Society at the time of Saint Vincent de Paul (IV)

Francisco Javier Fernández ChentoAt the time of Vincent de PaulLeave a Comment

Author: José María Ibáñez, C.M. · Year of first publication: 2008 · Source: Third Asian Vincentian Institute (Mother House, Paris, September-December 2006).
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III. Social aspect

In the 17th century, the classes of society remained traditional. In the kingdom, a distinction was made among those who prayed, those who fought and those who worked, “these latter horrible, because they were necessary.” These distinctions created the “social ladder” in which the categories were the clergy, the nobility and the people, or the Third Estate.1

The foundation of such distinctions was rooted in the sense of dignity and estimation of the quality of services in accord with the mental perspective of that era. These ideas were brought to birth through the religious and military concepts of society and reflect a primitive economy. In relation to social tasks, these distinctions cor­respond neither to economic categories nor to personal competencies. It is important to note, as we did in the introduction, that the concrete social reality was not in exact harmony with this hierarchical and priestly structure. The king’s favor and the economy produced in practice another social lifestyle that was ceremonial, less fixed and structured differently.2 This means that an “order” or category, although single unto itself, included realities that were quite dif­ferent. There was a single category of clergy, but within it, what hierarchies! In spite of its attempts during the Fronde civil war, the nobility never managed to organize itself like the clergy. In terms of the “Third Estate” whose name in itself is very revealing, this was a “negative category” defined exclusively by what it did not include: the service of God and “blue blood.” Nonetheless, within it existed a true barrier separating those who participated in the power from those who were excluded, the world of the nobility and that of the nameless, the elite from the masses.

The Clergy

Vincent-PaderbornThe clergy of France, a traditional corporate body like that of the nobility and the bourgeoisie, played a significant role in the French society of the 17th century. This influence originated in the wealth that it possessed and in the financial resources that it used.

The goods that were part of the ecclesiastic and religious pro­perties, in addition to the rent and taxes collected by members of the Church contributed to one-third of the total wealth of the nation.3 If the nation’s economy did not significantly feel the effects of this wealth, it was due to the system of bestowal of benefices, commandeering of benefices, which placed the majority of this wealth in circulation. Based on the superiority of the hierarchy, bishops were considered powerful persons who had great influence on the policies of the king and on society. The pastor of the parish had the title of monsieur and collected tithes from his parishioners.

Aside from his religious role, the high clergy welcomed in their midst members of the nobility or bourgeoisie. With the support of the king and the confirmation by the Pope, various nobles and bourgeois sent their youngest children to the bishop’s residence and to the better convents where they lived off the allowances received as members of their class and from the land they possessed. With the exception of the lower clergy, consisting of the associate priests and those without a benefice or a specific ministry, the pastors of parishes in the urban and rural settings had a comfortable standard of living in comparison with the majority of peasants and laborers in the cities.4 The differences between the “low” and “high” clergy clearly indicates that this social class was part of the traditional juridical order established in society in the same extent or even more than the other social groups.

The large numbers of priests and religious was another aspect of power and influence of the Church and clergy that represented 2% of the population. A survey conducted around 1660 showed that there were 135 archbishops and bishops, 40,000 pastors, 40,000 classified as either associate priests, chaplains, confessors of religious or priests without a benefice, 5,000 abbots or secular priors, and 10,000 canons. Together, they totalled 101,000 ecclesiastics of the secular clergy. The number of religious was 82,000, of whom 35,000 were in communities living off their allowances or work, and 47,000 of old or reformed mendicant orders that “lived and prospered by begging.”5

This summary indicates that in the Church in France at the time of Vincent de Paul, the clergy, the first “order of the kingdom” held great economic, juridical and social power.

The Nobility

The nobility is legally defined as the “second order of the nation.” This definition encompasses a very complex reality and a social group difficult to delineate.

The nobility, which represented between 4 and 5% of the popu­lation, included persons in very diverse situations. As with the other social classes, the nobility was confronted by the socio-economic realities of the 17th century. This reality led to disintegration in the group, despite its attempts to maintain its unity as a class.

