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Wan-li: Year 16, Month 3, Day 20

14 Apr 1588

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The Yun-nan Regional Inspecting Censor Su Can carried out an investigation and submitted an impeachment: "There are seven reasons why the achievements noted in the defeat of Ava-Burma are false and cannot be believed: 1. In a previous report, it was noted that in the fourth month (May/Jun 1583), tens of thousands of Ava-Burma troops were camped at Zhe-lang. Then, on the 17th day of the fifth month (6 Jul 1583), Yi-xi and Man-mo joined forces, and killed an inestimable number of those troops, and that subsequently, they led the tribesmen to Teng-chong where they offered tribute of elephants and returned to allegiance. Now, it is said that it is not known what happened in the past, but that on the fifth day of the sixth month (23 Jul 1583), it was reported that the Ava-Burma troops had reached Mi-du. However, Mi-du is 45 days march (程) from Teng-yue and about 30 days journey from Pegu. How could they go and return in less than a month? 2. It was noted that the Ava River is to the south of Meng-mi, while Wei-mian is to the north of Wang-le. Actually, this is not a convenient route for providing relief. The circuit official Li Cai had previously set up a college in Yong-chang in order to teach. The 17th day of the seventh month (2 Sep 1583) was his birthday and the Mobile Corps Commander Liu Tian-ze went there on the ninth day (25 Aug 1583) to offer congratulations. All of the prefectural officials also went to greet him. This was the day after that which was noted in the memorial as the day on which the troops were despatched. Yet they were not even one step outside Teng-yue. Now it is also said that the bandits palisades had the Ava River as a strategic juncture. The headquarters of the circuit was shifted to Teng-yue, but Mobile Corps Commander Liu advanced and camped at Wei-mian. Why was this? 3. It appeared from the memorial that Mi-du was the place where Yi-xi had defeated Ava-Burma. Actually, Mi-du has no walled garrison and, like the areas of Zhe-lu and Bo-xue, there were just villages and stockades. Was this near Mi-du or near Man-ha? They are very far from each other. It was claimed that it was at this time that the Ava-Burmese troops were defeated and the yi chieftains came to report. Now it is said that the troops were despatched on the eighth day of the seventh month (24 Aug 1583) and to the East destroyed the eight walled cities at Zhe-lu, and that on the 13th day (29 Aug 1583) they engaged in a major battle at Mi-du. When did these events actually occur? 4. According to the [original] report, 10,000 soldiers of Ava-Burma were eliminated and over 3,000 heads were taken. However, due to the heat and miasma, it was difficult to transport them and thus they piled them up there for later verification. It now appears that the number of heads was less than 1,000. The remainder, they claim, were burned by Si Hua. However, if the heads were not transported, they should have been at Mi-du, while if they were transported, they should have been sent to Teng-chong. Si Hua's river camp was several hundred li from both of these places and did not experience battle. How was it that he burnt the heads? 5. According to the [original] report, 1,240 yi persons were recovered and 689 were captured alive. Now it cannot be ascertained to which tribe those who were recovered were handed over, or where arrangements were made for those who were captured alive. On investigation, it was said that the various yi were unwilling to send these persons on. However, these persons were recovered by the government troops. How is it that they were retained in the hands of the various yi? It seems clear that the claims that the persons captured and recovered were originally from the various yi and that arrangements were subsequently made for them are both concoctions. 6. According to the [original] report, Zhe-lu had eight walled cities, each of which had about 2,000 troops, while Mi-du had 20,000 to 30,000 crack troops and several hundred war elephants. It was advised that advantage of the victory was taken to pursue and kill them and that corpses littered the countryside. If this were so, weapons would have been piled up in mountains. Now, on investigation, it has been found that what was captured comprised but two elephants and 63 items of yi weapons. How is it that tens of thousands of bandit troops died empty-handed? 7. According to the report, the eight walled cities were successively subdued, a thousand li of territory was opened up and it seemed that all were under control. Now, on investigation, it is found that Meng-mi has been occupied by the Ava-Burma troops and Man-mo has been seized by Si Hua. Beyond, the three pacification commissions, none have submitted. How is it that within several hundred li there are still obstinate yi when the area which was opened up extended for one thousand li? The circuit official in charge of corvee (總繇道臣) Li Cai had false hopes of swift promotion and he wanted to use border successes to prove himself. The grand coordinator was also deceived. How can the generals have made such claims!" When the memorial arrived, the Emperor ordered that the ministries and offices of scrutiny investigate and advise.

Shen-zong: juan 196.9b-10b

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 105, page 3700/02

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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/wan-li/year-16-month-3-day-20, accessed November 17, 2018