Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Lungkodo

LUNGKODO 隆科多, d. 1728, official, was the third son of T'ung Kuo-wei [q. v.], and a member of the Manchu Bordered Yellow Banner. His aunt was the mother of Emperor Shêng-tsu. That emperor took two of Lungkodo's sisters as concubines, one of whom was elevated to empress (Empress Hsiao-i, see under T'ung Kuo-wei) shortly before her death in 1689. Thus Lungkodo was a cousin and also a brother-in-law of the emperor.

He began his official career in 1688 as an Imperial Bodyguard. In 1693 he was made commissioner of the Imperial Equipage Department and later served as deputy lieutenant-general of a Banner. For failure to control the conduct of one of his subordinates he was, in 1705, discharged from his offices, but was allowed to redeem himself by service as an Imperial Bodyguard. In 1711 he was appointed general commandant of the Gendarmerie of Peking with the title Pu-chün tung-ling 步軍統領, more commonly known as Chiu-mên t'i-tu 九門提督 because one of his duties was the control of the nine gates of the Tartar City. In this capacity he served for fourteen years until 1725. In 1720 he was given by Emperor Shêng-tsu the concurrent post of president of the Colonial Court in charge of affairs with Mongols and other peoples, including Russians.

It appears, however, that Emperor Shêng-tsu was not pleased with Lungkodo's family, for when T'ung Kuo-wei died in 1719 the emperor neglected to appoint an hereditary successor to the dukedom. T'ung Kuo-wei had favored the emperor's eighth son, Yin-ssŭ [q. v.], as heir apparent, and so had incurred the emperor's extreme displeasure. The family of T'ung Kuowei seems in general to have supported Yin-ssŭ, but Lungkodo, probably at the last moment, shifted to the faction of Yin-chên (q.v., temple name Shih-tsung). Late in 1722 Emperor Shêng-tsu died in the garden-palace, Ch'ang-ch'un-yüan, four miles west of Peking. According to official accounts, Lungkodo and several princes were at the bedside of the dying emperor who disclosed to them that he wished Yin-chên to succeed to the throne. But their claim is not convincing (see under Yin-chên). From various contemporary sources it is known that Lungkodo stationed soldiers round the garden palace and then went to Peking where, with his Gendarmerie, he kept order and prepared for any emergency. Yin-chên accompanied his father's remains back to Peking, with an escort of soldiers with drawn swords. Thus it was largely owing to Lungkodo's military power that Yin-chên was able to wrest the throne while his opposing halfbrothers looked helplessly on. In the meantime, Yin-chên's henchman, Nien Kêng-yao [q. v.], was keeping watch over Yin-t'i [禵, q.v.], the prince who had military power and who in reality is the one supposed to have been designated heir-apparent.

Lungkodo was highly rewarded for his assistance to Emperor Shih-tsung, for on the very day that the latter ascended the throne, he was appointed one of four men to supervise all affairs of state, including funeral preparations for the deceased Emperor. He was given the title Chiu-chiu 舅舅, or Maternal Uncle [of the Emperor], and on the following day was permitted to succeed to the dukedom vacated by his father. The Emperor justified the title, Chiu-chiu, on the ground that once during his infancy he had been cared for by Lungkodo's sister, the above-mentioned Empress Hsiao-i. Early in 1723, Lungkodo was made president of the Board of Civil Office and was given, in addition to his dukedom, the hereditary rank of a Ch'ing-ch'ê tu-yü which went to his eldest son. A younger son was made commissioner of the Imperial Equipage Department. In April 1723 Lungkodo and Nien Kêng-yao were both given the title of Grand Guardian. In a secret order to Nien Kêng-yao, issued in that same year, the Emperor praised Lungkodo as loyal and able; and in 1724 he ordered him to adopt one of Nien's sons. Later in 1724, after Lungkodo had been given the concurrent post of president of the Court of Colonial Affairs, he and Nien were both granted the double-eyed peacock feather, and costumes and saddles reserved for Princes of the Blood of the first and second degrees. In these and other ways the Emperor showered special favors on the two men.

By 1725 Emperor Shih-tsung felt so secure on the throne that he could ignore his former henchmen. But Lungkodo and Nien were not aware of this and still regarded themselves as in the Emperor's favor. Perhaps they had indicated some disapproval of the Emperor's cruel treatment of his former opponents (see under Yin-ssŭ and Yin-t'ang), or perhaps they presumed too much on their intimacy with him. They might even have disclosed to outsiders some details of the Emperor's illegal succession. In any case, the Emperor decided to do away with men who might one day embarrass him. Early in 1725 Lungkodo was released from his command of the Gendarmerie. In May Nien was severely reprimanded for a minor error in the wording of a memorial, and from then on he was charged in quick succession with one crime after another.

