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The Ancient Regime By Hippolyte Taine Characters: 41138

Updated: 2017-11-28 00:07

I. Intellectual incapacity

Intellectual incapacity.-How ideas are transformed into

marvelous stories.

To comprehend their actions we ought now to look into the condition of their minds, to know the current train of their ideas, their mode of thinking. But is it really essential to draw this portrait, and are not the details of their mental condition we have just presented sufficient? We shall obtain a knowledge of them later, and through their actions, when, in Touraine, they knock a mayor and his assistant, chosen by themselves, senseless with kicks from their wooden shoes, because, in obeying the national Assembly, these two unfortunate men prepared a table of taxes; or when at Troyes, they drag through the streets and tear to pieces the venerable magistrate who was nourishing them at that very moment, and who had just dictated his testament in their favor. Take the still rude brain of a contemporary peasant and deprive it of the ideas which, for eighty years past, have entered it by so many channels, through the primary school of each village, through the return home of the conscript after seven years' service, through the prodigious multiplication of books, newspapers, roads, railroads, foreign travel and every other species of communication.5301 Try to imagine the peasant of the eighteenth century, penned and shut up from father to son in his hamlet, without parish highways, deprived of news, with no instruction but the Sunday sermon, continuously worrying about his daily bread and the taxes, "with his wretched, dried-up aspect,"5302 not daring to repair his house, always persecuted, distrustful, his mind contracted and stinted, so to say, by misery. His condition is almost that of his ox or his ass, while his ideas are those of his condition. He has been a long time stolid; "he lacks even instinct,"5303 mechanically and fixedly regarding the ground on which he drags along his hereditary plow. In 1751, d'Argenson wrote in his journal:

"nothing in the news from the court affects them; the reign is indifferent to them. . . . . the distance between the capital and the province daily widens. . . . Here they are ignorant of the striking occurrences that most impressed us at Paris. . . .The inhabitants of the country side are merely poverty-stricken slaves, draft cattle under a yoke, moving on as they are goaded, caring for nothing and embarrassed by nothing, provided they can eat and sleep at regular hours."

They make no complaints, "they do not even dream of complaining;"5304 their wretchedness seems to them natural like winter or hail. Their minds, like their agriculture, still belong to the middle ages. In the environment of Toulouse,5305 to ascertain who committed a robbery, to cure a man or a sick animal, they resort to a sorcerer, who divines this by means of a sieve. The countryman fully believes in ghosts and, on All Saints' eve, he lays the cloth for the dead.-In Auvergne, at the outbreak the Revolution, on a contagious fever making its appearance, M. de Montlosier, declared to be a sorcerer, is the cause of it, and two hundred men assemble together to demolish his dwelling. Their religious belief is on the same level.5306 "Their priests drink with them and sell them absolution. On Sundays, at the sermon, they put up lieutenancies and sub-lieutenancies (among the saints) for sale: so much for a lieutenant's place under St. Peter!-If the peasant hesitates in his bid, an eulogy of St. Peter at once begins, and then our peasants run it up fast enough."-To intellects in a primitive state, barren of ideas and crowded with images, idols on earth are as essential as idols in heaven. "No doubt whatever existed in my mind," says Rétit de la Bretonne,5307 "of the power of the king to compel any man to bestow his wife or daughter on me, and my village (Sacy, in Burgundy) thought as I did."5308 There is no room in minds of this description for abstract conceptions, for any idea of social order; they are submissive to it and that is all. "The mass of the people," writes Governor in 1789, "have no religion but that of their priests, no law but that of those above them, no morality but that of self-interest; these are the beings who, led on by drunken curates, are now on the high road to liberty, and the first use they make of it is to rebel on all sides because there is dearth."5309

