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Qianlong Emperor

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Emperor Qian Long's Letter to George III, 1793
You, O King, live beyond the confines of many seas, nevertheless, impelled by your humble desire to partake of the benefits of our civilization, you have dispatched a mission respectfully bearing your memorial. Your Envoy has crossed the seas and paid his respects at my Court on the anniversary of my birthday. To show your devotion, you have also sent offerings of your country's produce.
I have perused your memorial: the earnest terms in which it is couched reveal a respectful humility on your part, which is highly praiseworthy. In consideration of the fact that your Ambassador and his deputy have come a long way with your memorial and tribute, I have shown them high favor and have allowed them to be introduced into my presence. To manifest my indulgence, I have entertained them at a banquet and made them numerous gifts. I have also caused presents to be forwarded to the Naval Commander and six hundred of his officers and men, although they did not come to Peking, so that they too may share in my all-embracing kindness.
As to your entreaty to send one of your nationals to be accredited to my Celestial Court and to be in control of your country's trade with China, this request is contrary to all usage of my dynasty and cannot possibly be entertained. It is true that Europeans, in the service of the dynasty, have been permitted to live at Peking, but they are compelled to adopt Chinese dress, they are strictly confined to their own precincts and are never permitted to return home. You are presumably familiar with our dynastic regulations. Your proposed Envoy to my Court could not be placed in a position similar to that of European officials in Peking who are forbidden to leave China, nor could he, on the other hand, be allowed liberty of movement and the privilege of corresponding with his own country; so that you would gain nothing by his residence in our midst… .
If you assert that your reverence for Our Celestial dynasty fills you with a desire to acquire our civilization, our ceremonies and code of laws differ so completely from your own that, even if your Envoy were able to acquire the rudiments of our civilization, you could not possibly transplant our manners and customs to your alien soil. Therefore, however adept the Envoy might become, nothing would be gained thereby.
Swaying the wide world, I have but one aim in view, namely, to maintain a perfect governance and to fulfill the duties of the State: strange and costly objects do not interest me. If I have commanded that the tribute offerings sent by you, O King, are to be accepted, this was solely in consideration for the spirit which prompted you to dispatch them from afar. Our dynasty's majestic virtue has penetrated unto every country under Heaven, and Kings of all nations have offered their costly tribute by land and sea. As your Ambassador can see for himself, we possess all things. I set no value on objects strange or ingenious, and have no use for your country's manufactures. This then is my answer to your request to appoint a representative at my Court, a request contrary to our dynastic usage, which would only result in inconvenience to yourself. I have expounded my wishes in detail and have commanded your tribute Envoys to leave in peace on their homeward journey. It behooves you, O King, to respect my sentiments and to display even greater devotion and loyalty in future, so that, by perpetual submission to our Throne, you may secure peace and prosperity for your country hereafter. Besides making gifts (of which I enclose an inventory) to each member of your Mission, I confer upon you, O King, valuable presents in excess of the number usually bestowed on such occasions, including silks and curios-a list of which is likewise enclosed. Do you reverently receive them and take note of my tender goodwill towards you! A special mandate.
From E. Backhouse and J. O. P. Bland, Annals and Memoirs of the Court of Peking. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1914), 322-331, 1793. 4

Abdication

In October 1795, after a reign of 60 years, Qianlong officially announced that in the spring of the following year he would voluntarily abdicate his throne and pass the crown to his son. It was said that Qianlong had made a promise during the year of his ascension not to rule longer than his grandfather, the Kangxi Emperor ( 康熙帝 the second Qing emperor). Despite his retirement, however, he retained ultimate power until his death in 1799.

In anticipation of his abdication, Qianlong decided to move out of the Hall of Mental Cultivation in the Forbidden City, the residence dedicated only for the reigning sovereign, and ordered the construction of his residence in another part of the Forbidden City; however, Qianlong never moved out the Hall of Mental Cultivation.

Legends

A legend claims that Qianlong was the son of Chen Yuanlong of Haining. When Emperor Kangxi chose the heir to his throne, he not only considered his son's ability to govern the Empire, but also the ability and character of his grandson, in order to ensure the Manchus' everlasting reign over the country. Yongzheng's own son was a weakling, so he surreptitiously arranged for his daughter to be swapped for Chen Yuanlong's son, who became the apple of Kangxi's eye. Thus, Yongzheng succeeded to the throne, and his "son," Hongli, subsequently became Emperor Qianlong. Later, Qianlong went to the southern part of the country four times, and stayed in Chen's house in Haining, leaving behind his calligraphy; he also frequently issued imperial decrees making and maintaining Haining as a tax-free state.

Stories about Qianlong visiting the Jiangnan area to conduct inspections disguised as a commoner have been a popular topic for many generations. In total, Qianlong made eight tours of inspection to Jiang Nan; the Kangxi emperor made six inspections.

Family

The Qian Long Emperor in Old Age
  • Father: The Yong Zheng Emperor (of whom he was the fourth son)
  • Mother: Empress Xiao Sheng Xian (1692-1777) of the Niuhuru Clan (Chinese: 孝聖憲皇后; Manchu: Hiyoošungga Enduringge Temgetulehe Hūwanghu)

Consorts

  • Empress Xiao Xian Chun
  • Demoted Empress Ulanara, the Step Empress of no title
  • Empress Xiao Yi Chun
  • Imperial Noble Consort Hui Xian
  • Imperial Noble Consort Chun Hui
  • Imperial Noble Consort Shu Jia
  • Imperial Noble Consort Qing Gong
  • Imperial Noble Consort Zhe Min
  • Noble Consort Ying
  • Noble Consort Wan
  • Noble Consort Xun
  • Noble Consort Xin
  • Noble Consort Yu
  • Consort Dun
  • Consort Shu
  • Consort Rong
  • Worthy Lady Shun

