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吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 12

This is Part 12 in an annotation of an extract from 吳城日記 (‘Diary of Inner City Suzhou’). It’s a daily log of Suzhou (specifically the small, walled area in the centre) from the year 1645, a year after the Manchus took Beijing, marking the end of the Ming dynasty and the beginning of the Qing (明末清初).

As always, if you notice a mistake or have any suggestions, please share them in the comments at the end of the page.

← Part 11 · Part 12 · Part 13 →

吳城日記

城外仍聚众窥瞰,官民俱登城防御。 Outside the city walls there are still crowds of onlookers; officials and citizens are all mounting the walls to defend them.

王太尊驻阊门,王二府驻齐门,张二府娄。 Prefect Wang is stationed at the Chang Gate, Deputy Prefect Wang is stationed at the Qi Gate, and Deputy Prefect Zhang is stationed at the Lou Gate.

是日,娄关水陆城门,几为乱民所毁。 That day, the city gates on water and land were closed, but some were destroyed by disorderly people.

胥门鼓楼,半毁于火。 The Drum Tower at the Xu Gate was half destroyed by fire.

齐门鼓楼队板,旋即修讫。 The drum tower at the Qi Gate had broken planks, but was immediately repaired.

十八日,南京兵到于阊门外,约有几千,彼窥伺之众已潜迹,无敢抗。 Day 18: troops from Nanjing arrived outside the Chang Gate, roughly several thousand, and of the crowds who were keeping watching over each other many had already hidden and did not dare to resist.

敌兵追蹑搜索,亦多斩获,遂纵火南北两濠,掠取财货衣饰妇女无算。 The enemy soldiers tracked them down, beheading and capturing many of them, and then burning the moats in the north and south; they plundered numerous possessions, clothes, ornaments, wives and daughters.

凡乱民倏聚倏散,诡诈不测,未必撄锋刃; The disorderly people alternately gathered and dispersed; they were crafty without measure and avoided facing the sword.

其所杀者,多属恋家未去之民,或各行商贾之顾惜货物者。 The majority of those killed were people who were unwilling to leave their homes, or merchants of all lines of goods who were taking care of their stock.

身被屠,物被掠,屋被焚,深可悯也。 They were slaughtered, their possessions stolen and their houses burnt; it was pitiful.

是日清晨,城内止有数十骑出阊门。 At dawn that day, from within the city walls only several dozen cavalry rode out.

午间,二百余骑出齐门扑剿。 By noon, over two hundred cavalry went out and destroyed the Qi Gate.

时,娄门外有众突入城抢掠,几及华阳桥,正欲纵火,见发兵到,乃遁去。 At the time, outside the Lou Gate a crowd entered the city walls to loot, with several reaching Huayang Bridge wishing to burn it; when they saw that troops had been dispatched there, they fled.

王太尊有示安民,云为输事,怜念城中俱像良民,大兵虽到,秋毫无犯,尔等不必惊,悬牌通衢,并随处粘帖。 Prefect Wang made an announcement to pacify the people, saying "For your instruction: we remember with sympathy the good people of the city. Although the great army is here, they will not commit the slightest offence against civilians, so you have no need to be afraid;" signs were hung up in the streets and there were flyers everywhere.

李公适巡城,守城民复跪恳宽宥,李公慰之云: Mr Li went on a patrol of the walls, and the people guarding the walls knelt for forgiveness; Mr Li Consoled them saying:

天热不必跪,起来!起来! The day is hot - do not kneel; rise! rise!

前日你们放火欲烧死我,我又烧不死,如今却来帮我,这不是帮我,欲保全妻儿老小耳。 The day before yesterday [yesterday?] you started fires intending to burn me to death, but I was not burnt to death; today you have come to help me, but do not help me - you must protect your wives, children and family.

我已分付过不杀城内之百姓了,可放心也。 I have already given orders for the common people within the city walls not to be killed, so put your minds at rest.

北里二图执索米于乡绅为首者一人,绰号张松鼠,土公立刻枭示。 In the two sub-subdivisions of Bei and Li, they demanded rice of the village gentry; their leader was nicknamed Squirrel Zhang; Mr Tu immediately had him beheaded and the head stuck on a pole.

← Part 11 · Part 12 · Part 13 →

Full text of 吳城日記.

Series: Diary of Inner City Suzhou

  1. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 1
  2. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 2
  3. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 3
  4. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 4
  5. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 5
  6. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 6
  7. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 7
  8. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 8
  9. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 9
  10. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 10
  11. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 11
  12. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 12 (this article)
  13. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 13
  14. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 14
  15. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 15
  16. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 16

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