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1. Smugglers of salt, armed and assembled to the number of five, in Provence, a fine of 500 liv. and nine years gallies ;in all the rest of the kingdom, death.
2. Smugglers armed, assembled, but in number under five, a fine of 300 liv, and three years gallies. Second offence, death. 3. Smugglers, without arms, but with horses, carts, or boats; a fine of 300 liv. if not paid, three years gallies, Second offence, 400 liv. and nine years gallies.— In Dauphiné, second offence, gallies for
4. Smugglers, who carry the salt on their backs, and without arms, a fine of 200 liv. and, if not paid, are flogged and branded, Second offence, a fine of 300 liv. and six years gullies.
ous, that the friends, acquaintances, and dependants of the intendant, and of all his sub-delegués, and the friends of these friends, to a long chain of dependance, might be favoured in taxation at the expense of their miserable neighbours; and that noblemen, in favour at court, to whose protection the intendant himself would naturally look up, could find little difficulty in throwing much of the weight of their taxes on others, without a similar support. Instances, and even gross ones, have been reported to me in many parts of the king-life In Provence, five years gallies. dom, that made me shudder at the oppression to which numbers must have been condemned, by the undue favours granted to such crooked influence. But, without recurring to such cases, what must have been the state of the poor people paying 5. Women, married and single, smugheavy taxes, from which the nobility and glers, first offence, a fine of 100 liv. Seclergy were exempted? A cruel aggrava- cond, 300 liv. Third, flogged, and bation of their misery, to see those who could nished the kingdom for life. Husbands pay, responsible both in fine and body. for the militia, which the cahiers call an injustice without example, were another dreadful scourge on the peasantry; and, as married men were exempted from it, occasioned in some degree that, mischievous population, which brought beings into the world, in order for little else than to be starved. The corvées, or police of the roads, were annually the ruin of many hundreds of farmers; more than 300 were reduced to beggary in filling up one vale in Lorraine: all these oppressions fell on the tiers etat only; the nobility aud clergy having been equally exempted from tailles, militia, and corvées. The penal code of finance makes one shudder at the horrors of punishment inadequate to the crime. A few features will sufficiently characterize the old government of France.
-The inrolments pted because able!
6. Children smugglers, the same as women.-Fathers and mothers responsible; and for defect of payment flogged.
7. Nobles, if smugglers, deprived of their nobility; and their houses rased to the ground.
8. Any persons in employments (I suppose employed in the salt-works or the revenue), if smugglers, death. And such as assist in the theft of salt in the transport, hanged.
9. Soldiers smuggling, with arms, are hanged; without arms, gallies for life,
10. Buying smuggled salt to resell it, the same punishments as for smuggling.
11. Persons in the salt employments, empowered if two, or one with two witnesses, to enter and examine houses even of the privileged orders.co
12. All familjes, and persons liable to the taille, in the provinces of the Grandes Nob, Briey, p. 6, &c. It is calculated by a writer (Recherches et Gabelles inrolled, and their consumption of Consid. par M. le Baron de Cormere, tom. ii. -salt for the pot and saliere (that is, the daily 3) very well informed on every subject of consumption, exclusive of salting meat, finance, that, upon an average, there were an- &c. &c.) estimated at 71b. a head per annually taken up and sent to prison or the gallies, num, which quantity they are forced to Men 2,510 Women, 896. Children, 201. Total, 3,437 300 of these to the gallies (tom, i buy whether they want it or not, under the P. 112) The salt confiscated from these mi-pain of various fines according to the case. serables amounted to 12,633 quintals, which, at the mean price of 8 liv, are 791,964 liy.,
tubro 2,772 16, of salted flesh, at 10 s. 1,386
086 horses, at 50 liv
"52 carts, at 19
The Capitaineries were a dreadful scourge on all the occupiers of lands. By this term, is to be understood the paramountship of certain districts, granted by the king, to princes of the blood, by which they were putin possession of the property of all game, even on lands not belonging to them; and, what is very singular, on manors granted
long before to individuals: so that the erecting of a district into a capitainerie, was an annihilation of all manerial rights to game within it. This was a trifling bu siness, in comparison of other circum stances; for, in speaking of the preservation of the game in these capitaineries, it must be observed, that by game must be understood whole droves of wild boars, and herds of deer not confined by any wall or pale, but wandering, at pleasure, over the whole country, to the destruction of crops; and to the peopling of the gallies by the wretched peasants, who presumed to kill them, in order to save that food which was to support their helpless children. The game in the capitainerie of Montceau, in four parishes only, did mischief to the amount of 184,263 liv. per annum. No wonder then that we should find the people asking, "Nous demandons à grand cris la destruction des capitaineries & celle de toute sorte de gibier." And what are we to think of demanding, as a favour, the permission" De Nettoyer ses grains de faucher les prés artificiels, d'enlever ses chaumes sans égard pour la perdrix on tout autre gibier." Now, an English reader will scarcely understand it without being told, that there were numerous edicts for preserving the game which prohibited weeding and hoeing, lest the young par tridges should be disturbed; steeping seed, lest it should injure the game; manuring with night soil, lest the flavour of the par tridges should be injured by feeding on the corn so produced; mowing hay, &c. bel fore a certain time, so late as to spoil many crops; and taking away the stubble, which would deprive the birds of shelter. The tyranny exercised in these capitaineries, which extended over 400 leagues of counity, was so great, that many cahiers des manded the utter suppression of >>them.
f De Mantes and Meulan, p. 58. That is to say, "the favour to weed their their upland grass, and to take off their sturb “ble, without consulting the convenience of the 4 partridges, or any other sort of game.”
Clergé de Provins & Montereau, p, 35-Clergé de Paris, p. 25. Clergé de Mantes & Meulan, Prmon 46.- Clergé de Laon, p. 11.--Nob. de p. 17-Nob. de Paris, p. 22.-Nab. Arrus, p. 29.
Such were the exertions of arbitrary power which the lower orders felt directly from the royal authority; but, heavy as they were, it is a question whether the others, suffered circuitously through the nobility and the clergy, were not yet more oppressive? Nothing can exceed the complaints made in the cahiers under this head. They speak of the dispensation of justice in the manerial courts, as comprising every species of despotism: the districts indeter minate appeals endless irreconcileable to liberty and prosperity and irrevocably proscribed in the opinion of the public augmenting litigations-favouring every species of chicane ruining the parties not only by enormous expenses on the most petty objects, but by a dreadful loss of time. The judges commonly ignorant pre tenders, who hold their courts in cabarets, and are absolutely dependant on the seig peurs. Nothing can exceed the force of expression used in painting the oppressions of the seigneurs, in consequence of their feudal powers. They are “rexations qui sont le plus grand fléau des peuples. Esclavage affligeant. Ce regime desastreuse."That the feodalité be for ever abolished. The countryman is tyrannically enslaved by it. Fixed and heavy rents; vexatious processes to secure them; ap preciated unjustly to augment them: rents, solidaires, and revenchables; rents, chéantes, and levantes; fumages. Fines at every change of the property, in the direct as well as collateral line; feudal redemption (retraite); fines on sale, to the 8th and even the 6th penny; redemptions (rachats) injurious in their origin, and still more so in their extensions banalité of the mill," of the oven, and of the wine and cyderpress; corvées by custom; corvées by usage of the fef; corvées established by unjust
Rennes, art. 12. Nevernois, art. 43.
*Tiens Etat de Vannes, p. 24.That is: "Vex "ations which are the greatest scourge of the "people."
T. Etat Clermont Ferrand, p. 52.-That is: * Cruel Slavery."
m T. Etat. Auxerre, art. 6.—That is: “This ruinous system of governing."
n By this horrible law, the people are bound to grind their corn at the mill of the seigneur only; to press their grapes at his press only; and to bake their bread in his oven; by which means the bread is often spoiled, and more espe cially wine, since in Champagne those grapes which, pressed immediately, would make white wine, by waiting for the press, which often happens, make red wine only.
decrees; corvées arbitrary, and even plantastical; servitudes; prestations, extravagant and burthensome; collections by assessment incollectible; aveux, minus, impunissemens; litigations ruinous and without end: the rod of seigneural finance for ever shaken over our heads; vexation, ruin, outrage, violence, and destructive servitude, under which the peasants, almost on a level with Polish slaves, can never but be miserable, vile, and oppressed. They demand also, that the use of hand-mills be free; and hope that posterity if possible, may be ignorant that feudal tyranny in Bretagne, armed with the judicial power, has not blushed even in these times at breaking hand-mills, and at selling annually to the miserable, the faculty of bruising between two stones a measure of buck-wheat or barley." The very terms of these complaints are unknown in England, and consequently untranslatable: they have probably arisen long since the feudal system ceased in this kingdom. What are these tortures of the peasantry in Bretagne, which they call chevanchés, quintaines, soule, saut de poison, baiser de mariées; chansons; transporte d'auf sur un charette; silence des grenouilles;a corvée a misericorde; milods; leide; couponage; cartelage; barage; fouage; marechaussée; ban vin; ban d'aout; trousses; gelinage; civerage; taillabilitié; vingtain; sterlage; bordelage; minage; ban de vendanges; droit d'accapte. In passing through many of the French provinces, I was struck with the various and heavy complaints of the farmers and little proprietors of the feudal grievances, with the weight of which their industry was burthened; but I could not then conceive the multiplicity of the shackles which kept them poor and depressed. I understood it better afterwards, from the conversation and complaints of some grand seigneurs, as the revolution advanced; and I then learned, that the principal rental of many estates consisted in services and feudal tenures; by the baneful influence of which, the industry of the people was almost exterminated. In regard to the oppressions
• Tiers Etat Rennes, p. 159. P Rennes, p. 57.
This is a curious article: when the lady of the seigneur lies in, the people are obliged to beat the waters in marshy districts, to keep the frogs silent, that she may not be disturbed this duty, a very oppressive one, is commuted into a pecuniary fine.
Resumé des cahiers, tom. iii. p. 316, 317.9
of the clergy, as to tithes, I must do that body a justice, to which a claim cannot be laid in England. Though the ecclesiastical tenth was levied in France more severely than usual in Italy, yet was it never exacted with such horrid greediness as is at present the disgrace of England. When taken in kind, no such thing was known in any part of France, where I made inquiries, as a tenth: it was always a twelfth, or a thirteenth, or even a twentieth of the produce. And in no part of the kingdom did a new article of culture pay any thing: thus turnips, cabbages, clover, chicorée, potatoes, &c. &c. paid nothing. In many parts, meadows were exempted. Silk worms nothing. Olives in some places paid-in more they did not. Cows nothing. Lambs from the 12th to the 21st. Wool nothing.-Suchi mildness, in the levy of this odious tax, is absolutely unknown in England. But mild as it was, the burden to people groaning under so many other oppressions, united to render their situation so bad that no change could be for the worse. But these were not all the evils with which the people struggled. The administration of justice was partial, venal, infamous. I have, in conversation with many very sensible men, in different parts of the kingdom, met with something of content with their government, in all other respects than this; but upon the question of expecting justice to be really and fairly administered, every one con fessed there was no such thing to be looked for. The conduct of the parliaments was profligate and atrocious. Upon almost every cause that came before them, interest was openly made with the judges: and wo betided the man who, with a cause to support, had no means of conciliating favour, either by the beauty of a handsome wife, or by other methods. It has been said, by many writers, that property was as secure under the old government of France as it is in England; and the assertion might possibly be true, as far as any violence from the King, his ministers, or the great was concerned: but for all that mass of property, which comes in every country to be litigated in courts of justice, there was not even the shadow of security, unless the parties were totally and equally unknown, and totally and equally honest; in every other case, he who had the best interest with the judges, was sure to be the win
