Wan-li: Year 25, Month 11, Day 23
31 Dec 1597
Zhang-zhou and Quan-zhou in Fu-jian are situated along the coast and the people make their living from maritime trading (販洋). Previously, the Grand Coordinator Tu Ze-min proposed opening up maritime trade with the fan, and that he be permitted to issue warrants allowing ships to trade with the Eastern and Western fan, but not permitting them to privately trade with Japan. Under the trading regulations, the examination and reporting of cargoes and the arranging of guarantors was all done in the localities. The issuing of warrants and stamped documents was handled by the circuits and prefectures. The supervision of the private trade was made the responsibility of the coastal defenders, while the calculation and levying of proportional taxes and the examinations were made the responsibility of commission officials (Alt: county officials). At this time, the law had become increasingly subject to abuse. Thus, the grand coordinator and the Regional Inspector Jin Xue-zeng made proposals: "1. On setting down ship categories. 2. On prohibiting private transgressions. 3. On the sending of officials. Each year a prefectural assistant (Alt: battalion assistant) should be sent and stationed at Hai-cheng to manage the levying of cargo taxes. In this way, the maritime defence deputy will not have to be concurrently concerned with administering taxation. 4. On the number of warrants. At present, there are 117 warrants issued for trading with the Eastern and Western Oceans and for trading with Ji-long, Dan-shui, Zhan-po, Gao-zhi Subprefecture (高址州) and other places. It is requested that a further 20 warrants be issued and that they be provided to this circuit to keep in store. On the warrant, the trader should be required to fill in the name of the country and whether he will travel by the Eastern or Western route. No collusion with sly functionaries can be allowed. 5. On prohibiting extortion." The ministry re-submitted the memorial and its implementation was approved.
Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 110, page 5899