Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Chang Yin-huan

3633308Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 1 — Chang Yin-huanFang Chao-ying

CHANG Yin-huan 張蔭桓 (T. 樵野, H. 紅棉主人), Feb. 8, 1837–1900, Aug. 20, diplomat, was a native of the town of Fo-shan (Fatshan) in the district of Nan-hai (Canton). As a young man he was talented and adventurous. Failing to become a hsiu-ts'ai in his first district examination, he did not try again, but spent much of his time in the study of foreign relations. He purchased the title of a student of the Imperial Academy and later the rank of magistrate. About 1864 he was sent to Shantung as an expectant magistrate and while there was highly regarded by his superior, Ting Pao-chên [q. v.] who was then provincial judge of Shantung in charge of an army fighting the Nien banditti (see under Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in). Ting became financial commissioner (1865) and later governor (1867) of that province. As such he was trusted by the Court in Peking to suppress bandits and to look after dikes on the rivers. In matters of river conservancy he relied much on the knowledge and advice of Chang Yin-huan whom he entrusted also with the composition of his memorials and other documents. For a time Chang was likewise in charge of the training of a battalion of cavalry from Heilungkiang. By 1869 he was promoted to the rank of an expectant intendant. He was sent, however, to serve under the governor-general, Li Han-chang (see under Li Hung-chang), as chief of Li's military secretariat at Wuchang, Hupeh.

In 1874, owing to the Japanese invasion of Formosa (see under Shên Pao-chên), all the governors of coastal provinces were ordered to strengthen their defenses. Ting Pao-chên, as governor of Shantung, took the opportunity to ask the Court to transfer Chang Yin-huan back to Shantung. In a memorial, submitted late in 1874, he stated that Chang had not only a requisite knowledge of coast defense, but also of foreign affairs. In 1875 Chang went to Tientsin to consult Li Hung-chang on problems of fortification. Upon his return he supervised a survey of the coastline of Shantung, and in October 1875 reported to Ting that it was necessary to fortify the ports of Chefoo and Weihaiwei. His suggestion was approved and the fort at Chefoo was constructed (1876–78) under his supervision. For a time in 1876 he served as acting intendant at Chefoo in charge of foreign trade relations, and helped Li Hung-chang who was in Chefoo in September in connection with the Margary affair (see under Ts'ên Yü-ying).

In 1880 Ting Pao-chên, then governor-general of Szechwan, strongly recommended Chang Yin-huan as widely informed and unusually talented. Hence in 1881 Chang was appointed intendant at Wuhu, in charge of the customs at that part. During his administration revenue increased and efficiency was improved. This led to a strong recommendation in his favor by Li Hung-chang. In 1884, after I-hsin [q. v.] and several other members of the Tsung-li Yamen had been dismissed, owing to their unwillingness to resist by arms French encroachments in Annam, the Central Government was in need of experts on foreign affairs. Chang Yin-huan was called to Peking for an audience which took place on June 8, 1884. He so pleased Empress Hsiao-ch'in [q. v.] that he was given the rank of a third grade official and was appointed a probationary member of the Tsung-li Yamen. Later he was given the concurrent post of a sub-director of the Court of Sacrificial Worship. These honors, however, offended numerous officials at Court who regarded Chang as an upstart who had entered officialdom by purchase and not by the usual competitive examinations. In those days, moreover, any official possessing knowledge of foreign affairs was suspected by ignorant and officious courtiers as a likely traitor. Informed as he was, Chang probably expressed himself freely on foreign affairs and so evoked the jealousy and distrust of his colleagues. Early in September nine members of the Tsung-li Yamen were reprimanded for having sent to the intendant at Shanghai, Shao Yü-lien (see under Ch'ung-hou), a telegram, the wording of which was considered incorrect or inappropriate. As the ones who probably framed the telegram, Chang and Ch'ên Lan-pin (see under Jung Hung) and several other members were discharged from the Yamen. But later in the same year Chang was sent to Chihli as intendant of the Ta-ming Circuit. After serving in that capacity for a year he was appointed Minister to the United States of America, Peru, and Spain (1885).

