“... 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....”
“THE THIRD REVOLUTION”
In all the circumstances it was only natural that the extraordinary chapter of history we have just narrated should have marched to its appointed end in just as extraordinary a manner as it had commenced. Yuan Shih-kai, the uncrowned king, actually enjoyed in peace his empty title only for a bare fortnight, the curious air of unreality becoming more and more noticeable after the first burst of excitement occasioned by his acceptance of the Throne had subsided. Though the year 1915 ended with Peking brightly illuminated in honour of the new regime, which had adopted in conformity with Eastern precedents a new calendar under the style of Hung Hsien or “glorious Constitutionalism,” that official joy was just as false as the rest had been and awakened the incredulity of the crowd.
On Christmas Day ominous rumours had spread in the diplomatic circle that dramatic developments in South China had come which not only directly challenged the patient plotting of months but made a debacle appear inevitable. Very few days afterwards it was generally known that the southernmost province of China, Yunnan—on the borders of French-Indo-China—had telegraphed the Central Government a thinly veiled ultimatum, that either the monarchy must be cancelled and the chief monarchists executed at once or the province would take such steps as were deemed advisable. The text of these telegrams which follows was published by the courageous editor of the Peking Gazette on the 31st December and electrified the capital. The reader will not fail to note how richly allegorical they are in spite of their dramatic nature:
To the Great President: