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CHAPTER III.: THE TIERS ETAT UNDER CHARLES V., CHARLES VI., CHARLES VII., AND LOUIS XI. - Augustin Thierry, The Formation and Progress of the Tiers État, or Third Estate in France vol. 1 
The Formation and Progress of the Tiers État, or Third Estate in France, translated from the French by the Rev. Francis B. Wells, Two volumes in One (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1859).
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THE TIERS ETAT UNDER CHARLES V., CHARLES VI., CHARLES VII., AND LOUIS XI.
Summary Northern and Southern France—Twofold Spirit and Tendency of the Tiers Etat—Part Taken by the Parisian Bourgeoisie—Results of the Reign of Charles V.—Question of Regular Taxation—Revolt of the Maillotins—Abolition of the free Municipality of Paris—Its Re-establishment—Demagoguism of the Cabochiens—Alliance of the Echevinage and the University—Demand for a great Administrative Reform—Ordinance of May 25, 1413—State of the Peasantry, the Rural Communes—Popular Patriotism—Jeanne d’Arc—Reign of Charles VII—His Bourgeois Counsellors—Reign of Louis XI—His Character.
The States-General on which I have been remarking up to this point did not form the whole representation of the kingdom; there was one for north and central France, the country of the langue d’Oil and the droit coutumier, and one for south France, the country of the langue d’Oc and the droit écrit.* Although they were simultaneously convened by the same authority, and were in both cases general, these assemblies did not play the same political part, and history cannot assign them a place of equal importance. The north and south of France were not in the same social position during the Middle Ages; the south was more advanced in civilisation, more flourishing, and under a less arbitrary system of government. There the impress of Rome was more distinctly retained both in the language and manners of the people; there the municipal spirit, maintained by the number and wealth of the cities, preserved both its power and character more efficiently. The administrative reforms, the work of royalty, took place in the north, and only reached the south by a reaction. It was the same with the currents of public opinion which sprang in northern France (la France coutumière) from the conflict between the rival or hostile classes and the great bodies of the State. There was always on one side or the other a sort of discordance in their feelings and their actions; and the trace of this is still to be observed even in the midst of our modern unity. Thence arises the necessity of contracting the scene of this history, which ought to be both uniform and simple in order to be clear, of omitting some facts important in themselves, but which have no ulterior consequence, and of passing over the country where a greater degree of liberty reigns, together with a law of greater equity, and a less marked inequality of conditions and individuals, to dwell on that in which the social confusion is excessive, but in which the foundations of future order are laid, and the facts which mark the succession of our civil and political progress occur.
The Tiers Etat drew its strength and spirit from two different sources, the one complex and municipal—namely, the commercial classes; the other simple and central—namely, the class of the judicial and financial officers of the crown, whose number and power rapidly increased, and who, with rare exceptions, all sprang from the commonalty. To this twofold origin corresponded two classes of political ideas and sentiments. The spirit of the bourgeoisie, properly so called, or urban corporations, was liberalin principle, but narrow and stationary in practice, attached to its local immunities, to its hereditary rights, to the independent and privileged existence of the municipal cities and communes. The spirit of the judicial and administrative bodies admitted only one right, that of the Government; only one liberty, that of the Prince; only one interest, that of order under one absolute guardianship; and their reasoning did not regard the privileges of the commonalty with more favour than those of the nobility. Thence arose in the Tiers Etat of France two divergent tendencies, always at war, but always corresponding to the same final object, which, alternately modifying each other, and combining under the influence of new ideas of a loftier and more generous kind, have given to our revolutions since the thirteenth century their character of a slow but always certain course towards civic equality, national unity, and unity of government. Another fact in our history as ancient and not less characteristic is the particular part taken by the bourgeoisie of Paris. Paris was the chief centre of commerce and important scientific institutions; it was there that intellectual activity displayed itself on a larger scale than in any other city of the kingdom. Public spirit there assumed a form at once municipal and general. We have seen the people of Paris taking the lead in aggressive opinion during the democratic attempts of 1357; we shall find it doing the same at every period of social crisis, under Charles VI., at the time of the League, and in our modern revolutions, giving the impulse at once to progress and disorder so fatally mixed together.
I resume the thread of my narrative at the reign of Charles V. That prince recovered one by one the dismembered portions of the kingdom; he rendered France more powerful abroad, and more civilised at home; he expended much in the accomplishment of great undertakings, and still found the means of raising larger supplies of money than his predecessors, without having recourse to the States-General or exciting resistance: all remained quiet so long as his hand was there to conciliate and regulate everything. He established under the name of ordinary aids permanent taxes, thus violating at one blow both the feudal and the municipal liberties. He did this with decision, but not, there is reason to believe, without scruples; and on his death-bed he regarded it with regret.* It was in reality a grave and deplorable fact: Royalty found itself for the first time in opposition to the bourgeoisie; the new monarchical order was divided against itself by the imposition of regular taxation—a vital question which it was necessary to solve, and which, on the accession of Charles VI., a minor, could not be done in one way or another.
