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CHAPTER X.: SOCIAL CHARACTER OF THE REIGN OF LOUIS XIV., ITS INFLUENCE UPON THE PROGRESS OF THE TIERS ETAT. - 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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SOCIAL CHARACTER OF THE REIGN OF LOUIS XIV., ITS INFLUENCE UPON THE PROGRESS OF THE TIERS ETAT.
Summary: End of the first Period of our social Revolutions, commencement of the Second—New Career of Efforts and Progress opened to the Eighteenth Century—Abandonment of Historical Liberties, Inquiry after a Right purely rational—Part of the Tiers Etat in this great Movement of Mind—Opposition in the Heart of the Court of Louis XIV.—Fénelon and the Duke of Burgundy—Their project of a Constitution at once aristocratic and liberal—Good Sense and Firmness of Purpose in the old King, Results of his Government—Progress towards Civil Equality, patronage of Literature—The Life of the Nation drawn to the Centre, Decline of Local Institutions—Municipal Employments in right of hereditary Tenure and Purchase, consequences of this financial Expedient—Ruin of Municipal Liberties—Attack upon the political Privileges of the Parliament—Prohibition of all Remonstrance before the Enrolment of the Laws—The Parliament re-assumes its Power—Its part in the Eighteenth Century.
After having sacrificed, with rash and ill-founded expectations, all her ancient institutions to the aggrandisement of one alone, after having permitted the independence of classes and territories, the rights of provinces and cities, the power of the States-General, and the political control of the parliament to be destroyed, France, having reached the highest point of this long revolution, found herself brought face to face with monarchical unity, an unity, however, which was, so to speak, altogether personal, and from which the very idea of a nation forming a body was in theory excluded.* In this way the labour of centuries elapsed since the twelfth, by attaining its object pursued with so much consistency, ended after all in a regime, as unacceptable to reason and patriotism, as it was definitive in a something which, far from terminating the march of progress in politics, was but a halting post, a second starting point, the commencement of new efforts.
This new labour of opinion and of public will was of necessity not to build up again the ruins, not to touch the absolute unity of the State, the spontaneous production of our social instincts, but to impress upon it in some sort the true national character instead of the royal seal, to provide that its enlarged idea should embrace, in order to guarantee their safety, all the legitimate rights of the citizen.* Such was the glorious work of the century, the fifteenth year of which closed the reign of Louis XIV., a work in which the object was less simple and the parts more mixed up together than in the first, and in which men seemed to be groping in the dark, till the day when all the ways were smoothed by the fusion of the two first orders in the body of the third, and by the accession of an assembly, one and sovereign, of the representatives of the nation.
At this point of the history of France that of the Tiers Etat must stop; we here observe the disappearance of its name and the termination of its separate existence, of which the last advancements and most memorable acts will form the subject of a further work. As I shall then show, but little of movement is observed at first at that most important period from whence issued a fatal medley of immense benefits and great evils; the old political habits remain, while a new spirit seizes upon the minds of men; next the labour achieved in idea passes into action; attempts at reform more or less comprehensive are nobly but fruitlessly made by the government, and from their ascertained powerlessness, springs the popular effort, which elicits from the States-General assembled for the last time the revolution of 1789.
This inauguration of a society founded upon principles of rational right, did not come to pass until the mass of the nation had thoroughly perceived that there was nothing for them to expect from a restoration of historical rights. Simple reason and history were like two different sources from which the regenerative principle drank from its birth; but, whether of necessity or imprudence, it drank more and more from the first, and less and less from the second. On the one side the stream was scanty and sluggish; on the other continually increasing, hurried on by the double impulsion of reason and hope, it ended by mastering and carrying everything along with it.
Ancient rights were nothing else but ancient privileges, the restoration of them in a body under the name of liberty could not be an object of serious desire except to the two first orders; the Tiers Etat, with the exception of some old municipal liberties, which were no longer regarded with interest, had nothing to regret in the past, everything to expect from the future. It thus became in the last part of its political action the great focus, the indefatigable instrument of the new spirit, of the ideas of social justice, of equal liberty among all, and of civic fraternity. It is not here implied that this spirit, superior in its independence to the customs and interests of order and class, yet availing itself of those customs for its own purposes, and of those interests in order to render its adoption less repulsive and less restricted, should necessarily continue a stranger to the classes whose exclusive rights, already lost in part, were condemned to perish for the general good. If the unprivileged order was naturally disposed by its very instincts and interests to such inspirations, it could not be alone in feeling them. Wherever elevated minds and generous hearts met, there was found food to cherish what may be named the idea of modern liberality; that voice of opinion, which renovated everything in 1789, had its brilliant and sincere instruments among the nobility and clergy. Strange, too, as it may appear, it was at the very court of Louis XIV., in the circle of his grandson, in the meetings of grands seigneurs, that the first attempt at a political reaction originated, springing from a lively sympathy with the sufferings of the people, against the intolerable dogma and the necessary evils of unlimited monarchy.
It is known that a writer of talent, an admirable bishop and ardent philanthropist, Fénelon, was the soul of those projects of which he had sown the seed in lessons which he gave during five years to the heir to the throne.* The plan of government, conceived by him, and embraced enthusiastically by the future successor of Louis XIV., presented a curious mixture of aristocratic spirit and affection for the popular interests.* This plan, to which a vague celebrity is attached, had the praiseworthy merit of being suggested by the consciousness of existing abuses and evils, with the enormous defect of applying to those abuses remedies worse than the evil itself. It destroyed the centralisation of the government, and even the government itself, properly so called, suppressed the intendants of provinces, and replaced the ministers by councils.† Depriving royalty of its modern character, it made of it, no longer the living image, the active personification of the State, but an inactive privilege, serving merely to crown a hierarchy of privileges, and depending upon this hierarchy while rendering it protection.* This was to retrograde towards feudal monarchy, in order to avoid the evils of absolute monarchy, and to undo the work of ages instead of perfectionising it.
