Chapter 49: Mass participation, Empress advice with Example of Song Dynasty.
Xu Miaojin looked at Zhu Yunwen, who was holding his child, and complained, “The students of the Imperial Academy are also scholars of Ming Dynasty. Why aren’t they allowed to participate?”
Zhu Yunwen, seeing that Zhu Wenkui had fallen asleep, handed the child to Ma Enhui beside him and whispered, “I thought you were oblivious to outside affairs and solely focused on studying the books of sages. If it weren’t for the students seeking you out, were you planning to enter the palace only during the Lantern Festival?”
Xu Miaojin felt for the first time that being kept in the dark about information was a distressing matter.
The students of Imperial Academy respected her, knowing that she had value, but the members of the Xu family didn’t see it that way.
Xu Huizu, as the top person in the Five Military Commandery, was in charge of the development of the national flag, national emblem, and national anthem. It was said that many noble and distinguished individuals had even come to visit, but no one informed her!
If it weren’t for the students seeking her out, she would still be in the dark.
“The students informed me, which means I can still hear about things outside. Besides, it’s just a one-day difference. Imperial Academy may not necessarily lag behind the Grand Secretariat, Five Military Commandery, and the Central Six Ministries.”
Xu Miaojin knew the value and significance of participating in the creation of the national flag, national emblem, and national anthem for Ming Dynasty. She also knew that this was a rare opportunity that wouldn’t come again. Regardless, she couldn’t give up.
Zhu Yunwen was also somewhat hesitant.
The immediate superior of Imperial Academy was the Ministry of Rites, but now the Ministry of Rites ignored Imperial Academy and joined forces with officials from the other five ministries. With the collective participation of the Six Ministries, in terms of numbers and influence, it was already saturated. The Ministry of Rites probably wouldn’t consider involving the students of Imperial Academy.
“Your Majesty, Your Majesty.”
Shuangxi rushed in, his footsteps light and full of excitement.
“Lower your voice!”
Ma Enhui glared fiercely at Shuangxi and lowered her head to look at the child, fortunately not waking him up.
Zhu Yunwen looked at Shuangxi and asked, “What’s the matter?”
Shuangxi had a big smile on his face, greeted them properly, and said, “Your Majesty, Your Majesty, there is great news. There is news from outside that people in the capital are gathering at Zhongzheng Street, Mafu Street, Big Street outside Xi’an Gate, West 18th Street, and other places to petition and participate in the three major national affairs. They are willing to contribute their humble efforts to the national flag, national emblem, and national anthem. Especially the textile shops, dyeing workshops, artisan workshops, uh, even the young ladies from Cuiyan Tower are planning to sing for the country…”
Ma Enhui stomped her foot, her face icy cold, frightening Shuangxi into quickly kneeling down.
“The three major national affairs of the national flag, national emblem, and national anthem, how can prostitutes participate? If future generations were to find out, how would Ming Dynasty stand in the world? Wouldn’t we be utterly humiliated? These people deserve to be punished!”
Ma Enhui expressed her dissatisfaction.
Xu Miaojin nodded repeatedly, feeling that she didn’t even have a chance to participate, yet these people who sold their bodies wanted to get involved in national affairs?
Zhu Yunchuan comforted Ma Enhui and smiled, saying, “In my opinion, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Whether they are traders, farmers, or even prostitutes, if we strip away their identities, they are still subjects of Ming Dynasty. Although I have the final say in Ming Dynasty’s affairs, whether they can truly resonate with the people and gain their acceptance, that depends on the voices of the people of Ming Dynasty!”
“Since the common people support it and are willing to contribute, why should our royal family be concerned about their status? Let me tell you, when it comes to national affairs, it should involve the participation of all citizens. Shuangxi, inform Xie Jin, Xu Huizu, and Chen Di, and have them announce to the citizens of the capital, no, to all thirteen provinces of the country, all prefectures and counties. Let them come up with proposals, to be delivered to the capital by the three departments in September this year.”
“As for the final proposal, it will be decided by the court. The three departments from each region will participate in the discussion, striving to finalize the proposal in October and spread it throughout the country on next year’s National Day.”
Shuangxi hurriedly agreed and left.
“Your Majesty, wouldn’t this increase a lot of expenses?” Ma Enhui expressed concern.
