Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Chêng Ch'êng-kung

3634094Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 1 — Chêng Ch'êng-kungEarl Swisher

CHÊNG Ch'êng-kung 鄭成功 (T. 明儼, original name 森 T. 大木, childhood name 森舍), Aug. 28?, 1624–1662, June 23, southern Ming general who fought against the Ch'ing dynasty, was born in Hirado, near Nagasaki, the son of Chêng Chih-lung [q. v.] and a Japanese woman of the Tagawa 田川 family. At the age of seven (sui) he went to his ancestral hsien of Nan-an, Fukien, where at fifteen (sui) he was registered as a salaried licentiate. After the enthronement of Chu Yu-sung [q. v.] on June 19, 1644 Chêng Ch'êng-kung went to Nanking where he studied in the Imperial Academy of Learning. At the same time he also received instruction from Hsü Fu-yüan 徐孚遠 (T. 闇公, H. 復齋, 1600–1665) and Ch'ien Ch'ien-i [q. v.]—obtaining from the latter the appellation Ta Mu 大木. After the fall of Nanking (June 8, 1645) and the establishment at Foochow of a new court (August 18, 1645) under the Prince of T'ang (see under Chu Yü-chien) Chêng Ch'êng-kung was presented by his father to the new emperor who apparently was pleased with him since he conferred on him the imperial surname, Chu 朱, and the personal name, Ch'êng-kung. He was made Assistant Controller of the Imperial Clan Court, treated as an imperial agnate, and was popularly known as Kuo-hsing-yeh 國姓爺 or "Lord of the Imperial Surname" from which the Dutch derived Koxinga (Koshinga, Coxinga) and the Spanish, Cotsen (Cogsin, Coseng). Having submitted a memorial to Chu Yü-chien on a plan to strengthen the position of the new court, Ch'êng-kung was given (in the third moon of 1646) the rank of Earl Chung-hsiao 忠孝伯 and the title of Chao-t'ao Ta Chiang-chün 招討大將軍 or "Field Marshal of the Punitive Expedition." He was immediately sent to guard the pass, Hsien-hsia kuan 仙霞關, near the border of Fukien and Chekiang. Later in the same year (1646) his father, who secretly favored the Ch'ing cause, cut off his supplies, forcing him to return to Foochow and leave unguarded the pass through which the Ch'ing army marched unmolested and captured Chu Yü-chien at T'ing-chou on October 6, 1646. When his father openly accepted the Ch'ing regime, Chêng Ch'êng-kung tried to dissuade him and, failing this, fled to Chin-mên and later to Namao where, raising an army, he continued to fight for the Ming cause. In 1647 he returned to Ku-lang-yü, an island near Amoy, consolidated his position, and initiated a campaign along the sea-coast of Fukien, taking a number of cities including T'ung-an (1648), Chang-p'u and Yün-hsiao (1649), all in Fukien province. Upon learning, in 1648, of the enthronement (December 24, 1646) of Chu Yu-lang [q. v.] at Chao-ch'ing, Kwangtung, Ch'êng-kung in the same year sent a representative to congratulate the new emperor who immediately conferred upon him the title Marquis Wei-yüan 威遠侯 and later (1649) that of Duke Chang-kuo 漳國公. Defeated by the Ch'ing army under Su Li 蘇利 (1650) at Chieh-shih, near Lu-fêng, Kwangtung, Chêng Ch'êng-kung withdrew to Amoy where he killed his cousin, Chêng Lien 鄭聯, and combined the latter's troops with his own. Early in 1651 he was ordered by Chu Yu-lang to rescue Tu Yung-ho 社永和 then Ming governor-general of Liang-Kwang, who had been attacked by the Ch'ing troops and had retreated to Ch'iung-chou. Chêng left his uncle, Chêng Chih-kuan 鄭芝莞 (d. 1651), to protect Amoy and led his troops to the rescue, stopping at Ch'ao-yang, near Swatow, when a dispute arose among his subordinates. During his absence the Ch'ing forces under Ma Tê-kung [q. v.] seized his patrimony and he hastened back to Amoy (May 19, 1651), executed his uncle, and began a campaign of retaliation along the Fukien coast. In the following year Chu I-hai [q. v.] took refuge at Amoy where Chêng Ch'êng-kung offered him financial support, but at the same time showed no inclination to carry out his orders. Repeatedly defeated, the Ch'ing forces concentrated at Ch'üan-chou, whereupon Chêng took Ch'angt'ai and besieged Chang-chou which was reduced to cannibalism. After a siege of about six months Chêng was eventually forced by the arrival of a Ch'ing relief army to give up the attack and withdraw to Hai-ch'êng. During the years 1654–56 both the Ch'ing and Ming courts repeatedly offered Chêng Ch'êng-kung titles and preferment. Although his father, forced by the Ch'ing court, brought pressure upon him to submit to Ch'ing offers, he steadfastly refused, at the same time declining the title, Prince of Yen-p'ing 延平王, conferred upon him in 1654 by Chu Yu-lang, on the ground that he had done little to assist the restoration of the Ming regime. Upon the arrival a year later of a second mission from the Ming court again offering the title, he was persuaded to accept. Early in 1655 Ch'êng-kung perfected his military and civil organization in Fukien by establishing seventy-two military stations (鎮) and six civil bureaus, patronized Ming officials and scholars, and foraged along the coast from Kwangtung to Shantung and up the Yangtze. In the same year a formidable Ch'ing army under the Manchu prince, Jidu [q. v.], forced Chêng's troops to withdraw from Hui-an, Nan-an, T'ung-an, and Chang-chou and to concentrate at Ssŭ-ming (Amoy).

