Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/P'êng Yün-chang

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
3649351Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 2 — P'êng Yün-changTu Lien-chê

P'ÊNG Yün-chang 彭蘊章 (T. 琮達, H. 詠莪, 詒穀老人), Aug. 24, 1792–1862, Dec. 29, official, native of Ch'ang-chou, Kiangsu, was a descendant of P'êng Ting-ch'iu [q. v.] in the sixth generation, and a great-grandson of P'êng Ch'i-fêng (see under P'êng Ting-ch'iu). His father, P'êng Hsi-su 彭希涑 (T. 蘭臺, 1761–1793), was devoted to the study of Buddhism owing, it seems, to the influence of an uncle, P'êng Shao-shêng [q. v.]. The father died when P'êng Yün-chang was only two sui, and his mother (née Chiang 江, 1767–1799) died when he was eight sui. Early in 1810 P'êng Yün-chang married a younger sister of Hsü Tuan 徐端 (T. 肇之, 心如, d. 1812, age 62 sui), a high official in River Conservancy. He entered the Chêng-i 正誼 Academy in 1808 and the Tzŭ-yang 紫陽 Academy in 1812, both of them in Soochow. Shih Yün-yü [q. v.], who directed the latter Academy, ranked P'êng Yün-chang as a very promising student. For a time P'êng also studied under Wang Ch'i-sun (see under Shih Yün-yü). About the year 1814 he took up the art of landscape painting, but later abandoned it. In 1818 he obtained his chü-jên degree in the Kiangnan provincial examination. During the period 1820–33 he participated seven times in the metropolitan examinations, but failed. Finally, in 1835, when he was forty-four sui, he became a chin-shih. Owing to these repeated failures he had purchased, in 1827, a position as secretary in the Grand Secretariat and had been promoted (1833) to a secretaryship in the Council of State. When he became a chin-shih he remained for some time in the latter post. After various promotions he was made vice-governor of Peking (1843), deputy commissioner of the Office of Transmission (1844), and vice-director of the Imperial Clan Court (1845). In 1846 he was appointed commissioner of education of Fukien where he remained until late in 1848. As junior vice-president of the Board of Works he was ordered to serve in the Grand Council. He became president of the Board of Works in 1854, and then Associate Grand Secretary, and later Grand Secretary (1856).

During this period the Manchu government was harassed by calamities from within and without. In 1850 the Taiping Rebellion broke out (see under Hung Hsiu-ch'üan) and a year later the Nien Fei (see under Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in) began to ravage the northern provinces. In 1856 hostilities with Britain were resumed at Canton, ending in the Anglo-French Alliance, the Treaty- of Tientsin (1858) and the destruction of the Old Summer Palace (1860). On these and other national issues P'êng Yün-chang disagreed with Su-shun [q. v.] who then had influence with the Emperor. Finally, owing to his repeated recommendations that Ho Kuei-ch'ing (see below) should continue as one of those in charge of the campaign against the Taipings, he was ordered, in the summer of 1860, to retire. At the same time he was handicapped by a foot ailment. Though reinstated in the following year to act, first as president of the Board of War, and then as president of the Censorate, he retired again in 1862 on account of illness, and died that same year. He was canonized as Wên-ching 文敬. His collective works, entitled P'êng Wên-ching kung ch'üan-chi (公全集) printed about 1867, include the following: 松風閣詩鈔 Sung-fêng ko shih-ch'ao, 26 chüan of verse; 歸樸龕叢稿, 續稿 Kuei-p'u k'an ts'ung-kao, hsü-kao, 16 chüan of prose; 老學菴讀書記 Lao-hsüeh an tu-shu chi, 4 chüan of study notes; 鶴和樓制義 Ho-ho lou chih-i, 1 chüan of essays in the examination style; and 詒穀老人自訂年譜 I-ku lao-jên tzŭ-ting nien-p'u, a chronological autobiography.

P'êng Yün-chang had eight sons of whom the fourth, P'êng Tsu-hsien 彭祖賢 (T. 芍庭, H. 1819–1885, chü-jên of 1855), became governor of Hupeh (1880–85).

Ho Kuei-ch'ing 何桂清 (T. 叢山, H. 根雲, 1816–1862), on whose account P'êng was forced to retire in 1860, became a chin-shih in 1835 and thus was P'êng's classmate. A native of Yunnan, he entered the Hanlin Academy and rose rapidly in rank. As governor of Chekiang (1854–57) and as governor-general of Kiangnan and Kiangsi (1857–60), he took part in the war against the Taiping Rebels at Nanking and elsewhere, and was considered an able official. He also helped Kuei-liang [q. v.] to negotiate with foreign representatives at Shanghai about the tariff and other questions (1858–59). In 1860, anticipating an overwhelming attack by the Taiping army, he was seen leaving the threatened city of Changchow 常州 to its fate. When the people tried to stop him—begging him to help defend that city—his guards shot their way out of the town and killed several citizens. He was tried and executed in 1862, despite the efforts of many to save him.

[1/391/6b; 2/49/11a; 5/4/23b; I-ku lao-jên tzŭ-ting nien-p'u; 吳縣志 Wu hsien chih (1933) 68 shang 30b; 5/28/11a; 會試同年齒錄 Hui-shih t'ung-nien ch'ih-lu of 1835.]

Tu Lien-chê