File No. 893.01/35.

Chargé MacMurray to the Secretary of State.

No. 747.]

Sir: Referring to my telegrams of August 25, September 2 and September 4, on the subject of the agitation in favor of a restoration of the monarchical form of government in China, I have the honor to report as follows:

For some months past there have been rumors, vague at first, but becoming gradually more definite, that President Yuan Shih-k’ai was maturing a plan for the transformation of the Republic into a monarchy, and taking the throne as the founder of a new dynasty. From several usually trustworthy sources I received, as early as mid-June, information to the effect that the Committee of Ten, entrusted with the drafting of the permanent Constitution, was being carefully “handpicked” with a view to its embodying in the Constitution provisions for the reestablishment of a monarchy, and then demanding that the Legislature, which would in due course have been selected with like care, should be convened in order that it might in the name of the people of China decide whether or not the proposed change in the form of government should be made—the President meanwhile deprecating, with the appropriate degree of earnestness, any action tending to force on him responsibilities more lofty than he had assumed as President of the Republic. Despite the character of the sources from which this information reached me, I attached slight importance to it at the time, believing that while certain influences might be intriguing to that end, it was scarcely credible that so shrewd a politician as the President should choose for such a purpose (even if he entertained it) a time when the personnel of the Government was engaged in bitter factional strife, when the finances of the country were being carried on in hand-to-mouth fashion, when the balance of power in China was destroyed by the European War, when new revolutionary movements were believed to be forming, and when the prestige of his administration was suffering from the yielding of the concessions which the Japanese Government had demanded and enforced by its ultimatum of May 7. Such plans as were being made were in fact worked out with a degree of secrecy altogether unusual in this country; and for some weeks there appeared to be no concrete indications tending to confirm the reports referred to above.

The first tangible evidence of anything stirring beneath the., surface was an interview (of which the account given in the Peking Gazette of July 7 is enclosed herewith)17 in which the President rebuked General Feng Kuo-chang, military governor of Kiangsu Province, for urging upon him the suggestion that he assume the throne. This abjuration said so much more than would have been necessary to a staged disclaimer of any monarchical aspirations, that it had all the appearance of genuineness.

The next development in the movement was associated with the coming of the American Constitutional Adviser, Dr. Frank J. Goodnow, [Page 49] who had returned to Peking in the middle of July for a short visit. Shortly after his arrival, Dr. Goodnow was asked by the President to prepare for his own information a memorandum on the respective merits of the republican and monarchical forms of government, with particular reference to conditions in China. In entire good faith, though, as the event has proved, with perhaps too little wariness as to the use which might be made of it, Dr. Goodnow, in response to this request, prepared a memorandum (of which a copy, as printed in the Peking Daily News of August 20 is enclosed herewitha) in which he outspokenly set forth the view that theoretically and in the abstract the monarchical form is the better suited to the genius and traditions and present political development of the Chinese, but expressly disclaimed any judgment on the question whether the conditions actually existing would render feasible or expedient a change from the republican to the monarchical system. I understand that he also discussed the matter with the President in the same sense, making it clear that as a question of practical politics the matter involved considerations of fact as to which no foreigner is competent to form a judgment, and which must be decided by those responsible for the destinies of the country.

At the end of the second week of August, a monarchical propaganda, professedly based upon Dr. Goodnow’s advice, was begun with an amazing suddenness that appears to indicate careful preparation in advance. In spite of the reservations with which Dr. Goodnow had qualified his memorandum for the President, it began to be quoted in the Chinese press (as cited in the enclosed clipping from the Peking Gazette of August 14)17 as maintaining categorically the bald thesis that “a monarchical system of government is better than a republican system”; and he was thenceforward referred to as supporting or even as having inspired the monarchical movement. On August 16 there appeared in the press the manifesto of an organization calling itself the Ch’ou An Hui or Peace Planning Society, newly formed for the purpose of “devising means for keeping peace in this country” and for expounding “views concerning the future of our country and the advantages and disadvantages accruing from the republican form of government,” which was based upon the declaration that “Dr. Goodnow has stated that a monarchy is a better form of government than republicanism, and according to his opinion a monarchical form of government is most indispensable at present for China”. (For translation see enclosed clipping from the Peking Gazette of August 16).b Dr. Goodnow found it necessary to repudiate the views thus attributed to him, in an interview which appeared in the Peking Gazette of August 18 (of which a copy is enclosed herewith);c and with the permission of the President he also caused the full text of his memorandum to be published in the Peking Daily News of August 20. Even the publication of his memorandum, however, did not put an end to the misquotation of his views by the adherents of the Ch’ou An Hui, who continued to refer to his advice in support of their propaganda; and [Page 50] as late as August 24, in the society’s circular telegram to which reference is made hereafter, Dr. Goodnow’s views were cited in a passage of which the following is a translation made by the Chinese Secretary of the Legation:

The United States is the foremost Republic in the world. Dr. Goodnow, the great American scholar in the science of government, says that a monarchy is really better than a republic, and that China especially cannot do without the monarchical form of government. This opinion is held not only by Dr. Goodnow, but by many other well-known scholars. As Dr. Goodnow is a citizen of a republic, he is very familiar with both the advantages and failures of the republican form of government. Moreover, he says that conditions in America and China are different, and that the institutions of the one country cannot be forcibly transplanted to the other.

Dr. Goodnow consequently found himself placed in a false light, and in order to clear up his position he brought pressure to bear upon certain of his official associates who were in a position to influence the leaders of the Ch’ou An Hui, with the result that a notice to the following effect was published in the Chinese press on August 28:

With reference to the discussion of the question “Monarchy or Republic”, Dr. Goodnow has made no statement other than that contained in the memorandum which he presented to the President. Lest there should be any apprehension on the subject, we hereby specially issue this notice.

Ch’ou An Hui.

In the earliest days of its formation, the Ch’ou An Hui was scarcely taken seriously by outside observers. Even when there was published an interview (of which the translation appearing in the Peking Gazette of August 17 is enclosed herewith)17 in which the President, referring to the activities of that society, said

As to the people of the country * * * it is quite reasonable for them to discuss the best method which will ensure them permanent peace and happiness. * * * How can I interfere with such a movement, merely for the reason that such a movement would tend to misrepresent me to the public as a person who entertains some doubtful and suspicious ambition? * * * If it does not tend to disturb the order of the country, there is no necessity for the Government to take measures to interfere with it—

even then, the apparent inopportuneness of the times, the comparative obscurity of those who were known as its adherents, and the shallowness and obvious insincerity of its propaganda, all tended to induce the belief that the movement was no more than a ballon d’essai—an activity which the President countenanced, perhaps with a view to its revealing whether or not the temper of the country would admit of such a possibility now or at some later occasion, but which he in all probability regarded as a means of quieting the enthusiasts and the sycophants by letting them batter their heads against an impossibility.

But meanwhile the Ch’ou An Hui throve immensely. In addition to the original manifesto (quoted in the enclosure from the Peking Gazette of the 16th ultimo), it issued a prospectus and notifications (which are enclosed herewith in translation from the Peking Gazette of August 21)17 and a circular telegram to the civil and military governors of the provinces, to the lieutenant generals, and to the chambers of commerce and popular bodies of the provinces, expressing the belief that the republican form of government is not [Page 51] suitable to China (of which a translation, as printed in the Peking Daily News of the 25th ultimo is enclosed herewith);17 and its chief promoter, Mr. Young Tu, published an elaborate “Defense of the Monarchical Movement” (of which I enclose a translation as printed in the Peking Daily News, of August 26, 27 and 28);17 it attained the distinction of having its leaders interviewed by Mr. B. L. Simpson (Putnam Weale); it acquired the rather more substantial dignity of having its views and purposes contested with eloquent and apparently sincerely patriotic earnestness by Mr. Liang Ch’i-ch’iao, recently Minister of Justice, in an interview printed in the Peking Gazette of the 31st ultimo (of which a copy is enclosed),17 and in an article (of which a translation, as printed in the Gazette of September 4 and 6, is enclosed);17 and, most important of all, it contrived to receive from the civil and military governors and others, to whom its circular was addressed, most encouragingly acquiescent replies—which, for the most part, embody the ideas and the terms which the society professed to quote from the memorandum which Dr. Goodnow had submitted for the information of President Yuan. There were obstacles to the progress of the society; according to a report quoted in the Peking Gazette of August 23 (of which a copy is enclosed),17 the President in conversation with the Secretary of State, on August 19, discreetly discountenanced the movement by declaring,

If a few shortsighted people attempt to compel me to adopt an unrighteous course I shall have no alternative but to take refuge in a foreign land, as I cannot break my solemn oath;

and about the same time there was talk of an impeachment to be lodged against its members by the censorate, on the ground of their indulging in a movement subversive of the existing Government; but the chief censor had found it expedient to get to one of the foreign concessions in Tientsin before it was even known to the general public that this suggestion had originated with him.

