An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Ma Shiying 馬士英

Feb 9, 2014 © Ulrich Theobald

Ma Shiying 馬士英 (ca. 1591-1646), courtesy name Ma Yaocao 馬瑤草, was an official of the late Ming 明 (1368-1644) and the Southern Ming period 南明 (1644-1661). He came from Guiyang 貴陽, Guizhou, obtained his jinshi degree in 1619 and was appointed secretary in the Ministry of Revenue (hubu zhushi 戶部主事) in Nanjing 南京, Jiangsu, then ministerial director (langzhong 郎中) and then prefect (zhifu 知府). In 1631 he was promoted to right Assistant Censor-in-chief (you qian duyushi 右僉都御史), then grand coordinator (xunfu 巡撫) of Xuanfu 宣府, but was put to trial because of a corruption case, and exiled. He finally came to the southern capital Nanjing, where he became acquainted with Ruan Dayue 阮大鋮, a member of the so-called "eunuch faction" ( 閹黨) at the court. In CZ 15 he was again promoted to the post of Right Vice Minister of War (bingbu you shilang 兵部右侍郎) and supreme commander (zongdu 總督) of Luzhou 廬 and Fengzhou 鳳. When the Manchus conquered Beijing in 1644 he became a supporter of Zhu Yousong 朱由崧, the Prince of Fu 福王, who adopted the title of emperor (r. 1644-1645, reign motto Hongguang 弘光). Ma Shiying was made Grand Academician (daxueshi 大學士) of the Eastern Hall 東閣 and concurrently Minister of War (bingbu shangshu 兵部尚書), and supreme commander of Fengyang 鳳陽. He was not very content with the regime of the Hongguang emperor and sent out Shi Kefa 史可法 to defend the northern borderline, while himself stayed in the capital as factual regent, enriched by the honorific titles of Grand Preceptor of the Heir Apparent (taizi taishi 太子太師) and Grand Guardian (taibao 太保). Ma used this situation to launch an attack on the Donglin Faction (Donglin dang 東林黨) of court officials and had many of them arrested. When the Manchu armies approached the southeastern region, he had no clear plan how to defend the southern capital. Yangzhou 揚州 fell into the hands of the Manchus and the population was massacred by Chinese collaborators of the Manchu conquerors. Ma then decided to flee with the emperor to the south, but the Prince of Lu 魯王 and the Prince of Tang 唐王 declined to offer refuge to the emperor. Some historians say that Ma Shiying fell into the hands of the Manchus in the region of Lake Taihu 太湖 and was killed there, but others say that he tried to escape as a monk, but then surrendered in Taizhou 臺州, Zhejiang. When he tried establishing contact to the Prince of Tang, he was executed in Yanping 延平 (modern Nanping 南平, Fujian).

Huang Banghe 黄邦和, Pi Mingxiu 皮明庥, eds. (1987). Zhong-wai lishi renwu cidian 中外歷史人物詞典 (Changsha: Hunan renmin chubanshe), 13.
Xiong Tieji 熊鐵基, Yang Youli 楊有禮, eds. (1994). Zhongguo diwang zaixiang cidian 中國帝王宰相辭典 (Wuhan: Hubei jiaoyu chubanshe), 1081.
Zhang Huizhi 張撝之, Shen Qihui 沈起煒, Liu Dezhong 劉德重, eds. (1999). Zhongguo lidai renming da cidian 中國歷代人名大辭典 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe), Vol. 1, 69.