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Judicial Politics and Urban Revolt in Seventeenth-Century France: The Parlement of Aix, 1629-1659

Judicial Politics and Urban Revolt in Seventeenth-Century France: The Parlement of Aix, 1629-1659

SHARON KETTERING
Copyright Date: 1978
Pages: 384
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt13x16b3
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  • Book Info
    Judicial Politics and Urban Revolt in Seventeenth-Century France: The Parlement of Aix, 1629-1659
    Book Description:

    Most historical scholarship concerned with the Fronde has investigated the Parlement of Paris. By focusing on the different experience of high court judges in Aix-en-Provence, Sharon Kettering illuminates the causes of resistance to royal authority and offers a new understanding of the role of provincial officials in seventeenth-century revolts.

    The author shows that political tensions and alignments within the court and provincial capital were as important in causing the revolts at Aix as the judges' relationship with the crown. Describing the liaisons and personalities that gave impetus to resistance, she traces the emergence of an opposition party within the Parlement of Aix after the first revolt in 1630. This party remained sporadically active until its dispersal by the crown in 1659, and it provided the leadership for the serious parlementary Fronde at Aix in January, 1649.

    Originally published in 1978.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6978-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. ix-ix)
  4. LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. x-x)
  5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xi-1)
  6. [Map]
    (pp. 2-2)
  7. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 3-12)

    Reaching the crest of a low hill, a seventeenth-century visitor to Aix-en-Provence saw a cluster of terra-cotta buildings with tile roofs nestled in a shallow valley. The Midi sun was hot; the road was dry and dusty; the air was filled with the pungent smell of pine. Riding through the open fields and gardens of the suburbs, he followed the city walls until he reached the southeastern Saint Jean gate, where strangers customarily entered. The walls are gone today, and rows of slender, dark-green cypress trees mark the entrance to the town. Once inside, he may have followed the narrow,...

  8. Chapter One PROVINCIAL AND MUNICIPAL POLITICS AT AIX
    (pp. 13-50)

    A remote corner of southeastern France, Provence had a two hundred-mile Mediterranean coastline stretching from northern Italy to the banks of the Rhone river. Westward beyond the Rhone was the province of Languedoc; northward through the foothills of the Alps lay Dauphiné. The seventeenth-century boundaries of Provence were the Var river on the east near Nice, the second branch of the Rhone on the west, and the headwaters of the Durance river on the north. The Durance also separated Provence from the papal principality of the Comtat Venaissin. Originating in the Alps, the Durance followed a U-shaped course two hundred...

  9. Chapter Two THE ESTATES AND THE HABSBURG WAR
    (pp. 51-80)

    Royal financial and military demands generated by the Habsburg War were an important economic cause of the revolts at Aix: a higher taille and taillon were demanded to support more royal troops in transit. The crown’s demands met strong resistance from the traditional tax-granting assembly, the Provençal Estates, and its interim executive authority, the procureurs du pays. Royal attempts to suppress resistance by suspending the Estates and intimidating the procureurs du pays became an important political cause of the revolts at Aix.

    Relations between Paris and Madrid deteriorated after 1624, when Richelieu decided to break the Habsburg encirclement. He chose...

  10. Chapter Three THE INTENDANTS OF JUSTICE AND THE PARLEMENT
    (pp. 81-109)

    The 1630 revolt began as an attack upon a royal commissioner sent to Aix to establish a bureau of élus.¹ Dreux d’Aubray was also ordered to establish an intendance of justice, police, and finance in Provence—which he did when he returned to Aix with a colleague and royal troops to suppress the revolt his arrival had provoked. Roland Mousnier notes that 1635 to 1648 were the critical years in the development of the intendants’ authority.² Although intendants of justice appeared in Provence in 1630, they did not exercise wide authority until six years later. After 1636, they expanded their...

  11. Chapter Four THE GOVERNORS AND THE PARLEMENT
    (pp. 110-149)

    Before 1661, provincial governors had considerable military and political authority, particularly at the frontier.¹ The formula describing the governors’ duties in the royal letters appointing them to office is deceptive because the terminology remained constant while the reality of power changed. Obscured by ceremony and quirks of personality, the precise characteristics of the governor’s authority in the early seventeenth century have been difficult for historians to determine.² A full definition is beyond the scope of this chapter, which does not explore in detail their military role, but understanding the governors’ political role in the provincial government does help to explain...