This group principally, if not exclusively, lived off its inheritance and its private income that it received through various channels. Some nobles drew royal pensions given to them via benefices or related to their functions or distinctions.

There is a saying that “All land has a master.” In speaking about the connections between the lord and the land, it should be added that throughout various regions there were also numerous “feudal” rights that were accorded according to local law. Throughout the expanses of these feudal manors, which included land not belong­ing to the manor, there were laws and taxes collected anytime loans were made or peasants sold or bought property. In the Church, in which the lord had the responsibility to name the pastor, the noble was treated with great respect because of his position. His exemption from paying royal taxes, especially the taille tax due from all non-nobles, clearly distinguished him from the rest of the people.

The nobility strived by all their means to remain a “dominant” class through their influence in the realms of business and public life and to be “privileged.” They wanted to be distinguished from other classes in society through their marksmanship and through their lavish lifestyle, even if their means did not correspond to the seeming wastefulness. All this explains the myth that was created around the nobility and the awareness of their distinction. If the nobility were no longer well-to-do in 17th century France, they were no less envied than before. The proof is that the bourgeoisie continued to aspire to the nobility, and did not hesitate to pay large sums of money to the king to achieve this status.

In reality, the nobility were the “clients,” patrons or clientele, words that evoke a social system in which favouritism, fidelity and dependence were priorities.6 The rank of the nobility in France only existed thanks to the king. At the same time, the growth of clients meant that those who wanted to increase their power practiced favouritism. This was the thinking among the “greats” who had achieved their status without a doubt by favor of the king, or more­over, because they forced the king to bestow privileges on them out of fear. Richelieu, a client of the king, himself lord of another clientele, did all in his power to force the nobility to be submissive and depend­ent on him. Economic dependence and political submission united to bring down and break apart the nobility.

The Third Estate or the People

A difference between the classes of clergy and nobility and that of the Third Estate is that the latter was characterized by the hetero­geneity of its members since they were scattered into many different sectors on the social, cultural and economic levels.

– The bourgeoisie

The term bourgeoisie, or middle class in 17th century France encompassed different categories within the same “social level.” There was a distinction between the active bourgeoisie and those who were inactive.

The inactive bourgeoisie were composed of citizens of their own means independent from the State and the people, supported by the tenant farmers on their land and by the income of pensions or allowances, especially in Paris. With the other groups that made up the bourgeoisie, they owned between 15 and 20% of the land.

The active bourgeoisie, very united to the regime through a variety of activities, participated in the smooth functioning of the monarchy.

More important than naming all the different forms of bour­geois — high, middle, low — it is interesting to at least point out that all of their allowances and income accounted for the majority of the wealth of the kingdom and that their social significance cannot be forgotten.

Like the nobles, the bourgeois were landowners and sometimes lords, the difference being that they owned less land and had fewer tenants. On the contrary, it is said that their administration was cleverer, more contentious and definitely more fraudulent than the majority of the nobility. In having in their possession sometimes thousands of receipts, credit slips or mortgages, they had the ability to increase their land holdings at times by reducing the land held by nobles and frequently by taking peasant lands.7 Through advances of seed, grain, tools, materials and salaries, the tradesmen in the cities and the small peasants became completely dependent on the bourgeois. Moreover, they were often named as administrators of property of the nobility or the clergy, by which they made great profits and benefited from new revenues from this land.

There was another source of wealth in the hands of the bourgeois of the 17th century that is difficult to understand in today’s world. All public, juridical or administrative offices were given for life. The position was obtained via inheritance or through purchase. Under this system of buying and selling, public offices became the reverse of businesses. R. Mousnier studied in detail and in depth the increase of these subscriptions.8

By means of associations and companies, some bourgeois managed the taxes and royal duties of tenant farmers. This enterprise consisted of advances of fixed loans and recuperating the sums over time from the ordinary taxpayers. With this system, it is easy to under­stand the power of certain bourgeois families and the opportunities they had to profit through the use of their capital. It is true that some among them could be considered usurers and thieves. However, their services were needed, because money was scarce and all the social classes, including the king, needed it.

