175 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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TitleChushi lu 初仕錄 [Records of a Beginner Official]
Topic4.1 Magistrates handbooks: General
Historical periodEarly Ming (1368 -1584)
AuthorWu Zun 吳遵
CollectionGuanzhen shu jicheng 官箴書集成
Number of volume2
Publication typeWoodblock

The work was compiled on the basis of the author’s successful term as magistrate of Changle 長樂, Fujian, in 1548-52. The very concrete and straightforward text covers all the usual magistrate handbook topics. It opens with a section on general guidance, entitled “Revere the foundation” (崇本篇), which contains the following 20 rubrics: “Set one’s mind” (定志), “Careful beginnings” (謹始), “Be respectful” (居敬), “Restrain preferences” (克偏), “Restrain temper” (懲忿), “Maintain integrity” (持廉), “Observe modesty” (守謙), “Be merciful” (仁恕), “Be decisive” (果斷), “Value silence” (崇默), “Establish trust” (立信), “Avoid suspicion” (遠嫌), “Eliminate slander” (去讒), “Expand magnanimity” (充德量), “Avoid governing alone” (戒獨任), “Eliminate preconceptions” (去先意), “How to order household” (正家法), “Avoid assessing fines” (戒科罰), “Maintain to the end” (保終), and “Know where to stop” (知止). The next section, on arrival at office, is titled “Establish administration” (立治篇) and contains the following 22 rubrics: “Enter the jurisdiction” (入境), “Assume office” (上任), “Must-know registers” (須知), “Inspect the Confucian school” (視學), “Examine the jail” (看監), “Transfer accounts” (交盤), “Hold court” (公座), “Official seal” (印信), “Gatekeepers and jailers” (門禁), “Discuss law” (講律令), “Examine old case files” (查舊案), “Set up registers” (置紀籍), “Focus on correspondence” (重文移), “Care about affixing signature” (謹僉押), “Check canceled receipts” (考銷繳), “Map the terrain” (圖地理), “Serve superiors” (承上司), “Oversee staff officials” (處僚屬), “Guard against clerks and scribes” (防吏書), “Control gatekeepers and lictors” (馭門隸), “Differentiate good and bad” (別善惡), “Investigate the cunning and powerful” (審機權). Then follow six sections corresponding to the six offices in a local yamen. The section on the office of personnel (吏屬) contains only one rubric: “Be fair in assignments” (公署委). The section on revenue (戶屬) has 13 rubrics: “Be cautious about granaries and treasuries” (慎倉庫), “Clarify tax calculations” (明課算), “Be frugal with supplies” (節供費), “Clear land-tax accounts” (清田賦), “Prepare yellow registers” (造黃冊), “Encourage agriculture and sericulture” (勸農桑), “Be lenient about delays” (寬卯酉), “Fix tax collection schedules” (定催徵), “Examine equal corvée” (審均徭), “Enlarge commercial taxes” (廣商稅), “Equalize market prices” (平市價), “Arrange salt regulations” (理鹽法), and “Famine relief” (救災荒). The section on the office of rites (禮屬) contains 6 rubrics: “Care about ceremonies” (謹儀節), “Solemnize public banquets” (肅公宴), “Rectify public morals” (正風化), “Encourage schools” (勵學校), “Be courteous with the gentry” (禮士夫), “Pity the orphans and aged” (恤孤老). The section on the office of military (兵屬) has 7 rubrics: “Dispatching runners” (僉公役), “Emphasize military supplies” (重軍需), “Examine postal service” (查驛遞), “Clarify records of military and artisan households” (清軍匠), “Discipline the night watch” (肅巡警), “Set up baojia (設保甲), “Select militia” (簡民兵). The section on the office of justice (刑屬) has 5 rubrics: “Be strict about accusations” (嚴告訐), “Examine complaints” (審詞狀), “Be fair in rulings” (公聽斷), “Clarify dispositions” (明發落), “Examining corpses and wounds” (檢屍傷). Finally, the section on the office of public works (工屬) contains 3 rubrics: “Promote water control” (興水利), “Care about laborers” (慎工役), and “Strengthen walls and moats” (固城池).

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