81 documents
Unless otherwise specified, the descriptions of sources in this section are extracted from Pierre-Etienne Will and collaborators,Official Handbooks and Anthologies of Imperial China: A Descriptive and Critical Bibliography (Leiden: Brill, forthcoming).
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Description
documentTypeBook
TitleWeinengxin lu 未能信錄 [A Record on Not Being Able to Trust Oneself]
Topic2.1 Judicial cases: general casebooks
Historical periodEarly Qing (1644-1796)
CountryChinese
Reprint (year of)2005
AuthorZhang wuwei 張五緯
CollectionLidai panli pandu 歷代判例判牘
Volume12
Number of volume9
Publisher中國社會科學出版社
Place of publication北京
Publication typePrint
Comment

A collection of nine judicial cases solved by the author when serving as assistant magistrate, or magistrate, in several Jiangxi counties during the late eighteenth century, plus seven accounts of a more general nature, also on his administration in Jiangxi. Zhang decided to publish the text as a model for his recently appointed younger brother and nephew. The title expresses the notion that a judge must be constantly doubting not only others, but also himself. As Zhang says in his preface: “He who trusts himself assuredly has not an unprejudiced heart (自信者必不虛心); he who is able to have an unprejudiced heart assuredly cannot trust [himself] (能虛心者必未能信).” The judicial cases, narrated in the first person, are preceded by a fairly technical discussion on the administration of justice, entitled “Yuanqi zonglun” 原起總論, that cites at length examples from the author’s thirty-year experience and insists on the extreme variety and difficulty of the “civil” cases brought to the tribunal (詞訟), which may entail going through large files of documents and arbitrating between several litigants contradicting each other. The cases in j. 1 and 2, recounted in much detail and rather vividly, include local bullies pretending to be servants of the surveillance commissioner to extort money, a conflict between monks and civilians over the control of a hill in Nanchang, salt smugglers who resisted arrest, a Confucian student wrongly accusing a broker, the homicide of an assistant official who was arresting gamblers, and several other criminal cases. The texts in j. 3, of more diverse nature, include among others several accounts of local conditions in Jiangxi frontier regions, based on the author’s own inspections, female infanticide in Yuanzhou 遠州 prefecture, pettifogging in Jianchang 建昌, and more. All the cases collected in the work are narratives, not administrative documents; and since the author is speaking in some detail and in the first person about his actions, behavior, and feelings, these accounts can be read as fragments of a career autobiography. An additional j. 4 (placed after the postf.) reproduces Zhang’s procedure to raise contributions for combating female infanticide (捐銀救溺一切章程) established when he was acting prefect of Yuanzhou in 1793, introduced by directives of the governor and administration commissioner.

SubjectLaw
LanguageChinese
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