It has now appeared that, back of all this rather puerile agitation on the part of the Ch’ou An Hui, there has been the substantial fact that the President himself, his eldest son, Yuan K’o-ting, and the most powerful civil official in China, Liang Shih-yi, and the most influential military leader, Feng Kuo-chang, have planned and worked for the reinstitution of a monarchical régime with President Yuan as emperor. That is a fact which, for my own part, I must acknowledge having doubted perhaps longer than the evidence warranted; it has now been made indubitable, not only by the indirect testimony of colleagues and of press correspondents and other unofficial sources of information, but also by the direct statements of certain Cabinet Ministers, who have discussed the matter with the President and learned his views authoritatively and at first-hand. As I reported in my telegram of September 4, the majority of the Cabinet and of the other officials of greatest influence are (or have been) in favor of the movement.

On the evening of Saturday, the 4th instant, one of the Cabinet Ministers who called to see Dr. Tenney and myself on another matter took occasion to say that he had that morning conferred with [Page 52] the President in reference to the plans for the reestablishment of a monarchy; and that, whereas President Yuan had up to a few days previously been whole-heartedly in favor of forcing the movement through without delay, he was now “much less enthusiastic”, and determined to proceed, if at all, with the utmost circumspection. My informant went on to say that the reason for this change was doubtless the apprehension that the foreign Powers might withhold their recognition of the new Government, and that Japan, particularly, might exact terms in consideration of its recognition of the new order. He then offered the naive surmise that perhaps this difficulty might be avoided by simply announcing that the appropriate lawmaking body of China had determined to confer upon the President the title of Emperor, and that at some convenient time thereafter the Constitution might, as a matter of purely domestic concern, be so amended as to make the presidency hereditary.

Fantastic as these suggestions sound, they seem to accord with the present attitude of those in authority. It appears that the Chinese official mind accepts, without any sense of anomaly, the idea of a hereditary presidency as forming the happiest possible solution of the problem of the succession, which has been brought so persistently to public notice by the propaganda of the Ch’ou An Hui.

It would seem that by the mere fact of having created a general impression that something in the present system of government requires modification, that society has now exhausted its usefulness to the purpose in view, and its activities will probably be allowed to dwindle. So nearly as can be judged from the reports as to the present mood of the President, and from the message which was communicated by him yesterday to the Council of State (Tsan Cheng Yuan), sitting as a legislative body pending the establishment of the Li Fa Yuan,18 the present intention is not to establish the new régime by a coup d’état, as a few days ago seemed likely, but to leave the matter for decision and adjustment by processes at least superficially constitutional.

Concerning the attitude of the Chinese people towards the contemplated change, it is still too early to generalize with assurance. It would be naïve to take without discount the expressions of approval which have been telegraphed, in really considerable volume, by the provincial authorities and by popular bodies of all sorts in the provinces, in reply to the circular of the Ch’ou An Hui; their spontaneity is more than questionable; and in the great majority of cases they must be assumed to represent not a conviction that the monarchical system is the best for the country, but a calculation that that system is the more likely to prevail. It should be noted, however, that among the younger officials—the foreign-educated class, which has hitherto been more or less directly associated with the republican movement,—there has been observable an unmistakable tendency to regard with sympathy, if not with active approval, the idea of reversion to a monarchy. On the other hand, such opposition as has thus far appeared has seemed to be wholly academic and forensic, giving no evidence of any likelihood of serious resistance. There is of course a considerable revolutionary [Page 53] element which may be expected to take what advantage it can of the discontent which such action would cause; but among both foreign and Chinese observers it seems generally to be believed that the Government has the situation well enough in hand to assure that no revolutionary movement is likely to gain headway or to pass beyond the stage of mere local disturbances—unless abetted and assisted by Japan. The great bulk of the people may, I believe, be assumed to be indifferent to the question of the form of government so long as it does not undertake to govern them too rigorously or tax them too much.

With a view to learning the character and effects of the monarchical movement in the provinces, the Legation on August 25 despatched to the consuls a circular directing them to report on the subject. Replies have thus far been received, as follows: Antung, Hankow, Mukden, Nanking and Shanghai. In order to put the Department in possession of all available information at as early a date as possible, I forward copies of these reports17 without waiting to coordinate them with those which are still to be received.

