So Dong Zhuo composed something like this:

So Dong Zhuo composed something like this:

“Thy servant knows that the continual

rebellions owe their origin to Zhang Rang and

the Regular Attendants of the Inner Bureau,

who act counter to all recognized precepts.

Now to stop the ebullition of a pot the best way is to

withdraw the fire; to cut out an abscess, though painful,

is better than to nourish the evil. I have dared undertake a

military advance on the capital, with thy

permission, and now pray that Zhang Rang and the

other eunuchs be removed for the happiness of the dynasty and of the empire.”

He Jin read this memorial and showed it to his partisans.

then said Minister Zheng Tai, “A fierce wild beast:

If he comes, his prey will be humans!”

He Jin replied, “You are too timorous:

You are unequal to GREat schemes.”

But Lu Zhi also said, “Long have I known this man.

In appearance innocent, he is a very wolf at heart. Let him in,

and calamity enters with him. Stop him, do not let him come,

and thus will you avoid upheaval.”

He Jin was obstinate, and both Zheng Tai and Lu Zhi gave up

their posts and retired, as did more than half the ministers of state,

while He Jin sent a warm welcome to Dong Zhuo,

who soon camped at Shengchi Lake and stationed there without further action.

Zhang Rang and the eunuchs knew this

move was directed against them and said,

“This is He Jin’s plot. If we do not strike first,

our whole clans shall be exterminated.”

So they hid a band of fifty armed ruffians

at the Gate of Grand Virtue in the Palace of

Happiness, where the Empress lived, then they went in to see her.

they said, “The General, feigning to act

under command, has called up armies to the

capital to destroy us. We pray you, Your Majesty, pity and save us!”

“Go to the General and confess your faults,” said the Empress.

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the improper influence allowed them by the emperors and

What Cao Cao said was this:

“the eunuch evil is of very old standing,

but the real cause of the present trouble is in

the improper influence allowed them by the emperors and

the misplaced favoritism they have enjoyed. But a gaoler would

be ample force to employ against this kind of evil, and getting rid of

the main culprits is quite enough. Why increase confusion

by summoning troops from the regions?

Any desire to slay all of them will speedily become known, and the plan will fail.”

“then, Cao Cao, you have some scheme of your own to further,” said He Jin with a sneer.

Cao Cao left the meeting, proclaiming, “The one who throws the world into chaos is He Jin!”

then He Jin sent swift, secret letters far and wide to several bases.

It must be recalled that Dong Zhuo had failed in his attempt to

destroy the Yellow Scarves rebellion. He would have been punished

if he had not bribed the Ten Eunuchs heavily for their protection.

Later, through connections in the capital, he obtained rapid promotions

from General to General of the Front Army, to Lord of Aoxiang, to Imperial

Protector in the western region of Xizhou and Commander of

an army of two hundred thousand troops. But Dong Zhuo

was treacherous and disloyal at heart. So when he received the

summons to the capital, he rejoiced GREatly and lost no

time in obeying it. He left a son-in-law, Commander Niu Fu,

to look after the affairs of Xizhou and set out for Luoyang.

Dong Zhuo took with him a huge army and four

generals——Li Jue, Guo Si, Zhang Ji, and Fan Chou.

Dong Zhuo’s adviser and son-in-law, Li Ru, said,

“Though a formal summons has come,

there are many obscurities in it.

It would be well to send up a memorial stating plainly

our aims and intentions. Then we can proceed.

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Corrupted by these, He Miao went in to speak with

Corrupted by these, He Miao

He Miao.

Corrupted by these, He Miao went in to speak with his sister Empress He and said,

“The General is the chief support of the new Emperor, yet he is no

t gracious and merciful but thinks wholly of slaughter.

If he slays the eunuchs without cause, it may bring about revolution.”

Soon after He Jin entered and told her of his design to put the eunuchs to death.

She argued with him, “Those officials look after palace

affairs and are old servants. To kill the old servants just after the

death of their master would appear disrespectful to the dynasty’s ancestral temple.”

And as He Jin was of a vacillating mind, he murmured assent and left her.

“What about it?” said Yuan Shao on meeting him.

“She will not consent. What can be done?”

“Call up an army and slay them. It is imperative. Never mind her consent!”

“That is an excellent plan,” said He Jin. And he sent orders all round to march soldiers to the capital.

But Secretary Chen Lin objected, “Nay! Do not act without due consideration.

The proverb says ‘To cover the eyes and snatch at swallows is to fool oneself.’

If in so small a matter you cannot attain your wish, what of great affairs?

