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荊莊王并國二十六，開地三千里，莊王之氓社稷也，而荊以亡。齊桓公并國三十， 啟地三千里；桓公之氓社稷也，而齊以亡。燕襄王以河為境，以薊為國，襲涿、方城，殘齊，平中山， 有燕者重，無燕者輕；襄王之氓社稷也，而燕以亡。魏安釐王（政趙救燕）〔攻燕救趙〕，取地河東； 攻盡陶、魏之地；加兵於齊，私平陸之都；攻韓拔管，勝於淇下；睢陽之事，荊軍老而走；蔡、召陵之事， 荊軍破；兵四布於天下，威行於冠帶之國；安釐〔王〕死而魏以亡。
故有荊莊、齊桓（公），則荊、齊可以霸；有燕襄、魏安釐，則燕、魏可以強。 今皆亡國者，其群臣官吏皆務所以亂，而不務所以治也。其國亂弱矣，又皆釋國法而私其外， 則是負薪而救火也，亂弱甚矣！
故當今之時，能去私曲、就公法者，民安而國治；能去私行、行公法者， 則兵強而敵弱。故審得失有法度之制者，加以群臣之上，則主不可欺以詐偽；審得失有權衡之稱者， 以聽遠事，則主不可欺以天下之輕重。
今若以譽進能，則臣離上而下比周；若以黨舉官，則民務交而不求用於法。 故官之失能者其國亂；以譽為賞，以毀為罰也，則好賞惡罰之人，釋公行，行私術，比周以相為也。 忘主外交，以進其與，則其下所以為上者薄矣。交眾與多，外內朋黨，雖有大過，其蔽多矣。
若是，則群臣廢法而行私重，輕公法矣。數至能人之門，不壹至主之廷； 百慮私家之便，不壹圖主之國。屬數雖多，非所〔以〕尊君也；百官雖具，非所以任國也。 然則主有人主之名，而實託於群臣之家也。故臣曰：亡國之廷無人焉。
賢者之為人臣，北面委質，無有二心，朝廷不敢辭賤，軍旅不敢辭難； 順上之為，從主之法，虛心以待令，而無是非也。故有口不以私言，有目不以私視，而上盡制之。 為人臣者，譬之若手，上以脩頭，下以脩足；清暖寒熱，不得不救（入），鏌鋣傅體，不敢弗搏， 無私賢哲之臣，無私事能之士。故民不越鄉而交，無百里之慼。貴賤不相踰，愚智提衡而立，治之至也。
今夫輕爵祿，易去亡，以擇其主，臣不謂廉。詐說逆法，倍主強諫，臣不謂忠。 行惠施利，收下為名，臣不謂仁。離俗隱居，而以（作）〔詐〕非上，臣不謂義。外使諸侯，內耗其國， 伺其危嶮之陂，以恐其主曰：「交非我不親，怨非我不解」，而主乃信之，以國聽之，卑主之名以顯其身， 毀國之厚以利其家，臣不謂智。此數物者，險世之說也，而先王之法所簡也。
夫為（之）人主而身察百官，則日不足，力不給。且上用目則下飾觀， 上用耳則下飾聲，上用慮則下繁辭。先王以三者為不足，故舍己能而因法數，審賞罰。 先王之所守要，故法省而不侵。獨制四海之內，聰智不得用其詐，險躁不得關其佞，姦邪無所依。 遠在千里外，不敢易其辭；勢在郎中，不敢蔽善飾非。朝廷群下，直湊單微，不敢相踰越。 故治不足而日有餘，上之任勢使然也。
夫人臣之侵其主也，如地形焉，即漸以往，使人主失端，東西易面而不自知。 故先王立司南以端朝夕。故明主使其群臣不遊意於法之外，不為惠於法之內，動無非法。 （法所以凌過遊外私也）〔峻法所以禁過外私也〕，嚴刑所以遂令懲下也。威不（貸）〔貳〕錯， 制不共門。威制共則眾邪彰矣，法不信則君行危矣，刑不斷則邪不勝矣。故曰：巧匠目意中繩， 然必先以規矩為度；上智捷舉中事，必以先王之法為比。故繩直而枉木斲，準夷而高科削， 權衡縣而重益輕，斗石設而多益少。
法不阿貴，繩不撓曲。法之所加，智者弗能辭，勇者弗敢爭。刑過不避大臣， 賞善不遺匹夫。故矯上之失，詰下之邪，治亂決繆，絀羡齊非，一民之軌，莫如法。 （屬）〔厲〕官威民，退淫殆，止詐偽，莫如刑。刑重則不敢以貴易賤，法審則上尊而不侵， 上尊而不侵，則主強而守要，故先王貴之而傳之。人主釋法用私，則上下不別矣。
Chapter VI. Having Regulations: A Memorial1
No country is permanently strong. Nor is any country permanently weak. If conformers to law are strong, the country is strong; if conformers to law are weak, the country is weak.