It has proved difficult to learn with accuracy the views of the several other Legations here. In general, I think it may be said that they regard the contemplated change in the form of government without particular concern, feeling their policies wholly unaffected by it unless in the event that it should lead to disorders detrimental to trade and jeopardizing foreign interests; for the rest, the general feeling is that if the Chinese find it possible to reinstitute their traditional form of government, without bringing on revolution or bankruptcy or foreign intervention, so much the better. But opinions differ as to the feasibility of bringing about the change without those consequences. * * *

I have [etc.]

J. V. A. MacMurray.
[Inclosure 1.]

Dr. Goodnow’s Memorandum to the President .

monarchies originate with one man.

The determination in a given country of the form of government established therein has seldom if ever been the result of the conscious choice of the people of that country or even of the choice of its most intelligent classes. The establishment on the one hand of a monarchy or on the other hand of a republic has in almost all instances been due to influences almost beyond human control. The former history of the country, its traditions, its social and economic conditions all have either favored the form of government which has been adopted or, in case the form of government at first adopted has not been in harmony therewith, have soon brought it about that that form is replaced by one which is better suited to the country’s needs.

In other words, the form of government which a country usually possesses is for the most part determined by the necessities of practical life. Among the contributing causes which fix forms of government, one of the most important is force. Almost all monarchies thus owe their origin in last analysis to the exertions of some one man who has been able to organize the material power of the country in such a way as to overcome all competitors. If he has able sons or male relatives, if he has ruled wisely and if the conditions of the [Page 54] country have been such as to favor monarchical rule, he may be able to establish a dynasty which will during a long period successfully govern the country.

Under such conditions one of the most perplexing problems of government is probably more satisfactorily solved than has usually been the case in republics. For on the death of the monarch there is no question as to the succession to the executive power. No election or other method of choosing a successor is necessary. As the English law expresses it: “The King is dead, Long live the King.” In order, however, that the desired result may be attained, it is absolutely necessary that the law of succession be clearly determined and practically universally accepted. Else the death of the monarch will bring into being numerous aspirants for the throne whose conflicting claims can be adjudicated only by resort to civil war.

History would seem to prove, furthermore, that the only permanently satisfactory solution of the question of succession in monarchical states is that which has been reached by the States of Europe. This consists in fixing the succession to the throne upon the eldest son of the monarch or in default of sons, upon the nearest eldest male relative. Under this method he who is by the law of succession entitled to the throne is permitted to waive his rights, in which case, if it is the eldest son who has so waived his rights, the next eldest son takes his place.

If some such method of fixing the succession is not adopted, if for example the succession to the throne is left to the determination of the monarch, who may choose as his successor a son not the eldest, or some other relative not the nearest eldest male relative the uncertainty as to the succession is almost certain to produce trouble. Palace intrigues in favor of the various claimants to the throne are sure to develop which both embitter the closing days of the monarch’s life and often lead to confusion if not civil war after his death.

The advantages which history would seem to show are attendant upon a monarchy as compared with a republic, so far as concerns this important question of succession to the executive power, are thus, it would seem, conditioned very largely upon the adoption of that law of succession which experience has shown to be the best, that is, succession in the eldest nearest male line.

european republics.

Until recently the accepted form of government both in Asia and Europe was monarchical. It is true that in Europe, contrary to the usual rule there were a few republics such as Venice and Switzerland. But the States possessing a republican government were few in number and small in size. In almost all the important States of the world the government was monarchical in character.

Within the last hundred and fifty years, however, there is noticeable among European peoples a distinct movement away from monarchical and in favor of republican government. The first attempt to establish republican government in any of the large European States was made in England in the 17th century. After a successful revolution Charles I, the English King, was tried by Parliament, convicted of treason and executed. A republic, the so-called “Commonwealth” was established with Oliver Cromwell as “Protector” or President. Cromwell obtained his power as a result of his control of the revolutionary army which had defeated the forces of the crown.

This early English Republic lasted only a few years and fell as a result of the difficulties attendant upon the question of the succession to the Protectorate which arose on Cromwell’s death. Cromwell had attempted to place his son Richard in the position left vacant by his death. But either because the English people were not suited to a republic or because Richard Cromwell did not have the characteristics required of the possessor of executive power, this attempt to continue the English Republic was a failure, and England abandoned the republican and re-established the monarchical form of government. Charles II, the son of the executed Charles I, was put upon the throne, largely as the result of the support of the army but with the almost universal approval of the English people.

