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Yong-le: Year 5, Month 9, Day 5

5 Oct 1407

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The Assistant Commissioner-in-chief Liu Sheng and others who who had been sent by the Jiao-zhi Regional Commander and Xin-cheng Marquis Zhang Fu, and the Deputy General of the Left and Xi-ping Marquis Mu Sheng, to bring the victory notification and present the captured prisoners, arrived at the capital. The notification read:

"The Sage's benevolence in looking on all equally manifests Heaven and Earth by covering and containing all. The ancient Emperors had nine reasons for an expedition of punishment and they used these to rigorously handle attacks and oppression by the wild tribes of the north and south. Thus, in succouring the people, there was nothing more pressing than the elimination of evil and, while ruling within, they did not ignore the maintenance of peace in distant areas. Li Ji-li, the rebel bandit of Annam, changed his name to Hu Yi-yuan, while his son Li Cang changed his name to Hu Di. For generations they had been ministers but they were disposed to evil and malevolence. They then displayed the evil of poisonous snakes, acting in treacherous and malicious ways. They repeatedly carried out attacks across their borders and acted aggressively against neighbouring territories. They killed their ruler and usurped rule of the country and then proceeded to eliminate the members of the Chen family. They changed the dynastic title and adopted a reign title and wildly referred to themselves as the descendants of You Yu. They were insatiable in their desires and everyone hoped for their elimination. Their accumulated crimes piled to Heaven and the cries of injustice shook the Earth. The Emperor in his goodness was forgiving and he sent Imperial letters repeatedly urging them to change their ways. The great virtue of Heaven and Earth was spread far and wide to include them but, with the sentiments of devils, their deceit continued without end. They pretended to welcome the return of the former king's grandson but cruelly meted out the ultimate punishment to him. They also intercepted and obstructed the envoys of the Court. They had become versed in rebellious behaviour and the spirits were angered. The distant and the near had all been harmed and, in accordance with the Imperial patterns, it was necessary that the perpetrators be eliminated. How could the Emperor have acted otherwise! We respectfully observed the sagacious wisdom and reverently accepted the commission of Heaven's majesty. 

"Last year on the 14th day of the 10th month (24 Nov 1406), the army reached Qin-zhan and sped across the Fu-liang River. The generals and lieutenants enthusiastically vied with each other to be first forward and the native troops remained loyal and followed orders. We took the ramparts of Duo-bang and went on to capture the two capitals. The local people welcomed us and the towns were not disturbed. We searched out the bandits in the undergrowth and marshes and repeatedly did battle upon the rivers and the sea. All those who returned to allegiance were peacefully settled, while those forces which resisted were all destroyed. The swords flashed with a force more brilliant than the Niu and Dou Constellation while the sound of the army shook the man and the yi. The evil gang was massacred but the chief evil-doers skulked away to seek rest. Your ministers Fu and Sheng advanced on both land and water, travelling both day and night. The Mobile Corps Commanders Zhu Guang and Wang Shu pursued them to Ri-nan Subprefecture, while the Assistant Commissioner-in-chief Liu Sheng and the Sea-crossing Commander Lu Lin exerted pressure on them from the Qi-luo Sea. The flags and banners shone dazzingly and the grass and trees along the river and on the plains were turned red. The war-drums rumbled and huge waves filled the vast ocean. The malodorous smells were eliminated and the mosquitoes and gnats lost what they relied upon. The villages and undergrowth were fired and the jackals and wolves were captured and bound. The rebel bandits, both father and son, and their false generals and ministers were all thus taken into captivity. We have respectfully spread the Imperial will and made known Imperial grace by calming those who fled and being forgiving of those who were coerced. The householders were pleased that they had been saved from great suffering, while in the fields people were singing, happy that they could see the rainbow. The evil influences have been now been removed and the pestilence eliminated.

