The Works of Mencius

Book 3, Part 2 (cont.): T'ang Wan Kung


Chapter 4.

The labourer is worthy of his hire, and there is no labourer so worthy as the scholar who instructs men in virtue.

1. P'ang Kang asked Mencius, saying, 'Is it not an extravagant procedure to go from one prince to another and live upon them, followed by several tens of carriages, and attended by several hundred men?' Mencius replied, 'If there be not a proper ground for taking it, a single bamboo-cup of rice may not be received from a man. If there be such a proper ground, then Shun's receiving the kingdom from Yâo is not to be considered excessive. Do you think it was excessive?'

2. Kang said, 'No. But for a scholar performing no service to receive his support notwithstanding is improper.'

3. Mencius answered, 'If you do not have an intercommunication of the productions of labour, and an interchange of men's services, so that one from his overplus may supply the deficiency of another, then husbandmen will have a superfluity of grain, and women will have a superfluity of cloth. If you have such an interchange, carpenters and carriage-wrights may all get their food from you. Here now is a man, who, at home, is filial, and abroad, respectful to his elders; who watches over the principles of the ancient kings, awaiting the rise of future learners:-- and yet you will refuse to support him. How is it that you give honour to the carpenter and carriage-wright, and slight him who practises benevolence and righteousness?'

4. P'ang Kang said, 'The aim of the carpenter and carriagewright is by their trades to seek for a living. Is it also the aim of the superior man in his practice of principles thereby to seek for a living?' 'What have you to do,' returned Mencius, 'with his purpose? He is of service to you. He deserves to be supported, and should be supported. And let me ask,-- Do you remunerate a man's intention, or do you remunerate his service.' To this Kang replied, 'I remunerate his intention.'

5. Mencius said, 'There is a man here, who breaks your tiles, and draws unsightly figures on your walls;-- his purpose may be thereby to seek for his living, but will you indeed remunerate him?' 'No,' said Kang; and Mencius then concluded, 'That being the case, it is not the purpose which you remunerate, but the work done.'

Chapter 5.

The prince who will set himself to practise a benevolent government on the principles of the ancient kings has none to fear.

1. Wan Chang asked Mencius, saying, 'Sung is a small State. Its ruler is now setting about to practise the true royal government, and Ch'î and Ch'û hate and attack him. What in this case is to be done?'

2. Mencius replied, 'When T'ang dwelt in Po, he adjoined to the State of Ko, the chief of which was living in a dissolute state and neglecting his proper sacrifices. T'ang sent messengers to inquire why he did not sacrifice. He replied, "I have no means of supplying the necessary victims." On this, T'ang caused oxen and sheep to be sent to him, but he ate them, and still continued not to sacrifice. T'ang again sent messengers to ask him the same question as before, when he replied, "I have no means of obtaining the necessary millet." On this, T'ang sent the mass of the people of Po to go and till the ground for him, while the old and feeble carried their food to them. The chief of Ko led his people to intercept those who were thus charged with wine, cooked rice, millet, and paddy, and took their stores from them, while they killed those who refused to give them up. There was a boy who had some millet and flesh for the labourers, who was thus slain and robbed. What is said in the Book of History, "The chief of Ko behaved as an enemy to the provision-carriers," has reference to this.

3. 'Because of his murder of this boy, T'ang proceeded to punish him. All within the four seas said, "It is not because he desires the riches of the kingdom, but to avenge a common man and woman."

4. 'When T'ang began his work of executing justice, he commenced with Ko, and though he made eleven punitive expeditions, he had not an enemy in the kingdom. When he pursued his work in the east, the rude tribes in the west murmured. So did those on the north, when he was engaged in the south. Their cry was-- "Why does he make us last." Thus, the people's longing for him was like their longing for rain in a time of great drought. The frequenters of the markets stopped not. Those engaged in weeding in the fields made no change in their operations. While he punished their rulers, he consoled the people. His progress was like the falling of opportune rain, and the people were delighted. It is said in the Book of History, "We have waited for our prince. When our prince comes, we may escape from the punishments under which we suffer."

5. 'There being some who would not become the subjects of Châu, king Wû proceeded to punish them on the east. He gave tranquillity to their people, who welcomed him with baskets full of their black and yellow silks, saying-- "From henceforth we shall serve the sovereign of our dynasty of Châu, that we may be made happy by him." So they joined themselves, as subjects, to the great city of Châu. Thus, the men of station of Shang took baskets full of black and yellow silks to meet the men of station of Châu, and the lower classes of the one met those of the other with baskets of rice and vessels of congee. Wû saved the people from the midst of fire and water, seizing only their oppressors, and destroying them.'

6. 'In the Great Declaration it is said, "My power shall be put forth, and, invading the territories of Shang, I will seize the oppressor. I will put him to death to punish him:-- so shall the greatness of my work appear, more glorious than that of T'ang."

7. 'Sung is not, as you say, practising true royal government, and so forth. If it were practising royal government, all within the four seas would be lifting up their heads, and looking for its prince, wishing to have him for their sovereign. Great as Ch'î and Ch'û are, what would there be to fear from them?'