Jiǎng Jì appellation Zǐtōng was a Chǔguó Píng’ē man. He served as commandery computation official, and provincial Aide-de-camp. Jiàn’ān thirteenth year , Sūn Quán commanded armies to besiege Héféi. At the time the main army was on campaign in Jīngzhōu, suffered an epidemic, and only sent Zhāng Xǐ alone to command a thousand cavalry, along the way taking command of Rǔnán troops to relieve the siege, and again suffered epidemics. Jì therefore secretly told the Inspector to fake receiving [Zhāng] Xǐ’s letter, saying that infantry and cavalry of forty thousand had already arrived at Yúlóu, and send the Registrar to welcome [Zhāng] Xǐ. Three envoys presented letter to tell the defending commanders inside the city, one was able to enter the city, two were captured by the rebels. [Sūn] Quán believed it, and quickly burned his encirclement and fled, and the city was saved.
Next year he was sent to Qiáo, and Tàizǔ asked Jì: “In the past I opposed Yuán [Shào] Běnchū at Guāndù, relocated Yān’s and Báimǎ’s people, the people could not flee, and the enemy also did not dare plunder. Now I wish to relocate the people south of the Huái. How about it?”
Jì answered: “At the time the troops were weak and the enemy strong, and to not relocate was to certainly lose them. Since defeating Yuán Shào, to the north capturing Liǔchéng, to the south facing the Jiāng and Hàn, linking arms with Jīngzhōu, authority shaking the realm Under Heaven, the people have no other intentions. However the common people are attached to the land, and truly would not be happy to relocate, and one fears they will certainly not be at ease.”
Tàizǔ did not agree, and between the Jiāng and Huái over a hundred thousand people were all alarmed and fled to Wú. Later Jì was sent to visit Yè, Tàizǔ welcomed and met him and greatly laughed and said: “Originally I only wished to have them evade the enemy, but instead drove them all to them.” He appointed Jì as Administrator of Dānyáng.
The main army campaigned south and returned, appointed Wēn Huī as Inspector of Yángzhōu, and Jì became Aide-de-Camp. The Order said: “Jìzǐ became a subject, Wú appropriately had a ruler. Now that you are returning to the province, I have no worries.”
Among commoners someone falsely accused Jì of being a leader of plotting rebellion, Tàizǔ heard this, pointed to the previous Order to General of the Left Yú Jīn and Chancellor of Pèi Fēng Rén and others saying: “Jiǎng Jì would have such plots! To have such plots would mean I do not understand people. This is certainly ignorant commoners enjoying chaos, absurdly accusing and that is all.” He hurriedly had the case dismissed. He was recruited to Chancellor’s Registrar West Department Associate. The Order said: “Shùn raised Gāo Táo, the not benevolent were distant; distinguishing good and bad, hopes are to the worthy entrusted.”
Guān Yǔ besieged Fán and Xiāngyáng. Tàizǔ as the Hàn Emperor was at Xǔ and near the rebels, wished to move the capital. Sīmǎ [Yì] Xuān-wáng and Jì said to Tàizǔ: “Yú Jìn and the rest were by water drowned, it was not a battle loss, and for the state’s great plans is not sufficient to have harm. Liú Bèi and Sūn Quán outside are close but inside distant, Guān Yǔ obtaining his will, is what [Sūn] Quán certainly cannot accept. You can send someone to encourage him to follow after their rear, agreeing to divide to Jiāng’s south to give fief on [Sūn] Quán, then Fán’s siege will itself resolve.” Tàizǔ followed this advice. [Sūn] Quán heard it, and then led troops west to attack Gōng’ān and Jiānglíng. [Guān] Yǔ therefore was taken.
When Wén-dì succeeded as King , he was transferred to State Chancellor’s Chief Clerk. Reaching the ascension [as Emperor], he was sent out as East Internal Cadet-General. Jì asked to stay. Imperial Order said: “Gāozǔ’s son said: ‘How can one obtain fierce soldiers to defend the Four Quarters?’ The realm Under Heaven is not yet pacified, and must wait have good ministers to defend the borders. If there are no problems, and still there are sounds of jade, it would not be late.” Jì sent up Wànjī lùn, and the Emperor praised it. He entered as Cavalier Regular Attendant.
At the time there was Imperial Order, Imperial Order on Campaigning South General Xiàhóu Shàng that said: “You are a belly and heart important officer, and specially are appointed and employed. The favor bestowed is enough to die for, kindness and love preserved. Making power making fortune, killing people saving [lives of] people.” [Xiàhóu] Shàng with this showed to Jì.
