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The Ancient Regime By Hippolyte Taine Characters: 64015

Updated: 2017-11-28 00:07

I. Extortion.

Direct taxes.-State of different domains at the end of the

reign of Louis XV.-Levies of the tithe and the owner.-What

remains to the proprietor.

Let us closely examine the extortions he has to endure, which are very great, much beyond any that we can imagine. Economists had long prepared the budget of a farm and shown by statistics the excess of charges with which the cultivator is overwhelmed. If he continues to cultivate, they say, he must have his share in the crops, an inviolable portion, equal to one-half of the entire production, and from which nothing can be deducted without ruining him. This portion, in short, accurately represents, and not a sou too much, in the first place, the interest of the capital first expended on the farm in cattle, furniture, and implements of husbandry; in the second place, the maintenance of this capital, every year depreciated by wear and tear; in the third place, the advances made during the current year for seed, wages, and food for men and animals; and, in the last place, the compensation due him for the risks he takes and his losses. Here is a first lien which must be satisfied beforehand, taking precedence of all others, superior to that of the seignior, to that of the tithe-owner (décimateur), to even that of the king, for it is an indebtedness due to the soil.5201 After this is paid back, then, and only then, that which remains, the net product, can be touched. Now, in the then state of agriculture, the tithe-owner and the king appropriate one-half of this net product, when the estate is large, and the whole, if the estate is a small one5202. A certain large farm in Picardy, worth to its owner 3,600 livres, pays 1,800 livres to the king, and 1,311 livres to the tithe owner; another, in the Soissonnais, rented for 4,500 livres, pays 2,200 livres taxes and more than 1,000 livres to the tithes. An ordinary métayer-farm near Nevers pays into the treasury 138 livres, 121 livres to the church, and 114 livres to the proprietor. On another, in Poitou, the fisc (tax authorities) absorbs 348 livres, and the proprietor receives only 238. In general, in the regions of large farms, the proprietor obtains ten livres the arpent if the cultivation is very good, and three livres when ordinary. In the regions of small farms, and of the métayer system, he gets fifteen sous the arpent, eight sous and even six sous. The entire net profit may be said to go to the church and into the State treasury.

Hired labor, meantime, is no less costly. On this métayer-farm in Poitou, which brings in eight sous the arpent, thirty-six laborers consume each twenty-six francs per annum in rye, two francs respectively in vegetables, oil and milk preparations, and two francs ten sous in pork, amounting to a sum total, each year, for each person, of sixteen pounds of meat at an expense of thirty-six francs. In fact they drink water only, use rape-seed oil for soup and for light, never taste butter, and dress themselves in materials made of the wool and hair of the sheep and goats they raise. They purchase nothing save the tools necessary to make the fabrics of which these provide the material. On another metayer-farm, on the confines of la Marche and Berry, forty-six laborers cost a smaller sum, each one consuming only the value of twenty-five francs per annum. We can judge by this of the exorbitant share appropriated to themselves by the Church and State, since, at so small a cost of cultivation, the proprietor finds in his pocket, at the end of the year, six or eight sous per arpent out of which, if plebeian, he must still pay the dues to his seignior, contribute to the common purse for the militia, buy his taxed salt and work out his corvée and the rest. Towards the end of the reign of Louis XV in Limousin, says Turgot,5203 the king derives for himself alone "about as much from the soil as the proprietor." In a certain election-district, that of Tulle, where he abstracts fifty-six and one-half per cent. of the product, there remains to the latter forty-three and one-half per cent. thus accounting for "a multitude of domains being abandoned."

It must not be supposed that time renders the tax less onerous or that, in other provinces, the cultivator is better treated. In this respect the documents are authentic and almost up to the latest hour. We have only to take up the official statements of the provincial assemblies held in 1787, to learn by official figures to what extent the fisc may abuse the men who labor, and take bread out of the mouths of those who have earned it by the sweat of their brows.

II. Local Conditions.

State of certain provinces on the outbreak of the

Revolution.-The taille, and other taxes.-The proportion of

these taxes in relation to income.-The sum total immense.

Direct taxation alone is here concerned, the tailles, collateral taxes, poll-tax, vingtièmes, and the pecuniary tax substituted for the corvée5204 In Champagne, the tax-payer pays on 100 livres income fifty-four livres fifteen sous, on the average, and in many parishes,5205 seventy-one livres thirteen sous. In the Ile-de-France, "if a taxable inhabitant of a village, the proprietor of twenty arpents of land which he himself works, and the income of which is estimated at ten livres per arpent it is supposed that he is likewise the owner of the house he occupies, the site being valued at forty livres."5206 This tax-payer pays for his real taille, personal and industrial, thirty-five livres fourteen sous, for collateral taxes seventeen livres seventeen sous, for the poll-tax twenty-one livres eight sous, for the vingtièmes twenty-four livres four sous, in all ninety-nine livres three sous, to which must be added about five livres as the substitution for the corvée, in all 104 livres on a piece of property which he rents for 240 livres, a tax amounting to five-twelfths of his income.

It is much worse on making the same calculation for the poorer generalities. In Haute-Guyenne,5207 "all property in land is taxed for the taille, the collateral taxes, and the vingtièmes, more than one-quarter of its revenue, the only deduction being the expenses of cultivation; also dwellings, one-third of their revenue, deducting only the cost of repairs and of maintenance; to which must be added the poll-tax, which takes about one-tenth of the revenue; the tithe, which absorbs one-seventh; the seigniorial rents which take another seventh; the tax substituted for the corvée; the costs of compulsory collections, seizures, sequestration and constraints, and all ordinary and extraordinary local charges. This being subtracted, it is evident that, in communities moderately taxed, the proprietor does not enjoy a third of his income, and that, in the communities wronged by the assessments, the proprietors are reduced to the status of simple farmers scarcely able to get enough to restore the expenses of cultivation." In Auvergne,5208 the taille amounts to four sous on the livre net profit; the collateral taxes and the poll-tax take off four sous three deniers more; the vingtièmes, two sous and three deniers; the contribution to the royal roads, to the free gift, to local charges and the cost of levying, take again one sou one denier, the total being eleven sous and seven deniers on the livre income, without counting seigniorial dues and the tithe. "The bureau, moreover, recognizes with regret, that several of the collections pay at the rate of seventeen sous, sixteen sous, and the most moderate at the rate of fourteen sous the livre. The evidence of this is in the bureau; it is on file in the registry of the court of excise, and of the election-districts. It is still more apparent in parishes where an infinite number of assessments are found, laid on property that has been abandoned, which the collectors lease, and the product of which is often inadequate to pay the tax." Statistics of this kind are terribly eloquent. They may be summed up in one word. Putting together Normandy, the Orleans region, that of Soissons, Champagne, Ile-de-France, Berry, Poitou, Auvergne, the Lyons region, Gascony, and Haute-Guyenne, in brief the principal election sections, we find that out of every hundred francs of revenue the direct tax on the tax-payer is fifty-three francs, or more than one-half5209. This is about five times as much as at the present day.

