Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Wei Chi-jui

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WEI Chi-jui 魏際瑞 (T. 善伯, H. 東房, 伯子), July 23, 1620–1677, Nov. 8, was the eldest of the "Three Wei Brothers" (San Wei) of Ning-tu Kiangsi, the other two being Wei Hsi and Wei Li [qq. v.]. His original name was Wei Hsiang 魏祥, but when he took his hsiu-ts'ai degree in 1636 he changed it to Wei Chi-jui. When the Manchus advanced to South China in 1645 his younger brothers retreated to the mountains to avoid compulsory service as officials in the new regime. But being the eldest son in the family, he decided to continue his career as a licentiate under the Manchus in order to "preserve the family tombs and ancestral halls} from spoliation. He served as secretary to Fan Ch'êng-mo [q. v.] when the latter was governor of Chekiang during the years 1668–72. When Han Ta-jén (see under Labu), a general under Wu San-kuei [q. v.], overran Kiangsi province in 1677, a Manchu officer in high command of government forces sent Wei Chi-jui to negotiate the terms of surrender. But as government troops under other generals continued, during the negotiations, to attack Han, the latter became suspicious and caused Wei to be murdered. The tragedy so shocked his only son, Wei Shih-chieh 魏世傑 (T. 興士, H. 梓室, 1645–1677), that he soon died of grief.

Wei Chi-jui was a prolific writer; it is reported that before he reached the age of thirty (sui) his verse and prose comprised more than eighty manuscript volumes (册), most of which disappeared. Nevertheless, a collection of his writings, entitled 魏伯子文集 Wei Po-tzŭ wên-chi, 10 chüan, was brought together by his two younger brothers. The writings of his son, Wei Shih-chieh, entitled 梓室文稿 Tzŭ-shih wên-kao, 6 chüan, were appended to it, both appearing in the San Wei chi (see under Wei Hsi).

[Consult bibliography under Wei Hsi; Wei Shu-tzŭ wên-chi.]

Tsêng Mien