A study of the original meaning of “give up ru (儒) to engage in gu (贾)”: reflection on businessmen’s social status and the relationship between intellectuals and businessmen in the Ming and Qing dynasties

LIANG Renzhi1

(1.School of History & Society, Anhui Normal University)

【Abstract】"Give up ru (儒) to engage in gu (贾)” was an important topic in the discussion of the relationship between businessmen and intellectuals in the Ming and Qing dynasties. Some scholars regarded those who “give up ru (儒)” as Confucian intellectuals, regarding the practice of “give up ru (儒) to engage in gu (贾)” as the starting point of or the basis for the improvement of the social status of businessmen and the argument of the fusion of intellectuals and businessmen in the Ming and Qing dynasties, and then put forth the so-called “new four-graded people theory” and "the theory of the fusion of intellectuals and businessmen.” After a research on the original meaning of “give up ru (儒) to engage in gu (贾),” this paper arrives at conclusions below: First, “ru (儒)”refers to intellectuals’ imperial civil examination rather than “intellectuals” among “four grades.” Second, the occurrence of the behavior of “give up ru (儒)” is not necessarily linked with the level of Confucians, that is, those that “gave up ru (儒)” were not necessarily Confucians or intellectuals. Third, “give up ru (儒)” did not necessarily mean “engage in business.” Therefore, there was not a necessarily causal relationship between the trend of “give up ru (儒) to engage in gu (贾)” with the improvement of the social status of businessmen, and the fusion of intellectuals and businessmen in the Ming and Qing dynasties. In this sense, it seems necessary to make a further summary and discussion of the “new four-graded people theory” and the theory of “the fusion of intellectuals and businessmen.”

【Keywords】 “give up ru (儒) to engage in gu (贾)”; Ming and Qing dynasties; businessmen; relationship between businessmen and intellectuals;

【DOI】

【Funds】 Major Project of National Social Science Fund of China (13&ZD088)

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    [1]. ① Yu Yingshi, when discussing Wang Yangming’s related ideas, first put forth the concept of “new four-graded people theory” and made a systematic exposition. Wang Yajun discussed the “new four–graded people theory” of Huizhou businessmen. See Yu, Y. The Spirit of Chinese Businessmen, in On Religious Ethics and Businessmen’ s Spirit in Modern China (中国近世宗教伦理与商人精神). Taipei: Lianjing Publishing Company, 104–121 (1987); Wang, Y. Research on Lawsuits of Huizhou Businessmen in the Ming and Qing Dynasties (明清徽商的诉讼研究). Hefei: Anhui University Press, 21–29 (2013). For the research on the issue of “fusion of intellectuals and businessmen,” see Tan, T. Journal of Hubei Normal University (湖北师范学院学报), (1) (1990); Han, J. A Study on Huizhou Literature in the Ming Dynasty (明代徽州文学研究). Shanghai: Fudan University Press, 146–147 (2006). [^Back]

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    [3]. ② Yu, Y. Confucian Ethics and Businessmen’s Spirit, in Collected Works of Yu Yingshi (余英时文集), Vol. 3, Guilin: Guangxi Normal University Press, 166 (2004). [^Back]

    [4]. ③ See Zhang, H. Researches in Chinese Economic History (中国经济史研究), (4) (2005); Li, H. & Sui, X. Journal of Ningbo University (宁波大学学报), (1) (2007); Li, Z. Journal of Chongqing University of Science & Technology (重庆科技大学学报), (5) (2012). [^Back]

    [5]. ④ Huang Yinong first proposed the concept of “e-textual research,” believing, “with the boom of publishing industry and the modernization of library, as well as the popularity of Internet and lectronic database, new-generation historians enjoyed an environment that knowledgeable predecessors craved for. We have the opportunity to access data within a very short time that was impossible to our predecessors, and fill up many gaps in historical details, or quickly judge any doubt or contradiction that previously waited to be cleared up through the layout of logical reasoning. In fact, an era that stands a chance to breed ‘the school of e-textual research’ has dawned!” See, Huang, Y. Preface, in First-Generation Catholics in the Late Ming Dynasty and the Early Qing Dynasty (两头蛇:明末清初的第一代天主教徒). Shanghai: Shanghai Century Publishing Co., Ltd., Shanghai Chinese Classics Publishing House, vii (2006). [^Back]

