Hong-zhi: Year 12, Month 9, Day 8

12 Oct 1499

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Li Shao, Fu-jian administration commissioner of the right, had previously been administration vice commissioner of the right in Yun-nan and was thus quite familiar with the local customs and local situation. He memorialized on four matters:

"...2. Si Lu of Meng-yang is the remnant spawn of the rebellious Lu-chuan bandit. During the Zheng-tong reign (1436-49), when Lu-chuan was punished and pacified, the young son was pitied and sent off and settled across the river. He entered a pact (盟誓) whereby he was not permitted to cross the river. Subsequently, the remaining descendants began to spread out and last year they crossed the river, and occupied the villages and stockades of Meng-mu, Gong-zhang and Man-mo, which were administered by Meng-mi. Despite repeated soothing, they would not accord.

"I feel that, in respect of Lu's power, we can adopt a policy of soothing through threats, a policy of severe castigation or a policy of expedition and elimination. As to the policy of soothing through threats (脅撫之策), it should be noted that in all despatches these persons use Han script and all the Lu-chuan remnants say that they are still fearful of war. If we threaten them with military majesty and employ spies to soothe them, they will be pacified and submit. As to the policy of severe castigation (切責之策), it is heard that they are going to request permission to bring tribute and will request the conferral of territory. If they are granted this, they will become humble in their language. Then, if an Imperial letter is issued and an official is sent to severely castigate them, their plans will be thwarted and their troops will be subdued without our engaging in war.

"We could also adopt the policy of engaging in an expedition against them. Si Lu resides at Meng-kuang, which is on the other side of the river. The 5,000 or 6,000 who have crossed the river are all yi troops of the chieftains. They rely on their lances and crossbows and do not have the benefits of armour, helmets or firearms (火器). If we despatch a large contingent of troops to form ranks on the river bank, on the one hand we will be able to investigate Si Lu's crimes and on the other hand we will be able to attack the yi who are occupying the stockades. Thereby, we will be able to gain his submission.

"At present, the various yi are newly gathered. Their hearts are not settled and their livelihoods are not fixed. If we are to use these three policies, we should collect much grain at Jin-chi and Teng-chong as well as at Gan-yai and Long-chuan, and at Gan-yai we should engage in large-scale production of war-ships, to show that an expedition is inevitable. In the month the miasma dissipates, the expedition should proceed. Jin-chi and Teng-chong are screens for Yun-nan, while Gan-yai and Long-chuan are screens for Jin-chi and Teng-chong. Man-mo and Meng-mu are very close by. When Si Die was alive, these areas had been annexed by him. Now Si Die is dead and his influence has waned and Mu-bang is in communication with Si Lu. The Ava-Burma road is long and dangerous, while Gan-yai and Long-chuan are not strong in terms of troops. I fear that Si Lu's goal lies not in taking Meng-mi and Mu-bang, but in obtaining Gan-yai and Long-chuan. If we say that: `When two groups of yi fight each other, it is to China's advantage' and if he is thus ignored, then within several years he will gather a force and train it and then, when the calamity occurs, even if we use millions of soldiers and expend mountains of money, it will be to no effect..."

The Ministry of War re-submitted the memorial and requested permission to establish a military defence circuit vice commissioner within the city of Lan-cang to assume overall control over Yao-an and other places. It also requested that, in respect of the other matters, a despatch be sent to the grand defender and grand coordinator requiring them to deliberate on them, make arrangements in accordance with the situation and advise. This was approved.

Xiao-zong: juan 154.3b-5a

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 57, page 2736/39

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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-9-day-8, accessed November 30, 2020