The next attempt to form a republic among European peoples was made after the American revolution at the end of the 18th century when the United States of America was formed. The American revolution was due not so much to an attempt to overthrow monarchical government as to a desire upon the part of the English colonies in America to obtain their independence of England. The success of this revolution brought, however, in its train, [Page 55] almost necessarily, the establishment of republican government. There was no royal family left in the country to which its government might be entrusted. There was, furthermore, in the country a distinct sentiment in favor of a republic due in large measure to the fact that quite a large number of those who had participated in the establishment of the ill-fated English Republic in the preceding century had come to America and had exerted even after their death an influence in favor of republican institutions.

It is, however, possible that George Washington, who had led the American armies during the revolution, might have if he had been so inclined, established himself as king. He was, however, in principle a republican rather than a monarchist. He furthermore had no son who, had he been crowned king, could have succeeded him.

The result was that, when the United States obtained its independence, it definitely adopted the republican form of government which has lasted during a century and a quarter. The unquestioned success which has attended the United States during most of its existence has done much to give to the republican form of government the prestige which it now possesses. It is well, however, to remember that the United States inherited from England the principles of constitutional and parliamentary government and that these principles had been applied in America for a century or more before the republic was established. The change from the form of government which was in force during the colonial period to the republic adopted in 1789 was not therefore anything in the nature of a change from autocracy to a republic. Such a change as was made had been preceded by a long period of preparation and discipline in self-government. Furthermore, the American people even of that day possessed a high grade of general intelligence, owing to the attention which had from the very beginning of American history been given to the common schools where almost every child could learn at any time to read and write.

The establishment of the American Republic was followed almost immediately by the formation of the French Republic. The Government of France prior to the declaration of the republic had been autocratic. Almost all public powers were centered in the crown and the people participated hardly at all in the administration. The French people had thus had little experience in self-government and were therefore unable to carry on successfully the republic which they endeavored to establish. Periods of disorder followed by military dictatorships followed in rapid succession. The monarchy was restored after the fall of Napoleon largely as the result of foreign intervention. A revolution in 1830 brought into being a more liberal monarchy. This was overthrown by a revolution in 1848, when a republic was again established. The President of this Republic, the nephew of the great Napoleon, overthrew it and declared himself Emperor. After the Franco-Prussian war in 1870 he was deposed and the present French Republic came into being. This republic has now lasted nearly half a century and gives every evidence of permanence.

It is well to remember, however, that the present permanence of republican institutions in France was secured only after nearly a century of political change, if not disorder, and that during that century serious attempts had been made both to give the people generally that education upon which intelligent political action must be based and to accustom them by participation public affairs to the exercise of powers of self government.

The French, like the Americans, would appear to have solved successfully the most difficult problems in republican government, that is the succession to the executive power. In France the President is elected by the Legislature. In the United States he is elected by the people. In both France and the United States the people have long had experience in self government through participation in public affairs, while in both countries, during the past half century particularly, great attention has been paid to their general education through schools in many cases supported by the Government. The result is that the grade of intelligence of the people in both America and France, is comparatively speaking, high.

the latin republics.

The examples given in the latter part of the 19th century by the United States and France were very largely followed in South and Central America at the time the former Spanish colonies in this part of the world achieved their independence. As was the case in the United States when it became independent a republic seemed the only practicable form of government which [Page 56] could be adopted. There was no royal family to which the people might look for guidance.

The success which had been attendant upon the establishment of a republic in North America had caused the belief to be entertained by many thinkers, both that a republic was the best form of government and that its establishment and maintenance were possible under all conditions and among all peoples. Republics were therefore established almost everywhere throughout South and Central America. But, either because of the disorders which were incident to the long struggle for independence or because of the difficulties inherent in a republican form of government among a low grade of intelligence, due to the lack of general education, and accustomed only to autocratic rule, the South and Central American Republics have not been generally successful. For years after the independence of the Spanish colonies was achieved South and Central America was the scene of continual disorder, incident for the most part to the struggles of military leaders for political power. At times there were periods of comparative peace due to the success of some extraordinarily strong man who was able to seize and keep in his hands political power. Little if any attempt was for a long time made by any of those who obtained political power to educate the people generally through the establishment of schools or to aid them in the acquisition of political experience by according them participation in the government. The result was that when the strong hand which controlled the country was relaxed, owing either to the increasing age or death of him who possessed political power, disorder again appeared due to the struggles of the claimants for the political succession—since no satisfactory solution of the question of succession was reached. Whatever progress the country had been able to make during its period of peace was arrested and not infrequently the anarchy and chaos which followed caused a serious deterioration in the economic and social conditions of the country.

