Fascicle three

Records in the Pointed Script

Taizu 3

(Wanli 41, 1613)


(27)  ¡  In the twelfth month of that same Year of the Cow, Sure Kundulen Han spoke to his sons and all the appointed officials:  “If we ask, ‘What is it that makes our country strong?’, it is firm counsel and good, strong laws.  People who ignore firm counsel and relax existing firm prohibitions and regulations are useless to such a system (doro).  They are the demons of the country.  Even I myself have been saying that this is so. Are the words that I have spoken correct?  If they are mistaken, then don’t spare my feelings.  Chances are that, more than the thoughts of one person, what all of you think is more correct.  Sons and officials, tell me straight what you understand to be the truth.”


¡  In that same year, because a grain levy would have caused suffering to the gurun, ten men and four oxen were taken out of each niru to go begin cultivating untilled lands.  Since no grain tax was levied upon thegurun, the gurun became free from hardship.  Grain also became plentiful. After that, granaries were built.  Before that, there were no granaries.  (28)

In the sixth month of that year, four hundred soldiers were assigned to go with the official Eidu Baturu, and they brought one hundred horses and five hundred sheep from the Mongols pasturing in Yehe.


¡  When Sure Kundulen Han had, by the favor of Heaven, assembled a great gurun and taken up his royal authority,[1] he thought, “If I did not have sons, what would there be to say about me alone?  I now want my sons to govern.  If I pass power on to my eldest son, well, his heart has been small since he was young.  He doesn’t have a great, good, and generous heart to nurture the people (gurun).  If I pass rule to his younger brother, how, having set aside the older brother, can I go over him to appoint his junior?  After I, his father, have raised up my eldest son and established him in control over the entire gurun, once he has acquired power, then he shall surely cast aside his small-mindedness and develop a big and honest heart.”  [Then] he made his eldest son, Argatu Tumen, ruler.

But the eldest son, having thus been given power, did not rule the country with which he had been entrusted by the father-khan peacefully or with an honest, upright heart.  To create discord among the five officials whom, like the father-khan, he himself had appointed and fostered, (29) and distressing the four sons whom Sure Kundulen Khan loved like his own heart and liver, [he said], “Swear an oath that you will not disobey my words and will not report anything I say to the khan-father.”  Making them swear this on the evening star, he also said, “Brothers, the father-khan has given you fine things and good horses.  When the father-khan dies, [do you think] I will leave untouched the goods and horses he has given you and not try to redistribute them?  Once I am khan, I will kill any brothers or officials who have wronged me.”  Thus he troubled them.

Sure Kundulen Khan was unaware of the distress these four brothers and five ambans were thus suffering.  The four brothers and the five ambans took counsel, saying, “The khan does not know about our anxiety.  If we inform the khan, we will have to fear Argatu Tumen, who now holds power.  But if we fear our master, what will become of us?  For it is certain that the khan, after he dies, will not be able to protect us.  We may as well report our unbearable suffering to the khan and die [that way].”  The four brothers and five ambans deliberated thus and reported the matter to the khan.  The khan said, “If you communicate this orally, how will I remember it all?  Write a letter and bring it [to me].”  The four brothers and the five ambans each wrote out their plaint in a letter, which they delivered to the khan.

The khan took the letters, (30) and said to his eldest son, “These are the letters which your four brothers and the five ambans have sent denouncing you.  Read them.  Eldest son, if you have anything truthful to say, write a reply yourself and explain this.”  The eldest son replied, “I have no explanation at all.”  Then Sure Kundulen Khan said, “If you don’t have any explanation, you are at fault.  I have not transferred authority to you because I, your father, have become so old that I am unable to accompany the great army into battle or am unable to judge affairs of state and wield power.  If as your father, I hand over power to sons I have personally raised, then when the people (gurun) hear of this, they will know that the father is no longer included and that the sons have become rulers of thegurun and have taken power.  This is why I have transferred power to you, so that the gurun maybe aware of it.

