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from the Colony for eighteen months, proved a serious intervujition, but the first-fruits of his labours are now in a state to be presented to the public.
The first conception of the present work and the circumstances under which it is published have thus been detailed. Of the style and manner of its execution it is for others to judge. It originated in the author's feeling of his own wants. He has translated, annotated, and reasoned, always in the first place to satisfy himself. He hopes that the volumes will be of real service to Missionaries and other students of the Chinese language and literature. They have been foremost in his mind as those whom he wished to benefit. But he has thought also of the general reader. The Chinese is the largest family of mankind. Thoughtful minds in other parts of the world cannot but be anxious to know what the minds of this manymillioned people have had to live upon for thousands of years. The Work will enable them to draw their own conclusions on the subject. The author will give his views on the scope and value of their contents in his prolegomena to the several volumes. Some will agree with his opinions, and others will probably differ from them. He only hopes that he will be found to advance no judgment for which he does not render a reason. To think freely and for himself is a source to him of much happiness; his object is to supply to others the means of realizing the same for themselves, so far as the subjects here investigated are concerned. He hopes also that the time is not very remote, when among the Chinese themselves there will be found many men of intelligence, able and willing to read without prejudice what he may say about the teachings of their sages.
The title-page says that the Work will be in seven volumes,— two, that is, for the Four Books, and one for each of the Five King. It will be necessary, however, from their size, to publish more than one of the latter in two or more parts, so that to the eye the Work will present the appearance perhaps of ten volumes. Should life and health be spared, the author would like to give a supplementary volume or two, so as to embrace all the Books in "The Thirteen King." The second volume is two-thirds printed, and will appear, God willing, before the end of the present year He must then be permitted to rest for a time, before proceeding with the Shooor The Book of History. His directly missionary labours are the chief business of his life, and require of course his chief attention. The fact that the Work is inscribed to the memory of M r. Jardine impresses him deeply with the frailty of life and the uncertainty of all human plans. While he has been putting the finishing hand to this first volume, the same solemn truth has been still more realizingly forced upon him by the news of the death of his own eldest brother, the thought of giving pleasure to whom by the publication was one of the greatest stimuli under the toil of its preparation. Whether he shall be permitted to accomplish what he contemplates, the future alone can determine.
It would have been an easy matter to swell the volume now presented to double the size. In the Chinese Commentators he had abundant materials to do so; but the author's object has been to condense rather than expand. He has not sought to follow Choo He or any other authority. The text, and not the commentary, has been his study. He has read the varying views of scholars extensively, but only that he might the better understand what was written in the Book. He has also consulted the renderings of other translators, but never till he had made his own. He may have sometimes altered his own to adopt a happier expression from them, but the translation is independent. He has not made frequent mention in his notes of the labours of other scholars,—not because he undervalues them, but because there was no necessity to call attention to the circumstance, where he agreed with them, and where he differed, he thought it more seemly to avoid "doubtful disputations."
In expressing the sounds of proper names, the author has followed the orthography of Morrison and Medhurst; and in the index of Chinese characters he has given, in addition, that of Mr. Wade, taken from his "Peking Syllabary." Yet he is afraid that Mr. Wade may find some characters incorrectly represented, as the author could only fix their pronunciation by the analogy of others. It may seem strange also to some scholars, that where he has spoken in the notes of the tones of characters, he has assumed that in the Court dialect there are eight tones in the same way as in the dialect of Canton Province. The author has not paid sufficient attention to the Court dialect to justify his speaking on this point with positiveness. If K'ang-hc's dictionary were to determine the question, it could be shown that a distinction of "upper" and "lower"
is made in all the tones, and not in the first or "even " one only. The author, moreover, has fancied that he could detect that distinction in the pronunciation of teachers of the Court dialect. On this subject, however, he speaks with submission.
There are many deficiencies in the present volume in point of typographical execution, for which the author ventures to ask the indulgence of the reader. The only workmen employed upon it have been Chinese. He is under great obligation to his excellent friend, Mr. Hwang Shing, the superintendent of the Mission Printing Office; but well-skilled as he is in the English language, he could not perform the duties of proof-reader. The work of correction has mainly devolved on the author himself or members of his family, and has been done when the mind was otherwise occupied, or amid constant interruptions. The errors would have been much more numerous than they are but for the great kindness of Mr. Jeffrey, formerly of the "China Mail" Office, who has read nearly all the sheets before their finally going to press. To Mr. Low, of the same Office, and latterly to Mr. Dixson, the proprietor of the " China Mail," the author is glad to take this.opportunity of expressing his thanks for their advice and help in many typographical matters. The more serious mistakes will be found corrected, it is hoped, in the subjoined lists. For others of smaller importance the circumstances just mentioned may form some apology ; and where the sound of a Chinese character may in a few instances have been represented somewhat incorrectly, the character itself in a foot-note, or its sound in the 7th Index, will supply the necessary correction. The author has likewise to thank his friend, and former colleague in the Mission at Hongkong, the Rev. Mr. Chalmers, for the compilation of the indexes of Subjects and Proper Names.
III. Subjects in the Great Learning, ........................ 810
IV. Proper Name* in the Great Learning, ..................... 811
V. Subjects in the Doctrine of the Mean ...................... 811
VI. Proper Names in the Doctrine of the Mean, .................. 313
VII. Chinese Characters and Phrases, ..................... SU