Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Ch'ung-hou

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3637558Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 1 — Ch'ung-houTu Lien-chê

CH'UNG-hou 崇厚 (T. 地山), Oct., 1826–1893, Apr., official, member of the Wanyen 完顏 clan and of the Manchu Bordered Yellow Banner, was the second son of Lin-ch'ing [q. v.] and the younger brother of Ch'ung-shih [q. v.]. After taking his chü-jên degree in 1849, he became, by purchase, department magistrate of Chiehchou, Kansu, a post he assumed early in 1851. Because his brother, Ch'ung-shih, contributed 10,000 taels to the government for military expenses in 1852, Ch'ung-hou was promoted to be a prefect in Honan. But after an audience with the emperor in 1853 he was made, owing to the disturbances of the time, a brigade-general to assist in the army of Shêng-pao (see under Lin Fêng-hsiang) which was then combating the Taiping rebels. He served as intendant of the Tungchow-Yungping Circuit (1855–56); as intendant in charge of the conservation of the Yung-ting River (1856–57); and as intendant of the Ch'ing-yüan and Ho-chien Circuit (1857–58)—all three of these activities being in the province of Chihli. In 1858 he was ordered to assist Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in [q. v.] in coast defense at Tientsin. After a promotion to salt controller of Ch'ang-lu, Chihli, in 1859, he was recommended by I-hsin [q. v.] in 1860 for the post of superintendent of trade for the three ports of Tientsin, Chefoo and Newchuang with residence at Tientsin. This post was established in 1861 and continued until 1870, Ch'ung-hou filling it throughout this period. Thereafter these responsibilities devolved on the governor-general of Chihli, who concurrently held the title of superintendent of trade for the northern ports. During the period (1861–70) when Ch'ung-hou was in office at Tientsin, treaties and trade regulations were made with several nations under his direction—among them being treaties with Denmark, Holland and Spain in 1863, with Belgium in 1865, with Italy in 1866, and with Austria in 1869.

In the summer of 1870 there occurred the unfortunate incident known as the Tientsin Massacre. After the Anglo-French campaign in North China in 1858–60 Tientsin was opened as a port of trade, and Catholic missionaries under French protection built there a church and an orphanage conducted by Sisters of Charity. A rumor gained currency that missionaries extracted human hearts and eyes for magical purposes. In the spring of 1870 the city was plagued with some cases of kidnapping and at the same time several children in the orphanage died of infectious diseases. Feeling against the institution grew, and before long a Chinese servant of the church was accused of kidnapping. The local authorities took up the matter with the church and the French consulate, and finally it was brought to the attention of Ch'ung-hou. By June 21 the people were so aroused that the church was besieged by a mob. On the same day a meeting was arranged between Ch'ung-hou and Fontanier 豐大業, the French consul. Before discussion could proceed, Fontanier lost his temper and used his pistol. The meeting broke up without a conciliation. In disregard of Ch'ung-hou's advice to remain in seclusion for a while, Fontanier ventured on the streets. Near the church where the mob spirit was running high he met the prefect of Tientsin, Liu Chieh 劉傑. Once again Fontanier drew his pistol and shot, wounding one of Liu's servants. Seeing this, the mob became infuriated, set the church on fire and killed the consul, two priests, ten Sisters of Charity and a score or more of Chinese servants. While the French chargé d'affaires, Rochechouart 羅淑亞 was waiting for instructions from his government, Tsêng Kuo-fan [q. v.], then governor-general of Chihli, stationed at Paoting, was ordered to go to Tientsin to take personal charge of the situation. By October, sixteen Chinese convicted as the murderers were executed, and Ch'ung-hou was appointed envoy to France to convey China's apology.

Ch'ung-hou was thus the first Chinese envoy sent to the West, not counting those who had previously accompanied Burlingame (see under Tung Hsün). Leaving Peking after an audience on October 25, 1870, he sailed from Shanghai on November 16 and arrived at Marseilles on January 25, 1871. As the Franco-Prussian War was then going on and Paris was beseiged, he stopped at Bordeaux, the temporary seat of the government. Unable to obtain an audience with President Thiers, he proceeded, after several months, to England to attend the South Kensington Exposition. By the middle of September he was in New York planning to go back to China by way of the Pacific. In the meantime the French government communicated with the Chinese government and Ch'ung-hou was ordered to return to France. By October 5 he had returned; the interview with Thiers took place on November 23 and Ch'ung-hou had an opportunity to deliver China's expression of regret. Having fulfilled his mission, he set sail, arriving at Shanghai on January 26, 1872.

