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The Fight For The Republic In China by B.L. Putnam Weale

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There is no need to ask whether the result of the establishment of
the American Republic has been good or bad. The republican form of
government is really the making of the United States of America.
But it should be remembered that long before the establishment of
the republic, the American people had already learned the good
laws and ordinances of England, and the constitution and
parliamentary system of England had been long in use in America
for over a hundred years. Therefore the change in 1789 from a
colony into a Republic was not a sudden change from a monarchy to
a republic. Thorough preparations had been made and self-
government was well practised before the establishment of the
republic. Not only this, but the intellectual standard of the
American people was then already very high; for ever since the
beginning of American history attention was given to universal
education. No youth could be found who could not read, and the
extent of education can thus be gauged.

Soon after the formation of the American Republic, the French
Republic followed in her footsteps. Now in France a monarchical
government was in existence before the declaration of
independence, and the supreme power of administration was in the
hands of the King. The people, having never participated in the
administration and lacking experience in self-government, made a
poor experiment of the republican system which they suddenly set
up. The result was that for many years disorder reigned, and the
tyranny of the military governments held sway one after another.
After the defeat of Napoleon, the monarchical system was restored
as a result of the intervention of other Powers. The second
revolution in 1830 again resulted in the restoration of the
monarchy but the power of the common people was considerably
increased. The monarchy was again overthrown in 1848 and a
Republic formed in its stead--the nephew of Napoleon was then made
President. This President, however, once more discarded
republicanism and set up a monarchy for himself. It was not until
after the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 that Napoleon III was
overthrown and the final Republic established which has lived for
half a century now, there being every likelihood of its continuing
in its present form.

Indeed the Republic of France has every prospect of being
permanent, but the permanency is only the result of a hundred
years' political revolution. For a hundred years the foundations
were being laid by means of an energetic and persistent campaign
of education, which increased the political knowledge of the
people. The people were also allowed to participate in political
affairs, and so gained experience in self-government. This is why
the French Republic is a success. Then in France and America they
have found a solution for the difficult problem of the nation,
that is the problem of succession of the government in power. The
President of France is elected by the Parliament while the
President of America is elected by the people. The people of these
two countries are all experienced in self-government as a result
of participation in political affairs. Furthermore, for the last
fifty years these two countries have all laid emphasis on
universal education by having an extensive system of schools,
subsidized by the Government. The intellectual standard of these
two people is therefore fairly high.

As a result of the examples set up by France and America, at the
end of the Eighteenth Century the Spanish colonies in Central and
South America also declared their independence one after the
other. The conditions then prevailing in those countries were
somewhat similar to those of America. When their independence was
declared, it seemed that the republican system was best suited to
their condition. For on the one hand there was no imperial house
to direct the people, on the other hand the Republic of North
America was a good example to follow. Public opinion was at that
time unanimous that since the republican form of government was
the ideal form, it was suitable for any country and any people.
The idea thus quickly spread and almost every country became a
republic. The independence of these countries, however, was
secured only at the cost of a hard struggle and once the spirit of
rebellion was aroused it became difficult to suppress in a short
while. And since education was not then universal the intellect of
the people was low. What they were expert in was in autocratic
methods. No task is harder than to establish a republic in a
country, the intelligence of whose people is low. These republics,
therefore, reaped no good results although they tried to retain
republicanism unnaturally. The consequence is that the republics
of Central and South America have been a living drama of
continuous internal disturbance. One after another their military
leaders have grasped the power of administration. Occasionally
there has been peace but this peace has only been secured by the
iron hand of one or two powerful men holding the power. Such
powerful men, however, seldom pay any attention to educational
matters, and one never hears of their establishing any schools. As
to the people under them, they are not allowed to participate in
political affairs by which their experience in politics may be
ripened. The result is, on the man in power becoming sick or
dying--and the iron rule relaxed--that those who wish to usurp the
power of the state rise at once; and as the satisfactory solution
of the problem of succession cannot be found, those undertakings
which have made progress during the time of peace are swept away
without a single exception. In extreme cases the disturbances
continues to such an extent that the country falls into a state of
anarchy. Thus the social and financial factors of the whole
country are trodden on and destroyed under foot. The conditions
now prevailing in Mexico have been many times duplicated in other
republics in Central and South America. For this can be the only
result from adopting the republican form of government where the
political and financial conditions are unsuited. Diaz, a military
leader, once held the power of state in his own hand, and when he
became the President of Mexico it looked as if the political
problem was solved thereby. Diaz, however, did not push education
but instead oppressed the people and did not allow them to
participate in politics. When he was advanced in age and his
influence decreased, he lost entire control once the banner of
rebellion was raised. Ever since the overthrow of Diaz, military
leaders of that country have been fighting one another and the
disturbance is developing even today. In the present circumstances
there is no other means to solve the political problem of Mexico
except by intervention from abroad. (Sic.)

Among the republics of Central and South America, however, there
are some which have made fairly good progress, the most prominent
of which are Argentina, Chili, and Peru. For some time there was
disorder in the first two republics immediately after the adoption
of the republican system, but later peace was gradually restored
and the people have been enjoying peace. As regards Peru, although
some disturbances have occurred since the establishment of the
republican government, the life of the Republic as a whole has
been peaceful. All of these three countries, however, developed
constitutional government with the utmost vigour. Even as far back
as in the earlier part of the Nineteenth Century Argentina and
Chili were already endeavouring to excel each other in their
progress, and as for Peru, its people were encouraged even while
under the Imperial regime, to participate in political affairs.
The success of these three republics is, therefore, not a mere
chance happening.

The study of the experiences of these republics of Central and
South America and the history of France and the United States
brings forward two points which we should carefully consider:--

1. In order to make a satisfactory solution of the problem of
succession to the chief executive in a republican country, it is
necessary that the country be in possession of an extensive system
of schools; that the intellect of its people has been brought up
to a high Standard by means of a patient process of universal
education; and that they be given a chance to participate in
political affairs for the purpose of gaining the needed
experience, before the republican form can be adopted without

2. It is certain that the adoption of a republican form of
government in a country where the people are low in intellect and
lack experience and knowledge in political affairs, will not yield
any good result. For as the position of the President is not
hereditary, and consequently the problem of succession cannot be
satisfactorily solved, the result will be a military dictatorship.
It might be possible to have a short-lived peace but such a period
of peace is usually intermingled with periods of disturbances,
during which the unduly ambitious people may rise and struggle
with each other for the control of power, and the disaster which
will follow will be irremediable.

This is not all. The present tendency is that the European and
other western Powers will not tolerate the existence of a military
government in the world; for experience shows that the result of
military government is anarchy. Now this is of vital importance to
the interests of the European Powers. Since their financial
influence has extended so far, their capital as well as their
commercial undertakings of all branches and sorts have reached
every corner of the world, they will not hesitate to express their
views for the sake of peace, as to the system of government a
country should adopt, although they have no right to interfere
with the adoption of a form of government by another nation. For
unless this is done they cannot hope to get the due profit on the
capital they have invested. If this view is carried to the
extreme, the political independence of a nation may be interfered
with or even the Government may be replaced with some other organ.
If such steps are necessary to attain their views the Powers will
not scruple to take them. Therefore no nation will be allowed
hereafter to choose its own form of government if that results in
constant revolution, as in the case of South America in the last
century. The Governments of the future should, therefore,
carefully consider the system to be adopted for the maintenance of
peace; otherwise control by foreigners will be unavoidable.

We will now proceed to consider what significance these points
reviewed above have for the political conditions of China. China,
owing to the folly of an absolute monarchical system, has
neglected the education of the masses, whose intellectual
attainments have been consequently of a low standard. Then, there
is the additional fact that the people have never had a voice in
the doings of their government. Therefore they have not the
ability to discuss politics. Four years ago the absolute monarchy
was suddenly changed into a Republic. This movement was all too
sudden to expect good results. If the Manchus had not been an
alien race, which the country wished to overthrow, the best step
which could then have been adopted was to retain the Emperor and
gradually lead him to a constitutional government. What the
Commissioners on Constitutional Government suggested was quite
practical if carried out gradually until perfection was reached.
Unfortunately the feeling of alien control was bitter to the
people and the maintenance of the throne was an utter
impossibility. Thus the monarchy was overthrown and the adoption
of a republican system was the only alternative.

Thus we see that China has during the last few years been
progressing in constitutional government. The pioneering stage of
the process was, however, not ideal. The results could have been
much better if a person of royal blood, respected by the people,
had come out and offered his service. Under the present conditions
China has not yet solved the problem of the succession to the
Presidency. What provisions we have now are not perfect. If the
President should one day give up his power the difficulties
experienced by other nations will manifest themselves again in
China. The conditions in other Countries are similar to those
obtaining in China and the dangers are also the same. It is quite
within the bounds of possibility that the situation might threaten
China's independence if internal disturbance should occur in
connection with this problem and not be immediately put down.

What attitude then should those who have the good of the nation at
heart, take under the present circumstances? Should they advocate
the continuance of the Republic or suggest a change for a
monarchy? It is difficult to answer these questions. But I have no
doubt in saying that the monarchical system is better suited to
China than the republican system. For, if China's independence is
to be maintained, the government should be constitutional, and in
consideration of China's conditions as well as her relations with
other Powers, it will be easier to form a constitutional
government by adopting a monarchy than a Republic.

However, it must be remembered that in order to secure the best
results from changing the Republic into a Monarchy not a single
one of the following points can be dispensed with:

1. Such a change must not arouse the opposition of the Chinese
people or the Foreign Powers, which will cause the disturbances so
energetically suppressed by the Republican Government to appear
again in China. For the peace now prevailing in the country should
be maintained at any price so that no danger may come therefrom.

2. If the law of succession be not definitely defined in such a
way that it will leave no doubts as to the proper successor, no
good can come from the change from Republic to Monarchy. I have
said enough about the necessity of not allowing the monarch to
choose his own successor. Although the power of an Emperor is
greater than that of a President, when the majority of the people
know nothing, it is more respected by the people. But the reason
for such a change will not be valid if the change is brought about
merely to add to the power of the chief executive without the
question of succession being definitely settled. For the
definiteness about succession is the most prominent point of
superiority of the monarchical system over the republican system.

