Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Chang T'ing-yü
CHANG T'ing-yü 張廷玉 ( 衡臣, 硯齋, 澄懷主人), Oct. 29, 1672–1755, April 30, official, was a native of T'ung-ch'êng, Anhwei. He was born in Peking where his father, Chang Ying [q. v.], a Grand Secretary from 1699 to 1701, was then serving as a compiler of the Hanlin Academy. In 1700 Chang T'ing-yü himself became a chin-shih and was selected a bachelor of the Hanlin Academy. There he studied Manchu and in 1703 was made a corrector. A year later (1704) he was appointed to service in the Imperial Study (see under Chang Ying). After various promotions he rose (1720) to the post of senior vice-president of the Board of Punishments and a year later to senior vice-president of the Board of Civil Offices. After Emperor Shih-tsung ascended the throne he showed Chang T'ing-yü special favors, appointing him, early in 1723, a tutor to the imperial princes, and president of the Board of Ceremonies. Later in the same year Chang was made chancellor of the Hanlin Academy, and president of the Board of Revenue. He was also appointed a director-general for the compilation of the Ming Dynastic History (Ming-shih), the preparation of which had taken place intermittently since 1645 (see under Fêng Ch'üan and Wan Ssŭ-t'ung). In 1725 he was made an acting Grand Secretary and in the following year, Secretary, in which capacity he served until his retirement. In the meantime he held concurrently many important posts and served many times as examiner in the metropolitan and other examinations. It is probable that most of the edicts of the Yung-chêng period were composed by him. In 1729, when the campaign against the Eleuths was being planned, a special bureau was established to conduct the war with efficiency and secrecy. This bureau, known thereafter as the Chün-chi ch'u 軍機處 or "Bureau of Military Affairs", continued till the close of the dynasty. Gradually it became the most important office in the empire, taking over most of the powers of the Grand Secretariat in composing and issuing edicts and sending out instructions to provincial authorities. Thus it is not inappropriate to render the name of the bureau, Council of State or Grand Council, and its members, Grand Councilors. Chang T'ing-yü, Yin-hsiang and Chiang T'ing-hsi [qq. v.], were the first officials to be entrusted with this responsibility, Chang holding the post until he retired in 1749.
Chang T'ing-yü was highly favored by Emperor Shih-tsung and was showered with many gifts. In 1723 he was given a residence—prior to that time he lived in a house presented to his father in 1677—and in 1729 was provided with a larger establishment. An old garden south of the Yüan-ming Yüan was allotted to him in 1725 in order that he might be near the emperor during the latter's sojourns at the Summer Palace. This garden once belonged to Songgotu [q. v.], and after Chang occupied it, came to be known as Ch'êng-huai yüan 澄壞園. Upon Chang's retirement it was converted into a residence for the officials serving in the Imperial Study (see under Chang Ying) or in the School for Princes (see under Yin-chên). This garden, celebrated in poems by many writers, seems to have been destroyed in 1860. In addition, Chang was often presented with money and once (early in 1728) was given a pawn shop which was capitalized at 35,000 taels. He was also granted the title of Junior Guardian (1729) and the minor hereditary rank of Ch'ing-ch'ê tu-yü of the first class which was inherited by his son, Chang Jo-ai 張若靄 ( 萬泉, 晴嵐, 1713–1746).
Chang T'ing-yü was trusted by the emperor in matters of great importance. When defeat at the hands of the Eleuths (see under Furdan) caused a setback in the conquest of the northwest, a conference of high officials was called (1734) to decide on a future policy. Chang led a delegation of officials who advised the emperor to cease hostilities—an act that resulted in the peace negotiations of 1734 (see under A-k'o-tun). When Emperor Shih-tsung died (1735) he provided in his will that the names of Chang and O-êr-t'ai [q. v.] should be celebrated in the Imperial Ancestral Hall—the highest honor that could be conferred on an official.
