Charity Granary and Local Society in Northern Taiwan during The Late Qing Period─A Case Study of “Ming Shan Tang”
|Keywords:||義倉;明善堂;嚴金清;淡水廳;學海書院;新竹;平糶;the Charity Granary;Ming Shan Tang;Yan Jinqing;Danshui Ting;Xuehai Academy;Xinzhu;PingTiao||Issue Date:||2014||Abstract:||
明善堂是同治六年（1867）時，淡水廳同知嚴金清邀集轄內的各地紳商，在各地所創辦的義倉。部分地方之明善堂還辦理義塾以及慈善事業。 在明善堂的創設過程中，我們可以看到淡北明善堂是以學海書院為中心的機構，學海書院透過淡北明善堂獲得了經費以及機會。而竹塹明善堂也與明志書院有所關聯。此外，明善堂的董事，常有經營米穀行業的紳商在其中，他們可能藉由義倉得到了額外的利潤。因此，地方官在創辦義倉或其他的慈善事業時，往往會先考量現有的資源，以具相關背景，並有功名資格的士紳作為經營者。具備這些條件的士紳，也因為有利可圖，而積極的向官府爭取經營的權力。 在收集倉穀時，名為「勸捐」，實則為強制性質的「派捐」，這項工作與權力由明善堂董事負責。不過，董事並無強制執行的權力，若無官府的介入，恐怕很難避免捐戶的拖延抵抗。在後續經營中，也因為義倉的性質終歸紳捐紳辦，官方介入有其侷限。地方官在交接時，因為義倉不入交接之款，導致每任地方官想監督義倉時，須重新尋找案卷，成為地方官監督義倉的障礙。同時，這也成為董事得以上下其手的原因。此外，面對嚴格固定的制度，人民往往會用另一套既不違反制度，又可規避限制的方法來運作義倉。例如，光緒十三年（1887）大甲明善堂曾以「推陳易新」之名目，規避「平糶」的限制，來達成倉穀的定時更新。 在義倉的運作裡，董事可以透過挪用穀石、虛報經費、生放重利，以及在帳面數字作假來獲利。最重要的是，董事存儲的穀石，常包含了其他捐戶的捐穀，再以這些資本進行周轉、放貸、生息，換句話說，他們利用了別人的捐穀經營自己的「無本生意」。雖然，部分董事因為侵吞穀石被控告，但通常不會受到嚴重的懲罰，最後只要補回原有數額即可了事。另外，「清查」也可以為清查者帶來利益，因此一些有心的紳商希望藉由「控告」，來更換原本的董事以及取得清查之權力。然而，由於原本的董事多是當地重要的望族，有厚實的在地社會網絡，因此並不容易成功。 明善堂附設的義塾，對於讀書人來說，是得到工作與薪水的機會，不過能成為義塾塾師者，通常也有良好的社會網絡。對於董事來說，董事推薦關係良好的讀書人作為塾師，亦是建構或強化社會網絡的好機會。 從本文可以看出，晚清時期的官府透過與民間合作設立社會事業，共同穩定地方秩序。另一方面，社會事業由紳商管理的本質，卻使得政府越來越難以掌控地方的社會事業。這形成了晚清帝國不可解的矛盾。
In 1867, Tongzhi (the vice governor) of Danshui Ting (similar to Canton, a special administrative region with the same authority level of the County), invited the gentry and traders from different places within the jurisdiction to set up the Charity Granary in various regions, called Ming Shan Tang, which in certain localities also established and operated charity schools and social welfare enterprices. In process of founding Ming Shan Tang, we can see that the Danbei Ming Shan Tang is an institution centered on Xuehai Academy. Through Danbei Ming Shan Tang, Xuehai Academy obtained fund and chances. Besides, Zhuqian Ming Shan Tang were associated with Mingzhi Academy to certain extent. Moreover, the directors of Ming Shan Tang often involved with traders who operated rice business, and there was possibility that they might gain additional profit by taking advantage of the Charity Granary. As a result, when the local officials set up the Charity Granary or got engaged in charity work, they often took the existing resources into considerations in the first place. In other words, they would choose the local gentry with relative background and qualification to hold an official post. Because of the profit, those who were qualified with such conditions in turn actively and positively strived for power to operate the Charity Granary from the local authority. In gathering inventory grains, it was called ""persuaded donation"", but actually, it was ""assigned donation"" with enforcement property, which responsibility and authority was taken by the directors in Ming Shan Tang. However, the directors had no power to enforce assigned donation. Without the government''s intervention, perhaps it would be difficult to avoid the donators'' delay and resistance. In the subsequent operation, the local gentry were finally assigned to manage the distribution of the grains. As such, the gentry not merely donated grains, but also took charge of distributing the proportion of rice and assigning who and how much to donate, leading to much more difficulty for the officals to intervene the Charity Granary. When the local governor handed over, the files of the Charity Granary were not included, resulting in that each new local governor had to re-search for the documents when he intended to supervise the Charity Granary. As such, this had become the barrier to the local governor''s supervision over the Charity Granary as well as the root cause why the directors were able to make profit by playing tricks. In addition, facing the strict and inflexible system, people frequently operated the Charity Granary with another method that could evade not only disobedience to the system but also numerous restrictions. For example, in 1887, Dajia Ming Shan Tang exerted ""to remove the old to introduce the new"" to evade the limit of ""PingTiao"" (the government sold the grains in the granary with fair price when the rice price is too high), successfully achieving the regular renewal of the grains in the granary. In operation of the Charity Granary, the directors could make profit by impropriating the grains of rice, padding the expense, lending at heavy usury, and making false financial figures. The most importantly, the grains of rice stored by the directors often included those donated by other donators, and the directors often used those grains as capital for financing, lending loans, and gaining interest. In other words, they made use of other people''s donated rice to run their own ""business without any cost"". Although some of the directors were accused of embezzlement, usually, they were not severely punished. Rather, the case would be simply closed as long as they returned the rice. Meanwhile, ""investigation"" could bring interest to the investigator as well, so that some traders purposely substituted the original directors by ""accusation"" in order to obtain the power of investigation. However, since most of the directors came from the prestigious family that played a critical role in locality and possessed solid social network, it was not easy to succeed in making replacement. To go to the attached charity school of Ming Shan Tang could have the opportunity of getting a job and salary. Those who served as the teachers in the charity school usually had good social network. As for the directors, when they recommended the intellectuals with good relationship to be the charity school teachers, constructing or strengthening social network could also be built up. We can see from this paper that the local governments in Late Qing period established social enterprices by cooperation with folk people to stabilize local order together. On the other hand, the nature that the social enterprises was managed by the gentry and traders had made the government control the local social enterprices with much more difficulty, which formed the unsolvable paradox in the Late Qing Empire.
|Appears in Collections:||歷史學系|
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