Entry

Cheng-hua: Year 13, Month 5, Day 24

4 Jul 1477

Next Entry >>
<< Previous Entry

The Vice Censor-in-Chief of the Left Wang Shu, grand coordinator of Yun-nan, memorialized: "Recently, it has been heard that the country of Annam has been frequently sending persons secretly into Lin-an and other areas to spy on the situations there. Also, at Lian-hua Rapids in Meng-zi County, they are trading for lump copper (生銅), which they take to use in the manufacture of weapons. Further, on the Jiao border, they have established a false regional commander and other officials, who patrol backwards and forwards. The defence at the passes is very tight. It has been heard that there is a Jiang-xi person surnamed Wang, who in the past falsely declared that he was domiciled in Yun-nan and competed in the examinations, but unsuccessfully. Following this, he fled to Annam and was appointed to one of their false censor posts. Most of Annam's excessive and reckless actions have been planned by him. It has also been reported that some soldiers who have returned from Annam say that the Jiao people have annexed Champa and now they want to take advantage of that victory to attack Yun-nan. Their evil plans and guileful strategies are numerous. Their designs are obvious even before they are implemented. Lin-an is very close to Annam. Although a guard has been established, the government troops guarding the city number only 200-plus persons. The 25 guards in the whole of Yun-nan have no more than 13,000 troops. Further, the area is populated by the various yi and very little can be gained through taxes. The grain rations for the government troops are supplied by state farms, and it is estimated that the stored grain is only sufficient for a year. In recent years, there have been droughts and natural disasters and this year the situation is particularly bad. Bandits and robbers have appeared and there is scarcely a day of peace. The native officials of the various areas have been feuding with and killing each other for successive years. Further, the silver tax and the demands for goods to be sent as tribute bring great trouble to the people. Also, Qu-jing and Liu-liang to the East and Er-hai and Da-li to the West of Lin-an, and other places lack people who can be employed. It is requested that of the drilled troops in the 22 guards under Yun-nan, it be considered deploying 4,000, divided into two forces, to alternate on defence duty in Lin-an. Also, a further post of surveillance vice commissioner should be established to be solely involved in arranging military defence. The kai-zhong system should be implemented in the salt tax offices at the An-ning, Hei and Bai salt wells in order to ensure that the troops have sufficient grain rations. There should be a temporary cessation of the levying of silver taxes and the offering of precious stones in tribute, so that the people's suffering can be relieved. Further, my talents and abilities are very mediocre and I am old and worn out. It is thus also requested that a senior civil official who is in the prime of life and who is fully capable be appointed to replace me as grand coordinator and that I be allowed to return to my village to live out my remaining years." The memorial was sent to the Ministry of War which deliberated and stated: "The Jiao people have come across the border to spy and to purchase copper. The grand defender and other officials have long tolerated this and not advised of it. It has been advised that someone surnamed Wang has been appointed as a false official and that the Jiao people have raised troops to patrol the border and falsely established a regional commander and other official posts. If we suddenly deploy troops to be on guard in rotation, we are afraid that the Jiao people will take this as a pretext for starting trouble. However, we are also concerned that if we do not step up our defences, we may be faced with unexpected rebellion. We must plan and consider things in a complete and comprehensive way. We should outwardly display liberality and sympathy, while inwardly we must truly strengthen our defences. We should have the grand defender, the grand coordinator and other officials there investigate and deliberate on appropriate arrangements for Lin-an and other places, and have them memorialize on whether or not we should establish a vice commissioner post there or send troops to provide defence." It also noted: "Shu's stamina is not yet exhausted. Recently he was promoted to censor-in-chief of the right and his abrupt replacement should not be considered." The Emperor approved their memorial and ordered that Shu devote himself to his duties as grand coordinator of the region. The Ministry of Rites also deliberated on the levying of silver taxes and the offering of precious stones in tribute. It held: "There should be a temporary cessation of such levies." It was Imperially commanded that, apart from annual taxes and normal tribute, all other levies were prohibited, so as to prevent the squeezing and harassment of the people.

Xian-zong: juan 166.10b-11b

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 46, page 3016/18

Next Entry >>
<< Previous Entry

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/cheng-hua/year-13-month-5-day-24, accessed November 18, 2018