    [6]. ⑤ More than 10,000 kinds of classics from the pre-Qin period to the Republic of China era were included in the Derwent Innovations Index Nature Zentralblatt Math, totaling about 2 billion words, about 20 million pages of pictures, covering all Chinese history and culture, with the total quantity of content being approximately equal to three Complete Library in the Four Branches of Literature (四库全书). Please refer to http://www.er07.com/product.do·method=findproById&productId=30, (2014-10-15) [^Back]

    [7]. ① According to the block–printed edition in the Song Dynasty, here “xi (席)” should be “du (度)” [^Back]

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    [11]. ① Here are two reasons that qi ru jiu (弃儒就) is chosen as a search term. One is that it can more explicitly include the pattern “give up ru (儒) to engage in gu (贾),” and a search in this way can more clearly present the “role” of “give up ru (儒) to engage in gu (贾)”in the context and expression pattern of qi ru jiu (弃儒就) at that time; The other is that taking “give up ru (儒)” as a search term would have too many results. It is unnecessary to analyze all of them. [^Back]

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    [16]. ⑤ It should be pointed out that the cases of “give up ru (儒) to engage in gu (贾)” in the Collection of Selected Data on Huizhou Businessmen in the Ming and Qing Dynasties include not only individual cases that “give up ru (儒) to engage in gu (贾)” clearly appeared inthe literature, but also include such cases as “give up ru (儒) to engage in shang (商)” and “give up ru (儒) to engage in business” which express the idea that Huizhou businessmen “give up ru (儒)” to engage in business. Therefore, “give up ru (儒) to engage in gu (贾)” was taken as a search term only for the convenience of research, though this fails to cover all cases of “give up ru (儒) to engage in gu (贾)” in the Collection of Selected Data on Huizhou Businessmen in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. [^Back]

    [17]. ⑥ [Qing] Shi Runzhang, in [Qing] Cheng Erhong (rewritten), 南宗新安褒嘉里程氏世谱·传, the block-printed edition in the 11th year during the reign of Emperor Kangxi, 13. It should be noted that, according to the original text, we made supplement and correction for when this paragraph is cited in the Collection of Selected Data on Huizhou Businessmen in the Ming and Qing Dynasties,“studied for the imperial civil examination since childhood, but to no avail, and thus” is omitted before “give up ru (儒) to engage in gu (贾)” and “yong (用) in “体方而用圆” was mistakenly written as “xing (行).” [^Back]

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    [19]. ② [Qing] Wu E (compiled), Chronicles of Wuyuan County (婺源县志), in the reign of Emperor Guangxu, Vol. 30, the block-printed edition during the reign of Emperor Guangxu, 19. [^Back]

    [20]. ③ [Qing] Cheng Hongzhao (compiled), Chronicles of Yi County under the reign of Emperor Tongzhi, in Series of Local Chronicles in China (中国地方志集成), Book 57, 550–549. [^Back]

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    [22]. ⑤ It is necessary to note that cases 1326 and 1442 of “give up ru (儒) to engage in gu (贾)” in Collection of Selected Data on Huizhou Businessmen in the Ming and Qing Dynasties were actually one piece about the biography of Ling Shan in volume 4 of Shaxi Collection by Ling Yingqiu in the Qing Dynasty, so they were cited here as one. In addition, in case 1326, there were two errors. One was “pi (陴) in “young men to rush onto the parapet”)” which should be “pi (埤)”; the other was yi (义) in Righteous Deeds (义行), which should be wen (文). See Collection of Selected Data on Huizhou Businessmen in the Ming and Qing Dynasties (明清徽商资料选编), 429, 477; [Qing] Ling Yingqiu, Shaxi Collection, in Series of China’s Local Chronicles (中国地方志集成), Book 17, Nanjing: Jiangsu Ancient Books Publishing House, 673 (1992). [^Back]

