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Jia-jing: Year 16, Month 5, Day 9

16 Jun 1537

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Mao Bo-wen, the recalled censor-in-chief of the right, arrived at the capital. The Emperor ordered that he take up his duties on this day and await orders for a punitive mission against Annam. Bo-wen put forward six proposals in respect of Annam:

"The first proposal relates to the clarification of terminology. Annam not coming to Court has arisen because Mo Deng-yong usurped the throne in rebellion. The generals have been ordered to lead an army there to punish the bandit. It is appropriate that first orders of instruction be sent noting that those who have been forced to follow him are allowed to surrender, and that all those who are able to take the heads of bandits will be promoted and rewarded. If the bandit leader comes and surrenders, immediate advice and request for action should be submitted, and he should not be killed. If he stupidly clings to his ways without repentance, he must be eliminated without possibility of pardon. It is humbly requested that this be clearly set down in the Imperial orders and that we be permitted to implement those orders.

"The second proposal relates to the use of troops. The native troops of Tian Subprefecture, Si-en, Si-cheng and the left and right rivers in Guang-xi, as well as Yong-shun and Bao-jing in Hu-guang and You-yang in Si-chuan are all skilled and brave and can be used. However, I am afraid that the areas they have to pass through will be greatly disturbed and thus we should charge the various grand defenders and grand coordinators with firmly controlling these troops as they lead them there. The responsibilities of the censor-in-chief who is supreme commander of Guang-dong/Guang-xi will be extremely heavy and an eminent official should be appointed to assist him. The native troops of the various prefectures in Yun-nan should only be mobilized with the Qian-guo Duke's seal and warrant. After they are mobilized, the regional vice commander should be charged with their command and deployment, while the grand coordinator censor-in-chief will assist him. The government troops of Guang-dong, Jiang-xi, Zhe-jiang and Fu-jian must not be universally mobilized. We should be allowed to select those troops to be mobilized. The Gui-zhou Regional Commander Li Zhang, the Guang-xi Regional Vice Commander Zhang Jing and the Assistant Regional Commander Shen Xi-yi are brave in their plans and direct in their actions. Their appointment should be approved. In Guang-xi, the troops will advance through Ping-xiang Subprefecture and across the border. The first passes to be encountered will be the Bu-lin Post and the Pu-shang Post. Then, across the Fu-liang River lies the Eastern Pass. In Guang-dong, the troops will advance from Qin Subprefecture. After one day they will arrive at Yong-an. In Yun-nan, the troops will advance from Meng-zi County. After two days, they will reach the Lian-hua Rapids. The troops will then advance concurrently along the three routes and, at an agreed date, punish the bandit. The troops must be warned against reckless killing. If the general and troops, who are now to be the first to enter Annam, capture or behead the bandit leader, it shall be considered that they have realized an outstanding achievement. If they intentionally leave the real bandits free and recklessly kill innocents they should be heavily punished in accordance with military law. The Ministry of War should be Imperially ordered to set down in advance the level of rewards to be given to those who realize achievements.

"The third proposal relates to the employment of people. It is requested that it be Imperially ordered that the Ministry of War select two of its skilled and capable officials to follow the army and assist in drawing up plans, and in employing officials. Also a number of persons should be selected as order-carriers, attending assistants and as persons responsible for astronomy, yin-yang, interpreting, medical matters and divining, and they should be prepared for employment. The officials of the three offices in each province as well as the senior and assisting officials of the subprefectures and counties should be made temporarily subject to our orders.

"The fourth proposal relates to the arranging of resources. It is requested that the Ministry of Revenue be Imperially ordered to notify the administration commissioners of the various provinces to transport the grain which has been levied and which is due to be sent to the capital, but which has not yet been sent. Fu-jian, Zhe-jiang, Jiang-xi and Guang-dong/Guang-xi should transport it to Nan-ning Prefecture in Guang-xi, while Gui-zhou, Hu-guang and Si-chuan should transport it to Lin-an Prefecture in Yun-nan. When this autumn's harvest is ripe, the ration-supervising officials in each province should purchase rice and store it. The amounts which Jiang-xi and Hu-guang advanced as army rations in the 16th year of the Jia-jing reign should be first drawn off and the rest transferred to Nan-ning Prefecture. They should also examine into the precedents for obtaining grain and implement the kai-zhong system in the Liang Huai Salt Distribution Supervisorate. Further, silver from the Imperial treasury should be disbursed to purchase grain. Thereby it is calculated that 4 million (shi?) can be obtained, and this will be sufficient to meet current needs.

