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吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 13

This is Part 13 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 12 · Part 13 · Part 14 →

吳城日記

图棍王绍先,兼揽三四图事,名册未全备,又藏不剃头亲党在家,被人举首,又执杨家院子巷曰积蠹梅家兄弟三人,遂将王绍先、梅四斩首外,两人各执四十板释去。 A thug in a sub-sub-district, Wang Shaoxian, simultaneously took control of things in the 3rd and 4th sub-sub-districts as well; the list of names wasn't complete, and he hid himself, unshaven, in the home of one his gang; they were reported, and three thugs, brothers of the Mei family, were hauled out of the alley in the courtyard of the Yang household; then Wang Shaoxian and four of the Meis were beheaded, and also two more people received forty strokes of the plank each and were then released.

前六月中起,至闰六月初旬,征收马料青草甚严急,民争先上纳。 From the middle of June, the month before, to the first ten days of this intercalary month, the collection of horse provisions - green grass - was extremely strict and urgent; the people competed to be first to pay it.

若一日不可缺者,乃自十一日闭城门,十三日民变以后,纳草之令遂废格,城外每日烟焰不绝,兵转至娄、齐各门外杀人掠财,抢占妇女,惨不忍言。 It was as if they could not miss one day's worth; thus when the city gates were closed on the 11th, and after there was a civil disturbance on the 13th, the order to collect straw was thereupon reduced; every day, fires burn endlessly outside the city walls; soldiers in turn went outside the Lou and Qi gates killing people and plundering, and raping wives and daughters; it was so inhuman that one cannot bear to put it into words.

知此枝兵非为苏郡而来,原系道经吴地者。 One understands that this platoon does not come from Su Prefecture, and were originally just passing through the lands of Wu.

城中因借以为声援,彼既饱所欲,遂东去矣。 They were in the city in order to support themselves - once they'd had their fill of what they wanted, they thereupon left to the east.

二十日,有童执戈登城守陴者,误闯入营内,绑去欲斩,苦求得免,遂断去右手指,缘将卒屯扎阊门鼓楼,彼谓此处为营内,有误入者,所斩不一矣。 On the 20th, a boy carrying a spear mounted the wall to defend the parapets; he accidentally intruded into the garrison; they tied him up, wanting to behead him, but he bitterly beseeched them to exempt him; so they cut off his right hand; because the general and troops were stationed at the Chang Gate Drum Tower, they said that this area was within the garrison; there was more than one person who mistakenly entered and was beheaded.

二十一日,兵丁出阊门打粮,守城民之无赖者随之往,多获铜锡器衣服等物,间有归而复往,所取过望者,齐门外各栈房储米殊多。 On the 21st, the soldiers exited from the Chang Gate to get the grain tax; the hooligans amongst the people guarding the walls followed after them, acquiring many copper and tin utensils, clothes and so on; amongst them were those who returned home and then went back again, as what they'd got was more than they'd hoped for; in every store house outside the Qi Gate, there was an especially large amount of rice stored.

是日清晨,官给小票,令民出城搬取。 At dawn that day, the officials gave out small tickets, ordering the people to leave the city walls to collect it.

← Part 12 · Part 13 · Part 14 →

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
  13. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 13 (this article)
  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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