Great Qing and Its Southern Neighbors, 1760-1820: Secular Trends and Recovery from Crisis [1]

Over the last twenty years, as we have brought the state back into our accounts of large-scale historical change,[2] we have focused only erratically on inter-state relations. Accounts of the contingent emergence of the early modern European multi-state order[3] could not avoid it. I have not found anything detailed or analytical about the foreign relations practices of the Ottoman, Safavid, or Mughal empires, but so far I have not looked very hard. Scholars of early modern Japan cannot ignore the foreign relations dimensions of its astonishing transformation from a realm of warring daimyo who welcomed Portuguese black ships and sent their own fleets abroad to a realm that was decentralized but tightly controlled, and nowhere more so than in its foreign relations.[4]

And then there is the question of China and its tribute system. I have been worrying this question around for forty years and I haven’t gotten it right yet. In 1959 I wrote my first seminar paper on the Dutch embassy to Beijing of 1655-1657, which was received and managed as an embassy bearing tribute, for John King Fairbank, whose writings did so much to give the concept of a tribute system of millennial duration an important place in the English-reading public’s limited fund of ideas about the Chinese past. From my first important publication, in Fairbank’s conference volume The Chinese World Order, to a recent newsletter quickie[5], I have made several attempts to argue that the tribute system is not the best master concept for tracing continuity and change in pre-modern Chinese foreign relations.

THE TRIBUTE SYSTEM? A standard version of the tribute system story is something like this: From early Han times (c. 100 B.C.E.) until the Opium War (1839-1842) the norm of Chinese foreign relations was the tribute system. In this system, all foreign polities whose rulers or subjects wished to have relations with China had to acquiesce in ceremonies in which the non-Chinese rulers were treated as subordinates paying tribute to the Son of Heaven, and in institutions through which the imperial bureaucracy sought to manage all aspects of foreign relations, including trade, through a unilateral set of rules focussed on regular tribute embassies. Anyone not totally oblivious or resistant to recent trends in the study of Chinese history (or many other branches of history) will be uneasy with a concept that preserves much of the flavor of images of “unchanging China” long discarded in the study of Chinese government, society, economy, and culture, a concept that has been such a prominent part of a master narrative of a China mired in tradition and illusion that could not perceive, much less deal with, the challenges of the modern multi-state system and the world industrial economy. Recent scholarship, still too thin on the ground but of excellent quality, makes it clear that the concept of a millennial tribute system is undermined by adequate empirical knowledge of various periods as well as by our cultural-critical unease. Every element in the millennial story — continuity, a focus on ceremonial superiority, a tendency to unilateral bureaucratic management, even illusion — is plausible for some periods and some relations. But only for a long century of the Ming, about 1425 to 1550, did a unified tribute system provide the matrix for all of China’s foreign relations. In the complex management of foreign relations by the sophisticated Manchu rulers of the Great Qing, from 1644 down past 1800, the tribute system matrix was not central to the successful management of complicatedly semi-foreign relations with major peoples on Inner Asia – the Mongols, the Uighurs, the Tibetans — under forms of Qing hegemony more substantial than those that had been provided by the tribute system relations with Inner Asia. It had almost nothing to do with the management of the huge European trade at Canton, the policy issues raised by the presence of Roman Catholic missionaries, or the relations with Russia.

My most substantial attempt to make this argument was wrapped around a book about two Dutch and two Portuguese embassies to the early Qing court, relying largely on European-language sources, reading them against the grain with a lot of Qing history questions in mind, providing a lot of thick description of the practices of the tribute embassy not otherwise available[6]. This was not a mode of publishing that would draw a lot of attention. My struggles with this theme still need comparative dimensions, especially with the practices of other great empires. I think we will continue to find that it useful to organize our understanding of pre-modern Chinese foreign relations around a concept of defensiveness of the unified imperial state against the dangers posed by alien alliances with regional powers and lesser “Chinese traitors”, alien teachings, and much more. One way of looking at the institution of the tribute embassy is to see it primarily as a defense against violations of the ceremonial supremacy of the imperial court. The Great Wall is a valid, though often misunderstood, symbol of Chinese defensiveness[7].

