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Xuan-de: Year 3, Month 3, Day 15

30 Mar 1428

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The Jiao-zhi chieftain Li Shao-ying and others, whom the Cheng-shan Marquis Wang Tong had sent on to present a memorial, arrived at the capital. The memorial read as follows: "Your minister Chen Hao, the third generation legitimate male descendant of your minister the former Chen king Fu of Annam, and your minister, the chieftain Li Li, memorialize: We humbly note that of all land under Heaven there is none which is not the Emperor's territory, and of the people on all shores, there are none who are not the Emperor's subjects. In the past, when the great Tai-zu Gao Emperor had just ascended the dragon throne, it was my ancestor Ri-kui, who first came to offer tribute. He was especially well-treated and the fief of king was conferred upon him. After this, the borders were protected generation after generation and tribute was brought without fail. Subsequently, as the Lis had usurped the throne and acted rebelliously, the Tai-zong Emperor raised an army to punish their crimes. When peace was restored, a proclamation seeking male descendants of the Chen family was issued, so that they could carry on the sacrifices to their ancestors. However, the descendants of the Chens had nearly all been eliminated by the Li bandit and those who remained alive had fled to distant parts. Thus, at that time, when the proclamation was issued seeking descendants, none was found. Therefore, subprefectures and counties were established to pacify and govern the people. At that time, I, Hao, had fled to Laos to extend my life by a few more breaths. I came to know that the people of the country were pining for my ancestors and they pressed me to return to the country. How could I not accord with their wishes! In the first year of the Xuan-de reign (1425/26), I returned to my native land and the people of the country, because of their allegiance to my ancestors, all gave their loyalty to me. Recently, I sent a person with a memorial, as well as a letter from Li Li and so on to the An-yuan Marquis and Regional Commander Liu Sheng, requesting that these be sent to the Emperor. They detailed the situation and requested orders. I also sent Li Li and his son, leading major and minor chieftains, to respectfully proceed to the military headquarters of the Cheng-shan Marquis Wang Tong, to present a request that the army be withdrawn, so as to protect all living things in our small country. The request met with approval and it was determined that the army would be withdrawn on the first day of the twelfth month of this year (18 Dec 1427). I realize that my crimes are many, and I thus am in a dilemma. I humbly note that although Heaven and Earth, in their treatment of the myriad things, may display anger through lightning and thunder, their intrinsic will to foster life is constant. Although parents, in the treatment of their children, sometimes educate them with the cane, in such action is contained their fine intentions of treating their children well. Thus, when people suffer pain, there are none who do not cry out to Heaven and to their parents. Therefore, your minister has to put forward these earnest words, advise of his grief and pray to the Court. It is humbly hoped that the Emperor will, in accordance with the proclamation of the Tai-zong Emperor, seek a male descendant of the Chen line and, taking into consideration the sincerity of my ancestor in being the first to offer tribute, forgive my mountains of crimes and spare me execution by dismemberment. In this way, I will be able to inherit the wilds of the southern border and bring tribute to the Heavenly Court. This would not only be for the benefit of myself and my family, but also for the benefit of all living things in the country. In fact, not only will it be of benefit to all living things in the country, but even my ancestors interred in the ground will also be greatly immersed in Heaven's grace. I will be eternally grateful, faithful and loyal, respectful in my tribute duties and remain endlessly sincere. Now, I am sending a human figure of gold and one of silver to represent ourselves, offered in acknowledgement of our crimes, together with the memorial and local products. I am sending the chieftain Li Shao-ying and others to present these and to respectfully risk death in submitting this memorial."

Xuan-zong: juan 40.3a-4a

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 18, page 0977/79

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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-3-month-3-day-15, accessed November 17, 2019