Xuan-de: Year 2, Month 11, Day 1
19 Nov 1427
It was ordered that Li Qi, vice minister of the left in the Auxiliary Ministry of Rites, and Luo Ru-jing, vice minister of the right in the Auxiliary Ministry of Works proceed as chief envoys, that Huang Ji, commissioner of the right in the Auxiliary Office of Transmission, and Xu Yong-da, chief minister of the Court of State Ceremonial, proceed as deputy envoys, and that they take a proclamation of soothing and instruction to Annam. The proclamation read: "Heaven manifests the ultimate in benevolence and accords with the wishes of the people. The Emperor represents Heaven and rules in accordance with the people's will. In the past, when our great Tai-zu Emperor took on the Heavenly mandate and began ruling the Chinese and the yi, Chen Ri-kui, the king of the country of Annam, was the first to demonstrate his sincerity. He respectfully carried out his duties as a minister and his descendants continued to be equally sincere in their actions. Then the king was killed by the bandit minister Li Ji-li, who usurped the throne from the Chens, killed all the Chen family and brought great suffering to the people of the country. In response to the plaints, the Tai-zong Emperor ordered the generals to take an army and proceed to carry out Heaven's punishment, to eliminate the oppressor and to restore the broken line of succession. This was truly based on sagely benevolence. Li Ji-li and his son were both captured alive, but despite a great search throughout the country, no descendants of the Chen line could be found. Thus, it was ordered that subprefectures and counties be established and that officials be appointed to soothe and rule the area. As years went by, in their pacification, the appointed officials acted improperly, resulting in unrest, and again troops were despatched. When I became ruler of all under Heaven, I could not bear to see so much suffering for so long. I thought of this day and night and sought to bring peace. Now, the general military commanders have advised of the words of the Annam chieftain Li Li and the others, noting that a descendant of the former Chen kings remains alive and that the people wish him to be their ruler. They requested orders permitting him to inherit the throne, so that he could forever fulfil his tribute functions. On reading this, the earnestness of the words truly touched my heart. It is appropriate that I promulgate orders of grace and make a new appointment. All senior and lesser officials, military personnel and civilians of Jiao-zhi, regardless of whether they have committed major crimes or minor crimes, are all pardoned. In respect of the male descendants of the Chens of Annam, it is ordered that the chieftains and elders are to investigate the facts together and advise. After that an envoy will be sent to carry out the appointment and subsequently, in the bringing of tribute to the Court, the old system in force during the Hong-wu reign (1368-98) will be followed. The Cheng-shan Marquis and Regional Commander Wang Tong and so on are to immediately lead the government troops back to their original guards and battalions. All of the civilian and military officials and clerks, commanders and troops of the Jiao-zhi Regional Military Commission, Provincial Administration Commission and Provincial Surveillance Commission as well as of all guards, battalions, prefectures, subprefectures and counties, are all to return home together with their family members. Also, all of the grand defenders and eunuch and palace officials who were sent on officials duties, are to return to the capital. Verily, in restoring a broken line of succession, the Emperor is fulfilling the wishes of his ancestors, resting the troops and bringing peace to the people. With virtuous power as vast as the Universe, I am especially issuing this proclamation in conformity with my great concern."
Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 17, page 0835/36