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Xuan-de: Year 6, Month 6, Day 7

15 Jul 1431

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Zhang Chang, vice minister of the right in the Auxiliary Ministry of Rites, and Xu Qi, vice commissioner of the right in the Auxiliary Office of Transmission, were sent with an Imperial proclamation ordering that the Annam chieftain Li Li temporarily take charge of the affairs of the country of Annam. The proclamation read: "I have respectfully taken on the Great Treasure and exercise rule over the people. I manifest Heaven's wishes in my affection for the people and follow the people's wishes in my rule. I look on those within the seas and those outside equally. You, Annam, are very close to China and when the state received the mandate, you were the first to show your allegiance. My ancestors were all particular about treating you well. Earlier, because the base fellow Li Ji-li usurped power, killed the ruler of the country and brought great suffering to the area, the Tai-zong Emperor sent an army to bring solace to the people and punishment to the wicked, and restore a member of the Chen family to the throne. However, despite wide searches, a male descendant of the Chens could not be found. Thus, in accordance with the popular will, prefectures and counties were established and officials were appointed. In the 10th month of the second year in the Xuan-de reign (Oct/Nov 1427), Chen Hao declared that he was a legitimate grandson of the deceased king of the country of Annam, and that he had returned from Laos. He and the chieftain Li Li jointly memorialized requesting that Hao be permitted to inherit the throne of the Chens. Their words were extremely earnest. Looking up, I noted the will of my forebears and looking down I felt sympathy for the people. Thus, I recalled the officials appointed to administer the area and the troops sent to guard the borders. As the appointment of a ruler is a serious matter and it was necessary for the appointment to accord with the will of the people of the country, a proclamation was issued to those in the country, requiring them to investigate the people's wishes. Then, suddenly, Li Li memorialized that Hao had died. Was this the Will of Heaven? Or was it a plot by man? For several years after this, the Annam chieftains and elders memorialized that the Chen descendants were all dead and requested that Li Li be put in charge of governing the country. Everyone spoke of his loyalty and memorials arrived continually. I was pleased that someone had been found to govern the people and now I am allowing the request. I am sending special envoys with a seal and am ordering that Li temporarily take charge of the affairs of the country of Annam and govern the people of the country. Verily, according with the wishes of the people spreads the great benevolence of Heaven, while being sincere in serving the superior preserves the happiness of all living things. This proclamation is being made so that all will hear and know of this." Other orders were sent to Li, as follows: "I am now ordering that you temporarily take charge of the affairs of the country of Annam. Respect my orders and do not act in an overbearing or contemptuous manner. Only by being sincere can you attain to the knowledge of Heaven; only by being respectful can you serve the superior; only by being benevolent can you sway the people; and only by being trustworthy can you protect your state. Increasingly exert yourself, as thereby you will bring yourself blessings. Respect this!" Paper money and silks were conferred upon He Li and the others and they were sent back in the company of Chang and so on. In addition, paper money for travelling expenses was conferred upon Chang and the others.

Xuan-zong: juan 80.1b-2a

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 20, page 1848/49

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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-6-month-6-day-7, accessed November 17, 2019