When Jì arrived, the Emperor asked: “What you have seen and heard of the realm Under Heaven’s manners and teachings, how is it?”
Jì replied: “It is not yet good, I have only seen speech of a destroyed state and that is all.”
The Emperor was furious and changed color and asked his reasoning, and Jì provided an answer, therefore saying: “The saying ‘making power making fortune,’ is the Shū‘s enlightened warning. ‘Heaven’s Son is without joking words,’ the ancients thus cautioned. May Your Majesty investigate it!” Therefore the Emperor’s thoughts were resolved, and he sent pursuers to fetch back the previous Imperial Order.
Huángchū Third Year , he with Marshal-in-Chief Cáo Rén campaigned against Wú, Jì separately attacked Xiànxī. [Cáo] Rén wished to attack Rúxū’s islets, Jì said: “The rebels occupy the west bank, lining up ships upstream, and troops entering the islet, is to throw themselves inside a land prison, it is a path to danger and destruction.” [Cáo] Rén did not agree, and indeed was defeated. [Cáo] Rén died, and again Jì became East Internal Cadet General, succeeding command of his troops. Imperial Order said: “You wield both civil and martial ability, will and integrity fervent and fierce, always with ambition to cross the rivers and lacks to seize Wú and Kuài[jī], and therefore again receive a commander’s appointment.” Shortly after this, he was summoned to the Secretariat Documents.
The Imperial Carriage visited Guǎnglíng, Jì memorialized that the water route was difficult to traverse, and also sent up Sānzhōu lùn to warn the Emperor. The Emperor did not follow, and therefore war ships of several thousands all were congested and could not move. Commentators wished to leave troops on garrison farms, Jì believed the east was near the lakes, the north overlooking the Huái, and if there were seasonal floods, the rebels would easily plunder, and they could not safely garrison. The Emperor followed this, and the Imperial Carriage then set out. They returned to Jīnghú, the water was slightly exhausted, and all the remaining ships were entrusted to Jì. The ships were originally across several hundred lǐ, Jì again dug earth to make four to five canals, to quickly have the ships assemble; he made dams to cut off the lake water, led all the rear ships, and at once opened the dams to enter into the Huái. The Emperor returned to Luòyáng, and said to Jì: “The situation cannot be not made known. I previously decided and said to divide and burn half the ships at Shānyáng pond, but you in the end delivered them, and almost with me together arrived at Qiáo. Also every time what you explain, truly enters my thoughts. From now on in plans to suppress the rebels, good ideas I will discuss with you.”
Míng-dì succeeded the throne , bestowed noble rank as Marquis Within the Passes. Marshal-in-Chief Cáo Xiū led armies toward Wǎn, Jì memorialized believing: “Penetrating deeply into caitiff territory, to with [Sūn] Quán’s elite troops face, but Zhū Rán and the rest are upstream, following up on [Cáo] Xiū’s rear, I your servant do not yet see its benefits.” The army reached Wǎn, Wú sent out troops to Ānlù. Jì again sent up memorial that said: “Now the rebels reveal form to the west, certainly wishing to join with troops planning in the east, it is appropriate to urgently send Imperial Order on the various armies to go rescue them.” It happened that [Cáo] Xiū’s army was already defeated, completely abandoning equipment and weapons and heavy supply wagons and retreating back. Wú wished to blockade at Jiāshí, encountered the rescue troops arriving, and therefore the government army was not destroyed. He was promoted to Central Protector of the Army.
