, without the slightest intimation of his intention, mentioned the whole matter to his friend, Mr. Joseph Jardine. In consequence of what he reported of Mr. Jardine's sentiments, the author had an interview with that gentleman, when he very generously undertook to bear the expense of carrying the Work through the press. His lamented death leaves the author at liberty to speak more freely on this point than he would otherwise have done. Mr. Jardine expressed himself favourably of the plan, and said, “I know the liberality of the inerchants in China, and that many of them would readily give their lielp to such an undertaking, but you need not have the trouble of canvassing the community. If you are prepared for the toil of the publication, I will bear the expense of it. We make our money in China, and we should be glad to assist in whatever promises to be of benefit to it."

The author could not but be grateful to Mr. Jardine for his proffer, nor did he hesitate to accept it. The interruption of missionary labours, consequent on the breaking out of hostilities in the end of 1856, was favourable to retired and literary work, and he immediately set about preparing some of his materials for the press. A necessary visit to England in 1857, which kept him absent

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