    [23]. ① [Qing] Huang Yunfan, in Ming and Qing Dynasty Archive Department of the Palace Museum (ed.) Archival Documents Concerning Late Qing Dynasty Constitutional Preparations (清末筹备立宪档案史料). Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company, 982 (1979). [^Back]

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    [25]. ③ Zhang Haipeng and Tang Lixing put forth the idea that Huizhou businessmen had the characteristic of “gu (贾) but favor of ru (儒)” in the article On the Characteristics of “gu (贾) but favor of ru (儒)” of Huizhou Businessmen (Journal of Chinese Historical Studies (中国史研究), (4) (1984)), and were widely accepted in academic circles. There was also a dissenting voice raised by Zhang Mingfu in the article “gu (贾) but favor of ru (儒)” is not the Characteristic of Huizhou Businessmen: An Investigation into Businessmen in Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shanxi and Guangdong in the Ming and Qing Dynasties (The Journal of Chinese Social and Economic History (中国社会经济史研究), (4) (2002)), and also a strong response came from Wang Shihua in his article “gu (贾) but favor of ru (儒)” is the Characteristic of Huizhou Businessmen: A Response to Zhang Mingfu (Historical Research in Anhui (安徽史学), (1) (2004)). [^Back]

    [26]. ① Zhang, H. & Tang, L. Journal of Chinese Historical Studies (中国史研究), (4) (1984) [^Back]

    [27]. ② Zhong, C. Chinese Literature and History (文史知识), (12) (1996). [^Back]

    [28]. ③ Fang, C. Journal of Anhui Normal University (安徽师范大学学报), (4) (2005). [^Back]

    [29]. ① Yu, Y. Confucian Ethics and Businessmen’s Spirit, in Collected Works of Yu Yingshi (余英时文集), Vol. 3, Guilin: Guangxi Normal University Press, 155–156 (2004). [^Back]

    [30]. ② Yu, Y. The Spirit of Chinese Businessmen, in On Religious Ethics and Businessmen’ s Spirit in Modern China (中国近世宗教伦理与商人精神). Taipei: Lianjing Publishing Company, 122 (1987). [^Back]

    [31]. ③ Yu, Y. Confucian Ethics and Businessmen’s Spirit, in Collected Works of Yu Yingshi (余英时文集), Vol. 3, Guilin: Guangxi Normal University Press, 166 (2004). [^Back]

    [32]. ④ Li, H. & Sui, X. Journal of Ningbo University (宁波大学学报), (1) (2007). [^Back]

    [33]. ⑤ Li, Z. Journal of Chongqing University of Science & Technology (重庆科技大学学报), (5) (2012). [^Back]

    [34]. ① [Qing] Shen Yao, Collected Works of Luo Fan Lou, Wu Xing Series (吴兴丛书), Vol. 24, in the era of Republic of China. [^Back]

    [35]. ② Yu, Y. The Spirit of Chinese Businessmen, in On Religious Ethics and Businessmen’ s Spirit in Modern China (中国近世宗教伦理与商人精神). Taipei: Lianjing Publishing Company, 124–125 (1987). [^Back]

    [36]. ③ Yu, Y. Confucian Ethics and Businessmen’s Spirit, in Collected Works of Yu Yingshi (余英时文集), Vol. 3, Guilin: Guangxi Normal University Press, 157 (2004). [^Back]

    [37]. ① Yu, Y. The Spirit of Chinese Businessmen, in On Religious Ethics and Businessmen’ s Spirit in Modern China (中国近世宗教伦理与商人精神). Taipei: Lianjing Publishing Company, 125 (1987). [^Back]

    [38]. ② Yu, Y. General Introduction to the History of Chinese Culture (中国文化史通释). Beijing: Sanlian Bookstore, 118–119 (2012). [^Back]

    [39]. ③ Note 133: “there is Collected Works of Cheng Zhi in the Library of the Cabinet of Japan with A Chronicle of Cheng Zhi. See Sakai Tadao, 中國善書の研究. Tokyo, Hongwen Publishing House, 282 (1960). Yu, Y. The Spirit of Chinese Businessmen, in On Religious Ethics and Businessmen’s Spirit in Modern China(中国近世宗教伦理与商人精神). Taipei: Lianjing Publishing Company, 125 (1987). [^Back]

