Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Ebilun

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3637575Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 1 — EbilunGeorge A. Kennedy

EBILUN 遏必隆 (d. 1674), a member of the Bordered Yellow Banner, was the sixteenth son of Eidu [q. v.] of the Niohuru clan. His mother was a sister, or perhaps a cousin, of Nurhaci [q. v.]. In 1634, when his father was posthumously given the rank of a viscount, Ebilun was made inheritor of that rank. A year later he was given hereditary command of a company (tso-ling) in his own banner. In 1637 he was involved in the case of his niece, a daughter of his brother, Turgei (see under Eidu), who was the wife of Nikan [q. v.]. This niece was accused in that year of having concealed the identity of an adopted girl in the hope of claiming her as her own daughter. Ebilun sought the removal of one of the judges in the case in order to promote his niece's interests at the trial. His activities were exposed and he was punished by being deprived of his post and of his inherited rank of viscount. Although owing to his courage in battle in the years 1641–42 he was reappointed captain of a company, his hereditary rank was not restored until 1713 (see under Eidu). In 1645–46 he served under Lekedehun [q. v.] in the military campaign in Hupeh and was rewarded with a minor hereditary rank.

At this time Ebilun faced a dark future. He was a member of the Bordered Yellow Banner which belonged to Emperor Shih-tsu, then a child. He was faithful to his master, but the powerful Regent, Dorgon [q. v.], who then commanded the White Banners, was hostile toward those members of the Yellow Banners who would not come to his support. In 1648 Kobso 廓布梭, a nephew of Ebilun, and heir to Turgei's dukedom, joined Dorgon's clique and accused Ebilun and his own deceased father of having opposed Dorgon. The accusation referred to events following the death of Emperor T'ai-tsung (i.e., Abahai, q.v.) in 1643, when Ebilun and Turgei ordered their men to take up arms in defense of the interests of the deceased Emperor's son, and to prepare against any threats from Dorgon. For this reason, among others, Ebilun was deprived of his offices and of his minor hereditary rank, and suffered confiscation of half his property.

But after Dorgon died (late in 1650), the tables were turned. Emperor Shih-tsu took over the government and rewarded those members of the Bordered Yellow Banner, such as Ebilun, Oboi [q. v.], and Soni (see under Songgotu) who had remained loyal to him during the regency. Ebilun was restored to his former rank and office in 1651. His nephew, Kobso, the accuser, was punished and deprived of the dukedom which he had inherited from his father, Turgei. Early in 1652 the dukedom was awarded to Ebilun, who was also made a member of the council of princes and high officials. Late in 1652 he was made a chamberlain of the Imperial Bodyguard.

Early in 1661, when Emperor Shih-tsu was dying, he appointed four men to form a regency during the minority of his son, Emperor Shêng-tsu. Ebilun was one of the men chosen. In 1667, when Emperor Shêng-tsu took over the government, Oboi, one of the four regents, was almost in complete control. One of the other regents, Soni, was dying of old age. A third, Suksaha (see under Oboi), was sentenced to death for opposing Oboi. Ebilun, however, took Oboi's side and so for a time remained in office. For their services during the regency he and Oboi were each given an additional dukedom. Ebilun held the dukedom left by Turgei, while his eldest son, Faka 法喀, inherited the additional rank. In 1669, when Oboi was punished for usurping power, Ebilun was also punished for failure to restrain or oppose the former. The additional dukedom which Ebilun had received was now abolished, and his own dukedom was taken from him and given to Faka. All his relatives who filled high positions were discharged. However, in 1670 Emperor Shêngtsu gave Ebilun the title of duke and ordered him again to serve at Court. Early in 1674 Ebilun became very ill and was paid a visit by the Emperor. He died soon after and was given the posthumous name, K'o-hsi 恪僖. A tablet to his memory was erected at his tomb in 1675. One of his daughters, who at first was a concubine of Emperor Shêng-tsu, was elevated to Empress in 1677. She died in 1678 and was canonized as Hsiao-chao 孝昭 (known after 1723 as Hsiao-chao Jên Huang-hou 仁皇后). In deference to her a temple was erected in memory of her father. It was completed early in 1679.

