Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Pao-t'ing

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3649326Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 2 — Pao-t'ingHiromu Momose

PAO-t'ing 寶廷 (T. 仲獻, H. 難齋, 偶齋, original ming 寶賢, T. 少溪 H. 竹坡), Feb. 17, 1840–1890, Dec. 24, member of the Imperial Clan, was one of the so-called Four Admonishing Officials (see under Chang P'ei-lun) at the close of the Ch'ing period. He was a descendant of Jirgalang [q. v.] in the eighth generation, and his family belonged to the Bordered Blue Banner. His father, Ch'ang-lu 常祿 (T. 蓮溪, d. 1869), was a chin-shih of 1832 who rose to a sub-readership of the Hanlin Academy. Pao-t'ing spent most of his boyhood in the Western Hills of Peking, where his father had retired in 1848. In 1856, soon after the family returned to Peking, the ancestral residence was destroyed by fire and the family fortune declined. Pao-t'ing was therefore forced to study under straightened circumstances. Graduating as chü-jên in 1864 and as chin-shih in 1868, he served seven years (1868–75) in the Hanlin Academy, rising to a readership in 1873. Though he was degraded in 1875 to a secretaryship in the Supervisorate of Imperial Instruction owing to poor grades in his examinations, he was promoted several times in the ensuing years and finally (late in 1881) was made junior vice-president of the Board of Ceremonies, a position he held until early in 1883. In 1882 he served as chief examiner of the Fukien provincial examination. Among his selections for chü-jên was Chêng Hsiao-hsü 鄭孝胥 (T. 太夷, H. 蘇龕, 1859–1938) who later became the first prime minister of Manchukuo.

During his official career Pao-t'ing was a leader of the group of officials in Peking who were known as Ch'ing-liu tang 清流黨. In the eighteen-seventies this group made a point of denouncing the unfair practices of high officials and exercised a strong influence on the Peking government. Though patriotic and anxious to strengthen the country, most of them were conservatives and were ignorant of foreign affairs. They did much for the enforcement of strict official discipline but obstructed the work of progressive officials, such as Li Hung-chang and Kuo Sung-tao [qq. v.]. Copies of twenty-eight memorials of Pao-t'ing preserved by his sons were edited and printed in 2 chüan by Kao Fêng-ch'i 高鳳岐 (T. 嘯桐, H. 媿室, 1858–1909, chü-jên of 1882), under the title 竹坡侍郎奏議 Chu-p'o shih-lang tsou-i. Kao's preface is dated 1901. This work was reprinted in 1901 by Hsia Chên-wu 夏震武 (T. 伯定, H. 滌庵, original ming 震川, 1853–1930) as a part of the 嘉定長白二先生奏議 Chia-ting Ch'ang-pai êr hsien-shêng tsou-i. It has a nien-p'u of Pao-t'ing, compiled by his eldest son, and memorials of Hsü Chih-hsiang 徐致祥 (T. 季和, 1838–1899) who rose in his official career to educational commissioner of Chekiang (1894–99).

Unlike many of his fellow officials, Pao-t'ing was indifferent to wealth and had no desire to possess rare books, ancient bronzes, inscribed stones, or other objects of antiquity. He led an unconventional life and was not free from the moral failings which characterized some of his promiment contemporaries. In 1860 he married a Manchu woman who was a distant relative. About a decade later he kept three Chinese concubines, one of them represented as an entertainer in Hangchow where he spent gay months in 1873 serving as assistant provincial examiner of Chekiang. Late in 1882, when he returned from Foochow, he took back with him a woman from one of the Chiang-shan ch'uan 江山船, or pleasure-boats on the Ch'ien-t'ang River. Before reaching Peking, however, he sent to the throne a memorial in which he purposely denounced his own disgraceful behavior. In consequence of this memorial he was deprived of his position. Thereafter he lived in retirement, diverting himself by writing poems and visiting the Western Hills, whose natural beauty he much enjoyed. His death is said to have been hastened by heavy drinking. His poems were edited and printed in 36 chüan by his sons, under the title 偶齋詩草 Ou-chai shih-ts'ao.

The eldest son of Pao-t'ing, Shou-fu 壽富 (T. 伯茀, H. 菊客, 1865–1900), obtained his chin-shih degree in 1898. In the same year he became an assistant professor in the Peking Imperial University (see under Sun Chia-nai) and made a tour of inspection in Japan. Upon his return he presented to the throne his report, entitled 日本風土記 Jih-pên fêng-t'u chi, 4 chüan, in which he advocated the modernization of China on the pattern of Japan. Soon after, however, the coup d'état of the Empress Dowager took place (see under T'an Ssŭ-t'ung), and he was forced to retire. When the Boxer Rebellion broke out (1900) Shou-fu advised Jung-lu [q. v.] to force the Kansu army, under the command of Tung Fu-hsiang (see under Jung-lu), to evacuate Peking so that these troops would not come into conflict with those of the foreign powers. Jung-lu, however, did not follow this advice, and when Tung's army attacked the Legations, the Allied forces threatened the capital. In this crisis Shou-fu's father-in-law, Lien-yüan 聯元 (T. 仙蘅, 1838–1900, chin-shih of 1868), urged the inadvisability of resisting the foreign troops, but his opinion was disregarded and he was executed (August 11, 1900) by influential conservatives, on the charge of treason. On August 14, the Allied forces entered Peking, and three days later when a foreign contingent approached his residence, Shou-fu and his brother, Shou-fan 壽蕃 (T. 仲茀, original ming 富壽, 1869–1900), and his two younger sisters, took poison. But before the poison could take effect they hanged themselves. Shou-fu's wife and her two infants survived.

[1/450/2a; Nien-p'u (see above); Fan-t'ien lu ts'ung-lu (see bibl. under Hsiao-ch'in) chüan 7; Chên-chün 震鈞, 天咫偶聞 T'ien-chih ou-wên (1907) 5/14b; Hsüeh-ch'iao shih-hua (see under Shêng-yü), first series, 12/62b; Chin-liang (see under Wêng T'ung-ho), Chin-shih jên-wu chih (1934), p. 276; for Shou-fu, 1/474/3a; 6/33/16a; Hsi-hsün hui-luan shih-mo (see bibl. under Jung-lu) 3/26a.]

Hiromu Momose