At the time the Internal Documents Supervisor and Director [Liú Fàng and Sūn Zī] controlled appointments, Jì sent up memorial that said: “Great ministers too powerful endangers the state, attendants too close isolates the self, this is the ancient’s utmost warning. In the past the great ministers control affairs, outside and inside are shaken. Your Majesty is outstanding in personally reflecting on all matters, and none are not respectful and solemn. It is not that the great ministers are not loyal, however when power is with subordinates, then the multitude of hearts forget the superior, this is a constant of power. Your Majesty already investigates the great ministers, and may you not forget about left and right attendants. The attendants in loyalty and uprightness and distant considerations, are not necessarily more worthy than the great ministers, as for for recruitment and gathering, some are able to be skilled at it. Now what outsiders speak of, is talking about the Internal Documents, and though you have them respectful and cautious and not daring to with the outside communicate, yet this is the reputation, and so confuses customs. Moreover in truly grasping important matters, at the present time, if due to tiredness there is cutting of regulation, the multitude of ministers will see they are able to change the situation, and also will respond to the times and turn to them. As soon as there is this sign, one should therefore then inside establish one’s own preparations, so as to with the masses speak, personally find their interactions, to be inside support. If it is like this, good and bad and destruction and acclaim, will certainly have their rises, and achievement and failure and reward and punishment, will certainly have their changes; of the upright that rise up [to promotion] some are blocked, and the closely attached instead attain it. Therefore quietly entering, following appearances to go out, the intention is to be close with the trusted, and no longer guess and notice. This should be what the sagely and wise early know of, to the outside devote attention, and then form will itself appear. Some fear court ministers are afraid to speak in disagreement and receive the resentment of the close attendants, and these unsuitable situations should be known. I your servant humbly know Your Majesty is of deep spirit and silently thinks, fairly listening and all observing, if in matters there are those not thorough in reasoning and things not complete in use, one must change and correct, distantly with Huáng and Táng meet in achievement, recently shine Wǔ and Wén’s legacy, so close in practice and nothing more! However a ruler of men yet cannot for all matters Under Heaven personally understand, and must delegate. Three offices appointing on one minister, if he is not of the loyalty of Zhōu-gōng Dàn, and also not of the fairness of Guǎn Yíwú, then there will be the detriment of seizing power and ruining government organization. At present though stone pillar subjects are few, there are those praised in the provinces, wise and effective in office, loyal and faithful and devoting lives, each serve their duties, and can be together tasked, to not have the sagely enlightened court have reputation of overly powerful officials.”
Imperial Order said: “A minister of fish bones [candid criticism], is what a ruler of men relies upon. Jì’s talents are both civil and military, work industrious and exhaustive in integrity, in every military and state great affair, he has memorial and comment, loyalty and sincerity vigorously applied, I am deeply impressed with him.” He was promoted to Protector of the Army General, added Cavalier Regular Attendant. (1)
- (1) Sīmǎ Biāo’s Zhànlüè states: Tàihé Sixth Year , Míng-dì sent Píngzhōu Inspector Tián Yù to cross the sea, Yōuzhōu Inspector Wáng Xióng on land roads, to together attack Liáodōng. Jiǎng Jì remonstrated: “If it is not to conquer the state, not to attack a rebelling minister, it is not appropriate to recklessly campaign. To campaign but not able to control, is to urge on the rebel. Therefore it is said: ‘If tiger and wolf is on the road, do not deal with foxes. First remove the large harms, the small harms will resolve themselves.’ Now the land beyond the sea, for accumulated generations send hostages, every year selects candidates for examination, and does not fail duty to send tribute. I the commentator advance this, that if there is action and then success, obtaining their people would not be enough to benefit the state, obtaining their riches would not be enough to be wealthy; and if it is not as intended, it would arouse resentment and break faith.” The Emperor did not listen, [Tián] Yù went and indeed without success returned.
During Jǐngchū [237-239], outside there were campaigns and conscription, inside were building palaces and residences, and the complaints and costs were many, and the yearly grain was insufficient. Jì sent up memorial that said: “Your Majesty should recover and esteem previous legacies, enlighten and relieve inherited enterprise, and truly has not yet obtained high security and governance. Now although [we] have twelve provinces, as for people’s counts, it does not surpass one large prefecture in Hàn’s time. The two rebels are not yet punished, lodged troops are on the borders, plowing and battling, complaints and costs accumulated for years. The Ancestral Temples and palaces and residences, hundred matters are roughly begun, agriculture and sericulture is little, [need for] clothes and food are many, the present’s urgency, is only to cease exhausting the common people, to not reach extreme detriment. Detriment and exhausting the people, if there is flood or drought, the masses of millions, will not be of the state’s use. To employ the people one must wait for intervals between farming, and not steal their time. To wish to be a ruler of great flourishing achievement, one must first secure the people’s strength and care for them. Gōujiàn cared for litters for special use, Zhāo-wáng sympathized with illness to wipe away the enemy, and therefore they were able to with a weak Yān defeat a strong Qí, a lean Yuè exterminate a stalwart Wú. Now the two enemies if not attacked will not be destroyed, if not dealt with then they will invade, and if we do not remove them, we will be blamed for a hundred generations. With Your Majesty’s sagely enlightenment and divinely martial strategy, if you abandon postponement, concentrate heart on suppressing the rebels, I your servant believe there is no difficulty. Also indulgences in amusements, is harm on one’s vitality; if spirit is over used then there is exhaustion, if form is overly toiled then there is harm. May you greatly simplify and worthily reduce, to be sufficient to fill ‘hundred these men.’ The miscellaneous not yet organized, and moreover all divided up, attend to quiet and rest.” Imperial Order said: “The profoundness of the Protector of the Army, I have never heard before.”
