OR, Chronological History of the most remarkable Events that happen'd during the Reign of every Emperor.
Fohi , the First Emperor.
HE was born in the Province of Chen si, and was chosen on account of his superior Merit to govern his Countrymen, who call'd him Tien tse, that is to say. Son of Heaven, to denote that he was more favour'd by Heaven than the rest of Mankind, since it was from Heaven he receiv'd those extraordinary Qualities which had raised him to the Throne.
At this Time, says a Chinese Author, Men differ'd but little from Brutes, they knew their Mother, but not their Father ; they lived in a savage manner, and sought nothing but to satisfy their Hunger, for as soon as they were filled they threw away the Remains. It was then their Custom to devour every Part of the Animal ; they also drank the Blood , and cloathed themselves with the Skins.
Fo hi taught them how to make Nets for Fishing and Fowling, and also instructed them to bring up Domestick Animals, as well for Food as for Sacrifices; by these means he provided for the Subsistence of his People.
This Prince also sketched out the eight Koua, finding that the knotted Cords, which they used instead of Characters, and to instruct their Children, were very unfit to publish his Laws, and to leave to Posterity the Instructions he intended.
These Koua are three Lines, which by different Combinations make sixty four , and he drew out these famous Lines for Symbols to express what he desired.
These eight Koua, or Symbols of three Lines each, either strait or crooked, expressed certain general Things on which the Generation or Corruption of particular Things depended : One represented the Heaven, another the Earth, the third Thunder and Lightning, the fourth Mountains, the fifth Fire, the sixth the Clouds, the seventh the Waters, and the eighth the Wind. He taught them how to make use of these Characters, and, to give the greater Force to his new Laws, he declared that he had seen them traced, upon the Back of a Dragon-Horse, which rose from the Bottom of a Lake ; he call'd it a Dragon-Horse because it had the Shape of a Horse, and the Scales and Wings of a Dragon.
This Prodigy gaining Credit among the People gave him occasion to create Officers, or Mandarins, under the Name of the Dragon. He called one the Flying-Dragon, and his Employment was to compose Books; he nam'd another tho Hidden-Dragon, and he was to make the Calendar, a third was called the Resident-Dragon, and he had the Care of the Buildings ; a fourth the Protecting-Dragon, and his Charge was to obviate and relieve the Wants and Miseries of the Common People ; a fifth call'd the Terrestrial-Dragon, had the Care of the Lands ; a sixth, named the Dragon of the Waters, was to look after the Woods and Plants, and preserve the Communication of the Springs.
He made a Prime Minister, and divided the Government of his State between four Mandarins, one of whom he sent to the North, another to the South, the third to the East, and the fourth to the West : By these means he made his Laws flourish. The Sexes were not then distinguished by different Habits, but lived in common without Shame, altogether ignorant of Conjugal Laws.
Fo hi reformed this Disorder ; he commanded the Women to distinguish themselves by their Habit ; he made Laws for Conjugal Society, by one of which no Man could marry a Woman of his own Name, whether related or not.
This Custom still remains ; as for Instance, those of the Name of Yong Ly, &c. cannot marry Wives of the same Name, tho' twenty Generations distant, and, of different Families. To soften the savage Nature of his new Subjects, and to quiet wild and turbulent Spirits he invented Musick, and made the Instrument Kin , the upper Part of which was convex, to represent Heaven, the under Part flat, to represent the Earth. If this Harmony invented by Fo hi was no better than the present, it does not seem likely to have any great Effect on the Mind : The Chinese, indeed, say that the Musick of Fo hi was quite Divine, but if so it is a Treasure irrecoverably lost.
Fo hi died, and was buried in a Place called Tchin ; he was succeeded by Chin non. A Chinese Historian mentions fifteen Princes before Chin nong, but others, who follow the general Opinion, affirm that these Princes were only Lords of Tributary Provinces, nearly such as those since called Tchu beou.
Chin nong, the Second Emperor.