Reading against the grain in non-Chinese archives certainly has its uses, but it’s no substitute for reading what the Chinese (or better the multiethnic Qing) elite had to say. The printed sources are highly idealized and bureaucratic-systematic. What would we find if we read the manuscript record of the deliberations of the Qing rulers? In 1985 I checked in the First Historical Archive of China (Zhongguo Di’yi Lishi Danganguan) in Beijing for material on my seventeenth century cases and found very little. In 1999 I went back to the Beijing Archives, determined to find sets of documents of sufficient bulk and complexity to give me something to think about. The archives are much richer after about 1720. I did not want to get involved in the complexities of Qing policies toward Inner Asia. I thought – and I was right – that I would find some material on relations with Europeans, but not enough to give me much fresh insight. So I decided to see what I could find about two important relations to the south, those with Siam (modern Thailand), and with Annam, which acquired its modern name, Vietnam, in the final phase of the negotiations I studied. I was richly rewarded. I read – on microfilm; for this first pass survey I saw no need to ask to see the originals, which usually is possible – over a thousand documents, neat texts sent in for imperial decision and sometimes ornamented with his hard-to-read comments in the red ink he alone used (Zhupi zouzhe) and copies quickly made in outer offices of documents being sent in to the emperor, which rather oddly included some original texts received from the Kings of Siam and Annam (Lufu zouzhe)[8]. I also got the major fringe benefits of hanging out with a new generation of Qing history graduate students, Chinese and foreign, and walking the streets of the great city and mingling with its wonderful people.

There is a nice irony here. It is crucial to my critique of the tribute system as a master concept that important parts of Qing foreign relations had little or no relation to the institution of the tribute embassy. But the relations with Siam and with Annam were very much within the tribute system. Many of the deficiencies of the tribute system as a matrix for foreign relations can be seen very clearly in the Annam case. But relations with Siam were managed with far better information about the foreign polity and far more realistic policy-making than in most cases of tribute system diplomacy. And in such a positive case the basic deficiencies of the system are thrown into sharper relief.

SIAM. The modern borders of Yunnan province, roughly following those claimed but not always controlled by the Qing, include an important group of Tai people in the very tourist-friendly area called Xishuangbanna. The traditional polity of these people was on the outer fringes of loosely nesting polities that reached all the way to the Siamese heartland around modern Bangkok. But the Qing relation with Siam was altogether a matter of maritime trade and of embassies sent by sea. From the early 1400’s on the kings of Siam, with their capital at Ayutthaya not far north of Bangkok, promoted and controlled maritime trade as a source of revenue that would give them a political edge over regional leaders whose main resource was levies of soldiers out of the populous rice lands. Chinese sojourning and settling in Siam could begin to fit in to Siamese society, with its rice agriculture, Buddhism, and substantial monarchy, without having to confront any differences as great as those they encountered in Muslim societies[9]. The kings of Siam often employed resident Chinese merchants as Phra Klang, royal ministers in charge of foreign trade[10]. In the fifteenth century trade accompanying tribute embassies was the only form of completely legal trade in Chinese ports; thereafter it always was facilitated and exempted from many tolls. From the 1400’s on, the Chinese authorities occasionally noted that the envoy bearing tribute from Siam was of Chinese origin. A very important feature of traditional Chinese views of foreign relations was a focus on the “Chinese traitor” (Han jian) as a key factor in any foreign menace, working from within to guide and collaborate with invaders or settling at a foreign court and advising it on strategy and organization. Chinese settled in Siam in the 1400’s, when no Chinese legally sailed abroad, certainly were viewed with such suspicion by Ming authorities. In the eighteenth century Qing rulers imprisoned some people who returned from long sojourns in Java, and rejected proposals of punitive action after massacres of Chinese there in 1740; those massacred, having forsaken the imperial realm to live among foreigners, were not worthy of protection. But others returning from overseas were tolerated, even when they came as tribute envoys from the sultans of Sulu[11]. And there is abundant evidence in the archive sources I read and in sources used by others that the Qing rulers were quite comfortable with the knowledge that many of the merchants coming to China on Siamese tribute ships and managing their trade on behalf of the King of Siam were Chinese, with Chinese names, not even bothering to hide behind exotic multi-syllabic Siamese names. In 1742-1743 these men were key intermediaries in the negotiation of an elaborate set of tax incentives for ships that would bring large quantities of rice from Siam.

