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吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 7

This is Part 7 in an annotation 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 6 · *Part 7 * · Part 8 →

<– These notes courtesy of Wildman –>

十三日,于孝廉中选知府,节推三四人。 On the thirteenth day, they chose a prefect from amongst the xiaolian degree candidates, and three or four men were officially recommended for office.

于庠生中选留吴翀汉、冯嘉等八人,欲授知、推职。 Of the prefectural students eight men were chosen to stay, including Wu Chonghan and Feng Jia; he wanted to give them the position of prefects and recommended officials.

会申青门微言以解,云:“诸生年少未经事,恐不胜繁剧。” At the meeting, Shen Qingmen offered some subtle words to resolve the matter: “All of you students are young and haven’t had experience in the affairs of governance, I am afraid you would be unable to bear more complicated matters.” (Shen Qingmen is making excuses here.)

乃不果授。 So it did not result in them being appointed.

十四日,续到者公报立待,各唱名过堂,点毕而出。 On the fourteenth day, those continued to arrive wear in official attire and stood in attendance, each chanted his name and appeared in court, once the dotting of names was complete they went out.

庠生凡投揭者,或公服,或儒巾便服,或方巾青衣,概不行拜揖礼。 Of the prefectural students who went to be seen and submitted themselves, some wore official uniform, some wore a scholar’s head-towel and informal clothes, some wore square scholar’s hats and dark clothes, in general they did not perform the deferential or greeting customs. (No-one knew who was superior, also they are nervous, they don’t want any of this rigmarole with one/two kneelings or bows; giving a sense of debt of ritual through face giving.)

但呼名至前,约十余人,李公即云请回。 Only when their names were called did they go to the front, about ten or more people, Li Gong then spoke, saying please return and asked them to come back.

又欲授诸生以县丞,皆不就而罢。 Moreover he had wanted the confer on the ten students the post of county magistrate, but none of them went to accept the post so that stopped his plans.

图中稽察乡绅大户之家,先之以现总,继以卫弁,最后上官乘马亲查。 A Sub-district inspection happened; they went through the ordinary bureaucratic procedure first, , then it was a military guard, then a top official came on a horse to make his own inspection. *[???]* (里家 110 household of ten units, with ten ordinary members and one head, these subgroups also acted as Li, the government dealt with the Li, and the orders would go down the ranks through the Li heads.)

有不在家者,即加记识。 When there was someone who wasn’t at home, they would make a note of it.

故凡内眷之避于乡者,次第接回室家,相聚者居半矣。 Therefore all of the women of the families who had fled in to the countryside, they gradually returned to their homes and met together, and they accounted for half of those who were registered as “not at home”. (次第 = gradually.)

吴地尺寸皆利薮,曾无旷土可容群马牧放。 Every foot and inch of land in Wu benefited from the shallow ponds which often had small crops growing nearby; in the past there had never been any wasteland for horses and herding.

北兵人挟二马,纵之于野,大伤田稼。 The northern troops understood each of them had brought along two horses, and had release them in the countryside, and they had greatly harmed the harvest in the field, and they ruined the crops.

乡民每日呈告,由是抚、镇两台令收兵马入营,遂有纳征青草之举。 The village people made complaints, reported to their superiors every day, whereupon the Provincial Governor and Regional Commander ordered the troops to get their horses and bring them in to the garrison, then there was an undertaking to levy fodder for them to eat.

廿二十二三日,初议长洲田五十亩每日纳草一担。 On the twenty-second or twenty-third day, at the first meeting, 50 mu of the Changzhou fields were to send in a bushel of grass every day. (bushel = 50kg?)

吴县田二十亩、山荡田十亩,每日纳草一担。 20 mu of fields in Wu county, 10 mu in Shandang, were to send in a bushel a day.

谓营中每日需马草一万五千担,两县均派,各该七千五百担。 They said in the garrison they daily needed 15000 bushels; the two counties equally sent tax straw, each 7500 bushels.

长洲田多,故五十亩为率; In Changzhou the fields were many so in Changzhou 50 mu were taxed;

吴邑田少,故二十亩为率。 in Wuzhou the fields were few so just 20 were taxed.

若此则吴县,有田百亩之家,日供五担; If it was like this, then in Wu county a family with 100 mu was daily to provide 5 bushels.

百亩五担,不但力不供,亦何处有许多青草; One hundred mu to five bushels; not only was there insufficient power, but also, who would have that much grass to supply?

群情大骇。 The feeling of the masses was greatly alarmed.

绅衿士民连日具呈各台。 The gentlemen, scholars and common people presented petitions for days on end to each of the Provincial Governors.

苦恳,舌敝力殚,至二十七日,方定两县各田百亩,每日纳草百斤; they entreated them with bitterness about their afflictions; their tongues grew tired and their strength was exhausted; it was not until the 27th day when it was fixed that in each 100 mu of paddy fields in the two counties would present 100 jin of grass daily;

官户交军门收,民户送盘门外大营收,时已移社坛营,改屯山川坛内,路遥天暑,兵卒骄横,交纳草犹不胜苦也。 the official households would pay their levy for the military headquarters to collect; the common households were to deliver it to the large garrison outside of Panmen for collection; at that time they had already shifted where they had to pay their tax to the community altar; the road was long and the sun was hot, the soldiers were arrogant and cruel; it seemed that they could not bear the pains of paying the grass tax.