THE Number of People being greatly increased, the Plants and Animals were not sufficient for their Sustenance ; therefore Chin nong, touched with the Sufferings of his Subjects, thought of making the Earth supply their Wants , he invented the necessary Implements of Husbandry, and taught the People to sow five Sorts of Grain , from hence he was call'd Chin nong, which is, Heavenly Husbandman ; he taught them also to make Salt of the Sea-Water.
The People being subject to many Diseases, for which they knew no Remedies, Chin nong experienced on himself the Nature of Simples, and discover'd their good and bad Qualities; he consider'd their Power, whether hot, temperate, or cold, and made use of them accordingly, as a King does of his Subjects.
He discover'd in one Day seventy poisonous Plants, and found means to make them useful, that is to say, he found out the Counter-Poison : After which he wrote Books of Physick, and taught the Means to restore Health to the Sick, which makes him esteem'd the Author and Prince of Physick. Their Simplicity of Manners banish'd all Spirit of Contention , every one had enough to live on, the Laws were few, and there was no occasion to encrease the Number; but the Government was majestick and severe. Chin nong gave the first Idea of Commerce, and established publick Markets, to which about the middle of the Day the People resorted, and having bought all Necessaries returned quietly Home.
Whilst this Prince was thus wholly employed for the good of his Subjects, So Cha a Tributary Prince revolted , but he was punished by his own Subjects, who put him to death. Every one return'd to their Duty, and there was no Person in the whole Empire who did not willingly submit to the mild and just Government of Chin nong : He died at Tcba biang, a Place subordinate to Tcbang tcha.
Some Historians make seven Emperors from Chin nong to Hoang ti , viz. Lincoue, Tcheng, Ming, Y , Lay, Ly, and Yu Ouang ; the last was deposed, perhaps the others were only tributary Princes. However it is certain that the Chinese Historians place only Fohi, Chin nong, and Hoang ti in the Rank of the first Emperors, to whom the Arts and Sciences owe their Beginning and their Progress.
Hoang ti, the Third Emperor.
HISTORY relates that Tu ouang was a passionate and violent Prince, that he governed with Rigour, and that the People groaned under his Oppression. The tributary Princes took up Arms, and one of them, viz. Tchi yeou, was the first who set up the Standard of the revolted Princes ; the Emperor was deposed, and Hoang ti set on the Throne, who was but twelve Years old; Chin nong's Mother had a younger Brother, who was hereditary Prince of Chao tien : The Heir of this Prince during the Reign of Yu ouang married Tou pao, who being much disorder'd by the Noise of Thunder, was deliver'd of Hoang ti on the Mountain Suen Tuen.
He was, says the History, a wonderful Child ; he had scarcely left the Breast but he could Speak ; in his Infancy he discover'd a great deal of Wit and Address, in his Youth an admirable good Nature and sweetness of Temper, and in his Manhood an uncommon Penetration and Judgment. Tcbi yeou before-mentioned was a restless Prince, whose boundless Ambition was the Cause of great Troubles ; Hoang ti attacked him, and gave him Battle three Times. He perceiving that thick Fogs saved the Enemy from his pursuit, and that the Soldiers, rambled out of the way, and lost the Course of the Wind, he made a Carr which show'd em the four Cardinal Points ; by this Method he overtook Tchi yeou, made him Prisoner and put him to Death. Some say there were engraved in this Carr, on a Plate, the Characters of a Rat and a Horse, and underneath was placed a Needle to determine the four Parts of the World, This would amount to the Use of the Compass, or something very near it, being of great Antiquity, and well attested. 'Tis pity this Contrivance is not explained, but the Interpreters knowing only the bare Fact dare not venture on Conjectures.
