The Lin Wenzhonggong's Correspondences
Lin Wenzhonggong here refers to Lin Zexu. Lin Zexu was born in 1785, in Fuzhou, Fujian Province. As a famous politician, a logician and poet in Qing Dynasty, he served during the Qing reigns of Jiaqing and Daoguang. He had served as Governor of Jiangsu, the Governor-General of Guangdong and Guangxi, Governor-General of Shanxi and Gansu, and Governor-General of Yunnan and Guizhou. He attained the first-class rank. Lin Zexu served as imperial commissioner twice. He advocated the prohibition of opium and opposed aggression from Western powers. The "Lin Wenzhonggong's Correspondences" collected in the National Library has a collection of Lin Zexu's own, personally-written letters, 11 in all. The letters were addressed to two people, one Liu Yuanhao, and another one named Liu Jianshao. They were both Liu Zexu's close friends, and both served as officers to the imperial court.
Of the letters that Lin Zexu wrote to Liu Jianshao there were a total of eight. One of the letters was about his flood-control work in Henan on the 24th day of the second month. Another letter was about how he was still working in Zhongzhou doing flood-watch patrols, not to return Rencheng until the beginning of the fourth month. Experts analyzed that these are from when Lin Zexu was in Henan controlling the flooding there. At that time, soon after he was transferred to Henan as a lieutenant-governor, he was faced with flood-control problems that greatly affected the livelihood of the people there. He determined to ignore any degree of feelings and go to work in order to get rid of had practices, and soon control the flooding. In order to deal with the Yellow River, he bore through the icy, winter winds, walking for several dozen miles in order to examine all of the backup dike and straw were built well. He also drew a chart illustrating the river's topographical layout and water flow in order to better solve the problem. Lin Zexu was truly an upstanding official who cared about the people needs and heartaches. His entire time serving in office was without a doubt of the same caliber as his later strong stance in his actions against opium.
Of 11 letters in "Lin Wengzhonggong's Correspondences", there were a few that were written while he was in Xinjiang, and there were other letters that were written while he was on his way to Xinjiang. So then, why was it that Lin Zexu went to Xinjiang?
During the Qing region of Daoguang, England and other European nations in order to aid in their invasion of China, sold opium to the Chinese masses. Many people were deeply hurt by the drug, was greatly enraged so it assigned Lin Zexu as Imperial Commissioner and he went to Guangdong to commence prohibition. June 3rd, 1839, Lin Zexu passed an order at the Humen beach to, in front of everyone to see, burn all the seized opium they found. The opium burning lasted 23 days. Over 2000000 pounds of opium were burned. Because of the Humen Opium Burnings, people were overjoyed throughout the country.
The Qing Government's opium prohibition activity in Guangdong led to great dissatisfaction in England. In 1840, England mobilized for the first opium war. Under the combined might of the British Navy, the capitulationist clique in the imperial court framed a case against Lin Zexu. Finally, Lin Zexu was punished by being exiled to lli, Xinjiang.
After Lin Zexu was punished for his actions, he lost all hope in the Qing Government. He created his own seal, on it there were four words: "Forget Both Favor and Humiliation", this was his feeling at the time. Never again did Lin Zexu hope to engage in a formal career, he only sought to do what he could to help the people. When he left his home, he wrote the famous passage: "If this is for service to my country, then I am delighted to do it, for better or for worse." In the accompaniment of his two sons, Lin Zexu arrived at Ili, Xinjiang Province. His position was aid to the local government in the cultivation of new lands. In "Lin Wengzhonggong's Correspondences", Lin Zexu wrote thrice of Xinjiang, each time to Liu Yuanhao.
Of "Lin Wengzhonggong's Correspondences", one of the letters for Liu Yuanhao wrote in October 15th (lunar calendar). According to nature of the contents, this letter was determined to have been written in year 25 of the Daoguang era, month 10, day 15, that is, November 14th, 1845. In this letter, Lin Zexu took a few notes on some of his work there in Xinjiang.
After getting to Xinjiang, Lin Zexu realized that he had to both, protect and improve the local residences welfare. The best way of doing so was by stockpiling at lot of crops. He suggested that all the land he helped open up be used for the cultivation of crops. He also changed the soldier-stationing system into rapid deployment system, having the soldiers who were stationed there work the fields in addition to their basic military drills. This simultaneously both developed the army and the agriculture.
Lin Zexu's stay in Xinjiang only lasted a short three years, yet he still managed to make a large number of changes. In 1844, Lin Zexu directed people over four months in the construction of the Kashi River, a diversion canal of a tributary segment of the Ili River, that was safely over 123 years, helping the farmers in the Ili region greatly in their agricultural endeavors. The second year, Lin Zexu headed to Xinjiang's Aksu and Kuqa regions to survey the land. When he was passing through Turfan on the way, he realized that there was an Irrigation system set up there in a very clever way. It was a well irrigation system that was made up of a vertical shaft, underground channels, surface channels, and micro-reservoirs. Also, this irrigation system's water would not evaporate due to the heat and wind, so it was very reliable and ensured a natural flow for irrigation. Lin Zexu thought that this well irrigation method could be utilized in Xinjiang regions for irrigation. Under his enthusiastic supervision, well irrigation system technology was rapidly promoted, greatly changing the local water conditions.
When Lin Zexu arrived in Xinjiang, he was already close to year old. According to historical records, the already aged Lin Zexu often would personally work in the fields to help. No matter whether it was cultivating new land or setting up irrigation systems, he would always take the teams himself and work through the whole day. At this time, Lin Zexu's mental state was free from worry, his mind was at ease as he left behind many acts of good work.
When Lin Zexu was in Xinjiang, he wrote pieces called the
"Hui Region Bamboo Ci". In his Ci poems he used very many Persian and Uygur
transliterations. These poetical works are important pieces of information for
later generations in understanding Xinjiang's history.