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Wan-li: Year 38, Month 6, Day 26

14 Aug 1610

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The Ministry of War re-submitted a memorial by Dai Yao, the former supreme commander of Guang-dong/Guang-xi and Minister of War, at this time demoted to civilian, on four remedial measures subsequent to the campaign against the Li: "1. It is necessary to increase the number of troops to strengthen the defences. The territory of Qin Subprefecture adjoins yi areas. Now it has suffered attacks and the hatred [between those feuding] will indeed be deep. We should establish a post of military commandant to guard against reprisals. In accordance with the deliberations, Qin Subprefecture should have its land forces increased by 600 men, while Ya-shan should have its forces increased by 300 men, Long-men Port should have its force increased by 460 men and Jian-shan/Dun-tai should have their forces increased by 40 men. This will mean an additional 800 naval troops. It is noted that the assistant regional commanders of Dong-shan and Xi-shan in Guang-dong and the central route commandant have command of over 4,500 government troops. Those areas are now at peace. It is proposed that two regiments comprising a total of 900 troops be selected from these areas and transferred to Qin Subprefecture. Of these, 500 should be stationed to guard the subprefectural seat, 100 should be put on guard at Fang-cheng and 300 should be used as naval troops and be despatched to guard Ya-shan and to patrol Ao-tou and other areas. It is noted that the Wei-zhou mobile corps originally had an establishment of 1,400 naval troops with the specific task of guarding the pearl beds. Now the pearls have been exhausted and the bandits have also disappeared. It is proposed that 500 men be selected from that force and be stationed at Long-men Port and other areas. These are to the west of the pearl beds, so if there is an alarm they will be able to respond. In this way, without increasing military salaries, there will be sufficient troops for our needs. The prefectural seat of Lian-zhou faces the great ocean. To the East, it links with Japan and to the West it joins with Jiao-nan. Originally only 300 land troops were stationed there. This is certainly not sufficient. It is proposed that the number of troops be increased by 200. Fifty crack reservist troops should be taken from the forces under Lian-zhou Guard, 50 crack militia troops should be taken from He-pu County and 100 new troops should be conscripted. They should be garrisoned with the old troops and trained for defence so that when there are alarms they can respond with assistance. The monthly grain for the new troops should come from the stores of that office. It is requested that when there is a lack of funds, salary silver be readjusted among the various prefectures, subprefectures and counties to cover the expenditure. 2. We should establish a post of general to firmly suppress any troubles in the seas off Qin Subprefecture. In the early days of the Xuan-de reign (1426-35), a position of commandant was established there, and the commandant resided there and guarded the area. Later, as the area was at peace, most of the forces were withdrawn. All that was retained was an independent battalion with less than 200 government troops. However, when alarms occurred, as Lei-zhou, Lian-zhou and Wei-zhou were all distant, even if the news was transmitted swiftly and they sent assistance at an urgent pace, it could not arrive in time to assist. Now, it is proposed to transfer the Luo-ding commandant to Qin Subprefecture. The funds for grain salary, service personnel and labor payments should be met from the salary silver allocated to the two regiments of Luo-ding. As to the naval troops, they should remain under the Wei-zhou mobile corps commander and the corps should be transferred to Bai-long Depot and remain on guard there. The land troops should remain under the command of the Lei-zhou/Lian-zhou Assistant Regional Commander. This commander should remain stationed where he is and patrol back and forth arranging and coordinating matters. 3. We should re-establish the dong officials and have them guard and restrain each other. The four dong of Qin Subprefecture are secluded in its Western territory and adjoin the Shi-wan Mountain range. Their customs are deeply imbued with yi ways and the Han law is difficult to implement. In previous dynasties, native officials were established, seals and warrants were provided and the inheritance of posts was permitted. At the beginning of this dynasty, the system was changed to one of dong chieftains. During the Xuan-de reign (1426-35), the dong chieftains rebelled and joined with the Jiao yi. It was only in the 21st year of the Jia-jing reign (1542/43) that they again came under Imperial jurisdiction. and were required to pay an annual poll-tax in silver. However, they have fallen behind and several years tax are due. Also, in the dong, evil persons often incite the yi into actions which give rise to calamities. This is all due to the fact that the status of the dong chieftains is lowly and they cannot restrain the people. It is now proposed that in each dong a native office be established and that the Guang-dong Provincial Administration Commission provide the dong chiefs with fine robes and orders conferring an honorary rank of squad leader upon them. They will then have the dignity of chiefs which will enable them to restrain the people of the dong. These should not be hereditary posts. [Ministry's response] However, if appointment documents are sent to these offices and these requests are approved, these people will presume upon their positions to bolster their own importance. If, without cause, this province adds a further 24 native-official squad leaders, then over time they will become arrogant and overbearing like before, and they will consider their positions to be hereditary. Who will be able to stop them then? Also, evil Chinese persons will pose as dong officials and will cheat the weak and abuse the poor. This will give rise to troubles. This matter must be given further consideration. 4. We must prohibit and eliminate trading so as to remove the potential for calamity. The Han and yi people trade at Fang-cheng in Qin Subprefecture and the annual income from taxation is 200 liang (Alt: 100 liang) of silver. In recent years the goods of the Fang-cheng merchants were plundered on numerous occasions. The merchants thus moved their goods within the walls of the city. The yi bandits, mouths watering, then collected their forces and attacked the city. It is indeed trade which is the root of the troubles. It is now proposed that the trade at Fang-cheng be immediately stopped, and that a strict prohibition be issued forbidding any private contact or dealings at the various strategic passes. [Ministry's response] However, trade between the yi and the Han in Ling-nan has been going on for a long time. If we now suddenly stop it, they will not be able to obtain their profits from trading and this will stimulate degenerate ideas among them. We should thus make arrangements on all sides in preparation for implementing the prohibitions and arrest any offenders. We must also make appropriate plans and adopt strict military measures. We should have the supreme commander and the Guang-xi grand coordinator's office report on whether the last two proposals above are appropriate and require them to memorialize so a decision can be made." This was approved.

Shen-zong: juan 472.8b-10a

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 117, page 8918/21

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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-38-month-6-day-26, accessed October 23, 2019