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Wan-li: Year 34, Month 12, Day 29

26 Jan 1607

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Song Yi-han, a supervising secretary of the right in the Office of Scrutiny for War, memorialized: "I have heard that in pacifying rebels, a ruler does not place his hopes in the meritoriousness acts of melting down lances and resting his horses, but rather demonstrates a majesty by which the violent are eliminated and the good are swayed. A Court which displays splendid virtuous power does not seek a reputation by encouraging the sending of tribute [from such persons], but adopts a policy of closing the gates and refusing contacts as punishment. I humbly note...The Jiao yi's failure to come to Court began with the restoration of the country by Li Wei-tan and, for 10 years, he did not send tribute envoys. When his son [Li] Wei-xin inherited the ruling post, he immediately came to knock at the gate, requesting permission to inherit the title of Commander. However, before the Court had approved this, tribute suddenly arrived. The grand coordinator said: `The bringing of tribute is a great thing for the Court. They should be allowed to present it, so as to facilitate matters'. We also felt that it was right to approve it. However, we still consider that there were some points of inadequacy. The conferral of the seal was too swift, the approval of tribute was too unreserved and the orders by which arrangements were made were issued too speedily. The reason China is respected by the yi in the four directions is only that it enfeoffs with titles and issues seals. Now, while Wei-xin was still awaiting permission to inherit the post, a seal was abruptly issued to him. How can this demonstrate China's gravity? Some other persons said that he could not submit a memorial unless we provided him with a seal. Do they not know that only when someone is a minister can goods submitted be considered as tribute? If a person has not been appointed as a minister, such goods should be considered as bribes. How can the great and noble Heavenly Court accept bribes? As to offering a figure made of gold as tribute to make up for their crimes, I have never read of this...Also, the Guang-xi Grand Coordinator should be required to put all his efforts into cutting off contact if that is possible. If this is not possible, we should wait until after Wei-xin has inherited the post of Commander and only then accept his tribute. On the proposal to settle the Mos, the supreme commander and the grand coordinator should put all their efforts into making plans, so that it does not occur that an agreement in the morning turns into feuding by evening, and so that the area does not suffer great calamities and sorrows. In this way, control in all aspects will lie with us and China's power will be continually respected." The Emperor ordered the Ministry of War to deliberate carefully on the matter and advise.

Shen-zong: juan 428.9b-10b

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 115, page 8078/80

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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-34-month-12-day-29, accessed November 17, 2019