By the side of the States-General, which had become a regular institution, of the provincial States which were established to the number of twenty, at least, by a new division of the provinces, of cantonal diets appointed for the assessment and redistribution of the taxes, were found in this so-called free constitution the still more definite separation of the orders, and new distinctions of classes: for the clergy an entire independence with respect to the civil power; for the high nobility political prerogatives; for the noble born in general, the admission by preference to all the offices, the re-establishment of the juges d’épée in the bailliages, and their introduction into the parliaments; lastly, for the Tiers Etat there was a diminution or suppression of offices which for a long time had devolved on them.* By the strangest contrast, moreover, to provisions which seem like a contradiction to the traditional progress of society in France, there were joined others, the generosity of which was in advance of the times and the expectations that could reasonably be entertained; taxation was extended in every shape to all the classes of the nation; in this respect there were no longer privileges for the two first orders, nor vexation for the people from the mode in which the collection of taxes was farmed.*
In spite of the liberal doctrines which the Duke of Burgundy and his friends professed, and of which they sincerely believed that this work was the expression,† this wretched medley of contradictory elements, which was a twofold innovation, firstly, in its character of a social philanthropy, and, secondly, as it restored a distinction of rights and classes according to birth,—a distinction which raised the nobility up again from their political fall, and lowered the positions which the Tiers Etat had gained by length of time,—this constitution, opposed both to reason and history, had not a chance of being popular for a single day, if it could have passed from the world of dreams into that of realities. The French monarchy, when it was to be no longer absolute, should have continued administrative; French liberty should have been founded, not upon a distinction, still more marked than before, but upon the fusion of the orders, not upon the depression, but upon the continued elevation of the commonalty.
The death of the Dauphin when scarcely thirty years old, cut off at once these designs and the hopes which were entertained of his reign.* Louis XIV. had but a vague knowledge of the plans elaborated by his grandson in the secrecy of friendship.† He admired the serious spirit and high qualities of the young prince, but all besides was an object of distrust and antipathy to him,* and that as much from his straightforwardness of mind as from his despotic instincts. If he had within him an extravagant faith, it was his deep conviction of the wisdom of his ancestors, of the civilising efficacy of that power, when united and concentrated, which he had received from them, which he no doubt abused, but which he developed in the same way as they had done. In the midst of all the pomp of his court, he was in his way a leveller; in his estimation merit had claims superior to those of birth; he opened ways as wide as possible to the rise of new men; instead of dividing he united. He laboured to render the political unity of the country complete, and, without knowing it, prepared at a distance the accession of the one great and sovereign community of the nation.
In this manner, in spite of its too evident defects, the policy of Louis XIV. was more intelligent and of greater value for the future, than the specious imaginations of the reformers of his times; he formed his opinion of what ought to be his task according to the work of his predecessors, and he performed it faithfully, according to his means and powers. Whether we allow or refuse him the name of Great, which was decreed to him by admiration mixed with flattery,* it is impossible not to be sensible of the impression which is produced in history by that kingly person, calm and proud, serious and mild, attentive and reflecting, one to which the idea of Majesty so well corresponds. It is even impossible not to regret at times the severe blame which justice compels us to join to the praise which is due to him; and this feeling arises not when we contemplate his reign, brilliant with all that forms the splendour and the power of States, but when we behold the kingdom deprived of its strength and prosperity, and the monarch once loaded with glory, with nothing left to hope for but from his struggle with misfortune. It is when, vanquished on all his frontiers by the coalition of Europe, he prolonged that last combat with an unshaken firmness, forgetting himself in order to spare the country the miseries of a foreign invasion, sacrificing his pride, and ready to give his life for the national independence.† It is also when, in the severest of his reverses, he saw, without allowing himself to despond, his son, and his grandchildren, die around him;* or lastly, when at the close of his existence, he expressed in touching words, an admirable constancy of mind, a courage without ostentation, which he carried even to a confession of his errors.†
Besides the splendour which was shed upon his reign by the renown of so many men of talent, whom it is unnecessary to name here; besides his dearly purchased glory, and transient prosperity, in all the phases of his long reign,* in spite of enormous errors, he had one incontestable merit, that of being the first to present a complete form of administration, embracing at once, without exertion, in a continuous manner, all the material and intellectual interests of the country. In this respect the government of Louis XIV. made an immense step in advance of those which had preceded it; he fixed the basis of that which I should call the administrative constitution of the government; it was, with the exception of political liberty, one of the greatest governments which France had possessed up to our days.† It is from him that we properly date the regular action of the State, the sociableness, manners, language, and national taste of our own times. At this point of our history we find our present condition in great measure established; beyond it, we have difficulty in recognising ourselves. It is like a mould, the powerful impress of which has remained on the principal elements of our civilisation, literature, art, industry, civil order, and military forces.
From this moment we see the power, free in its motions, proceed from the centre to the extremities, and thence ascend again by sure and easy ways. In the department of each ministry we see in full action those numerous offices in which traditions are preserved, and in which documents are accumulated. Lastly, we see the prudence of the government presented in a degree of maturity; it knows of what value is the care of the future, and on every point it devotes itself to it; it institutes learned societies, and insures itself effective bodies of officers; it founds schools of art and schools of arms, forms new harbours, arsenals, and scientific collections.
