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promising to inaugurate a Constitution- ing the Cabinet as too weak-handed in al régime eight years later.
foreign politics. The third dissolution, From these observations it will be in June, 1894, was also on the same clear that the social condition of the question. The Cabinet, in these two latcountry was ripe for the introduction ter cases, was under the presidency of of representative institutions, and that Marquis Ito (then Count), and was without some such solution of the prob- vigorously pushing forward negotialem, the best interests of the nation tions for treaty revision, through the would in all probability have been se- brilliant diplomacy of Count Mutsu, the riously imperilled. It will be seen, also, Foreign Minister. This strict-enforcethat the Government did all they could, ment agitation was looked upon by the taking the circumstances of the case Government as a piece of anti-foreign into account, in making the necessary agitation—a Jingo movement—and as preparations. From these reasons it endangering the success of the treatymay, perhaps, be a priori concluded that revision negotiations. In fact, the rethe future of Constitutional régime in vised treaty with Great Britain was Japan is one of bright promise. But on the latter date well-nigh completed, a priori arguments are not much in it being signed in July following by vogue in these days of experimental Lord Kimberley and Viscount Aoki. It science. Let me, therefore, take a was at this stage that the scepticism of glance, before I conclude, at the his- foreign observers as to the final success tory of the Imperial Diet, and try to of representative institutions in Japan understand the situation after eight seemed to reach its height, leading years of experiment. What does such many of them to the belief that the a study teach us respecting the future? Constitution would have to be sooner
The history of the Japanese Parlia- or later suspended, if Japan was to ment, briefly told, is as follows: The enjoy a wise and peaceful admiristrafirst Diet was opened in November, tion. When the first violent collision 1890, and the twelfth session in May, took place, they said it was perhaps to 1898. In this brief space of time there be expected since the Government was have been four dissolutions and five then under the Premiership of Count Parliaments.* From the very first the Matsukata, and in the hands of secondcollision between the Government and rate politicians. Marquis Ito and the Diet has been short and violent. some of the most tried statesmen of In the case of the first dissolution, in the time were out of office, forming a December, 1891, the question turned on sort of reserve force, to be called out the Budget estimate, the Diet insisting at any grave emergency. But great on the bold curtailment of items of ex- was the disappointment when it was penditure. In the second dissolution, seen that after Marquis Ito, with some in December, 1893, the question turned of the most trusted statesmen as his on the memorial to be presented to the colleagues, had been in office but little Throne, the Opposition insisting in over a year, dissolution followed dissovery strong terms on the necessity of lution, and it seemed that even the strictly enforcing the terms of treaties Father of the Constitution was unable with Western Powers, the Diet regard to manage its successful working.
What an anonymous contributor in the * The regular term of a Parliament is four Contemporary Review, writing soon afyears in the House of Representatives and ter the war, says on the “ Japanese Conseven in the House of Peers. There has stitutional Crisis and the War," probhitherto been no Parliament which has com
ably well expresses the sentiment of the pleted the regular term of mandate. The present Parliament had already passed three
more intelligent class of foreign observyears, and it seemed all but certain that in ers. He says: 1898, for the first time, a Japanese Parliament would be dissolved through the expira “In the beginning of July of last year tion of its regular mandate. But quite un Japan presented the spectacle of a house expectedly the last Parliament was dissolved completely divided against itself. Some of in its third year.
the best friends of the country, and some of NEW SERIES.—VOL. LXVIII., No. 4.
the most intelligent among her citizens [the Naikaku, or the Transcendental Cabiitalics are mine]—men, too, who had wel. comed the advent of representative institu
net policy, which meant a Ministry re
sponsible to the Emperor alone. Marmoodily discussing the advisability of the quis Ito saw evidently at this stage the suspension of the Constitution and a rever- impossibility of carrying on the Govsion to the time-honored régime of despotism tempered by assassination, to which the na
ernment without a secure parliamention had been so long accustomed.”
