Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Wu Ju-lun

WU Ju-lun 吳汝綸 (T. 摯甫), Oct. 15, 1840–1903, Feb. 9, educator, official and man of letters, came of a family of gentry at T'ung-ch'êng, Anhwei. His immediate ancestors had some appreciation of literature, and his grandfather, Wu T'ing-sên 吳廷森 (T. 謁韓, H. 梅崖, 思貽, 1773–1845), left a collection of verse. Wu Ju-lun's father, Wu Yüan-chia 吳元甲 (T. 世求, H. 育泉, 1810–1873), was distinguished for his filial piety and for his benevolent practices. Having graduated as chü-jên in 1864, Wu Ju-lun went to Peking where he obtained the chin-shih degree in 1865 and was made a secretary of the Grand Secretariat. Soon after, through the influence of Fang Tsung-ch'êng [q. v.], he was invited (1865) to Nanking by Tsêng Kuo-fan [q. v.]. About the same time his father, Wu Yüan-chia, became tutor to Tsêng Kuo-fan's grandsons. Thereafter, as a member of the secretarial staff of Tsêng Kuo-fan, Wu Ju-lun accompanied him in the campaign against the Nien banditti (see under Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in) and for his military services was given (1867) a nominal rank as assistant reader of the Grand Secretariat. After a short sojourn at Nanking where Tsêng Kuo-fan resided as governor-general of Liang-Kiang, Wu followed him early in 1869 to Paoting, Chihli, where Tsêng served as governor-general of that province. Late in the following year, on the recommendation of Tsêng, Wu was appointed department-magistrate of Shên-chou, Chihli, a post he assumed in the summer of 1871. He held this position until 1873 when he retired (1873–77) to observe the customary mourning periods for his father and mother. During his term at Shên-chou Wu wrote a history of the department which was revised by his pupils, including Kung Ju-hêng 弓汝恆 (T. 子貞, 1842–1914), and was printed in 1900 in 22 chüan under the title 深州風土記 Shên-chou fêng-t'u chi. In 1879, on the recommendation of the governor-general, Li Hung-chang [q. v.], Wu served for a few months as acting prefect of Tientsin (1879–80), and in 1881 was made department-magistrate of Chi-chou, Chihli, where he remained about eight years. He retired from official life in 1889, not having received a promotion for twenty years. At the request of Li Hung-chang, however, he remained at Paoting for the following decade as director of the Lien-ch'ih 蓮池 Academy.

Early in life Wu Ju-lun devoted himself to mastering the principles of the T'ung-ch'êng School of prose writing (see under Fang Pao), but under the influence of Tsêng Kuo-fan and Li Hung-chang became interested in Western civilization and read intensively Chinese translations of Western works. Consequently he realized the necessity for modernizing China, and the latter half of his career in Chihli was devoted to the development of education. He gathered about him such brilliant scholars as Ho T'ao 賀濤 (T. 松坡, 1849–1912), Fan Tang-shih 范當世 (T. 旡錯, H. 肯堂, original ming 鑄, 1854–1904), and Wang Shu-nan 王樹枬 (T. 晉卿, H. 陶廬, 1851–1936). At Chichou he recovered, for the schools, property which had been illegally occupied by persons of wealth and influence; and at Paoting he established schools of foreign languages, inviting teachers from Japan and Great Britain. It is reported that about twelve hundred students were in this way trained by him in Chihli. During the Boxer Uprising in 1900, when the Lien-ch'ih Academy was sacked by rioters and by French troops, Wu took refuge in Shên-chou, but later went to Peking where he assisted Li Hung-chang in concluding peace negotiations with the powers. With the advent of peace the Peking authorities recognized the necessity for educational reform and resolved to reorganize the Peking Imperial University (see under Sun Chia-nai). On the recommendation of Chang Po-hsi 張百熙 (T. 詒孫, H. 埜秋, posthumous name 文達, 1847–1907), newly appointed Superintendent of Educational Affairs, Wu Ju-lun, early in 1902, was selected head of the University faculty. Before assuming office he made a tour of inspection to Japan, staying three months (July 2—October 18). During this period he observed all types of schools in Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo; attended a summer course held by the Department of Education, Tokyo; and became acquainted with Japanese educators and administrators such as Kikuchi Dairoku, Kanō Jigorō (for both see under Huang Shao-chi), Yamakawa Kenjirō 山川健次郎 (1854–1931) and Hamao Arata 濱尾新 (1849–1925). Wu was welcomed by Mishima Ki 三島毅 (T. 遠叔, H. 中洲, 桐南, 繪莊, 1831–1915), Shigeno Yasuaki 重野安釋 (T. 土德, H. 成齋, 1827–1910), and by other old-style sinologists in Tokyo. While in Japan he was accompanied by several fellow-countrymen, among them adherents of Jung-lu [q. v.] who opposed Chang Po-hsi's new policy. These assistants took note of Wu's words and actions and sent unfavorable reports to Jung-lu. Wu also was not in good favor with the Chinese minister in Tokyo who held different opinions on educational matters. Owing to the antagonism thus created, Wu was advised by Chang Po-hsi to cut short his sojourn in Japan and come home to safeguard his position. Late in that year he returned, not to Peking but to his native place where, with the assistance of a Japanese whom he brought back with him, he established a modern primary school. Before Chang Po-hsi had a chance to call Wu to Peking he died, early in the following year at the age of sixty-four sui. His detailed report on his tour of inspection was printed in October 1902 in Tokyo, under the title 東遊叢錄 Tung-yu ts'ung-lu. During Wu's absence, in the summer of 1902, Chang Po-hsi's reform plan was put into effect by the establishment of an officer's training school (仕學館) and a teacher's training school (師範館). Two Japanese scholars, Iwaya Magozō 巖谷孫藏 (1867–1918) and Hattori Unokichi 服部宇之吉 (T. 隨軒, b. 1867), were invited as deans, and these two schools admitted 136 students on December 12, 1902.

