[Page 8] Given by the nobility of the bailliage of Blois to the viscount of Beauharnois and the cavalier de Phelines, deputies of the order to the States General, and to M. Lavoisier, supplementary deputy, March 28,
The object of every social institution is to confer the greatest possible happiness upon those who live under its laws.
Happiness ought not to be confined to a small number of men; it belongs to all. It is not an exclusive privilege to be contested for; it is a common right which must be preserved, which must be shared, and the public happiness is a source from which each has a right to draw his supply.
Such are the sentiments which animate the nobility of the bailliage of Blois, at a moment when we are called upon by the sovereign to give our representatives to the nation. These principles have occupied all our thoughts during the preparation of this cahier. May they animate all citizens of this great state! May they evoke that spirit of union, that unanimity of desires'which shall erect upon an indestrucible foundation of power the prosperity of the nation, the welfare of the monarch and his subjects!
Deep and established ills cannot be cured with a single effort: the destruction of abuses is not the work of a day. Alas! Of what avail to reform them if their causes be not removed? The misfortune of France arises from the fact that it has never had a fixed constitution. A virtuous and sympathetic king seeks the counsels and cooperation of the nation to establish one; let us hasten to accomplish his desires; let us hasten to restore to his soul that peace which his virtues merit. The principles of this constitution should be simple; they may be reduced to two: Security for person, security for property; because, in fact, it is from these two fertile principles that all organization of the body politic takes its rise.
Art. I. In order to assure the exercise of this first and most sacred of the rights of man, we ask that no citizen may be exiled, arrested or held prisoner except in cases contemplated by the law and in accordance with a decree originating in the regular courts of justice.
[Page 9] That in case the States General determine that provisional detention may be necessary at times, it ought to be ordained that every person so arrested shall be delivered, within twenty-four hours into the hand of appropriate judges, to be judged with the least possible delay, in conformity with the laws of the kingdom; that evocations be abolished, and that no extraordinary commission be established in any instance; finally that no person be deprived of his position, civil or military, without judgment in due form.
Since individual liberty is a right equally sacred for citizens of all ranks and classes, without distinction or precedence, the States General are invited to interest themselves in the suppression of all forced service in the militia and of acts of authority which involve the violation of personal rights, and which are the more intolerable in a century of intelligence, when it is possible to accomplish the same end with less oppressive means. The application of these principles ought to suffer exception only in the case of an urgent necessity, when the safety of the country is at stake, in which case the extent of the executive power should be enlarged.
From the right of personal liberty arises the right to write, to think, to print and to publish, with the names of authors and publishers, all kinds of complaints and reflections upon public and private affairs, limited by the right of every citizen to seek in the established courts legal redress against author or publisher, in case of defamation or injury; limited also by all restrictions which the States General may see fit to impose in that which concerns morals and religion.
The violation of the secrecy of letters is still an infringement upon the liberty of citizens; and since the sovereign has assumed the exclusive right of transporting letters throughout the kingdom, and this has become a source of public revenue, such carriage ought to be made under the seal of confidence.
We indicate further a number of instances in which natural liberty is abridged:
1. The abuse of police regulations, which every year, in an arbitrary manner and without regular process, thrusts a number of artisans and useful citizens into prisons, work-houses and places of detention, often for trivial faults and even upon simple suspicion;
2. The abuse of exclusive privileges which fetter industry;
3. The guilds and corporations which deprive citizens of the right of using their faculties;
[Page 10] 4. The regulations governing manufactures, the rights of inspection and marque, which impose restrictions that have lost their usefulness, and which burden industry with a tax that yields no profit to the public treasury.
Art. 2. A tax is a partition of property.
This partition ought not to be otherwise than voluntary; in any other case the rights of property are violated: Hence it is the indefeasible and inalienable right of the nation to consent to its taxes.
