Sun Qian came prepared. He carried brush and paper on him, and a servant beside him was holding a tray with inkslab and water. All that was left was for him to jot down Wang Chong’s explanations.
An indescribable feeling welled up within Wang Chong as he looked at Sun Qian.
The matter regarding the jinyuan note was a problem that he brought up at the very end of the memorial he sent to the Sage Emperor. Wang Chong had noticed the issue when he was buying the Hyderabad ores from Ablonodan and Arloja. Huge transactions consisting of several hundred thousand gold taels were conducted on a fairly common basis, and that weighed more than ten thousand jin.
Even though it didn’t take up too much space due to the compact size of the gold ingots, it was still inconvenient to carry around.
This made massive cross-border transactions extremely difficult.
Not only so, based on his future knowledge, Wang Chong noticed a potential problem in using gold as a currency.
Gold was a limited resource.
If the rate of gold mining was unable to keep up with the development of the economy, it could severely restrict its growth. In other words, it was possible for Great Tang to run short of ‘money’ in circulation. Based on Wang Chong’s knowledge from another time-space continuum, when dynasties run out of sufficient gold and silver, they would choose to mine and produce copper coins to make up for the deficiency.
Due to the fluctuating quantities of gold, silver, and copper coins in circulation, the currency exchange rate would be highly unstable. A silver tael might be worth a hundred copper coin in one day, but the very next, it might fetch a hundred and ten, a hundred and twenty, or perhaps even more.
This caused instability in the society.
In some dynasties, the royal court had even, to Wang Chong’s incredulity, entrusted the minting of coins to private organisations.
The problem regarding currency wasn’t just limited to the Central Plains, it was a universal one. In the world where Wang Chong was born in, even the powerful ‘Uncle Sam’ had no choice but to rally the entire world to establish the Bretton Woods system.
(A part of the Bretton-Woods agreement was to tie one’s currency to the value of gold)
Eventually, they even went further to remove gold as part of the currency.
The main reason for that was because the gold standard currency would severely limit one’s potential economic growth.
Even a country as powerful as ‘Uncle Sam’ was restricted by the gold standard as well, lest to say, other countries.
The Central Plains was currently at the peak of its strength, and Great Tang was prosperous and affluent. However, after coming into contact with the commercial world and dealing with huge quantities of gold, Wang Chong had acutely sensed a lurking threat hidden beneath the calm surface of the country.
This was also the reason why he brought up the issue of ‘currency’ in the memorial.
During the initial implementation phase of the jinyuan note, the value of the jinyuan note will be tied to gold. At the same time, the royal court would use its credibility to assure the population of its value, and stations will be set up to facilitate the exchange between gold taels and jinyuan notes.
Then, after gradually building trust in the currency, Great Tang would further propagate the use of jinyuan note.
When the jinyuan note finally grows strong enough to become an individual currency, measures would be taken to slowly weaken the ties between jinyuan note and gold. Eventually, when everyone was used to the jinyuan note, the royal court would be able to ban the trading of jinyuan note for gold.
In this manner, gold would be taken out of the economic activities of the country, and it would be safeguarded by the empire. In name, one would still be able to purchase gold using jinyuan notes, and thus, the value of jinyuan note would not depreciate.
Through such an implementation, large business deals would become more convenient. At the same time, the empire could also free itself from the restraints the scarcity of gold could cause, thus furthering the development of the economy.
A reliable currency system was the foundation of a stable society. Only when the value of money was stable could there be economic and, by extension, social stability in the country. This was what Wang Chong believed in.
Wang Chong had only brought the matter up as an afternote, so he didn’t expect the Sage Emperor to pay much notice to it. After all, in this feudal era, such ideas were unconventional and hard to accept, leave alone, implement it.
To Wang Chong’s surprise, not only did the Sage Emperor pay careful heed to his words, he also sent the esteemed finance minister of the royal court, Lord Sun Qian, to pay a visit to the imperial prison to enquire him on the matter.
“I see. This is Gao gonggong‘s true motive here.”
Wang Chong’s heart beat furiously as he looked at Sun Qian. At this moment, he suddenly realized some things.
