Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Ni Yüan-lu

NI Yüan-lu 倪元璐 (T. 玉汝, H. 鴻寶), Jan. 7, 1594–1644, Apr. 25, Ming official, was a native of Shang-yü, Chekiang. Becoming a chin-shih in 1622, he entered the Hanlin Academy as a bachelor. While supervising examinations in Kiangsi in 1627 he offended the party of the eunuch, Wei Chung-hsien [q. v.], but was saved from punishment by the latter's downfall at the close of that year. He continued his outspoken opposition to former members of that party and was one of the first to defend the Tung-lin society. It was at his request that the engraved blocks of the San-ch'ao yao-tien—a work which had been compiled to discredit the Tung-lin group—were destroyed (see under Fêng Ch'üan). In 1635 he was promoted to the rank of libationer in the Academy, but shortly thereafter was forced into retirement by his enemies, remaining in seclusion until 1642 when he was made junior vice-president of the Board of War and lecturer to the Emperor. In the following year he was transferred to the presidency of the Board of Revenue where he attempted to correct abuses that had arisen in the system of taxation. Li Tzŭ-ch'êng [q. v.] took the capital on April 25, 1644. Rather than fall into enemy hands Ni committed suicide on that day. He was given the posthumous name Wên-chêng 文正 both by the Ming and Ch'ing regimes.

A collection of his literary works, entitled Ni Wên-chêng chi (集), is preserved in the 'Ch'ien-k'un chêng-ch'i chi (see under Huang Tao-chou). A short treatise of his on taxation, and a commentary to the Classic of Changes can be found in the collectanea Hsüeh-hai lei-pien (see under Ts'ao Jung) and Yüeh-ya-t'ang ts'ung-shu (see under Wu Ch'ung-yüeh). Two works by him were included in the list of banned books of the eighteenth century, namely 鴻寶應本 Hung-pao ying-pên and Ni Wên-chêng i-shih (遺詩).

[M.1/265/3a; M.3/252/3a; M.61/110/12b; Ming-chi pei-lüeh (see bibl. Chang Ch'üan) 21/2a; M.30/7/26a; Shang-yü-hsien chih (1898) 10/33a; Ni Wên-chêng kung nien-p'u, with portrait, in the Yüeh-ya-t'ang ts'ung-shu, vol. 215; a portrait by a contemporary painter, Tsêng Ch'ing 曾鯨, is reproduced in the Journal of Chekiang Provincial Library, vol. III, No. 1.]

George A. Kennedy