Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Hung Ch'êng-ch'ou

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3640787Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 1 — Hung Ch'êng-ch'ouFang Chao-ying

HUNG Ch'êng-ch'ou 洪承疇 (T. 彥演, H. 亨九), Oct. 16, 1593–1665, Apr. 3, Ming-Ch'ing official, was a native of Nan-an, Fukien. A chin-shih of 1616, he first served under the Ming dynasty as an official in the Board of Punishments and later was promoted through various offices in the provinces of Chekiang, Kiangsi, and Shensi. Because of his success in suppressing bandits in Shensi, he was made governor-general of that province in 1631 and three years later governor-general of the five provinces of Honan, Shansi, Shensi, Szechwan and Hukuang, replacing Ch'ên Ch'i-yü [q. v.]. After several times defeating the bandit leader Li Tzŭ-ch'êng [q. v.], Hung succeeded early in 1638 in dealing him a crushing blow near T'ung-kuan, Shensi. Li fled with a handful of men and stayed in the mountains for more than a year. Meanwhile the Manchus invaded Chihli and were threatening Peking. Hung was ordered to defend the capital and, early in 1639, was made governor-general of northeastern Chihli and Liaotung (薊遼總督). In 1641, when he attempted to assist Tsu Ta-shou [q. v.] who was besieged by the Manchus in the city of Chin-chou, Hung was himself besieged in the city of Sung-shan, and was captured by the Manchus when the city fell on March 19, 1642. He surrendered and was ordered to serve in the Chinese Bordered Yellow Banner. A false report of his death reached Peking, and the Ming Emperor I-tsung decreed that a temple should be built in Peking in honor of this supposedly loyal official. The temple, now standing immediately outside and east of the great gate, Chêng Yang Mên 正陽門, popularly known as Ch'ien Mên 前門, is said to be the one built for him, but it was dedicated instead to the Chinese God of War (Kuan Yü).

Hung Ch'êng-chou was well treated by the Manchu chief, Abahai [q. v.], later known as Emperor T'ai-tsung, and was ordered to join the Chinese Bordered Yellow Banner but was not given any power until the Manchu Court was set up in Peking in 1644 under Dorgon [q. v.]. He was then, at the age of fifty-two (sui), made a Grand Secretary. In 1645 he was sent to Nanking with the title of Pacificator of Kiangnan (招撫江南) but was actually entrusted with the task of raising funds and providing food for the armies under Lekedehun, Bolo [qq. v.] and other generals who were engaged in conquering South China. Hung was also responsible for the capture and execution, early in 1646, of Huang Tao-chou [q. v.], a Ming Grand Secretary under the Prince of T'ang and commander of troops in Anhwei. Many Ming officials and members of the Imperial Family who led the opposition in Kiangnan were suppressed by him. Nevertheless, he was constantly suspected by the Manchus, and was several times accused of having secret relations with the Ming side. During his three years at Nanking he lost the sight of his right eye, and in 1647 the left one also became dim. His father having meanwhile died at the ancestral home in Fukien, he asked for leave. This was granted, but before the period of mourning was concluded, he was ordered to continue at his post as Grand Secretary. Hence in 1648 he returned to Peking, taking his mother with him. For a few months, in 1651, he was concurrently in charge of the Censorate. With a view to reforming that office he held a secret meeting with Ch'ên Ming-hsia [q. v.] and Ch'ên Chih-lin (see under Ch'ên Shih-kuan), but all three were in consequence accused of conspiracy. Hung was blamed, in addition, for sending his mother back to Fukien without notifying the Emperor. He was allowed, however, to remain at his post.

