Huà Xīn, appellation Zǐyú, was a Píngyuán Gāotáng man. Gāotáng was a famous capital of Qí, and there was no lack of well-attired [gentry-scholars] traveling through its markets and streets. Xīn was an official there, and whenever he was on leave he would leave the government office and return home, shutting the door. When discussing affairs he was just and unbiased, and to the the end would not harm others. (1)
- (1) Wèilüè states: Xīn and Bǐng Yuán of Běihǎi and Guǎn Níng all traveled and studied together. The three men were friendly with one another, and at the time people called the three men as “One Dragon.” Xīn was the Dragon’s Head, Yuán was the Dragon’s Belly, and Níng was the Dragon’s Tail.
- Your Servant Sōngzhī believes that Bǐng Gēnjǔ in his fame for planning and virtue was not necessarily beneath Excellency Huà. Guǎn Yòuān maintained virtue while traveling far, and it is probably not suitable to be made the Tail. Wèilüè in this speech cannot be used to decide on a ranking.
Táoqiū Hóng of the same prefecture was also well-known, and believed his wisdom and perceptiveness surpassed that of Xīn. At the time Wáng Fēn and other leading heroes plotted to depose Líng-dì, as told in Wǔ-jì [SGZ 1]. (2)
- (2) Wèishū says that Fēn was famous across the whole empire Under Heaven.
[Wáng] Fēn secretly summoned Xīn and Hóng to together make a plan. Hóng wished to go along with it, but Xīn stopped him and said: “To depose the enthroned is a serious decision. Even Yī [Yǐn] and Huò [Guāng] found it difficult. [Wáng] Fēn by nature is careless and lacks military ability. This is certain to fail, and bring disaster upon our clans. You must not go!” [Táoqiū] Hóng heeded Xīn’s words and stopped. Later [Wáng] Fēn indeed failed, and [Táoqiū] Hóng then admired [Huà Xīn].
He was nominated as Filial and Incorrupt, made a Cadet Internal, fell ill and resigned office. Líng-dì ended  and Hé Jìn managed the government, summoning Zhèng Tài of Hénán, Xún Yōu of Yǐngchuān, along with Xīn and others. Xīn arrived and was appointed Secretariat Cadet. Dǒng Zhuó moved Heaven’s Son to Cháng’ān , and Xīn asked to be sent out as Magistrate of Xià Guī, but because of illness could not go, and therefore went from Lántián to Nányáng. (3) At the time Yuán Shù was at Ráng, and detained Xīn.
- (3) Huà Jiào’s Pǔxù states: Xīn when young went far and was well known. He fled the chaos of the western capital [Cháng’ān], and with his comrades Zhèng Tài and others, six to seven men, secretly went on foot through Wǔ Pass. On the road they came across a lone man, who wished to join them, and all felt sorry for him and wished to permit it. Xīn alone said: “We cannot. Now we are already in the middle of danger, and whether in disaster or fortune or suffering harm, we must act as one. If we accept people without reason, we do not know if it will be righteous. Once we have accepted him, if there are problems, can we in the middle of things abandon him?” The others could not bear [to refuse the man] and in the end accepted him. This man [later] fell in a well on the road, and all wished to abandon him. Xīn said: “We have already accepted him. To abandon him is not righteous.” He led them to together return and rescue [the man], and after that depart. The others therefore greatly respected his righteousness.
Xīn advised [Yuán] Shù to send an army to advance and attack [Dǒng] Zhuó, but [Yuán] Shù would not listen. Xīn wished to leave, and it happened that Heaven’s Son had sent Grand Tutor Mǎ Mìdì to settle the east of the Passes, and [Mǎ] Mìdì enlisted Xīn as an official. He went east to Xúzhōu, and an Imperial Order appointed him Administrator of Yùzhāng. Because his government was peaceful and did not cause trouble, the people were grateful and loved him. (4)
- (4) Wèilüè states: When Inspector of Yángzhōu Liú Yáo died, his followers wished to take Xīn as their leader. Xīn believed this was usurping authority and so was not appropriate for a servant official. The followers waited for months, but in the end he declined and dispersed them and would not agree.
