Chong-zhen: Year 3, Month 12, Day 1

2 Jan 1631

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The Minister of War Liang Ting-dong memorialized:

"There are two reasons for the rise of the Fu-jian bandits, there are four reasons why they can act so wildly, and there are two reasons why they have spread and not been eliminated. Let me first discuss the reasons for their rise. In Fu-jian, the land is unproductive and the people poor. They rely for half their livelihood on the sea. This is particularly so of those in Zhang-zhou and Quan-zhou. Thus, they raise their sails and travel across the ocean. Northwards they travel to Zhe-jiang and southwards they travel to Guang-dong/Guang-xi. They trade and shift their residences between these places. Their domicile is the sea. Since the 'red yi' occupied Peng-hu, they have not been able to trade, and rice has become increasingly expensive. Thus, unemployed vagrants have begun to go to sea as followers of the yi. Bandits such as Yang Liu, Yang Qi, Zheng Zhi-long, Li Kui-qi and Zhong Liu all grew from such beginnings. This is the first reason for the rise of the pirates. The land of Fu-jian is unable to support the people. The wealthy people gather funds to trade across the ocean, in Luzon, Champa and the major and minor Western Oceans, and every year they make good profits. The poor become their boatmen and ship masters and may obtain annual salaries of 20 or 30 jin. When the south-east winds blow in spring and summer, the persons who go to sea to earn a living number in the hundreds of thousands. Since the 'red yi' occupied the inner territory, the ocean-going ships have not been able to pass. Thus, evil-doers have been putting to sea without permission, and the maritime prohibitions have been imposed increasingly tightly. Over one hundred thousand persons needing to eat cannot sit by and wait to starve to death, and thus the boatmen and ship masters have given their skills to the bandits. This is the second reason for the rise of the bandits...."

The Emperor said:

"The various restraint and defence measures have been well planned. Order their implementation as proposed. As to the relaxing of the maritime prohibitions, are the advantages or disadvantages greater? Order the grand coordinator and the regional inspector to deliberate on appropriate measures and advise."

Chong-zhen Chang-bian: juan 41.2a-3b Supplement

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 11, page 2449/52

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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/chong-zhen/year-3-month-12-day-1, accessed February 27, 2017