Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Li Shu-ch'ang

LI Shu-ch'ang 黎庶昌 (T. 蒓齋), 1837–1897, diplomat, was a native of Tsun-i, Kweichow, a province to which his ancestors had moved from Kiangsi at the close of the Ming period. His grandfather, Li An-li 黎安理 (T. 履泰, H. 靜圃, 1751–1819), served late in life (1813–16) as district-magistrate of Chang-shan, Shantung, and his father, Li Kai 黎愷 (T. 雨畊, H. 石頭山人, 1788–1843), was sub-director of schools at K'aichou, Kweichow (1835–43). In his youth Li Shu-ch'ang studied under Chêng Chên and Mo Yu-chih [qq. v.] but finally became interested in statecraft. In 1862 when Emperor Mu-tsung sought political advice, Li went to the capital and presented to the throne his views on current affairs. Owing to this memorial his ability was recognized by the president of the Censorate, Li T'ang-chieh [q. v.], and, though he had no degree higher than a licentiate, he was given the rank of a district magistrate. Soon thereafter (1863) he was sent to the Anking military headquarters of Tsêng Kuo-fan [q. v.], continuing there and elsewhere as the latter's secretary for six years. He then served as acting district magistrate of Wu-chiang (1870–71) and of Ch'ing-pu (1871), both in Kiangsu province. Thereafter he lived in obscurity until 1876 when, as a third councilor, he accompanied Kuo Sung-tao [q. v.] to Europe, spending four years in Great Britain, France, Germany and Spain. On the basis of his observations he produced short accounts of Europe, among them the 奉使英倫記 Fêng-shih Ying-lun chi which was printed in 1894 in the second series of the Chên-ch'i t'ang ts'ung-shu (see under Wang Hsien). In October 1881, while chargé d'affaires at Madrid, he was appointed minister to Japan and proceeded to Tokio in the following year.

During these years China and Japan had disputes concerning the Loochoo Islands (Ryūkyū) and the Korean Peninsula (Chōsen). The Loochoo Kingdom, which had been for three centuries tributary to China and at the same time obligated to the Shimazu (島津) Clan in Southern Japan, received investiture from Japan in 1872. Like his predecessor, Ho Ju-chang (see under Huang Tsun-hsien), Li Shu-ch'ang negotiated with the Japanese government in the hope of maintaining Chinese suzerainty over Loochoo, but in vain. The Kingdom of Korea had been a tributary state of China, though periodically she sent diplomatic missions to the Japanese Shogunate, and also was closely connected with the Sō (宗) Clan in the island of Tsushima. After the Japanese-Korean treaty of 1876 the influence of Japan in Korea gradually increased, and in consequence the king's father, the Tai Wön Kun 大院君 (his title as father of the king; personal name Yi Si-eung 李昰應, T. 時伯, H. 石坡, 1820–1898), motivated by strong anti-foreign feeling, carried out a coup d'état on July 23, 1882. When the news reached Tokio Li Shu-ch'ang telegraphed the Peking authorities advising them to dispatch an army to Korea, with the result that a force under Wu Ch'ang-ch'ing 吳長慶 (T. 筱軒, 1834–1884) was sent to Seoul (Keijō). Owing to the quick military action of the Chinese government and the combined action of the Chinese and Japanese armies, peace was soon restored. Thereafter the Japanese forces in Seoul protected the radical Koreans who were pro-Japanese, while the Chinese troops protected the conservatives who were pro-Chinese. This led to another coup by the radicals on December 4, 1884, followed by an encounter between the Japanese and the Chinese forces. Li Shu-ch'ang proposed to the Japanese government a joint investigation of the incident, but his plan was not acceptable to Japan. Early in the following year he was forced to abandon his post in order to observe the period of mourning for the death of his mother. In 1887, two years after the Sino-Japanese difficulties were settled by the Tientsin convention (see under Li Hung-chang), Li was re-instated in his former post, residing in Tokio until the beginning of the year 1891. On relinquishing his post he memorialized the throne, warning of the growing strength of a modernized Japan. Upon his return to China he became intendant of the Ch'uan-tung Circuit, in Szechwan, and was ordered to take charge of the customs of the newly-opened port of Chungking. Shortly after the anti-Christian riots in Szechwan in the spring of 1895 he resigned on the ground of illness.

