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Shuyuan jilüe 樞垣記略

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Shuyuan jilüe 樞垣記略 "A Concise Report on the State Council" is an institutional history of the State Council (junjichu 軍機處), the center of state administration, written by the late Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Liang Zhangju 梁章鉅 and enlarged by Zhu Zhi 朱智.
Liang was himself five-years long member of the State Council as a XXX 軍機章京 during the early Daoguang reign 道光 (1821-1850). He had therefore the chance to read a huge amount of documents about this central government institution and to copy many of them. For his book he also consulted poems and prose writings of former members of the State Council, visited their home places, and drew information from biji 筆記 "brush notes" style writings, local gazetteers and many other types of sources. In 1822 he withdre and began compiling his 16 juan "scrolls" long book. It is divided into seven chapters covering the themes imperial instructions (Xunyu 訓諭), appointment (Chushou 除授), ranking by grace (Enxu 恩敘), rules (Guizhi 規制), bestowal of titles (Timing 題名), poems written by members of the institution (Shiwen 詩文) and miscellanea (Zaji 雜記). The book covers the time between 1730 and 1822 and is a relatively complete overview of the history of the State Council, its structure and functioning, its members, and their careers and standpoints, and is therefore a very important addition to the greater histories like the statecraft canon Da-Qing huidian 大清會典, the collection Qingshilu 清實錄 or the official history Qingshigao 清史稿.
In 1875 Prince Isin 奕訢 read the Shuyuan jilüe and felt that was necessary to rewrite the history of the State Council, not only because more than half a century had passed since its publication, but because the structure of the institution had changed somewhat. He therefore ordered Zhu Zhi to revise and continue Liang's original book. Zhu Zhi, courtesy name Zhu Mingsheng 朱茗笙, came from Qiantang 錢塘, Zhejiang, obtained his jinshi degree during the Xianfeng reign 咸豐 (1851-1861) and was 軍機章京, Chamberlain for the Imperial Stud (taipusi qing 太僕寺卿), and 兵部右侍郎 under the Guangxu Emperor 光緒 (r. 1874-1908). The result was a 28 scrolls long book that had the same number of chapters, but narrated the history of the State Council until 1875. The chapter "miscellanea" was not finished before the book was published. In 1984 the Zhonghua shuju 中華書局 published an edition annotated by He Yingfang 何英芳.


Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (ed. 1996), Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, p. 1424.

January 19, 2014 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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