The First Memorial of Troops in a Campaign
Your Majesty! I, Zhuge Liang, have to say:
The Late Emperor started the great task of reunifying, but he passed away on the way when a half of his task hadn't been finished yet. Now as the China is divided into three kingdoms and the financial resources of the people of Yizhou Province are lacking, this is indeed a time of national crisis. However, the officials at Court don't slack off and the soldiers are daring regardless of personal danger on the battlefield, presumably because they remember the Late Emperor for the special feel appreciated and want to repay for his kindness by serving Your Majesty loyally. Your Majesty really should hear a wide range of opinions, carry forward the virtues of the Late Emperor, inspire people who have lofty ambitions, and shouldn’t just undervalue yourself or say some improper words that would lead to stop up loyal criticisms.
Inside the palace and court, the ministers are a whole. Therefore, reward and punishment shouldn’t be different for merits and demerits. If someone commits crimes in violation of the law or loyally does good deeds, he should be handed over to the competent officer to determine the punishment or reward. This will show strict and impartial governance of Your Majesty. Your Majesty shouldn’t have favoritism and selfishness that will result in different ways for carrying out reward and punishment inside the palace and court.
Imperial advisors and assistant ministers like Guo Youzhi, Fei Yi, Dong Yun and others are honest and good people, their aspirations and thoughts are loyal and for this reason the Late Emperor chose them to assist Your Majesty. In my humble opinion, Your Majesty should discuss all big or small state affairs with them before implementing, because this will help to overcome shortcomings or omissions and can obtain many benefits.
General Xiang Chong, whose character is good and conduct is fair, is proficient in the military affairs. In former days, the Late Emperor praised him as a talented person after his probation, so everyone appraised and recommended him to be the Prefect of the Royal Guards. In my humble opinion, all military affairs should be discussed with him, if so, the army should be certainly harmonious, and advantages and disadvantages should be properly placed.
The Western Han Dynasty was booming because the emperors got close to upright ministers and alienated villains; the Eastern Han Dynasty was decaying because the emperors got close to villains and alienated upright ministers. When the Late Emperor was still alive, every time talked about these things with me, he would sigh and hate the failings of Emperors Huan and Ling. The Imperial advisors, Ministers, Assistants of the Ministers and Military Advisers are all loyal and reliable men who are willing to die for serving the country. I hope Your Majesty will be close to them and will trust them, then the Han Dynasty will be flourishing soon.
I was of the common people, farming in Nanyang, barely surviving in the troubled times and not seeking fame among the feudal princes. The Late Emperor had visited my thatched cottage thrice in succession, reducing his own identity, not because I was humbled and short-sighted, and asking my opinion of the current situation, so I am very touched and promised the Late Emperor I would try my best to assist. We encountered defeat later. I was appointed when we were defeated and I received the mission in the crisis. Since then It has been 21 years.