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Xuan-de: Year 3, Month 5, Day 18

30 Jun 1428

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It was ordered that Luo Ru-jing, vice minister of the right in the Auxiliary Ministry of Works, and Xu Yong-da, chief minister in the Court of State Ceremonial, again proceed to Jiao-zhi with Imperial orders for the instruction of Li Li, the elders, the soldiers and the people. The Imperial orders read: "I manifest the way of Heaven in ruling all lands, accord with the wishes of the people in governing, and look on all both within and outside the seas equally. Among those under my rule are the people of Jiao-zhi who, having not forgotten the Chens, requested the appointment of their descendant so that he could govern the area. I sympathized with the people and thus allowed your wishes, pardoned all former crimes and recalled the expeditionary force. It was Imperially commanded that the chieftains and elders should memorialize the facts in respect of the male descendants of the Chen line, so that the details could be used for the appointment. Now Li Li and so on have memorialized that the Chen male descendant, named Hao, died of illness in the first month, and that there are now no more male descendants. In a matter of months, the words have suddenly changed. The Chen family governed the people for generations and it is inevitable that their descendants have the respect of the people. When, in the past, the government troops first pacified Jiao-zhi, a proclamation was issued seeking a male descendant of the Chens to place on the throne. The people of the country all said that the Chens had been completely exterminated by Li Ji-li. Thus, prefectures and counties were established in the region. However, after 20-plus years, Hao was found to be still alive. How is it, on Hao's death, that it is suddenly said that there are no more male descendants? It must just be that the chiefs and elders have not yet enquired widely enough. There must be descendants who have not dared declare themselves. The way of a minister is to be completely sincere. Even if he is slightly less than totally sincere, it cannot be said that he is loyal. When these orders arrive, you chieftains, elders, military personnel and civilians should devote yourselves to enquiring about the Chen descendants and memorialize on this. Thereby, it will be possible to issue orders whereby the broken line of succession will be restored and the region will be pacified. This will manifest my embodiment of Heaven's love of the people and demonstrate my far-reaching powerful virtue. All people, whether near or far, should enjoy the prosperity thereby produced. All of the Court's officials, clerks, military personnel and civilians, as well as their family members, who have been detained in Jiao-zhi, should be quickly sent back, so as to soothe the longing of their fathers, mothers, wives and children. The detained weapons should also all be returned. In this way, you will be able to seek the road of prosperity. I treat people with the greatest sincerity. Do not doubt me as thereby you will long bring concerns to yourself." Paper money for the expenses of the journey was conferred upon Ru-jing and so on. In addition, paper money and suits of clothing made from fine patterned silk, were conferred upon the chieftain Li Qi and others, who had been sent by Jiao-zhi, and they were ordered to travel back together with Ru-jing.

Xuan-zong: juan 43.6a-b

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 18, page 1053/54

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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-5-day-18, accessed October 30, 2020