Jia-jing: Year 16, Month 4, Day 13
21 May 1537
Pan Zhen, vice minister of the left in the Ministry of War memorialized, saying: "Annam is the territory of Jiao-zhi of ancient times. For generations it did not submit. When our Tai-zu first established the dynasty, because their ruler, surnamed Chen, was the first to come to allegiance, they were cherished. During the Yong-le reign (1403-24), Li Ji-li rebelled against the Chens and Tai-zong raised the army of righteousness to punish him. Descendants of the Chens were sought, but none was found and subsequently the land was divided into prefectures and counties. Not long after, the rebel Chen Jian-ding and others successively engaged in rebellion and they were only pacified after several years of efforts. Then Li Li rose, defied orders and requested that a Chen descendant be enthroned. Xuan-zong, the Zhang Emperor, subsequently discarded the territory and gave it to Li Li, who was then able to enthrone himself as a substitute king. Later, as Li Zhou was unprincipled, he was killed by Chen Hao. He had no successor and Li Hui, the son of Zhou's elder brother, established himself as ruler without submitting a request to the Court. Mo Deng-yong forced him to flee to the distance and forcibly established Hui's younger brother Li Kuang as ruler. Subsequently, Mo Deng-yong killed Kuang and took control of the country himself. Thus, the Mos, both father and son, and Chen Sheng are all bandits who have engaged in assassination and rebellion, while Li Ning and his father Li Hui did not request enfeoffment or send tribute for 20 years. Under the Spring and Autumn period laws, none of them would have been spared the despatch of the six armies. However, is there a need to raise an army and intervene? Their land is certainly not worth establishing prefectures and counties in and their alternate rebelling and according is unrelated to China. Further, now the lu are increasing in number and, from the East to the West, their camps stretch for 10,000 li. The alarm beacons are being frequently lit and from winter to spring there is not a day without incident. In addition, our forces are not at full strength, our fodder and grain supplies are low and there are concealed problems and accumulated troubles. The situation on all borders is thus. Yet, while the defence of the Court is being neglected and imminent danger is being ignored, China's strengths are to be exhausted in a distant miasmic land. This is an erroneous policy. I humbly suggest that the deputy and assistant generals, their subordinates and the civil officials responsible for supervision of grain rations need not be immediately sent and that the various native "wolf" troops and the grain transporters in the various provinces need not be hurriedly despatched. Rather, two senior civil and military officials who are careful and able should be ordered to take orders for the punitive expedition as well as seals and tallies, and proceed to the Jiao-zhi/Guang-xi border, where they will establish a base. There they will mobilize the near-by native and Han government troops and drill them in rotation. Further, the battalions and guards which are a little further away as well as the wild native troops of the various provinces should be instructed to engage in drilling locally, and await expeditionary mobilization. Then orders should be sent to Jiao-nan, making known the Mo bandit's crime of usurpation, and the fact that he will be punished without pardon. The orders should note that officials who have been forced to follow him will be allowed to come to allegiance and that all those who show their loyalty by punishing the bandit will be rewarded. In addition, orders should be sent to Li Ning, granting him the authority to kill the bandit and instructing him to take the lead of his troops and cavalry and wait for the Imperial army to enter the territory. Then, the combined forces will advance on the punitive mission. Further, Wu Yan-wei and the others should be sent instructions requiring them to show their loyalty by assisting Ning. In this way, all the people of the country will have common cause in punishing the rebels. Through our Imperial notification, their resolve will be strengthened, and success in calming the disorder will be easily achieved." As the orders for the punitive expedition had already been issued, the Emperor reprimanded Zhen for his wild statements, and ordered that he write a memorial in response. Zhen memorialized admitting guilt. The Emperor again castigated him for his failure to understand matters and for confusing and causing disorder of opinion. He was stripped of his post and dismissed.
Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 80, page 4182/84