Liào Lì appellation Gōngyuān was a Wǔlíng Línyuán man. When Xiānzhǔ [Liú Bèi] was designate Jīng Province Governor, he recruited him as an Attending Official, his years were not yet thirty, he was selected as Chángshā Administrator. Xiānzhǔ entered Shǔ, Zhūgě Liàng defended Jīng’s territory, Sūn Quán sent envoy to communicate friendship with [Zhūgě] Liàng, and therefore asked of all scholars who were skilled in governance, [Zhūgě] Liàng answered: “Páng Tǒng and Liào Lì are Chǔ’s good talents, and should support and raise the era’s enterprise.”
Jiàn’ān Twentieth Year , [Sūn] Quán sent Lǚ Méng to surprise attack the south’s three prefectures, Lì escaped and fled, himself returning to Xiānzhǔ. Xiānzhǔ previously knew and treated him [well], and did not deeply blame him, appointing him Bājùn Administrator. Twenty-fourth Year , Xiānzhǔ became King of Hànzhōng, summoned Lì as Attendant Internal. Hòuzhǔ [Liú Shàn] inherited position, moved to Cháng River Colonel.
Lì’s original thinking, was himself saying that his talent and reputation should be Zhūgě Liàng’s second, but he instead he traveled and scattered below Lǐ Yán and others, and always harbored discontent. Later Chancellor’s official Lǐ Shào and Jiǎng Wǎn arrived, Lì calculated saying: “The army is about to distantly set out, you sirs are good at investigating these matters. In the past the Former Emperor did not take Hànzhōng, to run to contest the south’s three prefectures with the Wú men, in the end he gave the three prefectures to the Wú men, in futility toiling officials and soldiers, without benefit returning. When Hànzhōng was lost, they sent Xiàhóu Yuān and Zhāng Hé to penetrate deeply into Bā, almost ruining the whole province. Later in gaining Hànzhōng, it caused Marquis Guān [Yǔ] to die without survivors, Shàngyōng was overturned and defeated, losing one whole region. It was [Guān] Yǔ relying on valorous reputation, using the army without method, only by wishes charging ahead. Therefore, beginning to end there was repeated loss of armies. Those like Xiàng Lǎng and Wén Gōng are only ordinary men. [Wén] Gōng as an Internal Manger was without order, [Xiàng] Lǎng in the past served Mǎ Liáng and his brothers, calling them sagely men, now as a Chief Clerk, by nature is able to hold to the way. Internal Cadet Guō Yǎncháng, only follows others, and is not sufficient to deal with great affairs with him, and yet he is an Attendant Internal. The present is a feeble age, and to wish to appoint these three men, is not appropriate. Wáng Lián’s flowing custom, if employed, causes the common people to weary and suffer, so that it came to today.” [Lǐ] Shào and [Jiǎng] Wǎn both reported his words to Zhūgě Liàng.
[Zhūgě] Liàng memorialized against Lì stating: “Cháng River Colonel Liào Lì, believing himself noble and great, judges the good and bad of the various officials, publicly saying the state does not appoint worthies but appoints vulgar officials, and also says those leading ten thousand men are petty fellows; slandering the Former Emperor, defaming the mass of ministers. Someone had reported that while the state’s soldiers and armies drilled, divisions and squads clearly divided, Lì raised head to observe, indignantly showing anger and saying: ‘How is it worth talking of?’ Overall the instances like these cannot be counted. A ram in disordering the herd, yet is able to do harm, all the more for Lì who is entrusted with great position, how will the middle men and below know truth or falseness?” (1)
Therefore deposed Lì to commoner, exiled to Wènshān prefecture. Lì personally led his wife and children to plow and grow to care for themselves, heard that Zhūgě Liàng had died, shed tears and sighed saying: “I will end with left lapel!” [Translator’s note: This is a literary reference; during the Spring and Autumn period, the people of the central states wore lapels on the right and foreigners wore lapels on the left.] Later Supervisor of the Army Jiāng Wéi led supporting army past Wènshān, visited Lì, praised Lì’s thoughts and aura as not declining, speaking and discussing at ease. Lì therefore ended in exile, his wife and children returned to Shǔ.
- (1) [Zhūgě] Liàng’s collected works has Liàng’s memorial that states: “Lì served the Former Emperor without loyal and filial heart, in administering Chángshā then he opened gate to welcome the enemy, in governing Bājùn then there was abundant confusion in matters, in accompanying the General-in-Chief then he slandered and ridiculed, in attending to Zǐ palace then he grasped blade cutting off men’s head in Zǐ palace’s lavatory. After Your Majesty succeeded the throne, all increased in office title, Lì thus became a General, to my face saying to I your servant: ‘How I am suitable to be among the various Generals? To not memorialize me as a Minister, at least I should be of the Five Colonels.’ I your servant answered: ‘A General, is to follow great comparisons and that is all. As for Ministers, [Lǐ Yán] Zhèngfāng also has not yet become a Minister. Moreover it is appropriate to be of the Five Colonels.’ From this afterward, he was discontent and harbored resentment.”
- Imperial Order said: “The Three Miáo confused government, Yǒuyú gave forgiveness, Liào Lì is wild and confused, I cannot bear to execute, urgently exile to barren land.”