tary support, and Count Itagaki, the I must take exception to the part ital
Liberal leader, saw in the Marquis a icized. Most probably the writer's ob
faithful ally, whose character as a great servation on that point was somewhat constructive statesman, and whose hiscolored by his own prejudices and mis- tory as the author of the Constitution, givings. At any rate, however, there
ever there both forbade his ever proving disloyal is no question that the Constitutional to the Constitution. The entente was
cemented in May following by the encritical. But when the war broke out
trance of Count Itagaki into the Cabithe situation was completely changed. net as the Home Minister. On the othIn the August following the whole na
er hand, this entente led to the formation spoke and acted as if they were tion of the Progressist party by the one man and had but one mind. In the union of the six Opposition parties, as two sessions of the Diet held during the
well as to the union of Count Okuma, war the Government was most ably sup
the Progressist leader, and Count Matported by the Diet, and everybody hoped sugata, leader of the Kagoshima statesthat after the war was over the same
was over the same men. Their united opposition was now good feeling would continue to rule the quite effective in harassing the adminisDiet. On the other hand, it was well tration. At this stage certain neutral known that the Opposition members in men, particularly Count Inouye, sugthe Diet had clearly intimated that gested compromise, offering a scheme of their support of the Government was a Coalition Cabinet. There were men, merely temporary, and that after the too, in the cabinet who favored such emergency was over they might be ex- a course, and the scheme almost appected to continue their opposition poli- proached realization. But Count Itacy. Sure enough, many months before gaki was firm in opposing such a comthe opening of the ninth session, mut- promise, saying it was tantamount to terings of deep discontent, especially the ignoring of party distinction, and with reference to the retrocession of the as such was a retrogression instead of Liaotung peninsula, began to be widely being a forward step in the constituheard, and it was much feared that the
tional history of the country. He finalformer scenes of fierce opposition and
ly tendered his resignation. When blind obstruction would be renewed. Marquis Ito saw that the Count was However, as the session approached firm in his determination, he, too, re(December, 1896) rumors were heard signed, saying that he felt so deeply of a certain entente between the Gov- obliged to the Liberals for their late ernment and the Liberal party, at that parliamentary support that he would time the largest and the best organized not let the Count go out of office alone. in the country. And in the coming ses. Thus fell the Ito Ministry after five sion the Government secured a major- years' brilliant service. ity, through the support of the Liberals. The new Cabinet formed in Septemfor most of its important bills.
ber, 1896, had Count Matsukata for Now this entente between Marquis Premier and Treasury Minister; Count Ito and the Liberals was a great step Okuma for Foreign Minister; and Adin advance in the constitutional history miral Kaba yama, the hero of the Yaloo of the country, and a very bold depar- battle, for Home Minister. There were ture in a new direction on the part of at this time three things that the nathe Marquis. He was known to be an tion desired. It wanted to be saved admirer of the German system, and a from the impending business depreschief upholder of the policy of Chozen sion. It wished to see Japanese Chauvinism installed at the Foreign Office, also most daring of the younger statesand the shame of the retrocession of the men, for Education Minister. The Liaotung peninsula wiped off. It general election took place in March, hoped, lastly, to see à Parliamen- and the twelfth session of the Diet was tary Government inaugurated and all opened on May 19. The session is now the evils of irresponsible bureaucracy in progress and will be short, being the removed. The statesmen now installed extraordinary session after the dissoluin office aspired to satisfy all these de- tion. A Bill on the revision of the elecsires, and they were expected to work toral laws is now laid before the Diet. wonders. But, unfortunately, the Cabi- It reduces the property qualification of net lacked unity. The Satsuma ele- the electors by about two-thirds, makments and the Okuma elements no more ing it five yen of land-tax or three yen mixed together than oil and water. In of income-tax; abolishes it altogether in their counsels there were always two the case of the candidates for election, wills, sometimes three, contending for and increases the number of representamastery. The question of the balance tives to some 470 from 300 as it is now. of power between these elements was al- This Bill, when passed, as it doubtless ways cropping up in connection with will be, will have a very far-reaching inall questions of State policy. Able as fluence in the progress of the constitusome of those statesmen were, it was tional régime. owing mainly to their intestine quarrels How far Marquis Ito feels it expedithat the Ministry proved a failure. Be- ent to go in the line of rapprochement fore a year was out the nation was dis- with political parties it is difficult to appointed. Early in the fall Count forecast. There exists doubtless a Okuma resigned office, saying that he tacit understanding between him and felt like a European physician in con- his former friends the Liberals and the sultation over a case with Chinese doc- National Unionists. The parties themtors. Henceforth the ship of State, selves would doubtless wish the relanow in troubled waters, was entirely in tion made more explicit, while he would the hands of the Kagoshima statesmen rather have it remain as it is, at least and their friends. Some heroic and ex- for the time being. Evidently he does traordinary efforts were made to revive not feel that the condition of political the fallen credit of the administration parties warrants him in throwing him