III. The Common Laborer.

Four direct taxes on the common laborer.

The taxation authorities, however, in thus bearing down on taxable property has not released the taxable person without property. In the absence of land it seizes on men. In default of an income it taxes a man's wages. With the exception of the vingtièmes, the preceding taxes not only bore on those who possessed something but, again, on those who possessed nothing. In the Toulousain5210 at St. Pierre de Barjouville, the poorest day-laborer, with nothing but his hands by which to earn his support, and getting ten sous a day, pays eight, nine and ten livres poll-tax. "In Burgundy5211 it is common to see a poor mechanic, without any property, taxed eighteen and twenty livres for his poll-tax and the taille." In Limousin,5212 all the money brought back by the masons in winter serves "to pay the taxes charged to their families." As to the rural day-laborers and the settlers (colons) the proprietor, even when privileged, who employs them, is obliged to take upon himself a part of their quota, otherwise, being without anything to eat, they cannot work,5213 even in the interest of the master; man must have his ration of bread the same as an ox his ration of hay. "In Brittany,5214 it is notorious that nine-tenths of the artisans, though poorly fed and poorly clothed, have not a crown free of debt at the end of the year," the poll-tax and others carrying off this only and last crown. At Paris5215 "the dealer in ashes, the buyer of old bottles, the gleaner of the gutters, the peddlers of old iron and old hats," the moment they obtain a shelter pay the poll-tax of three livres and ten sous each. To ensure its payment the occupant of a house who sub-lets to them is made responsible. Moreover, in case of delay, a "blue man," a bailiff's subordinate, is sent who installs himself on the spot and whose time they have to pay for. Mercier cites a mechanic, named Quatremain, who, with four small children, lodged in the sixth story, where he had arranged a chimney as a sort of alcove in which he and his family slept. "One day I opened his door, fastened with a latch only, the room presenting to view nothing but the walls and a vice; the man, coming out from under his chimney, half sick, says to me, 'I thought it was the blue man for the poll-tax."' Thus, whatever the condition of the person subject to taxation, however stripped and destitute, the dexterous hands of the fisc take hold of him. Mistakes cannot possibly occur: it puts on no disguise, it comes on the appointed day and rudely lays its hand on his shoulder. The garret and the hut, as well as the farm and the farmhouse know the collector, the constable and the bailiff; no hovel escapes the detestable brood. The people sow, harvest their crops, work and undergo privation for their benefit; and, should the pennies so painfully saved each week amount, at the end of the year to a piece of silver, the mouth of their pouch closes over it.

IV. Collections And Seizures.-Observe the system actually at work. It

is a sort of shearing machine, clumsy and badly put together, of which the action is about as mischievous as it is serviceable. The worst feature is that, with its creaking gear, the taxable, those employed as its final instruments, are equally shorn and flayed. Each parish contains two, three, five, or seven individuals who, under the title of collectors, and under the authority of the election tribunal, apportion and assess the taxes. "No duty is more onerous;"5216 everybody, through patronage or favor, tries to get rid of it. The communities are constantly pleading against the refractory, and, that nobody may escape under the pretext of ignorance, the table of future collectors is made up for ten and fifteen years in advance. In parishes of the second class these consist of "small proprietors, each of whom becomes a collector about every six years." In many of the villages the artisans, day-laborers, and métayer-farmers perform the service, although requiring all their time to earn their own living. In Auvergne, where the able-bodied men expatriate themselves in winter to find work, the women are taken;5217 in the election-district of Saint-Flour, a certain village has four collectors in petticoats.-They are responsible for all claims entrusted to them, their property, their furniture and their persons; and, up to the time of Turgot, each is bound for the others. We can judge of their risks and sufferings. In 1785,5218 in one single district in Champagne, eighty-five are imprisoned and two hundred of them are on the road every year. "The collector, says the provincial assembly of Berry,5219 usually passes one-half of the day for two years running from door to door to see delinquent tax-payers." "This service," writes Turgot,5220 "is the despair and almost always the ruin of those obliged to perform it; all families in easy circumstances in a village are thus successively reduced to want." In short, there is no collector who is not forced to act and who has not each year "eight or ten writs" served on him5221. Sometimes he is imprisoned at the expense of the parish. Sometimes proceedings are instituted against him and the tax-contributors by the installation of "'blue men' and seizures, seizures under arrest, seizures in execution and sales of furniture." "In the single district of Villefranche," says the provincial Assembly of Haute-Guyenne, "a hundred and six warrant officers and other agents of the bailiff are counted always on the road."

The thing becomes customary and the parish suffers in vain, for it would suffer yet more were it to do otherwise. "Near Aurillac," says the Marquis de Mirabeau,5222 "there is industry, application and economy without which there would be only misery and want. This produces a people equally divided into being, on the one hand, insolvent and poor and on the other hand shameful and rich, the latter who, for fear of being fined, create the impoverished. The taille once assessed, everybody groans and complains and nobody pays it. The term having expired, at the hour and minute, constraint begins, the collectors, although able, taking no trouble to arrest this by making a settlement, notwithstanding the installation of the bailiff's men is costly. But this kind of expense is habitual and people expect it instead of fearing it, for, if it were less rigorous, they would be sure to be additionally burdened the following year." The receiver, indeed, who pays the bailiff's officers a franc a day, makes them pay two francs and appropriates the difference. Hence "if certain parishes venture to pay promptly, without awaiting constraint, the receiver, who sees himself deprived of the best portion of his gains, becomes ill-humored, and, at the next department (meeting), an arrangement is made between himself, messieurs the elected, the sub-delegate and other shavers of this species, for the parish to bear a double load, to teach it how to behave itself."