"We respectfully send to the Court those who were captured as follows: Li Ji-li, the leader of the bandits and the false Father of the Emperor of Great Yu; Li Cang, the false ruler of Great Yu; the bandit's son Li Cheng, the false Promoter of Loyalty, Guardian of Rectitude, Meritorious Statesman in Assisting the Great Cause, Military Commissioner of Yun-tun Commandery, Gui-hua Commandery, Jia-xing and other commanderies, Surveillance and Supervisory Commissioner within the Tao River Jurisdiction, Commissioner with Extraordinary Powers Over the Military Affairs of Yun-tun, Gui-hua and Jia-xing Commanderies, Supreme Area Commander of the Eastern Route and the Tian-chang Prefecture Route, Lord Specially Advanced, Commander Unequalled in Honour, Officer Conferred with Inner Access, Honourary Counsellor-in-Chief of the Left, Intendent of the Country's Security, Recipient of the Satchel of the Golden Fish, Supreme Pillar of the State and Wei-guo Great Prince; Li Dun, the false Supreme Cavalry Commander of Tai-yuan Commandery and Tian-guan Commandery and Liang-guo Prince; Li Wang, the false cavalry commander of Xin-an Garrison and Xin-xing Commandery Prince; Li Rui, the bandit's grandson and false Heir Apparent; Li Lu (Alt: Li Hun) false heir to a commandery princeship; Li Ni, false heir to a subordinate commandery princeship; five other juvenile grandsons; Li Ji-pi, the bandit's younger brother and false senior cavalry commander of Lin-an Commandery and Da-an Sea Commandery, Lord Specially Advanced, Commander Unequalled in Honour, Officer Conferred with Inner Access, Counsellor-in-Chief, Intendent of Affairs, Recipient of the Satchel of the Golden Fish, Supreme Pillar of the State, and Tang-lin Commandery Prince; Li Yuan-jiu, nephew of the bandit and false Bulwark General of the State for Wang River Garrison, Officer Conferred with Inner Access, Supervisor of Military Commissioners and He-yang Commandery Subordinate Duke; Li Zi-xing, the false commander of the Long-xing Route and Ping-lu County Senior Marquis; Li Shu-ye, a grandson of the nephew of the bandit, false Director of the First Bureau of the Imperial Sedan-Chair Office and Xiang Marquis; Li Bo-jun, the false Qing-ting Marquis; Li Ting-shan, the false Shi-tang Village Marquis; Li Ting-kuang, the false Yong-lu Ting Marquis; Hu Du, the bandit general, Assistant Observer of Court Affairs, Officer Conferred with Inner Access, Master of Protocol of the Left in the Palace Eunuch Service, Provisional Adjutant of Liang-shan Garrison, Associate General Supervisor of Liang River Route, Recipient of the Satchel of the Golden Fish, Pillar of the State and Dong-shan Village Marquis; Ruan Yan-guang, the false Associate Administrator of Envoys, Officer Conferred with Inner Access, Administrator of the Left, Deputy Minister of the Bureau of Military Affairs; Li Jing-qi, the false Grand Master for Proper Service, Envoy with Inner Access, Grand Master of the Left for Remonstrance, Joint Manager of Affairs within the Secretariat, Governor of the San River Route, Military Commissioner of Xin-an Commandery, Chancellor of the National University, recipient of the Satchel of the Golden Fish and Military Protector; Duan Bi, false general of the Ning Guard, Administrator of the Awesome Guard, Commander of the Imperial Standby Force of the Right, Recipient of the Golden Regimental Tally and County Earl; Chen Tang-meng, false Firearms Force Commander and Ting Earl; and Fan Liu-cai, the false adjutant of Gou-ling (Alt: Gou-qian) Guard, Commander of the Long-jie Army and commandant of the Zhuang-ying Garrison.

"We are respectfully sending the Assistant Commissioner-in-chief Liu Sheng, the Sea-crossing Commander Lu Lin, the Firearms Commander Zhang Sheng, the Assistant Commissioner Yu Rang, the Vice Commander Liang Ding and the Assistant Commander Shen Zhi to escort the prisoners in caged carts to the capital, together with 16 false personal gold seals to present to Your Majesty.

"That we humble useless beings have been able to follow in the steps of the famous is due to the fact that we looked to the Imperial ancestors for their strategy and because we utilized the Emperor's might. Thereby there were none who could withstand our force. The wind has blown and the grass has bent and now Heaven's radiance again extends to the boundaries of old. The prosperous rule of the great peace of Yong-le has been instituted and the pleasure and joy which have resulted from this are endless. The notification of victory is hereby respectfully presented."

The Emperor received them at Feng-tian Gate, where all the civil and military officials were in attendance. The vice minister of the Ministry of War Fang Bin read the proclamation. When he came to the words, "they killed their ruler and usurped rule of the country" and "They changed the dynastic title and adopted a reign title", the Emperor asked of Ji-li and his son: "Is this the way of a minister?" Neither Ji-li or his son was able to answer. After Bin finished reading, it was ordered that Ji-li, his son Cang and the false general Hu Du all be sent to prison. His sons and grandsons Cheng, Rui and so on were pardoned and it was commanded that the officials provide them with food and clothing.

Tai-zong: juan 71.1b-3b

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 11, page 0988/92

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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-5-month-9-day-5, accessed November 17, 2018