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The Grand Scribe's Records, Volume X: Volume X: The Memoirs of Han China, Part III

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In The Grand Scribe’s Records: Volume X, readers can follow Ssu-ma Qian’s depiction of the later years of the reign of Emperor Wu of the Han (r. 140–87 BC). The volume begins with four chapters describing the Han’s attempts to subdue states north, east, south and west of the empire. The subsequent long biography of Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju (179–117) presents one of the era’s major literary figures who came to oppose the Emperor’s expensive military campaigns against these states. It is followed by an equally extended portrayal of Liu An (d. 122), King of Huai-nan, who was seen as an internal threat and forced to commit suicide. The final chapters recount narratives of the ideal officials (all predating the Han) and the Confucians the Emperor championed.

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Introduction

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Introduction

“The time has come,” the Walrus said

This past year has seen the publication of two important works on the Shih chi 史

記. The first is Hans van Ess’s two volume Politik und Geschichtsschreibung im alten

China, Pan-Ma i-t’ung 班馬異同 (2v.; Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2014), the result of over a decade of van Ess’s careful readings of the Shih chi and Han shu 漢書. The second is the newly edited edition of the Shih chi,1 completed over a similar period by a team of eight scholars at Nan-ching Shih-fan Ta-hsüeh 南京師範大學 under the leadership of Chao Sheng-ch’ün 趙生群.

Professor van Ess’ study deserves a more thorough reading than could be provided here. Suffice it to say that over the last eleven years I have been reading and translating the Shih chi with Hans van Ess and that his ideas have found their way into many of the translations and translator’s notes in this volume.

Although the new Shih chi edition has not been consulted for most of the chapters included in this tenth volume of the Grand Scribe’s Records (it was published in

 

Memoir 53 “The Southern Yüeh

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The Southern Yüeh,1 Memoir 53

translated by William H. Nienhauser, Jr.

[113.2967] The King of Southern Yüeh 南越王,2 [formerly] Commandant-Governor3[Chao] T’o [趙]尉佗 (230–137 BC, r. ca. 204–137 BC) was a native of Chen-ting 真定.4 He had the cognomen Chao 趙. During the time of Ch’in, when [Ch’in] had already unified the empire,5 it overran and stabilized Yang Yüeh 楊越,6 setting up the commandaries of Kuei-lin 桂林, Nan-hai 南海, and Hsiang-chün 象郡7; by means of banishment it moved common people [there], where they resided mixed together with Yüeh [people] for thirteen years.8

[Chao] T’o, during the time of Ch’in, had been employed as the Magistrate of Lung-ch’uan 龍川9 in Nan-hai 南海.10 When it came to the time of the Second Emperor 二世 ([of Ch’in] r. 210–207 BC), Jen Hsiao 任囂,11 the Commandant of Nan-hai, fell ill and was on the point of dying; he summoned Chao T’o, the Magistrate of Lung-ch’uan and said to him: “I have heard that Ch’en Sheng 陳勝12 and others have made rebellion, that Ch’in has acted against all that is moral, that the world has suffered under it, that Hsiang Yü 項羽, Liu Chi 劉季, Ch’en Sheng, Wu Kuang 吳廣,13 and other prefectural and commanderial [leaders] have together each together raised troops14 and gathered armies to struggle like tigers for the empire, that the central states are troubled by rebellion, no one yet knowing by what means peace can be achieved, and that the powerful local magnates have turned against Ch’in and set themselves up.15 [Although] Nan-hai is remote and far away, I fear that bandit troops16 in invading [Ch’in’s] territory would reach [even] this place. I hoped to raise troops to cut off the new road,17 to prepare ourselves, and to await changes in the situation among the feudal lords.18 [However,] just at this time my illness has become grave. Furthermore, P’an-yü 番禺19 backs up to mountainous defiles, is blocked by the Nan-hai 南海 (Southern Sea),20 which from east to west is several thousand li; there are quite a few people from the central states [here] who would provide support. In addition, [P’an-yü] can be regarded as the master of an entire region and it could be used to set up a state. There are no senior officials in the commandery worth talking to; therefore I summoned you, sir, to inform you of this.” He then immediately gave T’o a document causing him to handle the affairs of Commandant of Nan-hai.21 When Hsiao died, T’o immediately sent a dispatch informing the Heng-p’u 橫浦, Yang-shan 陽山, and Huang-hsi 湟谿 border passes22 that: “The bandit troops are about to arrive, quickly cut off the roads and gather troops to defend yourselves!” He took advantage of this situation to gradually execute, according to the law, senior officials who had been installed by the Ch’in, taking men from his own faction to serve as acting chief administrators.23 After the Ch’in had been defeated and wiped out, T’o attacked and annexed Kuei-lin and Hsiang commandaries, enthroning himself as King Wu of Southern Yüeh 南越武王.24