As a writer of the ku-wên prose style Wu Ju-lun rivaled Chang Yü-chao [q. v.]. As literary men Wu and Chang were on intimate terms and had many students and disciples, among them the brothers, Yao Yung-kai 姚永概 (T. 叔軒, 1866–1923) and Yao Yung-p'u 姚永樸 (T. 仲實, chü-jên of 1879), Hsü Tsung-liang 徐宗亮 (T. 晦甫, H. 椒岑, d. 1904), Ho T'ao, Fan Tang-shih and Wang Shu-nan. Wu Ju-lun compiled a few anthologies of model writings in the ku-wên style, of which the 漢魏六朝百三家集選 Han Wei Liu-ch'ao pai-san chia chi hsüan was printed in 1917–18 in 20 ts'ê. It is a selection from the Han Wei Liu-ch'ao pai-san ming-chia chi (see under Chang P'u). Wu Ju-lun's literary works, together with three small works on the Classics, were edited and printed in 1904–05 by his son (see below) and his pupils, under the title 桐城吳先生全書 T'ung-ch'êng Wu hsien-shêng ch'üan-shu. Later his miscellaneous notes, memoranda and diary were edited and classified by his son, and printed in 1928, under the title T'ung-ch'êng Wu hsien-shêng jihchi (日記).

Wu Ju-lun's wife, née Wang 汪 (1836–1892), was the mother of four daughters, the third daughter marrying K'o Shao-min (see under Shêng-yü). Wu's concubine, née Ou 歐 (1854–1907), bore him a son, Wu K'ai-shêng 吳闓生 (T. 辟疆, H. 北江, original ming 啓孫), who studied in Tokyo in 1901–03, and, after observing the customary mourning-period for his father, served as a secretary to Yang Shih-hsiang 楊士驤 (T. 蓮府, posthumous name 文敬, 1860–1909), governor-general of Chihli (1907–09). When Yüan Shih-k'ai (see under Yüan Chia-san) became president of the Chinese Republic (1912) Wu K'ai-shêng was made a member of the President's secretarial staff. In 1916 he served temporarily as vice-president of the Department of Education. Like his father, he was an excellent writer, leaving several literary collections, including one entitled 北江先生文集 Pei-chiang hsien-shêng wên-chi, 7 chüan (1924). He published several text-books, among them the 國文教範 Kuo-wên chiao-fan, 4 chüan (1910), a collection of model essays; and the 桐城吳氏文法教科書 T'ung-ch'êng Wu-shih wên-fa ch'ao-k'o-shu, 2 chüan (1904), a Chinese reader. He also translated a number of Japanese works.


[Chang Chiang-ts'ai, Wu Chih-fu hsien-shêng nien-p'u, printed in the 雙肇樓叢書 Shuang-chao lou ts'ung-shu (1928, not consulted); 1/491/20b; 5/81/15a; Ho T'ao (see above), Ho hsien-shêng wên-chi (1914) 3/34a, 38b; Inaba Iwakichi, "The Ch'ing Scholar, Wu Ju-lun" (in Japanese) in 太陽 Taiyō, vol. 8, no. 6 (1902) with photographs of Wu and of the Lien-ch'ih Academy, Portrait in Chung-hua chiao-yü chien (see bibl. under Sun Chia-nai) vol. 24, no. 11 (1937); Shu Hsin-ch'êng, 近代中國教育史料 Chin-tai Chung-kuo chiao-yü shih-liao, vol. 1 (1928) pp. 77–161, vol. 3, pp. 1–4; T'ung-ch'êng wen-hsüeh yüan-yüan k'ao (see bibl. under Fang Tung-shu) chüan 10; collected works and diaries mentioned above.]

Hiromu Momose