Sūn Cè captured the lands east of the Jiāng. Xīn knew [Sūn] Cè was skilled in using troops, and so in a plain headscarf [rather than official’s headdress] went to welcome him. [Sūn] Cè, because [Huà Xīn] was older, treated him with the respect due to an exalted guest. (5)
- (5) Hú Chōng’s Wúlì states: When Sūn Cè attacked Yùzhāng, he first sent Yú Fān to first persuade Xīn [to surrender]. Xīn answered: “I have long been beyond the Jiāng, and often wish to return north. If Sūn [Cè] of Kuàijī comes, then I will go.” [Yú] Fān returned and reported this to [Sūn] Cè, and [Sūn] Cè therefore advanced. Xīn in a hemp headcloth welcomed [Sūn] Cè, and [Sūn] Cè said to Xīn: “Honored sir, you are mature and virtuous with great renown, and both near and far all come to join you. I am am young and inexperienced, so it is appropriate to honor you with the courtesies of a younger generation [to a teacher].” He then bowed to Xīn.
- Huà Jiào’s Pǔxù states: Sūn Cè had captured Yángzhōu, and with flourishing troops moved to Yùzhāng, and the entire commandery was very afraid. The officials gathered and asked to go to the outskirts to welcome him, but were told: “This cannot be.” [Sūn] Cè advanced a little and repeatedly showed his military strength, but again they were not permitted. When [Sūn] Cè arrived, the whole office all went and begged to go out and flee from him. Then he laughed and said: “Now the General has himself come, how can we flee from him?” Shortly afterward below the gates it was announced: “General Sūn has arrived.” [Sūn Cè] asked to meet, and then went forward and sat with Xīn, and they conversed for a long time, and at night departed and left. The righteous gentlemen heard this, and all sighed and submitted. [Sūn] Cè thereupon treated him with the courtesy expected of a junior relative and courtesy due to a superior guest. At the time the number of worthy scholar-gentlemen from all four directions who had fled south of the Jiāng had become very many, and all came to join him, and each man watched the situation. Every time [Sūn] Cè held a great assembly, of those seated none dared speak first. Xīn at the time rose to change clothes, and then the discussion burst out. Xīn could drink a great deal, over a dàn without losing control. Everyone observed him, and often thought his clothing and headwear were unusual. South of the Jiāng they called him “Huà Sitting Alone.”
- Yú Pǔ’s Jiāngbiǎozhuàn states: Sūn Cè was at Jiāoqiū and sent Yú Fān to first persuade Xīn [to surrender]. When [Yú] Fān left, Xīn asked his Merit Officer Liú Yī to come discuss it. [Liú] Yī advised Xīn to remain in the city and send orders to welcome the army. Xīn said: “Though I was appointed by Inspector Liú [Yáo], one employed by the Ascended is only an official with a split tally. Now I will follow your plan, and only fear that death will not be enough.” [Liú] Yī said: “Wáng [Láng] Jǐngxīng was employed by the Hàn Court, and moreover at the time the people and armies of Kuàijī were flourishing and strong, yet he was forgiven [for surrendering]. Wise governor how can you worry?” Therefore that night the order was sent, and the next morning he went out from the city, and sent officials to welcome them. [Sūn] Cè then advanced his army, and met with Xīn, treated him as a superior guest, and received him with the courtesy toward a friend.
- Sūn Shèng states: The Dàyǎ informs of how to act in society, that one must first examine an uncertain period, and by this settle on a decision, or else wrap oneself as protection and peacefully follow the righteous way to reach principle. Xīn did not have the military ability of Yí or Hào, and also had lost his honor as a minister to the ruler, thus he yielded to the persuasion of a false classicist [Yú Fān], linked arms with a follower of oppression and plunder [Sūn Cè], his seat was seized in one move and his integrity collapsed all at that time. Previously when Xǔ and Cài lost their positions, they could not be ranked among the lords. When the regional lord truly came, the Lǔ people thought he was lowly. Considering the case of Xīn, his fault was truly great!
Later [Sūn] Cè died . Tàizǔ [Cáo Cāo] was at Guāndù, and memorialized Heaven’s Son to summon Xīn. Sūn Quán wanted to not send him, but Xīn said to [Sūn] Quán: “General, you have received the ruler’s orders, and are just starting to establish good relations with Lord Cáo, and your relations are not yet strong. If you send me to show your good intentions, General, would this not be beneficial for you? Now if you without reason keep me, it would be caring for a useless thing. This is not a good plan for you, General.”
