Xuan-de: Year 2, Month 1, Day 16
12 Feb 1427
The Emperor retired from the Court to the Wen-hua Hall where he summoned the Junior Mentor Yang Shi-qi and the Junior Mentor of the Heir Apparent Yang Rong, and instructed them, saying:
"Previously, when we spoke of Jiao-zhi matters, Jian Yi and Xia Yuan-ji were restricted by their closed views. If we follow what they advocate, I am afraid that China's efforts and expenses will be without end. I have looked at events in the Spring and Autumn period (770 B.C. -481 B.C.) and note that when Xia Zheng-shu killed Duke Ling of Chen, the ruler of the state of Chu attacked, killed Zheng-shu and took over Chen. Shen Shu-shi felt that this was improper and thus the ruler of Chu again established the state of Chen as a separate fief. The ancients' submission to righteousness was like this. When the Tai-zong Emperor first captured the Li bandits and pacified Jiao-zhi, he wished to place a person of the Chen line on the throne, but at that time there was none who could inherit the post. I now wish to carry out my ancestor's wishes and thus enable the Chinese people to be without troubles and be able to return to their home-towns. Recently, I ordered you ministers to consider things again for me. What is the result?"
Shi-qi and Rong replied, saying:
"This matter involving great virtuous power is something which only Your Majesty's Sacred Will can decide. In ancient times, all the border areas had a frequency set down for bringing tribute to the Court. When Shang Gao-zong attacked and defeated the state of Jing-chu, it was for the purpose of having them resume their regular tribute, nothing more. If Your Majesty should restore the broken line of succession and the sons and grandsons of the Chen family can once again fulfil their tribute obligations, both the Chinese and the yi will be at peace in their occupations. Yao and Shun and the Emperors of the three ancient dynasties did nothing more than this."
The Emperor said: "My mind is already made up. There is no need for further equivocation. However, if we order them to seek a successor during the fighting, I am worried that they will have no time to do so. We should wait until things are a little more settled and then order Huang Fu to devote himself to seeking a successor. That will not be too late."
Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 17, page 0634/65