THE OLD BUDDHA PENITENT
WHEN the wrath of the Powers had been appeased by the death and banishment of the leading Boxers, and when the Empress Dowager had come to realise that her future policy must be one of conciliation and reform, she proceeded first of all to adjust the annals of her reign for the benefit of posterity, in the following remarkable Edict ( 13th February, 1901):--
"In the summer of last year, the Boxers, after bringing about a state of war, took possession of our Capital and dominated the very Throne itself. The Decrees issued at that time were the work of wicked Princes and Ministers of State, who, taking advantage of the chaotic condition of affairs, did not hesitate to issue documents under the Imperial seal, which were quite contrary to our wishes. We have on more than one previous occasion hinted indirectly at the extraordinary difficulty of the position in which we were placed, and which left us no alternative but to act as we did. Our officials and subjects should have no difficulty in reading between the lines and appreciating our meaning.
"We have now punished all the guilty, and we hereby order that the Grand Secretariat shall submit for our perusal all Decrees issued between the 24th day of the 5th moon and the 20th day of the 7th moon (20th June to 14th August), so that all spurious or illegal documents may be withdrawn and cancelled. Thus shall historical accuracy be attained and our Imperial utterances receive the respect to which they are properly entitled."
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Publication information: Book title: China under the Empress Dowager:Being the History of the Life and Times of Tzu Hsi. Contributors: J. O. P. Bland - Compiler, E. Backhouse - Compiler. Publisher: J. B. Lippincott. Place of publication: Philadelphia. Publication year: 1910. Page number: 375.
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