To reflecting minds, the cruelty and abominable practice attending such courts
It is impossible to justify the excesses of the people on their taking up arms; they were certainly guilty of cruelties; it is idle to deny the facts, for they have been proved too clearly to admit of a doubt. But is it really the people to whom we are to impute the whole? Or to their oppressors, who had kept them so long in a state of bondage? He who chooses to be served by slaves, and by ill-treated slaves, must
are sufficiently apparent. There was also a circumstance in the constitution of these parliaments, but little known in England, and which, under such a government as that of France, must be considered as very singular. They had the power, and were in the constant practice of issuing decrees, without the consent of the crown, and which had the force of laws through the whole of their jurisdiction; and of all other laws, these were sure to be the best obey-know that he holds both his property and ed; for as all infringements of them were brought before sovereign courts, composed of the same persons who had enacted these laws (a horrible system of tyranny!) they were certain of being punished with the last severity. It must appear strange, in a government so despotic in some respects as that of France, to see the parliaments in every part of the kingdom making laws without the King's consent, and even in defiance of his authority. The English, whom I met in France in 1789, were surprised to see some of these bodies issuing arrets against the export of corn out of the provinces subject to their jurisdiction, into the neighbouring provinces, at the same time that the King, through the organ of so popular a minister as Mons. Necker, was decreeing an absolutely free transport of corn throughout the kingdom, and even at the requisition of the National Assembly itself. But this was nothing new; it was their common practice. The parliament of Rouen passed an arret against killing of calves; it was a preposterous one, and opposed by administration; but it had its full force; and had a butcher dared to offend against it, he would have found, by the rigour of his punishment, who was his master. Inoculation was favoured by the court in Louis XV.'s time; but the parliament of Paris passed an arret against it, much more effective in prohibiting, than the favour of the court in encouraging that practice. Instances are innumerable, and I may remark, that the bigotry, ignorance, false principles, and tyranny of these bodies were generally conspicuous; and that the court (taxation excepted), never had a dispute with a parliament, but the parliament was sure to be wrong. Their constitution, in respect to the administration of justice, was so truly rotten, that the members sat as judges, even in causes of private property, in which they were themselves the parties, and have, in this capacity, been guilty of oppressions and cruelties, which the crown has rarely dared to attempt.
life by a tenure far different from those who prefer the service of well treated freemen; and he who dines to the music of groaning sufferers, must not, in the moment of insurrection, complain that his daughters are ravished, and then destroyed; and that his sons' throats are cut. When such evils happen, they surely are more imputable to the tyranny of the master, than to the cruelty of the servant. The analogy holds with the French peasants-the murder of a seigneur, or a chateau in flames, is recorded in every news-paper; the rank of the person who suffers, attracts notice; but where do we find the register of that seigneur's oppressions of his peasantry, and his exactions of feudal services, from those whose children were dying around them for want of bread? Where do we find the minutes that assigned these starving wretches to some vile petty-fogger, to be fleeced by impositions, and a mockery of justice, in the seigneural courts? Who gives us the awards of the intendant and his sub-delegués, which took off the taxes of a man of fashion, and laid them with accumulated weight, on the poor, who were so unfortunate as to be his neighbours? Who has dwelt sufficiently upon explaining all the ramifications of despotisin, regal, aristocratic, and ecclesiastical, pervading the whole mass of the people; reaching, like a circulating fluid, the most distant capillary tubes of poverty and wretchedness? In these cases, the sufferers are too ignoble to be known; and the mass too indiscriminate to be pitied. But should a philosopher feel and reason thus ? should he mistake the cause for the effect? and giving all his pity to the few, feel no compassion for the many, because they suffer in his eyes not individually, but by millions? The excesses of the people cannot, I repeat, be justified; it would undoubtedly have done them credit, both as men and christians, if they had possessed their new acquired power with moderation. But let it be remembered, that the populace in no country ever use power with moderation;
