(24.5) Wáng Guàn 王觀 [Wěitái 偉臺]

Wáng Guàn, appellation Wěitái, was Dōng-jùn Lǐnqiū man. When young he was orphaned and poor but strong-willed. Tàizǔ summoned him to become a Literary Official to the Chancellor, then sent out as Magistrates of Gāotáng, Yángquán, Zàn, and Rèn, and wherever he was he was praised for his government.


When Wén-dì ascended [220], he entered Court as a Secretariat Official and Supervisor in the Ministry of Justice, and was sent out as Administrator of Nányáng Zhuō-jùn. North of Zhuō bordered the Xiānbēi, and several times there were raids and plundering. Guàn ordered that all families larger than ten on the border were to garrison together and construct a fortress. At the time there were some who were unwilling, so Guàn sent for assistants from the Court to help the local peoples, and did not set a deadline, only ordering that the work must be finished. Thereupon the government officials and the people cooperated and without realizing it within ten days the construction was complete. Once the defenses were prepared, the raiding ceased.


When Míng-dì ascended [226], he sent down an Imperial Order that the situations in the prefectures and counties were to be classified into Severe, Middling, Peaceful. The classifier wished to report the prefecture [Zhuō] as Middling or Peaceful. Guàn told him: “This prefecture is near the outer barbarians, and repeatedly suffered raiding, so why do you not report it as Severe?”


The classifier said: “If the prefecture is classified as Severe, I am afraid that your honor’s son will be summoned to Court [as hostage].”


Guàn said: “A ruler is one who acts for the sake of the people. Now if the prefecture is classified as outer and Severe, then the labor conscription and tax demands will be decreased. How can I as Administrator for selfish reasons turn my back on my prefecture’s people?”


Therefore it was reported that the prefecture situation was outer and Severe, and later he sent a son to take appointment [as hostage] at Yè. At the time Guàn only had one son who was still very young. His public-minded heart was like this.


Guàn’s cultivated himself to be honest and pure, was a model to his subordinates, who imitated and adopted his spirit, so that there were none who did not strive hard themselves.


When Míng-dì moved to Xǔchāng, he summoned Guàn as a Secretary Assistant to the Censorate with authority over the Prison. At the time [the Emperor made] many impulsive appointments and was very temperamental, but Guàn was not a flatterer. Grand Commandant Sīmǎ Xuán-wáng requested Guàn be an Advisor Palace Official. He was promoted to the Secretariat, sent out as Intendant of Hénán, then transferred to Minister Treasurer.


General-in-Chief Cáo Shuǎng ordered the Timber Official Zhāng Dá to divide some house-building timber and send it to him for personal use. Guàn heard of this, and all the records were seized and taken from the [timber] government office. The Ministry of the Treasury had three Esteemed Reserve Offices that contained many rare treasures, and Shuǎng and the others coveted them, and often sought to obtain them, but hated that Guàn always followed the law, and so he was transferred to Minister Charioteer.


When Sīmǎ Xuán-wáng executed Shuǎng, he appointed Guàn as Acting Internal Supervisor of the Army, to seize and occupy the camp of Shuǎng’s younger brother Xī, and bestowed title as Marquis within the Passes. He returned to the Secretariat and was also appointed Imperial Relative Commandant.


When the Duke of Gāoguì village ascended [254], he was given fief as Marquis of Zhōngxiāng precinct. Shortly after this he was made Grandee Official, than transferred to Right Deputy-Director.


When the Duke of Chángdào village ascended [260], he was advanced to Marquis of Yángxiāng, his fief increased by 1000 households, added with the previous to a total of 2500 households. He was promoted to Excellency of Works, firmly declined but was not permitted to refuse, and an envoy arrived to bestow the office. He was in office for a few days, sent up his seals and ribbons of office, and immediately took his carriage and went back home.


He died at home. His will ordered that he be buried in a plain coffin, without treasures or tools, and without a grave mound and trees. His posthumous title was Sù-hóu “Solemn Marquis.” His son Kuī succeeded. During Xiánxī [264-265], the Five Ranks of nobility was established. In honor of Guàn’s service to the previous dynasty, Kuī’s fief was changed to Viscount of Jiāodōng.


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