This highly functional relation within the matrix of the tribute system was shattered by the fall of Ayutthaya to Burmese invaders in 1767. Several eyewitness accounts of the ensuing chaos reached Chinese ports and eventually the archives of the imperial court. Taksin, a Siamese provincial governor whose father was an immigrant from China, soon rallied resistance, including many others of Chinese descent, and pushed back the invaders. But when he sought recognition from the Qing court as king of Siam he was told first that he should try to find and install as king descendants of the old ruling house. When the Qing rulers were convinced that no such person could be found they recognized him as “lord of the country” but not formally as king.

The difficulty was that Taksin’s envoys were not the only Chinese emigr¹s keeping Qing officials informed about the situation in Siam. Since about 1700 there had been an important commercial and naval base of emigr¹ Chinese at Ha Tien on the western edge of the Mekong Delta, almost on the modern Vietnam-Cambodia border, ruled by a succession of members of a family using the surname Mac[12]. In 1767 the current ruler of Ha Tien, Mac Thien Tu, gave refuge to two princes of the old royal house of Ayutthaya fleeing the Burmese invasion, declaring his intention to restore one of them to the throne of Siam. His naval expedition to Siam in 1768 accomplished nothing. Taksin, rallying his forces in Chantaburi on the eastern coast of Siam, worked all his connections among the many Chinese emigr¹s in the region to destabilize Ha Tien, and finally conquered it in November 1771. In the meantime, Mac Thien Tu had sent four envoys to Guangzhou to present his version of events, including the legitimate rights of the Ayutthaya princes, to the Qing authorities, who had responded by sending at least three missions to Ha Tien to investigate. I have noticed no trace in the Qing documents on these events of misgiving about dealing with and accepting the information of long-time Chinese emigr¹s. The continuation of a legitimate succession in a tributary kingdom always was preferred as far as possible; surely this enhanced the appeal of the solution to the Siam crisis Mac Thien Tu advocated. It was only after the disappearance of this alternative that the Qing began to evaluate seriously the legitimacy of Taksin’s claim. He finally was fully recognized as king in 1681, but within a year after that a coalition of his generals had deposed and executed him, calling him insane and unfit to rule.

The general who now emerged supreme in Siam became Rama I, the first king of the Chakkri Dynasty that still reigns. He had a Chinese mother, and reportedly had spent some of his youth as an adopted son in Taksin’s household. But that does not entirely explain the extraordinary terms in which his accession was reported to the Qing court. In a document which needs further examination but which probably was prepared in Thailand in Chinese, he reports the death of his beloved father Taksin, and states that on his deathbed Taksin “exhorted me to rule with care, not to change the old order, to have care for our own sovereign land and to honor the Heavenly Dynasty”[13]. The phrase I translate “sovereign land” is the very ancient sheji, “altars of earth and grain”. If this document was prepared in Siam – it has a very un-Chinese Siamese seal on its cover – it must have been written by a well-educated member of the Chinese community there, and I suspect that it was a result of a decision by the Chinese leadership to conceal from the imperial court the kind of change of ruling house that had led to such long delays in full recognition after the fall of Ayutthaya. Rama I used the same Chinese surname as Taksin – Zheng, with all its echoes both of the eunuch admiral Zheng He and the Ming Loyalist leaders. His descendants continued to use it and maintained active tribute relations with the Qaing until 1855.