How could things be otherwise? Every idea, previous to taking root in their brain, must possess a legendary form, as absurd as it is simple, adapted to their experiences, their faculties, their fears and their aspirations. Once planted in this uncultivated and fertile soil it vegetates and becomes transformed, developing into gross excrescences, somber foliage and poisonous fruit. The more monstrous the greater its vigor, clinging to the slightest of probabilities and tenacious against the most certain of demonstrations. Under Louis XV, in an arrest of vagabonds, a few children having been carried off willfully or by mistake, the rumor spreads that the king takes baths in blood to restore his exhausted functions, and, so true does this seem to be, the women, horrified through their maternal instincts, join in the riot; a policeman is seized and knocked down, and, on his demanding a confessor, a woman in the crowd, picking up a stone, cries out that he must not have time to go to heaven, and smashes his head with it, believing that she is performing an act of justice5310. Under Louis XVI evidence is presented to the people that there is no scarcity: in 1789, 5311 an officer, listening to the conversation of his soldiers, hears them state "with full belief that the princes and courtiers, with a view to starve Paris out, are throwing flour into the Seine." Turning to a quarter-master he asks him how he can possibly believe such an absurd story. "Lieutenant," he replies, "'tis time-the bags were tied with blue strings (cordons bleus)." To them this is a sufficient reason, and no argument could convince them to the contrary. Thus, among the dregs of society, foul and horrible romances are forged, in connection the famine and the Bastille, in which Louis XVI., the queen Marie Antoinette, the Comte d'Artois, Madame de Lamballe, the Polignacs, the revenue farmers, the seigniors and ladies of high rank are portrayed as vampires and ghouls. I have seen many editions of these in the pamphlets of the day, in the engravings not exhibited, and among popular prints and illustrations, the latter the most effective, since they appeal to the eye. They surpass the stories of Mandrin5312 and Cartouche, being exactly suitable for men whose literature consists of the popular laments of Mandrin and Cartouche.

II. Political incapacity

Political incapacity.-Interpretation of political rumors

and of government action.

By this we can judge of their political intelligence. Every object appears to them in a false light; they are like children who, at each turn of the road, see in each tree or bush some frightful hobgoblin. Arthur Young, on visiting the springs near Clermont, is arrested,5313 and the people want to imprison a woman, his guide, some of the bystanders regarding him as an "agent of the Queen, who intended to blow the town up with a mine, and send all that escaped to the galleys." Six days after this, beyond Puy, and notwithstanding his passport, the village guard come and take him out of bed at eleven o'clock at nights, declaring that "I was undoubtedly a conspirator with the Queen, the Count d'Artois and the Count d'Entragues (who has property here), who had employed me as arpenteur to measure their fields in order to double their taxes." We here take the unconscious, apprehensive, popular imagination in the act; a slight indication, a word, prompting the construction of either air castles or fantastic dungeons, and seeing these as plainly as if they were so many substantial realities. They have not the inward resources that render capable of separating and discerning; their conceptions are formed in a lump; both object and fancy appear together and are united in one single perception. At the moment of electing deputies the report is current in Province5314 that "the best of kings desires perfect equality, that there are to be no more bishops, nor seigniors, nor tithes, nor seigniorial dues, no more tithes or distinctions, no more hunting or fishing rights,. . . that the people are to be wholly relieved of taxation, and that the first two orders alone are to provide the expenses of the government." Whereupon forty or fifty riots take place in one day. "Several communities refuse to make any payments to their treasurer outside of royal requisitions." Others do better: "on pillaging the strong-box of the receiver of the tax on leather at Brignolles, they shout out Vive le Roi!" "The peasant constantly asserts his pillage and destruction to be in conformity with the king's will." A little later, in Auvergne, the peasants who burn castles are to display "much repugnance" in thus maltreating "such kind seigniors," but they allege "imperative orders, having been advised that the king wished it."5315 At Lyons, when the tapsters of the town and the peasants of the neighborhood trample the customs officials underfoot they believe that the king has suspended all customs dues for three days.5316 The scope of their imagination is proportionate to their shortsightedness. "Bread, no more rents, no more taxes!" is the sole cry, the cry of want, while exasperated want plunges ahead like a famished bull. Down with the monopolist!-storehouses are forced open, convoys of grain are stopped, markets are pillaged, bakers are hung, and the price of bread is fixed so that none is to be had or is concealed. Down with the octroi!-barriers are demolished, clerks are beaten, money is wanting in the towns for urgent expenses. Burn tax registries, account-books, municipal archives, seigniors' charter-safes, convent parchments, every detestable document creative of debtors and sufferers! The village itself is no longer able to preserve its parish property. The rage against any written document, against public officers, against any man more or less connected with grain, is blind and determined. The furious animal destroys all, although wounding himself, driving and roaring against the obstacle that ought to be outflanked.

III. Destructive impulses

Destructive impulses.-The object of blind rage.-Distrust

of natural leaders.-Suspicion of them changed into hatred.

-Disposition of the people in 1789.