What has happened in Mexico recently has too often been the lot of the Central and South American States under a republican form of government not suited to their stage of economic and political development. Under the Government of Diaz, who acquired political power through his control of the army, it seemed as if Mexico had successfully solved the problem of government. Diaz, however, did little for the education of the people and discouraged rather than encouraged their participation in the government. When increasing age caused him to relax his control revolution broke out again and he fell from power. Since his loss of power the country has been devastated by the contending armies of rival leaders, and at present it would seem that its salvation is possible only as the result of foreign intervention.

It is of course true that in some of the South American countries progress is apparently being made in solving the problems of republican government. Such countries are particularly Argentine, Chile and Brazil. In both Argentina and Chile a long period of disorder and disturbance has been followed by a comparatively long period of peace. In Brazil the establishment of the republic about twenty-five years ago, was accompanied by little trouble and the subsequent life of the republic has been a peaceful one. In all three countries considerable progress has been made in the establishment of constitutional government, in Argentine and Chile as one of the results of the struggles of the early part of the nineteenth century, in Brazil, partly at any rate, during the empire which preceded the present republic, and which encouraged the participation of the people in the government of the country.

lessons from republican experience.

The experience in the South and Central American countries would seem to inculcate the same lessons which may be derived from the experience of the United States and France. These are

That the difficult problem of the succession to executive power in a republic may be solved by a people which has a high general intelligence due to the existence of schools where general education may be obtained and which has learned to exercise political power through participation in the affairs of government; and
That little hope may be entertained of the successful solution of the question of presidential succession in a country where the intelligence of the people is not high and where the people do not acquire political wisdom by sharing in the exercise of political power under some form of constitutional [Page 57] government. Where such conditions do not exist a republican form of government—that is a government in which the executive is not hereditary—generally leads to the worst possible form of government, namely, that of the military dictator. The best that can be hoped for under such a system is periods of peace alternating with periods of disorder during which the rival claimants for political power are striving among themselves for the control of the government.

great powers will not permit disorder.

At the present time, it may further be remarked, it is very doubtful whether the great Powers of the European world will permit the government of the military dictator permanently to exist, if it continues to be accompanied by the disorder which has been its incident in the past. The economic interests of the European world would have grown to be so comprehensive, European capital and European commercial and industrial enterprises have become so wide in their ramifications that the governments of the foreign countries interested, although caring little what may be the form of government adopted by the nations with which they deal, are more and more inclined to insist, where they have the power, that conditions of peace shall be maintained in order that they may receive what they consider to be the proper returns on their investments. This insistence they are more and more liable to carry to the point of actual destruction of the political independence of offending nations and of direct administration of their government if this is necessary to the attainment of the ends desired.

It is therefore becoming less and less likely that countries will be permitted in the future to work out their own salvation through disorder and revolution, as may have been the case during the past century with some of the South American countries. Under modern conditions countries must devise some method of government under which peace will be maintained or they will have to submit to foreign control.

china’s needs considered.

The question naturally presents itself: How do these considerations affect the present political situation of China?

China is a country which has for centuries been accustomed to autocratic rule. The intelligence of the great mass of its people is not high owing to the lack of schools. The Chinese have never been accorded much participation in the work of government. The result is that the political capacity of the Chinese people is not large. The change from autocratic to republican government made four years ago was too violent to permit the entertainment of any very strong hopes for its immediate success. Had the Tsing dynasty not been an alien rule which it had long been the wish of the Chinese people to overthrow, there can be little doubt that it would have been better to retain the dynasty in power and gradually to introduce constitutional government in accordance with the plans outlined by the commission appointed for this purpose. But the hatred of alien rule made this impossible and the establishment of a republic seemed at the time of the overthrow of the Manchus to be the only alternative available.

It cannot, therefore, be doubted that China has during the last few years been attempting to introduce constitutional government under less favorable auspices than would have been the case had there been a royal family present which the people regarded with respect and to which they were loyal. The great problem of the presidential succession would seem still to be unsolved. The present arrangement cannot be regarded as satisfactory. When the present President lays down the cares of office there is great danger that the difficulties which are usually incident to the succession in countries conditioned as is China will present themselves. The attempt to solve these difficulties may lead to disorders which if long continued may seriously imperil the independence of the country.

What under these conditions should be the attitude of those who have the welfare of China at heart? Should they advocate the continuance of the republic or should they propose the establishment of a monarchy?

