Ming Dynasty: Reborn as Zhu Yunwen
Ming Dynasty: Reborn as Zhu Yunwen Chapter 86

Chapter 86: Zhu Di’s Analysis: The Five-Year Window Period

“Without land, people have no roots; without roots, they wither. The gentry exploiting the tenants have no freedom, no remaining family assets. Even after hundreds or thousands of years, they will remain in poverty, unchanging. Reflecting on the national strategy, it’s like spring rain nourishing countless fields, promising prosperity…”

Fang Xiaoru read aloud Hu Jun’s memorial to the assembled officials.

The officials listened, deeply moved by the words.

Especially among the officials who had tried to send urgent letters to their families to dispose of improper land, only to be laughed at and disregarded, continuing to visit their fields each day.

Now, things had taken a turn for the worse.

Reports from various regions showed that in Huizhou Prefecture alone, over 150 gentry families had lost everything. Families that were once part of the middle class were now destitute.

Although the court’s policy was comprehensive, providing land and resources to those affected, the sudden change in status was difficult for these people to accept.

It was said that a few individuals couldn’t cope and had hung themselves from crooked-necked trees. Without leaving any explanation, they had gone to appeal to the ancestor.

Facing such tragedy, Zhu Yunwen could only accept it reluctantly.

At present, even if a few people died or even dozens died, he could accept it! Their deaths were the price paid for the future survival of the Great Ming Empire and the prevention of the deaths of tens of millions of people two hundred years later!

Hu Jun’s memorial brought Zhu Yunwen considerable comfort.

The reports from local agriculture tax offices also confirmed one thing: the common people were welcoming and supportive of this policy!

As long as the people supported it, then the policy of “Regulating Land and Investigating Property to Restrain Land Consolidation and Contributions” should be fully implemented.

Huang Zicheng, the Minister of Revenue, announced new salary standards with a fifty percent increase. This delighted all court officials. Compared to the stingy old ruler Zhu Yuanzhang, Zhu Yunwen was clearly more compassionate.

And incorporating petty officials into the salary structure, despite facing opposition from some officials, remained unassailable in the face of Xie Jin’s retort.

Xie Jin asked, “Aren’t petty officials human too? Don’t they also work for the court? Why shouldn’t they receive a salary?”

Not qualified?

So what if they’re not qualified? Does that mean they don’t work?

You are qualified, does that mean you work?

Are you living off the court?

All you know is how to babbling around. Which department are you in?

When did you enter the palace?

Your Majesty, I, Xie Jin accuse the Office of Scrutiny for War’s Supervising Secretary Liu Donglai of sitting idle, having been in the palace for three years without any notable contributions. It would be better to send him to the ministry of revenue’s warehouse, to keep company with the other thirty-nine people…

Upon hearing this, Zhu Yunwen was infuriated and, using the pretext of “The court doesn’t support idlers,” streamlined the personnel of the six ministries. The warehouse alone had nearly forty people, even if it were filled with gold and silver, it wouldn’t be enough to support them!

For the Two Capitals and Thirteen Provinces, the policy adopted by the court was to remove redundant staff, establish standards, and directly eliminate a large number of unnecessary and excessive bureaucratic officials and petty officials.

As for the officials in the capital, Zhu Yunwen didn’t spare them either. Although the number of officials in the capital was not high at this time, roughly only around three thousand, there were issues of excessive bloat in some positions, while some other positions had insufficient personnel.

The bloat was due to many officials using connections to secure their positions.

The shortage was because Old Zhu had executed too many officials.

Zhu Yunwen was decisive. He got rid of the bloated and useless positions, accelerated the imperial examinations, and prepared to bring a new batch of officials on board earlier.

To encourage the smooth reduction of redundant staff both in the capital and provinces, and to expedite their removal, Zhu Yunwen employed a tactic that left the grand secretariat, the six ministries, and the local administrations both amused and frustrated.

The new salary system was propagated, informing all officials and petty officials that the court intended to give them a raise.

When would this new salary system be implemented?

After you streamline the institutions, clear out the redundant personnel, create a new roster of officials, and submit it to the court. The court will send people to verify it. Once the verification is approved, the new salary will be distributed according to the new scale.