ANNAM. Qing documents repeatedly describe Annam as the “most loyal and submissive” of tributary states. From the founding of the LÁ Dynasty when the Ming invaders were expelled from Annam in 1427, the general elite culture had been marked by steady shifts toward Chinese models of culture and government. In the 1500’s the quite extraordinary confusions of the rise of the Mac family, its eventual usurpation of the throne, Ming partial acquiescence in it, and the rivalry of the Nguyen (south) and Trinh (north) for the control of LÁ rois fain¹ants, had pushed Annam factions toward the alternative Chinese rhetorics of hereditary legitimacy and cultural orthodoxy; the antinomy was resolved after 1644 in Qing acceptance of the restored LÁ under Trinh hegemony, and withdrawal of recognition from the Mac holdout regime on Annam’s northern border. The Nguyen regime survived in full de facto autonomy in the central coast, advancing steadily into the Mekong Delta, completely outside the view of theQing state. The LÁ kings sent regular tribute embassies, were meticulous in the use of seals and terminology (to judge by originals preserved in the Beijing Archives), and prepared their own tribute memorials and accompanying documents in quite respectable literary Chinese.

The issues to be negotiated between Annam and the Qing were substantial and far removed from the comforts and protocols of either court, on a long and nearly ungovernable frontier of rivers and jungle mountains, hill tribes with connections on both sides of the border, traders moving back and forth on legal and illegal tracks, and Chines miners moving into Annamese frontier areas. The Qing authorities knew they had all they could do to control territory on their side of the border as it filled up with miners and frontier farmers, frequently encroaching on and clashing with the hill peoples. In 1725-1728, the Qing had to decide what to do about a substantial Annamese encroachment along the border with Yunnan province. On one important stretch of border the Annamese had taken advantage of the chaos of the late Ming and the Ming-Qing transition to move border barriers first 80 li and then 40 more – a total of 120 li, or about 40 miles – into Yunnan. There were promising silver mines in this zone. The Qing officials readily agreed that they should not try to get back the eighty li, but insisted that they had documents proving that the other 40 had been under full Qing administration. But the King of Annam wouldn’t give up his claim to this zone. Troops massed on both sides. One of the key officials reporting from Yunnan at this time was Ertai, one of the most able officials in the empire and a confidant of the formidable Yongzheng Emperor. Finally he informed the emperor that the territory wasn’t worth fighting for; “If we get the land we won’t be able to defend it; if we get the people we won’t be able to make any use of them.”[14] The King of Annam sent officials to greet with great ceremony the emperor’s edict conceding the territory, and the matter was settled.

Qing documents dating from about 1739 to 1775 offer detailed accounts of at least nine major disorders or rebellions in far northern Annam. Some of them were linked in rhetoric to tensions at the Annamese court, calling for the ouster of the Trinh dictators. Others expressed their opposition to the northern court by using the surnames Mac, the ousted power in the north, or Nguyen, the southern rivals of the LÁ-Trinh regime. Many involved hill peoples who had their own connections across the border, and people who went across the border for purposes of trade or mining. None of these disorders posed an immediate threat to the stability of even border areas of the Qing, but the Qing authorities were concerned that they might develop into something larger, especially if subversive or criminal elements in China got involved in them or if Qing border officers were tempted to enhance their own power by intervening. In all their communications about these events the Qing officials were on the lookout for any involvement of “Chinese traitors”. Their answer to any emergency was to close the border – nearly impossible with so many tracks over the jungle mountains. Ethnonyms – Miao, Yao – and very odd Chinese surnames that probably are markers of ethnic groups appear occasionally in these discussions, but the Qing officials, who thought a lot about the problems of ruling the ethnically diverse mountains of Guangxi, Guizhou, and Yunnan, do not seem to have focused very well on the special difficulties of cross-border ethnic ties. The kings of Annam generally found these Qing policies congenial, since they at least denied Annamese rebels sanctuary in Qing territory. The Qing had regular procedures for the extradition of criminals to Annam.