Now by virtue of the emperor and with the army under your hand, you are

like prancing tiger and soaring dragon: You may do as you please. To use such

enormous powers against the eunuchs would bring victory as easily as lighting up

a furnace to burn a hair. Only act promptly: Use your powers and smite at once,

and all the empire will be with you. But to summon forces to the capital,

to gather many bold warriors into one spot, each with different schemes,

is to turn our weapons against our own person,

to place ourselves in the power of another.

Nothing but failure can come of it, and havoc will ensue.”

“The view of a mere book-worm,” said He Jin with a smile.

Then one of those about He Jin suddenly clapped his hands,

Continue reading “Corrupted by these, He Miao went in to speak with”

The eunuchs persuaded the ladies to retire.

The eunuchs persuaded the ladies to retire.

But in the night Empress He summoned her

brother into the Palace and told him what had occurred.

He went out and took counsel with the principal officers of state.

Next morning a court was held and a memorial was presented, saying:

“Empress Dong, being the foster mother of Liu Xian,

Prince of Chenliu, a regional prince—only a collateral—cannot properly

occupy any part of the Palace. She is to be removed into her

riginal fief of Hejian and is to depart immediately.”

And while they sent an escort to remove Empress Dong,

a strong guard was placed about the Imperial Uncle Dong Chong’s

dwelling. They took away his seal of office and he, knowing this

was the end, killed himself in his private apartments. His dependents,

who wailed his death, were driven off by the guards.

The eunuchs Zhang Rang and Duan Gui, having lost their patroness,

sent large gifts to He Jin’s younger brother, He Miao, and his mother,

Lady Wuyang, and thus got them to put in a good word to

Empress He so as to gain her protection.

And so they gained favor once more at court.

In the sixth month of that year, the secret emissaries of He Jin

poisoned Empress Dong in her residence in the country.

Her remains were brought to the capital and buried in Wen Tombs*.

He Jin feigned illness and did not attend the funeral.

Commander Yuan Shao went one day to see He Jin, saying, “

The two eunuchs, Zhang Rang and Duan Gui, are spreading the

report outside that you has caused the death of the late empress and

is aiming at the throne. This is an excuse for you to destroy them.

Do not spare them this time, or you will pay like Dou Wu and Chen Fan,

who in the previous reign missed their chance because the secret had not

been kept, and they paid by their own deaths. Now you and

your brother have many commanders and officers behind,

so that the destruction of the eunuchs can be but an ease.

It is a heaven-sent opportunity. Delay no further!”

But He Jin replied, “Let me think it over.”

He Jin’s servants overheard the discussion and secretly

informed the intended victims,

who sent further gifts to the younger brother 

“Slay them, root and branch,

“Slay them, root and branch,

” cried Yuan Shao, “or they will ruin you!”

“I have decided,” said He Jin, coldly. “Say no more.”

Within a few days He Jin became Chair of the Secretariat,

and his associates received high offices.

Now Empress Dong summoned the eunuch

Zhang Rang and his party to a council.

Said she, “It was I who first brought forward the sister of He Jin.

Today her son is on the throne, and all the officials are her friends,

and her influence is enormous. What can we do?”

Zhang Rang replied, “Your Highness should administer the state from

‘behind the veil’; create the late Emperor’s son Liu Xian a prince; give your brother,

the Imperial Uncle Dong Chong, a high rank,

and place him over the army; and use us. That will do it.”

Empress Dong approved. Next day she held a court and issued an edict in the sense

proposed. She made Liu Xian Prince of Chenliu and Dong Chong

General of the Flying Cavalry*, and she allowed the eunuchs again to participate state affairs.

When Empress He saw this, she prepared a banquet to

which she invited her rival Empress Dong.

In the middle of the feast, when all were well warmed with wine,

Empress He rose and offered a cup to her guest, saying,

“It is not fitting that we two should meddle in state affairs. In the beginning of the Han Dynasty,

when Empress Lu laid hands upon the government, all her clans were put to death*.

We ought to remain content, immured in our palaces,

and leave state affairs to the state officials.

That would be well for the country, and I trust you will act thus.”

But Empress Dong only got angry, saying,

“You poisoned Lady Wang out of jealousy. Now,

relying upon the fact that your son sits on the throne and that

your brother is powerful, you speak these wild words.

I will command that your brother be beheaded,

and that can be done as easily as I turn my hand!”

Empress He in her turn became wroth and said,

“I tried to persuade you with fair words. Why get so angry?”

“You low born daughter of a butcher,

what do you know of offices?” cried Empress Dong.

And the quarrel waxed hot.

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