3. If the Government should fail to make provisions for the
development of the constitutional government, no permanent benefit
will result from the change of a republic into a monarchy. For if
China wishes to occupy a suitable place among the world powers,
the patriotism of her people must be made to grow so that the
government will be more than strong enough to cope with outside
aggression. The patriotism of the people will not grow if they are
not allowed to participate in political affairs, and without the
hearty assistance of the people no government can become strong.
For the reason why the people will assist the government is
because they feel they are a part of the government. Therefore the
government should make the people realize that the government is
the organ which aims at bringing blessing to the people, and make
the people understand that they have the right to superintend the
government before the government can achieve great things.

Every one of the points mentioned above are indispensable for the
change of the Republic into a monarchy. Whether the necessary
conditions are present must be left to those who know China well
and are responsible for her future progress. If these conditions
are all present then I have no doubt that the change of the form
of the government will be for the benefit of China.

The first illuminating point, as we have already said, to leap up
and lock attention to the exclusion of everything else in this
memorandum, is that the chief difficulty which perplexes Dr.
Goodnow is not the consolidation of a new government which had
been recognized by all the Treaty Powers only two years previously
but the question of succession to the supreme office in the land,
a point which had already been fully provided for in the one
chapter of the Permanent Constitution which had been legally
passed prior to the Coup d'etat of the 4th November, 1913. But
Yuan Shih-kai's first care after that coup d'etat had been to
promulgate with the assistance of Dr. Goodnow and others, a bogus
Law, resting on no other sanction than his personal volition, with
an elaborate flummery about three candidates whose names were to
be deposited in the gold box in the Stone House in the gardens of
the Palace. Therefore since the provisional nature of this
prestidigitation had always been clear, the learned doctor's only
solution is to recommend the overthrow of the government; the
restoration of the Empire under the name of Constitutional
Monarchy; and, by means of a fresh plot to do in China what all
Europe has long been on the point of abandoning, namely, to
substitute Family rule for National rule.

Now had these suggestions been gravely made in any country but
China by a person officially employed it is difficult to know what
would have happened. Even in China had an Englishman published or
caused to be published--especially after the repeated statements
Yuan Shih-kai had given out that any attempt to force the sceptre
on him would cause him to leave the country and end his days
abroad [Footnote: The most widely-quoted statement on this subject
is the remarkable interview, published in the first week of July,
1915, throughout the metropolitan press, between President Yuan
Shih-kai and General Feng Kuo-chang, commanding the forces on the
lower Yangtsze. This statement was telegraphed by foreign
correspondents all over the world. Referring to the many rumours
afloat that titles of nobility would be revived as a precursor to
the monarchy the President declared that even if he seized the
Throne that would not increase his powers, whilst as for
transmitting the Imperial Yellow to his sons none were fitted for
that honour which would mean the collapse of any new dynasty. Here
General Feng Kuo-chang interrupted with the remark that the people
of South China would not oppose such a change ultimately, though
they thought it was too early to talk about it just now. Thereupon
the president's features became stern and he declared in a
heightened voice: "You and others seem still to believe that I
harbour secret ambitions. I affirm positively that when I sent my
sons to study in England, I privately ordered the purchase of a
small estate there as a possible home. If the people of China
insist upon my accepting the sceptre I shall leave this country
and spend the remaining days of my life abroad." This interview,
so far from being denied, has been affirmed to the present writer
as being substantially correct.]--that Englishman, we say, would
have been liable under the Orders in Council to summary
imprisonment, the possibility of tumult and widespread internal
disturbances being sufficient to force a British Court to take
action. What are the forces which brought an American to say
things which an Englishman would not dare to say--that in 1915
there was a sanction for a fresh revolutionary movement in China?
First, an interpretation of history so superficial, combined with
such an amazing suppression of contemporary political thought,
that it is difficult to believe that the requirements of the
country were taken in the least bit seriously; secondly, in the
comparisons made between China and the Latin republics, a
deliberate scouting of the all-important racial factor; and,
lastly, a total ignorance of the intellectual qualities which are
by far the most outstanding feature of Chinese civilization.

Dr. Goodnow's method is simplicity itself. In order to prove the
superiority of Monarchism over Republicanism--and thus
deliberately ignoring the moral of the present cataclysmic war--he
ransacks the dust-laden centuries. The English Commonwealth, which
disappeared nearly three hundred years ago, is brought forward as
an example of the dangers which beset a republic, though it is
difficult to see what relation an experiment made before the idea
of representative government had been even understood bears to our
times. But there is worse. The statement is deliberately made that
the reason for the disappearance of that Commonwealth was "that
the problem of succession after the death of Cromwell was
difficult to solve." English historians would no doubt have
numerous remarks to offer on this strange untruth which dismiss a
remarkably interesting chapter of history in the most misleading
way, and which tells Chinese political students nothing about the
complete failure which military government--not republicanism--
must always have among the Anglo-Saxon peoples and which is the
sole reason why Cromwellism disappeared. Even when treating the
history of his own country Dr. Goodnow seems to take pleasure in
being absurd. For he says: "The mind of the American people was so
imbued with the idea of republicanism that a republican form of
government was the ideal of the whole race"; then adding as if to
refute his own statements, "Had General Washington--the leader of
the revolutionary army--had the desire to become a monarch he
would probably have been successful." We do not know how Americans
will like this kind of interpretation of their history; but at
least they will not fail to note what dismal results it hastened
on in China. With the experimental Eighteenth Century French
Republic; with the old Spanish Colonies of Central and South
America; and above all with Mexico, Dr. Goodnow deals in the same
vein. Vast movements, which can be handled only tentatively even
in exhaustive essays are dismissed in misleading sentences framed
so as to serve as mere introduction to the inevitable climax--the
Chinese Constitutional Monarchy of 1915 with Yuan Shih-kai as

Yet this is not all. As if in alarm at the very conclusions he so
purposely reaches, at the end of his Memorandum he reduces these
conclusions to naught by stating that three impossible conditions
are necessary to consummate the Restoration of the Monarchy in
China, (1) no opposition should be aroused, (2) the law of
succession must be properly settled, (3) full provision must be
made for the development of Constitutional Government. That these
conditions were known to be impossible, everyone in the Far East
had long admitted. Had Dr. Goodnow paid the slightest attention to
the course of history in China he would have known (a) that any
usurpation of the Throne would infallibly lead to rebellion in
China and intervention on the part of Japan, (b) that Yuan Shih-
kai's power was purely personal and as such could not be
transmitted to any son by any means known to the human intellect,
(c) that all Yuan Shih-kai's sons were worthless, the eldest son
being semi-paralyzed, (d) that constitutional government and the
Eastern conception of kingship, which is purely theocratic, are so
antithetical that they cannot possibly co-exist, any re-
establishment of the throne being ipso facto the re-establishment
of a theocracy, (e) that although he so constantly speaks of the
low political knowledge of the people, the Chinese have had a most
complete form of local self-government from the earliest times,
the political problem of the day being simply to gather up and
express these local forms in some centralized system: (f) the so-
called non-patriotism of the Chinese is non-existent and is an
idea which has been spread abroad owing to the complete foreign
misunderstanding of certain basic facts--for instance that under
the Empire foreign affairs were the sole concern of the Emperors,
provincial China prior to 1911 being a socio-economic
confederation resembling mediaeval contrivances such as the
Hanseatic League--a provincial confederation not concerning
itself with any matter which lay outside its everyday economic
life, such as territorial overlordship or frontier questions or
the regulation of sea-port intercourse etc., because such matters
were meaningless. It was only when foreign encroachment in the
POST-Japanese war period (i. e. after 1895) carried problems from
the fringes of the Empire into the economic life of the people
that their pride was touched and that in spite of "their lack of
experience and knowledge in political affairs" they suddenly
displayed a remarkable patriotic feeling, the history of China
during the past two decades being only comprehensible when this
capital contention, namely the reality of Chinese patriotism, is
given the central place.

It is useless, however, to pursue the subject: we have said enough
to disclose the utter levity of those who should have realized
from the first that the New China is a matter of life and death to
the people, and that the first business of the foreigner is to
uphold the new beliefs. The Goodnow Memorandum, immediately it was
published, was put to precisely those base uses which any one with
an elementary knowledge of China might have foreseen: it was
simply exploited in an unscrupulous way, its recommendations being
carried out in such a manner as to increase one's contempt for the
men who were pushing the monarchist plot with any means that they
could seize hold of, and who were not averse from making
responsible foreigners their tools.




We have already referred in several places to the extraordinary
role scholarship and the literary appeal play in the governance of
China. It is necessary to go back to the times of the birth of the
Roman Empire, and to invoke the great figure of Cicero, to
understand how greatly the voice of men of recognized intellectual
qualities influences the nation. Liang Ch'i-chao, a man of some
forty-five years, had long been distinguished for his literary
attainments and for the skill with which, though unversed in any
Western language, he had expounded the European theory and
practice of government to his fellow-countrymen. To his brain is
due the coining of many exact expressions necessary for
parliamentary government, his mentality having grown with the
modern growth of China and adapted itself rather marvellously to
the requirements of the Twentieth Century. A reformer of 1898--
that is one of the small devoted band of men who under Kang Yu Wei
almost succeeded in winning over the ill-fated Emperor Kwang Hsu
to carrying out a policy of modernizing the country in the teeth
of fierce mandarin opposition, he possessed in his armoury every
possible argument against the usurpation Yuan Shih-kai proposed to
practise. He knew precisely where to strike--and with what
strength; and he delivered himself over to his task with whole-
hearted fervour. It having become known that he was engaged in
preparing this brief for the people of China, every influence was
brought to bear to prevent such a disastrous publication.
Influential deputations were sent to him to implore him to
remember the parlous international situation China found herself
in,--a situation which would result in open disaster if subjected
to the strain of further discords. For a time he hesitated
launching his counter-stroke. But at length the Republican Party
persuaded him to deal the tyrant the needed blow; and his now
famous accusation of the Chief Executive was published.

Its effect was immediate and very far-reaching. Men understood
that armed revolt was in the air. The almost Biblical fervour
which pervades this extraordinary document shows an unusual sense
of moral outrage. The masterly analysis of the Diaz regime in
Mexico coupled with the manner in which--always pretending to be
examining the conduct of the Mexican--he stabs at Yuan Shih-kai,
won the applause of a race that delights in oblique attacks and
was ample proof that great trouble was brewing. The document was
read in every part of China and everywhere approved. Although it
suffers from translation, the text remains singularly interesting
as a disclosure of the Chinese mentality; whilst the exhaustive
examination of political terms it contains shows that some day
Chinese will carry their inventive genius into fields they have
hitherto never openly invaded. Especially interesting is it to
contrast the arguments of such a man with those of a decadent such
as Yang Tu.