“But the khan or prince of a country (gurun) who is in charge of government should be broadminded in order to foster peace and tranquility in the country.  How can I let you rule the gurun if you cause pain and suffering to the four sons born to your father, and the five ambans whom I appointed?  Having put in power you two sons born to the same mother, I gave you the majority of the people (gurun).  I decided to give much to the elder brothers, thinking that if there is nothing for the younger brothers, they can appeal to their elder brothers.  (31)  If they request it and the elder brothers don’t give them anything, then let them take it by force.  But if I give the elder brothers little and the younger brothers a lot, it is not fitting for someone who is an elder brother to appeal to his younger brother. Reasoning thus,  I gave to you two – you and your younger brother, who grew up first and were born of the same mother – each five thousand households, eight hundred head of livestock, ten thousand taels of silver, and eighty imperial decrees.  To all the sons born to my dear wife I gave each a little in the way of households (gurun), decrees and other things.

“Yet you say that the bounty I have thus given you is not enough, that you will take the things that belong to the younger brothers to whom I have given little, and moreover that you will kill the younger brothers and ambans who have witnessed your wrongdoing.  You sow discord between the four brothers and five ambans  You tell the four younger brothers and five ambans not to accuse you, not to report your malice to the khan, and you make the younger brothers swear all sorts of oaths.  If you are so small-minded as to think that the households (gurun), herds, property, things which I have given to you is little,  then divide up all the households, herds, all that I have passed onto you, and transfer everything in equal parts to your younger brothers!”

After speaking thus, when he went to battle in Ula in the autumn, he sensed the elder brother’s mean spirit and did not trust him.  So he commanded the younger brother born to the same mother, Guyeng (32)Baturu, to guard the city.  The next time, when they went to fight in Ula in the spring, again not trusting the elder brother, he left behind Manggūltai Taiji, Fourth Prince, and two younger brothers.

The two times that  the army went to Ula, the eldest son was not brought along, but was made to stay at home.  The eldest son consulted with his four friends, saying, “Once my households (gurun) have been divided in this way between my younger brothers, I won’t be able to go on living and will die.  Will you die together with me?”  The four friends answered, “If you die, beile, we will follow you unto death.”  Afterwards, when the father-khan went to fight in Ula, the eldest son did not worry about whether his father would win or lose battling against a country (gurun) that was equal to his in strength.  [Instead,] he wrote a letter cursing the father-khan, who had gone off to war with his brothers and the five ambans, and burned it, [so sending it] to heaven and earth.  Again he said to his friends, “May our troops who have gone to battle be crushed by Ula.  When they have been crushed, I will not give shelter in the walled city to my father or brothers.”

Having thus spoken these evil words, the person who had written the curse on the khan who had gone off to war, his younger brothers, and the ambans, thought to himself, “Sooner or later the khan is going to hear that this curse was written and burned. (33) Once he has heard about it, he is going to kill me before the multitude.  My beile has said that he has lost his own reason for living and will die.  Before my beile-father dies, let me die first.”  So saying, he wrote a note, left it, and hanged himself.  Because of his death, three of those who had said they would follow the beile in death became afraid and reported to the khan:  “Yes, it is true that we said we would follow the beile unto death, and, yes, it is true that we wrote and burned a letter cursing you.  Everything that has been said is true.”  Sure Kundulen Khan thought, “If I kill my eldest son, I fear this will set a precedent for those sons left alive,” and he did not kill him.  On the twenty-sixth day of the third month of the year of the ox, he imprisoned his eldest son Argatu Tumen, who was then 34 sui, in a compound behind high walls.

Sure Kundulen Khan’s younger brother, Darhan Baturu Beile, gave his elder brother much to complain about.  After his older brother the khan grew angry and reprimanded him, he took this scolding but then reproached the older brother Khan himself.  Because of the evil crimes of his younger brother, Sure Kundulen Khan had seized his households (gurun) and companions.  [Later], the younger brother beile admitted he himself had been in the wrong, (34) so Sure Kundulen Khan restored to him all the people and companions he had taken and continued to support him as before.  But because Sure Kundulen Khan’s eldest son Argatu Tumen had not admitted his malevolence, Sure Kundulen Khan, thinking that [this eldest son] would later end up ruining the livelihood [of all], imprisoned him in a house behind high walls.


