Yong-le: Year 4, Month 7, Day 5
19 Jul 1406
The various guard commanders from Zhe-jiang who were to participate in the expedition against Annam took leave of the Court. The Emperor said:
"Troops are being despatched to punish the tyrannical, and the tyrannical are being punished to protect the people. You must be careful to exercise restraint. As the soldiers proceed, they must not harm even a hair of the people in the places they pass through. The grain rations for the soldiers have been despatched using the labour of the people and thus the people have already suffered much. You should not trouble them further. When you enter Annam, you should distinguish between the good and the evil. Do not indiscriminately destroy the good and evil alike. The state is now despatching troops to console the people and punish the rebellious. On campaign, the commanders and soldiers must maintain strict discipline. Consoling the people and punishing the rebellious is intended to exhibit benevolence and righteousness. Discipline is for subduing the venal and the cruel. If the venal and the cruel are not subdued, goodness and propriety will not be found. You must exert yourselves to the utmost in this task and thereby carry out my commission. If any does not observe my orders and recklessly kills even one person, then regardless of whether they have otherwise realized outstanding achievements, there will be no way to atone for the crime."
Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 11, page 825