Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Han Lin

HAN Lin 韓霖 (T. 雨公, H. 寓菴), scholar and official, was a native of Chiang-chou, Shansi, and a sixth generation descendant of Han Chung 韓重 (T. 淳夫, H. 拙齋, chin-shih of 1478), who rose to be president of the Board of Works. In his youth Han Lin and his brother, Han Yün 韓雲 (T. 景伯, chü-jên of 1612), received instruction from a fellow-townsman, T'ao Chu 陶註 (T. 惟道, H. 東籬), whose ancestor six generations before him, T'ao Yen 陶琰 (T. 廷信, H. 逸庵, chin-shih of 1481, 1449–1532), was president of the Board of War. Han Lin became a senior licentiate in 1617 and a chü-jên in 1621 at approximately the age of twenty (sui). He soon obtained a position in Peking where he made the acquaintance of Hsü Kuang-ch'i [q. v.] with whom he studied military science. He also received instruction in the use of cannon (銃) from Alphonse Vagnoni 高一志 (T. 則聖, 1566–1640). He was baptized by Aleni (see under Ch'ü Shih-ssŭ) as Thomas, and his brother was baptized as Étienne. Before returning home Han Lin travelled extensively in the northern and central parts of China, including Chihli, Shantung, Kiangsu, Chekiang, and Kiangsi. He seems to have had a keen interest in collecting books and visited many booksellers wherever he went. After his return home, about the year 1630, he built a studio called Sa-ch'êng lou 卅乘樓 in which to store his collection. Tung Ch'i-ch'ang [q. v.] wrote an account of this studio, entitled 韓氏卅乘樓藏書記 Han-shih sa-ch'êng lou ts'ang-shu chi, which appears in several editions of the gazetteer of Chiang-chou. The edition of 1670 (4/72a) which lists the books in the local Confucian library (儒學), adds a note to the effect that Han Lin proposed to purchase for that library a set of the Thirteen Classics and of the Twenty-one Dynastic Histories, but that the turmoil accompanying the fall of the dynasty frustrated his plans.

At his native place Han Lin led many of his relatives into the Church. When Father Vagnoni went to Chiang-chou to preach the gospel Han Lin and his fellow-townsman, Tuan Kun 段袞 (T. 九章), were his zealous assistants. During a famine in Chiang-chou in 1633-41 Han Lin and his brother, Han Yün, were the first to make contributions for famine relief. In addition to five hundred taels silver, given by himself, Han Lin raised a subscription of another five hundred.

Han Lin edited and published two works by ancestors of the Han and T'ao families, namely, 誡子書 Chieh-tzŭ shu by T'ao Yen and 分家書 Fên-chia shu by Han Chung, which appeared under the collective title 二老清風 Êr-lao ch'ing-fêng. He wrote a book, entitled 鐸書 To-shu, completed in 1641, in which he expounded the Six Maxims of the first Ming Emperor with convincing proofs adduced, both from the Chinese classics and from the works of contemporary Jesuit fathers, such as the 七克 Ch'i-k'o (1614) by Pantoja (see under Li Chih-tsao), the 滌罪正規 Ti-tsui chêng-kuei by Aleni, the 哀矜行詮 Ai-chin hsing-ch'üan (1633) by Jacques Rho 羅雅谷 (T. 味韶, H. 1593–1638), and the 齊家西學 Ch'i-chia hsi-hsüeh, and 童幼教育 T'ung-yu chiao-yü (1620), both by Vagnoni. One treatise by Han Lin, entitled 慎守要錄, Shên-shou yao-lu, in 9 chüan, dealing with military science and containing references to western methods of building forts and using fire-arms, is preserved in the Hai-shan hsien-kuan ts'ung-shu (see under P'an Chên-ch'êng). Han Lin also wrote in collaboration with his friend, Chang Kêng 張賡 (T. 明臯, H. a native of Chin-chiang, Fukien, who was baptized in 1621 under the name Matthew), a work entitled 聖教信證 Shêng-chiao hsin-chêng ("Proofs of the Christian Religion"), which has a preface dated 1647 and was printed in Peking in 1668 and 1674. A work by Han Lin on military defense, entitled 守圉全書 Shou-yü ch'üan-shu, was placed on the list of banned books in the eighteenth century. Other works by him seem to be no longer extant.

According to the gazetteers of Chiang-chou, Han Lin seems to have lost his life while hiding from bandits when they took that city in 1644, but the circumstances of his death are not clear. Sketches of his life appear in the local gazetteers for 1670 and 1879, but in the edition of 1765 the references to him were either curtailed or omitted. The Library of Congress possesses two copies of this edition. One, evidently an earlier impression, reprints substantially the information about Han Lin that appeared in the edition of 1670. But from the other impression nearly all references to him are either omitted or else attributed to his elder brother. This change can perhaps be accounted for by the fact that the Shou-yü ch'üan-shu by Han Lin was a book prohibited in the Ch'ien-lung period. The prohibition was doubtless brought to the attention of the editors of the gazetteer, since the title in question is omitted even though references to other works by Han Lin are retained.

Han Lin was a good calligrapher, taking as his models Su Shih (see under Sung Lao) and Mi Fei 米芾 (see Mi Wan-chung). Tung Ch'i-ch'ang described him as very tall in stature and easily recognizable in a crowd. He adds that, although Han Lin was a bibliophile, he was averse to collecting Buddhist and Taoist works.


[Chiang-chou chih (1879) 8/15a, 11/14a, 16/5b; Ch'ên Shou-i 陳受頤, 明末清初耶穌會士的儒教觀及其反應 in 國學季刊 vol. V, no. 2 (1935), pp. 38–40; Pfister, Notices, pp. XXI, 127, 212, etc.; Yeh Tê-lu 葉德祿, 乾隆絳州志之韓霖 Ch'ien-lung Chiang-chou chih chih Han Lin, in 新北辰 Hsin pei-ch'ên, vol. 3, no. 8 (1937).]

Paul Yap Teh-lu

J. C. Yang