At the head of this party was Count Itagaki, a man of noble character and of marked ability, who had rendered many useful services to the country in the time of the Restoration and had for some years been a member of the cabinet, but who in 1875 resigned his office and became "the man of the people." He and his party contributed greatly to the development of constitutional ideas.

No, it was Bushido, pure and simple, that urged us on for weal or woe. Open the biographies of the makers of Modern Japan of Sakuma, of Saigo, of Okubo, of Kido, not to mention the reminiscences of living men such as Ito, Okuma, Itagaki, etc.: and you will find that it was under the impetus of samuraihood that they thought and wrought. When Mr.

Thenceforth Itagaki became the centre of a more or less enthusiastic group of men advocating a parliamentary system, some from sincere motives, and others from a conviction that their failure to obtain posts was in a manner due to the oligarchical form of their country's polity.

Led by the well-known and aristocratic Itagaki, Japanese Liberalism had joined battle with out-and-out Imperialism more than a quarter of a century ago; and although the question of recovering Tariff and Judicial autonomy and revising the Foreign Treaties was more urgent in those days, the foreign question was often pushed aside by the fierceness of the constitutional agitation.

Not till 1873, when Itagaki Taisuke, seceding from the Cabinet on account of the Korean complication, became a warm advocate of appealing national questions to an elective assembly, did the people at large come to understand what was involved in such an institution.

These assemblies represented the foundations of genuinely representative institutions, for although they lacked legislative power, they discharged parliamentary functions in other respects. In fact, they served as excellent training schools for the future Diet. But this did not at all satisfy Itagaki and his followers.

Led by the well-known and aristocratic Itagaki, Japanese Liberalism had joined battle with out-and-out Imperialism more than a quarter of a century ago; and although the question of recovering Tariff and Judicial autonomy and revising the Foreign Treaties was more urgent in those days, the foreign question was often pushed aside by the fierceness of the constitutional agitation.

In July, 1877, Count Itagaki with his Ri-shi-sha again addressed a memorial to the Emperor, "praying for a change in the form of government, and setting forth the reasons which, in the opinion of the members of the society, rendered such a change necessary." These reasons were nine in number and were developed at great length.

Forthwith, the Emperor, on the advice of Prince Ito, invited Counts Okuma and Itagaki to form a Cabinet. An opportunity was thus given to the parties to prove the practical possibility of the system they had so long lauded in theory. Their union lasted barely six months, and then "the new links snapped under the tension of the old enmities." A strange thing now happened.

Another, Itagaki Taisuke, from that moment stood forth as the champion of representative institutions. The third, the most prominent of all, Saigo Takamori, retired to Satsuma and devoted himself to organizing and equipping a strong body of samurai. It is not by any means clear that, in thus acting, Saigo had any revolutionary intention.