Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in

3649381Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 2 — Sêng-ko-lin-ch'inTêng Ssŭ-yü

SÊNG-ko-lin-ch'in 僧格林沁, d. May 19, 1865, popularly known as Sêng-wang 僧王, the Monggol prince who fought against the British and French forces during the years 1858–60, was a member of the Borjigit clan and the house of the Korchin princes. The Korchins were the first of the Inner Mongolians to recognize the suzerainity of the Manchus (1624), and consequently their chiefs were favored by the Ch'ing emperors throughout the dynasty. In 1650 one of the Korchin chiefs, Janggilun 彰吉倫 (d. 1664), was elevated to a princedom of the second degree (郡王) with rights of perpetual inheritance. In 1825 the ninth prince (see under Yung-yen) died leaving no son; and Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in, son of the prince's cousin, was appointed his heir. As a Mongol prince, Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in enjoyed many extraordinary honors, including certain privileges due only to a prince of the blood. In 1834 he was made a chamberlain of the Imperial Bodyguard and thereafter served several terms as lieutenant-general of one or another of the Banners.

In 1853, when the Taipings took Nanking and made it their capital, a detachment of soldiers under the command of Lin Fêng-hsiang [q. v.] was sent to invade North China. Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in won his first military recognition by engaging the Taipings at Tu-liu-chên, twenty-four miles southwest of Tientsin. The following year he pursued the insurgents in their retreat to Lien-chên where Lin Fêng-hsiang was captured and executed, early in March 1855. Remnants of the Taipings, led by Li K'ai-fang (see under Lin Fêng-hsiang), escaped from Lien-chên to Kao-t'ang-chou, Shantung, where later in the same year (1855) they also were annihilated by Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in's forces. Thus the northern expedition of the Taipings was a complete failure. For his exploits in this connection, Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in was first raised to a prince of the first degree (親王) with the designation Bodol gatai 博多勒噶臺, and later the right of perpetual inheritance was attached to that princedom. On his return to Peking he was given a grand reception to celebrate the victory. An elder brother was made a prince of the sixth degree.

The so-called "Arrow War," which began in Canton (see under Yeh Ming-ch'ên), extended to the North when on May 20, 1858 the British and French Allied fleet occupied the Taku forts. Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in was at once dispatched to Tungchow to direct the defenses along the Pai River from Tientsin to Peking. In the meantime a treaty of peace was signed in Tientsin (see under Kuei-liang). After the withdrawal of the Allied fleet from North China, Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in directed a hasty construction of defenses at Taka, reinforcing the forts and blockading the river passage. Thus when the British and French ministers, intending to exchange the ratified treaties, arrived at Taku with a considerable naval escort, they were barred from entering the Pai River. On June 24, 1859 they tried to force their way through but were repulsed with heavy losses. Heartened by the victory, the Court at Peking entrusted Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in with the defense of Taku against further attacks. But as he concentrated for the defense the Allied forces landed (August 1, 1860) at Peitang, a small port northeast of Taku, and forced Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in to withdraw to Tungchow. He was defeated at Pa-li-ch'iao on September 21, and the next day the Emperor left the Summer Palace (Yüan-ming Yüan) for Jehol. Thereafter Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in was unable, with his remnant forces, to engage in another battle. Finally the Allied troops entered Peking (October 13), the Yüan-ming Yüan was destroyed (October 18–19) and peace treaties were signed a few days later (see under I-hsin).

After the defeat at Pa-li-ch'iao, Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in was deprived of his rank and titles, but was entrusted with the suppression of bandits in the neighborhood of Peking. Soon after the treaties of peace were concluded he was again made a prince of the second degree and given other honors. He was then ordered to proceed to Shantung to suppress the Nien Fei 捻匪 who since 1851 had spread carnage in the provinces of Shantung, Honan, Anhwei, Hupeh, and Chihli, frequently operating in connection with the Taipings. From the winter of 1860 to the end of 1862 he fought against the Nien Fei chiefly in Shantung, and won many battles. Consequently, in 1862, his princedom of the first degree was restored to him. In the spring of 1863 he conquered them in northwestern Anhwei where he captured and executed the Nien chief, Chang Lo-hsing 張洛行, who had marauded the countryside for more than ten years. For this victory the rights of perpetual inheritance were restored to his princedom. After several months he killed (1863) another important Nien chief, Miao P'ei-lin 苗沛霖, who was a hsiu-ts'ai and formerly an officer of the militia. After acting for some time as one of the leaders of the Nien rebels, Miao had yielded to the government forces and was made an intendant. While maintaining secret connections with the Taipings he had betrayed the valiant Taiping leader, Ch'ên Yü-ch'êng [q. v.]. Finally he had again become a Nien rebel and fought against the government forces at Shou-chou and Lin-huai-kuan in northern Anhwei. He is said to have had at one time a million followers.

Though these two Nien chiefs were exterminated by Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in, their forces were still strong under the leadership of Chang Tsung-yü 張總愚 (nephew of Chang Lo-hsing), Niu Hung 牛洪, and others. Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in pursued them over the borders of Anhwei, Honan, Hupeh and also parts of Shantung, recovering several cities and killing some of the leading rebels. In 1864 an additional princedom of the third degree was given to him. In 1865 he pursued the bandits from Honan to Shantung, marching more than one hundred li a day for over a month. Greatly fatigued, Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in was ambushed by the bandits and killed at a place fifteen li northwest of Ts'ao-chou, Shantung. Several other high officials lost their lives in the same engagement. He was canonized as Chung 忠 and his name was celebrated in the Imperial Ancestral Hall—Tsereng [q. v.] being the only other Mongol to be so honored. Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in was also celebrated in the Temple for Zealots of the Dynasty and his portrait was hung in the Tzŭ-kuang ko (see under Chao-hui). His princedom of the first degree was inherited by his son and the princedom of the third degree was inherited by a grandson. An additional princedom of the sixth degree was given to another of his grandsons. A special temple, known as Hsien-chung tz'ŭ 顯忠祠 was erected in his honor in Peking.

After the death of Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in the task of fighting the Nien rebels was first entrusted to Tsêng Kuo-fan and later to Li Hung-chang [qq. v.]. The rebels were finally suppressed in 1868.

[1/215/8b; 1/410/1a; 2/45/1a; 8/16上0/1a; Hsiang-chün chih, chüan 14 (see bibl. under Tsêng Kuo-fan); Chung-kuo chin-pai-nien shih tzŭ-liao ch'u-pien (see under Li Hsiu-ch'êng); I-hsin [q. v.], Chiao-p'ing nien-fei fang-lüeh; Leavenworth, Charles, S., The Arrow War with China (London, 1901); Woolseley, G. J., Narrative of the War with China in 1860 (1862).]

Teng Ssŭ-yü