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Xuan-de: Year 2, Month 10, Day 29

17 Nov 1427

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The persons sent by the Jiao-zhi bandit Li Li presented a memorial and local products. Previously, the Cheng-shan Marquis and Regional Commander Wang Tong made peace with the bandits and then sent the commander Kan Zhong with the persons sent by Li to present a memorial and local products. At this time, they arrived at the capital. The memorial read: "I, your minister Chen Hao, the legitimate third-generation descendant of Fu, the former Chen ruler of Annam, with great trepidation and extreme fear, kowtow and bow and advise that in the past the bandit minister Li Ji-li and his son killed the ruler of the country and wiped out nearly all my family. I, your minister, Hao fled to hide in Laos and thus managed to extend my life, for what has now become 20 years. Recently, the people of the country heard that I was still alive and they pressed me to return to the country. The people told me that when the government troops first pacified the Li bandit, it was proclaimed that they should seek a male descendant of the former king and enthrone him. At that time, they could not find a descendant and thus subprefectures and counties were established. Now, they all wish me to advise of the situation and request orders. I realize that my crimes deserve 10,000 deaths, but I humbly place my trust in the grace of Heaven and Earth and respectfully submit this memorial of request. I, your minister, Hao and others, humbly presume to consider the area of Jiao-nan to truly be a foreign state (海外之邦). When the Tai-zu Emperor of the Heavenly Court came to the throne, my ancestor was the first, of all the rulers of the various countries, to come to Court, and year after year tribute was brought to the Imperial Court. For successive generations, my ancestors were enfeoffed as kings. When the Lis engaged in their evil, they drew Heaven's punishment from afar, following which a gracious Imperial order was issued requiring that a descendant of the Chen family be sought out to continue the ruling line. At that time, all the family had dispersed and no members of the family could be found in the villages. As the Court was anxious about the government of the people, subprefectures and counties were established. Now, the local people wish me to continue the sacrifices to my ancestors and hope that a Heavenly command will proclaim the revival of the state which was extinguished. These words are expressed with profound feeling, and I pray to Heaven with my request for orders. I revere Your Majesty the Emperor, who covers and contains all, whose brightness illumines all, whose nourishing influence is as pervasive as the oceans, who moves the clouds and whose actions are as widely-influencing as rain. I request that the Emperor consider that my ancestors have long had hungry spirits, and will take pity on my solitude and wretchedness and will revive the former state. I, your minister, Hao will remember this always, will be loyal and obedient, will forever respect the orders of the Court and will be respectful and sincere in serving the superior. I, your minister, Hao and the others, are unworthy to look towards Heaven or the Emperor and are extremely unnerved by our own impudence." The Emperor, after reading the letter, showed it to the assembled civil and military ministers and instructed them, saying: "Earlier, when the Tai-zu Emperor first pacified all under Heaven, Annam was the first of the states on the four borders to bring tribute to the Court. When the bandit minister killed his ruler, and brought great suffering to the people of the country, the Tai-zong Emperor despatched troops to punish him. They searched widely for a descendant of the Chen line to enthrone, but were unsuccessful in their quest. Thus, the area was divided into subprefectures and counties. Later, whenever he thought about there being no descendants of the Chen line, my Imperial father always mournfully sighed: `For many years, the area has been without peace and there has been constant toil for the Imperial armies. How can I be happy using troops?' Now, there is a descendant of the Chen line. Is it appropriate to grant this request or not?" The assembled ministers all said: "Your Majesty's wishes are the wishes of your ancestors. Your wish to rest the troops and bring peace to the people accords with the will of Heaven. It is appropriate to grant this request." The Emperor said: "The writer did not touch on the righteousness of ceasing military action. We must tell him not to engage in war. As long as the people obtain peace, I will not worry about people's words. His request is granted."

Xuan-zong: juan 32.9b-10b

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 17, page 0832/34

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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-2-month-10-day-29, accessed November 20, 2019