September 17, 1717|
|Died||October 10, 1797
Agui (Chinese: 阿桂; pinyin: Āguì; Wade–Giles: A-kuei; September 7, 1717 - October 10, 1797 in Beijing) was a Manchu noble general for the Qing dynasty. As the only son of Akdun, he was a scion of a noble family who led a number of important Manchu military operations, including several of the "Ten Great Campaigns".
On April 14, 1768, Fuheng was appointed military commissioner (Jinglue) and Agui and Aligun, both from Manchu, were appointed deputies. This occurred due to the death of the previous commander Mingrui. Agui had already proven himself in Chinese Turkestan, as a competent commander. He served under Fuheng in the 1769 failed campaign of the Sino-Burmese War (1765–1769). Agui soon found himself out of favor as he was not fully supportive of Fuheng's plans and Qianlong was vocal of his dislike for this behavior. The main push occurs in December at the height of the disease period and the Chinese suffer great losses to disease. Confusion surrounds the following events. Some sources say that the Myanmar nation initiated peace talks and others say the Chinese did; however it happened, by December of 1769 peace negotiations had started, and on December 22 the treaty was signed. However, both Agui and Fuheng were absent. The chief negotiator for the Chinese was Ha Guoxing. Documents from this era seem to support the fact that the only reason the Chinese agreed to a treaty was through the leadership of Agui and other generals, as Fuheng was vehemently opposed to a peace treaty. When the treaty was brought from the Myanmar king to Fuheng to be signed, he refused. Agui, after allying other powerful generals on his side, confronted Fuheng again. Fuheng demanded that all those allied against him and for peace, sign a statement (ganjie) to that effect. When they all did, he grew furious and threatened impeachment. This did not occur as he was getting sicker each day. At this time a decree was received from Qianlong, demanding a complete withdrawal regardless of the circumstances. This withdrawal, may also have been attributed to Agui, as he was the one responsible for letting the emperor know of the illness affecting Fuheng. Agui took charge of the troops during the withdrawal as Fuheng was worsening.
When all was said and done, Agui took the majority of the emperor's wrath as Fuheng was on his deathbed. The emperor in acknowledging the retreat and defeat at the hands of the Myanmar, stated that it
"made the Myanmar look down upon our celestial dynasty."
He also blamed Agui and others for not stopping Fuheng from the foolhardy decision to invade Myanmar if they knew that it would fail. The Jinchuan uprising could not come at a better time for Agui, who would alter drastically, the emperor's opinion of him after his coming victories. Agui thought so negatively of his time in Myanmar that he had all correspondence and writings concerning this time destroyed upon his death.
Ten Great Campaigns
He put down an uprising of the "Hill Peoples" near Chengdu in the western province of Sichuan, called the second Battle of the Jinchuan People.This battle took place from 1771 until 1776. During this battle, Agui expressed the importance in shangyun which was the policy of utilizing merchants in keeping the military stocked.
- Dai, Yingcong (2004). "A Disguised Defeat: The Myanmar Campaign of the Qing Dynasty". Modern Asian Studies 38 (1): 145–189. doi:10.1017/S0026749X04001040. ISSN 1469-8099.
- Dai, Yingcong (December 2001). "The Qing State, Merchants, and the Military Labor Force in the Jinchuan Campaigns". Late Imperial China (Johns Hopkins University Press) 22 (2): 35–90. doi:10.1353/late.2001.0008.
- Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010). "A-kuei". Encyclopedia Britannica. I: A-Ak - Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8.
- Lipman, Jonathan Neaman (1998). Familiar Strangers: A History of Muslims in Northwest China. Hong Kong University Press. ISBN 962-209-468-6.