Before I proceed with my argument I wish to make plain two points.
One is that I am not one of those reformers whose ears are their
brains, and who are intoxicated with the doctrine of
republicanism. I have, therefore, no partiality for the republican
form of government nor any bias for or against other forms of
government. This can be proved by my literary work during the last
ten years. The second point is that I am not one of the veteran
conservatives who lay so much stress on the importance of having a
dynasty. For such are the thoughts of men who only seek to adjust
themselves to existing conditions. If one wishes to consider the
present situation of the country without bias or prejudice he must
disregard the rise or fall of any particular family. Only those
who bear in mind these two points can read my argument with real


Some time ago I said that, as political students, we should only
care for Cheng-ti, i.e., the form of government and not for kuo-
ti, i.e., the form of state. Do not call this trifling with words,
for it is a principle which all critics of politics should follow
and never depart from. The reason is that critics of politics
should not, because they cannot, influence the question of kuo-ti.
They should not influence the question of kuo-ti because so long
as the question of kuo-ti remains unsettled the major portion of
the administration remains at a stand-still. Thus there will be no
political situation properly so called and there will be no
political questions to discuss (here the term political means
really administrative). If a critic of politics, therefore,
interfere with the question of Kuo-ti, he will be leading the
nation into a condition of political instability, thus undermining
the ground on which the people stand. Such critics can be likened
unto a man trying to enter a house without ascending the steps or
crossing a river without a boat.

They cannot influence the question of Kuo-ti. The force which
drives and steers the change of one form of State or vice versa is
generally not derived from mere politics. If the time is not ripe,
then no amount of advocacy on the part of critics can hasten it.
If the time is ripe, nothing the critics say can prevent it. He
who indulges himself in the discussion of the problem of Kuo-ti--
i.e., the form of States, as a political student, is ignorant of
his own limitations and capacity. This is as true of the active
politicians as of the critics; for the first duty of an active
politician is to seek for the improvement and progress of the
administration of the existing foundation of government. A step
beyond this line is revolution and intrigue, and such cannot be
the attitude of a right-minded active politician or statesman.
This is looking at it from the negative side.

From the positive, that is, the progressive point of view, there
is also a boundary. Such actions under one form of government are
political activities, and under the opposite form of government
are also political activities. But these are not questions of
political principle. For only when a man sacrifices the ideals
which he has advocated and cherished during the whole of his life
does the question of principle arise. Therefore the great
principle of looking to the actual state of administration of the
form of government and leaving the mere form of state in the back-
ground is a principle that is applicable under all circumstances
and should be followed by all critics of politics.


No form of government is ideal. Its reason of existence can only
be judged by what it has achieved. It is the height of folly to
rely on theoretical conclusions as a basis for artificial
arbitration as to what should be accepted and what discarded. Mere
folly, however, is not to be seriously condemned. But the danger
and harm to the country will be unmeasurable if a person has
prejudiced views respecting a certain form of government and in
order to prove the correctness of his prejudiced views, creates
artificially a situation all by himself. For this reason my view
has always been not to oppose any form of government. But I am
always opposed to any one who engages in a propaganda in favour of
a form of government other than the one under which we actually
live. In the past I opposed those who tried to spread the
republican form of government while the country was under
monarchical government, and the arguments I advanced in support of
my views were written in no fewer than 200,000 words. Even so late
as the ninth month after the outbreak of the Revolution I issued a
pamphlet entitled "The Problem of the Building of the New China,"
which was my last attempt to express my views respecting the
maintenance of the old form of government.

What obligations had I to the then Imperial House? Did it not heap
persecution and humiliation on me to the utmost of its power and
resources? I would have been an exile even to this day had it not
been for the Revolution. Further, I was no child and I was fully
aware of the disappointment which the then Government caused in
the minds of the people. Yet I risked the opposition of the whole
country and attempted to prolong the life of the dying dynasty. I
had no other view in mind except that there would be some
possibility of our hope being realized if the whole nation would
unite in efforts to improve the administration under the then
existing form of government. I believed that because the people
were not educated for a change. But if the status of the country
should be changed before the people are educated and accustomed to
the new order of things, the danger and hardship during the
transitional period of several years would be incalculable. In
certain circumstances this might lead to the destruction of the
nation. Even if we are spared the tragedy of national extinction,
the losses sustained by the retarding of the progress of the
administration would be unredeemable. It is painful to recall past
experiences; but if my readers will read once more my articles in
the Hsin Mim Tung Pao during the years 1905 and 1906 they will see
that all the sufferings which the Republic has experienced bear
out the predictions made then. The different stages of the
sinister development have been unfolding themselves one by one
just as I said they would. It was unfortunate that my words were
not heeded although I wept and pleaded. Such has been the
consequence of the change of the state of the country--a change of

Yet before we have hardly ceased panting, this talk of a second
change is on us. I am not in a position to say exactly how this
talk had its beginning. Ostensibly it was started by the remarks
of Dr. Goodnow. But I am unable to say whether Dr. Goodnow
actually gave out such a view or for what purpose he expressed
such a view. From what he told the representative of a Peking
newspaper he never expressed the views attributed to him. Be this
as it may, I cannot help having my doubts. All Dr. Goodnow is
alleged to have said bearing on the merits of the monarchical and
republican system of government as an abstract subject of
discussion, such as the necessity of the form of state (Kuo-ti)
being suited to the general conditions of the country and the
lessons we should learn from the Central and South American
republics, are really points of a very simple nature and easily
deduced. How strange that among all this large number of
politicians and scholars, who are as numerous as the trees in the
forest and the perch in the stream, should have failed for all
these years to notice these simple points; and now suddenly make a
fetish of them because they have come out of the mouth of a
foreigner. Is it because no one except a foreign doctor can
discover such facts? Why even a humble learner like myself, though
not so learned even to the extent of one ten-thousandth part of
his knowledge, more than ten years ago anticipated what the good
doctor has said; and I said much more and in much more
comprehensive terms. I have no desire to talk about my work, but
let my readers glance through the copies of the Hsin Min Tsung
Pao, Yin Ping Shih Wen Chi, the "Fight between Constitutional
Advocates" and "Revolutionary Advocates," the "Question of the
Building of the New China," etc., etc. My regret is that my eyes
are not blue and my hair not brown, and hence my words were not
acceptable to the nation!


I do not say that the merits or otherwise of the republican system
should not be discussed, but the time for such a discussion has
passed. The most opportune time for such a discussion was in 1911
when the Revolution had just begun; but since then further
discussions should not be tolerated. There might have been some
excuse if this subject had been brought up for discussion when the
second revolution broke out at Hukow on the Yangtsze river or
before the President was formally inaugurated, or before the
Powers formally recognized the Republic; but the excuse even then
would have been a weak one. Where were you then, advocates of
monarchy? Could you not at that time have brought out an essay by
one of the great scholars of the world as a subject for
discussion? Could you not have cited the cases of American
republics as a warning for us that these republic were by no means
peaceful? Yet at that time when the heroes of discretion were
daily pushing the progress of the republican cause, stating that
republicanism was the panacea for all the world's administrations
and that republicanism was not a new factor in Chinese history, a
humble and ignorant man like myself, then a stranger in a foreign
land, was burdened with the fear of the unsuitability of the
republican system to China and wrote articles in support of his
own views and wept till his eyes were dry.

Do you not realize that the State is a thing of great importance
and should not be disturbed carelessly? How can you then
experiment with it and treat it as if you were putting a chest
into a dead hole, saying "Let me place it here for the moment and
I will see to it later." The status of the State can be likened to
marriage between man and woman. The greatest care should be taken
during courtship. The lady should then exercise care to see that
the man whom she is taking to be a life companion is worthy of
her. During this period it is the duty of her relatives and
friends to point out to her any danger or misunderstanding even to
the extent of offending her feelings. But if you leave her alone
at this stage when there is plenty of time to change her course,
and--what is more--urge her to tie the knot despite
incompatibility, what right have you afterward to make the
impudent suggestion to the wife that her husband is not a man to
whom she should cling for life? Is such a course a charitable way
of doing things?

If indeed the republican cause is enough to cause the destruction
of the nation then you, the advocates of monarchy, have placed the
country in a position from which she has no hope of ever coming
out independent. You are the men, who--to the best of your
ability--inculcated and pressed the adoption of the republican
cause. The proverb says, "If now, why not then?" How many days can
a person live that you, not satisfied with one great sin, are
again to commit another. It is not long since the Republic was
first established; yet you, the veterans of republicanism, are the
leaders today in advocating the overthrow of the Republic. Yes. It
is indeed strange that I, a man who once opposed the republican
cause, should now be opposing you. Nothing is stranger and nothing
is so fateful.

But our modern critics say we prefer a constitutional monarchy to
an autocratic republic. Now whether we are constitutional or not
is a question concerning the administration, while the question
whether we are republican or not is a question concerning the form
or status of the country. We have always held that the question of
Kuo-ti is above discussion and that what we should consider is the
actual condition of administration. If the administration
(government) is constitutional, then it matters not whether the
country is a Republic or a Monarchy. If the government is not
constitutional then neither a republic nor a monarchy will avail.
There is no connexion, therefore, between the question of Kuo-ti
and the question of Cheng-ti. It is an absurd idea to say that in
order to improve the administration we must change the Kuo-ti--the
status or form of the country--as a necessity. If this idea is to
be entertained for a single moment the changes even in
constitutional countries will be endless. But the curious paradox
is that in former days the critics said that only a republic, not
a monarchy, could be constitutional; whereas, the critics now say
that a monarchy, not a republic, can alone be constitutional!


Let me therefore lay down a simple definition of what a
Constitution is before discussing whether the contentions of the
critics are reasonable. My opponents will agree with me that the
main principle of a constitutional government is that the
legislative organ should always balance the executive and that the
exercising of the administrative power is always limited to a
certain extent. They will also agree that the most important point
of a so-called constitutional monarchy is that the monarch should
act as a figurehead, and that the establishment of a responsible
cabinet is an indispensable accompaniment. If these simple
principles are recognized then we must put up the theory for
discussion. Let us then raise the question who shall be the
monarch. In plain words, is the person in our mind the President?
or any other person? (In view of the repeated declarations of the
President that he will never consent to become an Emperor, this
suggestion on my part is a gross insult to his character, but I
crave to excuse myself as this is only mere speculation and
supposition.) What shall we do with the President if we find
another man? The President, having so long borne the burdens of
the State, will certainly be only too willing to vacate his post
to live in retirement as far as his own person is concerned, but
can we imagine that the country will allow the President to
retire? If not, then are we going to ask the President to form a
responsible cabinet under a figurehead monarch? Even if we take it
for granted that the President, out of love for the country, would
be willing to sacrifice his own principles and yield to the wish
of the country, it will be dangerous indeed if he--a person on
whom the whole nation depends--is placed in the path of
parliament. Therefore the contention that a constitutional
monarchy will be attained if a person other than the President be
made a monarch is false and baseless.