Some remarkable advancements towards the great national fusion of ranks accompanied the new developments of the administrative power, under Louis XIV. Considered in a social point of view, the spirit of his government was to tend by every sort of means to the approximation of classes. He annihilated the independence of the nobles without interrupting peace; compelled the great lords without apparent constraint to the court life, and to regular service in the army; and everywhere, even at court, made the dignity attached to office take the precedence of birth.* Marshals, whether they were nobles or not, took the precedence of dukes; ministers of bourgeois birth were second to none but princes of the blood, and their wives were admitted to the King’s table.* In the army there no longer existed any necessary preference of the high nobility over the inferior in regard to rank, nor of the nobility over the commons; seniority of service constituted the right to promotion, and, except in cases of signal merit or particular favour, they followed the order of the list.†
The old aristocracy, generally cut off from public affairs, had no longer either power or political influence as a distinct class; the sum of their privileges was reduced to exemptions from taxes, which the exchequer frequently rendered illusory, to the exclusive right of admission into an order of knighthood,* and to some seigneurial rights, which had become less profitable to them than burdensome to the inhabitants of the country.† One of their members, a man of talent, but infatuated with family pride, calls the reign of Louis XIV. a reign of the vile bourgeoisie, words the bitterness of which proves that after Richelieu and the fall of the Fronde, something took place in France towards the furtherance of civil equality, which had the appearance of revolution in the eyes of contemporaries.*
At the same time that the nobility, humbled without violence, retrograded upon the ranks of the middle class, the latter rose by a start more suddenly than ever in capacity, social consideration, and importance in the State. It was to them that the new encouragements given to industry and study were profitable; their active and inventive powers were developed in every direction; fortunes were rapidly accumulated by their more extended undertakings, and the highest careers were now opened to their ambition of advancement. They obtained successes, credit, and power, the examples of which struck forcibly the great moralist of the age. La Bruyère has described with his inimitable touch, that emulation of useful labour, in contrast with the supineness of spirit and the idleness of the high nobility.† Under Louis XIV. almost all the ministers sprung from the bourgeoisie;* many of the illustrious names among the military,† and among the literary all the great names with three exceptions were plebeian.‡
But if this last glory, the highest and most lasting of the reign, the one which makes it reckoned as an epoch in the history of the human mind, results in so large a proportion from the Tiers Etat, a share of it is also due to the personal influence of the King. Not only did Louis XIV., with the advice of Colbert, make a provision for literary persons by instituting regular pensions in their favour; but of his own accord he did more, he honoured them with his favours. He assigned them a place at court, and placed their free association, the French Academy, in the rank of the great corporations of the States.* He ennobled literature in a manner by his familiarity full of consideration with the principal among them; and by his natural dignity, his correctness of judgment, and his purity of taste, he exercised, without laying claim to it, a real influence over it.† Something of that chastened boldness, of that perfect proportion of force and grace, of reason and imagination, which is the character of the chefs d’œuvres of the second half of the seventeenth century, is derived from him.*
The same reign which put the seal on political unity, and carried out administrative unity almost to its entire development, laid the foundations also of that which may be called the moral unity of France. From the approximation of classes and different professions, from the more frequent intermixture of the nobility and bourgeoisie in the high spheres of government, fortune, and society; a mixed society was formed under Louis XIV., no longer confined to the intimacy of certain salons, but co-extensive with the general intercourse of life,—the genuine society of France modelled upon one and the same type of refinement and good taste. Thither the hereditary habits, the traditional manners, the characteristic traits, derived by each from his origin and his condition, came to be fused and tempered together in one form of good breeding. Nobles and commoners, military men and professional, literary and commercial, were no longer distinguished on their first introduction by a contrast of manners.† A tinge of urbanity shed over all conditions, assistance of every kind held out to meet the want of instruction, an easy life and refined pleasures made Paris a residence attractive to foreigners; while, among ourselves, the conformity of tastes and mind extending wider and wider, opened the ways to a social power, which soon gained the ascendancy over all the others,—the power of public opinion.
By a movement similar to that which had taken place in the political order, and next in the administrative order, the moral life of the nation was also more and more attracted to the centre. The ideas, the modes of life and thought peculiar to each province, were weakened and modified under the dominion of a general rivalry; of a leaning to imitate the tone and the manners of the capital. This impulse even extended its action beyond its sphere, it produced political effects; it hastened the ruin of the ancient provincial institutions, already far advanced, throughout the kingdom. Although under and after the reign of Louis XIV. there still existed particular states in France preserving by exception their Deliberative Assemblies, this remnant of the liberties of the Middle Ages was but a shadow before the power of the intendants, which was becoming more and more active and absolute.* Nowhere, except in Brittany, and there for reasons belonging to the particular history of that province, did the resistance of the ancient corporations to the encroachments of the central authority induce anything beyond a waning opposition and struggles without any important result.†
Since the reign of Henry IV. up to an advanced period of the reign of Louis XIV., the municipal system had not undergone any important alteration. Although watched and controlled in a manner more and more strict,‡ this system preserved its old foundations and its principle of liberty by the election of magistrates, when a stroke of government of a fiscal rather than of a political nature abolished it as a right, and, as a fact, only left to it a precarious and conditional existence. In the severest pressure of a war, the expenditure of which was only covered by means of financial expedients, among which figured the creation of venal offices,* government hit upon the idea of seizing upon the urban magistracies, and upon all the offices in the gift of the cities, of erecting them into hereditary offices, and of selling them, at the highest price, either to individuals or to the cities themselves. A permanent mayor, and assessors, who were hereditary candidates for the offices of échevins, consuls, capitouls, jurats, syndics, were imposed upon all the municipalities of the kingdom,* which ceased to be elective (unless they should have purchased the new offices with their revenues), in order to abolish them, or, as they said, to re-unite them to the corporation of the city.
In putting up these offices, now become royal, and set off with the title of counsellors of the king,† to the highest bidder, they had calculated on the one hand upon the passion of the rich bourgeois families for hereditary appointments; on the other, upon the attachment of the cities to their immemorial franchises; and this daring confiscation of the municipal system was founded, above all, on the political impotence to which, in spite of the popular character of its forms, this system was reduced. In reality no rising took place in its defence; there was only a general complaint, more or less sharp, more or less bitter, but everywhere followed by submission. The cities, both great and small, made it a duty and a point of honour with themselves to buy back their privileges; at the price of heavy sacrifices they became the purchasers of the greater part of the newly-created offices, and what is worthy of remark, this reunion, which let the ancient state of things still exist, or re-established it, far from being displeasing to the government, received, on the contrary, its co-operation.*
When the reign of Louis XIV. terminated, the urban administration presented the strangest incongruities. According as the cities were in a condition to buy back their franchises, there were some municipalities elective, others permanent, others composed partly of offices dependent on the community of citizens, and partly of those possessed in right of private property. This irregularity, and the acts of authority which had produced it, formed a prominent feature among the grievances, the redress of which was demanded in the most pressing manner of the legislation under the new reign. The answer desired was not long delayed; and in the month of June, 1716, the Prince, who ruled in the name of Louis XV., then a minor, decreed that all the cities of the kingdom should enter again into the full enjoyment of their rights. This edict, by which all the offices—whether re-united or not, whether paid for or not by the cities—were suppressed, proclaimed the restoration of the ancient municipal government, and seemed seriously to guarantee it respect and support.* But the illusion was short in this respect: a great fiscal experiment had been made; it was ascertained that the cities put to ransom for rights which were dear to them, paid without resistance; six years after, in a formidable crisis of the treasury, all the municipal offices, created and put up to auction by Louis XIV., were treated in the same way by the regent.*
This second confiscation of the communal liberties, more open than the first, described without evasion as a financial expedient,† marked their destiny for the future. They were thenceforth reckoned among the means of raising money in extreme emergencies. It was the play of the Government to sell, withdraw, and to sell again its appointments of mayors, lieutenants of mayors, assessors, échevins, consuls, capitouls, jurats, permanent syndics, and to squeeze the cities by the renewed threat of an intrusion of hereditary officers.* From 1722 to 1789 the municipal government did not remain for sixteen years free from the payment of a ransom. In this space of time, with the exception of two intervals—one from 1724 to 1733, the other from 1764 to 1771—no election of magistrates in the communes could be made except by virtue of letters-patent, which they had to purchase.* Thus the original right did not exist any longer in reality, even there, where in appearance it continued to be exercised; and this state of things continued up to the epoch of the revolution.
