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ing a state of the Expenditure (which for many obvious objects
His Majesty cannot consent to make public) : some of them have
already gone so far as to say Que les Etats Generaux (sic) ought to
be assembled for the purpose of examining the accounts, and if
that sort of Spirit should gain ground I should not be surpriz'd at
any proceeding, however violent, of the Court. In order to give
your Lordship an idea of the manner of debating in the Commit-
tees, I will relate one instance.

Le Marechal de Beauveau, who belongs to the Comte d' Artois's 2

1 This is where the States General met in 1789.

2 Charles Juste de Beauvau (1720-1793) a very distinguished soldier.

9



182 DESPATCHES FROM PARIS 1787

Board rose and only observ'd that it must be impossible to discover
where the evil lay unless further information was produc'd to the
Committee, the Comte d'Artois immediately answer'd. "Monsr.
le Marechal, Puisque vous persistez dans votre demande J'en
ferai part au Roi, Mon Frere, et J'aurai soin de vous apporler sa
rcponse. " This vivacity of His Royal Highness silenc'd M. le
Marechal and the Committee adjourn'd.

I have already observ'd to your Lordship that the Deficit for the
present year amounts to 113 millions : the inclos'd Paper, which
is copied from an account I have just now receiv'd will best
explain to your Lordship the manner in which it is to be supplied
tho' the Timbre (Stamp-duty) will not produce more than 35 mil-
lions; the Impot Territorial about 52 millions and the savings about
20 millions which is six millions short of the sum demanded.

The inclos'd account states the Deficit at 112 millions only but
it certainly amounts to 113 millions. These new modes of Taxes
have excited the greatest animosity against Monsr. de Calonne
particularly amongst the Clergy who have hitherto uniformly
oppos'd all his plans.

13. DORSET TO CARMARTHEN,

15 March 1787.

...I find that I gave an improper signification to the term
Impot Territorial, which, tho' I have in my subsequent Despatch
No. 16 given the true meaning of it, I must beg your Lordship will
order to be rectified by substituting Tythe of land in the room of
Land tax.

No business was transacted on Thursday the 8th nor on the two
following days, the Sittings having been suspended on account of
the demand that had been made for an inspection into the expen-
diture of the public money, which His Majesty has not thought
proper to consent to. On Monday last there was a General
Meeting at which the Comptrolleur General address'd the Assembly
and in the King's name express'd His Majesty's satisfaction at the
manner in which the business that had been laid before them had
been conducted. He then inform'd the Assembly of the other



1787 BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 183

matters recommended for their deliberation. I must observe to
your Lordship that as yet there are only two points resolv'd on-viz.
Parochial and District Meetings, which are to report their pro-
ceedings to the Provincial Assemblies, and the Impot Territorial, to
be paid in money : these modes of collecting the Revenues I have
already explain'd.

On Thursday the 12th. the several committees took into consid-
eration the removing to the Frontiers the Gates of the Interior
Provincial Towns, also the mode of collecting the tax upon Salt,
and other inferior Duties. Upon these matters being propos'd for
discussion, the Due d'Orleans desir'd leave of His Majesty to
withdraw himself from His Board, assigning for reason that He was
too deeply interested in the resolution that might be taken upon
these points to be certain that He should be able to form an impar-
tial judgement thereon. The King granted His Highness's request
and the Board proceeds in this business without any President,
owing to an etiquette between the Clergy and the Nobility, on
account of which it could not be settled which of those two Bodies
has the precedency.

Should the alteration in the collecting the Gabelle, according to
the plan propos'd, take place, the Due d'Orleans will suffer a
diminution in his Income of 30,000 Stg. Monsieur and the Comte
d'Artois would also be very considerably affected, but it is of little
consequence to them as the King would provide an equivalent for
the relief of His Brothers which He is not dispos'd to do for His
Cousin the Due d'Orleans. The other Princes of the Blood will
not be affected by the adoption of the new mode as They have no
territory allotted to Them in the same manner that the Due d'Or-
leans has owing to his much nearer alliance by consanguinity to
the King.

On Wednesday the Prince du Conti (who has acquir'd great
popularity by his firmness) went to the King and desir'd in the
name of His Committee to have His Majesty's pleasure made known
in writing : Monsr. de Calonne's speech at the General Assembly
having occasion'd much surprize by the implication which it seem'd
to contain of their assent to the objects which had been propos'd.



