Yüan Shih-k'ai emerged around the turn of the century as the strong man in China with great political influence and military power. He was the governor-general of Chihli, the capital province of China, in 1906 and was elected President of the Republic in 1912. From 1915 he started a movement to restore the monarchy in China and to make himself emperor. This attempt met much opposition and was abruptly ended with Yüan's death in 1916. Sir John Newell Jordan was the British minister at Peking from 1906- 1920, representing a nation which was still regarded as the most influential power in China. Jordan was a close personal friend of Yüan. The interaction between Jordan and Yüan mirrors not only Anglo-Chinese relations but also international diplomacy in China during this eventful period. The first chapter of this book deals with the period from 1906 to the outbreak of the 1911 Revolution, when Jordan's views on Chinese politics in general and Yüan in particular were formed. The second chapter concentrates on Jordan's strenuous efforts and failure, after the 19II Revolution, to have Yüan accepted as the de facto ruler within the framework of continued Manchu sovereignty. Yüan's presidency from 1912- 1916 was undoubtedly Jordan's most rewarding time as British representative in China. The last chapter follows Jordan's anxiety as he watched the decline of Yüan's monarchical movement. Jordan's last years in China from 1916 to 1920 were saddened by Yüan's death and embittered by his opposition to Japan. This short study is based mainly on Jordan's official papers and private correspondence and helps to reassess the parts played by both Yüan and Jordan in China.
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