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Tian-qi: Year 3, Month 1, Day 17

16 Feb 1623

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The Minister of War Dong Han-ru and others re-submitted a memorial on "dealing with the `bay yi'", noting: "The 'red yi' large cannons require yi persons to fire them. I proposed, in accordance with the suggestion by the Censor Wen Gao-mo, that their use be dispensed with. We received Imperial orders to `act in accordance with the proposal' and requiring that if the yi cannoneers had already been despatched by that province, that they proceed swiftly to the capital. It is respectfully observed that the Emperor must have known that at this time the yi were on the road, and that if we showed doubts, it would not be possible to subdue the distant people's hearts. Now, according to the supreme commander's account, he has despatched 24 persons. Our ministry should be permitted to examine their skills. If they are skilled in casting or in firing the cannons, we can use one to teach ten and have those ten teach one hundred. Half should be sent to Shan-hai and half should remain in the capital so that we have people here who are able to use the weapons. As to the methods to be used in dealing with the `bay yi', the Supreme Commander Hu Ying-zhao has already spoken on this matter. Although they are yi in their nature, they have long been submissive. If it is said that the `bay yi' are unpredictable, the `red-haired fan' are even more so. If we are to discard long-submissive yi and utilize violent fan, it should only be as a last resort. It is not a desirable policy. The supreme commander has provided reinforcements for them. How could they fail to be exceedingly grateful and come to allegiance? They have erected battlements, and while such defensive constructions are cause for concern, it will be difficult to order the immediate demolition of those completed. As suggested by the supreme commander, those along the coast should be allowed to remain for defence against external attacks, while those further inland should be prohibited, so that they cannot be used to spy on the inner territory. The most important thing is to arrest those villains who have communication with the yi. When the yi and the di become double-hearted, it is always because they have been led astray by evil villains from the inner territory. We must strictly guard against this, so that that place does not become a refuge for fugitives. Some contacts should be permitted to allow them to trade for the food and clothes which they need. However, those who sell them prohibited goods should be subject to the law with no possibility of pardon. In this way, it will be possible to govern them without directly governing them." This was approved by Imperial command.

Xi-zong: juan 30.14a-b

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 127, page 1523/24

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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/tian-qi/year-3-month-1-day-17, accessed December 11, 2019