Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Chu Yu-sung

CHU Yu-sung 朱由崧, d. 1646, was a grandson of the Ming emperor, Shên-tsung, who ruled in the years 1573-1620 with the reign-title Wan-li. After the capture of Peking by the Manchus, Chu Yu-sung ruled in Nanking for one year with the reign-title Hung-kuang 弘光. His father, Chu Ch'ang-hsün 朱常洵 (1586–1641), was the first son of Shên-tsung's favorite, the concubine Chêng 鄭, who for many years attempted to secure his appointment as crown prince (see under Chu Ch'ang-lo). The strong opposition of Shên-tsung's ministers forced a settlement in 1601 by which Chu Ch'ang-lo was made heir apparent, and Chu Ch'ang-hsün was given the title Prince of Fu (福) with hereditary estates at Honanfu. In spite of this arrangement Chu Ch'ang-hsün remained at Peking, the object of continual intrigue until 1614 when he moved to Honanfu where a lavishly constructed palace had been prepared for him. His estates comprised 2,000,000 mou of fertile land, thus adding greatly to the burden of the people.

In 1617 Chu Yu-sung received the title Prince of Tê-ch'ang 德昌. Late in the year 1640 Li Tzŭ-ch'êng [q. v.] attacked Honanfu, and in the spring of the next year Chu Ch'ang-hsün was executed. His palaces burned for three days and Chu Yu-sung with his mother escaped across the Yellow River to Huai-ch'ing, Honan. In 1643 Chu Yu-sung received from his cousin, the emperor, formal appointment as Prince of Fu in succession to his father. On March 11 of the following year Huai-ch'ing was taken by Li Tzŭ-ch'êng, and Chu Yu-sung fled to Anhwei. On May 17, 1644 news reached Nanking of the occupation of the northern capital by Li Tzŭ-ch'êng, and the suicide of the emperor. The higher officials at Nanking held a consultation regarding the succession and became involved in a dispute between partisans of the Prince of Lu (潞王, Chu Ch'ang-fang 朱常淓, nephew of Emperor Shên-tsung) and protagonists of the Prince of Fu. The former was generally regarded as a man of honor and ability, whereas Chu Yu-sung was given to drink and dissipation. But Ma Shih-ying [q. v.], commander-in-chief at Fêng-yang, Anhwei, utilizing his military influence to sponsor the cause of Chu Yu-sung, forced Shih K'o-fa [q. v.] who directed affairs at Nanking to agree to his choice.

On June 4 an official delegation welcomed Chu Yu-sung on the banks of the Yangtze and three days later he was proclaimed "administrator of the realm," (監國). On June 19, 1644 he assumed the title of emperor at Nanking and announced that the following year would be the first of the reign-period, Hung-kuang. Four loosely defined districts, each under a military administrator, were set up north of the Yangtze. Early in the autumn an embassy was sent to Peking, ostensibly to thank the Manchus for their services in driving out Li Tzŭ-ch'êng, but actually to spy out the political situation. The envoys were prepared to make lavish presents of silk, gold, and silver, and to promise the Manchus, on condition of their retirement, the cession of all territory outside the Great Wall and the guarantee of an annual subsidy of 100,000 taels silver. The Manchu regent, Dorgon [q. v.], rejected the proposal, offering instead to leave the Southern Court unmolested if it relinquished claim to the whole empire and accepted the status of a dependent kingdom. Under the influence of the ardent patriot, Shih K'o-fa, this compromise was rejected. The Nanking government was weakened, however, by the same dissentions that had grown up in the reign of Shên-tsung and continued through the reigns of his successors. The reprinting of the San-ch'ao yao-tien, (see under Fêng Ch'üan) served to revive some of the old issues. When Ma Shih-ying and his ally, Juan Ta-ch'êng [q. v.], secured control they were met by the hostility of Shih K'o-fa and Tso Liang-yü [q. v.]. The latter decided on April 21, 1645, to march against Nanking from his post in Hupeh and rid it of Ma Shih-ying.

Meanwhile, the Manchu armies had disposed of Li Tzŭ-ch'êng in the west and were free to attack the Southern Court. Chu Yu-sung was persuaded by Ma Shih-ying to concentrate on the repulse of Tso Liang-yü, and although this campaign was successful, it left Anhwei and Kiangsu inadequately protected. On May 13, 1645 the Manchu army under Dodo [q. v.] surrounded Yangchow which was held by Shih K'o-fa, and captured the city after a siege of seven days. Three weeks later this army reached Nanking, and when Ma Shih-ying failed to resist, Chu Yu-sung fled to Wuhu, Anhwei. On June 8 Nanking surrendered to the Manchus, and on the 18th Chu Yu-sung, held captive by one of his former generals, was handed over to the Manchu forces and taken to Peking, where he died in the following year. By the court of the Prince of T'ang (see under Chu Yü-chien) he was canonized as Emperor Shêng-an 聖安皇帝, and by that of the Prince of Kuei (see under Chu Yu-lang) as An-tsung Chien Huang-ti 安宗簡皇帝.


[M.1/120/5–8; M.59/1, 2; 明季南略 Ming-chi nan-lüeh, 1–9; 聖安本紀 Shêng-an pên-chi, passim, in 荊駝逸史 Ching-t'o i-shih; 三藩紀事本末 San-fan chi-shih pên-mo in Chieh-yüeh shan-fang hui-ch'ao (see under Chang Hai-p'êng); T'oung Pao, 1923, p. 51; 弘光實錄鈔 Hung-kuang shih-lu ch'ao and 鹿樵紀聞 Lu-ch'iao chi-wên in 痛史 T'ung-shih上/1a; Backhouse and Bland, Annals and Memoirs of the Court of Peking, chapters VI and VII; Cha Chi-tso [q. v.], Tsui-wei lu vol. 8, chüan 18.]

George A. Kennedy