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when he may be call'd upon by the general voice of the Nation to
take again the direction of the Finances.

Monsr. de Calonne has also receiv'd a like command from His
Majesty, and it is added that he is positively forbid to answer
Monsr. Neckar's late Publication. M. de Calonne is retir'd to an
Estate of his at Arnouville near Verdun where he is permitted to
see only his Relations and is strictly conjoin'd not to write any
Letters or Memorials whatever in his own justification : the apparent
severity of this last order is accounted for on the idea that the
King is desirous of preventing, what might be apprehended, any
impeachment on the part of the Parliament of Paris for malversat-
ion. What will be the fate of the Notables cannot yet be guess'd :
there is to be a general Meeting next Saturday. Several of the
Bureaux have met since Monday last and they are all now sitting
to finish their resolutions respecting the last Memoires presented
to them. It is thought that no advantage can be made of the
grants propos'd to be made des Eaux et des Forets. The King has
signified to the several Bureaux His desire that they should confine
their consultation to the matters before them, as your Lordship



194 DESPATCHES FROM PARIS 1787

will see by the Ordre du Roi a Copy of which is herewith inclos'd,
to which also is annexed L'Arrete au Bureau de Mgr. le Prince de
Conti.

Monsr. de Fourqueux has already propos'd a Loan of eighty
Millions upon life rents, there being literally no money at this time
in the Royal Treasury to go on with, it is thought the subscription
will soon be completed, as life-rents are eagerly sought after by
People in this Country.

The newly appointed Garde des Sceaux, Monsr. de Lamoignon,
meets with universal approbation : of course Monsr. de Miromenil
will soon be forgot, tho' he has certainly gained great honor by
refusing the offer of a Pension.

I send your Lordship inclos'd a Copy of His Majesty's Letter on
the occasion with Monsr. de Miromenil's answer : it is however
reported that His Majesty has since insisted on his receiving a
Pension of forty thousand livres Tournois.

It is somewhat remarkable that Monsr. de Calonne on Wednes-
day the 4th of this Month enjoy'd the entire confidence of His
Majesty and had even obtain'd a promise that the late Garde des
Sceaux should be dismiss'd and at the same time that Monsr. de
Lamoignon should be appointed to that Office : that on the Sunday
following Monsr. de Calonne receiv'd his own dismission and that
on that day se' ennight he is sent into banishment. Instances of
changes so sudden and so various do not often occur...

23. DORSET TO CARMARTHEN,

26 April 1787.

On Monday last His Majesty deliver'd before the Assembly of
Notables the speech which I... send... inclos'd: the impression it made
on the minds of all the Members was very great, but it does not
appear that any material effect on the Public has been produc'd
by it for the Funds still continue in ifearly the same low state as
they have been for some time past.

I also send... the Copy of a resolution of the Bureau at which
Monsieur presides, which was presented to the King by that
Prince, who... has given great satisfaction... by His attention to



1787 BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 195

Business... as well as by the propriety and great good sense with
which He has all along conducted Himself...

P.S. I have just received a Copy of the resolution of another
of the Bureaux, the Prince of Conti's, which I send your Lordship.
The representations therein contain'd will probably give great
umbrage to His Majesty.

24. . DORSET TO CARMARTHEN.

26 April 1787.

On Tuesday last I acquainted Monsr. de Montmorin with the
contents of your Lordship's Letter to the Comte d'Adhemar
respecting the Island of Diego Garcia ; that Minister express'd
much satisfaction at the adjustment of a business which, tho' in
itself of small importance, might have been the cause of jealousy
between the English and French who are entrusted with the
Government of Affairs in India.

Monsr. de Soulhiac certainly will not have taken any violent
step to obtain restitution of the Island as it appears by Mr. Boddam's
Letter that a Vessel had been dispatch'd by the French Governor
of Bombay to remonstrate against the proceedings of the Presid-
ency and that in the mean time Orders had actually been sent by
Mr. Boddam to relinquish the Island.

25. DORSET TO CARMARTHEN.

3 May 1787.

...The King has thought proper to require the services of the
1 Archbishop of Toulouse (Losmenil de Brienne) and His Majesty's
pleasure was accordingly signified to that Prelate on Tuesday last
that he should attend the Council as President of a Board of
Finance which is to consist of four Members exclusive of the
Archbishop and M. de Fourqueux. The four Persons said to be
nam'd are Messrs, de Tholosan, de Villedeuil, de la Milliere, and
Vidau de la Tour, all of them Conseillers d'Etat.