- (1) Hàn Jìn Chūnqiū states: Gōngsūn Yuān heard Wèi officers had come to suppress, and again declared himself subject to Sūn Quán, begging for troops to rescue. The Emperor asked Jì: “Will Sūn Quán rescue Liáodōng?” Jì said: “They know our government’s preparations are firm, that benefits cannot be obtained, if [seeking to] deeply penetrate then their strength is not capable of it, if shallowly penetrating then they will toil without gains; even if [Sūn] Quán’s junior relatives were in danger, yet he would not move, so all the more for a man of a different land, and even more one who formerly insulted him. Now the reason he outwardly raises up announcement, is to deceive travelers to confuse us, if we cannot overcome, they hope to settle latter matters themselves and that is all. However between many islands, we from [Gōngsūn] Yuān are still distant, of the main army is locked together, the matter not quickly resolved, then [Sūn] Quán will have small plans, and might be able to have light troops surprise attack, it cannot yet be judged.”
The King of Qí succeeded the throne, he was transferred to Managing the Army General, advanced in noble rank to Marquis of Chānglíng precinct, (1) promoted to Grand Commandant. Previously, Attendant Internal Gāotáng Lóng discussed Suburb Sacrifices matters, believing that Wèi was Shùn’s descendant, and should sacrifice to Shùn to accompany those to Heaven. Jì believed Shùn was originally surnamed Guī, its descendants called Tián, and not the Cáo’s ancestors, and wrote to posthumously criticize [Gāotáng] Lóng. (2)
- (1) Lièyì Zhuàn states: Jì became Manager of the Army, his wife dreamed of seeing their deceased son weeping and saying: “Death and life are different roads, when I was living I was a minister’s descendant, now below the ground I am Tàishān’s five-man-squad captain, haggard and disgraced, and cannot again speak. Now to the Grand Temple’s west is a singer Sūn Ē, now will be summoned to be Tàishān Magistrate, may mother inform white-haired father, to have Magistrate [Sūn] Ē transfer me to happier position.” The speech finished, and the mother suddenly in alarm awoke, and the next day told Jì. Jì said: “It was a only a dream, not worth being bothered about.” The next day evening, again dream said: “I came to welcome the new master, stopping below the Temple. In the time before he sets out, I can temporarily come return. The new master tomorrow at noon will set out, and about to set out will have many concerns, and I will no longer be able to return, and forever take leave like this. Father’s will is strong, difficult to be moved, and therefore I tell to mother, may you again inform father, why begrudge not once testing it?” Therefore he described [Sūn] Ē’s appearance, speaking in extreme detail. The next day, the mother again informed him: “Though you say dreams are not worth being bothered by, why is it too coincidental? Coincidental and also why begrudge not once testing it?” Jì therefore sent someone to visit below the Grand Temple, asked after Sūn Ē, and indeed obtained him, his appearance verified completely like the son had said. Jì wept and said: “I almost turned back on my son!” Therefore he then met Sūn Ē, and told him the situation. [Sūn] Ē was not afraid that he was about to die, but was pleased he would be Tàishān Magistrate, only fearing Jì’s words could not be trusted. He said: “If it is as you said, it is I Ē’s hope. Do you know what office your worthy son wishes for?” Jì said: “To be with those below the ground that are happy.” [Sūn] Ē said: “Then I will serve your directions.” Therefore [Jiǎng Jì] generously rewarded him, their speech finished and sent him back. Jì wished to quickly know of the test, and from the Manager of the Army’s gates to below the temple, every ten bù placed one man, to transmit news of [Sūn] Ē. In early morning they reported that [Sūn] Ē had heart pains, in late morning they reported that [Sūn] Ē’s situation was severe, and at noon they reported [Sūn] Ē had died. Jì wept and said: “Though saddened by my son’s misfortune, yet I am happy the deceased have awareness.” After over a moon, the son again came to say to the mother: “I have already obtained transfer to record-keeping matters.”
