Zhāng Nì, appellation Bóqí, was a Bā-jùn Nánchōng-guó man. (1)
- (1) Yìbù Qíjiù Zhuàn states: Nì came from orphaned and poor origins, but when young had generous and strong character.
He was capped and became a county Merit Officer. At the time when Xiān-zhǔ [Liú Bèi] settled Shǔ , mountain bandits attacked the county, and the county chief abandoned his family and fled. Nì braved naked blades to by the hand lead [the chief’s] wife away, and so the wife escaped. From this he became famous, and the province summoned him as an Advisor. At the time within the prefecture were scholars Gōng Lù and Yáo Zhòu appointed at two thousand dàn [salary level], who at the time had reputation and fame, and both were friendly with Nì.
Jiànxīng fifth year , Chancellor [Zhūgě] Liàng went north to station at Hànzhōng. Mountain bandits of Guǎnghàn and Miánzhú Zhāng Mù and others plundered and stole military resources and robbed the officials and people. Nì as Commandant commanded troops to punish them. When Nì came they scattered, and it was difficult to fight and capture them, so he falsely asked for peaceful relations and prepared wine and a banquet. When [Zhāng Mù was] intoxicated, Nì sent his attendants, and so beheaded Mù and the rest, over fifty people, and exterminated [the bandits]. He continued searching for these sorts [bandits], and in ten days there was peace. Later he fell seriously ill, and his family was too poor [to afford treatment]. Administrator of Guǎnghàn Hé Zhī of Shǔ-jùn had reputation for generosity, but Nì and him had no previous relation, so he personally took a carriage to visit Zhī to entrust [himself to Hé Zhī] to treat his illness. Zhī spared no expense in medical treatment, and after several years it was cured. The faith and trust he had was all like this.
He was appointed General of the Standard, under Mǎ Zhōng’s command, in the north suppressing the rebelling Qiāng of Wèn mountain, and in the south pacifying the foreign tribes of four commanders, and had achievements in planning and preparation and victory in battle. (2)
- (2) Yìbù Qíjiù Zhuàn states: Nì received troops and horses three hundred men, and followed Mǎ Zhōng in suppressing the rebelling Qiāng. Nì had a separate command of several battalions at the front, and arrived at Tālǐ. The location of the village was high and steep. Nì climbed the mountains and set up camp four to five lǐ high. The Qiāng at a critical pass built a stone gate, atop the gate set a platform, and gathered stones atop it, so that any who tried to pass they would throw stones and strike them, and none were not destroyed and torn. Nì judged that they could not be attacked, so he sent an interpreter to inform them: “All you tribes of Wèn mountain have rebelled and done harm to the innocent, and Heaven’s Son ordered us to at once to suppress and destroy the evil. If you all bow your heads and permit the army to pass, giving provisions and supplies, then you will enjoy good fortune and eternal prosperity and will be repaid a hundredfold. If to the end you do not obey, the great [main] army will arrive and execute you, like a lightning bolt striking down, and though you may repent then, it will do you no good.” When the elder leaders received this command, they at once went out to meet with Nì, gave provisions and let the army pass. The army advanced to attack all the tribes. When all the tribes heard that Tālǐ had already fallen, they were all terrified and confused. Some welcomed the army and went out to surrender. Some fled away into the valleys. The soldiers were sent out to attack, and the army was triumphant. Later the southern foreigner Liú Zhòu again rebelled, and Mǎ Zhōng was appointed Commander of Láijiàng to suppress Zhòu, with Nì again under his command, and [Zhāng Nì] always led the army at the head, and thereupon beheaded Zhòu. When the pacification of the south was finished, in Zānggē and Xīnggǔ [commandery] Liáo tribes again revolted. Zhōng ordered Nì to command all the battalions to go suppress them. Nì also internally enticed surrenders and obtained two thousand men, who were all transferred to Hànzhōng.
Fourteenth year  in Wǔdū the Dī King Fú Jiàn asked to surrender, and General Zhāng Wèi was sent to receive them, but he was overdue and had not returned, so General-in-Chief Jiǎng Wǎn was very concerned. Nì commented and said: “Fú Jiàn’s request to join us was sincere, and certainly has not changed. It is commonly heard that Jiàn’s younger brother is sly and treacherous, and further that the foreign tribes cannot agree, so likely there has been unusual circumstances, so that [Zhāng Wèi] remained to check things and that is all.” After several days, news arrived, and Jiàn’s younger brother had indeed led four hundred households to join Wèi, and only Jiàn came to submit.