A population of administrative blood-suckers thus lives on the peasant. "Lately," says an intendant, "in the district of Romorantin,5223 the collectors received nothing from a sale of furniture amounting to six hundred livres, because the proceeds were absorbed by the expenses. In the district of Chateaudun the same thing occurred at a sale amounting to nine hundred livres and there are other transactions of the same kind of which we have no information, however flagrant." Besides this, the fisc itself is pitiless. The same intendant writes, in 1784, a year of famine:5224 "People have seen, with horror, the collector, in the country, disputing with heads of families over the costs of a sale of furniture which had been appropriated to stopping their children's cry of want." Were the collectors not to make seizures they would themselves be seized. Urged on by the receiver we see them, in the documents, soliciting, prosecuting and persecuting the tax-payers. Every Sunday and every fête-day they are posted at the church door to warn delinquents; and then, during the week they go from door to door to obtain their dues. "Commonly they cannot write, and take a scribe with them." Out of six hundred and six traversing the district of Saint-Flour not ten of them are able to read the official summons and sign a receipt; hence innumerable mistakes and frauds. Besides a scribe they take along the bailiff's subordinates, persons of the lowest class, laborers without work, conscious of being hated and who act accordingly. "Whatever orders may be given them not to take anything, not to make the inhabitants feed them, or to enter taverns with collectors," habit is too strong "and the abuse continues."5225 But, burdensome as the bailiff's men may be, care is taken not to evade them. In this respect, writes an intendant, "their obduracy is strange." "No person," a receiver reports,5226 "pays the collector until he sees the bailiff's man in his house." The peasant resembles his ass, refusing to go without being beaten, and, although in this he may appear stupid, he is clever. For the collector, being responsible, "naturally inclines to an increase of the assessment on prompt payers to the advantage of the negligent. Hence the prompt payer becomes, in his turn, negligent and, although with money in his chest, he allows the process to go on."5227 Summing all up, he calculates that the process, even if expensive, costs less than extra taxation, and of the two evils he chooses the least. He has but one resource against the collector and receiver, his simulated or actual poverty, voluntary or involuntary. "Every one subject to the taille," says, again, the provincial assembly of Berry, "dreads to expose his resources; he avoids any display of these in his furniture, in his dress, in his food, and in everything open to another's observation."-"M. de Choiseul-Gouffier,5228 willing to roof his peasants' houses, liable to take fire, with tiles, they thanked him for his kindness but begged him to leave them as they were, telling him that if these were covered with tiles, instead of with thatch, the subdelegates would increase their taxation."-"People work, but merely to satisfy their prime necessities. . . . The fear of paying an extra crown makes an average man neglect a profit of four times the amount."5229-". . . Accordingly, lean cattle, poor implements, and bad manure-heaps even among those who might have been better off."5230-"If I earned any more," says a peasant, "it would be for the collector." Annual and illimitable spoliation "takes away even the desire for comforts." The majority, pusillanimous, distrustful, stupefied, "debased," "differing little from the old serfs,5231" resemble Egyptian fellahs and Hindoo pariahs. The fisc, indeed, through the absolutism and enormity of its claims, renders property of all kinds precarious, every acquisition vain, every accumulation delusive; in fact, proprietors are owners only of that which they can hide.

V. Indirect Taxes.

The salt-tax and the excise.

The tax-man, in every country, has two hands, one which visibly and directly searches the coffers of tax-payers, and the other which covertly employs the hand of an intermediary so as not to incur the odium of fresh extortions. Here, no precaution of this kind is taken, the claws of the latter being as visible as those of the former; according to its structure and the complaints made of it, I am tempted to believe it more offensive than the other.-In the first place, the salt-tax, the excises and the customs are annually estimated and sold to adjudicators who, purely as a business matter, make as much profit as they can by their bargain. In relation to the tax-payer they are not administrators but speculators; they have bought him up. He belongs to them by the terms of their contract; they will squeeze out of him, not merely their advances and the interest on their advances, but, again, every possible benefit. This suffices to indicate the mode of levying indirect taxes.-In the second place, by means of the salt-tax and the excises, the inquisition enters each household. In the provinces where these are levied, in Ile-de-France, Maine, Anjou, Touraine, Orleanais, Berry, Bourbonnais, Bourgogne, Champagne, Perche, Normandy and Picardy, salt costs thirteen sous a pound, four times as much as at the present day, and, considering the standard of money, eight times as much5232. And, furthermore, by virtue of the ordinance of 1680, each person over seven years of age is expected to purchase seven pounds per annum, which, with four persons to a family, makes eighteen francs a year, and equal to nineteen days' work: a new direct tax, which, like the taille, is a fiscal hand in the pockets of the tax-payers, and compelling them, like the taille, to torment each other. Many of them, in fact, are officially appointed to assess this obligatory use of salt and, like the collectors of the taille, these are "jointly responsible for the price of the salt." Others below them, ever following the same course as in collecting the taille, are likewise responsible. "After the former have been seized in their persons and property, the speculator fermier is authorized to commence action, under the principle of mutual responsibility, against the principal inhabitants of the parish." The effects of this system have just been described. Accordingly, "in Normandy," says the Rouen parliament,5233 "unfortunates without bread are daily objects of seizure, sale and execution."

But if the rigor is as great as in the matter of the taille, the vexations are ten times greater, for these are domestic, minute and of daily occurrence.-It is forbidden to divert an ounce of the seven obligatory pounds to any use but that of the "pot and the salt-cellar." If a villager should economize the salt of his soup to make brine for a piece of pork, with a view to winter consumption, let him look out for the collecting-clerks! His pork is confiscated and the fine is three hundred livres. The man must come to the warehouse and purchase other salt, make a declaration, carry off a certificate and show this at every visit of inspection. So much the worse for him if he has not the wherewithal to pay for this supplementary salt; he has only to sell his pig and abstain from meat at Christmas. This is the more frequent case, and I dare say that, for the métayers who pay twenty-five francs per annum, it is the usual case.-It is forbidden to make use of any other salt for the pot and salt-cellar than that of the seven pounds. "I am able to cite," says Letrosne, "two sisters residing one league from a town in which the warehouse is open only on Saturday. Their supply was exhausted. To pass three or four days until Saturday comes they boil a remnant of brine from which they extract a few ounces of salt. A visit from the clerk ensues and a procès-verbal. Having friends and protectors this costs them only forty-eight livres."-It is forbidden to take water from the ocean and from other saline sources, under a penalty of from twenty to forty livres fine. It is forbidden to water cattle in marshes and other places containing salt, under penalty of confiscation and a fine of three hundred livres. It is forbidden to put salt into the bellies of mackerel on returning from fishing, or between their superposed layers. An order prescribes one pound and a half to a barrel. Another order prescribes the destruction annually of the natural salt formed in certain cantons in Provence. Judges are prohibited from moderating or reducing the penalties imposed in salt cases, under penalty of accountability and of deposition.-I pass over quantities of orders and prohibitions, existing by hundreds. This legislation encompasses tax-payers like a net with a thousand meshes, while the official who casts it is interested in finding them at fault. We see the fisherman, accordingly, unpacking his barrel, the housewife seeking a certificate for her hams, the exciseman inspecting the buffet, testing the brine, peering into the salt-box and, if it is of good quality, declaring it contraband because that of the ferme, the only legitimate salt, is usually adulterated and mixed with plaster.