Chang T'ing-yü enjoyed great favor with Emperor Kao-tsung for several years more. In 1735, soon after that emperor succeeded to the throne, he elevated Chang to a viscount of the third class. As one of four regents, Chang helped to conduct national affairs for several years and was rewarded, early in 1738, with the rank of earl of the third class with hereditary rights. In 1739 he received the title of Grand Guardian. Nevertheless, he gradually lost the emperor's favor. In 1741 Liu T'ung-hsün [q. v.] memorialized the throne to the effect that too many of Chang's relatives from T'ung-ch'êng were employed in the government service. Chang was consequently warned to be more circumspect in this matter. Early in 1743 his rank of earl was declared no longer inheritable. As he was getting old, and perhaps senile, he begged repeatedly for permission to retire, but the request was denied on the ground that one who after death was to be celebrated in the Imperial Ancestral Hall should die in the service of the dynasty. Finally on January 1, 1750, the emperor permitted him to retire and agreed that he should leave Peking in the springtime. On January 16, Chang requested an audience with the emperor and in the course of the interview begged to know what assurance there was that his name would be celebrated in the Imperial Ancestral Hall. To relieve his doubts the emperor published an edict and composed a poem. On the 19th Chang was to have gone to the palace to thank the emperor, but owing to a severe storm, sent his son instead. The emperor, already annoyed at Chang's apparent distrust, now became angry and expressed his sentiments frankly to the Grand Secretaries. On the following day Chang appeared at the Palace to beg forgiveness for his discourtesy of the preceding day. The Grand Secretaries were now blamed for divulging a secret, and Chang was taken to task for being disingenuous. A few days later the emperor deprived him of his rank of Earl Ch'in-hsüan 勤宣伯, the designation given him four months earlier, and declared that though Chang's name did not deserve to he entered in the Imperial Ancestral Hall after his death, his request would nevertheless be granted. When Chang, late in May 1750, announced the time of his departure, it happened that the emperor's eldest son had died only a few days previously. Chang was reprimanded for this breach of ceremony and the promised posthumous honor was denied to him. He returned to his home and to the long-deferred retirement, bearing only the title of an ex-Grand Secretary.
The punishment meted out to Chang T'ing-yü did not cease after he left Peking. A son-in-law was found to be an ex-convict who was involved in the case of Lü Liu-liang [q. v.], and was furthermore accused of irregularities as commissioner of education in Szechwan. In 1750 Chang himself was about to be deprived of all his property, but was finally let off with a fine and with orders to return every item of the imperial gifts that he had received during the fifty years of his official life. However, when he died five years later, he was posthumously granted the long-coveted honor of having his name celebrated in the Imperial Ancestral Hall—the only Chinese official to be so recognized. He was canonized as Wên-ho 文和.
A manuscript collection of Chang T'ing-yü's early poems was destroyed by fire. In 1737 he prepared another collection, entitled Ch'êng-huai yüan shih-hsüan, (詩選), 12 chüan, which contained his poems up to 1735, including early ones rewritten from memory. He also left a collection of works in prose, entitled Ch'êng-huai yüan wên-ts'un (文存), 15 chüan. In 1746 he brought together his miscellaneous notes on ethics, literature and other subjects, entitled Ch'êng-huai yüan yü (語), 4 chüan; and three years later compiled his own nien-p'u, 6 chüan. These four works, collectively known as Ch'êng-huai yüan ch'üan-chi, became very rare but were later reprinted by his descendants. Most of his other literary undertakings consist of official publications in which he acted as compiler or director-general. Among these may be mentioned the Ming-shih which was finally completed under his direction in 332 + 4 chüan and printed in 1739; and the "veritable records" (實錄, see under Chiang T'ing-hsi) of the reigns of Emperors Shêng-tsu and Shih-tsung. It is recorded that his editorship of the records of Emperor Shêng-tsu's reign particularly pleased Emperor Shih- , perhaps for having suppressed references to the latter's intrigues in obtaining the throne. Chang T'ing-yü was naturally gifted as a writer, and his ability to compose imperial edicts won Emperor Shih- 's approval.
Chang T'ing-yü had three sons. The eldest, Chang Jo-ai, was a chin-shih of 1733 and a Hanlin compiler who later rose to sub-chancellor of the Grand Secretariat (1743–46). He inherited the earldom in 1738, but was deprived of it in 1743. The second son, Chang Jo-ch'êng 張若澄 (鏡壑, 鍊雪, 默齋, Jan. 22, 1722–1770), was a chin-shih of 1745 and a Hanlin compiler. He and the third son, Chang Jo-t'ing 張若渟 ( 聖泉, 壽雪, d. 1802), both rose to be sub-chancellors of the Grand Secretariat. Chang Jo-t'ing became president of the Board of Punishments (1800–1802) and was canonized as Ch'in-k'o 勤恪.
[Ch'êng-huai yüan chu-jên tzŭ-ting nien-p'u (主人自訂年譜); 1/294/5b; 2/14/21b; 3/14/6a; 7/13/4b; 9/18/23a; 民彝雜誌 Min-i tsa-chih, no. 3 (1927); 桐舊集 T'ung-chiu chi, chüan 22; 張氏宗譜 Chang-shih tsung-p'u (1890) passim.]