Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Ch'iu Yüeh-hsiu

3636393Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 1 — Ch'iu Yüeh-hsiuRufus O. Suter

CH'IU Yüeh-hsiu 裘曰修 (T. 叔度, H. 漫士, 諾皋) Nov. 27, 1712–1773, June 20, official, was a native of Hsin-chien, Kiangsi. His father, Ch'iu Chün-pi 裘君弻 (T. 扆臣, H. 思補), was a chin-shih of 1697 and served as a censor. After taking his chin-shih degree in 1739, Ch'iu held the following offices: second class compiler in the Hanlin Academy (1739), junior vice-president of the Board of War (1751–53), of the Board of Civil Office (1753–54 and 1756–57), and of the Board of Revenue (1754–55 and 1757–59); senior vice-president of the Board of Civil Office (1757), of the Board of Works (1771) and of the Board of Revenue (1759–67); president of the Board of Rites (1767), of the Board of Works (1767–68 and 1771–73), and of the Board of Punishments (1768–70). He was an examiner in the provincial examinations in Hupeh (1745), chief examiner in Chekiang (1750, 1753), and Kiangnan (1752, 1759), and assistant examiner in the metropolitan examinations (1766). He served in the Imperial Study (1749), in the Grand Council of State (1756), and later was a director in the office of the Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu (see under Chi Yün).

But Ch'iu's principal activity was the superintending of flood control in eastern Honan, western Shantung, and northern Anhwei (1757–58). Upon returning eight years later (1766) to examine conservancy work in the same region, he reported to the throne that the river was still well dredged, and the dykes, embankments, etc. whole. When in 1761 the Yellow River burst its banks at Yang-ch'iao, Honan, he superintended the engineering and the relief work, and he also had charge of flood control in Chihli in the years 1763 and 1771–72. In 1763 he made plans for the dredging of the Sui river in Honan. In an interesting memorial of 1772 he points out that there are only two ways of controlling river water: by dredging or by building dykes. He advocated the former, and charged the officials of Chihli province with practising the latter in order to draw added taxes from the irrigable land behind the dykes—a short-sighted policy, for at any time the river might burst the dykes and completely ruin this land. In 1763, and again in 1770, Ch'iu superintended the stamping out of locusts in Chihli, but was removed from office in the latter year for carelessness in handling the work. In 1764 the governor and the governor-general of Fukien were charged with receiving gifts from foreign companies in Amoy. Ch'iu was sent to investigate, and at the same time held temporarily the post of governor of Fukien. According to his report the charge was exaggerated.

It is of interest that early in his career Ch'iu was accused of complicity in the Hu Chung-tsao case (see under O-êr-t'ai). As a matter of fact, he was innocent, but was so alarmed at the accusation that he lied to the emperor, and for this offense was removed from office (1755). The following year (1756) he was sent to Sungaria to take charge of army supplies. In 1773 he was attacked by asthma, and asked to be retired, but Kao-tsung refused to grant the request on the ground that Ch'iu was only sixty, and that there was no precedent for retiring a minister of sixty who had asthma. The emperor, however, wrote him a consolatory poem. After his death he was re-instated in the various positions from which he had been removed for disciplinary reasons, was granted an official burial, and given the posthumous name Wên-ta 文達.

Ch'iu Yüeh-hsiu's collected writings, both prose and verse, entitled 裘文達公詩文集 Ch'iu Wên-ta kung shih-wên chi, in 24 chüan, with also 1 chüan of memorials, were printed in 1802 by his son, Ch'iu Hsing-chien 裘行簡 (T. 敬之, posthumous name 恭勤, d. 1806, aged fifty-three sui). The latter was given the degree of chü-jên in 1775 and later served as acting governor-general of Chihli (1805-06).

[1/327/1a; 3/85/4a; 3/190/32a; Hsin-chien hsien-chih (1871) 33/4b, 41/3a, 16b, 27b.]

Rufus O. Suter