Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Yin-hsiang

YIN-hsiang 胤祥, Nov. 16, 1686–1730, June 18, the first Prince I (怡親王), was the thirteenth son of Emperor Shêng-tsu. His mother (née Chang-chia 章佳, posthumous name 敬敏皇貴妃, d. 1699) was one of the Emperor's concubines. Yin-hsiang seems to have received but little favor from his imperial father and the part he took, if any, in the struggle of his halfbrothers for the throne is not known. Late in 1722 Emperor Shêng-tsu died and Yin-chên [q. v.] succeeded to the throne. Early in 1723 the new Emperor made Yin-hsiang a prince of the first degree with the designation I. At this time princedoms were bestowed on several of the Emperor's half-brothers, including Yin-ssŭ [q. v.], his arch-enemy. Yin-hsiang soon proved his loyalty to the new Emperor and won his confidence. In 1723 he was placed in charge of the mismanaged Board of Revenue, and thereafter was showered with favors. He was granted many privileges not usually enjoyed by a prince, and in 1725 was offered the additional hereditary rank of a prince of the second degree. Early in 1726 he was placed in charge of river conservancy in Chihli and later in that year was rewarded with a tablet of eight characters written by the Emperor in praise of his loyalty, honesty, diligence and incorruptibility. A collection of his memorials concerning the rivers of Chihli, entitled to 怡賢親王疏鈔 I-hsien ch'in-wang shu-ch'ao, was printed in 1823 by Wu Pang-ch'ing 吳邦慶 (T. 霽峯, 1766–1848), in the 畿輔河道水利叢書 Chi-fu ho-tao shui-li ts'ung-shu, completed in 1824.

When Emperor Shih-tsung decided to subdue the Eleuths in the Illi valley he created (1729) a special Grand Council, known as Chün-chi ch'u (see under Yin-chên), which thereafter became the most important office in the empire. Yin-hsiang, Chang T'ing-yü and Chiang T'ing-hsi [qq. v.] were the first three Grand Councilors. A year later (1730) Yin-hsiang died and was deeply mourned by the Emperor. His original name, changed to Yün-hsiang 允祥 for to avoid the use of the word Yin in Emperor Shih-tsung's personal name, was ordered to be restored—the only instance of this kind in the annals of the dynasty. Yin-hsiang was canonized as Hsien 賢 and his memory was celebrated in the Temple of Eminent Statesmen. In 1754 his nephew, Emperor Kao-tsung, ordered that his name be entered in the Temple of Eminent Princes in Mukden and, early in 1775, the right of perpetual inheritance was added to his princedom of the first degree. This rank was inherited in 1730 by his seventh son, Hung-hsiao 弘曉 (T. 秀亭, H. 冰玉道人, posthumous name 僖, d. 1778), who was a noted poet. The additional rank of a prince of the second degree, with the designation Ning 寧, was inherited in 1730 by Yin-hsiang's fourth son, Hung-chiao 弘晈 (posthumous name 良).

The poems of Yin-hsiang, Hung-hsiao and Hung-chiao are represented in the anthology known as Hsi-ch'ao ya-sung-chi (see under T'ieh-pao). A small collection of Yin-hsiang's verse, entitled 交輝園遺稿 Chiao-hui yüan i-kao, 1 chüan, was printed in 1738 as a supplement to the collected works of Emperor Shih-tsung (see under Yin-chên). Hung-hsiao left a collection of poems, entitled 明善堂集 Ming-shan t'ang chi, 12 chüan, after the name of his studio for whieh Emperor Kao-tsung indited the characters in 1740. The Ming-shan t'ang was renowned in his day for the large collection of rare editions which it contained. It is reported that Yin-hsiang bought the books with the help of Ho Ch'o [q. v.]. This, however, seems improbable because Yin-ssŭ [q. v.] was the only prince with whom Ho Ch'o was really intimate, and because Ho died before Yin-hsiang rose to prominence. What seems more likely is that Ho bought books for Yin-ssŭ and that, after the latter was condemned, they came into the possession of Yin-hsiang. At all events, the collection was dispersed after the death of Tsaiyüan (see below), part of it going to the Hai-yuan ko library (see under Yang I-tsêng).

The palace of Yin-hsiang (known as I-wang fu 怡王府), situated in Mei-cha hu-t'ung 煤炸胡同, Peking, was relinquished by the family after his death and converted in 1734 into a monastery named Hsien-liang ssŭ 賢良寺. The family then moved to T'ou-t'iao 頭條 hu-tung, east of the present College of Chinese Studies, where the Ming-shan t'ang was located. It was here that Lord Elgin (James Bruce, see under Yeh Ming-ch'ên) and his entourage resided during his stay in Peking from October 27 to November 9, 1860.

Hung-chiao's branch of the family resided, after about 1730, in a palace located east of the present Peking Union Medical College. Since 1864 the palace has been known as I-wang fu.

The sixth Prince I, Tsai-yüan 載垣 (d. 1861), was a great-great-grandson of Yin-hsiang. He had the confidence of the reigning Emperor Wên-tsung and played an important role in his Court. In 1860, after Kuei-liang [q. v.] had failed in his diplomatic mission to detain the British and French Allies at Tientsin, he, assisted by Mu-yin (see under Su-shun), was sent to Tungchow to renew the negotiations there. From the 14th to the 17th of September he held conversations with Parkes (see under Yeh Ming-ch'ên), representative of the British High Commissioner. But on the 18th the negotiations broke off and Tsai-yüan ordered the arrest of Parkes and his party, thus bringing on retaliatory measures by the Allies (see under I-hsin). Tsai-yuan followed the Court to Jehol (see under I-chu) where he, Su-shun [q. v.], and several others were entrusted by the Emperor with great responsibilities. During the coup d'état of Empress Hsiao-ch'in [q. v.] in 1861 he was punished by being ordered to commit suicide. The Princedom I was discontinued for three years and then passed to Hung-chiao's branch of the family.


[1/170/13a; 1/226/11b; Ch'ing Huang-shih ssŭ-p'u, 3/15a (see under Fu-lung-an); 5/33/2b for Wu Pang-ch'ing; Ching-shih fang-hsiang chih (see bibl. under Ulgungga), 4/23a, 24a, 38a; T'ieh-pao [q. v.], Hsi-ch'ao ya-sung chi, passim; Ch'ou-pan I-wu shih-mo (see under I-hsin), Hsien-fêng, chüan 60–68; Lu Hsin-yüan [q. v.], I-ku t'ang hsü-pa, 1/2a.]

Fang Chao-ying