Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Tê-lêng-t'ai

-lêng-t'ai 德楞泰 (T. 惇堂), Dec. 2, 1745–1809, Apr. 23, general, Duke Chi-yung (繼勇公), was a Mongol of the Plain Blue Banner. His family came from the Umit 伍彌特 Clan of Chahar. He was born in Peking. In 1749, when he was five sui, his family was chosen to join the newly-created Light Division (健銳營) and therefore moved to the division barracks near Hsiang-shan 香山, northwest of Peking. He began to study Manchu and Chinese when he was seven sui. In 1770, as a private, he was appointed a teacher in the division school. In 1773, after the campaign against the Chin-ch'uan rebels had a severe setback at Mu-kuo-mu (see under A-kuei), two thousand soldiers were sent from Peking to Szechwan as reinforcements—among them Tê-lêng-t'ai. For his bravery he was raised to a lieutenant (1774) and was given several certificates of distinguished service. After the victory in 1776 he escorted the commander-in-chief, A-kuei [q. v.], back to Peking. Later he took part in the suppression of the Muslim uprising in Kansu (1784), and of the insurrection in Taiwan (1787–88). For his exploits in Taiwan he obtained the title, Chi-yung Baturu 繼勇巴圖魯, and promotion to a colonel. In 1791, as commander of the left wing of the Light Division, he went under Hai-lan-ch'a [q. v.] to Tibet to fight the Gurkas (see under Fu-k'ang-an), and fought bravely across the Himalaya Mountains until the Gurkas were subdued in 1792. For his special bravery he was appointed deputy lieutenant-general of a Banner, and his portrait was placed in the Tzŭ-kuang-ko (see under Chao-hui). Upon his return to Peking in 1793, he was made commander of the Light Division.

In 1795 Tê-lêng-t'ai was sent to Hunan to assist Fu-k'ang-an [q. v.] in suppressing the rebellion of Miao tribesmen of Hunan and Kweichow. He and Ê-lê-têng-pao [q. v.], who had been together in most of the campaigns after 1773, fought bravely side by side. When the commanders, Fu-k'ang-an and Ho-lin [q. v.], both died in quick succession in the summer and early fall of 1796, the two generals ably carried on the campaign until the new commander, Ming-liang [q. v.], arrived in November of that year. After the leader of the Miao rebels was captured, early in 1797, Tê-lêng-t'ai was given the hereditary rank of a viscount.

By March 1797 the Miao rebellion was suppressed and Tê-lêng-t'ai was ordered to accompany Ming-liang in leading six thousand men to Szechwan to combat the rebellion of the Pai-lien chiao (see under Ê-lê-têng-pao). At that time he held the post of lieutenant-general of a Banner. He fought for several months near Tung-hsiang in northeastern Szechwan and took several rebel strongholds. When the Hupeh rebels under Yao Chih-fu 姚之富 (d. 1798) joined the Szechwan bands about July 1797, Tê-lêng-t'ai was successful in chasing Yao back to Hupeh along the Yangtze River and preventing the bands from escaping to Honan or Szechwan. But the rebels roamed the borders of Hupeh and Shensi and early in 1798, for failing to follow closely the main band, Tê-lêng-t'ai was deprived of many decorations and of his hereditary rank. With great effort he succeeded in annihilating the main Hupeh band under Yao at Yün-hsi, yet he was blamed for failing to watch carefully for other bands who were then moving from Shensi to Szechwan. He was deprived of all his official ranks except the title of a deputy lieutenant-general.

