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Xuan-de: Year 3, Month 5, Day 20

2 Jul 1428

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The ministers who died for the country in Jiao-zhi were posthumously honoured. Li Ren, a vice commissioner in the Liao-dong Regional Military Commission, was appointed as a vice commissioner-in-chief. Gu Fu, guard commander of Yan-shan Forward Guard; Liu Shun, guard commander of Chang River Guard; and Xu Qi, guard commander of Gui-lin Central Guard in Guang-xi were all appointed as regional vice commissioners. Zhou An, assistant commander of the Jiao-zhi Forward Guard was appointed as a vice commander. Cai Yong, a battalion commander of Nan-ning Guard, was appointed as an assistant commander. Gui Sheng, a deputy battalion commander of Yan-shan Left Guard, was appointed as a full battalion commander. Liu Zi-fu, the prefect of Liang River Prefecture, and Yi Xian, prefect of Liang-shan Prefecture, were appointed as administration vice commissioners. He Zhong, the magistrate of Zheng-ping Subprefecture, was appointed as a vice prefect. The eunuch official Feng Zhi was appointed as director of the Directorate of Palace Eunuchs. All had title patents conferred upon them and persons were sent to offer sacrifices for them and provide grain and cloth. The sons or grandsons of Ren and the others were summoned and it was ordered that they inherit posts, while the property of the families of Zi-fu, Xian and Zhong was restored (皆復其家). Previously, the Jiao-zhi Provincial Administration Commissioner Yi Qian had advised that Ren and the others had died for the country. The Emperor felt intense pity and said: "Great men, in the service of the state, will indeed sacrifice themselves to preserve integrity, and yield their lives to maintain righteousness. Ren and the others can be said to be without disgrace in this respect!" At this time, an order was issued requiring the conferral of posthumous rewards. The Commander Chen Lin had also killed bandits and finally cut his own throat, but an official said that once he had, together with Zhu Guang, opened the gates to allow in the bandits. Thus, although he had died, he had gained insufficient merit to make up for his transgressions and therefore he did not receive Imperial grace. Li Ren had his origins in Yong-kang, Jin-hua. During the Hong-wu reign (1368/98), he inherited his father's post as assistant commander of the Yan-shan Right Guard. He accompanied the Tai-zong Emperor when he raised troops to pacify the troubles. For his achievements, he was especially promoted to vice commissioner of the Liao-dong Regional Military Commission and appointed as grand defender of Zhang-de. In the first year of the Xuan-de reign (1426/27), he accompanied the expedition. When the rebellious bandit Li Li was laying siege to Chang River, the bandits captured the Commissioner-in-chief Cai Fu and forced Fu to go to the bottom of the walls of Chang River city and call on Ren and the others to quickly surrender. Ren spat and swore at Fu from the top of the wall, saying: "You, a senior minister, cannot kill bandits and instead are employed by them. You are not even the equal of a dog or a pig!" He then fired cannons (銃) at them. The bandits were scared and jostled Fu away. The bandits saw Chang River as a strategic place in the movement of government troops and massed a large number of troops and elephants there. They used "black turtle fences" (烏龜笆), "Master Lu Carts" (呂公車) and scaling ladders to launch an attack against the city. Ren, Gu Fu and so on left the old, young and the women to guard the city, led crack troops out to attack the bandits and burnt the bandits' implements of attack. When the bandits built ramparts of earth from which to fire into the city, Ren and Fu went out at night and attacked and destroyed the bandits' camp. When the bandits dug a tunnel hoping to come into the city by surprise, Ren opened trenches across the tunnel and had his troops attack with "Military General Stones" (將軍石). If anyone came out, they were immediately killed. To begin with, there were over 2,000 troops within the city. After more than 30 battles, over half had been killed. The attacks by the bandit troops and elephants grew daily more intense, but they were repelled for over nine months. However, within the city, the forces were depleted and grain stocks low. The bandit forces were growing stronger and were using scaling ladders to mount the walls and there was fighting at the gates. Ren again led "dare-to-die troops" and did battle with the bandits three times, suffering three losses. The bandits then massed their elephants and troops and pushed forward. Ren and Fu could not withstand the attack and both slit their own throats. The eunuch official Feng Zhi, the Commander Liu Shun and the Prefect Liu Zi-fu all hanged themselves. The troops, civilians and women within the city could not bear to suffer the humiliation and thousands of people killed themselves. Liu Zi-fu had his origins in Lu-ling. From university student, he was promoted to investigating censor. ..... He was thus promoted to Guang-dong Censorial envoy (憲使). For involvement in an offence, he was demoted to prefect of Liang River Prefecture in Jiao-zhi, where he treated the people as if they were his own children. The people loved and honoured him. After Li Li attacked and surrounded Liang River City, the bandit forces grew stronger and more powerful. Many of the cities in other prefectures and counties had fallen, but Zi-fu and the defending generals encouraged the troops and people to guard the city to the death. The bandits increased their forces and attacked the city. Although food had begun to run out in the city, the people's will remained strong. They held off the attacks for over nine months, but the bandits then attacked with great force and broke into the city. The troops and people within the city all fought to the death and not one surrendered. When Zi-fu knew the situation could not be saved, he said: "When the prefecture dies, so die I. Righteousness cannot be tainted by bandit's hands." He thereupon killed himself. A son and a concubine both died before Zi-fu. He Zhong (zi