Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Lu-fei Ch'ih

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LU-FEI Ch'ih 陸費墀 (T. 丹叔, H. 頤齋), d. 1790, age 60 (sui), scholar and official, was a native of T'ung-hsiang, Chekiang. An ancestor whose surname was Fei 費 was adopted by a family named Lu 陸, hence the double surname, Lu-fei. In 1765 he passed the special examination sponsored by Emperor Kao-tsung on the latter's fourth tour of South China and was awarded, in addition to the degree of chü-jên, a secretaryship in the Grand Secretariat. Taking his chin-shih with high honors in the following year, he was later given the rank of a compiler in the Hanlin Academy. Meanwhile he served as collator in the imperial printing establishment, Wu-ying tien, where the general history, Li-tai t'ung-chien chi-lan (see under Lu Hsi-hsiung), was being printed.

When the project for the compilation of the Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu was initiated in 1773 (see under Chu Yün and Chi Yün), Lu-fei was appointed chief-collator (總校官) and assigned the task of editing the books already in the Imperial Library, as well as those printed in the Wu-ying tien. At the same time he received the rare works presented by provincial officials and by private collectors; he collated and bound the manuscript volumes of the Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu; and supervised a large number of collators and copyists. For these services he was successively promoted from a reader of the Hanlin Academy (1775–82) and a sub-chancellor of the Grand Secretariat (1782–84) to the vice-presidency of the Board of Ceremonies (1784–86). He also was the recipient of many gifts and honors. However, he was not excused when errors in the Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu came to light (see under Chi Yün). In 1780 he was accused of having lost a large number of original works used in the preparation of the Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu, but when it was found that only about thirty items were actually missing he had these replaced, and was cleared of the charge. Two years later he was reprimanded, along with Chi Yün, Lu Hsi-hsiung [q. v.] and others, for having permitted to be copied into the library a work by Mao Ch'i-ling [q. v.] in which references to the new dynasty were not given in the required form.

In 1784 he was made an assistant director in the bureau for the compilation of the Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu. Two years later his mother died and he retired to observe the period of mourning. In that year (1786) it was again disclosed that works containing remarks prejudicial to the reigning dynasty had been copied into the library (see under Li Ch'ing). This encouraged stricter collation, and by 1787 similar cases were brought to light. Emperor Kao-tsung was so infuriated that he granted Chi Yün's request to collate and alter, at his own expense, books in the library by, or relating to, late Ming and early Ch'ing authors. Lu Hsi-hsiung, then in Fukien, was ordered to share this expense with Chi; and Lu-fei Ch'ih was made to supervise and pay for the binding, shelving, and other routine work connected with the three sets of the Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu to be deposited in Yangchow, Chinkiang and Hangchow. The Emperor pointed out that Lu-fei Ch'ih was primarily responsible for the errors in the project because he had drawn up most of the regulations governing it. At the same time government salt merchants who had previously been ordered to undertake official literary projects were forbidden to assist Lu-fei Ch'ih in any way. Before long accusations were made that yet other original works used in the preparation of the Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu were missing, and that additional works offensive to the reigning dynasty had been copied into the Library. While Chi Yün and Lu Hsi-hsiung and other former editors were merely reprimanded, Lu-fei Ch'ih was deprived of all ranks and titles, but continued to pay for the binding, shelving, etc. of the sets deposited in the three southern libraries. By the time of his death (1790) Lu-fei Ch'ih had expended in this way more than ten thousand taels silver. The Emperor ordered that his property be appraised and that only about one thousand taels be left to his family—the rest to be used to complete the work on the three southern libraries. In justification of this order, the Emperor pointed out that Lu-fei Ch'ih had started life as a poor student with not more than one thousand taels, but that by mismanagement of the Ssŭ-k'u enterprise he had accumulated twenty or thirty times that amount. Be that as it may, after most of the family property had been confiscated, Lu-fei Ch'ih's sons were exempt from further persecution.

It is recorded that Lu-fei Ch'ih left several collections of poems, none of which appear to have been printed. A small chart listing the personal, temple, and taboo names of the Emperors of China, entitled Li-tai ti-wang nien piao (see under Ch'i Shao-nan), was recently included in the 四部備要 Ssŭ-k'u pei-yao (1927–35).

Lu-fei Ch'ih had two daughters who wrote poetry. His grandson, Lu-fei Ch'üan 陸費瑔 (T. 玉泉, 春颿, H. 1784–1857), was governor of Hunan (1843–49). A descendant by the name of Lu-fei K'uei 陸費逵 is one of the proprietors of the Chung-hua Book Company 中華書局, Shanghai.


[1/326/7a; 2/26/50b; 2/43/33b; 3/98/12a; 21/8/28a; Tung-hsiang hsien-chih (1882) 15/宦績 60b, 69a, 18/壽母 1b; Pan-li Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu tang-an (see bibl. under Chi Yün).]

Fang Chao-ying