Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Yen Ying-yüan

YEN Ying-yüan 閻應元 (T. 麗亨), d. Oct. 1645, Ming martyr, was a native of Tungchow, Chihli. At the close of the Ming period he was prison-warder at Chiang-yin, Kiangsu. For his activities against pirates he was promoted to the post of registrar of Ying-tê, Kwangtung, but as roads were obstructed he never went. In 1645, after Nanking fell to the Ch'ing forces, Chiang-yin organized for defense. After repeated rebuffs, Yen Ying-yüan assumed voluntary leadership, utilized all available means of defense, including Dutch cannon, and fired the people with a fanatic zeal. He made a. desperate but vain stand against the Manchu forces, and when the city finally capitulated, October 10, 1645, he attempted to drown himself but was dragged out and killed. In 1776 his name was listed among those distinguished for loyalty to the Ming cause, and in 1837 an ancestral hall was built in his honor in Tungchow. The morale of the gentry of Chiang-yin was such that many of its officials and scholars killed their wives and children and committed suicide rather than surrender. According to accounts, the wells and canals were choked with bodies. Even those who escaped, or were captured, either threw themselves into suicidal attempts to recover the city or died in prison. In the siege of eighty-one days not one person surrendered and some seventy-five thousand Manchu troops were killed.


[M.1/277/16a; M.59/46/12a; Nan-chiang i-shih (see bibl. under Hou T'ung-tsêng) 20/1a; Tungchow chih (1781) 8/58b, (1879) 2/38a, 8/606; Chao Hsi-ming, 江上孤忠錄 Chiang-shang ku-chung lu in T'ung-shih (see Wan Yen); Chiang-yin ch'êng-shou chi (城守記).]

Earl Swisher