Hong-zhi: Year 18, Month 6, Day 17
17 Jul 1505
The envoy Sha-bu-deng-gu-lu who had been sent by Sha-gu-bu-luo, the son of the king of the country of Champa, came to Court and offered tribute of local products, and requested that a senior minister be sent to their country to enfeoff Sha-gu-bu-luo with Xin-zhou Port and other areas. However, he [Sha-gu-bu-luo] did not clearly state whether or not his father Gu-lai was dead. It was only in another memorial on the occupation of their territory that this matter was touched upon. The Supervising Secretary Ren Liang-bi and others advised: "As regards the request for enfeoffment, we must carefully consider the arrangements. The Ancestral Instructions note that as Champa, when bringing tribute to the Court, brought merchants and was greatly guileful, it was forcibly stopped from coming to Court. When the Emperor Tai-zong was engaged in the affair in Annam, as Champa was closely involved, the latter began to again have contact with China and again a fief was conferred. However, its tribute frequency was set differently to that of Korea and Annam. In recent years, as the country has had its territory seized, it has used its tribute missions to request enfeoffment. They have looked to Heaven's majesty to warn and subdue neighbouring countries. Actually, whether the king is enthroned or not is not dependent on whether the Court enfeoffs him or not. In the past, Gu-lai, the king of the country, requested that Sha-gu-bu-luo be enfeoffed in advance as the heir, but the orders were not issued. Now it is claimed that Gu-lai is dead. The truth is difficult to ascertain. If perchance our envoy is sent to that place and Gu-lai is still alive, is his son to be enfeoffed? Or is the envoy to decline to enfeoff him because enfeoffment would be a violation of righteousness? Faced with these two options, the matter would be very difficult to handle. For example, when formerly the Supervising Secretary Lin Xiao went as envoy to Melaka*, the ruler refused to face North on his knees. Xiao was then secluded and died of hunger. We were unable to go and punish the ruler's crime. The Emperor's orders and the state's dignity must be valued. It seems that in the countries across the seas, when they are without troubles they dispense with sending tribute to the Court and enthrone themselves. When they experience troubles, they use tribute missions to come and request enfeoffment. Now, why is it that Champa has come and urgently requested enfeoffment? It is nothing more than it wanting to recover the land Annam has occupied, so as to allow the return of those who fled to Guang-dong. As to Annam's occupation of territory, previously an Imperial letter was sent instructing them to return it, noting that if they did not return the land, their crimes would be punished. They have assessed the situation and know that rash actions will not be taken. Thus, although the Court's orders have been repeatedly issued, they invade territory like before. If we send Imperial instructions to them again, they will look lightly on them and thus Heaven's majesty will be subject to irreverence. Now, if we do not first properly handle the matter of the territory of the country, and just intend to go and issue an enfeoffment, if perchance they detain our envoy and demand that arrangements be made, I do not know how the Court will handle this. As to the people who have fled to Guang-dong, the Ministry of War has sent a despatch to the grand coordinator requiring him to investigate the matter. The report has not yet been submitted. If on this basis they detain our envoy and seek those who have fled, then an Imperial envoy will be held hostage for a few unimportant yi. We should, as in the past when Gu-lai came to Guang-dong to request enfeoffment, send an envoy to escort them to the Guang-dong border and instruct them to take Imperial orders back to their country. The Ministry of Revenue should also be instructed to send a despatch to the grand coordinator of Guang-dong/Guang-xi requiring him to castigate Annam, instruct it in what will bring calamity and what will bring prosperity, and require it to return all of the land it has occupied. As to the fugitives and fan attendants, the grand coordinator should again be required to soothe and instruct them and send them back. This is a way of showing concern for those from the distance and will not bring harm to China's majesty." The memorial was sent to the Ministry of War which, after collective deliberation, advised: "On the death of a king of a country, the regulations require the sending of a family member (族屬) to advise of the death. This has not been done. Also, the memorial by which Sha-gu-bu-luo has requested enfeoffment does not clearly state the year and month in which Gu-lai died of illness. We should instruct the Guang-dong Provincial Administration Commission to send a despatch to this country requiring investigation and a report. Then, the matter can be deliberated upon and arrangements made." This was approved. *Should read "Siam". See discussion in introductury text.
Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 61, page 0072/74