Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Hsü Sung
HSÜ Sung 徐松 ( 星伯), 1781–1848, Apr. 4, historian, was a native of Ta-hsing (Peking). He took his chü-jên degree in 1800, and became a chin-shih five years later (1805). As a compiler of the Hanlin Academy, he was ordered (1808) to serve in the Imperial Study (see under Chang Ying). Appointed in 1809 a reviser for the compilation of the Ch'üan T'ang wên (see under Tung Kao), he had access to many rare books in the Imperial Library. In addition to his regular duties, he copied surreptitiously from the encyclopaedia Yung-lo ta-tien (see under Chu Yün) several important works which might otherwise have been lost—among them the 宋會要 Sung hui-yao, namely the rules and regulations pertaining to matters of state in the Sung dynasty (960–1279 A.D.). The Sung hui-yao was never printed, except in fragments, although ten successive editions appeared in manuscript during the Sung dynasty. Of these, seven were fortunately copied into the Yung-lo ta-tien in the years 1403–07, although there distributed under various rhymes. Hsü Sung did not complete the rearrangement of the work. After his death his manuscript passed into the hands of dealers, and later was owned by Miao Ch'üan-sun (see under Chang Chih-tung). The latter presented it to the Kuang-ya Shu-chü in Canton (see under Chang Chih-tung). In 1915 it came into the possession of the bibliophile, Liu Ch'êng-kan 劉承幹 ( 翰怡), who had it collated under the title 徐輯宋會要稿本 Hsü chi Sung hui-yao kao pên, 460 chüan. Hsü Sung's original manuscript, which in 1931 was purchased by the Peiping National Library, was in 1935–36 reproduced in facsimile under the title Sung hui-yao kao, 366 chüan, after comparison with the collated edition which so far remains unprinted.
In 1810 Hsü Sung participated in the compilation of the Huang-Ch'ing wên-ying hsü-pien (see under Tung Pang-ta), and in the same year completed a work on the study of the two capitals (Ch'ang-an and Lo-yang) of the T'ang dynasty, entitled 唐兩京城坊考 T'ang liang-ching ch'êng-fang k'ao, 5 chüan, which was printed in the Lien-yün i ts'ung-shu (see under Chang Mu) in 1848. Later in the year 1810 Hsü was appointed director of education of Hunan province. In 1811 he was accused by Chao Shên-ch'ên 趙慎畛 ( 遵路, 篴樓, 蓼生, 1762–1826, posthumous name 文恪), then a censor, of using his office to promote the sale of books which he himself had printed, and of not following the traditional practice in assigning topics for essays on the classics. He was dismissed and tried and in 1812 was sentenced to banishment to Sinkiang, reaching his destination early in 1813. There he remained until 1820 when he was pardoned. During his exile he developed a keen interest in the history and geography of Sinkiang, and from his experience wrote three works on that region which appeared later under the collective title 徐星伯先生著書三種 Hsü Hsing-po hsiên-shêng chu-shu san-chung. These works are: 新疆賦 Hsin-chiang fu, 2 chüan, a long poem on Chinese Turkestan with detailed explanatory notes; 西城水道記 Hsi-yü shui-tao chi, 5 chüan, an account of the river systems of Sinkiang; and 漢書西城傳補注 Han-shu hsi-yü chuan pu-chu, 2 chüan, notes to the chapter on that region (Hsi-yü chuan) in the Han Dynastic History. These three works were printed in 1824, 1823, and 1829 respectively, and were later included in various collectanea. A list of corrections to the Hsi-yü shui-tao chi was printed in the Ch'ên-fêng-ko ts'ung-shu (see under Chu I-tsun), under the title Hsi-yü shui-tao chi chiao-pu (校補).
At the initiative of Sung-yün [q. v.], governor-general of Ili, Hsü Sung helped to bring to completion a work on the topography of Sinkiang, entitled Hsin-chiang chih-lüeh (see under Sung-yün and Ch'i Yün-shih). In order to acquire first-hand information about Sinkiang, Hsü was authorized by Sung-yün to travel (1815-16) through that region, and covered in this journey more than ten thousand li. After the Hsin-chiang chih-düeh was presented to the throne (1821) Hsü was awarded a position as secretary in the Grand Secretariat. Thereafter, for some twenty years, he held posts in various Boards and departments at the capital. In 1838 he produced another work on the T'ang period, 唐登科記考 T'ang têng-k'o chi k'ao, 30 chüan—an historical study of the examinations and the examination system under the T'ang dynasty. This work was printed in the Nan-ch'ing shu-yüan ts'ung-shu (see under Huang T'i-fang). Early in 1843 he became prefect of Yü-lin, Shensi. He resigned in the summer of 1845 on the plea of ill-health, but was reinstated in that post in the following year (1846). He retired in 1847, and died the next year.
A work compiled by Hsü Sung, entitled 東朝崇養錄 Tung-ch'ao ch'ung-yang lu, 4 chüan, gives a list of the gifts received by the Dowager Empress, Hsiao-shêng (see under Hung-li), then known, from her palace, as Tz'ŭ-ning t'ai-hou 慈寧太后. She received the gifts at the celebration of her sixtieth, seventieth and eightieth birthdays which, according to the lunar calendar, fell on January 11, 1752, December 20, 1761, and December 30, 1771, respectively. The work was printed in the 松鄰叢書 Sung-lin ts'ung-shu (1918). Hsü Sung also began a chronological biography of Ku Yen-wu [q. v.] which was revised and completed by Chang Mu [q. v.]. He left no literary collection, but Miao Ch'üan-sun brought together a few of his literary efforts and printed them (1920) in the Yen-hua tung-t'ang hsiao-p'in (see under Ho Ch'iu-t'ao) under the title 徐星伯先生小集 Hsü Hsing-po hsien-shêng hsiao-chi.
[1/491/46; 2/73/5b; 5/78/1a; Miao Ch'üan-sun, Hsü Hsing-po hsien-shêng shih-chi in 藝風堂文集 I-fêng t'ang wên-chi; Ch'ên Yüan 陳垣, 記徐松遺戍事 in 國學季刊 Kuo-hsüeh chi-k'an, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 141–150; T'ang Chung 湯中, Sung hui-yao yen-chiu (研究), 1932; Ch'i Ch'êng 齊成, Sung hui-yao kao lüeh-shuo (稿略說) in 圖書季刊 T'u-shu chi-k'an vol. 3, nos. 1–2.]