Chargé Fletcher to the Secretary of State.

No. 1360.]

Sir: Referring to my No. 1354 of the 1st instant, on the subject of constitutional reform in China, with which was inclosed a translation of the edict refusing the prayer of the memorial of certain delegates from the provincial assemblies to advance the date of the opening of the Imperial Parliament, I have the honor to inclose herewith a translation of the edict, issued on the 3d, in reply to the memorial of the censor, Chao Hsi.

I have, etc.,

Henry P. Fletcher.
[Page 331]

edict issued february 3, 1910.

On the 20th day of the twelfth moon the censorate memorialized for the delegates of the Chihli and other provincial assemblies, Sun Hung-yin and others, asking for the early opening of the national parliament and we have already published a just and sincere, and carefully worded proclamation for the perusal of all officials and people both at Peking and in the Provinces. But yesterday, the censor, Chao Hsi, memorialized charging the ministers with conspiring to gain popularity and involve their sovereign in trouble, and asking that severe punishment might be dealt them.

On reading this memorial we have been astonished. The court has been most zealous in promoting the cause of constitutional government, and expects that the parliament will certainly be assembled at a future time. We are striving to accomplish the result by following a regular order. There must necessarily be a regular program. We have carefully considered all these things with the ministers of the grand council, and have many times asked their advice. They have assisted in all the affairs of State and can not evade responsibility for any merits or faults. These ministers have been the recipients of great favor and they have consciences, and we are sure that they have not planned to put blame on their sovereign. How have such idle rumors been collected? They are slanderous. The memorial is highly improper. This edict is published that all may know.