Meanwhile, other officials, those of the excise, descend into the cellar. None are more formidable, nor who more eagerly seize on pretexts for delinquency5234. "Let a citizen charitably bestow a bottle of wine on a poor feeble creature and he is liable to prosecution and to excessive penalties. . . . The poor invalid that may interest his curate in the begging of a bottle of wine for him will undergo a trial, ruining not alone the unfortunate man that obtains it, but again the benefactor who gave it to him. This is not a fancied story." By virtue of the right of deficient revenue the clerks may, at any hour, take an inventory of wine on hand, even the stores of a vineyard proprietor, indicate what he may consume, tax him for the rest and for the surplus quantity already drunk, the ferme thus associating itself with the wine-producer and claiming its portion of his production.-In a vine-yard at Epernay5235 on four casks of wine, the average product of one arpent, and worth six hundred francs, it levies, at first, thirty francs, and then, after the sale of the four casks, seventy five francs additionally. Naturally, "the inhabitants resort to the shrewdest and best planned artifices to escape" such potent rights. But the clerks are alert, watchful, and well-informed, and they pounce down unexpectedly on every suspected domicile; their instructions prescribe frequent inspections and exact registries "enabling them to see at a glance the condition of the cellar of each inhabitant."5236-The manufacturer having paid up, the merchant now has his turn. The latter, on sending the four casks to the consumer-again pays seventy-five francs to the ferme. The wine is dispatched and the ferme prescribes the roads by which it must go; should others be taken it is confiscated, and at every step on the way some payment must be made. "A boat laden with wine from Languedoc,5237 Dauphiny or Roussillon, ascending the Rhone and descending the Loire to reach Paris, through the Briare canal, pays on the way, leaving out charges on the Rhone, from thirty-five to forty kinds of duty, not comprising the charges on entering Paris." It pays these "at fifteen or sixteen places, the multiplied payments obliging the carriers to devote twelve or fifteen days more to the passage than they otherwise would if their duties could be paid at one bureau."-The charges on the routes by water are particularly heavy. "From Pontarlier to Lyons there are twenty-five or thirty tolls; from Lyons to Aigues-Mortes there are others, so that whatever costs ten sous in Burgundy, amounts to fifteen and eighteen sous at Lyons, and to over twenty-five sous at Aigues-Mortes."-The wine at last reaches the barriers of the city where it is to be drunk. Here it pays an octroi5238 of forty-seven francs per hogshead.-Entering Paris it goes into the tapster's or innkeeper's cellar where it again pays from thirty to forty francs for the duty on selling it at retail; at Rethel the duty is from fifty to sixty francs per puncheon, Rheims gauge.-The total is exorbitant. "At Rennes,5239 the dues and duties on a hogshead (or barrel) of Bordeaux wine, together with a fifth over and above the tax, local charges, eight sous per pound and the octroi, amount to more than seventy-two livres exclusive of the purchase money; to which must be added the expenses and duties advanced by the Rennes merchant and which he recovers from the purchaser, Bordeaux drayage, freight, insurance, tolls of the flood-gate, entrance duty into the town, hospital dues, fees of gaugers, brokers and inspectors. The total outlay for the tapster who sells a barrel of wine amounts to two hundred livres." We may imagine whether, at this price, the people of Rennes drink it, while these charges fall on the wine-grower, since, if consumers do not purchase, he is unable to sell.

Accordingly, among the small growers, he is the most to be pitied; according to the testimony of Arthur Young, wine-grower and misery are two synonymous terms. The crop often fails, "every doubtful crop ruining the man without capital." In Burgundy, in Berry, in Soisonnais, in the Trois-Evêche's, in Champagne,5240 I find in every report that he lacks bread and lives on alms. In Champagne, the syndics of Bar-sur-Aube write5241 that the inhabitants, to escape duties, have more than once emptied their wine into the river, the provincial assembly declaring that "in the greater portion of the province the slightest augmentation of duties would cause the cultivators to desert the soil."-Such is the history of wine under the ancient regime. From the producer who grows to the tapster who sells, what extortions and what vexations! As to the salt-tax, according to the comptroller-general,5242 this annually produces 4,000 domiciliary seizures, 3,400 imprisonments, 500 sentences to flogging, exile and the galleys.-

If ever two taxes were well combined, not only to despoil, but also to irritate the peasantry, the poor and the people, here they were.

VI. Burdens And Exemptions.

Why taxation is so burdensome.-Exemptions and privileges.

Evidently the burden of taxation forms the chief cause of misery; hence an accumulated, deep-seated hatred against the fisc and its agents, receivers, store-house keepers, excise officials, customs officers and clerks.-But why is taxation so burdensome? As far as the communes which annually plead in detail against certain gentlemen to subject them to the taille are concerned, there is no doubt. What renders the charge oppressive is the fact that the strongest and those best able to bear taxation succeed in evading it, the prime cause of misery being the vastness of the exemptions5243.

Let us look at each of these exemptions, one tax after another.-In the first place, not only are nobles and ecclesiastics exempt from the personal taille but again, as we have already seen, they are exempt from the cultivator's taille, through cultivating their domains themselves or by a steward. In Auvergne,5244 in the single election-district of Clermont, fifty parishes are enumerated in which, owing to this arrangement, every estate of a privileged person is exempt, the taille falling wholly on those subject to it. Furthermore, it suffices for a privileged person to maintain that his farmer is only a steward, which is the case in Poitou in several parishes, the subdelegate and the élu not daring to look into the matter too closely. In this way the privileged classes escape the taille, they and their property, including their farms.-Now, the taille, ever augmenting, is that which provides, through its special delegations, such a vast number of new offices. A man of the Third-Estate has merely to run through the history of its periodical increase to see how it alone, or almost alone, paid and is paying5245 for the construction of bridges, roads, canals and courts of justice, for the purchase of offices, for the establishment and support of houses of refuge, insane asylums, nurseries, post-houses for horses, fencing and riding schools, for paving and sweeping Paris, for salaries of lieutenants-general, governors, and provincial commanders, for the fees of bailiffs, seneschals and vice-bailiffs, for the salaries of financial and election officials and of commissioners dispatched to the provinces, for

those of the police of the watch and I know not how many other purposes.-In the provinces which hold assemblies, where the taille would seem to be more justly apportioned, the like inequality is found. In Burgundy5246 the expenses of the police, of public festivities, of keeping horses, all sums appropriated to the courses of lectures on chemistry, botany, anatomy and parturition, to the encouragement of the arts, to subscriptions to the chancellorship, to franking letters, to presents given to the chiefs and subalterns of commands, to salaries of officials of the provincial assemblies, to the ministerial secretaryship, to expenses of levying taxes and even alms, in short, 1,800,000 livres are spent in the public service at the charge of the Third-Estate, the two higher orders not paying a cent.

