On January 1, 1912, Sun Yat-sen entered the republican capital, Nanking, and received a salute of twenty-one guns. He assumed the presidency of the provisional government, swearing allegiance, and taking an oath to dethrone the Manchus, restore peace, and establish a government based upon the people's will. These objects accomplished, he was prepared to resign his office, thus enabling the people to elect a president of a united China. The first act of the provisional government was to proclaim a new calendar forthwith, January 1 becoming the New Year's Day of the republic.

On January 5 was issued the following republican manifesto:--

"To all friendly nations,--Greeting. Hitherto irremediable suppression of the individual qualities and the national aspirations of the people having arrested the intellectual, moral, and material development of China, the aid of revolution was invoked to extirpate the primary cause. We now proclaim the consequent overthrow of the despotic sway of the Manchu dynasty, and the establishment of a republic. The substitution of a republic for a monarchy is not the fruit of transient passion, but the natural outcome of a long-cherished desire for freedom, contentment, and advancement. We Chinese people, peaceful and law-abiding, have not waged war except in self-defence. We have borne our grievance for two hundred and sixty-seven years with patience and forbearance. We have endeavoured by peaceful means to redress our wrongs, secure liberty, and ensure progress; but we failed. Oppressed beyond human endurance, we deemed it our inalienable right, as well as a sacred duty, to appeal to arms to deliver ourselves and our posterity from the yoke to which we have for so long been subjected. For the first time in history an inglorious bondage is transformed into inspiring freedom. The policy of the Manchus has been one of unequivocal seclusion and unyielding tyranny. Beneath it we have bitterly suffered. Now we submit to the free peoples of the world the reasons justifying the revolution and the inauguration of the present government. Prior to the usurpation of the throne by the Manchus the land was open to foreign intercourse, and religious tolerance existed, as is shown by the writings of Marco Polo and the inscription on the Nestorian tablet at Hsi-an Fu. Dominated by ignorance and selfishness, the Manchus closed the land to the outer world, and plunged the Chinese into a state of benighted mentality calculated to operate inversely to their natural talents, thus committing a crime against humanity and the civilized nations which it is almost impossible to extirpate. Actuated by a desire for the perpetual subjugation of the Chinese, and a vicious craving for aggrandizement and wealth, the Manchus have governed the country to the lasting injury and detriment of the people, creating privileges and monopolies, erecting about themselves barriers of exclusion, national custom, and personal conduct, which have been rigorously maintained for centuries. They have levied irregular and hurtful taxes without the consent of the people, and have restricted foreign trade to treaty ports. They have placed the likin embargo on merchandise, obstructed internal commerce, retarded the creation of industrial enterprises, rendered impossible the development of natural resources, denied a regular system of impartial administration of justice, and inflicted cruel punishment on persons charged with offences, whether innocent or guilty. They have connived at official corruption, sold offices to the highest bidder, subordinated merit to influence, rejected the most reasonable demands for better government, and reluctantly conceded so-called reforms under the most urgent pressure, promising without any intention of fulfilling. They have failed to appreciate the anguish-causing lessons taught them by foreign Powers, and in process of years have brought themselves and our people beneath the contempt of the world. A remedy of these evils will render possible the entrance of China into the family of nations. We have fought and have formed a government. Lest our good intentions should be misunderstood, we publicly and unreservedly declare the following to be our promises:--

"The treaties entered into by the Manchus before the date of the revolution, will be continually effective to the time of their termination. Any and all treaties entered into after the commencement of the revolution will be repudiated. Foreign loans and indemnities incurred by the Manchus before the revolution will be acknowledged. Payments made by loans incurred by the Manchus after its commencement will be repudiated. Concessions granted to nations and their nationals before the revolution will be respected. Any and all granted after it will be repudiated. The persons and property of foreign nationals within the jurisdiction of the republic will be respected and protected. It will be our constant aim and firm endeavour to build on a stable and enduring foundation a national structure compatible with the potentialities of our long-neglected country. We shall strive to elevate the people to secure peace and to legislate for prosperity. Manchus who abide peacefully in the limits of our jurisdiction will be accorded equality, and given protection.