 

Memoir 54 “The Eastern Yüeh”

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The Eastern Yüeh,1 Memoir 54

translated by William H. Nienhauser, Jr.

[114.2979] As for Wu-chu 無諸,2 the King of Min Yüeh 閩越王,3 and Yao 搖, the King of Tung-hai 東海王 in [the region of] Yüeh, their ancestors were both descendants of Kou-chien 句踐,4 the King of Yüeh, and had the cognomen Tsou 騶.5 After [First Emperor of] Ch’in had already united all under Heaven,6 he deposed them both and made them lords and chieftains, taking their territory to make Min-chung Commandery 閩中郡.7 When the feudal lords rebelled against Ch’in, Wu-chu and Yao led the Yüeh, turning their loyalty to Wu Jui 吳芮 (d. 201 BC), the Magistrate of Po-yang 鄱陽令, he who was styled “the Lord of Po” 鄱君,8 and followed the feudal lords to annihilate Ch’in. In the meantime, Hsiang Chi 項籍 [Hsiang Yü 項羽] who was in charge of issuing orders [to the various leaders], did not make them kings9 and for this reason they did not attach themselves to [the King of] Ch’u 楚 [Hsiang Yü].10 When [the King of] Han assaulted11 Hsiang Chi, Wu-chu and Yao led the men of Yüeh to assist Han.

 

Memoir 53 “The Southern Yüeh

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The Southern Yüeh,1 Memoir 53 translated by William H. Nienhauser, Jr.

[113.2967] The King of Southern Yüeh 南 越 王 , 2 [formerly] CommandantGovernor3 [Chao] T’o [趙]尉佗 (230–137 BC, r. ca. 204–137 BC) was a native of

Chen-ting 真定.4 He had the cognomen Chao 趙. During the time of Ch’in, when

[Ch’in] had already unified the empire,5 it overran and stabilized Yang Yüeh 楊越,6

1

As the new 2013 Chung-hua edition of the Shih chi notes (113.2581), a number of early editions title this chapter “Nan Yüeh T’o Wei lieh-chuan” 南越佗尉列傳 (The Memoir of

Commandant–Governor [Chao] T’o of Southern Yüeh).

2

According to the “Cheng-yi,” the capital of Southern Yüeh was located near modern

Canton. Chinese commentators, ancient and modern, refer to the Southern Yüeh as one of the one hundred Yüeh 百越 tribes, but modern scholarship has shown that there were several indentifiable political entities in this area for several hundred years before, including Tung Ou

 

Memoir 54 “The Eastern Yüeh”

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The Eastern Yüeh,1 Memoir 54 translated by William H. Nienhauser, Jr.

[114.2979] As for Wu-chu 無諸,2 the King of Min Yüeh 閩越王,3 and Yao 搖, the King of Tung-hai 東海王 in [the region of] Yüeh, their ancestors were both descendants of Kou-chien 句踐,4 the King of Yüeh, and had the cognomen Tsou 騶.5

1

In this chapter Eastern Yüeh refers alternately to those Yüeh people who traced their ancestry to the pre-Ch’in state of Yüeh and lived in the area that is now southern Chekiang and northern Fukien, to the state of Min Yüeh, and to the region itself. The translation of the title as “the Eastern Yüeh” attempts to bring out that pluresignation. See also the discussion of

Yüeh and its usages in the Shih chi in the translator’s note.

2

The Han shu parallel narrative runs from 95.3859–3863; it uses the graph Yüeh 粵 for the Shih chi’s 越.

3

Under the Ch’in dynasty, this region had been part of Min-chung Commandery 閩中郡 with the commandery seat at Tung-chih 東治 (modern Foochow–see text below); at the start of the Han dynasty, Wu-chu had been enfeoffed as King of Min Yüeh and, under Emperor Hui

 

Memoir 55 “Ch’ao-hsien”

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Ch’ao-hsien, Memoir 551

translated by Chiu Ming Chan and William H. Nienhauser, Jr.