"The fifth proposal relates to the clarification of rewards and punishments. The statutes says: ‘Rewards should be given in a timely way and punishments should not be imposed late.’ For the army, the minor rewards should be gold and silks, while the major rewards should be official titles. The Ministries of Personnel and War should be ordered to provide several civil and military post titles to us so that army personnel can be given ranks, and be promoted and rewarded. When there are transgressions, their seriousness must be gauged and punishment must be carried out without pardon.

"The sixth proposal relates to uniform conventions. Now, when the troops advance along the three routes, there will be a large number of officials, generals and troops involved. If the commands are not uniform, how will they be able to assist each other. All documents must be circularized, and all sides should put their efforts into coordination. When investigating and recording, even minor achievements should be recorded. We cannot allow a situation where each acts on his own and has his own view, leading to mistakes in military operations. It is requested that we be permitted to memorialize impeachments against those who act in violation of these requirements."

When the proposals were submitted, the Emperor said:

"I have read the proposals memorialized by the minister. They all appear well-planned and all should be implemented as proposed. The Vice Minister Pan Dan, military supervisor of Guang-dong/Guang-xi, is to be recalled to Nan-jing to assist in the handling of arrangements, and an appropriate person of ability and discernment should be promoted and sent to replace him."

Subsequently, the Ministry of War responded to Bo-wen's memorial as follows:

"It is requested that an Imperial order be issued, instructing Bo-wen to promulgate the Court's grace and majesty in the instruction of that country. As to the rewards, whoever can show outstanding bravery and is the first to breach the walls of the capital of Annam should be rewarded with 3,000 liang of silver and promoted five grades. Whoever can capture or take the head of the bandit leader Mo Deng-yong or his son should also be rewarded and promoted thus. Those persons who can capture or take the heads of prominent rebels should be rewarded with 500 liang and promoted three grades. Those who are brave in battle and realize commendable achievements should be rewarded in accordance with an assessment by the supreme commander. Those Annam persons who come to allegiance and realize achievements should be rewarded in the same way. The Ministry of Personnel should be instructed to select two capable officials to take charge of filling in the details of newly-appointed officials. A secretary from the Bureau of Operations of this ministry should follow the army to assist in planning transport of rations. The Ministry of Revenue should also be required to send officials to follow the army. The Ministry of Personnel should arrange the supply of 100 civil-official appointment certificates with the ministry's seal and 100 military-official appointment certificates so as to facilitate promotion and rewards on the military front. The supreme commander should, beyond the borders, be permitted to decide on the deployment and advance or otherwise of the troops. Apart from the regional commanders of Guang-dong/Guang-xi and of Yun-nan, with whom the supreme commander will consult on proposed moves prior to implementing plans, all other officials, including regional vice commanders and assistant regional commanders, the grand coordinator and grand defender and the officials of the three offices will be subject to the supreme commander's orders. The officials of the three offices and below must obey the appointment orders and must not shirk them." The Emperor said: "Annam has long not sent a memorial to Court and righteousness requires the raising of an army to punish the crime. According to Li Ning's memorial, Mo Deng-yong rebelled, usurped power and obstructed tribute to the Court. The truth or otherwise of this claim has not been examined. The local officials are to be instructed to pacify or eliminate as the situation demands. New Imperial orders are to be sent to the vice minister who is concurrently military superintendent of Guang-dong/Guang-xi and the censor-in-chief who is concurrently grand coordinator of Yun-nan, as well as the various regional commanders. Mao Bo-wen is to be instructed to manage affairs in the Censorate. The officers in charge of grain rations and recording achievements are not to proceed at present."

Shi-zong: juan 200.1b-3a

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 80, page 4194/97

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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/jia-jing/year-16-month-5-day-9, accessed November 17, 2019