Front Page Titles (by Subject) Book X.: The Announcement about Drunkenness. - The Sacred Books of China: The Texts of Confucianism. Part I The Shu King, the Religious Portions of the Shih King, the Hsiao King
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Book X.: The Announcement about Drunkenness. - Misc (Confucian School), The Sacred Books of China: The Texts of Confucianism. Part I The Shu King, the Religious Portions of the Shih King, the Hsiao King 
The Sacred Books of China: The Texts of Confucianism. Part I The Shu King, the Religious Portions of the Shih King, the Hsiao King, trans. James Legge (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1879).
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The Announcement about Drunkenness.
This Announcement was, like the last, made to Făng, the prince of Khang, about the time when he was invested with the principality of Wei. Mention has often been made in previous documents of the Shû of the drunken debauchery of Kieh as the chief cause of the downfal of the dynasty of Hsiâ, and of the same vice in Kâu-hsin, the last of the kings of Shang. The people of Shang had followed the example of their sovereign, and drunkenness, with its attendant immoralities, characterised both the highest and lowest classes of society. One of Făng’s most difficult tasks in his administration would be, to correct this evil habit, and he is called in this Book to the undertaking. He is instructed in the proper use and the allowable uses of spirits; the disastrous consequences of drunkenness are set forth; and he is summoned to roll back the flood of its desolation from his officers and people.
I have divided the Book into two chapters:—the one preliminary, showing the original use and the permissible uses of ardent spirits; the other, showing how drunkenness had proved the ruin of the Shang dynasty, and how they of Kâu, and particularly Făng in Wei, should turn the lesson to account.
The title might be translated—‘The Announcement about Spirits,’ but the cursory reader would most readily suppose that the discourse was about Spiritual Beings. The Chinese term Kiû, that is here employed, is often translated by wine, but it denotes, it seems to me, ardent spirits. As Gaubil says, ‘We have here to do with le vin du riz, the art of which was discovered, according to most writers, in the time of Yü, the founder of the first dynasty. The grape was not introduced to China till that of the first Han.’
[Since the above sentences were in manuscript, the Rev. Dr. Edkins of Pekin has stated at a meeting of the North-China branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, and in a letter to myself (April 24th), that he has lately investigated the question whether the Kiû of the ancient Chinese was spirits or not, and found that distillation was first known in China in the Mongol or Yüan dynasty (ad 1280-1367), so that the Arabs must have the credit of the invention; that the process in making Kiû was brewing, or nearly so, but, as the term beer is inadmissible in a translation of the classics, he would prefer to use the term wine; and that Kiû with Shâo (‘fired,’ ‘ardent’) before it, means spirits, but without Shâo, it means wine.
If the whole process of Dr. Edkins’ investigation were before me, I should be glad to consider it, and not hesitate to alter my own view, if I saw reason to do so. Meanwhile, what he says makes me glad that I adopted ‘the Announcement about Drunkenness’ as the title of this chapter. It is drunkenness, by whatever liquor occasioned, that the king of Kâu condemns and denounces.
What we commonly understand by wine is never intended by Kiû in the Chinese classics, and therefore I cannot use that term. After searching as extensively as I could do in this country, since I received Dr. Edkins’ letter, I have found nothing to make me think that the Chinese term is not properly translated by ‘spirits.’
Dr. Williams, in his Syllabic Dictionary of the Chinese Language (Shanghai, 1874), gives this account of Kiû:—‘Liquor; it includes spirits, wine, beer, and other drinks. The Chinese make no wine, and chiefly distil their liquors, and say that Tû Khang, a woman of the Tî tribes, first made it.’ This account is to a considerable extent correct. The Chinese distil their liquors. I never saw beer or porter of native production among them, though according to Dr. Edkins they had been brewing ‘or nearly so’ for more than 3000 years. Among his examples of the use of Kiû, Williams gives the combinations of ‘red Kiû’ for claret, ‘white Kiû’ for sherry, and ‘pî (simply phonetical) Kiû’ for beer, adding that they ‘are all terms of foreign origin.’ What he says about the traditional account of the first maker of Kiû is not correct. It is said certainly that this was Tû Khang, but who he was, or when he lived, I have never been able to discover. Some identify him with Î-tî, said by Williams to have been ‘a woman of the Tî tribes.’ The attributing of the invention to Î-tî is probably an independent tradition. We find it in the ‘Plans of the Warring States’ (ch. xiv, art. 10), a work covering about four centuries from the death of Confucius:—‘Anciently, the daughter of the Tî ordered Î-tî to make Kiû. She admired it, and presented some to Yü, who drank it, and found it pleasant. He then discarded Î-tî, and denounced the use of such generous Kiû, saying, “In future ages there are sure to be those who by Kiû will lose their states.” ’ According to this tradition intoxicating Kiû was known in the time of Yü—in the twenty-third century bc The daughter of the Tî would be Yü’s wife, and Î-tî would probably be their cook. It does not appear as the name of a woman, or one from the wild Tî tribes.