According to this principle, which has been solemnly recognized by the king, no tax, real or personal, direct or indirect, nor any contribution whatsoever, under whatsoever name or form, may be established except with the consent and free and voluntary approval of the nation. Nor may said power of consenting to a tax be transferred or delegated by the nation to any magistracy or other body, or exercised by the provincial estates nor by the provincial, city or communal assemblies: superior and inferior courts shall be especially charged to attend to the execution of this article, and to prosecute as exactors those who may undertake to levy a tax which has not received the proper sanction.
All public loans are, properly speaking, taxes in disguise, since the property of the kingdom is affected and hypothecated for the payment of capital and interest. Therefore no loan, under whatsoever form or denomination, may be effected without the consent and will of the nation assmembled.
Since the greater number of the taxes and imposts established up to this time have not received the sanction of the nation, the first business of the assembled estates will be to abolish all without exception; at the same time, in order to avoid the inconvenience resulting from an interruption in the payment of interest on the public debt and the expenses of government, the nation assembled, by virtue of the same authority, shall re-establish them, collecting them under a title of a free gift during the session of the States General and up to the time when they shall have established such other taxes as may seem to them desirable.
A tax is no other thing than a voluntary sacrifice which each person makes of his particular property in favor of the public power, which protects and guarantees all. It is therefore evident that the tax ought to be proportioned to the interest which each has in preserving his [Page 11] property, and consequently to the value of this property. In accordance with this principle the nobility of the bailliage of Blois believes itself in duty bound to lay at the feet of the nation all the pecuniary exemptions which it has enjoyed or might have enjoyed up to this time, and it offers to contribute to the public needs in proportion with other citizens, upon condition that the names of taille and corvee be suppressed and all direct taxes be comprised in a single land tax in money.
The nobility of the bailliage of Blois, in making this surrender of its ancient privileges, has been unable to suppress a sentiment of interest in favor of that portion of the nobility which a modest fortune confines to the rural districts. It believes that a proprietor, who fulfils the obligation of his heritage, spreads about him prosperity and happiness; that the efforts he makes to increase his revenues increase at the same time the mass of the agricultural products of the realm; that the country districts are covered with chateaux and manors, formerly inhabited by the French nobility, but to-day abandoned; that a great public interest would be subserved by inducing proprietors to seek again, so far as possible, their interests in the country.
Animated by these motives we believe that it is our duty to solicit the especial protection of the States General in favor of that respectable portion of the nation which divides its time between the culture of the fields and the defence of the state; and we hope that means will be found to reconcile that which is due to their interests and needs with the absolute renunciation which is about to be made of the pecuniary exemptions of nobility.
If, as has been said, a tax is the price paid for the protection which government accords to property, it follows that all property which the government protects ought to be subject to the tax; that the tax, as a necessary consequence, ought to affect incomes from bonds and interest upon the royal funds in the same proportion as land.
It is useless to urge that such an extension of the tax would be a violation of the public faith: property in bonds is no more sacred than property in land: and if the nation can consent to a tax upon one it can also tax the other. The same contribution should be exacted from the emoluments derived from all financial positions and from all lucrative employments.
The order of nobility has no doubt that the national assembly will concern itself with the examination and reformation of that mass of [Page 12] taxes, the collection of which, thanks to the financial spirit which necessity has imparted to the administration, has been rendered intolerable to the people; such as the gabelle, the aides and others.
While awaiting the suppression of these taxes, their simplification, condensation, conversion or assessment by provinces, we ask that at least their collection be made less burdensome; that lists be drawn up and given to the public, in order that each may know the amount of his obligation; that over-assessments be avoided and abuses reformed.
Of these taxes certain ones have drawn our especial attention, as pro- ducing a very moderate contribution to the public treasury, while the inconvenience, the outlay, the expense of collection which they entail are out of proportion to the pecuniary advantages derived from them.
Of such a nature is the tax upon leather, a substance susceptible of contraction and expansion, which has given rise to frequent contentions, to accusations of false marks and to criminal processes.
