Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Liang Kuo-chih

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LIANG Kuo-chih 梁國治 (T. 階平, H. 瑤峯, 豐山), Nov. 18, 1723–1787, Jan. 31, official and calligrapher, was a native of K'uai-chi, Chekiang. After taking his chü-jên degree in 1741 he passed a special examination which gave him the post of secretary of the Grand Secretariat. In the metropolitan and Palace examinations of 1748 he attained the highest rank, or chuang-yüan 狀元. After serving as compiler of the first class in the Hanlin Academy, he was appointed (1754) tutor in the Imperial Academy. Two years later he officiated as chief-examiner of the Kwangtung provincial examination. In 1757 he became intendant of the Hui-chou Ch'ao-chou Chia-ying circuit, Kwangtung. While visiting the capital for the celebration of the Dowager Empress' seventieth birthday late in 1761 (see under Hung-li) he was, by special decree, made acting senior vice-president of the Censorate. He then held posts in Kiangsi, Anhwei, Shansi, Hunan and Kiangsu and in 1769 was made governor of Hupeh. At that time the campaign against Burma was in progress (see under Fu-hêng). Hence, in addition to the hardships of drought and flood of several years' standing, the province of Hupeh had also to meet the requirements of military movements. Liang Kuo-chih provided relief by temporarily drawing funds from the treasury. Two years later (1771) he was transferred to the governorship of the neighboring province of Hunan. Here he met the same problem of supplying the needs of westward marching troops, this time for the campaign against the Chin-ch'uan aborigines (see under A-kuei). Late in 1773 he was summoned to the capital to serve in the Council of State, and continued to serve in that office until he died fourteen years later. In the meantime he served concurrently as senior vice-president of the Board of Revenue (1774–77), as president of the same Board (1777–85), as an Associate Grand Secretary (1783–85), and as the Emperor's personal secretary in the Imperial Study (after 1774). Twice (in 1780 and 1784) he accompanied Emperor Kao-tsung on tours of South China. On February 14, 1785 he participated in the Banquet for Elderly Men (千叟宴) which was given that year to about one thousand men of distinction who had passed the age of sixty. In the summer of the same year he was promoted to be concurrently a Grand Secretary. He was cannonized as Wên-ting 文定.

The collected literary works of Liang Kuo-chih, entitled 敬思堂集 Ching-ssŭ t'ang chi, in 12 chüan, were printed by his sons. Liang had a twin brother, Liang Kuo-t'ai 梁國泰, who died young. In deference to this loss he is reported never, after his brother's death, to have celebrated his own birthday. As a calligrapher he mastered the essentials of T'ang styles. A chronological biography, entitled 梁文定公年譜 Liang Wên-ting kung nien-p'u, was compiled by his sons, and was edited by Chang Hsüeh-ch'êng [q. v.], but it is not known to be extant.


[1/326/4b; 3/29/27a; 4/28/13a; 26/2/12a; 29/5/5a.]

Tu Lien-chê