Ebilun had five sons. The eldest, Faka, who inherited the dukedom in 1667 was deprived of it in 1670, but was given the dukedom originally left by Turgei. In 1686 the dukedom was taken from Faka and given to Ebilun's fifth son, Alingga 阿靈阿 (d. 1716). The latter was prominent in the Court of Emperor Shêng-tsu and served as president of the Court of Colonial Affairs (January 1706–16). In 1708 he and K'uei-hsü and Maci [qq. v.] were reprimanded for conspiring to name Yin-ssŭ [q. v.] heir-apparent. After Alingga's death his son, Arsungga 阿爾松阿 (d. 1726), became the sixth duke and for a time served as president of the Board of Punishments (1724). But because Arsungga and his father had been supporters of Yin-ssŭ and opponents of Emperor Shih-tsung in the controversy over the latter's succession (see under Yin-chên) Arsungga was deprived of his position (1724) and exiled to Mukden; and Alingga was posthumously dishonored by a tablet describing him as "incompetent as an official, unbrotherly, violent and corrupt" (不臣, 不弟, 暴悍, 貪庸). Arsungga and his associate, Olondai (see under T'ung Kuo-kang), were decapitated in 1726 for "not repenting" (i.e., for showing disapproval of the way Emperor Shih-tsung obtained the throne).

The fourth son of Ebilun, Yende 音[尹]德 (d. 1727, posthumous name 愨敬), was more fortunate than his brothers. When the rank of viscount (lost by Eidu in 1637) was restored to the family in 1713 Yende was made the recipient. He was obedient to Emperor Shih-tsung and served him unquestioningly. In 1724 he was appointed to Arsungga's rank and became the seventh duke. Among Yende's sons the second, No-ch'in (see under Chang Kuang-ssŭ), inherited the dukedom to which was added in 1731 the designation, Kuo-i (果毅公). No-ch'in was a powerful minister in the early Ch'ien-lung period, serving as a Grand Secretary (1745–48) and as Grand Councilor (1733–48). In May 1748 he was sent to Szechwan to take the place of Chang Kuang-ssŭ [q. v.] as commander of the armies fighting the Chin-ch'uan tribes, but was soon deprived of his post because of his failure to advance—he and Chang having mutually blamed each other. Chang was executed in Peking in 1749 and No-ch'in was beheaded, at the front, with a sword which had originally belonged to his grandfather, Ebilun, and which was sent from Peking for that purpose by order of Emperor Kao-tsung.

Late in 1748 No-ch'in's dukedom was given to Yende's eldest son, Tsereng (see under Chao-hui), who served as governor-general of Kwangtung and Kwangsi (1745–48), and of Szechwan (1748–53). Tsereng took part in the first Chin-ch'uan war (see under Fu-hêng), in suppressing the rebellion of 1750 in Tibet (see under Fu-ch'ing), and in the conquest of the Eleuths during the years 1754–56. In 1756, for failure to capture Amursana [q. v.], Tsereng was placed under arrest for escort to Peking but he was murdered on the way (1757) by the belligerent Eleuths.

Yende's youngest son, A-li-kun (see under Fu-hêng), was the eleventh duke. He inherited that rank in 1759 after assisting Fu-tê [q. v.] in rescuing Chao-hui [q. v.] at Yarkand. He died of an illness early in 1770 while serving under Fu-hêng in the campaign against Burma. His son, Fengšengge 豐昇額 (d. 1777, posthumous name 誠武), inherited the dukedom in 1770 and took part (1770–76) in the second Chin-ch'uan war (see under A-kuei). For his brave exploits another designation was added to his dukedom in 1775, so that the title read Kuo-i Chi-yung kung (繼勇公). He was also made a viscount, a rank inherited by his younger brother, Buyendalai 布彥達賚 (d. 1800, posthumous name 恭勤), who was the father of Emperor Hsüan-tsung's first wife.

Fengšengge was the last of the descendants of Ebilun to have an illustrious career in the government or in the army. In the eighteen-fifties, when Sai-shang-a (see under Ch'ung-ch'i) was sent by Emperor Wên-tsung to command the armies against the Taiping rebels, he was given the sword of Ebilun as a symbol of authority. It was one of the few occasions in which the memory of Ebilun and the great family of Eidu was revived.

George A. Kennedy

[1/255/6a; 2/6/17a; 3/269/41a; 4/5/2a; 7/3/4a; 9/3/1a; 11/7/1a; 34/137/24a; China Review, vol. IX, 1880–81, p. 170.]