In the second place, with respect to the poll-tax, originally distributed among twenty-two classes and intended to bear equally on all according to fortunes, we know that, from the first, the clergy buy themselves off; and, as to the nobles, they manage so well as to have their tax reduced proportionately with its increase at the expense of the Third-Estate. A count or a marquis, an intendant or a master of requests, with 40,000 livres income, who, according to the tariff of 1695,5247 should pay from 1,700 to 2,500 livres, pays only 400 livres, while a bourgeois with 6,000 livres income, and who, according to the same tariff; should pay 70 livres, pays 720. The poll-tax of the privileged individual is thus diminished three-quarters or five-sixths, while that of the taille-payer has increased tenfold. In the Ile-de-France,5248 on an income of 240 livres, the taille-payer pays twenty-one livres eight sous, and the nobles three livres, and the intendant himself states that he taxes the nobles only an eightieth of their revenue; that of Orléanais taxes them only a hundredth, while, on the other hand, those subject to the taille are assessed one-eleventh.-If other privileged parties are added to the nobles, such as officers of justice, employee's of the fermes, and exempted townsmen, a group is formed embracing nearly everybody rich or well-off and whose revenue certainly greatly surpasses that of those who are subject to the taille. Now, the budgets of the provincial assemblies inform us how much each province levies on each of the two groups: in the Lyonnais district those subject to the taille pay 898,000 livres, the privileged, 190,000; in the Ile-de-France, the former pay 2,689,000 livres and the latter 232,000; in the generalship of Alen?on, the former pay 1,067,000 livres and the latter 122,000; in Champagne, the former pay 1,377,000 livres, and the latter 199,000; in Haute-Guyenne, the former pay 1,268,000 livres, and the latter 61,000; in the generalship of Auch, the former pay 797,000 livres, the privileged 21,000; in Auvergne the former pay 1,753,000 livres and the latter 86,000; in short, summing up the total of ten provinces, 11,636,000 livres paid by the poor group and 1,450,000 livres by the rich group, the latter paying eight times less than it ought to pay.

With respect to the vingtièmes, the disproportion is less, the precise amounts not being attainable; we may nevertheless assume that the assessment of the privileged class is about one-half of what it should be. "In 1772," says5249 M. de Calonne, "it was admitted that the vingtièmes were not carried to their full value. False declarations, counterfeit leases, too favorable conditions granted to almost all the wealthy proprietors gave rise to inequalities and countless errors. A verification of 4,902 parishes shows that the product of the two vingtièmes amounting to 54,000,000 should have amounted to 81,000,000." A seigniorial domain which, according to its own return of income, should pay 2,400 livres, pays only 1,216. The case is much worse with the princes of the blood; we have seen that their domains are exempt and pay only 188,000 livres instead of 2,400,000. Under this system, which crushes the weak to relieve the strong, the more capable one is of contributing, the less one contributes.-The same story characterizes the fourth and last direct taxation, namely, the tax substituted for the corvée. This tax, attached, at first, to the vingtièmes and consequently extending to all proprietors, through an act of the Council is attached to the taille and, consequently, bears on those the most burdened5250. Now this tax amounts to an extra of one-quarter added to the principal of the taille, of which one example may be cited, that of Champagne, where, on every 100 livres income the sum of six livres five sous devolves on the taille-payer. "Thus," says the provincial assembly, "every road used by active commerce, by the multiplied coursing of the rich, is repaired wholly by the contributions of the poor."-As these figures spread out before the eye we involuntarily recur to the two animals in the fable, the horse and the mule traveling together on the same road; the horse, by right, may prance along as he pleases; hence his load is gradually transferred to the mule, the beast of burden, which finally sinks beneath the extra load.

Not only, in the corps of tax-payers, are the privileged disburdened to the detriment of the taxable, but again, in the corps of the taxable, the rich are relieved to the injury of the poor, to such an extent that the heaviest portion of the load finally falls on the most indigent and most laborious class, on the small proprietor cultivating his own field, on the simple artisan with nothing but his tools and his hands, and, in general, on the inhabitants of villages. In the first place, in the matter of taxes, a number of the towns are "abonnées," or free. Compiègne, for the taille and its accessories, with 1,671 firesides, pays only 8,000 francs, whilst one of the villages in its neighborhood, Canly, with 148 firesides, pays 4,475 francs5251. In the poll-tax, Versailles, Saint-Germain, Beauvais, Etampes, Pontoise, Saint-Denis, Compiegne, Fontainebleau, taxed in the aggregate at 169,000 livres, are two-thirds exempt, contributing but little more than one franc, instead of three francs ten sous, per head of the population; at Versailles it is still less, since for 70,000 inhabitants the poll-tax amounts to only 51,600 francs5252. Besides, in any event, on the apportionment of a tax, the bourgeois of the town is favored above his rural neighbors. Accordingly, "the inhabitants of the country, who depend on the town and are comprehended in its functions, are treated with a rigor of which it would be difficult to form an idea. . . . Town influence is constantly throwing the burden on those who are trying to be relieved of it, the richest of citizens paying less taille than the most miserable of the peasant farmers5253." Hence, "the horror of the taille depopulates the rural districts, concentrating in the towns all the talents and all the capital5254." Outside of the towns there is the same differences. Each year, the élus and their collectors, exercising arbitrary power, fix the taille of the parish and of each inhabitant. In these ignorant and partial hands the scales are not held by equity but by self-interest, local hatreds, the desire for revenge, the necessity of favoring some friend, relative, neighbor, protector, or patron, some powerful or some dangerous person. The intendant of Moulins, on visiting his generalship, finds "people of influence paying nothing, while the poor are over-charged." That of Dijon writes that "the basis of apportionment is arbitrary, to such an extent that the people of the province must not be allowed to suffer any longer."5255 In the generalship of Rouen "some parishes pay over four sous the livre and others scarcely one sou."5256 "For three years past that I have lived in the country," writes a lady of the same district, "I have remarked that most of the wealthy proprietors are the least pressed; they are selected to make the apportionment, and the people are always abused."5257-"I live on an estate ten leagues from Paris," wrote d'Argenson, "where it was desired to assess the taille proportionately, but only injustice has been the outcome since the seigniors made use of their influence to relieve their own tenants." 5258 Besides, in addition to those who, through favor, diminish their taille, there are others who buy themselves off entirely. An intendant, visiting the subdelegation of Bar-sur-Seine, observes" that the rich cultivators succeed in obtaining petty commissions in connection with the king's household and enjoy the privileges attached to these, which throws the burden of taxation on the others."5259 "One of the leading causes of our prodigious taxation," says the provincial assembly of Auvergne, "is the inconceivable number of the privileged, which daily increases through traffic in and the assignment of offices; cases occur in which these have ennobled six families in less than twenty years." Should this abuse continue, "in a hundred years every tax-payer the most capable of supporting taxation will be ennobled."5260 Observe, moreover, that an infinity of offices and functions, without conferring nobility, exempt their titularies from the personal taille and reduce their poll-tax to the fortieth of their income; at first, all public functionaries, administrative or judicial, and next all employments in the salt-department, in the customs, in the post-office, in the royal domains, and in the excise.5261 "There are few parishes," writes an intendant, "in which these employees are not found, while several contain as many as two or three."5262 A postmaster is exempt from the taille, in all his possessions and offices, and even on his farms to the extent of a hundred arpents. The notaries of Angoulême are exempt from the corvée, from collections, and the lodging of soldiers, while neither their sons or chief clerks can be drafted in the militia. On closely examining the great fiscal net in administrative correspondence, we detect at every step some meshes through which, with a bit of effort and cunning, all the big and average-sized fish escape; the small fry alone remain at the bottom of the scoop. A surgeon not an apothecary, a man of good family forty-five years old, in commerce, but living with his parent and in a province with a written code, escapes the collector. The same immunity is extended to the begging agents of the monks of "la Merci" and "L'Etroite Observance." Throughout the South and the East individuals in easy circumstances purchase this commission of beggar for a "louis," or for ten crowns, and, putting three livres in a cup, go about presenting it in this or that parish:5263 ten of the inhabitants of a small mountain village and five inhabitants in the little village of Treignac obtain their discharge in this fashion. Consequently, "the collections fall on the poor, always powerless and often insolvent," the privileged who effect the ruin of the tax-payer causing the deficiencies of the treasury.

