December 14, 835 – Chinese Emperor Wenzong conspires to kill all the eunuchs in the Sweet Dew Incident, but the plot is foiled

Emperor Wenzong

Emperor Wenzong

Emperor Wenzong of Tang (809–840) was an emperor of the Tang dynasty of China. He reigned from 827 to 840.

Emperor Wenzong was the second son of Emperor Muzong and younger brother of Emperor Jingzong.

A rare occurrence in Chinese history, Emperor Wenzong, along with his elder brother Emperor Jingzong and younger brother Emperor Wuzong, reigned in succession.

The Sweet Dew incident occurred on December 14, 835.

Emperor Wenzong, angry about the power that the eunuchs had, conspired with the chancellor Li Xun and the general Zheng Zhu to slaughter the eunuchs.

The plot failed, however, when the eunuchs realized what was happening and counterattacked with soldiers under their command.

Li Xun, Zheng, as well as many of their associates and other officials were slaughtered, and thereafter, the eunuchs had an even firmer control over Emperor Wenzong and his government than before.

In spring 836, the military governor Liu Congjian of Zhaoyi Circuit, headquartered in modern Changzhi, Shanxi, submitted a harshly worded accusation against the eunuchs, claiming that the chancellors were innocent and that the eunuchs were guilty of grievous crimes.

The eunuchs initially tried to placate Liu by having him bestowed with high honors, but he continued to submit accusations against them, particularly against Qiu.

It was said that only after Liu’s accusations did the eunuchs become somewhat apprehensive and allow Emperor Wenzong, Li Shi, and Zheng Tan some ability to govern.

Still, it was said that after the Sweet Dew Incident, for almost the rest of Tang dynasty’s history, the eunuchs were in firm control of the government, determining the successions of emperors.

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Categories: History

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