Who Cares – Chapter 39
Chapter 39 Virtuous Minister
The next day, in Chengde Hall, the civil and military officials divided to the left and right to present court memorials together.
Because of Xu Guangzhi’s request, several great scholars already prepared letters of recommendation to report to the emperor. When County Prince Jing stepped forward and urged Xu Guangzhi to enter the office, they also followed and spoke together. Guan Father took a step forward and was about to second a motion, but he heard his old man refute with anger, “Report to the emperor, Xu Guangzhi is lacking personal virtue, have become depraved, and could not become an official…” Finally, he unfolded the long memorial in his hand, recited word by word.
Father, didn’t we agree before that we won’t slap County Prince Jing’s face in the court? Your words cannot be trusted, ah! Guan Father sighed in his heart, but his face didn’t show anything. And at his instigation, several Legalism scholars who were preparing to impeach Xu Guangzhi for burning books and discarding articles were also caught off guard at this time. They never expected that Old Master Guan would be so upright, and even teared up the younger generation of his own school. However, listening to it, they were touched by hismagnificent aura and candidness, one by one were moved to tears.
Not long before, the Confucius’s policy was promulgated, and the court ministers had their own schools of thought, naturally they were worried about the damage to their interests. And Xu Guangzhi’s remarks of “Abolishing a hundred schools of thought” made their already precarious situation even more difficult. If they didn’t change the lane and withdraw, those Legalism classics couldn’t be said what’s their fate tomorrow. However, asking scholars to give up what they have learned all their lives and reluctantly accept ideas they do not agree with was more cruel than directly beheading them.
Therefore, they want to fight against Xu Guangzhi to the end, but they also knew that the emperor would not open his eyes for other schools, and they could only fight to the end and sacrifice their lives for righteousness. However, they did not expect that as the Confucian master and Emperor Teacher, Old Master Guan, would stand up one step ahead of them and thoroughly criticized. If all Confucian scholars were as virtuous as Old Master Guan, the literary world would definitely flourish, the court would be stable, and the society would have a long history.
When Old Master Guan finished reading the memorials in an eloquent manner, there was a roar of applause from the court, and even the generals who had always been at odds with the civil servants also clasped their hands, and the second motion continued.
Xu Guangzhi’s actions were very high-profile. No, it should be said that in these two lifetimes, he had been, without regard for others. The difference was that in the previous life, he was supported by Emperor Sheng Yuan, but in this life, he could only cling to the powerful and planned every step. One point of fate differ made everything also very different. In the previous life, he had brutalized the scholars of other schools like that, not necessarily didn’t make enemies, but because of his strong backing and deep background, he always stood firm. But in this life, he had shown himself without the strength to protect himself, and the fate after antagonizing countless enemies could be imagined.
He thought that the ministers of the Confucian school would all backing him up, but he forgot whether those who was in charge, that was, Old Master Guan, would appreciate his style of bullying others, burning books and abolishing Legalism. The answer was he didn’t appreciate it and even hated it!
For the first time, Emperor Sheng Yuan listened carefully to the words of his teacher. Because of his selfish advocacy of Legalism and rejection of Confucianism, his impression of Old Master Guan had always remained at the level of conformity and ignorance. After he had a secret affection for Guan Suyi, he began to re-examine the old man, and finally found the other person’s loyalty, honesty, uprightness and righteousness hidden under the pedantic and stubbornness.
But Guan Father was even more interesting. He was a giant of Confucianism on the surface, but privately he was very close to scholars of various schools, and he was also extremely proficient in various schools of thought. It was not exaggeration to say “omniscient and omnipotent, experienced in the ways of the world”. When he stepped into the court, he was like a dragon facing the abyss, and the wind and clouds would rise.
It’s no wonder that Guan Suyi had a pure heart and elegant character,, her family learning was actually the source, influenced by seeing and hearing. At this time, Emperor Sheng Yuan didn’t know that there was a saying in Central Plains ‘Love the house and its crow’. Because he liked someone, he naturally liked all the people close to her. Therefore, the Guan family’s father and son, who he felt sour before, also now greatly admired.