Previously, Yuèxī prefecture from since after the Chancellor Liàng suppressed Gāo Dìng, had the foreign tribes repeatedly rebel, killing the Administrators Gōng Lù and Jiāo Huáng, so afterward Administrators [appointed to Yuèxī] did not dare enter the prefecture, only residing at Ānshàng county, eight hundred lǐ away, so the prefecture only existed in name. At the time it was discussed restoring the prefecture again, and Nì was appointed Administrator of Yuèxī. Nì led those he commanded to the prefecture, enticed them with favor and trust, and the foreigners all returned to submission. The northern frontier Zhuōmǎ were the most stalwart and strong and would not submit to authority, so Nì then went to suppress them, and captured alive their leader Wèi Láng, but released him and sent him back to win over the others of his kind. He memorialized to have Láng be given fief as a city Marquis, and of his tribe over three thousand households pacified and governed. When other tribes heard of this, many gradually surrendered. Nì for his achievement was given title as Marquis within the Passes.
The ruler of Sūqíyì Dōng Féng, Féng’s younger brother Wěi Qú, and others had already surrendered but again rebelled. Nì put to death Féng. Féng’s wife was the Máoniú King’s daughter, so Nì used a plan to isolate them, but Qú fled to the western frontier. Qú was ferocious and strong, and all the tribes deeply feared him. He sent two close relatives to feign surrender to Nì, but actually to obtain information. Nì was aware of this, and with great gifts he caused them to defect, and the two men therefore together killed Qú. When Qú was dead, all the tribes were secure. There was also the Dūqí commander Lǐ Qiúchéng, who previously had personally killed [former Administrator] Gōng Lù. Nì raised and recruited to capture him, listed his crimes, and executed him.
Originally Nì, because the prefecture outlying regions were in ruins, rebuilt small walls. He was in office for three years, relocated back to his former prefecture [headquarters], and ordered repairs of the city walls. Among the foreign tribes men and women none did not work their hardest.
Dìngzuó, Táidēng, and Bēishuǐ, three counties, were over three hundred lǐ away from the prefecture [headquarters], and previously produced salt, iron, and lacquer, but the foreign peoples on the border long seized it for themselves. Nì led his followers to seize control and establish a Chief Clerk [to oversee production]. Nì arrived at Dìngzuó, but Dìngzuó’s leader Háo Lángcén, the Pánmù King’s maternal uncle, who was greatly trusted by the foreigner peoples, hated Nì for invading and would not go meet him. Nì sent several tens of strong warriors to go capture him, beat and kill him, and sent the body back to the tribe along with generous rewards, describing Lángcén’s evils, and also saying: “Do not rush mindlessly into action. Act and be exterminated!” The tribes all [dirtied their] faces and bound themselves to apologize for their crimes. Nì killed an ox for a feast, reaffirmed his grace and trust, and so obtained salt and iron, and so tools were all provided for.
Hànjiā prefecture’s border had Máoniú foreign tribes of over four thousand households, and their leader Láng Lù wished to avenge his paternal aunt’s husband Dōng Féng, sending his father’s younger brother [Láng] Lí to command Féng’s former army to face [Zhāng Nì] and observe the situation. Nì in response sent his close kin to present oxen and wine as gifts of appreciation, and also ordered that Lí receive back Féng’s wife [and Lí’s elder sister] to show their intentions. Lí both received the gifts and also met his elder sister, and both elder sister and younger brother were joyous, so he led his followers to go to Nì. Nì bestowed generous rewards and treatment and sent them back. The Máoniú because of this were no longer a problem.
The prefecture had an old road, passing through the Máoniú to Chéngdū, that was both level and near. From when the Máoniú cut off the road it had already been a hundred years, and after that the safe route was both rugged and far. Nì sent his attendants to present treasure to [Láng] Lù, and also ordered Lù’s paternal aunt to convey his intentions, and so Lù thereupon led his brothers and wives and children to all go to Nì, and with Nì swear an oath of alliance, and reopen the old road, and a thousand lǐ were cleared and the former relay stations restored. [Zhāng Nì] memorialized to give fief to Lù as King of the Máoniúgōupí, and an envoy was sent to present Lù’s tribute to Court. Hòuzhǔ [Liú Shàn] therefore promoted Nì to General Settling Weapons with authority over the prefecture as before.
Nì previously observed that Fèi Yī had become General-in-Chief but was unrestrained by nature and careless in showing favor, and was excessive in his trust and good treatment of newcomers to his following. Nì sent a letter to admonish him that said: “In the past Cén Péng was a great commander wielding Staff of Authority, but was killed by an assassin. Now you wise General occupy a position of great power and importance, and should reflect on past events, and should act less careless on guard.” Later Yī was indeed by a surrendered Wèi man Guō Xiū killed.
