Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Yang Chieh

YANG Chieh 楊捷 (T. 元凱), d. 1690, age 74 (sui), Ming-Ch'ing general, was a native of I-chou, Liaotung. His ancestors had once been domiciled at Pao-ying, Kiangsu, but in the Ming period one of his relatives was given an hereditary post at I-chou in recognition of his military services, and the family settled there. Yang Chieh's father, Yang Kuo-tung 楊國棟, commanded the garrison at I-chou against the Manchus. Three of his uncles achieved military fame as generals in border defense, and Yang Chieh followed the army from his youth. In the late Ming period he held a minor military post under Hung Ch'êng-ch'ou [q. v.] but offered his allegiance to the Ch'ing dynasty in 1644, and in recognition of his bravery and ability was soon promoted from major to colonel. After the Manchus got control of Kwangtung Yang Chieh, with three thousand men, was ordered in 1647 to go there to garrison the province. In the following year, while passing through Kiangsi on his way to Kwangtung, he was made brigade-general with headquarters at Kiukiang to fight the armies of Li Ch'êng-tung and Chin Shêng-huan [qq. v.]. He attacked and recovered Tu-ch'ang and captured and executed several of Chin Shêng-huan's officers. In 1653 he helped to pacify Kwangtung, and in the following year was sent to Fukien to fight Chêng Ch'êng-kung [q. v.]. In 1659 he was promoted to the post of commander-in-chief of Kiangnan, and in the winter of 1661 was transferred to eastern Shantung where he crushed the rebellion of Yü Ch'i (see under Sung Wan). He returned to his post in Kiangnan in 1673.

In 1678, when Chêng Ching [q. v.] attacked Chang-chou and took Hai-ch'êng, Yang Chieh was sent once more to Fukien where he engaged in a struggle with one of Chêng's commanders, Liu Kuo-hsüan (see under Chêng). At his own request, he was relieved in 1678 of the command of sea forces, and in 1679 was given the title, Chao-wu chiang-chün 昭武將軍. In 1680 he personally led a strong army against the defenses of Liu Kuo-hsüan, and with Yao Ch'i-shêng [q. v.] succeeded in capturing nineteen camps and recovering the city of Hai-ch'êng, after which he took part in the recovery of Amoy. Following these victories, Liu Kuo-hsüan fled to Formosa. Suffering from malaria during his second year in Fukien, Yang asked to be released and was given permission to return to Kiangnan, but before he left he assisted the forces of Chekiang to recover the Chusan Islands and to set up the local administration. In recognition of his victories he was given the hereditary rank of the sixth class known as Ch'ing-ch'ê tu-yü. He died at his post as commander-in-chief of Kiangnan and was given the posthumous title Min-chuang 敏壯. On two of the Emperor's visits to south China honors were bestowed upon him. He is said to have been humane, having consideration not only for his soldiers' but for the people's welfare. His grandson inherited his hereditary post and the family was allowed to adopt Yangchow as its native place.

[1/267/1a; 2/9/19a; 3/274/30a; 4/14/26a; Yangchow fu-chih (1733) 31/47a; E. Haenisch, T'oung Pao, 1913, p. 109, for biog. sketch.]

M. Jean Gates