Children

Sons

  • Eldest son: Prince Yong Huang (1728 - 1750), son of Imperial Noble Consort Che Min
  • 2nd: Prince Yong Lian 永璉 (1730 - 1738), 1st Crown Prince, son of Empress Xiao Xian Chun
  • 5th: Prince Yong Qi 永琪 (1741-1766), bore the title Prince Rong of the blood (榮親王)
  • 7th: Prince Yong Zhong 永琮 (1746 - 1748), 2nd Crown Prince, son of Empress Xiao Xian Chun
  • 8th: Prince Yong Xuan 永璇, son of the Imperial Noble Consort Shu Jia
  • 11th: Prince Yong Xin 永瑆, son of the Imperial Noble Consort Shu Jia
  • 12th: Prince Yong Ji, son of the Demoted Empress Ulanara, the Step Empress of no title
  • 15th: Prince Yong Yan 永琰 the (Jia Qing Emperor), son of Empress Xiao Yi Chun. In 1789 he was made Prince Jia of the 1st rank (嘉親王).
  • 17th: Prince Yong Lin 永璘, given the title as the 1st Prince Qing Yong Lin. His grandson is Prince Yi Kuang, bore the title Prince Qing 慶親王奕劻 (February 1836 - January 1918).
  • 18th: Prince ?

Daughters

  • 1st: Princess ? (1728 - 1729), daughter of Empress Xiao Xian Chun
  • 3rd: Princess He Jing 固倫和敬公主 (1731 - 1792), daughter of Empress Xiao Xian Chun
  • 4th: Princess He Jia 和硕和嘉公主 (1745 - 1767), daughter of the Imperial Noble Consort Chun Hui
  • 5th: Princess ?, daughter of the Demoted Empress Ulanara, the Step Empress of no title
  • 7th: Princess He Jing 固伦和静公主 (1756 - 1775), daughter of Empress Xiao Yi Chun
  • 10th: Princess He Xiao (daughter-in-law of He Shen) was spared execution when the Jia Qing Emperor prosecuted Heshen in 1799. She was given some of He Shen's estate.

See also

  • Jean Joseph Marie Amiot
  • Giuseppe Castiglione
  • Manwen Laodang
  • Canton System
  • Xi Yang Lou
  • Long Corridor

Notes

  1. ↑ For a full text of the edict, see Têng, Ssu-yü, and John King Fairbank, eds., China's Response to the West: A Documentary Survey, 1839-1923. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1979).
  2. ↑ For a conventional account of the audience question, see Alain Peyrefitte, The Immobile Empire, translated by Jon Rotschild (New York: Knopf: Distributed by Random House, 1992.)
    For a critique of the above narrative, see James L. Hevia, Cherishing Men from Afar: Qing Guest Ritual and the Macartney Embassy of 1793.(Durham: Duke University Press, 1995).
    For a discussion on Hevia's book, see exchange between Hevia and Joseph W. Esherick in Modern China 24, no. 2 (1998).
  3. ↑ van Braam, A.E. (1797). Voyage de l'ambassade de la Compagnie des Indes Orientales hollandaises, vers l'empereur de la Chine, dans les années 1794 & 1795.
  4. ↑ Chinese Cultural Studies: Emperor Qian Long: Letter to George III, from E. Backhouse and J. O. P. Bland, Annals and Memoirs of the Court of Peking (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1914), 322-331, 1793. Retrieved October 22, 2007.

References

  • Backhouse, E. and J. O. P. Bland. Annals and Memoirs of the Court of Peking. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1914.
  • Elliott, Mark. The Qianlong Emperor. 2007. London: Longman Pub Group. ISBN 9780321084446
  • Feng, Erkang. 1985. 雍正传. Yongzheng zhuan. Zhongguo li dai di wang zhuan ji. Beijing: Ren min chu ban she. ISBN 701000482X
  • Hevia, James L. Cherishing Men from Afar: Qing Guest Ritual and the Macartney Embassy of 1793.(Durham: Duke University Press, 1995.
  • Ho, Chuimei, and Bennet Bronson. 2004. Splendors of China's Forbidden City the glorious reign of Emperor Qianlong. London: Merrell. ISBN 1858942586
  • Kahn, Harold L. 1971. Monarchy in the emperor's eyes; image and reality in the Chíen-lung reign. (Harvard East Asian series, 59.) Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674582306
  • Millward, James A. 2004. New Qing imperial history the making of inner Asian empire at Qing Chengde. London: Routledge. ISBN 0415320062
  • Morton, W. Scott, and Charlton M. Lewis. 2005. China: its history and culture. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0071412794
  • Peterson, William J. 2002. The Cambridge History of China. Cambridge University Press.
  • Peyrefitte, Alain The Immobile Empire, translated by Jon Rotschild. New York: Knopf: Distributed by Random House, 1992.
  • Têng, Ssu-yü, and John King Fairbank, eds., China's Response to the West: A Documentary Survey, 1839-1923. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1979.
  • Van Braam, A. E. 1795. Voyage de l'ambassade de la Compagnie des Indes Orientales hollandaises, vers l'empereur de la Chine, dans les années 1794 & 1795. Philadelphia: M. L. E. Moreau de Saint-Mery (in French) ; see also 2nd edition in English: An authentic account of the embassy of the Dutch East-India company to the court of the emperor of China in the years 1794-1795. London: Phillips, 1798.
  • Wu, Silas H. L. 1979. Passage to Power: Kʻang-Hsi and His Heir Apparent, 1661-1722, (Harvard East Asian series, 91.) Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674656253

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