The sensation produced by the report of the repentant expressions attributed to the late King did not permit the further collection of the general subsidies by authority, nor indeed a hope of their concession by the assembly of the three orders. The guardians of the young King attempted, as a middle course, convocations of the notables and conferences with the échevinage of Paris; but no result was obtained save an increase of popular excitement and threats of an émeute, on occasion of which the échevinage took some important measures of arming for the maintenance of public order and the defence of the liberties of the city.* This attitude of the Parisian bourgeoisie seemed so formidable a circumstance to the princes in power that they made an ordinance abolishing in perpetuity the taxes which had been established, under any denomination whatever, since the time of Philippe le Bel.† It then became necessary for them to carry on the government with the revenues of the royal domains alone; and shortly after being at a loss for resources, they timidly decided upon imposing a tax upon merchandise of every kind. This was the signal for an armed rebellion. The lower classes and the youth of Paris, forcing the arsenal of the city, provided themselves with sledge-hammers, which they found there in great quantity, and rushed upon the farmers of the tax, the collectors and royal officers, massacring the one, and forcing the other to flight. The example of Paris was imitated with more or less violence in the principal cities of the central and northern provinces.*
This spirit of resistance on the part of the French bourgeoisie was encouraged by some external occurrences, by the example of Ghent, which city, at the head of a party formed in the communes of Flanders, was in armed opposition against the sovereign of the country in the name of the municipal liberties. There existed between the bourgeoisie of Paris and the Flemish insurgents not only sympathy, but correspondence by letters, with a promise of mutual efforts in behalf of a common cause, in which were comprised the defence of local privileges against the central power, and the hostility of the commonalty against the nobility.* This position of the question re-united in one common interest royalty and the barons, little disposed as they were to come to an understanding upon the raising of taxes without a previous demand and concession. A great blow was struck in Flanders by the intervention of a French army and of Charles VI. in person. That victorious campaign, which had the appearance and the effect of a triumph on the part of the nobility over the commonalty, monalty, became in turn the cause of a succession of violent measures against the cities guilty of rebellion, in which the vengeance of power was mixed with an aristocratic reaction.
The royal army entered Paris as a conquered city, breaking down the barriers, and passing over the gates torn from their hinges. The same day three hundred persons, the élite of the bourgeoisie, were arrested and cast into prison; and on the morrow the immemorial liberties of the city, its échevinage, its jurisdiction, and its militia, the independent existence of its corporations of arts and trades, were abolished by an ordinance of the King.* There were numerous executions, and, among others, that of a rich merchant who, as a young man, had played a prominent part in the émeutes of 1358; an act of clemency followed for the rest of the prisoners, commuting the criminal into a civil punishment, which subjected the upper class of the Parisian bourgeoisie to fines which almost amounted to the confiscation of their property. Rouen, Amiens, Troyes, Orléans, Reims, Châlons, and Sens were punished in the same manner by the suppression of their municipal rights, by executions, proscriptions, and ruinous exactions. The money thus raised amounted to immense sums; but the princes and the courtiers helped themselves so freely to the spoil that not a third part found its way into the royal treasury.*
Twenty-nine years elapsed, during which the imbecility of the King, the quarrels of the princes, the civil war, and, soon after, the foreign invasion, were added to the confusion of a Government without order, and to ruin of every kind. The reaction of 1383 had wounded the bourgeoisie far more deeply than that of 1359. The last mentioned had merely struck a blow at their political ambition; the other had impoverished, dispersed, deprived it of its glory and hereditary influence. The city of Paris, among others, found itself depressed in two ways—by the loss of its municipal immunities, and by the ruin of the families who had governed and directed it with their counsels in the times of its liberty. This degradation of the upper class, composed of the high mercantile body and the lawyers of the supreme courts, had given a step to the intermediate class, consisting of the wealthier among those who exercised manual professions—a class less enlightened and less refined in manners, to which the force of circumstances now gave the influential power over the affairs and feelings of the city. Thence sprung that character of unrestrained demagoguism which the Parisian population exhibited when, having recovered its liberties and its privileges in the year 1412, it was summoned afresh by the course of events to act a political part.*
The Duke of Burgundy, one of the princes who were striving by force of arms to obtain the guardianship and power of the imbecile King, had allied himself, in order to increase his forces, with the bourgeoisie and declared himself the protector of the popular interests. This policy was successful; he became master of the State, and the re-establishment of the old free constitution of Paris was his work. Restored after a suspension of more than a quarter of a century, the municipal elections returned an échevinage and a city council almost entirely formed of tradesmen, in which, from their popularity joined to their wealth, the master butchers of the great market, and of that of St. Geneviève, gained the ascendancy. These men, whose profession had been handed down from father to son from time immemorial, and whose shambles were a sort of fiefs, had collected around them an hereditary set of dependents called flayers, écorcheurs—a degraded and violent body, entirely devoted to its patrons, and formidable to everyone who did not happen to belong to their party in the new Government. This Government possessed the affection of the common people, and became an object of alarm to the commercial class of the bourgeoisie and to all that still remained of families distinguished by an ancient respectability. It united the violence of the demagogues to the passions of the party which was called the Burgundian; and the authority, supporting itself by émeutes, soon passed from the city council to the multitude, from the master butchers to the écorcheurs. One among them, Simon Caboche, was the man of action of that second period of revolution to which his name remains attached, and in which the spirit of reform shown in 1357 re-appeared a moment to be immediately compromised by the brutal and degraded actions of the faction on which it relied.*
We are here struck by a circumstance which is not without example in our recent revolutions—a political alliance between the literary class, the men of speculative minds, and that portion of the Tiers Etat which was at once ignorant and influenced by brutal passions. In the municipality of Paris, in 1413, Jean de Troyes, a celebrated physician, a man of eloquence and learning, sat side by side with the butchers Saint-Yon and Legoix in perfect agreement of opinions.* Soon after the learned body par excellence, the university, assumed authority by means of an assembly of notables, needlessly convoked, to raise its voice, to make remonstrances, and to demand in its own name and in that of the corporation of the city the redress of abuses, and reform of the kingdom. With the notion, as far as appears, of associating all the powers of the Tiers Etat in behalf of that great attempt, it invited the Parliament to unite with itself and the citizens of Paris, in order to obtain justice and reform. The Parliament refused—the hour of ambition had not yet come for that body; and, besides, it did not choose to commit itself with theorists who were without experience of affairs, and with democrats of the crossways. “It is not becoming,” it replied, “for a court, established for the administration of justice in the king’s name, to make itself a complaining party to demand it. . . . The university and the corporation of the city will take good care to do nothing which it ought not.”* The échevinage, however, and the university did not recede; the latter demanded that a day should be appointed when the princes and the King himself might hear its remonstrances, and, in the midst of a numerous concourse of the burgesses of Paris and the provinces, it spoke by the mouth of its professors in the name of the people—denounced their wrongs, and proposed the remedies, as though it had been constituted a political power, and the grand council of the nation.†
