Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

upon the intercourse between officials and private persons is certainly not slight.

Heretofore at the various ports of international trade in China foreign lawyers have already been permitted to practice in the courts. Worst of ali, even the yamens, following the custom of employing advisers, have depended upon foreigners for defense in Chinese suits, with the result that much obstruction has been experienced. For instance, when a case of international concern has arisen, they have invited such an attorney to conduct the case, although there is certainly no right principle of action requiring a man to assist others to the detriment of his own people. On this account the extraterritorial powers of the consuls grow and extend themselves. How can one bear to think of the evils that must afterwards result! We propose to ask, therefore, that henceforth in each of the provincial law schools, where men are being trained in the law, a definite number of students of good character, seriousminded, and well versed in the law, shall be selected, who, after they shall have completed their courses, shall be examined, and, if found qualified, shall be given diplomas; after which they shall be apportioned among the provinces and employed in arguing cases before the courts.

If the various schools find it difficult to provide the men needed on short notice, then each of the said provinces shall select the best qualified of its legal secretaries and distribute them among the schools, with special object of making them more skilled in their profession, and after they shall have passed their examinations their assignment for employment shall be taken into consideration. They shall also be given official rank as an encouragement. In a word, for every additional upright lawyer the Government may have there will be in time one more experienced judge.

The two recommendations made above suggest practices for which our law makes no provision, but which are of the utmost importance for the recovery of legal jurisdiction (i. e., for the abolition of exterritoriality), and we have therefore introduced them both into our compilation. The whole is divided into five chapters, containing altogether 200 regulations. We have had a careful copy of this document made, which we now reverently present for Your Majesties' inspection. If it shall receive the imperial approval, we further pray that a special edict may be issued, publishing it to all in the capital and the provinces for universal observance. As to the two codes, criminal and civil, we pray that we may be allowed to wait until we shall have completely arranged our compilations, when we shall submit a memorial presenting both in full detail.

This memorial of your ministers, submitting rules of court procedure, and asking that experimental trial of the same be made, is reverently presented, with a prayer that Your Imperial Majesties, Empress Dowager and Emperor, will inspect the same and issue instructions.

(Translated from the Pei Yang Kuan Pao of May 13, 1906.)

[ocr errors]

Minister Rockhill to the Secretary of State.

No. 383.]

AMERICAN LEGATION,

Peking, China, August 29, 1906. SIR: I have the honor to inclose herewith a translation of an imperial edict which was communicated to me by the Chinese Government on the 26th instant and which orders the creation of a committee to consider the reports and recommendations of the high commission

& This provision for the employment of attorneys and counselors at law in the courts of China is a decidedly new departure, and places the practice of law in this Empire for the first time upon a respectable footing. The study of law as a profession has been frowned upon, and except recently in the ports where foreigners reside no attorney has been permitted to argue a case in court. There is a recognized class of scribes, however, versed in legal phraseology, authorized to draw up petitions and other legal documents.

o These legal secretaries are men more or less familiar with the code, employed as private secretaries by the magistrates to assist with their consul in difficult cases. Until quite recently they have had no official standing.

[ocr errors]

ers recently returned from investigating the methods of government of Japan and the western world.

The committee is composed of the following high officers of state, exclusive of those mentioned in the edict: The Prince of Ch'ing, Ch'ü Hung-chi, Liu Ch'uan-lin, Jung Ch'ing, Hsu Shih-ch’ang, T'iehliang, Na-t’ung, Wang Wen-shao, Sün Chia-nai, Shih-hsü. I have, etc.,

W. W. ROCKHILL.

[Inclosure-Translation.]

Imperial edict.

The ministers of the grand council in a personal audience have received the following imperial edict :

“The commissioners appointed to investigate methods of government have returned to Peking and have submitted their several reports.

“We hereby appoint Tsa i-feng, the Prince of Ch'un, with the ministers of the grand council, the ministers of the council of state, the grand secretaries, and Yuan Shih-k'ai, the superintendent of trade for the north, to carefully consider these reports together, and to request an imperial decree authorizing the proper course of procedure.

“ Respect this.”

Minister Rockhill to the Secretary of State. No. 386.]

AMERICAN LEGATION,

Peking, China, September 4, 1906. Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a translation of an imperial edict which appeared on the 1st instant as a result of the report to the Throne of the committee recently convened by order of the Emperor to study the reports and recommendations of the commissioners sent abroad to study administrative methods of foreign lands. I reported the creation and organization of this committee in my dispatch No. 383 of August 29.

I transmit also another edict of the 2d instant, creating a commission to revise the regulations governing the duties, ranks, etc., of officials, for the purpose of reforming the administration of the Empire.