Whichever province submits the roster of officials first will be the first to receive the new salary. If Jiangxi Province completes its roster in February and the court verifies it in March, the new salary will be implemented that month. If the old salary has already been paid for that month, the difference will be paid retroactively.

If any province delays, the court doesn’t mind. If you want to delay it for ten years, that’s also fine. However, it’s about the welfare of all officials in a province, and I’m afraid no one would be willing to delay, right?

With Single Whip method, the basic issue of agricultural taxes was resolved, promoting land development and cultivation.

With one national policy, the excessive consolidation and contributions of land were curbed, releasing a large amount of land and expanding the scope of taxation.

Innovating the salary system, favoring bureaucrats, bringing petty officials back on track, and reducing bottom-level manipulation.

The three flames of the first year of the Jianwen reign burned fiercely and brightly across the land of the Ming Dynasty.

Central Army Commandery Headquarters.

Zhu Di stood before a map of the Great Ming Empire, his gaze fixed on the northern frontier.

The once glorious Yuan Empire, now appears to have only the remnants of its former glory, like the setting sun in the west.

Eleven years ago, in the Battle of Buir Lake, Lan Yu achieved a great victory over the Yuan army, capturing over fifty individuals, including the second son of Tögüs Temür and his concubines. He also captured fifty thousand troops, seventy thousand men and women, and one hundred thousand horses, camels, cattle, and sheep.

Naturally, this was Lan Yu’s pinnacle battle, one that was widely praised.

However, in Lan Yu’s heart, perhaps it wasn’t so.

The Battle of Buir Lake was a victory, but not a perfect one.

Because Lan Yu had failed to capture Tögüs Temür, the khan of the Northern Yuan!

This was a disgrace for Lan Yu!

It’s unclear if it was due to this disgrace that Lan Yu vented his anger and dissatisfaction on Tögüs Temür’s concubines.

In the Battle of Buir Lake, Tögüs Temür’s eldest son, Tian Baonu, official Nie Qielai, and Prime Minister Shilie Meng, along with several cavalries, managed to escape. However, after fleeing for four to five months, Tian Baonu was killed by the descendant of Ariq Böke, Yesüder.

Yesüder assassinated the Khan, seizing the khan seal, and ascended to the throne of the Northern Yuan. His power gradually grew, and he established himself in the northern desert.

In the twenty-fourth year of the Hongwu reign, Yesüder passed away, succeeded by his son Engke. However, Engke’s reign lasted less than four years before he died during internal conflicts.

After Engke’s death, a compromise was reached between the Oirat Mongols and the orthodox Eastern Mongols. They supported the son of Emperor Zhaozhong of Yuan, Maidilibala, as the Khan, titled ” Nigülesügchi Khan.”

Although Maidilibala was a descendant of Kublai Khan, he clearly lacked Kublai’s ambition. He was not only lascivious but also cruel and lacked discernment.

Looking at the map of the northern frontier, Zhu Di turned to Xu Huizu beside him and said, “Maidilibala’s time is coming to an end.”

Xu Huizu shook his head slightly, unconvinced, and said, “Although Maidilibala is foolish and heartless, accomplishing nothing, he still controls the Oirat. He has capable ministers and generals under his command, and I’m afraid he won’t die easily.”

“No.” Zhu Di looked at Xu Huizu confidently and said, “The Oirat Mongols admire strength and power. An unaccomplished Great Khan cannot maintain his position for long.”

“Based on your perspective, will the Oirat become a new threat to the Ming Dynasty?”

Xu Huizu furrowed his brows and asked.

Zhu Di nodded and said, “The four divisions of the Oirat are not to be underestimated. Although they might appear weak now, they’ve been resting and recovering in the West. In the future, this tribe might control Mongolia.”

Xu Huizu glanced at the map and asked, “Will the current Tatars pose a threat to the Ming Dynasty?”

Zhu Di squinted, pondered for a moment, and then shook his head slightly, saying, “The current Mongols are embroiled in internal conflict and lack the necessary strength and resources to invade the Great Ming. However, as you also know, the Tatars, as the legitimate rulers of the Mongols, have always desired to restore the glory of the Northern Yuan.”

“In the short term, within the next three to five years, the Tatars won’t pose a threat to the Great Ming. But if their ambitions grow in five to ten years, they will inevitably challenge our borders. These next five years are of the utmost importance for us to strengthen our military.”

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