Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Tê-p'ei

-p'ei 德沛 (T. 濟齋, 1688–1752, Aug. 15?), official, scholar, and Christian convert, was a member of the Imperial family and a descendant of Šurhaci [q. v.]. The latter's eighth son was Tê-p'ei's great-grandfather. The grandfather of Tê-p'ei, named Fulata 傅拉塔 (1622–1676, posthumous name 惠獻), was a cousin of Jidu [q. v.]. As holder of the hereditary rank of beise 貝子 (prince of the fourth degree), Fulata, with the title of Ning-hai chiang-chün 寧海將軍, assisted Giyešu [q. v.] in suppressing the rebellion of Kêng Ching-chung [q. v.] in Chekiang and Fukien (1674–76). Fulata's fifth son, Fu-ts'un 福存 (1665–1700), was at first made a Chêng-kuo-kung 鎭國公 (prince of the fifth degree), but in 1691 succeeded to his father's rank of beise. Fu-ts'un had ten sons, of whom the second, Tê-p'u 德普 (1683–1729), inherited the reduced rank of Chên-kuo-kung. The eighth son was Tê-p'ei.

Brought up in an environment of wealth and ease, Tê-p'ei learned to ride horses and became an expert marksman with the bow and arrow. But being afflicted, about the age of twenty (sui), with tuberculosis, he left his home and went to lead a secluded life in the hills west of Peking where he meditated on and studied the Classics and the writings of the Sung philosophers. About the year 1718 he embraced the Christian faith and was baptized by Father Ignace Kögler (see under Ho Kuo-tsung). He was intimate with the family of his distant cousin, Sunu [q. v.], whose sons became Christians. It was probably in 1729 (when his brother, Tê-p'u, died) that he declined the offer to inherit the family rank. Preferring to continue his studies, he relinquished it in favor of his nephew.

In time Tê-p'ei became known as a learned, dependable, and upright man. In 1735 his name was presented to Emperor Shih-tsung by Prince Kuo (Yin-li, see under Hsüan-yeh) and he was summoned for an audience. In June or July of that year he was made a noble of imperial lineage of the ninth rank; and on October 4, four days before the Emperor died, he was given the high post of senior vice-president of the Board of War. Under the new Emperor, Kaotsung, he continued to enjoy special favors and was entrusted with various important posts. In 1736 he was made provincial commander-in-chief of Chihli with headquarters at Ku-pei-k'ou. Early in 1737 he was sent to Kansu as governor, and later in the same year was made governor-general of Hupeh and Hunan. In 1739 he was transferred to Foochow as governor of Fukien and Chekiang, and three years later was transferred to Nanking to serve as governor-general of Kiangsu, Anhwei, and Kiangsi. He was recalled to the capital in 1743, made a vice-president of the Board of Civil Office and concurrently libationer of the Imperial Academy. In January 1748 he was raised to be president of his Board but seven months later he resigned because of illness.

Three months after his resignation Tê-p'ei was named by Emperor Kao-tsung to succeed to the hereditary rank which had been originally awarded to his great-granduncle, Jirgalang [q. v.]. This rank, a princedom of the first degree (designated first as Chêng Ch'in-wang 鄭親王 and later as Chien 簡 Ch'in-wang), had remained in Jidu's family from 1657 to 1748. The holder in Tê-p'ei's time was a grandson of Jidu and a fourth cousin of Tê-p'ei, named Shên-pao-chu 神保住, who in his later years became blind. Shên-pao-chu was deprived of his status on November 11, 1748 because he had been accused by the Imperial Clan Court of ordering the flogging of his niece by a eunuch. It was reported also that he had shown parsimony in the support of his fellow-clansmen. When Tê-p'ei was named the eighth inheritor of Jirgalang's rank (or the seventh Prince Chien), he was enjoined to show kindness to his poorer relations. He held the rank, however, for only four years, for he died in 1752. He was canonized as I 儀. Because he left no male heir the rank reverted to Jirgalang's branch of the family (see under Ulgungga).

Chinese records seem not to record the fact that Tê-p'ei became a Christian; only in the writings or correspondence of the missionaries are there references to a cousin of Sunu, a governor of Chekiang and governor-general of Hunan and Hupeh, who embraced the Christian faith and was baptized under the name Joseph. Ch'ên Yüan (see under Sunu) has lately shown that these indications point unequivocably to Tê-p'ei whose Christian ideas and knowledge of Western science are, moreover, revealed in his writings—particularly in his 實踐錄 Shih-chien lu, printed in 1736; and in his 鰲峯書院講學錄 Ao-fêng shu-yüan chiang-hsüeh lu, printed in 1741. Tê-p'ei left two works on the Classic of Changes, entitled 易圖解 I t'u-chieh and 周易補注 Chou-I pu-chu.


[Ch'ên Yüan's studies appear in Fu-jên hsüeh-chih (see bibl. under Liu Pao-nan) vol. 3, no. 2 (1932); Pfister, Notices, p. 644; Shêng-yü [q. v.], Pa-ch'i wên-ching, chüan 11, 14; 宗室王公功績表傳 Tsung-shih Wang-kung kung-chi piao-chuan, 6/22a; Fang Pao [q. v.], Wang-hsi chi-wai-wên pu-i, 1/6a, 15a; idem, Wang-hai wên-chi tsai-hsü pu-i, 2/9a.]

Fang Chao-ying