Latest Published Biography:
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Yuan Jixian 袁繼咸 (T. 季通 H.臨侯, 湛思, 袁山), 1598-1646, Aug. 7, Ming loyalist, was a native of Yichun, Jiangxi. After becoming a jinshi in 1625, he served as an emissary (行人) in the Office for the Transmission of Imperial Messages. In 1630 he was made a censor, and four years later became commissioner of education in Shanxi where he was accused (1636) of bribery (see under Fu Shan) by an adherent of Wei Zhongxian [q.v.]. When he was taken to Beijing and imprisoned in the winter of 1636 the students of Shanxi, of whom Fu Shan [q.v.] was the most active, petitioned the emperor on Yuan's behalf. As a result Yuan was set free in the following year (1637) and was appointed counselor to the financial commissioner of Huguang (湖廣參議). After quelling several local uprisings, he was made (1640) governor of Hubei, stationed at Yunyang. Owing to his failure to defend Xiangyang, Hubei, against Zhang Xianzhong [q.v.], he was degraded and exiled to [949] Guizhou (1641). In the following year he was recalled and offered the post of supervisor of military colonization in Hebei (總理河北屯田), which he declined.

Meanwhile Jiangxi province was in danger of invasion by Zhang Xianzhong, and Yuan was appointed, on recommendation of Wu Shen 吳甡 (T. 鹿友, jinshi of 1613), to the newly created post of governor-general of Jiangxi, Hubei, Ying-t'ien, and Anking, with headquarters at Jiujiang. Upon the dismissal of Wu Shen in 1643 Yuan's post was given to Lv Daqi 呂大器 (T. 儼若, 先自, 東川), a jinshi of 1628. But as the latter found it impossible to co-operate with Zuo Liangyu [q.v.], Yuan was reinstated. When the Prince of Fu (see under Zhu Yousong) was proclaimed Emperor at Nanjing (June 19, 1644), it was Yuan who influenced Zuo Liangyu to recognize the newly-established Court. Zuo, however, was opposed to Ma Shih-ying [q.v.] who at that time was influential at the Nanjing Court. In the following year, urged perhaps by his subordinates, Zuo led his army eastwards towards Nanjing, taking Jiujiang on April 29, 1645. He died the same night and his son, Zuo Menggeng (see under Zuo Liangyu), was placed in command of the army. The son, however, unable to hold the loyalty of his father's troops, saw his power weaken, and possibly made overtures to the Qing forces. He escorted Yuan--long sought by the Manchus--to Chizhou, Anhui, where not long after Zuo Menggeng surrendered to the Qing forces. Yuan was made prisoner (May 26, 1645) and was taken to Beijing. After refusing repeatedly to take the posts which the Manchus offered him, he was finally put to death (August 7, 1646). In 1766 Emperor Gaozong conferred on him the posthumous name, Zhong yi 忠毅.

Yuan's literary remains, entitled 六柳堂遺集 Liuliu tang yiji, in 3 juan, and a collection of his verse, entitled 未優軒詩草 Weiyou xuan shicao, were banned during the Qing period. One juan of the former, entitled 潯陽記事 Xunyang jishi, was reprinted in 1915 in the 豫章叢書 Yunzhang congshu.

[ M. 1/277/la; M. 3/255/5b; M. 35/12/6a; M. 41/9/12a, 12/35a; M. 59/15/4a; Yichun xianzhi (1870) 7/llb, 8 zhongyi 3b; 袁州府志 Yuanzhou fuzhi (1874) 8 zhongyi 2/2h].