Parliamentary Studies in the French Third Republic, called the Parliamentary Republic, have focused almost exclusively on the two national assemblies. In contrast, this article aims to situate local assemblies within the politics of the Parliamentary Republic, focusing on the department of Bouches-du-Rhône in the early French Third Republic.
The scope of the law governing the prefectural assemblies (conseils généraux), hereafter, the 1871 law, loosened the limits on their administration in a general context of increased decentralisation. However, the deputies at that time considered the prefectural assembly an ‘administrative agency’ (corps constitué) and not a ‘political assembly’, and hence the then Conservative Republican government did not legalise their political petitions (vœux politiques). As the 1871 law makers had intended, prefectural assemblies in the 1870s were regarded as ‘administrative agencies’ by the prefects and the government, and they functioned within that boundary.
The situation, however, changed as a consequence of the founding of the Parliamentary Republic in 1879. The prefectural assemblies began to recognise themselves as ‘political assemblies’ representing ‘public opinion’, so they even began issuing political petitions that had been considered illegal by the 1871 law, or, in order to avoid violating this law,they expressed the political opinions in their informal meetings.
In contrast, the central bodies (the Republican government and parliaments) did not formally allow, nor did they stringently prohibit, this transformation, because, for them, the prefectural assemblies functioned to mould and also represent ‘public opinion’. The deputies or senators, in particular those who were simultaneously members of the local assembly, contributed in the local assemblies to moulding ‘public opinion&rsquo to suit their or their party’s policy. In brief, the formalisation of this transformation permitted on the one hand the inclusion of the public opinion of political enemies, and, on the other hand, the more stringent interdiction of the transformation resulted in the exclusion of its political collaborators. Thus, the government and the majority in parliament decided to maintain the status quo that enabled them to deal with prefectural assemblies ambiguously according to their political composition in the context of the transformation of prefectural assemblies.
In this process, the prefectural assembly was included in the politics of the Parliamentary Republic as a ‘political assembly’ moulding and representing ‘public opinion&rsquo. Thus, the illegal or informal political sphere emerged gradually between the central and the local assemblies under the Parliamentary Republic.
In the present article the author discusses the formation process and characteristic features of the financial structure of Todaiji Temple during the 12th and 13th centuries, based mainly on the historical source, Todaiji Nenjugyoji 東大寺年中行事 (The Yearly Events of Todaiji Temple), which lists the materiel and the persons donating it for the Temple’s Buddhist ceremonies and other scheduled events throughout the year, making it an excellent source for obtaining an overall grasp of the institution’s financial structure.
The author begins with an historiographical analysis of his source, summarizing how it was recorded and its content, indicating its function as a notebook for the Temple’s Shigyo 執行, or business affairs manager. Special attention is also paid to how the allotments of Chinzei-mai 鎮西米, a brand of rice collected as the land tax by the central government from the island of Kyushu (mainly Chikuzen Province), were recorded.
Next, the author takes up the Temple’s main sources of income recorded in Nenjugyoj…shoen 荘園 (proprietary estates), public Chinzei-mai funds and kishinden (donated rice paddy) …categorizing its shoen in terms of function and indicating the supplemental relationship of Chinzei-mai allotments to the Temple’s directly managed estates in its home province of Yamato-no-Kuni 大和国 and elsewhere. Although Chinzei-mai allotments did not match shoen sources of income in terms of quantity, it was the main source for enhancing the solemnity of Buddhist rituals and supporting the Temple’s resident sangha groups, making it an important income source in maintaining the Todaiji’s internal social order.
The author also examines the relationship between Chinzei-mai and its predecessors, fuko 封戸 and fumotsu 封物, allotments to aristocrats, bureaucrats, temples, shrines, et. al. from public tax revenue sources under the ancient Ritsuryo system. A comparison between the amounts and types of fumotsu allotments during the 11th and 12th centuries with those of Chinzei-mai during the 12th and 13th centuries, reveals a definite decrease in quantity over time; but the actual items allotted remained mostly the same, indicating that 1) Chinzei-mai functioned as a replacement source of income for fumotsu and 2) despite stricter limits on variety, the quantities of Chinzei-mai for the 12th and 13th centuries were identical and thus continuous.
Finally, the author turns to Todaiji’s expansion of its training system during the 12th century, marked by the appearance of shoen devoted exclusively to student stipends and of kishinden for paying sangha to preside at Buddhist events, in order to show how the Temple’s sources of income were becoming more specialized and diversifying. It was this definite division of labor between Chinzei-mai, formerly fumotsu, and shoen and kishinden sources devoted to specific purposes that characterized the formation of the Temple’s financial structure as seen in Todaiji Nenjugyoji. Moreover, the author is of the opinion that it was this structure, fully formed by the 13th century, that determined the Temple’s dual governance organization, comprised of a mandokoro 政所 (central political affairs bureau) and a soji 惣寺 (an assembly of different sangha groups residing in the Temple).