Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Ning Wan-wo

NING Wan-wo 寧完我, d. 1665, Chinese bannerman of the Plain Red Banner, was a native of Liao-tung. Having pledged his allegiance to the Manchus under Nurhaci [q. v.], he served with Sahaliyen [q. v.], third son of Daišan [q. v.], until 1629. In that year Abahai [q. v.], hearing of his ability as a scholar, invited him to serve in the Literary Office (Wên-kuan 文館). Given the rank of lieutenant colonel, Ning Wan-wo was with the Manchus who took Yung-p'ing in 1630. On this occasion Abahai ordered him to mount the city wall with a flag and reassure the people. Later he commissioned Ning and Dahai [q. v.] to issue pacifying proclamations. After the taking of Yung-p'ing, Ning Wan-wo and Abatai [q. v.] were left to garrison the city. Later Ning followed Abahai in the battle of Ta-ling-ho (see under Tsu Ta-shou), after which he was called upon to bring about the submission of the Chahars of Inner Mongolia. Because of these exploits he was given a minor hereditary rank.

When the Six Boards were established (1631) it was Ning Wan-wo who fixed the official regulations and determined distinctions in official costumes. In 1631 he memorialized on the importance of the Censorate, on the wisdom of identical official costumes for both Chinese and Manchus in order to avoid discrimination, and on the expediency of appointing Chinese to the Literary Office. His memorial was approved. In 1632 Ning Wan-wo, Fan Wên-ch'êng [q. v.], and Ma Kuo-chu 馬國柱 (d. 1664) presented a plan for attacking China. In 1633 Ning advocated among other measures, the gradual adoption of the Chinese system of government, and the use of the examination system as a means of procuring talented men for the administration of new territories. In the same year he recommended for official appointment Li Shuai-t'ai [q. v.] and Ch'ên Chin (see under Chang Ming-chên), both of whom proved useful to the Manchus in the later campaigns in China. In 1635 Ning Wan-wo was given the hereditary rank of colonel and on six different occasions was granted lands and retainers. Formerly impeached for gambling at the garrisoning of Yung-p'ing, he had been reprimanded by Abahai but pardoned. In 1635, however, he gambled again with a colonel who had surrendered at Ta-ling ho. As a result he was discharged and all his estates and slaves were confiscated. These indiscretions debarred him in the same year from becoming one of the first four Grand Secretaries of the Manchu nation, to which posts three of his friends in the Literary Office were appointed (see under Fan Wên-ch'êng). Ning Wan-wo returned to the service of Sahaliyen where he remained for ten years.

On the accession of Shih-tsu to the throne of China in 1644, Ning Wan-wo was recalled and made sub-chancellor of the Grand Secretariat. In the following year he was elevated to the post of Grand Secretary, being concurrently director-general of the Bureau which initiated, but did not complete, the compilation of the History of the Ming dynasty (Ming-shih). Three times during the years 1645–49 he acted as chief examiner for the metropolitan examinations. He was entrusted with the revision of the T'ai-tsung shih-lu (see under Abahai), and with the translation into Manchu of the San-kuo chih (see under Dahai) and of the 洪武寶訓 Hung-wu pao-hsün ("Admonitions of Emperor T'ai-tsu, founder of the Ming dynasty"). On the completion of these assignments he was given the rank of Ch'ing-ch'ê tu-yü of the second class. When in 1651 Grand Secretary Ganglin (see under Dorgon) was impeached on the charge of having allowed Dorgon [q. v.] to make treasonable alterations in the Shih-lu of his father, Nurhaci, Ning Wan-wo was accused of knowing of these changes and failing to report them to the throne. However, Prince Chêng (Jirgalang, q.v.), who judged the case, cleared him of all blame. In the same year Ning Wan-wo was again made a Grand Secretary and he alone among Chinese officials, who were promoted at that time, was given the rank and stipend of a Manchu. Shortly afterwards he was made a member of the Council of Princes and High Officials and in 1654 memorialized the throne impeaching Ch'ên Ming-hsia [q. v.]. Later in the same year Ning Wan-wo was made Grand Guardian of the Heir Apparent. In 1658 he was allowed to retire; and in 1662 Emperor Shêng-tsu, in recognition of his services under T'ai-tsung and Shih-tsu, made his son sub-chancellor of the Grand Secretariat. Ning Wan-wo was given the posthumous name Wên-i 文毅.


[1/238/8a; 3/1/17a; 4/4/14b.]

M. Jean Gates