Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Wang Ch'ing-yün

WANG Ch'ing-yün 王慶雲 (T. 家鐶, 賢關, H. 樂一, 雁汀), Apr. 14, 1798–1862, Apr. 6, official and scholar, was a native of Min-hsien (Foochow). His family settled at Foochow in the sixteenth century and came to be known as the Hsi-ch'ing Wang-shih 西清王氏. His ancestors were wealthy merchants, but the family fortunes declined owing to his father's delicate health. Graduated as chü-jên in 1819 and as chin-shih in 1829, Wang Ch'ing-yün became a compiler of the Hanlin Academy (1832). In 1837 he was made educational commissioner of Kweichow, a position he held until the close of the year 1840. During this period he devoted himself to the development of local industry and education under Governor Ho Ch'ang-ling [q. v.]. At the same time his reading of the Huang-ch'ao ching-shih wên-pien, compiled by the governor, increased his interest in matters of statecraft. After his father's death (late in 1841), he remained for about four years in his native place, and proceeded to Peking in the spring of 1846. In the ensuing five years he held various posts in the Hanlin Academy, the Historiographical Board, etc., where he availed himself of the archives—especially administrative documents which were ordinarily barred to the public. On the basis of these sources he wrote a concise financial history of the Ch'ing Empire, which is regarded as one of the best of its kind in the Ch'ing period. It later became popular and was many times printed, in 6 chüan, under the alternative titles: 石渠餘紀 Shih-ch'ü yü-chi and 熙朝紀政 Hsi-ch'ao chi-chêng.

Early in 1851 Wang Ch'ing-yün was made acting prefect of the Metropolitan area, and five months later was promoted to the senior vice-presidency of the Board of Revenue—a post in which he greatly assisted Ch'i Chün-tsao [q. v.]. Appointed governor of Shensi at the close of the year 1853, he was busily engaged in garrisoning the fortress of Tungkuan in that province against the Taiping forces of Lin Fêng-hsiang [q. v.] when these invaded Honan. Early in 1855 he was transferred to Shansi, and two years later was promoted to the governor-generalship of Szechwan, where he not only cleared the province of bandits, but defended it against the invasion of insurgents from Kweichow. In May 1859 he was ordered to proceed to Canton as governor-general of Kwangtung and Kwangsi, but on his way to this post he relinquished the position in order to recover his health at Sian. In the following year he retired to his garden, styled Huich'ing yüan 匯清園, which he built in a village about fifteen li northwest of Fenchow, Shansi. Early in 1862 he was appointed president of the Board of Works, but died before he went to the capital. He was given the posthumous name, Wên-ch'in 文勤 and was enshrined (1864) in Shansi. His second son, Wang Ch'uan-ts'an 王傳璨 (T. 流謙, 子恆, 1826–1882), wrote his nien-p'u, which was published in 1933 under the title Wang Wên-ch'in kung nien-p'u.

A grandson, Wang Jên-k'an 王仁堪 (T. 可莊, 忍庵, H. 行定, 1849–1893), obtained fame as a model official. Graduating as chin-shih with highest honors in 1877, he was made a first-class compiler of the Hanlin Academy. When Ch'ung-hou [q. v.] concluded his humiliating treaty with Russia in 1879, Wang Jen-k'an was one of twenty-four high-spirited officials who denounced him. After several promotions, he was made prefect of Chinkiang (1891) and when he arrived at his post he suppressed anti-Christian rioters who were molesting churches in that city. During the following years, through his efforts, thousands of reservoirs and hundreds of irrigation ditches were dredged in this prefecture, these having been in disuse since the British occupation in 1842. In 1893 he was transferred to Soochow, where he died late in the same year. He was also a good calligrapher. His collected works were published in 1934, in 12 chüan, under the title 王蘇州遺書 Wang Su-chou i-shu, a supplement being issued in 1936. The former contains information about his life, including a chronological biography, Wang Su-chou nien-p'u, compiled by his sons.


[1/432/1a, 485/16a; 2/46/43b, 77/46b; Hsi-ch'ing Wang-shih tsu p'u (族譜, 1935).]

Hiromu Momose