The provincial assembly of Orleans has already declared against the collection of this tax, and has established the possibility of its conversion. This body has shown that the tax involves the ruin of the leather trade in France, and that we shall not be able, if the tax be continued, to compete with English leathers, either in price or quality.
Of such a character also is the tax of franc-fief, which is a burden to the third estate, which pays it; to the nobility, whose estates and rentals it diminishes in value, and to the king himself, who would be more than indemnified, in case the tax were abolished, by the increase in the value of all landed estates that hold from him.
So also with the capitation, a vexatious and arbitrary tax, which we hope to see abolished.
So also with the fees accorded to commissioners of appraisement, who conduct public sales in the villages. This tax bears heavily upon inheritances, and it often happens that the proceeds from the sale of the effects of the unhappy country people are not sufficient to discharge the costs of the sale.
So with stamp duties, registry fees and the centieme denier. The legal status of these taxes is so generally unknown, and so far beyond the comprehension of those who have not made a special study of the matter, that the contributor is necessarily at the mercy of the collector, without it being possible for him to contest the case or defend himself.
It is no doubt useful that there should be legal forms, which fix the date of documents; registers, where they are transcribed and rendered [Page 13] public; but the aggregate of these registry and transcription fees should not exceed the amounts required for the maintenance of officials: these dues should be fixed according to a simpler and more definite scale, available to everybody; and it is difficult to see why a matter of police and public security should be treated as a source of revenue for the state.
In connection with the greater part of the domanial taxes it is a remarkable fact that the intendant is the only judge having jurisdiction over contests arising in their collection, except by appeal to the council; the result is that the commissioner of the king alone may preside as judge in cases of original jurisdiction, and these are determined upon appeal by the king's council.
Of this character also is the tax which results from the exclusive privilege of the stage routes, a privilege enjoyed by the king and farmed out by provinces. At a time when the necessity is keenly felt of encouraging commerce and communication a tax upon travelers is impolitic, and this fact alone should suffice to ensure its suppression. A person traveling on business pays sufficient taxes upon the food he consumes along the route, he contributes adequately to the public expenses in the taxes imposed upon the articles of commerce in which he deals, without the annoyance of an indirect tax, which restricts his liberty and at the same time yields almost nothing to the public treasury.
But in addition to the inconvenience which the farming of stage routes involves, when regarded as a tax, as an exclusive privilege it presents the greatest objections: it places the traveler at the mercy of a contractor, who is frequently unable to perform his obligation, and who nevertheless assumes a right over those who are willing to perform it in his stead; it delays the traveler and hampers the ease and facility of his communications.
The free and voluntary renunciation which the order of nobility is about to make of its pecuniary privileges gives it the right to demand that no exemption whatsoever shall be retained in favor of any class of citizens. We have no doubt that the clergy will voluntarily consent to bear all taxes in common with citizens of other orders, in proportion to their possessions; and we demand that the privileges of free cities, of stage masters, of sealers of weights and measures and of an other persons be abolished, in order that the tax shall affect all persons and places in proportion to the net product of their incomes.
[Page 14] Art. 3. The order of the nobility of the bailliage of Blois will review this subject briefly. We shall limit ourselves to observing that the administration of justice is less a privilege than a duty of sovereignty; that it ought to be gratuitous, at least to the poor, or in any event not expensive; that procedure should be simple and expeditious; that all useless stages of jurisdiction should be abolished; that in arranging the jurisdiction and fixing the competance of courts the convenience of litigants alone should be regarded, and not that of magistrates, since magistrates were constituted for the people, and not the people for the magistrates. That certain estimates, which have come to the notice of the nobility of the bailliage of Blois, respecting the enormous cost to the nation of the administration of justice, have produced upon us an impression of grief and horror.
That, through a neglect of constitutional principles, all powers of the state have been confounded with the judicial power; that under the pretext of judicial rulings the superior courts have assumed a portion of the legislative power; that under the pretext of police regulations the inferior courts, often times a single person bent upon following out his individual system, have been permitted to establish regulations which encroach upon the liberty of citizens and seriously affect the rights of property.
