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We shall find Confucius hereafter always moving amid a company of admiring pupils; but the greater number must have had their proper avocations and ways of living, and would only resort to the master, when they wished specially to ask his counsel or to learn of him. In the year succeeding the return to Loo, that State fell into great confusion.

There were three Families in it, all connected irregularly with the ducal house, which had long kept the rulers in a condition of dependency. Thither Confucius also repaired, that he might avoid the prevailing disorder of his native State. Confucius bent forward in his carriage, and after listening to her for some time, sent Tsze-loo to ask the cause of her grief.

Oppressive government is fiercer than a tiger.


Arrived there, he heard the strain, and was so ravished with it, that for three months he did not know the taste of flesh. I have given advice to the Duke King, but he has not yet obeyed it, and now he would endow me with this place! Very far is he from understanding me. There is a sufficient foundation in nature for government in the several relations of society, and if those be maintained and developed according to their relative significancy, it is sure to obtain.

This was a first principle in the political ethics of Confucius. They are haughty and concerted of their own views, so that they will not be content in inferior positions. They set a high value on all funeral ceremonies, give way to their grief, and will waste their property on great burials, so that they would only be injurious to the common manners.

It would take generations to exhaust all that he knows about the ceremonies of going up and going down. This is not the time to examine into his rules of propriety. I had rather believe that these were not the words of Gan Ying; but they must represent pretty correctly the sentiments of many of the statesmen of the time about Confucius. Returned to Loo, he remained for the long period of about fifteen years without being engaged in any official employment. He remains without office in Loo, bc It was a time, indeed, of great disorder.

At one time Ke Hwan, the most powerful of the chiefs, was kept a prisoner by Yang Hoo, and was obliged to make terms with him in order to secure his liberation. Confucius would give his countenance to none, as he disapproved of all, and he studiously kept aloof from them. Of how he comported himself among them we have a specimen in the incident related in the Analects, xvii. On this, he sent a present of a pig to Confucius, who, having chosen a time when Ho was not at home, went to pay his respects for the gift. He met him, however, on the way. To myself there seems nothing remarkable in it but a somewhat questionable dexterity.

But it was well for the fame of Confucius that his time was not occupied during those years with official services. He turned them to better account, prosecuting his researches into the poetry, history, ceremonies, and music of the empire. Many disciples continued to resort to him, and the legendary writers tell us how he employed their services in digesting the results of his studies.

I have heard about the Odes; I have heard about the rules of Propriety. I have also heard that the superior man maintains a distant reserve towards his son. I can easily believe that this distant reserve was the rule which Confucius followed generally in his treatment of his son. A stern dignity is the quality which a father Edition: current; Page: [ 71 ] has to maintain upon his system.

It is not to be without the element of kindness, but that must never go beyond the line of propriety. There is too little room left for the play and development of natural affection. The divorce of his wife must also have taken place during these years, if it ever took place at all, which is a disputed point. The curious reader will find the question discussed in the notes on the second Book of the Le Ke.

The evidence inclines, I think, against the supposition that Confucius did put his wife away. When she died, at a period subsequent to the present, Le kept on weeping aloud for her after the period for such a demonstration of grief had expired, when Confucius sent a message to him that his sorrow must be subdued, and the obedient son dried his tears. He holds office.

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In the year bc , things had come to a head between the chiefs of the three Families and their ministers, and had resulted in the defeat of the latter. It soon presented itself. Towards the end of that year he was made chief magistrate of the town of Chung-too. Just before he received this appointment, a circumstance occurred of which we do not well know what to make. If any one employ me, may I not make an eastern Chow? Amid the general gravity of his intercourse with his followers, there gleam out a few instances of quiet pleasantry, when he amused himself by playing with their notions about him.

This was probably one of them. As magistrate of Chung-too he produced a marvellous reformation of the manners of the people in a short time. Different food was assigned to the old and the young, and different burdens to the strong and the weak. Males and females were kept apart from each other in the streets.

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A thing dropt on the road was not picked up. There was no fraudulent carving of vessels. Inner coffins were made four inches thick, and the outer ones five.

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Graves were made on the high grounds, no mounds being raised over them, and no trees planted about them. Within twelve months, the princes of the States all about wished to imitate his style of administration. The Duke Ting, surprised at what he saw, asked whether his rules could be employed to govern a whole State, and Confucius told him that they might be applied to the whole empire.

Confucius cartoon series 1 the Orchid

On this the duke appointed him assistant-superintendent of Works, 2 in which capacity he surveyed the lands of the State, and made many improvements in agriculture. From this he was quickly made minister of Crime, and the appointment was enough to put an end to crime.

There was no necessity to put the penal laws in execution. No offenders showed themselves. These indiscriminating eulogies are of little value.

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The chief of the Ke, pursuing with his enmity the Duke Chaou, even after his death, had placed his grave apart from the graves of his predecessors; and Confucius surrounded the ducal cemetery with a ditch so as to include the solitary resting-place, boldly telling the chief that he did it to hide his disloyalty. Confucius was present as master of ceremonies on the part of Loo, and the meeting was professedly pacific. The two princes were to form a covenant of alliance.

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These barbarians have nothing to do with our Great Flowery land. Such vassals may not interfere with our covenant. Weapons are out of place at such a meeting.

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As before the spirits, such conduct is unpropitious. In point of virtue, it is contrary to right. As between man and man, it is not polite. For two years more Confucius held the office of minister of Crime. Some have supposed that he was further raised to the dignity of chief minister of State, but that was not the case.

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One instance of the manner in which he executed his functions is worth recording. A father having brought some charge against his son, Confucius kept them both in prison for three months, without making any difference in favour of the father, and then wished to dismiss them both. Formerly you told me that in a State or a family filial duty was the first thing to be insisted on.

What hinders you now from putting to death this unfilial son as an example to all the people? This father has not taught his son to be filial;—to listen to his charge would be to slay the guiltless. The manners of the age have been long in a sad condition; we cannot expect the people not to be transgressing the laws. At this time two of his disciples, Tsze-loo and Tsze-yew, entered the employment of the Ke family, and lent their influence, the former especially, to forward the plans of their master.