VII. Municipal Taxation.

The octrois of towns.-The poor the greatest sufferers.

One word more to complete the picture. People seek shelter in the towns and, indeed, compared with the country, the towns are a refuge. But misery accompanies the poor, for, on the one hand, they are involved in debt, and, on the other, the closed circles administering municipal affairs impose taxation on the poor. The towns being oppressed by the fisc, they in their turn oppress the people by passing to them the load which the king had imposed. Seven times in twenty-eight years5264 he withdraws and re-sells the right of appointing their municipal officers, and, to get rid of "this enormous financial burden," the towns double their octrois. At present, although liberated, they still make payment; the annual charge has become a perpetual charge; never does the fisc release its hold; once beginning to suck it continues to suck. "Hence, in Brittany," says an intendant, "not a town is there whose expenses are not greater than its revenue."5265 They are unable to mend their pavements, and repair their streets, "the approaches to them being almost impracticable." What could they do for self-support, obliged, as they are, to pay over again after having already paid? Their augmented octrois, in 1748, ought to furnish during a period of eleven years a total of 606,000 livres; but, the eleven years having lapsed, the tax authorities, in spite of having been paid, still maintains its exigencies, and to such an extent that, in 1774, they have contributed 2,071,052 livres, the provisional octroi being still maintained.-Now, this exorbitant octroi bears heavily everywhere on the most indispensable necessities, the artisan being more heavily burdened than the bourgeois. In Paris, as we have seen above, wine pays forty-seven livres a hogshead entrance duty which, at the present standard of value, must be doubled. "A turbot, taken on the coast at Harfleur and brought by post, pays an entrance duty of eleven times its value, the people of the capital therefore being condemned to dispense with fish from the sea."5266 At the gates of Paris, in the little parish of Aubervilliers, I find "excessive duties on hay, straw, seeds, tallow, candles, eggs, sugar, fish, faggots and firewood."5267 Compiegne pays the whole amount of its taille by means of a tax on beverages and cattle5268. "In Toul and in Verdun the taxes are so onerous that but few consent to remain in the town, except those kept there by their offices and by old habits."5269 At Coulommiers, "the merchants and the people are so severely taxed they dread undertaking any enterprise." Popular hatred everywhere is profound against octroi, barrier and clerk. The bourgeois oligarchy everywhere first cares for itself before caring for those it governs. At Nevers and at Moulins,5270 "all rich persons find means to escape their turn to collect taxes by belonging to different commissions or through their influence with the élus, to such an extent that the collectors of Nevers, of the present and preceding year, might be mistaken for real beggars; there is hardly any small village whose tax collectors are solvent, since the tenant farmers (métayers) have had to be appointed." At Angers, "independent of presents and candles, which annually consume 2,172 livres, the public pence are employed and wasted in clandestine outlays according to the fancy of the municipal officers." In Provence, where the communities are free to tax themselves and where they might be expected to show some consideration for the poor, "most of the towns, and notably Aix, Marseilles and Toulon,5271 pay their impositions," local and general, "exclusively by the tax called the "piquet." This is a tax "on all species of flour belonging to and consumed on the territory;" for example, of 254,897 livres, which Toulon expends, the piquet furnishes 233,405. Thus the taxation falls wholly on the people, while the bishop, the marquis, the president, the merchant of importance pay less on their dinner of delicate fish and becaficos than the caulker or porter on his two pounds of bread rubbed with a piece of garlic! Bread in this country is already too dear! And the quality is so poor that Malouet, the intendant of the marine, refuses to let his workmen eat it!

"Sire," said M. de la Fare, bishop of Nancy, from his pulpit, May 4th, 1789, "Sire, the people over which you reign has given unmistakable proofs of its patience. . . . They are martyrs in whom life seems to have been allowed to remain to enable them to suffer the longer."

VIII. Complaints In The Registers 5272.

"I am miserable because too much is taken from me. Too much is taken from me because not enough is taken from the privileged. Not only do the privileged force me to pay in their place, but, again, they previously deduct from my earnings their ecclesiastic and feudal dues. When, out of my income of 100 francs, I have parted with fifty-three francs, and more, to the collector, I am obliged again to give fourteen francs to the seignior, also more than fourteen for tithes,5273 and, out of the remaining eighteen or nineteen francs, I have additionally to satisfy the excise men. I alone, a poor man, pay two governments, one the old government, local and now absent, useless, inconvenient and humiliating, and active only through annoyances, exemptions and taxes; and the other, recent, centralized, everywhere present, which, taking upon itself all functions, has vast needs, and makes my meager shoulders support its enormous weight."

These, in precise terms, are the vague ideas beginning to ferment in the popular brain and encountered on every page of the records of the States-General.

"Would to God," says a Normandy village,5274 "the monarch might take into his own hands the defense of the miserable citizen pelted and oppressed by clerks, seigniors, justiciary and clergy!"

"Sire," writes a village in Champagne,5275 "the only message to us on your part is a demand for money. We were led to believe that this might cease, but every year the demand comes for more. We do not hold you responsible for this because we love you, but those whom you employ, who better know how to manage their own affairs than yours. We believed that you were deceived by them and we, in our chagrin, said to ourselves, If our good king only knew of this!. . . We are crushed down with every species of taxation; thus far we have given you a part of our bread, and, should this continue, we shall be in want. . . . Could you see the miserable tenements in which we live, the poor food we eat, you would feel for us; this would prove to you better than words that we can support this no longer and that it must be lessened. . . . That which grieves us is that those who possess the most, pay the least. We pay the tailles and for our implements, while the ecclesiastics and nobles who own the best land pay nothing. Why do the rich pay the least and the poor the most? Should not each pay according to his ability? Sire, we entreat that things may be so arranged, for that is just. . . . Did we dare, we should undertake to plant the slopes with vines; but we are so persecuted by the clerks of the excise we would rather pull up those already planted; the wine that we could make would all go to them, scarcely any of it remaining for ourselves. These exactions are a great scourge and, to escape them, we would rather let the ground lie waste. . . . Relieve us of all these extortions and of the excisemen; we are great sufferers through all these devices; now is the time to change them; never shall we be happy as long as these last. We entreat all this of you, Sire, along with others of your subjects as wearied as ourselves. . . . We would entreat yet more but you cannot do all at one time."