Shall we then make the present President a monarch? Of course the
President will not consent to this. But leaving this aside let us
suppose that the President, in consideration of the permanent
welfare of the country, is willing to sacrifice everything to
satisfy the wish of the people, do we expect that he will become a
mere figurehead? A figurehead monarch is, to adapt the saying of
the west a fat porker, a guinea-pig, that is, good as an expensive
ornament. Will it be wise to place so valuable a personage in so
idle a position at a time when the situation is so extremely

Even if we are willing to suffer the President to become a
figurehead it will remain a question whether a responsible cabinet
can ever be formed. I do not say that the President will not allow
a responsible cabinet to exist under him. My contention is that
there is no one within my knowledge, who commands respect enough
and is capable of taking over the responsibilities of President
Yuan. For who can replace the Great President in coping with our
numerous difficulties? If we select an ordinary man and make him
bear the great burdens, we will find that in addition to his lack
of ability rendering him unequal to the occasion, his lack of
dominating influence will disqualify him from exercising
authority. It was for the purpose of meeting the requirements of
the existing conditions that the Cabinet system was changed into a
Presidential system--an excellent substitution for a weakened
administration. Conditions in the next two or three years will not
be very much different from what they are now. Therefore, the
contention that the administration will be changed overnight for
the better after a change in the form of the State is, if not a
wicked untruth to deceive the common people, the ridiculous
absurdity of a bookworm. Thus the theory that a constitutional
monarchy will immediately follow, if the President consents to
become a monarch, is also fallacious.

Can it be possible that those who are now holding up the
constitutional principle as a shield for their monarchical views
have a different definition for the term "constitution"? The Ching
(Manchu) Dynasty considered itself as possessing a constitution in
its last days. Did we recognize it as such? Let me also ask the
critics what guarantee they have to offer that the constitution
will be put into effect without hindrance as soon as the form of
State is changed. If they cannot give any definite guarantee, then
what they advocate is merely an absolute monarchy and not a
constitutional monarchy. As it is not likely to be a
constitutional monarchy, we may safely assume that it will be an
imperial autocracy. I cannot regard it as a wise plan if, owing to
dislike of its defects, the Republic should be transformed into an
Imperial autocracy. Owing to various unavoidable reasons, it is
excusable in spite of violent opposition to adopt temporarily
autocratic methods in a republican country. But if the plan
proposed by present-day critics be put into effect, that on the
promise of a constitution we should agree to the adoption of a
monarchy, then the promise must be definitely made to the country
at the time of transition that a constitutional government will
become an actuality. But if, after the promise is made, existing
conditions are alleged to justify the continuance of autocratic
methods, I am afraid the whole country will not be so tolerant
towards the Chief Executive. To assume outwardly the role of
constitutional government, but in reality to rule in an
unconstitutional manner, was the cause of the downfall of the
Ching Dynasty. The object lesson is not obscure. Let us take
warning by it.


If, on the other hand, the present day critics are really in
earnest for a constitution, then I am unable to understand why
they believe that this cannot be secured under the Republic but
must be obtained in a roundabout way by means of a monarchy. In my
view the real hindrances to the adoption of a constitution at the
present day in China are the existing conditions, viz. the
attitude of the officials and the traditions and intellectual
standards of the people. But these hindrances have not resulted
from the adoption of republicanism. Therefore they cannot be
expected to disappear with the disappearance of the Republic. For
instance, from the President downward to the minor official of
every official organ in the capital or in the provinces, every one
inclines to be independent of the law, and considers it convenient
to deal with affairs as he pleases. This is the greatest obstacle
to constitutional government. Now has that anything to do with the
change or not of the form of State? Again, the absence, on the
part of the people, of interest in political affairs, of knowledge
of politics, of political morality and strength, and their
inability to organize proper political parties to make use of an
inviolable parliament, are also hindrances to the attainment of a
constitution. Now what have these things to do with a change in
the form of the States? If I were to go on naming such hindrances
one by one, I should count my fingers many times over and I should
not be through. Yet it is quite plain that not a single one of
these hindrances can be attributed to republicanism.

To say that what we cannot get under the republic can be secured
immediately upon accepting a monarchical regime, or to say that
what can be secured under a monarchical regime can never be
secured in a republican period is beyond the understanding of a
stupid man like myself, although I have searched my brain for a
valid reason.

My view is that if China is really in earnest for a constitution,
the President should set the example himself by treating the
Constitutional Compact as sacredly inviolable and compel his
subordinates to do the same. Every letter of the compact should be
carried out and no attempt should be made to step beyond its

Meantime give the people as many opportunities as possible to
acquaint themselves with political affairs, and do not stifle the
aspirations of the people or weaken their strength or damp their
interest or crush their self-respect. Then within a few years we
shall be rewarded with results. If, instead of doing all these
things, we vainly blame the form of State, we are, as Chu Tse
says, like a boat that blames the creek for its curves.

The most powerful argument of those who advocate a change to a
monarchy is that there is every possibility of disturbance at the
time of a Presidential election. This is a real danger. It is for
this reason that ten years ago I did not dare to associate myself
with the advocates of republicanism. If the critics want to attack
me on this point to support of their contentions, I advise them
not to write another article but to reprint my articles written
some time ago, which, I think, will be more effective.
Fortunately, however, we have discovered a comparatively effective
remedy. For, according to the latest President Election Law the
term of the President is to all intents and purposes a term for
life. It is therefore impossible for such dangers to appear during
the life of the President. What concerns us is therefore what will
happen after the departure of the present President for another
world. This, of course, is a question that we do not wish to touch
upon; but since every one, even the patriarchs must die some day,
let us face the matter openly. If Heaven blesses China and allows
the Great President to devote himself to the country for ten or
more years--during which he will be able to assert the authority
of the government, cleanse officialdom, store-up strength,
consolidate the country, and banish all hidden dangers--then there
will be nothing to choose between a republic or a monarchy. If, on
the other hand, Heaven should not be pleased so to favour us and
takes away our Great President before he is half through with his
great task, then the fate of China is sealed. No changes in the
form of State will avail under any circumstances. Therefore the
question whether China will be left in peace or not depends
entirely on the length of years the Great President will live and
what he will be able to accomplish in his lifetime. Whether the
country is ruled as a republic or a monarchy, the consequences
will be the same.

Do you still doubt my words? Let me go deeper into the analysis.
The difference between a republic and a monarchy lies only in the
methods of succession of the head of the nation. It is evident
that although a certain law of succession may be made during the
life-time of the Head, it cannot take effect until his death; and
whether or not the effect thus intended will come up to
expectations will depend on two factors: (1) whether or not the
merits and personal influence of the predecessor will continue
effective after his death, and (2) whether or not there will be
unscrupulous and insubordinate claimants at the death of the Head,
and, if any, the number of such men and whether the point of
dispute they raise be well-founded. If these are taken as the
basis for discerning the future we will arrive at the same
conclusion whether the country be a republic or a monarchy.


The Presidential Election Law, however, provides that the
successor should be nominated by his predecessor, and the name of
the successor so nominated is to be locked in the golden box in
the stone strong-room. The President may now, on the one hand,
multiply his merits and strengthen his personal influence so that
the whole country will gladly bow to his wishes to the extent that
even after his death they will not want to disobey his last wish,
and on the other hand, the President may quietly ascertain the
likely causes which would produce dissension, and take suitable
steps to prevent and be rid of them. If the seed of dissension is
in the ordinances, then alter the ordinances so that they may not
be used as a tool by possible claimants. If the seed of dissension
is in a person then cultivate that man, lead him to righteousness,
place him in a suitable position so that he may be protected from
temptation. Meanwhile let the President carefully select his
successor on whom he may eventually lay the responsibilities of
State (according to the Presidential Election Law the President is
at liberty to suggest any one he likes, his own son or some one
else). Let the nominee be placed in a responsible position so as
to bring him to public notice. Give him real authority so that he
may establish his influence. Place his name at the head of other
men of little consequence in the golden box. Then there will be
absolutely no ground for dispute when the time comes to open the

If every President will do likewise this system can be used
without fear of a break for hundreds of years. Otherwise we will
have only the Imperial system on paper to rely on for assistance,
which is not even to be thought of. A glance through the pages of
Chinese history will show the numerous cases in the reign of
Emperors when princes fought in the very confines of the Emperor's
palace while the corpse of their royal father lay unburied in the
hall. Thus it is seen that the hidden cause of the safety or
otherwise of the country does not lie with the mere formality of a
constitution either in a republic or a monarchy.


The critics bring up the example of Mexico where live rivals have
been struggling with each other for the presidency, and the
internal confusion of the Central and South American republics as
well as Portugal, as an unquestionable proof of their contention
that a republic is not so good as a monarchy. I imagine that the
idea of these critics is that all these disturbances can be
avoided if all these republics were changed into monarchies. Let
me tell them that Diaz ruled over Mexico for thirty years, and
only died as an exile in May last (I am not quite sure of the
exact month). If indeed the struggle in Mexico was a fight for
succession then the fight should not have begun until this year.
And indeed if it were necessary to have a monarch to avoid the
disturbance, and supposing that Diaz, thirty years ago, had a man
like Dr. Goodnow to make the suggestion, and men like the Chou An
Hui to spread it, and suppose that Diaz boldly took the advice and
set up an Imperial system for himself, would Mexico then have a
peace that would last as long as the ages?