[Sūn] Quán was pleased, and sent Xīn. The guests and old friends who sent him off numbered over a thousand, and presented him with several hundred gold. Xīn in all cases did not refuse, but secretly marked everything. When it was time to go, he gathered all the gifts, and said to his guests: “At first I could not refuse your intentions, gentlemen, but what I have received is too much. Note I have only one carriage for a long journey, and to secretly hide treasures is a crime. I hope you all will consider this.” Everyone accepted back their gifts, and admired his virtue.
Xīn arrived, was appointed Consultant Cadet, Advisor to the Army of the Excellency of Works, entered the Secretariat, transferred to Attendant Internal, and succeeded Xún Yù as Director of the Secretariat. When Tàizǔ led a campaign against Sūn Quán, he memorialized Xīn as Master of the Army. When Wèi state was established, he became its Censorate Grandee.
When Wén-dì [Cáo Pī] ascended as King , he was appointed State Chancellor [of Wèi] and given fief as Marquis of Ānlè village. At the ascension [of Wén-dì] he was transferred to Excellency over the Masses. (1)
- (1) Wèishū states: When Wén-dì accepted the abdication, Xīn ascended the altar and faced him, presenting the seal and cord of the Emperor, and so completed the ceremony bestowing the Mandate.
- Huà Jiào’s Pǔxù states: When Wén-dì received the abdication, the Court ministers from the Three Excellencies down all received noble title. Xīn due to his appearance of disobedience at the time was transferred to Excellency over the Masses but not advanced in noble title. Wèi Wén-dì was long displeased, and asked Director of the Secretariat Chén Qún: “I complied with Heaven and accepted the abdication, and among all the rulers and lords, none are not each pleased and happy, and show this in their voice and face. Yet the State Chancellor [Huà Xīn] and you sir alone are not pleased. Why is this?” Qún rose and left his seat and knelt, saying: “I your servant and the State Chancellor were previously ministers of the Hàn Court, so though our hearts are pleased, it is proper that to maintain this appearance [of displeasure]. Also we fear that if we are not honest with Your Majesty then we will be detested.” The Emperor was greatly pleased, and was again impressed with them.
Xīn was often poor but upright, and when bestowed with gifts he distributed them to support his relatives and old friends, and his house did not have even a dàn [of grain] stored. The Excellencies and Ministers were once bestowed with women who had violated the law [to be servants], and only Xīn released them and married them off. The Emperor sighed in admiration (2), and sent down an imperial Order: “The Excellency over the Masses is a special elder of the state. What he does is in accordance with the ways of the world and will of the people. Now the great ministers eat sumptuous meals, but the Excellency over the Masses eats plain vegetables. There is nothing more to say.”
- (2) Sūn Shèng states: I have heard that to celebrate rewards and awe with punishment, one must have an exemplar as ruler, who properly forgives angers, and goes forth as a lord over men. When Zǐ Lù privately accepted food, Zhòngní [Confucius] destroyed his eating utensils. When the Tián clan usurped, the Chūnqiū wrote ridicule. These appraisals are already examples of righteousness. Families of the condemned are eliminated by state punishments. Households of the rewarded are esteemed by expansive gifts. If there is pity, the reasonable do not stray to forgiveness. Xīn occupied appointment as trusted aide. He was also valued by the head of state, and so spoke as Excellency in the Imperial Court. By the favor of Heaven he received rewards, but alone sought to play a superior gentlemen, both doing wrong by bringing fortune to criminals and by disobeying and certainly leaving justice. This can be said to be the benevolence of a coarse fellow, to approach principle and not yet reach it.
- Wèishū states: Xīn by nature was careful and thorough, his actions detailed and cautious. He always believed that when an official explains problems, to tactfully remonstrate superiors with principle was most important. So in all that he said, he did not dare be obvious, and therefore many of his matters were often not recorded.
- Huà Jiào’s Pǔxù states: Xīn had no desire for wealth, from beginning to end received favor and reward, reached all [three] Excellency positions, but to the end did not accumulate property. Chén Qún once sighed and said: “One like Lord Huà can communicate without being grand, be honest without being ambivalent.