The attention of the order of nobility has been still more painfully directed to our criminal laws. Originating in a period of ignorance and barbarity, they reflect the ferocity of manners then prevailing. From the moment of his apprehension the accused is looked upon as guilty; counsel and assistance of all kinds are refused him.
A judge of original jurisdiction examines witnesses and receives depositions; and this testimony, received by a judge oftentimes ill instructed, sometimes prejudiced, becomes practically a sentence of death, from which the accused cannot hope to escape; for what assistance can the appellate court provide, when it determines only upon procedure, upon depositions received from the first judge?
It is not the duty of the nobility of the bailliage of Blois to attempt to present to the States General a plan for the reformation of the civil and criminal laws. There will not be wanting virtuous, sensible and enlightened magistrates, gathered from all provinces of the kingdom, who will make their voices heard in that august assembly.
We limit ourselves to demand that there shall be appointed, at the [Page 15] opening of the coming assembly of the States General, a commission composed of persons of-enlightenment, whose business it shall be to take this matter into consideration. This commission ought not to be composed exclusively of magistrates and jurists; the most distinguished virtue is not beyond the seduction of prejudice. There ought to be included citizens of all estates and orders, particularly of those who have had the privilege of studying the English system of criminal jurisprudence.
We shall not close this article without asking:
1. That legal forms accompanying actions arising from the seizure and sale of property, administrations and creditors' mandates, and other actions in which a large number of persons are interested, shall be abridged and simplified;
2. That the file of notarial records shall be sacred; that they shall be placed, after an interval of time has elapsed, in a public place, where all citiens may have access to them;
3. That there shall be established in each rural parish, a court of reconciliation, composed of the seigneur, the parish priest and certain elderly men, for the purpose of amicably settling disputes and preventing suits at law.
Art. 4. The king's domain has ever been regarded as charged with perpetual entail, and according to this principle was not subject to sale, but only to pledges and exchanges. We shall not consider whether these pledges and exchanges have been disadvantageous to the interests of the king, as is the general belief, but the nobility of the bailliage of Blois is unwilling to see the patrimony of our kings scattered and swallowed up in the immensity of the public debt.
Certain important considerations make it desirable that the forests shall not be included in the sale of the domain.
A great nation, and especially a maritime nation like France, ought to regard its timber areas as national property, precious for its defence, not to be withdrawn from the control of the sovereign. It is the general opinion that a greater advantage is derived from cutting the young timber than from allowing it to grow to maturity; that the longer this is delayed, the greater is the loss: the desire for enjoyment is a natural sentiment, and common to all mankind; no one will interest himself in a kind of wealth, which will have a real value only in the fifth generation [Page 16] Legal exemptions, government encouragement, possible means avail nothing against this instinct.
These reflections are sufficient to make it evident that it is necessary either to abandon the idea of protecting the old forests of France, or to put them under the safeguard of the nation. The nobility of the bailliage of Blois is of the opinion that all idea of selling or alienating the royal forests ought to be abandoned, and that every attempt of this nature is to be regarded as a public evil.
If then from the property which forms the body of the king's domain the forests, which form a considerable part, be withdrawn, together with that portion already alienated, of which it would perhaps be impossible to regain possession, or the resumption of which would be disadvantageous, the remaining portion subject to sale would afford only a meagre resource and would bear no proportion to the deficit which it is a question of reducing.