The best-documented case of turmoil in the northern border area occurred in 1775. It involved not Annamese rebels but Chinese silver miners, about five thousand of them in one mining area. When fighting spread among them, the Annam court sent troops to restore order. The Chinese fled for the border of their homeland. But when they got there all of them were taken into custody. Those who had been more or less innocent participants were sent to their home places, with instructions to the local officials to keep a watch on them. 63 who were found to be ringleaders of the troubles were sent to the Ili Valley in the far northwest as slaves of the military; 903 more were sent to ærTmqi, not quite as far out but not exactly comfortable for people who had been living along the Tropic of Cancer, as military colonists.

From 1773 on, Annam was locked in a series of massive and destructive civil wars set off by the Tay Son Rebellion, military, populist, anti-mandarin, hostile to Chinese emigr¹ monopolists and tax farmers. Soon the Tay Son, the Trinh, and the Nguyen regime were locked in close confrontation in the Hue-Da Nang area. Then the Tay Son broke out to conquer much of the south, but the Nguyen managed to survive and eventually establish a substantial base area at Dong Nai in the modern Saigon area. The Qing rulers had some good testimony on phases of this struggle from Chinese who had been there and had even served as officials under the Nguyen, but they didn’t know what to make of it.

Then in 1787 the Tay Son marched north and took the LÁ capital (modern Hanoi). The last LÁ king appeared with his entourage at the Guangxi border and was given asylum. His pleas for help in regaining his throne received an astonishing response, in which the usual caution of the Qing rulers was thrown to the winds. Within ten days of the first news of these events at Beijing, orders were being sent for a full-scale invasion. Sun Shiyi, governor-general of Guangdong and Guangxi, had proposed the expedition and was to lead it, gaining great glory for himself and for the dynasty. Sun was a close associate of the infamous Heshen, the great power in the court in these years. Military campaigns were among the most lucrative rackets of the Heshen gang. Sun’s 8000 men met little opposition, and entered the Annamese capital in little more than a month. Then they began to understand that they had not completed their conquest, that there were other major centers of power hundreds of miles further south. They lost several battles in the course of their retreat, but still seem to have come back with about 5000 of their 8000 men. Elaborate arrangements were made for Nguyen Hue, the Tay Son king, to humbly seek imperial pardon and to be admitted as a tributary. The volume of correspondence on these arrangements makes it clear that this episode was a truly major embarrassment to the Qing court. The elaborate and anxious ceremonies that followed are an important part of the context of the Qing court’s reception of the Macartney embassy in 1793.

In the south the surviving Nguyen regime began to gain strength against the Tay Son. It had a strong naval element, and occasionally Nguyen squadrons appeared as far north as Hainan, Qing imperial territory. From about 1797 there is quite a bit of information in the Qing archives about these developments along the coast. Nguyen Anh, the lord of this rising power and the future Gia Long Emperor of the new Nguyen Dynasty, sought separate recognition from the Qing while he still was fighting the Tay Son. The Qing responded warily, but began to ask themselves what they would do if the lord of Dong Nai (Nguyen Anh) were completely victorious. Thus when he conquered the north in 1802, completing his victory over the Tay Son, he was readily accepted as the legitimate king. But of what? He memorialized that his people in the south did not like the name Annam, which reminded them too much of past Chinese hegemonies in the north. For two hundred years they had called themselves Nam Viet. But this was completely unacceptable to the Qing court, since these characters (Chinese reading Nan Yue) were the name of an old state that had been centered in what was now Guangdong and Guangxi. Several exasperated exchanges produced no solution. Then someone at the imperial court suggested simply reversing the two syllables. Nguyen Anh agreed to call his kingdom Viet Nam. Thus it was that one of the most passionately cherished national names of our times, so often evoked against the domination of the Chinese as well as of the French and the Americans, was invented within the red walls of the Forbidden City of Beijing.