Without a doubt, beginning in 1630 and until the end of the 171h century, the bourgeoisie had a very important role in the monarchy of France.

– Corporations of artisans

Corporations or artisan guilds were groups of managers, officials and workers in various professions: weavers, tanners, dyers, stone masons, carpenters, sawyers (lumber preparation), blacksmiths, butchers, cutlers (knife production), etc. These guilds were made up of two general groups: regulated trade and sworn trades.

The world of trade managers

The study of managers — of urban production — shows three forms of enterprises corresponding to three social forms, despite the apparent unity of the profession. First was the production salesman who without a doubt was economically independent; then the simple producer, a small manager who sought to preserve his autonomy but in reality was dependent on large merchants; and finally the manager who had nothing more than a weaving trade, whose wages were not in a privileged category.

Paid laborers in the cities

At the base of the economic ladder in an urban setting, the mass of paid laborers (more than half in Amiens, more than one-third in Beauvais, numerous elsewhere especially in Lyon and Paris)9 lived packed together and lacking food, overwhelmed by the socio­economic domination of the bourgeoisie merchants, located in the working class neighbourhoods and in miserable regions. Lacking land, furnishings, clothing, not being homeowners, their salary was their sole source of survival. But this salary, and even employment, was always uncertain.10 Moreover, the entire system of money advances and loans from their managers placed these laborers in constant debt, completely under the submission of the power of their bosses.

Debts and illiteracy created for these unspecialized manual laborers a world of domination and dependence.

The poorest of all the laborers, excluded from a work contract because of advanced age or illness, lived on the margin of any organ­ization or any guild.

The most preferred laborers, those who never experienced a single day of unemployment, received their salary between 260 and 290 days per year, based on an excessive number of feast days. This salary was from 10 sols in Beauvais and Amiens to 12 sols in the more prestigious cities such as Paris, Lyon and Rouen. These statistics, however, must be put in relation to the cost of living.

With this salary, the most advantaged laborer could only with difficulty provide enough bread for his family. Nevertheless, these conditions of life were best for the laborers of Beauvais. If some unfore­seen event occurred: illness for the father, having four or five children, this family budget was thrown out of balance. In order to survive, the family would have to seek assistance from charitable organizations until economic stability and good harvests returned, which sometimes took years to occur.

The most disadvantaged laborers, whose salaries were from five to eight sols per day, did not have the possibility of buying the bread needed to be sufficiently nourished. The salaries of widows and young women were even more meagre at two or three sols per day.

Whenever the annual harvest was poor and especially if this occurred in consecutive years, the consequent rise in the price of wheat and especially of bread, led to the devaluation of salaries, even if the salary itself stayed constant. Even more unfortunately, salaries gen­erally lowered during times of crisis. These reductions of salaries by ten to twenty percent represented a significant profit for the managers and merchants. The laborers had no choice other than to accept the salary decrease. In reality, it was better to have a regular and truly low salary than to have none at all. If a food crisis became worse, it would provoke a textile manufacturing crisis and a socio-economic crisis would be unleashed. The laborers would have no other option than to be partially unemployed and then completely unemployed, sometimes for prolonged periods. This lack of salary led to hunger, misery, and dependence on charitable institutions. During these periods, the “death” of the population decimated the laborers. The charitable institutions had very little means to fight against an evil rooted in the economic and social structure of the times. In reality, thousands of laborers’ families suffered extreme affliction whenever the whirlwind of death tore down their lives, plunging them into terrible misery.

The domination of management and commerce exercised by a smaller group of powerful merchants who took advantage of these laborers, causing unfortunate consequences on multitudes of artisans ­manufacturers and laborers — reduced to begging, indigence, and for the most poor among them, to hunger and misery. All wealth came from struggles and conquests, which implied victors. At the time of Vincent de Paul, whatever caused death to some brought profit to others. To conceal this fact would be dishonest.