If Diaz had assumed the throne I am positive he would long ago
have been an exile in a foreign country before his imperial system
could have come into effect or he himself become the proud founder
of a new dynasty. What he would have held as an imperial charter
would have become a mere scrap of paper. If he could not prevent
rebellion even during his life-time how can we expect an empty
Imperial system to prevent it after his death. Even a child can
see this. The disturbances in Mexico were unavoidable no matter
under a republic or a monarchy. The reason? It is because Diaz,
under the mask of a republic, actually played the role of a
despot. During all the thirty years he held office he never
devoted himself to the strengthening of the fundamental things of
State, but diligently strengthened his own position. He massed an
enormous number of troops for his own protection so that he might
overawe the people. For fear that the troops might become arrogant
and insubordinate, he provoked disagreement among them in order
that he might play them round his fingers. He banished all those
who opposed him, relying on force alone. In dealing with those who
were really patriotic, he either corrupted their character by
buying them with silver or removed them by assassination. He was a
vainglorious man and spent money like water. From the foreign
capitalists he borrowed in a most indiscriminate manner, while on
the Mexican people he levied all sorts of cruel taxes. Thus the
strength of the people was drained and the resources of the
country were exhausted, creating a position over which he
eventually had no control whatever. Ten years ago I wrote an
article in the Hsin Mim Tsung Pao remarking that Diaz was a
matchless fraud. I said then that a nation-wide calamity would
befall Mexico after his death and that the Mexican nation would be
reduced to a mere shadow. (My friend Mr. Tang Chio-tun also wrote
an article, before the internal strife in Mexico broke out, on the
same subject and in an even more comprehensive way). Luckily for
Diaz he ruled under the mask of republicanism, for only by so
doing did he manage to usurp and keep the presidential chair for
thirty years. He would long ago have disappeared had he attempted
to assume the role of an emperor. This is also true of the other
republics of Central and South America. Their presidents almost
without a single exception used military force as a stepping-stone
to the presidential chair. We have yet to see the last military
aspirant. The unsuitability of the country to the republican
system is of course one of the reasons but I cannot agree with
those who say that this is the only reason.

As to Portugal it is true that the change from the monarchy to
republic has not stopped internal disturbance; but is it not a
fact that Portugal became a republic as a result of internal
disturbance and was it not during the existence of the monarch
that the disturbance started? It is ridiculous to suppose that a
republic will surely court disturbance while a monarchy will
surely ensure peace and order. Is not Persia a monarchy? Is not
Turkey a monarchy? Is not Russia a monarchy?

Read their history in recent decades and see how many years of
peace they have had. There have been no election of presidents in
these countries. Why then such unrest?

Again, why was the state of affairs during the Sixteen States of
the Five Dynasty-Period and the Ten States of the Five Successions
as deplorably miserable and disastrous as the state of affairs now
prevailing in Mexico, although there was no election of Presidents
then? In quoting objective facts as illustrations the critic
should not allow his choice to be dictated by his personal like or
dislike. Otherwise he will not be deceiving others than himself.
Soberly speaking, any form of state is capable of either ensuring
a successful government or causing rebellion. And nine cases out
of ten the cause of rebellion lies in the conditions of the
administration and not in the form of state. It cannot be denied,
however, that the chances of rebellion and dissension are more
frequent and easier when the form of state does not suit the
conditions of the people. That is why I did not advocate
republicanism; and even now I am not a blind believer in
republicanism. In this I agree with you, the Chou An Hui people.

The reason why I have not decided to advocate boldly a change in
the form of state is because for years my heart has been burdened
with an unspeakable sorrow and pain, believing that ever since the
mistake made in 1911 the hope for China's future has dwindled to
almost nothing. On one hand I have been troubled with our
inability to make the Republic a success, and on the other I have
been worrying over the fact that it would be impossible to restore
the monarchy. The situation has so worked on my troubled mind that
at times I seemed to be beside myself. But as the whole country
seemed to be already in a state of desperation I have come to the
conclusion that it would not do any good to add pain to sorrow.
Therefore, instead of uttering pessimistic views I have been
speaking words of encouragement to raise our spirits. In this,
however, I have exhausted my own strength. My friend, Mr. Hsu Fo-
su, told me some five or six years ago that it was impossible for
China to escape a revolution, and as a result of the revolution
could not escape from becoming a republic, and by becoming a
republic China would be bound to disappear as a nation. I have
been meditating on these words of ill omen and sought to help the
country to escape from his prediction but I have not yet found the


Now my friends, you have stated in a worthy manner the reasons why
the republican form of state cannot assist China to maintain her
existence; now let me state why it is impossible to restore the
monarchical system. The maintenance of the dignity of a monarch
depends on a sort of mystical, historical, traditional influence
or belief. Such an influence was capable of producing
unconsciously and spontaneously a kind of effect to assist
directly or indirectly in maintaining order and imparting blessing
to the country. In this lies the value of a monarchy. But dignity
is a thing not to be trifled with. Once it is trodden down it can
never rise again. We carve wood or mould clay into the image of a
person and call it a god (idol). Place it in a beautiful temple,
and seat it in a glorious shrine and the people will worship it
and find it miraculously potent. But suppose some insane person
should pull it down, tread it under foot and throw it into a dirty
pond and suppose some one should discover it and carry it back to
its original sacred abode, you will find the charm has gone from
it. Ever since the days of monarchical government the people have
looked on the monarch with a sort of divine reverence, and never
dared to question or criticize his position. After a period of
republicanism, however, this attitude on the part of the common
people has been abruptly terminated with no possibility of
resurrection. A survey of all the republics of the world will tell
us that although a large number of them suffered under republican
rule, not a single one succeeded in shaking itself free of the
republican fetters. Among the world republics only France has had
her monarchical system revived twice after the republic was first
inaugurated. The monarchy, however, disappeared almost
immediately. Thus we may well understand how difficult it is for a
country to return to its monarchical state after a republican
regime. It may be said that China has had only a short experience
of the republican regime; but it must also be remembered that the
situation has been developing for more than ten years and in
actual existence for about four years. During the period of
development the revolutionists denounced the monarch in most
extravagant terms and compared him to the devil. Their aim was to
kill the mystic belief of the people in the Emperor; for only by
diminishing the dignity of the monarch could the revolutionary
cause make headway. And during and after the change all the
official documents, school textbooks, press views and social
gossip have always coupled the word monarch with reprobation. Thus
for a long while this glorious image has been lying in the dirty
pond! Leaving out the question that it is difficult to restore the
monarchy at the present day, let us suppose that by arbitrary
method we do succeed in restoring it. You will then find that it
will be impossible for it to regain in former dignity and

Turning to another aspect, the most natural course would seem to
be a revival of the last dynasty. It might have been possible for
a Charles II and Louis XVIII of China to appear again, if not for
the hatred of racial domination. But since the last dynasty was
Manchu this is out of the question. If a new dynasty were set up
it would require many years of hard labour and a great deal of
organizing to succeed. Even then only a few have succeeded in this
way in prolonging their dynasties by actually convincing the
people of their merits. Therefore for several years I have been
saying to myself that it would be easier to strengthen the country
and place it on a sounder basis if it were possible for us to
return to our monarchical state. And to revive the monarchical
government there are two ways.

One is that after thoroughly reforming the internal administration
under the leadership of the present Great President, that is, when
all the neglected affairs of the country have been well attended
to, every family in the land made happy and prosperous, the army
well-trained and all the necessary bitterness "eaten," the
President, when a suitable opportunity presented itself, should
have the rare fortune to gain a decisive victory over a foreign
foe; then his achievements would be such that the millions of
people would compel him to ascend the throne, and so he would hand
his sceptre on to his descendants for endless ages.

The second possibility is that after a second great internal
disturbance, resulting in the whole country being thrown into a
state of utter confusion and cut up into small independent states,
the President should suppress them and unite the country into one
empire. We will, of course, not pray for the second possibility to
come about as then there will be little left of the Chinese
people. And no one can be certain whether the person who shall
succeed in suppressing the internal strife will be a man of our
own race or not. Thus the result will not differ very much from
national extinction. As to the first possibility, we know that an
exceedingly capable man is now in a most powerful position; let
him be given time and he will soon show himself to be a man of
success. Does not the last ray of hope for China depend on this?


This is why I say we should not deliberately create trouble for
the Republic at this time to add to the worries of the Great
President so that he might devote his puissant thoughts and
energies to the institution of great reforms. Then our final hope
will be satisfied some day. But what a year and what a day we are
now living in? The great crisis (Note: The reference is to the
Japanese demands) has just passed and we have not yet had time for
a respite. By the pressure of a powerful neighbour we have been
compelled to sign a "certain" Treaty. Floods, drought, epidemics
and locusts visit our country and the land is full of suffering
while robbers plunder the people. In ancient times this would have
been a day for the Imperial Court to remove their ornaments and
live in humiliation. What do the people of our day mean by
advising and urging the President to ascend the throne? To pluck
the fruit before it is ripe, injures the roots of the tree; and to
force the premature birth of a child kills the mother. If the last
"ray of hope" for China should be extinguished by the failure of a
premature attempt to force matters, how could the advocates of
such a premature attempt excuse themselves before the whole
country? Let the members of the Chou An Hui meditate on this

The odes say, "The people are tired. Let them have a respite." In
less than four years' time from the 8th moon of the year Hsin Hai
we have had many changes. Like a bolt from the blue we had the
Manchu Constitution, then "the Republic of Five Races," then the
Provisional President, then the formal Presidency, then the
Provisional Constitution was promulgated, then it was suddenly
amended, suddenly the National Assembly was convoked, suddenly it
was dissolved, suddenly we had a Cabinet System, suddenly it was
changed to a Presidential System, suddenly it was a short-term
Presidency, suddenly it was a life-term Presidency, suddenly the
Provisional Constitution was temporarily placed in a legal
position as a Permanent Constitution, suddenly the drafting of the
Permanent Constitution was pressed. Generally speaking the average
life of each new system has been less than six months, after which
a new system quite contrary to the last succeeded it. Thus the
whole country has been at a loss to know where it stood and how to
act; and thus the dignity and credit of the Government in the eyes
of the people have been lowered down to the dust. There are many
subjects respecting internal and diplomatic affairs which we can
profitably discuss. If you wish to serve the country in a
patriotic way you have many ways to do so. Why stir the peaceful
water and create a sea of troubles by your vain attempt to excite
the people and sow seeds of discord for the State?


One or two points more, and I am finished. These will be in the
nature of a straight talk to the Chou An Hui. The question I would
ask in plain words is, who is the person you have in your mind as
the future Emperor? Do you wish to select a person other than the
Great President? You know only too well that the moment the
President relieves his shoulder of the burdens of State the
country will be thrown into confusion. If you entertain this plot
with the deliberation of a person bent upon the destruction of the
country, then the four hundred million of people will not excuse

Is the man you have in mind the present President? Heaven and
earth as well as all living creatures in China and other lands
know what the President swore to when he took the oath of office
as President. Rumours have indeed been circulated, but whenever
they reached the ears of the President he has never hesitated to
express his righteous mind, saying that no amount of pressure
could compel him to change his determination. All officials who
have come into close contact with the President have heard such
sentiments from the lips of the President on not a few occasions.
To me his words are still ringing in my ears. General Feng Kuo-
chang has conveyed to me what he was told by the President. He
says that the President has prepared a "few rooms" in England, and
that if the people would not spare him he would flee to the refuge
he has prepared. Thus we may clearly see how determined the
President is. Can it be possible that you have never heard of this
and thus raise this extraordinary subject without any cause. If
the situation should become such that the President should be
compelled to carry out his threat and desert the Palace, what
would you say and do then?