As a result of these considerations the nobility of the bailliage of Blois is persuaded that in case the States General determine to abandon the principle of the inalienability of the domain, it would be unnecessary to hasten the sale. A large portion of this property has not been brought up to its real value, and it is important, before it is sold, that an effort should be made to improve its condition. We shall limit ourselves then to the request, that at this first session of the States General transactions in respect to the king's domain be subjected to more rigorous conditions; that no disposition be made of the domain until the provincial estates have been consulted, and that final action be reserved for the approbation of the following session of the States General; and that in respect to financial operations and exchanges which have been begun, but not yet confirmed and legally completed, nor appraisement made, revision shall be reserved for the next States General. Moreover, in the matter of the forest of Russy, the complaint of the nobility of Belzois and the memorial in reply of Baron d'Espagnac, together with the documents relative thereto, shall be turned over to the deputies, with instructions to put them into the hands of the States General.
We shall also remark that, while awaiting a definite policy in regard to the alienation of the domain and the management of the forests, it is desirable that their control should be entrusted to a permanent administration, resident in the provinces, whose interests must be identical with the king's, and that all these qualifications are found eminently united in the provincial estates. This new form of administration would [Page 17] be more economical, insomuch at it would allow the suppression of the offices of inspector of waters and forests, and a part of the present domanial administration.
Art. 5. One of the most important duties which the States General will be called upon to fulfil is the regulation of expenditures.
They should reduce expenditures, in each department, to that which is absolutely indispensable. They should demand the abolition of all useless offices, posts and places, especially those which require neither function nor residence; they should reduce all appointments, salaries, rewards, pensions and gratuities which they deem excessive. They should make public the list of pensions; they should inquire into the motives which have actuated their concession; finally, they should not attempt to reduce the deficit by increased taxation, until they have exhausted all means of restoring a balance by measures of economy.
They should adopt most stringent regulations, to the end that the sums voted for the expenses of each department shall in no case be exceeded; that accounts shall be promptly rendered; that all shall be subjected to the same rules and formalities, and that no expenditure shall be made upon the authority of a simple order in council.
In order to quiet still further the apprehension of national creditors, and to establish confidence upon an indestructible basis, the repayments of the capital and interest of the public debt should no longer be made from the royal treasury, but from the treasury of the nation: a portion of the public revenue should be set aside month by month, so that payments may never be deferred, and then it may be truly said that the national debt is consolidated.
They should cause to be printed lists of pensions, gratuities and special gifts, with details of the motives occasioning them. These lists should be revised every year and published as above, together with a general and detailed account of the finances, receipts and expenditures of the year.
The minister of finance should be held accountable, either to the States General, or to the court which this body may select, for the disbursement of all funds turned into the national treasury: the min- isters of other departments should be held equally responsible for funds received by them, and they should be held responsible to the States General for their administration, in all that relates to the laws of the kingdom.
Art 6. Of all classes of citizens none is in a better position to know the needs of agriculture than the nobility, which lives upon the land. The nobility of the bailliage of Blois would have reason to reproach itself if it did not unite, in a special article, the observations of this assembly and the information which it has been able to collect from the minutes of the provincial assembly of Orleans, concerning the agri- culture of this province in particular.
Certain calculations, which bear the marks of exactness, and the results of which may be regarded as sufficiently accurate in a matter of this nature, establish the fact that while in England an area of one thousand square toises yields a gross product of 48,000 lbs. a year, the same area in France produces only 18,ooo lbs.
It would be useless to seek the cause of this enormous difference in the fertility of the soil. The soil of France is quite as good as that of England, and France has, to a greater degree than England, certain products, peculiar to herself, such as silk, wines, oils, etc.
This disproportion has no connection with the characteristics of the two peoples; the French people have neither less courage nor less ingenuity than the English. It is impossible to conceal the fact; it is again a consequence of vices in the constitution. For centuries the country people have groaned under the yoke of pecuniary burdens, the more overwhelming insomuch as they are arbitrary. The terror, which the rigorous collection of taxes has inspired, has driven into the cities all the ability and all the capital, to such a degree that no large speclative enterprise concerns itself with agriculture.
Another cause contributing more than any other to turn capital from agriculture is the high rate of interest, which the demands and frequent loans of the government have occasioned. The allurement of a life of ease, demanding neither care nor labor, has drained the country of money and accumulated it in the towns.
