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吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 9

This is Part 9 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).

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

← Part 8 · Part 9 · Part 10 →

閶門內一路民家,多設簞食壺漿於道旁,供其飲啖,良亦不得已而然。 Within the Chang gate an entire row of people's residences, many of them put baskets of food and a pots of broth on the sides of the road, to provide them with something to drink and eat; people had no other choice.

徐究其兵端,祗緣陳湖聚眾不盡發,亦兵往征,被傷數十人,亦捉獲六七亂民繫獄。 If one looks into this troop disturbance carefully, it's only because many people had gathered at Chenhu and were unpeaceful; troops were sent to attack them, injuring several dozen people, and capturing six or seven of the rioters and putting them in jail.

是日,陳湖人實倡此舉,率眾破獄,劫繫囚以去。 That day, the people of Chenhu in fact called for this action: leading crowds they smashed the prisons, released the captured prisoners and left.

此其本謀,乃四方聞風應之,總一時乘興妄動,祗而進亦旅而退,非有攻圍戰守之能。 This was their original scheme; when people all around heard news of this and reacted to it; all in all at once they acted on their emotions and rushed into action; they advanced and then retreated; they did not have the ability to wage a battle.

即李、土二公各官,亦俱團聚府庠瑞光寺前,屯兵自衛,未見出奇制勝,電擊飈馳之快舉也。 Immediately the two ministers Li and Tu each had all of their officials assemble at the prefectural school in front of the Ruiguang Temple; the garrison troops defended themselves; one did not see rapid action with an unexpected victory, such as a lightning-like strike or a whirlwind-like charge.

是夕,街坊敲梆放砲,吶喊之聲相聞,大約皆無賴所為,守分良民,知已觸上怒,恐不免誅鋤,倉促挈家遠遁。 That evening, in the streets and lanes there was the sound of the watchman's rattle and firecrackers; when the sound was heard, in general it was all the doing of hooligans; the law-abiding good people knew that this had stirred up the anger of their superiors, and were afraid that they would be unable to avoid a massacre; they hurriedly took their families and fled far.

向来李公有令,不許鄉紳士庶攜妻子資貨出城,違者論斬。 Previously Mr Li gave an order that the gentry, scholars and commoners were not allowed to leave the city with their wives, children and belongings; those who disobey are to be sentenced to beheading.

此際六門洞開,無復禁令,出者踵相接矣。 As a result the six gates were all opened wide, there was no prohibition; those leaving the city were on one another's heels.

← Part 8 · Part 9 · Part 10 →

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 (this article)
  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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