King Chuang of Ching annexed as many states as twenty-six and extended his territory as far as three thousand li. As soon as King Chuang passed 2 away from the Altar of the Spirits of Land and Grain, Ching decayed accordingly. Duke Huan of Ch`i annexed as many states as thirty and extended his territory as far as three thousand li. As soon as Duke Huan passed away from the Altar of the Spirits of Land and Grain, Ch`i decayed accordingly. King Hsiang 3 of Yen took the Yellow River as state-boundary on the south, established the capital at Chi, doubled the defence works at Cho and Fang-ch`êng, smashed the Ch`i State, and subdued the Central Hills State, in such wise that whoever was a friend of Yen was respected and whoever was not a friend of Yen was despised. As soon as King Hsiang passed away from the Altar of the Spirits of Land and Grain, Yen decayed accordingly. King An-li of Wey attacked Yen, rescued Chao, 4 took the land to the east of the Yellow River, and completely conquered both T`ao and Wei. 5 Then he mobilized his troops into Ch`i and took the city of P`ing-lu to be his holiday resort. Then he attacked Han, took Kuan, won the battle by the Ch`i River. Then in the engagement at Chü-yang he drove the worn-out troops of Ching into retreat. Finally in the engagement at Shang-ts`ai and Chao-ling he routed the Ching troops. In this manner he sent out his expeditionary forces in the four directions throughout All-under-Heaven and spread his influence all over the countries of crowns and girdles. 6 Following the death of King An-li, Wey decayed accordingly.
Thus, as long as King Chuang of Ching and Duke Huan of Ch`i were alive, Ching and Ch`i could remain hegemonic; as long as King Hsiang of Yen and King An-li of Wey were alive, Yen and Wey remained strong. Now their countries all fell into decay, because their ministers and magistrates all followed the path to chaos and never sought for the way to order. Though their countries were chaotic, they cast aside the state laws and schemed for nothing but their own outside interests. This was the same as to suppress a fire by carrying firewood on the back. Consequently confusion and weakness turned from bad to worse.
Therefore, at present, any ruler able to expel private crookedness and uphold public law, finds the people safe and the state in order; and any ruler able to expunge private action and act on public law, finds his army strong and his enemy weak. So, find 7 out men following the discipline of laws and regulations, and place them above the body of officials. Then the sovereign can not be deceived by anybody with fraud and falsehood. Find 8 out men able to weigh different situations, and put them in charge of distant affairs. Then the sovereign cannot be deceived by anybody in matters of world politics.
Now supposing promotions were made because of mere reputations, then ministers would be estranged from the sovereign and all officials would associate for treasonable purposes. Supposing officials were appointed on account of their partisanship, then the people would strive to cultivate friendships and never seek employment in accordance with the law. Thus, if the government lack able men, the state will fall into confusion. If rewards are bestowed according to mere reputation, and punishments are inflicted according to mere defamation, then men who love rewards and hate punishments will discard the law 9 of the public and practise self-seeking tricks and associate for wicked purposes. If ministers forget the interest of the sovereign, make friends with outside people, and thereby promote their adherents, then their inferiors will be in low spirits to serve the sovereign. Their friends are many; their adherents, numerous. When they form juntas in and out, then though they have great faults, their ways of disguise will be innumerable.
For such reasons, loyal ministers, innocent as they are, are always facing danger and the death penalty, whereas wicked ministers, though of no merit, always enjoy security and prosperity. Should loyal ministers meet danger and death without committing any crime, good ministers would withdraw. Should wicked ministers enjoy security and prosperity without rendering any meritorious service, villainous ministers would advance. This is the beginning of decay.
Were such the case, all officials would discard legalism, practising favouritism and despising public law. They would frequent the gates of the residences of cunning men, but never once would they visit the court of the sovereign. For one hundred times they would ponder the interests of private families, but never once would they scheme for the state welfare of the sovereign. Thus, their subordinates, however numerous, are not for glorifying the ruler; the officials, however well selected, are not for serving the country. If so, the sovereign would have the mere name of the lord of men but in reality he simply commits himself to the care of the houses of the various ministers. Hence thy servant says: "The court of a decaying state has no man." 10
That the court has no man does not imply the emptiness of the court. It means that private families strive to benefit one another but never seek to enhance the state welfare; that high officials strive to honour one another but never seek to honour the ruler; and that petty officials spend their salaries in cultivating personal friendships but never attend to their official duties. The reason therefore is: The sovereign never makes his decisions in accordance with the law but always trusts in his subordinates for whatever they do.