    [40]. ④ It should be pointed out that Yu Yingshi gave a note here when he quoted this paragraph: “A Chronicle of the Life of Cheng Zhi, a Great Master on the Book of Changes, in the fourth year during the reign of Emperor Tianqi, and he was 23 years old.” But, there was not this note in 中國善書の研究 (Tokyo, published in 1960 by Hongwen Publishing House), so a note was added. See Yu, Y. The Spirit of Chinese Businessmen, in On Religious Ethics and Businessmen’s Spirit in Modern China(中国近世宗教伦理与商人精神). Taipei: Lianjing Publishing Company, 125 (1987); [Japan] Sakai Tadao, 中國善書の研究. Tokyo, Hongwen Publishing House, 282 (1960) [^Back]

    [41]. Collected Works of Cheng Zhi in the Library of the Cabinet of Japan was a Li Ren Tang edition in the Qing Dynasty. It included one copy of 云庄大易师河图弁, one copy of 太极弁, one copy of 云庄程先生易学要语2, one copy of 云庄程先生大易一四说, one copy of 云庄程先生大易参两说, one copy of 震沢云庄易师东华语录, two copies of 中庸旨说, two copies of 守白论, two copies of Mr. Cheng’s Miscellanies, two copies of 程云庄先生杂录, two copies of 大易师云庄亟士程子年谱, two copies of 经学程云庄先生配享二程夫子录, and two copies of 古本大学述说 by [Qing] Xiong Linjiao. See the website of National Archives of Japan, http://www.digital.archives.go.jp/DAS/meta/MetSearch.cgi, (2014-10-15). [^Back]

    [42]. ① [Qing] Liao Tengkui (written) & Wang Jinzheng et al. (compiled) Chronicles of Xiuning County under the reign of Emperor Kangxi, in Series of Local Chroniclesin China (中国方志丛书), Vol. 6, Taipei, Cheng Wen Publishing Co., LTD., 805 (1993); [Qing] He Yingsong (written) & Fang Chongding et al. (compiled) Chronicles of Xiuning County under the reign of Emperor Daoguang, in Series of Local Chronicles in China (中国方志丛书), Book 52, 275. [^Back]

    [43]. ② [Qing] Li Guangzuo (controller), Wang Ting(chief compiler) & Gu Yilu et al. (compiled) Chronicles of Changzhou County under the reign of Emperor Qianlong, in Series of Local Chronicles in China (中国地方志集成). Nanjing: Jiangsu Ancient Books Publishing House, 340 (1991). [^Back]

    [44]. ③ Yu Yingshi’s quotation was marked with the source being “volume 9 of Nan Lei Wen An.” In Preface to Completed Works of Huang Zongxi (南雷黄子大全集序), Quan Zuwang said, “Mr. Huang Zongxi produced numerous works. Among them, there were four versions of Nan Lei Wen An, and what was compiled before he was 44 years old was called Collection of Early Selected Verses with no preprints.”([Qing] Quan Zuwang, Preface, Volume 25 of Additional Works of Quan Zuwang, block-printed edition during the reign of Emperor Jiaqing). Currently, there are earlier versions of Nan Lei Wen An. One is the Series of Classical, Historical, Philosophical and Literary Works, an initially block-printed edition in the years under the reign of Emperor Kongxi, collected in a Sun family in Wuxi, an edition in a reduced format of Shanghai Commercial Press in the era of Republic of China, so its master copy should be the earliest version of the book. Yu’s citation was the same in content with Biography of Lin Zhao’en, volume 9 of this book, where Cheng Zhi was called “Cheng Yunzhang.” The other is the Collected Posthumous Works of Huang Zongxi, which was published by the Shanghai Shizhong Book Publishing House in the 2nd year during the reign of Emperor Xuantong, totaling 4 volumes, without including Biography of Lin Zhao’en. In the 27th year of Emperor Kangxi (1688), Huang Zongxi reorganized his Nan Lei Wen An and other old block-printed anthologies into Paperback Edition of Nan Lei, but Biography of Lin Zhao’en was not included. Other Huang’s works were not found to be included. It can be said that among Huang’s works edited before the founding of the Republic of China, only Biography of Lin Zhao’en was included in Nan Lei Wen An, first block-printed during the reign of Emperor Kangxi, where Cheng Zhi was called “Cheng Yunzhang.” Collected Verses of Nan Lei, Book 10 of Collected Works of Huang Zongxi (黄宗羲全集), which is the same in content with Nan Lei Wen An. Hangzhou: Zhejiang Ancient Books Publishing House, 558–559 (2012). [^Back]

