Ming Dynasty: Reborn as Zhu Yunwen
Ming Dynasty: Reborn as Zhu Yunwen Chapter 102

Chapter 102: Challenge of Land Selling Permits

Wuying Hall

Ma Enhui’s maidservant has come to inquire three times, but has been turned away by Shuangxi.

Shuangxi doesn’t dare to let anyone enter the hall.

When his majesty saw a memorial, he fell into a deep thought, At this time, it’s best not to disturb.

Zhu Yunwen is currently looking at the memorial titled ‘Breaking the Stalemate of Land Sales in the New Army.’ On this memorial, not only are the names of Ping An and Sheng Yong, but also Zhang Bing’s name.

This means that the three of them in Beiping Prefecture have reached a consensus, waiting for his approval.

The core issue of the New Army policy’s predicament is the integrated military-civilian garrison system.

Both soldiers and civilians!

Both training and farming!

However, under this garrison system, wanting to build a strong army and a strong nation is nothing but a pipe dream!

Therefore, a solution must be found.

Zhang Bing, Ping’an, and Shengyong in Beiping Prefecture have found a method, but this method is too ‘earth-shattering.’

Their method is:

Selling the cultivated land under the garrison system to the gentry, with seventy percent of the proceeds going to the national treasury as the three-year grain tax for the soldiers stationed on the land, and the remaining thirty percent going to the soldiers to improve their livelihoods.

After three years, the tax revenue from the garrisoned land purchased by the gentry will support the New Army’s financial expenses.

Zhang Bing’s viewpoint is clear. At present, the gentry’s lands have been significantly reduced and restricted. It is precisely when there is an urgent need to supplement land holdings that if a batch of garrisoned land can be put up for sale, the gentry will undoubtedly buy it.

Zhang Bing requested the court to allow the gentry to buy and sell garrisoned land and to provide a three-year policy of a 1/20 tax rate, which would change to a 1/15 tax rate after three years.

Zhu Yunwen did not anticipate that Zhang Bing, Ping An, and others would come up with such a move.

At present, it is unrealistic to allocate the garrisoned land to farmers. First, farmers are vulnerable to exploitation and extortion, and second, there are too few farmers in the garrisoned land areas to support large-scale cultivation.

However, allocating the garrisoned land for sale to the gentry might be a viable option.

Although the garrisoned land areas are somewhat remote, it is not a problem for the gentry, as long as there is profit to be made.

As long as there is profit, businessmen, scholars, and wealthy gentry will all extend their greedy hands.

If the tax policy is tilted in favor of the gentry, the sale of garrisoned land may be welcomed by them.

But what Zhu Yunwen is worried about is whether opening up this policy will affect the national policy.

On one hand, vigorously implement the national policy of curbing the land consolidation and on the other hand, encourage the gentry to buy and sell garrisoned land in Beiping. Will such contradictory policies occurring simultaneously in Beiping lead to problems?

After the gentry purchases the garrisoned land, the original self-sufficient status of the garrison will be disrupted. Will the local grain production in the north be able to meet this additional demand? If grain supply falls short, causing an increase in grain prices, it will undoubtedly threaten the livelihoods and the New Army policy.

By granting tax incentives to the gentry for buying and selling garrisoned land, will it lead to the garrisoned land soldiers colluding with the gentry, seizing land from neighboring farmers, and then legitimately selling it to enjoy the low tax benefits?

These numerous problems are by no means as simple as just issuing permits to sell land.

Zhu Yunwen sighed, and pondered for a long time, but couldn’t make up his mind.

“Summon Xie Jin, Yao Guangxiao, Huang Zicheng, and Xia Yuanji,” Zhu Yunwen ordered.

Shuang Xi walked over and cautiously said, “Your Majesty, it’s already the evening hour. Should we summon the ministers after you’ve had your meal?”

Zhu Yunwen looked up and realized that it was quite late, as the lamps had been lit.

“Has the Empress had her meal?”

Zhu Yunwen rubbed his temples and asked.

Shuang Xi quickly replied, “Your Majesty, the Empress has sent someone to inquire three times. Seeing that Your Majesty was deeply pondering state affairs, we didn’t want to disturb you. Most likely, the Empress has already had her meal by now.”

