the founder of Shang Dynasty. After King Tang’s death, Yi Yin

 

“But this is the banquet chamber,

and state affairs should be left outside.

The matters can be fully discussed tomorrow.”

His fellow guests persuaded Ding Yuan to leave,

and after his departure Dong Zhuo said,

“Is what I said just and reasonable?”

[e] Yi Yin was was helper and prime minister of King Tang,

the founder of Shang Dynasty. After King Tang’s death, Yi Yin

served his sons and grandson. Soon after Tai Jia,

King Tang’s grandson, ascended the throne, he committed many faults,

and Yi Yin, acting as regent, exiled Tai Jia to Tong Palace——the burial place of King

Tang. After three years Yi Yin returned him the throne.

Tai Jia eventually became an enlightened emperor.

Shang Dynasty lasted for 650 years (BC 1700-1050)。

It was this act of Yi Yin rather than his services

in building up an empire that has made him immortal.

Whether he did right in temporarily dethroning

the king was open to question, until a final verdict was rendered

by Mencius who thought that his ends amply justified his means.

This historical event attests the extent of the

power exercised by a prime minister in those days. ……

[e] Huo Guang (BC ?-68) a general and regent of Han.

After Emperor Wu died, Huo Guang became regent to

three successive emperors, and the second one had been

the Prince of Changyi, who was on the throne for only

twenty-seven days. Huo Guang had the Prince of Changyi

declared unfit to rule and deposed him. Even though Huo Guang

contributed much to the empire’s stabilization,

after he died, he was distanced by the

emperor and most of his family

were executed for conspiracy charges. ……

“You are mistaken, Illustrious Sir,” said Lu Zhi.

“Of old Emperor Tai Jia of the Shang Dynasty was

unenlightened. Wherefore the sage Minister Yi Yin*

immured him in the Tong Palace till he reformed.

Later the Prince of Changyi ascended the throne,

and in twenty-seven days he committed more than

three thousand categorical faults. Wherefore Regent

Marshal Huo Guang* declared in the ancestral temple

that the Prince of Changyi was deposed. Our present

Emperor is young, but he is intelligent, benevolent,

and wise. He has not committed a single fault. You, Sir,

are an imperial protector of a frontier region and not a

metropolitan official and have had no experience in state

administration. Neither have you the

pure intentions of Yi Yin and Huo Guang

which qualified their actions. The Teacher said:

‘Only with Yi Yin’s purpose can one act like Yi Yin.

Otherwise, such a deed is treason.’”

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