The court was divided, and the King incapable of understanding or deciding anything; the Prince, who then governed in his name, thought that he should manage the people to his own purposes, and was in reality managed by them. Their demand was granted; and the two bodies which comported themselves as if they were the representatives of the public opinion, the university and the city, were authorised to present a plan of administrative and judicial reform. Commissioners, whose names are unknown, set themselves to the work, and obtained permission to have all the ancient ordinances preserved in the archives delivered to them for examination.* They made them the foundation of their work of purification and reorganisation; but while they were engaged in this labour, a warm opposition was announced on the part of those who surrounded the Queen and the heir to the throne. A plot was hatched against the security of the city, and the popular indignation was excited to the highest degree. There was a tumultuous rising in arms; and the bastille of Saint-Antoine, that citadel of royalty in Paris, commenced by Charles V., and razed to the ground under Louis XVI., was besieged by the people as on the 14th of July, 1789.*
The émeute was suspended by a capitulation; but some fresh symptoms of hostile intentions on the part of the court soon led to renewed insurrections of the Cabochien party. Formidable mobs, whose leaders and orators were Jean de Troyes the physician, and Eustache de Pavilly, doctor in theology, at one time invaded the King’s palace, at another the Hôtel of the Dauphin, and followed up their political harangues by acts of personal violence, and arrests of nobles and even of ladies who were odious to the people. At length, on the 25th of May, 1413, the resolutions of the new reformers, reduced, like those of the States in 1356, to the form of a royal ordinance, were read before the King on his throne in Parliament, and declared obligatory and inviolable.*
This ordinance, which contains no less than two hundred and fifty-eight articles, is a complete code of administration, establishing a hierarchy of elective functionaries, laying down rules for conduct of affairs and responsibility, limiting the offices both in number and power, and promising to subjects of all classes guarantees against injustice, oppression, and the abuse both of power and law. There are contained in it a vast enumeration of prescriptions of every kind, in which two ideas seem to prevail—the centralisation of the judicial and that of the financial government; all terminates, on the one part, in the Chamber of Accounts, and, on the other, in the Parliament. Election is the principle of the officers of judicature—no appointment is allowed to be purchased; the lieutenants of the prévôts, the baillis, and the sénéchaux are to be elected by the lawyers and advocates of the district. In the nomination of a prévôt, men of experience and other notables are to name three candidates, one of whom is to be elected by the chancellor, assisted by commissioners of the Parliament. In the case of the prévôté of Paris and the other superior offices, the Parliament is appointed to name persons to fill them by ballot without the formality of a canvass; and to choose in the same manner its own members, but is not allowed to take many from the same family. The prévôts, baillis, and sénéchaux must not be natives of the province in which they are to exercise their office; they are not allowed to acquire property in it, nor to contract marriages in it themselves or for their daughters. The jurisdiction of forests and waters, frequently attended with tyranny to the rural districts, is curtailed in its extent, and subjected to an appeal to Parliament. It is enacted that the rural usages be everywhere respected; that the peasants may arm themselves to pursue robbers; that they have the right of hunting wolves, of destroying the new warrens made by the seigneurs, and of refusing to pay them any duty established without authority.*
The peculiar character of this important ordinance, which distinguishes it from that of the 3rd of March, 1357, is that it makes no innovation except the election to the judicial offices; it leaves intact the royal power, and confines itself to trace out certain administrative regulations. The experience of the preceding century had borne its fruits; the temper of the Parisian bourgeoisie, in spite of its new fit of revolutionary passion, was in reality more settled down and moderated. Under that anarchical domination of the municipality, itself domineered over by a faction of brutal and violent persons, sober thoughts of the common weal, till then suppressed, now found their way through the midst of the disorder, and were, perhaps, produced by it. According to a remark applicable to other periods of revolution, “The violent have demanded and dictated, the moderate have written.”*
The very persons who presided over these excesses, or who abetted them by their assent, were not destitute of civic virtues; their hearts were capable of sentiments of patriotism which, from their expression, we should be led to believe modern. The municipal corporation of Paris, writing to other cities, and giving them an account of its proceedings, said, “The present object is to take care that the state of public affairs in this kingdom be not overturned and destroyed while it is on the road . . . for which purpose, in a time of necessity like the present, everyone ought to interest himself, and to set pity for his country above every other feeling, whether for parents, brothers, or any others, for this comprises all.”* These were noble words, worthy of announcing the grand charter of reform, the common work of the civic corporation and the university. But while men could be found capable of conceiving this administrative law of ancient France, there were none to execute and maintain it. Persons of mature wisdom and versed in public matters had at that time neither will nor political energy. They held themselves aloof, and the work remained in the hands of the visionary and turbulent—of the butchers and their allies. By intolerable excesses these persons hastened on a reaction which led to their fall, their banishment, and the abandonment of the reforms which had been obtained with so much labour: three months after its promulgation the ordinance of the 25th of May was annulled.†
In this way some of the Tiers Etat, encouraged by a revolutionary crisis to invest themselves with a constituent power, entertained at the commencement of the fifteenth century the idea of remoulding at one cast the administration of the kingdom, and to give it fixed principles, a reasonable foundation, and uniform action. If the plan which they drew up was never tried, it has yet remained as a monument of political wisdom, in which appears in a striking manner the kind of lasting bond which tied together all the classes of the commonalty in one and the same cause. The commissioners delegated by the city and university of Paris did that which the deputies of the entire body of the bourgeoisie had done in the States-General; they devoted their attention to the population of the rural districts, they took measures in its behalf which show at once their sympathy for it, and the improvement which had taken place in its condition since the end of the twelfth century.