- Fùzǐ states: Dare one ask who are the superior gentlemen of the present? Answer: “Palace Cadet Yuán accumulates virtues in acting with frugality, Grand Commandant Huà [Xīn] accumulates virtue in residing in obedience. Their wisdom can be matched, but their integrity cannot be matched. They act with loyalty to the above, and judge with benevolence to the below. What more could Yàn Yīng or Xíngfù add to that?”
[Wén-dì] specially bestowed Imperial Robes [on Huà Xīn] and made special clothes for all of his wives and children, men and women. (3)
- Wèishū states: He was again bestowed with maidservants, fifty people.
The Three Offices commented: “Nominating as Filial and Incorrupt was originally based on moral conduct, and should no longer be limited by testing knowledge of classics.”
Xīn believed: “Since the tragic disasters [of the fall of Hàn], study of the six classics has fallen and declined, and should by all means be supported and reestablished for the sake of benevolent rule. Those who are lawmakers are those who determine flourish or decline. Now if nominations of Filial and Incorrupt do not test knowledge of the Classics, one fears that study and scholarship will from then decline and fall. If there is someone exceptional and unusual [but who does not know the Classics], then they can still be appointed as a special case. What should be feared is that there are no such men. Why fear that they cannot be recruited?” The Emperor followed this suggestion.
During Huángchū [220-226], an Imperial Order asked the Excellencies and Ministers to advance reclusive superior gentlemen. Xīn recommended Guǎn Níng, and the Emperor sent a carriage to invite him.
When Míng-dì [Cáo Ruí] ascended , he was advanced to Marquis of Bópíng, with fief increased by 500 households, added to the previous to 1300 households, and transferred to Grand Commandant. (1)
- (1) Lièyì Zhuàn states: When Xīn was very young, he once lodged for the night outside the door [of a house]. The [house] owner’s wife in the night gave birth. Shortly afterward two mystics came to visit at the door. They opened [the door] but then drew back. They said to one another: “An Excellency is here.” They hesitated for a long time. One mystic said: “Now that it is decided, why do we stop?” Then they came forward and bowed to Xīn, and together entered. The left side by side, and together talked. [One] said: “How many years will it be?” The other man said: “It will be three years.” At dawn, Xīn left. Later, he wished to check the matter, and when it was three years, he went back to ask after the child, and indeed it had already died. Xīn then knew he would become an Excellency.
- Your Servant Sōngzhī comments: What Jìnyángqiū says about Wèi Shū lodging when he was young was also like this. It is unlikely that there would be two people who would both experience this, and the compilers are different. Now it is better to trust Lièyì.
Xīn claimed illness and asked to resign and yield his post to [Guǎn] Níng. The Emperor refused, called a great assembly, and sent Cavalier Regular Attendant Miào Xí to deliver an Imperial Order to announce to [Huà Xīn]: “We have newly taken over these many affairs, and in one day have ten thousand obligations, fearing that while making decisions [that I] will not understand [and act wrongly], and relying on virtuous ministers around Our person. Yet you sir repeatedly plead illness and resign your position. Those who appraised their ruler and chose their lord, who would not reside in this Court [as minister], who renounced glory and wealth, and who would not keep their positions; the ancient people indeed had such those persons. However Zhōu-gōng and Yī Yǐn did not agree with that. Keeping to oneself is what I expect of ordinary people, but not what I expect from you sir. You sir should use your strength to overcome illness and attend this assembly, as a kindness to my one person. I shall set up a seating mat and place [for you], and order all the officials to stand and wait with me, and only when you sir have arrived, will I then sit.”
[The Emperor] also gave an Imperial Order to [Miào] Xí: “You must wait until Xīn has risen and only then return.” Xīn could not but rise and go.
During Tàihé [227-233], Cáo Zhēn was sent to follow the Wǔ road to attack Shǔ , while [the Imperial] Carriage went east to visit Xǔchāng.