Or, perhaps, you are measuring the lordly conduct of a gentleman
with the heart of a mean man, saying to yourself that what the
President has been saying cannot be the truth, but, as Confucius
has said, "say you are not but make a point to do it," and that,
knowing that he would not condemn you, you have taken the risk. If
so, then what do you take the President for? To go back on one's
words is an act despised by a vagabond. To suggest such an act as
being capable of the President is an insult, the hideousness of
which cannot be equalled by the number of hairs on one's head. Any
one guilty of such an insult should not be spared by the four
hundred million of people.


Next let me ask if you have read the Provisional Constitution, the
Provisional Code, the Meeting and Association Law, the Press
Regulations, the various mandates bearing on the punishment of
persons who dare conspire against the existing form of state? Do
you not know that you, as citizens of the Republic, must in duty
bound observe the Constitution and obey the laws and mandates? Yet
you have dared openly to call together your partisans and incite a
revolution (the recognized definition in political science for
revolution is "to change the existing form of state"). As the
Judiciary have not been courageous enough to deal with you since
you are all so closely in touch with the President, you have
become bolder still and carry out your sinister scheme in broad
daylight. I do not wish to say what sort of peace you are planning
for China; but this much I know, that the law has been violated by
you to the last letter. I will be silent if you believe that a
nation can be governed without law. Otherwise tell me what you
have got to say?

It is quite apparent that you will not be satisfied with mere
shouting and what you aim at is the actual fulfilment of your
expectations. That is, you wish that once the expected monarchy is
established it may continue for ever. Now by what principle can
such a monarchy continue for ever, except that the laws and orders
of that dynasty be obeyed, and obeyed implicitly by all, from the
Court down to the common people? For one to adopt methods that
violate the law while engaged in creating a new dynasty is like a
man, who to secure a wife, induces the virtuous virgin to commit
fornication with him, on the plea that as a marriage will be
arranged preservation of her virtue need not be insisted upon. Can
such a man blame his wife for immorality after marriage? If, while
still citizens of a republican country, one may openly and boldly
call meetings and organize societies for the overthrow of the
Republic, who shall say that we may not in due time openly and
boldly call meetings and organize societies for the overthrow of
the monarchy? What shall you say if in future there should be
another foreign doctor to suggest another theory and another
society to engage in another form of activity? The Odes have it,
"To prevent the monkey from climbing a tree is like putting mud on
a man in the mire." For a person to adopt such methods while
engaged in the making of a dynasty is the height of folly. Mencius
says, "a Chuntse when creating a dynasty aims at things that can
be handed down as good examples." Is it not the greatest
misfortune to set up an example that cannot be handed down as a
precedent? The present state of affairs is causing me no small
amount of anxiety.


A copy of Yang Tu's pamphlet, "Constitutional Monarchy or the
Salvation of China" reached me after I had finished writing the
above discussion. On a casual glance through it I alighted upon
the following passage: "What is known as a constitutional country
is a country which has definite laws and in which no one, from the
ruler down to the common people, can take any action that is not
permitted by law. Good men cannot do good outside of the bounds of
law; neither can bad men do evil in violation of it." This is
indeed a passage that breathes the very spirit of
constitutionalism. Let us ask Mr. Yang if the activities of the
Chou An Hui, of which he is the President, are acts within the
bounds of law? Mr. Yang is a good man. It is therefore possible
for him to believe that he is not doing evil in violation of the
law; but has he not at least been doing good outside of the bounds
of law? If an advocate of constitutional monarchy is capable of
doing such unlawful acts, we may easily imagine what sort of a
constitutional monarchy he advocates; and we may also easily
imagine what the fate of his constitutional monarchy will be.

Mencius says, "Am I argumentative? I cannot help it." Who would
have thought that a man, who cares not for the question of the
form of state like myself and who opposed you--Mr. Yang Tu--
during your first campaign for the change in the form of State--
you were a Republican then--would be opposing you again now that
you are engaged in advocating another change in the form of state?
A change in the form of government is a manifestation of progress
while a change in the status of the State is a sign of revolution.
The path of progress leads to further progress, but the path of
revolution leads to more revolution. This is a fact proved by
theory as well as actual experience. Therefore a man who has any
love for his country, is afraid to mention revolution; and as for
myself I am always opposed to revolution. I am now opposing your
theory of monarchical revolution, just as I once opposed your
theory of republican revolution, in the same spirit, and I am
doing the same duty. My belief is that since the country is now in
a most weakened state, we may yet fail even if we do all we can at
all times to nurse its wound and gather up its scattered strength.
How can any one devote his time and energy to the discussion of a
question of no importance such as the form of state, and so
obstruct the progress of the administration? But this is not all.
The whole country is now stirred up to an excited state and is
wondering how long this ever-changing situation is going to stop.
The loss caused by this state of affairs, though unnoticed, is
incalculable. In the Odes, it is written "Alas! my brethren.
Befriended of the countrymen. No one wants rebellion. What has no
parents?'" Let the critics remember this--let them remember.

Some will say to me that a revolution is an unavoidable thing. Of
all things only the facts cannot be undone. Why then should I
bother myself especially as my last effort fell on deaf ears. This
I realize; but it is not my nature to abandon what is my
conviction. Therefore, although aware of the futility of my words,
I cannot refrain from uttering them all the same. Chu Yuan drowned
himself in the Pilo and Chia Sheng died from his horse. Ask them
why they did these things, they will say they did not know. Once I
wrote a piece of poetry containing the following lines:

"Ten years after you will think of me,
The country is excited. To whom shall I speak?"

I have spoken much in my life, and all my words have become
subjects for meditation ten years after they were uttered. Never,
however, have any of my words attracted the attention of my own
countrymen before a decade has spent itself. Is it a misfortune
for my words or a misfortune to the Country? My hope is that there
will be no occasion for the country to think of my present words
ten years hence.




The effect of Liang Ch'i-chao's appeal was noticeable at once:
there were ominous mutterings among all the great class of
"intellectuals" who form such a remarkable element throughout the
country. Nevertheless there were no overt acts attempted against
the authority of Peking. Although literary and liberal China was
now thoroughly convinced that the usurpation which Yuan Shih-kai
proposed to practise would be a national disgrace and lead to far-
reaching complications, this force were too scattered and too much
under the power of the military to tender at once any active
opposition as would have been the case in Western countries. Yuan
Shih-kai, measuring this situation very accurately, and aware that
he could easily become an object of popular detestation if the
people followed the lead of the scholars, decided to place himself
outside and beyond the controversy by throwing the entire
responsibility on the Tsan Cheng Yuan, the puppet Senate he had
erected in place of the parliament destroyed by his coup d'etat of
the 4th November, 1913. In a message issued to that body on the
6th September, 1915, he declared that although in his opinion the
time was inappropriate for making any change in the form of State,
the matter demanded the most careful and serious consideration
which he had no doubt would be given to it. If a change of so
momentous a character as was now being publicly advocated were
decided in too great a haste it might create grave complications:
therefore the opinion of the nation should be consulted by the
method of the ballot. And with this nunc dimittis he officially
washed his hands of a plot in which he had been the prime mover.

The Senate now openly delivered itself over to the accomplishment
of the scheme which had been broached by Yang Tu, the monarchist
pamphleteer. Although this individual still posed as the leader of
the movement, in reality he was nothing but the tool of a
remarkable man, one Liang Shih-yi, famous throughout the country
as the most unscrupulous and adroit politician the Revolution had
thrown up. This person, who is known to have been gravely
implicated in many assassinations, and who was the instrument used
in 1912 by Yuan Shih-kai to persuade the Manchu Imperial Family to
abdicate, had in a brief four years accumulated a vast fortune by
the manipulations he had indulged in as Director-General of The
Bank of Communications, an institution which, because it disposed
of all the railway receipts, was always in funds even when the
Central Treasury itself was empty. By making himself financially
indispensable to Yuan Shih-kai he had become recognized as the
power behind the Throne; for although, owing to foreign clamour,
he had been dismissed from his old office of Chief Secretary to
the President (which he had utilized to effect the sale of offices
far and wide) he was a daily visitor to the Presidential Palace
and his creatures daily pulled all the numerous strings.

The scheme now adopted by the Senate was to cause the provinces to
flood Peking with petitions, sent up through the agency of "The
Society for the Preservation of Peace," demanding that the
Republic be replaced by that form of government which the people
alone understood, the name Constitutional Monarchy being selected
merely as a piece of political window-dressing to please the
foreign world. A vast amount of organizing had to be done behind
the scenes before the preliminaries were completed: but on the 6th
October the scheme was so far advanced that in response to "hosts
of petitions" the Senate, sitting in its capacity of Legislative
Chamber (Li Fa Yuan) passed a so-called King-making bill in which
elaborate regulations were adopted for referring the question
under discussion to a provincial referendum. According to this
naive document the provinces were to be organized into electoral
colleges, and the votes of the electors, after being recorded,
were to be sent up to Peking for scrutiny. Some attempt was made
to follow Dr. Goodnow's advice to secure as far as possible that
the various classes of the community should be specially
represented: and provision was therefore made in the voting for
the inclusion of "learned scholars," Chambers of Commerce, and
"oversea merchants," whose votes were to be directly recorded by
their special delegates. To secure uniformly satisfactory results,
the whole election was placed absolutely and without restriction
in the hands of the high provincial authorities, who were invited
to bestow on the matter their most earnest attention.