Since that period, indeed, the collective enfranchisement of the peasantry by whole villages and seigniories had continually increased in frequency and extent. A kind of rivalry on this point was manifested between the proprietors of serfs, of which the motive was twofold: on the one hand, the sense of natural right joined to Christian feeling, on the other, a more enlightened knowledge of personal interest advised the same course; and the style of the documents sometimes presented the strange union of these two motives of action.* Among the villages enfranchised by multitudes during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, many took new names expressive of their state of civil liberty, and all or almost all of them obtained a form of municipal government in greater or less completeness. That government, in its application to the rural districts, propagated among them the name of commune, which served to distinguish it in the cities of the centre and the north of France; and from this circumstance arose that tendency to a change in the meaning of the word which made it lose its first sense, which was so restricted and forcible.* However large had been the multiplication of the rural communes during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, it did not introduce among the agricultural classes that unity of civil government which the bourgeoisie enjoyed from one end of the kingdom to the other; the condition of the peasants, the result of transactions of every kind on the rights of property or person, remained unequal according to localities, and was infinitely diversified.
Yet, however, this mass of enfranchised serfs, still attached to the domain by some bond, or at least entirely subjected to the jurisdiction of the seigneur—this population, though it did not immediately gain relief from the power asserted by the people, could already be reckoned among the active forces of the nation; it was as a body of reserve, imbued with the spirit of patriotism, and capable of a spontaneous outburst of vigour, and devotion. This was seen when the defeat of Agincourt, more fatal than that of Poitiers, had brought a series of reverses on France, when the nobility, the bourgeoisie, and royalty itself were reduced step by step to the degradation of a treaty, which bequeathed the crown and delivered up the country to a foreign prince.* Paris, in a moment of weakness and panic, had opened its gates and fêted the triumph of the English; the kingdom was subdued as far as the Loire, where Orléans, the last bulwark of the yet unconquered provinces, maintained a desperate struggle with the invading army, which seemed to be the last breath of the national energy. We know what almost miraculous assistance then sprang up for that city and for the kingdom, the appearance of Jeanne d’Arc; what she accomplished; and how, through her and her example, an emotion of commiseration and indignation, the love of their common country, the determination of a general union, and of suffering everything for its salvation, sprang from the lowest ranks up to the superior classes of the nation.
A reign succeeds the long and difficult toil of the national deliverance, in which the principal counsellors were bourgeois; and the grandson of Charles V. resumed and developed those traditions of order, regularity, and unity which the wise government of his grandfather had created. Charles VII. himself, weak and indolent by nature, yet occupies an important place in our history, not so much for what he did of himself, as for what was done in his name; his merit was to admit the influence and to follow the direction of minds inspired with the highest degree of courage and judgment. Talents and intellects of the first order were placed at his disposal, and toiled for him, in times of war with all the powers of genius warmed by patriotism, in peace with all the enlightenment of public opinion. It is a fact, already remarked and well worthy of being so, that that opinion had for its representatives, as the King for his Ministers, men sprung from the middle classes of the then existing state of society, the inferior nobility and the higher bourgeoisie. The plebeian names of Jacques Cœur and Jean Bureau stand pre-eminent above all the rest; the one was well qualified to perform the duties of a statesman by his experience in commerce, the other resigned the profession of the law to become, without previous preparation, a great master of artillery, and the first to make an effective and methodical use of a still recent instrument of war.*
The spirit of reform and improvement which, in 1413, had burst forth for a moment, but had established nothing in consequence of the extreme views of the party which was its organ, re-appeared, and formed upon an entirely new plan the whole government of the kingdom, the finances, the army, the administration of justice and the general police.* The ordinances passed upon these different points had now their full effect; and were characterised, not like the preceding ones by a vagueness which betrayed confusion of ideas, but by something precise, clear, and authoritative, the sign of a practical ability, and of a will self-confident, because possessing the power. The question of permanent taxation, and taxes imposed without the concession of the states, then made a decisive step; after some alternatives necessity settled it; and on these terms the kingdom for the first time became possessed of a standing army. The militia of the cities, hitherto organised, independently of and without the agency of royalty, was now fused into a royal and at the same time national army. The privileged class of the Tiers Etat experienced a diminution of its political rights; but the form of modern monarchy, of that government which was destined for the future to be at once single and free, was discovered. Its fundamental institutions already had existence; the task henceforward was to maintain, extend, and root it in the habits of the people.
