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According to the regulations of emolument and rank framed by the kings, there were the duke; the marquis; the earl; the count; and the baron 1:--in all, five gradations (of rank). There were (also), in the feudal states, Great officers 2 of the highest grade,--the ministers; and Great officers of the lowest grade; officers of the highest, the middle, and the lowest grades:--in all, five gradations (of office).

The territory of the son of Heaven amounted to 1000 lî square; that of a duke or marquis to 500 lî square; that of an earl to 70 lî square; and that of a count or baron to 50 lî square 3. (Lords) who could not number 50 lî square, were not admitted directly to (the audiences of) the son of Heaven. Their territories were called 'attached,' being joined to those of one of the other princes.

The territory assigned to each of the ducal ministers of the son of Heaven was equal to that of a duke or marquis; that of each of his high ministers was equal to that of an earl; that of his Great officers to the territory of a count or baron; and that of his officers of the chief grade to an attached territory.

According to the regulations, the fields of the husbandmen were in portions of a hundred acres 4. According to the different qualities of those acres, when they were of the highest quality, a farmer supported nine individuals; where they were of the next, eight; and so on, seven, six, and five. The pay of the common people, who were employed in government offices 5, was regulated in harmony with these distinctions among the husbandmen.

The officers of the lowest grade in the feudal states had an emolument equal to that of the husbandmen whose fields were of the highest quality; equal to what they would have made by tilling the fields. Those of the middle grade had double that of the lowest grade; and those of the highest grade double that of the middle. A Great officer of the lowest grade had double that of an officer of the highest. A high minister had four times that of a Great officer; and the ruler had ten times that of a high minister. In a state of the second class, the emolument of a minister was three times that of a Great officer; and that of the ruler ten times that of a minister. In small states, a high minister had twice as much as a Great officer; and the ruler ten times as much as a minister.

The highest minister, in a state of the second class, ranked with the one of the middle grade in a great state; the second, with the one of the lowest grade; and the lowest, with a Great officer of the highest grade. The highest minister in a small state ranked with the lowest of a great state; the second, with the highest Great officer of the other; and the lowest, with one of the lower grade.

Where there were officers of the middle grade and of the lowest, the number in each was three times that in the grade above it 6.

Of the nine provinces embracing all within the four seas 7, a province was 1000 lî square, and there were established in it 30 states of 100 lî (square) each; 60 of 70 lî; 120 of 50 lî:--in all, 210 states. The famous hills and great meres were not included in the investitures 8. The rest of the ground formed attached territories and unoccupied lands of the eight provinces (apart from that which formed the royal domain), each contained (the above) 210 states 9.

Within the domain 10 of the son of Heaven there were 9 states of 100 lî square; 21 of 70 lî; and 63 of 50 lî:--in all, 93 states. The famous hills and great meres were not assigned 11. The rest of the ground served to endow the officers, and to form unoccupied lands.

In all, in the nine provinces, there were 1773 states, not counting in (the lands of) the officers of the chief grade of the son of Heaven, nor the attached territories in the feudal states.


1. Most sinologists have adopted these names for the Chinese terms. Callery says, 'Les ducs, les marquis, les comtes, les vicomtes, et les barons.' See the note on Mencius, V, i, 2, 3, for the meaning given to the different terms.

2. 'Great officers' are in Chinese Tâ Fû, 'Great Sustainers.' The character fû (夫) is different from that for 'officer,' which follows. The latter is called shih (土), often translated 'scholar,' and is 'the designation of one having a special charge.' Callery generally retains the Chinese name Tâ Fû, which I have not liked to do.

3. A lî is made up of 360 paces. At present 27.8 lî = 10 English miles, and one geographical lî = I458.53 English feet. The territories were not squares, but when properly measured, 'taking the length with the breadth,' were equal to so many lî square. The Chinese term rendered 'territory' is here (田), meaning 'fields;' but it is not to be supposed that that term merely denotes 'ground that could be cultivated,' as some of the commentators maintain.

4. The mâu is much less than an English acre, measuring only 733 1/3 square yards. An English acre is rather more than 6 mâu.

5. But held their appointments only from the Head of their department, and were removable by him at pleasure, having no commission from the king, or from the ruler of the state in which they were.

6. Some of the critics think that this sentence is out of place, and really belongs to paragraph 5 of next section. As the text stands, and simple as it appears, it is not easy to construe.

7. The expression 'the four seas' must have originated from an erroneous idea that the country was an insular square, with a sea or ocean on each side. The explanation of it in the R Ya as denoting the country surrounded by 'The 9 Î, the 8 Tî, the 7 Zung, and the 6 Man,' was an attempt to reconcile the early error with the more accurate knowledge acquired in the course of time. But the name of 'seas' cannot be got over.

8. That is, these hills and meres were still held to belong to all the people, and all had a right to the game on the hills and the fish of the waters. The princes could not deny to any the right of access to them; though I suppose they could levy a tax on what they caught.

9. This statement must be in a great degree imaginary, supposing, as it does, that the provinces were all of the same size. They were not so; nor are the eighteen provinces of the present day so.

10. The character in the text here is different from that usually employed to denote the royal domain.

11. The term is different from the 'invested' of the previous paragraph. The tenures in the royal domain were not hereditary.

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IATHPublished by The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, © Copyright 2003 by Anne Kinney and the University of Virginia