With regard to the phrase Shâo Kiû, said to be the proper term for ardent spirits, and unknown in China till the Yüan dynasty, a reference to the Khang-hsî Tonic Thesaurus of the language will show instances of its use as early at least as the Thang dynasty (ad 618-906).]
1. The king speaks to the following effect:—‘Do you clearly make known my great commands in the country of Mei1 .
‘When your reverent father, the king Wăn, laid the foundations of our kingdom in the western region, he delivered announcements and cautions to (the princes of) the various regions, and to all his (high) officers, with their assistants, and the managers of affairs, saying, morning and evening, “At sacrifices spirits should be employed.”* When Heaven was sending down its favouring decree, and laying the foundations of (the eminence of) our people, (spirits) were used only at the great sacrifices. When Heaven sends down its terrors, and our people are thereby greatly disorganized and lose their virtue, this may be traced invariably to their indulgence in spirits; yea, the ruin of states, small and great, (by these terrors), has been caused invariably by their guilt in the use of spirits2 .
‘King Wăn admonished and instructed the young nobles, who were charged with office or in any employment, that they should not ordinarily use spirits; and throughout all the states, he required that such should drink spirits only on occasion of sacrifices, and that then virtue should preside so that there might be no drunkenness1 .’
He said, ‘Let my people teach their young men that they are to love only the productions of the soil, for so will their hearts be good. Let the young also hearken wisely to the constant instructions of their fathers; and let them look at all virtuous actions, whether great or small, in the same light (with watchful heed).
‘(Ye people of) the land of Mei, if you can employ your limbs, largely cultivating your millets, and hastening about in the service of your fathers and elders; and if, with your carts and oxen, you traffic diligently to a distance, that you may thereby filially minister to your parents; then, when your parents are happy, you may set forth your spirits clear and strong, and use them2 .
‘Hearken constantly to my instructions, all ye my (high) officers and ye heads of departments, all ye, my noble chiefs;—when ye have largely done your duty in ministering to your aged, and serving your ruler, ye may eat and drink freely and to satiety. And to speak of greater things:—when you can maintain a constant, watchful examination of yourselves, and your conduct is in accordance with correct virtue, then may you present the offerings of sacrifice,* and at the same time indulge yourselves in festivity. In such case you will indeed be ministers doing right service to your king, and Heaven likewise will approve your great virtue, so that you shall never be forgotten in the royal House.’*
2. The king says, ‘O Făng, in our western region, the princes of states, and the young (nobles), sons of the managers of affairs, who in former days assisted king Wăn, were all able to obey his lessons, and abstain from excess in the use of spirits; and so it is that I have now received the appointment which belonged to Yin.’
The king says, ‘O Făng, I have heard it said, that formerly the first wise king of Yin manifested a reverential awe of the bright principles of Heaven and of the lower people, acting accordingly, steadfast in his virtue, and holding fast his wisdom.* From him, Thang the Successful, down to Tî-yî1 , all completed their royal virtue and revered their chief ministers, so that their managers of affairs respectfully discharged their helping duties, and dared not to allow themselves in idleness and pleasure;—how much less would they dare to indulge themselves in drinking! Moreover, in the exterior domains, (the princes of) the Hâu, Tien, Nan, and Wei (states)1 , with their presiding chiefs; and in the interior domain, all the various officers, the directors of the several departments, the inferior officers and employés, the heads of great houses, and the men of distinguished name living in retirement, all eschewed indulgence in spirits. Not only did they not dare to indulge in them, but they had not leisure to do so, being occupied with helping to complete the sovereign’s virtue and make it more illustrious, and helping the directors of affairs reverently to attend to his service.