Monsr. de Fourqueux quits the Office of Comptrolleur General,
but continues in the Council with the Department of Finance call'd

1 Etienne Charles de Lomenie de Brienne (1727-1794).



196 DESPATCHES FROM PARIS 1787

the Contentieux. The Archbishop (who certainly declar'd yester-
day that he had a Plan ready by which, should it meet the King's
approbation, there would be a reduction of full forty millions in
the Expenditures) is to act for the present with the authority of
Comptrolleur General and is to enter immediately upon an examin-
ation into the State of the Finances, preparatory, as is suppos'd, to
his being nam'd in the course of a few months Sur-Intendant des
Finances and perhaps Premier Ministre in the same manner as was
the late Comte de Maurepas.

As I have no personal acquaintance with the Archbishop of
Thoulouse, I can speak of him only from report which represents
him to be a man much respected both for his abilities and great
application to business, as well as for his strict integrity. It has
ever been his object and study to be of use to his Country as a
Statesman, and from the character I have heard of him, there is
reason to believe that he possesses every qualification necessary to
do credit to the King his Master and to himself, provided that
his health (which is rather delicate) added to sixty years of age
shall permit him to continue a sufficient length of time in so
important a station. How far England has a friend or not in the
newly appointed Minister I cannot as yet take upon me to decide ;
I am however inclin'd to suspect that our political situation with
respect to the Cabinet of Versailles is scarcely so favourable as
during the administration of M. de Vergennes and M. de Calonne.

Monsr. Neckar is now still farther remov'd from the object of
his wishes ; the Archbishop having too much ambition and pride
to condescend to seek the assistance of a Man who already pos-
sesses so considerable a share of the public estimation, and who
himself has too much vanity to submit to act an underpart to any
Minister whatever...

26. DORSET TO CARMARTHEN,

3 May 1787.

The Assembly of Notables, it is thought, will soon be dis-
solv'd ....

The following is a Copy of the Note which was written in the



1787 BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 197

King's own hand and deliver'd by Monsieur to the several Com-
mittees.

1. Suppression de huit millions sur le Departement de la
Guerre.

2. D'un cinquieme sur les pensions audessus de dix mille
francs.

3. Supprimer de L'Equipage, dit le Vautrey, (Boar Hounds)
et de Chevaux dans les Ecuries.

4. Toutes les Pensions des Maisons Religieuses precedemment
supportees par le Tresor Royal, supportees a 1'avenir par
la Caisse des Oeconomats. i. e. The Saving of the Livings
and Church Preferments in His Majesty's gift of which the
first year's salary, after the death of an Incumbent is to be
paid into the King's Coffers.

5. La Somme des Pensions a 1'avenir ne pourra jamais etre
portee au de la de dix huit millions.

6. Vente des Domaines de Choisy and de la Meute.

The new regulations respecting the Pensions are likely to create
much embarrassment and uneasiness to many of the principal
Families in this Country who will be sensibly affected by them.

Monsr. Gozard, who was confidential secretary to M. de Calonne,
is appointed Director of the Royal Treasury under Monsr. de la
Borde, and His Majesty has given orders for all the accounts that
shall be requir'd by the Committees of the Notables to be laid
before them without reserve.

I send your Lordship Copies of two letters from Monsr. de
Montmorin and M. le Marechal de Castries, by which you will see
that the request of the Tobago Merchants is complied with. With
respect to the other Memorial no answer can yet be expected,
tho' I have every reason to hope that it will have a favourable
issue.

I take this opportunity of mentioning... that the Memorial
presented by the Comte d'Adhemar to His Majesty's Ministers
relative to the Island Diego Garcia was entirely his own drawing
up, and it is wish'd here that it had been express'd in more
moderate language.

10



198 DESPATCHES FROM PARIS 1787

A melancholy account has been receiv'd from M. de la Pey rouse
which mentions the loss of two of his Boats which had been sent
by him to make Soundings on the Coast of California : eighteen of
his People perish'd of which number ten were Officers, Two Sons
of Monsr. de la Borde (formerly the Court Banker) were unfortun-
ately drowned on this occasion to the great grief of their Family
who are inconsolable at the loss of two very promising young men.

