Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Chang Po-hsing

CHANG Po-hsing 張伯行 (T. 孝先, H. 敬庵, 恕齋) Jan. 15, 1652-1725, Feb. 28, scholar and official, was a native of I-fêng, Honan. He took his chin-shih in 1685, and was made a secretary of the Grand Secretariat in 1692. Early in 1695 he returned home because of the death of his father and remained there for some years engaged in study and teaching. In 1699 a break in the dyke of the Yellow River flooded the city of I-fêng, and Chang Po-hsing led in stopping the break with sand bags. In the following year when the director-general of River Conservancy, Chang P'êng-ko [q. v.], saw the work he had him put in charge of seventy miles of repairs. Appointed intendant of the Chi-ning Circuit, Shan-tung, in 1703 he drained flood waters from a large area and in addition did much to relieve sufferers from famine. In 1706 he was sent to Kiangsu as Judicial Commissioner, and the next year was made governor of Fukien with special recognition of his merits by the Emperor who was then in Nanking on his last tour of the South. While in Fukien he promptly relieved distress from famine in three districts of Formosa, and sta­bilized the price of grain in Fukien by govern­ment importation and sale. He gave much attention to education, and established the Academy, Ao-fêng shu-yüan 鼇峯書院 in Foo­chow in 1707. As a disciple of the Sung and Ming Confucianists he not only gave time to study and meditation but put his principles into action by destroying the images of gods of pestilence and converting their temples into free schools where sacrifices were made in honor of Chu Hsi (see under Hu Wei). Moreover, he ordered that the large number of girls from poor families then being brought up and tonsured by Buddhist nuns should be redeemed by their families, the officials to pay the cost in cases where the families were unable to do so. In 1709 he prepared a memorial recommending that Roman Catholic churches be turned into free schools, their membership dispersed, and foreign­ers throughout the provinces be ordered to return to their homes. Two years before there had occurred the controversy between the Emperor and the Papal Legate concerning the Chinese term for God and the reverence accorded to Confucius and to ancestors. Chang Po-hsing hoped, by these means, to stop the prevailing disintegration of morality which he attributed to the worship of a Lord superior to Heaven and to neglect of the customary sacrifices. His sugges­tions were not submitted, apparently because of his impending transfer.

Early in 1710 Chang Po-hsing was transferred to the governorship of Kiangsu where he again grappled vigorously with famine and flood. In 1713 he established at Soochow the academy, Tzŭ-yang (紫陽) shu-yüan. His efforts for clean administration soon brought him into con flict with the Manchu governor-general, Gali [q. v.], and their mutual accusations were repeat­edly investigated by a commission headed by Chang P'êng-ko. Reports unfavorable to Chang Po-hsing were discredited by the Emperor who upheld his reputation for honesty, and late in 1715 called him to Peking. Great demonstra­tions of popular affection followed him on the way. Overruling the official condemnation,the emperor gave him a place in the Imperial Study (南書房) and made him acting superintendent of government granaries. Here also Chang engaged in relief for the Shun-t'ien and Yung-p'ing prefectures. Near the end of 1720 he was made junior vice-president of the Board of Reve­nue and placed in charge of coinage, still super­intending the granaries. In the following year he took occasion to report on a break in the dykes of the Yellow River and later, after personal inspection, on its repairs. In the first year of Yung-chêng (1723) he was made president of the Board of Ceremonies. He was posthumously given the title of Grand Guardian of the Heir Apparent and was canonized as Ch'ing-k'o 清恪. In 1878 his name was placed in the temple of Confucius.

Of the numerous writings of Chang Po-hsing, fourteen titles were given notice in the Imperial Catalogue (see under of Chi Yün), one on river control, entitled 居濟一得 Chü Chi i-tê in 8 chüan, completed in 1706; the Test mostly on ethical and philosophical subjects. Most of his works, in­cluding the Chü Chi i-tê and collections of his shorter compositions (正誼堂集 Chêng-i-t'ang chi and Chêng-i-t'ang hsü [續] chi), are pub­lished in the Chêng-i-t'ang ch'üan-shu (全書) along with a number of other works by himself and earlier philosophers. This series which includes 63 titles was edited and first published by Chang himself at dates ranging from 1707 to 1713, and reprinted in 1866, with supplements as late as 1887. His 性理正宗 Hsing-li chêng-tsung, in 40 chüan, a compendium of philosophy, was completed in 1725 a few weeks before his death, but is not known to have been printed. His son, Chang Shih-tsai 張師載 (T. 又渠, H. 愚齋), 1695–1763, was also devoted to Sung philosophy and to the saving of the people from flood and famine. He became director-general of the Yellow River and Grand Canal Conserv­ancy, 1757–63.


[1/271/5a; 2/12/9a; 3/61/1a; 4/17/1a; 18/9/3a; 張清恪公年譜 Chang Ch'ing-k'o kung nien-p'u (1739), by his sons; Chêng-i-t'ang ch'üan-shu 首/31a; Chêng-i-t'ang hsü-chi 1/20a; Watters, A., A Guide to the Tablets in a Temple of Confucius (1879) pp. 254–59.]

Dean R. Wickes