184 DESPATCHES FROM PARIS 1787

The Prince de Conti assur'd His Majesty that both Himself and
His Committee differ'd in every respect as to the matter as well as
the form of what had been propos'd by the Comptrolleur General.

The King promis'd to signify his pleasure in writing.

A short time since the Protestants of ' Ortez in Beam, under an
idea that the extention of their privileges (of late so much talk'd
of) was intended to take place immediately by which they would be
put in the same situation as before the revocation of the Edict of
Nantz, went in a tumultuous manner and took possession of a
Church belonging to the Catholic communion ; besides which they
are said to have committed very serious outrages, to have beat the
Priest and even to have kill'd several persons. The Parliament of
Pau has taken cognizance of the Affair and an account has been
sent to Government of the whole proceeding. It is worthy of
Your Lordship's observation that no mention whatever has been
made of the Protestants in the Assembly of Notables.

I send Your Lordship a Pamphlet just publish'd by the 2 Comte
de Mirabeau which is said to be very severe against Monsr. de
Calonne.

14. DORSET TO CARMARTHEN,

22 March 1787.

...The whole of this last week has been employed by the
Notables in the discussion of the means for altering the principal
internal Duties of the Kingdom for the reciprocal benefit of the
Revenue and the People. The Gabelle, or Duty upon Salt, it is
thought will not pass under any new form 'till it has been referred
to the Provincial Assemblies, as being best able to obtain new
lights with respect to that mode of Taxation, and to produce a
more exact account of its abuses.

It has however been proposed that the Provincial Assemblies
should, upon paying severally a certain annual sum to the King for
a certain quantity of Salt take the administration of that Duty

1 Orthez the ancient Orthesium was Capital of Beam. It was the head quarters
of Protestantism in the South East of France.

* Honore Gabriel Riqetti Comte de Mirabeau (1740-1791).



1787 BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 185

entirely into their own hands ; by which means the two Pounds of
Salt which each Person in the Provinces is oblig'd to take, would
be furnish'd to him at a cheaper rate than at present ; and when
any further quantity should be required by Individuals, it would
be deliver'd at so low a rate (one sol per pound) as would effect-
ually prevent the fraudulent circulation of that Article from one
Province to another. But this matter, as well as the removal of
the Customs Houses to the Frontiers, has been unanimously deem'd
to be an object proper to be submitted to the Provincial Assem-
blies.

The Due d'Orleans, it appears, will not be so great a loser as
was at first imagin'd, since instead of 30,000 Stg. His Highness,
upon an enquiry into the Royal Duties He is entitled to, will not
suffer an annual loss of 8,000 or at most 10,000.

The Proposition last brought forward is that of the King's Dom-
aines which, with the utmost that can be made of them, will never
produce more than from 80,000 to 100,000 Stg. Pr. An :, the
Royal Forests not being included for this obvious reason that if
those Forests (by which is to be understood the large tracts of
Wood in this Country) were to get into private Hands, the desire
of having quick returns would in all probability occasion in a short
time a deficiency of fuel throughout the country and particularly at
Paris, for the greatest attention is even now found very necessary,
in order to secure the Capital from such a calamity, and notwith-
standing that within these last two or three years a great quantity
of Coal and Turf has been consumed in this city the apprehension
of failure in the Article of Wood still prevails.

No time is mentioned for the dissolution of the Assembly of
Notables, as the Comptrolleur General has yet other matters to
bring forward...

P.S. The different Stocks have fallen of late and India Bonds a
day or two ago fell from 1600 to 1400 pr. share the livres Tournois.

15. DORSET TO CARMARTHEN,

22 March 1787.

It is strongly rumour'd here that the Empress of Russia has



186 DESPATCHES FROM PARIS 1787

insisted with the Porte that the Capitaine Pacha shall be dismiss'd,
Her Imperial Majesty suspecting him of having secretly fomented
the discontents in Circassia : Her Majesty is also said to have
requir'd that an Ambassador should be sent from the Porte to
compliment Her on Her arrival at Cherson, and likewise to have
demanded in peremptory terms restitution of Territory in Budziac,
which she claims as having been possess'd by Saim Gueray the
last Khan of the Tartars.

The Porte, provok'd at these unwarrantable and haughty
demands, has return'd a very spirited answer and has recalled the
Capitaine Pacha from Egypt to take command of the Troops
which have receiv'd orders to assemble at Oczakow where the
account says that Magazines are actually forming.

