How many slaves and maidservants could the governor of the Qing Dynasty keep?

Home > History

How many slaves and maidservants could the governor of the Qing Dynasty keep?

2019-02-18 18:32:59 62 ℃

The Qing Dynasty was a society of strict hierarchy, which corresponded to treatment. Even if you had money, you could not enjoy treatment beyond your level.

Take sedan chair as an example, the decoration of sedan chair and the number of sedan chair drivers are different among officials of different grades. The governor and governor's sedan chair has eight sedan chairmen, eight sedan chairmen, four sedan chairmen and four sedan chairmen on the sedan chair of the governor's and governor's officials, and those who do not enter the stream have no qualification to ride a sedan chair, so they can only ride a horse.

Another system of the Qing Dynasty that reflects the status of power and nobility is the maintenance of slaves and maidservants, which is emphasized today. In TV plays, we often see the minister's family with men and women's servants busy in the yard, these people are slaves and maidservants.

Old photos of the late Qing Dynasty, the woman in plain clothes on the right is a slave.

It is the emperor's right to keep slaves in his family. The number of slaves reflects the size of power, not just how much they want to keep.
In 1686, Emperor Kangxi stipulated that < strong > the governor and governor of the Han nationality had 50 male and female slaves, totaling 100; 40 male and 80 female slaves, 40 female slaves, 80 female slaves, 30 male and female slaves, 60 female slaves, 30 female slaves, 60 female slaves, and 40 female slaves at the same level as Taoist officials, Zhizhou officials and Zhixian officials. There were 10 male and 20 female slaves in total. For Manchu officials, the Emperor gave them special preferential treatment. Under the same level as Han officials, he could double the number of slaves and maidservants. In 1702, Emperor Kangxi further increased the number of slaves held by Manchu governors, raising up to 500 people.

Baoding, Manchu women and their slaves in the late Qing Dynasty.

The regulations are not so clear, but in fact, officials at all levels tend to ignore the law and discipline, and slave-keeping is beyond the standard, especially those bureaucrats from rich families, who can save more than a thousand slaves.

In Qing Dynasty, there were four social strata: scholar, peasant, worker and merchant. Which stratum did the slaves belong to? In fact, slaves do not belong to any class of the "four people", they belong to the base nationality outside the "four people".

That is to say, they are only tools of speech that have no personal freedom and are attached to the master. The master did not regard slaves as human beings at all. He pushed them arbitrarily and abused them in every way. Jiao Da of Jia Fu in A Dream of Red Mansions is a typical slave. He saved his master's life. How grateful is the master's son to him?

Slaves of the late Qing Dynasty.

The laws of the Qing Dynasty confirmed the humble status of slaves. The most notable two points are that they were not qualified to take the imperial examinations and that they could not marry civilians.
Let's say a few more words about the latter. The Law of the Great Qing Dynasty clearly stipulates that "all parents and slaves who marry their loved ones and daughters shall have eighty sticks, and the slaves who marry themselves shall commit the same crime." If you wilfully take a slave as a lover and a loved one as a husband and wife, the staff is ninety. Divorce correction." If a servant marries a civilian, he must not only decide that the marriage is invalid, but also punish the master and the servant severely by crutching. "Eighty sticks" and "ninety sticks" are enough to kill people.

< p> < strong > The Qing Dynasty royal family and the official's house breed to raise slaves and maidservants, then, where do so many slaves and maidservants come from? There are three main sources of slaves.

First, the Han population captured by Manchu officers and soldiers in the late Ming and early Qing Dynasties. Scholars have roughly calculated that the Han population captured by the Eight Banners Army in the period of Huangtaiji was more than one million. In 1643, Abatai led the army into Yanzhou, Shandong Province, and conquered 88 cities along the way, forcing six cities to land and capturing 360,000 people.

Beijing slaves in the late Qing Dynasty.

Second, civilians were forced to sell into slavery. We all know the idiom of "selling wives and babies", which means that civilian families sell their wives and children when they go bankrupt in exchange for some money and food to survive difficult times. In the case of serious natural disasters, insolvency of land rent and taxes, the phenomenon of selling wives and steamed children is common.
< p > < p > < p > In the Qing Dynasty, the sale of slaves and maidservants was legalized only when the contract was signed and stamped by the government. It is illegal to rob women and children for resale.

Thirdly, the criminals should be sent to slavery or the families of the criminal officials should be fined to slavery. The law of the Qing Dynasty stipulated that more than 30 kinds of crimes could be sent to slavery, such as robbery not enough to be executed, grave-digging twice, people buying, selling and fleeing, and so on.

Some of the families of criminal officials have been enslaved in order to maintain order within the ruling class. In 1682, Tong Guoqing, the general soldier of Qiongzhou, surrendered to Shangxie in the rebellion. As a result, his family property was confiscated and his family was forced to join the slave service. During the Yongzheng period, the Emperor allowed slaves to redeem themselves and "open the door for good", but the decree without system guarantee could not be implemented at all. It was not until 1909 that the Qing Dynasty enacted new laws that the slave system was formally abolished. All slaves "listen to redemption, release for the people" and "cannot redeem themselves" were "based on the theory of hiring workers".

References: Xu Ke's Barnyard Bills, Servants, Laws of the Great Qing Dynasty, Lin Yongkuang and Wang Xi's Social Life History of the Qing Dynasty