The reign of Charles VII. was a period of national impulse; all that it produced of great and new emanated, not from the personal action of the King, but from a kind of popular inspiration, from which arose the movement, the conceptions, and the design in all affairs at that period. Such moments are always grand in the history of a people, but their nature is to last but a short time; the common effort does not support itself, fatigue and disunion supervene, and the reaction soon commences. The same powers which had established the new system of government were not able to preserve them intact; they were collective, and, as such, too much subject to change; the work of numbers required, in order that it might be saved from ruin, to be committed to the hands of an individual. That individual, that personality, jealous, active, self-willed, was found in Louis XI. If any personages of history seem marked by the seal of Providence to perform a mission, the son of Charles VII. was one of them; he seems to have acted as king under a conviction of a duty superior, in his case, to all the duties of humanity—of an object to which he was obliged to advance without interruption, without having had time to choose his way. He who had raised the standard of opposition in concert with the aristocratic interests against his father, made himself the guardian and abettor of all that was odious to the aristocracy. He applied all the energies of his existence, all that he had of intellect and passion, of virtue and vice, to this purpose. His reign was a daily struggle for the cause of unity of power, and the cause of social equality—a struggle carried on after the manner of savages by cunning and cruelty, without courtesy and without mercy. Thence arises the mixture of interest and repugnance which is excited in our minds by a character so strangely original. The despot Louis XI. does not belong to the class of egotistical tyrants, but to that of merciless innovators; before our revolutions it was impossible to understand him. The condemnation which he deserves, and with which he will remain charged, is the ignominy which the human conscience throws on the memory of those who have thought that all means are justifiable by which they can bend circumstances to the yoke of their own ideas.
This King, who affected to be one of the people by his tone, dress, and manners, who conversed familiarly with all sorts of persons, and wished to know, see, and do everything by himself, has some points of character which are only to be observed in the same degree in democratic dictatorships.* The spirit of the commonalty appeared in him even at the height of his power; he had a kind of presentiment of our modern civilisation; he divined all its tendencies, and aspired towards it without troubling himself about the possibility—without asking himself if the time were come. In the judgment, therefore, which is formed of him, we must consider at the same time what he accomplished, and what he wished to accomplish—both his works and his designs. He meditated the establishment throughout his kingdom of unity of customs, weights, and measures; on this point, as well as upon others, he proposed to imitate the admirable civil systems of the Italian republics.
Industry, confined to the corporations which had given it new birth after the revival of the cities, was altogether municipal; he endeavoured to make it national. He summoned merchants to his council of state, to advise with them upon the means of extending and encouraging commerce; he opened new markets, and promoted the undertaking of fresh manufactures; he paid attention to roads, canals, maritime commerce, the working of mines; he attracted by privileges contractors of works and foreign artisans, and simultaneously kept up a standing army four times as numerous as in days past; he built fleets, extended and fortified the frontiers, and carried the power of the kingdom to a point hitherto unheard of.* But these germs of prosperity could only bear fruit in the future; the present was dark and gloomy; the taxes increased beyond measure; the prince who sowed for the people, and identified himself with them, was unpopular. He caused much suffering and experienced much himself in his life of labour, policy, fears, expedients, and continual anxiety.* The bourgeoisie, whose municipal privileges were the only ancient thing which he spared, was faithful to him, but without affection. His large views, his thoughts for the commonweal, the changes which he meditated, affected only a small number of those who heard them from his own mouth, and were capable of judging of them. The mind of the age perceived nothing of these things, but, by way of retaliation, it has caught to the life in Louis XI. the portrait of the outer man—that sarcastic and sinister figure which tradition preserves, and still imposes upon history.
[* ]This division of the country into two administrative regions continued up to the sixteenth century; their common boundary was drawn from west to east by the Gironde, Dordogne and the southern frontiers of Auvergne and of the Lyonnais. Although this division corresponded in general with that of the Roman dialects of the north and south, and with that of ancient France into two juridicial zones, there was under each of these relations at least one exception; for Auvergne was a country of the southern language and the Lyonnais a country of the droit écrit.
[* ]De ces aides du royaume de France dont les povres gens sont tant travaillés et grevés, usez-en en vostre conscience et les ôtez au plus tôt que vous pourrez; car ce sont choses, quoique je les aie soutenues, qui moult me grèvent et poisent en couraige. (Words of Charles V., on his death-bed, Chron. de Froissart, liv. ii., chap. lxx.)
