Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Tsou Han-hsün

TSOU Han-hsün 鄒漢勖 (T. 叔績, 績父), Dec. 11, 1805–1854, Jan. 15, scholar and geographer, was a native of Hsin-hua, Hunan, who died in action fighting the Taiping rebels. His father, Tsou Wên-su 鄒文蘇 (T. 望之, H. 眉[景]山, 1769–1831), was an ardent student of the classics, who established at his native place a school named Ku-ching t'ang 古經堂. His mother (née Wu 吳) had scholarly tastes and was well-versed both in the classics and in geography. He was the third of six sons. As a classical scholar he was a follower of the School of Han Learning (see under Ku Yen-wu), but also took a keen interest in mathematics, geography, and military science. In 1832 he assisted in the compilation of the local history of his native district for which he is said to have contributed the section on local products. An older scholar and poet of the same place, Têng Hsien-ho 鄧顯鶴 (T. 子立, H. 湘皋, 1777–1851), a chü-jên of 1804, thought highly of his ability as a scholar and entrusted him (1840-42) with the editing of the Ch'uan-shan i-shu, or collected works of Wang Fu-chih [q. v.], consisting of 18 titles in 150 chüan. Later a more complete edition, with the same title, was compiled under the direction of Tsêng Kuo-fan [q. v.]. When Têng Hsien-ho became chief-compiler of the local history of Pao-ch'ing-fu to which his native district, Hsin-hua, belonged, Tsou again assisted as an associate compiler. This work, entitled 寶慶府志 Pao-ch'ing-fu chih, 16 chüan, was begun in the spring of 1845 and was completed and printed in the summer of 1849. In 1846 Ho Ch'ang-ling [q. v.], governor-general of Yunnan and Kweichow, invited him to his staff. Tsou remained in Kweichow for four years and during that time was engaged in the compilation of the following four histories of that province: 大定府志 Ta-ting fu-chih of 1849; Kuei-yang (貴陽) fu-chih of 1850; An-shun (安順) fu-chih of 1851; and the Hsing-i (興義) fu-chih of 1854.

Upon his return to Hunan in 1850, Tsou Han-hsün was involved in a law-suit, and for a time (1851) was imprisoned at Changsha. In the same year (1851) he passed the provincial examination for the chü-jên degree, but failed in the metropolitan examination in the following spring. He visited Wei Yüan [q. v.] at Kao-yu, Kiangsu, on his way home and arrived at Changsha early in 1853. At this time Chiang Chung-yüan [q. v.] was heavily besieged at Nanchang by the Taiping rebels, and with Chiang in the besieged city was Tsou's younger brother, Tsou Han-chang 鄒漢章 (T. 叔明). At Tsêng Kuo-fan's direction a corps of volunteers was raised, with Chiang Chung-shu 江忠淑 and Tsou Han-hsün as leaders. With their help, Lo Tsê-nan [q. v.] was able to save Nanchang. For his meritorious conduct in this campaign Tsou was made an expectant district magistrate. But when Chiang Chung-yuan was appointed (autumn of 1853) acting governor of Anhwei, Tsou accompanied him to that province in the capacity of advisor on military matters. The Taiping forces were advancing from many points and Anhwei was in turmoil. Late in 1853 Luchou, the temporary capital of Anhwei, was besieged, and for his help in the defense of the city Tsou was given the rank of a magistrate of an independent department. Having neither a sufficient force to resist, nor help from outside, Lu-chou fell to the Taipings (early in 1854) and both Chiang Chung-yüan and Tsou Han-hsün lost their lives. Tsou was posthumously given the minor hereditary rank of Yün-ch'i yü.

Tsou Han-hsün left as many as 30 works in more than 400 chüan, on various subjects, but in the disturbance of the time most of the manuscripts at his home were destroyed by fire (1863). Later, a grandson, Tsou Tai-chün 鄒代鈞 (T. 甄伯, 沅帆, 1854–1908) brought together seven items and printed them (1882) under the general title 鄒叔子遺書 Tsou Shu-tzŭ i-shu. Among these may be mentioned his notes on the study of the classics, entitled 讀書偶識 Tu-shu ou-chih, 10 + 1 chüan; a work on phonology, entitled 五均論 Wu-yün lun, 2 chüan; a work on the calendar for the period 220–104 B. C., entitled 顓頊曆攷 Chuan-hsü li k'ao, 2 chüan; a collection of his shorter works in prose, entitled 斅藝齋文存 Hsüeh-i chai wên-ts'un, 8 chüan, with supplement (外集); and a collection of his verse, entitled Hsüeh-i chai shih-ts'un (詩存), 2 chüan, with other poems, shih-yü (詩餘), in 1 chüan.

Tsou Tai-chün was, like his grandfather, a geographer, his special interest being surveying and map-making. He accompanied Liu Jui-fen [q. v.] as a member of his staff when Liu was minister to England and Russia (1885–87) and later (1887–89) when Liu was minister to France, Italy, and Belgium. In these years Tsou Tai-chün acquired a considerable practical knowledge of Europe. He left a diary concerning his trip to the West, entitled 西征紀程 Hsi-chêng chi-ch'êng. It begins on March 18, 1886, when he started from Shanghai, and concludes on April 28, when he reached London. It is printed in the Hsiao-fang-hu chai yü-ti tsung-ch'ao (see under Hsü Chi-yü).


[1/488/30a; 7/36/20a; 8/3下/5a; 6/43/24b (for Tsou Tai-chün).]

Tu Lien-chê