Jia-jing: Year 17, Month 4, Day 15
13 May 1538
Cai Jing, a vice minister in the Ministry of War and superintendent of military affairs in Guang-dong/Guang-xi memorialized: "From Guang-dong/Guang-xi there are six water and land routes for advancing troops into Annam. It is estimated that 300,000 troops will be needed and they shall be required for one year. The total amount of grain needed will be 1.6 million-plus shi. The expenditure necessary for the manufacture of boats, the purchase of horses, the issuing of rewards and for weapons and implements will involve approximately 700,000-plus liang of silver. The troops now in Guang-dong/Guang-xi, excluding the patrolling sentry guards, but including Han and native troops as well as the irregular troops who can be conscripted, number not more than 120,000. This is only one-third of the number required. Also, apart from the annual expenditure of grain, with that diverted here and that purchased, there will not be more than 400,000 [shi], only one-quarter of that required. The silver held in the various treasuries totals only 300,000-plus [liang] and is only half of what is required. Further, if the troops are required for longer than expected, the expenditure will be greater than that noted above. I believe that great attention must be paid to the devising of plans for the expedition. Thus, we must use spies to carry out investigations of the enemy. Ping-xiang, Long Subprefecture, Gui-shun, Qin Subprefecture and the Western route in the ocean are all near Annam's territory. The spies must get close to investigate the situation. Thereby, the true circumstances there can be fully understood, and their return to allegiance will thus be easily to effect. I have already made calculations in respect of sending the government troops and made preparations for storing the grain in previously-noted strategic places, so that they can demonstrate majesty and might, and investigate appropriate actions. Moreover, if Li Ning is still alive, the people will still cherish him as their former ruler. It should be considered giving him a title and post and then making use of his influence and force to rouse and encourage the loyal and righteous to drive away the evil bandits. If we give him orders and he devotes his efforts in this respect, the Mo bandits will be unable to resist. If he is no longer alive, the people's hearts will have already been lost and it will not be possible to re-gain them. If we then mobilize a large number of troops and they have to travel far across the boiling seas, they might be struck by thunderbolts, in which case they will be inevitably destroyed. Thus, efforts will be wasted and forces eliminated. The matter must indeed be carefully considered." The magistrate of Qin Subprefecture Lin Xi-yuan also memorialized advice noting that the sentiments of the people of Annam were divided and that the administration of Deng-yong and his son was harsh and extreme. He noted: "Many of the people who had fallen into yi ways have now reverted to right. Thus, [Mo Deng-yong's] screens have been lost and the troops can advance. Also, Mo Deng-yong has recently attacked Li Ning and Wu Wen-yuan. On both occasions he was defeated. His troop strength is thus known and the opportunity must not be lost. It is requested that the senior civil and military ministers be immediately sent to command the armies so that China's southern boundaries can be recovered." The memorials were both sent to the Ministry of War, and the Minister Zhang Zan and others requested permission to jointly deliberate with officials from the military commissions, ministries, offices of scrutiny and circuits. They then proposed that the military matters should all be thoroughly discussed as should many other things which had been previously proposed. The Emperor was displeased and said: "In the Annam affair, it is necessary to have persons who understand matters and principles and have clear ideas. I have heard that you ministers and directors have had private discussions and held that we should not engage in a punitive expedition. You, ministers, oversee state administration, but no-one is willing to take a stand on matters. On every single issue, it is said that joint deliberations must be held. You do not put your full efforts into state affairs. The matter is closed." It was instructed that Qiu Luan and Mao Bo-wen be employed in other posts in the capital.
Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 80, page 4350/52