Imposts and privileges, in the really popular registers, are the two enemies against which complaints everywhere arise5276.

"We are overwhelmed by demands for subsidies,. . . we are burdened with taxes beyond our strength,. . . we do not feel able to support any more, we perish, overpowered by the sacrifices demanded of us. Labor is taxed while indolence is exempt. . . . Feudalism is the most disastrous of abuses, the evils it causes surpassing those of hail and lightning. . . . Subsistence is impossible if three-quarters of the crops are to be taken for field-rents, terrage, etc. . . . The proprietor has a fourth part, the décimateur a twelfth, the harvester a twelfth, taxation a tenth, not counting the depredations of vast quantities of game which devour the growing crops: nothing is left for the poor cultivator but pain and sorrow."

Why should the Third-Estate alone pay for roads on which the nobles and the clergy drive in their carriages? Why are the poor alone subject to militia draft? Why does "the subdelegate cause only the defenseless and the unprotected to be drafted?" Why does it suffice to be the servant of a privileged person to escape this service? Destroy those dove-cotes, formerly only small pigeon-pens and which now contain as many as 5,000 pairs. Abolish the barbarous rights of "motte, quevaise and domaine congéable5277 under which more than 500,000 persons still suffer in Lower Brittany." "You have in your armies, Sire, more than 30,000 Franche-Comté serfs;" should one of these become an officer and be pensioned out of the service he would be obliged to return to and live in the hut in which he was born, otherwise; at his death, the seignior will take his pittance. Let there be no more absentee prelates, nor abbés-commendatory. "The present deficit is not to be paid by us but by the bishops and beneficiaries; deprive the princes of the church of two-thirds of their revenues." "Let feudalism be abolished. Man, the peasant especially, is tyrannically bowed down to the impoverished ground on which he lies exhausted. . . . There is no freedom, no prosperity, no happiness where the soil is enthralled. . . . Let the lord's dues, and other odious taxes not feudal, be abolished, a thousand times returned to the privileged. Let feudalism content itself with its iron scepter without adding the poniard of the revenue speculator."5278

Here, and for some time before this, it is not the Countryman who speaks but the procureur, the lawyer, who places professional metaphors and theories at his service. But the lawyer has simply translated the countryman's sentiments into literary dialect.

* * *

5201 (return)

[ "Collection des économistes," II. 832. See a tabular statement by Beaudan.]

5202 (return)

[ "Ephémérides du citoyen," IX. 15; an article by M. de Butré, 1767.]

5203 (return)

[ "Collection des économistes," I. 551, 562.]

5204 (return)

[ "Procès-verbaux de l'assemblée provinciale de Champagne" (1787), p. 240.]

5205 (return)

[ Cf., "Notice historique sur la Révolution dans le département de l'Eure," by Boivin-Champeaux, p. 37.-A register of grievances of the parish of Epreville; on 100 francs income the Treasury takes 22 for the taille, 16 for collaterals, 15 for the poll-tax, 11 for the vingtièmes, total 67 livres.]

5206 (return)

[ "Procès-verbaux de l'assemblée provinciale de Ile-de-France" (1787), p. 131.]

5207 (return)

[ "Procèx-verbaux de l'ass. prov de la Haute-Guyenne" (1784), II. 17, 40, 47.]

5208 (return)

[ "Procès-verbaux de l'ass. prov. d'Auvergne" (1787), p. 253.-Doléances, by Gautier de Biauzat, member of the council elected by the provincial assembly of Auvergne. (1788), p.3.]

5209 (return)

[ See note 5 at the end of the volume.]

5210 (return)

[ "Théron de Montaugé," p. 109 (1763). Wages at this time are from 7 to 12 sous a day during the summer.]

5211 (return)

[ Archives nationales, procès-verbaux and registers of the States-General, V. 59, p. 6. Memorandum to M. Necker from M. d'Orgeux, honorary councilor to the Parliament of Bourgogne, 25 Oct. 1788..]

5212 (return)

[ Ibid. H, 1418. A letter of the intendant of Limoges, Feb. 26, 1784.]

5213 (return)

[ Turgot, II. 259.]

5214 (return)

[ Archives nationales, H, 426 (remonstrances of the Parliament of Brittany, Feb. 1783).]

5215 (return)

[ Mercier; XI. 59; X. 262.]

5216 (return)

[ Archives nationales, H, 1422, a letter by M d'Aine, intendant of Limoges (February 17, 1782) one by the intendant of Moulins (April, 1779); the trial of the community of Mollon (Bordelais), and the tables of its collectors.]

5217 (return)

[ "Procès-verbaux de l'ass. prov. d'Auvergne," p. 266.]

5218 (return)

[ Albert Babeau, "Histoire de Troyes," I. 72]

5219 (return)

[ "Procés-verbaux de l'ass. prov. de Berry" (1778), I. pp.72, 80.]

5220 (return)

[ De Tocqueville, 187.]

5221 (return)

[ Archives nationales, H, 1417. (A letter of M. de Cypièrre, intendant at Orleans, April 17, 1765).]

5222 (return)

[ "Traité de Population," 2d part, p.26.]

5223 (return)

[ Archives nationales, H, 1417. (A letter of M. de Cypièrre, intendant at Orleans, April 17, 1765).]

5224 (return)

[ Ibid. H, 1418. (Letter of May 28, 1784).]

5225 (return)

[ Ibid. (Letter of the intendant of Tours, June 15, 1765.)]

5226 (return)

[ Archives Nationales, H, 1417. A report by Raudon, receiver of tailles in the election of Laon, January, 1764.]

5227 (return)

[ "Procèx-verbaux de l'ass. prov. de Berry" (1778), I. p.72.]

5228 (return)

[ Champfort, 93.]

5229 (return)

[ "Procèx-verbaux de l'ass. prov. de Berry," I. 77.]

5230 (return)

[ Arthur Young, II. 205.]

5231 (return)

[ "Procès-verbaux of the ass. prov. of the generalship of Rouen" (1787), p.271.]

5232 (return)

[ Letrosne (1779). "De l'administration provinciale et de Ia reforme de l'imp?t," pp. 39 to 262 and 138.-Archives nationales, H. 138 (1782). Cahier de Bugey, "Salt costs a person living in the countryside purchasing it from the retailers from 15 to 17 sous a pound, according to the way of measuring it."]

5233 (return)

[ Floquet, VI. 367 (May 10, 1760).]

5234 (return)

[ Boivin-Champeaux, p.44. (Cahiers of Bray and of Gamaches).]

5235 (return)

[ Arthur Young, II. 175-178.]

5236 (return)

[ Archives nationales, G, 300; G, 319. (Registers and instructions of various local directors of the Excise to their successors).]

5237 (return)

[ Letrosne, ibid. 523.]