The programme of reforms laid down in the edict is most gratifying if carried out, but it may well be feared that a few years, as pointed out in the edict, will not prove sufficient to make them, even in the rough; or, if made, that they will prove satisfactory or permanent. The task before the Government is an enormous one. I have, etc.,

W. W. ROCKHILL.

(Inclosure 1-Translation. ]

CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT IN CHINA.

Imperial edict of September 1, 1906. We have received from Her Imperial Majesty, Tzu Hsi, etc., etc., Empress Dowager, the following decree:

From the founding of our dynasty to the present time the wise measures adopted by the holy monarchs who have succeeded one another upon the

throne have always without exception been taken with due regard to the exigencies of the times and have been embodied in the Statutes of the Empire.

At present all nations are in free communication with each other, and in their methods of government and their laws are influenced one by another. Our political institutions, however, remain as of old, a condition of affairs which threatens danger and disaster, day by day becoming more imminent. Unless we broaden our knowledge by a more comprehensive study of the institutions of other lands, and improve our laws accordingly we shall fail to keep the path of progress marked out by our imperial ancestors, and there will be no hope of securing that just administration which the welfare of ministers and people alike demand.

Some time ago, therefore, we appointed certain ministers to visit foreign countries to inquire into their methods of government, and Duke Tsai-tse and his associates have now returned and made their reports. All are agreed that the lack of prosperity in the state is due to the separation between the officials and the people and the lack of cooperation between the capital and the provinces. The officials are ignorant of the needs of the people, and the people do not understand what is necessary to the safety of the state. The wealth and strength of other countries are due to their practice of constitutional government, in which public questions are determined by consultation with the people. The ruler and his people are as one body animated by one spirit, as a result of which comprehensive consideration is given to the general welfare and the limits of authority are clearly defined. Even in securing and appropriating funds for public use, as well as in all political measures, there is nothing which is not made the public concern of the people. Moreover, these nations all learn one from another, and are constantly improving their methods so as to attain to the highest degree of prosperity. The success of government and the concord of the people have their origin here.

Under these circumstances we can but consider carefully the form of government best suited to the needs of the times, and adopt a constitutional polity in which the supreme authority shall be vested in the crown, but all questions of government shall be considered by a popular assembly.

These are the foundation principles upon which the perpetuity of the state is to rest. As yet, however, the constitution is not prepared, and the people, too, are not properly equipped with the necessary knowledge. If we adopt hasty measures and simply issue specious and pretentious documents, how can we secure the confidence of the people?

If, therefore, we would get rid of accumulated evils and fix responsibility, we must first of all begin with the official organization. The first thing imperatively necessary is that the regulations relating to official functions be taken up and considered one by one and successively amended, and that the various classes of laws likewise be carefully arranged.

We must extend education, put the finances in order, improve the military system, establish a police organization throughout the Empire, cause the gentry and people to thoroughly understand political affairs, and thus by such preparation lay the foundations of constitutional government.

Let the ministers and officials in the capital and the Provinces give thorough attention to these matters and exert themselves to secure success.

In a few years, when the system shall have been roughly outlined, we can, after due consideration of the circumstances, collate and compare the methods of other nations and adopt a satisfactory form of constitutional government as well as fix a date for putting it into operation. That date will depend upon the rate of progress being made, and will be proclaimed accordingly to the Empire.

Let all the Tartar generals, viceroys, and governors of the Provinces instruct the literary classes and the common people to rouse themselves to earnest efforts in behalf of education, in the hope that everyone may come to understand the real meaning of patriotism and comprehend those principles by which the nation is to be united for the promotion of civilization, that private interests are not to be pursued to the injury of the public welfa re, that petty jealousies must not be allowed to defeat national policies, and that respect for authority is the preservation of peace.

Thus we may hope that the people will accumulate the stores of wisdom needed for the establishment of a constitutional form of government.

Let this be published abroad for the information of all. Respect this,

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

[Inclosure 2-Translation. )

