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August Allerstein

Jesuit missionary in China, b. in Germany; d. in China, probably about 1777

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Allerstein (or HALLERSTEIN), AUGUST, Jesuit missionary in China, b. in Germany; d. in China, probably about 1777, and consequently after the suppression of the Society. His mathematical and astronomical acquirements recommended him to the imperial court at Pekin, where he won the esteem of the Emperor Kiang-long, who made him a mandarin and Chief of the Department of Mathematics, a post he held for many years. He has given the world a census of China for the 25th and 26th years of the reign of Kiang-long. His list and the Chinese translation reached Europe in 1779. The work is precious for the reason that the Tatar conquerors objected to census-taking, or at least to census-publication, lest the Chinese might recognize their strength and grow restless. Another element of its value is that it confirms all the calculations of one of his predecessors, Father Amiot (q.v.), and affords a proof of the progressive increase of the Chinese population. In the 25th year he found 196,837,977 souls, and in the following year 198,214,624. Allerstein’s census is to be found in “Description Generale de la Chine”, p. 283.



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