Monsr. de Simolin does not give credit to these reports nor can
I take upon me to say how far they are to be depended upon, yet
upon the whole they seem to carry with them such an air of pro-
bability that I should think myself remiss was I to omit communi-
cating them to your Lordship.

On Tuesday last an order was issued for taking into custody
M. de Mirabeau, who however got intimation of it from some of
his Friends in time to make his escape, and it is suppos'd he is
gone to England, having before he quitted Paris secur'd his Papers
which were of the utmost consequence to him. A Lettre de
Cachet was also issued against the Abbe d'Espagnac, a Person well
known for his great dealings in the Funds, particularly India Stock.
He has thought it most prudent to surrender himself, and has in
consequence had an interview with Monsr. de Calonne, who has
promised him three months to settle his Affairs, during which time
no further steps will be taken against him.

On Saturday last the son of the King of Cochinchine was
presented to Their Majesties, and, tho' only seven years old,
behav'd himself on the occasion with great propriety. He is
brought hither at the request of His Father by a French Missionary
to solicit the assistance of His Most Christian Majesty in the
recovery of His Kingdom from which he has been driven. Two
Battalions of 600 men each are ask'd for : in the meantime the



1787 BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 187

King is retir'd to a small Island near His ,own coast, where He
waits the event of His Son's mission. His promises to the French,
to induce them to comply with his request, are very great
amounting to the establishment of a Factory for Them on his
Coast : nothing however is yet decided upon, nor, I should think,
will any step be taken 'till it is known in what light such an under-
taking, which might eventually affect Our China trade, would be
consider'd by Great Britain. It is nevertheless said, but I am
inclined to believe without foundation, that several of the Nobility
have applied for the command of this Expedition in case it shall
take place...

16. ENCLOSURE IN THE ABOVE DESPATCH.

The following severe verses have been written and handed
about since the publication of M. de Mirabeau's Pamphlet.
a Puisse ton homilie, O pesant Mirabeau,
Ecraser les fripons, qui gatent nos affaires :
Un voleur converti, doit devenir bourreau,
Et precher sur 1'echelle en rouant ses confreres. "

17. DORSET TO CARMARTHEN,

29 March 1787.

Accounts have lately been receiv'd from the Isles of France
and Bourbon which mention that two English Ships having on
board four hundred men had sail'd from Bombay and taken
possession of the Island of Diego Gorcia (or Gorcie) to which
Place Monsr. de Soulhiac, knowing it to be abandoned by the
Europeans, had some time before despatch'd one Norman a
Frenchman with a small detachment with orders to establish
himself there : but Norman finding the Island untenable on account
of the scarcity of water and other local inconveniences had quitted
it and brought away his people. The accounts however add that
the French Flag was flying at the time the English landed tho'
there were then only a few Blacks on the Island. This intelligence,
particulars of which are variously represented, seems to have
occasion'd some alarm here.



188 DESPATCHES FROM PARIS 1787

There is a General Meeting of the Notables to-day. The four
Propositions inserted in the Journal de Paris, which I send inclos'd,
have been discussed with great difference of opinions in the
several Committees.

I send your Lordship all that I have been able to obtain but
which I have reason to believe is a tolerably exact account of
what pass'd in the Due d'Orleans's Bureau, where there appears to
have been so much opposition to Monsr. de Calonne's proposal,
that it seems almost impossible any material alteration in the mode
of collecting the Salt Duty can be attempted. Had this Plan and
that of the General Land-Tax met with the approbation of the
Assembly, the monied people of this City were ready to advance
one hundred and twenty millions of livres tournois to Government
but it cannot now be foreseen to what expedient the Comptrolleur
General will have recourse. Two other Propositions are to be
laid before the Assembly this day, but what they relate to has not
transpir'd, nor indeed does anything come to light, well authentic-
ated, excepting what the Minister chooses shall be known. It is
thought the Assembly will not be dissolv'd before the beginning
of May.

18. DORSET TO CARMARTHEN,

1 April 1787.

The Memoire which I have the honor of sending to your
Lordship has just made its appearance, and, as it contains the first
authentic information respecting the measures propos'd at the
Assembly of Notables, I have thought proper to dispatch a Courier
on purpose in order to forward it to your Lordship as early as
possible rather than defer sending it so long as 'till Thursday the
ordinary course of conveyance.