This owing to the absence of leaders and in the absence of organization, a mob is simply a herd. Its mistrust of its natural leaders, of the great, of the wealthy, of persons in office and clothed with authority, is inveterate and incurable. Vainly do these wish it well and do it good; it has no faith in their humanity or disinterestedness. It has been too down-trodden; it entertains prejudices against every measure proceeding from them, even the most liberal and the most beneficial. "At the mere mention of the new assemblies," says a provincial commission in 1787,5317 "we heard a workman exclaim, 'What, more new extortioners!'" Superiors of every kind are suspected, and from suspicion to hostility the road is not long. In 17885318 Mercier declares that "insubordination has been manifest for some years, especially among the trades. . . . Formerly, on entering a printing-office the men took off their hats. Now they content themselves with staring and leering at you; scarcely have you crossed threshold when you yourself more lightly spoken of than if you were one of them." The same attitude is taken by the peasants in the environment of Paris; Madame Vigée-Lebrun,5319 on going to Romainville to visit Marshal de Ségur, remarks: "Not only do they not remove their hats but they regard us insolently; some of them even threatened us with clubs." In March and April following this, her guests arrive at her concert in consternation. "In the morning, at the promenade of Longchamps, the populace, assembled at the barrier of l'Etoile, insulted the people passing by in carriages in the grossest manner; some of the wretches on the footsteps exclaiming: 'Next year you shall be behind the carriage and we inside.'" At the close of the year 1788, the stream becomes a torrent and the torrent a cataract. An intendant5320 writes that, in his province, the government must decide, and in the popular sense, to separate from privileged classes, abandon old forms and give the Third-Estate a double vote. The clergy and the nobles are detested, and their supremacy is a yoke. "Last July," he says, "the old States-General would have been received with pleasure and there would have been few obstacles to its formation. During the past five months minds have become enlightened; respective interests have been discussed, and leagues formed. You have been kept in ignorance of the fermentation which is at its height among all classes of the Third-Estate, and a spark will kindle the conflagration. If the king's decision should be favorable to the first two orders a general insurrection will occur throughout the provinces, 600,000 men in arms and the horrors of the Jacquerie." The word is spoken and the reality is coming. An insurrectionary multitude rejecting its natural leaders must elect or submit to others. It is like an army which, entering on a campaign, finding itself without officers; the vacancies are for the boldest, most violent, those most oppressed by the previous rule, and who, leading the advance, shouting "forward" and thus form the leading groups. In 1789, the bands are ready; for, below the suffering people there is yet another people which suffers yet more, whose insurrection is permanent, and which, repressed, persecuted, and obscure, only awaits an opportunity to come out of its hiding-place and openly give their passions free vent.

IV. Insurrectionary leaders and recruits

Insurrectionary leaders and recruits.-Poachers.-Smugglers

and dealers in contraband salt.-Bandits.-Beggars and

vagabonds.-Advent of brigands.-The people of Paris.

Vagrants, recalcitrants of all kinds, fugitives of the law or the police, beggars, cripples, foul, filthy, haggard and savage, they are bred by the social injustice of the system, and around every one of the social wounds these swarm like vermin.-Four hundred captaincies protects vast quantities of game feeding on the crops under the eyes of owners of the land, transforming these into thousands of poachers, the more dangerous since they are armed, and defy the most terrible laws. Already in 17525321 are seen around Paris "gatherings of fifty or sixty, all fully armed and acting as if on regular foraging campaigns, with the infantry at the center and the cavalry on the wings. . . . They live in the forests where they have created a fortified and guarded area and paying exactly for what they take to live on." In 17775322, at Sens in Burgundy, the public attorney, M. Terray, hunting on his own property with two officers, meets a gang of poachers who fire on the game under their eyes, and soon afterwards fire on them. Terray is wounded and one of the officers has his coat pierced; guards arrive, but the poachers stand firm and repel them; dragoons are sent for and the poachers kill of these, along with three horses, and are attacked with sabers; four of them are brought to the ground and seven are captured. Reports of the States-General show that every year, in each extensive forest, murders occur, sometimes at the hands of a poacher, and again, and the most frequently, by the shot of a gamekeeper.-It is a continuous warfare at home; every vast domain thus harbors its rebels, provided with powder and ball and knowing how to use them.

