Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Kêng Chi-mao

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KÊNG Chi-mao 耿繼茂, d. 1671, was the eldest son of Kêng Chung-ming [q. v.] and a member of the Chinese Plain Yellow Banner. Like his father who fought vigorously against the Mings after he joined the Manchus, he was throughout his life a bitter opponent of the defunct dynasty. In 1649 Kêng Chi-mao set out with his father, Prince Ching-nan 靖南王, on an expedition to Kwangtung. As the father died during the journey the son was placed in command, but the hereditary rights to his title were cancelled. After his arrival in Kwangtung, Kêng Chi-mao was closely associated with Shang K'o-hsi [q. v.] in the campaigns against the Ming Prince of Kuei (see under Chu Yu-lang). He and Shang K'o-hsi captured Canton and other cities in Kwangtung, drove the Ming troops into Kwangsi, and garrisoned Kwangtung with headquarters at Canton. In 1651, in recognition of his victories, an imperial edict restored to Kêng his hereditary title, Ching-nan wang. In 1652 Li Ting-kuo [q. v.] invaded Kwangsi (at the command of the Prince of Kuei) and overwhelmingly defeated the Ch'ing forces. Both Kêng and Shang came to the relief of Wuchow and other cites of Kwangsi. A year later Kêng suppressed the rebellion of a general in Ch'ao-chou, Kwangtung. With the aid of the Manchu general, Jumara 朱瑪喇, he defeated Li Ting-kuo who, as late as 1654, was still stubbornly resisting the Ch'ing forces. Li attacked Nan-ning, Kwangsi, but was pursued by Kêng who outwitted him and mercilessly butchered his men, whereupon Li escaped to Yunnan. Following the siege of Canton in 1650, accusations of ruthlessness were brought against Kêng and Shang. Taking the city from the Ming forces after a nine months' siege, they slaughtered all adults in retaliation for their prolonged resistence. A complaint about such unnecessary slaughter was filed with the emperor but was quashed after Kêng explained that it was justifiable. In 1656 Kêng's annual allowance was augmented by 1,000 ounces of silver in recognition of his meritorious services. But complaints charging him with commandeering labor and levying illegal taxes took effect and the emperor ordered Kêng transferred to Szechwan. Later the appointment was changed to Kwangsi, but both these orders Kêng ignored.

In 1660 Kêng was transferred to Fukien and there joined the governor-general, Li Shuai-t'ai, in his attacks on the forces under Chêng Ch'êng-kung [qq. v.]. Again he proved courageous and unconquerable as a military leader. On learning in 1662 that Chêng Ch'êng-kung had died and that there was dissension within the Chêng clan he promptly called upon the dissenters to surrender, with the result that "officials by the hundreds and soldiers by the thousands" joined the Ch'ing ranks. In November 1663, Kêng, Shih Lang [q. v.] and Li Shuai-t'ai went down the coast by sea and captured Amoy and Chin-mên (Quemoy). With the aid of Huang Wu [q. v.] they defeated Chêng Ching [q. v.] at T'ung-shan, forcing him to flee with the remnants of his fleet to Formosa. Again the slaughter was enormous and the old tallying of heads for soldier's points of merit was resorted to. Kêng was consistently successful in battle and in strategy. His character appealed to the Manchus, and after the victory at Amoy his yearly allowance was again augmented by 1,000 ounces of silver. Worn out by his campaigns, he asked the Emperor for permission to hand over his offices and title to his eldest son, Kêng Ching-chung [q. v.]. He died in June 1671 and was posthumously honored with the title Chung-min 忠敏. Two younger sons, Kêng Chao-chung 耿昭忠 (d. 1686) and Kêng Chü-chung 耿聚忠 (d. 1687), both married daughters of princes of the Imperial Family.


[1/240/7a; 11/7/56a; 2/5/31b; 9/1/16b.]

E. S. Larsen