Entry

Yong-le: Year 6, Month 8, Day 19

8 Sep 1408

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An envoy was sent with orders of instruction for the Jiao-zhi rebel bandit Jian Ding and so on, as follows: "Recently, the Li bandits, father and son, killed the ruler and usurped Imperial titles. They acted tyrannically and engaged in rebellion, treated the people cruelly and plundered across borders. Thus, the generals were ordered to go and punish the wicked and console the the people. The chief evil-doers were captured and the others were eliminated. Prefectures and counties have been established, the good people are pacified and the people of the whole region are at peace in their occupations. Only you are now obstructing culture and refuse to conform, having organized a gang to oppose orders and plundered and harmed the people. The assembled ministers have requested that I raise an army to eliminate you. I have considered that my sending of troops will harm the people and affect the innocent and also considered that some people who have acted wrongly are able to change their ways and obey orders. Thus, I am sending these orders of instruction to you. In all actions, one mu st accord with the Way of Heaven. The Li bandits both father and son, committed crimes which mounted to Heaven and none could bear this. They were discarded by Heaven and thus had no power to resist. You have used the remaining bandits to go against Heaven and violate orders. Your elimination can be immediately expected. However, all people love life and fear death. In your heart, you of course, feel the same. Perhaps in a moment of stupidity, you did not think deeply and acted rebelliously, thus departing from the Way and leading to this. Perhaps you were harshly treated by an official and you were trying to preserve yourself. Perhaps you wish to change and repent but are apprehensive, frightened and undecided. Of men, who is without transgression? However, there are no persons greater than those who are able to change their ways after transgression. You should, in a timely way, clarify your mind in terms of the principles of rebellion and according, and examine which actions bring calamity and which bring prosperity. Seeking peace and benefit for oneself and protecting one's family is a long-term plan. If you are sincerely able to change your ways and can return to allegiance, all your previous transgressions will be forgiven and not punished. You will all be appointed as officials and will be given back your original territory, so that you can rule the people and your male descendants can inherit your posts. I have spoken from the heart and this will be made known throughout Heaven and Earth. If you blindly adhere to your erroneous ways, disasters will befall you and your family and it will be too late for repentance."

Tai-zong: juan 82.6b-7a

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 11, page 1104/05

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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-6-month-8-day-19, accessed November 17, 2019