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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 55 pages of information about The Constitutional Development of Japan 1863-1881.

The gulf between absolute government and popular government was thus widened more and more by the institution of local government.  The popular tide raised by these local assemblies was swelling in volume year by year.  New waves were set in motion by the younger generation of thinkers.  Toward the close of the year 1881 the flood rose so high that the government thought it wise not to resist longer.  His Imperial Majesty hearing the petitions of the people, graciously confirmed and expanded his promise of 1868 by the famous proclamation of October 12, 1881: 

“We have long had it in view to gradually establish a constitutional form of government....  It was with this object in view that in the eighth year of Meiji (1875) we established the Senate, and in the eleventh year of Meiji (1878) authorized the formation of local assemblies....  We therefore hereby declare that we shall, in the twenty-third year of Meiji (1890) establish a parliament, in order to carry into full effect the determination we have announced; and we charge our faithful subjects bearing our commissions to make, in the meantime, all necessary preparations to that end.”

[Footnote 1:  C. Lanman, The Japanese in America, p. 38.]

[Footnote 2:  Mossman’s New Japan, p. 442.]

[Footnote 3:  C. Lanman, The Japanese in America, p. 14.]

[Footnote 4:  The translation of the whole memorial is given in C. Lanman’s Leading Men of Japan, p. 87.]

[Footnote 5:  The Imperial decree of 1875.]

[Footnote 6:  The translation given in C. Lanman, Leading Men of Japan. p. 47.]

[Footnote 7:  See the Appendix of Griffis’ The Mikado’s Empire.]

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