    [45]. ④ If Huang Zongxi indeed mistook the assumed name of Cheng Zhi, “Yunzhuang” for “Yunzhang” because of similarity in pronunciation, suggesting that Huang was not familiar, or had no direct contact with Cheng Zhi. Then, the reliability of his view on Cheng Zhi deserves further study. It is impossible to find an earlier or different version of the book of Biography of Lin Zhao’en, so this view can only be inferred. [^Back]

    [46]. ⑤ [Qing] Liao Tengkui (written) & Wang Jinzheng et al. (compiled) Chronicles of Xiuning County under the reign of Emperor Kangxi, in Series of Local Chroniclesin China (中国方志丛书), Vol. 6, Taipei, Cheng Wen Publishing Co., LTD., 805 (1993); [Qing] He Yingsong (written) & Fang Chongding et al. (compiled) Chronicles of Xiuning County under the reign of Emperor Daoguang, in Series of Local Chronicles in China (中国方志丛书), Book 52, 275. [^Back]

    [47]. ⑥ [Qing] Li Guangzuo (controller), Wang Ting(chief compiler) & Gu Yilu et al. (compiled) Chronicles of Changzhou County under the reign of Emperor Qianlong, in Series of Local Chronicles in China (中国地方志集成). Nanjing: Jiangsu Ancient Books Publishing House, 340 (1991); [Qing] Li Mingwan et al. (controller) & Feng Guifen (chief compiler), Chronicles of Suzhou Prefecture during the reign of Emperor Tongzhi, in Series of Local Chronicles in China (中国地方志集成), Book 7, 808; Cao Yunyuan et al. (chief compilers) Chronicles of Wu County in the Republic of China era, in Series of Local Chronicles in China (中国地方志集成), Book 12, 547. [^Back]

    [48]. ⑦ [Qing] Yu Yue, Studies on the Book of Changes, in 茶香室续钞, Vol. 12, block-printed edition during the reign of Emperor Guangxu. [^Back]

    [49]. ⑧ Cao Yunyuan et al. (chief compilers) Chronicles of Wu County in the Republic of China era, in Series of Local Chronicles in China (中国地方志集成), Book 12, 624. [^Back]

    [50]. ① Cheng Zhi “came to Wu and had a nice talk with an eminent monk called Dharmakara during the middle reign of Emperor Tianqi. He then left and lived in a seclusion to devote himself to principles dwelling in Yi and became totally enlightened, writing Sources of Yi and deeply aware of the way to carry the knowledge of things to the utmost. During the reign of Emperor Chongzhen, he lectured in Wu and attracted a large number of audiences. In the 8th year of the reign of Emperor Shunzhi, he passed away at the age of 50 and was buried in Yangshan Mountain. In the 16th year during the reign of Emperor Shunzhi (in 1661), the people of Wu asked the governor to arrange a tablet of Cheng Zhiin the Ancestral Temple dedicated to Cheng Brothers and their ancestors. ([Qing] Li Mingwan et al. (controller) & Feng Guifen (chief compiler), Chronicles of Suzhou Prefecture during the reign of Emperor Tongzhi, in Series of Local Chronicles in China (中国地方志集成), Book 7, 806) [^Back]

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ISSN:1002-7963

CN: 11-1039/K

Vol , No. 02, Pages 163-180

May 2016

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Abstract

  • 1 Interpretation of “give up ru (儒)”
  • 2 Huizhou businessmen “give up ru (儒) to engage in gu (贾)” and “gu (贾) but favor of ru (儒)”
  • 3 Reflection of the studies on the relevant issues concerning “give up ru (儒) to engage in gu (贾)”
  • 4 Further discussion
  • Footnote