These are difficult questions to answer. It is of course not susceptible of doubt that a monarchy is better suited than a republic to China. China’s history and traditions, her social and economic conditions, her relations with [Page 58] foreign powers all make it probable that the country would develop that constitutional government which it must develop if it is to preserve its independence as a State, more easily as a monarchy than as a republic.

But it is to be remembered that the change from a republic to a monarchy can be successfully made only on the conditions

That the change does not meet with such opposition either on the part of the Chinese people or of foreign Powers as will lead to the recurrence of the disorders which the present republican government has successfully put down. The present peaceful conditions of the country should on no account be imperiled.
The change from republic to monarchy would be of little avail if the law of succession is not so fixed that there will be no doubt as to the successor. The succession should not be left to the crown to determine for the reasons which have already been set forth at length. It is probably of course true that the authority of an emperor would be more respected than the authority of a president. The people have been accustomed to an emperor. They hardly know what a president is. At the same time it would seem doubtful if the increase of authority resulting from the change from president to emperor would be sufficient to justify the change, if the question of the succession were not so securely fixed as to permit of no doubt. For this is the one greatest advantage of the monarchy over the republic.
In the third place it is very doubtful whether the change from republic to monarchy would be of any lasting benefit to China, if provision is not made for the development under the monarchy of the form of constitutional government. If China is to take her proper place among nations greater patriotism must be developed among the people and the government must increase in strength in order to resist foreign aggression. Her people will never develop the necessary patriotism unless they are given greater participation in the government than they have had in the past. The government never will acquire the necessary strength unless it has the cordial support of the people. This it will not have unless again the people feel that they have a part in the government. They must in some way be brought to think of the government as an organization which is trying to benefit them and over whose actions they exercise some control.

Whether the conditions which have been set forth as necessary for such a change from republic to monarchy as has been suggested are present, must of course be determined by those who both know the country and are responsible for its future development. These conditions are present if there can be little doubt that the change would be of benefit to the country.

Frank J. Goodnow.
[Inclosure 2.]

The Society for Peace. Chou An Hui.

[From the Peking Gazette, August 16, 1915.]

A number of prominent officials, including Messrs. Yang Tu, Sun Yu-yun, Yen Fu, General Li Shi-ho and others have promoted a society under the name Chou An Hui, or the Society for Peace. The following is a translation of the manifesto:—

During the revolution of 1911 the racial prejudices of our people were so aroused that their attention was entirely concentrated on the removal of a certain section of the population and they did not give the least consideration to the future political affairs of the country. They hastily adopted the republican form of government without weighing carefully its suitability for this country. When a proposal to this effect was made by a few people, others followed blindly without further questioning its advisability. The farsighted people at that time foresaw the danger and trouble to the future of the country, but to prevent dissension and other troubles, which would have further endangered the existence of the country, were compelled to accept this proposal though reluctantly. Since the abdication of the Tsing Imperial House, followed by a period of anarchy, the régime of the Provisional Government and finally the establishment of the present Government, there have been numerous crises in the Government and many unspeakable sufferings of the people which are still fresh in the memory of every class of our people. If a proper measure is not devised to remedy the situation, there will be endless trouble in this country.

[Page 59]

In such countries as Argentine, Peru, Chile and other Republics in South and Central America, party feuds have been the order of the day, and such quarrels frequently culminated in civil war. In Portugal the recent change of Government from a monarchy to a republic has been immediately followed by deadly internecine strife and the worst case of all is in Mexico. Since the abdication of Diaz, that country has been seething with civil strife till the present day. Their party leaders have struggled for supremacy with one another with military force. When they win they occupy the land and when they are defeated they never scruple to commit looting, incendiarism and massacre. Finally the whole nation is divided into five camps with as many presidents, and the country is practically in a state of anarchy. As we are a newly established republic, we should take Mexico as our object lesson.

The United States of America is the senior republic of the world and her great student of politics, Dr. Goodnow, has stated that a monarchy is a better form of government than republicanism and according to his opinion, a monarchical form of government is most indispensable for China at present. This view has been shared by not a few notable scholars of other countries. As Dr. Goodnow is a citizen of a republic, he is more competent to make such a statement than others. His words are,

the conditions are different in China and America and it is impossible to transplant one system from one country to another.

If foreigners who are in sympathy with China have so openly and loudly laid before us their unprejudiced views, can we people of China leave everything to fate, raising not a hand to find a fundamental solution for this important problem? Where is your patriotism? Where is your duty as a citizen to the country, if you, for fear of adverse criticism or other dangers, remain silent and indecisive?

