Biographical Sketches of the Chongzhen Cabinet Ministers


The compiler of this work was Chen Meng of the late Ming dynasty. Chen, a historian and renowned calligrapher, received his jin shi degree in 1622 and became a tutor at the Imperial Academy. He was relieved from his post for a period of time because of his proposed topics for the civil examinations, which incurred the displeasure of the court.  He settled down in Nanjing, and later in the Chongzhen period he was again given a number of posts, including in the Bureau of Civil Office, at the Hanlin Academy, and in the Bureau of Rites. After the collapse of the Ming dynasty he became a monk. He wrote Chongzhen ge chen xing lue (Brief accounts of the deeds of the Chongzhen cabinet ministers). The book presented here, Ge chen shi lue (Biographical sketches of the Chongzhen cabinet ministers), is a continuation of the earlier work that contains sketches of 14 ministers of the last Ming emperor, Chongzhen (reigned 1628–44). These prominent officials all achieved the jin shi degree and became ministers at one or two of the six bureaus (Military Affairs, Justice, Revenue, Personnel, Rites, and Public Works). Some of these men also became the grand secretaries. As the Ming dynasty collapsed, they joined Zhu Yihai (1618–62), prince of Lu and member of the imperial Ming family, who fled to the south to organize anti-Manchu resistance and an uprising in Zhoushan, Ningbo. Many of them were killed in battles that took place between 1646 and 1652 or committed suicide when their efforts were crushed. The 14 ministers are: Xiong Rulin (jin shi 1631), Sun Jiaji (1604–46), Zheng Zunqian (died 1646), Yu Huang (jin shi 1625), Yu Zengyuan (jin shi 1643), Qian Sule (1606–48), Shen Chenquan (1615–52), Shen Lüxiang (jin shi 1637), Shen Tingyang (1594–1647), Liu Zhongzao (1605–49), Zhu Jizuo (1593–1649), Lin Ruzhu (died 1647), Li Ci (1606–47), and Li Xiangzhong (jin shi 1640).

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1 juan in 2 volumes

Last updated: February 18, 2014