- (2) Your Servant Sōngzhī cites Jiǎng Jì’s Lì Jiāo yì “Comments on Establishing Suburb Sacrifices” stating that Cáo Téng’s stele inscription says: “The Cáo clan came from Zhū,” and Wèishū narrates that the Cáo clan’s beginnings were also like this. Wèi Wǔ [Cáo Cāo] made a family history, himself saying they were Cáo Shūzhènduó’s descendant. Therefore Chén Sī-wáng [Cáo Zhí] made Wǔ-dì Lěi stating: “Oh reverent Wǔ-huáng, descending from Jì and posterity of Zhōu.” These are not in agreement. Reaching to Jǐngchū, Míng-dì followed Gāotáng Lóng’s comments, saying Wèi was Shùn’s descendant, later Wèi’s abdication to Jìn’s document said: “In the past our august founder Yǒuyú [Shùn],” then these differences are all the more severe. Observing Jì’s criticism of Lóng, and his comings and goings with Secretariat Miào Xí, they all are reasonable, but the writings are many and not recorded. Jì also was not yet able to settle the clan’s origins, but said: “Wèi is not Shùn’s descendant and to unreasonably sacrifice to one not of the clan, is to denigrate and depose Tàizǔ [Cáo Cāo], and not match properly to Heaven, all erroneous and absurd.” However at the time indeed none were able to correct it. Jì also criticized: Zhèng Xuán annotated the Jì fǎ “Methods of Sacrifices” saying: “For Yóuyǔ and above esteem virtue, sacrifice to ancestors, matches and employs the virtuous, from Xià on down, reduce to using surname and clan.” Jì said: “The young dragon amazes the otter, the otter sacrifices to its ancestors, but not to the young dragon. The unicorn and white tiger are benevolent to the jackal, the jackal sacrifices to its ancestors, but not to the unicorn or tiger. If going by [Zhèng] Xuán’s sayings, from Yǒuyú and above, were the jackal and otter inferior? I your servant believe what the Jì fǎ says, has been suspected by scholars for a long time, Zhèng Xuán did not investigate and correct his disagreements and only communicated his intentions.” Jì’s jackal and otter example, though appearing to not be serious, yet his intentions and purpose, can be seen.
At that time, Cáo Shǎung controlled the government, Dīng Mì, Dèng Yáng, and others recklessly changed laws and regulations. It happened that there was a solar eclipse, Imperial Order on the various ministers asked them about gains and losses, Jì sent up memorial that said: “In the past Great Shùn aided governance, the warnings were on those around; Zhōu-gōng supported the government, and was cautious in his friendships; the Marquis of Qí asked about [avoiding] disaster, Yàn Yīng replied with spreading kindness; the ruler of Lǔ asked about [avoiding] strangeness, Zāng Sūn answered with avoiding conscription. Answering Heaven and preventing trouble, then truly is human affairs. Now the two rebels are not yet exterminated, the officers and soldiers exposed to dew already for several tens of years, men and women complain of neglect, the common people are in poverty. The laws and regulations for the state, can only come from the world’s great talents, and then can the nets of governance be spread to be passed down to posterity, how can middling and lower officials be appropriate to make amendments? In the end it is of no benefit to governance, and sufficient to harm the people, one hopes to appropriately employ civil and military ministers to each hold to their duties, lead with purity and justice, and then harmony and auspicious signs can be felt and arrive.”
He accompanied Grand Tutor Sīmǎ [Yì] Xuān-wáng in garrisoning Luò river pontoon bridge , executed Cáo Shuǎng and the rest, was advanced in fief to a capital village Marquis, fief of 700 households. Jì sent up memorial that said: “I your servant am shamed to be favored as a high Excellency, and that [Cáo] Shuǎng dared harbor disastrous heart, this is I your servant being without ability. The Grand Tutor alone executed decisive plan, Your Majesty understood his loyal integrity, the guilty were executed, this is the State Altar’s fortune. The giving of fief and rewards, must be on those with achievement. Now if discussing planning then I your servant was without prior awareness, if discussing battle then I your servant was not in command, and if superiors lose their regulations, then subordinates receive their detriments. I your servant act as high official, what the people look toward, and truly fear that the acceptance of reckless rewards will from this rise, and the customs of declining will due to this be abandoned.” He firmly declined, [but] it was not accepted. (3)
- (3) Sūn Shèng states: Jiǎng Jì in declining fief, can be said to not be heartless. There is a saying: “Do not for profit betray, do not for righteousness regret.” Jiǎng Jì was this.
That year he died, posthumous name Jǐng-hóu “Visionary Marquis.” (4) His son Xiù succeeded. Xiù died, his son Kǎi succeeded. During Xiánxī, established the Five Ranks, and for Jì’s achievements for the previous dynasty, changed fief on Kǎi to Viscount of Xiàcài.
- (4) Shìyǔ states: Previously, Jì had accompanied Sīmǎ [Yì] Xuān-wáng in garrisoning the Luò river pontoon bridge, Jì wrote letter to Cáo Shuǎng, saying that [Sīmǎ Yì] Xuān-wáng’s intention was “only to dismiss from office and nothing more,” and [Cáo] Shuǎng therefore was executed and exterminated. Jì resented that his words had broken faith, and fell ill and died.