Ting-chen) had his origins in Jiang-ling. After passing the metropolitan examination, he was appointed as an investigating censor. He was well-known for his talent and abilities. During the Yong-le reign (1403/24) for his services as a censor, he was promoted to magistrate of Zheng-ping Subprefecture. Zhong was intelligent and clever and was capable in administrative matters. As an official, he was honest and careful and did not hand out undue punishments. As a censor, he was upright in his assessments and never acted on the basis of private interests. Once, during his censorial service, Zong was ill at home. The censors notified him of some censorial matters and although he was ill, he gave the matters full attention and made important comments. The people of the subprefecture looked upon him as their father and he devoted himself to his duties. Even man chiefs in distant valleys who had been constantly obstinate and wild, were happy to come to serve him. Later, Zhong moved to the provincial administration commission to plan matters. After the defeat at Ning Bridge, the bandits took advantage of the victory to push forward to the walls of the city. The people were very nervous. The Cheng-shan Marquis Wang Tong had a cunning plan, wrote a letter proposing peace with the bandits and sent Shan Shou and family members to deliver it to the bandits. The letter said that the Court had pardoned their crimes. The bandits believed this and withdrew their troops. Previously, he had secretly sent persons to memorialize on matters, but these persons had all been intercepted and detained by the bandits. At this time, as they felt that they had been pardoned by the Court, the bandits sent the chieftain Chen Wei-lao and others to offer a memorial in gratitude for Imperial grace. On the pretext of memorializing about the return of the area, Tong sent Zhong and the Battalion Commander Gui Sheng carrying a memorial to accompany Wei-lao to the Court. Actually Tong wanted the Emperor to know of the situation of the bandits and wanted to request more troops to eliminate them. When they reached Chang River, the eunuch Xu Xun divulged the plan and Zhong and so on were subsequently detained. The bandits had heard that Zhong was resolute and had scholarly knowledge. They repeatedly used all sorts of sweet words and offered all sorts of fine titles to lure him into following them. They then prepared to inflict on him all sorts of cutting and maiming tortures and said to him: "If you follow us, you will live. If you refuse, you will die." Zhong looked at the bandits with glaring eyes and swore at them, saying: "I am a minister of the Heavenly Court. If only I could behead you and take your head back to give to the Court! How could I be willing to follow your rebellion just to save my life?" He cursed them endlessly. They also used knives to threaten Sheng, but Sheng likewise would not yield. Zhong and his son, together with Sheng, all met their deaths on the same day. When Zhong was first captured, he had composed a verse swearing loyalty unto death. Xu Qi and the Battalion Commander Cai Yong had been guarding Qiu-wen. The bandits had long been attacking it and the grain supplies were low. Many of the government troops had abandoned the city and fled, and Qi and so on were commanding the weary troops in defending the city. The bandits then launched a sudden attack, upon which the city fell to them. Not a single person in the city surrendered. The bandits butchered the city and Qi and Yong both killed themselves. Yi Xian had his origins in Xiang-yin. Initially, from university student he was appointed as prefect of Liang-shan Prefecture. In the prefecture, he showed himself skilled in administration and the man people trusted and submitted to him. After fulfilling the required period in the post, he returned to the Court. The leader of the people in the prefecture then went to the regional inspecting censor and asked that Xian be retained as prefect. The censor advised of this and it was especially ordered that Xian be re-instated in the post. He was promoted in salary to the level of an official of the upper-third grade and sent back to Liang-shan. At this time, the city fell and he killed himself. Zhou An was an assistant commander of the Zhen-wu Guard and he accompanied the expedition against the Li bandits. He was then transferred to assistant commander of the Jiao-zhi Forward Guard and appointed to defend Yi-an. The forces of the rebellious bandit Li Li grew increasingly strong and the Commissioner-in-chief Cai Fu called the various generals for discussions, saying: "Now there are great difficulties here in terms of the grain supplies. We cannot maintain the defences. Collect your forces and we will move back to Dong-guan. The troops all agreed. Only the Battalion Commander Bao Xuan led 100-plus men in scurrying to the bandits' camp. An led his troops and, together with the military and civilian personnel from Yan-zhou Guard, started back to Dong-guan. On the journey, when they arrived at the Fu-liang River, they encountered the bandits. Alone and weak, they were unable to put up any resistance and they were captured by the bandits. Fu was forced by the bandits to go to various areas and try to induce the defenders to surrender. An was angered by this and made plans with his troops, saying: "The Imperial Army will indeed come to punish the bandits. Everyone is to secretly make themselves bamboo spears, swords and knives. When the Imperial troops come, we will be able to respond from inside and the bandits will certainly be defeated." Xuan found out about this plan and told Li. Li was angered and killed them all. Just as he was about to kill An, An said: "I am a minister of the Heavenly Court. How can I die by a bandit's hand!" He rose up together with the commander Chen Lin and, seizing swords from the bandits, killed several persons. They both then cut their own throats.

Xuan-zong: juan 43.8a-10b

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 18, page 1057/62

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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/xuan-de/year-3-month-5-day-20-0, accessed November 15, 2019