(24.4) Sūn Lǐ 孫禮 [Dédá 德達]

Sūn Lǐ appellation Dédá was a Zhuō prefecture Róngchéng man. Tàizǔ pacified Yōu Province, and summoned him as Planning Official to the Army of the Excellency of Works. Previously in the time of the tragic chaos, Lǐ with his mother lost each other, his same prefecture’s Mǎ Tái sought and found Lǐ’s mother, and Lǐ gave his family’s wealth completely to [Mǎ] Tái. [Mǎ] Tái later in connection to the law was about to die, and Lǐ privately led him out of prison and turned himself in, soon afterward saying: “I your servant have no intention of fleeing.” He directly went to Investigating Treachery Registrar Wēn Huī, [Wēn] Huī praised him, and informed Tàizǔ, and both were spared death by one degree.


Later he was sent out as Héjiān prefecture Assistant, soon promoted to Xíngyáng Commandant. In Lǔ’s mountains bandits were several hundred men, defending firmly rough terrain, and did harm to the people; therefore Lǐ was transferred to Lǔ Chancellor. Lǐ reached office, giving out his salary grain, to send out officials and people, rewarding for severed heads [of bandits], provoking and accepting surrenders, sending them back home, and very soon it was pacified and peaceful. He successively served as Shānyáng, Píngyuán, Píngchāng, and Lángyé Administrator. He accompanied Marshal-in-Chief Cáo Xiū’s campaign against Wú at Jiáshí, Lǐ remonstrated believing they could not penetrate deeply, but was not followed and they were defeated. He was promoted to Yángpíng Administrator, and entered the Secretariat.


Míng-dì [Cáo Ruì] was about to repair Palaces and Residences, but the seasonal aura was not in accord, and the realm Under Heaven had little grain. Lǐ firmly opposed, dismissed conscripted labor, and Imperial Order said: “Respectfully accepting your honest words, hurriedly send the people from construction.” At the time Lǐ Huì supervised the construction, and again memorialized to keep for one moon, in order to finish it. Lǐ directly went to the construction site, did not again memorialize, and announced the Imperial Order dismissing the people. The Emperor was impressed with his intentions and did not blame him.


The Emperor hunted at Dàshí mountain, a tiger rushed the carriage, and Lǐ then threw whip and dismounted horse, wishing to draw sword to cut the tiger, and Imperial Order sent Lǐ back on his horse.


At the time Míng-dì was about to perish, and appointed Cáo Shuǎng as General-in-Chief, and believed he should have good assistants, and from below received legacy Imperial Order, to appoint Lǐ as General-in-Chief’s Chief Clerk, and also Cavalier Regular Attendant. Lǐ was upright and would not yield, [Cáo] Shuǎng did not find it convenient, and appointed him Yáng Province Inspector, and also Overcoming Waves General, bestowed with rank as Marquis Within the Passes.


Wú Chief General Quán Cóng commanded an army of several tens of thousands to come invade and plunder, at the time the province’s troops were on leave, and the available were hardly any. Lǐ personally led his guard troops to resist them, battling at Quèpí, from morning to evening, and the officers and soldiers dead and wounded were over half. Lǐ opposed and trampled among bare blades, his horse was several times wounded, his own hand beat the drums, exerting without regard for himself, and the bandit army therefore withdrew. Imperial order showed appreciation, and bestowed fabric of 700 pǐ. Lǐ for the dead set up sacrifices and wept, wailing in grief with all his heart, and all the fabric he gave to the families of the deceased, with none for himself.


He was summoned and appointed Minister Treasurer, sent out as Jīng Province Inspector, promoted to Jì Province Governor. Grand Tutor Sīmǎ [Yì] Xuān-wáng said to Lǐ: “Now Qīnghé and Píngyuán have disputed border for eight years, and after two Inspectors, one have been able to resolve it; Yú and Ruì needed [Zhōu] Wén-wáng to resolve, and you should well decide it.”