Upon receiving his instructions Chang Yin-huan went first to Canton to consult Chang Chih-tung [q. v.] on problems concerning Chinese laborers in America, most of whom came from the Canton area. In March 1886 he left Canton for America, his retinue comprising, among others, the following men: Jui-yüan 瑞沅 (H. 仲蘭), son of Kung-t'ang (see under Ch'i-shan); Liang Ch'êng 梁誠 (T. 震東), who later became minister to the United States (1902-07); and Hsü Chüeh 許珏 (T. 靜山, H. 復庵, 1843–1916), who later became minister to Italy (1902–05). Chang reached Washington in April and continued the negotiations begun by his predecessor, Chêng Tsao-ju 鄭藻如 (T. 玉輯, d. 1894), concerning mob attacks on Chinese laborers living on the West Coast and elsewhere. These laborers were at first encouraged to come to California, as shown in the Burlingame Treaty of 1868. But as time went on labor agitators stirred up anti-Chinese sentiments which were utilized by politicians to their own advantage. The treaty of 1880 (see under Li Hung-tsao) recognized the right of the United States Government to "regulate, limit or suspend the coming of Chinese laborers to the United States, but not to prohibit it". Students and tourists were not affected by this treaty. Although in 1884 Congress enacted laws suspending for ten years the immigration of Chinese laborers, and regulated the coming and going of those already in the country, mob attacks went on unabated. Several riots occurred in 1885, the most serious taking place in September at Rock Springs, Wyoming, where at least twenty-nine Chinese miners lost their lives, and the property damages ran to U.S. $147,748—this being the figure presented to the State Department by Chêng Tsao-ju, together with an account of the incident and a demand that the rioters be punished and the victims indemnified. The Secretary of State, Thomas F. Bayard (1828–1898), disclaimed any legal obligation for indemnity, but promised to persuade the President to recommend that Congress grant pecuniary relief to the sufferers out of "generosity and pity". In March 1887 Chang Yin-huan received full payment for damages and sent the money to the West Coast for distribution to the victims. Some of the claims were found to have been submitted twice, with the result that $480.75 was left undistributed, and that sum Chang promptly returned to the State Department. Thereupon he went to Spain where he carried out his duties from May to July, returning to America in August.

At this time Chang Yin-huan and Bayard negotiated a new treaty between the two countries, which was signed on March 12, 1888, stipulating that immigration of Chinese laborers should be absolutely prohibited for a period of twenty years; that those who had returned to China would be allowed to come back to America only if they could meet certain qualifications; and that a sum of $276,619.75 would be paid to Chinese victims of various mob attacks other than the one at Rock Springs. The text of this treaty was then sent to Peking for ratification and Chang spent several months at Lima, Peru, to attend to his duties as minister plenipotentiary to that country. While he was away news came to Washington of China's desire to make some alterations or amendments to the treaty because the Chinese in America were dissatisfied with some of its provisions. Moreover, a rumor was circulated by irresponsible persons that China had rejected the treaty in its entirety. Thereupon Congress passed a bill absolutely forbidding Chinese laborers to land, including those who sought re-entry after a sojourn in China. When Chang returned to Washington he could do nothing to improve the situation. He had always favored some kind of regulation of emigration by China herself and foresaw that the alternative would be severer restrictions by the United States Government. The treaty he had laboriously negotiated came to naught—wrecked indirectly by his shortsighted fellow-Cantonese who composed almost the entire Chinese population then in America. Yet these same people blamed him for having failed to prevent the harsh regulations which were finally imposed by the United States Government. Though Li Hung-chang and other high officials tried to console him, on the ground that it was not his fault, his unpopularity among his fellow Cantonese persisted for many years. Up to this time it had become almost a tradition for a Cantonese to be sent as minister to Washington, the first three, Ch'ên Lan-pin, Chêng Tsao-ju, and Chang Yin-huan having come from that region. Hereafter the tradition was broken, for Chang's successor, Ts'ui Kuo-yin 崔國因 (T. 惠人, H. 篤生, chin-shih of 1871), was a native of T'ai-p'ing, Anhwei.