At this time he was still tormenting, resisting, and suppressing his feelings, but it didn’t prevent him from further lifting the Guan family. When the applause and the voice of support gradually faded away, he said, “What the Emperor Teacher said is very true, Xu Guangzhi is eager for quick success and lack personal virtue, and he is not worthy of being an official.”
Seeing that County Prince Jing seemed to be about to argue, he continued, “Zhen’s holy idea is ‘to promote the Confucian family, suppress the hundred schools’, but he misinterpreted it as ‘abolishing the hundred schools, and only respect Confucianism’. If an official can’t even understand the Holy Will, what is the use? Legalism’s clear punishment, Confucianism’s benevolence, Mohism’s universal love, School of Military’s defend one’s country… Each Hundred Schools of Thought has their own strength and strive for the best result. Each school’s scholars are vigorous and active, have high fighting spirit. So when in my Great Wei, hundred of flowers bloom and hundred schools of thought contend, civil and military officials emulates the virtuous and unite their will, why worry the society is unstable, and the country is not strong? Zhen respect Confucianism because of the single character ‘benevolence’, benevolent to your subjects and benevolent to the people, so how could imitate the tyrannical Qin that practice ‘burning books and bury alive Confucian scholars? You can have your own thoughts, and Zhen also have a policy for governing the country, do you think so?”
After a few words, County Prince Jing was unable to refute and was too ashamed to speak, while hundreds of civil and military officials knelt down on the ground to shout Long Live, and Old Master Guan was moved to tears by the emperor’s deep benevolence and kindness, he submitted happily.
Xu Guangzhi’s entry into officialdom was dismissed just like that. Emperor Sheng Yuan continued to carried out several other government affairs, and then he proposed to improve the legal code and restore order. Because there was act of benevolence towards scholars of various schools at the beginning, the civil and military officials were very cooperative, except for praising the emperor as enlightened monarch, there was no objection.
After the court finished, Emperor Sheng Yuan made his imperial teacher, Chief of Ceremonies and several Legalists to stay behind and discuss the specific details of perfecting the law. Guan Father followed behind Old Master Guan, while walking slowly towards Weiyang Palace, he whispered, “Father, you promised to be good yesterday, why you put your son in a tight spot during the court.”
County Prince Jing was small-minded and ambitious. In the past, he wanted to win over the Guan family, but when he failed, he supported his minions and brought his confidants together. Now, his plan was once again disturbed by the Guan family. Although he pretended to be benevolent and righteous, he must have hated the Guan family. No matter what, he was also a member of the Jiuli tribe, even more, he was a relative of the imperial family. If he wanted to embarrass the Guan family, it’s still unknown who the emperor would protect.
Old Master Guan’s lips didn’t move, but a voice reached Guan Father’s ear, “. I always use these words to encourage you and encourage myself. Others become officials because of power, or because of wealth, but my Guan family enter the officialdom because of what, have you forgotten?”
Guan Father replied in a low voice, “Son has never forgotten for a day, so that people of the world can be enlighten, so that people of the world can make a living, so that people of the world can be prosperous, so that the Yellow River is clear and the sea has no waves.” After a pause, he reflected deeply, “Father, son is wrong!”
Old Master Guan snorted coldly, and then eased his expression, “It’s good if you don’t forget your original intention. You use your tactful way, I follow my loyalty and integrity way. In the future it may have nothing to do with each other, or maybe cooperate with each other, or maybe compete against each other, and it’s up to your and my political opinions.”
Guan Father could only promised and obeyed. Who said that the old man had no scheming and didn’t know how to be flexible. To let the father and son went their own way was the biggest scheming, the best flexibility, when advancing could attack, when retreating could defend, and when one break, the other could be saved.
The two of them tacitly understood, remained silent all the way. They waited outside the hall for a while before being led into the imperial study.
“Please sit down, dear gentlemen.” Emperor Sheng Yuan had no arrogance at all. He had already taken off his dragon robe and changed into casual clothes, and stretched out his hand to invite several ministers to sit down. Marquis Zhenxi, who had taken three-month vacation, was waiting by the side, holding a thick memorial in his hand, showing that he was well prepared.