I have not yet been able to procure a Copy of Monsieur de
Calonne's Speech at the General Assembly held last Thursday, but
I make no doubt that it will be printed in a few days. One
Reform has already taken place viz the abolishment des Saintes
Chapelles: it has hitherto been the custom to keep up the ceremony
of a Royal Messe at all the several Palaces belonging to His



1787 BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 189

Majesty in the different parts of the Kingdom, tho' it has ever
been consider'd as a useless expence : the saving to Government by
this measure will be about 12,000 Stg. pr. Annum...

19. DORSET TO CARMARTHEN,

dated Paris, 5 April 1787.

On Friday last the Assembly of Notables took into considera-
tion the means of alienating the Crown lands, but without being
able to remove the grand objection arising from the constitution
which renders all alienation revocable by the Successors of the
reigning Monarch.

It seems therefore to be unanimously understood by the Assembly
that the utmost that can be done is to dispose of, for the term of
the King's natural life only, such Lands as are still free from mort-
gage and encumbrance ; tho' by an operation so restrictive the
views of the Minister in point of finance will be very far from
being fulfill'd.

On Saturday last the same subject was again discuss'd without
producing any decision.

Les Eaux and les Forets are at present before the Assembly.

The inclos'd is an Extract of what pass'd last Monday at the
Prince of Conty's Committee upon the Advertisement prefix'd to
the Memorials which I had the honor of sending to your Lordship.

It is said that some others also of the Bureaux have desir'd
leave of the King to publish their Proceedings and that His
Majesty has been graciously pleased to grant their request : but
your Lordship may depend upon it as certain that the King is
fully resolv'd to support the Comptrolleur General to the utmost
however hostile to that Minister may be the measures pursued by
the Notables ; and that if particular Members shall appear deter-
min'd to continue their persecution of him, His Majesty may be
induc'd to dismiss the Assembly sooner than He at first intended.

The several Bureaux adjourned last Tuesday 'till Wednesday in
next week. Their deliberations have been carried on with some
discontent, and hitherto very little progress has been made as to
the objects that have been brought forward.



190 DESPATCHES FROM PARIS 1787

I send your Lordship a Letter just publish'd the Author of
which is not known but it may be presumed that the publication
of it was no secret to Monsr. de Calonne. The Clergy, who are
particularly piqued against that Minister and have rais'd a clamour
against him which it may be difficult to silence, in all probability
will not be backward in producing an answer to the above men-
tioned Letter. It is beyond a doubt that some considerable reform
will be made in the Maison du Roi. The Chevaux Legers will
probably be the first suppress'd, as will also be several Companies
of the Garde du Corps.

It appears by an estimate given in of the Public expenditure that
the expences of the Army amounted to forty millions of livres
Tournois and those of the Navy to only ten millions : but it is at
the same time to be consider'd that the great number of Forts and
Garrisons on the Frontiers of the Kingdom must unavoidably be at
all times a heavy charge upon the Nation.

It is generally believ'd that the Emperor and the Empress of
Russia, aware as They are of the inability of France at this moment
to assist the Porte in case of emergency, are likely to give serious
alarm to the Divan by Their too near approach to the Seat of the
Turkish Empire.

I learn that Monsr. de Soulhiac, upon receiving intelligence that
the English had taken possession of the Island of Gorcie, dispatch'cl
a Frigate to demand restitution of it : however, as I understand
that the Comte d'Adhemar has receiv'd instructions from his Court
to represent this matter officially to your Lordship, I shall not
think it necessary to trouble you with such precarious reports con-
cerning it as may happen to come to my knowledge.

20. DORSET TO CARMARTHEN,

dated Paris, 10 April 1787.

On Sunday Evening His Majesty sent the Comte de Montmorin
with a Letter, conceiv'd in terms of great kindness, to Monsr. de
Calonne signifying to that Minister the impossibility of His con-
tinuing him any longer in His Service ; and on Monday Evening
Monsr. de Fourqueux was appointed Comptrolleur General. Mons.



1787 BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 191

de Fourqueux, who was born in the year 1718 and appears to be
of a very weak and broken constitution is a Conseiller d'Etat and
a Man of an exceedingly good character, but is thought to be by no
means equal to an Office of so much complication and importance.

His Majesty has also thought proper to dismiss Monsr. de Miro-
menil from his office of Garde des Sceaux, and l Monsr. de
Lamoignon, Un des Premiers Presidens du Parlement de Paris, is
nam'd to succeed him.

Monsr. d'Aligre, first President of the Parliament of Paris, has
retir'd and 2 Monsr. d'Ormesson it is said will be appointed in his
room.

These changes have all taken place within the last three days.

It is generally believed that the Avertissement to the Memoire,
publish'd under the authority of Monsr. de Calonne, which I sent
to your Lordship last week by Lauzun, was the ground of a very
strong Letter written by Monsieur to the King which states the
entire disapprobation express'd by His Bureau of the contents of
that Avertissement and is suppos'd to have been the immediate
cause of that Minister's removal. Monsr. de Calonne is to have a
Pension of seventy thousand livres Tournois settled upon him
which is more by twenty thousand than has ever been granted to
any former Comptrolleur General.

The King offer'd a Pension to Monsr. de Miromenil which he
declin'd accepting but recommended his Children to His Majesty's
protection. Monsr. de Miromenil incurr'd the King's displeasure
by his conduct towards Monsr. de Calonne whose Plans he appear'd
to approve 'till the death of Monsr. de Vergennes happen'd when
he immediately chang'd his ground and has since uniformly
oppos'd him upon every occasion. It is somewhat extraordinary,
but an undoubted fact, that it was determin'd on Wednesday last
at the instigation of Monsr. de Calonne to dismiss the Garde des
Sceaux, and on Sunday Monsr. de Calonne receiv'd his own
dismission.

1 Chretien Francois II de Lamoignon (1735-1789) belonged to a distinguished
family of the robe.

2 Louis-Frangois de Paule Le Fevre Marquis d'Ormesson (1718-1789).



192 DESPATCHES FROM PARIS 1787

The Assembly of Notables which was adjourn'd to to-morrow
is further postpon'd 'till Monday next. It is reported that a Select
Committee, chosen from the Whole Body, will be appointed to
carry into execution such part of Monsr. de Calonne's Plan as shall
be found practicable : particularly that respecting Provincial
Assemblies which are to take cognizance of all matters relating to
the Taxes, to be paid by each Province...

21. DORSET TO CARMARTHEN,

12 April 1787.

...The changes that have taken place necessarily occasion a
present delay in all public business at Versailles, but I hope to obtain
in the course of a few days some positive answer from the Ministry
respecting the unsettled claims of the Proprietors of Ships seiz'd
before the commencement of hostilities, as well as in regard to
other matters recommended to me by your Lordship...

I do not learn that anything is yet determin'd on in consequence
of the young Prince of Cochine China's application to this Court ;
it is however certain that, in consideration of the possible advant-
ages to be procur'd to the French trade and Possessions in that
part of India by a Friendly intercourse with that Kingdom, there
is a strong disposition here to listen to the proposals that are made.

The Comte de Sillery (formerly known as Comte de Genlis) a
Capitain in the Royal Navy, is particularly attentive to the young
Prince and is anxious to engage Government to cultivate a con-
nection which may in some degree help to counterbalance the
exorbitant power (as he calls it) of the English in that part of the
World.

1 Mons. d'Aligre, First President, yet keeps his Place, but it is
generally believ'd that he will very soon retire...

22. DORSET TO CARMARTHEN,

19 April 1787.

...On Saturday last His Majesty's pleasure was signified to
Monsr. Neckar that he should quit Paris without loss of time and
1 Etienne Francis d'Aligre (1726-1798.)



1787 BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 193

remove himself at a distance from the Capital of not less than
twenty leagues. In consequence of which that Gentleman set out
last Monday for Orleans where he proposes to remain for the
present. Madame Neckar is not in a state to accompany her
husband having been for some time disorder'd in her mind, but
Madame de Stael, his Daughter, proposes to follow her Father in
the course of a few days ; This young lady is under great affliction
on occasion of her father's banishment. ' The Pamphlet publish 'd by
Mr. Neckar, which I sent to your Lordship last week, has been the
cause of this disgrace ; tho' for the present he is only enjoin'd to keep
himself twenty leagues from Paris, it is not improbable that a fresh
order will be given requiring him to retire to Geneva his native
place. A Proceeding which thus protracts the return of a Man of
Monsr. Neckar's superior abilities to the situation of Comptrolleur
General is certainly matter of satisfaction to all whose wishes are
not to see the influence of this country too prevalent in Europe.
Monsr. Neckar has many powerful friends, and the time may come


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