In a Mandate, issued in response to this Bill, Yuan Shih-kai
merely limits himself to handing over the control of the elections
and voting to the local authorities, safe in the knowledge that
every detail of the plot had been carefully worked out in advance.
By this time the fact that a serious and dangerous movement was
being actively pushed had been well-impressed on the Peking
Legations, and some anxiety was publicly manifested. It was known
that Japan, as the active enemy of Yuan Shih-kai, could not remain
permanently silent: and on the 28th October in association with
Great Britain and Russia, she indeed made official inquiries at
the Chinese Foreign Office regarding the meaning of the movement.
She was careful, however, to declare that it was her solicitude
for the general peace that alone dictated her action. [Footnote: A
very remarkable illustration of the manner in which Yuan Shih-kai
was trapped by official Japan during the monarchist movement has
recently been extensively quoted in the Far Eastern press. Here is
the substance of a Japanese (vernacular) newspaper account showing
the uses to which Japanese politicians put the Press:

"... When that question was being hotly discussed in China Marquis
Okuma, interviewed by the Press, stated that monarchy was the
right form of government for China and that in case a monarchical
regime was revived Yuan Shih-kai was the only suitable person to
sit on the Throne. When this statement by Marquis Okuma was
published in the Japanese papers, Yuan Shih-kai naturally
concluded that the Japanese Government, at the head of which
Marquis Okuma was, was favourably disposed towards him and the
monarchical movement. It can well be imagined, therefore, how
intense was his surprise when he later received a warning from the
Japanese Government against the resuscitation of the monarchy in
China. When this inconsistency in the Marquis's actions was called
in question in the Japanese House of Representatives, the ex-
Premier absolutely denied the truth of the statement attributed to
him by the Japanese papers, without any show of hesitancy, and
thus boldly shirked the responsibility which, in reality, lay on
him ... "] Nevertheless, her warning had an unmistakable note about
it and occasioned grave anxiety, since the ultimatum of the
previous May in connection with the Twenty-one Demands had not
been forgotten. At the beginning of November the Chinese Minister
of Foreign Affairs, replying verbally to these representations,
alleged that the movement had gone too far for it to be stopped
and insisted that no apprehensions need be felt by the Foreign
Powers regarding the public safety. Dissatisfied by this reply all
the Entente Powers, now including France and Italy, renewed their
representations, receiving a few days later a formal Note in which
absolute guarantees were given that law and order would be
sedulously preserved. Baffled by this firmness, and conscious that
further intervention in such matter would be fraught with grave
difficulties, the Entente Powers decided to maintain a watchful
attitude but to do no more publicly. Consequently events marched
forward so rapidlly that by December the deed was done, and Yuan
Shih-kai had apparently been elected unanimously Emperor of China
by the provincial ballot.

The explanation of this extraordinary business was only made
public months later with the outbreak of the Yunnan rebellion and
the secession of the Southern provinces. In a remarkable
publication, entitled satirically "The People's Will," the
Southern Republican Party, which now possessed access to all the
confidential archives of the provinces, published in full the
secret instructions from Peking which had brought about this
elaborate comedy. Though considerations of space prevent all
documents being included in our analysis, the salient ones are
here textually quoted so as to exhibit in its proper historical
light the character of the chief actor, and the regime the Powers
had supported--until they were forced by Japan to be more honest.
These documents, consisting mainly of telegraphic despatches sent
from Peking to the provinces, do more to explain the working of
the Government of China than a dozen treatises; for they drag into
the garish light of day the most secret Yamen machinery and show
precisely how it is worked.

The play was set in motion by a circular code telegram sent out on
the 30th August by Tuan Chih-kuei, Governor of Moukden and one of
Yuan Shih-kai's most trusted lieutenants, the device of utilizing
a centre other than the capital to propagate revolutionary ideas
being a familiar one and looked upon as a very discreet procedure.
This initial telegram is a document that speaks for itself:


To the Military and Civil Governors of the Provinces:--(To be
deciphered personally with the Council of State Code)

The proposal of changing the form of the State into a monarchy
having been unanimously agreed to by the provinces, the first step
to be taken has now to be decided. We propose that petitions be
sent in the name of the citizens of the respective provinces to
the Senate acting in the capacity of Legislative Chamber, so as to
demonstrate the wish of the people to have a monarchy. The acting
Legislative Chamber will then decide upon the course to be

The plan suggested is for each province to send in a separate
petition, the draft of which will be made in Peking and wired to
the respective provinces in due course. If you approve, you will
insert your name as well as those of the gentry and merchants of
the province who agree to the draft. These petitions are to be
presented one by one to the Legislative Chamber, as soon as it is
convoked. At all events, the change in the form of the State will
have to be effected under the colour of carrying out the people's

As leading members of political and military bodies, we should
wait till the opportune moment arrives when we will give
collateral support to the movement. Details of the plan will be
made known to you from time to time.

This method of circular telegrams, which had been inherited from
the last days of the Manchus, and vastly extended during the POST-
revolutionary period, was now to be used to the very utmost in
indoctrinating the provinces with the idea that not only was the
Republic doomed but that prompt steps must be taken to erect the
Constitutional Monarchy by use of fictitious legal machinery so
that it should not be said that the whole enterprise was a mere
plot. Accordingly, on the 10th September, as a sequel to the
telegram we have just quoted, an enormous circular message of
several thousand words was sent in code from Peking to all the
Military and Civil Governors in the provinces instructing them
precisely how to act in order to throw a cloak over the nefarious
deed. After explaining the so-called "Law on the General
Convention of the Citizens' Representatives" (i. e. national
referendum) the following illuminating sentences occur which
require no comment showing as they do what apt pupils reactionary
Chinese are in the matter of ballot-fraud.

... (1) The fact that no fewer than one hundred petitions for a
change in the form of State have been received from people
residing in all parts of the country shows that the people are of
one mind concerning this matter. Hence the words in the "General
Convention Law": "to be decided by the General Convention of the
Citizens' Representatives," refer to nothing more than the formal
approval of the Convention and are by no means intended to give
room for discussion of any kind. Indeed, it was never intended
that the citizens should have any choice between a republic and a
monarchy. For this reason at the time of voting all the
representatives must be made unanimously to advocate a change of
the Republic into a Monarchy.

It behooves you, therefore, prior to the election and voting,
privately to search for such persons as are willing to express the
people's will in the sense above indicated. You will also make the
necessary arrangements beforehand, and devise every means to have
such persons elected, so that there may be no divergence of
opinion when the time arrives for putting the form of the State to
the vote.

(2) Article 2 provides: "The citizens' representatives shall be
elected by separate ballot signed by the person voting. The person
who obtains the greatest number of votes cast shall be declared

The citizens' representatives, though nominally elected by. the
electors, are really appointed beforehand by you acting in the
capacity of Superintendent of Election. The principle of separate
signed ballot is adopted in this article with the object of
preventing the voters from casting their votes otherwise than as
directed, and of awakening in them a sense of responsibility for
their votes ... .

These admirable principles having been officially laid down by
Peking, it is not hard to understand that the Military and Civil
Governors in the provinces, being anxious to retain their posts
and conciliate the great personage who would be king, gave the
problem their most earnest attention, and left no stone unturned
to secure that there should be no awkward contretemps. On the 28th
September, the Peking Government, being now entirely surrendered
into the hands of the plotters, thought it advisable to give the
common people a direct hint of what was coming, by sending
circular instructions regarding the non-observance of the
Republican anniversary (10th October). The message in question is
so frankly ingenuous that it merits inclusion in this singular


To the Military and Civil Governors and the Military Commissioners
of the Provinces and the Intendant of Shanghai:--

(Code Telegram)

Now that a monarchical form of government has been advocated, the
National Anniversary in commemoration of the Republic should, of
course, be observed with least possible display, under the pretext
either of the necessity for economy owing to the impoverished
condition of the people, or of the advisability of celebrating the
occasion quietly so as to prevent disturbances arising in
consequence of the many rumours now afloat. In this way public
peace and order may be maintained on the one hand, money and
trouble saved on the other. How to put this suggestion into
practice will be left to your discretion.


By October such progress had been made in Peking in the general
work of organizing this coup d'etat that as we have seen, the
Senate had passed on the 6th of that month the so-called "King-
making Bill." The very next day, so that nothing should be left in
doubt, the following circular telegram was dispatched to all the


To the Military and Civil Governors of the Provinces:--

(To be deciphered with the Hua Code)

Our telegram of the 12th ult. must have reached you by this time.

The Administrative Council, at a meeting held on the 4th inst.,
passed the Bill for a General Convention of the Citizens'
Representatives. Article 12 of the Bill was amended so as to
contain the following clause:--"The Superintendent of Election
may, in case of necessity, delegate his functions to the several
district magistrates." This will soon be communicated officially
to the provinces. You are therefore requested to make the
necessary preparations beforehand in accordance with the
instructions contained in our telegram of the 29th September.

We propose that the following steps be taken after the votes have
been duly polled:--

(1) After the form of the state has been put to the vote, the
result should be reported to the sovereign (meaning Yuan-shihkai)
and to the Administrative Council in the name of the General
Convention of the Citizens' Representatives.

(2) In the telegrams to be sent by the General Convention of the
Citizens' Representatives for nominating the emperor, the
following words should be specifically used: "We respectfully
nominate the present President Yuan Shih-kai as Emperor of the
Chinese Empire."

(3) The telegrams investing the Administrative Council with
general powers to act on behalf of the General Convention of the
Citizens' Representatives should be dispatched in the name of the
General Convention of the Citizens of the Provinces.

The drafts of the dispatches under the above-mentioned three heads
will be wired to you beforehand. As soon as the votes are cast,
these are to be shown to the representatives, who will sign them
after perusal. Peking should be immediately informed by telegram.

As for the telegrams to be sent by the commercial, military, and
political bodies, they should bear as many signatures as possible,
and be wired to the Central Government within three days after the

When the enthronement is promulgated by edict, letters of
congratulation from the General Convention of the Citizens'
Representatives, as well as from the commercial, military, and
political bodies, will also have to be sent in. You are therefore
requested to draw up these letters in advance.

This is specially wired for your information beforehand. The
details will be communicated by letter.

