Cheng-hua: Year 18, Month 7, Day 3
18 Jul 1482
The Vice Censor-in-Chief of the Right Cheng Zong was sent to conduct an investigation into the yi situation in Mu-bang, Yun-nan, and to propose appropriate arrangements. At this time, the Yun-nan Regional Commander Mu Cong and others had memorialized: "The yi woman Nang Han-nong of Meng-mi in the Mu-bang Pacification Superintendency is the daughter of Han Die-fa, the deceased pacification superintendent of Mu-bang. She married the chieftain Si Wai-fa of that office. The area has precious stone mines and these were given to her as a fief (lit. "to manage and eat"). When Han Die-fa died, his grandson Han Luo-fa inherited his post. Because she felt that she was of a noble family, Nang Han-nong would not submit to his rule and incited clan members to contest for the post. There was thus feuding and killing between them. During the Jing-tai reign (1450-57), she rebelled against Mu-bang, drove off the pacification superintendent, occupied the public office and killed and pillaged in neighbouring areas, taking nearly all of Long-chuan and Meng-yang. Her military power grew daily and she took on the title of "Daughter of Heaven" (天娘子). Her son Si Bing also assumed the title of pacification superintendent. Soon after, officials of the three offices were sent to soothe them, but these officials were deceived by the tribal chieftains, who persisted in their ways and did not submit. It has been heard that she has links with Jiao-zhi and wants to borrow troops to attack Mu-bang, Ba-bai and other areas. Now, if we intend to swiftly send troops, I am afraid that we will be unable to provide a continuous supply of grain rations. We should first arrange for the public notification of instructions, requiring them to examine themselves and change their ways. If they still do not accord, we must despatch troops to destroy them, so as to eliminate the yi troubles." The memorial was sent to the Ministry of War, and the Minister of War Zhang Peng and others advocated the use of troops. It was commanded that, as this matter had major implications, the senior ministers of the Military Commissions and Ministries be assembled to deliberate upon it. Those who engaged in the deliberations all said: "In the controlling of the yi , it is necessary to be very careful. Cong and so on have clearly noted that continuous grain supplies cannot be provided. Also, Laos has been engaged in repeated feuding with the Jiao people, involving much killing. We should not use troops. We should only issue public notifications or send an Imperial letter to Cong and so on with which to instruct them. If they can give up rebellion and accord with the law, return the villages and stockades they have captured to Mu-bang and Long-chuan, end the enmity and cultivate good relations, then all their previous crimes should be set aside and not investigated. If they persist in their criminal ways, it still will not be too late to send troops." Subsequently, the Grand Secretaries Wan An and Liu Xu also mentioned this matter, stating: "Meng-mi only harbours enmity towards Mu-bang, and is wrangling over villages and stockades in yi territory. They are not interfering with our borders. Also, in the sending of silver in lieu of labour and the offering of tribute, they have never defaulted. Thus, it is jointly proposed that soothing and instruction be stressed. Troops should not be rashly deployed. This is the most appropriate arrangement. However, we are particularly concerned about the advice that Imperial orders should be written and given to the Yun-nan defence officials and that they should send persons to soothe and instruct the people in these places. The persons whom that region will send will be battalion or guard commanders. Such officials are only interested in deploying troops, not in soothing and instructing. Soothing and instructing do not require money or grain, do not bring extra labour to the people and do not require the issuing of rewards. Thus, that method is of benefit to the Court. The deploying of troops requires the expenditure of money and grain and often gives rise to the plundering of people and valuables. Also, when the troops return, there have to be promotions made and rewards issued. This is of benefit to the military officials. Now, if what has been proposed is approved, they will certainly say that the yi people did not accord after soothing and instruction, and thus they had to deploy troops to resolve the matter. It is not that we begrudge the labor and expense which will be involved in deploying troops. We are only concerned that one loss will lead to another loss and those losses to repeated losses, and if the troops are subject to repeated defeats, their strength will be insufficient to do battle. Further, the Jiao people have long been engaged in spying. If they use the opportunity to start other troubles, it will be too late for regret! It is humbly hoped that a capable and knowledgable senior minister be ordered to take with him a person who is truly conversant with the situation of the yi and their language, and will personally go to this place together with the defence officials. There, they should promulgate instructions, stating that the Court cannot bear to to deploy troops and is thus pardoning their crimes of violence and improper appointment of chieftains. They should also be instructed to change their ways and move towards culture, and return the villages and stockades that they have occupied. If they are able to willingly accord with the instructions of soothing, then the people of the various provinces of Yun-nan, Gui-zhou, Si-chuan and Guang-dong/Guang-xi will not have to provide labour for transport, the troops will be saved the bitterness of battle and millions of living things will avoid the death and injury of war. This would truly demonstrate the great virtuous power of Imperial perspicacity. If they persist in their ways and do not heed the instructions of pacification, Nang Han-nong and Si Bing's crimes and evil will truly be excessive and Heaven will not be able to tolerate it. Then, after assessing the time and situation, troops should be raised to proceed against them and destroy them." The proposal was considered appropriate and was agreed to by the joint ministers. The Emperor assented to their proposal and approved the sending of a senior minister with an interpreter to take Imperial orders and to go to meet with Cong and then to personally proceed to that place to soothe and instruct the various yi of Meng-mi and other places. He was to advise that the former crimes would all be pardoned and not investigated and was to instruct them to return the areas of Mu-bang which they had invaded. He was also to examine and make arrangements for the areas subordinate to the border region, to ensure that there was peace and to memorialize on the arrangements. At this time, Zong had just completed mourning a deceased parent and the joint ministers proposed him for the task. Subsequently, it was ordered that he, together with the interpreter Su Quan, travel there in haste.
Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 48, page 3919/22