Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Chu Kuei
CHU Kuei 朱珪 ( 石君, 南厓, 盤陀居士), Feb. 18, 1731–1807, Jan 13, official and scholar, younger brother of Chu Yün [q. v.], was a native of Ta-hsing (Peking). In 1748, when only eighteen sui, he received his chin-shih degree. After serving as compiler (1751) and as reader (1758) in the Hanlin Academy, he was made assistant examiner of the provincial examination in Honan (1759), and grain intendant of Fukien (1760–63). In 1763 he was promoted to the post of provincial judge of Fukien, but at the death of his father in the following year he returned to his home in Peking. After observing the period of mourning he was appointed provincial judge of Hupeh (1767), and later of Shansi (1768) where he was promoted to financial commissioner (1769–75). In 1775 he returned to the capital to become an expositor in the Hanlin Academy, and then a teacher of the emperor's sons in the Shang-shu fang (1776, see under Yin-chên) attending especially to the education of Yung-yen [q. v.] who later succeeded to the throne as Emperor Jên-tsung. In 1779 he was one of the chief proofreaders of the Ssŭ-k'u Commission (see under Chi Yün). Later in the same year he was in charge of the provincial examination in Fukien and, in the following year, succeeded his brother, Chu Yün, as commissioner of education in Fukien. During his two years in that province he did much to improve scholarship. Owing to his encouragement many students were elevated to public recognition, and ten became known collectively as the Shih Ts'ai-tzŭ 十才子 or "Ten Geniuses", one of the number being Chang T'êng-chiao 張騰蛟 ( 孟詞, 1760-1795), chin-shih of 1793.
Upon his return to the capital in 1782 Chu Kuei was made supervisor of Imperial Instruction, and sub-chancellor of the Grand Secretariat (1784). Later he served as vice-president of the Board of Ceremonies (1786-88) and of the Board of Civil Office (1788–90), and in the same period took charge of the provincial examination of Kiangnan (1786) and served as commissioner of education in Chekiang (1786–89). In 1789 he returned to the capital to serve as junior vice-president of the Board of Civil Office, to which rank he had been promoted in the previous year. In 1790 he was appointed governor of Anhwei where he was long remembered for his achievements in flood relief in the northern areas of that province (1790), for his tact, and for his efforts to mitigate the influence of certain heterodox religious sects. In 1794 he was made governor of Kwangtung, and two years later (1796) governor-general of Kwangtung and Kwangsi. At the accession of Emperor Jên-tsung earlier in 1796 it was expected that Chu Kuei would be made a Grand Secretary, but his further promotion was secretly foiled by Ho-shên [q. v.]. Only two months after he became governor-general he was charged with neglect of duty—more specifically with failure to restrain the pirates of Kwangtung who had harassed the coast of Fukien and Chekiang. Consequently he was degraded to his former post as governor of Anhwei (1796–99). In 1797 he was concurrently made, at first, president of the Board of War, and then, president of the Board of Civil Office.
In 1799, after Ho-shên was sentenced, Chu Kuei was ordered to the capital where he at first served as president of the Board of Civil Office and then as president of the Board of Revenue (1799–1805). He was concurrently made chief tutor of the princes and director-general of the Historiographical Board, and was allotted by the emperor a dwelling outside the Western Gate 西華門 of the Forbidden City. In 1802 he became Associate Grand Secretary and in the following year, was made concurrently chancellor of the Hanlin Academy. In 1805 he was appointed Grand Secretary and at the same time had supervision of the Board of Works. In 1807 he died and was buried in the Western Hills outside Peking. He was canonized as Wên-chêng 文正—a posthumous title traditionally granted to but few officials—and his tablet was entered in the Temple of Eminent Statesmen.
During six decades in which Chu Kuei served the dynasty he was greatly honored and trusted by Emperors Kao-tsung and Jên-tsung, both for his sound scholarship and for his ability as an official. Between him and these emperors there existed a genuine literary friendship. On numerous occasions Chu Kuei matched poems with Emperor Kao-tsung (see under Hung-li) or made comments on the latter's writings. With Emperor Jên-tsung he was still more intimate. That ruler owed to Chu Kuei not only a great part of his early education, but possibly also his good will and his ambition as a ruler. When the two were separated, at the time of Chu Kuei's employment in the provinces, as many as 139 letters are said to have been written to Chu by Yung-yen while he was still a prince. The prince also composed two volumes of verse, all inspired by his thoughts of Chu, as the titles show. The first volume was entitled 蒹葭遠目 Chien-chia yüan-mu, the second 山海遙思 Shan-hai yao-ssŭ. When Chu Kuei died Jên-tsung attended the mourning ceremony in person, and in 1816 made a visit to his tomb in the Western Hills.
The literary works of Chu Kuei were first printed under the title 知足齋集 Chih-tsu-chai chi, 32 chüan. An anthology of his verse, entitled Chih-tsu-chai shih-chi (詩集), 20 chüan, was compiled (1803) by [q. v.] and honored by four prefatory poems written by Emperor Jên-tsung in 1805. The most complete edition of the works of Chu Kuei is the Chih-tsu-chai shih-wên chi (詩文集). It contains the poems he wrote from 1750 to 1803, in 20 chüan; the verses he composed after that time, in 4 chüan; his miscellaneous prose works in 6 chüan; the formal essays which he submitted to the throne, entitled 進呈文稿 Chin-ch'êng wên-kao, 2 chüan; and a nien-p'u by his eldest son.
Chu Kuei married Ch'ên Ying 陳穎 (1732–1775), a native of Wan-p'ing (Peking) and a daughter of Ch'ên Pang-hsün 陳邦勳 (雨霖, d. 1763), a chü-jên of 1727 who served as prefect of Ssŭ-nan, Kweichow (1759). They had two sons and one daughter. The elder son, Chu Hsi-ching 朱錫經 ( 習之, 古華, d. 1810), a chü-jên of 1779, became a sub-director of the Court of the Imperial Stud (1809–10). The younger son, Chu Hsi-wei 朱錫緯, died about 1782 at the age of twenty-two sui, but left a son, Chu T'u 朱涂, who was made an honorary chü-jên in 1800. The daughter married Fêng Ping-ch'ien 馮秉騝 ( 健一), a native of T'ung-chou, Chihli, a senior licentiate of 1777, and magistrate of Chang-yeh, Kansu (ca. 1785).
[1/346/4b; 3/29/30a; 4/38/1a; 20/2/00; 23/32/5a; 33/60/8b; Shun-t'ien fu-chih (1886) 102/9a; Fukien t'ung-chih (1871) 140/25b; Anhwei t'ung-chih (1830) 104/15a; 蕭山縣志稿 Hsiao-shan hsien-chih kao (1935), chüan 18.]