On this day:
229 – Sun Quan proclaims himself emperor of Eastern Wu.
Sun Quan (182–252), courtesy name Zhongmou, formally known as Emperor Da of Wu (literally “Great Emperor of Wu”), was the founder of the state of Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms period. He inherited control of the warlord regime established by his elder brother, Sun Ce, in 200. He declared formal independence and ruled from 222 to 229 as the King of Wu and from 229 to 252 as the Emperor of Wu. Unlike his rivals Cao Cao and Liu Bei, Sun Quan governed his state mostly separate of politics and ideology, he is sometimes portrayed as neutral considering he accommodated the wills of both his rivals but only when it benefited Eastern Wu and never fully attempted to conquer his rivals, although most of historians would cite his lack of logistical resources to do so.
Sun Quan was born in Xiapi while his father Sun Jian served there. After Sun Jian’s death in the early 190s, he and his family lived at various cities on the lower Yangtze River, until Sun Ce carved out a warlord regime in the Jiangdong region, based on his own followers and a number of local clan allegiances. When Sun Ce was assassinated by the retainers of Xu Gong in 200, the 18-year-old Sun Quan inherited the lands southeast of the Yangtze River from his brother. His administration proved to be relatively stable in those early years as Sun Jian and Sun Ce’s most senior officers, such as Zhou Yu, Zhang Zhao, Zhang Hong, and Cheng Pu supported the succession. Thus throughout the 200s, Sun Quan, under the tutelage of his able advisers, continued to build up his strength along the Yangtze River. In early 207, his forces finally won complete victory over Huang Zu, a military leader under Liu Biao, who dominated the middle Yangtze.
In winter of that year, the northern warlord Cao Cao led an army of some 830,000 to conquer the south to complete the reunification of China. Two distinct factions emerged at his court on how to handle the situation. One, led by Zhang Zhao, urged surrender whilst the other, led by Zhou Yu and Lu Su, opposed capitulation. Eventually, Sun Quan decided to oppose Cao Cao in the middle Yangtze with his superior riverine forces. Allied with Liu Bei and employing the combined strategies of Zhou Yu and Huang Gai, they defeated Cao Cao decisively at the Battle of Red Cliffs.
In 220, Cao Pi, Cao Cao’s son and successor, seized the throne and proclaimed himself to be the Emperor of China, ending and succeeding the nominal rule of the Han dynasty. At first Sun Quan nominally served as a Wei vassal with the Wei-created title of King of Wu, but after Cao Pi demanded that he send his son Sun Deng as a hostage to the Wei capital Luoyang and he refused, in 222, he declared himself independent by changing his era name. It was not until the year 229 that he formally declared himself emperor.
Because of his skill in gathering important, honourable men to his cause, Sun Quan was able to delegate authority to capable figures. This primary strength served him well in gaining the support of the common people and surrounding himself with capable generals.
After the death of his original crown prince, Sun Deng, two opposing factions supporting different potential successors slowly emerged. When Sun He succeeded Sun Deng as the new crown prince, he was supported by Lu Xun and Zhuge Ke, while his rival Sun Ba was supported by Quan Cong and Bu Zhi and their clans. Over a prolonged internal power struggle, numerous officials were executed, and Sun Quan harshly settled the conflict between the two factions by exiling Sun He and forcing Sun Ba to commit suicide. Sun Quan died in 252 at the age of 70. He enjoyed the longest reign among all the founders of the Three Kingdoms and was succeeded by his son, Sun Liang.
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Born on this day:
1625 – John Fell, English churchman and influential academic (d. 1686)
John Fell (23 June 1625 – 10 July 1686) was an English churchman and influential academic. He served as Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, and later concomitantly as Bishop of Oxford.
Born at Longworth, Berkshire (now Oxfordshire), the eldest son of Samuel Fell, who would himself be installed as Dean of Christ Church in 1638, and his wife Margaret née Wylde, he received his early education at Lord Williams’s School at Thame in Oxfordshire. In 1637 aged only 11 he became a student at Christ Church, and in 1640 because of his “known desert”, he was specially allowed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud, to proceed to his degree of B.A. when wanting one term’s residence. He obtained his M.A. in 1643 and took Holy Orders (deacon 1647, priest 1649).
English Civil War
During the Civil War he bore arms for King Charles I of England and held a commission as ensign. In 1648 he was deprived of his studentship by the parliamentary visitors, and during the next few years he resided chiefly at Oxford with his brother-in-law, Thomas Willis, at whose house opposite Merton College he and his friends Richard Allestree and John Dolben kept up the service of the Church of England throughout the Commonwealth.
