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Cheng-hua: Year 17, Month 9, Day 26

18 Oct 1481

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An Imperial proclamation was issued for the instruction of Li Hao, the king of the country of Annam, requiring him to return Champa's territory. At this time, the envoy sent by Gu-lai of the country of Champa, memorialized: "In the fourth month of the fifth year of the Tian-shun reign (May/Jun 1461), Jiao-zhi raised troops and invaded our country, carried off our king, destroyed our cities and plundered the seal provided by the Court. The king's younger brother Pan-luo Cha-yue fled to reside at Mt. Fo-ling. In the sixth year of the Cheng-hua reign (1470/71), he memorialized requesting a seal and enfeoffment. However, before the Court's envoy arrived, Pan-luo Cha-yue was carried off by Jiao-zhi. I and my elder brother Zhai-ya-ma-wu-an secretly fled to the mountain forests. Later, the Jiao people, fearful of the Heavenly Court, sent people to seek out the male descendants of the country's ruler. They then returned to us five areas of territory, from Bang-du-lang to the Cambodian (占臘) border and Zhai-ya-ma-wu-an was established as king. Not long after, Zhai-ya-ma-wu-an died. Now, it is appropriate that I inherit the throne, but I do not dare to act presumptuously. It is requested that a Court envoy be sent, that a seal be conferred upon me and that I be enfeoffed as king. It is also requested that the Jiao people be especially instructed to return all of our country -- the entire 27 areas, comprising four prefectures, one subprefecture and 22 counties. Our territory extends East to the Eastern Sea, South to Cambodia, West to Mt. Li-ren , and North to A-mu-la-bu, a total of over 3,500 li. I humbly seek Heaven's grace in appointing me ruler of our small country." It was ordered that the officials be assembled to deliberate upon the memorial. The Minister of War Chen Yue, the Ying-guo Duke Zhang Mao and the Minister of Personnel Yin Ming advised: "Annam has long been attacking and occupying Champa. The Court sent instructions and warnings to Annam, but Annam only returned five areas of territory. Now, Gu-lai, not deterred by the vast distance involved, has sent an envoy to lay plaint. If the Court does not grant his request, the respectful and hopeful hearts of the distant peoples will not be consoled. We should send two Court officials who have obvious prestige and are skilled in expression as envoys to Annam to instruct the king to return all of Champa's former territory." It was commanded that it was not necessary to send officials, but rather that, when an envoy from Annam was returning home, the Imperial orders should be sent to Hao. The orders read: "I have been commissioned by Heaven to treat the people as my children and this influence extend both within and without the seas. Everywhere, I try to maintain peace so that all have their place, and I look on all equally. Your country of Annam and the country of Champa have, since the times of the Qin and the Han dynasties, been subprefectures and counties of China (皆中國郡縣), not distant from the capital. Previously, Champa memorialized that you raised troops, carried off their king, killed their people and captured their cities and land. I had great sympathy for them and twice sent you Imperial orders instructing you to return what you had captured in order to accord with the Great Precepts of Right Conduct. You repeatedly memorialized that the captured men and women had been sent back to their country and also said that the borders were fixed and asked how it could be suggested that you had invaded and made war. I believed this and was not suspicious. Now, Gu-lai from Champa has sent persons to request that he be enfeoffed. Only on enquiring as to the reason was it found that all of their territory has been occupied by your country, and that you have returned only one-fifth to them. Looking at these actions of yours, it seems that you are covertly plotting to annex other countries, but are overtly saying that you are maintaining good relations with these neighbouring countries. Does someone who respects the Great Precepts of Right Conduct act thus? The reason I have repeatedly sent orders to you is not that I privately favour Champa. I want you to manifest my manner of looking on all equally, maintain good relations with neighbouring states and show sympathy to the people. This will bring prosperity to the people of both countries. It is as if you do not know of or have not seen what resulted after your forefathers engaged in revenge attacks against Champa. You should examine the matter closely. The elders of your country will know of this in detail. You should examine and think about this. In ancient times, it was said that a moral country employed the power of virtue rather than force. Since you received the fief, not only have you attacked Champa, but recently you have also killed the tribute envoy from Melaka and tattooed and made slaves of his attendants. Also, you have induced enmity with neighbouring fiefdoms and there have been many plaints laid against you. Do you think that this will bring you prosperity. Verily, fearing Heaven and protecting the state, serving the superior and showing compassion to subordinates are the actions of the virtuous and wise. Why do you not try to act thus? When these orders arrive, you should consider the strength of mutual reliance, attach importance to getting on well with neighbouring states and return all of Champa's former territory, so that the sacrifices to their ancestors can be continued and their line of succession can remain unbroken. Thus, not only will all living things in your two countries be able to avoid the calamities of war, but your reputation will be handed down in books and your descendants will enjoy ever-lasting prosperity. You should fully manifest these orders, so as not to give rise to future regret."

Xian-zong: juan 219.6a-7b

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 48, page 3795/98

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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://www.epress.nus.edu.sg/msl/reign/cheng-hua/year-17-month-9-day-26, accessed November 18, 2018