Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Fêng Ch'üan

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FÊNG Ch'üan 馮銓 (T. 振鷺, 伯衡, H. 鹿庵), 1595–1672, official of both Ming and Ch'ing dynasties, was a native of Cho-chou, Chihli. A chin-shih of 1613, he was appointed a bachelor in the Hanlin Academy and was later given the rank of corrector. About the year 1619 he joined his father, Feng Shêng-ming 馮盛明 (T. 月楨), a chin-shih of 1589, in Liaotung where together they helped in the defense against the Manchus. After suffering a reverse, they both fled from their posts, and for this were censored and dismissed. But by currying the favor of the powerful eunuch, Wei Chung-hsien [q. v.], Fêng Ch'üan was reinstated in his office in 1624. He was rapidly promoted, and in the following year was made junior vice-president of the Board of Ceremonies and concurrently a Grand Secretary. He is reputed to have brought about by false charges, for purposes of personal revenge, the execution of Hsiung T'ing-pi [q. v.] and the harsh measures that were taken against the Tung-lin party. In 1626 he was appointed one of three chief directors of the official compilation known as the 三朝要典 San-ch'ao yao-tien, ostensibly an account of the so-called "three cases" (三案, see under Chu Ch'ang-lo), but in fact a device of Wei Chung-hsien to denounce the policies and measures of the Tung-lin party. This work in 24 chüan, with 8 chüan devoted to each of the "three cases", was completed and printed in the summer of 1626. After the fall of the eunuch party in 1628, the blocks for the work were ordered to be destroyed at the suggestion of Ni Yüan-lu [q. v.]. For this reason it became very rare. A manuscript and a printed copy are in the Library of Congress.

Fêng Ch'üan was dismissed from office on July 24, 1626 after which his friendship with Wei Chung-hsien terminated. When the succeeding Emperor Ssŭ-tsung (see under Chu Yu-chien) ordered all former followers of the eunuch to be punished, the name of Fêng Ch'üan was on the list of offenders, but he managed to escape flogging and banishment by payment of a fee. At the beginning of the Manchu regime in 1644 he was summoned to Court by Dorgon [q. v.] and was asked to assist in establishing the music for sacrificial ceremonies. In 1645 he was ap­pointed Grand Secretary of the Hung-wên-yüan 宏文院 and president of the Board of Ceremonies. In the summer of the same year the Grand Secretaries were ordered to compile the official History of Ming Dynasty. Discovering in the official chronicle of the T'ien-ch'i period (1621–1628), particularly for the year 1624, many statements unfavorable to himself, Fêng secretly took a section from it and had it destroyed. Twice he was denounced for receiving bribes, but because he was one of the first Chinese officials to pledge allegiance to the Man­chu regime and to adopt the prescribed tonsure, Dorgon took special pains to shield him from his accusers. Both in 1646 and in 1647 he took charge of the metropolitan examinations. In 1649 he was honored with the rank of Junior Tutor and Grand Preceptor of the Heir Apparent. Although ordered in 1651 to retire for lack of merit, he was recalled in 1653. He retired in 1655 on account of old age, but again served as a Grand Secretary from 1659 to 1661. He died in 1672 and was canonized as Wên-min 文敏, but this posthumous name was later revoked.

His eldest son, Fêng Yüan-huai 馮源淮 (T. 子淵), was a military chü-jên of 1630 who held military posts under both the Ming and Ch'ing regimes. His second son, Fêng Yüan-chi 馮源濟 (T. 胎仙, H. 穀園), a painter, was a chin-shih of 1655 who rose to the rank of libationer in the Imperial Academy.

[1/251/1b; 2/79/20a; 27/2/7b; M.1/22–23; M.1/306/11a; Cho-hsien chih (1936); Cho-chou chih (1872) 14/22b, 24a; Liu Jo-yü 劉若愚, 酌中志 Cho-chung chih, 24; Wên Ping 文秉, 先撥志始 Hsien-po chih-shih 上/56b (reprint of 1863); Chu I-tsun [q. v.], 書兩朝從信錄後 Shu Liang-ch'ao ts'ung-hsin-lu hou in P'u-shu-t'ing chi 45/10a; L.T.C.L.H.M., 331a; Wu Ying-chi (see under Chang P'u), 兩朝剝復錄 Liang-ch'ao po-fu lu (1863); Chang-ku ts'ung-pien (see under Hung Ch'êng-ch'ou).

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