Therefore, the intelligent sovereign makes the law select men and makes no arbitrary promotion himself. He makes the law measure merits and makes no arbitrary regulation himself. In consequence, able men cannot be obscured, bad characters cannot be disguised; falsely praised fellows cannot be advanced, wrongly defamed people cannot be degraded. Accordingly, between ruler and minister distinction becomes clear and order is attained. Thus it suffices only if the sovereign can scrutinize laws.
The wise man, on ministering to a ruler, faces the north 11 and swears an oath of his office, pledging "not to have two minds, 12 never to reject any low commission in the court, and never to reject any hard job in the military camp, but to follow the instructions of his superior, to obey the law of the sovereign and empty his mind so as to wait for the royal decrees to come, and to have no dispute about them". Therefore, though he has a mouth of his own, he never speaks for his own advantage; though he has eyes of his own, he never sees for his private interest. Both his mouth and eyes are kept under his superior's control. In other words, who ministers to a ruler may be likened to the hand that is able to care for the head upward and for the feet downward, never fails to relieve 13 them from extremes of cold and heat, and never fails to strike away even the Mo-yeh 14 Sword when it is near the body. Similarly, the intelligent ruler never employs worthy and clever ministers or wise and able men for any selfish purpose. Therefore, the people do not cross the village border to make friends and have no relatives 15 living one hundred li away; high and low do not trespass against each other; the fool and the wise, each being content with his own lot, keep the scale and stand in perfect balance. Such is the crowning phase of order, indeed! 16
Now, those who make light of rank and bounties, resign from their offices and desert their posts with ease, and thereby choose their masters, thy servant does not call upright. Those who falsify theories, disobey laws, defy the sovereign, and make forcible remonstrances, thy servant does not call loyal. Those who bestow favours, distribute profits, win the hearts of inferiors, and thereby make names, thy servant does not call benevolent. Those who leave the world, retire from active life, and thereby reprove the sovereign, thy servant does not call righteous. Those who serve abroad as envoys to other feudal lords, exhaust the strength of the native country, and wait for the moment of crisis 17 to molest the sovereign, saying, "the inter-state friendship, unless thy servant be in charge of it, cannot become intimate; the inter-state enmity, unless thy servant be in charge of it, cannot be appeased," and thereby aim to win the sovereign's confidence, to be trusted with state affairs, and to increase their influence by lowering the name of the sovereign and benefit their own families by hampering the resources of the country, thy servant does not call wise. These examples are common practices prevailing in the dangerous age, which the law of the early kings would weed out.
The law of the early kings said: "Every minister shall not exercise his authority nor shall he scheme for his own advantage but shall follow His Majesty's instructions. He shall not do evil but shall follow His Majesty's path." 18 Thus, in antiquity the people of an orderly age abode by the public law, discarded all self-seeking tricks, devoted their attention and united their actions to wait for employment by their superiors.
Indeed, the lord of men, if he has to inspect all officials himself, finds the day not long enough and his energy not great enough. Moreover, if the superior uses his eyes, the inferior ornaments his looks; if the superior uses his ears, the inferior ornaments his voice; and, if the superior uses his mind, the inferior twists his sentences. Regarding these three faculties as insufficient, the early kings left aside their own talents and relied on laws and numbers and acted carefully on the principles of reward and punishment. Thus, what the early kings did was to the purpose of political order. Their laws, however simplified, were not violated. Despite the autocratic rule within the four seas, the cunning could not apply their fabrications; the deceitful 19 could not practise 20 their plausibilities; and the wicked found no means to resort to, so that, though as far away from His Majesty as beyond a thousand li, they dared not change their words, and though as near by His Majesty as the courtiers, they dared not cover the good and disguise the wrong. The officials in the court, high and low, never trespassed against each other nor did they ever override their posts. Accordingly the sovereign's administrative routine did not take up all his time while each day afforded enough leisure. Such was due to the way the ruler trusted to his position.
Indeed, the minister trespasses against the sovereign in the court as in the lie of the land. Leading forward step by step, 21 he makes the lord of men forget the starting-point until he turns from east to west and is not conscious of the change. To guard against such misleadings, the early kings set up the south-pointing needle 22 to ascertain the directions of sun-rise and sun-set. Thus, every intelligent ruler ordered his ministers never to realize their wishes outside the realm of law and never to bestow their favours inside the realm of law—in short, never to commit any unlawful act. As strict laws are means to forbid extra-judicial action and exterminate selfishness 23 and severe penalties are means to execute decrees and censure inferiors, legal authority should not be deputed to anybody and legal control should not be held behind the same gate. Should legal authority and control be kept in common by both ruler and minister, all varieties of wickedness would come into existence. If law is of no faith, its enforcement by the ruler is absurd. 24 If penalty is not definite, culprits cannot be overcome. Hence the saying: "The skilful carpenter, though able to mark the inked string with his surveying eyes and calculating mind, always takes compasses and squares as measures before his marking; the great genius, though able to accomplish his task with swift move, always takes the law of the early kings as the ruler before his accomplishment." Thus, if the inked string is straight, crooked timbers will be shaved; if the water-level is even, high gnarls will be planed down. Similarly, if weights and balances are well hung up, what is too heavy will be decreased and what is too light will be increased; once pecks and bushels are established, what is too much will be decreased and what is too little will be increased.