‘I have heard it said likewise, that the last successor of those kings was addicted to drink, so that no charges came from him brightly before the people, and he was (as if) reverently and unchangingly bent on doing and cherishing what provoked resentment. Greatly abandoned to extraordinary lewdness and dissipation, for pleasure’s sake he sacrificed all his majesty. The people were all sorely grieved and wounded in heart; but he gave himself wildly up to drink, not thinking of restraining himself, but continuing his excess, till his mind was frenzied, and he had no fear of death. His crimes (accumulated) in the capital of Shang; and though the extinction of the dynasty (was imminent), this gave him no concern, and he wrought not that any sacrifices of fragrant virtue might ascend to Heaven.* The rank odour of the people’s resentments, and the drunkenness of his herd of creatures, went loudly up on high, so that Heaven sent down ruin on Yin, and showed no love for it,—because of such excesses. There is not any cruel oppression of Heaven; people themselves accelerate their guilt, (and its punishment.)’*
The king says, ‘O Făng, I make you this long announcement, not (for the pleasure of doing so); but the ancients have said, “Let not men look into water; let them look into the glass of other people.” Now that Yin has lost its appointment, ought we not to look much to it as our glass, (and learn) how to secure the repose of our time? I say to you,—Strenuously warn the worthy ministers of Yin, and (the princes) in the Hâu, the Tien, the Nan, and the Wei domains; and still more your friends, the great Recorder and the Recorder of the Interior, and all your worthy ministers, the heads of great Houses; and still more those whom you serve, with whom you calmly discuss matters, and who carry out your measures; and still more those who are, as it were, your mates,—your Minister of War who deals with the rebellious, your Minister of Instruction who is like a protector to the people, and your Minister of Works who settles the boundaries; and above all, do you strictly keep yourself from drink.
‘If you are informed that there are companies that drink together, do not fail to apprehend them all, and send them here to Kâu, where I may put them to death. As to the ministers and officers of Yin who were led to it and became addicted to drink, it is not necessary to put them to death (at once);—let them be taught for a time. If they follow these (lessons of mine), I will give them bright distinction. If they disregard my lessons, then I, the One man, will show them no pity. As they cannot change their way, they shall be classed with those who are to be put to death.’
The king says, ‘O Făng, give constant heed to my admonitions. If you do not rightly manage the officers, the people will continue lost in drunkenness.’
[1 ] There is a place called ‘the village of Mei,’ in the north of the present district of Khî, department Wei-hui, Ho-nan;—a relic of the ancient name of the whole territory. The royal domain of Shang, north from the capital, was all called Mei. Făng’s principality of Wei must have embraced most of it.
[2 ] Kû Hsî says upon the meaning of the expressions ‘Heaven was sending down its favouring decree’ (its order to make Kiû, as he understood the language), and ‘when Heaven sends down its terrors,’ in this paragraph:—‘Kang Nan-hsien has brought out the meaning of these two statements much better than any of the critics who went before him, to the following effect:—Kiû is a thing intended to be used in offering sacrifices and in entertaining guests;—such employment of it is what Heaven has prescribed. But men by their abuse of Kiû come to lose their virtue, and destroy their persons;—such employment of it is what Heaven has annexed its terrors to. The Buddhists, hating the use of things where Heaven sends down its terrors, put away as well the use of them which Heaven has prescribed. It is not so with us of the learned (i.e. the Confucian or orthodox) school;—we only put away the use of things to which Heaven has annexed its terrors, and the use of them, of which it approves, remains as a matter of course.’
[1 ] In sacrificing, the fragrant odour of spirits was supposed to be acceptable to the Beings worshipped. Here the use of spirits seems to be permitted in moderation to the worshippers after the sacrifices. Observe how king Wăn wished to guard the young from acquiring the habit of drinking spirits.
[2 ] Here is another permissible use of spirits;—at family feasts, with a view especially to the comfort of the aged.
[1 ] Tî-yî was the father of Kâu-hsin, the twenty-seventh Shang sovereign. The sovereigns between Thang and him had not all been good, but the duke of Kâu chooses here to say so.
[1 ] These were the first, second, third, and fifth domains or territorial divisions of the land under Kâu, counting back from the royal domain. It appears here that an arrangement akin to that of Kâu had been made in the time of Shang.