1. When the
prince, afterwards duke Wan of T'ang, had to go to Ch'û, he went
by way of Sung, and visited Mencius.
discoursed to him how the nature of man is good, and when
speaking, always made laudatory reference to Yâo and Shun.
3. When the prince
was returning from Ch'û, he again visited Mencius. Mencius said
to him, 'Prince, do you doubt my words? The path is one, and
4. 'Ch'ang Chi'en
said to duke King of Ch'î, "They were men. I am a man. Why
should I stand in awe of them?" Yen Yüan said, "What kind of man
was Shun? What kind of man am I? He who exerts himself will also
become such as he was." Kung-Ming Î said, "King Wan is my
teacher. How should the duke of Châu deceive me by those words?"
5. 'Now, T'ang,
taking its length with its breadth, will amount, I suppose, to
fifty lî. It is small, but still sufficient to make a good
State. It is said in the Book of History, "If medicine do not
raise a commotion in the patient, his disease will not be cured
1. When the duke
Ting of T'ang died, the prince said to Yen Yû, 'Formerly,
Mencius spoke with me in Sung, and in my mind I have never
forgotten his words. Now, alas! this great duty to my father
devolves upon me; I wish to send you to ask the advice of
Mencius, and then to proceed to its various services'
2. Zan Yû
accordingly proceeded to Tsâu, and consulted Mencius. Mencius
said, 'Is this not good? In discharging the funeral duties to
parents, men indeed feel constrained to do their utmost. The
philosopher Tsang said, "When parents are alive, they should be
served according to propriety; when they are dead, they should
be buried according to propriety; and they should be sacrificed
to according to propriety:-- this may be called filial piety."
The ceremonies to be observed by the princes I have not learned,
but I have heard these points:-- that the three years' mourning,
the garment of coarse cloth with its lower edge even, and the
eating of congee, were equally prescribed by the three
dynasties, and binding on all, from the sovereign to the mass of
3. Zan Yû reported
the execution of his commission, and the prince determined that
the three years' mourning should be observed. His aged
relatives, and the body of the officers, did not wish that it
should be so, and said, 'The former princes of Lû, that kingdom
which we honour, have, none of them, observed this practice,
neither have any of our own former princes observed it. For you
to act contrary to their example is not proper. Moreover, the
History says,-- "In the observances of mourning and sacrifice,
ancestors are to be followed," meaning that they received those
things from a proper source to hand them down.'
4. The prince said
again to Zan Yû, 'Hitherto, I have not given myself to the
pursuit of learning, but have found my pleasure in horsemanship
and sword-exercise, and now I don't come up to the wishes of my
aged relatives and the officers. I am afraid I may not be able
to discharge my duty in the great business that I have entered
on; do you again consult Mencius for me.' On this, Zan Yû went
again to Tsâu, and consulted Mencius. Mencius said, 'It is so,
but he may not seek a remedy in others, but only in himself.
Confucius said, "When a prince dies, his successor entrusts the
administration to the prime minister. He sips the congee. His
face is of a deep black. He approaches the place of mourning,
and weeps. Of all the officers and inferior ministers there is
not one who will presume not to join in the lamentation, he
setting them this example. What the superior loves, his
inferiors will be found to love exceedingly. The relation
between superiors and inferiors is like that between the wind
and grass. The grass must bend when the wind blows upon it." The
business depends on the prince.'
5. Zan Yû returned
with this answer to his commission, and the prince said, 'It is
so. The matter does indeed depend on me.' So for five months he
dwelt in the shed, without issuing an order or a caution. All
the officers and his relatives said, 'He may be said to
understand the ceremonies.' When the time of interment arrived,
they came from all quarters of the State to witness it. Those
who had come from other States to condole with him, were greatly
pleased with the deep dejection of his countenance and the
mournfulness of his wailing and weeping.
1. The duke Wan of
T'ang asked Mencius about the proper way of governing a kingdom.
2. Mencius said,
'The business of the people may not be remissly attended to. It
is said in the Book of Poetry,
day-light go and gather the grass,
And at night twist your ropes;
Then get up quickly on the roofs;--
Soon must we begin sowing again the grain."
3. 'The way of the people is this:-- If they have a certain
livelihood, they will have a fixed heart; if they have not a
certain livelihood, they have not a fixed heart. If they have
not a fixed heart, there is nothing which they will not do in
the way of self-abandonment, of moral deflection, of depravity,
and of wild license. When they have thus been involved in crime,
to follow them up and punish them:-- this is to entrap the
people. How can such a thing as entrapping the people be done
under the rule of a benevolent man?