Li Shu-ch'ang was one of the followers of Tsêng Kuo-fan, and wrote the latter's nien-p'u. In the literary field he was much influenced by the T'ung-ch'êng School (see under Fang Pao) of which Tsêng was a distinguished proponent. When he was on the secretarial staff of Tsêng, he studied the belles-lettres of this school with Wu Ju-lun and Chang Yü-chao [qq. v.]. In pursuance of Tsêng's plan, Li Shu-ch'ang compiled a continuation in 28 chüan of the Ku-wên tz'ŭ lei tsuan (see under Yao Nai), which was printed in 1895. Li's work is said to be compiled with less partisan prejudice than another continuation of the Ku-wên tz'ŭ lei tsuan, arranged by Wang Hsien-ch'ien (see under Chiang Liang-ch'i), and printed in 34 chüan in 1884. A collection of Li Shu-ch'ang's prose works was published in 1893 in 6 chüan under the title 拙尊園叢稿 Cho-tsun yüan ts'ung-kao, and a de luxe edition of the same appeared a few years later. The title of this work was taken from the name of Li's library which contained some 20,000 chüan. Like his predecessor, Ho Ju-chang, Li was held in high esteem in Tokio by the old-style sinologists, writers and calligraphers of Japan. He and his secretary, Yang Shou-ching 楊守敬 (T. 惺吾, H. 鄰蘇, 1839–1915), who was a well-qualified calligrapher, epigraphist, geographer, and bibliographer, were kept busy attending the meetings of those literary men. When Yang Shou-ching went to Tokio in 1880 he found many rare Chinese books and wrote valuable notes about them which were brought together and printed in 1901 under the title 日本訪書志 Jih-pên fang-shu chih, 16 chüan. In 1881 Li Shu-ch'ang saw Yang's notes on these rare items and planned to reprint those editions which were no longer extant in China. Assisted by Yang Shou-ching, Li's project bore fruit in a collectanea, entitled 古逸叢書 Ku-i ts'ung-shu, printed in Tokio in 1882–84. It contains about 30 items, including a Japanese work, 日本國現在書目錄 Nihon-koku genzai-sho mokuroku, a catalogue of Chinese books existing in Japan before 891 A. D., compiled by Fujiwara no Sukeyo 藤原佐世 (d. 897). This collectanea is celebrated for its excellent typography. The Hsü (續) Ku-i ts'ung-shu, printed in 1922–23 by the Commercial Press, has no connection, except in name, with that of Li Shu-ch'ang and Yang Shou-ching.

Li Shu-ch'ang's eldest brother, Li Shu-tao 黎庶燾 (T. 魯新, H. 篠庭, 1827–1865), was a chü-jên of 1851. Another brother, Li Shu-fan 黎庶蕃 (T. 晉甫, H. 椒園, 1829–1886), was a chin-shih of 1852 who rose to the post of Salt Receiver. Li Shu-ch'ang's uncle, Li Hsün (see under Chêng Chên), and a son of Li Hsün, Li Chao-hsin 黎兆動 (T. 伯庸, H. 樹軒, 檬村, 1804–1864), served for years as local officials. These four, as well as the above-mentioned Li K'ai, were poets whose works were published collectively (1888–89) by Li Shu-ch'ang in Tokio under the title 黎氏家集 Li-shih chia-chi. This small work contains a collection of verse by Mo T'ing-chih (see under Mo Yu-chih), a relative of the Li family, along with miscellaneous notes and a chronological autobiography by Li An-li. A portion of the Li-shih chia-chi containing the poetical works of Li Shu-tao, Li Shu-fan and Li Chao-hsün, was printed, first in Tokio and later in Shanghai, under the title Li-shih san-chia shih-tz'ŭ (三家詩詞).


[1/452/6a; 5/19/13b; 光緒朝中日交涉史料 Kuang-hsü ch'ao Chung-Jih chiao-shê shih-liao (1932), chüan 3–6, 10–12; Tabohashi Kiyoshi 田保橋潔, 明治外交史 Meiji gaikō shi (1934), pp. 22–50; Miura Hiroyuki 三浦周行, 明治時代に於ける琉球所属問題 in 史學雜誌 Shigaku zasshi, vol. XLII, nos. 7 and 11 (1931); Nakayama (Nakamura) Kyūshirō 中山(中村)久四郎, 近世支那の日本文化に及ぼしたる勢力影響 (三) in Shigaku zasshi, vol. XXX, no. 4 (1914); House, E. H., The Japanese Expedition to Formosa (1875), chapter II; Griffis, W. E., Corea, the Hermit Nation, 1911 ed., pp. 420–43, 458–71; Pelliot, P., B.E.F.E.O. II, pp. 315–40 for description of Ku-i ts'ung-shu.]

Hiromu Momose