– The Peasants

The society, as well as the economy and the State, at the time of Vincent de Paul were supported by the most populous mass, the most highly productive and most dependent: the peasant masses. “One year of interruption in cultivation of the land would be death for all.”11 With their labor, they procured the goods of the country, in cultivating the earth of which less than half of them were owners. Some ownership occurred because the system of lordships and manors was never complete. In addition, one-third of French land was very unequally distributed.12

As in all human societies, in the peasant class there appeared severe contrasts and infinite nuances. There is more known about the wealthy and the average laborers than the country peasants or small landowners. The poor peasants of the 17th century, just as in our time, are greatly misunderstood.

Given the organization of the rural world, the work and pro­duction of peasants was placed into four categories: the rural community, the Church, the lord and the king. This last included the largest and most varied taxes. The fiscal requirements of the State and the lords, including the ecclesiastics or laity who absorbed the majority of the profits, subjected the peasant population to extreme misery and fre­quent despair and revolt if the sale of their products was not profitable.

Loans made in cash could be paid more easily. For other loans, money had to be earned. In order to do this, the small and average laborers always became indebted to the same creditors. Constantly in debt, interest was always added from the very beginning. When it was time to pay the rural tax collector or to pay the rent for the farm, the peasants found themselves imprisoned by multiple creditors.

The poor peasants who were obligated to sell part of their inher­itance in order to pay their debts and have enough to feed their families in times of food shortages or indigence suffered the immediate loss of their inheritance as soon as the demographic crisis was resolved. Hunger and misery claimed their land and at times forced them to farm other land as tenants, land that previously was part of their inheritance. This conquest of the land by the city and the bourgeoisie progressed in the same rhythm and at the same time as the debts of the peasants increased.13 During the 17th century, the bourgeoisie continually sought out the land belonging to the peasants.

An understanding of the peasant world reveals three different social levels, despite an apparent unity of class.

The laborer was the peasant who had the necessary means, especially the tools to make use of the rural goods or farm that he pos­sessed. Here it is important to make a general distinction between the landowning laborers and the tenant farm laborers.

The highest level in rural society was made up of wealthy labor­ers, large settlers perceived as being lords, who owned between twenty and thirty hectares of land (one hectare is 10,000 square meters). A study of them and their way of life helps to explain the misery of the poor peasants, who were reduced to being their debtors and their employees. Not only did they rent the poor peasants their tools, but also lent them money. Their social rank came from their economic strength. Even if they were not always at a high economic level, they often controlled the lives of the peasants.

The average laborers rarely owned more than about ten hectares of land. With a pair of horses, often accompanied by a mare, they worked their land as well as the land of their poor neighbors, taking advantage of whatever land could extend their farming resources. While being financially worthwhile in good years, these tenant farms were a heavy burden in difficult years because rent constantly increased. The number of their flocks was never significant. For these average farmers, they would never be anything more than modest peasants with a pair of horses.

The classic classification system of the peasant world into the rural farmer and laborer leaves out another group of peasants who were quite numerous in certain regions of France. They owned small areas of land, and in farming other land that they rented they were able to raise small flocks of animals. They were able to make a living in this way, although a modest one. Their apparent economic in­dependence was strictly limited to very good years. In years of poor harvest, they were not able to survive on the fruit of their land or on their labor, and thus they contracted debts. To this group of peasants can be added those who owned and worked several small parcels of land at the same time. This group made up about two thirds (2/3) of all peasants. Among them, many had to find other occupations in order to survive. Their lifestyle was not an easy one and their social status was very low.

Workers in the countryside—day laborers—were often very poor and “among the most miserable and unknown of all.” They were sometimes called “beggars” even if they had a home. What is clearly evident by the parish registries is that they died in great numbers whenever an epidemic or “cyclical famine” occurred. The beggars were at the most inferior level of rural society. Dependent on irregular jobs, they made up the largest number of poor persons. The peasant social structure prevented these counhyside workers from ever being able to rise up out of this economic and social misery.14

– Poor people

The meaning of the expression poor person in the 17th century was not solely an economic one. On a broader level, poor meant someone who suffered, someone who found him or herself in mis­fortune, afflicted. In a stricter sense, the poor person was one who lived in a constant condition of “lack,” in “need,” in “shortage.” Furetiere, in his Dictionnaire gave the following definition of poor person: “one who does not have what is needed to support life.” Poor people are thus those who are at risk each day of falling below the minimum require­ments for life.

