Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Na-yen-ch'êng

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3649142Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 1 — Na-yen-ch'êngFang Chao-ying

NA-yen-ch'êng 那彥成 (T. 韶九, H. 繹堂, 東甫, 更生), Dec. 8, 1764–1833, Apr. 6, official, was a Manchu of the Janggiya 章佳 clan and a member of the Plain White Banner. He was a grandson of A-kuei [q. v.], the Grand Secretary and holder of a Dukedom. His father, A-ssŭ-ta 阿思達 (1743–1766), second son of A-kuei, died when Na-yen-ch'êng was only three sui. Na-yen-ch'êng was brought up by his mother and was given an excellent education. He became a hsiu-ts'ai in 1779, a chü-jên in 1788, and a chin-shih in 1789. He was selected a bachelor to study in the Hanlin Academy where his grandfather was then serving as chancellor. In 1790 he was made a compiler, and two years later was selected to serve in the Imperial Study. After several promotions he became in 1794 a sub-chancellor of the Grand Secretariat and four years later began to serve on the Grand Council. Early in 1799, after the removal of Ho-shên [q. v.], he was made president of the Board of Works and was given several concurrent posts. Emperor Jên-tsung also honored his mother by bestowing on her a tablet in praise of her achievement in rearing so illustrious a son.

At this time the war against the Pai-lien-chiao rebels (see under Ê-lê-têng-pao) had been raging for four years without abatement. One of the new assistant commanders, Ming-liang [q. v.], was accused by two subordinates of incompetency. In September 1799 Na-yen-ch'êng was sent to Sian to command all the troops in Shensi province and also to investigate the charges against Ming-liang. He and Sung-yün [q. v.] conducted the trial which resulted in the condemnation of Ming-liang and his two subordinates. As commander of the troops in Shensi, Na-yen-ch'êng fought against the Pai-lien-chiao rebels along the Shensi and Szechwan border. In February 1800 he was given the title of assistant commander under the direction of Ê-lê-têng-pao. Although he won several victories he was recalled to Peking in June for failing to stop the movement of the rebels from Shensi to Szechwan and to annihilate one of their bands in Kansu. Before he reached the capital he was discharged from the Grand Council and from the Imperial Study. At several audiences in July his pessimistic replies about the military situation angered the Emperor, especially in view of recent optimistic reports. He was degraded to a sub-expositor in the Hanlin Academy, and was told that it was only out of respect for his deceased grandfather that he was not punished more severely.

After several promotions Na-yen-ch'êng again became, in March 1802, a sub-chancellor of the Grand Secretariat. Eight months later he was sent to Kiangsi to conduct a trial, but before it was ended he was ordered to proceed to Canton to investigate the conduct of Governor-general Chi-ch'ing 吉慶 (of the Gioro clan, d. 1802) in suppressing an uprising east of Canton. He reached Canton on December 18, four days after Chi-ch'ing had committed suicide. The latter had not been on friendly terms with the governor of Kwangtung, and fearing that the governor would injure him, Chi-ch'ing is said to have choked himself by swallowing a snuff bottle in the governor's yamen. This was the report given by Na-yen-ch'êng. It was accepted by the Emperor, and the case was dropped. In the meantime Na-yen-ch'êng, as acting governor, had all the leaders of the uprising arrested and punished, and warned the rioters to maintain quiet. Thus in two months the case was settled.

After supervising two trials—one in Chekiang and another in Chihli—Na-yen-ch'êng was appointed (September 1803) president of the Board of Ceremonies. Early in 1804 he settled another lawsuit in Heilungkiang; and in July, after being made a Grand Councilor, was sent to Sian as acting governor-general of Shensi and Kansu. Late in 1804 he was made governor-general of Kwangtung and Kwangsi and served there for a year. One of his responsibilities was the regulation of the foreign trade at Canton. In April 1805 he transmitted to Peking some gifts from the English merchants. Early in 1806 a Russian ship came to Canton but was not permitted to trade, on the ground that there were ample facilities for doing so at Kiakhta. His other responsibilities as governor-general included the suppression of secret societies, especially the Tien-ti hui 添弟會 (or 天地會), the enlargement of the naval forces to combat pirates (see under Li Ch'ang-kêng), and the enforcement of laws forbidding armed conflicts between villages or clans. His policy with pirates was to lure them to abandon their activities by promises of pardon and rewards. He succeeded thus in disbanding some groups, but for keeping these promises he was accused of undue leniency. He was discharged, and in March 1806 was tried in Peking an the ground that he had taken too much liberty in distributing rewards and official ranks. In April he was deprived of all his ranks and was sent to Ili to redeem himself by serving under the military-governor, Sung-yün.

