Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/T'ung Yang-chên

T'UNG Yang-chên 佟養眞, d. 1621, Ming-Ch'ing general, was a member of the T'ung family of Fu-shun, Liaotung, which traced its ancestry to T'ung Ta-li 佟達禮, who was given an hereditary rank in the early Ming period. After 1722 the last character of T'ung Yang-chên's name was written 正 to avoid the personal name of Emperor Shih-tsung. Little is known of his career as a military officer under the Ming regime but, according to Korean annals, he was in Seoul in 1599, having supplied provisions to the Chinese forces that aided the Koreans against Toyotomi Hideyoshi (see under Nurhaci). At that time T'ung Yang-chên had the rank of colonel. His reported conversation with the Korean King, Hsüan-tsu 宣祖 (personal name 李昖), shows that the latter, who had just escaped the danger of Japanese domination, was worried over another rising power, the Manchus. In this conversation the Manchu chieftain, Nurhaci [q. v.], is referred to as the "Old barbarian" (老胡), but it does not appear that T'ung was then much troubled over Nurhaci's growing power. In 1619 he himself surrendered to Nurhaci, persuaded perhaps by his cousin, T'ung Yang-hsing [q. v.], after the capture of Fu-shun by the Manchus. As a Manchu officer he took part in 1621 in the capture of Liaoyang and was rewarded with the minor hereditary rank known as Ch'ing-ch'ê tu-yü. Later in the same year he was placed in command of the garrison at Fort Chên-chiang 鎭江, the present An-tung, on the Yalu River. But when Ch'ên Liang-ts'ê 陳良策 who was commandant in the fort and who had secretly allied himself with Mao Wên-lung [q. v.], rebelled against the Manchus on September 1, 1621, T'ung Yang-chên was killed, together with his eldest son and sixty men.

A younger son, T'ung T'u-lai [q. v.], succeeded to the hereditary rank. He was the maternal grandfather of Hsüan-yeh [q. v.], the illustrious Emperor Shêng-tsu who ruled China for sixty-one years under the reign-title K'ang-hsi. After the family had risen to power T'ung Yang-chên was given posthumously the rank of duke of the first class and the name Chung-lieh 忠烈. In the K'ang-hsi period the descendants of T'ung Yang-chên attained such influence in the Palace, and occupied so many offices, that they came to be known as T'ung pan-ch'ao 佟半朝, the family that "fills up half the Court".


[2/4/3b; 3/331/4a; 4/117/1a; Mêng Sên, Ch'ing-ch'u san ta i-an k'ao-shih (see bibl. under Fu-lin); Liaoyang hsien-chih (1927) 32上/21b; T'ien Wên [q. v.], Ku-huan t'ang chi (ming-piao) 2/24a.]

Fang Chao-ying