Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Ch'ên Tzŭ-chuang

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3634080Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 1 — Ch'ên Tzŭ-chuangJ. C. Yang

CH'ÊN Tzŭ-chuang 陳子壯 (T. 集生, H. 秋濤, 雲淙), d. Dec. 1, 1647, age 52 (sui), Ming loyalist, was a native of Nan-hai, Kwangtung. After passing the chin-shih examination with high honors in 1619, he was appointed a Hanlin compiler. In 1621 he was sent by the emperor to sacrifice to the God of the South Seas in Canton, and after his return to the capital was ordered to serve in the Historiographical Board. Three years later (1624) he supervised the provincial examination in Chekiang. Owing to his strong opposition to Wei Chung-hsien [q. v.] his name was listed among the Tung-lin party. In 1625 he was dismissed from office together with his father, Chên Hsi-ch'ang 陳熙昌 (T. 當時, H. 果庵, chin-shih of 1616), when the latter memorialized against the eunuch rule. At the beginning of the Ch'ung-chên reign-period (1628–1644) Chên Tzu-chuang was recalled and was made (1631) concurrently supervisor of instruction and reader in the Hanlin Academy. Two years later (1633) he was made junior vice-president of the Board of Ceremonies and was soon promoted to senior vice-president of the same Board, and a diarist. Owing to his opposition to the appointment of members of the royal family to high government offices, he was bitterly attacked by the Prince of T'ang (see under Chu Yü-chien) and was again dismissed. After a period of retirement he was reinstated (1642) in his former post, but before he could set out for the north, Peking fell (1644). When the Prince of Fu (see under Chu Yu-sung) was proclaimed emperor Ch'ên was made president of the Board of Ceremonies. He went to Nanking early in 1645 to take up his post and soon afterward was given two additional offices, namely, chief supervisor of instruction, and reader in the Hanlin Academy.

On June 8th Nanking fell to the Manchu troops and Ch'ên fled in disguise to Kwangtung where he learned of his appointment by the Prince of T'ang in Fukien as Grand Secretary of the Tung-ko (東閣), but declined the offer. After the capture of the Prince of T'ang (October 6, 1646), a new court was established at Chao-ch'ing, Kwangtung, headed by Chu Yu-lang [q. v.] who appointed Chên (December 24, 1646) concurrently Grand Secretary of the Chung-chi tien 中極殿, president of the Board of War, and supervisor of military affairs of five provinces. But the appointment did not reach Chên until some five months later (April 1647). Meanwhile Canton was taken (January 20, 1647) by the Manchu troops under Li Ch'êng-tung [q. v.], and Chên fled to Chiu-chiang, a commercial town southwest of Nan-hai, where Chên organized (July 29, 1647) an army which he called the Han-wei Troops 漢威營. He and Ch'ên Pang-yen (see under Ch'ên Kung-yin) and Chang Chia-yü 張家玉 (T. 子元, 玄子, 芷園, d. Nov. 6, 1647, age 33 sui) attempted several times to dislodge the Ch'ing forces from Canton, but failed. On November 25, 1647 he was captured and six days later was executed. By the Ming court he was given (1648) the posthumous name Wên-chung 文忠.

Chên Tzŭ-chuang left the following works: 練要堂前集 Lien-yao t'ang ch'ien-chi, in 6 chüan; Lien-yao t'ang hou- (後) chi, in 5 chüan; 經制考略 Ching-chih k'ao-lüeh, in 8 chüan; and 昭代經濟言, Chao-tai ching-chi yen, in 14 chüan, a collection of essays by Ming writers, printed in 1626.

[M.1/278/17b; M.36/5/1a; M.40/74/22b; M.41/6/21b, 13/28b, 14/32b, 35a; M.59/29/1a; M.64/辛7/7b; National Sun Yat-sen University Monthly (1935) vol. 3, no. 3; Chang Po-chên 張伯楨, Chang Chia-yü chuan (傳), in 滄海叢書 Ts'ang-hai ts'ung-shu, 4th series (1935).]

J. C. Yang