I have anticipated the order of time, but it is in order to mention, once for all, those sad and monotonous vicissitudes which a less summary history will exhibit at length. At the point which I have reached, if the ancient municipal government were still an object of pride and attachment from its recollections with many cities, it had completely ceased to be a source of strength to the progressive classes of the nation. I shall not speak of them any further; but it is not without a sympathetic regret that I bid adieu to those free communities, which were the cradle of the Tiers Etat, the first and vigorous expression of its political instincts. For the historian who may wish to follow them in their extreme decline through the eighteenth century there will still be circumstances worthy of remark, and characteristics of moral excellence to extol. Such must be reckoned, for instance, that constancy exhibited in the cities which made them exhaust their wealth for the purchase of a last remnant of liberty, though it made no advantageous return of prosperity or public order, and a sentiment of the sacredness of civic rights, expressed in high and proud language in the complaints which were addressed in their name to the government which exacted their ransom.*
If the municipal institutions were not able to raise themselves up from the indirect blow aimed at them by Louis XIV., it was not so with the great judicial institution on which the spirit of the Tiers Etat was so forcibly impressed.* Struck at directly by the king in its political prerogatives, the parliament bent beneath him, but only for a time; and when he was dead, it sprang up again, more powerful than ever. This power of the supreme corporation proceeded from two opposite sources—the one popular, the other aristocratic: the latter was the esprit de corps increased by the pride of family from the inheritance of offices; the former was the affection of the commonalty, arising from sympathy of origin, and cherished by long services rendered to the cause of common right, of civil equality, and national independence.†
As we have already seen, the history of the parliament since the thirteenth century is a succession of slow but always sure advancements; it grows in the eyes of the nation at the same time as Royalty, which it seemed at once to aid and to watch, whose way it enlightens, and which it aspires to direct. In the sixteenth century its legislative control, its right of remonstrance before the registration of edicts, was either accepted by the king or demanded by opinion;* and as not only the edicts of the kings, but also the bulls of the pope invested with the royal authorization, and the treaties concluded with foreign powers, were necessarily registered, the parliament interposed in all the great affairs of the state, both foreign and domestic.* It regarded itself with pride as a power invested with the guardianship of the public, a mediator between the people and the king, a moderator between the Crown and the Church, a preserver of the laws and regulator of all the jurisdictions of the kingdom.† Its pretensions, kept down in the seventeenth century under the ministry of Richelieu,‡ re-appeared with more pride and greatness than even during the Fronde: it then went so far as to believe itself superior to the States-General, and to put forward by the mouth of its heads this strange and bold paradox.*
The impression which Louis XIV. received from the troubles of his infancy rendered the least opposition of the parliament odious to him at an early period. In 1655, when he was but seventeen years old, and had not yet assumed the government, having learned at Vincennes that the court, with all its chambers assembled,† was deliberating on an edict, he came in his riding dress into the room of the palace, and followed up this cavalier entrance with some imperious orders, which is one of the traits of his life most frequently quoted, and which at once revealed the haughtiness of his character.* When he had taken the government in hand, he dealt some blows less rough, but with a more lasting effect, at the prerogatives of parliament. First, he suppressed the name of sovereign courts and officially replaced it by that of Superior Courts, he next abolished in all the courts of the kingdom the power of making remonstrances before registering the laws. This was to spoil the parliament of its political part, and to confine it for the future within the circle of its judicial functions. Such was the object of the declaration of February 24, 1673,* against which there was raised from the midst of that body, which was wounded in its most cherished rights, a protest which d’Aguesseau admired, and which he calls the last cry of expiring liberty.† From that time to the end of the reign, that is to say, during forty-two years, there was not the shadow of a remonstrance from the court; all the fresh edicts were inserted in its registers, and so rendered capable of execution without discussion and without delay.‡
But this silence did not extinguish the political life of the parliament, which seized again, in a striking manner, upon its liberty and power the day after the death of the great King. It annulled the will of Louis XIV. as seventy-two years before it had annulled that of Louis XIII.* It assumed again, and from that time preserved the venerated name of Sovereign court, which seemed to give it a claim to a share of the Sovereignty.† Its intervention in the affairs of State was more frequent and decided than ever. It became aggressive and usurping upon the weakened royalty, and the public opinion followed it in this bold career, attached to it by the very excess of its pretensions and its pride. The sole remaining one of all the ancient institutions which the seventeenth century had not despoiled of power and popularity, it was the legal chain, which, through the States-General, whose last convocation it promoted, led to the new order of things, in which it made its own disappearance.
END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.
clarke and beeton, printers, [Editor: illegible word] street fleet street
[* ]France is a monarchical government in the full extent of the expression. The king represents the whole nation, and each person represents but a single individual in relation to the king. Consequently, all power, all authority reside in the hands of the king, and there can be no other in the kingdom but such as he establishes. . . . The nation does not exist as a body in France; it resides entirely in the person of the king. (Manuscript of a course of public law on France, composed for the instruction of the Duke of Burgundy, quotation made by Lemontey, Œuvres complètes, t. v., p. 15.)
[* ]The first sign of a reaction of mind shewed itself in the year 1690 by the publication of fifteen memoirs on the government of Louis XIV., printed abroad, under the title, Les soupirs de la France esclave qui aspire après sa liberté. The anonymous author denounces in strong terms what he calls the oppression of the Church, of the magistracy, of the nobility, and the cities; he denounces the doctrines of absolute monarchy, and demands, in the name of the rights of the people, the convocation of the States-General.
[* ]From 1689 to 1694 Fénelon discharged the duties of preceptor to the Duke of Burgundy, who, on the death of the dauphin, his father, in 1711, became heir-presumptive.
[* ]In the works of Fénelon, t. xxii., see the writing entitled, “Plans du gouvernement concertés avec le Duc de Chevreuse, pour être proposés au Duc de Bourgogne,” November, 1711. The Duke of Burgundy, when he became dauphin, was associated by Louis XIV. in the labours of the council. He had, as his principal confidants in his political views, under the initiative of the Archbishop of Cambray, the Duke of Beauvilliers, his former tutor, and the dukes of Chevreuse and Saint-Simon. (See the Memoirs of the last, t. x., p. 4, 204, 209, and t. xii., p. 260.)
