Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Ch'ien T'ai-chi

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3635464Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 1 — Ch'ien T'ai-chiTu Lien-chê

CH'IEN T'ai-chi 錢泰吉 (T. 輔宜, H. 警石, 深廬, 甘泉鄉人), Nov. 1, 1791–1863, Dec. 30, scholar and bibliophile, native of Chia-hsing, Chekiang, was a great-grandson of Ch'ien Ch'ên-ch'ün [q. v.] and a first cousin of Ch'ien I-chi [q. v.]. His father, Ch'ien Fu 錢復 (T. 景顏, H. 蓉裳, 1754–1806, Jan. 22), was magistrate of Wu-ch'iao, Chihli (1796-99) and of Ta-hsing, Shun-t'ien (1799–1804), and it was owing to this fact that Ch'ien T'ai-cHispent the greater part of his youth in North China. In 1806, the year in which his father died, Ch'ien T'ai-chi returned to his native place. He became a hsiu-ts'ai in 1808, and four years later a senior licentiate. He failed repeatedly in succeeding examinations, and, after a final attempt in 1825, abandoned all efforts for a higher degree. Two years later (1827) he received a position as sub-director of schools in Hai-ning (Chekiang), a post which he held for twenty-seven years. He took with him to Hai-ning a large collection of books which he had inherited, naming the studio in which he placed them K'o-tu-shu chai 可讀書齋. Being himself a descendant of a celebrated family, he began in 1828 to record the achievements of his ancestors and the recognition they received from the throne. This work, entitled 清芬世守錄 Ch'ing-fên shih-shou lu, was completed in 1830, in 26 chüan. At the same time he began to take an interest in the comparative study of various texts of antiquity, such as the Han-shu and the Shih-chi—an interest that he maintained throughout his life. Since he lived not far from Hangchow, he often made use of the Wên Lan Ko Library in that city (see under Chi Yün).

Under the title 海昌學職禾人考 Hai-ch'ang hsüeh-chih Ho-jên k'ao, he wrote (1834) a short account of the scholars of his native place who had held educational posts in the region of Hai-ning. He prepared a series of notes on books and book collecting, entitled 曝書雜記, Pu-shu tsa-chi, 3 chüan, of which two chüan were completed by him in 1838 and were first printed in the following year, in the Pieh-hsia chai ts'ung-shu (see under Chiang Kuang-hsü). A third chüan was added about 1851, these three forming chüan 7 to 9 of his collected works. The first edition of the latter was printed in 1854 under the title 甘泉鄉人稿 Kan-ch'üan hsiang jên kao, 24 chüan. During the political unrest of the years 1840–42 which accompanied the Anglo-Chinese War it is said that Ch'ien worked undisturbed at his scholarly tasks. In 1843 he edited and printed the literary works of his father; of his mother, Shên Tê-i 沈德儀 (1760-1816, Jan. 10); and of his brother, Ch'ien Yu-ssŭ 錢友泗 (T. 學源, H. 四水子, 1779-1797)—under the collective title 頤和室合稿 I-ho shih ho kao, 4 chüan. In 1845 he acted as chief compiler of the local history of Hai-ning chou, entitled 海昌備志 Hai-ch'ang pei-chih, 52 chüan, printed in 1847, with a supplement of 2 chüan. Retiring from office in the spring of 1853, he vas invited by the gentry of Hai-ning to direct the local Academy, An-lan Shu-yüan 安瀾書院, As the head of this Academy he remained seven more years in Hai-ning until 1860 when, at the approach of the Taiping rebels, he retired to Hangchow. A few months later, when Hangchow fell, he moved to a country place in Hai-yen. Early in 1861, his son, Ch'ien Ying-p'u 錢應溥 (T. 子密, 葆慎, H. 閒靜老人, 1824–1902, Jan. 28, a pa-kung of 1849), joined him.

When Hai-yen was taken by the rebels the family moved again, first to Yü-yao (Chekiang), and later to Tz'ŭ-ch'i (Chekiang), to Shanghai, and then to Ta-t'ang (Hunan). Ch'ien Ying-p'u, having in the meantime been summoned by Tsêng Kuo-fan [q. v.] to assist on his staff, the family went in the autumn of 1862, to Anking, Anhui, where Tsêng had his headquarters. There Ch'ien T'ai-chi died in the following year, at the age of seventy-five (sui). Ch'ien T'ai-chi had another son, Ch'ien Ping-sên 錢炳森 (T. 子方, original ming 銘恕, 1816–1854), who was a chü-jên of 1844 but died in middle life. When Ch'ien Ying-p'u reprinted the Kan-ch'üan hsiang-jên kao in 1872, he added a nien-p'u of his father and 1 chüan of poems by his brother. He rose to the office of president of the Board of Works (1897–99).

Ch'ien T'ai-chi and his cousin, Ch'ien I-chi, were sometimes referred to as "The Two Stones of the Ch'ien family" (錢氏二石) because they both had hao containing the character shih 石 meaning 'stone'.

[1/491/6a; 2/73/14a; 5/79/16a; Chia-hsing hsien-chih (1906) 21/38b, 22/50b; Yeh Ch'ang-ch'ih (see under P'an Tsu-yin), Ts'ang-shu chi-shih shih 6/43b.]

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