—but all in vain. Count Okuma led self with open arms into their fellowaway the majority of the Progressist ship, and they, on their part, seem to party, and the Government was left be quite restive and impatient of his with but an insignificant nụmber of reserves. The courtship has now lasted supporters. As soon as the Diet met, for some years, yet the expected wedthe spirit of opposition manifested was ding has not yet taken place, and no so strong that the Ministers asked the public announcement has been made Emperor to issue an edict for dissolu- even of the engagement. tion. It was expected that the Govern- Yet doubtless there has been considment would at once appeal to the coun- erable constitutional progress since the try with some strong programme. But war. A few things may be set down, to the astonishment of everybody the in the light of what has been said, as Jinistry resigned the very next day. legitimate inferences. In the first place
In the midst of the general confusion it may be with safety predicted that which followed, Marquis Ito's name was no Cabinet will henceforth dare to rein the mouth of everybody. He was main in office if after one dissolution unanimously hailed as the only man to of the Diet its unpopularity is conbring order into the political situation. firmed. It may be also inferred that In January following, the new Cabinet the Clan bureaucracy is now in the last was announced with Ito for Premier, stage of its history, and that its mergCount Inouye for the Treasury, and ing itself in the larger unified life of the Marquis Saionji, one of the best cul- nation is not very far off. The great tured, most progressive, and, perhaps, contention hitherto of the Opposition
leaders that the Government represent- cepting Count Okuma, there are but ed the Clan interests and they the na- few real party leaders. Yet the signs tional has now largely lost its ground, of improvement are visible on all sides. and henceforth parliamentary strife Many politicians of influence who will take place on some other ground hitherto have kept out of parties are than that of Clanism versus the Na- said to be now thinking of enrolling tional Interests. Besides, the great era themselves as members of the different of industrial expansion into which parties. Time is a factor impossible to Japan is fiercely plunging will create ignore. We must remember that the problems of a more practical kind, Japanese Diet is but eight years old, whose urgent claims will increasingly and no political party is more than absorb the attention of politicians. twenty years old. Yet in Japan things Party politics and “heroic” questions move with astonishing rapidity. And will give place to the economic. Ne- the change from a Transcendental Cabcessity and experience both will teach inet to one in which the Ministers are the Japanese the value of compromise avowedly or tacitly responsible to the and conciliation. Most probably, majority in the Diet will take place therefore, the party politics of the com- sooner than many think. At any rate, ing years will be tempered more and it does not seem to be wide of the mark more with reason and moderation. to suppose that before another genera
The great trouble with the political tion passes away Japan will feel as easy parties of to-day is the lack of disci- and natural under constitutional govpline and the imperfection of organiza- ernment as France or Germany does totion. They need much sound training, day.-Contemporary Review. and they need intelligent leaders. Ex
A LADY'S IMPRESSIONS OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
To those perched in the Lady's Gal- tail they know where to look on the lery of the House of Commons much is Government bench of to-day. Theirs visible. From them few secrets, it is to overlook the eager scribbling of whether of the head or of the heart, can the rank and file, each mistaken indibe concealed Beneath their searching vidual possessed with the insane idea gaze every bench lies open, every Mem- that the House wishes to hear his ber of the House has to run the gaunt- answer to the debatable points at issue. let of their observation, and only one They can tell with precision, even as figure (that of the Speaker) is for them though the speaker's mind were rea veiled mystery. To their ears his vealed to their second sight, which rulings rise with a sound of indistinct Member will not be called upon to foland awful muttering, enhancing the low in the debate, usually that one sense of power possessed by this unseen whose notes are most voluminous, and deity. Under the gaze of their unpity- whose zeal in taking them has been ing eyes are all the elaborate and ner noted by the Speaker as well as by vous preparations of the would-be those in the eyrie, and they know to a speakers. They see the strained and nicety whether the Member who rises ungraceful attitudes assumed by those will make the dry bones live or send the aspiring, despairing, and perspiring to Members through the doors of the catch the Speaker's eye. The notes lie House a shuffling, huddled crowd of revealed beneath them as an open let- speech-ridden runaways. ter. They can see whether the speech Their eyes have seen what no wellis written out in full, typed, or even conducted Member has ever looked printed; for this last perfection of de- upon, the House cleared for a division, the Sergeant-at-Arms standing in the and greets its leaders with that indegangway, his face heedfully turned scribable sound whose note is only borne toward the Speaker's chair, watching on the night when they have a convicthe exact moment at which to give the tion that their side means to fight, that signal, and himself unlock the Lobby the onslaught will be fierce, and the dedoor.
