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Chin Fu

Chin Fu 靳輔 (T. 弓紫垣), 1633-1692, Dec. 26, official and specialist in river conservancy, was a member of the Chinese Bordered Yellow Banner and a native of Liao-yang where his ancestors had migrated from Tsinan, Shantung, in the early Ming period. His father, Chin Ying-hsüan 靳應選, was a secretary in the Transmission Office. After completing his studies in he Government School Chin Fu was selected (1652) a compiler in the Kuo-Shih Yüan 國史院. In the following nineteen years (1652-71) he rose rapidly in his official career and by 1671 was appointed governor of Anhwei, a post he held until 1677. During this period Wu San-kuei[q.v.] revolted in South China and Chin Fu assisted the government by quelling local uprisings in Shê-hsien, by improving the defenses of Anhwei and by devising plans to finance the troops in the south. In 1677 he was appointed director-general of Yellow River Conservancy to cope with the menace of floods which had caused serious damage in Kiangsu province. In this post, which he held for the next eleven years, he made his most important contribution to the country. The control of the Yellow River was regarded by Emperor Shêng-tsu as one of the three most pressing problems of the time--the other two being that of grain transport to the capital via the Grand Canal, and the rebellion of Wu San-kuei.

Taking office on May 7, 1677, at Su-ch'ien, Kiangsu, Chin Fu immediately made a comprehensive personal survey of the Yellow River in general and of the flooded areas in particular. After two months of intensive study he submitted to the throne on August 4, 1677, a far-reaching memorial embodying the following eight points: (1) deepening of the lower reaches of the Yellow River from Ch'ing-chiang-p'u 清江浦 to the sea and making use of the silt to erect dikes on both sides of the river; (2) repairing and deepening the canals linking Lake Hung-tsê<> 洪澤湖 with the Yellow River in order thus to accelerate the current and carry the silt to the sea; (3) improving the embankments on the east shore of Lake Hung-tsê, particularly at Kao-chia-yen 高家堰 (or Kao-yen), by making them more sloping and so mitigating the force of the waves and their consequent damage; (4) repairing thirty-four breaks in the dikes between Chou-ch'iao Water Gate 周橋閘 and Chai-chia-pa 翟家壩 south of Kao-chia-yen; (5) deepening a section of 230 li in the Grand Canal between Ch'ing-k'ou, near Huai-yin, and Ch'ing-shui-t'an 清水潭 in the district of Kao-yu; (6) increasing local taxes for financing these undertakings; (7) reorganizing the management of personnel; and (8) insuring maintenance of the dikes by stationing guards at suitable intervals. His plan was adopted by the government with few alterations, and the gigantic project was ordered to begin in 1678.

By 1681, after three years of labor, floods in some parts of the Yellow River had not yet abated. For this failure Chin Fu offered to shoulder the responsibility and in consequence was deprived of his official title, but was permitted to supervise the work. In 1683 he reported the return of the River to its course, with the result that early in the following year his title was restored. Emperor Shêng-tsu, being at this time (1684) on his first tour of South China, took occasion to laud the work of Chin Fu by honoring him with a poem and showering him with gifts. Apparently at this time Chin Fu [162] brought to the attention of the emperor the name of a subordinate, Ch'ên Huang 陳潢 (T. 天一 [ 裔], H. 省齋 , 有齋 , d. ca. 1688), who had helped him draft most of his plans. Ch'ên Huang was granted an audience with the emperor and was later (1687) given a minor rank and made an assistant in river control. Late in 1684 Chin recommended the construction of fifteen water gates on the Yellow River from Tang-shan to Ch'ing-ho to control the lower reaches of that stream. His plan was adopted early in the following year.

Although Emperor Shêng-tsu was satisfied with the conservancy work on the river he was distressed by the extent of the damage in the flooded area of the lake region in central Kiangsu. On January 21, 1685, Yü<> Ch'êng-lung [q.v.] was placed in charge of the drainage of these areas, under the general supervision of Chin Fu. Yü<> favored the plan of deepening the beds of the streams to enable the water to flow to the sea; but Chin Fu, believing these areas to be below sea-level, recommended the construction of water gates at Kao-yu and Shao-po 邵伯, near Chiang-tu (Yangchow), and by means of dikes diverting the water to the sea by way of Hsing-hua. In order that both plans might be presented to the throne, Chin and Yü<> were summoned (November 19, 1685) to the capital. Upon their arrival in Peking about a month later they found that opinions at court were likewise divided. A commission headed by Samha 薩穆哈 (clan name 吳雅氏 d. 1704), and including T'ang Pin [q.v.], was appointed to ascertain the wishes of the people in the districts concerned. The commission made its report early in 1686, advising that both plans be dropped as impracticable. But on June 11, 1686 T'ang Pin, returning from the governorship of Kiangsu, had an audience with the emperor in which he described the seriousness of the flood in central Kiangsu and at the same time expressed a preference for Yü<> Ch'êng-lung's plan which Samha had opposed when he was head of the commission. Samha was in consequence dismissed and Sun Tsai-fêng (see under K'ung Shang-jên) was ordered to supervise the deepening of the rivers according to Yü<>'s plan. Later Sun asserted that in order to carry out the project it was necessary to shut off the water gates on the Grand Canal south of Huai-an--a plan Chin at first strongly opposed but later assented to after attending an audience with the emperor early in 1687. But when Chin returned to his post he again made an intensive study of the problem, and with the help of Ch'ên Huang drafted a new plan for the release of the waters in central Kiangsu. This involved the construction of a new dike parallel to the one on the eastern shore of Lake Hung-tsê<> in order to divert the flood waters northward to Ch'ing-k'ou and southward to the Yangtze. His proposal was, however, again opposed by Yü<> Ch'êng-lung. Nevertheless, late in 1687, a commission headed by Fo-lun 佛倫 (clan name 舒穆祿氏 , d. 1701) was appointed to study Chin's proposal. When the commission returned from its survey, early in 1688, the majority of its members reported in favor of Chin's plan, but action was delayed by the death of the Empress Dowager (Hsiao-chuang Wên Huang-hou, [q.v.] on January 27, 1688. About a month later (February 24, 1688) Kuo Hsiu [q.v.] submitted a memorial denouncing Chin and Ch'ên Huang for inefficiency and for frustrating Yü's plan of deepening the river beds. Chin was further accused of forming a clique with Mingju [q.v.] and other high officials for corruption and mutual protection. In order to settle the dispute, once for all, a conference was called to meet in Peking on April 8 and 9, 1688, together with all those involved in the case, including Chin Fu, Yü<> Ch'êng-lung, Fo-lun, Sun Tsai-fêng, and Kuo Hsiu. On April 12 it was decided that Chin's new proposal be dropped and that Chin and Sun Tsai-fêng be dismissed. Ch'ên Huang was also deprived of his rank and was ordered to be imprisoned in Peking, but before the sentence could be carried out he fell ill and died.

