free ebooks

A Popular History of France from the Earliest Time

Paris Duverney depreciated the coinage and put


[Illustration:

Cardinal Fleury--110]

The Bishop of Frejus had nursed his power more skilfully; he kept the list of benefices, and he alone, it was said, knew how to unloosen the king's tongue; but he had not calculated upon the pernicious and all-powerful influence of the Marchioness of Prie, favorite "by appointment" (_attitree_) to the duke. Clever, adroit, depraved, she aspired to govern, and chose for her minister Paris-Duverney, one of the four Dauphinese brothers who had been engaged under the regency in the business of the visa, and the enemies as well as rivals of the Scotsman Law. Whilst the king hunted, and Fleury exercised quietly the measure of power which as yet contented his desires, the duke, blinded by his passion for Madame de Prie, slavishly submissive to her slightest wishes, lavished, according to his favorite's orders, honors and graces in which she managed to traffic, enriching herself brazen-facedly. Under Louis XIV. Madame de Maintenon alone, exalted to the rank of wife, had taken part in state affairs; amidst the irregularity of his life the Regent had never accorded women any political influence, and the confusion of the orgie had never surprised from his lips a single important secret; Madame de Prie was the first to become possessed of a power destined to frequently fall, after her, into hands as depraved as they were feeble.

The strictness of the views and of the character of Paris-Duverney

strove, nevertheless, in the home department, against the insensate lavishness of the duke, and the venal irregularities of his favorite; imbued with the maxims of order and regularity formerly impressed by Colbert upon the clerks of the treasury, and not yet completely effaced by a long interregnum, he labored zealously to cut down expenses and useless posts, to resuscitate and regulate commerce; his ardor, systematic and wise as it was, hurried him sometimes into strange violence and improvidence; in order to restore to their proper figure values and goods which still felt the prodigious rise brought about by the System, Paris-Duverney depreciated the coinage and put, a tariff on merchandise as well as wages. The commotion amongst the people was great; the workmen rioted, the tradesmen refused to accept the legal figure for their goods; several men were killed in the streets, and some shops put the shutters up. The misery, which the administration had meant to relieve, went on increasing; begging was prohibited; refuges and workshops were annexed to the poorhouses; attempts were made to collect there all the old, infirm, and vagabond. The rigor of procedure, as well as the insufficiency of resources, caused the failure of the philanthropic project. Lightly conceived, imprudently carried out, the new law filled the refuges with an immense crowd, taken up in all quarters, in the villages, and on the high roads; the area of the relieving-houses became insufficient. "Bedded on straw, and fed on bread and water as they ought to be," wrote the comptroller-general Dodun, "they will take up less room and be less expense." Everywhere the poor wretches sought to fly; they were branded on the arm, like criminals. All this rigor was ineffectual; the useful object of Paris-Duverney's decrees was not attained.


eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us

freefictionbooks.org is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 freefictionbooks.org - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us