Is it a useless minister or a pillar of injustice? Is Yuanchonghuan a general or not?

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The whole process of “examination and debate” is quite clear, that is, to confirm yuan Chonghuan’s ability by investigating all his deeds in Eastern Liaoning, combined with the textual research on “counter plot” and on the basis of clarifying the context of a series of events, to thoroughly understand the true reason why yuan Chonghuan killed maowenlong. When the above steps are completed, we can naturally get a more objective assessment. However, before going into further discussion, we need to establish some norms for discussion.

The most important thing in the textual research of historical issues is undoubtedly historical data, but historical data can be divided into many types. The authenticity and reference value of these historical data are quite different, so we must be cautious or even harsh when quoting. The historical materials mentioned here are mainly divided into “historical review”, “historical documents” and “original texts”.

“Historical review” is mainly the data formed by historical researchers who, according to the data in their hands, paraphrase historical events and make their own subjective evaluation. This kind of historical data has the weakest reference value, because it is a second-hand data with subjective opinions, which is not helpful to restore the historical truth. However, due to the lack of original data, the details of some events can be referred to through these reports in the absence of other historical data, but the authenticity of some narratives is questionable. Such historical materials are mainly official or non-governmental historical books, such as the history of the Ming Dynasty, Donghua record, guobian, Zaolin Zazu, a brief introduction to the north of the Ming Dynasty, the little knowledge of the emperor, the collection of the back of the Shikui book, the history of the Ming Dynasty, Liaohai danzhong record, Dongjiang legacy, biaozhong record, Dongjiang guest question, the record of the Quan in Yutang, the small record of border affairs, the record of the entry of western Liaoning into the Wei, and the record of dissecting the liver Bai Yuan Shu, etc.

“Historical documents” are historical records kept by officials who recorded history at that time in the form of “factual records”. The contents of these records have two aspects: the first is the original texts such as memorials, commentaries, Oracle and correspondence, and the second is the official attitude towards these historical events. Some of these records are directly transcribed, extracted from the original texts, and then briefly commented, Some simply record historical events and official attitudes in the form of narration, such as the true records of Taizu in the Qing Dynasty, the true records of Taizong in the Qing Dynasty, the true records of Xizong in the Ming Dynasty, and the true records of Chongzhen. The value of this kind of historical data is much higher than that of “historical review”, because most of the “historical review” are edited according to the actual records.

“Original documents” are first-hand materials, which generally refer to the originals of memorials, commentaries, Oracle, correspondence, etc. These originals are written by historical figures in the first person, and are of high historical value. Although some historical events have a history of hundreds of years from today, with these original texts, when we explore the truth of an event, it can let us restore the original dialogue of the parties in a historical scene as if we were on the spot, which is of immeasurable value to explore the historical truth of an event. The historical materials for collecting these original texts mainly include Chongzhen long Bian, the three dynasties’ Liao affairs, the two dynasties’ Cong Xin Lu, Dongjiang shujietang newspaper section copy, Du Zhi Memorial, Manchu old file, etc. in addition, there are various original texts copied and extracted from the actual records as the basis for the actual records, as well as relevant memorials and question books independently copied by other historical researchers.

To sum up, we can see a clear context, that is, “historical review” is based on “historical documents” and “original texts”, while “historical documents” are based on “original texts”.

According to such a context, we can formulate the following discussion norms: first, look for the historical data basis in the existing “original text”, if any, this shall prevail; Second, in the absence of “original text” support, it is based on “historical documents”; Third, only when there is no other information to find can we refer to “historical review”; Fourth, if the “historical review” conflicts with the other two kinds of historical materials, the other two kinds of historical materials shall prevail. If the “historical documents” conflict with the “original text”, the “original text” shall prevail.

