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Zheng-tong: Year 6, Month 1, Day 16

7 Feb 1441

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He Wen-yuan, vice minister of the right in the Auxiliary Ministry of Justice, advised: "In the times of Yao and Shun, the Miao refused their obedience. The Emperor Shun ordered Yu on expedition against them. Even after 30 days (Alt: 3 decades 三旬), the Miao people still opposed orders. The Emperor then extended his civil virtue to them and they came and danced with feathers beneath the throne. After 70 days, the Miao came to express submission. They did not submit when Yu went on expedition against them, but they submitted when the Emperor extended his virtue to them. This was due to their desire to move towards righteousness. In the end however, this could not be and they were eliminated. Now, the rebellious Lu-chuan bandit Si Ren-fa is engaging in evil and creating calamities. He is opposing right and going against virtue. The Court ministers jointly requested that troops be sent to punish him. I beg to note that as Lu-chuan is a small area on the Southern border comprising several hundred li with perhaps 10,000 people, when the army reaches there, it will certainly achieve victory. However, if we obtain the land, we cannot reside there and if we obtain the people we cannot employ them. How would it be if we pardoned him from his execution by dismemberment and had them thrill us with their feather dance. We should order the Yun-nan Regional Commander and Commissioner-in-Chief Mu Ang to deploy government troops and train them in Jin-chi together with those of the Assistant Censor-in-Chief Ding Xuan. The troops could concurrently till the land and provide defence. We should also order the Yun-nan Regional Military Commission, Provincial Administration Commission and Provincial Surveillance Commission to each send one of their senior officials to go personally to that place and proclaim the influence of the Sage, so that they feel the virtue of Yao and Shun and, like the Miao, submit in their hearts. It is thus considered that they will come kowtowing to Court without us having to trouble with an expedition. If they remain obstinate and continue not to obey orders, Ang and so on should be ordered to deploy their troops and, as the opportunity allows, to eliminate him. How could this not be accepted by a follower of the kingly way? It would also be acceptable to both spirits and men." The memorial was passed down and Wang Ji, the Auxiliary Minister of War and concurrently Chief Minister of the Court of Judicial Review deliberated on the matter with the dukes, marquis, earls, commissioners-in-chief, ministers, vice ministers, censors and other officials. The Grand Preceptor and Ying-guo Duke Zhang Fu advised: "There are some differences between the situation in the past which Wen-yuan spoke of and the situation today. The age of Yao and Shun was in the distant past. Also, their territory did not extend far into the distance. They had only the nine zhou and the areas beyond these were just subject to restraint (覊縻). Even so, getting the Miao to submit necessarily meant pursuing them into the three defiles (三危). Now, our nation has unified the four seas and, of the Chinese, the yi, the man and the mo, there are none who do not accord. Since the time of Si Ren-fa's grandfather and father, Lu-chuan has enjoyed bountiful grace from the state and these persons were appointed to posts as pacification superintendents. This has been so for over 60 years. Now, Si Ren-fa dares to collect together his rogues and vagabonds and repeatedly defies the Court's army. Although he has been pardoned his crimes and rewarded with kindness, he has persisted in his evil. If he is not punished, I am truly concerned that Mu-bang, Che-li, Ba-bai, Ava-Burma and such places will have their spies watching the situation. This will not only show weakness to the external states, but will also bring calamities to the border areas. It is requested that from among the Ding-xi Earl Jiang Gui and the Commissioner-in-Chief Li An who were selected previously and the Commissioner-in-Chief Liu Ju and the Regional Commissioners Gong Ju and Ran Bao who have now been selected, three officers be appointed as the regional commander and the left and right deputy regional commanders. The two deputy regional commanders should separately drill and train the government troops and native troops from Nan-jing, Hu-guang, Gui-zhou and Si-chuan. We should also order that Xu Xi, deputy minister of the left in the Ministry of Revenue, go to act as patrolling supervisor. When the troops proceed, it will be necessary to coordinate, in the matter of grain rations, with the Assistant Censor-in-Chief Ding Xuan who was despatched previously. We must first send to that place chieftains who are familiar with the yi language, to instruct them in what will bring calamity and what will bring happiness, and how this will depend on whether they rebel or accord. If the bandit should change his ways and go to the military commander's headquarters and offer submission, or if he should send his son or nephew to the Court to offer tribute and he returns all that he has plundered, then it will be up to the Emperor to make arrangements. If he does not do this, then we should gather all the troops and cavalry from the various areas at Jin-chi. We should then send people with Imperial orders of instruction to Mu-bang, Che-li, Ba-bai, Ava-Burma and Da-hou, requiring them to raise yi troops. Then either separately or in a combined force, by a pincer movement from the left and right or through an attack from both inside and outside as appropriate, they will advance at the agreed time and directly attack the bandit's lair, capture the leader and present him as a captive to the Court for punishment. His evil gang members will be executed and have their heads exposed and their bodies displayed in the street to demonstrate Heaven's might and to pacify the border areas. This will satisfy the anger of the spirits and accord with the wishes of those near and those far away. This truly is our humble wish." The Emperor approved their proposals.

Ying-zong: juan 75.4a-5a

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 25, page 1459/61

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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-tong/year-6-month-1-day-16, accessed October 20, 2019