120 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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TitleHuanyou jilüe 宦游紀略[A Brief Account of an Official’s Voyages]
Topic4.1 Magistrates handbooks: General
Historical periodLate Qing (1797-1911)
AuthorGui Chaowan 桂超萬
CollectionGuanzhen shu jicheng 官箴書集成
Number of volume8
Publication typeWoodblock
CommentRem.: A kind of diary kept by the author during his career, which he started after having passed the jinshi examination at age 50, in 1833. The organization of the text follows the progress of Gui’s career from an acting magistracy at Yanghu 陽湖, Jiangsu (j. 1), to several incumbent magistracies at Luancheng 欒城 and other counties in Zhili (j. 2-4), then as prefect of Yangzhou and Suzhou in Jiangsu (j. 5), and finally as intendant and acting provincial judge in Fujian (j. 6). The text can be described as a professional autobiography combining facts, anecdotes and reflections, and quoting a large number of administrative documents along the way, such as addresses to the populace, judiciary decisions, and various directives. An activist official with a high reputation and a rigorist who says he was appalled by the loose ways of the denizens of Yangzhou and Suchou, Gui seems to have been particularly well-known as a judge. At the beginning of his career, reportedly, after Lin Zexu had seen his diary he stated that Gui’s judicial sentences would have been worth including in the Zizhi xinshu (q.v.). Many of the entries in the Huanyou jilüe deal with legal issues, illustrating Gui’s methods for investigating and deciding difficult or bizarre cases. Administrative problems of every kind are discussed as well. The documents and anecdotes also convey a rich amount of information on local society, e.g. on Christian villages in Northeast Zhili or on social unrest in Jiangsu in the wake of the Opium war, and much more, not to speak of the violence and unruliness in Fujian—a place Gui found ungovernable. In 1862, ten years after his retirement, Gui was again appointed acting provincial judge of Fujian on the recommendation of the governor, Xu Zonggan. The documents related to this last post are collected in a sequel appended to the work, the Xu huanyou jilüe.
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