After clarifying such a standard, we must also face up to a problem, that is, the “original text” itself is worth discussing. Although these “original texts” are the words of the parties, and most of them are official documents such as memorials, commentaries, letterhead, and petitions, which are comparable to testimony in court, what we seek is the historical truth. After we have obtained these “original texts”, we must see that these contents also have considerable subjectivity. The so-called “subjective” means that these “texts” all have “written backgrounds”, and the truth we seek is actually those “backgrounds”. However, some “texts” themselves are not to express the “written backgrounds” at that time, but to deliberately cover up these “backgrounds”, that is, the so-called exaggeration. Therefore, we must be cautious and skeptical in the face of historical materials, Sift the truth out of all the rhetoric and falsehoods.

Finally, let’s mention the Korean historical materials. Because many of that history has something to do with Korea, previous researchers sometimes cite Korean historical materials, such as the records of the Li Dynasty, the records of King renzu, the diary of chengzhengyuan, the records of the sun and the moon in chunpotang, and so on. Since the whole incident itself involves North Korea, it is certainly necessary to refer to the historical materials of North Korea. However, it should be noted that these historical materials cannot be subjectively considered as objective and accurate because they are from other countries. We cannot treat the historical materials of North Korea with such a mentality. Even Korean historical materials should refer to the previous discussion norms. On the basis of adhering to these norms, an additional article should be added to Korean historical materials as a supplement: “the Korean part respects Korean historical materials, while the Ming and Qing parts should respect Ming and Qing historical materials”. After all, compared with the domestic affairs in Korea, the relevant historical materials of the Ming and Qing dynasties can only be regarded as second-hand, while the historical materials of Korea that happened in the Ming and Qing dynasties have the nature of hearsay, so they can only be used as a reference and are not sufficient.

In addition to the standardization of historical materials, the confirmation of many data in historical materials is also a very difficult problem. In some cases, the data almost became the basis for the conclusion, but the expression of the data in ancient Chinese is often ambiguous, which has caused great difficulties for some key discussions. The problem of fuzzy data in ancient texts mainly comes from the following two aspects. On the one hand, as ancient texts, they are habitually fuzzy when expressing data. For example, even the “original text” uses a large number of vague numbers such as “hundreds of people”, “thousands of horses”, “tens of thousands of stones”, “hundreds of thousands” and so on; On the other hand, in many places, because the Expressionists deliberately vague the expression in order to “exaggerate” or “cover up”, and even deliberately exaggerate or narrow the wrong expression.

Because of these two issues, there are great disputes and differences on some key discussion points. As for the problem of “data fuzziness”, in addition to still adhering to the norms of historical data quotation, we also need to use existing knowledge in the discussion, make rational analysis in combination with historical data, and make rigorous arguments against some key data, so as to distinguish exaggeration and disguise, and restore the truth to the greatest extent.

One of the commonly used methods in screening is the counter evidence method, that is, using an exaggerated or wrong figure to deduce a conclusion that is inconsistent with common sense and common sense can counter prove the absurdity of this figure. This method is suitable for screening different records of a data in multiple historical materials; In addition, there are also continuous splicing with accurate local figures to finally obtain a generally similar estimation method for the whole. However, the estimation method of this method can only be used as a reference and can not be accurate. It is only suitable for estimating an overview, but can not calculate accurate data. In order to make up for its shortcomings, there must be other relevant data to compare and disprove; Finally, it should be noted that if neither of the above two methods can make an effective judgment, only the norms of historical materials can be used, that is, if the data mentioned in historical materials are original texts and historical documents, they can be cited as evidence, and if they are in historical comments, they can only be used as reference.

Before quoting a large number of historical materials for discrimination, it is necessary to establish the norms for the use of historical materials first, so as to avoid repeating and repeating the above principles for each specific problem encountered in the following discussion. After the specification is established, if it is necessary to distinguish figures or historical materials in the discussion, it is only necessary to refer to the above standards. Another function of establishing norms in advance is to show that the textual research and debate treat all kinds of data and historical materials equally, so as to strive for fairness and justice.

3 thoughts on “Is it a useless minister or a pillar of injustice? Is Yuanchonghuan a general or not?

  1. When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the same comment. Is there any means you may remove me from that service? Thanks!

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