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heaven and earth. So shall ye not only be our good and faithful subjects, but render illustrious the best traditions of your forefathers.

The way here set forth is indeed the teaching bequeathed by our Imperial ancestors, to be observed alike by us and our subjects, infallible for all ages, true in all places. It is our wish to lay it to heart in all reverence, in common with you, our subjects, that we may thus all attain to the same virtue.


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The world's youngest Republic is islanded in a sea of troubles. Within the Wall, and without, lurk puissant enemies biding their time, ever wakeful and ready for the propitious moment to swoop down upon their prey. To foil their hostile designs the Republican Government is wellnigh powerless, lacking military strength, financial resources, and diplomatic mainstays. Yet the trusted watchman from the height of his conning-tower has authoritatively sung out that all is well and bids fair to continue well, whereupon the leaders of the nation continue to spend their energies in thwarting each other's plans and irritating the Republic's powerful neighbours. And the fruits of their folly are ripening fast.

To pierce the mist that hovers over the greatest Republic on earth is not easy. For most of China's critics are interested friends or foes, whose judgments bear the impress of the will rather than of the intellect. Where the one sees an opening rosebud the others perceive but prickly thorns. Chaos is the name given by a rueful set of observers to the condition of affairs VOL. LXXII-No. 428



now prevailing in the Republic, while friendly or light-hearted spectators assure us that China is in the throes of new birth. Most of the optimists are men of the English-speaking races, and many of them write and argue as though a democratic régime could transfigure sacramentally the peoples who adopt it and ward off dangers from their path. And through this roseate medium they envisage signs and symptoms which the unprejudiced onlooker knows to be ill-boding.

Dr. Morrison's recent letter to The Times' is a fair specimen of the optimist's reading of current events. And that eminent journalist would doubtless deem my reiterated warning that China is perceptibly loosening her grasp on the frontier provinces, which will soon slip or be wrested from her hands, as a sample of the pessimist's judgment. Dr. Morrison's deliberate utterances about the data of latter-day Chinese history command and deserve respect. No pressman in the Far East has ever been able to vie with him in sifting rumours and ascertaining facts, not even those who possessed the enormous advantage over him which a knowledge of the Chinese tongue bestows. But when he passes from the field of local affairs into the sphere of international politics, he gives us a forecast of China's future under her Grand Old Man as though he held that Tout est pour le Vieux dans ce meilleur des mondes. As Boyle Roche would have put it, his way of looking at the formidable dangers that beset the Republic is to shut his eyes to them.

To the thoughtful student of recent Chinese history, two phenomena' suggest themselves as capable, when viewed aright, of imparting systematic shape to large groups of bewildering events. One of these is the centrifugal tendency which has been periodically, and in some cases continuously, manifesting itself among the non-Chinese elements of the population. But this impulse, which had previously been kept in check now by the power, now by the prestige of the imperial dynasty, has, since the Revolution, become intensified. The other is the sequence of attempts, growing in number and strenuousness, on the part of China's neighbours to acquire a hold on the country, and in some cases to lop off whole provinces or even set up a claim to political guardianship. These designs, which the Empire was too weak to ward off, were checked by the same agency which held the motley ethnic elements together. From the imperial dynasty there went forth an indefinable but real force which cemented the nationalities and presented a sort of bulwark to the onsets of greedy foreign Powers, sometimes arresting and always retarding their encroachments. The throne accomplished much more than this : it conferred

· 23rd of August 1912.

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a potent sanction upon that fine feeling for the everyday moralities of life which has won for Chinese traders a good name and raised them to a foremost place among the mercantile communities of the world. It is not contended that this factor among the constituents of China's culture was created by her monarchies, still less that it owes its origin to the Manchu dynasty. But it cannot be gainsaid that the rulers of the day fostered it systematically, and together with it a number of other ethical conceptions which were also stimulating agents of China's social progress. And the monarchy, core-eaten though it had become of late years, still served as an accumulator of such impalpable forces whence the State as an organised entity, together with these its essential elements, drew sustenance.

