Hong-zhi: Year 12, Month 3, Day 25

4 May 1499

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Formerly, the Mu-bang Pacification Superintendent Han Wa-fa had gone to marry a woman at Meng-nai. He was then obstructed by his subordinate Xin-man and was unable to return. Si Die, a member of the ruling family of the Meng-mi Pacification Office thereupon attacked and occupied Mu-bang's territory. The Yun-nan grand defender and grand coordinator annually sent officials to soothe and instruct him, but he remained unrepentant. Thus, they proposed the accumulating of grain, the opening of roads and the casting of military weapons to prepare for an expedition to eliminate him.

It was ordered that the General Administration Circuit Assistant Administration Commissioner Huang Dong-shan and the Military Defence Circuit Vice Commissioner Zhao Jiong be made responsible for this matter, while Mao Ke, an administration vice commissioner of the left, and the Vice Commissioner Jing Mao were to assist in pacifying and making arrangements. Subsequently Si Die attacked Man-zhe and the pacification superintendent's wife went to seek help from Si Lu of Meng-yang. Si Lu was the remnant spawn of the rebellious Lu-chuan bandit and he had agreed that he was not permitted to cross the river without a tally from the regional commander. At this time, he requested permission to gain military merit by killing or capturing Si Die. By yi traditions, Meng-mi had always feared the troops of Si Lu. The officials responsible for soothing the yi felt that such an arrangement was appropriate. Consequently, the request was put to the regional commander, grand defender and grand coordinator, who approved it. 

Prior to the arrival of the Meng-yang troops, Si Die heard that they were coming and he withdrew to another place. A different force seized Xin-man and turned him in. Han Wa-fa was thus able to return to his former territory, and the various yi tribes gave him a measure of allegiance. But not long thereafter, they again shifted their allegiance to Si Die. Han Wa-fa advised of this. A Battalion Commander Yin Ming, who had accompanied the officials who went to soothe the yi, advised that Si Die could have been captured, but because the yi-soothing officials did not coordinate, the opportunity was lost. Therefore, the Regional Commander Mu Cong, the Eunuch Director Liu Chang (Alt: Liu Jing) and the Grand Coordinator and Censor-in-Chief Zhang Gao deliberated and proposed the sending of Meng-yang troops and that it be proclaimed that all the yi tribes who had come to allegiance be ordered to employ all means to kill or capture Si Die. Further, a despatch was sent to Jiong, Dong-shan and Ke to deploy 12,000 men from the military and militia forces to provide defence and escorts. They were also to examine the situation of the various yi and to soothe and make arrangements as appropriate.

When Jiong and Ke received the orders, they met at Teng-chong. Dong-shan first went to Long-chuan to arrange the storage of grain. Ke wanted to arrange his own military provisions and he instructed that criminals could redeem their sentences through the payment of rice. He also levied transport taxes and retrospectively levied the annual silver due from Lu-jiang, which a member of the native ruling-family had taken for his own use. All of this was gathered and stored for the use of the army. Jiong subsequently joined with Ke and issued the orders, instructing Lin Ang to despatch the Meng-yang troops. Also, as Long-chuan was close to Man-mo, the troops of the three pacification commissions of Long-chuan, Nan Dian and Gan-yai were also despatched. The hope was that thereby, success could be achieved in a pincer movement.