Hence to govern the state by law is to praise the right and blame the wrong. 25
The law does not fawn on the noble; the string does not yield to the crooked. Whatever the law applies to, the wise cannot reject nor can the brave defy. Punishment for fault never skips ministers, reward for good never misses commoners. Therefore, to correct the faults of the high, to rebuke the vices of the low, to suppress disorders, to decide against mistakes, to subdue the arrogant, to straighten the crooked, and to unify the folkways of the masses, nothing could match the law. To warn 26 the officials and overawe the people, to rebuke obscenity and danger, and to forbid falsehood and deceit, nothing could match penalty. If penalty is severe, the noble cannot discriminate against the humble. If law is definite, the superiors are esteemed and not violated. If the superiors are not violated, the sovereign will become strong and able to maintain the proper course of government. Such was the reason why the early kings esteemed legalism and handed it down to posterity. Should the lord of men discard law and practise selfishness, high and low would have no distinction.
1. 有度. Its English rendering by L. T. Chên is "The Existence of Standards" (Liang Ch`i-ch`ao, History of Chinese Political Thought during the Early Tsin Period, trans. by L. T. Chên, p. 116, n. 2), which is incorrect. This chapter has been regarded by many critics such as Hu Shih and Yung Chao-tsu as spurious merely on the ground that the ruin of the states as adduced by Han Fei Tzŭtook place long after his death. Inasmuch as 亡 means "decay" and "decline" as well as "ruin" and "destruction", I regard the evidence alleged by the critics as insufficient.
2. 氓 reads 亡 meaning 去, namely, "leave." To leave the Altar of the Spirits of Land and Grain means to die.
3. In fact it was not King Hsiang but King Chao who sent General Yo I to invade the Ch`i State in 284 b.c.
4. With Ku Kuang-ts`ê 攻趙救燕 should be 攻燕救趙. In 272 b.c. Wey with Ch`in and Ch`u attacked Yen. In 257 b.c. Lord Hsin-ling of Wey smashed the forces of Ch`in at Han-tan and thereby rescued Chao.
5. With Ku 魏 should be 衛.
6. 冠帶之國 referred to the civilized countries in the then known world. The barbarians roaming around the Middle Land bobbed their hair and went without hats. Their garments had the lapels on the left and no girdles. On the contrary, the Chinese would grow their hair, crown every male from twenty years of age, have the lapels of their coats on the right. The countries of crowns and girdles were thus distinguished from the rest of the world.
7. With Ku Kuang-ts`ê 失 below 審得 in both cases should be 夫.
8. With Ku Kuang-ts`ê 失 below 審得 in both cases should be 夫.
9. With Wang Hsien-shen 行 below 公 should be 法.
10. With Wang this whole paragraph is largely based on Kuan Tzŭ's "Making the Law Clear".
11. 北面 means "to have an audience with His Majesty", who, while seated on the throne, always faces the south.
12. 蕪有二心 means "not to break his word ever presented to the throne".
13. With Wang Hsien-shen 入 below 救 is superfluous.
14. One of the two precious swords made by the order of King Fu-ch`a of the Wu State, the other being called Kan-chiang.
15. With Ku Kuang-ts`ê 慼 should read 戚.
16. Such was the Utopia dreamt and
pictured by Han Fei Tzŭ from the legalistic standpoint, which,
diametrically opposed to the Confucian spirit, stands out clearly relieved
against the Great Community of Confucius:—
Han Fei Tzŭ's Utopia, however, runs in
parallel to the ideal state of nature described by Lao Tzŭ:—
Han Fei Tzŭ's Utopia, however, runs in parallel to the ideal state of nature described by Lao Tzŭ:—
17. With Wang Hsien-shen 陂 should be 際.
18. As remarked by Ku Kuang-ts`ê, the Great Plan contains a passage somewhat different from this citation.
19. With Kao Hêng 躁 read 譟 which means 詐.
20. With Kao 關 below 不得 means 置 or 措.
21. With Wang Hsien-shen 即 above 漸 should be 積.
22. The compass needle.
23. For 法所凌過遊外私也 I propose 峻法所以遏外滅私也 which runs parallel to the following passage 嚴刑所以遂令懲下也.
24. With Yü Yüeh 危 should be 詭.
25. With Wang Hsien-shen 舉措 should be 舉錯 as in Confucius's Analects.
26. Wang Nien-sun proposed 厲 for 屬.
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|Published by The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, © Copyright 2003 by Anne Kinney and the University of Virginia|