After the Restoration, Fell was made prebendary of Chichester, canon of Christ Church (27 July 1660), dean (30 November), master of St Oswald’s hospital, Worcester, chaplain to the king, and D.D. (see Doctor of Divinity). He filled the office of Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford from 1666 to 1669, and was consecrated bishop of Oxford, in 1676, retaining his deanery in commendam. Some years later, he declined the primacy of Ireland.
Fell showed himself a capable administrator. He restored good order in the university by the archbishop, which during the Commonwealth had given place to a general disregard of authority. He ejected the intruders from his college or else “fixed them in loyal principles.” “He was the most zealous man of his time for the Church of England,” says Anthony Wood, “and none that I yet know of did go beyond him in the performance of the rules belonging thereunto.” He attended chapel four times a day, restored to the services, not without some opposition, the organ and surplice, and insisted on the proper academic dress which had fallen into disuse. He was active in recovering church property, and by his directions a children’s catechism was drawn up by Thomas Marshall for use in his diocese. “As he was among the first of our clergy,” says Thomas Burnet, “that apprehended the design of bringing in popery, so he was one of the most zealous against it.”
He made many converts from the Roman Catholics and Nonconformists. On the other hand, he successfully opposed the incorporation of Titus Oates as D.D. in the university in October 1679; and according to the testimony of William Nichols, his secretary, he disapproved of the Exclusion Bill. He excluded the undergraduates, whose presence had been irregularly permitted, from convocation. He obliged students to attend lectures, instituted reforms in the performances of the public exercises in the schools, kept the examiners up to their duties, was present in person at examinations. He encouraged the students to act plays. He entirely suppressed “coursing,” i.e. disputations in which the rival parties “ran down opponents in arguments,” and which commonly ended in blows and disturbances.
He was a disciplinarian, and possessed a talent for the education of young men, many of whom he received into his own family. Tom Brown, author of The Dialogues of the Dead, about to be expelled from Oxford for some offence, was pardoned by Fell on the condition of his translating ex tempore the 32nd epigram of Martial:
“Non amo te, Sabidi, nec possum dicere – quare; Hoc tantum possum dicere, non amo te.”
To which he immediately replied with the well-known lines:
I do not like thee, Doctor Fell,
The reason why I cannot tell;
But this I know, and know full well,
I do not like thee, Dr Fell.
Delinquents were not always treated thus mildly by Fell, and Acton Cremer, for the crime of courting a wife while only a bachelor of arts, was punished by having to translate into English the whole of Scheffer’s history of Lapland. As Vice-Chancellor, Fell personally visited the drinking taverns and ordered out the students. In the university elections he showed great energy in suppressing corruption.
Fell’s building operations were ambitious. In his own college he completed in 1665 the north side of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey’s great quadrangle, already begun by his father but abandoned during the Commonwealth; in 1672, he rebuilt the east side of the Chaplain’s quadrangle “with a straight passage under it leading from the cloister into the field,” occupied now by the new Meadow Buildings; the lodgings of the canon of the third stall in the passage uniting the Tom Quad and Peckwater Quadrangle (c.1674); a long building joining the Chaplain’s quadrangle on the east side in 1677–1678; and lastly the great Tom Tower gate, begun in June 1681 on the foundation laid by Wolsey and finished in November 1682, to which the bell “great Tom,” after being recast, was transferred from the cathedral in 1683. In 1670 he planted and laid out the Broad Walk.
He spent large sums of his own on these works, gave £500 for the restoration of Banbury church, erected a church at St Oswald’s, Worcester, and the parsonage house at Woodstock at his own expense, and rebuilt Cuddesdon Palace. Fell disapproved of the use of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin for secular purposes, and promoted the building of the Sheldonian Theatre by Archbishop Gilbert Sheldon. He was treasurer during its construction, presided at the formal opening on 9 July 1669, and was nominated curator, along with Christopher Wren, in July 1670.
Oxford University Press
In the theatre was placed the Oxford University Press, the establishment of which had been a favourite project of Laud and now engaged a large share of Fell’s energy and attention, and which as curator he practically controlled. “Were it not you ken Mr Dean extraordinarily well,” wrote Sir Leoline Jenkins to John Williamson in 1672, “it were impossible to imagine how assiduous and drudging he is about his press.” He sent for type and printers from Holland, declaring that “the foundation of all success must be laid in doing things well, which l am sure will not be done with English letters.”
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