Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Chang Kuang-ssŭ

3633280Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 1 — Chang Kuang-ssŭAlfred Kühn

CHANG Kuang-ssŭ 張廣泗 d. 1749, Jan. 30, general, was a member of the Chinese Plain Red Banner. When he was a student of the Imperial Academy he obtained by purchase the rank of a prefect, and in 1722 was appointed magistrate of Ssŭ-chou-fu, Kweichow. In 1726 he was transferred to Ch'u-hsiung-fu, Yunnan, but was ordered to remain in Kweichow as prefect of Li-p'ing-fu when O-êr-t'ai [q. v.], then governor-general of Yunnan and Kweichow, needed his help in putting down the insurrection of a tribe of Miao at Ch'ang-chai. From then on Chang became a trusted protégé of O-êr-t'ai who in turn was a confidant of Emperor Shih-tsung. In 1727 he was promoted to the post of provincial judge of Kweichow and in 1728, because of his success in pacifying the aborigines, was made governor of that province. Early in 1729, in consultation with O-êr-t'ai, he effected such improvements in conditions that in 1732 he was awarded the minor hereditary rank of Ch'i-tu-yü.

In the meantime war was raging in the northwest against the Eleuths (see under Furdan and Tsereng), and Yüeh Chung-ch'i [q. v.], commander-in-chief of the army at Barkul, was reprimanded by O-êr-t'ai (then a Grand Secretary) for failure to repel the Eleuth raiders. Chang was appointed (March 1732)—perhaps upon the recommendation of O-êr-t'ai—an assistant to Yüeh but he complained of Yüeh's tactics, with the result that in August 1732 the latter was removed from his command (see under Yüeh Chung-ch'i). Earlier in the year Yüeh had fortified Mu-lei, a town west of Barkul, and had moved his headquarters there. Chang, who was acting commander-in-chief after Yüeh's disgrace, seeing many disadvantages in this move, ordered a retreat to Barkul, thus abandoning the country to the west. In the meantime (September 1732) a victory over the Eleuths by the northern route army (see under Tsereng) lessened the danger from an Eleuth invasion. Chang remained three years at Barkul under the new commander-in-chief, Jalangga [q. v.]. In January 1733 he was made concurrently lieutenant-general of the Chinese Plain Red Banner and later in the same year was ordered to command about ten thousand troops at an outpost in the mountains north of Barkul. When the Eleuths begged for peace in 1735 (see under A-k'o-tun) Chang's troops were withdrawn, except for a few small garrisons, and he was ordered to proceed to Sian to await appointment. In August 1735 he was made governor-general of Hu-kuang (Hupeh and Hunan).

At this time the Miao tribes of Kweichow again rebelled and caused considerable damage. The commissioners charged with pacifying them—especially Chang Chao and Ha Yüan-shêng [qq. v.]—were unable to check their advance. In October 1735, soon after Emperor Kao-tsung ascended the throne, Chang Kuang-ssŭ was appointed envoy plenipotentiary in charge of stabilization of the Miao region, with authority over both men and resources of seven provinces of the southwest and with sole responsibility for the prosecution of the campaign. Late in 1735 he was made concurrently governor and, in the following year, governor-general of Kweichow—the former governor and the pacification commissioners having been dismissed. After a series of operations lasting from February to November 1736 the Miao rebellion was suppressed, and early in 1737 Chang was awarded the hereditary rank of a third-class Ch'ing ch'ê tu-yü. To aid in developing the newly-pacified region he improved transporation, strengthened the garrisons, and established mints. In 1740 he was given the seal of an Imperial Commissioner, (欽差大臣), this time to put down an insurrection of aborigines in Ch'êng-pu, Hunan, which he accomplished in a few weeks. Early in 1741 he arrived in Peking to look after the burial of his parents, but two months later was sent back to Kweichow to quell a Miao uprising at Li-p'ing which had the support of the Yao (猺) tribes of Kwangsi. In a few months he brought peace to this region, also. In 1745, having remained in Kweichow for ten years, he was given the honorary title of Junior Guardian of the Heir Apparent.

