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Cheng-hua: Year 17, Month 10, Day 1

23 Oct 1481

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Imperial orders were conferred upon the fan kings of the various overseas countries and of the Western regions. Previously, the tribute envoys from the foreign yi made unending demands on the postal relay stations they passed through. At this time, the Ministry of Rites memorialized requesting that, as the envoys were returning, Imperial orders of instruction should be sent to the kings of these countries. The orders read: "Recently, the envoys sent by the fan kings of various overseas countries and of the Western regions, in coming to Court to offer tribute, have, along the way, made many demands for boats and horses, carried private trading goods, loaded up with illegal salt, purchased people, become intoxicated and acted evilly, brought great trouble and disturbance to the postal relay stations, gone against propriety and violated the law. These are not isolated incidents. The officials in the places through which the envoys pass have repeatedly memorialized, wanting to have the envoys punished in accordance with the law of the state. However, in consideration of them being distant peoples, I have not wished them to be punished. Thereby, the people of China have been injured and harmed by them. Now, I am especially sending you orders and issuing you instructions. In future, when you, kings, send envoys, you must select persons who are fully conversant with the Great Principles and who respect and observe propriety and the law. You should also appraise those persons who are to accompany them. You must firmly warn them to be scrupulous in their actions, to concern themselves only with their own affairs, and to not engage in criminal acts. They must completely fulfil the ritual requirements of an envoy and be sincere in the offering of tribute. In this way, the envoys will be protected and those who supply their needs will be saved harassment and trouble. Would this not be of benefit to both sides?"

Xian-zong: juan 220.1a

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 48, page 3801

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Preferred form of citation for this entry:

Geoff Wade, translator, Southeast Asia in the Ming Shi-lu: an open access resource, Singapore: Asia Research Institute and the Singapore E-Press, National University of Singapore, http://epress.nus.edu.sg/msl/reign/cheng-hua/year-17-month-10-day-1, accessed October 20, 2019