[* ]Cependant les princes et ducs cognoissans la pauvreté du domaine et qu’il ne pouvoit suffire aux choses urgentes et nécessaires, assemblèrent une partie des plus notables de Paris; et furent assez contents qu’on mist douze deniers pour livre Et fut à Paris et à Rouen crié et à Amiens; mais le peuple tout d’une volonté le contredirent, et ne fut rien levé ne exigé (Hist. de Charles VI., by Juvénal des Ursins, nouvelle collection de Mémoires pour servir à l’Histoire de France, t. ii., p. 343.)—Lesquelles démonstrances ils prenoient en grande impatience, et réputoient tous ceux qui en parloient ennemis de la chose publique, en concluant qu’ils garderoient les libertez du peuple jusques à l’exposition de leurs biens, et prindrent armures et habillemens de guerre, firent dixeniers, cinquanteniers, quarteniers, mirent chaisnes par la ville, firent faire guet et garde aux portes. Et ces choses se faisoient presque par toutes les villes de ce royaume, et à ce faire commencèrent ceux de Paris. (Ibid, p. 348.)
[† ]Avons quictié, remis et annullé, et par ces présentes quictons, remettons et annullons et mettons du tout au néant touz aides et subsides quelxconques qui, pour le fait desdictes guerres, ont esté imposez, cuilliz et levez depuis nostre prédécesseur le roy Philippe, que Dieu absoille, jusques aujourd’hui. (Ordin. of 16 Nov., 1380, Recueil des Ordonn. des rois de France, t. vi., p. 527.)
[* ]. . . Et tantost par toute la ville le menu peuple s’esmeut. . . . Ils sceurent que en l’Hostel de Ville avoit des harnois, ils y allèrent et rompirent les huis où estoient les choses pour la défense de la ville, prindrent les harnois et grande foison de maillets de plomb et s’en allèrent par la ville, et tous ceux qu’ils trouvoient fermiers des aydes ou qui en estoient soupçonnez tuoient et mettoient à mort bien cruellement. (Hist. de Charles VI., by Juvénal des Ursins, Mémoires, etc., t. ii., p. 348.)—Famosiorem civitatem regni sequntur cetere. . . . (Chron. du religieux de St.-Denis, edit. by M. Bellaguet, t. i., p. 130.)
[* ]Sic temerarium ausum malignandi . . . fere totus populus Francie assumpserat, nec minori agitabatur furia, et, ut fama publica referebat, per Flamingos, qui peste similis rebellionis laborabant, nunciis et apicibus excitatus. . . . (Chron. du religieux de St.-Denis, t. i., p. 132.)—Et en ladite ville (Courtray) furent trouvées lettres que ceux de la ville de Paris avoient escrit aux Flamens très mauvaises et séditieuses. (Hist. de Charles VI., by Juvénal des Ursins, Mémoires, etc., t. ii., p. 356.)—Pareillement à Reims, à Châlons en Champagne et sur la rivière de Marne, les vilains se rébelloient et menaçoient jà les gentilshommes et dames et enfants . . . aussi bien à Orléans, à Blois, à Rouen, en Normandie et en Beauvoisis leur étoit le diable entié en la tête pour tout occire. (Chron. de Froissart, liv. ii., ch. clxxxviii.)
[* ]Chron. du religieux de Saint-Denis, t. 1er, p. 230 and foll.—Ordinance. of 27 January, 1383 (1382, old style), Recueil des Ordonn. des rois de France, t. vi., p. 685.
[* ]Chron. du religieux de Saint-Denis, t. 1er, p. 240 and foll.—Chron. de Froissart, liv. 11., ch. ccv.—Hist. de Charles VI., by Juvénal des Ursins, Mémoires, etc., t. ii., p. 357 and foll.
[* ]Libere urbis antiquam libertatem restituentes . . . (Chron du religieux de Saint-Denis, t. iv., p. 606.)—L’empeschement et main mise . . . par nous mis es dicte prévosté des marchans, eschevinage, clergie, maison de la ville, parlouer aux bourgois, jurisdicion, cohercion, priviléges, rentes, revenues, et droiz appartenans d’ancienneté à ycelle prévosté des marchans, eschevinage et clergie de nostre dicte bonne ville de Paris, avons levé et osté, levons et ostons à plain, de nostre certaine science et propre mouvement. (Ordinance of Charles VI., January 20, 1412 [1411, old style], Recueil des Ordonn., t. ix., p. 668.)
[* ]Et pour vrai, il faisoit en ce temps (1411-1412) très périlleux en icelle ville pour nobles hommes de quelque partie qu’ils fussent, parce que le peuple et commun dessusdit avoient grand’ partie de la domination dedans icelle. (Chron. d’Enguerrand de Monstrelet, édit. Buchon, Panthéon littéraire, p. 202.)—A la fin d’Avril et au commencement de May (1413), se mirent sus plus fort que devant meschantes gens, trippiers, bouchers, et escorcheurs, pelletiers, cousturiers et autres pauvres gens de bas estat, qui faisoient de très inhumaines détestables et déshonnestes besongnes. (Hist. de Charles VI., by Juvenal des Ursins, Mémoires, etc., t. ii., p. 481.)—Et estoit pitié de voir et sçavoir ce que faisoient lesdictes meschantes gens, lesquels on nommoit Cabochiens à cause d’un escorcheur de bestes, nommé Caboche, qui estoit l’un des principaux capitaines desdites meschantes gens (Ibid.)—Ils alloient par Paris par tourbes et délaissoient leurs mestiers. Et ainsi, puisqu’ils ne gagnoient rien, il falloit qu’ils pillassent et desrobassent, et aussi le faisoient de leur auctorité pure et privée. (Ibid, p. 482.)—On prenoit gens ausquels on imposoit avoir fait quelque chose dont il n’estoit rien, et falloit qu’ils composassent fust droit fust tort à argent qu’il falloit qu’ils baillassent (Ibid, p. 483.)—Et s’ils ne prestoient promptement, on les envoyoit en diverses prisons, et mettoit-on sergens en leurs maisons, jusques à ce qu’ils eussent payé ce qu’on leur demandoit (Ibid, p. 484.)