Zhu Yunwen stood up, stretched his shoulders, and said, “Empress is waiting for me. Send the meal to the Kunning Palace first and let her know that I’ll be there shortly.”

Shuang Xi acknowledged the order and arranged for the message to be sent.

Zhu Yunwen handed the memorial titled “Resolving the Dilemma of Selling Cultivated Land to Support the New Army” to Shuang Xi and said, “Take this to the Grand Secretariat personally and have them discuss it with the Ministry of Revenue. They should come up with a plan by early tomorrow.”

Shuang Xi received the memorial respectfully and left.

Zhu Yunwen glanced at Wang Yue, who was following behind him, and asked, “What has Uncle Yan been doing these days?”

Wang Yue bowed slightly and replied, “Your Majesty, King of Yan has been studying new military formations using sand tables every day.”

Zhu Yunwen nodded slightly and looked in the direction of the Central Army Commandery. He lightly said, “I wonder if, without the four years of war, you can still create it.”

Wang Yue was somewhat puzzled.

Four years of war?

Where did those four years of war come from?

Create what?

Who is creating what?

Wang Yue didn’t understand Zhu Yunwen’s words and wisely remained silent.

In the Kunning Palace,

Ma Enhui watched Zhu Yunwen as he walked in, and after exchanging greetings, she complained, “It seems that Your Majesty’s belly will never sound.”

Zhu Yunwen smiled, washed his hands, and took a seat. He said to Ma Enhui, “If I’m late, there’s no need for you to wait. Go ahead and have your meal.”

“But we agreed to have it together, how can we not count them. Even if Your Majesty is a bit late, I will still wait,” Ma Enhui said earnestly as she picked up her chopsticks and served food to Zhu Yunwen.

Knowing he couldn’t persuade her otherwise, Zhu Yunwen changed the topic, asking, “How is the progress with the medical gauze production? Is everything going smoothly?”

Ma Enhui’s eyes lit up as she replied, “It has stabilized now. We are producing 650 boxes daily. At the beginning of the month, we already delivered ten thousand boxes to the Ministry of War, and this month, we should reach nearly twenty thousand boxes.”

Emperor Zhu Yunwen found this production rate quite satisfactory, but the Ministry of War might not be entirely pleased.

The Ministry of War was in urgent need of a large quantity of medical gauze due to the coastal garrisons’ fight against the Japanese pirates and the naval blockades.

Zheng He had led the naval fleet to achieve numerous victories, but it came at the cost of inevitable casualties.

In the latest battle report, the naval fleet had fought a major battle against Japanese pirates at Cheniushan Island in the East China Sea.

Generals Zhang Yu and Zhu Neng personally led seven hundred soldiers, killing eight hundred Japanese pirates and rescuing more than three hundred women and children.

However, the Ming army also paid a significant price, with eighty-two soldiers killed and nearly two hundred wounded.

Fortunately, among the wounded, only one had died from severe injuries, and the rest had survived.

The availability of medical gauze and alcohol played a crucial role in this outcome.

In his memorial, Zheng He had admitted to his recklessness and rashness, but he didn’t mention the strength of the Japanese pirates. The way he described the difficulty of the battles seemed like he was suppressing his anger and deep sorrow, as evident from the phrase, “Rescuing over three hundred women and children, their bodies and souls were shattered, like stones. When we asked them, they seemed to have lost all hope!”

This is a sentence from Zheng He’s memorial, and it vividly expresses his intense hatred for the Japanese pirates by saying, “Their bodies and souls were shattered.”

The Ministry of War couldn’t comprehend Zheng He’s pain. Their immediate concerns were questioning Zheng He’s actions and confirming the effectiveness of the medical gauze and alcohol in the field.

It took them quite some time to remember that eighty-two soldiers had died, and they should request compensation from the Ministry of Revenue.

Zhu Yunwen didn’t blame Zheng He. His actions were correct.

In war, there were casualties.

As long as these men sacrificed themselves to protect the people of Ming and defend the nation, they were heroes, true men of Ming.

At night, Zhu Yunwen watched Ma Enhui, who was already sound asleep. He couldn’t sleep and silently counted, “One, two, three… eighty-one, eighty-two.”

No names.

Just numbers.

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