fence assured and triumphant. The doubtful privilege has been Are these days on the wane? Are theirs to see all the scenes, dignified the hosts less well marshalled, the and undignified, of free fights and sus- leader's trumpets blowing with incerpensions; theirs to hear the words ad- tain sound, their speeches uttered with dressed to recalcitrant Members from a stammering tongue? Is that generathe Speaker's chair and the Chairman's tion of men, whom the House and the corner of the table. Theirs to watch country should be looking for on the the scurrying in of Members, all their back benches above and below the gangschool-boy instincts aroused by the way as their future leaders, conspicuous rumor that their colleagues are in dis- by their absence? Is the debating on grace and about to be suspended. a lower level, has eloquence departed,
And when divisions are pending and is the general taste debased, and the fateful, they know all the signs of the average standard of speaking unusually night. The bat-like flittings of the poor? All these questions are asked Whips from the Front Bench to the and debated in those dark shades beLobbies. The consultations between hind the brazen grille. them and the leaders as to the applica- And such questions are necessarily tion of the closure, the investigating asked where, within the bird's-eye view expedition to the Lobby, with the nega- of an observing generation, such comtive or affirmative shake of the head on plete changes have revolutionized the the return. They know the look of Members and all Parliamentary methprideful peace on the face of the chief ods. Whip when he is conscious of a bloated Within the last twenty years, almost majority within the walls of the House; the lowest depth of enfranchisement and as it streams through the Division has been reached. “ Set the feet above Lobbies, at the close of the sitting, if the brain and swear the brain is in the the night is wet, they are privileged to feet” and “the suffrage of the plough,” see the graceful jog-trot and canter of has, as a rule, chosen for its representathe eloping Members, each desirous tives the dull mediocrity of the middleof securing one of the limited number classes. Within that period the gag of hackney carriages awaiting their and the twelve o'clock rule have been rising.
invented—a bit and trammel warranted But if it is theirs to scan with sacri- to break the courage of the wildest and legious eye the frailties and foibles of to tame the fire of the most unbroken the human legislators beneath them, to colt. view the vainglory and pomposity of That score of years holds the history the average Member, to agonize with of the strongest Party ever returned to the House when the fool, the dullard, Parliament, a Party created anil led and the bore is in possession of the by the greatest Parliamentary genius floor, to shrink with sympathetic and the walls of this House of Commons expectant terror when the man “who has ever had standing on its floor. It knows his subject” prepares to address has witnessed this Leader shattering an audience who have not the least de- the work of his own stupendous personsire to benefit by his expert learning; ality by proposals which, on the one if it is theirs to endure and share with hand, rent from him the flower and the House in these, its dull afflictions, strength of his cohorts, and, on the it is also theirs to note the day when other, imported into the Parliamentary the battle is set in array, the champions debates thethreats and predictions of the are worthy of their cause, and, when country of all the horrors of civil war. the rank and file “locks its ranks" The generation that knew the House