After having regulated the most important Affairs of the Empire, Hoang ti employed himself wholly in making his Subject happy, by procuring them all the Conveniences he could imagine ; he level'd the Mountains, and made Highways for the Convenience of Trade, he enlarged the Bounds of his Empire, which he extended towards the East to the Ocean, on the North to ancient Tartary, and on the South to the River Kiang, which served as a Barrier to his Dominions. He created six Ministers to assist him in the Government of the Empire, and made Tsang kiai Mandarin to write History : He intrusted Ta nao with the Care of making the Kia tse, or Cycle of sixty Years. This Cycle is composed on one side of ten Characters, called Tien kan, and on the other side of twelve, which are call'd Ti tchi. These Characters do not express any thing, but are instead of Figures or Marks ; the first ten are called the ten Stems, and the others the twelve Branches : These Marks are taken two by two to denote the Year, and are so combined that the same do not come together in sixty Years.
Yong tcheng was ordered to make a Sphere and a Calendar : 'Twas he who discovered the Polar Star, and the others which surround it ; the Form of this Sphere is not known, which represented the Celestial Orbs ; at length, by means of many Experiments, he could foretell the Changes of the Weather, and of the Air. The Lot of Li cheou was to regulate Figures and Measures ; the Method of computing, which he invented, is still in use : 'Tis a little Box divided in two in the middle, and cross'd by small Wires, on which several Balls are strung ; there are but two on each Wire of, the upper Row, each of which stands for five ; the lower Row, which is much larger, has five Balls on every Wire, and every Ball is reckoned as one. When they reckon from right to left, the Numbers encrease as in our Figures : This Method of computing is more ready and more sure than our Calculation with the Pen.
For Measures he took a Grain of Millet for the Length of a Line, ten Lines for an Inch, ten Inches for a Foot, &c. The different way these Grains which are oval may be placed has made the Difference of Measures in their several Dynasties.
Under the present Dynasty there are three sorts of Measures, 1st, the Palace Foot, which is to the Paris Foot as 974 to 100. 2nd, The Foot of the Tribunal of Publick Works, call'd Kong pou, which is made use of by Workmen; it is a Line shorter than the Palace Foot. 3rd, The Taylors Foot, which is used by those who sell Silks, &c. it is seven Lines longer than the Kong pou.
Ling lun was appointed to improve Musick, and to explain the Order of the different Tones.
Tong yuen was ordered to make twelve Bells of Copper, which represented the twelve Months of the Year.
Hoang ti afterwards invented the Cap, Mien, for a Diadem : This Cap bent downwards a little before, and rose behind ; it was seven Inches wide, and one Foot two Inches long : He made himself likewise, Habits and Ornaments suitable to his Dignity, his Robe was blue and yellow, to imitate the Colours of Heaven and Earth.
After having attentively considered the Pheasant's Feathers, and the various Colours of Birds and Flowers, he found out the Art of Dying, and commanded the Habits of the Rich and Poor to be of different Colours. He caused several Instruments to be made of great use to the Publick, Machines for bruising Rice, Kitchen-Furnaces, Kettles, &c. and the People began to eat Rice dress'd different ways. He built Bridges over Rivers, made Coffins for the Dead; he gave Instructions to make Bows and Arrows, and Wind-Instruments, as Flutes, Fifes, Organs, Trumpets which imitated the roaring of a Dragon, and Drums which made a Noise like Thunder.
Seeing hollow pieces of Wood flote, he made Barks, and invented Oars , he invented also Wheel-Carriages, and train'd Oxen and Horses to draw them. The People then dwelt in wretched Huts ; Hoang ti gave the Model of regular Buildings, and built himself a Palace call'd Ho hong, where he sacrificed to the Sovereign Lord of Heaven. To facilitate Commerce, he coined Money, which he call'd Kin tao, because it had the Shape of the Blade of a Knife, and he made such good Regulations in the Expences of the Empire, that his Riches were immensely increased. Men suffer'd from without by the Rigour of the Seasons, and within by the passions which disturbed the Mind ; they died before their Time; Hoang ti carefully consider'd the five Elements,the Seasons,and the Nature of Man, and order'd three Doctors, nam'd Ky pe, Yeu fou, and Ley kong, to examine the Blood-Vessels ; after which he directed the proper Remedies of every Distemper, and Men lived out their Time according to the due Course of Nature.
