Mencius. Book IV: Lî Lâu. Part I. Chapter XIV.

Legge's summary: Against the ministers of his time, who pursued their warlike and other schemes, regardless of the happiness of the people.

1. Mencius said, 'Ch'iû acted as chief officer to the head of the Chî family, whose evil ways he was unable to change, while he exacted from the people double the grain formerly paid. Confucius said, "He is no disciple of mine. Little children, beat the drum and assail him."

2. 'Looking at the subject from this case, we perceive that when a prince was not practising benevolent government, all his ministers who enriched him were rejected by Confucius:-- how much more would he have rejected those who are vehement to fight for their prince! When contentions about territory are the ground on which they fight, they slaughter men till the fields are filled with them. When some struggle for a city is the ground on which they fight, they slaughter men till the city is filled with them. This is what is called "leading on the land to devour human flesh." Death is not enough for such a crime.

3. 'Therefore, those who are skilful to fight should suffer the highest punishment. Next to them should be punished those who unite some princes in leagues against others; and next to them, those who take in grassy commons, imposing the cultivation of the ground on the people.'

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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.