Without considerable advances only a feeble state of agriculture can be obtained; without capital there can be no live stock, without live stock no manure, without manure no crops; and such is the state to which agriculture in parts of this province has been reduced.
The States General will render a most signal service to agriculture, as well as to commerce, by causing to fall, as rapidly as possible, the high rate of interest.
The nobility of the bailliage of Blois has dwelt with some emphasis [Page 19] upon these considerations, because it has found here additional motives for strengthening the demand, which it has already expressed, for an abolition of the taille, and a general suppression of all arbitrary taxation.
These statements refer principally to the less fertile portions of Beance and Dunois. Sologne presents a picture even more dispiriting: it lies almost wholly in empty pastures; nothing is sown except here and there rye and buckwheat.
Certain investigations made from time to time in regard to the population of this province seem to show that it is decreasing; and in fact the stagnant waters, which cover it in winter, render residence here unhealthful, producing fevers in autumn, and shortening the average life of the country people; but while the number of persons has decreased, while agriculture has become impoverished, the taille has remained ever the same, and it has risen to-day to almost half the revenues of the proprietors.
These details are necessary in order to call attention to the necessity of reducing the burdens of the province, and of opening a canal which shall drain the country.
Dunois demands still more immediate relief, and relief proportionate to its needs. A terrible scourge has ravaged its fields in the past year and destroyed the crops; the spirit of justice demands that independent of indemnities which may be granted there should be a total remission of taxes to those who have no harvest, and to others in proportion to their loss.
Blezois has just suffered a loss, which cannot be repaired in many years, through the destruction of its vines by frost. Sologne, in the loss of the fish in its ponds, which died from the severe cold. It is impossible that these disasters, which have ruined proprietors, should not diminish the receipts of the public treasury, and the nobility permits itself to hope that these facts will be taken into consideration.
The principal assistance which agriculture awaits at this moment from the representatives of the nation is as follows:
1. Absolute freedom in the sale and circulation of grain and produce;
2. A regulation favoring the redemption of socome and other burdensome taxes, the drainage of swamps, the division of communal lands;
3. Government encouragement in the production of better grades of wool and in the breeding of cattle;
[Page 20] 4. Abolition of sealers of weights and measures;
5. Establishments for weaving, for the manufacture of the coarser fabrics in the villages, to give employment to the country people during the idle period of the year;
6. Better facilities for the education of children; elementary, text-books, adapted to their capacity, where the rights of man and the social duties shall be clearly set forth;
7. More expert surgeons and experienced midwives, etc.
Deputies ought to find assistance toward these ends in the agricultural societies, in the learned associations of the capital and in the great number of works which have been published in the last few years. They should not lose sight of the fact that agriculture is the foremost of all the arts; that it is the source of reviving prosperity agriculture it is that furnishes, to all manufacturers the raw materials upon which industry is exercised, and to commerce the materials of exchange; it furnishes subsistence to all; and, finally, it is in agricul-' that the strength of the nation resides.
1. The augmentation, out of the funds of the clergy, of the salary of parish priests with minimum dotation, the greater part of whom are in a state bordering so close upon poverty that they often share in the misery of the country people, without being able to relieve it.
[Page 21] 2. That the law exempting from the payment of taille each rural inhabitant who has twelve children be re-enacted, and in case of the total suppression of the taille some equivalent compensation be made.
3. Throughout the whole kingdom there should be but one code of laws, one system of weights and measures.
4. That a commission be established composed of the most eminent, men of letters of the capital and provinces, and citizens of all orders, to formulate a plan of national education for the benefit of all classes of society; and for the purpose of revising elementary text-book.
5. That all customs duties collected in the interior of the kingdom be abolished, and all custom-houses, offices and customs barriers be removed to the frontier.
6. That rank, power or credit shall not be permitted to avert the rigors of the law in the case of fraudulent bankruptcies, and that the custom of issuing writs of suspension be done away with, at least until they have been demanded by the creditors themselves.