He order'd the Empress to instruct the People in the manner of breeding Silk-Worms, to wind off their Webbs, and to make themselves Cloaths. This Prince had not a Moment's rest, and tho' he had taught his Subjects to build Houses and Cities, and had built himself a Palace, he had no certain residence, but encamped with his Soldiers.
He measured the Country, and divided it into Tcheou, he made several Principalities of 100 Lys each, where he built Towns ; he ordered that 240 Paces in length, and one in breadth, should make a Mou ; that 100 Mou should make a King ; so that the Pace being five Foot, a Mou of Land contained 6000 square Foot, and 600,000 a King. He also ordain'd that nine King should be call'd Tsing, and that it should be the Portion of eight Families, which should have each a King, or 100 Mou, and the remaining in the middle should belong to the Emperor, and be cultivated at the common Expence of these eight Families. He ordered four Paths to be made to each Tsing, and that three Tsing should be called Ho ki, three Ho ki a Street, five Streets a Town, ten Towns a Tou, ten Tou a Che, and ten Che a Tcheou.
Hoang ti died upon the Declivity of the Mountain King cban, and was buried in the Province of Chan tong. The Chinese Authors give this Prince the highest Encomiums ; the Virtue and Talents of this Prince, they say, equalled Heaven and Earth ; his Government was admirable, his Laws solid, his Conduct most steady : He pour'd out his Favours upon all the World, and his Liberality has reached down to us, so that we might say he still lives. He had twenty five Children, and one of them, named Chao Hao, succeeded him in the Empire.
Chao hao, the Fourth Emperor.
THIS Prince gain'd the Affections of his People by his good Nature, and sweetness of Temper. It was spread abroad that the Fong hoang had been seen at his coming to the Crown, which was look'd upon as a Presage of a happy Reign, because (the Chinese say) this wonderful Bird never appears but in the Reign of good Kings : The Fong hoang is a very scarce-Bird, or rather a Fiction, much as our Phoenix ; according to the Chinese Description, he resembles an Eagle, but excels him in the great Variety of his Colours. The pretended Appearance of this Bird gave the new Emperor the Hint of distinguishing his Officers, by the Shape of various Birds on their Garments : The Order was given, and is observ'd to this Day : The Mandarins of Letters have Birds on their Habit embroidered in Gold, to distinguish their Rank ; the Mandarins of the Army have Animals, as the Dragon, the Lion, the Tiger, &c. By these Marks of Honour the The people know the Rank these Officers have in the nine Degrees of the State.
Among these new Mandarins, those call'd the five Hieou were to assemble the People, others were to govern the five different sorts of Artisans ; others were to preside over Tillage, and observe the Behaviour of the People. This Prince governed with great Equity ; their own Authors say he exactly imitated Fo hi ; he reformed the Measures of Grain, he made a Drum to beat the Watches, he cleared the Channels of Rivers, and levelled the Ways on the Mountains, and lastly he invented a new sort of Musick, for which he was called Ta yuen. The Emperor died very old, and left five Sons ; four of them had each a particular Merit, but as he observed greater Talents in his Nephew Tchuen hio, who was the Grandson of Hoang ti, he gave him the Preference before his Children, and chose him to succeed in the Empire.
Tchuen hio, the Fifth Emperor.