Other recruits for rioting are found among smugglers and in dealers in contraband salt5323. A tax, as soon as it becomes exorbitant, invites fraud, and raises up a population of delinquents against its army of clerks. The number of such defrauders may be seen when we consider the number of custom officers: twelve hundred leagues of interior custom districts are guarded by 50,000 men, of which 23,000 are soldiers in civilian dress5324. "In the principal provinces of the salt-tax and in the provinces of the five great tax leasing administrations (fermes), for four leagues (ten miles) on either side of the prohibited line," cultivation is abandoned; everybody is either a customs official or a smuggler5325. The more excessive the tax the higher the premium offered to the violators of the law; at every place on the boundaries of Brittany with Normandy, Maine and Anjou, four pence per pound added to the salt-tax multiplies beyond any conception the already enormous number of contraband dealers. "Numerous bands of men,5326 armed with frettes, or long sticks pointed with iron, and often with pistols or guns, attempt to force a passage. "A multitude of women and of children, quite young, cross the brigades boundaries or, on the other side, troops of dogs are brought there, kept closed up for a certain time without food or drink, then loaded with salt and now turned loose so that they, driven by hunger, immediately bring their cargo back to their masters."-Vagabonds, outlaws, the famished, sniff this lucrative occupation from afar and run to it like so many packs of hounds. "The outskirts of Brittany are filled with a population of emigrants, mostly outcast from their own districts, who, after a year's registered stay, may enjoy the privileges of the Bretons: their occupation is limited to collecting piles of salt to re-sell to the contraband dealers." We might imagine them, as in a flash of lightening, as a long line of restless nomads, nocturnal and pursued, an entire tribe, male and female, of unsociable prowlers, familiar with to underhand tricks, toughened by hard weather, ragged, "nearly all infected by persistent scabies," and I find similar bodies in the vicinity of Morlaix, Lorient, and other ports on the frontiers of other provinces and on the frontiers of the kingdom. From 1783 to 1787, in Quercy, two allied bands of smugglers, sixty and eighty each, defraud the revenue of 40,000 of tobacco, kill two customs officers, and, with their guns, defend their stores in the mountains; to suppress them soldiers are needed, which their military commander will not furnish. In 1789,5327 a large troop of smugglers carry on operations permanently on the frontiers of Maine and Anjou; the military commander writes that "their chief is an intelligent and formidable bandit, who already has under him fifty-five men, he will, due to misery and rebellion soon have a corps;" it would, as we are unable to take him by force, be best, if some of his men could be turned and made to hand him over to us. These are the means resorted to in regions where brigandage is endemic.-Here, indeed, as in Calabria, the people are on the side of the brigands against the gendarmes. The exploits of Mandrin in 1754,5328 may be remembered: his company of sixty men who bring in contraband goods and ransom only the clerks, his expedition, lasting nearly a year, across Franche-Comté, Lyonnais, Bourbonnais, Auvergne and Burgundy, the twenty-seven towns he enters making no resistance, delivering prisoners and making sale of his merchandise. To overcome him a camp had to be formed at Valance and 2,000 men sent against him; he was taken through treachery, and still at the present day certain families are proud of their relationship to him, declaring him a liberator.-No symptom is more alarming: on the enemies of the law being preferred by the people to its defenders, society disintegrates and the worms begin to work.-Add to these the veritable brigands, assassins and robbers. "In 1782,5329 the provost's court of Montargis is engaged on the trial of Hulin and two hundred of his accomplices who, for ten years, by means of joint enterprises, have desolated a portion of the kingdom."-Mercier enumerates in France "an army of more than 10,000 brigands and vagabonds" against which the police, composed of 3,756 men, is always on the march. "Complaints are daily made," says the provincial assembly of Haute-Guyenne, "that there is no police in the country." The absentee seignior pays no attention to this matter; his judges and officials take good care not to operate gratuitously against an insolvent criminal, the result is that "his estates become the refuge of all the rascals of the area."5330-Every abuse thus c

arries with it a risk, both due to misplaced carelessness as well as excessive rigor, to relaxed feudalism as well as to harsh monarchy. All the institutions appear to work together to breed and or tolerate the troublemakers, preparing, outside the social defenses, the men of action who will carry it by storm.

But the total effect of all this is yet more damaging, for, out of the vast numbers of workers it ruins it forms beggars unwilling to work, dangerous sluggards going about begging and extorting bread from peasants who have not too much for themselves. "The vagabonds about the country," says Letrosne,5331 "are a terrible pest; they are like an enemy's force which, distributed over the territory, obtains a living as it pleases, levying veritable contributions. . . . They are constantly roving around the country, examining the approaches to houses, and informing themselves about their inmates and of their habits.-Woe to those supposed to have money!. . . What numbers of highway robberies and what burglaries! What numbers of travelers assassinated, and houses and doors broken into! What assassinations of curates, farmers and widows, tormented to discover money and afterwards killed! Twenty-five years anterior (page 384/284) to the Revolution it was not infrequent to see fifteen or twenty of these "invade a farm-house to sleep there, intimidating the farmers and exacting whatever they pleased." In 1764, the government takes measures against them which indicate the magnitude of the evil5332.