One-man rule, then, was the deciding circumstance in China's political and social life. And to the working of the checks and counter-checks, of the stimuli and the directives which it kept going, the broad facts of Chinese history adjusted themselves. Among statesmen interested in the Far East the recognition of the close, one might say indissoluble, connexion between these two sets of phenomena was universal. Li Hung Chang asserted it in my hearing years ago in Moscow. The Marquis Ito confirmed it much later when talking to the late W. T. Stead and myself in London. Nay, it was the deliberately uttered finding of Yuan Shi Kai himself, who, like most opportunists, is careful not to allow his opinions to harden into convictions. On the very eve of his declaring for the Republic, Yuan Shi Kai stated clearly, forcibly, convincingly, that the welfare of the State was bound up with the monarchy and that the community would lose heavily by the deposition of the Bogdykhan. The present Prime Minister, Lu Cheng Hsiang, recently gave utterance to the same judgment several times in my hearing, and even after the Republic had been proclaimed-nay, after he him. self had been selected for the post of Premier-he asserted his belief that the China of 1912 and the republican form of government are incompatible.

Identical views were held by the Cabinet of Tokio. And they were uttered under circumstances which left no doubt as to the sincerity of the Mikado's advisers. Japan manifestly needs and craves repose. Most of her superfluous energies are absorbed by Corea. Her finances are flabby. The need for the deployment of fresh energies in China would therefore be superlatively unwelcome to-day. Japan's interests would best be served by staving off the upheaval there until she is better equipped to turn it to account. And the only way of compassing this end which her statesmen could hit upon was the maintenance of the monarchy. This they accordingly proposed to the British Foreign Office. To my knowledge the Mikado's Government, lacking confidence in Yuan Shi Kai's sincerity, suggested to his Majesty's Foreign Secretary that international support should be given to the Manchu dynasty. Sancta simplicitas ! They might as well have suggested the repeal of the Ten Commandments. The diplomatists of the Foreign Office shuddered at the idea of giving countenance to any such political heresy. Here was an ancient nation striving to free itself from the fetters of a preposterously effete régime and to adopt democratic institutions; and Great Britain, the mother of such institutions, was asked to bar that plucky people's way! In vain the Japanese Government explained that even from Great Britain's orthodox point of view the proposal might be found not only harmless but indispensable. For, if adopted, the monarchy would utilise its lease of life to transform its decrepit institutions, to adjust them to present needs; to train its people ; in a word, to proceed to the goal by easy evolutionary stages. But the British Foreign Office was obdurate. Japan had to desist from her scheme, sit still and watch, inactive, the realisation of her gloomy forecast.

Yuan Shi Kai was cognisant of all this. He realised better than any foreigner that the characteristic of China's political fabric from of yore had been the extremely loose jointure of its parts.

Its salient trait was decentralisation to a degree sometimes bordering upon separation. The danger-line, however, was seldom passed, because obedience to a common head who was almost worshipped as the personification of ethics, religion, and the State drew together provinces as well as individuals, whose strivings were then focussed and directed towards certain common aims. Thus what Europe effected by means of armies and police, China accomplished in more subtle fashion by dint of religious suggestion. And the Emperor stood forth as the representative of all the institutions with which the monarchy was associated, and as the apostle and mainstay of the politicoreligious gospel from which the framework of the State was fashioned.

A clear perception of the disaster that must ensue on the sudden displacement of this keystone of the political arch may well have moved the resourceful man of Honan to condemn as suicidal the scheme of the Republicans from the South. And, so far as one can discern, it lay with him to turn his words into deeds and prolong the sway of the old régime by modernising its methods. But he overthrew the monarchy, which he had declared indispensable, and proclaimed the Republic, which he had inveighed against as calamitous. Hence, for all the consequences of this State-stroke, some of which have already made themselves felt, Yuan Shi Kai is primarily responsible. Nominally

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