[115.2985] [Wei] Man [衛]滿 (ca. 220-ca. 130 BC),2 the King of Ch’ao-hsien 朝 鮮,3 was a native of old Yen 燕.4 Starting from the time when Yen was at its height, it overran and took control of Chen-fan 真番 and Ch’ao-hsien, it set up officials and built up border fortifications.5 After Ch’in annihilated Yen,6 it took control of the Liao-tung Commandery 遼東7 and its outermost regions.8 After the Han [dynasty] rose, [the Han court], considering it [the region] was far away and difficult to guard, rebuilt the old Liao-tung border fortifications up to the P’ei 浿 River9 as a [new] boundary, and put it under the control of the [Kingdom of] Yen.10 When Lu Wan 盧 綰 (256–194 BC), King of Yen (r. 202–195 BC), revolted and joined the Hsiung-nu,11 Wei Man fled from his local registry,12 gathered together a band of more than one thousand followers, and in a mallet-style hairdo13 and barbarian clothing, escaped east over the fortifications. After crossing the P’ei River, he occupied the lands formerly vacant under the Ch’in,14 and moving up and down the fortifications he gradually, subjugated and took control over the barbarians in Chen-fan and Ch’ao-hsien, as well as those who had fled from their local registries of old Yen and Ch’i 齊, made himself king,15 and established his capital at Wang-hsien 王險.16

 

Memoir 55 “Ch’ao-hsien”

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Ch’ao-hsien, Memoir 551 translated by Chiu Ming Chan and William H. Nienhauser, Jr.

[115.2985] [Wei] Man [衛]滿 (ca. 220-ca. 130 BC),2 the King of Ch’ao-hsien 朝

鮮, was a native of old Yen 燕.4 Starting from the time when Yen was at its height, it overran and took control of Chen-fan 真番 and Ch’ao-hsien, it set up officials and

3

1

The parallel version of this chapter can be found on Han shu, 95.3863–67.

Eun-jung Choi and Jimi Kim drafted a translation of the first half of this chapter several years ago. Chiu Ming Chan more recently undertook a revision of the text and notes. The translator’s note and a final revision was completed by the editor.

2

Wei Man’s full name is given in the account of Ch’ao-hsien found in the “Tung-yi liehchuan” 東夷列傳 of the Hou Han shu (not the Han shu as “So-yin” argues; Hou Han shu

85.2817; see also the translator’s note). Accounts of Wei Man (Wiman in Korean) can also be found in various Korean historical records. Some historians believe Wei Man was Korean, not a Han Chinese and this has skewed modern scholarship on the question along nationalistic lines. Chien Chiang-tso 簡江作 provides a summary of the controversy in his Han-kuo li-shih yü hsien-tai Han-kuo 韓國歷史與現代韓國 (Taipei: Commercial Press, 2005), pp. 4–8.

 

Memoir 56 “The Southwestern Barbarians”

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The Barbarians1 of the Southwest, Memoir 56

translated by Thomas D. Noel and Lianlian Wu

[116.2991] The lords of the Barbarians of the Southwest number in the tens,2 and the greatest is Yeh-lang 夜郎.3 To its [Yeh-lang’s] west, the clans of the Mi-mo 靡莫 number in the tens, and the greatest is Tien 滇.4 From Tien northward the lords and chieftains number in the tens, and the greatest is Ch’iung-tu 邛都.5 These all tie [their hair in] hammer topknots,6 cultivate fields, and possess towns. Beyond them to the west, from T’ung-shih 同師 eastward,7 north to Yeh-yü 楪榆,8 are those named Sui 巂 and K’un-ming 昆明9; all braid their hair, follow their herds, move from one place to another, are without any permanent residence, and are without lords or chieftains; their lands could [extend] some several thousand li on a side. From Sui northeastward, the lords and chieftains number in the tens, and the greatest are Ssu 徙 and the City of Tso-tu 筰都.10 From the Tso northeastward, the lords and chieftains number in the tens, the greatest are Jan 冄 and Mang 駹.11 Their custom is that some had fixed aboves,12 some move about from place to place in the west of Shu 蜀.13 From Jan and Mang northeastward,14 the lords and chieftains number in the tens, and the greatest is that of Pai-ma 白馬15; all are of Ti 氐 stock.16 These are all Man barbarians17 beyond Pa 巴18 and Shu to the southwest.