For a time, in 1807, Na-yen-ch'êng served at Kharashar. In June of that year he was recalled and was made imperial controller-general at Sining to assist Ch'ang-ling [q. v.] in suppressing the revolt of the native tribes in Kokonor. The revolt was put down in September and October (see under Ch'ang-ling). After superintending the rehabilitation of the native Tibetan and Mongol tribes he was recalled in April 1808 and was appointed assistant director of river conservancy in Kiangnan. However, in February 1809, for failing to repair a broken dike in time, he was again degraded and sent to Kharashar as imperial agent with the rank of an Imperial Bodyguard. In 1809 he was transferred to Yarkand and later was made assistant military-governor at Kashgar. Early in 1810 he was again made governor-general of Shensi and Kansu. Three years later, at the outbreak of the T'ien-li-chiao 天理教 rebellion in northern Honan, he was ordered to direct picked Shensi troops, under Yang Yü-ch'un [q. v.] and others, against the rebels.

The T'ien-li-chiao, like the Pai-lien-chiao, was a secret religious society. After the rebellion of the latter was suppressed the leaders of the T'ien-li-chiao, Lin Ch'ing 林清 of Huang-ts'un 黃村, a village south of Peking, and Li Wên-ch'êng 李文成 of Hua-hsien, Honan, plotted an uprising. The plot was initiated about 1811, and a general meeting of the conspirators took place in 1812 at Tao-k'ou, Honan. Late in 1812 they decided on the fifteenth day of the ninth moon (October 8) 1813 as the time for the uprising to take place. The plan was that Lin would take Peking and Chihli and that Li would conquer Honan. Other partisans were ordered to take Shantung and Shansi. As the day for the uprising drew near many villagers on the border of Honan, Chihli and Shantung heard rumors of the plot and began to move away. Some people in Peking, among them several officials, also heard of the plot, but did not pay much attention to it. When, however, a police officer of Hua-hsien, Honan, heard of it he and the local magistrate arrested Li Wên-ch'êng (late in September). On September 30 the adherents of the T'ien-li-chiao rose in arms, freed Li from prison, and killed the officials. Thus the rebellion in Honan was started eight days in advance of the date set. In Peking the uprising started as planned on October 8, 1813. A force of 200 men, sent by Lin Ch'ing and guided by eunuchs, made their way into the Palace grounds. But the contingent, being too small for the purpose, had to confine its activities to a few buildings near the western gate of the Forbidden City. Inside the Palace the Emperor's second son, Min-ning [q. v.], directed the defense and personally shot down two rebels. Two days later all the rebels in the city were killed and Lin Ch'ing was arrested at his home in Huang-ts'un. The emperor returned to Peking on the 12th and the captured rebels were executed a few days later.

For a time the rebels at Hua-hsien were more successful. Their sympathizers in Shantung took the cities of Ting-t'ao and Ts'ao-hsien, and those in Chihli besieged several cities. The government forces remained aloof and made no efforts to suppress them. At this juncture Na-yen-ch'êng was made governor-general of Chihli, Imperial Commissioner, and commander of the forces in Chihli, Shantung, and Honan. When he arrived at Wei-hui, late in October, and laid plans for the campaign other armies had by then recovered the cities in Shantung and pursued the rebels of Shantung and Chihli into Honan. While concentrating his forces, Na-yen-ch'êng, was severely rebuked by the emperor for not advancing quickly on Hua-hsien. He did advance on November 9, took Tao-k'ou ten days later, and laid siege to Hua-hsien. Early in December Li Wên-ch'êng abandoned Hua-hsien and occupied a fort in the nearby mountains. But on December 12 his fort was taken by General Yang Fang [q. v.] after several days of severe fighting. Li and his men were burned to death. On January 1, 1814 Hua-hsien fell to the onslaught of Na-yen-ch'êng, and thousands of insurgents lost their lives. Na-yen-ch'êng was rewarded with the hereditary rank of a third class viscount. After supervising the withdrawal of troops and the rehabilitation of the affected area, he assumed his duties as governor-general of Chihli, and issued strict orders forbidding the people to join the offending religious societies. His memorial on the subject was cited in 1900 by the more enlightened officials who opposed affiliation with the Boxers (see under Jung-lu).

