Tai Chung’ was the second Emperor of the T’ang dynasty, his reign extended from 627 to 650.
He was ever on the outlook for literary counsellors and heroic statesmen. " Heroic men have come within my bow-shot," was a characteristic exclamation of his. As a monarch he lived up to the ideal embodied in his words: " I look upon myself in my empire as a father in his family. I love my subjects as my children. An emperor who oppresses the people to enrich himself is like a man who cuts off his own flesh to satisfy the cravings of hunger. These may be satisfied, but in a short time his whole body must perish."
On one occasion he allowed a number of prisoners under sentence of death to return to their homes to celebrate the New Year, on the condition that they should come back at a stated time. They all returned according to their promise, which so pleased the Emperor that he permitted them all to go free.
One day, being out in a pleasure boat with his family, he said, " You see, my children, that the boat is supported by the water, which can at any time overwhelm it when it is roused; consider that the people resemble the water, and the Imperial State the boat."
One of these children in after years succeeded him, under the designation Kao Chung.