Zhu Yunwen sat down with Ma Enhui, holding her gently, and said, “Expenses are a minor matter, but Empress should also understand that when the people participate, it can unite their hearts. The direction of their hearts is far more precious than gold and silver.”
“Brother Emperor, can our Imperial Academy also participate then?”
Xu Miaojin asked eagerly.
Zhu Yunwen nodded affirmatively and said, “Of course, Imperial Academy should naturally participate. However, younger sister Xu, if you still can’t find any issues with Imperial Academy after this matter, then forget about establishing a women’s academy.”
Xu Miaojin giggled and stood up, saying, “Why wait until October? This Proctor can complete it in February.”
“Haha, Empress, you see, Miaojin is indeed talented,” Zhu Yunwen laughed happily.
Ma Enhui nodded with a smile and praised, “Miaojin is truly extraordinary. I also hopes that Miaojin can contribute to the prosperity of Ming Dynasty.”
Xu Miaojin curtsied gracefully and said, “I swear to fulfill my mission without disgrace. Shall I take my leave now?”
Zhu Yunwen waved his hand and said, “Go ahead, you must not have the appetite to stay for a meal. Inform the students of Imperial Academy that I hope to see their achievements.”
“Thank you, Brother Emperor, Sister Empress. Miaojin is leaving.”
Xu Miaojin left the Kunning Palace with great joy.
Ma Enhui shook her head slightly, watching Zhu Yunwen pick up the book “The Eastern Capital: A Dream of Splendor,” and asked, “Your Majesty, are you interested in the former Song Dynasty? Are you contemplating the flaws of the former Song government?”
Zhu Yunwen flipped through the book “The Eastern Capital: A Dream of Splendor,” which recorded the flourishing scenes of the former Song Dynasty, and softly recited, “Empress, listen to this: ‘When the managers of wine shops saw a foot traveler visit their shops two or three times, they dared to lend them silver vessels weighing two or five hundred taels. Even when a poor family called for wine at the shop, they would also provide them with silver vessels.’ What do you think, Empress?”
Ma Enhui pondered and said, “The former Song Dynasty was indeed wealthy and prosperous, to the point where they would readily lend out silver vessels weighing two or five hundred taels. If this were to happen in our dynasty, it would be a rare sight. However, Your Majesty, although the former Song Dynasty was wealthy, the suffering of the common people went unnoticed. Based on the books I have read, such as the ‘History of Song,’ I discovered that in the over three hundred years of the Song Dynasty’s existence, the peasants revolted and rose up almost four hundred times, both large and small.”
“If Your Majesty seeks the wealth of the former Song Dynasty at the expense of the people’s well-being, then even if Ming Dynasty experiences a prosperous era, it will be a prosperous era for the royal and noble families, not a prosperous era for Ming Dynasty, nor for the people. I humbly implore Your Majesty not to exploit the people for wealth. The measures taken should be handled with utmost care and caution.”
Zhu Yunchuan set aside the book ” The Eastern Capital: A Dream of Splendor” and looked at Ma Enhui, saying earnestly, “If I can acquire wealth without harming the people, would Empress not oppose the lifting of the ban on merchants and provides constant advice on the matter.?”
Ma Enhui was startled and quickly knelt down, saying, “I have made a mistake, and I beg Your Majesty’s forgiveness.”
The rule was established by Zhu Yuanzhang that the harem should not involve themselves in politics.
Although Zhu Yunwen didn’t care about such restrictions and often discussed state affairs with Ma Enhui, she knew that harem interference in politics was a serious taboo.
However, whenever Zhu Yunwen needed her, she couldn’t refuse him, and she didn’t want to refuse. Again and again, she gradually developed the habit.
If Zhu Yunwen asked, she would participate and provide her opinions.
If Zhu Yunwen didn’t ask, she would focus on the harem and never bring up state affairs.
Zhu Yunwen sighed, approached and helped Ma Enhui up, saying, “I don’t blame you. Some things are unclear and hard to distinguish. You are the person closest to me. If I can’t persuade you, how can I persuade the officials?”
“It’s not easy to persuade me, Your Majesty.”
Ma Enhui still had lingering fear, but she insisted that lifting the ban on merchants was not feasible.
Zhu Yunwen smiled faintly, his eyes filled with a confident gaze, and said, “Not easy, you say? I don’t think so. Empress, how is the progress with the medical gauze? Let’s go and take a look, shall we?”
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