4. 'Therefore, a
ruler who is endowed with talents and virtue will be gravely
complaisant and economical, showing a respectful politeness to
his ministers, and taking from the people only in accordance
with regulated limits.
5. 'Yang Hû said,
"He who seeks to be rich will not be benevolent. He who wishes
to be benevolent will not be rich."
6. 'The sovereign
of the Hsiâ dynasty enacted the fifty mâu allotment, and the
payment of a tax. The founder of the Yin enacted the seventy mâu
allotment, and the system of mutual aid. The founder of the Châu
enacted the hundred mâu allotment, and the share system. In
reality, what was paid in all these was a tithe. The share
system means mutual division. The aid system means mutual
7. 'Lung said,
"For regulating the lands, there is no better system than that
of mutual aid, and none which is not better than that of taxing.
By the tax system, the regular amount was fixed by taking the
average of several years. In good years, when the grain lies
about in abundance, much might be taken without its being
oppressive, and the actual exaction would be small. But in bad
years, the produce being not sufficient to repay the manuring of
the fields, this system still requires the taking of the full
amount. When the parent of the people causes the people to wear
looks of distress, and, after the whole year's toil, yet not to
be able to nourish their parents, so that they proceed to
borrowing to increase their means, till the old people and
children are found lying in the ditches and water-channels:--
where, in such a case, is his parental relation to the people?"
8. 'As to the
system of hereditary salaries, that is already observed in T'ang.
9. 'It is said in
the Book of Poetry,
"May the rain
come down on our public field, And then upon our private
It is only in the system of mutual aid that there is a public
field, and from this passage we perceive that even in the Châu
dynasty this system has been recognised.
hsiang, hsü, hsio, and hsiâo,-- all those educational
institutions,-- for the instruction of the people. The name
hsiang indicates nourishing as its object; hsiâo, indicates
teaching; and hsü indicates archery. By the Hsiâ dynasty the
name hsiâo was used; by the Yin, that of hsü; and by the Châu,
that of hsiang. As to the hsio, they belonged to the three
dynasties, and by that name. The object of them all is to
illustrate the human relations. When those are thus illustrated
by superiors, kindly feeling will prevail among the inferior
11. 'Should a real
sovereign arise, he will certainly come and take an example from
you; and thus you will be the teacher of the true sovereign.
12. 'It is said in
the Book of Poetry,
was an old country,
It received a new destiny."
That is said with reference to king Wan. Do you practise those
things with vigour, and you also will by them make new your
13. The duke
afterwards sent Pî Chan to consult Mencius about the
nine-squares system of dividing the land. Mencius said to him,
'Since your prince, wishing to put in practice a benevolent
government, has made choice of you and put you into this
employment, you must exert yourself to the utmost. Now, the
first thing towards a benevolent government must be to lay down
the boundaries. If the boundaries be not defined correctly, the
division of the land into squares will not be equal, and the
produce available for salaries will not be evenly distributed.
On this account, oppressive rulers and impure ministers are sure
to neglect this defining of the boundaries. When the boundaries
have been defined correctly, the division of the fields and the
regulation of allowances may be determined by you, sitting at
14. 'Although the
territory of T'Ang is narrow and small, yet there must be in it
men of a superior grade, and there must be in it country-men. If
there were not men of a superior grade, there would be none to
rule the country-men. If there were not country-men, there would
be none to support the men of superior grade.
15. 'I would ask
you, in the remoter districts, observing the nine-squares
division, to reserve one division to be cultivated on the system
of mutual aid, and in the more central parts of the kingdom, to
make the people pay for themselves a tenth part of their
16. 'From the
highest officers down to the lowest, each one must have his holy
field, consisting of fifty mâu.
17. 'Let the
supernumerary males have their twenty-five mâu.
18. 'On occasions
of death, or removal from one dwelling to another, there will be
no quitting the district. In the fields of a district, those who
belong to the same nine squares render all friendly offices to
one another in their going out and coming in, aid one another in
keeping watch and ward, and sustain one another in sickness.
Thus the people are brought to live in affection and harmony.
19. 'A square lî
covers nine squares of land, which nine squares contain nine
hundred mâu. The central square is the public field, and eight
families, each having its private hundred mâu, cultivate in
common the public field. And not till the public work is
finished, may they presume to attend to their private affairs.
This is the way by which the country-men are distinguished from
those of a superior grade.
20. 'Those are the
great outlines of the system. Happily to modify and adapt it
depends on the prince and you.'