Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/T'ang Chin-chao

T'ANG Chin-chao 湯金釗 (T. 敦甫, 勖茲), Dec. 17, 1772–1856, May 22, official, was a native of Hsiao-shan, Chekiang. Though his family had for generations been engaged in mercantile pursuits, he prepared himself for scholarship and government office. He took his chü-jên degree in 1794 with high honors, and his chin-shih degree in 1799. He was appointed a bachelor, and later (1801) a compiler, in the Hanlin Academy. In 1808 he served as tutor in the palace school for princes—a post he again filled in 1816, 1819–21, 1826, and 1828. As such he gained the respect of the sons of Emperor Jên-tsung, including Min-ning [q. v.] who later became Emperor. In 1808 T'ang was obliged to return home to mourn the death of his mother, but two years later he went back to Peking and in 1811 served as sub-expositor of the Hanlin Academy. After serving as commissioner of education in Hunan (1812–13) and Kiangsu (1816–19), he was appointed junior vice-president of the Board of Civil Office (1820–22) and of the Board of Revenue (1822–23). He again went home in 1823 to observe the period of mourning for the death of his father, but three years later was reinstated as senior vice-president of the Board of Revenue. In 1827 he was made president of the Censorate—a post he again filled in 1833. But soon he was promoted to president of the Board of Ceremonies. Owing to the confidence the Emperor had in him, he was on several occasions dispatched as imperial commissioner to investigate important matters in various provinces and upon his return was granted additional favors. In 1830 he was made president of the Board of Civil Office—a post he again filled in 1834 and 1838. He was several times appointed chancellor of the Hanlin Academy (1831, 1837, and 1841), examiner of the Shun-t'ien provincial examination (1807, 1835), of the Kiangnan provincial examination (1816, 1821 and 1832), and vice-examiner of the metropolitan examination (1822 and 1826). In 1838 he was made president of the Board of Revenue and Associate Grand Secretary.

About this time the demand became strong for the prohibition of opium, and T'ang, together with Ching-min 敬敏 (Prince Su Shên 肅愼親王, d. 1852), controller of the Imperial Clan Court, drafted the famous thirty-nine articles imposing heavy penalties on those who dealt in or used the drug. Before long Anglo-Chinese relations became tense and the Court was divided into two factions, one favoring peaceful measures, the other—to which Tsang belonged—advocating the use of force. The Emperor, however, did not wish to resort to force. It is said that when he was discussing with T'ang, in 1841, the situation at Canton, he wished to know whom T'ang regarded as most qualified to handle the matter. Tang is said to have recommended Lin Tsê-hsü [q. v.]. The suggestion, however, seems not to have pleased the Emperor. At any rate, T'ang was soon thereafter accused of altering the dates of a document, and in 1841 was degraded to the post of director of the Banqueting Court. He retired in the following year (1842) and was given the button of the second rank which was later (1849) raised to the first rank. In 1854, the sixtieth anniversary of his obtaining the chü-jên degree, Emperor Wên-tsung bestowed upon him the honorary title of Grand Guardian of the Heir Apparent. Two years later he died and was canonized as Wên-tuan 文端.

Tang Chin-chao was a man of determination, and an ardent admirer of Wang Shou-jên (see under Chang Li-hsiang). He was also an accomplished calligrapher. A collection of his verse and prose, entitled 寸心知室存稿 Ts'un-hsin chih-shih ts'un-kao, 6 chüan, was compiled by himself at the age of eighty (sui) and was printed in 1851 with a preface which he himself had written. In this work a nien-p'u in 1 chüan is also included.

His second son, T'ang Hsiu 湯修, was a chü-jên of 1839. One of his granddaughters married Wêng T'ung-ho [q. v.].


[1/370/4a; 2/41/5b; 5/3/24b; 7/24/6a; 26/3/24a; Fêng Kuei-fên [q. v.], Hsien-chih t'ang kao 2/39a.]

S. K. Chang

J. C. Yang