 

Memoir 57 “Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju”

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Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju, Memoir 57

translated by Hans van Ess

[2999] Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju 司馬相如 (179–117 BC) was a man from Ch’eng-tu 成 都 in the commandery of Shu 蜀.1 His agnomen was Chang-ch’ing 長卿. In his youth he loved reading and studied swordplay.2 Therefore his parents gave him the praenomen “Puppy” 犬子.3 Since Hsiang-ju had studied, he admired how Lin Hsiang-ju 藺相如 had been as a man4 and he changed his praenomen to Hsiang-ju. By handing in wealth he became an gentleman [of the palace],5 served Emperor Hsiao Ching 孝景帝 (r. 157–141 BC) and became an Armed Mounted Horseman in Regular Attendance6 which was not to his liking. It so happened that Emperor Ching did not like tz’u 辭 and fu 賦 poems. When at this time King Hsiao 孝 of Liang 梁 (r. 168–144 BC)7 came to court for an audience, he was followed by such men as the wandering rhetoricians Tsou Yang 鄒陽 from Ch’i 齊, Mei Sheng 枚乘8 from Huaiyin 懷陰, and “Master”9 Chuang Chi 莊忌 from Wu 吳.10 [Ssu-ma] Hsiang-ju met and rejoiced in them. Accordingly he retired on account of an illness and travelled to Liang to become a retainer. King Hsiao of Liang ordered him to lodge together with these scholars, and only when Hsiang-ju had managed to live together with the scholars and the itinerant rhetoricians for several years did he write the “Tzu-hsü fu” 子虛賦 (Fu on Master Empty).

 

Memoir 56 “The Southwestern Barbarians”

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The Barbarians1 of the Southwest, Memoir 56 translated by Thomas D. Noel and Lianlian Wu

[116.2991] The lords of the Barbarians of the Southwest number in the tens,2 and the greatest is Yeh-lang 夜郎.3 To its [Yeh-lang’s] west, the clans of the Mi-mo 靡莫

1

The term yi 夷 (barbarian) is problematic and Nicola Di Cosmo’s assertion that there is no direct equivalent for “barbarian” in the Chinese lexicon it well taken (see Di Cosmo,

Ancient China and its Enemies: The Rise of Nomadic Power in East Asian History,

[Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002], p. 95). However, we have retained this translation in order to follow convention established in other studies of the era (see, for example, Yuri Pines, "Beasts or Humans: Pre-Imperial Origins of Sino-Barbarian Dichotomy," in Reuven Amitai and Michal Biran, eds., Mongols, Turks and Others: Eurasian Nomads and the Sedentary World [Leiden: Brill, 2005], p. 61, n. 8). It has been suggested that this term’s use in the Han shu is more closely related to specific ethnic groups than it is in the Shih chi

 

Memoir 57 “Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju”

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Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju, Memoir 57 translated by Hans van Ess

[2999] Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju 司馬相如 (179–117 BC) was a man from Ch’eng-tu 成

都 in the commandery of Shu 蜀.1 His agnomen was Chang-ch’ing 長卿. In his youth he loved reading and studied swordplay. 2 Therefore his parents gave him the praenomen “Puppy” 犬子.3 Since Hsiang-ju had studied, he admired how Lin Hsiangju 藺相如 had been as a man 4 and he changed his praenomen to Hsiang-ju. By

1

Ch’eng-tu was located roughly in the same area where modern Chengtu lies today. Shu was and is an old name for the central region of what today is the province of Szechwan.

2

The same depiction is given to Ching K’o on Shih chi, 86.2527: 荊卿好讀書擊劍 See

Grand Scribe’s Records, 7:325. Note that Ssu-ma Ch’ien says that there were three branches of the family ancestors, one in Wey, one in Chao and another one in Ch’in. The branch in

Chao was famous for its swordsmanship. Ching K’o came from Wey. Maybe there was a tradition in the Ssu-ma family that was linked to the art of swordsmanship.

