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Tian-qi: Year 7, Month 4, Day 14

28 May 1627

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(Min) Hong-xue also noted: "The Mang chieftain Zhao-ba Lang-wu-han is a descendant of Mang Ying-li of former times. Some of his people are called Mang, some Man, some Mian and some Ava. They are all sub-groups of Mang Da-la, while their lairs are called Pegu, Weng-sa and Toungoo. Previously, they attacked Meng-gen Prefecture and that prefecture sought assistance from Che-li. Dao Yun-meng, the pacification superintendent [of Che-li], thus sent 10,000 troops and 10 elephants to go to assist the prefecture. Thereupon, reprisals were launched against Che-li. Yun-meng was in his declining years and he urgently sought a resolution of the dispute. Only by a large payment did he manage to restore peaceful relations. The Mang chieftain heard that Yun-meng's eldest son Zhao He-xuan had a daughter named Zhao Wu-gang, who was alluring and beautiful. Thus, he demanded that Wu-gang be presented to him. He-xun however sent a different girl in her stead. When Mang became aware of the deceit, he was greatly angered. He thus sent his forces and also mobilized those in Ba-bai and other areas to go and attack Meng-zhe and then to advance on Che-li. Yun-meng and his son were unable to resist them and they fled to the area of Si-mao, which was under his jurisdiction. Mang sent a chieftain commander (目押) and a guide to swiftly follow them. The pursuers caught Yun-meng and conveyed him back, and then captured He-xuan and sent him back in fetters. Actually, the wrangling and fighting between Ava and Che-li began in the 44th year of the Wan-li reign (1616/17). At that time, Che-li was attacked but it did not send any request for help. When the Ava troops arrived, the Che-li people left their stockades and fled. When they surrendered they were bound. During the Jia-jing reign (1522-66), the Che-li troops had been defeated by Ava-Burma and part of Che-li was absorbed into Ava-Burma. Thus, the terms Greater Che-li and Lesser Che-li came about. Greater Che-li accorded with Ava-Burma, while Lesser Che-li accorded with the Han. Ava-Burma was originally considered to be a submissive yi. Now, it has dared to use troops to brow-beat others and it appears that there is no option but to raise an army to punish their crimes. However, it is over 8,000 li to Yun-nan and such an expedition cannot be lightly discussed. But, if we give no thought to the danger, the power of Ava-Burma will become increasingly strong and Yun-nan's calamities will become increasingly great. The future would then be unpredictable. Looking back to the time of Hong-wu (1368-98), we see that when Yun-nan was pacified, our Tai-zu Emperor bestowed various designations in order to indicate that [persons there] were to be kept on a loose rein. The major were called the three pacification commissions and the six pacification superintendencies. Now the three pacification commissions are not in distress, but what has happened to the six pacification superintendencies? As to these six pacification superintendencies, one is the Ava-Burma Pacification Superintendency, that is Burma (Mian 緬). Another is the Che-li Pacification Superintendency, while there are also Ba-bai, Mu-bang, Meng-yang and Laos. In precious times, they were all approximately equal in terms of territory and strength, and each considered itself the most powerful and greatest. They thus exercised mutual control over each other like a dog's inter-locked teeth. However, in the early Jia-jing reign (1522-66), Ava-Burma was destroyed by Meng-yang. The chieftain Mang Ji-sui and his entire clan were all killed. Only Mang Rui-ti and his brothers were able to escape and they fled to the Toungoo stockade. There, they borrowed forces to exact revenge and they became daily more powerful, swallowing up territory on all sides. Gradually they became too powerful for it to control [lit: the tail became too big for the dog to wag]. In the closing years of the Jia-jing reign, they destroyed Ba-bai and in the eighth year of the Wan-li reign (1580/81) they captured the Meng-yang chieftain Si Ge. Further, in the 18th year (1590/91), they drove off Si Yuan and subsequently destroyed Meng-yang. Also, in the 10th year of the Wan-li reign (1582/83), they captured the Mu-bang chieftain Han Ba and then in the 33rd year (1605/06) took Han Ke captive, subsequently destroying Mu-bang. During the Jia-jing reign (1522-1566), they took Lan-zhang in Laos. Laos has now lost its Eastern part and only the Western part still exists. Thus, it is not completely subject to Ava-Burma, but it has long not had contact with China. In the past, these areas were divided into six, but now they have been unified into one. How can it be expected that Ava-Burma will not expand! The six pacification superintendencies have already been taken. It is inevitable that the three pacification commissions will be the next targets. Also, Meng-ding, Meng-lian, Wei-yuan, Zhen-kang and such surrounding yi areas form a screen for us. They number in their tens. However, If the Ava-Burma troops draw near, will any of these offices refuse to follow them? We do not need to worry that they are not firm in inclining towards [Chinese] culture. Rather, we should fear that they will not be able to withstand the threat. As to plans for the present, while we must not do anything which will stir up trouble with the Ava-Burmese, we must link together the various yi. If divided, they will be scattered and weak, while if they are united, they will be many and strong. If we are able to unite them, the various yi will be glad to have a force to rely on and none will be unwilling to put all their heart and their strengths into defending against the Ava-Burmese. Previously, Ava-Burma defeated Mu-bang but was unable to secure (有) it. They thus appointed Si Li to manage (lit: eat) the territory. They defeated Man-mo but could not secure it and they appointed Si Xian to manage (lit: eat) that territory. What those persons continued to use however were the seals originally conferred by the Court. That is to say, Ava-Burma defeated them, but could not take (有) them. It was not that they did not have the desire, but just that their power could not extend that far. Now Ava-Burma has carried off the Che-li chieftain, but they have not yet been able to obtain his territory. They will indeed replace the chieftain, establish someone whom they like and get rid of the former one. However, the sentiments of the people of Che-li may not be submissive. As the various yi are lacking in cohesion, there are cracks which Ava-Burma can take advantage of. Thus, it will not be difficult for them to take control through making use of opportunities." The memorial was sent to the Ministry of War.

Xi-zong: juan 83.10b-12a

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 133, page 4032/35

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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://www.epress.nus.edu.sg/msl/reign/tian-qi/year-7-month-4-day-14, accessed September 20, 2017