Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Lu Chien-tsêng

LU Chien-tsêng 盧見曾 (T. 抱孫, H. 雅雨山人 and 澹園), 1690–1768, Nov. 7, scholar and official, was a native of Techow, Shantung. His father, Lu Tao-yüeh 盧道悅 (T. 喜臣), was a chin-shih of 1670. Lu Chien-tsêng himself became a licentiate at the age of fifteen sui, a chü-jên in 1711, and a chin-shih in 1721. Two years later he was appointed magistrate of Hungya, Szechwan. Subsequently he was transferred to the province of Kiangnan where he served as magistrate of Mêng-ch'êng (1730) and of Liu-an (1731–34); and as prefect of Lu-chou-fu (1735), Chiang-ning-fu (1735), and Ying-chou-fu (1735). In 1737 he became chief commissioner of the Salt Gabelle of Liang-Huai with headquarters at Yangchow, but after the lapse of a year he was, for some reason, denounced and exiled. Summoned from exile in 1744, he was in the following year made prefect of Yung-p'ing, Chihli, and then Salt Controller of Ch'ang-lu 長蘆 in the same province. In 1753 he was re-appointed chief salt commissioner of Liang-Huai at which post he remained for ten years. He retired in 1762 on grounds of old age and went home. Six years later he was involved in a deficit of 10,000,000 taels in the revenue of the Salt Administration at Yangchow. During the years 1746 to 1767 salt merchants had disposed of large quantities of salt beyond the annual quota, but had neglected to transmit to the government the accumulated net profit amounting to more than 9,000,000 taels. The officials in charge were accused of conniving with the merchants and of having received from the latter gifts valued at 900,000 taels. When friends of Lu Chien-tsêng, such as Chi Yün and Wang Ch'ang [qq. v.], realized that the emperor proposed to take drastic measures against the accused, they privately informed Lu and thus gave him time to sequester his properties and avoid confiscation. Lu was escorted to Yangchow and tried. He was proven to have received gifts to the value of 16,000 taels, or less than two percent of the total sum involved. This fact, and his having sequestered property, caused him to be sentenced to die by strangulation, but he actually died in prison in Soochow before the sentence was carried out. The above-mentioned friends who had informed him were banished (see under Chi Yün). Kao Hêng (see under Kao Pin), salt censor of the Liang-Huai region from 1757 to 1765, and another official who was involved in the case, were beheaded.

Lu's interest in educational reforms is demonstrated by the academies he established in the various places where he officiated: the Chien-ya Shu-yüan 建雅書院 at Hung-ya, the Kêng-yang Shu-yüan 賡颺書院 at Liu-an, the Ching-shêng Shu-yüan 敬勝書院 at Yung-p'ing, and the Wên-ching Shu-yüan 問津書院 at Tientsin. He improved the condition of the An-ting Shu-yüan 安定書院 at Yangchow. The 雅雨堂叢書 Ya-yü tang ts'ung-shu which he edited—a collection of thirteen works by authors who lived prior to the Sung dynasty—was printed in 1756. In 1753 he began to compile an anthology of poetry by some 620 writers of Shantung, his native province. This work, entitled 國朝山左詩鈔 Kuo-ch'ao Shan-tso shih-ch'ao, consisting of more than 5900 poems arranged in 60 сhüan with biographical sketches of the authors, was completed and printed in 1758. With the help of the Ma brothers (see under Ma Yüeh-kuan) of Yangchow, he edited Wang Shih-chên's [q. v.] Yü-yang kan-chiu chi and Chu I-tsun's [q. v.] Ching-i k'ao. The works that he published are considered fairly good editions, printed from carefully engraved blocks in uniform calligraphy. He frequently borrowed books from the libraries of Ma Yüeh-kuan, and the family of Wang Chi [q. v.]. Hence he named his studio at Yangchow, Chieh-shu lou 借書樓, "Borrowed Book Loft".

An ancestor of Lu Chien-tsêng, named Lu Shih-ts'ui 盧世漼 (T. 德水, H. 紫房, 南村病叟, 1588–1653, a chin-shih of 1625), was a poet and bibliophile of renown. As a man of letters he acquired a name almost equal to that of Ch'ien Ch'ien-i [q. v.], and through his love of books he became a friend of Mao Chin [q. v.]. A special feature of his library was the large number of items transcribed by hand. He printed some fourteen works. A collection of his writings, 尊水園集略 Tsun-shui yüan chi-lüeh, 12 chüan, named after his studio, was first printed in 1660.

Among the descendants of Lu Chien-tsêng, the best known was his grandson, Lu Yin-p'u 盧蔭溥 (T. 霖生, H. 南石, 1760–1839, posthumous name 文肅), a chin-shih of 1781. He served as a Grand Councilor (1811–21), as president of the Board of Civil Office (1821–30), and as a Grand Secretary (1830–33). The latter's grandson, Lu Ch'ing-lun 盧慶綸 (T. 理堂, H. 和庵, original ming, Kuang-hsieh 光爕), was a chin-shih of 1841 and a Hanlin compiler. Many other descendants of Lu Chien-tsêng were officials and men of letters, and several women of the family achieved notice for their poems or their paintings.

[12/71/40b; 3/210/30a 補錄; 6/17/4a; Tsinan fu-chih (1839) 56/74a; 兩淮鹽法志 Liang-Huai yen-fa chih (1870) 16/13b; Tung-hua lu (Ch'ien-lung 33:7, 8, 9, 10); Wang Hsien-t'ang 王獻唐, on Lu Shih-ts'ui (in Chinese), Shantung Provincial Library Quarterly, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 183–96; 德縣志 Te-hsien chih (1935).]

Tu Lien-chê