[† ]The intendants of justice, police, and finance were instituted by Richelieu. All the ministries, except the office of chancellor, were to be abolished, and their powers divided among six councils, acting under the control of the council of state presided over by the king. The six councils were named, council of foreign affairs, of ecclesiastical affairs, of war, of the navy, of finance, and of despatches, or of the interior of the kingdom. This mode of administration was tried, with wretched success, under the regency of the Duke of Orleans. (Voy. Mémoires de Saint-Simon, t. x., p. 6, 7, 8; and t. xii., p. 267, 269, and 270.)
[* ]The whole administration ought to be exercised in each province by particular states, under the supreme control of the States-General of the kingdom. The council of the interior, of finance, and the council of state itself, have not, as far as appears, other administrative authority than the right of inspection by commissioners. We give below what the plans of government arranged with the Duke of Chevreuse express in this respect: “Establishment of particular states in all the provinces, with power, &c.—a sufficiency of the monies which the particular states may raise to pay their part of the sum total of the expenses of the state—superiority of the States-General over those of the provinces; corrections of things done by the provincial States on complaint and proof—general revision of the accounts of the particular States in regard to monies and ordinary expenses—no intendants; missi dominici only from time to time.” (Œuvres de Fénelon, t. xxii., p. 579, 580, and 581.)
[* ]Support of the nobility: every family shall have one on whom sufficient property is entailed, majorasgo of Spain. In the families of the high nobility entails not to be small; less for the ordinary nobility—Misalliances forbidden to either sex—Ennoblements forbidden except in cases of signal service rendered to the State—Every duke a peer—They must wait for a place till a vacancy occurs; they must not attend any but the States-General. Letters for marquises, counts, viscounts, barons, as for dukes. Justice: the Chancellor, head of the Tiers Etat, should hold an inferior rank as heretofore. Preference given to nobles over commons of equal merit for the appointments of president and counsellors. Magistrates to be of noble birth, and those with this qualification to be preferred to professional men, when it shall be possible. No presidial judges: their rights assigned to the bailliages. To re-establish the right of one of birth as bailiff to exercise his office there. Lieutenant-général, and lieutenant criminel, nobles if possible. (Plans du Gouvernement concertés avec le Duc de Chevreuse, Ibid., p. 590, 591, 592. See above, chap. vii., the demands of the nobility in the States-General of 1614.)
[* ]Etablissement d’assiettes, which is a small court of each diocese, as in Languedoc, in which the bishop sits with the seigneurs and the Tiers Etat, which regulates the collection of the taxes according to the register of lands—To proportion the taxes to the natural productiveness of the country and the commerce which flourishes there—Cessation of excise on salt, grosses fermes, poll-tax, and royal tithes. Taxes by the States of the country on salt, without excise—No more financiers—Ecclesiastics must contribute to the expenses of the State from their revenues. (Plans du Gouvernement, &c., Ibid, p. 579, 580, and 586.) The principle of a proportional equality in matter of taxation, one of the bases of this financial system, had been laid down by Vauban, in his celebrated memoir entitled Dîme Royale.
[† ]I dare not embellish a noble expression, an expression of a prince deeply impressed: that a king is made for his subjects, and not the subjects for him, as he uttered it freely in public, and even in the salon de Marly. (Mémoires de Saint Simon, t. x., p. 212. Fénelon repeats continually in his political writings and correspondence, that all despotism is bad government; that without national liberties there is neither order nor justice in the State, nor real greatness for the prince; that the body of the nation ought to have a part in public affairs.
[* ]He was born the 6th of August, 1682, and died the 18th February, 1712.
[† ]After the death of the Duke of Burgundy, the king had brought to him a casket filled with private papers, which were burnt. He gave this order, not, as was thought, through vexation, and after a complete examination of them, but in consequence of a ruse of the Duke de Beauvilliers, who fatigued him by reading some long memoirs without interest, in order to remove his wish of hearing the rest read. Another casket containing some papers relative to the matters agreed upon between the prince and his friends was saved by the latter. (See the Mémoires de Saint Simon, t. xii., p. 267.)
[* ]We know the expression of the king after a conversation which he wished to have with Fénelon upon the principles of his government: “I have been conversing with the most excellent and most chimerical mind in my kingdom.” (See Voltaire, Siècle de Louis XIV., t. ii., c. xxxviii., p. 452, édit. Beuchot.)
[* ]This title, first inscribed on some medals struck in honour of the king, was solemnly conferred upon him in 1680 by the Hôtel de Ville of Paris.
[† ]See the events of the reign from 1708 to 1713, the year of the peace of Utrecht. This constancy, this firmness of mind, this uniform outward bearing, this undeviating anxiety still to hold the helm as long as he could, this hoping against all hope, from courage and wisdom, not from blindness, these appearances in the king under all circumstances—are what few persons could be capable of, what would have made him deserve the name of Great, which had been so prematurely given to him. (Mémoires de Saint-Simon, t. xiii., p. 163.) I have always submitted myself to the divine will; and the ills with which it may please that will to afflict my kingdom, do not permit me to doubt of the sacrifice which it requires me to make of all that I may feel most sensibly. I forget then my glory. (Letter of Louis XIV. to his Minister in Holland, 29th April, 1709, cited by M. Mignet, Négociations, &c., t. i., introduction, p. xcii.) Landrecies could not hold out any longer. (June, 1712.) It was discussed at Versailles whether the king should retreat to Chambord on the Loire. He said to Maréchal d’Harcourt that, in case of a fresh disaster, he should convoke all the nobility, whom he would lead against the enemy, in spite of his age, now full seventy-four years, and would die at the head of them. (Voltaire, Siècle de Louis XIV., ch. xii., t. 11, p. 100, de l’édition Beuchot.)
[* ]Louis, the dauphin, died in 1711; Louis, Duke of Burgundy, and his son Louis, Duke of Britanny, died in 1712.
[† ]See the Memoirs of Saint-Simon, t. xii., p. 483, 485, and 491. Louis XIV. died 1st September, 1715, three days before he had completed his seventy-seventh year. His reign had lasted seventy-two years from the death of Louis XIII., and fifty-four from that of Mazarin.
[* ]I here speak only of the personal reign of Louis XIV., which lasted, as has been seen, from 1661 to 1715.
[† ]See the Histoire générale de la civilisation en Europe, by M. Guizot, 14 leçon.