[* ]Et precipue quidam medicus famosus, vocatus Joannes de Trecis, vir eloquens et astutus . . . cujus consilio usi semper fuerant in agendis. (Chron. du religieux de Saint-Denis, t. v., p. 8.)
[* ]Registers of the Parliament, cited by M. de Barante, Hist des ducs de Bourgogne, 5e édit., t. iii., p. 299.
[† ]Rex ex deambulatorio ambiente curiam sancti Pauli . . . cum aula regia tante capacitatis non esset quod posset accedentibus locum dare, venerandam Universitatem et cives parisienses audire statuit et quid in supradictis sentirent. Id perorandum susceperat in sacra pagina professor eximius, magister Benedictus Gencien. (Chron. du religieux de Saint-Denis, t. iv., p. 738.)—Ab octo et viginti annis et citra opes regie per dispensatores prodigos fuerunt magis consumpte quam in aliquo alio regno mundi, et hoc, judicio Universitatis et burgensium parisiensium. (Ibid, p. 750.)—Finem oblati rotuli lector tangens: “Regie, inquit, altitudini humilis vestra parisiensis filia Universitatis et en cunctis obedientes vestri cives . . . ., predictos vobis exposuerunt excessus quos et alias lacius declarabunt.” (Ibid, p. 766.)—Quidquid lectura rotuli continebat, cum innummerabili plebe cives provinciarum regni, qui tunc presentes aderant, gratum habuerunt. (Ibid, p. 768.)
[* ]Gratam provisionem habuerunt Universitas et burgenses et obtinuerunt a duce ut statuerentur qui, ad utilitatem regni, excessus quos protulerant reformarent. (Chron. du religieux de Saint-Denis, t. v., p. 4.)—Ceux du conseil des dessusdits firent chercher et quérir ès chambres des comptes et du trésor et au Chastellet toutes les ordonnances royaux anciennes. (Hist. de Charles VI., by Juvénal des Ursins, Mémoires, etc., t. ii., p. 483.)
[* ]Castrum fortissimum Sancti Antonii . . . locum illum regium fere inexpugnabilem, omni genere armorum et instrumentis obsidionalibus munitum. (Chron. du religieux de Saint-Denis, t. v., p. 8 and foll.)
[* ]Recueil des Ordonnances des rois de France, t. x., p. 70 and foll.—Quasdam pro ordinacionibus regiis condiderant scripuras. (Ibid, t. x., p. 170)—Chron. du religieux de Saint-Denis, t. v., p. 50 and foll.
[* ]Ordin. of Charles VI. of 25 May, 1413, art. 202, 174, 190, 166, 154, 179, 229 to 234, 235, 236, 238, 241, 244, Recueil des Ordonn., t. x., p. 70 and foll.—The ordinance is divided into ten general chapters, which successively treat of territory, money, aids, paymasters of the army, the exchequer, parliament, justice, chancery, waters and forests, and, lastly, the soldiery. In the preamble are the following words:—“Savoir faisons que nous . . . afin que doresenavant les dicts abus et inconvéniens cessent de tout en tout, et que tous les fais de la chose publique de nostre dit royaume, tant au regard de toutes nozdictes finances et de nostredicte justice comme autrement, soient remis en bon estat et deuement gouvernez au bien de nous et de nostredict peuple. . . .”
[* ]Histoire de France, by M. Michelet, t. iv., p. 245.
[* ]Lettre des prévost des marchands, eschevins, bourgeois, manans, et habitans de la ville de Paris aux maires, eschevins, bourgeois, manans, et habitans de la ville de Noyon (3 Mai, 1413). Archives de l’Hôtel de ville de Noyon.—In all probability this was a circular letter.
[† ]Histoire de Charles VI., by Juvénal des Ursins, Mémoires, etc., t. ii., p. 85 and following.—Et aussi cassa, annula, abolit, révoqua et du tout meit à néant et comme nulles déclara certaines escritures qui par manière d’ordonnances avoient naguères esté faictes par aucuns commissaires, tant chevaliers qu’escuiers, confesseurs et aumosnier du roy et deux des conseillers de céans, au pourchas d’aucuns de l’Université et de la ville de Paris, et lesquelles, par grande impression tant de gens d’armes de cette ville qu’autrement, avoient esté publiées en Mai dernier. (Extract from the registers of the Parliament, Recueil des Ordonn. des rois de France, t. x., p. 140, note.)—Ordinance of the 5th September, 1413; ibid, p. 170.