As we are the people of this country, the prosperity or decline of this country is nothing less than the prosperity or decline of ourselves. Therefore we cannot bear to sit silent and see the country being obliterated out of existence without making any attempt to save it. We have therefore gathered a number of our sympathizers and started this society with a view to devising means for keeping peace in this country. We shall each give our views concerning the future of our country and the advantages and disadvantages accruing from the republican form of government for general discussion. There are not a few wise and farsighted people in this country, and if they are kind enough to condescend to join us in the discussion of these points, we shall extend them our heartiest welcome.

  • Yang Tu,
  • Sun Yu-yun,
  • Yen Fuh,
  • Liu Shih-pei,
  • Li Hsi-Ho,
  • Hu Ying.
[Inclosure 3.]

A statement by Dr. Goodnow.

The following statement of views expressed by Dr. Goodnow in an interview which we had with him yesterday, defines his attitude on the subject of a monarchical restoration in China in terms which forbid the further citation of his name in support of the thesis that “a monarchical system of government is better than a republican system.” It is also clear that Dr. Goodnow cannot be cited as an authority for the proposition that a monarchical form of government is most indispensable at present in China in the sense suggested by the Chou An Hui in the manifesto published in our issue last Monday. In the interests of clear thinking and of the national welfare, it is to be hoped that this exceedingly grave and anxious question will be discussed with care and with exact knowledge of the principles and all the facts involved, bearing in mind the possibility—if not the probability—of the proposed change reacting with disastrous effect on the foundations of the State.

Referring to the leading article which appeared in these columns on Monday, Dr. Goodnow stated that the statement attributed to him to the effect that “a monarchical system of government is better than a republican system,” [Page 60] which we had quoted from the manifesto of the newly formed Chou An Hui or Society for Peace was not a correct statement either of anything that he has said or of his views. Dr. Goodnow declared that he not only had never made such a statement, but, on the contrary, he was of the opinion that no form of government could be said to be superior under all conditions to other forms of government. He believed that for some countries—where the conditions were favorable—a republican form of government was the best form of government. This was true of the United States and France. In these countries the grade of intelligence of the people was high, owing to the long continued existence of schools, and the people themselves had for many years participated in the work of government and, through this participation, they had learned the lesson of self-government. On the other hand it was just as true, he thought, that a monarchy was often better suited for countries where the conditions were different from those obtaining in the United States and France.

Dr. Goodnow also expressed it as his opinion that conditions in China made difficult the orderly development of republican government; because, among other things, of the general lack of knowledge of the people and their long subjection to autocratic rule, tie said that from some points of view it had been unfortunate that China could not have carried further the experiment—begun by the Manchus—of developing gradually constitutional government under a monarchy, but that probably under the conditions existing after the revolution, the establishment of a republic was unavoidable.

When asked his opinion as to the expediency of re-establishing a monarchy in China in the near future, he said that the change could be justified only because under a monarchy the question of the succession to the executive power, the most dangerous question in republics, might possibly be more satisfactorily solved than was probable under any sort of republican government which was likely to be established in this country. The settlement of this question had often, particularly in some of the South and Central America States, led to civil war which had as its result the worst form of government known, viz, that of the military dictator. Chinese could not afford to permit civil war or great disorder, as this would almost certainly lead to foreign intervention with the probable loss of political independence.

And, speaking slowly and with care, he added that because of these considerations, a monarchical restoration in China would be justified, in his opinion, only on condition

That the change be acceptable both to the thinking people of China and to the foreign Powers in order that it might not meet with such opposition as would lead to disorder;
That the succession to the throne be so fixed that no doubt could arise on the death of the monarch as to who would succeed. If we might judge from European experience, the only proper method of fixing the succession was to give it to the eldest son of the monarch or in default of sons to the eldest nearest male relative;
That the monarchy established be a limited constitutional monarchy, which, while for the moment vesting large powers in the Crown, would permit of the gradual development of greater popular government. The re-establishment of the former autocratic monarchy in China could not be regarded as promising any improvement over present conditions.

When asked whether these conditions could be met at present in China, Dr. Goodnow said that he did not know enough about the country or of Chinese opinion to be able to express an opinion of any value and must therefore leave that question to be answered by those who did know China’s conditions and were responsible for her destinies.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Inclosure 1.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Inclosure 2.
  5. Inclosure 3.
  6. Not printed.
  7. Not printed.
  8. Not printed.
  9. Not printed.
  10. Not printed.
  11. Not printed.
  12. Not printed.
  13. See infra.
  14. Not printed.