"Are held to be vagabonds and vagrants, and condemned as such, those who, for a preceding term of six months, shall have exercised no trade or profession, and who, having no occupation or means of subsistence, can procure no persons worthy of confidence to attest and verify their habits and mode of life. . . . The intent of His Majesty is not merely to arrest vagabonds traversing the country but, again, all mendicants whatsoever who, without occupations, may be regarded as suspected of vagabondage."

The penalty for able-bodied men is three years in the galleys; in case of a second conviction, nine years; and for a third, imprisonment for life. Under the age of sixteen, they are put in an institution. "A mendicant who has made himself liable to arrest by the police," says the circular, "is not to be released except under the most positive assurance that he will no longer beg; this course will be followed only in case of persons worthy of confidence and solvent guaranteeing the mendicant, and engaging to provide him with employment or to support him, and they shall indicate the means by which they are to prevent him from begging." This being furnished, the special authorization of the intendant must be obtained in addition. By virtue of this law, 50,000 beggars are said to have been arrested at once, and, as the ordinary hospitals and prisons were not large enough to contain them, jails had to be constructed. Up to the end of the ancient régime this measure is carried out with occasional intermissions: in Languedoc, in 1768, arrests were still made of 433 in six months, and, in 1785, 205 in four months5333. A little before this time 300 were confined in the depot of Besan?on, 500 in that of Rennes and 650 in that of Saint Denis. It cost the king a million a year to support them, and God knows how they were bedded and fed! Water, straw, bread, and two ounces of salted grease, the whole at an expense of five sous a day; and, as the price of provisions for twenty years back had increased more than a third, the keeper who had them in charge was obliged to make them fast or ruin himself.-With respect to the mode of filling the depots, the police are Turks in their treatment of the lower class; they strike into the heap, their broom bruising as many as they sweep out. According to the ordinance of 1778, writes an intendant,5334 "the police must arrest not only beggars and vagabonds whom they encounter but, again, those denounced as such or as suspected persons. The citizen, the most irreproachable in his conduct and the least open to suspicion of vagabondage, is not sure of not being shut up in the depot, as his freedom depends on a policeman who is constantly liable to be deceived by a false denunciation or corrupted by a bribe. I have seen in the depot at Rennes several husbands arrested solely through the denunciation of their wives, and as many women through that of their husbands; several children by the first wife at the solicitation of their step-mothers; many female domestics pregnant by the masters they served, shut up at their instigation, and girls in the same situation at the instance of their seducers; children denounced by their fathers, and fathers denounced by their children; all without the slightest evidence of vagabondage or mendicity. . . . No decision of the provost's court exists restoring the incarcerated to their liberty, notwithstanding the infinite number arrested unjustly."

Suppose that a human intendant, like this one, sets them at liberty: there they are in the streets, without a penny, beggars through the action of a law which proscribes mendicity and which adds to the wretched it prosecutes the wretched it creates, still more embittered and corrupt in body and in soul.

"It nearly always happens," says the same intendant, "that the prisoners, arrested twenty-five or thirty leagues from the depot, are not confined there until three or four months after their arrest, and sometimes longer. Meanwhile, they are transferred from brigade to brigade, in the prisons found along the road, where they remain until the number increases sufficiently to form a convoy. Men and women are confined in the same prison, the result of which is, the females not pregnant on entering it are always so on their arrival at the depot. The prisons are generally unhealthy; frequently, the majority of the prisoners are sick on leaving it," and many become rascals on coming in contact with rascals.-Moral contagion and physical contagion, the ulcer thus increasing through the remedy, centers of repression becoming centers of corruption.

And yet with all its rigors the law does not attain its ends.

"Our towns," says the parliament of Brittany,5335 "are so filled with beggars it seems as if the measures taken to suppress mendicity only increase it."-"The principal highways," writes the intendant, "are infested with dangerous vagabonds and vagrants, actual beggars, which the police do not arrest, either through negligence or because their interference is not provoked by special solicitations."

What would be done with them if they were arrested? They are too many, and there is no place to put them. And, moreover, how prevent people who live on alms from demanding alms? The effect, undoubtedly, is lamentable but inevitable. Poverty, to a certain extent, is a slow gangrene in which the morbid parts consume the healthy parts, the man scarcely able to subsist being eaten up alive by the man who has nothing to live on.

