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Legalism -> Shang Jun Shu -> Fixing of Rights and Duties -> 3

All the laws and mandates should be put together as a set,
天子殿 one set being kept in the palace of the Son of Heaven.
Forbidden archives should be built for the laws,
which are locked with lock and key to prevent admittance, and are sealed up;
herein should be stored one set of the laws and mandates.
Inside the forbidden archives
they should be sealed with a seal forbidding their opening.
Whoever ventures unauthorisedly to break the seals of the forbidden archives,
or to enter the forbidden archives, to inspect the forbidden laws and mandates,
or to tamper with one or more characters of the forbidden laws,
shall, in any of these cases, be guilty of death without pardon.
Once a year laws and mandates shall be received for prohibitions and orders to be issued.
天子 The Son of Heaven shall set up three law officers,
殿 one in the palace,
one in the office of the Yu-shi, together with a government official,
and one in the chancery of the Cheng-Xiang.
诸侯In the various prefectures and sub-prefectures of the feudal lords, shall be instituted one law officer, together with government officials,
all of whom shall be similar to the law officers in Qin.
诸侯Thus the prefectures and subprefectures and the feudal lords
shall all alike receive a knowledge of the laws and mandates in the archives,
and moreover the afore-mentioned government officials and people, who are desirous of knowing the law,
shall all address their inquiries to these law officers.
天下 Thus there shall be no one among the government officials and people of the empire who does not know the law,
and as the officials are clearly aware that the people know the laws and mandates,
they dare not treat the people contrary to the law,
nor dare the people transgress the law, as they would come into conflict with the law officers.
If in their treatment of the people the government officials do not act according to the law,
the former should inquire of the law officer,
who should at once inform them of the punishment (for the illegal action in question) fixed by the law.
The people should then at once inform the government officials, formally, of the law officer's statement.
Thus the government officials, knowing that such is the course of events,
dare not treat the people contrary to the law,
nor do the people dare infringe the law.
In this way,
天下 government officials and the people of the empire,
however virtuous or good, however sophistical or sagacious they may be,
cannot add one word to twist the law;
nor, though they may have a thousand pieces of gold,
can they use one twenty-fourth of an ounce of it for such a purpose.
Thus the knowing and crafty ones, as well as the virtuous and capable,
will all force themselves to behave well and will do their best to restrain themselves and to serve the public weal.
When people are stupid, they are easy to govern.
All this originates from the fact that the law is clear, easy to know, and strictly applied.


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