Until the middle of the nineteenth century, when internal disorder and the impact of Western influences began to work striking changes in the structure of Chinese governmental finance, the revenue of the Ch'ing dynasty may be divided into five main categories. The first and most important was the land tax, which was imposed on most agricultural land throughout the empire and provided the major portion of the funds with which the routine administrative operations of both the central and provincial governments were financed. The second, far smaller in amount than the first, was the grain tribute, which was imposed like the land tax on agricultural land but was levied only in certain areas and was devoted normally to the feeding of the official population of Peking, including the metropolitan garrison, the court, and the metropolitan bureaucracy. The third was the governmental monopoly of the production and distribution of salt. The fourth and fifth categories were respectively the regular (or “native”) customs and certain miscellaneous indirect taxes.

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