8vo, pp. xvi, 176, with list of subscribers; a clean copy in contemporary sheep, rubbed, spine-ends worn, upper joint cracked and tender but hinge holding; with ink ownership inscription ‘S H Jebb 1810’ to front free end-paper.
US $1672 €1416
First edition. Using a selection of historical characters from Chinese history this work acknowledges that history ‘offers both an ample field for moral Instruction as well as rational Amusement’ (p. xiii). The focus on China is explained in the introduction: ‘moral virtues were never practised in a more eminent degree, by any people than by the Chinese...’ (p xxiii). Having outlined the history of China, the socio-political background, and the importance of the teachings of Confucius the book then introduces various historical anecdotes featuring characters from Chinese history.
Each chapter has a brief quotation that encapsulates the lesson, followed by a lively story: Ouli, Prince of Tartary teaches us that ‘Temperance is a source from whence many virtues flow’, while Kublay, the grandson of Jengiz-Khan teaches that ‘The Price who civilizes and enlightens a barbarous people, is more worth of renown, than the splendid acts which the sword of the Conqueror can obtain’.
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