In 1816 Na-yen-ch'êng was accused, among other charges, of having misused relief funds when he was in Sian several years earlier. He was imprisoned and sentenced to die, but as he readily paid his fine he was ordered to remain at home and serve his aged mother. That same year his mother died and he was pardoned but was ordered to stay at home, close his door, and meditate on his misdemeanors. Early in 1817 his rank of viscount was given to his eldest son, Jung-an 容安 (T. 靜止, b. 1788).

In 1818 Na-yen-ch'êng was recalled to service and was made a sub-expositor. After several promotions he was appointed superintendent of the Granaries in Peking (1819). Under the new Emperor, Hsüan-tsung, he was made president of the Board of Civil Appointments (1820) and a year later was transferred to the Board of Punishments. In 1822 he was, for the third time, appointed governor-general of Shensi and Kansu. His chief task this time was to settle certain troubles among the Tibetans and Mongols in Kokonor. Prior to this, in 1822, the Tibetans south of the Yellow River had raided the Mongols north of the River and were driven back by an expeditionary force (see under Ch'ang-ling). Na-yen-ch'êng was entrusted with power to arrange a settlement of the dispute. He apprehended and executed the leaders of the Tibetan revolt, made it more difficult for the Tibetans to receive arms, and rehabilitated the routed Mongols north of the river. Larger garrisons were stationed along the river, and a census was conducted to check the movements of the Tibetans. His documents about the Kokonor affair from September 1822 to April 1823 were brought together and printed under the title 平番奏議 P'ing-Fan tsou-i, 4 chüan (reprinted in 1853).

In 1825 Na-yen-ch'êng was again transferred to Chihli as governor-general. During the war for the suppression of the Muslim rebellion (see under Ch'ang-ling), he was sometimes consulted by Emperor Hsüan-tsung, owing to his knowledge of affairs in Turkestan. Late in 1827, after Ch'ang-ling's victory over the Muslim and Khokandian invaders, Na-yen-ch'êng was made Imperial Commissioner to supervise the rehabilitation of the war area. For more than a year in Turkestan he managed the withdrawal of the armies, built city walls and forts at important points, abolished corrupt practices among officials, and deported Khokandian immigrants who traded illegally or helped the invaders. He strictly prohibited trade with Khokand on the ground that the region harbored robbers and rebels. His actions were commended by the Emperor and he was rewarded with the title of Grand Guardian of the Heir Apparent. His portrait was also hung in the Tzŭ-kuang ko (see under Chao-hui).

Na-yen-ch'êng returned to his post in Chihli in 1829, but his troubles had not yet come to an end. In the following year there again was unrest in Turkestan, and his son, Jung-an, was blamed for not immediately attacking the insurgents. While the son was being punished Na-yen-ch'êng himself was reproached for having brought on the revolt by treating the Khokandians too harshly. He was degraded and and sent to Mukden as vice-president of a Board in that city. When further complaints against him arrived in 1831 he was stripped of all his ranks and sent home as a commoner. He died two years later. On receiving the report of his death Emperor Hsüan-tsung eulogized his great services and conferred on him the posthumous name, Wên-i 文毅, as well as other honors.

The vigor with which secret religious societies were suppressed, early in the nineteenth century, contrast's sharply with the encouragement given the Boxers by Empress Hsiao-ch'in [q. v.] and her advisors in 1900. The difference shows how far the imperial authority declined in the space of eighty years. The Boxers traced their lineage to the T'ien-li-chiao of 1813, and the restrictions which Na-yen-ch'êng placed on the latter applied equally to the former. In fact one of Na-yen-ch'êng's memorials on the suppression of the T'ien-li-chiao was actually quoted by Yüan Ch'ang [q. v.] when he urged Empress Hsiao-ch'in to stop the Boxer movement. For this piece of advice Yüan lost his life.

Na-yen-ch'êng compiled a chronological biography of his grandfather, under the title 阿文成公年譜 A Wên-ch'êng kung nien-p'u, 34 chüan, printed in 1813, and based chiefly on memorials. Na-yen-ch'êng's own memorials were compiled by his son, Jung-an, and printed in 1834 under the title 那文毅公奏議 Na Wên-i kung tsou-i, 80 chüan. Na-yen-ch'êng was a noted calligrapher and the author of some verse.

[1/373/4a; 2/33/1a; 3/107/7a; 5/9/14a; 26/2/52a; 29/6/35a; Na Wên-i kung tsou-i; P'ing-ting chiao-fei chi-lüeh (see under Ying-ho); 靖逆記 Ching-ni chi (1820);林清教案 Lin Ch'ing chiao-an in 故宮周刊 Ku-kung chou-k'an, nos. 195–236.]

Fang Chao-ying