Guō Jiā appellation Fèngxiào was a Yǐngchuān Yángdí man. (1)
- (1) Fù-zǐ states: Jiā when young had far-reaching judgement. At Hàn’s end the realm Under Heaven was about to be in chaos. From when he was capped he hid is reputation and impact, secretly joining with the outstanding and talented, did not with the vulgar communicate, and therefore at the time of people many did not know him, and only those that met him were impressed with him. At twenty-seven years, he was recruited to the Office of the Excellency of Works.
Previously, he went north and met Yuán Shào, and said to [Yuán] Shào’s strategy ministers Xīn Píng and Guō Tú: “The wise are careful in judging rulers, and therefore a hundred actions are a hundred completions, and achievement and reputation can be established. Excellency Yuán only wishes to imitate Zhōu-gōng’s treatment of subordinates, but does not know the fundamentals of employing men. He has many dealings but few essentials, enjoys planning but has no decisions, wishes to with you together relive the realm Under Heaven’s great troubles, settle the overlord’s enterprise, how difficult!” Therefore he then left them.
Before this time, Yǐngchuān’s Xì Zhìcái, was a planning strategist, and Tàizǔ [Cáo Cāo] was deeply impressed with him. He died young. Tàizǔ with Xún Yù wrote a letter: “Since after [Xì] Zhìcái died, there is none I can plan affairs with. Rǔ[nán] and Yǐng[chuān] assuredly have many unique people. Who can succeed him?” [Xún] Yù recommended Jiā. He was summoned to meet, and discussed the realm Under Heaven’s affairs. Tàizǔ said: “The one to have me complete the great enterprise, certainly is this man.” Jiā went out, and also was pleased and said: “He truly is my master.” He was memorialized as Libationer to the Army of the Excellency of Works. (2)
- (2) Fù-zǐ states: Tàizǔ said to Jiā: “[Yuán Shào] Běnchū gathers Jì Province’s armies, Qīng and Bìng follow him, his lands are broad and troops strong, and repeatedly he is not humble. I wish to suppress him, but my strength is no match, what can be done?”
- [Guō Jiā] replied: “Liú [Bāng] was no match for Xiàng [Yǔ], this your excellency knows. Hàn [Gāo]zǔ only in wisdom was superior, and although Xiàng Yǔ was strong, in the end he was taken. I Jiā have humbly appraised this, that [Yuán] Shào has ten failings, your Excellency ten superiorities, and though his troops are strong, there is nothing he can do:
- [Yuán] Shào has complicated rituals and many ceremonies, your Excellency’s form and responsibilities are natural. This Method is superiority one.
- [Yuán] Shào by rebelliousness moves, your Excellency serves obedience to lead the realm Under Heaven. This Righteousness is superiority two.
- Hàn’s final government was lost in lenience, [Yuán] Shào by lenience relieves lenience, and therefore he does not gain. Your Excellency corrects by severity, so superiors and subordinates know regulations. This Governance is superiority three.
- [Yuán] Shào is outside generous but inside envious, employs men but suspects them, those he appoints are only close kin and junior relatives. Your Excellency outside is amiable and uncomplicated but inside clever and wise, employ men without doubt, only ability is considered, without distinguishing far or near. This Evaluation is superiority four.
- [Yuán] Shào has many plans but few decisions, and loses in later affairs. Your Excellency when planning is done then at once act, answer changes without end. This Strategy is superiority five.
- [Yuán] Shào because he has accumulated generations of resources, uses high discussion and saluting yielding to gather the famous, and of scholars of flattering words and outside ornamentation many join him. Your Excellency with utmost heart treat people, seek the sincere and act, do not act for empty beauty, by frugality lead subordinates, and with the accomplished have no stinginess, and of scholars of loyalty and uprightness and far-reaching vision and sincerity all wish to be employed. This Virtue is superiority six.
- [Yuán] Shào when seeing someone hungry and cold, has sympathetic appearance in his countenance, but when they are not seen, his thoughts do not reach them, what is called a woman’s benevolence. Your Excellency when small affairs are before your eyes, at times neglect them, so reaching great affairs, you with the Four Seas connect, your grace is given, and all surpass their hopes, so although it is not seen, you think of it all, and none are not relieved. This Benevolence is superiority seven.
- [Yuán] Shào’s great ministers contend for power, slandering in confusion and chaos. Your Excellency leads subordinates by principle, defamation does not spread. This Enlightenment is superiority eight.
- [Yuán] Shào’s rights and wrongs cannot be known. Your Excellency advances the right by ritual, corrects the not right by law. This Culture is superiority nine.
- [Yuán] Shào enjoys empty power, does not know military essentials. Your Excellency with few overcome many, use troops like a spirit, the army’s men rely on you, the enemy’s men fear you. This Warfare is superiority ten.