7. That any bill signed by a nobleman be declared a bill of honor.
8. That the troops be employed upon the highways and public works.
9. That there be established in country parishes, at the expense of seigneurs who demand it, retreats for disabled soldiers, for which the king shall furnish only the clothing.
10. That the law prohibiting all persons not noble from carrying arms be put in force, and that precautions be taken to assure its execution.
11. That the mounted police be increased, and that projects which have been advanced looking to an establishment of foot brigades be considered.
With regard to all that concerns public charities, mendicancy, hospitals, foundling asylums and other benevolent institutions, the assembly of the nobility recognizes their importance, but considers itself not in duty bound to take them into consideration, since they are more especially within the jurisdiction of the provincial estates.
Art. 8. Up to this point we have merely indicated the abuses which have accumulated in France during a long succession of centuries; we have made it evident that the rights of citizens have been abridged by a multitude of laws which attack property, liberty and personal safety.
[Page 22] That these rights have suffered injury as well in the nature as in the imposition of the taxes; in the administration of justice in both civil and criminal law; that this has been the case especially in the administration of the public revenues.
It is not sufficient to suppress these abuses; it is necessary to prevent their return; there must be established in ever-active influence, moving without interruption in the direction of public prosperity, which shall bear in itself the germ of all good, a principle destructive of all evil.
In order to accomplish this great object the nobility of the bailliage of Blois demand:
That the States General about to assemble shall be permanent and shall not be dissolved until the constitution be established; but in case the labors connected with the establishment of the constitution be prolonged beyond a space of two years, the assembly shall be reorganized with new deputies freely and regularly elected.
That a fundamental and constitutional law shall assure forever the periodical assembly of the States General at frequent intervals, in such manner that they may assemble and organize themselves at a fixed time and place, without the concurrence of any act emanating from the executive power.
That the legislative power shall reside exclusively in the assembly of the nation, under the sanction of the king, and shall not be exercised by any intermediate body during the recess of the States General.
That the king shall enjoy the full extent of executive power necessary to insure the execution of the laws; but that he shall not be able in any event to modify the laws without the consent of the nation.
That the form of the military oath shall be changed, and the troops promise obedience and fidelity to the king and the nation.
That taxes may not be imposed without the consent of the nation; that taxes may be granted only for a specified time, and for no longer than the next meeting of the States General.
[The question of how voting should be conducted in the States General called forth a variety of opinions, and it was decided to insert in the cahier the minutes of the meeting of March 28, in so far as they bore upon the matter. The substance of the discussion is as follows:
Upon the first ballot the assembly stood 51 for the vote by order and 43 for the vote per capita.
It was suggested, however, that many present favored a mixed system [Page 23] of voting, viz.: that in matters of general welfare, or which involved the granting of subsidies and the maintainance of the national honor, voting should be per capita; that in matters touching the rights and interests of the individual orders, voting should be by order.
Upon ballot, 68 signified their approval of this system and 28 still adhered to the vote by order.]
There shall be established this year, if possible, and before the adjournment of the States General, provincial estates, which shall superintend the levy of taxes approved by the nation,......have charge of highways and public works and of all that concerns the special local interests of the provinces, as well as all matters of administration confided to them by the States General, especially the administration of the domains and forests belonging to the king and to communes.
With respect to the organization of the provincial estates the nobility of the bailliage of Blois will acquiesce in whatever the States General may be pleased to determine.
That a part of the magisterial and judicial powers hitherto possessed by intendants shall be entrusted to a court established in eachgeneralite.
It has been determined to grant absolute powers to delegates; but
that notice be given them that the unanimous desire of the nobility of
the bailliage of Blois has never swerved from this principle: No subsidies without a constitution; no tax to be legal, unless decreed and
determined by the States General.
[The cahier is signed by 7 marquises, 7 counts, 3 viscounts, 3 barons,
9 knights, and 64 persons without special title.]
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