Hua Xin Biography [ZZTJ Compliation]

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Hua Xin Biography [ZZTJ Compliation]

Unread postby capnnerefir » Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:57 pm

Hua Xin (Ziyu)
157-232
Highest Office: Grand Commandant


Hua Xin was from Pingyuan, in Qing province.[1] In his youth, he gained a reputation as an eminent scholar and was very well respected for his intelligence and integrity.[2] He was friends with the noted intellectuals Bing Yuan and Guan Ning. The three of them were students of Chen Qiu. Their instructor was disgraced and died in 179, so Hua Xin and Guan Ning helped to sponsor a stele for his tomb.[3]

In 188, the Inspector [cishi] of Ji province, Wang Fen, plotted to kill the palace eunuchs. On top of that, he intended to depose Emperor Liu Hong [Emperor Ling] and replace him with the Marquis of Hefei. Wang Fen attempted to involve the Gentleman-Consultant [yilang] Cao Cao, but he refused to have any part in the plot.[4] Wang Fen also attempted to recruit Hua Xin’s aid in this plan, but Hua Xin likewise refused him[5], advising his superior Taoqiu Hong to do the same. [6] Wang Fen’s plot failed and he committed suicide.[7]

The next year, Hua Xin was made a Gentleman of the Household [lang], which required him to serve a probation period before being made an official of the government. However, Hua Xin resigned from his position due to illness.[8] In spite of his sudden departure, He Jin appointed Hua Xin to the Imperial Secretariat as a Master of Writing [shangshu] later that year. Shortly after that, Dong Zhuo took power in the capital. In 190, he moved the capital from Luoyang to Chang’an and Hua Xin took the opportunity to flee to Nanyang in Jing province. One story says that as Hua Xin was fleeing to Jing with some companions, they came across a straggler who wanted to join them on their trip. Hua Xin initially objected because he did not want another burden, but he was overruled by his companions. Later on the journey, the straggler got into some trouble and Hua Xin’s companions considered abandoning him. However, Hua Xin insisted that they assist him, since they had accepted him as a member of their group. [9]

Hua Xin was detained by Yuan Shu and was made to help him establish an alliance against Dong Zhuo.[10] By 192, Dong Zhuo had been assassinated and control of the capital fell to a cabal led by Li Jue. In the eighth month of that year, Li Jue sent the Grand Tutor [taifu] Ma Midi to make peace with the leaders who had arrayed themselves against Dong Zhuo.[11] Ma Midi went to Yuan Shu, who detained and abused him. In 194, Ma Midi’s health failed and he died while in Yuan Shu’s custody.[12] While Ma Midi was with Yuan Shu, Hua Xin attached himself to his office. In this capacity, he traveled to Xu province and so escaped Yuan Shu.[13]

In 194, Liu Yao was named as the Inspector [cishi] of Yang province. Though he originally worked with Yuan Shu, he later drove Yuan Shu’s forces out of Yang.[14] Throughout 195, Liu Yao fought numerous battles against Sun Ce, who proved victorious in every engagement.[15] Sun Ce eventually met Liu Yao in battle at his capital of Qu’a, where Liu Yao was defeated[16] He fled to Yuzhang.[17] Shortly after this Hua Xin was named Grand Administrator [taishou] of Yuzhang.[18] This placed him under the command of Liu Yao.

Liu Yao, passed away in 197. His followers wanted Hua Xin to claim his authority and be their leader. Hua Xin thought that it was dishonorable to seize power in this way, so he refused to lead Liu Yao’s forces. What remained of Liu Yao’s army fragmented and Hua Xin retained control only in the south of Yuzhang.[19]

In 199, Sun Ce brought his soldiers to claim Yuzhang. He was reluctant to fight Hua Xin due to his reputation as a good and upright man, so he sent his adviser Yu Fan to convince Hua Xin to surrender. Yu Fan and Hua Xin spoke for some time and Hua Xin agreed to surrender to Sun Ce. Sun Ce received his surrender gratefully and treated him with extreme courtesy.[20] Some historians have harshly criticized Hua Xin for this, arguing that he should have fought to the death against Sun Ce.[21] However, the great historian Pei Songzhi reflects that Hua Xin had little choice – if he fought he would surely have been defeated and many lives would have been lost for no purpose.[22]

In the year 200, Cao Cao requested that Hua Xin be sent to serve under him. He was made a Gentleman-Consultant [yilang] and Adviser to the Army of the Minister of Works [sikong canjunshi].[23] Initially, Sun Quan was reluctant to let Hua Xin go, but he was eventually persuaded to do so.[24]

