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Hong-zhi: Year 12, Month 10, Day 6

8 Nov 1499

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Previously, the Eunuch Director Ji Qing, grand defender of Jin-chi, advised that Si Lu of Meng-yang wanted to offer tribute of local products. The Ministry of War deliberated and advised that this could not be permitted. Subsequently, Qing, as well as the Investigating Censor Xie Chao-xuan, regional inspector of Yun-nan, and others advised that Si Lu had the desire to absorb Meng-mi and regain his former territory. Three plans of soothing through threats, severe castigation and an expedition of elimination were put forward and these were sent to the Yun-nan grand defender, grand coordinator and others to deliberate on and advise. At this time, the Censor-in-Chief Li Shi-shi, grand coordinator of Yun-nan, and others memorialized: "In the past, as Si Die of Meng-mi had occupied Mu-bang's territory, the troops of Si Lu were deployed to threaten him. Only then did Si Die return the land and accept soothing. Unexpectedly, after Si Lu had crossed the river, he occupied Si Die's territory and fighting went on endlessly. Repeated efforts were made to soothe and instruct him, but Si Lu, despite having occupied the territory and not withdrawn, he still offered local products in tribute. I have heard that some officials requested that his tribute be refused and that some have asked that orders of severe castigation be sent to him. In my view, neither of these are suitable policies. Why is this? In past years, what Si Die offered in tribute was rubbish. Now, although we do not know what is in Si Lu's heart, he is overtly drawing near to right. If we suddenly obstruct him, we will anticipate his deceit and it will not be demonstrating grace. If his tribute is refused and he does not withdraw from the land, how will the situation then be handled? Si Lu wrote a letter in Mian script saying only: `I have sent the yi troops of the various tao-meng across the river to our Long-gang. This is because of Si Die.' There were no insulting words. If Imperial orders are sent and he does not withdraw from the land, how are we to handle the situation? Si Die occupied 27 places in Mu-bang and opposed the Court's orders for over 40 years. Great amounts were expended on this and the government troops were exhausted through this. He went against orders and committed crimes which even his death could not expiate, and yet as soon as as he responded to the soothing, the Court disregarded his crimes and did not further investigate them. Si Lu has now occupied Si Die's territory. This is not a blameless act, but he assisted with troops in the soothing of Si Die by threats. This was advantageous to us. Advisers have, in memorializing on matters in Mu-bang, concealed details of the deployment of Si Lu, and they have ignored and not recorded details of Si Lu's assistance to the troops in the soothing of Si Die by threats. This is wrong. Our humble idea for the present is that Si Lu's tribute need not be refused and that Imperial orders need not be issued. First, his achievements should be recorded and then his tribute should be received. After this, he should be ordered to withdraw from the territory. We must ensure that achievements and transgressions are not confused. If he does not accord with the order, his crimes must be firmly punished. He will have no excuses. Also, Si Die is now dead. His son is still a juvenile and thus his younger brother Si Luo, who is protecting the seal, has requested headwear and a belt. It is hoped approval for this will be conferred. The military strength of Meng-mi is quite comparable to that of Meng-yang. If headwear and a belt are conferred upon Si Luo, it will result in the two yi restraining each other and seeing each other as an enemy. Also, orders should be sent to the three pacification commissions of Long-chuan and so on, and to Jin-chi, Teng-chong and such places requiring them to strictly enforce border defence. Thereby, it will be possible to frustrate Si Lu's plan to seek opportunities to take advantage of. It is proposed that we wait until the month when the miasma dissipates and that we should then arrange the sending of yi-soothing officials from the three offices to personally go to soothe and instruct him. If he still will not accord, the raising of troops could be considered. In this way, national majesty will not be harmed. Although Si Lu's recent activities cannot be seen as a dispute between neighbours, it still involved using yi to attack yi. It was assistance gained without the need to reward people with headwear." The memorial was sent to the Ministry of War which deliberated and said: "Previously, the Yun-nan defence officials memorialized that Si Die had accepted soothing and returned the land that he had occupied, and that the chieftains had vowed that they would not transgress again. There was no mention of Si Lu's achievements in soothing through threats and no basis for recognizing such achievements. Even if Si Lu did realize achievements, he should have returned to his original territory and awaited the Court's arrangements. Why did he take advantage of the opportunity to cross the river and occupy Man-mo, Gong-zhang and such places, and send troops to provide defences in rotation? How is this different from Si Die's occupation of Mu-bang's territory? If he still refuses to accord with the soothing, an army should be raised to punish his crime. How can we first reward the achievements! His sending of local products in tribute is aimed at delaying our sending of troops. He has other plans and is looking for opportunities to regain the former Lu-chuan territory. If we accept his tribute, he will think that we want the benefit of his tribute goods, and will thus reduce the charges against him. Then it will finally not be possible for us to recover the occupied areas. In such a situation when will the armed conflict be ended and when will the border area see peace! It has been requested that, as Si Luo is protecting the seal, he be provided with headwear and a belt, so that he can provide defence. However, the yi are changeable and guileful by nature. Wrangling for land and killing between fathers and sons, and between elder brothers and younger brothers are common occurrences. It is feared that once Si Luo obtains the headwear and belt, so that he can temporarily rule the area, he will after a time, see them as his own and he will kill Si Die's wife and sons and usurp the ruling position. That will give rise to more fighting. It is requested that a despatch be sent to the Yun-nan defence officials requiring that Jin-chi, Teng-chong, Long-chuan and Gan-yai marshal their troops, fatten the horses, store up grain and build boats to prepare for expeditionary deployment. Also, Yun-nan should be instructed to order the yi-soothing surveillance vice commissioner Mao Ke and others to go to soothe and instruct them in the Court's majesty and virtuous power. If Si Lu still will not heed the soothing, the troops should be marshalled and despatched. The relevant officials should deliberate on the conscription of the required number of troops and plans for employing such troops, and advise. As to the Meng-mi Pacification Commission seal, it should be instructed that Si Die's wife and son take control of it, and that Si Luo and other ruling family members, the tao-meng and the zhao-gang should be instructed to assist them in handling matters, so that the yi tribes can be governed. When Si Die's son grows to maturity, it should be instructed that he inherit the post." These deliberations were sent to the Emperor who approved them.

Xiao-zong: juan 155.3a-4b

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 57, page 2763/66

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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/hong-zhi/year-12-month-10-day-6, accessed October 20, 2019