- Tàizǔ laughed and said: “What you have said, what virtue have I to deserve it?”
- Jiā also said: “[Yuán] Shào has just to the north struck Gōngsūn Zàn, and you can therefore go on distant campaign, and to the east capture Lǚ Bù. If you do not first capture [Lǚ] Bù, if [Yuán] Shào invades, and [Lǚ] Bù serves as his assistance, this is an extreme danger.” Tàizǔ said: “Agreed.”
Campaigning against Lǚ Bù, in three battles defeating him, [Lǚ] Bù retreated and firmly defended. At the time the soldiers were weary, and Tàizǔ wished to lead the army back, Jiā persuaded Tàizǔ to urgently attack him, and therefore captured [Lǚ] Bù. The story is in Xún Yōu’s biography. (1)
- (1) Fù-zǐ states: Tàizǔ wished to lead the army back, Jiā said: “In the past Xiàng Jí in over seventy battles, was not once defeated, but in one morning he lost momentum and he was killed and his state was destroyed. Relying on valor without planning was the reason. Now [Lǚ] Bù in every battle is at once defeated, his spirit declines and his strength is exhausted, inside and outside has lost guard. [Lǚ] Bù’s power does not reach Xiàng Jí, while his destitution and defeats surpass him. If you follow up on victory to attack him, he truly can be captured.” Tàizǔ said: “Excellent.”
- Wèishū states: Liú Bèi came to take refuge, and was appointed Governor of Yù Province. Someone said to Tàizǔ: “[Liú] Bèi has a hero’s ambitions, now if you do not early plan, later he will certainly be a danger.” Tàizǔ about this asked Jiā, and Jiā said: “It is true. However your Excellency drawing sword raised righteous troops, to for the common people eliminate the brutal, enacting sincerity and wielding faith to recruit outstanding talents, yet fear it is not enough. Now [Liú] Bèi has a hero’s reputation, and in destitution he joined you, and if you harm him, it will give you reputation for harming worthies, and then wise scholars will doubt themselves, and withdraw their hearts to choose other masters, and who will your Excellency work with to settle the realm Under Heaven? To remove a danger of one man, is to destroy the hopes of the Four Seas. The juncture between safety and danger, cannot but be examined!” Tàizǔ laughed and said: “You get it.”
- Fù-zǐ states: Previously, Liú Bèi came to surrender, Tàizǔ with the Rites due to a guest treated him, and had him serve as Governor of Yù Province. Jiā said to Tàizǔ: “[Liú] Bèi has imposing ability and has deeply obtained the masses’ hearts. Zhāng Fēi and Guān Yǔ are both a match for ten thousand men, and to the death serve him. I Jiā have observed them, that [Liú] Bèi in the end will not be another’s subordinate, and his plans cannot yet be guessed. The ancients had a saying: ‘One day releasing an enemy, is a danger for multiple generations.’ It is appropriate to early deal with him.” At the time, Tàizǔ served Heaven’s Son to command the realm Under Heaven, and was just recruiting heroes to demonstrate his great faith, and could not yet follow Jiā’s plan. It happened that Tàizǔ sent [Liú] Bèi to intercept Yuán Shù, and Jiā with Chéng Yù together rode carriage to remonstrate Tàizǔ saying: “Letting out [Liú] Bèi, he will rebel!” At the time [Liú] Bèi had already left, and therefore raised troops to rebel. Tàizǔ regretted that he had not used Jiā’s advice.
- What Wèishū says, is with Fù-zǐ exactly opposite.
Sūn Cè went about contending for a thousand lǐ, and completely gained the Jiāng’s east, heard Tàizǔ with Yuán Shào were locked together at Guāndù, and was about to cross the Jiāng north to attack Xǔ. Everyone who heard was all afraid, Jiā appraised this and said: “[Sūn] Cè has newly conquered the Jiāng’s east, those he executed are all outstanding heroes, and is able to obtain people’s to the death strength. However [Sūn] Cè is frivolous and without preparations, and though he has an army of a million, he is no different from someone alone in the central plains. If an assassin from hiding rises, he is only a match for one man and that is all. By my observations of him, he will certainly die at the hands of a common fellow.” [Sūn] Cè overlooked the Jiāng had had not yet crossed, when indeed he was by Xǔ Gòng’s retainers killed. (1)
- (1) Fù-zǐ states: Tàizǔ wished to quickly campaign against Liú Bèi, commentators were afraid if the army went out, Yuán Shào would strike their rear, and advancing they would not be able to battle and retreating they would lose what they occupied. The story is in Wǔjì [SGZ 1]. Tàizǔ was doubtful, and about this asked Jiā. Jiā urged Tàizǔ saying: “[Yuán] Shào by nature is slow with many doubts, if he comes he will certainly not be fast. [Liú] Bèi is newly risen, his armies’ hearts is not yet attached, urgently striking him he is certain to be defeated. This is the juncture of living or perishing, and cannot be lost.” Tàizǔ said: “Excellent.” Therefore he went east to campaign against [Liú] Bèi. [Liú] Bèi was defeated and fled to [Yuán] Shào, and [Yuán] Shào indeed did not set out.