"The peasant is ruined, perishing, the victim of oppression by the multitude of the poor that lay waste the country and take refuge in the towns. Hence the mobs so prejudicial to public safety, that crowd of smugglers and vagrants, that large body of men who have become robbers and assassins, solely because they lack bread. This gives but a faint idea of the disorders I have seen with my own eyes5336. The poverty of the rural districts, excessive in itself, becomes yet more so through the disturbances it engenders; we have not to seek elsewhere for frightful sources of mendicity and for all the vices."5337

Of what avail are palliatives or violent proceedings against an evil which is in the blood, and which belongs to the very constitution of the social organism? What police force could effect anything in a parish in which one-quarter or one-third of its inhabitants have nothing to eat but that which they beg from door to door? At Argentré,5338 in Brittany, "a town without trade or industry, out of 2,300 inhabitants, more than one-half are anything else but well-off, and over 500 are reduced to beggary." At Dainville, in Artois, "out of 130 houses sixty are on the poor-list."5339 In Normandy, according to statements made by the curates, "of 900 parishioners in Saint-Malo, three-quarters can barely live and the rest are in poverty." "Of 1,500 inhabitants in Saint-Patrice, 400 live on alms." Of 500 inhabitants in Saint-Laurent three-quarters live on alms." At Marboef, says a report, "of 500 persons inhabiting our parish, 100 are reduced to mendicity, and besides these, thirty or forty a day come to us from neighboring parishes."5340 At Bolbone in Languedoc5341 daily at the convent gate is "general almsgiving to 300 or 400 poor people, independent of that for the aged and the sick, which is more numerously attended." At Lyons, in 1787, "30,000 workmen depend on public charity for subsistence;" at Rennes, in 1788, after an inundation, "two-thirds of the inhabitants are in a state of destitution;"5342 at Paris, out of 650,000 inhabitants, the census of 1791 counts 118,784 as indigent.5343-Let frost or hail come, as in 1788, let a crop fail, let bread cost four sous a pound, and let a workman in the charity-workshops earn only twelve sous a day,5344 can one imagine that people will resign themselves to death by starvation? Around Rouen, during the winter of 1788, the forests are pillaged in open day, the woods at Baguères are wholly cut away, the fallen trees are publicly sold by the marauders5345. Both the famished and the marauders go together, necessity making itself the accomplice of crime. From province to province we can follow up their tracks: four months later, in the vicinity of Etampes, fifteen brigands break into four farmhouses during the night, while the farmers, threatened by incendiaries, are obliged to give, one three hundred francs, another five hundred, all the money, probably, they have in their coffers5346. "Robbers, convicts, the worthless of every species," are to form the advance guard of insurrections and lead the peasantry to the extreme of violence5347. After the sack of the Reveillon house in Paris it is remarked that "of the forty ringleaders arrested, there was scarcely one who was not an old offender, and either flogged or branded."5348 In every revolution the dregs of society come to the surface. Never had these been visible before; like badgers in the woods, or rats in the sewers, they had remained in their burrows or in their holes. They issue from these in swarms, and suddenly, in Paris, what figures!5349 "Never had any like them been seen in daylight. . . Where do they come from? Who has brought them out of their obscure hiding places?. . . strangers from everywhere, armed with clubs, ragged,. . . some almost naked, others oddly dressed" in incongruous patches and "frightful to look at," constitute the riotous chiefs or their subordinates, at six francs per head, behind which the people are to march.

"At Paris," says Mercier,5350 "the people are weak, pallid, diminutive, stunted," maltreated, "and, apparently, a class apart from other classes in the country. The rich and the great who possess equipages, enjoy the privilege of crushing them or of mutilating them in the streets. . . There is no convenience for pedestrians, no side-walks. Hundred victims die annually under the carriage wheels." "I saw," says Arthur Young, "a poor child run over and probably killed, and have been myself several times been covered from head to toe with the water from the gutter. Should young (English) noblemen drive along London streets without sidewalks, in the same manner as their equals in Paris, they would speedily and justly get very well thrashed and rolled in the gutter."

Mercier grows uneasy in the face of the immense populace:

"In Paris there are, probably, 200,000 persons with no property intrinsically worth fifty crowns, and yet the city subsists!"