Wú Grand Tutor Zhūgě Kè, because he had previously defeated the Wèi army, raised a massive army to attack. Palace Attendant Zhūgě Zhān was Chancellor [Zhūgě] Liàng’s son and [Zhūgě] Kè’s younger cousin, and Nì wrote a letter to him that said:
“The Eastern Ruler [Sūn Quán] has just perished, and the [new] Emperor [Sūn Liàng] is truly young and weak. The Grand Tutor has received a heavy burden of trust, and how can that be considered easy? Because your kinsman has the talent of Zhōu-gōng, it is also as if there are Guǎn and Cài spreading rumors he intends to usurp, and just as when Huò Guāng received appointment there are high officials Yān and Gě planning to resist and rebel. He must rely on the wisdom of Chéng and Zhāo in order to avoid this disaster and that is all. In the past I always heard the Eastern Ruler never gave the authority to kill or bestow rewards or punishments to his subordinates, but now [I heard] that at the time of his death, in the end he summoned the Grand Tutor and entrusted all future affairs to him, and that is truly worrisome. Additionally the lands of Wú and Chǔ are vulnerable and in the past this has been noted, and yet the Grand Tutor leaves the young ruler and walks to face the enemy stronghold. I fear this is not a good plan for the long term. Though it is said that the eastern party is ordered and solumn, and that high and low all are harmonious, is not even one loss out of a hundred something the wise consider? The past led to now, and now follows the past. If you honored sir do not go forward to give loyal advice to the Grand Tutor, who else is there to speak fully? Withdraw the army and develop agriculture, and handle affairs with virtue and kindness, and within several years, both East and West will develop together, and it will not be too late. I hope you will thoroughly consider this.”
Kè indeed because of this had his clan exterminated. Nì’s foresight was always of this sort.
He was in the prefecture fifteen years, and the region was peaceful and calm. He repeatedly asked to return, and so was summoned to visit Chéngdū. The people and foreigners were deeply attached to him, and grabbed his wheels and wept and sobbed. When he passed the Máoniú village, the village leader carrying his child on his back came forward to welcome him, and followed him as far as to the border of Shǔ prefecture, and he sent an escort for Nì to present tribute of over a hundred men.
Nì arrived, and was appointed General Sweeping Away Bandits. He was generous and heroic, so scholars everywhere greatly esteemed him, but he was also lax in morals and lacking in courtesy, so men also because of this ridiculed him. (1) That year was Yánxī seventeenth year .
- (1) Yìbù Qíjiù Zhuàn states: At the time General of Chariots and Cavalry Xiàhóu Bà said to Nì: “Though you and I are not familiar, yet I confide my feelings to you as if we were old friends. You should understand this intention.” Nì answered: “I do not yet know you, and you do not yet know me. When great principles lead elsewhere, how can you speak of confiding feelings? Let us after three years speak again.” A wise scholar took this as a praiseworthy anecdote.
Wèi’s Dídào Chief Lǐ Jiǎn secretly wrote a letter asking to surrender. General of the Guard Jiāng Wéi because of Jiǎn’s resources sent Nì and others to set out against Lǒngxī. (2) When they arrived at Dídào, Jiǎn led all the officials and people in the city to go out and welcome the army.
- (2) Yìbù Qíjiù Zhuàn states: Nì suffered rheumatism illness, and when he arrived at the capital it became severe, and only with a crutch could he rise. When Lǐ Jiǎn asked to surrender, everyone commenting was suspicious, but Nì said it was certainly real. When Jiāng Wéi set out, at the time it was said that Nì should first be sent back, that due to his illness he could not keep up. Because of this Nì personally begged to unleash all left of his strength against the central plains to reach the enemy Court. Facing them, he said to Hòu-zhǔ: “I your servant served you, enlightened sage, and received excessive grace. Moreover my body is ill, and I am always afraid that one morning I shall fall and end, and fail to repay the honor I have received. The world Under Heaven disobeys your wishes, and must be settled with military affairs. If Liángzhōu is settled, I your servant will be your defense and guard the border. If victory cannot be won, I will sacrifice my body as recompense.” Hòu-zhǔ sighed and wept for him.
In front of his army he fought with Wèi General Xú Zhì, and Nì facing the battle line fell and died, though those he killed and injured were also numerous. At his death his eldest son Yīng was Marquis of Xīxiāng, so his next son Hùxióng inherited his title.
When the southern people and foreigners of Yuèxī heard that Nì had died, there were none that did not weep with grief, and they established a Temple for Nì, and in all seasons when there was flood or drought they offered sacrifices to it. (3)
- (3) Yìbù Qíjiù Zhuàn states: I have observed Zhāng Nì’s behavior, appearance, and speech, and it cannot frighten people, but his tacticcal abilites are considerable, and he his intensity is indeed enough to establish his authority. As a servant he has loyal and devoted integrity and is of the sort that has clear and upright nature, and when he acts he always considers the law. Hòu-zhǔ deeply esteemed him. Even compared to the heroic warriors of the ancient past, he was not so far!
- Shǔ Shìpǔ states: Nì’s grandson Yì was a Jìn Inspector of Liángzhōu.