“Lord, feel free to ask any question. I shall answer them to the best of my abilities.”
Seated cross-legged, Wang Chong spoke seriously.
Sun Qian nodded. Then, he started asking about all of the details regarding the implementation of jinyuan notes, such as how it would be made, what kind of material would be used, how it would be distributed, where it would be distributed, how much would be distributed… As well as all sorts of miscellaneous questions that Wang Chong had never thought of.
Wang Chong couldn’t help but be impressed. The officials in charge of such matters were indeed very meticulous. Despite having archaic thought patterns, they were exceedingly rigorous in inquiring about the details of the policy.
Regarding the matter of the ‘jinyuan notes’, Wang Chong had only written around a few hundred words about it in the memorial. Yet, Sun Qian had spent two entire hours asking about the matter, during which, two hundred pages of information were written down.
“Wang gongzi, thank you. I’ll bring this matter up to the royal court to discuss it with the other officials.”
Sun Qian’s face was still as impassive as before, but Wang Chong acutely noticed that his tone had become slightly more polite, and his eyes had mellowed down significantly.
“Lord Sun, you’re being too formal!”
Wang Chong smiled.
Sun Qian nodded as he left the imperial prison with his gigantic stack of notes.
Amidst the silence of the night, a candlelight was lit in the Four Quarters Embassy.
Wang Gen respectfully bowed. It was his first time seeing the old master in recent days.
The old master knocked on the seat beside him. Wang Gen hurried forward and sat down beside him.
“Are you still worried about Chong-er’s matter?”
The old master asked calmly.
“Yes! The verdict is going to be announced tomorrow, I don’t think that I’ll be able to sleep tonight.”
Wang Gen said.
This was different from the issue of Wang Chong raping a lady. This time, the trouble that Wang Chong got into was not a small matter. There were simply too many Hu generals demanding Wang Chong’s death. Wang Gen could not help but feel helpless in this matter.
“Hehe, don’t worry. Chong-er will be fine.”
The old master smiled calmly, forming a stark contrast to Wang Gen’s anxiousness.
Knowing that the verdict would be out tomorrow, Wang Gen visited the Four Quarters Embassy in the hopes of convincing the the old master to send in a memorial asking for the Sage Emperor to pardon Wang Chong. Of the entire Wang Clan, only the old master possessed this kind of influence.
However, upon hearing the old master’s words, Wang Gen fell silent.
“Father, are you serious?”
Wang Gen asked in agitation. He unconsciously grabbed his father’s hands out of agitation and asked.
“Hehe, there’s no need for you to be worried about other matters. It’s a blessing that this child has gained the favor of the Sage Emperor. In the future, even when I’m not around, the Wang Clan will never have to worry about falling out of favor with the Sage Emperor.”
Duke Jiu smiled.
Wang Gen stared at his father in shock, unable to comprehend the latter’s words.
Wang Chong was being locked in the imperial prison, and on top of that, there were many Hu generals out there demanding his death. It was uncertain whether he would live past tomorrow, and yet, the old master said that Wang Chong had gained the favor of the emperor?
What was going on?
Even though Wang Gen had been fighting in the royal court for so many decades, he couldn’t help but be lost at Duke Jiu’s words.
“Do you still not understand? His Majesty is locking Chong-er in the imperial prison to protect him, not to punish him. Think about it, why was Wang Chong locked in the imperial prison at such a timing? Even though his memorial has already incurred the displeasure of the Hu then, things hadn’t come to such a point yet.”
“Furthermore, if not for His Majesty locking Chong-er into the imperial prison, do you think that you will be sitting here quietly?”
Duke Jiu answered impassively. In his eyes, one could see wisdom capable of peering through the fabric of the world.
For a moment, Wang Gen was stunned.
Ever since Wang Chong was locked into the imperial prison, all that was on his mind was to visit all of the officials he could to rally their support to save him. He did not expect such a twist in the situation.
It was completely instinctive, but Wang Gen felt that what his father had said was true.
The day after Wang Chong was captured, the incident immediately blew out of proportions. If Wang Chong was not locked in the imperial prison, the Wang Clan might have been in a dire state now.
There would be countless people knocking on the gates of the Wang Clan to voice their displeasure.