HE was no sooner on the Throne, but, far from mistrusting those whose Place he filled, he gave them the moll considerable Employments, and such as were most suitable to their Dispositions. As these Princes understood perfectly the Nature of Metals, Waters, and Woods, &c. he gave to one the Inspection of the Mines, another he made to preside over the Waters and Forests, and having tried their Fidelity, he rais'd them afterwards to more honourable Employments. Towards the end of Chao Hao's Reign the People began to thrust themselves into the sacred Offices, every Family would have a domeftick Priest. Tchuen Hio reformed this Abuse, and join'd the Priesthood to the Crown, and made a Law that none but the Emperor should offer solemn Sacrifices to the Lord of Heaven. This hath been observed eversince, for the Emperor alone is Pontiff, and has a Right to offer Sacrifices in the Temple of Heaven : If it happens that, thro' Age or Sickness, he cannot go to the Temple to perform the Funftion, he deputes some Prince or great OfHcer to supply his Place, and to discharge this Duty of Religion. As this Emperor was an expert Astronomer, he altered the Manner of observing and calculating the Celestial Motions, and because these Motions appeared at a great distance; he invented a Machine which gave a plainer Idea, and was of use in Equations, Ascensions, &c. The Interpreters say nothing of the Construction, Shape, or Proportion of this Instrument : They speak only of a Conjunction of the five Planets in the Constellation Che, which happened in the Reign of tchuen Hio ; but, as a judicious Chinese Astronomer observes, this is not a real Conjunction.
The Conjunctions of the Planets have always been esteem'd good Presages for the reigning Prince ; there, are more of these false Conjunctions in the following Part of this History , especially at the Change of the Dynasties ; and, without going far for Examples, we find one in the second Year of the Reign of the present Emperor : The Conjunction of four Planets was a sufficient Reason to make one of five in his favour..
The Emperor seem'd pleased with it, and received the Compliments of the Court on this Occasion ; every Body gained by it, especially the Mathematicians, who did not err through Ignorance.
This false Conjunction which was carefully chronicled, may be the Occasion of great Disputes and false Systems in future Times ; If two or three thousand Years hence an European should calculate this Conjunction, he would not find Saturn in it. Should this make us doubt other Facts of Yong Tching's History, it would be no difficulty to the Chinese, who perfectly understand this common piece of Flattery, and know what to abate of these Compliments to the Emperor on such Occasions.
Tchen hio regulated the Calender, and desir'd to begin the Year the first Day of the Month, in which the Sun should be nearest the fifteenth Degree of Aquarius, for which he is called the Author and Father of the Ephemeris ; he chose the Time that the Sun passes thro' the Middle of this Sign, because in this Season the Earth is adorned with plants. Trees renew their Verdure, and all Nature seems to be reanimated.
This Prince died very old, and was buried at Pou yang: His Successor was Tico or Kao sin, Grandchild of Chao hao, The descendants of Tchuen hio, who were numerous, had in Course of time several little States, of which they were tributary Princes, It is always the Emperor who grants these Government, to Princes, either as being Relations, or Persons of great Merit ; they hold of the Empire much like the Dukes and Counts of Germany, and, in case of a War, they are obliged to furnish a certain Number of Troops to defend the Emperor.
Ti co, or Kao sin, the Sixth Emperor.
THE Chinese Writers highly extol this Prince, they say he was very knowing, he saw thro' every thing, he examined every thing himself, and entered into the most minute Circumstances : He was popular, without losing his Majesty ; he lov'd his Subject tenderly, he distributed his Favours to all Men, he carefully amended what was wrong in himself, he was religious in the Worship of the Sovereign Lord of Heaven, whom he served respectfully ; his Majestic Air commanded Veneration, his Virtue was eminent, he always acted right, and kept the just Mean every thing ; in short, there was no Nation enlightened by the Sun, or water'd by the Rain, that did not obey his Commands with Pleasure ; he appointed Masters to teach the People Virtue, and invented Vocal Musick. Kien he was die first who by his Orders made Songs, he appointed others to make different sorts of Flutes, a Drum, a Bell, a King (which is a thin flat Plate they strike with a Mallet) ; he made that Piece of Musick, which signifies the Beauty of Heaven, of the Earth, and of the four seasons. He gave the first Example of Polygamy, by marrying four Wives ; he had by the First a Son named Tchi, whose Descendants made the Dynasty of Tcheou ; by the second, a Son named Su, whole Descendants made the Dynasty of Chang, the third bore him Yao ; and the Son by the fourth was called Tchi ; the great hopes the Emperor had of this Prince, induced him to make him his Successor.
