Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Fu-k'ang-an

FU-k'ang-an 福康安 (T. 瑤林), d. June, 1796, was a Manchu of the Bordered Yellow Banner and a member of the Fuca clan. He was the son of the Grand Secretary, Fu-hêng [q. v.], and nephew of Empress Hsiao-hsien (see under Misḥan). In 1767 Fu-k'ang-an inherited the minor hereditary rank of Yün-ch'i-Yü and during the next four years served as a senior Imperial Bodyguard. In 1772, after serving for a year as junior vice-president of the Board of Revenue, he was made lieutenant-general of the Manchu division of the Bordered Yellow Banner and was entrusted with the delivery of seals to officers fighting the Chin-ch'uan rebels in Szechwan (see under A-kuei). Upon his arrival at the army's headquarters in 1773, he was appointed a subordinate commander by A-kuei, and distinguished himself by personal bravery and by skillful handling of his troops. After the pacification of the Chin-ch'uan area in 1776 Fu-k'ang-an was made a baron of the third class with the designation Chia-yung 嘉勇 and was promoted to the senior vice-presidency in the Board of Revenue, serving also as commander of the Mongol division of the Plain White Banner. His portrait, accompanied by a laudatory poem written by the Emperor, was placed in the Tzŭ-kuang ko (see under Chao-hui) with those of other officials who participated, directly or indirectly, in the suppression of the Chin-ch'uan rebellion.

From 1777 to 1780 Fu-k'ang-an served as a military governor in Manchuria, first in Kirin and then at Mukden. After 1780 he was governor-general of the following provinces: Yunnan and Kweichow (1780–81, 1794–95), Szechwan (1781–83, 1793–94), Shensi and Kansu (1784–88), Fukien and Chekiang (1788–89, 1795), and Kwangtung and Kwangsi (1789–93). This last mentioned post was his longest and also the most lucrative, owing to the volume of foreign trade which at that time flourished at Canton. Contemporary accounts say little that is good concerning Fu-k'ang-an as a provincial civil official; his use of public office to further his own political and financial fortunes gave him a reputation for unscrupulousness second only to that of Ho-shên [q. v.].

As a military officer, however, Fu-k'ang-an had unquestioned ability and was considered one of the most capable commanders of the imperial troops. It is in this capacity that he has received special recognition in the annals of the Ch'ing dynasty. His first important military assignment after the Chin-ch'uan expedition came in 1784 when he was sent with A-kuei to Kansu to put down a serious Mohammedan rebellion (see under A-kuei and Li Shih-yao). At the end of several months of hard fighting the revolt was quelled and Fu-k'ang-an was rewarded with the higher rank of marquis. In 1787 the Emperor ordered him and Hai-lan-ch'a [q. v.], to Formosa to quell a rebellion which assumed serious proportions. Sailing with their troops from Fukien at the end of the year, they brought relief to the loyal forces which had been besieged by the rebels (see under Ch'ai Ta-chi), and after several months of severe fighting the uprising was brought to an end. As a reward for the success of this campaign Fu-k'ang-an was raised (early in 1788) to Duke Chia-yung 嘉勇公 (a dukedom of the first class).

In 1790 a band of Gurkas from the Himalayan state of Nepal crossed into Tibet to plunder the wealthy lamaseries scattered throughout the country, but were persuaded by the commander of the Chinese garrison to return to their own country. The next year, however, they came again in greater numbers and, meeting with little opposition from Tibetans or Chinese plundered at will. Aroused by this invasion, Emperor Kao-tsung ordered Fu-k'ang-an, with Hai-lan-ch'a again as his chief-of-staff, to lead an army against the invaders. The Imperial forces reached Tibet early in 1792, and in one of the most astounding campaigns in Chinese history won victory after victory over the warlike Gurkas, finally driving them back through the passes of the Himalayas almost to the gates of their capital where they sued for peace. The terms arranged by Fu-k'ang-an included the sending of tribute to Peking every five years and this was received regularly until 1908: While the war with the Gurkas resulted in little benefit to China beyond establishing her suzerainty more securely over Tibet, it was a remarkable military feat won, as it was, on one of the highest plateaus in the world, on territory unfamiliar to the invading Chinese and three thousand miles distant from Peking. As a reward for his success in this campaign Emperor Kao-tsung made Fu-k'ang-an a Grand Secretary and granted him the additional hereditary rank of a first-class Ch'ing-ch'ê tu-yü which was inherited by his son Tê-lin 德麟. The Emperor declared that had Fu-k'ang-an completed the conquest of Nepal he would at this time have made him a prince. An additional honor was granted him, however, in 1793 when the designation Chung-jui 忠銳 was added to his dukedom.