5238 (return)

[ Octroi: a toll or tax levied at the gates of a city on articles brought in. (SR.)]

5239 (return)

[ Archives Nationales, H, 426 (Papers of the Parliament of Brittany, February, 1783).]

5240 (return)

[ "Procès-verbaux de l'ass. prov. de Soissonnais" (1787), p.45.-Archives nationales, H, 1515 (Remonstrances of the Parliament of Metz, 1768). "The class of indigents form more than twelve-thirteenths of the whole number of villages of laborers and generally those of the wine-growers." Ibid. G, 319 (Tableau des directions of Chateaudon and Issoudun).]

5241 (return)

[ Albert Babeau, I. 89. p. 21.]

5242 (return)

[ "Mémoires," presented to the Assembly of Notables, by M. de Calonne (1787), p.67.]

5243 (return)

[ Here we are at the root of the reason why democratically elected politicians and their administrative staffs are today taxed even though such taxation is only a paper-exercise adding costs to the cost of government administration. (SR.)]

5244 (return)

[ Gautier de Bianzat, "Doléances," 193, 225. "Procès-verbaux de l'ass. prov. de Poitou" (1787), p.99.]

5245 (return)

[ Gautier de Bianzat, ibid..]

5246 (return)

[ Archives nationales, the procès-verbaux and cahiers of the States-General, V. 59. P. 6. (Letter of M. Orgeux to M. Necker), V. 27. p. 560-573. (Cahiers of the Third-Estate of Arnay-le-Duc)]

5247 (return)

[ In these figures the rise of the money standard has been kept in mind, the silver "marc," worth 59 francs in 1965, being worth 49 francs during the last half of the eighteenth century.]

5248 (return)

[ "Procès-verbaux de l'ass. prov. de Ile-de-France," 132, 158; de l'Orléanais, 96, 387.]

5249 (return)

[ "Mémoire," presented to the Assembly of Notables (1787), p. 1.-See note 2 at the end of the volume, on the estate of Blet.]

5250 (return)

[ "Procès-verbeaux de l'ass. prov. d'Alsace" (1787), p. 116;"-of Champagne," 192. (According to a declaration of June 2, 1787, the tax substituted for the corvée may be extended to one-sixth of the taille, with accessory taxes and the poll-tax combined). "De la généralité d'Alen?con," 179; "-du Berry," I. 218.]

5251 (return)

[ Archives nationales, G, 322 (Memorandum on the excise dues of Compiègne and its neighborhood, 1786)]

5252 (return)

[ "Procès-verbaux de l'ass. prov. de l'Ile-de-France," p. 104.]

5253 (return)

[ "Procès-verbaux de l'ass. prov. de Berry, I. 85, II. 91. -de l'Orléanais, p. 225." "Arbitrariness, injustice, inequality, are inseparable from the taille when any change of collector takes place."]

5254 (return)

[ "Archives Nationales," H. 615. Letter of M. de Lagourda, a noble from Bretagne, to M. Necker, dated December 4, 1780: "You are always taxing the useful and necessary people who decrease in numbers all the time: these are the workers of the land. The countryside has become deserted and no one will any longer plow the land. I testify to God and to you, Sir, that we have lost more than a third of our budding wheat of the last harvest because we did not have the necessary man-power do to the work."]

5255 (return)

[ Ibid. 1149. (letter of M. de Reverseau, March 16, 1781); H, 200 (letter of M. Amelot, Nov. 2, 1784).]

5256 (return)

[ "Procès-verbaux de l'ass. prov. de la généralite de Rouen," p.91.]

5257 (return)

[ Hippeau, VI. 22 (1788).]

5258 (return)

[ D'Argenson. VI. 37.]

5259 (return)

[ Archives nationales, H. 200 (Memoir of M. Amelot, 1785).]

5260 (return)

[ "Procès-verbaux de l'ass. prov. d'Auvergne," 253.]

5261 (return)

[ Boivin-Champeaux, "Doléances de la parvisse de Tilleul-Lambert" (Eure). "Numbers of privileged characters, Messieurs of the elections, Messieurs the post-masters, Messieurs the presidents and other attachés of the salt-warehouse, every individual possessing extensive property pays but a third or a half of the taxes they ought to pay."]

5262 (return)

[ De Tocqueville, 385.-"Procès-verbaux de l'ass. prov. de Lyonnais," p. 56]

5263 (return)

[ Archives nationales, H, 1422. (Letters of M. d'Aine, intendant, also of the receiver for the election of Tulle, February 23, 1783).]

5264 (return)

[ De Tocqueville, 64, 363.]

5265 (return)

[ Archives nationales, H, 612, 614. (Letters of M. de la Bove, September 11, and Dec. 2, 1774; June 28, 1777).]

5266 (return)

[ Mercier, II. 62.]

5267 (return)

[ "Grievances" of the parish of Aubervilliers.]

5268 (return)

[ Archives nationales, G, 300; G, 322 ("Mémoires" on the excise duties).]

5269 (return)

[ "Procès-verbaux de l'ass. prov. des Trois-Evêchés p. 442.]

5270 (return)

[ Archives nationales, H, 1422 (Letter of the intendant of Moulins, April 1779).]

5271 (return)

[ Archives nationales, H. 1312 (Letters of M. D'Antheman procureur-général of the excise court (May 19, 1783), and of the Archbishop of Aix (June 15, 1783).)-Provence produced wheat only sufficient for seven and a half months' consumption.]

5272 (return)

[ Abbreviation for the "cahier des doléances", in English 'register of grieviances', brought with them by the representatives of the people to the great gathering in Paris of the "States-Généraux" in 1789. (SR.)]

5273 (return)

[ The feudal dues may be estimated at a seventh of the net income and the dime also at a seventh. These are the figures given by the ass. prov. of Haute-Guyenne (Procès-verbaux, p. 47).-Isolated instances, in other provinces, indicate similar results. The dime ranges from a tenth to the thirteenth of the gross product, and commonly the tenth. I regard the average as about the fourteenth, and as one-half of the gross product must be deducted for expenses of cultivation, it amounts to one-seventh. Letrosne says a fifth and even a quarter.]

5274 (return)

[ Boivin-Champeaux, 72.]

5275 (return)

[ Grievances of the community of Culmon (Election de Langres.)]

5276 (return)

[ Boivin-Champeaux, 34, 36, 41, 48.-Périn ("Doléances des paroisses rurales de l'Artuis," 301, 308).-Archives nationales, procès-verbaux and cahiers of the States-Géneraux, vol. XVII. P. 12 (Letter of the inhabitants of Dracy-le Viteux).]

5277 (return)

[ Motte: a mound indicative of Seigniorial dominion; quevaise; the right of forcing a resident to remain on his property under penalty of forfeiture; domaine congéable; property held subject to capricious ejection. (TR)]

5278 (return)

[ Prud'homme, "Résumé des cahiers," III. passim, and especially from 317 to 340.]

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