- Your Servant Sōngzhī cites Wǔjì [SGZ 1], that the decision and plan to campaign against Liú Bèi, and the judgement that [Yuán] Shào would not set out, all came from Tàizǔ. This says it was using Jiā’s plan, then it is not the same. Also the base biography saying that Jiā appraised Sūn Cè as frivolous, and certain to die at the hand of a common fellow, it truly it is wisdom in observing affairs. However since it was not above wisdom, there was no way to know his death would be in which year. Now right in the year of attacking Xǔ dying, this matter is coincidence.
He accompanied in defeating [Yuán] Shào, [Yuán] Shào died, he also accompanied in suppressing [Yuán] Tán and [Yuán] Shàng at Líyáng, continuously battling with repeated victories. The various officers wished to follow up on victory to then attack them, Jiā said: “Yuán Shào favored these two sons, with no decision on who to establish. With Guō Tú and Páng Jǐ as their strategy ministers, they will certainly be contention between them, and they will return to discord with each other. If pressuring them then they will support each other, if relieving them then afterward their contending hearts will appear. It is not as good as turning south to Jīng province to appear to campaign against Liú Biǎo, to wait for their change; when the change occurs and afterward striking them, in one move they can be settled.” Tàizǔ said: “Excellent.” Therefore he campaigned south. The army reached Xīpíng, [Yuán] Tán and [Yuán] Shàng indeed fought over Jì Province. [Yuán] Tán was by [Yuán] Shàng’s army defeated, and fled to protect Píngyuán, sending Xīn Pí to ask to surrender. Tàizǔ returned to rescue him, and therefore campaigned and settled Yè. He also accompanied in attacking [Yuán] Tán as Nánpí, and Jì Province was pacified. Fief was given on Jiā as Wěiyáng precinct Marquis.
- (1) Fù-zǐ states: When the Hé’s north was pacified, Tàizǔ recruited and someone’s many of Qīng, Jì, Yōu, and Bìng’s famed scholars, gradually employed them, appointing them to manage affairs as Officials and Associates. This all was Jiā‘s plan.
Tàizǔ was about to campaign against Yuán Shàng and the Three Prefectures’ Wūhuán, and of the subordinates many feared Liú Biǎo would send Liú Bèi to attack Xǔ to suppress Tàizǔ, and Jiā said: “Though your Excellency’s authority shakes the realm Under Heaven, the Hú rely on their distance, and certainly have not set up preparations. Therefore with their lack of preparations, suddenly striking them, they can be defeated and destroyed. Moreover Yuán Shào had favor with the people and the foreigners, and [Yuán] Shàng and his brother still survive. Now the four provinces’ people, go to attach to authority, your virtuous actions are not yet distributed, so withdrawing to campaign south, [Yuán] Shàng with the Wūhuán’s resources, will recruit their to the death servants, and as soon as the Hú peoples make a move, the people and foreigners will all answer, and so support Tàdùn’s heart, and achieve his covetous plan, and one fears that Qīng and Jì will not be ours. [Liú] Biǎo sits and speaks with guests and that is all, and himself knows his ability is not enough to restrict [Liú] Bèi, if he heavily entrusts him then he fears he will be unable to control him, if he lightly employs him then [Liú] Bèi will be of no use, and though the state is emptied for a distant campaign, your Excellency has nothing to worry about.” Tàizǔ therefore went.
Reaching Yì, Jiā said: “Warfare values divine speed. Now to cross a thousand lǐ to attack someone, with many heavy supply wagons, it is difficult to be successful, and moreover of they hear of it, they will certainly make preparations; it is better to leave the heavy supply wagons, and with light troops on double march set out, to surprise them unprepared.” Tàizǔ therefore secretly went out Lúlóng pass, going directly to the Shànyú Court. The caitiff soldiers heard Tàizǔ had arrived, and in terror met in battle, greatly defeating them, beheading Tàdùn and his named Kings on down. [Yuán] Shàng and his older brother [Yuán] Xī fled to Liáodōng.
Jiā had deep comprehension and calculation strategy, and understood circumstances. Tàizǔ said: “Only Fèngxiào can understand my thinking.”
