Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/T'ung Kuo-kang

T'UNG Kuo-kang 佟國綱, d. Sept. 3, 1690, general, was the eldest son of T'ung T'u-lai [q. v.] and uncle of Emperor Shêng-tsu on his mother's side. In 1662, four years after his father died, he succeeded to the hereditary rank of viscount of the third class, and soon thereafter was promoted from an officer of the guard to a chamberlain. In 1675 he assisted Oja (see under Dodo) in the suppression of the rebellion of the Chahar Mongols, being commander of the reserves with the title of An-pei chiang-chün 安北將軍. When, two years later, Emperor Shêng-tsu, in memory of his own mother, posthumously raised the rank of his grandfather, T'ung T'u-lai, to duke of the first class he made T'ung Kuo-kang successor to the title. In 1681 the latter was made lieutenant-general of the Chinese Bordered Yellow Banner, and concurrently in 1683 general commandant of the musketry division. In 1688 he memorialized the Emperor requesting that, since his clan was originally Manchu, permission be granted to enroll in a Manchu Banner. As a result, his father's branch of the Tfung clan was transferred from the Chinese Plain Blue Banner to the Manchu Bordered Yellow Banner, and hence was thereafter referred to in official accounts as the Tunggiya. The rest of the clan remained Chinese Bannermen.

T'ung Kuo-kang was one of the envoys who in 1688, under the leadership of Songgotu [q. v.], were sent to settle the boundary dispute with Russia. But when the envoys reached the southern boundary of the Khalkas and learned that Galdan [q. v.] was invading that territory they were forced to return to Peking. T'ung Kuo-kang was sent again in the following year, and was one of the signers of the Treaty of Nerchinsk. In the accounts of the Jesuit, Jean François Gerbillon, one of the interpreters of the mission (see under Songgotu), T'ung Kuo-kang is referred to as "Kiou-kieou" (舅舅 chiu-chiu, i.e., maternal uncle), after the custom of the time. The Emperor, it may be added, also referred to him by this term.

In 1690 T'ung Kuo-kang served under Fu-ch'üan [q. v.] as commander of the artillery corps in the operations against Galdan. At the battle of Ulan-butung, in which the Manchu artillery played an active part, he was killed by musket fire, when the battle was nearly over and he was directing the withdrawal of the cannon. His death was deeply mourned by the Emperor. In addition to other honors, he was given the posthumous name Chung-yung 忠勇. When Emperor Shih-tsung founded the Temple to the Zealots of the Dynasty (昭忠祠) in 1724, the name of T'ung Kuo-kang was among the first to be commemorated there by sacrifices conducted twice each year.

His eldest son, Olondai 鄂崙岱 (d. 1726), inherited the dukedom in 1690 and was entrusted with commanding the division of fire-arms. Olondai served as a chamberlain of the guards for twenty-one years (1697–1702, 1709–25). In 1708 he was one of the officials who were requested to advise Emperor Shêng-tsu as to which of the Emperor's sons should be the Heir Apparent. But when they unanimously suggested the name of Yin-ssŭ [q. v.], the Emperor suspected collusion and reprimanded them (see under Maci and K'uei-hsü). From 1722 to 1725 Olondai showed in various ways his disapproval of Emperor Shih-tsung's persecution of the princes, and for his temerity he was severely punished. In 1725 he and his associate, Arsungga (see under Ebilun), were deprived of their dukedoms and exiled to Mukden where, a year later, they were executed. The dukedom left by T'ung Kuo-kang was then inherited by his third son, Kuadai 夸岱 (H. 桐軒), and remained in the latter's family until the close of the dynasty.

T'ung Kuo-kang's second son, Fahai 法海 (T. 淵若, H. 陶庵, 1671–1737), was a chin-shih of 1694 and a member of the Hanlin Academy. Fahai later served as governor of Kwangtung (1716–18) and of Chekiang (1724–26), and as president of the Board of War (1726–27). Like his brother, Olondai, he was punished for showing disapproval of Emperor Shih-tsung's persecution of the princes. In 1727 he was sent to Mongolia to redeem himself by working on irrigation projects, but was pardoned in 1732. In 1736 he began to serve as a teacher in the school for the children of high Banner officials (咸安宮官學), but died the following year.

One of T'ung Kuo-kang's grandsons, Chieh-fu 介福 (T. 受茲, H. 景庵, 野園), was a chin-shih of 1733 and a member of the Hanlin Academy. Later he served for twelve years (1750–62) as senior vice-president of the Board of Ceremonies, and in various concurrent posts. He was a celebrated man of letters and left several collections of verse.


[1/287/5b; 3/345/28a; 4/120/12b; 34/138/27b; Gerbillon, in Du Halde, J. B., Description de l'Empire de la Chine et de la Tartarie Chinoise (1736) IV, p. 61; 順天府志 Shun-t'ien-fu chih (1884), 6/35b; China Review, vol. IX, 1880–81, p. 168; Ch'ien Ta-hsin [q. v.], Ch'ien-yen t'ang wên-chi, 37/1a.]

Fang Chao-ying