Mencius. Book VI: Kâo Tsze. Part II. Chapter VIII.

Legge's summary: Mencius's opposition to the warlike ambition of the prince of Lûand his minister Shan Kû-Lî.

1. The prince of Lû wanted to make the minister Shan commander of his army.

2. Mencius said, 'To employ an uninstructed people in war may be said to be destroying the people. A destroyer of the people would not have been tolerated in the times of Yâo and Shun.

3. 'Though by a single battle you should subdue Ch'î, and get possession of Nan-yang, the thing ought not to be done.'

4. Shan changed countenance, and said in displeasure, 'This is what I, Kû-Lî, do not understand.'

5. Mencius said, 'I will lay the case plainly before you. The territory appropriated to the sovereign is 1,000 lî square. Without a thousand lî, he would not have sufficient for his entertainment of the princes. The territory appropriated to a Hâu is 100 lî square. Without 100 lî, he would not have sufficient wherewith to observe the statutes kept in his ancestral temple.

6. 'When Châu-kung was invested with the principalily of Lû, it was a hundred lî square. The territory was indeed enough, but it was not more than 100 lî. When T'âi-kung was invested with the principality of Ch'î, it was 100 lî square. The territory was indeed enough, but it was not more than 100 lî.

7. 'Now Lû is five times 100 lî square. If a true royal ruler were to arise, whether do you think that Lû would be diminished or increased by him?

8. 'If it were merely taking the place from the one State to give it to the other, a benevolent man would not do it;-- how much less will he do so, when the end is to be sought by the slaughter of men!

9. 'The way in which a superior man serves his prince contemplates simply the leading him in the right path, and directing his mind to benevolence.'

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Translated by James Legge, published in 1861 and revised for publication in 1895. Prepared as etext by Stephen R. McIntyre. Noded by schist. Please msg schist if you have suggestions for useful hard-links.

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