Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Huang T'ing-kuei

HUANG T'ing-kuei 黃廷桂 (T. 丹崖), 1691–1759, Feb. 14(?), was a member of the Chinese Bordered Red Banner. His father, Huang Ping-chung 黃秉中 (T. 惟一, 1654–1718), was governor of Chekiang (1709–10) and of Fukien (1710–11). In 1710 Huang T'ing-kuei, then a student in the Imperial Academy, inherited the rank of Yün-ch'i-yü from his ancestors and in 1713 was appointed an Imperial Bodyguard. After serving at various military posts he was made provincial commander-in-chief of Szechwan in 1727 at a time of sweeping changes in the method of governing the Miao or aborigines of China (see under O-êr-t'ai). Local conditions were in considerable confusion and Huang, stationed in an area where the Miao population was great, had frequently to deal with them. In 1728 a Miao chieftain of Lei-p'o, Szechwan, named Yang Ming-i 楊明義, aided a Miao woman of near-by Mi-t'ieh, Yunnan, named Lu, in a revolt (see under Ha Yüan-shêng). Huang marched on Yang, captured him, and over a region extending as far eastward as A-lü, Kweichow, massacred almost ten thousand of the luckless aborigines.

Emperor Shih-tsung, however, was not wholehearted in his approval of this policy of extermination, regarding it as more practical to conciliate the Miao whenever possible. Thus when in 1729 Huang memorialized that the Miao of Jung-mei (Ho-fêng), Hupeh, were overstepping their rights in collecting a tax on the Szechwan border, the emperor, recalling that they were the wealthiest and strongest of all the Miao in Hupeh and Szechwan, ordered that they be instructed and allowed gradually to reform, condoning their improprieties as being the result of lax government under the Mings. Also in 1730 when Huang memorialized about the Miao of Yu-yang, Szechwan, concealing a certain revolutionist, the emperor doubted it, ordering that an inquiry be made into the affair so that oppressive petty officials would not stir up new trouble among them.

For a brief campaign against a branch of the Miao called Lolo, conducted in 1730–31 on the border between Yunnan and Szechwan, Huang received imperial praise. Shortly afterwards when for administrative convenience Szechwan was separated from Shensi and given a governor-general for itself he was appointed to this post (1731–35), retaining concurrently his position of provincial commander-in-chief. In the last year of Emperor Shih-tsung's reign (1735), when the Miao of Kweichow revolted, Huang memorialized about the danger of a similar uprising on the Szechwan-Kweichow border. The emperor again ordered a pacific rather than violent policy. When Emperor Kao-tsung ascended the throne he abolished the governor-generalship of Szechwan, leaving Huang with the post of provincial commander-in-chief. Summoned to Peking early in 1737, Huang later (1738) was reduced to the rank of brigade-general stationed at Tientsin. In 1740 he was restored to the rank of provincial commander-in-chief and was stationed at Ku-pei-k'ou, Chihli. Thereafter, until 1753, he served as governor of Kansu (1741–48), governor-general of Liang-Kiang (Kiangsu and Kiangsi, 1749–51), and governor-general of Shensi and Kansu (1751–53). In 1753 he was again appointed governor-general of Szechwan (the post having been restored in 1748), from which region he transported grain for the relief of the distressed in a flooded area near Yangchow. Early in 1754 he became concurrently president of the Board of Civil Office, and a year later was made a Grand Secretary.

During the period of his administration in Szechwan Huang T'ing-kuei suppressed several local uprisings and constructed some irrigation works for the aid of the farmers. In 1755 he was re-instated as governor-general of Shensi and Kansu, still retaining his position of Grand Secretary. In the last four years of his life he was of value to Emperor Kao-tsung as overseer of the transport of horses to the army in the west and north, at the time the emperor was engaged in wars against the Eleuths and Mohammedans. He died of an illness while stationed at Liang-chou. The year before his death (1758) he was created Earl Chung-ch'in 忠勤伯 of the third rank, and the year after his death (1760) his portrait was hung in the Tzŭ-kuang ko (see under Chao-hui). He was canonized as Wên-hsiang 文襄, and his tablet was placed in the Temple of Eminent Statesmen. In 1784 a grandson, Huang Chien 黃撿, was severely reprimanded for printing Huang's memorials and with them the comments of Emperor Shih-tsung and Emperor Kao-tsung.

[1/329/1a; 3/17/24a; Yung-chêng Chu-p'i yü-chih (see under Yin-chên); 清代文字獄檔 Ch'ing-tai wên-tzŭ yü tang, no. 4.]

Rufus O. Suter