“A country can’t be without a ruler, more so can’t have a chaotic law. When the law is chaotic then the world is in chaos, when the world is in chaos then the people are dead. Therefore, Zhen have long wanted to revise the law, and I hereby invite dear ministers to help review the details, recast the code of law, and restore the world’s clarity.”
All the ministers were touched by the emperor’s benevolence, and they all said, “Willing to die for Your Majesty, willing to die for Great Wei, willing to die for the people.”
“Great kindness!” Emperor Sheng Yuan’s dragon heart was delighted, and he said concisely, “Zhen have just come into contact with the culture of Central Plains, the knowledge is limited, so it is inconvenient to say more. There is only one principle that dear ministers need to bear in mind: the revision of the law should be based on the principle that ‘the ruler is light, the people are noble’. It’s important to be beneficent for the common people, the national law placed above the patriarchal clan system, the public opinion placed above the official voice, and if the prince and the common people break the laws the crime is the same. Abolish the old rules and bad habits of ‘punishment is not for the senior official, and the etiquette is not for the common people’, concealment of relatives, and concealment of officials, truly put people first, use benevolence at its root.”
There was a few breaths of silence in the hall. The Legalism scholars were ecstatic and convinced, but they were worried that the Emperor Teacher and Chief of Ceremonies would speak out against it. When they were about to look, they saw the two of them knelt down and called Holy Monarch. They were even more excited than they were. “The emperor’s heart is for the people, benevolent and righteous, and will create a great cause for eternity and leave a name for eternity! Your Majesty long live, long live, long live!”
Emperor Sheng Yuan quickly pulled up the two people, with a thousand thoughts and great ambitions surging in his chest. He pondered for a moment, and then said, “In addition to revising the law, Zhen want to set up another official office, called the Inspectorate Department, which is composed of the Inspector Censor and. Practice rules and remonstrate the emperor, speak left and right, impeach hundreds of officials, and investigate the real powers of regions and ranks, ranging from the central government to the small towns and counties, from the emperor to the officials, and from the country’s major affairs to the people’s livelihood, are all within the scope of the censor’s supervision and speech. Zhen will assign them absolute freedom, impeach hundreds of officials, not convicted by words, and not put to death in prison, so as to avoid the calamity of incapable ruler, corrupt politics, and traitorous people that bring disaster to the country…”
This was the idea that came from listening to Guan Suyi’s blunt accounting on the shortcomings of the legalist monarchy’s dictatorship.
Before the emperor’s words were finished, Old Master Guan had already knelt down again, his voice when calling ‘long live the emperor’ was trembling, he even offered to resign from the position of the super-grade Emperor Teacher and become the little seventh-grade censor to plead in the name of the people, to ensure that the facts were correctly understood. The rest of the people also knelt down willingly, without any reluctance.
“Good! If there are virtuous ministers like this, why worry that my Great Wei will not be prosperous, and the society will not be strong!” Emperor Sheng Yuan laughed loudly, very happy. From this moment on, his impression of Guan’s father and son had completely changed, from being dispensable advertisement of Confucianism to the reliable right-hand man.
Qin Lingyun was also infected by the great righteousness of the two of people, felt great respect towards them. No wonder Guan Suyi was so excellent and also unconventional, it was because of the upright family style. The dragon gives birth to the dragon and the phoenix gives birth to the phoenix, this was indeed true.
The discussion continued from morning to evening, everyone used the imperial meal in the Weiyang Palace before returning home. On the moving carriage, Guan Father said slowly, “Revising the law, setting up an Inspectorate, the emperor is worried about the country and the people, self-restraint and devoted to the public, but I want to use both of them to do a personal matter.”
“Yiyi’s matter?” Old Master Guan understood.
“Father, you really know everything.” Guan Father smiled and flattered.
“Alright, I’ll take care of this matter.” Old Master Guan took complete charge, even though he knew that he had fallen into his son’s trap of eliminating dissidents, he happily endured hardship for the safety of his granddaughter’s life.