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吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 4

This is Part 4 in a translation of an extract from 吳城日記 (‘Diary of Inner City Suzhou’). It’s the official 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).

← Part 3 · *Part 4 * · Part 5 →

三十日,楊文驄拿一人立斬之。 Day 30: Yang Wencong captured a person and immediately had them beheaded.

六月初一日,拿周安撫家奴一人亦斬訖。 Month Six Day 1: He captured a servant of [Pacifier?] Zhou and beheaded them as well. 家奴 is a domestic servant.

次日,亦斬三人,總云奸細。 The next day he also beheaded three people, in each case saying they were spies.

自二十九日戮黃安撫等五人後,人懷憂懼,謂激怒北兵,必有玉石不分之禍,買舟避鄉僻者如鶩。 Since the five people including Pacifier Huang were killed on the 29th, people are fearful in their hearts, saying that if we aggravate the Manchu Army, there will certainly be indiscriminate disaster; those buying boats to escape into the deep countryside are like ducks. [?] 玉石不分 is a chengyu meaning ‘to not distinguish stones from jade’.

若使楊君果為國倡義,以圖興復,誰曰不宜? If we can make Lord Yang truly act righteously for the country, with a plan to restore and prosper, who would say it is inappropriate?

究竟一萎瑣無能,假公濟私之輩,意在垂涎庫藏耳。 After all, as soon as we are withered, fragmented and powerless, in a generation that abuses official power for personal gain, we will be drooling over the warehouses and that's the truth of it[?].

再初二日,為士民所迫,午前進坐北察院,隨至府庠謁先聖,遍請各紳於明倫堂會晤。 Day 2: The citizens rose up [?], and in the morning entered the North Investigation Court [?], and then on to the Government School to visit the former sage [?]; who requested that every member of the gentry to go to Minglun Hall for a general meeting. 府庠 is a government academy.

共議守城計。 Together they discussed a plan to defend the inner city.

長洲李公於是日復蒞本縣,似乎布置略為有緒。 On this day Duke Li of Changzhou returned to attend to the county, and seemed to have put the beginnings of a strategy in place.

初三日,聞北兵已至無錫,遂發府庫銀分給兵丁,自取萬餘金。 Day 3: We've heard that the Manchu Army has already reached Wuxi; thereupon we sent from the government treasury silver to be divided amongst the soldiers; they took over ten thousand gold pieces themselves [?].

初四日黎明,出葑門登舟率兵遁去,人心瓦解。 On the dawn of the 4th, we [?] left from the Turnip Gate [?] to board a boat, taking soldiers and escaping; the people's hearts have disintegrated.

凡各兵屯扎近郊者,皆散歸。 Every last platoon of soldiers in the suburbs has split up and returned [?].

六門不閉。 The six gates are not closed.

是日微雨,午間北兵驟至,由閶門入,人各二馬,魚貫陸續而行,從婁門出,轉往葑門,欲追楊文驄也。 There was light rain today, and at noon the Manchu Army suddenly arrived, entering via the Palace Gate with two horses per person, coming one after another, coming out of the Lou Gate and continuing into the Turnip Gate, wanting to pursue Yang Wencong.

追至水濱,楊君不知所以,其隨從兵舟,被北兵以火器擊壞幾隻,□窨亦燒燬一二。 They pursued him down to the shore, but Lord Yang was not aware of this, his entourage was on the military boat, which was struck and broken several times by the Manchu Army using guns; the smoke also burnt one or two [people?]. 窨 here is 熏 - smoke.

北兵大營紮於社壇,主帥駐白雲菴,欲諸鄉紳出,與共議地方事,隨處懸示慰諭。 The Manchu Army set up camp at the Altar; their Command in Chief was stationed at White Cloud Temple; he wanted all of the local officials and gentry to leave; [???]; public notices were hung everywhere with official reassurances [?].

初五日,新太守王鏌,中州人也,上午入城蒞任,乃剃髮戴臊子帽,以箭衣為公服。 Day 5: The new Governor Wang Mo is from Zhongzhou, and this morning entered the city to take office, thereupon shaving his hair and putting on a saozi [?] hat, with archer's clothes as official dress.

← Part 3 · *Part 4 * · Part 5 →

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 (this article)
  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
  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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