CRISIS AND NEW STABILITY. As far as I know, the Beijing Archives documents drawn on in the previous paragraphs have not been previously studied. They are likely to be of substantial value to historians of Siam and of Annam/Vietnam in this period. Several scholars have laid out, from other sources, the main features of Siam’s tribute trade and of the Taksin-Mac Thien Tu-Rama I conflicts in the years of dynastic crisis[15]. For Annam/Vietnam, the Qing response to the LÁ collapse, including the fiasco of the 1788 invasion, the acceptance of Nguyen Hue and later of the new Gia Long Emperor, and the worries about pirates based on the Vietnam coast marauding in coastal Guangdong, are fairly well known[16]. I do not know of any study of the tangles and conflicts along the Annam-Guangxi border. The very patchy and intriguing Qing sources on the Nguyen forces holding out in the Dong Nai area may be useful to the specialist. But I am not that specialist, either for Siam or for Annam/Vietnam. I do not read the languages. I am a fascinated amateur in their historiographies. I am in touch with several excellent experts, and soon will begin sharing summaries of my archive findings with them. We will see how these cooperations develop.

I hope these sources and further attention to the Siam and Vietnam cases will contribute to a historiographical trend already under way that makes these upheavals and the resulting new dynasties case studies in Eurasia-wide changes in state and society around 1800. Growth of commerce, productivity, and population could be seen in many areas. There were long-run trends toward the consolidation of political power in fewer units[17]. But when we employ shorter time spans than those used in these big generalizations we see that these were not linear processes. In the “gunpowder empires” of the Islamic world, which figure along with the Ming-Qing as the great early modern “agrarian empires”, growth of trade and population can be seen opening the way to inchoate regional state-building efforts that challenged the essentially control-oriented and self-limiting regimes of the imperial centers. Jack Goldstone’s important comparative study develops a theory of such crises, giving primacy to demographic causes, that is relevant to European and Asian cases[18]. On the smaller stages of Siam and Vietnam, it seems to me, similar processes can be seen. Most dramatically, the expansion of Vietnamese settlement in the south opened the way to new configurations of power. Li Tana has given us a ground-breaking picture of these developments as “a new way of being Vietnamese”, more commercial, more open to interaction with foreigners than the older center in the Red River delta[19]. Hoi An not far south of Hue on the central coast became a major center of foreign trade. Many Chinese settlers contributed to these changes[20]. The Nguyen overlords maintained a regime of de facto independence from the old center in the north. In the eighteenth century the rich rice lands of the Mekong Delta were brought under cultivation by Vietnamese and Chinese. Dong Nai in the modern Saigon area became a major center of trade and power, with many Chinese settlers. I already have noted the very important center of maritime Chinese power at Ha Tien on the western edge of the Mekong Delta. In addition to their involvement in the Siam crisis they once intervened in support of the Nguyen at Dong Nai. So the economic expansion of the times was leading to a proliferation of centers of power in competition with each other, more than could survive, in ways roughly analogous to the processes described for other areas by Bayly and Goldstone. The Mac of Ha Tien bet on an Ayutthaya restoration, lost, and were crushed. The Nguyen of Hue, Hoi An, and later Dong Nai almost did not survive the Tay Son earthquake, and in surviving made excellent use of the economic and strategic advantages of the Dong Nai area. The new Nguyen Dynasty made strenuous efforts to build Chinese-style bureaucratic institutions[21], and to learn enough about the arms and fortifications of the advancing Europeans to defend itself. Its capital was in the middle, at Hue, its cultural center of gravity in the north, its economic base in the new riches and new ways of the Mekong Delta. Both in Annam (now Vietnam) and in Siam, a new and stronger state structure emerged, to which emigr¹ Chinese made very substantial contributions.

Were there also inland cases of economic and demographic growth contributing to the emergence of alternative, destabilizing centers of power? A broad impression of such growth, much of it driven by the expansion of mining, certainly is reinforced by the case of the disturbances among Chinese miners in the far north of Annam. I suspect something could be made of the roles of mining, overland trade, and perhaps even opium in the growth of wealth and settlement in highland Burma and Siam, contributing both to the Burma-China war of 1767-1770 and to the Burmese choice of an advance by way of Chiengmai in the 1767 invasion of Siam. But if I were going to have anything of my own to bring to that discussion I should have worked through the Beijing Archive documents on Qing relations with Burma. They’re there, extensive and dauntingly complex, but I didn’t get to them. If the “strictly enforced” deadline for this paper had been February 15 – better yet March 15 – I would have pulled something together from published materials. As it is, that will have to be for the next phase of my project.

