Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Liang T'ing-nan

LIANG T'ing-nan 梁廷枏 (T. 章冉, H. 藤花亭主人), 1796–1861, scholar, was a native of Shun-tê, Kwangtung. He lost his father at an early age, but was left with independent means. During the first half of his life he devoted himself to academic studies and to the writing of plays. As a historian he made the study of two ancient countries in the Kwangtung area his specialty, namely Nan-yüeh 南粵, a semi-independent feudal state of the second century B.C.; and Nan-Han 南漢, one of the so-called "Ten Kingdoms in the Period of Five Dynasties" (五代十國), a kingdom that existed during the years 917–71 A.D. Of his six works on these kingdoms the following two may be mentioned: Nan-yüeh wu-chu chuan (五主傳), 3 chüan, published with a preface dated 1833—being biographies of the five lords of Nan-yüeh; and Nan-Han shu (書), 18 chüan, printed in 1830, a history of the Nan-Han kingdom arranged in the form of a dynastic history. Liang also wrote a detailed biography of the famous Sung poet and statesman, Su Shih (see under Sung Lao), which was published with a preface dated 1831 in 22 chüan under the title 東坡事類 Tung-p'o shih-lei. In the field of classical study Liang produced the 論語古解 Lun-yü ku-chieh, 10 chüan, published with a preface dated 1823, in which he criticized Chu Hsi's comments (see under Hu Wei) on the Analects in the light of exegetical studies by T'ang and Han scholars. As a result of his epigraphical researches he compiled the 金石稱例 Chin-shih ch'êng li, 4 + 1 chüan, printed in 1830, about certain phases of the style of composition of ancient inscriptions on stone and bronze. As a dramatist, he wrote four plays: 曇花夢 T'an-hua mêng, Chiang-mei (江梅) mêng, Yüan-hsiang (圓香) mêng and Tuan-ssŭ (斷絲) mêng, which were printed in the eighteen-twenties under the collective title 四夢 Ssŭ-mêng. He also wrote a dramatic criticism, entitled 曲話 Ch'ü-hua, which was printed about 1825 in 4 chüan and was reprinted several times with an additional chüan.

In 1835, at the age of forty (sui), Liang Tingnan obtained a senior licentiate of the second class, and in the same year, at Canton, was made a compiler of the 廣東海防彙覽 Kwangtung hai-fang hui-lan, a gazetteer on coast defense in Kwangtung, the compilation of which was initiated in 1834 by Ch'ên Hung-ch'ih 陳鴻遲 (T. 範川, original ming 治鴻, chin-shih of 1805). With the assistance of Lin Po-t'ung [q. v.], Tsêng Chao and Wu Lan-hsiu (for both see under Lin Po-t'ung), Liang completed it in 1836 in 42 chüan. Its detailed maps were edited by I K'o-chung 儀克中 (T. 協一, H. 墨農, 1796–1838, Jan.). Then Liang was ordered by Governor-general Têng T'ing-chên [q. v.] to superintend the Yüeh-hua (越華) Academy in Canton. In 1838 he engaged with Fang Tung-shu [q. v.] and others in the compilation of the 粵海關志 Yüeh hai-kuan chih, 30 chüan, a gazetteer of the Canton Maritime Customs, known to Westerners as the Hoppo's Office. These gazetteers were printed a few years later but are now difficult to obtain. While compiling them Liang made himself conversant with affairs in Western countries so that when Lin Tsê-hsü [q. v.] came to Canton in 1839 to investigate the opium trade Lin is said to have profited by Liang's counsel on foreign policy and by maps on coast defense which Liang provided. In 1840 Liang was made a superintendent of the Hsüeh-hai t'ang Academy (see under Juan Yüan) and also received appointment as director of schools at Ch'êng-hai, Kwangtung. Early in the following year when the British attacked Canton (see under Ch'i-shan), he was, for a few months, in charge of a force at Fo-shan (Fatshan) southwest of Canton. When hostilities ceased he went to Ch'êng-hai, and after taking charge of the district examination, returned to Canton, late in 1841. Thereafter he served as unofficial adviser to Governors-general Ch'i Kung (see under Ch'i-shan) and Hsü Kuang-chin [q. v.], part of his duty being the training of a volunteer corps. For this service he was honored in 1850 with the rank of secretary of the Grand Secretariat. During the years 1849–52 he was one of the compilers of a gazetteer of his native district, 順德縣志 Shun-tê hsien-chih, 32 chüan, printed in 1853. A revised edition in 24 chüan appeared in 1929 with extensive corrigenda.

Four treatises on foreign countries, published in 1846 under the collective title 海國四說 Hai-kuo ssŭ-shuo, were written by Liang T'ing-nan. The separate titles are: 粵道貢國說 Yüeh-tao kung-kuo shuo, 6 chüan, a general description of foreign countries whose merchants came to trade at Canton; 蘭崙偶說 Lan-lun ou-shuo, 4 chüan, a general account of Great Britain; 合省國說 Ho-shêng-kuo shuo, 3 chüan, a summary of matters relating to the United States and its institutions; and 耶穌教難入中國說 Yeh-su-chiao nan ju Chung-kuo shuo, 1 chüan, a critique of the Christian religion stressing the difficulty of proselytizing Chinese who have been brought up under the influence of Confucianism. His Ho-shêng-kuo shuo was based on the 美理哥合省國志略 Mei-li-ko ho-shêng-kuo chih-lüeh by the American missionary, Elijah Coleman Bridgman 禆治文 (1801–1861). Bridgman's work was printed in 1838 and after revision was published in 1846 under the title 亞美理駕合衆國志略 Ya-mei-li-chia ho-chung-kuo chih-lüeh, 75 leaves. A greatly revised edition, printed in 1862 in 107 leaves, bore the title 聯邦志略 Lien-pang chih-lüeh. An anonymous work on China's foreign relations, 夷氛記聞 I-fên chi-wên, 5 chüan, printed in 1874 and reprinted in 1937, is also attributed to Liang. He left about a dozen other works, among them two collections of verse: 藤花亭詩集 T'êng-hua-t'ing shih-chi, 4 chüan, and T'êng-hua-t'ing shih-t'ieh (試帖), 1 chüan; and two collections of prose, T'êng-hua-t'ing san-t'i-wên chi (散體文集), 10 chüan, and T'êng-hua-t'ing pien-t'i-wên chi (駢體文集), 4 chüan. Most of his works, except his gazetteers, were reprinted under the collective title T'êng-hua-t'ing ch'üan-chi (全集).


[2/73/42a; Chang Wei-p'ing [q. v.], I-t'an lu 下/16a; Shun-tê hsien-chih (1929) 18/8a; Hsien Yü-ch'ing 洗玉清, 梁廷枏著述考 in Lingnan Journal, vol. IV, no. 1 (1935).]

Hiromu Momose