A well intentioned edict was issued after the return of the Empress Dowager from Jehol in August 1901. It ordered the closing of the provincial mints, excepting those at Canton and Wuchang, and legalized the circulation of coins issued by these two mints in view of their uniform weight and fineness. These two mints were ordered to supply all the provinces with coins, in exchange for pure silver ingots. It was decreed that thenceforth seventy per cent. of the tribute and taxes were to be made payable in sycee and thirty per cent. in silver dollars issued by these mints - the dollar issued by the mints being worth 72 tael cents. The viceroys of the two provinces concerned were asked to take care to preserve strict uniformity in the weight and fineness of the dollar, and the edict stated that the closing of other mints was to prevent variation in the coinage. The edict, however, was not obeyed, mainly because of the enormous extent of the territory covered and the absence of modern means of transportation. The two mints mentioned in the edict were not big enough to supply China with the necessary coins and the other mints never ceased their activities. The Central Government was unable to enforce uniform methods of operation and control over the several mints; and as assaying was careless and crude, uniformity in weight and fineness was altogether out of the question.