Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Wei I-chieh

WEI I-chieh 魏裔介 (T. 石生, H. 貞庵, 崑林), Sept. 5, 1616–1686, May 1, official and scholar, was a native of Pai-hsiang, Chihli. A chin-shih of 1646, he was first appointed a bachelor in the Hanlin Academy, but in the following year was transferred to the Censorate. After several promotions, he was made president of the Censorate in 1657. Several high officials, including Ch'êng K'o-kung [q. v.], were removed or exiled in consequence of his accusations. In 1663 he was promoted to the presidency of the Board of Civil Office and in the next year was made a Grand Secretary. He retired in 1671, being granted a year later the title of Grand Tutor of the Heir Apparent. In 1732 his name was given a place in the Temple of Eminent Statesmen, and in 1736 he was canonized as Wên-i 文毅.

Wei I-chieh and T'ang Pin [q. v.] were noted upholders of the moral standards set by the Sung philosopher, Chu Hsi (see under Hu Wei). Wei wrote a number of works on Confucian philosophy which, however, were all reviewed unfavorably in the Ssŭ-k'u Catalog (see under Chi Yün). Several volumes of his miscellaneous notes met the same fate. Only his collected prose and verse, entitled 兼濟堂文集 Chien-chi t'ang wên-chi, 19 chüan, printed in 1711, were copied into the Imperial Manuscript Library (see under Chi Yün). His selected memorials illustrating his official career constitute one tenth of the Chien-chi t'ang wên-chi. This work was compiled by his son, Wei Li-t'ung 魏荔彤 (T. 念庭, b. 1671), from various collections printed during his father's lifetime. The reprint in the Chi-fu ts'ung-shu (see under Ts'ui Shu) is a rearrangement of the material with some additions.

Wei I-chieh wrote one of the testimonials eulogizing Father Adam Schall on the latter's seventieth birthday (see under Yang Kuanghsien). In this eulogy he compares Christianity with Confucianism and finds that the two systems have many points in common. According to the 萇楚齋隨筆 Ch'ang-ch'u chai sui-pi by Liu Shêng-mu (see under Chang Yü-chao), Wei once professed a belief in Christianity; at least it so appears from a letter he wrote to a missionary—a letter now preserved in the library of the Catholic Mission at Zikawei, Shanghai.

[Wei Wên-i Kung nien-p'u; 1/268/1a; 2/5/41a; 3/3/11a; 4/11/1a; 7/3/5b; 12/2/14a; 23/1/3a; Ch'ang-ch'u chai sui-pi 5/1a.]

Fang Chao-ying