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Xuan-de: Year 1, Month 5, Day 3

8 Jun 1426

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A proclamation of amnesty was issued to those in Jiao-zhi who had committed crimes. The proclamation read: "In ruling, I stress love for the people and benevolence through sympathy. It is thus appropriate that I forgive those who have transgressed. It is now 20 years since Jiao-zhi became part of the Empire (入職方). There has been repeated strife and rebellions and these have given toil to the government troops. In that they hate death and love life, all people are the same. How can hastening towards an abyss or running towards fire be considered one's basic nature? On enquiring into the reasons for such actions, I found that everything resulted from some officials acting wrongly in pacification and in governing. They plundered insatiably but, as the situation was not reported, no kindness could be forthcoming from above. This led to great suffering and much worry and suspicion. Thus, you fled into the hills and forests and called followers to rebel. You truly had no alternative in this situation. Those of you who have committed crimes are truly being pardoned and through a flood of grace, your transgressions are all being washed away. The crimes of rebellion and all other crimes of the officials, clerks, military personnel and civilians of Jiao-zhi, regardless of whether they have been discovered or not and whether they have been handled or not, will on the arrival of this proclamation, be pardoned without regard to their magnitude. Li Li, Pan Liao and Lu Wen-lu originally all gave their allegiance to the Court and were employed. On the basis of a single thought, they made a mistake and now it has come to this. Now I am especially providing them with an avenue for a new future. If they are truly able to repent, follow the ways of good men and once again carry out the duties of ministers, they will all be forgiven their crimes and be appointed as officials. Those who have been forced by Li Li and the others into following the rebellion and the remnant clique leaders such as Zheng Gong-zheng and so on, who have fled and not re-appeared, can now all show themselves and come to allegiance. They can turn themselves over to the officials and all will be pardoned. Those who were previously officials will be returned to their original posts, military personnel will be returned to their original units and the people will be returned to their original occupations. If, after the proclamation arrives, Li Li and his forced followers persist in their obstinate adherence to error and, like before, refuse to obey orders, Heaven's punishment will inevitably be forthcoming and it will be too late for regret. From now on, apart from having to pay land-tax grain, military personnel and civilians will be exempted from other taxes which should be levied and collected, such as the taxes on gold, silver, salt, iron, aromatics, merchandise and fish. It will be permissible to trade gold, silver, copper cash, salt and salted fish within the borders. The officials will not forbid this. This is in accord with my wish to show sympathy to the people."

Xuan-zong: juan 17.1b-2b

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 17, page 0448/50

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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/xuan-de/year-1-month-5-day-3, accessed November 17, 2019