Lǐ said: “Litigators according to tombs make examinations, listeners by first elders make standards, but elders cannot add to shrubs and trees, and of tombs some are moved to high and spacious places, some moved to avoid enemies. Like now what is heard, even Gāotáo yet would have difficulty. If one wishes to have there certainly be no litigation, then one should use the map of the time when Lièzǔ [Cáo Ruì] first was given fief of Píngyuán to decide it. What need is to seek the ancients and ask after the past, to increase discussion and litigation? In the past [Zhōu] Chéng-wáng with tree leaves played with Shūyú, and Zhōugōng then gave fief there. Now the map is stored in the Heaven Office, and can be brought up to decide, why wait until reaching the province?”


[Sīmǎ Yì] Xuān-wáng said: “Indeed. I will separately send down the map.”


Lǐ arrived, and by the map decided what belonged to Píngyuán. But Cáo Shuǎng believed Qīnghé’s words, and sent down letter saying: “The map cannot be used, you should consult something different.”


Lǐ sent up memorial: “Guǎn Zhòng was the Overlord’s aide, his uniqueness also was small, yet he was able to seize away the Bó clan’s Pián city, so that to death there was no complaint. I your servant received the Governor’s appointment, presented the Sagely Court’s enlightened map, examined the land’s known borders, and the border truly takes the Wángwēng river as its bound; but Yú [county] takes Mǎdānhòu as its examination, cheating and taking Míngdú river as border. Using false litigation complaints, one suspects the mistake is the terrace pavillion. I humbly have heard that the masses’ mouths can melt metal, floats rocks and sinks wood, three people make a market tiger, and a caring mother throws her loom shuttle [these are all idioms for lies being taken as true if enough people believe it]. Now the two prefectures dispute border for eight years, in one morning it is settled, because there is an explaining writing and map drawing, able to be referenced and compared against. Píngyuán is at the two rivers toward the east upriver, within is a dike, the dike at Gāotáng’s southwest, the disputed land is at Gāotáng’s northwest, over twenty lǐ away, and can be said to be a long sign and shedding tears. Resolution is made according to the map and it is memorialized but Yú [county] does not accept Imperial Order, this is to make I your servant weak and unable to achieve my appointment, and I your servant also would have what face to be only be a sinecure?” Immediately he bound belt and prepared shoes, readying carriage to leave.


[Cáo] Shuǎng saw Lǐ’s memorial, was greatly angry, and impeached Lǐ for complaining, and he was bound and penalized to five years. He was at home for those years, and of everyone most believed in his words. He was sent out as City Gate Colonel.


At the time Xiōngnú King Liú Jìng’s tribe and army were strong and flourishing, and the Xiānbēi repeatedly plundered the frontiers, and so Lǐ was appointed Bìng Province Inspector, and also Shaking Authority General, Envoy Wielding Staff, and Protector of the Xiōngnú Internal Cadet General. He went to meet Grand Tutor Sīmǎ [Yì] Xuān-wáng, and had angry look and no words. [Sīmǎ Yì] Xuān-wáng said: “You obtained Bìng Proince, is it little? Is your anger because you lost the border dispute? Now you are about to go far away and take leave, why be displeased!”


Lǐ said: “How your enlightened excellency’s words are wrong! Though I Lǐ am not virtuous, how can I be thinking of official rank and former affairs? Originally I said your enlightened excellency was equal to Yī [Yǐn] and Lǚ [Shàng], to rectify and support the Wèi House, above repaying Míng-dì‘s trust, below establishing ten thousand ages’ achievement. Now the State Altars are about to be endangered, the realm Under Heaven is disturbed, this is why I Lǐ am not pleased.” Therefore his tears were overflowing.


[Sīmǎ Yì] Xuān-wáng said: “For now stop, and tolerate what cannot be tolerated.”


After [Cáo] Shuǎng was executed, he entered as Colonel Director of Retainers. Altogether he oversaw seven prefectures and five provinces, and in all he had authority and trust. He was promoted to Excellency of Works, with fief as Dàlì Precinct Marquis, fief of 100 households. Lǐ with Lú Yù were of the same prefecture and same generation, but by nature were not amicable. As men although they had mutual goods and bads, however their reputation and rank overall were about equal. Jiāpíng Second Year [250] he died, posthumous name Jǐng-hóu “Resolute Marquis.” His grandson [Sūn] Yuán succeeded.



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