Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Yen-hsin

YEN-hsin 延信, general, was a great-grandson of Abahai [q. v.] and a grandson of Haoge [q. v.]. His father, Mangge 猛峨 (d. 1674), was a prince of the second degree with the designation, Wên (温郡王), and was canonized as Liang 良. Being the third son of Mangge, Yen-hsin was made, in 1687, a noble of the eleventh rank in the third class (三等奉國將軍). Early in 1698 he was appointed an Imperial Bodyguard of the second class. In 1701 his ability came to the attention of Emperor Shêng-tsu who appointed him to the Council of National Affairs (議政). At the same time he was made lieutenant-general of the Manchu Plain Blue Banner, from which post he resigned five years later because of illness. In 1713 he was again made a lieutenant-general and in 1718 was appointed a member of the staff of Yin-t'i [禵, q.v.], commander-in-chief of the armies in Kansu which were fighting the Eleuths. Tibet had been conquered by the Eleuths in 1717 and preparations were made by Yin-t'i for its recovery. Early in 1720 two armies were formed, one to enter Tibet from the north through Kokonor and a second to attack from the east through western Szechwan. Yen-hsin was made commander of the first army with the rank of P'ing-ni chiang-chün 平逆將軍, whereas command of the second army and the rank of Ting-hsi chiang-chün 定西將軍 were given to Garbi 噶爾弼.

After 1706, when the sixth Dalai Lama was murdered by Latsan Khan (see under Tshangs-dbyangs-rgya-mtsho), a schism lasting fifteen years divided Lamaism. Latsan Khan and his followers supported one Dalai Lama in Tibet whereas other devotees sponsored Skal-bzan-rgya-mtsho (see under Tshangs-dbyangs-rgya-mtsho) who resided in Sitting. Emperor Shêng-tsu favored the latter, but was fully aware that there could be no peace until this dispute was settled. In 1717 an opportunity for settlement came when the Eleuths occupied Tibet, killed Latsan Khan, and imprisoned the Lama whom Latsan Iihan had supported. Hence, when Yen-hsin led his army to recover Tibet in 1720, he took Skal-bzan-rgya-mtsho with him, as the authoritative Daai Lama officially endorsed by Peking. The Mongols and Tanguts of Kokonor, moved by religious feelings, gladly followed the army to Tibet and gave assistance in many ways. Even the natives of Tibet welcomed Skal-bzan-rgya-mtsho as their Seventh Dalai Lama (Sixth in Ch'ing official accounts), because they hated the Eleuths for plundering many of their monasteries. In September 1720 Garbi entered Lhasa and drove the Eleuths westward. A little later Yen-hsin, after defeating the Eleuths in several battles, marched into Lhasa, and the Seventh Dalai Lama was proclaimed in Potala on October 16. The influence of the Khoshotes (see under Galdan) was not restored, but native chiefs were made members of the council in charge of the temporal administration. When the armies departed from Tibet a strong garrison was left there and a tablet commemorating the conquest was erected in Lhasa in the following year (1721). (This garrison was withdrawn in 1723, but after a bloody coup among the native chiefs in 1727, was restored.) In 1727 the offices of Imperial Resident and Assistant Resident of Tibet were established and the Kham region (present province of Sikang) was put under the jurisdiction of Szechwan, though mostly ruled through "native" administrators (土官). When the rebellion of a Tibetan chief was put down in 1750 (see under Fu-ch'ing), the power of the Imperial Resident was strengthened and, except during the war of the Gurkas (see under Fu-k'ang-an), was never disputed until the last days of the empire.

On learning of the conquest of Tibet Emperor Shêng-tsu ordered Yen-hsin, who had just left Lhasa, to return to that city as commander of the garrison. But in 1721, owing to illness, he came back to Peking and for his achievements was made a prince of the sixth degree. Possibly at this time he came to an understanding with Yin-chên [q. v.] who was plotting to seize the throne. At any rate, when Emperor Shêng-tsu died, late in 1722, and Yin-t'i was recalled, it was Yen-hsin, chief subordinate of Yin-t'i, who was ordered by Yin-chên to take over Yin-t'i's place as acting commander-in-chief of the armies on the western frontier. It is not clear whether it was Yen-hsin or Nien Kêng-yao [q. v.], or both, who forced Yin-t'i to return to Peking. Be that as it may, after serving a short time as commander, Yen-hsin was transferred to Sian, Sh刃si, as Tartar General. In 1723 he was made a prince of the fourth degree and raised, later in the same year, to the third degree. Nevertheless, in 1727 he was recalled from Sian and was tried on various charges. Early in 1728 he was condemned for twenty "crimes," among them that he had once belonged to the faction of Yin-ssŭ and Sunu [qq. v.], that he had shown lack of decorum to the throne, and had illegally appropriated 100,000 taels in Tibet in 1720. The actual reason for his downfall is not known, but certainly it was not for the reasons given. Perhaps he had knowledge of secrets which Emperor Shih-tsung did not care to have divulged. For similar undisclosed reasons Lungkodo [q. v.] and Nien Kêng-yao, both greater favorites of the emperor than Yen-hsin, had already been condemned. Finally Yen-hsin was sentenced to imprisonment, his princedom was abolished, and he was expelled from the Imperial Clan.


[1/225/3b; 2/3/46a; 3/首12/10a; 1/169/9b; 1/85/1a; P'ing-ting Chun-ko-êr fang-lüeh, ch'ien-pien (see under Fu-hêng) chüan 1–10; Tung-hua lu, K'ang-hsi, Yung-chêng; A. von Stäel-Holstein, "On Two Tibetan Pictures", Bulletin of the National Library of Peiping, vol. 6, no. 6 (Nov.-Dec., 1932); Desideri, Ippolito, An Account of Tibet (ed. by F. de Filippi, London, 1932), pp. 146–72; Tsung-shih Wang-kung kung-chi piao-chuan (see bibl. under Tê-p'ei) 12/13a.]

Fang Chao-ying