Under the Confucian government of men, the Sino-barbarian dyarchy of the Ch'ing dynasty could be preserved only by a careful balancing of Chinese and Manchu personnel. Once the half-and-half division of posts had been set up at the capital after the Manchu conquest, the maintenance of this rough proportion became a guaranty both of Chinese participation in the central government and of Manchu control over it. The problem of Manchu control cut into the usual problems of personnel management in a clique-ridden bureaucracy. The imperial government was a political labyrinth of personal, provincial, regional, racial, ideological and functional groupings and relationships—confusing to the novice and baffling to the foreigner. Manchu domination of this bureaucracy was an exacting and delicate task: it was essential both to use the best Chinese talent and to keep it diluted with a proper proportion of Manchus. If the official hierarchy at the capital contained too many Manchu incompetents, the régime might become dangerously inefficient. If the hierarchy in the provinces became all Chinese, Manchu rule might soon collapse.



The high offices at Peking under the Ch'ing are charted in Table 1 (see below). To complete this picture we should note the top positions in the provinces: the statutes did not require the appointment of Manchus and Chinese in any fixed proportions, but the joint responsibility of governors and governors-general, at the top of most provincial administrations, facilitated Manchu supervision of an essentially Chinese government. Fifteen governors (Hsun-fu) and eleven governors-general (Tsung-tu, called “Viceroys” by contemporary Westerners or, along the Canal, “Directors-general”) were distributed as indicated in Table 2.


This article is based mainly on the tables in the Draft History of the Ch'ing (Ch'ing-shih-kao), vols. (ts'e) 55 (Grand Secretaries), 56 (Grand Councillors), 59–60 (Six Boards), 63–4, 67–8, 70–1 (Provincial Officials). These data have also been extracted by Hsiao I-shan for his Ch'ing-tai t'ung-shih and published separately as Ch'ing'tai tu-fu piao (Tables of governors-general and governors of the Ch'ing period), etc. (Peiping n.d.).


Rate of turnover in the Six Boards. Among the 36 positions at the top of the Six Boards, 332 changes were made in sixteen years, an annual average of about 20 (actually 20.75) changes among 36 positions. These changes, however, were usually concentrated within a relatively smaller number of posts, that is, two or three changes might occur during the year within only one of the 36 posts. In fact we find that in this sixteen-year period there were 321 occasions when posts were left unchanged for an entire year at a time; on the average, 20 of the 36 posts remained unchanged each year. In other words, the 20.75 changes that occurred in the average year were concentrated among 16 positions. Specifically, out of the 36 positions, in the average year there were 20 positions which had only one incumbent, 12 which had two incumbents during the year, and 4 which had three incumbents.

There is no observable uniformity in these more frequent changes. The shifting of two or three persons into and out of a post might occur in any one of the Six Boards indiscriminately. The personnel administrators found it expedient each year to shift a few men about more extensively than others. But it is not apparent whether this came from an effort to try out new personnel, or to shift experienced personnel for purposes of efficiency, or to pass men through sinecure positions for personal or political reasons.


This question must of course be judged by the names of persons listed in the records, counting as Chinese those whose names are Chinese in form and counting as Manchu or Mongol those with names typical of those races. This method, while not foolproof, seems subject to a rather small margin of error.


This may be seen by reference to Table 4 (below) which records the numbers of officials who were listed as serving during a given number of years, whether two, ten or fourteen years, together with an indication as to how many were Chinese and how many Manchus. It will be seen, for example, that there were only two officials who served as many as fourteen years. Both were Chinese. There were only three officials who reached the point of serving thirteen years. All three were Manchus. Out of 51 officials who spent six years or longer in the Board presidencies or vice-presidencies, it appears that 25 were Chinese and 26 were Manchus. The situation could not have been more balanced. Even in the category of officials listed in only one year, the balance is 10 Manchus and 12 Chinese. Among those listed in only two years, the balance is 9 Manchus and 13 Chinese.



Hummel Arthur W. ,
Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period (1644–1912)
Washington, D. C.



Ho Alfred Kuo-liang , “
The Grand Council in the Ch'ing Dynasty
,” p
, p 175 and Tables. F.E.Q. Vol.
, No.
, (Feb.


Thus in the sixteen years 1837–52, twenty individuals moved up from Board presidencies to grand secretaryships, but only seven moved up to grand councillorships. There were seven outstanding individuals who served in this period in the Boards, the Secretariat and the Council, all three. In the period 1837–62, there were thirty-five grand secretaries and twenty-seven grand councillors: out of the twenty-seven opportunities thus presented for membership in both bodies, there were nine cases of officials who served in both. This group, who should no doubt be regarded as the most trusted or competent officials, included four Chinese, four Manchus and one Mongol.