 

Memoir 58 “Huai-nan and Heng-shan”

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[The Kings of] Huai-nan and Heng-shan, Memoir 58

translated by Marc Nürnberger

Liu Ch’ang

[118.3075] [Liu] Ch’ang [劉]長 (d. 174 BC, r. 196–174 BC), King Li 厲 of Huai-nan 淮南, was a younger son of Kao-tsu 高祖.1 His mother was formerly a Beautiful Lady 美人 of Chang Ao 張敖, the King of Chao 趙王 (d. 182 BC, r. 202–198 BC).

In the eighth year of Kao-tsu (199 BC), when [Kao-tsu] passed Chao 趙 coming from Tung-yüan 東垣,2 the King of Chao presented him with Beautiful Ladies.3 [After] the mother of King Li was favored by him, she was with child. [Chang] Ao, the King of Chao, did not dare to take her inside the palace [again]; he build an outer palace for her and housed her there. When it came to Kuan Kao 貫高 and others’ plotting a rebellion and the incident at Po-jen 柏人 was discovered,4 and the King was also captured and tried, the King’s mother, brothers, and Beautiful Ladies were all taken into custody, and detained in Ho-nei 河內.5 When the mother of King Li was also detained, she informed the official saying: “I was favored by the Sovereign, I am with child.” The official made this known to the Sovereign and the Sovereign just at this time became angry with the King of Chao, but he had not yet settled [the case of] the mother of King Li. Chao Chien 趙兼, the younger brother of the mother of King Li,6 relied on the Marquis of Pi-yang 辟陽7 [Shen Yi-chi 審食其] to speak of this to Lü Hou 呂后 (Empress Lü, r. 188–180),8 [but] Lü Hou was jealous; she was not willing to explain [the situation to the Sovereign], and the Marquis of Pi-yang was not forcefully arguing [for the mother of King Li]. When it came that9 the mother of King Li had already born King Li, she was in rage,10 and then killed herself. When the officials held King Li up and presented him to the Sovereign,11 the Sovereign had regrets12; he ordered Lü Hou to be a mother to him, and had the mother of King Li buried at Chen-ting 真定.13 As for Chen-ting, the family of the mother of King Li was located there, and it had been the county of [her] fathers for generations.14

 

Memoir 59 “The Officials Who Follow Reason”

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[The Officials Who] Follow Reason,1 Memoir 59

translated by William H. Nienhauser, Jr.

[119.3099] His Honor the Grand Scribe says, “Laws and orders are that by which one guides the common people, punishments and penalties are that by which one prohibits villainy.2 When the civil [laws and orders] and martial [punishments and penalties] are not at hand, the good people are afraid. But among those [officials] who cultivate themselves, there have not been any who caused disorder.3 By carrying out the duties of their positions and following reason, they can still effect good government. What need is there to threaten severity?4

Sun Shu-ao 孫叔敖

Sun Shu-ao 孫叔敖5 was a private gentleman6 of Ch’u. The Prime Minister of Yüch’iu 虞丘 (Yü Hillock)7 recommended him to King Chuang 莊 of Ch’u (r. 613–591)8 to replace himself. After three months, Sun was made Prime Minister of Ch’u, 9 promulgating teachings 10 so that the common people were guided [properly], 11 superiors and subordinates were in harmony, and current behavior and customs rose to an excellent [level]; once an administrative policy was relaxed, prohibitions would come to an end.12 Among the petty officials there was no villainy,13 and bandits and robbers did not rise up.14 In autumn and winter he exhorted the people to go into the mountains to gather [bamboo and wood], in the spring and summer to make use of the waters [to transport the bamboo and wood],15 so that everyone was able to obtain that which was convenient for them and the people all delighted in their lives.

 

Memoir 58 “Huai-nan and Heng-shan”

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[The Kings of] Huai-nan and Heng-shan, Memoir 58 translated by Marc Nürnberger

Liu Ch’ang

[118.3075] [Liu] Ch’ang [劉]長 (d. 174 BC, r. 196–174 BC), King Li 厲 of

Huai-nan 淮南, was a younger son of Kao-tsu 高祖. 1 His mother was formerly a

Beautiful Lady 美人 of Chang Ao 張敖, the King of Chao 趙王 (d. 182 BC, r. 202–

198 BC).

In the eighth year of Kao-tsu (199 BC), when [Kao-tsu] passed Chao 趙 coming from Tung-yüan 東垣, 2 the King of Chao presented him with Beautiful Ladies. 3