Xīn sent up a memorial: “Since the turmoil of war began, there has already been two reigns. Our Great Wèi due to Heaven accepted the Mandate, and Your Majesty by your sagely virtue flourish as [Zhōu Kings] Chéng and Kāng. It is appropriate to be liberal in government for one generation, and continue the legacy of the three rulers. Though there are the two rebel [states Shǔ and Wú] that dangerously turn away from the Mandate, if you daily increase your sagely cultivation, the estranged men will cherish virtue, and then with their children on their back come. Use of troops is for when there is no alternative, and therefore we should be restrained and in time act. I your servant sincerely hope that Your Majesty will first be devote attention to the principles of government, and take military campaigns as a later affair. Moreover the transport of provisions over thousands of lǐ is not advantageous to the using of troops; the further into danger one penetrates, the more unlikely there is of success and achievement. If this year there is summons for conscription, it will disrupt the development of agriculture and silk culture. One who rules the state must to take the people as the base, and the people take clothes and food as their foundation. If the central states have no fear of hunger or cold, and the common people have no thought of leaving the land, then that is very fortunate for the world Under Heaven, and the conflict with the two rebels can be settled and dealt with. I your servant have position as your chief minister, my old age and illness daily become more severe, my ability to lead dogs and horses shall soon be exhausted, and I fear I will no longer be able to support and look upon the Imperial Canopy, so I do not dare not exhaust my duty as subject, and only hope Your Majesty will consider this!”
The Emperor answered: “You sir deeply thought over plans for the state, and We greatly praise this. The rebels depend on the mountains and rivers, so though the two Founders [Cáo Cāo, Cáo Pī] labored in previous generations, they yet could not overcome and pacify them. How could I dare be overconfident in myself and say we will certainly destroy them? The generals believe if we do not at least try, then we are without reason harming ourselves, and therefore seek to use soldiers to watch the quarrel [for opportunity]. Because the proper time had not come, Zhōu Wǔ led [his army] back. With this past example to reflect on, We respect and do not forget what you warn.”
In the autumn there was heavy rain, and an Imperial Order summoned [Cáo] Zhēn to lead his army back.
Tàihé fifth year  Xīn died. His posthumous title was Jìng-hóu “Venerated Marquis.” (1) His son Biǎo succeeded.
- (1) Wèishū says that Xīn at that time was seventy-five years.
Previously, Wén-dì had divided Xīn’s fief to title Xīn’s younger brother Jī as a full Marquis. Biǎo during Xiánxī [264-265] was in the Secretariat. (2)
- (2) Huà Jiào’s Pǔxù states: Xīn had three sons.
- Biǎo appellation Wěiróng, at over twenty years became Cavalier Attendant Cadet. At the time his fellow ministers together followed Secretariat orders. He was young but also strict and had an aggressive attitude, and wished to gather up reputation. When Secretariat duties came, some were inconvenient, and so were overlooked and not checked, and those who passed on letters passed it on, and so the entering writings and discussions became mixed up. Only Biǎo disagreed. When duties came that were inconvenient, he at once with the Secretariat discussed matters to the end until he understood, was stubborn until managers had no choice, and afterwards together presented comments. Excellency of Works Chén Qún and others because of this praised him. After Jìn was established , he served as Junior Tutor to the Heir-Apparent and Minister of Ceremonies. He plead illness and retired, and was appointed Grandee Official. By nature he was pure and light, and often worried the world Under Heaven was abandoning reason. Excellency over the Masses Lǐ Yìn, Director of Retainers Wáng Hóng, and others once praised him: “A man like this, is not noble, is not lowly, is not close, is not far.
- The second son Bó, served as internal clerk in three counties, and had a legacy of good government and fame.
- The youngest son Zhōu was Yellow Gate Attendant Cadet Administrator of Chángshān, was widely learned and thoughtful in writing. In middle age he fell ill, and ended at home.
- Biǎo had three sons. The eldest son was Yì, appellation Zhǎngjùn.
- Jìnzhūgōngzàn states: Yì was skilled in writing, and served as Director of the Secretariat, Junior Tutor to the Heir-Apparent, and was posthumously Grandee Official opening government.
- Jiào appellation Shūjùn had talent and learning, compiled a Hòuhànshū, which at the time was called a good history. He was appointed Confidential Document Supervisor, and to the Secretariat. Tán appellation Xuánjùn was the most famous, and was appointed Intendant of Hénán.
- Yì had three sons. Kūn appellation Jìnglún was honest and pure and had restraint, and was appointed to the Secretariat. Huì appellation Jìngshū, was at the time praised as very noble and proper. Héng appellation Jìngzé for his communicability and reason was praised. Kūn was Secretariat, Huì was Intendant of Hénán, Héng was Left Grandee Official opening government.
- Tán’s son Yì appellation Yànxià. He had talent and ambition at the time, and became Inspector of Jiāngzhōu.