Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/I-liang

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I-liang 怡良 (H. 悅亭), Oct. 18, 1791–1867 (1863?), official, was a Manchu of the Plain Red Banner and a member of the Gulgiya clan (瓜爾佳氏). His father, Wên-tê 文德 (H. 修園), became acting lieutenant-governor of Kansu, and his wife was a descendant of Dodo [q. v.]. A student of the Imperial Academy, I-liang began his official career as a clerk in the Board of Punishments in 1816 and was promoted to an assistant department director of that Board in 1825. Early in 1829, as a reward for his judicial work, he was sent from Peking to be prefect of Kao-chow, Kwangtung. Two years later he was transferred to a similar post at Nanning, Kwangsi, and after several months was made salt controller of Yunnan. In 1832 he was promoted to provincial judge of Anhwei and a year later was transferred to Kiangsu. In 1834 he was made acting financial commissioner of Kiangsi and in 1836 full financial commissioner and acting governor of Kiangsu. In 1838 he became governor of Kwangtung.

In the anti-opium movement at Canton I-liang supported the efforts of Lin Tsê-hsü [q. v.]. He memorialized the throne frequently, and was ommended for his seizures of opium and arrests of opium smokers. In August 1839 he submitted a joint memorial with the governor-general, Têng T'ing-chên [q. v.], reporting the improverent of the defenses of the Bocca Tigris, and of the facilities for examining foreign cargoes. On ground that ships under English protection were smuggling opium, he memorialized the throne to stop trade with England. At the beginning of 1840 he assisted Lin Tsê-hsü in carrying out the embargo and in expelling all British ships beyond the Bocca Tigris. For this he received the emperor's commendation.

After the fall of Lin Tsê-hsü and Têng T'ing-chên, who were recalled to Peking on September 28, 1840, I-liang was made acting governor-general of Kwangtung and Kwangsi, pending the arrival of Ch'i-shan [q. v.]. About the beginning of 1841 he was appointed concurrently superintendent of customs at Canton. Meanwhile Ch'i-shan reached Canton (November 29, 1840) and memorialized the throne in favor of a peace policy. I-liang, as well as others, did not agree with this policy and refused to join in the memorial. Ch'i-shan thereupon conducted his negotiations with Captain Elliot (see under Lin Tsê-hsü) in secrecy and without reference to I-liang; and on January 20, 1841 concluded the abortive Chuenpi convention by which trade was reopened and Hong Kong was ceded to England (see under Ch'i-shan). At the same time the British issued proclamations claiming sovereignty over the island, though approval by the emperor of the transaction had not yet been given. I-liang broke this news to the emperor; and his memorial, received on February 26, 1841, led to the immediate fall of Ch'i-shan and the dispatch of I-shan [q. v.]. to Canton to fight against the British. I-liang was again appointed acting governor-general until the arrival of Ch'i Kung (see under Ch'i-shan).

When the British forced the Bocca Tigris forts and, early in March 1841 advanced to Canton, the Chinese authorities were placed in a difficult position. I-liang was reluctant to fight, and on March 22, and again on April 18, he memorialized the throne in favor of allowing British trade at Canton. For this he was deprived of his rank but was permitted to continue at his post.

In January 1842 I-liang was made imperial commissioner and governor-general of Fukien and Chekiang. After the Treaty of Nanking (August 29), which provided for the opening of Amoy and Foochow to trade, he, in conjunction with other high officials, was ordered to fix the trade regulations.

In November 1842 the British envoy, Sir Henry Pottinger (see under Ch'i-ying) demanded redress for the execution of British subjects who had been wrecked on the coast of Formosa in the transport Nerbudda (September 1841) and in the brig Ann (March 1842). Some 200 persons from these two ships were beheaded by order of the Chinese authorities in Formosa, namely, the brigade general Ta-hung-a 達洪阿 (T. 厚庵, d. 1854), and the intendant Yao Ying (see under Fang Tung-shu). Ta-hung-a and Yao had reported to the emperor that the Nerbudda had been sunk as she attacked the Chinese batteries, and that they had ordered fishing vessels to lead the Ann astray in order to wreck it. For these exploits they had already been commended. I-liang was now sent to Formosa to investigate the truth of the matter. His report to the throne confirmed the British accusation that Ta-hung-a and Yao had reported incorrectly. They were therefore recalled to Peking (April 1843) and imprisoned. But local opinion in Formosa and elsewhere was so incensed at I-liang's decision that the charges against the two officials were dismissed in October 1843 and they were given other posts. Early in that year I-liang retired on the plea of ill health and remained at home for nine years.

In 1852 he was made Tartar General of Foochow. Early in 1853 he became governor-general of Kiangnan and Kiangsi at a time when the Taiping rebels were over-running a large part of the area under his jurisdiction. He remained in that post during the next four years. In this period local military affairs were chiefly under the control of the Imperial Commissioners, Hsiang Jung [q. v.] and Ch'i-shan. The governor of Kiangsu, Chi-êr-hang-a [q. v.], effected the recovery of the walled city of Shanghai from the rebels of the Triad Society who held it between September 7, 1853 and February 17, 1855.

The fall of Shanghai in September 1853 entailed the closing of the Chinese customs house there. Its reopening was sought by the superintendent, Wu Chien-chang [q. v.], but was delayed by action of the foreign consuls. I-liang supported Wu, and in February 1854 memorialized the throne proposing to stop the export of tea and silk via Shanghai. He hoped by such pressure on the foreign community to secure the reopening of the customs house, and to discourage foreign aid to the rebels who held the walled city. A few months later I-liang facilitated the creation of the foreign Inspectorate of Customs at Shanghai and empowered Wu Chien-chang to make the settlement which eventually led to the Maritime Customs Service.

On several occasions during this period the representatives of the Western powers, who could gain no satisfaction from Yeh Ming-ch'ên [q. v.] at Canton, sought to have I-liang transmit their complaints to the Court. This he generally declined to do. In domestic affairs he was ordered to frame regulations for the transport of rice by sea, and for raising military funds, and to investigate legal cases regarding the salt tax and other matters. In 1856 he settled a quarrel between Chang Kuo-liang (see under Hsiang Jung) and a certain Manchu officer. In May 1857 he resigned on grounds of illness. He died at his home several years later.

[1/377/2a; 1/375/5b; 2/48/45b, 44/7a; 7/43/7b; Ên-ling 恩齡, 正紅旗滿洲哈達瓜爾佳氏家譜 Chêng-hung-ch'i Man-chou Ha-ta Kua-êr-chia shih chia-p'u (1849); I-hsin [q. v.], Ch'ou-pan I-wu shih-mo (Tao-kuang period) 7/23, 10/4, 13/4b, 18, 22/4, 23, 26, 27, (Hsien-fêng period) 7 passim; F.O. 17/198–214 passim, Public Record Office, London; China 10, passim, State Department, Washington, D. C.]

J. K. Fairbank
Têng Ssŭ-yü