A more precise definition of poor person can be found with J. P. Camus, bishop of Belley (1581-1652) when he wrote: “the poor person is one who has no other means of support than by his/her labor.”15 This relationship between the poor person and the world of labor, between pauperism and lack of work came to light frequently in the time of the 17th century.

In reality, the 17th century considered all those constantly at risk of falling easily into poverty as poor persons, given the daily uncertainty they experienced in finding the means necessary to survive. This indicates and clearly explains that in the 17th century those who were threatened each day with poverty were called poor. With the least occurrence of a situation such as poor harvest, an agricultural crisis that would always lead to a textile or manufacturing crisis, with all the economic and social consequences implied in that, poor people found themselves hunted down and at times even overcome by these events. The world of poor persons was one of need, an absence of savings, especially food reserves. It was the world of those condemned whose lives were obsessed with being able to obtain their daily bread.

The world of poor persons is by definition the world of depend­ence, by reason of their ignorance and their endemic indebtedness to the “power of the bourgeoisie” who strived with all the means available to “conquer their land.” The difference between poverty and begging is only in its degree and not in its nature. This idea essentially appeared in a study of the social reality of the 17th century. The proof was found in the fact that begging, thought to be an almost ordinary recourse among the lower classes of society, was a characteristic trait of the social structure of France at the time of Vincent de Paul.

– Beggars

The vocabulary used to define beggars not only reveals the mindset of society, but is highly significant for describing its social history. The beggar is one who cannot earn his/her own livelihood and is obliged to seek the assistance of others for survival. This signifies that he/she has fallen into a world of poverty and cannot rise out of it. That is why the normal recourse for existence is to be given over to begging. Jean-Pierre Camus is perhaps the one who again provides us with the most precise definition of the term beggar in the first half of the 17th century: he contrasts the poor person “who has no other means of support than by his/her labor” with the beggar: “who not only is deprived of all recourse, but is moreover reduced to such a state of misery that he/she is unable to make a living through work even if he/ she wants to, either because of being prevented due to suffering or illness or lack of employment, even if he/ she is in good health and has sufficient ability to work if a job was available.”16 In the levels of society in hierarchical “orders” of “states,” the beggars in good health were located at the very lowest level.

In response to the social policy of the government and by an instinct of self preservation, groups of beggars sometimes joined into various bands or groups. The livelihood of these bands included begging as well as crime. The category of begging thus included the activities of common criminals practiced on a large scale. These criminal associations developed in great number in France in particular after the dispersion of numerous companies of soldiers or persons dismissed from their ranks who had been supported by the war or who had profited by the war as parasites.17 The authorities became quite suspi­cious that the world of beggars had created an internal organization. The most popular opinion that spread about was that this organization was structured on the model of bandits.18 It is important to note that all beggars were not part of this, and were far from being criminals or those only pretending to be ill. However, idleness in itself was a crime in the 17th century —based on humanist and mercenary reasons — and thus begging carried with it in popular wisdom the idea that it was the seed of crime: “begging is the school of all wickedness.”19 This simple fact was sufficient enough for the general public to treat beggars in an overall sense as criminals, tricksters and lazy persons.

– Dangerous vagrants

The definition of the term vagabond or vagrant developed slowly over time in the 17th century until vagrancy or wandering became a crime. When it was defined with greater precision by lawyers, the term took on clearer meaning. For the lawyer Simon, writing in 1642, “the vagabond is one who has abandoned his/her home and place of residence in order to steal and make a living through crime, and thus rambles from one place to another, lazy and more inclined to do evil than good. All of this is against good customs and mores, which is why the law pursues such individuals and takes from them the privilege of their residence.”20 An edict of 1656 concerning urban security in Paris, defined even more precisely the term vagabond: “Having been declared vagabonds and disreputable, those who have neither profession nor trade nor means to survive; those who cannot testify to an honest life and to good conduct in the eyes of honest people who are known and worthy of faith and whose condition is honourable.”21