二十九日,忽传北来有诏十八款,内一款驱除僧道,凡僧尼道士,俱令还俗,寺观庵院,封闭入官,承天双塔寺,寺富,僧恐甚。 It was the 29th day, suddenly there was a rumour that an imperial edict had been transmitted from the north, and among the 48 articles included one that said that Buddhist and Daoist monks and nuns, the Daoist priests, and that they must return to being laity; the temples, shrines nunneries and monasteries were to be closed off and given to the government, and Chengtian Shuangta Temple [???], the monks are extremely afriad. Si are Buddhist temples and guan are daoist shrines, an are Buddhist chapels, yuan is a Buddhist cloister.

</– Thanks to Wildman for the notes above! –>

当晚,将酒减价发卖。 That night, they discounted the price of their wine to sell it off.

僧有具呈军门者李公立发告示,从古三教并重,断无遣逐僧道之理,随访拿误传诏旨者,得元妙观李道士,发捕厅审究。 Some of the monks presented a petition to the military headquarters and Mr Li immediately sent out an announcement, saying since antiquity, the Three Doctrines have been viewed with equal importance; there is no reason for driving out the monks; accordingly they made inquiries and captured those who had spread false rumours about this Imperial edict, and then got the Daoist priest Li from the Yuanmiao Shrine, and sent him to the district jailer for interrogation.

署总捕王同知名志古,本贯崑山,郡中大参刘王受外孙也。 The acting concurrent jailer is deputy prefect Wang, name Zhigu, his native place is Kunshan, he is the son of the daughter of the Administrative Vice Commissioner of the Prefecture Liu Wangshou. (同知 is a deputy prefect. 大参 is administrative vice commissioner.)

研李道士乃得自抄传,非其毁造,责四十板,解抚院。 During the interrogation of the Daoist priest Li they got the report that he had copied but not fabricated himself; he was punished with forty strokes of the wooden board, then released on to the provincial governor's office. (抚院 is provincial governor's office.)

李公亦不深罪,得免死焉。 Mr Li was not deeply involved in the crime, and from this avoided death.

闰六月初一日,斩盗官马贼一人于尚书巷口,其妻给赏兵丁。 The first day of the sixth intercalary month, a thief who had stolen a government horse was executed at the entrance to Shangshu Street; his wife was given to the soldiers as a reward.

初二日,士民相订同具呈本府及总督军门,请减吴郡重赋,因庠友到府者仅十余人,不成公举,太尊亦过午不出堂,未及进呈,来日进讫。 On the second day, the scholars and common people agreed to appear together to present a petition to the prefectural yamen and the headquarters of the supreme commander, requesting a decrease in the heavy taxes of Wu County, because only around ten or more of the students of the provincial school went to the yamen, they didn't complete a public undertaking; because of this the prefect didn't leave his hall all afternoon so they never got to present the petition; the next day they did complete this.

初三日,斩三人于大街,云系奸细。 On the third day, three people were beheaded on Main Street, all having been arrested as spies.

是日有固山大人自北来苏,驻兵备署中,随从兵多。 The same day Grand Master Gushan came to Suzhou from the north; he stationed his troops inside the armoury; the troops in his entourage were many.

初四日,大雨竟日,兵丁避雨,共入民家,掠取衣食,奸淫妇女二,有投水不受污者,固山亦即移去。 On the fourth day, it rained heavily all day; the soldiers fled the rain and entered the houses of the common people; they stole clothes and food, raped wives and daughters; there were some women who flung themselves in the river to avoid the defilement; Gushan thereupon moved on.

初七日,李公请见诸庠友,因人言籍籍,疑其起于士林,故面相慰谕。 On the seventh day, Mr Li requested an audience with the prefectural school students; because their talk was confused, he suspected that these rumours had arisen amongst the ranks of the students; therefore he faced them and gave comforting words.

大抵传闻欲剃发之故,李公向已告示张挂,谓决不以剃头一事,拂尔之意。 Because there were rumours that he wanted everyone to shave their heads, Mr Li made an announcement saying he definitely would not go against people's wishes regarding the shaving of hair.

初九日,周安抚遍示决不剃头,岂知号令不信? On the ninth day, Provincial Military Governor Zhou widely announced that they would definitely not shave the hair off their heads; how would they know that this was not trustworthy? 安抚 is a provincial military governor.

自初六日起,先将阊、齐、娄、葑水门封闭,仅开南城水门,收纳马草。 From the sixth day, they first closed the Chang, Qi, Lou, and Feng canal gates, leaving only the Nancheng canal gate open, which was left open to collect the horse-straw tax.

至初十日城外兵丁,俱收屯城中。 By the tenth day the soldiers that had been outside the city wall were all garrisoned inside the city walls.

← Part 6 · *Part 7 * · Part 8 →

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 (this article)
  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