While pursuing the rebels to Szechwan Tê-lêng-t'ai fought for several months at Ying-shan where, late in 1798 with the help of Ê-lê-têng-pao, he took a mountain stronghold and annihilated a Szechwan band under Lo Ch'i-ch'ing 羅其清 (d. 1798). Early in 1799 he won another victory and was given the minor hereditary rank of Ch'ing-ch'ê tu-yü. By this time Emperor Jên-tsung had disposed of the corrupt minister, Ho-shên [q. v.], and began to direct the campaign himself. Lê-pao [q. v.] was made commander-in-chief of the armies of five provinces and Tê-lêng-t'ai was entrusted to deal primarily with the largest band in Szechwan—the one under Hsü T'ien-tê 徐天德 (d. 1801). He pursued the rebel to southern Shensi, then back to eastern Szechwan and to western Hupeh. In the meantime Lê-pao was arrested and Ê-lê-têng-pao was made commander-in-chief of the forces of five provinces. In October 1799 Tê-lêng-t'ai annihilated another large band in Hupeh and captured its leader, Kao Chün-tê 高均德 (d. 1799), in Hsi-hsiang, Shensi. For this he was made a second-class baron and assistant commander-in-chief under Ê-lê-têng-pao. While fighting in Shensi, early in 1800, he was ordered to go to Szechwan immediately, because several rebel bands had crossed the Chia-ling River (嘉陵江), threatening western Szechwan and Chengtu. At Chiangyu he dealt a crushing blow to the invading rebels (March 1800), thus forcing them back to eastern Szechwan. For this victory he was made a first-class viscount and Tartar General of Chengtu. In one or two months he cleared western Szechwan of all the bands. The people were so grateful to him that stone monuments recording his victories, and temples with his image molded in clay, were erected at many places while he was still alive.

During 1800 Tê-lêng-t'ai concentrated on the rebels in Szechwan, and annihilated many small bands. For having permitted a large band to escape north into Shensi he was reduced to a baron (January 1801), but within a few days was restored to a third-class viscount because he reported a victory. He followed the rebels into Shensi and, for another victory in February, was again made a first-class viscount. In June 1801 he crushed the bands under Hsü T'ien-tê who was drowned while in flight near Hsi-hsiang, Shensi. Late in 1801, when he annihilated another large band, he was made a second-class earl with the designation, Chi-yung. In the middle of 1802, when the last main band of rebels was crushed in western Hupeh, he was made a third-class marquis, and in January 1803, when Hupeh and Szechwan were almost stabilized, his rank was raised to a first-class marquis. His son, Su-ch'ung-a 蘇冲阿 (1771–1829), was given the title of a deputy lieutenant-general and was sent to Szechwan to visit his father and Ê-lê-têng-pao. When the small bands in Hupeh, Szechwan, and Shensi were also crushed, Tê-lêng-t'ai was summoned to an audience. On September 24, 1803, he met the Emperor at Jehol and was accorded various honors. A month later he was sent back as Tartar General at Chengtu.

At this time the remaining rebel bands concentrated in the forested mountainous region of southern Shensi, and were moving southwest into Szechwan. After more than half a year of fighting, the bands returned to that area, and for failing to crush them, Tê-lêng-t'ai was reduced to a second-class marquis. Soon, however, he and his subordinates, Yang Yü-ch'un and Yang Fang [qq. v.], succeeded in clearing the forested areas, and his rank was restored to him. After Ê-lê-têng-pao died (1805), Tê-lêng-t'ai was recalled to Peking and was made a chamberlain of the Imperial Bodyguard. In August 1806 he was appointed Imperial Commissioner to settle a mutiny of government troops in southern Shensi (see under Yang Fang). For being too lenient to the mutineers he was severely reprimanded, and was degraded to Tartar General of Sian. In February 1809 he became very ill with asthma. The Emperor consoled him by giving him the rank of a third class duke, but he died two months later. He was given the posthumous name, Chuang-kuo 壯果. His memory was celebrated in the Temple of Zealots of the Dynasty in Peking and a special temple was erected to his honor in Chengtu.

As in the case of Ê-lê-têng-pao, the son of Tê-lêng-t'ai (i.e. Su-ch'ung-a) was allowed to inherit the reduced rank of a first class marquis. After Su-ch'ung-a died (1829), the rank was inherited by his elder son, Wo-shih-no 倭什訥 (d. 1852). The younger son of Su-ch'ung-a, named Hua-sha-na (see under Kuei-liang), was a chin-shih of 1832 and a member of the Hanlin Academy. He rose to be president of the Board of Civil Appointments (1854–59). Hua-sha-na and Kuei-liang were the two commissioners sent to Tientsin in 1858 to negotiate treaties of peace with the British, French, American, and Russian envoys (see under Kuei-liang). Hua-sha-na edited a biography of his grandfather, entitled 德壯果公年譜 Tê Chuang-kuo kung nien-p'u, 32 chüan, printed in 1857, with a portrait of Te-lêng-t'ai. The great number of dated documents which this work contains makes it one of the best sources for the Pai-lien-chiao Rebellion.


[1/350/10a; 2/29/44b; 3/303/9a; Tê Chuang-kuo kung nien-p'u.]

Fang Chao-ying