[After] the mother of King Li was favored by him, she was with child. [Chang] Ao, the King of Chao, did not dare to take her inside the palace [again]; he build an outer palace for her and housed her there. When it came to Kuan Kao 貫高 and others’ plotting a rebellion and the incident at Po-jen 柏人 was discovered,4 and the King was

1

Liu Ch’ang 劉長 was the seventh son of Liu Pang 劉邦. Wang Shu-min (118.3199) refers to the taboo practice of the Huai-nan Tzu that replaced all 長 characters with a hsiu 修 whenever it was used in the sense of “long” and not “mature” to show that his praenomen should be accordingly pronounced: “Ch’ang.” See also the Han shu parallel (44.2135-45) and his entry in Loewe, Dictionary, pp. 271–73, and the parallel account of the life and death of the King of Huai–nan, on Shih chi, 101.2738–39 (Grand Scribe’s Records, 8:328–30).

 

Memoir 60 “Chi and Cheng”

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Chi [An] and Cheng [Tang-shih], Memoir 60

translated by Jakob Pöllath and Andreas Siegl

Chi An

[3105] Chi An 汲黯 had the agnomen Chang-ju 長孺; he was a man from P’uyang 濮陽.1 His ancestors were favored by the former Lord of Wey 衛.2 Down to [Chi] An there were seven generations,3 in each of them one served as minister or great official. [Chi] An was employed because of his father’s privilege4 and at the time of [Emperor] Hsiao Ching 孝景 (r. 157–141 BC) served as Forerunner of the Heir Apparent.5 He was feared for his sternness. [After] Hsiao Ching-ti passed away and the heir ascended to the throne (141 BC), [Chi] An was made Internuncio. [At the time when the people of] Tung Yüeh 東越 attacked one another, the Sovereign sent [Chi] An to go there and inspect this.6 He did not arrive [there but instead,] when he arrived in Wu, he returned and reported saying: “That the people of Yüeh are attacking each other is certainly [due to] their custom being that way. It is not worth to disgrace an envoy of the Son of Heaven on account of this.” There was a conflagration in Ho-nei 河內7 that spread to burn down more than a thousand households. The Sovereign sent [Chi] An to go there and inspect this. He returned and reported, saying: “[Whenever] a conflagration happens among the commoners, spreading over a neighborhood and burning [it] down, it is not worth worrying [about it]. [But when] your servant passed through Ho-nan 河南,8 amongst the poor people in Ho-nan there were more than ten thousand households which were suffering from flood or drought, in some fathers and sons fed on one another.9 Your servant has cautiously, according to what was expedient and appropriate, [used] the [imperial] caduceus he carried to distribute millet from the Ho-nan 河南 granary, so as to relieve the poor. Your servant asks to return the caduceus and lies prostrate [to await the punishment for] the crime of forging an imperial order.” The Sovereign thought him worthy and therefore set him free. He transferred him to become Prefect of Hsing-yang 滎陽.10 [Chi] An felt humiliated to be made prefect and returned to his home town on account of illness. The Sovereign heard of this and only then appointed him Palace Grandee. Because he sharply remonstrated [with the emperor] several times, he could not remain long at court, and was transferred to serve as Grand Administrator of Tung-hai 東海.11 As [Chi] An had studied the teachings of Huang-Lao 黃老, in his managing the officials and ordering the people he valued peace and calm. He chose assistants and scribes and left things to them. In his way of governing he supervised only the most important things and did not get lost in the details. [Chi] An was often ill, he lay in his inner quarters and did not go out. [Still,] after [a little] more than a year, Tung-hai was well governed, and he was praised [for it]. The Sovereign heard of this and summoned him to make him Chief Commandant over the Nobility, ranking him among the nine ministers. [His way of] governing lay simply in quiescence, he expanded [his actions to fit] the general political situation [and] did not restrict himself to the articles of the law.12

 

Memoir 59 “The Officials Who Follow Reason”

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[The Officials Who] Follow Reason,1 Memoir 59 translated by William H. Nienhauser, Jr.

[119.3099] His Honor the Grand Scribe says, “Laws and orders are that by which one guides the common people, punishments and penalties are that by which one prohibits villainy. 2 When the civil [laws and orders] and martial [punishments and penalties] are not at hand, the good people are afraid. But among those [officials] who cultivate themselves, there have not been any who caused disorder.3 By carrying out the duties of their positions and following reason, they can still effect good government.

