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Hong-wu: Year 12, Month 12, Day

Jan/Feb 1380

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The envoy sent by Chen Wei of Annam came to offer tribute. As Annam had relied on its strength in an attempt to attack and capture Champa's territory, but had eventually been defeated, the Emperor sent an envoy to issue a proclamation of instruction to Wei and to his elder brother and predecessor Chen Shu-ming of Annam. The proclamation read: "I have heard that the rulers of the states during the Spring and Autumn period were successively destroyed. Why was this? It was because they went against the ruler's orders and harmed the ordinary people. Thus Heaven's mirror ensured that none could escape from their crimes. If, at that time, the rulers of the states had obeyed all of the orders of the Emperor of Heaven, how could they have not been as strong as Zhou? How could they have given up long-accumulated wealth to covet high status? Their wealth was just like morning dew on the grass. Did not the worthies say: `Do not be the one who courts disaster and do not be the one who invites prosperity'? Since you, Shu-ming, took on the handling of affairs, there have been many troubles in the country and people have often had to seek refuge in other places. Is this because you and your brother have sought prosperity, or is it a result of misdeeds by the people? Even though the past will not now be subject to reproof, dare we not be aware that the future can still be overtaken ? Does not the Book of Changes say: `A house that heaps good upon good is sure to have an abundance of blessings; a house that heaps evil upon evil is sure to have an abundance of ills'? If these words are put into effect, a return to Heaven's will can be realized. Heaven and Earth are broad and the people are many. If a state follows the way, keeps its borders secure and does not seek anything beyond that, it will enjoy prosperity for many generations. If it transgresses borders and brings calamity to other people, prosperity cannot be assured. The bitter dispute and recourse to arms between Annam and Champa has been going on for 10 years. Who is right and who is wrong I do not know. If the resentment is not assuaged and the enmity not dispersed, what will happen in future? If you listen to my orders, cease the warfare and nourish your people, this will be reflected in Heaven's mirror and you will certainly experience unending prosperity. If you disregard my orders and insist on continuing in your ways, then I am afraid it will be like it was in the Spring and Autumn period and you will bring calamity on yourself. The ancients had a saying: `People who assist their lords in the Way will not engage in warfare to seize the realm.' Why is this? Because killing and subjugating go in circles and thus the wise do not engage in it. You should take heed of the mistakes during the Spring and Autumn period and not make the same mistakes. Would that not be best? You should heed my will and not disregard it!"

Tai-zu: juan 128.5a-b

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 5, page 2039/40

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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/hong-wu/year-12-month-12-day, accessed November 15, 2019