P.S. It was yesterday reported that a small Squadron of Ships
of War was sail'd from Toulon towards the Archipelago.

27. DORSET TO CARMARTHEN,

10 May 1784.

...The inclos'd Edict (which has been register'd by the Par-
liament without any opposition) appear'd the day before Yesterday.

The Preamble is the substance of the Declaration which His
Majesty gave to the several Bureaux last Monday.

An Address of thanks to the King was in consequence voted by
the Bureaux of Monsieur and the Comte d'Artois, and it is expected
that the other Bureaux will follow the example in the course of the
week. A Committee of Five Members from each Bureau was
appointed to meet yesterday at Monsieur's Apartments to deliberate
on means for supplying to the Deficit, the amount of which is
variously stated: the different accounts making it 140 millions:
125 millions: 116 millions: and none less than 113 millions, as
given in by M. de Calonne.

The means that have been propos'd are as follows. 40 millions
by reforms chiefly in the King's Household and Stables, in which
calculation some of the great Pensions will perhaps be included :
15 millions by a Stamp-duty upon Paper and Parchment (call'cl
Timbre) ; 10 millions by a House-tax, 25 millions by an additional
Land-tax, which the Clergy, who have hitherto been exempted
from it, are to pay in common with the Nobility and Gentry ; and
25 millions (the whole together making 115 millions) to be
borrowed from the sinking Fund.

In case these regulations shall fail in the produce expected, all
Pensions, it is thought, will be taxed indiscriminately to make up



1787 BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 199

the deficiencies. However these resolutions are to be reported to
the several Bureaux and afterwards to the General Assembly
before they will be adopted.

The Public Credit is somewhat better since the late Arrange-
ments, but has not risen so rapidly as the well wishers of the
Archbishop flatter'd themselves it would.

The general opinions, respecting the abilities of the Archbishop,
are very different ; his talents being by some consider'd as superior
to those of any other man, while there are those who say qu'il n'est
qu'un homme mediocre; all however agree that he has great ambition
and that he aims at filling His Majesty's Council with his own
Dependants. For this reason it is expected that the Marechal de
Castries will soon retire, since his known attachment to Monsr.
Neckar can be no recommendation in his favour with the Arch-
bishop : that the Marechal de Segur will continue in his Depart-
ment 'till an active man is found to replace him : that the Baron de
Breteuil will probably also remain, as it is his object to keep his
Place ; that Monsr. de Montmorin will stand rather upon an
independent footing, tho' far from being at his ease with the
Archbishop ; and that Monsr. de Lamoignon, from his personal
consideration, will keep his ground with His Majesty, unless some
unforeseen jealousies should arise between him and the Archbishop.

What I communicate to your Lordship relative to the present
situation of the French Cabinet I have collected from the conver-
sations of Persons of fashion, and am therefore induc'd to believe
it is more than problematical.

The Assembly of Notables will it is thought be dismiss'd on
Wednesday next the 16th Inst.

On Tuesday last His Majesty reviewed the French and Swiss
Guards on the Plaines de Sablon. The men made a very fine
appearance, and so great a concourse of people never were known
to have assembled on the like occasions.

His Majesty receiv'd with much apparent satisfaction the re-
peated echos of Vive le Roi during his retreat from the Field...



200 DESPATCHES FROM PARIS 1787

28. DORSET TO CARMARTHEN,

17 May 1787.

I mention'd to your Lordship in my last Despatch that the
Deficit had been variously stated before the Committee which met
at Monsieur's Apartments on Wednesday the 9th. Inst. It is now
found to be 147 millions according to the report made by the
Bureau of Monsieur : 145 according to that of the Prince of Conti's,
and 142 according to that of the other five Bureaux. It is therefore
imagin'd that it will be found absolutely necessary to lay a Tax of
one fifth upon Pensions of 1,000 livres up to 10,000 and a fourth
upon all Pensions of above that sum. The difficulties in which the
Notables find themselves do not arise from certain specific sacrifices
which the necessities of the times point out and render unavoidable,
but the deciding upon such taxes as may be adopted with the least
inconvenience embarrasses them very much, as they are extremely
unwilling to lay any additional burthens upon the People at large
who, it is well known, are already but too much oppressed. The
Plan of an equal Land-tax is still look'd upon as impracticable.