In 208, Cao Cao abolished the positions of the Three Excellencies (that is, Grand Commandant [taiwei], Minister Over the Masses [situ], and Minister of Works [sikong]) and reinstated the positions of Chancellor [chengxiang] and Imperial Counselor [yushi dafu].[25] The Chancellor was the chief minister of the state while the Imperial Counselor played a censorial role.[26]

In 212, the Prefect of the Masters of Writing [shangshu ling] Xun Yu passed away.[27] Hua Xin succeeded him as Prefect of the Masters of Writing.[28] In the sixth month of 217, Hua Xin was promoted to Imperial Counselor [yushi dafu].[29]

Following Cao Cao’s death in 220, the emperor sent Hua Xin to present Cao Pi with various honors, naming him Chancellor [chengxiang], King of Wei, and Inspector [cishi] of Ji province.[30] On April 6 of 220, the positions of the Three Excellencies were restored. Hua Xin became Minister Over the Masses [situ] while Jia Xu and Wang Lang became Grand Commandant [taiwei] and Minister of Works [sikong], respectively.[31]

On December 11 of 220, Emperor Liu Xie abdicated the throne in favor of Cao Pi.[32]

In June of 225, the official Bao Xun criticized Cao Pi’s plans to invade Wu using language that was inappropriate when addressing the emperor. When Cao Pi returned from the campaign in 226, he camped in Chenliu. The magistrate of the county was a man named Sun Yong, and he went to pay Cao Pi a formal visit. However, he came through back roads rather than using the appropriate route. The disciplinary officer Liu Yao wanted to punish Sun Yong, but his supervisor, Bao Xun, suppressed the matter. Cao Pi discovered that Bao Xun was covering up the faults of his subordinates, so he sent him to the Minister of Justice [tingwei] for judgment. Legally, Bao Xun deserved five years of hard labor for his crime. However, many high officials, including Hua Xin, opposed punishing Bao Xun because his father had been one of Cao Cao’s earliest supporters. The chief ministers canceled Bao Xun’s sentence and ordered him to pay a fine instead. However, Cao Pi would not permit his officials to override the law, so he ordered that Bao Xun be executed.[33]

Cao Pi passed away around the end of 226 and was succeeded by his son, Emperor Cao Rui. Early in 227, Cao Rui issued various promotions and Hua Xin was made Grand Commandant [taiwei].[34] Hua Xin attempted to refuse the appointment in favor of the respected scholar Guan Ning, but Cao Rui did not permit this. He did attempt to appoint Guan Ning to another office, but Guang Ning would not answer the summons.[35] At this time, Hua Xin was enfeoffed as Lord of Beiping.[36]

In 230, the Grand Commander [da sima] Cao Zhen led an invasion of the rebel state of Shu.[37] However, a solid month of constant, heavy rain made it impossible for the army to advance through the necessary mountain passes. Prompted by this, Hua Xin sent a memorial to Emperor Cao Rui, saying:

“It is already two dozen years since war and disturbances broke out. Meanwhile out great Wei has succeeded to the heavenly mandate. With your sage-like virtue Your Majesty has met a time as flourishing as the Zhou Kings Cheng and Kang. You must propagate the good rule in this time and be an heir to the Three Kings. There are indeed the two rebels (i.e., Wu and Shu), who rely on their steep territory to prolong their lives, but when your sage-like transformation grows day by day and the distant people cherish your virtue, they will come to us, carrying their children on their shoulders.

Now arms are to be used when there is no other choice; therefore they are held back and put into movement only on the right occasions. I sincerely hope that Your Majesty will first pay attention to the way of good rule, and regulate campaigns to the background. Besides, it will not be a successful campaign to carry provisions one thousand li; in crossing over defiles and making a deep incursion there cannot be any unchallenged achievements.

I am told this year's enlistment and corvee has brought about a serious loss in agriculture and sericulture. The ruler of a state takes the people as foundation and the people take clothing and food as their fundamental. If China does not have the calamity of cold and hunger and the people do not have hearts estranged from their superiors, then it is the empire's good fortune, and the opportunity against the two rebels will come to us in no time.

As one of the first ministers of the state, I grow day by day more aged and infirm. This unworthy life of mine is soon to end; I fear I shall no longer be able to raise my glance to your carriage. Therefore I dare not fail to carry to the utmost the love of a subject for his Sovereign. May Your Majesty take notice of this."


