Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Amin

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3633217Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 1 — AminGeorge A. Kennedy

AMIN 阿敏(慜), d. 1640, Dec. 28, age 55 (sui), member of the Aisin Gioro Clan, was the second son of Šurhaci [q. v.]. In 1608, and again in 1613, he played an important part in the war against the Ula tribe (see under Bujantai). At first he held the rank of a taiji 台吉, Mongolian word for a minor prince. In 1616 when his uncle, Nurhaci [q. v.], assumed the title of Khan or Emperor, Amin was made one of the Four Senior Beile (see under Nurhaci) to assist in the administration. In order of seniority he was known as the Second Beile, and was given command of the Bordered Blue Banner. He took part in 1619 in the great battles against the expeditionary force sent by the Ming Court (see under Yang Hao). In 1621 he fought bravely during the taking of Shên-yang and Liao-yang and then commanded the expedition which drove Mao Wên-lung [q. v.] from Korea. In 1626, after Nurhaci died and Abahai [q. v.], the Fourth Beile, succeeded to the throne, Amin and the other two Senior Beile, Daišan and Manggûltai [qq. v.], ruled jointly with Abahai. In 1627 Amin was in command of the expedition to Korea and was successful in forcing the king of Korea to sue for peace. His aim in subjugating Korea was probably to make himself king of that country, but he was opposed by the other princes who had been sent as his assistants, including his own brother, Jirgalang [q. v.], and his nephews, Dudu (see under Cuyen) and Yoto [q. v.]. When these princes signed separately a treaty with the Korean king, Amin was so angry that he set his troops free for three days of pillaging.

In 1629, when Abahai invaded China, Amin was left at Mukden as regent. After Abahai returned to Mukden in April 1630 Amin was sent to Yung-p'ing to guard the four cities that had been recently conquered. Amin arrived at Yung-p'ing on May 6, but soon the Ming troops counter-attacked and defeated the Manchus in several battles. On June 22, when the Ming troops were approaching, Amin fled from Yung-p'ing but not before he had plundered the city and massacred the Chinese inhabitants. Upon his arrival at Shên-yang in July Amin was arrested and tried for fleeing from his post, for not having confronted the enemy in a single engagement, for losing many warriors, and for other misdemeanors. A council of princes and high officials condemned him to death on sixteen counts, but Abahai commuted the sentence to incarceration. Amin died in prison.

The fall of Amin cleared the way for Abahai to consolidate his powers over the other princes. The Bordered Blue Banner which Amin had controlled was given to his younger brother, Jirgalang, a devoted follower of Abahai. From this it is clear that Abahai was still fearful of radically altering the Banner arrangements which his father had designated (see under Nurhaci). But the elimination of Amin made it easier for Abahai to reduce the power of Manggûltai (1631) and to appropriate for himself the latter's Plain Blue Banner.

[1/221/5a; 2/3/11b; 3/首9/1a; Hauer, E., K'ai-kuo fang-lüeh, pp. 236–41, passim; 34/133/1a; Mêng Sên 孟森, 八旗制度考實 in Bulletin of the Institute of History and Philology (Academia Sinica), vol. VI, part 3 (1936).]

George A. Kennedy