Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Hsiung T'ing-pi

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3639961Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 1 — Hsiung T'ing-piGeorge A. Kennedy

HSIUNG T'ing-pi 熊廷弼 (T. 飛百, H. 芝岡), d. Sept. 27, 1625 age 57 (sui), Ming general, was a native of Chiang-hsia, Hupeh. He received the degree of chin-shih in 1598 and began his career as police magistrate at Paoting, Chihli. In 1608 he was sent to Liaotung, where he recommended the establishment of military colonies and stronger border defenses. But his "preparedness program" was ridiculed at Court and in 1611 he was transferred to the civilian post of inspector of education in Nanking, in which position he distinguished himself chiefly by his severity. When Yang Hao [q. v.] was defeated by the Manchus in 1619 the Court, recalling Hsiung's earlier prophecies, sent him as commander with discretionary powers to Liaotung. After the fall of K'ai-yüan and T'ieh-ling on July 26 and September 3 respectively, Hsiung devoted himself to augmenting defenses and improving the morale of the troops in Liaotung. His military prowess and personal courage inspired those under him, but his reckless criticism of the bureaucratic party in Court antagonized those in control. In 1620 he was removed from his post and replaced by Yüan Ying-t'ai [q. v.]. But the loss of the two cities of Shen-yang and Liao-yang in 1621 and the rout of the Chinese troops moved the government to reinstate him, and commission him with the defense of Shanhaikuan. Wang Hua-chên [q. v.] was simultaneously appointed governor of Liaotung, with headquarters at Kuang-ning. The bitter quarrel that ensued between the two officers on matters of policy was an unfortunate aspect of the Chinese situation. Wang proposed hiring large bodies of Mongol mercenaries to retake the lost territory while Hsiung, less optimistic, saw hope only in defensive measures. In March 1622 Wang was disastrously defeated at Kuang-ning, and his troops poured back through Shanhaikuan carrying Hsiung's smaller force with them. Both commanders were arrested and condemned to death for deserting their posts. Hsiung was executed on September 27, 1625 in consequence of the intrigues of his opponent, Fêng Ch'üan [q. v.]. In 1629 the last Ming Emperor permitted a son to bury Hsiung's head, and the posthumous name Hsiang-min 襄愍 was granted. A number of memorials, letters and official papers by Hsiung T'ing-pi, under the title 熊襄愍文集, Hsiung Hsiang-min wên-chi, in 7 chüan, are preserved in the collection, Ch'ien-k'un chêng-ch'i chi (see under Huang Tao-chou), chüan 282–88.

[M1/259/7a; 續表忠記 Hsü piao-chung-chi 2/1a; Giles, B. D. 755; Chiang-hsia-hsien chih (1869) 6/4b; see also the literary supplement to this gazetteer, 上 pp. 58a, 71a, 90a, 下 4b, 41a, 61, 67a, 68a, 73b; 明季北略 Ming-chi pei-lüeh 1/5b, 8b, 2/6a.]

George A. Kennedy