Cao Rui issued a reply:

"You have reflected profoundly on the future of the state; I commend you highly. The rebels rely on mountains and waters. My two ancestors toiled in earlier times but were unable to conquer them. Can I be so presumptuous as to think that I am certain to exterminate them? The various generals think that unless we attempt it once, the rebels will not bring about their own decline. It is because of this that I display our arms to seek an opportunity against them. The time being not ripe, King Wu of Zhou withdrew with his troops; this is a warning for me. Can I respectfully forget this warning?"[38]

Subsequently, Cao Rui ordered Cao Zhen to retreat.[39]

Hua Xin passed away on Jaunary 30 of 232. He was canonized as the Respectful Marquis.[40] Hua Xin lived to be 75 years old.[41]

Several slanderous anecdotes exist about Hua Xin, the most famous being his alleged treatment of Empress Fu. As the story goes, the wife of Emperor Liu Xie – Empress Fu – was plotting with her father Fu Wan to overthrow Cao Cao. Cao Cao discovered the plot and sent Hua Xin with soldiers to arrest her. Empress Fu locked the doors and hid within the walls, but Hua Xin broke down the doors and tore up the walls to find her. She was led out of the palace and to the prison with disheveled hair and barefoot. She was forced to commit suicide in prison. Hua Xin then poisoned her two sons and “over one hundred” of her relatives were killed.[42] While some of the events of this story must be real - Empress Fu was indeed deposed - the details are from secondary sources known to be unreliable. Furthermore, they are contradictory to logic and established reliable sources.[43]

One of the positive anecdotes about Hua Xin tells of an event in Hua Xin’s yough. He and his friend Guan Ning were hoeing a vegetable field when they found some gold. Guan Ning ignored the gold and acted as though it just another rock or stone. Hua Xin took the gold and threw it away.[44]

Notes
[1] Zhongping 5, I
[2] Jian’an 4, T
[3] de Crespigny, Rafe, “A Biographical Dictionary of the Later Han and Three Kingdoms”, p. 333
[4] Zhongping 5, H
[5] Zhongping 5, I
[6] de Crespigny, Rafe, “A Biographical Dictionary of the Later Han and Three Kingdoms”, p. 333
[7] Zhongping 5, J
[8] de Crespigny, Rafe, “A Biographical Dictionary of the Later Han and Three Kingdoms”, p. 333
[9] de Crespigny, Rafe, “A Biographical Dictionary of the Later Han and Three Kingdoms”, p. 333
[10] de Crespigny’s note 71 of Xingping 2
[11] Chuping 3, CC
[12] Xingping 1, AA
[13] de Crespigny’s note 71 of Xingping 2
[14] Xingping 1, AA
[15] Xingping 2, FF
[16] Xingping 2, HH
[17] Xingping 2, Mm
[18] Xingping 2, PP; de Crespigny notes that it is difficult to determine who exactly gave Hua Xin this appointment, as the Han court had no control over Yang province at this time. He suspects that Hua Xin’s appointment may have come one year later, when the Imperial court was under the guidance of Cao Cao.
[19] Jian’an 2, AA
[20] Jian’an 4, T
[21] Jian’an 4, U
[22] de Crespigny’s “Generals of the South”, Chapter 3 pg. 40
[23] Jian’an 5, RR
[24] de Crespigny’s note 63 of Jian’an 5
[25] Jian’an 13, I
[26] de Crespigny’s note 13 of Jian’an 13
[27] Jian’an 17, K
[28] de Crespigny’s note 66 of Jian’an 19
[29] Jian’an 22, E
[30] Huangchu 1, 10
[31] Huangchu 1, 14
[32] Huangchu 1, 36
[33] Huangchu 7, 6
[34] Huangchu 7, 27
[35] Huangchu 7, 28
[36] Fang’s note 19 of Taihe 5
[37] Taihe 4, 8
[38] Taihe 4, 13
[39] Taihe 4, 16
[40] Taihe 5, 19
[41] Fang’s note 19 of Taihe 5
[42] Jian’an 19, Y
[43] de Crespigny’s notes 61-68 of Jian’an 19 discuss these discrepancies in more detail. As the story is clearly slanderous, I have chosen to disregard it for the purposes of this biography.
[44] Chuping 2, LL – this account is drawn from the New Account of the Tales of the World [shishuo xinyu], which de Crespigny labels as “marginally historic”. I am unsure what this story is supposed to indicate regarding the qualities of Guan Ning and Hua Xin.
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