Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Wu Chêng-chih

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3675189Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 2 — Wu Chêng-chihTu Lien-chê

WU Chêng-chih 吳正治 (T. 當世, H. 賡庵), Jan. 30, 1618–1691, Sept. 17, official, was a native of Han-yang, Hupei. Made a chin-shih in 1649, he was two years later appointed a compiler in the Kuo-shih-yüan 國史院. Being one of a group of fifteen Hanlin scholars who in the summer of 1658 were appointed to administrative positions in the provinces, he received the post of circuit intendant in Nanchang, Kiangsi, and in the following year was made judicial commissioner in the province of Shensi. In 1660 he was recalled to the capital, first as vice-president in the Board of Works and then of the Board of Punishments. In the latter capacity he effected the release of more than two hundred students of Kiangnan who had been imprisoned because their families had been in arrears in the payment of land taxes (see under Yeh Fang-ai and Chin Jên-jui). Made president of the Censorate in 1673, he submitted in this capacity two important memorials recommending that lighter punishments be meted out to deserters from Banners, and that a project to expropriate certain lands for the use of Banner troops in Chihli province be postponed. Prior to this time Chinese officials were virtually debarred from interference in any governmental plans relating to the Banner system, but after these two memorials were sent up these abuses were more or less checked. In 1676 he was chief examiner of the metropolitan examination, and two years later recommended P'êng Sun-yü [q. v.] as one qualified to take the special examination known as po-hsüeh hung-tz'ŭ. His nominee emerged from the contest with the highest honors of all the fifty successful candidates.

In 1681 Wu Chêng-chih was made Grand Secretary of the Wu-ying tien 武英殿 At various times he also took part in the compilation of the chronicles of Nurhaci (Ch'ing Tai-tsu Kao Huang-ti shih-lu, see under Nurhaci); the Collected Statutes of the Empire (Ta-Ch'ing hui-tien, see under Wang An-kuo); the edicts of the first three Ch'ing Emperors (三朝聖訓 San-ch'ao shêng-hsün); the Comprehensive Geography of the Empire (Ta-Ch'ing i-t'ung chih, see under Hsü Ch'ien-hsüeh); and the official account of the suppression of Wu San-kuei's [q. v.] Rebellion (P'ing-ting San-ni fang-lüeh, see under Han T'an). In recognition of the completion in 1686 of the above-mentioned chronicles of Nurhaci, he was honored with the title of Grand Tutor of the Heir Apparent. In the following year his request to retire was granted. He died in the early autumn of 1691, and was canonized as Wên-hsi 文僖.

[1/256/7a; 3/6/1a; 4/12/15a; Han-yang hsien-chih (1868) 18/22a.]

Tu Lien-chê