In the definition of vagabond appears the expression “people of disrepute” or “a disgrace.” This term is very significant in the vocabulary of poverty: it shows that French society in this era situated an entire group of poor persons on the margins of society. The poor people and the beggars were frequently part of society. The vagabond, on the other hand, was defined by his/her absence of social connect­ions: one lacking a residence. It cannot be forgotten that vagrancy was a crime.22 The disapproval of an absence of residence grew until the end of the 17th century, when the vagabond became similar to “a person of disrepute, a disgrace.”

“Persons of disrepute” are those whom no one wants to recog­nize as their own, those for whom no trustworthy person will take responsibility.23 Not having anyone to relate to was equivalent to remaining on the margins of society, not belonging to any corporate structure. This is a serious matter in a society where “supporters” and “corporations” created social connections. If we add that the vaga­bonds and sometimes beggars lived willingly on the margins of society, that is: “without submitting to the laws of religion or reason,” we can imagine their social status. Since they created a social danger to public order, as their life was considered “abnormal,” meaning without respect of norms in practice in society; since they violated the eminent dignity of collective order, they were marginalized, as well as sought out by the police and condemned by the judicial powers.

The documents providing information about vagabonds come from the judicial offices, parishes and hospitals. This information helps us to have an outline of them. Two-thirds (2/3) of vagabonds were men between the ages of fifteen and fifty. Among them included wan­derers who begged by showing ulcers or wounds or appearing to have some illness as they travelled from one place to another in search of a hypothetical job. Another category of vagabonds, more distinguished, were found among writers, school masters, roving musicians, false pilgrims who wandered from village to village and city to city under the pretext of piety, wandering clerics, priests passing through a region. A third category included gypsies. Over time, the military society created, or more precisely, restored another category of vagabond. This group was made up of swindlers who followed the military troops; these were bands of vagabonds and beggars who were loosely sheltered with the military and greedily awaited the moment of sacking after the occupation of an area. After having deserted or been expelled in large numbers during the winter, they would siege and devastate the countryside.

The greatest number of vagabonds, however, was formed of agricultural day laborers and small peasants. In a time when the fiscal tax was a distributive tax, the misery and the flight of certain citizens could have cumulative effects. Those who resisted the taxes for a time, after having revolted in large numbers against the oppressive fiscal expenses and having been overcome,24 in the end abandoned their homes and lands, seeing themselves overburdened by taxes. This would occur especially in times when the soldiers burned their villages or carried off their harvests. In the France of Vincent de Paul, economic crises and high fiscal expenses, in addition to government policies based on war and waste, directly contributed to vagrancy and wandering. The “conquest of the land,” an enterprise of certain monopolizing bourgeois, obliged the small peasants indebted to creditors to sell their land and abandon their homes. For these peasants, the sole means of survival was to set out on the major roadways and to unite in bands of beggars, vagabonds and wanderers, organized to live off of stealing, sacking and alms gained by threats and violence.

