Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/T'ang Pin

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T'ANG Pin 湯斌 (T. 孔伯, H. 荆峴, 潛庵), Nov. 27, 1627–1687, Nov. 15, official and scholar, was a native of Sui-chou, Honan, where his family had settled early in the Ming dynasty, holding hereditary rank in the local guards. His mother lost her life in 1642 when the city fell to Li Tzŭ-ch'êng [q. v.] In the following year he accompanied his father to Ch'ü-chou-fu, Chekiang, returning to Sui-chou in 1645. Three years later (1648) he became a chü-jên and passed the metropolitan examination in 1649. He did not proceed with the palace examinations for chin-shih until 1652, passing it then with low standing. He was nevertheless chosen a bachelor of the Hung-wên yüan 宏文院 and two years later was appointed a corrector of the Kuo-shih yüan 國史院. In 1656 he was made intendant of the Tungkwan Circuit, Shensi, where he eased the lot of the people who were compelled to transport troops and military equipment for use against the southern Ming forces in Hunan. After three years of his administration the security and prosperity of Tungkwan attracted to it a large population. In 1659 he was transferred to the Ling-pei Circuit (嶺北道) in southern Kiangsi on the eve of Chêng Ch'êng-kung's [q. v.] invasion of the neighboring province of Kiangsu. Owing largely to T'ang's efforts, Chêng's allies in Kiangsi were suppressed or pacified. Later in the year he retired to minister to the illness of his father, who died in 1664. After the period of mourning, he made no application for office, but devoted himself to meditation and study, becoming a pupil of the aged philosopher, Sun Ch'i-fêng [q. v.], whom he visited twice (in 1666–67 and 1670) at the village of Hsia-fêng in Hui-hsien, Honan.

In 1679 T'ang passed the special examination known as po-hsüeh hung-tz'ŭ (see under P'êng Sun-yü) with appointment as sub-expositor of the Hanlin Academy. He served on the editorial board for the compilation of the Ming History, and in 1682 was appointed one of its directors. After several promotions he was, in 1684, made governor of Kiangsu. His sound administration won for him the love of the people despite severe restrictions on their luxurious practices. His recommendation of Kuo Hsiu [q. v.] for censor in 1686 also won him praise, and in the same year he was appointed chief supervisor of instruction, responsible for the education of the Heir Apparent, Yin-jêng [q. v.]. At the 1686 conference on Yellow River conservancy he supported the plan of Yü Ch'êng-lung (1638–1700, q.v.) to deepen the last section of the river, in opposition to the plan of Chin Fu [q. v.] to build more dikes. As the latter was one of the powerful clique under the Grand Secretary, Mingju [q. v.], T'ang found himself the target of bitter attacks. Denounced as incapable of teaching the Heir Apparent, he was removed from the Supervisorate of Instruction, and was ordered to serve on the Board of Works. Being then aged and ill, he died in the autumn of 1687. Kuo Hsiu, then a censor, soon submitted a memorial accusing Mingju, Chin Fu, and a number of other high officials of corruption and the formation of a clique for mutual protection. Early in 1688 these officials were either dismissed or degraded.

T'ang Pin was an orthodox Confucianist, but unlike Lu Lung-chi [q. v.], he did not oppose the philosophy of Wang Shou-jên (see under Chang Li-hsiang), perhaps because of the influence of Sun Ch'i-fêng. In 1733 his name was entered in the Temple of Eminent Statesmen. Four years later he was canonized as Wên-chêng 文正, one of the most honored of posthumous names. In 1823 his name was entered by imperial decree in the Temple of Confucius. A collection of his writings, entitled 潛庵先生遺稿 Ch'ien-an hsien-shêng i-kao, in 5 chüan, was printed in 1690. It was expanded in 1703 to 10 chüan, entitled 湯子遺書 T'ang-tzŭ i-shu, supplemented by another chüan containing sketches of his life and a nien-p'u. This was re-edited in 1737. A new edition appeared in 1871 under the title T'ang Wên-chêng kung ch'üan-chi (公全集) which includes, in addition to his essays and poems, the following works: his contribution to the Ming History, under the title 明史稿 Ming-shih kao, in 20 chüan; his annotations to a part of the Classic of Changes, 乾坤兩卦解 Ch'ien-k'un liang-kua chieh, 1 chüan; biographical sketches of philosophers of Honan, 洛學編 Lo-hsüeh pien in 4 chüan, completed in 1673, and supplemented by Yin Hui-i (see under Yin Chia-ch'üan) in 1738; and a more complete nien-p'u.


[1/271/1a; 3/48/1a; 4/16/1a; 17/4/1a; 20/1/00 with portrait; T'ang-tzŭ i-shu, introduction; Watters, T., A Guide to the Tablets in a Temple of Confucius (1879), p. 237; Li Kuang-ti [q. v.], Jung-ts'un yü-lu hsü-chi.]

Fang Chao-ying