In the same Committee another Plan was presented by the
Archbishop of Toulouse to supply to the Deficit, without touching
the Pensions ; as follows. A Duty upon Paper and Parchment
(called Timbre) 15 millions. The establishing on one tenth instead
of two twentieths upon all landed and funded property, to be paid
in equal proportion by every proprietor without exception will by
simplifying the mode of collection, produce an increase of 25 if not
of 30 millions. An annual Loan of 50 millions. Les Bonifications
Reforms 40 millions, and a House tax calculated at 10 millions make
in all 140 millions. There will still remain a Deficit-which, as it
cannot otherwise be provided for, will in all probability make it
necessary to have recourse to the Pensions. Several of the Bureaux
have strongly recommended to His Majesty to a Council to meet
every three or every five years in order to inspect the Finances of
the Kingdom, but His Majesty's evasive answer to that point (which
I send inclos'd) is by no means favorable to their wishes, and the
dissolution of the Assembly which will certainly take place the



1787 BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 201

beginning of next week leaves room to conclude that the zeal which
has animated that Body is not likely to be recompens'd by any
future encouragement.

Monsieur and the Comte d'Artois have already inform' d His
Majesty of their power and readiness to retrench 500,000 livres
each in the Establishment of Their Stables. The Queen and the
rest of the Royal Family will also considerably diminish Theirs.
By way of supplement I send your Lordship a draft of the saving
intended to be made in the different State Expenditures ; I cannot
however answer for the correctness of the account, which may
nevertheless serve to throw some lights on the subject.

The Edict for establishing the Loan of 80 millions was register'd
by the Parliament on Monday the 7th. of this Month, without any
opposition being made to it. Twenty-two millions of the Loan
were subscrib'd on Saturday last and paid into the Royal Treasury.

I inclose to your Lordship copies of the proceedings of some of
the Bureaux, together with the King's Answer. The resolutions of
the Prince of Conti's Bureau are the most spirited and interesting.

29. DORSET TO CARMARTHEN

31 May 1787.

It is difficult to determine whether His Majesty or His Majesty's
Ministers were the better pleased at the dissolution of the Assembly
of Notables ; there is however no difficulty in pronouncing that no
such Assembly will again be call'd together during the present
reign, unless some unforeseen calamity should befall the Country.

It is now upwards of three months since the first meeting, during
which period there have been held fifty-one Bureaux at the apart-
ments of the several Princes, and from ten to twelve private
Committees by deputation from each Bureau. Upon the whole
the Assembly undoubtedly conducted themselves with great temper
and moderation, and too much cannot be said in praise of Monsieur
and the Comte d'Artois who have throughout shewn their readiness
to submit to every possible diminution of expence in their respec-
tive Establishments.

The Archbishop of Thoulouse may be consider'd as sole Min-



202 DESPATCHES FROM PARIS 1787

ister : the name only is wanting : His speech on the last day of the
Assembly has rais'd him very much in the public opinion, and his
private character for integrity is unimpeachable. The Provincial
Assemblies are likely to be of great benefit to the Nation, but it is
to be hoped that the principle of liberty upon which they are
founded will not extend itself beyond the bounds prescrib'd by the
Monarch. The speeches which I sent to your Lordship last Sunday
will best explain the means that have been recommended by the
Notables as best calculated to make good the present Deficit and
to prevent in the future so great an arrear. The Vautrais (Boar
hunt) is reform'd and the horses (upwards of eighty in number)
which were employ'd for it, were yesterday sold by public Auction.

I send your Lordship inclos'd Copies of the answers to my
application respecting the Duty exacted from His Majesty's Packets
at Calais, wherein is given a reasonable pretence for the continu-
ance of that Duty 'till our Government shall think proper to put
the English Packets upon the same footing as those of the French
King which never take either Goods or Passengers.

The Affairs in Holland have taken a very serious turn : whatever
may be the wishes of this Country the minds of the Stadtholder's
adversaries appear to be so much inflam'd that the Cabinet of
Versailles at present see little probability of good effects to be
expected from their interference. It is the general opinion here
that matters are likely to terminate very unfavourable for the
Prince of Orange : the Dutch Ambassadors seem to be under the
greatest apprehension for the issue of Affairs,

More publications concerning M. de Kornmann having appear 'd
I send them to your Lordship. M. le Noir's conduct is represented
in a very unfavourable light : so much so that it is thought he
would not have been permitted to remain a Member of the Assembly
of Notables had that Body continued sitting.