What need is there to threaten severity?4

1

Hsün-li 循理 is actually an abbreviation for hsün-li li 循理吏, “officials who follow reason” (see “So-yin). as in the historian’s comments in chapter 130 cited below: “Those officials who upheld the law and followed reasonable methods, did not boast of their merits nor brag about their abilities” 奉法循理之吏,不伐功矜能.

2

Compare the opening lines of “The Memoir of the Harsh Officials” (Shih chi, 122.3131) which begins with a citation of Confucius from the Analects (Lunyü, 2.3; Legge, 1:146): “If you lead them [the people] with administrative rules and bring them to unison with punishments, the people will avoid [the punishments], but will have no sense of shame. If you lead them with virtue and bring them to unison with rites, they will have a sense of shame and moreover will be corrected” 孔子曰:「導之以政,齊之以刑,民免而無恥。導之以德,齊

 

Memoir 60 “Chi and Cheng”

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Chi [An] and Cheng [Tang-shih], Memoir 60 translated by Jakob Pöllath and Andreas Siegl

Chi An

[3105] Chi An 汲黯 had the agnomen Chang-ju 長孺; he was a man from P’uyang 濮陽.1 His ancestors were favored by the former Lord of Wey 衛.2 Down to

[Chi] An there were seven generations,3 in each of them one served as minister or great official. [Chi] An was employed because of his father’s privilege4 and at the time of [Emperor] Hsiao Ching 孝景 (r. 157–141 BC) served as Forerunner of the

Heir Apparent.5 He was feared for his sternness. [After] Hsiao Ching-ti passed away and the heir ascended to the throne (141 BC), [Chi] An was made Internuncio. [At the time when the people of] Tung Yüeh 東越 attacked one another, the Sovereign sent

[Chi] An to go there and inspect this.6 He did not arrive [there but instead,] when he

1

P’u-yang is a city in Yen-chou 兗州, about five miles southeast of modern P’u-yang,

Honan (T’an Ch’i-hsiang, 2:19).

2

The “Hereditary House of Wey” records that after 320 BC P’u-yang was the last remaining possession of Wey and that its ruler was reduced to the rank of “lord” (chün 君) the same year (see Shih chi, 37.1604).

 

Memoir 61 “The Confucian Scholars”

ePub

The Confucian Scholars,1 Memoir 612

translated by William H. Nienhauser, Jr. et al.3

[121.3115] His Honor the Grand Scribe says: Whenever I read over the regulations [for assessing scholars’] merits,4 and reach the [part about] broadening and encouraging the road of education officials and their staff,5 I never fail to cast aside the documents and sigh,6 saying: “Alas! When the house of Chou declined, ‘Kuan chü’ 關雎 (The Ospreys Cry) was composed.7 When [King] Yu 幽王 (r. 781–771 BC) and [King] Li 厲 王 (r. 878–841 BC) [caused their dynasty to] wane, rites and music were ruined8; the feudal lords acted without restraint, and the administrative decisions came from the powerful states.9 For this reason Chung-ni 仲尼 (i.e., Confucius) grieved that the path of the [ancient] kings had been abandoned and that evil ways had arisen; thereupon he put in order and arranged the Shih 詩 (Songs) and the Shu 書 (Documents), and revised and revived the rites and music.10 When he went to Ch’i 齊 and heard the “Shao” 韶 music,11 he did not know the taste of meat for three months.12 He returned to Lu 魯 from Wey 衛 and thereafter the music was rectified, and the Ya 雅 (Elegantiae) and the Sung 頌 (Hymns) [of the Shih 詩] each obtained their [proper] places.13 Because that era was confused and chaotic,14 no one was able to employ him [Confucius]. For this reason, though Confucius sought a position with over seventy rulers,15 there was none with whom he was well met.16 He said: “If someone would employ me, within but a year [I could make a difference].”17 When a unicorn was captured at the western hunt, he said, “My way has come to an end.”18 Therefore, based on scribal records,19 he composed the Ch’un ch’iu (Spring and Autumn [Annals]), in order to be taken as a model by the kings.20 Since its language is subtle and its implications are profound,21 men of learning22 in later generations often copied [passages] from it.23

 

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