Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Chi Tsêng-yün

3634167Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 1 — Chi Tsêng-yünTu Lien-chê

CHI Tsêng-yün 嵇曾筠 (T. 松友, H. 禮齋) Jan. 6, 1671–1739, Jan. 26, official, was a native of Wu-hsi, Kiangsu. He was the son of Chi Yüng-jên (see under Fan Ch'êng-mo) who died a martyr in 1676 when his son was only seven sui. Thereafter Chi Tsêng-yün was brought up by his mother (née Yang 楊 1650–1734). In 1702 he became a chü-jên and in 1706 a chin-shih. After filling various official posts in the central government he was sent in 1723 to the district of Chung-mou, Honan, to take charge of conservation work on the Yellow River which had overflowed that summer. In the following year he was made assistant director-general of the conservancy project (a newly created post) with headquarters at Wu-chih, Honan. In this capacity he organized a company of workmen and built embankments at the bends in the river in the hope of reducing the force of the currents. Under Chi's supervision dams and water-ways for irrigation were also constructed. Early in 1727 he was ordered to take charge concurrently of similar embankments in Shantung. Two years later (1729) he was promoted to be director-general of Yellow River and Grand Canal conservancy in both Honan and Shantung. In 1730 he was transferred to an analogous post in Kiangnan. The honorary title of Grand Guardian of the Heir Apparent was then bestowed upon him, and in 1733, while still in Kiangnan, he was made a Grand Secretary and concurrently president of the Board of Civil Office.

When his mother died, early in 1734, he was commanded by imperial decree to observe the mourning period in office owing to the importance of his conservancy duties. Appointed governor (later governor-general) of Chekiang, he was charged in 1736 with the construction of a sea wall in that province. In the same year he was summoned to Peking for an audience and was given the rank of Grand Tutor to the Heir Apparent. Two years later (1738) he was ordered to serve in the central government, but requested permission, on the plea of illness, to go home for a temporary rest. Not long thereafter he died. He was canonized as Wên-min 文敏 and in the summer of 1739 his name was entered in the temple of local worthies of Chekiang. Later in the same year an imperial edict was issued ordering the building of a separate temple to him, as in the case of Chin Fu [q. v.]. His collected poems, in 10 chüan, entitled 師善堂詩集 Shih-shan t'ang shih-chi, were first printed in 1735. He left a collection of memorials on river conservancy under the title 防河奏議 Fang-ho tsou-i, in 10 chüan.

Chi Tsêng-yün had eight sons, of whom the third, Chi Huang 嵇黃 (T. 尚佐, H. 黼庭, 拙修, 1711–1794), a chin-shih of 1730, was the best known. This son, like his father, achieved distinction in river conservancy and rose in his official career also to a Grand Secretary. He was canonized as Wên-kung 文恭. Chi Huang was a celebrated calligrapher of whom it was said that he could write with a brush on a sesame seed.

[1/316/3a; 3/16/39a, 23/24a; 4/76/15b; 29/4/4a; 嵇氏宗譜 Chi-shih tsung-p'u (1907); Wu-hsi, Chin-k'uei hsien chih 20/9a, 20/13a, 28/5b]

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