A study of the annual changes in the Six Boards during the 26 years from 1837 to 1862 reveals certain periods of maximum activity in the shifting about and transfer of personnel—for example, in 1838, the year of the opium imbroglio at Canton; in 1853–54, after the Taiping Rebels' seizure of the Lower Yangtze region; or in 1862, the year after the coup d'état. Apparently changes of office even at the capital were likely to be more numerous in times of trouble. See Table 6 below.


To take the Manchus first (including Mongols in this category), I find that of the 195 men who served as governors or governors-general in the 22 years 1837–58, only some 58 were Manchus; of this total, 31 were governors-general for full terms and only 25 were governors for full terms, so that Manchus were used more as governors-general than as governors. (In this calculation I leave out of account 13 Manchus who acted as governors for brief periods and 4 who acted briefly as governors-general. All of these were interim appointments for a few months only.)


The annual lists of appointments to these high positions in the 22 years from 1837 to 1858 record a total of 155 persons appointed as governors and 93 appointed as governors-general. Of this total of 228 names, 53 appear in both lists, so that a total of 195 men were actually used in these high positions which really handled the territorial administration of China. This total, however, is reduced by the fact that many appointments listed in the records were for acting or temporary service of a few months only, or in some cases for posts which were never actually taken up. Not infrequently an official who had just been transferred to a provincial position was reappointed elsewhere before he had arrived to take up his duties. Furthermore, many of the officials listed as acting governors or governors-general were minor officers of the provincial administration given these posts to hold temporarily and concurrently with their regular duties, until the new substantive appointee should arrive at his provincial capital. If we go through the lists making allowance for these more ephemeral arrangements and omit those incumbents who held office for less than a year, we find that the substantive appointments to the fifteen governorships in China in this 22-year period totalled roughly 100 men. These 100 individuals averaged something more than 3 years’ service apiece. (Although at first glance this seems in keeping with the statucory provision for three years service in a given post at one time, in fact it represents merely the average between long and short terms of service among the various governors.)

Among the 93 persons named as governor-general, at least 29 were listed during part of one year only, usually as acting for an absent incumbent, so that in effect about 64 principal officers were appointed to the eleven governor-generalships in these 22 years. On the average they served about 3 years and 9 months apiece.


There were 137 Chinese serving as governors or governors-general, among whom 78 served full terms as governors and 37 acced only briefly as such. A total of 58 Chinese were appointed governors-general, 50 of them for full terms and 8 for brief interim periods. Of the 50 Chinese serving full terms as governors-general, 23 had served previously as governors while only 15 were appointed directly to be governors-general without previously serving as governors.


The 11 Manchus served a total of 116 years and the 28 Chinese a total of 255 years. Thus this group of Manchus averaged 10 1/2 years apiece while the Chinese averaged 9 years. There were roughly 2 1/2 times as many Chinese as Manchus and the Chinese served roughly 2 and 1/3 times as many years. The significance of these figures finally appears when we note that in 116 years of Manchu service, the proportion of incumbency as governors to that as governors-general was as 45 to 71, while among the Chinese the proportion was 156 years of incumbency as governors to 99 years as governors-general. Reduced to lower fractions this means that among the officials who served 7 years or more in the provinces, the Manchus spent 1/13 of their time as governors-general and the Chinese only 2/5.


This calculation must be qualified by the fact that the great part of the officials who left positions in the Six Boards probably went into minor positions in the provinces below the rank of governor, where we have no convenient record of them. Thus a Board president at Peking might easily go out as examiner or treasurer in a province. Allowing for this margin of error, we find that in the period 1837–52, of the 141 officials who served in the Six Boards as presidents or vice-presidents, only 26 were appointed in that period to be governors or governors-general. In the period 1837–58, the total of such officials who had been drawn from the Six Boards, after serving there sometime between 1837–52, was only 33. Among these 33 there were 14 Manchus and 19 Chinese. Only 8 had been presidents of Boards.


See Ho, p. 178 and Table 2.


Among these twenty-four officers, nine were entitled Pan-shih ta-ch'en or “Agents,” six were called Chiang-chün (usually rendered within the provinces as “Tartar general” or “Manchu general-in-chief” but here more properly called “Military governor”), and five were called Ts'an-tsan ia-ch'en or “Assistant military governors” (also called “Councillors” or “Ambans”).



Bourne F. S. A. in
China Review
; and 7 (1878–79), 314–29.



Franz Michael , “
Military Organization and Power Structure of China during the Taiping Rebellion
Pacific Historical Review
, p. 482

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