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Wan Yen

Wan Yen 萬言 (T. 貞一 H 管村. Aug. 25, 1637-1705, May 8, scholar, son of Wan Ssŭ-nien (see under Wan T'ai), was a native of Yin-hsien, Chekiang. Like his father and his uncles, he was a pupil of Huang Tsung-hsi [q.v.] and distinguished himself as an essayist. Appointed an unsalaried licentiate in 1675, he went to Peking in the following year to become an instructor in the school of the Plain Red Banner. About the same time he made the acquaintance of Hsü<> Yüan-wên [q.v.] who in 1679 became the chief director of the reinstituted Historiographical Board, which was ordered to compile the official History of the Ming Dynasty (Ming-shih). On the recommendation of the director he assisted in the compilation, and remained in the Board for ten years. He contributed data covering the Ch'ung-chên reign period (1628-1644) which he entitled 崇禎長編 Ch'ung-chên ch'ang-pien. An anonymous work of the same name in 2 chüan, which, however, begins only in the tenth month of the sixteenth year of Ch'ung-chên (1643), is included in the 痛史 T'ung-shih, published in 1911 by the Commercial Press, Shanghai. This is thought by some scholars to be a fragment of WanWan Yen's original work. According to the local history, he is the author of another work on Ming history, entitled 明鑑舉要 Ming-chien chü-yao, in 17 chüan. In 1688 Wan Yen accepted a post as magistrate of Wu-ho, Anhwei. But for some reason he incurred official displeasure and three years later (in 1691) was sentenced to death. After much exertion his son, Wan Ch'êng-hsün 萬成勳 (T. 開遠 H. 西郭, 1670-c. 1730), managed to gather five thousand taels silver to get him released in 1694.

Wan Ch'êng-hsün was a grandson-in-law of Huang Tsung-hsi. About the year 1721 he served as sub-prefect of Tz'ŭ-chou, Chihli. He was known as a poet and ranked with Li Tun 李暾 (T. 寅伯 H. 東門, c. 1662-1736), Chêng Hsing 鄭性 (T.義門 H. 南谿, Jan. 1, 1666-1743, Wan's brother-in-law), and Hsieh Hsü-chang 謝緒章 (T. 漢倬 H. 北溟, 1666-1720), as one of "The Four Comrades of Ssŭ-ming 四明四友, Ssŭ-ming being a range of hills southwest of Yin-hsien (Ningpo), their native district. The collected essays of Wan Yen, entitled 管村文鈔內編 Kuan-ts'un wên-ch'ao nei-pien, in 3 chüan; and those of his son, entitled 千之草堂文鈔 Ch'iên-chih ts'ao-t'ang wên-ch'ao, 1 chüan, were printed in 1934 (from manuscripts) in the second series of the Ssŭ-ming ts'ung-shu, edited by Chang Shou-yung (see under Chang Huang-yen).

[ 2/68/21a; 3/255/36a; Yin-hsien chih (1877) 42/2a, 54/lOb; Chu Hsi-tsu, "Notes on an Incomplete Copy of the Ch'ung-chên ch'ang-pien" (in Chinese) Yenching Journal, no. 3, p. 513; Chêng Hsing, 南谿偶刊 Nan-ch'i ou-k'an (1742); Ch'iên-chih ts'ao-t'ang wên-ch'ao, p. 39b.]