It may be of interest to note that the East India Company in the end profited more from this war with the Gurkas than the Chinese themselves, for it served as an entering wedge in their relations with the unresponsive and indifferent Nepal Government. The Gurkas, severely pressed by their seemingly invincible foes, appealed to the East India Company of Bengal for troops. Fearing reprisals against the lucrative trade in Canton the Company refused their repeated requests, but offered instead to serve as mediators in the dispute. To this the Gurkas agreed, but before William Kirkpatrick, envoy of the East India Company reached the capital of Nepal in 1793, the war was already over. Nevertheless, the relations between Nepal and the British Empire thus began.

Early in 1795 the Miao tribes living in the mountainous region at the junction of the provinces of Kweichow, Hunan, and Szechwan, rose in rebellion and seized several small cities, killing or driving out local officials and plundering and murdering a large number of Chinese. As soon as the emperor was apprised of the seriousness of the situation, Fu-k'ang-an, who was then governor-general of Yunnan and Kweichow, together with Ho-lin and Pi Yüan [qq. v.], governors-general of adjacent provinces, was sent against the rebels. In spite of the superiority of the imperial troops, both in numbers and equipment, the Miao continued to hold their ground and the campaign was a prolonged one. Whether the ineffectualness of the imperial troops may be accounted for by the rough terrain which hindered them, as it helped the enemy, is not clear, but it is certain that the campaign was carried on in a half-hearted manner and continued a number of years. Those in command, as well as Ho-shên, who was in control at Peking, took every opportunity to advance their personal interests. Reports of false victories brought new honors from the emperor, and the personal fortunes of those in command were augmented from the large sums repeatedly appropriated for further military purposes. For his part in the reputed success of the enterprise Fu-k'ang-an was made a prince of the fourth degree (貝子) with the privileges of an imperial prince of the same rank. Though there were Chinese in the early Ch'ing period who received the rank of prince, and though there were Mongolian princes of varying degrees, he was the only Manchu outside the imperial family who, while living, received such an exalted rank. Fu-k'ang-an died in camp in June 1796 and was posthumously made a prince of the second degree (郡王) and his tablet was placed in the Imperial Ancestral Hall along with the illustrious founders of the dynasty. His name was celebrated, both in the Temple of Eminent Statesmen and the Temple of the Zealots of the Dynasty, and a special temple to his memory was ordered erected near his home. He was canonized as Wên-hsiang 文襄. Three of his portraits were hung in the Tzŭ-kuang ko to commemorate his bravery in the campaigns of Chin-ch'uan, Formosa, and against the Gurkas, respectively.

Emperor Jên-tsung did not, however, share his father's high regard for Fu-k'ang-an. He repeatedly blamed him posthumously for extravagant practises in the army, and in 1808 reduced his son, Tê-lin, from his inherited rank of a prince of the third degree to that of the fourth degree.

[1/336/1a; 2/26/12a; 3/34/1a; 7/22/1a; 1/534/1a; Chao-lien [q. v.], Hsiao-t'ing tsa-lu and hsü-lu, passim; Li Tsung-fang 李宗昉, Wên-miao-hsiang shih wên-chi, 13/1a; Wei Yüan [q. v.], Shêng-wu chi; Kirkpatrick, An Account of the Kingdom of Nepaul, (1811); Imbault-Huart, "Histoire de la Conquête du Népal par les Chinois" in Journal Asiatique, 1878, 7th series, vol. 12, pp. 348–77.]

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