In order to free himself from the domination of Sun K'o-wang [q. v.] Chu Yu-lang, accompanied by Li Ting-kuo [q. v.], fled (1656) to Yunnanfu where in the following year he conferred on Chêng Ch'êng-kung the title Prince of Ch'ao 潮王 and urged Chêng's co-operation in a campaign against the Manchus. In 1658 Chêng raised his largest army, estimated at from 100,000 to 170,000 men—even sending, unsuccessfully, an envoy to Japan to solicit support—and with Chang Huang-yen [q. v.] as Chief of Staff (監軍) took a number of cities along the sea-coast of Chekiang. His boat having encountered a typhoon while sailing toward the Yangtze river, he retired temporarily (September 11, 1658) to Chusan, but resumed his military operations the following year, invading Kiangsu by sea. After taking Kua-chou (August 4, 1659) and Chinkiang (August 11, 1659), Chêng rejected the counsel of his generals and risked a great battle before Nanking. He was defeated on September 9, 1659, with heavy losses and was gradually forced hack to Amoy. On June 17, 1660, the Ch'ing troops under Ta-su 達素 (章佳氏) and Li Shuai-t'ai [q. v.] attacked Amoy, but were repulsed. In the meantime Chêng availed himself of a certain Ho Pin 何斌 (or Ho T'ing-pin 何廷斌, the 'Pingua' of the Dutch accounts) who had been interpreter for the Dutch in Taiwan and had an intimate knowledge of their defenses. Ch'êng-kung also knew from correspondence with Chinese on the island that the Batavian fleet under Jan van der Laan, which had come to Taiwan in 1660, had departed leaving only a small garrison. On April 30, 1661, Chêng appeared before Castle Zeelandia 赤嵌城 at An-p'ing with a force estimated at 900 ships and 25,000 marines. He landed without resistance but later had several encounters, both on land and sea, with the Dutch who retired to the castle. After a siege of nine months the garrison finally capitulated. On February 1, 1662 a treaty was drawn up between "Lord Koxin" and Governor Frederick Coyett (揆一), and the Dutch withdrew to Batavia. Chêng-kung established his capital, instituted a civil and military organization, attempted to colonize his former soldiers and adherents on the island, and in the same year sent the Dominican missionary, Vittorio Ricci, to Manila to induce the Spanish to accept his suzerainty. At the suggestion of his former general, Huang Wu [q. v.], who had surrendered to the Manchus, the Ch'ing government ordered the coastal inhabitants of Shantung, Kiangnan, Chekiang, Fukien, and Kwangtung, removed inland (1662) a distance of 30 to 50 li as a means of evading the depredations of Chêng Ch'êng-kung and in the hope of cutting off his source of supplies. The policy proved more disastrous to the people of the coast, especially those of Fukien where 88 hsien, and Kwangtung where 36 hsien, were affected, than to Chêng Ch'êng-kung, but it was only entirely abandoned after 1681. The accounts of his death vary. His father and brothers were executed in 1661 at Peking; his generals became disaffected and refused to carry out his orders to execute his son, Chêng Ching [q. v.], who had illegally consorted with a nurse; an envoy reported the failure of his mission and the massacre of the Chinese in Manila. Enraged by one or all of these incidents he is supposed to have committed suicide on June 23, 1662, at the age of 39 (sui). In 1875 he was given by Emperor Tê-tsung the posthumous name Chung-chieh 忠節.

[1/230/4a; M.36/10/11a; M.59/38/1a; 同安縣志 T'ung-an hsien-chih (1929) 27/3b; 廷平王戶官楊英從征實錄 Yang-ying's Records of the Campaigns of Koxinga (1931); Chu Hsi-tsu 朱希組, 鄭廷平王受明封爵考 in 國學季刊 Kuo-hsüeh chi-k'an, vol. III, no. 1, and 鄭廷 平王奉明正朔考 in 國立中山大學文學院專刊 (1933) vol. I; Hsü Hao-chi 許浩基, 鄭廷平年譜 Chêng Yen-p'ing nien-p'u (1926); Wang Chung-ch'i 王鍾麒, Chêng Ch'êng-kung (1934); 海上見聞錄 Hai-shang chien-wên lu in 痛史 T'ung-shih; Hsieh Kuo-chên, "Removal of Coastal Population in Early Tsing Period," Chinese Social and Political Science Review (January 1932) vol. XV, pp. 559–96; Inō Yoshinori 伊能嘉矩, 臺灣文化志 Taiwan bunka shi (1929) vol. I, pp. 91–160; Imbault-Huart, C. L'île Formose (1893), pp. 75–101; Campbell, W., Formosa Under the Dutch (1893); Davidson, J. W., The Island of Formosa (1903), pp. 30–62; The China Review XVI (1887–88), pp. 276–85, XXI (1894–95), pp. 90–5; W.M.S.C.K., chüan 13.]

Earl Swisher