[* ]By degrees he reduced everybody to serve, and, to swell his court, even those of whom he made little account. He who was of age to serve did not venture to delay entering the service. This was again another expedient to ruin the lords, and to accustom them to equality, and to mix pêle-mêle with every body. . . . . . Under the pretence that all military service is honourable, and that it is right to learn to obey before they command, he subjected all, without any exception but of the princes of the blood, to commence by being cadets in his body-guard, and by discharging exactly the same duties as the privates of the guards, both within doors and without, winter and summer, and with the army. (Mémoires de Saint-Simon, t. xiii., p. 56.)
[* ]Thence the secretaries and ministers began to leave off, one after another, first the cloak, then the bands; then, after the black, the plain, simple, modest dress; lastly, to dress themselves as persons of rank, then to assume their manners, then their privileges, and, step by step, they were admitted to dine with the king; and their wives, first for personal reasons, as Madame Colbert long before Madame Louvois; afterwards, some years after her, all by right of the places which their husbands held, to dine, and to come in their carriages, and to be the same in all respects as ladies of the highest quality. (Ibid. p. 17.)
[† ]Great and small, known or unknown, were then forced to enter and continue in the service, to be then as common people in a position of equality, and in the most abject dependence on the minister of war, and even of his clerks (Ibid, p. 58.) It was laid down that every one, whoever he might be, who was in the service, should continue in a state of complete equality, as far as service and rank were concerned. This made promotion to a regiment or delay much more sensibly felt, because all the other promotions which, were only made according to seniority, which is called l’ordre du tableau depended on this. (Mémoires de Saint-Simon, t. xiii., p. 56.)
[* ]The order of the Saint-Esprit.
[† ]The privileges of the nobles are but shadows and cobwebs, which do not protect them from anything. Their tenants and their lands pay the king such excessive taxes, that all the income of their property is consumed. Under pretence of remedying some disorders, which doubtless required to be looked to, intendants have been sent into the provinces, who exercise over the nobles an intolerable dominion, and reduce them to slavery. At present it is necessary for a noble to have right twice over to gain a suit against a peasant. (The Soupirs de la France esclave, &c., Amsterdam, 1689, p. 15.)
[* ]Mémoires de Saint-Simon, t. iii., p. 316. Thence the elevation of the pen and the gown, and the depression of the nobility by degrees, which may be observed elsewhere even to a marvel, as is seen and felt to-day; and these gentlemen of the pen and gown have known well how to keep it up, by aggravating their yoke every day; so that things have come to such a pass, that the highest seigneur receives no consideration whatever, and that in a thousand different ways he depends on the lowest commoner. (Ibid, t. xii., p. 265.)
[† ]While the great neglect to learn anything, I do not mean only of the interests of princes and public affairs, but even of their own; while they are ignorant of the economy or knowledge necessary for a father of a family, and pique themselves upon this ignorance; while they allow themselves to be impoverished and managed by their stewards; while they are content to be connoisseurs and côteaux, to call on Thais or Phryné, to speak of the hounds or of the old pack, to tell how many stages there are from Paris to Besançon or Philisbourg, citizens instruct themselves in the domestic and foreign interests of the kingdom, study the government, become acute and political, know what are the strong and weak points of a whole state, think how to place themselves, obtain place, raise themselves, become powerful, relieve the prince of a part of the public cares. The great, who despised, learn to respect them, happy if they only become their sons-in-law. (Les caractères de la Bruyère, ch. ix., Des grands.)
[* ]On the list of secretaries of state, before and since the time of Mazarin, the following names strike us at first sight: Bouthillier, Bailleul, Servien, Guénégaud, Fouquet, Michel le Tellier, Le Tellier de Louvois, Le Tellier de Barbézieux, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Colbert de Seignelay, Colbert de Croissi, Colbert de Torci, Arnaud de Pomponne, Phélipeaux de la Vrillière, Phélipeaux de Châteauneuf, Le Péletier, Desmarets, Chamillard. The chancellors, as formerly chosen from the magistracy, do not figure in this catalogue, unless they had made their débût in the ministry through another department than that of justice.
[† ]Fabert and Catinat, Duquesne and Duguay-Trouin.
[‡ ]Corneille, Pascal, Molière, Racine, La Fontaine, Boileau, Bossuet, Bourdaloue, Fléchier, Massillon, La Bruyère, Arnaud, Nicole, Domat, and, if we add the artists, Le Poussin, Le Sueur, Le Lorrain, Philippe de Champagne, Lebrun, Pujet. The excepted names are those of Fénelon, Larochefoucauld, and Madame de Sévigné.
[* ]The Academy, since the death of Richelieu, was under the official patronage of the chancellor. About 1672 the king declared himself personally the patron, and conferred on it the right of coming to address him on solemn occasions, as the parliament and the other superior courts did.
[* ]See the Histoire de la Littérature Française, by M. D. Nisard, t. ii., chap. vii.; and the Histoire de France by M. Henri Martin, t. xv., p. 33, and foll.
[† ]All the different conditions of life were before easily recognised by the defects which characterised them. The military and youths intended for the profession of arms affected an impassioned liveliness; the lawyers a forbidding gravity, to which the custom of always wearing the gown, even at court, did not a little contribute. It was the same with members of the university and physicians. The merchants also wore short coats when they assembled together, and when they waited on the ministers, and the greatest merchants were at that time men of coarse manners. But the houses, the theatres, the public promenades, where they began to assemble to enjoy a more agreeable life, gradually rendered the comportment of all the citizens almost the same. It is perceived at the present day, that even behind the counter politeness has gained upon all the classes. The provinces have been in the course of time affected by all these changes. (Voltaire, Siècle de Louis XIV., édit. Beuchot, chap. xxix., t. ii., p. 269.)
[* ]These magistrates, instituted by Richelieu in 1635, under the title of intendants of justice, police, and finance, were suppressed during the Fronde, and re-established by Mazarin. It is at that time that the particular states of the provinces, with the exception of Languedoc, ceased to be assembled. The territories, for which the name of pays d’états was from that time specially reserved, are, Languedoc, Britanny, Burgundy, Provence, Dauphiny, Flanders, Artois, Hainault, and Cambresis, the county of Pau, the county of Foix, Bigorre, Marsan, Nébouzan, and Quatre-Vallées.
[† ]See the work entitled, Une province sous Louis XIV., by M. Alexandre Thomas.
