Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Ma Shih-ying

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3646145Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 1 — Ma Shih-yingEarl Swisher

MA Shih-ying 馬士英 (T. 瑤草), 1591–1646(47), notorious official of the Ming and southern Ming courts, was a native of Kweiyang, Kweichow. He passed the metropolitan examination in 1616 and became a chin-shih in 1619. After holding various posts in the capital and elsewhere, he was appointed in September 1632 governor of Hsüan-fu 宣府 (with jurisdiction over the northern districts of Chihli and Shansi). But shortly after he assumed office he was charged by the eunuch Wang K'un (see under Ting K'uei-ch'u) with mulcting his constituents and bribing Court officials, and in November he was exiled to the frontier. Through the help of his classmate and lifelong friend, Juan Ta-ch'êng [q. v.], he was recalled and made governor-general of Fêng-yang, Anhwei, where he won merit for the suppression of brigands. When Peking fell (1644) he succeeded in exerting his influence in support of the Prince of Fu (see under Chu Yu-sung), as opposed to another prince, to head the Court at Nanking. Grateful for his efforts, the Prince of Fu made him Grand Secretary and gave him other high titles, but left him at his post in Fêng-yang. Ma resented this exclusion from the Court and threatened Nanking with a fleet of 1,200 war junks. Thus intimidated, the Court recalled him to Nanking and made him Grand Preceptor of the Heir Apparent and later Grand Tutor.

Soon Ma, with Juan Ta-ch'êng, dominated the Court, reputedly through unscrupulous extortion, bribery, and shameless sale of degrees and offices. He cowed Emperor and Court and, when impeached, bribed his way back into power. He opposed Shih K'o-fa and Tso Liang-yü [qq. v.] and sent the former to Yangchow. Tso then advanced his armies towards Nanking, vowing to get rid of Ma. To defend the capital against Tso, Ma called in many troops from the North and thus weakened the defense against the Ch'ing troops commanded by Dodo [q. v.]. On June 3, 1645 the Prince of Fu fled, as Ch‘ing troops entered Nanking. The next day Ma Shih-ying, announcing that he was escorting the Empress Dowager, fled with 400 soldiers to Chekiang. It was charged, however, that he disguised his own mother as the said Empress Dowager. When the Prince of Lu (see under Chu I-hai) set up his regency in Shaohsing, Ma was repudiated and took refuge in Yen-chou. In 1646 he was refused entrance to Fukien and died soon thereafter. According to some accounts he became a monk in a monastery in the T'ien-t'ai mountains, Chekiang, where he was discovered by the Ch'ing troops, arrested and executed in a market place.

[M.1/308/34b; M.36/18/1a; M.59/62/1a; 明季南略 Ming-chi nan-lüeh, 3/6b, 4/1a, 2b, 3a, 6/14a, 7/4a, 6a, 10/3b, 4a, 11/5b; Ming-chi pei-lüeh (北略), 18/2b, 20/5b; Ku Yen-wu [q. v.], Shêng-an pên-chi, passim; Ch'ên Chên-hui [q. v.], Shu-shih ch'i-tsê.]

Earl Swisher