On The Day Following The Entry Into The Capital,
Prince Kung Hastened To The Palace, And, Producing Before The Astonished
Regents An Imperial Edict Ordering Their Dismissal, He Asked Them Whether
They Obeyed The Decree Of Their Sovereign, Or Whether He Must Call In His
Soldiers To Compel Them.
Prince Tsai and his companions had no choice save
to signify their acquiescence in what they could not prevent;
leaving the chamber in which this scene took place, they hastened toward
the emperor's apartment in order to remonstrate against their dismissal,
or to obtain from him some counter-edict reinstating them in their
positions. They were prevented from carrying out their purpose, but this
proof of contumacy sealed their fate. They were promptly arrested, and a
second decree was issued ordering their degradation from their official
and hereditary rank. To Prince Kung and his allies was intrusted the
charge of trying and punishing the offenders.
The next step was the proclamation of a new regency, composed of the two
empresses, Tsi An, principal widow of Hienfung, and Tsi Thsi, mother of
the young emperor. Two precedents for the administration being intrusted
to an empress were easily found by the Hanlin doctors during the Ming
dynasty, when the Emperors Chitsong and Wanleh were minors. Special edicts
were issued and arrangements made for the transaction of business during
the continuance of the regency, and as neither of the empresses knew
Manchu, it was specially provided that papers and documents, which were
always presented in that language, should be translated into Chinese.
Concurrently with these measures for the settlement of the regency
happened the closing scenes in the drama of conspiracy which began so
successfully at Jehol and ended so dramatically at Pekin.
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