[* ]Je, considérans et regardans être piteuse chose et convenable de ramener en liberté et franchise les hommes et femmes qui de leur première créacion furent créez et formez francs par le créator dou monde; considérans aussin en ceste partie le proffit évident de moy et de mes hoirs. . . . (Charter given to the inhabitants of the village of Perrusses by Guy, sire de Clermont, 1383, Recueil des Ordonn. des rois de France, t. vii., p. 32.)—Lesquelles personnes, en alant demourer hors de nostre dicte terre en certains lieux, se affranchissent sans notre congié . . . et pour hayne d’icelle servitude, plusieurs personnes délaissent à demourer en nostre dicte terre, et par ce est et demeure icelle terre en grand partie non cultivée, non labourée et en rien, pourquoy nostre dicte terre est grandement mains valable. . . . (Charter given to the inhabitants of Coucy by Enguerrand, sire de Coucy, 1368, Recueil des Ordonn. des rois de France, t. v., p. 154.)—Considérans . . . les courtoisies, bontés et aggréables services que li dit habitan et leur ancesseur ont fait, ou temps passé, à nous et à nos prédécesseurs, pour l’amendement dudit territoire, et en récompensacion des choses dessus dictes, pour le remède des âmes de nous et de nos ancesseurs, et pour la somme de . . . que nous avons eue et reçue des habitans de nostre dicte justice de Joigny. . . . (Charter given to the inhabitants of Joigny by Jehans, comte de Joigny, 1324; ibid, p. 379.)
[* ]See above, p. 38 and following.
[* ]The treaty of Troyes, concluded in 1420 with Henry V., King of England.
[* ]The two great ordinances of 1443 and of 1454, which settled the responsibility of the treasury upon rational principles and fixed rules, are attributed to Jacques Cœur. Two brothers named Bureau sat in the council of Charles VIII., his other bourgeois counsellors were Jean Jouvenel or Juvénal, Guillaume Cousinot, Jean Rabateau, Etienne Chevalier, and Jean Leboursier.
[* ]See l’ordonnance du 2 Novembre, 1439, pour la réformation de l’état militaire; celle du 25 Septembre, 1443, sur le gouvernement des finances; celle du 10 Février, 1444, sur le même sujet; celle du 19 Juin, 1445, sur la juridiction des élus; celle du 26 Novembre, 1447, sur la comptabilité du trésor; celle du 28 Avril, 1448, sur les francs archers; celle du 17 Avril, 1453, pour la réformation de la justice; celles du 21 Janvier et du 3 Avril, 1459, sur la reddition des comptes et l’assiette des tailles; celle du 18 Septembre, 1460, sur la procédure devant les conseillers des aides et celle du mois de Decembre, 1460, sur la juridiction de la chambre des comptes. Recueil des Ordonn. des rois de France, t. xiii., p. 306; ibid, p. 372; ibid, p. 414; ibid, p. 428; ibid, p. 516; t. xiv., p. 1; ibid, p. 284; ibid, p. 482 et p. 484; ibid, p. 496; ibid, p. 510.
[* ]Entre tous ceulx que j’ay jamais congneux, le plus saige pour soy tirer d’ung mauvais pas en temps d’adversité, c’estoit le roy Louis XI., nostre maistre, le plus humble en paroles et en habitz . . ., naturellement amy des gens de moyen estat et ennemy de tous grans qui se povoient passer de lui. Nul homme ne presta jamais tant l’oreille aux gens, ny ne s’enquist de tant de choses comme il faisoit. (Mém. de Philippe de Commynes, edited by Mlle. Dupont, t. i., p. 83 and 84.)—De maintes menues choses de son royaulme il se mesloit et d’assez dont il se fust bien passé; mais sa complexion estoit telle, et ainsi vivoit. (Ibid, t. ii., p. 273.)
[* ]Aussi désiroit fort que en ce royaulme l’on usast d’une coustume, d’un poiz et d’une mesure, et que toutes ces coustumes fussent mises en françois dans ung beau livre (Mém. de Philippe de Commynes, t. ii., p. 209.)—Vous sçavez bien le désir que j’ai de donner ordre au fait de la justice et de la police du royaume, et, pour ce faire, il est besoin d’avoir la manière et les coutumes des autres pays; je vous prie que vous envoyez quérir devers vous le petit Fleurentin pour sçavoir les coutumes de Fleurence et de Venise, et le faites jurer de tenir la chose secrette, afin qu’il vous le die mieux et qu’il le mette bien par écrit. (Lettre au sieur Dubouchage. Hist. de Louis XI., by Duclos, t. iii., p. 449.)—See l’ordonn. du mois de Sept., 1474, sur les mines, et celle du mois d’Avril, 1483, sur le même objet, Recueil des Ordonn. des rois de France, t. xvii., p. 446; et t. xix., p. 105.—The ordinances of Louis XI. are drawn up with remarkable power; it is probable that they were detailed by himself.—Mais ung bien avoit en lui nostre bon maistre. il ne mettoit rien en trésor, il prenoit tout et despendoit tout. Il feit de grans édiffices à la fortiffication et deffense des villes et places de son royaulme, et plus que tous les aultres roys qui ont esté devant luy. (Mém. de Philippe de Commynes, t. ii., p. 144.)
[* ]Davantaige il sçavoit n’estre point aymé de grans personnaiges de son royaulme, ne de beaucoup de menuz: et si avoit plus chargé le peuple que jamais roy ne feit, combien qu’il eust bon vouloir de les descharger, comme j’ay dict ailleurs. (Ibid, t. ii., p. 224.)—Je croy que, si tous les bons jours qu’il a euz en sa vie, esquelz il a eu plus de joye et de plaisir que de travail et d’ennuy, estoient bien nombrés, qu’il s’y en trouveroit bien vingt de peine et de travail contre ung de plaisir et d’ayse. (Ibid, p. 277.)