Upon reporting at the capital, Ch'ung-hou was appointed senior vice-president of the Board of War and served concurrently in the Tsung-li Yamen. When on June 29, 1873 the first imperial audience was granted to the foreign ministers in Peking, Ch'ung-hou, being a member of the Tsung-li Yamen, took part in the ceremony. When Ch'ung-shih died at his post as military governor of Mukden in 1876, Ch'ung-hou was appointed to act in place of his deceased brother. With Ch'ung-hou as chief editor a work on the ordinances of Mukden, entitled 盛京典制備考 Shêng-ching tien-chih pei-k'ao, in 8 chüan, was compiled, and printed in 1878. In the summer of the same year he was appointed minister plenipotentiary to Russia.

Tso Tsung-t'ang [q. v.] having succeeded in 1878 in tranquilizing the whole of Chinese Turkestan, the Chinese government informed Russia that China was ready to take over the administration of Kuldja and the territory of Ili which Russia occupied in 1871 (see under Tso Tsung-t'ang and Tsêng Chi-tsê). Hence Ch'ung-hou was sent on a special mission to negotiate for the return of Ili. Arriving at St. Petersburg on December 31, 1878, he had an audience with the Tzar (Alexander II) and presented his credentials on January 20, 1879. Various conferences were held, chiefly between Ch'ung-hou and Butzow (see under Tsêng Chi-tsê). By the latter part of September negotiations came to a close and the terms of a treaty were agreed upon. As the Tzar and his high officials were then on their customary summer vacation at Livadia on the Black Sea, Ch'ung-hou left for that place on September 23. This treaty, known thereafter as the Treaty of Livadia—consisting of 18 articles with a set of trade regulations of 17 articles, and two special protocols, one concerning Aigun, the other concerning the cost of Russian occupation—was signed on October 2. Assuming that his mission was fulfilled, Ch'ung-hou left St. Petersburg for China October 11, entrusting his first secretary, Shao Yu-lien 邵友濂 (T. 筱(小)村, d. 1901, chü-jên of 1865), with further responsibilities in Russia. The treaty, however, encountered obstacles in China. From the moment its terms became known opinion in official circles was unfavorable. The treaty was regarded as a failure—involving diminution of Chinese territory and unfavorable trade concessions. Memorials denouncing Ch'ung-hou and the treaty—among them one by Chang Chih-tung [q. v.]—poured into Court. On January 2, 1880 an imperial edict was issued stating that the prevailing denunciation of Ch'ung-hou for abruptly leaving Russia without Imperial consent, and the terms of the treaty he had arranged, be made the subject of serious discussion. Two days later the Russian chargé d'affaires, Koyander 凱陽德, protested. On January 17 another edict was promulgated, dismissing Ch'ung-hou from office and handing him over to the Board of Punishments. Soon other foreign representatives in Peking filed protests. On February 19 the Chinese government issued a declaration renouncing the Treaty of Livadia. On March 3 Ch'ung-hou was sentenced to imprisonment awaiting decapitation. Meanwhile Tsêng Chi-tsê, then minister to England and France, was appointed minister to Russia with a view to reopening the negotiations. On the recommendation of Tsêng, Ch'ung-hou's sentence of decapitation was commuted to imprisonment. Some Western sources declare that his life was in reality spared owing to a personal message sent by Queen Victoria to the Empress Dowager. After making a contribution of 300,000 taels to the government's military expenses (1884) Ch'ung-hou was released. In the winter of that year, on the occasion of the Empress Dowager's fiftieth birthday, he was permitted to present, along with the other officials, his personal felicitations, and was given a rank two grades lower than his original rank. Thereafter he lived in obscurity until his death.

[1/452/2b; Allen, Young 林樂知, 使法事略 Shih-Fa shih-lüeh in Hsiao-fang-hu chai yü-ti ts'ung-ch'ao (see under Hsü Chi-yü); Chang Tê-i 張德彝, 四述奇 Ssŭ shu-ch'i ; Chin Liang (see under Wêng T'ung-ho) Chin-shih jên-wu chih, p. 149; Tung-hua lu; Ch'ou-pan i-wu shih-mo (see under I-hsin); Ch'ing-chi wai-chiao shih-liao (see under I-hsin); see also bibliography under Ch'ung-shih; Henri Cordier, Histoire des relations de la Chine avec les puissances occidentales (1902) vols. I, II; T'oung Pao, 1893, p. 384; 史學年報 Shih-hsüeh nien-pao, vol. 2, no. 5 (1938) pp. 529–30.]

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