Aged thirty eight years, as he from Liǔchéng returned, he was critically ill, and those Tàizǔ sent to ask after his illness went back and forth. At his death, [Tàizǔ] oversaw his mourning, his grief was extreme, and he said to Xún Yōu and the rest: “You sirs in age are all of my generation, only Fèngxiào was the youngest. When the realm Under Heaven’s affairs were finished, I wished to entrust later affairs to him, but in his middle years he prematurely died, such was fate!”
Therefore he memorialized: “Military Libationer Guō Jiā, from since accompanying campaigns and expeditions, had ten and one years. Every time there was great discussion, he oversaw enemies and controlled changes. When I your servant’s plans were not yet decided, Jiā always completed them. In pacifying and settling the realm Under Heaven, planning achievement is highest. By misfortune he was short lived, the enterprise not yet finished. Memorial of Jiā’s merits, truly cannot be forgotten. His fief can be increased by 800 households, adding to the previous to 1000 households.” (1) Posthumous name Zhēn-hóu “Chaste Marquis.” His son Yì succeeded. (2)
- (1) Wèishū records Tàizǔ’s memorial: “I your servant have heard that in commending loyalty and favoring worthies, it should not necessarily on one person, in recollecting achievements and thinking of merits, favor can be given to posterity. Therefore Chǔ honored Sūnshū, by giving fief on his son; when Cén Péng died, noble rank was given on his non-successor sons. Former Military Libationer Guō Jiā, was loyal and profoundly good, comprehended forms and understood situations. At every great discussion, his words filled the court, he used exact actions, actions without gaps in planning. From when he was in the army, was over ten years, when traveling riding together, when sitting sharing tent and mat, to the east capturing Lǚ Bù, to the west taking Suī Gù, beheading Yuán Tán’s head, pacifying the northern land’s masses, going beyond the rugged passes, sweeing away and settling the Wūhuán, shaking and awing Liáodōng, to take the head of Yuán Shàng. Although it was borrowing Heavenly Authority, it is easy to direct signal flag, leading up to facing the enemy, announcing the sworn command, the vicious and rebellious overcome and destroyed, the achievement truly was by Jiā. Just about to memorialize about him, he was short lived and early died. Above for the Court mourning the loss of a good minister, below for myself painfully regretting the loss of an exceptional assistant. It is appropriate to posthumously increase Jiā’s fief, adding with the previous to 1000 households, to commend the deceased’s service to the surviving, honoring the departed to encourage the yet to come.”
- (2) Wèishū appraises Yì as understanding and logical. Yì appellation Bóyì. See Wáng Chǎng’s Jiājiè.
Later Tàizǔ campaigned against Jīng Province and returned, at Bāqiū encountered epidemic, burned his ships, and sighed and said: “If Guō Fèngxiào were here, he would not have allowed me to come to this.” (1) Previously, Chén Qún opposed Jiā for not cultivating conduct and restraint, and repeatedly in court complained of Jiā, but Jiā was at ease. Tàizǔ all the more valued him, but because [Chén] Qún was able to uphold uprightness, was also pleased. (2) Yì became Heir-Apparent’s Literary Scholar, early died. His son Shēn succeeded. Shēn died, his son Liè succeeded. (3)
- (1) Fù-zǐ states: Tàizǔ also said: “Grief for Fèngxiào! Pain for Fèngxiào! Regret for Fèngxiào!”
- (2) Fù-zǐ states: Tàizǔ with Xún Yù wrote letter, recollecting pain for Jiā: “Guō Fèngxiào’s years did not reach forty, I with him traveled for eleven years, the dangers and difficulties, we all together shared in. Also for his clear understanding, observing the world’s affairs with nothing hindered, I wished to entrust later affairs to him, how could I have thought he would die like this and lose him, and I am grieved and pained in heart. Now I memorialized to increase his son’s fief to 1000 households, but what benefit is it to the deceased? Remembering him my emotions are deep. Moreover Fèngxiào was someone who understood me; Under Heaven, people understanding each other is rare, and also for this I lament. What to do!”
- He also with [Xún] Yù wrote letter: “Recollection and regret for Fèngxiào, cannot leave my heart. This man’s observation of the time’s affairs and soldier affairs, surpassed other men. Also of men most fear illness, the south has illness, and there is common saying: ‘If I go to the south, then I cannot alive return.’ However in discussing plans together, he said to early settle Jīng. This is not only seeing and calculating his loyalty and consideration, it certainly was wishing to establish achievement, willing to give up life for settlement. To serve people’s hearts like this, how can people be allowed to forget him!”
- (3) Shìyǔ states: Jiā’s grandson Chǎng, appellation Tàizhōng, had ability and insight, rank reached Cavalier Regular Attendant.