[‡ ]Edicts of Louis XIII., July, 1622, May, 1633, and May, 1634, created, with the title of royal offices, hereditary registrars in all the cities and communities of the southern provinces; and another edict of the same king, June, 1635, instituted, besides these officers, hereditary attorneys of the city in the municipalities within the jurisdiction of parliament, and of the chamber of exchequer at Paris. The motives of this double creation are thus declared by Louis XIV., who, by an edict of July, 1690, renewed and extended it through the whole kingdom:—“The late king, our very honoured lord and father, believed that, for the purpose of restoring order in the said communities, to prevent the waste of their common revenues, both of patrimony and grant, and to stop the course of abuses which were committed with too much licence, there were no more sure means than to establish certain permanent officers, who, having an entire knowledge of affairs, should be in a position to instruct the other elective magistrates, who are only temporary, and all concurring together for the same purpose, should not fail to make the public perceive the salutary effects of a good administration.” (Rec. des anciennes Lois Françaises, t. xx., p. 106.)
[* ]The war with Germany commenced in 1668, and was concluded in 1697 by the treaty of Ryswyk.
[* ]Paris and Lyons, by a dispensation of exception, retained their prevôts de marchands; but these two cities each received twelve assessors in virtue of hereditary offices. See the edict of August, 1692, creating mayors and assessors in each city and community of the kingdom; the decree of the council of the 5th December, 1693, containing a general regulation for the duties, rank, and sittings of the mayors, assessors, &c.; the edict of March, 1702, creating in each province lieutenants of the prévôts des marchands at Paris and Lyons; and the edict of December, 1706, creating a permanent mayor and lieutenants of mayors, to act by turns and triennially in each city. (Rec. des anciennes Lois Françaises, t. xx., p. 158, 203, 408, 410, and 492.)
[† ]The king having, by his edict of the month of August, 1692, created offices of counsellors of his majesty, permanent mayors of cities, places, and communities of his kingdom, assessors of the said mayors, and commissioners of inspection in the cities and military magazines, by another edict of the same month. . . . (Decree of the Council, December 5, 1693.)
[* ]. . . . We have resolved, not only to suppress those of the said offices which remain to be sold or reunited, and to grant to the communities the liberty of having the duties performed by the subjects whom they shall choose to appoint, but moreover, in order to re-establish in the hôtels de ville of our kingdom the order which was established there before our said edicts for the election of mayors, lieutenants of mayors, secretaries, registrars, and other officers necessary for the administration of their common affairs, to permit the communities to dispossess the purchasers or nominees of those offices . . . . . by reimbursing them, however, in one single payment for what they shall have paid. (Edict of September, 1714, Recueil des anciennes lois Françaises, t. xx., p. 637.)
[* ]We desire to re-establish the order which was observed before 1690 in the administration of all the cities and communities of our kingdom, whether they shall have bought or re-united the said offices, under whatever title it might be, in order to have the liberty of having the exercise of them in whole or in part, or in order merely to enjoy salaries and rights belonging to them, or whether the said offices may have been sold to private individuals; we have determined to suppress all the offices without exception, and to give to all the cities, communities, and parishes of our kingdom the liberty which they possessed, to elect and nominate mayors and échevins, consuls, capitouls, jurats, secretaries, registrars, syndics, and other municipal officers, in order to administer their common affairs. (Rec. des anciennes Lois Françaises, t. xxi., p. 117.) See the declaration of 17th July, 1717, ordering that the mayors and other officers of the hôtels de ville shall be elected as they were before the year 1690, and the decree of the council of the 4th September in the same year. (Ibid, p. 148 and 156.)
[* ]The necessity of providing for the exact payment of the arrears, and for the repayment of the capitals of the debts of the government, has obliged us to look for the means most convenient for the purpose, and we saw no surer expedient, nor one less onerous to our people, than the re-establishment of the different offices suppressed since our accession to the crown. (Edict of August, 1722, Rec. des anciennes Lois Françaises, t. xxi., p. 209.)
[† ]In the edict of August, 1692, the real motives had been dissembled, and disguised under political pretexts:—“The care which we have always taken to choose the most capable of our subjects among those who have been presented to us to fill the office of mayor in the principal cities of our kingdom, has not prevented cabals and parties from having very often taken part in the election of these magistrates, whence it has almost always happened that the officers so elected, in order to keep well with the individuals to whom they are indebted for their employment, and with those who they foresee would succeed to their power, have overcharged the other inhabitants of the cities, and especially those who refused them their votes. . . This is why we have judged it advisable to create mayors by right in all the cities and places of our kingdom, who not being indebted for their offices to the votes of private individuals, and not having reason to fear their successors, shall exercise the duties of their office without prejudice, and with all the liberty which is necessary to preserve equality in the public offices. (Rec. des anciennes Lois Françaises, t. xx., p. 159.)
[* ]The offices established in 1722 were suppressed by the edict of July, 1724; they were established again by the edict of November, 1733, and suppressed again by the edict of August, 1764; the edict of November, 1771, re-established them for the third time, and this was definitively.
[* ]The edict of 1724, which gratuitously suppressed for the second time the offices imposed on the cities, was delivered at the accession of a new ministry, that of the Duke of Bourbon, and the new administration sought a means of popularity in that suppression. The edict of 1764, which, by suppressing the hereditary municipal offices for the third time, declared that they should not be re-established under any pretext, was delivered by the popular administration of the Duke of Choiseul. It was his object to model in an uniform shape the urban administration throughout the kingdom, by giving it as its basis election by an assembly of notables. It was the ministry in which the Abbé Terray held the department of finance which made the municipalities subject again to the system of offices, maintained this time up to the revolution. (See the Rec. des anciennes Lois Françaises, t. xxii., p. 405 and 539.)
[* ]The payment of the price exacted for the reunion of the municipal offices took place either separately in each city, or collectively through the province. Inquiries about the sums voted for that purpose in one or the other method would not be without interest. Before the edict of 1771, the states of Provence had already expended, to keep up the right of election in the cities and boroughs of the country, 12,500,000 francs; after the promulgation of this edict, the state of Languedoc bought back the offices which it re-established for 2,500,000 f.; and the city of Perpignan, in the name of all the municipalities of Roussillon, paid 250,000 f.—Why these efforts so frequently repeated—why this exhaustion of our resources, if we had not thought that we were performing an act of duty by purchasing with the wreck of our patrimony this inalienable and imprescriptible right of election, a right which we have preserved at the expense of our fortunes? (Remonstrances of the Parliament of Provence, 1774, Raynouard, Histoire du Droit Municipal en France, t. ii., p. 362.)
[* ]See above, chap. ii.
