Chapter 64 Ordnance Bureau! The deceptive household registration system!

Novel Title:Ming Dynasty: My father Yongle, Yongzhenshanhe Time:2024-1-25 / 18:23:59 Author:I heard about ancient times Word Count:8085

After the founding of the Ming Dynasty, Emperor Taizu Zhu Yuanzhang, in order to ensure standardized production of weapons and equipment, allowed various military stations to manufacture their own weapons even though the central court had not yet established a unified weapons manufacturing organization.

It was not until the thirteenth year of Hongwu that the imperial court established the Ordnance Bureau and the Saddle and Bridle Bureau under the Ministry of Industry Yu Heng’s Qing Li Department to be responsible for the manufacturing of weapons and equipment, and at the same time strengthened the control of weapons, especially firearms, manufactured in various places.

Soon after, Taizu set up a war bureau under the inner government, which was also responsible for weapons production.

At this point, Ming Dynasty’s central weapons manufacturing was divided into two systems the Ministry of Industry and the Internal Government.

Song Li, Minister of Industry, didn’t know where the craftsman’s workshop mentioned by the King of Han was, but it sounded like the Ordnance Bureau, so he introduced it while bringing him over.

The Ordnance Bureau is very large. According to Song Li, there are probably more than a thousand craftsmen working in it.

After listening to Song Li’s introduction, Zhu Gaoxu thought that this Central First Arms Manufacturing Center would be some kind of high-end and classy place.

However, the first impression that the entire Ordnance Bureau, including the craftsmen, gave him was that it was dirty and messy!

Dirty environment, chaotic management, and poor facilities.

He is obviously a core talent with technical skills, but he is dressed in ragged clothes, has a sallow complexion and is thin, and he is worse than a beggar in Jinling City!

This is not the top arsenal of the Ming Dynasty, it is clearly a beggar’s den!

Zhu Gaoxu looked at these craftsmen who were frightened and numb, and immediately became angry.

‘I said Old Song, is this how your Ministry of Industry treats craftsmen?’

Song Li was startled when he heard this and froze on the spot.

What did the King of Han mean by this? Did he do anything wrong?

Among scholars, farmers, industry and commerce, the status of craftsmen was already humble, only slightly higher than those businessmen who made a living by pursuing profit.

It would be great if these craftsmen could have enough food, clothing, and work to do. What did I do wrong?

‘May I ask His Highness the King of Han, what did I do wrong?’

‘Customized by Taizu, our dynasty inherited the craftsmanship system of the Yuan Dynasty. Military craftsmen belong to the military and are specifically responsible for the manufacture and repair of weapons, uniforms, and honor guards. This will be inherited by our descendants from generation to generation…’

When Zhu Gaoxu heard this, he immediately understood.

It’s because of Ming Dynasty’s damn household service system!

After the founding of the Ming Dynasty, Emperor Taizu Gao Zhu Yuanzhang chose to inherit the Yuan Dynasty’s ‘various household plan’ household registration system, dividing the household registration into civilian households, military households, craftsman households and other registrations. The civilian households worked in agriculture and paid agricultural taxes to the state and performed corvee service. The obligation was to serve in the army, and craftsmen had to perform labor for the palace and government-run handicraft industries.

And it is strictly prohibited to change the household registration. The hereditary occupation of various household registrations cannot be changed. The children of farmers have been farming for generations, the descendants of craftsmen have been working for generations, and the descendants of military households have been serving in the army for generations.

This also means that what a grandfather is is what a son is, and it will be the same for generations to come. If nothing unexpected happens, there will be no chance of change in this life.

Taizu Zhu Yuanzhang attempted to use such a deformed system to maintain the entire Ming Empire for thousands of generations, stipulating the identity of everyone, and this identity was continued from generation to generation without any changes.

In essence, it is the continuation of the ‘scholars, farmers, industrialists and merchants’ class.

Craftsmen originally had a low and humble status. They had to perform labor for the palace and government-run handicraft industries, but received almost no compensation.

As a result, their lives are very difficult and miserable, and they are even far inferior to those wealthy businessmen with millions of dollars.

Not to mention having enough food and clothing, even feeding the family has become a problem. Even the children and grandchildren will be like me, with no possibility of turning over in this life.