During more than three years in Washington Chang Yin-huan lived luxuriously at the legation at Dupont Circle. He made many friends in the city and held receptions which sometimes comprised as many as a thousand guests. He enjoyed travel, and frequented the theatre and other forms of entertainment. It is not surprising, therefore, that Li Hung-chang wrote to the next minister, Ts'ui Kuo-yin, that Chang had lived extravagantly and beyond his means. The charge, however, was not wholly just, for Chang had thus learned much about American life and about foreign relations. He returned to China by way of Europe and reached Peking in March 1890. In that same year he presented to the Emperor a diary of his "Life on Three Continents", 三洲日記 San-chou jih-chi, 8 chüan, printed in 1896.

Upon his return to Peking Chang Yin-huan was again ordered to serve in the Tsung-li Yamen with the rank of director of the Court of the Imperial Stud. In 1892 he was made concurrently senior vice-president of the Board of Revenue in which capacity he became intimately acquainted with Wêng T'ung-ho [q. v.], president of that Board. In December 1894 the Court was ready to make peace with Japan, the armed forces of China having suffered defeat on land and sea. Chang and Shao Yu-lien (then governor of Taiwan) were appointed joint ambassadors to inquire concerning the terms of peace. They reached Kobe late in January 1895, but were rejected by Japan on the ground that they had not been given sufficient powers. As is well known, the responsibility for the negotiations then devolved on Li Hung-chang. Early in 1896, after Li had set out on his tour of Europe and America, Chang Yin-huan was appointed envoy plenipotentiary to negotiate with the Japanese minister at Peking a commercial treaty, which was signed on July 21, 1896.

In 1897 Chang represented China in London at the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, visiting at the same time several other European capitals. Before returning he resided for a time in London to look after the payment of the second installment of the indemnity to Japan resulting from the war of 1894–95. To pay the first installment China had arranged for a loan in Russia. By threats and coercion Great Britain obtained the privilege of making the second loan, and this loan Chang Yin-huan supervised in London. When he resumed his duties in Peking in 1897, or early in 1898, it was clear that China had to contract another loan to pay the third and final installment. Once more Russia and Great Britain struggled fiercely for the privileges which went with it. In order not to offend either power, Chang and Wêng T'ung-ho, against the objections of Li Hung-chang, arranged in March 1898 to make this loan through the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, a commercial, and supposedly neutral, concern. In the meantime he and Li Hungchang signed the lease to Russia of the Liaotung Peninsula. According to the Memoirs of the Russian Foreign Minister, Count Witte, Li and Chang signed the lease after they had received bribes from Witte amounting to 500,000 and 250,000 rubles respectively.