30. DORSET TO CARMARTHEN,

7 June 1787.

...The Parliament, which is appointed to sit the llth. of this
month, is to take into consideration the most effectual means for



1787 BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 203

uniting the deliberations of the Provincial Assemblies. Dauphine,
formerly un Pays d'etat, is to be restor'd to its ancient privileges
of which it was deprived by Louis XIII at the instigation of the
Cardinal de Richelieu.

Some of the Bureaux represented against the Taxes that were
proposed, particularly the Bureau of the Prince of Conde which
strongly objected to that upon Houses, and it is thought that the
Parliament will make great difficulties when the new Taxes are to
be registered : it is even apprehended that His Majesty will be
oblig'd on account of this opposition on the part of the Parliament
to hold a Lit de Justice to enforce obedience ; however opinions
may perhaps change when the time comes for exacting the payment
of the new Taxes, as nothing is intended to be done 'till the
reforms are made and the abuses in the collecting of the revenue
corrected, for the completion of which six months at least are
requisite. The whole of the proceedings of the Assembly of
Notables will be published in the course of a few days. The new
Conseil des Finances will be named this week. Monsr. de Moussion
is named Intendant of Rouen in the room of Monsr. de Villedeuil...

31. DORSET TO CARMARTHEN.

12 June 1787.

...I can... assure your Lordship that this Court has no inten-
tion of taking any open or decisive part in the present disputes in
Holland. The late Monsr. de Vergennes could never talk of the
situation of that Country with any degree of temper as he consider'd
England in a great measure the promoter of the internal discontents
which prevail'd ; yet nevertheless I firmly believe that the French
Ministers would now heartily join with England in any measures
to restore Peace and tranquility to the United Provinces.

I shall see Monsr. de Montmorin in the course of this day, and I
will, agreeable to your Lordship's instructions, endeavor to learn
what steps have been taken in the French Cabinet since the arrival
of an Officer from Berlin charged with Despatches from His
Prussian Majesty who, it is said, shews a disposition to take a
warm and active part in support of the Stadtholder...



204 DESPATCHES FROM PARIS 1787

32. DORSET TO CARMARTHEN,

14 June 1787.

In a conversation I held last Tuesday with Monsr. de Mont-
morin I found still further reason for being convinc'd that the
French Ministry are at present by no means dispos'd to take part
in the Divisions that prevail in Holland, and I could perceive that
the King of Prussia is not so warm in his support of the Stadtholder
as may have been suspected, at least He has so express'd Himself
to this Court. The Prince of Orange and his advisers do not stand
high in the opinion of the French Cabinet and indeed their con-
duct meets here with some degree of contempt. By the Minister's
manner of expressing himself to me it appear'd that he entertain'd
some suspicion that the ' British Plenipotentiary at the Hague had
ever had great influence in all the decisive measures that have
been adopted by the Stadtholder's Party, but whether his suspi-
cions were grounded upon fact or mere surmise I was not able to
discover with certainty. I held out to Monsr. de Montmorin in as
cautious a manner as possible how much I believ'd it to be His
Majesty's wish to see tranquility restor'd to the Republic, and I
was assur'd by that Minister that the views of the King His Master
were equally directed to that object, which he seem'd to think in
the present alarming crisis, was most likely to be effected by
leaving the States-General to settle matters without the interference
of any foreign Power : If His Prussian Majesty is of the same
opinion, it appears to be the best security for the repose of
Europe. I cannot help giving it as my opinion that any proposal
to that effect coming from Great Britain would be receiv'd with
cordiality by this Court ; but I think it necessary to add, what I
should not without good reason observe to your Lordship, that
some proof of our sincerity, so far as witholding any further inter-
ference in the Dutch Affairs, must be given before we are to
expect entire confidence at Versailles.

Your Lordship may be satisfied that no military preparations are
going on either in the Army or Navy of this Country...

1 Harris, afterwards Earl of Malmesbury.



1787 BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 205

There will be an annual saving of 12,000 Stg. by the appoint-
ment of one Intendant du Commerce instead of four.

The Parliament met last Monday the llth. His Majesty sent to
that Body to register the Edicts relative to the Provincial Assem-
blies, the freedom of the commerce of Corn, and also that (it is
said) which abolishes la Corvee ; and to-morrow a general meeting
will be held for that purpose. Those respecting the new Taxes
will, it is thought, meet with some difficulty, and it is still expected


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