Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Liu Ch'ang-yu

LIU Ch'ang-yu 劉長佑 (T. 子默, H. 印渠 or 蔭渠), Dec. 16, 1818–1887, Aug. 14, was a general of Hsin-ning, Hunan. The son of a merchant, he became a senior licentiate in 1849. In Peking he became the friend of Chiang Chung-yüan [q. v.] whom he accompanied to Kwangsi in 1852 to help put down the Taiping Rebellion. In 1853 he led a detachment of 500 Hunanese to the rescue of Nanchang, Kiangsi, and Luchow, Anhwei, which were besieged by the insurgents. In 1855 his force was enlarged and by the following year he had 5,000 soldiers under his command with whom he again went to the relief of Kiangsi—on his way taking Yüan-chou from the rebels. Chagrined by reverses, he attempted to commit suicide in 1857. But heartened by the sympathy of the people and by reinforcements from Hunan, his morale as well as that of his soldiers was revived and he laid siege to Lin-chiang in the same province. As a reward for taking the city, he was promoted (1858) to the rank of a lieutenant-governor. After a few months' leave on grounds of illness he resumed his task, bravely fighting the rebels at Chien-ch'ang, and forcing them eastward to Fukien. When the fierce Taiping leader, Shih Ta-k'ai [q. v.], invaded South Hunan (1859), Liu was ordered to the front to co-operate with other generals in driving the invaders to Kwangsi—a task achieved only after severe fighting. Thereupon he pursued Shih's force from Kuei-lin to Ch'ing-yüan and thence through many other towns on the mountainous borders of Hunan, Kwangtung, and Kwangsi. Of the last-named province, he was made governor in 1860.

During his two years as governor of Kwangsi Liu Ch'ang-yu had from time to time to fight against the roving forces of Shih Ta-k'ai and to subdue many other local uprisings in scattered towns and villages. At the same time he improved the administration of the provincial government, built ships, trained soldiers and made the province practically self-supporting, both from the standpoint of food and of military supplies. In the autumn of 1862 he was appointed governor-general of Kwangtung and Kwangsi, his task of bandit-suppression being turned over to Liu K'un-i [q. v.]. Shortly after assuming office he was granted an audience with the emperor and in the spring of 1863 was transferred to the governor-generalship of Chihli (1863–67), a region of China in which the Nien banditti (Nien-fei) were then very strong. As soon as he reached Tientsin on his way to Peking, he was ordered to undertake a punitive expedition against the brigands. Soon afterwards he was placed in command of a force to suppress trouble on the borders of Chihli, Shantung and Honan. Only at the close of the year (1863) did he find time to attend to civil affairs. But in 1865 Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in [q. v.], chief in command of bandit suppression, died on the battlefield. The Nien-fei became more threatening than ever and Liu Ch'ang-yu, for his failure to suppress them, incurred denunciation by the Board of Punishments. As soon as the bandits in south Chibli were cleared away he organized (1866) a sort of "navy" for use on the Yellow River, and increased his army to six divisions. In 1867 the Eastern Nien (see under Li Hung-chang) were routed by the navy, but while he was so occupied the cities of Paoting, Tientsin, and the suburbs of Peking were menaced by gangs of salt smugglers. For his failure to maintain order in the province, Liu was deprived of his post and stripped of his titles. But as the smugglers were shortly after suppressed he was given back, for previous merit, his button of the third rank, and when the Eastern Nien were finally exterminated he was raised to the second rank.

In June 1871 Liu Ch'ang-yu was recalled to be governor of Kwangtung, but soon was transferred to Kwangsi where, in co-operation with the king of Annam, he and Fêng Tzŭ-ts'ai [q. v.] put down brigands. Under his rule of some five years the province prospered. At the beginning of 1876 he was appointed governor-general of Yunnan and Kweichow. Convinced that France had ambitious designs on Annam he submitted, in 1881, a memorial to the throne suggesting resort to arms against the aggressor, by using the allied forces of Yunnan, Kwangtung and Kwangsi. Having repeatedly asked leave to retire, his request was granted in 1883. He died at his home in 1887 and was canonized as Wu-shên 武愼. Liu Ch'ang-yu's collected writings are entitled Liu Wu-shên kung i-shu (遺書), 24 chüan (1902).


[1/425/1a; 2/54/21a; 5/29/1a; 8/4/1a; Hsiang-chün chih (see bibl. of Tsêng Kuo-fan) chap. 1.]

Têng Ssŭ-yü