Looking at the group of military craftsmen who looked like beggars in front of him, Zhu Gaoxu felt ten thousand grass and mud horses roaring past.

It is hard to imagine how the craftsmen in front of us managed to survive under such a premise.

Expecting such a group of craftsmen who live like beggars to create an industrial country is simply more difficult than the Ming Dynasty dominating the earth.

These are the top craftsmen who were originally important tools for a great country. If placed in any future country that values industry, each of them should be as high-status as a national treasure.

But in this glorious Ming Dynasty and the prosperous age of Yongle, their lives are not as good as those of wealthy people. If things continue like this, will the armaments they produce have any quality at all?


If a person has no hope and his descendants have no hope, then this person will become insensitive and have no enterprising spirit.

Song Li was still talking without realizing that he had done anything stupid.

Zhu Gaoxu looked at him coldly, and was immediately disappointed in this famous minister.

This Song Li was not a corrupt and treacherous official, but a virtuous official who was famous for his agility, ability, and strictness in upholding the law.

The greatest achievement of Lao Songtou in his life was dredging the Grand Canal, which laid the foundation for Yongle to move the capital.

It’s just that this old guy is a literati after all, and he looks down on craftsmen with low status in his heart. Just like the history books, he doesn’t show sympathy for craftsmen.

Thinking about it, Zhu Gaoxu waved his hand and interrupted Song Li to continue speaking.

‘Old Songtou, you said you gave them enough food and clothing, but look at it now. These craftsmen are sallow and thin, and their clothes are ragged. How can you have the nerve to say that?’

Song Li was startled when he heard this, and his face suddenly turned ugly.

‘Your Highness the King of Han, although these craftsmen work hard, the Ministry of Industry will also allocate them the salary they deserve. I don’t know why they are like this…’

Before he finished speaking, Song Li turned around suddenly and glared at the potbellied Ambassador of the Arms Bureau!

Zhu Gaoxu followed his line of sight and saw that the Ambassador of the Arms Bureau was a fat guy with a big belly, and he immediately reacted.

What else could it be because of?


The position of ambassador to the Arms Bureau was like a fat job in the purchasing department in later generations.

Zhu Laosi was a war fanatic and would send troops to the Northern Expedition when nothing happened, so the armaments and baggage were naturally important supplies.

The Ordnance Bureau of the Ministry of Industry and the Arms Bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs control arms manufacturing. It is too easy for the Ambassador of the Arms Bureau to embezzle!

For example, selling iron materials for making weapons can be a huge amount of income.

Seeing everyone staring at him with unkind eyes, the Arms Bureau Ambassador Li Wenhui instantly turned pale, trembling and opened his mouth, but he was unable to speak.

He never thought that His Highness the King of Han would come to inspect today and care so much about these humble craftsmen!

Seeing this, Zhu Gaoxu was too lazy to talk nonsense to him, and snorted coldly, ‘Nie Xing, arrest them, seal the general weapons bureau, and dig out all the bugs!’

Since Nie Xing was cleared, he quickly adapted to Jin Yiwei’s arrogant status, and he especially hated corrupt officials.

After receiving the order from the King of Han, he directly led his men forward to restrain Li Wenhui, and ordered his men to seal down the entire weapons bureau.

Song Li’s expression changed drastically when he saw this, ‘Your Highness, you absolutely must not do this!’

‘Now that the Northern Expedition is imminent, the imperial court needs a large amount of weapons and supplies. If you seal the Ordnance Bureau, it will delay the Northern Expedition!’

‘Yes, His Highness the King of Han.’ Xia Yuanji couldn’t help but sigh when he saw this, and reminded him, ‘If the Ordnance Bureau is shut down, it will not be able to build enough weapons and baggage for next year’s Northern Expedition. The soldiers of the Northern Expedition will not have the weapons they need. It will affect the Emperor’s Northern Expedition plan!”

‘I ask His Highness the King of Han to put the overall situation first. Don’t seize the weapons bureau. Just get rid of the culprit.’

Upon seeing this, Nie Xing stopped and looked at Prince Han.

Zhu Gaoxu glanced at Song Li and the others coldly, and then kicked Nie Xing in the butt.

‘What are you doing standing still? Arrest people and seize the arms bureau!’

The two ministers ‘???’