  1. Cf. among others, J. Ellul, Histoire des Institutions de l’epoque franque a la Revolution (Paris, 1963); R. Mousnier, Les Institutions de Ia France sous la Monarchie absolue (Paris, 1974, 1980), 2 vol.; La Plume, Ia Faucille et le Marteau (Paris, 1970); P. Goubert, Etat et Institutions XVI’m’-XVIIPme sikles, (Paris, 1969).
  2. Cf. R. Mousnier, Fureurs paysannes(Paris,1967), pp. 13-14; Problemes de stratification sociale, in Deux cahiers de la Noblesse 1649-1651 (Paris, 1965), pp. 25-49.
  3. Cf. J. Orcibal, Jean Duvergier de Hauranne, abbe de Saint-Cyran et son temps (Paris, 1947), t. II, p. 2.
  4. The rule of Richelieu for all affairs of the kingdom indicates that the salary for parish pastors be 300 livres per year, cf. D.L.M. Avenel, Lettres, instructions o’iplomatiques et Papiers d’etat du cardinal Richelieu (Paris, 1853-1857), 8 vol., t. II, p. 174; J. Meuvret, La situation materielle des membres du clerge seculier dans la France du XVIT”’ siecle, en Etudes dhistoire economie (Paris, 1971), pp. 251-268. Recent studies by P. Goubert on Beauvais, of A. Deyon on Amiens, of E. Le Rroy Laurie on Languedoc tell us that even the lowest clergy were not living in completely miserable conditions.
  5. The number of religious reached 80,000 and in the survey the communities founded after the foundation date of the Ursulines were not included, cf. Le nombre des eccleslastiques de France. ce/ui des religieux et des religieuses, le temps de leur etablissement, ce dont ils subsistent et a quoi ils servent (s.l.n.d.) (Paris edition, 1876), pp. 40, 50, 51.
  6. Cf. O. Ranun, Les creatures de Richelieu (Paris, 1966).
  7. Cf. P. Goubert, Cent mille provinciaux au XVII’ siècle (Paris, 1958), p. 177-288; E. Le Roy Laduri, Les paysans de Languedoc (Paris, 1962), 2 vol., t.I., pp. 455-461; P. Deyon, Amiens, capitale provinciale (Paris-La Haye, 1967), pp. 21-29, 31-37, 39-49, 51-62.
  8. Cf. B. Mousnier, La venalite des offices sous Henri IV et Louis XIII (Paris, 1971). “If my intention was to win the sympathy of the people instead of being considered useful to the State, I would maintain that it is necessary to end the sale of public offices and the annual right; everyone is greatly convinced that these are two sources of disorder in the kingdom, that the public voice accords crowns without examining if there is merit for them… I will continue to act in this way, there are too many disadvantages to discontinuing these two edicts (sale of public offices and inheritance of offices) to conclude that it is appropriate to do so.”: A.J. du Plessis, Card- Duc de Richelieu, Testament politique (Amsterdam edition), p. 136; cf. pp. 137, 138-139, 116, 130, 143.
  9. Cf. P Deyon, Amiens, capita/e…. Op. cit. no. 241-243, 349; P Goubert, Cent mille, Op. cit., p. 279; J. P. Gutton, La societE et les pauvres. L’exemple de la generalite de Lyon.1534-1789 (Paris, 1971). The inhabitants of Paris in 1648 “were more than 400,000 of which 13,000 or 14,000 were managers and about 45,000 were workers and apprentices. The number of boatmen, porters and persons without a specific trade was not known: R. Mosnier, Quelques raisons de la Fronde, en La Plume…, Op. cit., p. 285.
  10. Everyone is “poorly housed, dressed in an inferior manner, insufficiently fed, and lacking in instruction and courage”: G. Hanotaux, La France en 1614 (Paris edition, 1913), p. 380. “The Companies meeting in the Office of Saint Louis proposed, on July 17. 1648. the measures of prohibition: unlawful to import pieces of wool or silk made in England, fabric from Spain, Rome, Venice, because importation leads to unemployment of large numbers of workers”: R. Mousnier, Quelques raisons de /a Fronde, en La Plume…. Op. cit., p. 288; P Deyon, Amiens. capitale…. Op. cit., pp. 251-252. 72-77. On the subject of conditions of life and work in Beauvais, cf. P Goubert, Cent mille…. Op. cit., pp. 330-344,163, and in Amiens, cf. P. Deyon, Op. cit., pp. 202-218, 220, 340-345, 437, 439.
  11. G. Hanotaux, La France en 1614… Op. cit., p. 398.