However, due to Wang Chong’s arrest, the Wang Clan managed to avoid standing in the eye of the storm. At the same time, Wang Chong had won the sympathy of many of the Han officials.
If Wang Chong hadn’t been arrested, it would be impossible for so many Han officials to be triggered into standing up for him.
The circumstances might possibly be much worse than it was now.
“It’s a blessing that Chong-er is locked into the imperial prison, and this will prove to be beneficial to him in the future. The favor of the emperor is something that everyone strives for, but very few people will receive. However, it’s best that fewer people learn of this matter, otherwise, it might turn out to be calamitous to Wang Chong. That’s the reason why I chose to turn you all away the past few days.”
Duke Jiu said calmly.
Wang Gen heaved a huge sigh of relief. The doubts that he had been harboring for the past few days were finally answered. It was no wonder why his father chose to avoid him and remain silent despite the hordes of Hu generals standing up to demand Wang Chong’s death.
Even though he found it unbelievable, Wang Gen knew that his father would not be wrong on such an important matter.
“Hehe, you should go back and have a good rest. Tomorrow is the day that the Sage Emperor will announce his verdict. If I’m not wrong, that person from the Yao Clan would surely send in a memorial early in the morning to support Chong-er.”
Duke Jiu stroked his beard with a smile.
“Ah? Why would he?”
Wang Gen abruptly lifted his head in shock.
This time, Duke Jiu simply smiled, choosing not to explain the matter
The moon set and the sun rose. Finally, the long-awaited moment came.
Regardless of whether it was the Hu generals from the borders, the Han generals within Great Tang, or the officials in the royal court, everyone was anticipating the Sage Emperor’s verdict.
To many, this was no longer a problem of Wang Chong’s life and death. It was a matter concerning the standing and benefits of the Hu and the Han in Great Tang.
“In place of the heavens, the emperor proclaims:
The regional commanders policy will be implemented as planned, and all will be eligible for the position regardless of whether one is a Han or a Hu! As for Wang Chong, despite the biased view in his memorial, his words are not completely impractical. His suggestion of the implementation of jinyuan notes is beneficial to the country and the people. Thus, he shall be spared from the death penalty.
However, to send out a strict warning the others, he will be imprisoned for three months! End of the edict.”
When news spread out, the entire world flew into an uproar. Regardless of whether one was a Han or a Hu, this edict called for celebration. For the Hu, the fact that the regional commanders policy was not halted and that Hu could still rise up to the position was already a huge improvement for before.
This showed how highly the royal court valued Hu generals.
As for the Han generals, given that so many Hu had demanded Wang Chong’s death and the ultimate punishment was just three months of imprisonment.
More importantly, of the ‘regional commanders’ and the ‘utilizing Hu talents’ policies, only the regional commanders policy was approved.
Without a doubt, this was a huge victory!
For those unaware,
Uncle Sam = U.S. government
Basically, it’s an agreement to facilitate international trade, as well as a set of rules for individual nations to follow by.
Just some thoughts about this arc:
This arc has been rather draggy. Well, I think the author is using this arc as a character-introducing arc. Shows you the rough distribution of power within the royal court.
My personal view is that the Sage Emperor is trying to allow Wang Chong to earn some credit through having him submit the memorial. There are backlashes, yes, but it’s beneficial to Wang Chong.
In politics, you can’t hope to win everyone over; just winning a number of people over is enough (and in this case, the Han). That already amounted to >50% of the royal court, even when excluding those who are supportive of the Hu.
At the same time, I think that the hearts of the Hu will chill if the Sage Emperor were to dump out this matter by his own. At the very least, he threw all of the flames to Wang Chong and ignited the sparks of the Han general so as to put him in a position that ‘I have no choice but to make this decision, so you can’t blame me for this’. In a sense, he’s making them compromise without making the royal court seem too sided with the Han.
^^^ Feel free to rebutt if you have any other opinions.
Well, I’ve read ahead a bit, and there are still quite a lot of draggy bits. Nevertheless, I’ll try to maintain a good updating speed of this novel so that it doesn’t drag out for too long. (If needed, maybe burst release to tide through those draggy bits.)