In July Lungkodo was also involved in Nien's case. As president of the Board of Civil Office he was one of the high officials charged with advising the Emperor on the punishment that should be meted out to Nien for each of the crimes with which he was charged. In one instance the punishment recommended was found too lenient, and Lungkodo was blamed. Later the punishment for another crime was found to be too severe, and Lungkodo was held responsible. He was charged with trying to confuse the Emperor about Nien's case and was punished by having his title and additional hereditary rank taken from him. Though he was permitted to retain his offices and his dukedom, he was ordered to redeem himself by serving at Alašan 阿拉善 (in present Ninghsia) as supervisor of the building of forts and the cultivation of land—works which were part of the preparation then under way for the conquest of the Eleuths. On Lungkodo's recommendation, submitted in 1726, irrigation ditches were later constructed and a large area of farm land was reclaimed.

In the meantime another blow fell on Lungkodo. It seems that he had been ordered to testify against certain opponents of the Emperor, but had refused to comply. The Emperor punished him by bringing charges of corruption against him. A servant in Lungkodo's house was charged with having received bribes and was executed. Several officials reported that they had sent Lungkodo bribes. Consequently he was dismissed from all offices except his dukedom, but was again allowed to redeem himself by serving on a commission that was sent to demarcate the boundary between Mongolia and the Eleuths, along the Altai Mountains, and then to negotiate with a Russian commission about the boundary between Siberia and Mongolia. The commission included, besides Lungkodo, Tsereng [q. v.] and Earl Ssŭ-ko 四哥 (四格, member of the Manchu Plain Yellow Banner) In 1727 Tulišen [q. v.] was added to the commission to negotiate with the Russians. Lungkodo was head of the Chinese Commission when it began the Conference in July, but he was soon recalled and the Treaty of Kiakhta was concluded by the other commissioners (see under Tulišen).

The recall of Lungkodo resulted from the discovery on his premises of a set of the 玉牒 Yü-tieh, or genealogy of the Imperial Family, which Lungkodo had received from Ablan 阿布蘭, a great-great-grandson of Cuyen [q. v.]. Ablan was a prince of the sixth degree and had once shown unusual respect for Yin-t'i. Possibly there was in this genealogy some hint that Yin-t'i had been designated heir to the throne. Naturally the Emperor could not tolerate that a former accomplice should be in possession of written evidence which might be used against him. Lungkodo was therefore ordered to explain, and because his answer was unsatisfactory, he was stripped of his dukedom, recalled from Mongolia, imprisoned and tried. In November 1727 he was found guilty on forty-one counts, of which the most significant are the following: (1) he had secretly kept in his possession a set of the Yü-tieh; (3) he had once implied in conversation that by his support of Emperor Shih-tsung to the throne he had signed his own death warrant; (6) he had stated that on the day Emperor Shih-tsu died he had kept a dagger at his side in order to guard against emergencies; (7) he had boasted of his power to summon twenty thousand soldiers, and that (8) he had guarded Emperor Shih-tsung against assassins; (13) he had been in collusion with K'uei-hsü [q. v.] and (14) had recommended Cha Ssŭ-t'ing [q. v.]; and (26 to 41) had received bribes amounting to more than half a million taels. For these "crimes" it was recommended that he should be cut in pieces. But the Emperor commuted the sentence to imprisonment for life and placed him in an enclosure comprising three specially constructed rooms, outside the garden-palace, Ch'ang-ch'un-yüan. His sons were discharged, and one was banished to Heilungkiang. His wife was fined the amount of the bribes he was supposed to have received, but it seems that this fine was not exacted, for the Emperor knew that Lungkodo's family could not pay such an enormous sum. In 1728 Lungkodo died and his family was probably exempted from the fine, for the Emperor granted a sum of 1,000 taels for the funeral.

Lungkodo was the author of an emergency defense plan for Peking, which he probably drew up early in Emperor Shih-tsung's reign to forestall a possible revolt of the Emperor's opponents. According to this plan, a signal corps was to be stationed at the White Dagoba (Pai-t'a-shan 白塔山) in the Pei Hai just north of the Palaces. This landmark, built in 1651, commanded a view of most of the Inner City, and the signal corps was equipped with guns, banners and lanterns. On orders of the emperor, signals would be sent out and all the princes, officers and men would rally at once to points previously designated. The plan was reprinted by Ying-ho [q. v.] under the title Pai-t'a-shan hsin-p'ao chang-ch'êng (信礮章程) with texts in Manchu and Chinese.


[1/301/1a; 2/13/6b; 7/1/20b; Pa-ch'i Man-chou shih-tsu t'ung-pu (see under Anfiyanggû) 20/2b; Ying-ho [q. v.], Ên-fu-t'ang pi-chi 上/23a; see bibliography under Nien Kêng-yao, Yin-chên and Tulišen.]

Fang Chao-ying