Order, consequently, is maintained only through fear and by force, owing to the soldiery of the watch who are called tristes-à-patte by the crowd. "This nick name enrages this species of militia, who then deal heavier blows around them, wounding indiscriminately all they encounter. The low class is always ready to make war on them because it has never been fairly treated by them." In fact, "a squad of the guard often scatters, with no trouble, crowds of five or six hundred men, at first greatly excited, but melting away in the twinkling of an eye, after the soldiery have distributed a few blows and handcuffed two or three of the ringleaders."-Nevertheless, "were the people of Paris abandoned to their true inclinations, did they not feel the horse and foot guards behind them, the commissary and policeman, there would be no limits to their disorder. The populace, delivered from its customary restraint, would give itself up to violence of so cruel a stamp as not to know when to stop. . . As long as white bread lasts,5351 the commotion will not prove general; the flour market5352 must interest itself in the matter, if the women are to remain tranquil. . . Should white bread be wanting for two market days in succession, the uprising would be universal, and it is impossible to foresee the lengths this multitude at bay will go to in order to escape famine, they and their children."-In 1789 white bread proves to be wanting throughout France.

* * *

5301 (return)

[ Théron de Montaugé, 102, 113. In the Toulousain ten parishes out of fifty have schools.-In Gascony, says the ass. prov. of Auch (p. 24), "most of the rural districts are without schoolmasters or parsonages."-In 1778, the post between Paris and Toulouse runs only three times a week; that of Toulouse by way of Alby, Rodez, etc., twice a week; for Beaumont, Saint-Girons, etc., once a week. "In the country," says Théron de Montaugé, "one may be said to live in solitude and exile." In 1789 the Paris post reaches Besan?on three times a week. (Arthur Young, I. 257).]

5302 (return)

[ One of the Marquis de Mirabeau's expressions.]

5303 (return)

[ Archives nationales, G. 300, letter of an excise director at Coulommiers, Aug. 13, 1781.]

5304 (return)

[ D'Argenson, VI. 425 (June 16, 1751).]

5305 (return)

[ De Montlosier, I. 102, 146.]

5306 (return)

[ Théron de Montaugé, 102.]

5307 (return)

[ Monsieur Nicolas, I. 448.]

5308 (return)

[ "Tableaux de la Révolution," by Schmidt, II. 7 (report by the agent Perriere who lived in Auvergne.)]

5309 (return)

[ Gouverneur Morris, II. 69, April 29, 1789.]

5310 (return)

[ Mercier, "Tableau de Paris," XII. 83.]

5311 (return)

[ De Vaublanc, 209.]

5312 (return)

[ Mandrin, (Louis) (Saint étienne-de-Saint-Geoirs, Isère, 1724-Valence, 1755). French smuggler who, after 1750, was active over an enormous territory with the support of the population; hunted down by the army, caught, condemned to death to be broken alive on the wheel. (SR.)]

5313 (return)

[ Arthur Young, I. 283 (Aug. 13, 1789); I. 289 (Aug. 19, 1789).]

5314 (return)

[ Archives nationales, H, 274. Letters respectively of M. de Caraman (March 18 and April 12, 1789); M. d'Eymar de Montmegran (April 2); M. de la Tour (March 30). "The sovereign's greatest benefit is interpreted in the strangest manner by an ignorant populace."]

5315 (return)

[ Doniol, "Hist. Des classes rurales," 495. (Letter of Aug. 3, 1789, to M. de Clermont-Tonnerre).]

5316 (return)

[ Archives nationales, H. 1453. (Letter of Aug. 3, 1789, to M. de Clermont-Tonnere).]

5317 (return)

[ "Procès-verbaux de l'ass. Prov. D'Orléanais," p. 296. "Distrusts still prevails throughout the rural districts. . . Your first orders for departmental assemblies only awakened suspicion in certain quarters."]

5318 (return)

[ "Tableau de Paris," XII. 186.]

5319 (return)

[ Mme. Vigée-Lebrun, I. 158, (1788); I. 183 (1789).]

5320 (return)

[ Archives nationals, H. 723. (Letter of M. de Caumartin, intendant at Besan?on, Dec. 5, 1788).]

5321 (return)

[ D'Argenson, March 13, 1752.]

5322 (return)

[ "Corresp.," of Métra, V, 179 (November 22, 1777).]

5323 (return)

[ Beugnot, I. 142. "No inhabitant of the barony of Choiseul mingled with any of the bands composed of the patriots of Montigny, smugglers and outcasts of the neighborhood."-See, on the poachers of the day, "Les deux amis de Bourbonne," by Diderot.]

5324 (return)

[ De Calonne, "Mémoires presentés à l'ass. des notables," No. 8.-Necker, "De l'Administration des Finances," I. 195.]

5325 (return)

[ Letrosne, "De l'Administration des Finances," 59.]

