Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Ajige

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3633203Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 1 — AjigeFang Chao-ying

AJIGE 阿濟格, Aug. 28, 1605–1651, Nov. 28, Prince Ying 英親王, was the twelfth son of Nurhaci [q. v.]. His mother was Empress Hsiao-lieh [q. v.] and he had two younger brothers, Dorgon and Dodo [qq. v.]. In 1625 he accompanied his half-brothers in a campaign against the Mongols, and in the following year was made a beile. Before Nurhaci died in 1626 he designated Ajige to be in control of one of the eight banners, but for some reason the order was never carried out by Nurhaci's successor, Abahai [q. v.]. Ajige was merely given several niuru in the two White Banners of his brothers, Dorgon and Dodo. Thereafter he assisted Abahai in various campaigns against neighboring countries. He took part in the invasion of China (1636), in the capture of the island, P'i-tao 皮島 (1637), in the siege of Chin-chou and Sung-shan (see under Hung Ch'êng-ch'ou and Tsu Ta-shou), and in the occupation of Ming cities and forts east of Shanhaikuan, (1643). In 1636 he was made a prince of the second degree with the designation Wu-ying 武英郡王, but in 1644, after accompanying Dorgon to Peking, he was elevated to a prince of the first degree with the designation Ying. He was given the title Ching-yüan Ta Chiang-chün 靖遠大將軍 and commanded the army that was sent to Shensi by the northern route in pursuit of Li Tzŭ-ch'êng [q. v.]. Another army, under Dodo, marched to the same destination through Honan. In 1645 Ajige subjugated northern Shensi, and when Dodo was ordered south to Nanking Ajige was entrusted with the expedition sent to capture Li Tzŭ-ch'êng. He followed the rebel into Hupeh, and after administering a decisive defeat stabilized both Hupeh and Kiangsi — the forces under Tso Mêng-kêng (see under Tso Liang-yü) surrendering to him at Kiukiang. But despite these victories, Ajige was recalled to Peking. Because he had reported the death of Li Tzŭ-ch'êng who was still living, and had offended on several other counts, he was fined instead of being given the customary rewards.

In 1648 Ajige subdued a local uprising at Tientsin and early in the following year he and Nikan (d. 1652, q.v.) were sent to Ta-t'ung, Shansi, to guard that place against the Mongols. But the general already in command at Ta-t'ung, Chiang Hsiang [q. v.], who had previously surrendered to the Manchus, suspecting that Ajige's forces were directed against him, rebelled as Ajige approached the city. Ajige, after being invested with the title Ting-hsi (定西) Ta Chiang-chün, surrounded Ta-t'ung and directed a siege. During the same year (1649) he requested Dorgon, who was then in Ta-t'ung directing the campaign in person, to appoint him assistant regent, but the request was refused. Later Ajige asked permission to erect a mansion for himself, but for this he was severely reprimanded. Late in 1649 when Chiang Hsiang was assassinated he recovered Ta-t'ung for the Manchus.

After the death of Dorgon (at the close of 1650) Ajige busily rallied supporters with a view to making himself regent. But when he was on his way to the funeral of Dorgon, he was arrested by Jirgalang [q. v.] and other princes, and was escorted to Peking and imprisoned. At first he was simply shorn of his titles and put under restraint with his family, but later the sentence was raised to solitary confinement, confiscation of his property and expulsion of himself and his family from the imperial clan. Found in possession of weapons, and accused (late in 1651) of attempted arson in prison, he was compelled to commit suicide. His descendants were, however, branch by branch gradually reclaimed by the imperial clan. A great-great-granddaughter of Ajige became the wife of Nien Kêng-yao [q. v.].

[1/168/59b; 1/223/10b; 2/1/7b; 3/ 3/16a.]

Fang Chao-ying