Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Kuei-liang
KUEI-liang 桂良 ( 燕山), Sept. 9, 1785–1862, July 17, official, was a Manchu of the Gûalgiya Clan and a member of the Plain Red Banner. His father, Yü-tê 玉德 ( 達齋, 他山, d. 1809), served as governor-general of Fukien and Chekiang from 1799 to 1806, but was banished for negligence in conducting the war against the pirates (see under Li Ch'ang-kêng). In 1808 Kuei-liang, then a senior licentiate, purchased the rank of a second class secretary of a Board, and later was assigned to the Board of Ceremonies. Also by purchase, he attained (1814) the rank of assistant department director in the same Board. Five years later he was sent to Szechwan where he served until 1827, first as a prefect, and then as intendant of the Chien-ch'ang Circuit. From 1827 to 1834 he acted as financial commissioner of the following provinces: Szechwan (1829–30), Kwangtung (1830–32), and Kiangsi (1832–34). In 1834 he was made governor of Honan where he destroyed (1838) the temples which had been erected in the province by certain rebellious religious sects. He was made governor-general of Hunan and Hupeh in 1839 but later was transferred to be governor-general of Fukien and Chekiang, and early in the following year was given the same post in Yunnan and Kweichow. In 1845 he went to Peking for an audience after which Emperor Hsüan-tsung remarked that Kuei-liang, who was then just over sixty sui, showed signs of impaired health, which rendered him unfit for the office of governor-general. He was ordered to await an appointment in Peking.
Late in 1845 Kuei-liang was named military lieutenant-governor of Jehol where he served until 1848 when he was recalled to Peking to look after affairs in connection with the imminent marriage of his tenth daughter (1834–1880) to the emperor's sixth son, I-hsin [q. v.]. Thereafter Kuei-liang held several minor posts in Peking until 1851 when he was sent to Foochow as the Tartar General of that city. He was recalled in 1852 and named president of the Board of War. In the following year he was sent to Paoting, capital of Chihli, to take charge of the defenses against invasion by the Taiping rebels. In the same year he was appointed governor-general of Chihli, and two years later was given the concurrent rank of an Associate Grand Secretary. Early in 1857 he was promoted to be a Grand Secretary and served concurrently as lieutenant-general of the Manchu Plain White Banner. His post of governor-general of Chihli was taken by T'an T'ing-hsiang 譚廷襄 ( 竹厓, 竹巖, posthumous name 端恪, chin-shih of 1833, d. 1870).
In 1854, while in Chihli, Kuei-liang had his first experience in the conduct of foreign affairs. In that year the British, French, and American envoys landed at Taku to request a revision of their treaties with China (see under I-chu). Kuei-liang was ordered not to demean himself by receiving the envoys personally, but to send a former salt controller, Ch'ung-lun (see under I-chu), to discuss the matter with them at Tientsin. As the demands of the envoys were nearly all rejected, they returned south to await further instructions from their respective governments. Finally the British and the French decided to use force to obtain their objectives which in general were: the establishment of Legations in Peking on terms of diplomatic equality, the opening of the interior to foreign trade and travel, toleration for missionaries, and an extension of trading facilities. After the occupation of Canton in 1857 the British plenipotentiary, Lord Elgin, and the French Ambassador, Baron Gros (for both see under Yeh Ming-ch'ên), sailed northward with their fleets. At Shanghai they were joined, not for military but for diplomatic action, by the American envoy, William Bradford Reed (1806–1876), and the Russian Admiral, Count Evfīmii Vasīl'evīch Putıȃtīn (1803–1883). In April 1858 the four arrived at Taku and demanded that T'an T'ing-hsiang be given full powers to sign the revised treaties. After a month of fruitless discussion the British and French allies forced their way to Tientsin, and threatened to proceed to Peking if high officials were not sent immediately to open negotiations. Thus Kuei-liang and a Mongol, Hua-sha-na 花沙納 ( 毓仲, 松岑, posthumous name 文定, 1806–1859, chin-shih of 1832), were chosen as the Emperor's delegates to negotiate with the plenipotentiaries of the four powers. They arrived at Tientsin on June 2, but were rebuffed by the foreign envoys for failure to provide themselves with seals. In China an official sent from the capital on short errands was not given a seal: therefore a delay occurred while special seals were made for the negotiators. There was no negotiation, however, for the British interpreters. H. N. Lay (see under Ch'i-ying) and Thomas Wade (see under Tso Tsung-t'ang) who conducted the meetings, brooked no mitigation of their demands. After they had frightened a third envoy away from Tientsin (see under Ch'i-ying), the two interpreters had little difficulty with Kuei-liang and Hua-sha-na. The Chinese commissioners pleaded with the Russian and American ministers to help alleviate the rigor of the demands, but without success. Those ministers, however, acted with more moderation and courtesy than did the British and French, probably because they were in a position to obtain without force what the latter won by arms. The treaty with Russia in twelve articles was signed on June 13; the American treaty of thirty articles, on the 18th—the two interpreters who assisted Mr. Reed being S. Wells Williams and W. A. P. Martin (for both see under Tung Hsün).
Two of the British demands interposed obstacles to continued negotiation, namely, the residence of foreign envoys at Peking and the opening of the Yangtze River to foreign trade. On June 26, the day set for the signing of the British treaty of 56 articles, Kuei-liang and Hua-sha-na were instructed by edict to refuse to concede the demands then under dispute. But as the British threatened to march on Peking they forced the intimidated negotiators to sign the treaty on the evening of the same day (26th). The French treaty of 42 articles was signed on June 27.