[† ]See above, chaps. iv., vi., and viii.—In consequence of the revolution, which in the fourteenth century filled the parliament and the other supreme courts with lawyers, the whole judicial order, with the exception of bailiffs and seneschals, was ranged in the Tiers Etat. Such was its place in the States-General of 1614, and if, in the course of the seventeenth century, there had been other meetings, the same thing would have been observed. In the middle of the following century it was still a controverted point between the nobles who filled judicial offices and the professional men, whether all the magistrates, whatever might be their extraction, did not belong to the third order. (See the list of the deputies of the Tiers Etat at the States-General of 1614 below, in Appendix II.)
[* ]Thus Charles IX., in spite of all the harshness with which he treated this body, in that which took place on the subject of the registration of the edict declaring his majority, did not omit at the same time to approve the custom of remonstrances, and to preserve its ancient liberty to the parliament in this respect. (D’Aguesseau, Œuvres complètes, t. x., p. 8, édition Pardessus.)—Whence it is necessary that all edicts be verified, and as it were controlled, in these courts of parliament, which, although they are only a form of the three estates on a small scale, have power to suspend, modify, and refuse the said edicts. (Mémoires de Nevers, edit. of 1665, t. i., p. 449.)—The ordinary edicts not having authority, and not being approved by the other magistrates, if they have not been received and verified in the said parliaments, which is a rule of state by means of which the king would not be able, if he wished it, to make unjust laws, as soon after they would be rejected. (Mémoires de Michel de Castelnau, lib. i., chap. iv., p. 6.)
[* ]In 1527, Francis I. submitted to an assembly, composed of members of the parliament of Paris and the other parliaments of France, the treaty of Madrid, which he had signed the preceding year, and declared that the omission of registering it rendered that act null. It is the registration necessary in the case of bulls, which, affording to parliament the opportunity of making remonstrances on ecclesiastical affairs, enabled it to constitute itself the guardian of the maxims and rules of the Gallican Church.
[† ]The greatest number of these bodies, and the individuals who compose them, live in the belief that they are the guardians of the king, the protectors of the people, the mediators between the people and the kings, and that the kings cannot make any law in their kingdom which may not have undergone their judgment and examination, and other assertions and ideas of this nature. (Mémoire addressed to Cardinal Richelieu by Marillac, the keeper of the seals, MS. de la Bibliothèque Impériale, Suppl. Franc., 98, fol. 91.)
[‡ ]The chancellors and keepers of the seal of Louis XIII. made use of these remarks, and other similar ones, towards the members of the parliament: “That if they forgot what they were, the king would not forget that he was their master; that it was not their business to meddle with affairs of state; and that the king forbade them to assume the character of being his guardians.” (See the Mémoires d’Omer Talon, throughout, and the edict of February, 1641. Recueil des anciennes Lois Françaises, t. xvi., p. 529.)
[* ]After the convocation of the States-General in March, 1649, the parliament of Rouen wrote to that of Paris to ask whether it ought or not to send some of its members to the assembly of the states. The opinion of the president De Mesmes, according to the statement of a contemporary, was as follows: “M. de Mesmes said that the parliament had never sent deputies there, being composed of the three estates; that they had precedence of rank over the States-General, being judges of that which was decreed in them, by having to verify it; that the States-General only acted on petition, and spoke only by permission as subjects; but that the parliament held a position above them, being as it were mediators between the people and the king.” (Journal d’Olivier d’Ormesson, quoted by M. Chéruel in the treatise entitled, De l’Administration de Louis XIV., p. 44.) The court of exchequer decided, as the parliament of Paris, that it would take no part in that assembly. In the States-General of 1614 were seen, as deputies of the Tiers Etat, for the city of Paris, Robert Miron, president of the court of requests; for the Sénéchaussée of Lyons, Pierre Austrein, president of the parliament of Dombes; and for the bailliage of Touraine, Jacques Gauthier, councillor of the parliament of Britanny.
[† ]The parliament of Paris in the seventeenth century was composed of eleven chambers, namely, the grand chambre, in which the oldest councillors, and those who had worn the president’s cap, sat; a criminal court, commonly called la Tournelle; a civil court; a court sitting during the recess; two courts of requests; and five courts of inquests, formed of the youngest councillors.
[* ]The parliament decreed to make remonstrances upon an edict regarding finances, and the minister assumed that, a court of exchequer being established, it did not belong to parliament to meddle with that matter. The king started from Vincennes, entered parliament in his riding-dress, and whip in hand. He addressed the premier president, and said to him, “We know the troubles which your assemblies have produced; I desire that you put a stop to those which you have commenced on the subject of my edicts. Monsieur le Premier President, I forbid you to allow them; and you,” turning himself towards the councillors of the courts of inquests, “I forbid you to require them.” (Voltaire, Histoire du Parlement de Paris édition Beuchot, p. 275.)
[* ]We desire that our courts may have purely and simply to register our letters patent, without any modification, restrictions, or any clauses which could suspend or hinder their full and entire execution; and yet, should our courts, in deliberating upon the said letters, consider it necessary to make their remonstrances to us upon their contents, they shall be entered in the register, and the decree drawn up, not, however, till after the decree of registration shall have been purely and simply given, and separately drawn up. . . . The remonstrances shall be made or presented to us within eight days by our courts of our loyal city of Paris, or other which shall be in the place of our residence, and within six weeks by our other courts in the provinces. (Recueil des anciennes Lois Françaises, t. xix., p. 70.)
[† ]Œuvres complètes du Chancelier d’Aguesseau, t. x., p. 15, édit. Pardessus. These remonstrances, celebrated in his time, have never, as it appears, been published, and I have looked for them in vain. They are wanting in the registers of the parliament, which are preserved in the national archives.
[‡ ]See D’Aguesseau, Œuvres complètes, loc. cit. The registration of a law was accounted perfect when the original, scaled with the great seal, had been read before all the chambers together, and copied as a minute by the registrar of the parliament. This copy, made upon stamped sheets of paper, was the authentic act deposited among what were called the minutes of the court. The last transcription upon the register in parchment could be deferred at pleasure.
[* ]See the Histoire de France, of M. Henri Martin, t. xiii., p. 360, and t. xvii., p. 143.
[† ]It was necessary for a thousand reasons . . . . to diminish the excessive authority of the principal bodies, under the pretence that their judgments were without appeal, and, as they speak, sovereign and final; having gradually assumed the name of sovereign courts, they looked upon themselves as so many distinct and independent sovereignties. I made them understand that I would no longer endure their encroachments. (Œuvres de Louis XIV., t. i., p. 46.)