Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Sun Yen-ling

SUN Yen-ling 孫延齡, d. 1677, general, native of Liaotung, was a son of Sun Lung hili, who was a member of the Chinese Plain Red Banner and a subordinate of K'ung Yu-tê [q. v.]. When still a child Sun Yen-ling was betrothed to Kung Ssŭ-chên 孔四貞 (b. ca. 1641), daughter of Kung Yu-tê, who was the only member of the Kung family to survive the disaster caused by Li Ting-kuo's [q. v.] attack on Kweilin, Kwangsi, in 1652. Two years later she was taken to Peking and special imperial favors werd bestowed on her in recognition of the loyalty of her martyred father. Married in 1660, she was given the rank of princess of the imperial blood (hošoi gege 和碩格格) and the distant control of her father's former troops in Kwangsi. Her husband was raised to the rank of consort of a princess (hošoi efu 和碩額駙) and made a member of the council of princes and high officials, with the title of hereditary baron (男) of the first class. A mansion was provided for them outside the Hsi-hua mên 西華門, the West Gate of the Forbidden City.

In 1666 the princess (K'ung Ssŭ-chên) sent up a request that she and her family be permitted to move to Kwangsi. About the same time Hsien Kuo-an 線國安 (d. 1676), the general who actually had charge of her troops there, asked to be retired on account of advanced age. After a conference of high officials her request was granted; her consort (Sun Yen-ling) was made military governor of Kwangsi; and she herself was designated I-p'in fu-jên 一品夫人, consort of the highest class. Young and inexperienced, Sun Yen-ling did not meet the situation well, and affairs became difficult to handle. In 1672 he was censored for exercising too great freedom in filling vacancies to subordinate military posts—a precedent that in reality had been initiated by Wu San-kuei [q. v.]. The following year he was again denounced—this time by his subordinate lieutenant-generals—for permitting his troops to disturb the people. A mission led by Ledehun he was sent to Kweilin to investigate, with the result that the charges were substantiated. Nevertheless, as a special favor, Sun was pardoned and permitted to stay at his post without punishment.

When, late in 1673, Wu San-kuei initiated his rebellion, Sun Yen-ling took advantage of the turmoil to avenge himself against his lieutenant-generals by having them all killed. He wavered for a while in his allegiance to the Manchu government, and finally threw in his lot with Wu San-kuei. He first declared himself An-yüan ta chiang-chün 安遠大將軍, then An-yüan wang (王), but Wu San-kuei gave him the title, Prince of Lin-chiang 臨江王. In 1676 his troops mutinied and his elder brother, Sun Yen-chi 孫延基, was killed. Although Sun Yen-ling joined in Wu San-kuei's rebellion, he did not show much enthusiasm for the cause. His indecision may have been increased by alleged remarks of his wife about gratitude to the Manchu government. Hearing of this, Wu San-kuei sent a younger relative, Wu Shih-tsung (see under Ma Hsiung-chên) to Kweilin, giving the misleading impression that this relative was on his way eastward to take Kwangtung. When Sun came out to meet him he was taken by surprise and killed.

According to Huang Chih-chün 黃之雋 (T. 石牧, H. 𢈪堂, 1668–1748), a revolt of Sun's officers in 1676 had forced him thereafter into a role subordinate to that of his wife. In that case, she was in command when he was killed, early in 1677. Some accounts assert that after his death she surrendered her forces to the Manchus and returned to Peking. It seems more likely, however, that she did not return to Peking until the San-fan War was over.

[1/480/15b; 2/80/29b; Ch'ing San-fan shih-liao 1/7a, and T'ing-wên lu (for both see bibl. under Wu San-kuei); Liu Hsien-t'ing [q. v.], Kuang-yang tsa-chi 3/59b; Huang Chih-chün, 𢈪堂集 Wu-t'ang-chi 17/10a; Ting-nan wang chuan in Ssŭ-wang ho-chuan (see bibl. under K'ung Yu-tê); 五藩檮乘 Wu-fan t'ao-shêng in 天蘇閣叢刊 T'ien-su ko ts'ung-k'an (2nd series, 1923).]

Tu Lien-chê