At this time Solobun 莎羅奔, powerful chieftain of the Ta Chin-ch'uan 大金川 aborigines in western Szechwan, determined upon a policy of expansion. He first attacked his relative, Tsewang 澤旺 of Hsiao Chin-ch'uan 小金川, but was forced by order of the authorities in Szechwan to restore the seized lands. Early in 1747 he attacked his other neighbors and defied a detachment of troops sent against him by the governor of Szechwan. Because of his success in pacifying the Miaos, Chang Kuang-ssŭ was selected to command the armies sent to subdue these rebels, and in April 1747 was made governor-general of Szechwan and Shensi. Three months later he had completed preparations for an invasion of the Chin-ch'uan territory. and expected a speedy conquest. With natives of Hsiao Chin-ch'uan as guides, he began an attack upon the rebel strongholds of Lo-wu-wei and Ka-la-i. But his 30,000 men were soon halted by the unfamiliar topography, the precipitous mountain passes, and the native stone towers known as t'iao (碉). Early in 1748 he was allowed an increase of 10,000 men, but still his troops suffered crushing defeats. At last Emperor Kao-tsung became impatient and sent Grand Secretary No-ch'in 訥親, d. 1749, to take over command with Yüeh Chung-ch'i as a member of his staff.

When No-ch'in arrived at the front he set a limit of three days for the taking of the cities Ka-la-i and Lo-wu-wei. But when his attack was frustrated with heavy losses he abandoned all attempts at an independent victory, preferring to place upon Chang Kuang-ssŭ the responsibility for further failures. Chang, on his part, looked down upon No-ch'in as a commander of no experience, with the result that the discord between the two generals reacted unfavorably on the morale of the army. In June over fifty stone towers were reported destroyed but the Emperor, not satisfied with this partial success, issued a sharp rebuke to both commanders accusing them of irresolution and improper tactics. Chang thereupon sent his troops by ten different routes into the enemy's territory in the hope of forcing a victory, but the resistance again was not broken. The blame for these failures was laid wholly upon Chang who apparently had implicitly trusted his Hsiao Chin-ch'uan guides, unaware that they were in reality spies of the enemy, and so took every opportunity to frustrate his plans. Yüeh Chung-ch'i, learning of this situation, and seeing an opportunity to repay Chang for an old grievance, sent a secret communication to the Emperor explaining what he believed to be the cause of the defeats. At the same time No-ch'in, hoping to clear himself of all blame, informed the Emperor that Chang was wasting supplies and keeping his troops too long at the front. The Emperor at once dismissed Chang and ordered him to Peking for judicial investigation. Early in 1749 the Emperor personally conducted the trial, and when Chang maintained a defiant attitude ordered his immediate execution. Meanwhile No-ch'in was also condemned to death for cowardly conduct, for abusing his trust, and for making dishonest reports to the throne. The Emperor, distressed that No-ch'in, a grandson of the brave Ebilun [q. v.], had proved such a weakling, ordered him beheaded in full view of the army, making use of Ebilun's own sword which was released especially for that purpose.

The command of the army against the Chin-ch'uan aborigines was entrusted to Fu-hêng [q. v.] who reported to the throne what insurmountable obstacles prevented subjugation of the territory. But Fu-hêng in defiance of the Emperor's summons to turn back after threatening a desperate attack, finally effected the submission of Solobun in March 1749 (see under Fu-hêng). The complete conquest of the Chin-ch'uan region was left, however, for A-kuei [q. v.] who after five years of severe fighting and heavy losses of both men and supplies finally conquered the region, twenty-seven years later. From all accounts Chang Kuang-ssŭ seems to have been unjustly punished for his share in the campaigns.

[1/303/7b; 2/17/22a; 2/22/11b; 9/19/12b; 11/38/3b; Haenisch, E., "Die Eroberung des Goldstromlandes in Ost-Tibet" in Asia Major (1935), vol. X fasc. 2, pp. 262–313; 雍正硃批論旨 Yung-chêng chu-p'i yü-chih; 史料旬刊 Shih-liao hsün-k'an, no. 11, pp. 391–93, no. 20, pp. 698–704; Tung-hua lu, Ch'ien-lung 13:12.]

Alfred Kühn