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Zheng-de: Year 10, Month 7, Day 16

25 Aug 1515

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The Champa envoy Li-na-ba and others were ordered to take Imperial orders and enfeoffment credentials with them on their return to their country. Initially, Sha-bu-gu-luo had sent an envoy to request enfeoffment. The Supervising Secretary Li Guan and others were instructed to take Imperial orders and proceed there. When Guan reached Guang-dong, he requested that the enfeoffment be carried out in accordance with the precedent set by Gu-lai's enfeoffment in former times, whereby his envoy was instructed to take the orders of enfeoffment back with him. The Court officials discussed it and held:

"The official was sent more than two years ago. Now, if the mission is stopped, it will not be in accord with the righteousness of restoring a broken line. If the envoy refuses to take the enfeoffment orders back or if he does take them back and gives them to another person, and this again gives rise to squabbling, how will it be handled? Guan should be instructed to proceed there swiftly."

Guan then again stated:

"An envoy being sent to the distant yi requires a navigator (火長) to show the route and an interpreter to interpret speech and translate scripts. Neither of these is available. The matter should be discussed and arrangements made." 

The Court officials again discussed the matter and proposed:

"The grand defender and grand coordinator of the region should be instructed to seek everywhere for suitable persons and, only if no navigator or interpreter can be found, should matters be handled in accordance with the former precedent."

Guan again memorialized:

"I received the orders over 5 years ago. I have sent repeated memorials but no decision has been taken on my journey. How can it not be thought that I fear the dangers of wind and waves! Details of the situation in Champa since Gu-lai was driven off by Annam are very uncertain. He fled and went to reside in Chi-kan and Bang-du-lang and the country does not have its former borders or the strength it had in the past. Also Gu-lai was actually a chieftain of the Champa king Zhai-ya-ma-wu-an. He killed the king and grabbed the throne. The king had three sons, one of whom is still alive. Thus, righteousness has not been satisfied. Under the laws of the Spring and Autumn period, even if an army is not raised to punish the crime, it is necessary to stop the envoys from coming to Court. My proposal to have their envoy take back the enfeoffment orders manifests propriety and does not discard considerations of righteousness. How can there still be proposals that a navigator and interpreter be sought for? This will result in further months and years being lost and will not be advantageous."

After a time, the Guang-dong Regional Inspecting Censor Ding Kai memorialized similarly to what Guan had noted. The matter was sent for joint deliberation by the chief military commissions, ministries, offices of scrutiny and Censorate circuits. They held:

"China, in its handling of the yi and di, cherishes those who come to Court and excludes ( ) those who do not come. The heir is deep in the jungle and it is not possible to go there. 止Thus, the grand defender and grand coordinator should be instructed to summon the chief envoy Li-na-ba and so on to a meeting and instruct them in the reasons why the Court's envoy cannot travel to such a distant place. Also, the orders of enfeoffment and the presents which Guan and so on are carrying should be given to them. In this way, we will not lose the hearts of the distant yi and the Court's prestige will remain complete."

This was approved by Imperial command. Guan and so on were ordered to return.

Wu-zong: juan 127.6b-7a

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 67, page 2546/47

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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/zheng-de/year-10-month-7-day-16, accessed September 18, 2019