"We will remodel the laws, revise the civil, criminal, commercial, and mining codes, reform the finances, abolish restrictions on trade and commerce, and ensure religious toleration and the cultivation of better relations with foreign peoples and governments than have ever been maintained before. It is our earnest hope that those foreign nationals who have been steadfast in their sympathy will bind more firmly the bonds of friendship between us, and will bear in patience with us the period of trial confronting us and our reconstruction work, and will aid the consummation of the far-reaching plans, which we are about to undertake, and which they have long vainly been urging upon our people and our country.

"With this message of peace and good-will the republic cherishes the hope of being admitted into the family of nations, not merely to share its rights and privileges, but to co-operate in the great and noble task of building up the civilization of the world.

"Sun Yat-sen, President."

The next step was to displace the three-cornered Dragon flag, itself of quite modern origin, in favour of a new republican emblem. For this purpose was designed a flag of five stripes,--yellow, red, blue, white, black,--arranged at right angles to the flagstaff in the above order, and intended to represent the five races--Chinese, Manchus, Mongols, Tibetan, Mussulmans--gathered together under one rule.

On February 12, three important edicts were issued. In the first, the baby-emperor renounces the throne, and approves the establishment of a provisional republican government, under the direction of Yuan Shih- k`ai, in conjunction with the existing provisional government at Nanking. In the second, approval is given to the terms under which the emperor retires, the chief item of which was an annual grant of four million taels. Other more sentimental privileges included the retention of a bodyguard, and the continuance of sacrifices to the spirits of the departed Manchu emperors. In the third, the people are exhorted to preserve order and abide by the Imperial will regarding the new form of government.

Simultaneously with the publication of these edicts, the last scene of the drama was enacted near Nanking, at the mausoleum of the first sovereign of the Ming dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644). Sun Yat-sen, as provisional first president, accompanied by his Cabinet and a numerous escort, proceeded thither, and after offering sacrifice as usual, addressed, though a secretary, the following oration to the tablet representing the names of that great hero:--

"Of old the Sung dynasty became effete, and the Kitan Tartars and Yuan dynasty Mongols seized the occasion to throw this domain of China into confusion, to the fierce indignation of gods and men. It was then that your Majesty, our founder, arose in your wrath from obscurity, and destroyed those monsters of iniquity, so that the ancient glory was won again. In twelve years you consolidated the Imperial sway, and the dominions of the Great Yu were purged of pollution and cleansed from the noisome Tartar. Often in history has our noble Chinese race been enslaved by petty frontier barbarians from the north. Never have such glorious triumphs been won over them as your Majesty achieved. But your descendants were degenerate, and failed to carry on your glorious heritage; they entrusted the reins of government to bad men, and pursued a short-sighted policy. In this way they encouraged the ambitions of the eastern Tartar savages (Manchus), and fostered the growth of their power. They were thus able to take advantage of the presence of rebels to invade and possess themselves of your sacred capital. From a bad eminence of glory basely won, they lorded it over this most holy soil, and our beloved China's rivers and hills were defiled by their corrupting touch, while the people fell victims to the headman's axe or the avenging sword. Although worthy patriots and faithful subjects of your dynasty crossed the mountain ranges into Canton and the far south, in the hope of redeeming the glorious Ming tradition from utter ruin, and of prolonging a thread of the old dynasty's life, although men gladly perished one after the other in the forlorn attempt, heaven's wrath remained unappeased, and mortal designs failed to achieve success. A brief and melancholy page was added to the history of your dynasty, and that was all.

