Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Sun Chia-kan

3654395Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 2 — Sun Chia-kanLi Man-kuei

SUN Chia-kan 孫嘉淦 (T. 錫公, H. 懿齋, 靜齋), Mar. 14, 1683–1753, Dec. 29, official and scholar, was a native of Hsing-hsien, Shansi. Born into a poor family, he succeeded, after many hardships, in obtaining a chin-shih degree (1713) and becoming a corrector in the Hanlin Academy (1716). In 1719 he retired to his home to attend to his invalid mother and to observe the period of mourning after her death. In this interval he made a journey to South China (1721), visiting Honan, Shantung, Kiangsu, Chekiang, Kiangsi, Hunan, Hupeh, and Kwangsi. Upon his return north in the winter of that year, he wrote a long account of his travels, entitled 南遊記 Nan-yu chi "Record of a Southern Journey."

Sun's temerity in memorializing Emperor Shih-tsung in 1723, advising him to be more considerate of his imperial kinsmen, to discourage the purchase of office, and to make an end to wars on the western border, so attracted the attention of the Emperor that he was appointed tutor in the Imperial Academy (1724–26) and concurrently commissioner of education in Anhwei (1725–26). In 1726 he was made libationer in the Imperial Academy where he paid much attention to the curriculum, especially to better training in the Classics. Owing to his appeals to the throne, the Academy was enlarged and the annual subsidy was increased. Later in the same year (1726) he served in the Imperial Study (see under Chang Ying), and in 1728 became acting prefect of Shun-t'ien fu. But at the death of his father in 1728 he retired to his native place. In the following year he was recalled to the capital and was reappointed prefect of Shun-t'ien, and libationer in the Imperial Academy. Subsequently he served as assistant director-general of the metropolitan examination (1730), vice-president of the Board of Works (1730–32) and of the Board of Punishments (1732–33).

Early in 1733 he was declared guilty of remonstrating with the Emperor and was condemned to be executed, but was pardoned and ordered to serve in the Bullion and Jewelry Vaults. After filling the posts of acting controller-general of the Salt Administration of Shansi (1734–35), vice-president of the Board of Civil Office (1735), and president of the Censorate (1735–36), he was appointed by Emperor Kao-tsung president of the Board of Punishments (1736–38) and superintendent of the Commission on Laws (1737). Concurrently he had charge of the provincial examination in Shun-t'ien—a post he again filled in 1738 and 1753. In 1738 he was promoted to be governor-general of Chihli where, during a period of three years, he devoted himself to conservancy work. It is reported that as many as 580 irrigation canals and ditches were constructed in Chihli under his direction. In 1741 he was transferred to the governor-generalship of Hu-Kuang and, by imperial order, destroyed the annotations to the Classics made by Hsieh Chi-shih [q. v.], then grain intendant of Hunan. In 1743 he was again ordered to investigate the case of Hsieh who was accused by Hsü Jung 許容 (T. 涵齋, H. 季偉, 1686–1751), governor of Hunan (1740–43), on various counts. After Hsieh had been pronounced guilty and dismissed from office, Sun was charged with injustice in handling the case. He, too, was dismissed from his post and ordered to redeem himself by repairing the city wall of Shun-i, Hupeh.

In 1744 Sun Chia-kan was recalled to the capital and was made assistant director of the Imperial Clan Court, and later (1745–47) vice-president of the Censorate. In 1747 he requested leave to retire to his home where he devoted himself to study and teaching. Two years later he returned to the capital where he served as tutor to Emperor Kao-tsung's sons (1749–53), president of the Board of Works (1750–52), acting chancellor of the Hanlin Academy (1750), and president of the Board of Civil Office (1752–53). In 1752 he was appointed assistant Grand Secretary. After his death, in the following year, he was canonized as Wên-ting 文定.

Sun Chia-kan was an ardent student of the neo-Confucianism of the Sung period. He compiled in 1725 an abridged edition of Chu Hsi's Chin-ssŭ lu (see under Shên Chin-ssŭ), with the title Chin-ssŭ lu chi-yao (輯要). In a series of lectures which he gave in the Imperial Academy on the first chapter of the Great Learning, and which were later published under the title 成均講義 Ch'êng-chün chiang-i, he maintained that Chu Hsi and the Ch'êng brothers (see under Hu Wei) were the true successors of Confucius. Other works of Sun Chia-kan were the 春秋義 Ch'un-ch'iu i, 15 chüan—a study of the Spring and Autumn Annals; and the 南華通 Nan-hua t'ung, 7 chüan—a study, mostly grammatical, of a section in Chuang-tzŭ. Both works were printed, but Sun was dissatisfied with the former and soon destroyed all the printing blocks. His collected works were published under the title 孫文定公全集 Sun Wên-ting kung ch'üan-chi, 13 chüan. Sun Chia-kan was also a compiler of the Hsing-hsien chih, 18 chüan—a local gazetteer of his native district, which was completed in 1729 under the direction of his brother, Sun Hung-kan (see below). A supplement to this gazetteer was compiled in 1880 by Sun Fu-ch'ang 孫福昌 (T. 咸五), a descendant of Sun Chia-kan in the seventh generation.

Sun Chia-kan had three brothers. Of these Sun Hung-kan 孫鴻淦 (T. 永公, H. 敬巖). a chin-shih of 1723, was magistrate of Kung-an, Hupeh (1723–27); and Sun Yang-kan 孫揚淦 (T. 立公, H. 恕亭, 石橋), chin-shih of 1724, served as a proctor in the Imperial Academy (ca. 1726).

Sun Chia-kan had three sons. The second, Sun Hsiao-yü 孫孝愉 (T. 德和, H. 壼園), an honorary licentiate of 1750, was provincial judge of Szechwan (1768–69) and Chihli (ca. 1787). His verses were published under the title 壼園詩稿 Hu-yüan shih-kao, 2 chüan.

[1/309/6b; 3/18/1a; 4/26/22a; 9/15/22b; 16/8/1a; 23/21/6a; Hsing-hsien chih (1729), passim; Hsing-hsien hsü-chih (1880), passim.]

Li Man-kuei