Tchi, the Seventh Emperor
THIS Prince did not long maintain the Opinion of his Merit ; he made use of his Power only to give himself up to Brutal Pleasures ; The tributary Princes, who were accustomed to obey wise Emperors, could not forbear his Extravagances ; they made him several Remonstrances on his conduct, but without Success , they therefore made him quit the Throne, banished him, and gave the Empire to his Brother Yao. The Cycle of sixty Years cannot be used before the Reign of Yao ; for altho' it was invented by the famous Hoang ti, the Duration of these first Reigns is very uncertain : On the contrary, from the Emperor Yao to Christ, the Chronology is perfectly well kept, and the Chinese Writers have very particularly distinguished the Events of each Year, even to the Divisions in the Empire, and the Duration of each Interregnum ; this induced me to begin the Cycle with the Emperor Tao.
Yao, the Eighth Emperor , reigned alone 72 Years, and with Chun 28 Years, whom he made his Companion in the Empire.
'IT WAS in the forty-first Year of the preceding Cycle that this Prince mounted the Throne : He is esteem'd the first Legislator of the Nation, and the Pattern of Sovereigns ; after him and his Successor all Emperors, who are jealous of their Reputation, endeavour to form themselves, and it is at present the highest Praise you can give an Emperor of China, to say he is like Tao and Chun, &c. History lays, that Virtue was natural to him , he was active, laborious, vigilant, of such Penetration and Judgment, that he foresaw every thing ; his Moderation and Equity maintained* the Vigour of the Laws, and at the same time made them belov'd ; he never employed his Authority but for the Good of his Subje6b ; his Modesty was equal to his Greatness, and shone even in the Homage which was paid to his Rank ; so frugal at Meals, that he was satisfy'd with the coarsest Food ; no Magnificence in Furniture , his Palace was bare of all Ornament ; his Habit only Woollen Stuff in Summer, or of Deer-Skins in Winter , if any publick Calamity happen'd, or any Subject committed a Crime, he attributed it to his Misconduct, or the Anger of Heaven for his neglecting to teach the People their Duty ; he never made a Progress thro' his Empire, before he had sacrificed to the Supreme Being, and his Subjects waited with as much Impatience to fee him, as parch'd Fields expect the Rain.
It is the Custom of the Chinese Philosophers to form their Maxims of Morality by their Conformity to the Actions of this Emperor, and his two Successors ; this Conformity, once proved, gives their Maxims an indisputable Authority. Yao, who delighted in Astronomy, appointed two skilful Mathematicians, Hi and Ho, carefully to observe the Course of the Heavenly Bodies, and to make Instruments for this Purpose : By their assistance he regulated the twelve Lunar Months, and reestablished the Intercalary Months, which returned seven times in nineteen Years. The Empress was employed in breeding Silk-Worms, and teaching the Women Improvements in the Silk-Manufacture, which till then was very imperfect. This Prince new regulated the Administration, by establishing six superior Courts,which remain to this Day : The Reputation of his Virtue and wise Government drew several neighbouring Nations into his Dominions, and his Subjects increas'd to that Degree, that the Country could not support them,, chiefly because all the Low-Lands were overflowed, either by the Remains of the Universal Deluge, as some believe, or by the Stoppage of the Channels of. the Rivers.