Let me end by circling back to foreign relations. Looking at the stability of their tribute relations with stable and effective states in Vietnam and with Siam in the early nineteenth century, the Qing rulers had every reason to believe that their inherited practices were working very well. Their mode of deliberation about problems in foreign relations relied on information transmitted by officials in the provinces where the contacts with the foreigners were centered. A multiplicity of sources of information increased the possibility that the emperor could demonstrate his mastery of the situation by pointing out inconsistencies among them, reducing the likelihood that any provincial official would get imperial approval for a career-enhancing cross-border adventure. The fiasco of the 1788 invasion of Annam demonstrated what could happen when these checks and balances broke down. The Qing rulers, court and provincial, had quite a bit of good information about developments in tributary states but didn’t know what to make of it. They were hampered by the crucial defect of the tribute system as a structure for the management of foreign relations, the absence of any resident delegate of the Qing in a foreign capital, charged, to add to the old pun, not only with lying abroad for his country but with spying abroad for his country. The overseas Chinese could supply excellent information, for their own purposes, when they wanted to, as Mac Thien Tu did in 1767-1771, but more frequently they and the Qing officials did not trust each other and did not share much information. Siamese Chinese information management reached a peak in the presentation of Rama I as filial son of Taksin. These weaknesses of information-gathering in the ports of Southeast Asia were among the many reasons why the Qing rulers, immensely capable of gathering information and in the midst of major reform efforts in Xinjiang, in the salt administration, and much more in the early nineteenth century, sensed so little – much less than Vietnam’s Gia Long Emperor, for example — of the major changes that were coming toward them out of the South Seas, powered by the anarchic energies of English private traders, the expansive state that quickly followed them, steamships, modern gunnery, and opium.
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Wyatt, David K. 1998. “The eighteenth Century in Southeast Asia”. In Bluss¹ and Gaastra, eds. On the Eighteenth Century as a Category of Asian History, p. 39-58.

Yunnansheng lishi yanjiusuo (Yunnan Provincial Institute for Historical Research), ed. 1985. Qing ShiluYuenan MiandianTaiguoLaoguo shiliao zhechao(Collected materials on Vietnam, Burma, Thailand, and Laos from the Qing Veritable Records). Kunming: Yunnan Renmin.

Zhongguo Diyi Lishi Dang’anguan (First Historical Archives of China). Series cited: Lufu zouzhe (Grand Council Copies) and Zhupi zouzhe (Memorials for Imperial Rescript), classifications foreign relations, Thailand and Vietnam.

1 Portions of this work previously were presented at the Renmin University of China; Tufts University; and the Southern California China Seminar. I am grateful for comments from all these audiences and from others with whom I have shared some of these ideas.

2 Evans, Rueschemeyer, and Skocpol; Mann; Bates.

3 Spruyt ; Thomson.

4 Toby ; Totman; Hall and McClain.

5 Wills 1968; Wills 1999.

6 Wills 1984.

7 Waldron.

8 I also have benefited from a convenient compilation of passages from the most important printed source, the Veritable Records; see Yunnansheng lishi yanjiusuo.

9 Skinner 1957; Skinner 1996.

10 Pombejra.

11 Ng Chin-Keong.

12 Chen 1977.

13 Zhongguo Di’yi Lishi Dang’anguan, Lufu zouzhe, 7785/43, dated Qianlong 47/5/15.

14 ZhongguoDi’yi Lishi Dang’anguan, Lufu zouzhe, 7771/22,dated Yongzheng 5/8/10.

15 Chen 1977; Chin; Masuda.

16 Lam; Murray.

17 Lieberman.

18 Bayly 1988; Bayly 1989; Goldstone.

19 Li Tana.

20 Chen 1974.

21 Woodside.