At this time Chang Yin-huan was very powerful, especially in the Board of Revenue. Though Prince Ch'ing (I-k'uang, see under Yung-lin) and Li Hung-chang were then in charge of the Tsung-li Yamen, Chang Yin-huan still exercised a powerful influence because of his experience in Western lands. Nevertheless, he gradually antagonized his superiors and colleagues and others in government circles. Moreover, he had the favor of Emperor Tê-tsung and for that reason was suspected by Empress Hsiao-ch'in. Late in May 1898 a censor, Wang P'êng-yün 王鵬運 (T. 幼霞, H. 半塘, 騖翁, 1849–1904), accused Chang and Wêng T'ung-ho of having received enormous bribes when they negotiated the third loan earlier in that year. Early in June Wêng was dismissed, not on this charge, but because he "alienated the affections of the Emperor and the Empress Dowager". Chang, however, remained in office and so became an object of attack by censors. Late in June he was summoned to the presence of Empress Hsiao-ch'in and was severely reprimanded. He was not held for arrest, probably because Emperor Tê-tsung needed his assistance in carrying out the reform program (see under T'an Ssŭ-t'ung). On August 10 Chang and Wang Wên-shao (see under Chang P'ei-lun) were named directors of the Bureau for the Control of Railways and Mines. On September 5 an edict was issued endorsing Chang's suggestion of organizing a national army based on conscription and drilled in the Western way. Two days later Li Hung-chang was expelled from the Tsung-li Yamen, according to some because of Chang's intrigues. However that may be, on September 20 the conservatives under the Empress Dowager came back to power with the result that the reformers were scattered and some were executed. On September 24 Chang himself was arrested and would have been executed had it not been for the earnest efforts of the Japanese chargé d'affaires, Hayashi Gonsuke 林權助. Five days later he was sentenced to banishment to Sinkiang on the vague charge that "his actions were deceitful, mysterious and fickle, and he sought after the rich and the powerful". His property was confiscated and some of his enemies now did their best to augment his misery. His escort to Sinkiang, however, treated him well, and during his two years of exile in Urumchi he endured no great hardships. Another official who was also banished to Urumchi about this time for his share in the reform movement was the president of the Board of Ceremonies, Li Tuan-fên (see under Sun Chia-nai). The latter's sister married the celebrated young reformer, Liang Ch'i-ch'ao (see under T'an Ssŭ-t'ung). In the summer of 1900 when the anti-foreign conservatives and the Boxers were at the peak of their power an edict was suddenly sent to Urumchi to have Chang executed. He had been saved by foreign intervention in 1898 and now that foreigners were disparaged he perceived that his doom was near. It is said that two days before the edict ordering his execution arrived he hurriedly fulfilled promises he had made to complete certain paintings and writings on fans. In 1901, at the suggestion of the British and American Ministers, his former ranks were posthumously restored to him. Li Tuan-fên was later pardoned and died at his home in Kweiyang.

Although Chang Yin-huan spent a large part of his life in the study of Western civilization, and appreciated its achievements in art and science, he managed to gain recognition as a poet, writer and painter in the Chinese tradition. His poems were highly praised by his contemporaries, including Wêng T'ung-ho. A collection of his verse and short articles in prose is entitled 鐵畫樓詩文稿 T'ieh-hua lou shihwên kao, 6 chüan. A supplement, T'ieh-hua lou shih hsü-ch'ao (詩續鈔), 2 chüan, containing more poems, was printed in 1902. As a collector and critic of paintings he especially admired those by Wang Hui [q. v.]. He designated his studio Pai-Shih Chai 百石齋, to show that it was a place where a hundred paintings by Wang Hui (T. Shih-ku 石谷) were kept. He was a noted player of wei-ch'i 圍棋 (Chinese chess), and for this accomplishment he is said to have gained the favor of Ting Pao-chên and other superiors early in his career.

[1/448/6b; 6/6/12b; 19/壬上/25b; 南海縣志 Nan-hai hsien-chih (1911) 16/18b; U. S. Foreign. Affairs 1885–1889, 1901 Appendix; Li Hung-chang, Li Wên-chung kung ch'ih-tu (1916), vols. 7, 9, 13–16; Ting Pao-chên, Ting Wên-ch'êng kung tsou-kao, passim; 清稗類鈔 Ch'ing pai lei-ch'ao 文學, p. 122; 清朝野史大觀 Ch'ing-chao yeh-shih ta-kuan 8/86; Chin-liang, Chin-shih jên-wu chih (see under Wêng T'ung-ho) p. 289; 凌霄一士隨筆 Ling-hsiao i-shih sui-pi in 國聞週報 Kuo-wên chou-pao, vol. 2, no. 26 (1934), and vol. 13, nos. 40, 41, (1936); Mou Po-jung 牟伯融, 紅棉歎 Hung-mien t'an (a poem concerning Chang's life) in Kuo-wên chou-pao, vol. 12, no. 35 (1935); Yarmolinsky, A. (tr.) The Memoirs of Count Witte (1921), pp. 105–07; 晚清簃詩滙 Wan-ch'ing i-shi hui, 179/1a.]

Fang Chao-ying