The clause in the treaties to which the Peking Court raised the most serious objection was that which granted residence to foreign envoys in the capital on a basis of diplomatic equality. The Court was ignorant of international practices and felt humiliated at the idea of future audiences in which envoys of foreign states would not perform the ceremony of kotow which for centuries had been the Chinese practice. But that by some of the articles China lost much of her national sovereignty, no one in the Court s eemed to realize. After the foreign envoys left, Kuei-liang and Hua-sha-na were sent to Shanghai to make agreements with representatives of the powers about the rate of tariff on various commodities. In the meantime T'an T'ing-hsiang and other officials who had charge of the defenses of Tientsin were punished for their failure to stop the "invaders" from landing. The Mongol prince, Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in [q. v.], was entrusted with the fortifying of the Taku area and the training of troops sufficient to guard it. The emperor, still vexed at the idea of opening the Yangtze to foreign trade and at having to meet foreign envoys in Peking, instructed Kueiliang and the other commissioners to seek the annulment of those articles. In return China would abolish the tariff on all foreign goods. But finding the envoys unyielding, Kuei-liang sought to forestall any possible audiences by asking that the texts of the treaties be ratified, not in the capital, but at Shanghai. He warned Frederick Bruce (see under Wang T'ao), the British minister, that the Taku area was fortified and that since Tientsin was not a treaty port, China had the right to resist any attempt to force a passage. However, Bruce belittled the warning and with a fleet of British and French ships sailed to Taku. When told to land at Pei-t'ang, a smaller port north of Taku, he refused and attacked the Taku forts (June 25, 1859). After being repulsed (see under Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in), the British and French envoys returned to Shanghai to prepare for further military action.
After this repulse the American minister, John 華若翰 (1814–1902), and his retinue, including S. Wells Williams and W. A. P. Martin, landed at Pei-t'ang. They were conducted to the capital by WardCh'ung-hou [q. v.] and were quartered in a residence which had previously belonged to Sai-shang-a (see under Ch'ung-ch'i). On July 30 Ward had his first interview with Kuei-liang who had by that time returned from Shanghai. Eleven days later Kuei-liang received the letter from President Buchanan to the emperor and transmitted it to the throne. On August 16 the texts of the American treaty of 1858 were exchanged at Pei-t'ang, whereupon the Americans returned to Shanghai.
On August 1, 1860 the British and French allies again landed at Pei-t'ang and twenty days later took the Taku forts. As the allies reached Tientsin Kuei-liang was again sent there as negotiator. He was joined by the governor-general, Hêng-fu 恆福 (posthumous name 恭勤 d. 1862), and the director of Imperial Armory, Hêng-ch'i (see under I-hsin), to open negotiations. They consented to every demand of the allies, and yet those allies refused for a long time to recognize them on the pretext that there had been no edict giving the Chinese commissioners plenipotentiary powers. The emperor, too, reprimanded them for being too timorous. As the British advanced northward, Kuei-liang returned to Tungchow and then to Peking. The task of negotiating with the foreigners was first entrusted to Tsai-yüan (see under Yin-hsiang) and later to I-hsin. After the emperor had fled to Jehol, Kuei-liang was named one of the commissioners to conduct national affairs at Peking. He and Wên-hsiang [q. v.] assisted I-hsin in the negotiations with the victorious allies—finally concluding the treaties of Peking (see under I-hsin). When in January 1861 the Tsungli Yamen was established (see under I-hsin) to conduct foreign affairs, I-hsin was made its head with Kuei-liang and Wên-hsiang as assistants.
Kuei-liang was on the side of his son-in-law, I-hsin, when the coup d'état of November 1861 took place (see under I-hsin). They put into effect the edict arresting Su-shun [q. v.] and conducted the latter's trial. Along with I-hsin, Kuei-liang was made a Grand Councilor. He died eight months later and was canonized as Wên-tuan 文端. He was celebrated in the Temple of Eminent Statesmen.
S. Wells Williams, who was secretary and interpreter of the American mission in 1858 and who negotiated with Kuei-liang the treaty of that year, gave the following description of him. "Kweiliang is a well-preserved man of seventy-four, tall and not too large for his height, placid in speech and countenance, having a stoop of the shoulders and a quavering tone of voice, which more than anything else indicates his age". W. A. P. Martin described him as "of kindly aspect and gentle demeanor; his colleague, Hwashana, some twenty years his junior, had a martial air and something of the brusqueness of a soldier".
Kuei-liang's elder brother, Pin-liang 斌良 (備卿, 笠耕, 1784–1847), served as an official for forty-five years and died at Lhasa a few months after he arrived there as Imperial Resident. He was a celebrated poet among the Manchus, leaving a voluminous collection of verse, entitled 抱沖齋詩集 Pao-ch'ung chai shih-chi, divided into 36 sections and 71 chüan, with a supplement of his tz'ŭ, entitled 眠琴仙館詞 Mien-ch'in Hsien-kuan tz'ŭ, 1 chüan. It was printed in 1849–50 by a younger brother, Fa-liang 法良 ( 可盦, b. 1800), who included in it a nien-p'u of Pin-liang.
[1/394/1a; 2/45/31b; Ch'ou-pan I-wu shih-mo, Hsien-fêng period (see under I-hsin); Morse, H. B., The International Relations of the Chinese Empire, 1834–60; Cordier, H., L'expédition de Chine, 1857–58; Williams, F. W., The Life and Letters of S. Wells Williams (1889), p. 265; Martin, W. A. P., A Cycle of Cathay, pp. 143–203; 瓜爾佳氏家譜 Kua-êr-chia shih chia-p'u (1849), 4/24; Tung Hsün, Nien-p'u, 2/49b.]