Sima Qian

且夫臧獲婢妾猶能引決,況若僕之不得已乎。所以隱忍苟活,函糞土之中而不辭者,恨私心有所不盡,鄙沒世而文采不表於後也。古者富貴而名摩滅,不可勝記,唯俶儻非常之人稱焉。僕竊不遜,近自託於無能之辭,網羅天下放失舊聞,考之行事,綜其終始,稽其成敗興壞之理 ... 凡百三十篇,亦欲以究天人之際,通古今之變,成一家之言。草創未就,適會此禍,惜其不成,是以就極刑而無慍色。僕誠已著此書,藏諸名山,傳之其人通邑大都,則僕償前辱之責,雖萬被戮,豈有悔哉!或曰:天道無親,常與善人。若伯夷、叔齊,可謂善人者非邪。積仁絜行如此而餓死。... 盜蹠日殺不辜,肝人之肉 ... 竟以壽終。是遵何德哉。 ... 余甚惑焉,儻所謂天道,是邪非邪。蘇秦兄弟三人,皆游說諸侯以顯名,其術長於權變。而蘇秦被反閒以死,天下共笑之,諱學其術。 ... 夫蘇秦起閭閻,連六國從親,此其智有過人者。吾故列其行事,次其時序,毋令獨蒙惡聲焉。

Sima himself in the conclusion to chapter 110 of the Shiji declared that he was writing in this tradition where he stated:

Before his castration, Sima Qian was recorded to have two sons and a daughter. While little is recorded of his sons, his daughter later married Yang Chang (楊敞), and had sons Yang Zhong (楊忠) and Yang Yun (楊惲). It was Yang Yun who hid his grandfather's great work, and decided to release it during the reign of Emperor Xuan.