Yin Ming was then sent to confer rewards upon Si Lu and to urge him to despatch his troops. Si Lu then sent Senior Tao-meng Lun Suo to lead his yi troops, elephants and horses across the river. At that time, Ke was encamped on the West of the Jia-le River, and Jiong was encamped on its East. Si Die heard of this and also raised troops and instructed Tao-meng Si Ying and others to palisade and defend Man-mo. Dong-shan had sent a further 300 trained troops from Teng-chong and intended to station them at Bang-hang. However, on meeting and discussing the matter with Jiong, there was a disagreement and the troops remained at Gan-yai to guard the various granaries. The troops on the expedition were not given any grain and the two armies began to grumble. Ke thus provisioned the troops using the official silver which was to have been given as rewards for achievements, and from stores which he had accumulated, and reduced the monthly grain ration for each guard, so as to restore the diverted official funds. Shortly thereafter, Ke went to Jiong's camp to discuss matters. The servants of the Commander Dai Ji lost control of their fire and it burnt the camp, destroying thousands of military weapons. Ke was thus in difficulties and he shifted camp. After a month he led the troops to encamp at Mt. Nan-ya and joined with the Meng-yang troops. [Senior Tao-meng] Lun Suo, who had already crossed the river, pointed to a hawk and said to Lin Ang: "We are like that hawk. When we take land, we control it and live off it (奪得地土即管食之耳)." Ke was sad and depressed when he heard this and could not sleep. He thus sent a person to urge Jiong to meet him at Man-mo.

At this time, the Meng-yang troops had established camp in front of the Man-mo Stockade and Ke and Jiong, after deliberating, sent Yin Ming and another local commander to achieve Si Ying's surrender. Si Ying did not accord and ambushed the troops, wounding one of the Meng-yang people and killing two. He hung their heads on the palisades. Also, five of the Wu-ding sentries were wounded by arrows. Jiong then instructed yi troops to attain a high vantage point from which to impose control over Si Ying. Si Ying and the others kept the stockade closed and did not come out. Again persons were sent to instruct them, upon which he sent a letter in Mian script, saying that he was willing to discuss peace with the pacification superintendent. When the Meng-yang troops heard that a surrender was being arranged, they spoke angrily. At this time, the government troops had no grain and they were collecting the hearts of banana trees to eat. Ke saw that Si Ying would not come out and, on reflecting on the words previously spoken by Lun Suo, he withdrew the troops and encamped them at Meng-du. Jiong also, having no grain to ration, also withdrew, stopping at Mt. Nan-ya. As Ke and Jiong had gone, Lun Suo was frightened that Si Ying would block his return route and thus led his troops back along the Gan-yai route.

The troops, hungry and exhausted, moreover heard that troops sent from Man-mo were in pursuit and in the ensuing struggle to escape, an inestimable number of troops were trampled to death. When Ke reached Meng-du, Si Die's envoy, the chieftain Nang Fang, came to request instructions. Ke ordered them to send two elephants as apology to the pacification superintendent, to return the land which had been occupied, to prepare local products to send as tribute and to recompense the government army for the grain it had expended. Nang Fang heeded the orders and departed.

At the time, in Yun-nan there were rumours that the heads of the dead were hanging on the palisades at Man-mo and that Ke and Jiong had, in deploying the troops, been defeated. The regional commander, grand defender and grand coordinator heard these rumours and, in fear, called Ke back. They also warned Meng-yang to withdraw its troops and for all to guard their own territories. However, from this time on, Meng-yang violated the agreement and repeatedly raised troops and crossed the river to make war with Meng-mi.

Ke thus returned and Si Die instructed Nang Fang to accompany Ke and discuss peace with the pacification superintendent. As the two yi had not yet personally submitted, the grand defender and grand coordinator again sent Mao and Dong-shan to urge the surrender. Not long after, there arrived local products offered in tribute by Si Die and Han Wa-fa. At this time, the grand defender and grand coordinator memorialized requesting that the achievements of Mao, Jiong, Dong-shan and Ke be recorded, and also advising of the fire at Ke's camp. Also, as persons had stated that many people had been killed or injured and that Meng-yang had repeatedly sent urgent Mian script letters saying that the troops had been defeated, officials were repeatedly sent to investigate this.