5326 (return)

[ Archives nationales, H. 426. (Mémoires of the farmers-general, Jan. 13, 1781, Sept. 15, 1782). H, 614. (Letter of M. de Coetlosquet, April 25, 1777). H, 1431. Report by the farmers-general, March 9, 1787.]

5327 (return)

[ Archives nationales, H, 1453. Letter of the Baron de Bezenval, June 19, 1789.]

5328 (return)

[ "Mandrin," by Paul Simian, passim.-"Histoire de Beaume," by Rossignol, p. 453.-"Mandrin," by Ch. Jarrin (1875). Major Fisher, who attacks and disperses the gang, writes that the affair is urgent since, "higher to the North near Forez, one can find two or three hundred vagrants who only wait for a chance to unite with them." (p.47.)]

5329 (return)

[ Mercier, XI. 116.]

5330 (return)

[ See above, book I. p. 55.]

5331 (return)

[ Letrosne, ibid. (1779), p. 539.]

5332 (return)

[ Archives nationales, F16, 965, and H, 892. (Ordinance of August 4 1764; a circular of instructions of July 20, 1767; a letter of a police lieutenant of Toulouse, September 21, 1787).]

5333 (return)

[ Archives nationales, H, 724; H, 554; F4 2397; F16 965.-Letters of the jailers of Carcassonne (June 22, 1789); of Béziers (July 19, 1786); of Nimes (July 1, 1786); of the intendant, M. d'Aine (March 19, 1786).]

5334 (return)

[ Archives nationales, H, 554. (Letter of M. de Bertrand, intendant of Rennes, August 7, 1785).]

5335 (return)

[ Archives nationales, H, 426. (Remonstrances, Feb. 1783).-H, 554. (Letter of M. de Bertrand, Aug. 17, 1785).]

5336 (return)

[ Archives nationales, H, 614 (Mémoire by René de Hauteville, parliamentary advocate, Saint-Brieuc, Dec. 25, 1776.)]

5337 (return)

[ "Process-verbaux de l'ass. Prov. de Soissonnais" (1787) p. 457.]

5338 (return)

[ Archives nationales, H, 616 (A letter of M. De Boves, intendant of Rennes, April 23, 1774).]

5339 (return)

[ Périn, "La Jeunesse de Robespierre," 301. (Doléances des parroisses rurales en 1789).]

5340 (return)

[ Hippeau, "Le Gouvern. de Normandie," VII. 147-177 (1789).-Boivin-Champeaux, "Notice hist. sur la Révolution dans le département de l'Eure," p. 83 (1789).]

5341 (return)

[ Théron de Montaugé, p. 87. (Letter of the prior of the convent, March, 1789).]

5342 (return)

[ "Procès-verbaux de l'Ass. prov. de Lyonnais," p.57.-Archives nationales, F4, 2073. Memorandum of Jan. 24, 1788. "Charitable assistance is very limited, the provincial authorities providing no resources for such accidents."]

5343 (return)

[ Levasseur, "La France industrielle," 119.-In 1862, the population being almost triple (1 696 000) there are but 90 000 paupers.]

5344 (return)

[ Albert Babeau, "Hist. de Troyes," I. 91. (Letter of the mayor Huez, July 30, 1788).]

5345 (return)

[ Floquet, VII, 506.]

5346 (return)

[ Archives nationales, H, 1453. (Letter of M. de Sainte-Suzanne, April 29, 1789).]

5347 (return)

[ Arthur Young, I. 256.]

5348 (return)

[ "Correspond. secrèt inédite," from 1777 to 1792, published by M. de Lescure, II. 351 (May 8, 1789). Cf. C. Desmoulins, "La Lanterne," of 100 rioters arrested at Lyons 96 were branded.]

5349 (return)

[ De Bezenval, II. 344, 350.-Dussault, "La Prise de la Bastille," 352.-Marmontel, II, ch. XIV, 249.-Mme. Vigée-Lebrun, I. 177, 188.]

5350 (return)

[ Mercier, I. 32; VI. 15; X. 179; XI. 59; XII. 83.-Arthur Young, I. 122.]

5351 (return)

[ In the original, pain de Gonesse,-bread, made in a village of this name near Paris, and renowned for its whiteness.-TR.]

5352 (return)

[ "Dialogues sur le commerce des blés," by Galiani (1770). "If the strong of the markets are content, no misfortune will happen to the administration. The great conspire and rebel; the bourgeois murmurs and lives a celibate; peasants and artisans despair and go away; porters get up riots."]

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