In ordinary circumstances it would have been thought that
sufficiently implicit instructions had already been given to
permit leaving the matter in the hands of the provincial
authorities. Great anxiety, however, was beginning to reign in
Peking owing to continual rumours that dangerous opposition, both
internal and external, was developing. It was therefore held
necessary to clinch the matter in such a way that no possible
questions should be raised later. Accordingly, before the end of
October--and only two days before the "advice" was tendered by
Japan and her Allies,--the following additional instructions were
telegraphed wholesale to the provinces, being purposely designed
to make it absolutely impossible for any slip to occur between cup
and lip. The careful student will not fail to notice in these
remarkable messages that as the game develops, all disguise is
thrown to the four winds, and the central and only important
point, namely the prompt election and enthronement of Yuan Shih-
kai as Emperor, insisted on with almost indecent directness, every
possible precaution being taken to secure that end:


To the Military and Civil Governors of the Provinces:--

(To be deciphered with the Hua Code)

Your telegram of the 24th inst. came duly to hand. After the form
of the state has been put to the vote, the nomination of Yuan
Shih-kai as emperor should be made forthwith without further
voting. You should address the representatives and tell them that
a monarchy having been decided on, not even a single day should
pass without an emperor; that the citizens' representatives
present should nominate Yuan Shih-kai as the Great Emperor of the
Chinese Empire; and that if they are in favour of the proposal,
they should signify their assent by standing up. This done, the
text of the proposed letter of nomination from the citizens should
be handed to the representatives for their signatures; after which
you should again address them to the effect that in all matters
concerning the nomination and the petition for immediate
enthronement, they may, in the name of the citizens'
representatives, invest the acting Legislative Council with
general powers to act on their behalf and to do the necessary
things until their petition is granted. The text (already
prepared) of the proposed telegram from the citizens'
representatives to the acting Legislative Council should then be
shown to the representatives for approval. Whereupon three
separate telegrams are to be drawn up: one giving the number of
votes in favour of a change in the form of the state, one
containing the original text of the letter of nomination, and the
third concerning the vesting of the acting Legislative Council
with general powers to act on behalf of the citizens'
representatives. These should be sent officially to the acting
Legislative Council in the name of the citizens' representatives.
You should at the same time wire to the President all that has
taken place. The votes and the letter of nomination are to be
forwarded to Peking in due course.

As for the exact words to be inserted in the letter of nomination,
they have been communicated to you in our telegram of the 23rd
inst. These characters, forty-five in all, must on no account be
altered. The rest of the text is left to your discretion.

We may add that since the letter of nomination and the vesting of
the acting Legislative Council with general powers to act on
behalf of the citizens' representatives are matters which
transgress the bounds of the law, you are earnestly requested not
to send to the National Convention Bureau any telegraphic enquiry
concerning them, so that the latter may not find itself in the
awkward position of having to reply.

Two days after this telegram had been dispatched the long-feared
action on the part of Japan had been taken and a new situation had
been created. The Japanese "advice" of the 28th October was in
fact a veritable bombshell playing havoc with the house of cards
which had been so carefully erected. But the intrigue had gone so
far, and the prizes to be won by the monarchical supporters were
so great that nothing could induce them to retrace their
footsteps. For a week and more a desperate struggle went on behind
the scenes in the Presidential Palace, since Yuan Shih-kai was too
astute a man not to understand that a most perilous situation was
being rapidly created and that if things went wrong he would be
the chief victim. But family influences and the voice of the
intriguers proved too strong for him, and in the end he gave his
reluctant consent to a further step. The monarchists, boldly
acting on the principle that possession is nine points of the law,
called upon the provinces to anticipate the vote and to substitute
the title of Emperor for that of President in all government
documents and petitions so that morally the question would be
chose jugee.


To the Military and Civil Governors of the Provinces:--

(To be deciphered personally with the Council of State Code)

A certain foreign power, under the pretext that the Chinese people
are not of one mind and that troubles are to be apprehended, has
lately forced England and Russia to take part in tendering advice
to China. In truth, all foreign nations know perfectly well that
there will be no trouble, and they are obliged to follow the
example of that power. If we accept the advice of other Powers
concerning our domestic affairs and postpone the enthronement, we
should be recognizing their right to interfere. Hence action
should under no circumstance be deferred. When all the votes of
the provinces unanimously recommending the enthronement shall have
reached Peking, the Government will, of course, ostensibly assume
a wavering and compromising attitude, so as to give due regard to
international relations. The people, on the other hand, should
show their firm determination to proceed with the matter at all
costs, so as to let the foreign powers know that our people are of
one mind. If we can only make them believe that the change of the
republic into a monarchy will not in the least give rise to
trouble of any kind, the effects of the advice tendered by Japan
will ipso facto come to nought.

At present the whole nation is determined to nominate Yuan Shih-
kai Emperor. All civil and military officers, being the natural
leaders of the people, should accordingly give effect to the
nomination. If this can be done without friction, the confidence
of both Chinese and foreigners in the Government will be greatly
strengthened. This is why we suggested to you in a previous
telegram the necessity of immediately substituting the title of
"Emperor" for "President." We trust you will concur in our
suggestion and carry it out without delay.

We may add that this matter should be treated as strictly

A reply is requested.


The die now being cast all that was left to be done was to rush
through the voting in the Provinces. Obsequious officials returned
to the use of the old Imperial phraseology and Yuan Shih-kai, even
before his "election," was memorialized as though he were the
legitimate successor of the immense line of Chinese sovereigns who
stretch back to the mythical days of Yao and Shun (2,800 B.C.).
The beginning of December saw the voting completed and the results
telegraphed to Peking; and on the 11th December, the Senate
hastily meeting, and finding that "the National Convention of
Citizens" had unanimously elected Yuan Shih-kai Emperor, formally
offered him the Throne in a humble petition. Yuan Shih-kai
modestly refused: a second petition was promptly handed to him,
which he was pleased to accept in the following historic document:


The prosperity and decline of the country is a part of the
responsibility of every individual, and my love for the country is
certainly not less than that of others. But the task imposed on me
by the designation of the millions of people is of extraordinary
magnitude. It is therefore impossible for one without merit and
without virtue like myself to shoulder the burdens of State
involved in the enhancing of the welfare of the people, the
strengthening of the standing of the country, the reformation of
the administration and the advancement of civilization. My former
declaration was, therefore, the expression of a sincere heart and
not a mere expression of modesty. My fear was such that I could
not but utter the words which I have expressed. The people,
however, have viewed with increasing impatience that declaration
and their expectation of me is now more pressing than ever. Thus I
find myself unable to offer further argument just as I am unable
to escape the position. The laying of a great foundation is,
however, a thing of paramount importance and it must not be done
in a hurry. I, therefore, order that the different Ministries and
Bureaux take concerted action in making the necessary preparations
in the affairs in which they are concerned; and when that is done,
let the same be reported to me for promulgation. Meanwhile all our
citizens should go on peacefully in their daily vocations with the
view to obtain mutual benefit. Let not your doubts and suspicions
hinder you in your work. All the officials should on their part be
faithful at their posts and maintain to the best of their ability
peace and order in their localities, so that the ambition of the
Great President to work for the welfare of the people may thus be
realized. Besides forwarding the memorial of the principal
representatives of the Convention of the Representatives of
Citizens and that of the provinces and special administrative area
to the Cheng Shih Tang and publishing the same by a mandate, I
have the honour to notify the acting Li Fan Yuan as the principal
representatives of the Convention of the Representatives of
Citizens, to this effect.

Cautious to the end, it will be seen that Yuan Shih-kai's very
acceptance is so worded as to convey the idea that he is being
forced to a course of action which is against his better
instincts. There is no word of what came to be called the Grand
Ceremony i. e. the enthronement. That matter is carefully left in
abeyance and the government departments simply told to make the
necessary preparations. The attitude of Peking officialdom is
well-illustrated in a circular telegram dispatched to the
provinces three days later, the analysis of Japan's relationship
to the Entente Powers being particularly revealing. The obsequious
note which pervades this document is also particularly noticeable
and shows how deeply the canker of sycophancy had now eaten in.


To the Military and Civil Governors of the Provinces:--(To be
deciphered with the Hua Code)

On the 11th inst. the acting Legislature Council submitted a
memorial to the Emperor, reporting on the number of votes cast by
the people in favour of a monarchy and the letters of nomination
of Yuan Shih-kai as Emperor received from all parts of the
country, and begged that he would ascend the Throne at an early
date. His Majesty was, however, so modest as to decline. The
Council presented a second memorial couched in the most entreating
terms, and received an order to the effect that all the ministries
and departments were to make the necessary preparations for the
enthronement. The details of this decision appeared in the
Presidential Orders of the past few days, so need not be repeated

The people are unanimously of the opinion that in a republic the
foundation of the state is very apt to be shaken and the policy of
the government to be changed; and that consequently there is no
possibility of enjoying everlasting peace and prosperity, nor any
hope for the nation to become powerful. Now that the form of the
state has been decided in favour of a monarchy and the person who
is to sit on the Throne agreed upon, the country is placed on a
secure basis, and the way to national prosperity and strength is
thus paved.

Being the trustworthy ministers and, as it were, the hands and
feet of His Majesty, we are united to him by more ties than one.
On this account we should with one mind exert our utmost efforts
in discharging our duty of loyalty to the country. This should be
the spirit which guides us in our action at the beginning of the
new dynasty. As for the enthronement, it is purely a matter of
ceremony. Whether it takes place earlier or later is of no moment.
Moreover His Majesty has always been modest, and does everything
with circumspection. We should all appreciate his attitude.

So far as our external relations are concerned, a thorough
understanding must be come to with the foreign nations, so that
recognition of the new regime may not be delayed and diplomatic
intercourse interrupted. Japan, has, in conjunction with the
Entente Powers, tendered advice to postpone the change of the
Republic into an empire. As a divergence of opinion exists between
Japan and the Entente Powers, the advice is of no great effect.
Besides, the Elders and the Military Party in Japan are all
opposed to the action taken by their Government. Only the press in
Tokyo has spread all sorts of threatening rumours. This is
obviously the upshot of ingenious plots on the part of
irresponsible persons. If we postpone the change we shall be
subject to foreign interference, and the country will consequently
cease to exist as an independent state. On the other hand, if we
proclaim the enthronement forthwith, we shall then be flatly
rejecting the advice,--an act which, we apprehend, will not be
tolerated by Japan. As a result, she will place obstacles in the
way of recognition of the new order of things.

Since a monarchy has been decided to be the future form of the
state, and His Majesty has consented to accept the Throne, the
change may be said to be an accomplished fact. There is no
question about it. All persons of whatever walk of life can
henceforth continue their pursuits without anxiety. In the
meantime we will proceed slowly and surely with the enthronement,
as it involves many ceremonies and diplomatic etiquette. In this
way both our domestic and our foreign policies will remain

We hope you will comprehend our ideas and treat them as strictly

(Signed) Office of the Commander-in-Chief of the Land and Naval

After this one last step remained to be taken--it was necessary to
burn all the incriminating evidence. On the 21st December, the
last circular telegram in connection with this extraordinary
business was dispatched from Peking, a delightful naivete being
displayed regarding the possibility of certain letters and
telegrams having transgressed the bounds of the law. All such
delinquencies are to be mercifully wiped out by the simple and
admirable method of invoking the help of the kitchen-fires. And in
this appropriate way does the monster-play end.


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