Collected Works of the Grand Scribe Chen Zizhuang on the Management of State Affairs


A native of Nanhai, Guangdong Province, the author Chen Zizhuang (died 1647) was a child prodigy who achieved his jin shi degree in 1619 and became a compiler at the Hanlin Academy. Later he was the grand academician of the East Hall and a minister of the Ministry of Rites and the Ministry of War at the end of the Ming dynasty. Because of his straightforwardness, he was not always popular in the court and was removed from his post. He retired to Mount White Clouds and established a poetry society. He later was recalled to the court and eventually came to occupy high positions. He was one of the three local officials who led the Pearl River delta resistance, fighting against the invading Manchu forces, and he died in the Ming cause. He was captured and hacked to death outside the city of Guangzhou. Considered martyrs, such local resistance heroes became symbols of courage and loyalty in Guangdong’s local history. Chen published a number of works, including Xin ke Chen tai shi jing ji yan ji yao (Newly printed collection of essential thoughts of the Grand Scribe Chen Zizhuang on the management of state affairs), which he compiled in earlier years and which was edited by Chen Dingxin, a Ming Salt Monopoly officer in charge of state-controlled production and distribution of salt. The work was printed during the Tianqi reign (1621‒27). Each of the 12 juan covers Chen Zizhuang’s views, opinions, and policy ideas on a particular subject. Presented here is a continuation of that 12-juan work, also published during the Tianqi reign and called Chen tai shi zhao dai jing ji yan (Collected works of the Grand Scribe Chen Zizhuang on the management of state affairs). The work has three editors: Zhou Yingxuan, Chen Dingxin, and Jin Jiesheng. The collection contains memorials and discourses written by 28 renowned high officials of the Ming dynasty on such subjects as border defense and the political situation of the time. Among the writers were Song Lian (1310‒81), a literary and political adviser to the Ming dynasty founder, Hongwu, who directed the compilation of the official dynastic history of the preceding Yuan dynasty, and Dong Qichang (1555‒1636), who was mostly known as one of the finest Chinese painters and calligraphers but whose contribution here is a discourse on river protection. The three prefaces were written by the author, dated 1626, with the first half page damaged; Chen Dingxin, also dated 1626; and Xie Shaofang, a salt official. Before the name of each of the 28 officials, the author provided a brief biography and the subject’s titles.

Last updated: January 10, 2018