Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Chin Ho

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3635477Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 1 — Chin HoFang Chao-ying

CHIN Ho 金和 (T. 弓叔, H. 亞匏), July 17, 1819–1885, poet, came from a family that for two hundred years had resided in Shang-yüan (Nanking). He was born in Ch'üan-chiao, Anhwei, in the home of his maternal relatives. His mother, née Wu 吳, was a distant relative of Wu Ching-tzŭ [q. v.]. When he was nine sui he was taken to Nanking where he remained until 1853. In this period he led a comfortable life, writing verse and competing in the examinations. Some of his poems describe the British invasion in 1842. After the Taiping forces took Nanking in March 1853 (see under Hung Hsiu-ch'üan) Chin Ho lived in that city for several months at a time when the Government forces were camped outside the city, occasionally attacking the rebels. Chin and his friends framed a plot against the rebels, agreeing to act on a certain day inside the city while the Government forces attacked from the outside. Chin managed to get out of the city to inform the commander of the Government forces, Hsiang Jung [q. v.], of the plot and to settle on the day and hour of the attack. But Hsiang lacked confidence in the plan and did not order the attack on the time agreed. Disheartened by the faithlessness of the Government leaders, Chin wrote a number of sarcastic poems in criticism of them. Before long he left the camp to live with his relatives at Ch'uan-chiao. His wife and a niece also escaped from the city and joined him. He warned his friends within the city of the futility of the plot, but they again communicated with the Government troops. Early in 1854 their plot was discovered by the rebels and they were executed.

From 1854 to 1856 Chin Ho taught in family schools in T'ai-chou, Ch'ing-ho (both in northern Kiangsu), and at Sungkiang, near Shanghai. Late in 1856 he was engaged as a clerk in the newly established office for collecting the taxes called likin 釐金. In this capacity he worked at Ch'ang-chou (1856–57) and then at Huai-yin (1857–59). In 1859 he went to Hangchow to take the provincial examination, but failed. A year later, when the Taipings expanded their territory in Kiangsu, he fled to Shanghai. In 1861 he went to Kwangtung where he remained for six years, working as a secretary in the magistrate's office at Kao-ming and then in the prefect's office at Ch'ao-chou. He returned to Kiangsu in 1867 and a year later went to Nanking where he lived for some time. Thereafter he resided in Ningpo, Shanghai, and other cities. He died in Shanghai.

The eventful life of Chin Ho is richly recorded in his poems which he jokingly called his 'diary'. Unfortunately many of his poems were destroyed. A collection of his verse was first printed in 1892, seven years after his death, under the title 來雲閣詩稿 Lai-yün ko shih-kao, 6 chüan. In 1914 the collection was re-edited and printed under the title 秋蟪吟館詩鈔 Ch'iu-hui yin-kuan shih ch'ao, 8 chüan, including 1 chüan of tz'ŭ and 1 of prose. In recent years the poems of Chin Ho have become popular owing to the fact that they reveal his experiences and his attitudes during the Taiping Rebellion. The 1869 edition of the famous novel, Ju-lin wai-shih (see under Wu Ching-tzŭ), has a postscript by Chin, giving important data relative to the novel and its author.

[1/498/3a; 6/51/6b; 胡適文存 Hu Shih wên-ts'un, second series, pp. 106–12.]

Fang Chao-ying