¡  After Sure Kundulen Khan put an end to the generations-old khanal tradition of Ula, Bujantai fled by himself.  His troops had all been killed, most of his people (gurun) had been taken away, his cities and towns and all his territory had been seized.  [But] rather than seeking surrender with his three wives and eight children, [instead] he sought to marry the younger sister of Buyanggu beile of Yehe, whom he [earlier] had said he would take.  So he went to Yehe.  Sure Kundulen Khan said, “Bujantai, whom I could have killed in battle but spared; Bujantai, to whom I thrice gave a daughter and who was my son-in-law three times over; who, because he became my hated enemy I foughtand having done so, killed all his army and obtained all his gurun, Bujantai who has up and gone – bring him to me.”  Though messengers were dispatched three times [with this message], (35) Gintaisi and Buyanggu of Yehe did not deliver Bujantai.  As a result, Sure Kundulen Han announced that the army would set out on the sixth day of the ninth month and called out for the troops and horses to be assembled.

On the night of the third, a woman and a man engaged in [illicit] intercourse, and people found out about it.  The man fled in fear.  On the sixth, it was reported that the army had set out, so the people of Yehe all sought to protect themselves by moving to the districts of Jang and Gidangga.  Because it was said that three hundred households in the town of Usu had smallpox, they had not taken refuge there.

On the tenth day, forty thousand soldiers went out and surrounded the walled towns of Jang and Gidangga.  They apprehended all of the soldiers and detained the children and women.  Then they went to the town of Usu and surrounded it, and called out, “You people of this town, if you say you will submit, then submit.  If you will not submit and say you will fight, then what other town besides yours have we not been able to capture?”  The people from the town said, “If you spare us, we will submit. Your army is like a thick forest and flowing water, and your armor and helmets are like the snow and ice seen in the twelfth month.  How could our soldiers presume to resist?”  So saying, they submitted.  The two headmen of that town, (36) named Santan and Hūsimu, came forward, and prostrated themselves before the khan.  The khan gave them each a headpiece he had worn himself set with three freshwater pearls.  Having then changed their apparel, he served them liquor in golden cups.

They took the walled towns of Jang, Gidangga, Usu, Yaha, Hersu, Hodon, Kabcilai, and Ogidai, in total nineteen large and small villages, and they set fire and laid waste to all the houses, walls, and grain. They organized [the captives] into three hundred households and brought them back.  After the armies of Sure Kundulen Khan took and destroyed these nineteen villages of Yehe, then Gintaisi and Buyanggū of the Yehe submitted a complaint to Wanli Khan of the Chinese gurun, saying, “He attacked Hada and destroyed it.  He attacked Hoifa and destroyed it.  He attacked Ula and destroyed it.  Now, he is making war against Yehe, and he will finish us off.  After he has finished attacking us Jurchens, he will attack your Chinese gurun.  When he has attacked China and taken the cities of Liyoodong [Liaodong], he will settle himself there.  Having captured Simiyan [Shenyang] and Keyen [Kaiyuan], he will increase his herds of horses.”

The Chinese khan Wanli believed their report.  Previously, he had dreamed three times in one night that a person whose appearance was like a foreign girl, had mounted astride him, seized a spear, and pierced him with it.  The next morning he asked his learned men about it, and they said “Sure Kundulen Khan of the girl-like Nioi-jy [Nüzhi 女直] Manchu gurunwill steal the throne of our Chinese gurun!”  Before this [dream and the related prediction], (37) the Chinese khan had already been suffering anxiously; when Gintaisi and Buyanggū reported as they did, he concluded that the two accounts were in agreement.  The Chinese khan spoke frankly to Sure Kundulen Khan of the Nioi-jy Manchu gurun, and said, “Do not attack Yehe.  This is my counsel.  Having taken this advice, in not attacking Yehe, think about how stopping [this attack] will help me save face.   If [on the other hand] you ignore my advice and go to war against Yehe, [this means that]  sooner or later you will attack me.”  So saying, he sent five hundred soldiers, equipped with muskets and cannon, to each of the two walled cities of Yehe, and garrisoned them there.