At the time, Ke presented a memorial at the capital, saying that Meng-mi had come to allegiance and that this was entirely the result of cherishing and soothing by himself and Jiong, that he intended to investigate the cause of the fire and would examine the number of troops killed. He noted that it was only after Meng-mi had come to allegiance that Mao and so on personally went to instruct them, and yet their achievements had been noted as the greatest. He also memorialized requesting that achievements and transgressions be clarified and made known. The memorial was sent to the regional inspecting censor for investigation. Also, Jiong had previously composed 12 poems on Meng-mi's sending of tribute and the actions he had taken on his own discretion, and presented them. The Ministry of War submitted an impeachment against him. This memorial was sent to the regional inspector investigating censor requiring him to arrest and investigate Jiong. He was charged with submitting non-factual memorials, but purchased redemption from the punishment of banishment. Subsequently, being found guilty by the supervising secretaries and censors, he was demoted to associate administrator of the salt distribution commission. Thus, the Censor Yu Ben-shi arrested Yin Ming and the various attendants of the yi pacification officials and interrogated them under torture. Ming and the others, stating what their interrogators wanted them to say, claimed:

"Ke plotted means by which to pacify the yi. He resorted to battle and killed or injured over 100 yi troops. He was also excessive in levying silver."

Ben-shi subsequently memorialized an accusation of crimes against Ke and Jiong, and requested that Ke be arrested and imprisoned and that Jiong be further charged. He also submitted impeachments against Zhang Gao and Liu Chang. At this time, Ke memorialized objections against the charges and submitted accusations in respect of the personal activities of Ben-shi and Dong-shan. The Censorate memorialized:

"We sent Dong Si-gong, a supervising secretary in the Office of Scrutiny for War, and Peng Ze, a vice director in the Ministry of Justice, to go and examine this matter."

On comparing the accounts, they noted:

"Ke and Jiong received the regional commander's tally to despatch some troops, but they deployed a further 22,000 men. They indeed sent troops to soothe and pacify, but did not engage in battle. As to the number of Meng-yang troops killed, the successive Mian script letters are contradictory. Si Lu attacked and occupied Man-mo and Gong-zhang. He was soothed and instructed but he has not withdrawn. If we go to investigate, they will certainly make up excuses which cannot be believed. Also, much of what Ben-shi memorialized is not congruent with the facts."

They further memorialized: "It is charged that Ke diverted official funds in order to restore [miused funds]. Under the law that warrants banishment. Jiong should be treated as originally charged."

It was further charged:

"Ke and Jiong speciously exaggerated their elimination and capture of rebels, deployed yi troops without authority, and lightly went deeply into their territory. That is a crime deserving of banishment. For, to the extent that generals deploy troops and cavalry without authority, the law in such cases is largely appropriate. However, these deployments were not authorized by generals and the yi troops were deployed in the name of the Emperor. This is indeed different from deploying troops without authority when there is no alarm within the realm or on the borders. However, if they are punished only in accordance with the usual regulations, it will not be a warning to the border officials who encourage troubles in order to submit reports which will earn rewards. [Yin] Ming sought promotion and suggested that Si Die could easily be eliminated. Also, hoping to reduce his punishment, he made false claims about the number of persons that had been killed on injured in Long-chuan. This case is particularly serious. [Huang] Dong-shan also jointly wrote orders requiring deployment of yi troops and, for private considerations, put off pressing matters of importance. [Yu] Ben-shi investigated the affair but did not report the facts and his impeachment memorial was too extreme. [Zhang] Gao and [Liu] Chang did not plan fully enough and the Censor Zhang Tai interfered in military affairs. All should be arrested and investigated. However, while Si Die's invasion of Mu-bang has continued for years, he is now proposing peace and has also offered tribute. Thus, these several persons have realized some minor achievements, and such achievements should be recorded."

The memorial was sent to the Censorate for deliberation. It held:

"As the crimes of Gao and the others occurred prior to the amnesty and as Gao has retired, Tai has been transferred and Ben-shi has gone into mourning for a parent, they should be exempted from punishment in accordance with precedents. The merits and faults of Ke, Jiong and Ming are about equal. As for Dong-shan's achievements, there is nothing worth recording, and his crimes are quite minor. All await your Majesty's decision."

An Imperial order was issued noting that Ke, Jiong and Ming be exempted punishment, but that they be demoted one grade, and that Dong-shan be sent to the regional inspector for detention and investigation.

Xiao-zong: juan 148.6b-9a

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 57, page 2608/13

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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/hong-zhi/year-12-month-3-day-25, accessed January 22, 2019