  12. Chapter Five THE CASCAVEOUX REVOLT OF 1630
    (pp. 150-181)

    Plague first appeared at Digne in Haute-Provence in June 1629. Soldiers returning from the Italian battlefields carried the disease across the Midi, and within a month, there were outbreaks at Aix, Nîmes, and Montpellier.¹ Figures are inaccurate, but Aix probably had one to two thousand dead by October.² There were perhaps twelve thousand dead in Provence by the end of the epidemic.³ Digne, Apt, Carpentras, and Aix were severely hit; Aries, Marseille, and Toulon less so. The epidemic took a year to abate.⁴

    The rapidity with which the plague struck and its victims died was terrifying because causes and cures...

  13. Chapter Six THE OPPOSITION PARTY
    (pp. 182-215)

    Active opposition to the crown continued in the Parlement after the cascaveoux revolt, and within nineteen years there was another revolt. The parlementaire opposition never had formal organization or discipline, public recognition or majority membership. But if less than a party, it was more than a faction. It was capable of coordinated political activity. It had continuity of membership, goals, and tactics. It enjoyed self-recognition as a group attempting to dominate the Parlement’s decision making and thereby influence royal policy in Provence.

    There were frequent references in the intendants’ and governors’ correspondance to political parties within the Parlement. Champigny wrote...

  14. Chapter Seven THE OPPOSITION PARLEMENTAIRES
    (pp. 216-250)

    Who were the opposition parlementaires? What motivated them to revolt and what attracted their uncommitted colleagues in support? At least five factors unified the opposition: rank, regional pride, compactness, isolation, kinship and clientage ties, and political opinion. The majority of Aix parlementaires were robe nobles ennobled between 1500 and 1600. In a group of 70 parlementaire families holding office between 1629 and 1649, 17, or 25 percent, were traditional or sword nobles ennobled before 1500; 34, or 48 percent, were robe nobles ennobled before 1600; 10, or 15 percent, were ennobled between 1600 and 1660; 7, or 10 percent, were...

  15. Chapter Eight THE 1649 REVOLT AND THE FRONDE AT AIX
    (pp. 251-297)

    A royal attorney in the Marseille seneschal court was one of the first to buy an office in the Semester Parlement. Philippe Gueidon came to Aix on March 15, 1648, to obtain provision letters as a Semester councilor from the royal chancellery.¹ The opposition parlementaires threatened his life, hoping to frighten him into returning to Marseille. Gueidon announced that he feared nothing, particularly idle threats. Although warned by the intendant to stay in a private house, he took a room at The Black Mule Inn near the southeastern city wall and boasted that he would be the plank over which...

  16. Chapter Nine THE SAINT VALENTINE’S DAY REVOLT OF 1659
    (pp. 298-328)

    After Lyon, the air route to Marseille follows the Rhone valley until the crevices and peaks of the Lubéron appear, pale gold in the setting sun. The Lubéron is a range of limestone mountains east of Avignon in the Comtat Venaissin. The double town of Oppède-le-Vieux perches on one of its rocky spurs, hôtels on the summit restored as summer homes, farming village sheltered in the valley below. This was the ancestral home of Sabreur chief Henri de Forbin-Maynier, baron d’Oppède, the most controversial man in Provence for a decade. His rise to power in 1655 provoked resentment among his...

  17. CONCLUSION
    (pp. 329-336)

    On February 28, 1659, Oppède made his triumphal return to Aix “to take his rightful place on the fleurs de lys.” Escorted on horseback from Lambesc by the loyal parlementaires in red robes, he entered Aix through the southeastern city gate, where he was greeted by Mercoeur and the assembled nobility. The governor’s troops were ranged in battle order on the Place des Prêcheurs, at the city gates, and on the Place d’Orbitel in the Mazarin quarter. Riding toward his hôtel, Oppède stopped at the house of the Augustinian canons to be greeted by the city consuls. He may have...

  18. Appendix I COMPOSITION OF THE AIX PARLEMENT, 1641–1649
    (pp. 337-341)
  19. Appendix II MUNICIPAL BUDGET OF AIX
    (pp. 342-343)
  20. Appendix III THE CONSULS AND ASSESSORS OF AIX, 1629–1659
    (pp. 344-346)
  21. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 347-360)
  22. INDEX OF SUBJECTS
    (pp. 361-365)
  23. INDEX OF NAMES
    (pp. 366-370)
  24. Back Matter
    (pp. 371-371)