An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Hong jinglüe zoudui biji 洪經略奏對筆記

Mar 4, 2016 © Ulrich Theobald

Hong Jinglüe zoudui biji 洪經略奏對筆記 "Response memorials and brush notes of Military Commissioner Hong" is a collection of documents compiled by Hong Chengchou 洪承疇 (1593-1663), courtesy name Tingjiu 亭九.

He hailed from Nan'an 南安, Fujian, and obtained his jinshi degree in 1616. In 1639, when the Manchus raided the northern parts of the Ming empire 明 (1368-1644), he was entrusted with the defence of the capital and given the title of Supreme Commander (zongdu 總都) of Jiliao 薊遼 (the region of Beijing and Liaodong). In 1642 he was captured by the Manchus after the fall of Songshan 松山, and was enlisted in the Yellow Bordered Banner of the Manchu military organization (see Eight Banners). In 1644 he was appointed Grand Guardian of the Heir Apparent (taizi taibao 太子太保) and concurrently Minister of War (bingbu shangshu 兵部尚書) as well as Right Vice Censor-in-Chief (you fudu yushi 右副都御史).

As an expert in military matters he was a year later sent to the south to oversee the invasion of the lower Yangtze Region. In 1648 he returned to Beijing and was given the honorary title of Grand Mentor of the Heir Apparent (taizi taifu 太子太傅), and was then appointed Left Censor-in-Chief (zuo duyushi 左都御史). As a Grand Secretary (daxueshi 大學士) and Minister of War he was in 1653 appointed military commissioner (jinglüeshi 經略使) overseeing the pacification of the provinces of Liang-Hu 兩湖 (Hubei, Hunan), Liang-Yue 兩粵 (Guangdong, Guangxi) and Yun-Gui 雲貴, a duty finally settled in 1660. As a minister serving two dynasties (erchen 貳臣), he was lavished by the Qing dynasty 清 (1644-1911) with greatest honours and rewards.

In his collection documents (answers to questions by the emperor) and diary-like "brush notes" (biji 筆記) are loosely assembled. The sources provide information about Hong's function in the border defence of the northeast in the last years of the Ming period. The documents reveil a lot about grand strategy and were therefore not published until 1898 by the Hongwen Studio 宏文閣. The collection is included in the series Zhongguo fanglüe congshu 中國方略叢書.

Zhongguo fanglüe congshu 中國方略叢書 (Chengwen Publishing),