In the meantime the Chung-ho 中河, a new canal constructed under the supervision of Chin Fu, was completed. Extending about 300 li parallel to the Yellow River north of Ch'ing-ho, it mitigated the danger to grain transport in that section of the Yellow River. The people were so benefited by the canal that Chin Fu's work was heralded as equal to that of Sung Li 宋禮 (T. 大本 d. 1422) and Ch'ên Hsüan 陳瑄 (T. 彥純 posthumous name 恭襄, 1365-1433), in the Ming period. Two imperial commissions were appointed to inspect the new canal, both of which reported that it facilitated grain transport and that the improvements made were excellent. Those who had opposed Chin's plan, including Yü<> Ch'êng-lung, were reprimanded; and Wang Hsin-ming 王新命 (T. 純嘏), Chin's successor, was ordered to follow closely Chin's system.

In the course of his second tour to South China[163] in 1689 Emperor Shêng-tsu realized what acclaim Chin Fu's achievement had among the people. Hence upon his return to the capital (April 8, 1689) he ordered the restoration of Chin's official rank. In the ensuing three years he several times directed him to supervise conservancy projects and on March 18, 1692 reappointed Chin director-general of Yellow River Conservancy. Taking office April 30 he began to supervise the transport of grain along the Yellow River to famine-stricken areas in Shênsi. On September 6 he fell ill at Ying-tsê, Honan, and died three months later. Early in 1693 he was given the posthumous name, Wên-hsiang 文襄, and later his name was entered in the Temple of Eminent Officials at Shan-yang (present Huai-an), Kiangsu. In 1707 he was given the additional posthumous rank of Grand Preceptor; and the minor hereditary rank of Ch'i-tu-yü<> was granted to his son, Chin Chih-yü<> 靳治豫, who in 1725 was appointed by Emperor Shih-tsung as assistant in the work of river control. On June 23, 1727, Chin Fu was posthumously given the rank of a president of the Board of Works. Two years later (March 6, 1729) Emperor Shih-tsung ordered Yin-chi-shan[q.v.], then governor of Kiangsu, to erect a temple at Ch'ing-chiang-p'u in honor of Chin Fu and Ch'i-su-lo (see under Kao Pin). When the Temple of Eminent Statesmen was completed (1730) in Peking, Chin Fu's name was among those there honored.

Two works by Chin Fu were copied into the Ssŭ-k'u Manuscript Library (see under Chi Yün): 靳文襄奏議 Chin Wên-hsiang tsou-i, 8 chüan, a collection of memorials to the throne compiled by his son, Chin Chih-Yü<> ; and 治河奏績書 Chih-ho tsou-cHishu, 4 chüan, a work on river control. An alleged dialogue between Chin Fu and Ch'ên Huang on problems of river control was prepared by a contemporary, Chang Ai-shêng 張靄生 ( 留埜), under the title 河防述言 Ho-fang shu-yen, 1 chüan. It, too, was copied into the Manuscript Library and was later reprinted in the 青照堂叢書 Ch'ing-chao t'ang ts'ung-shu (1835). The most significant work by Chin Fu himself on river conservancy is the 治河方略 Chih-ho fang-lüeh, 8 + 2 chüan, submitted to the throne in 1689 under its original title, Chih-ho shu (書), this title being altered by imperial edict in 1727. The Chih-ho fang-lüeh, however, was not printed until 1767 when it was re-edited by Ts'ui Ying-chieh 崔應階 (T. 吉升 d. ca. 1780) and published together with the above-mentioned Ho fang shu-yen and a work by Ch'ên Huang, entitled Ho-fang tsê-yao ( 摘要), 1 chüan. In 1799 the Chih-ho fang-lüeh was reprinted with serious omissions by Chin Fu's great-grandson, Chin Kuang-tou 靳光斗 (T. 煥章).

[ 1/285/4a; 2/8/31b; 3/155/la; 4/75/la, 76/llb; 7/5/18b; 9/7/19a; 11/26/la; 18/5/la; Hou Jên-chih 侯仁之 , 靳輔治河始末 Chin Fu chih-ho shih-mo in 史學年報 Shih-hsüeh nien-pao, vol. II, no. 3; Tung-hua lu, K'ang-hsi, passim.]