To that speech, Sure Kundulen Khan replied, “This is a war of the Jurchen gurun.[2]  First the people (gurun) of the nine hala – Yehe, Hada, Ula, Hoifa, Monggo [Mongol], Sibe, and Gūwalca (38)– united and attacked in the twenty-first year of the reign of the Chinese khan Wanli (1593), the Year of the Snake.  Heaven condemned those forces that had come, and  I prevailed.  Then we killed a white horse, sprinkled its blood, and agreed to live peacefully, exchanging sons and daughters in marriage. In the twenty-fifth year of the reign of the Chinese khan Wanli (1597), the Year of the Rooster, we met again to swear an oath.  The Yehe changed their minds on this agreement and did not give the daughter they had said they would give.  Moreover, Bujantai, whom I raised, turned against me, so I waged war against him, killed all his troops, and captured all his people (gurun).  Although the Yehe had said they would convey Bujantai, who had run away alone, they did not hand him over.  This is why I went to war against Yehe.  For what reason would I make war against the great Chinese nation (gurun)?”  This was all written down in a letter.

On the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month, when Sure Kundulen Khan was going personally to deliver the letter at the gate of Fusi [Fushun], the sun rose from the mountains early in the morning.  At the middle of the hour of the rabbit [6 a.m.], on the Gure plain, reddish-green rays shone from both sides of the sun in the shape of a gate, and were following near the people.  Sure Kundulen Khan led the people and bowed to the rays of heaven.  After they bowed, (39) those heavenly rays stopped following the people and stayed [behind].  Setting out from there, they reached the walled town of Fusi early in the morning of the twenty-sixth, at the dragon hour [7 a.m.].  Major Li [Chengliang] of Fusi came out three li from the walled town to greet him and met him on horseback, his hand raised in greeting.  They dismounted at the training field, [Nurhaci] handed over the letter, and returned immediately at that hour.

¡  In the twelfth month, Jongnon Beile of the Jarut region (ba) of the Mongol gurun dispatched his son, Sangtu Taiji, because he wanted to give his daughter in marriage and become in-laws.


¡  In the Green Tiger year (1614), when Sure Kundulen Khan was fifty-six sui, in the fourth month, the Chinese khan Wanli wrongfully appointed Siyoo [Xiao] Beiguwan as a high official.  Lifted high on an eight-man sedan chair, he ordered [Nurhaci] to bow down before the emperor’s edict and threatened him in an ugly fashion.  When he spoke, having put down in writing various insults and exhaustively listing the failures and successes under the old rules, Sure Kundulen Khan replied, saying, “Why should I bow down to your threatening letter?”  So saying, insult being repaid with insult and compliment with compliment, he [Sure Kundulen Khan] sent him away without looking at the letter.  (40)


¡  On the fifteenth of the fourth month, Jongnon Beile of the Jarut region of the Mongol gurun brought his daughter himself to the place called Wehe Dogon [“Stone Ferry”], gave her to Guyeng Baturu Beile, the son of the great Genggiyen Khan [i.e., Nurhaci], and returned.  Then, on the twentieth of the fourth month, the daughter of Neici Khan of the Jarut region of the Mongol gurun was sent to the same place, Wehe Dogon, to the khan’s son, Manggūltai Taiji.


¡  On the tenth of the sixth month the daughter of Manggūs Beile of the Khorcin was sent to the son of the great Genggiyen Khan, Fourth Beile.  Fourth Beile set out to greet her, met her at Hūrki Hada [“Hūrki Cliff”] in Hoifa, and wed her with a great banquet.


¡  In the eleventh month, he sent five hundred troops, and in the twelfth month they attacked Sirin.  Leaving from there, they attacked Yarangurun, captured a thousand prisoners, organized them into two hundred households, and brought them back.


¡  In the twelfth month, Daicing Taiji, son of Hara Babai Beile of the Jarut region of the Mongol gurun, sent his daughter as a wife to the khan’s son, Degelei Taiji.



[1] Ma. aisin doro be jafafi banjire de, lit., “living having taken the goldendoro.”  The Japanese translation reads:  金國の政を執っていた, “taking charge of the government of the Jin kingdom.”  We have opted for a different reading than the Japanese translators on the basis of the repeated use of the word doro in this passage, where it appears to refer to the holding or possession (jafambi, jafabumbi) of governing authority.  The word aisin, meaning literally “gold,” is explicated by the sense of ennoblement, e.g., “royal,” “exalted,” “glorious.”

[2] There is no indication as to singular or plural.


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