The Emperor undertook to recover these Lands, and appointed an Officer, named Kouen, to make Drains to carry oflf the Water ; this Officer, being either negligent or ignorant, imploy'd nine Years . in this Work without Success, for which he was punish'd with Death : But his Son Yu made amends for the Father's Misbehaviour, for in thirteen Years, with unweary'd Labour, he levell'd Mountains, confined Rivers within their Channels, drained the Lakes and Marshes, enabled several rapid Torrents with Banks, and divided the Rivers into several Canals : By these means he gained a great Extent of Country, and rendered the whole much more fertile, and you will find in the Sequel that such a considerable Service was not unrewarded. In the mean time Yao was considering of a Successor, in which he consulted only the Welfare of his People : discovering his Design one Day to his Courtiers, one of them told him. That his eldest Son was worthy of the Throne, as he was deserving such a Father ; and that the People would not fail paying a due Regard to the hereditary Virtues of his Blood. Yao reply'd, “I abhor those as much who praise the wicked, as those who calumniate the Just: I know my Son ; under an Appearance of Virtue he conceals real Vices. ”
Some time after Yao sent for one of his Ministers, in whom he confided for his Wisdom and Probity, and would have resigned the Crown in his Favour ; but this wise Minister excused himself from receiving the Honour, and at the same time proposed to the Emperor a Husbandman, named Chun, whose Virtue, Probity, and Patience in the severest Trials, besides many other excellent Qualities, had rendered him worthy of the Crown.
Yao sent for him, and made him Governor of a Province, where Chun gained such a great Reputation, that at the End of three Years he was made associate in the Empire, and marry'd the Emperor's two Daughters.
The Emperor lived twenty-eight Years afterwards, in perfect Union with the new Colleague he had chosen ; till at length, perceiving himself near his End, he exhorted Chun to govern like a Father, and to remember he was made for the People, and not the People for him ; and that an Emperor was raised above the rest of Mankind, only to do them good, and to prevent their Wants : Finishing these Words, he drew his last Breath, and died 118 Years old, leaving nine Children : All his People, who had experienced in this Prince the Love and Tenderness of a Father and a Mother, mourn'd for him three Years.
Chun, the Ninth Emperor , reigned alone 50 Years.
Cycle z.YAO died in the twentieth Year of this Cycle, and Chun began to reign alone the A.C.2277Year following ; he is esteemed, as Yao, one of the Legislators of the. Nation. Presently after the Death of the Emperor, Chun shut himself up in the Sepulchre of Yao for three Years, from whence arose the Custom of mourning three Years for a Parent.
The Advancement of Chun is attributed to his. Obedience and Submission to his Parents ; for tho' they always used him severely, and sometimes to the endangering his Life, yet it never alter'd his dutiful Behaviour, so that by degrees his Respect and Patience got the better of their ill Treatment.
From whence their Philosophers draw these two great Principles of Morality ; First, That however wicked Parents may be, Children are not the less bound to pay them Respect and Obedience, Secondly, That there is no Man so wicked, but may be reclaimed by repeated Obligations.
Chun, having paid his Duty to the Memory of Yao, took Possession of the Imperial Palace, and received the Homage of the tributary Kings, and found in his Palace a vast Quantity of Gold and Jewels : He made a Sphere representing the Seven Planets, each Planet represented by different Jewels : He made also some new Laws, and appointed inferior Officers in each of the six Courts establish'd by his Predecessor. He honour'd Men of Learning with his Favour and Protection, visited his Provinces once a Year, and rewarded or punish'd the tributary King with so much Justice, that he gained the Esteem of all his People.
The Improvement of Agriculture was one of his principal Concerns; for which end he forbad all Governors, under severe Penalties, to discourage the Husbandman by heavy Exactions.
He was particularly cautious not to give any Governments to any, but to those of known Merit and Capacity. And lastly, he made many other Ordinances, the Wisdom and Equity of which have made him regarded as one of the greatest Heroes of this Country : One of these Ordinances may seem extraordinary, which permits any Person to write on a Table, expos'd to publick View, whatever he thinks blameable in the Emperor's Conduct.
In the fifty-fourth Year of this Cycle he made Yu his Successor, preferring him before his Children for the Good of his Subjects ; he was led to this Choice by the Capacity and Merit of this Great Man, and in some measure out of Gratitude for the Advantages he had procured to the Empire in draining the Lands. He lived seventeen Years after he had placed Yu on the Throne, in such a strict Union with this Prince, that the Royal Authority never seem'd to be divided.
The tenth Year of this Cycle the Emperor Chun died, aged no Years, and was buried in the Province of Chen si.