In 1652 Hung's mother died in Fukien but he was not permitted to retire for mourning. In that year the defeat of the Manchu troops in the provinces of Kwangsi, Hunan, and Szechwan by the southern Ming generals, Li Ting-kuo and Sun K'o-wang [qq. v.], worried the Court at Peking. News of K'ung Yu-tê's [q. v.] death prompted the young Emperor Shih-tsu to send a strong man as commander of the Ch'ing forces in the south. Hung was selected and appointed governor-general of the five provinces of Hukuang, Kwangtung, Kwangsi, Yunnan, and Kweichow, with command of all Chinese civil and military officials in those provinces. He was granted the title of Grand Guardian (raised in 1656 to Grand Tutor), and was given a special seal reading, Ching-lüeh Ta-hsüeh-shih 經略大學士, that is, Grand Secretary and Commander-in-chief. His real task, however, was again to provide for the armies. With Changsha as his headquarters, he and the generals were able to check the advance of the southern Ming troops. For a time in 1657 he was released from his military duty, but was soon ordered to resume it when a civil war broke out among the generals of the Prince of Kuei (i.e., Chu Yu-lang). Sun K'o-wang, defeated by Li Ting-kuo, surrendered to Hung late in 1657. This weakened the southern Ming forces, and in 1658 the Ch'ing armies marched on Kweichow along three routes: one under Wu San-kuei [q. v.] advanced from Szechwan; another under Jaobtai 趙布太 advanced from Kwangsi; and a third, composed of Chinese troops under Hung himself, advanced from Hunan, together with a Manchu force, commanded first by Loto (see under Šurhaci) and later by Doni (see under Dodo).

In a few months Kweichow was occupied by these armies which soon pushed on to Yunnan while Hung remained at Kweiyang to attend to military supplies. Early in 1659 the capital of Yunnan, where the Prince of Kuei had set up his Court, was also taken. The Ming prince fled to Burma (see under Chu Yu-lang). It seems that Hung did not have the heart to press the Ming prince further, as the Manchu Court ordered him to do, and asked permission to return to Peking on the ground that he was old and infirm and that he was nearly blind. Permission was granted, and the task of exterminating the last Ming prince was entrusted to Wu San-kuei.

Upon his arrival in Peking in 1660 Hung Ch'êng-ch'ou served one year more as Grand Secretary. In May 1661, three months after Emperor Shih-tsu died, he was allowed to retire. For all his services as one of the most useful tools in the Manchu conquest of China, he was awarded only the minor hereditary rank of a Ch'ing-ch'ê tu-yü of the third class. This slight recognition is attributed by some historians to the fact that he had declined to press the war in Yunnan, as just stated. He died in 1665 and was canonized as Wên-hsiang 文襄. In the official draft biographies, as revised by Emperor Kao-tsung, Hung's name was placed among the Êr-ch'ên, the "officials who had served two dynasties" (see under Chou Liang-kung).

Hung Ch'êng-ch'ou was praised by Li Kuang-ti [q. v.] as prudent and deliberate. He concentrated on the routine tasks entrusted to him and so gave no occasion for officious Manchus to distrust him as they did other Grand Secretaries, such as Ch'ên Ming-hsia. His son, Hung Shih-ch'in 洪士欽, was a chin-shih of 1655 who inherited his father's rank. Hung's house in Peking, located east of the Drum Tower, was, in 1930, taken over for preservation by the municipal government of Peiping. In the same year an exhibition of documents, portraits, and objects bearing on his life was held by the Historical Museum of Peiping, with the assistance of one of Hung's descendants.

A work in 2 chüan, entitled 洪大經略奏對筆記 Hung Ta-ching-lüeh tsou-tui pi-chi, printed in the Hsi-yung hsüan ts'ung-shu (see under Ch'ên Hung-shou) in 1930, purports to be a record of Hung's conversations with Emperor Shih-tsu as recorded by Hung himself. But the references to India as a British colony, and other anachronisms, prove this to be a product of the nineteenth century. The only writings of Hung that seem to be extant are his official documents, mostly memorials to the throne. One such collection, preserved in the National Peking University, was printed in 1937 under the title, Hung Ch'êng-ch'ou chang-tsou wên-ts'ê hui-chi (章奏文册彙輯), with a postscript by Mêng Sên (see under Chao I-ch'ing). Among other publications which contain his documents may be mentioned: the 明清史料 Ming Ch'ing shih-liao (3 series, 10 volumes each, 1930–36), and the 掌故叢編 Chang-ku ts'ung-pien (no. 3, 1928).

[1/243/1a; 2/78/20a; M.1/24/1a; Shun-t'ien-fu-chih (1886) 14/11b, 16/18a; 泉州府志 Ch'üan-chou fu-chih (1763) 56/10a; Academia Sinica, Fourth Annual Report (1931–32), pp. 290–95, with portraits; Ming-Ch'ing shih-liao, series I, 2/181a, 6/557a, 6/598a; Hauer, K'ai-kuo fang-lüeh, p. 537; T'oung Pao, 1913, p. 80; Bulletin of the Society for Research in Chinese Architecture, vol. 3, no. 3, p. 181, Sept. 1932.]

Fang Chao-ying