  12. Cf. G. Hanotaux, Ibid., pp. 392-410; P. Goubert, Cent mille… Op. cit., pp. 177-252 especially pp. 177-208; E. Le Roy Ladurie: Les paysans de Languedoc, Op. cit., t. I, pp. 455-451, 489, 490-491; P Deyon, Amiens, capitate…, Op. cit., pp. 323-338; J. Jacquart, La crise rurale en Ile-de-France1550-1670 (Paris, 1975), t. II pp. 185-353, especially pp. 241-275; G. Cabourdin, Terre et hommes en Lorraine (Nancy, 1977), 2 vol.; P. Goubert: La vie quotidienne des paysans Francais au XVII’m’ siecle, (Paris, 1982), especially pp. 41­55, 135-166.
  13. Cf. P. Goubert, Cent mil/e…, Op. cit., pp. 177-208, 212, 213; P. Deyon, Amiens, capita/e…, Op. cit., pp. 323-324; E. Le Roy Ladurie, Les paysans de Languedoc…, Op. cit., t. I, pp. 485-491; J. Jacquart La crise rurale…, Op. cit., pp. 723-740.
  14. The description of the “day laborer” given by Vauban in Projet d’une dix me royale, published in 1707, is classic: Within this humble class, especially in the countryside, there are a large number of persons without a specific trade, but that does not mean that they do not do much necessary work. They are called day laborers, of which the majority, with only the strength of their arms or little more than the work for the day or until a certain task is completed according to the wishes of the employer. They do all sorts of difficult work, such as cutting hay, harvesting crops, gathering grain, cutting wood, working the land and caring for the vineyards… and moreover, they assist stonemasons and carry out other difficult and tiresome labor. These persons can easily find all sorts of work part of the year, and certainly they earn quite a good salary during the hay season, wine making and other harvesting; however, they have none at all the rest of the year.”: Vauban, Projet d’unedix me royale(Paris, 1939), pp. 77-81; P. Goubert includes the same description of the province of Beauvais, but he notes that this is only useful for the less unfortunate, because “the most unfortunate are neglected by The unfortunate rural person escapes investigation. Only his existence is confirmed, while the number, often alarming, are mortally struck”: P Goubert, Cent Op. cit., p. 185.
  15. J.P. Camus, Traite de la pauvrete evangelique (Besancon, 1634), p. 5.
  16. Ibid., p. 5.
  17. Cf. Isambert-Taillandier-Decreusy, Recueil general des lois francaises depuis Pan 420 jusqu’a la revolution (Paris, 1829), 29 vol., t. IX, p. 302.
  18. Cf. A. Saval, Histoire et recherches des antiquites de la vile de Paris (Paris, 1724), 2 vol., t. I. pp. 513, 514, 515.
  19. Cf. A Perre, Clcuvres (Paris. 1641), p. 668.
  20. E Simon de Mereville, Traite de la juridiction des prevôts des marechaux (Paris, 1624), Park edition, p. 35.
  21. Edit aui confirme le reglement sur le nettoiement des boues, la SOrete de Paris et autres vales (Decembre, 1666) en IsambertTaillandier-Descreusy, Op. cit., t. XVIII, p. 93.
  22. Cf. Simon de Mereville, Op. cit., p. 35.
  23. Cf. A. Furetier, Dictionnaire, art. pauvre; Huguet, Dictionnaire de la langue Franca/se au XVIresiecle; Dictionnaire de la langue Francaise de Littre, de Rober.
  24. For Richelieu all disobedience constituted a “crime of the State” and his opinion was that “in the matter of State crime it is necessary to close… the door to pity,” “be relentless”: A.J. du Plessis, Card-Duc de Richelieux, Testament…, Op. cit., pp. 256, 255; cf. p. 186. Concerning the punishment of the “Barefoot” of Normandie, cf. M. Foisil, La revolte des nu-pieds et les revoltes normandes de 1639 (Paris, 1970), pp. 287-337. To understand the attitude of Richelieu with the uprising in Lorraine, cf. L.D.M. Avenel, Op. cit., t.V. pp. 39, 140, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 275, 277, 318. The words most frequently use are: “srike, sweep away Lorraine,” “chain the rebel soldiers,” “send them to the galleys.” To understand the government behavior with the Bordelais people, cf. R. Mounier, Lettres et memoires adressees au chancelier Seguier 1633-1649 (Paris, 1964), 2 vol.; t.11, pp. 992, 930-936.

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