Imperial edict of September 2, 1906. Yesterday we published an edict making important announcement of preparations for the establishment of constitutional government, and directing that first of all steps should be taken to put in order the regulations as to officials. This is a matter of grave concern, and it will be necessary to take into consideration the ancient practice and harmonize it with present conditions. Examination must be made into the essentials of the laws and rules of the present dynasty, and a collection made of the best features of the customs and regulations of other states, so that by a combination the most suitable may be secured. No particular must be neglected. Thus we may perhaps arrive at the most advantageous. Let Tsai-tsê, Shih-sii, Na-tung, Jung-choing, Tsai-chên, Koueichün, T'ieh-liang, Chang Po-hisi, Tai Hung-Tz'u, Ko Pao-hua, Hsü Shih-ch'ang, Liu Jun-shiang, Shou-ch'i, and Yuan Shih-k'ai be appointed to consult together and revise the aforesaid regulations relating to the official regulations. The said high officials must aim loyally at the public interest and set aside all preconceived notions, and with careful attention make a satisfactory arrangement of these regulations. Moreover, we direct Tuan-fang, Chang Chih-tung, Shêng-yün, Hsi-liang, Chou Fu, Tsên Ch’un-hsüan to appoint high provincial commissioners and taot’ais and send them to Peking to consult with the above-named commission. We also appoint I-k'uang, the Prince of Ch'ing, Sun Chia-nai, and Ch'ü Hung-chi a superior commission to pass upon the regulations after amendment. After deciding upon them they will await an imperial edict authorizing their enforcement, so that due weight may be given to them. Respect this.

NOTE.—The officers constituting the commission hold offices as follows: Tsai-tse, duke, recently special envoy to foreign countries, just made minister of the presence; Shih-hsü, grand secretary; Na-t'ung, grand secretary and associate president of the board of foreign affairs; Jung-ch'ing, grand councilor, probationary grand secretary, pres dent of the board of education; Tsai-chên, minister of the presence, president of the board of commerce; K’uei-chün, president of the board of civil office; T'ieh-liang, grand councilor, president of the board of revenue; Chang Po-hsi, Chinese president of revenue; Tai Hung-tz'u, president of the board of rites, recently special envoy to foreign governments; Ko Pao-hua, president of the board of punishments; Hsü Shih-ch'ang, grand councilor, president of the board of police; Liu Jun-hsiang, president of the board of works; Shou-ch'i, president of the censorate; Yuan Shik-k’ai, viceroy of Chihli Province.

The viceroys ordered to send representatives of the rank of provincial treasurer, provincial salt or grain commissioner or taot’ai, are stationed at the following places: Tuan-fang at Nankin; Chang Chih-tung at Wu-ch'ang; Shông-yün at IIsi-an Fu, Shensi; IIsi-liang at Ch'êng-tu, Szechuen; Chou-fu at Foochow, and Tsên Ch'un hsüan at Canton.

The superior commission is composed of the prime minister, Prince of Ching, whose personal name is I-k'uang; Ch'ü Hung-chi, associate president of the board of foreign affairs, and a grand councilor; and Sun Chia-nai, grand secretary and president of the Hanlin Academy

Chargé Coolidge to the Secretary of State.
[Telegram-Paraphrase.)

PEKING, November 7, 1906. (Mr. Coolidge reports that important edicts are being issued changing the structure of the government and preparing the way for

constitutional government, and mentions, among the changes thus far made, the following: The consolidation of minor departments with boards, each of which is to have only one responsible head; the creation of a new board of communications controlling the postal service, telegraph service, railways, and steamships, and the prospective appointment of two councils, one to consider the national budget, the other to receive expressions of public opinion and deliberate thereon.)

Chargé Coolidge to the Secretary of State.

[Telegram--Paraphrase.)

PEKING, November 8, 1906. (Referring to his telegram of November 7, Mr. Coolidge says that the edict promises no distinction between Manchus and Chinese in appointments. The reorganization leaves 20 high officials temporarily out of office and necessitates many transfers. The only changes in the foreign office are the transfer of Tang Shao-i to the vice-presidency of the new board of communications, being replaced by the minister at London, and a general reduction of the staffs of the boards. The edict is regarded as a compromise between progressive and conservative elements. The special commission continues and will direct its attention to provincial service reformation.)

RESTRICTIONS UPON THE IMPORTATION, GROWTH, AND USE OF

OPIUM.

The Acting Secretary of State to Minister Rockhill.

No. 161.)

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, July 11, 1906. SIR: I inclose herewith a copy of a letter from the Hon. John T. Morgan, inclosing a copy of one to him from the Rev. Hampden C. Du Bose, of Soochow, China, in which the latter expresses his desire to be introduced to the Chinese foreign office, in the interest of the movement for the suppression of the opium traffic in China.

The policy and sentiments of the Government of the United States in regard to the deleterious traffic in opium in China have been long and emphatically declared, and took express shape in the treaty of November 17, 1880, and in the act of Congress approved February 23, 1887. Under these circumstances, unless you are aware of some good reason to the contrary, not known to the department, it may be desirable for you to testify the continuing interest of this Government in the matter by affording Mr. Du Bose the desired opportunity to confer personally with the Chinese foreign office.

The department would welcome a report from you on the present aspects of the opium trade in China, with such suggestions as you may be in a position to make touching the attitude to be maintained by the United States in regard thereto. I am, etc.,

ROBERT BACON,

« PreviousContinue »