| East Asian History Sourcebook:
Manifesto of Accession as First Ming Emperor, 1372 C.E.
(Sent to Byzantine Emperor)
"Since the Sung dynasty had lost the throne and Heaven had cut off their
sacrifice, the Yuan [Mongol] dynasty had risen from the desert to enter and rule
over Zhongguo [China] for more than a hundred years, when Heaven, wearied of their
misgovernment and debauchery, thought also fit to turn their fate to ruin, and the affairs
of Zhongguo were in a state of disorder for eighteen years. But when the nation began to
arouse itself, We, as a simple peasant of Huai-yu, conceived the patriotic idea to save
the people, and it pleased the Creator to grant that Our civil and military officers
effected their passage across eastward to the left side of the River. We have then been
engaged in war for fourteen years; We have, in the west, subdued the king of Han, Ch'en
Yu-liang; We have, in the east, bound the king of Wu, Chang Shih-ch'eng; We have, in the
south, subdued Min and Yueh [Fukien and Kuang-tung], and conquered Pa and Shu [Sze-chuan];
We have, in the north, established order in Yu and Yen [Chih-li]; We have established
peace in the Empire, and restored the old boundaries of Zhongguo. We were selected by Our
people to occupy the Imperial throne of Zhongguo under the dynastic title of 'the Great
Ming,' commencing with Our reign styled Hung-wu, of which we now are in the fourth year.
We have sent officers to all the foreign kingdoms with this Manifesto except to you,
Fu-lin [Byzantium], who, being separated from us by the western sea, have not as
yet received the announcement. We now send a native of your country, Nieh-ku-lun [Fra. Nicolaus de Bentra, Archbishop of Peking], to hand you this Manifesto.
Although We are not equal in wisdom to our ancient rulers whose virtue was recognized all
over the universe, We cannot but let the world know Our intention to maintain peace within
the four seas. It is on this ground alone that We have issued this Manifesto."
From: F. Hirth, China and the Roman Orient: Researches into their Ancient and
Mediaeval Relations as Represented in Old Chinese Records (Shanghai & Hong Kong,
1885), pp. 65-67.
Scanned and edited by Dr. Jerome S. Arkenberg, Department of History, California State
University Fullerton. The text has been modified by Dr. Arkenberg. [Any modernization ©
2000 Jerome S. Arkenberg.]
This text is part of the Internet East Asian
History Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted
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© Paul Halsall, October 2000