Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Lo Tsê-nan

LO Tsê-nan 羅澤南 (T. 仲嶽, H. 羅山), Jan. 19,1808–1856, Apr. 12, a native of Hsiang-hsiang, Hunan, was the organizer of the Hsiang Yung 湘勇 or "Militia from Hsiang-hsiang" who as the driving force in the Hunan Army (湘軍) were chiefly instrumental in suppressing the Taiping Rebellion. Though known primarily for his military exploits, Lo Tsê-nan was from youth a scholar. Owing to extreme poverty he had to make his living as a teacher from the age of twenty-one to forty-six. He became a hsiu-ts'ai in 1839, and a senior licentiate in 1847. He did not become a chü-jên, but was granted instead (1851) the honorary title, Hsiao Lien Fang Chêng 孝廉方正, "Filial, Incorruptable, Straightforward and Upright," to certify as to his character. By this time he had written several treatises in support of the Ch'êng-Chu (see under Hu Wei) Neo-Confucian philosophy, namely: 周易朱子本義 Chou-i Chu-tzŭ pên-i, compiled in 1840; 人極衍義 Jên chi yen-i, compiled in 1847; 西銘講義 Hsi-ming chiang-i, compiled in 1849; 姚江學辨 Yao-chiang hsüeh-pien, compiled in 1841; 方(皇)輿要覽 Fang (Huang) yü yao-lan, a work on geography, compiled in 1850; and a few other works, most of which were brought together in his collected writings, entitled 羅忠節公遺集 Lo Chung-chieh kung i-chi, printed in 1857–63. This last also includes 8 chüan of his poems and essays.

An epitaph written by his friend, Kuo Sung-tao [q. v.], describes Lo Tsê-nan as having high cheek bones and a square chin which gave the impression of a man of surpassing spirit and energy. As a student, Lo thought deeply and tried hard to put his knowledge to use in practical affairs. Though a scholar, he was highly competent in the affairs of the world, particularly in matters of military strategy. Such were his attainments and his qualities, and these are probably the characteristics that influenced his pupils during the many years he was a teacher.

When the Taiping rebels were threatening Changsha in 1852, the local magistrate summoned Lo Tsê-nan to train the militia which became known as the Hsiang Yung. Before long Lo's pupils, and the farmers of the locality, were enrolled in the army, and the enemy's attack was repulsed. His achievements were brought to the notice of the throne and he was rewarded with the title, sub-director of the schools of a district. In the following year (1853) Tsêng Kuo-fan [q. v.] was placed in charge of all the militia of Hunan, and Lo Tsê-nan was thereafter under Tsêng's command serving as the latter's righthand man. For his success in a campaign against an uprising at Kuei-tung, Hunan, Lo was promoted to the rank of a magistrate. A few months later he was dispatched to the relief of Nanchang, Kiangsi, where he raised the siege and recaptured two other cities. For this he was raised to a first class sub-prefect. His most efficient officers in this campaign were mostly his pupils. They won the admiration of Tsêng Kuo-fan who thus came to rely much on the Hsiang Yung. For his fierce and successful attack at Yochow Lo was rewarded, in 1854, with the rank of a prefect. His movements at Hua-yüan, a village south of Wuchang, were chiefly responsible for the taking of that city in 1854. When Lo was given the appointment of an intendant in Chekiang, Tsêng Kuo-fan at once submitted a memorial to the throne requesting that since Lo was indispensable to the army he should remain at his post. Thus he continued his work in Hupeh and made startling headway in the capture of the strategic town of T'ien-chia-chên, on the Yangtze, as well as other cities in Hupeh and Kiangsi. Consequently he was raised in rank from a judicial commissioner to a lieutenant-governor. In 1855, owing to the weakness and corruption of the government forces in Hupeh, Wuchang was again lost, although Tsêng and Lo made advances in Kiangsi. Foreseeing a possible tactical blunder, Lo strongly advised Tsêng first to take Wuchang, then Kiukiang, and finally Nanking. This is regarded by later historians as one of the most important moves toward ultimate victory. Lo's proposal having been adopted, he fought desperately to lay seige to Wuchang. Unfortunately, he was mortally wounded when repelling a sortie, and died at his barracks eight months before Wuchang was recovered (see under Hu Lin-i). He was granted the posthumous name, Chung-chieh 忠節 and the minor hereditary rank of Ch'i-tu-yü which was later (1864) raised to Yün-ch'i-yü. Wuchang was finally recovered by Hu Lin-i [q. v.] in 1856.

[1/413/5b; 2/42/51b; 5/58/6a; 7/26/9a; 8/6下/1a; Kuo Sung-tao [q. v.] Yang-chih shu-wu wên-chi 19/4a; Lo Chung-chieh kung nien-p'u (1863).]

Têng Ssŭ-yü