"As time went on, the law became ever harsher, and the meshes of its inexorable net grew closer. Alas for our Chinese people, who crouched in corners and listened with startled ears, deprived of power of utterance, and with tongues glued to their mouths, for their lives were past saving. Those others usurped titles to fictitious clemency and justice, while prostituting the sacred doctrines of the sages: whom they affected to honour. They stifled public opinion in the empire in order to force acquiescence in their tyranny. The Manchu despotism became so thorough and so embracing that they were enabled to prolong their dynasty's existence by cunning wiles. In Yung Cheng's reign the Hunanese Chang Hsi and Tseng Ching preached sedition against the dynasty in their native province, while in Chia Ch`ing's reign the palace conspiracy of Lin Ching dismayed that monarch in his capital. These events were followed by rebellions in Ss{u}-ch`uan and Shensi; under Tao Kuang and his successor the T`ai-p`ings started their campaign from a remote Kuangsi village. Although these worthy causes were destined to ultimate defeat, the gradual trend of the national will became manifest. At last our own era dawned, the sun of freedom had risen, and a sense of the rights of the race animated men's minds. In addition the Manchu bandits could not even protect themselves. Powerful foes encroached upon the territory of China, and the dynasty parted with our sacred soil to enrich neighbouring nations. The Chinese race of to-day may be degenerate, but it is descended from mighty men of old. How should it endure that the spirits of the great dead should be insulted by the everlasting visitation of this scourge?

"Then did patriots arise like a whirlwind, or like a cloud which is suddenly manifested in the firmament. They began with the Canton insurrection; then Peking was alarmed by Wu Yueh's bomb (1905). A year later Hsu Hsi-lin fired his bullet into the vitals of the Manchu robber-chief, En Ming, Governor of Anhui. Hsiung Cheng-chi raised the standard of liberty on the Yang-tsze's banks; rising followed rising all over the empire, until the secret plot against the Regent was discovered, and the abortive insurrection in Canton startled the capital. One failure followed another, but other brave men took the place of the heroes who died, and the empire was born again to life. The bandit Manchu court was shaken with pallid terror, until the cicada threw off its shell in a glorious regeneration, and the present crowning triumph was achieved. The patriotic crusade started in Wu-ch`ang; the four corners of the empire responded to the call. Coast regions nobly followed in their wake, and the Yang-tsze was won back by our armies. The region south of the Yellow River was lost to the Manchus, and the north manifested its sympathy with our cause. An earthquake shook the barbarian court of Peking, and it was smitten with a paralysis. To-day it has at last restored the government to the Chinese people, and the five races of China may dwell together in peace and mutual trust. Let us joyfully give thanks. How could we have attained this measure of victory had not your Majesty's soul in heaven bestowed upon us your protecting influence? I have heard say that the triumphs of Tartar savages over our China were destined never to last longer than a hundred years. But the reign of these Manchus endured unto double, ay, unto treble, that period. Yet Providence knows the appointed hour, and the moment comes at last. We are initiating the example to Eastern Asia of a republican form of government; success comes early or late to those who strive, but the good are surely rewarded in the end. Why then should we repine to-day that victory has tarried long?

"I have heard that in the past many would-be deliverers of their country have ascended this lofty mound wherein is your sepulchre. It has served to them as a holy inspiration. As they looked down upon the surrounding rivers and upward to the hills, under an alien sway, they wept in the bitterness of their hearts, but to-day their sorrow is turned into joy. The spiritual influences of your grave at Nanking have come once more into their own. The dragon crouches in majesty as of old, and the tiger surveys his domain and his ancient capital. Everywhere a beautiful repose doth reign. Your legions line the approaches to the sepulchre; a noble host stands expectant. Your people have come here to-day to inform your Majesty of the final victory. May this lofty shrine wherein you rest gain fresh lustre from to-day's event, and may your example inspire your descendants in the times which are to come. Spirit! Accept this offering!"

We are told by an eye-witness, Dr Lim Boon-keng, that when this ceremony was over, Sun Yat-sen turned to address the assembly. "He was speechless with emotion for a minute; then he briefly declared how, after two hundred and sixty years, the nation had again recovered her freedom; and now that the curse of Manchu domination was removed, the free peoples of a united republic could pursue their rightful aspirations. Three cheers for the president were now called for, and the appeal was responded to vigorously. The cheering was taken up by the crowds below, and then carried miles away by the thousands of troops, to mingle with the booming of distant guns."

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