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Yong-le: Year 2, Month 10, Day 2

4 Nov 1404

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Verification tallies and gold-character red appointment warrants were manufactured and bestowed upon the native officials of the six pacification superintendencies of Mu-bang, Ba-bai/Da-dian, Lu-chuan/Ping-mian, Ava-Burma, Che-li and Laos, the four chief's offices of Gan-yai, Da-hou, Li-ma and Cha-shan, the Lu-jiang pacification office and the prefectures and subprefectures of Meng-gen, Meng-ding, Wan Dian and Zhen-kang, all in Yun-nan. Five verification tallies were cast in bronze. One was inscribed with the incised characters "Wen" (文), "Xing" (行), "Zhong" (忠) and "Xin" (信), which matched respectively with characters on the four [relief-cut] tallies. Corresponding despatch notes, tally-slips and reference stub books were compiled with designation characters together with numbers from one to one hundred. The designation characters used were, for example, "Che" ( ) for Che-li and "Mian" ( ) for Ava- Burma.


The incised-character tallies and the tally-slips were given to the native officials, while the reference stub-book was given to the Yun-nan Provincial Administration Commission. The four relief-cut tallies and 100 despatch notes were stored in the [capital] treasury. When the Court sent an envoy, he would be given one of the relief-cut tallies and a despatch note. When he arrived at the provincial administration commission, the despatch note would be checked against the reference stub-book and only then would people be sent to escort him to the native office. The native official would then check the relief tally against the incised verification tally and check the despatch note and only if they matched would he need to act in accordance with the orders. The despatch of tallies would follow the pattern of "wen" and then "xing" and so on in sequence, and after four despatches the sequence would start again. Also, red appointment warrants engraved in gold characters with Imperial orders of instruction were prepared.



The text ran: "Imperial orders to native official so-and-so of such-and-such a region. You were able to observe the orders of my father the Gao Emperor Tai-zu and never disobeyed. Since I ascended the throne, you have respectfully carried out your tribute duties and have been diligent in observing propriety. As the distant people have shown respect for righteousness, I have made special arrangements to soothe and pacify them. However, now, concerned that major or minor officials, military personnel or civilians, pretending to be envoys sent by the Court, might harm the people and engage in extortion, resulting in you engaging in rebellion, I have especially ordered the Ministry of Rites to cast verification tallies and provide these to you. Any time an envoy is sent or there are matters to be handled, all orders will be accompanied by a verification tally. If the despatch note numbers are not consecutive or the designation character does not match, or if there is a tally without a despatch note or a despatch note without a tally, the holders are frauds and you are permitted to arrest them and send them to the capital to be punished with death. Also, 100 tally-slips are being sent to you, with the corresponding reference stub book being sent to the provincial administration commission. Whenever, in your territory, there are military personnel or civilians who are in difficulties or you want to use your verification tally to handle some matters or send tribute of local products to the Court, you should fill in a tally-slip and then send a person to take it to the provincial administration commission, where it will be compared with the reference stub-book. The provincial administration commission and the regional military commission will then send an official to bring the completed tally-slip to the [Court] to memorialize advice.



If there are unusual occurrences on the border or disputes among the native people, you are to act in accordance with plans jointly devised by the regional military commission, the provincial administration commission and the provincial surveillance commission. After the events, you are to fill in a tally-slip and memorialize advice on your actions and the reasons for them. If the regional commander or the grand defender encounter such problems, the regional commander will make plans together with the three offices. Only if you receive the regional commander's written instructions on seal-impressed stationery of the regional military commission or provincial administration commission, are you to undertake the tasks. You are also to fill in a tally-slip and send a person to memorialize advice. If the Court sends a regional commander with a general's seal to engage in an expedition of punishment and you are required to arrange troops and horses, you need not wait for advice from the three offices. You are to immediately despatch them on the basis of the regional commander's seal. You are also to fill in a tally-slip and send someone to memorialize advice. When filling in a tally-slip and a character is wrongly written, note it clearly with a circle and stamp it with the office's seal to verify the correction. Also, when you are about to finish the tally-slips, memorialize and further will be issued. When newly-appointed officials take up their posts as regional commander or in the regional military commission or provincial administration commission and on festive occasions, you are not permitted to send presents of felicitation.



Now these orders are being engraved in gold letters on the red appointment warrant and this is to be hung in your place of administration and always observed. Also, a copy on paper is being sent to you. If some avaricious vagrants browbeat or maltreat you, do not bother to fill in a tally-slip. Simply send someone carrying these Imperial orders straight to the capital to advise, without going through the regional commander or the three offices. The offenders will then be punished with the heaviest penalties. This guan-fang tally is for the purpose of pacifying your people. You should handle matters as appropriate, respectfully observe orders, maintain good relations with neighbouring areas and become increasingly steadfast in your service of the superior. Thereby, your sons and grandsons will be able to guard your territory for generations and the people within your borders will long enjoy Great Peace. You are to respectfully observe My instructions and not be dilatory or lax in their observance."

Tai-zong: juan 35.1a-2b

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 10, page 0607/10

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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/yong-le/year-2-month-10-day-2, accessed October 23, 2019