Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Li Shuai-t'ai

3643640Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 1 — Li Shuai-t'aiEarl Swisher

LI Shuai-t'ai 李率泰 (T. 壽疇, 叔達), d. 1666, Feb., native of T'ieh-ling, Liaotung, a member of the Chinese Plain Blue Banner, was the second son of Li Yung-fang [q. v.]. His personal name was originally Yen-ling 延齡 but at the age of twelve (sui) he was presented at the court of Nurhaci [q. v.] who conferred on him the name Shuai-t'ai. When he was sixteen (sui) he married the daughter of an imperial agnate. He accompanied Abahai [q. v.] in the campaigns against Chahar, Korea, and Chin-chou; and in 1644 followed Dorgon [q. v.] to Peking. He was active in the establishment of the Manchus in China, and took part in the fighting in the provinces of Chihli, Shantung and Honan (1644); Shensi and Kiangnan (1645); Chekiang (1646); Fukien (1646–48); and Shansi (1649). In May 1651 he was made a Grand Secretary but was discharged in August for trying to conceal a mistake in an edict. In addition to being fined, his hereditary rank was on this occasion lowered from a baron to that of Ch'i-tu-yü. However, early in 1653 he was, by special order, made a third class baron and later in the same year, on the recommendation of Hung Ch'êng-ch'ou [q. v.], he was appointed governor-general of Kwangtung and Kwangsi where he fought against the Ch'ing general, Li Ting-kuo [q. v.]. He received the title of Grand Tutor of the Heir Apparent and in 1656 was transferred to the post of governor-general of Fukien and Chekiang. Here he carried on vigorous campaigns against the Chêng Ch'êng-kung [q. v.] faction, especially promoting the building of a navy adequate for coastal defense. It was because of his fear that Chêng Chih-lung [q. v.] would rejoin the Fukien rebels that the latter was not exiled to Ninguta.

In 1657 Li was raised to a baron of the first class. When the jurisdiction of Chekiang and Fukien was divided in 1658, he continued as governor-general of Fukien. The next year he was recommended to be discharged for losing territory to the insurgents, but the emperor commuted his punishment to a fine of one year's salary and continued him in office. At the same time his hereditary rank was taken from him. In the ensuing years he recovered most of Fukien, including the islands of Chushan, Amoy, and Chin-mên (Quemoy) and in 1664 forced Chêng Ching [q. v.] to withdraw to Taiwan. Although the glory of the final spectacular victory against the Chêng insurgents went to Shih Lang [q. v.], much credit is due Li Shuai-t'ai for preparing the ground for their extermination. After repeated requests to be retired on account of illness, he died in office and was given the posthumous rank of president of the Board of War and the name of Chung-hsiang 忠襄. In 1667 he was posthumously given the hereditary rank of a baron of the first class.

[1/279/1a; 2/5/26a; 3/1/25a; 4/5/5b; 7/4/3a; 9/1/12a; 11/3/51b; Shêng-ching (盛京) t'ung-chih (1736) 34/14b; T'ieh-ling-hsien chih (1915) 4/346b; 34/206/7a; Tung-hua lu, Shun-chih 8:3.]

Earl Swisher