excess is inherent in their aggregate constitution and as every government in the world knows, that violence infallibly attends power in such hands, it is doubly bound in common sense, and for common safety, so to conduct itself, that the people may not find an interest in public confusions, They will always suffer much and long, before they are effectually roused; nothing, therefore, can kindle the flame, but such oppressions of some classes or order in the society, as give able men the opportunity of seconding the general mass; discontent will soon diffuse itself around; and if the government take not warning in time, it is alone answerable for all the burnings, and plunderings, and devastation, and blood that follow. The true judgment to be formed of the French revolution, must surely be gained, from an attentive consideration of the evils of the old government; when these are well understood and when the extent and universality of the oppression under which the people groaned-oppression which bore upon them from every quarter, it will scarcely be attempted to be urged, that a revolution was not absolutely necessary to the welfare of the kingdom, Not one opposing voice can, with reason, be raised against this assertion: abuses ought certainly to be corrected, and corrected effectually: this could not be done without the establishment of a new form of government; whether the form that has been adopted were the best, is another
• Many opposing voices have been raised; but so little to their credit, that I leave the passage as it was written long ago. The abuses that are rooted in all the old governments of Europe, give such numbers of men a direct interest in supporting, cherishing, and defending abuses, that no wonder advocates for tyranny, of every species, are found in every country, and almost in every company. What a mass of people, in every part of England, are some way or other interested in the present representation of the people, tithes, charters, corporations, monopolies, and taxation! and not merely to the things themselves, but to all the abuses attending them; and how many are there who derive their profit or their consideration in life, not merely from such institutions, but from the evils they engender! The great mass of the people, however, is free from such influence, and will be enlightened by degrees; assuredly they will find out, in every country of Europe, that by combinations, on the principles of liberty and property, aimed equally against regal, aristocratical, and mobbish tyranny, they will be able to resist successfully, that variety of combination, which, on principles of plunder and despotism, is every where at work to enslave them.
question absolutely distinct. But that the above-mentioned detail of enormities practised on the people required some great change is sufficiently apparent."
Now, reader, that you have seen what were the nature and effects of the Bourbon government; and, that you have, doubtless, felt your heart bound with joy at the reflection, that the oppressed people rose against and destroyed it; let me ask you, what you think of the men, who, in Eng lish news-papers and other works, have the impudence to call upon us to wish for the restoration of that "paternal sway;' under which this government existed? But, says some one, that is not now the real question. What, then, is the real question? Why, say they, the real question is, whether the present government is not worse than the old one, without reference to the person at the head of either, The Bourbons themselves have answered that question sufficiently; for they promise the people of France, that if they are restored, they will.... do what? Why, maintain the laws and government as they now are, a promise which they would not make, if they were not well convinced, that the people find the present laws and governiment better than the former laws and government.
This I take to be quite conclusive. But, we must not stop here. The Bourbons have asserted, in the most solemn manner, that the Code Napoleon consists chiefly of the "Ancient Ordinances and Customs of the Realm.". -I have read the Code Napoleon, both civil and criminal. Any one may read the former in Mr. Bryant's excellent translation, accompanied with his own illustrations and remarks. Now, I say, and I defy any one to shew the contrary, that this Code, on the civil part of which Mr. Bryant, an English lawyer, has bestowed the highest eulogium, and on the criminal part of which the Edinburgh Reviewers have manfully ventured to speak as being, in many respects, much preferable to our own criminal code; I assert, that this Code, taking the two parts together, has completely done away all the dreadful oppressions described by Mr. Young in the above extract, which I have made from his work.. What, then, is meant, when it is said, that this Code consists, for the most part, of the ancient Ordinances and Customs "of the Realm?" And, why venture to