Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Formation of a Provincial Nobility

Formation of a Provincial Nobility: The Magistrates of the Parlement of Rouen, 1499-1610

Jonathan Dewald
Copyright Date: 1980
Pages: 420
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zvcv9
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Formation of a Provincial Nobility
    Book Description:

    In this study of one group of the new nobility, Jonathan Dewald argues that the origin, attitudes, and behavior of the noblesse de robe were in fundamental ways similar to those of the old nobility.

    Originally published in 1980.

    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: 978-1-4008-5376-2
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. vii-viii)
    J.D.
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. NOTE ON MEASUREMENTS
    (pp. xiii-xiii)
  6. NOTE ON MONETARY VALUES
    (pp. xiv-xiv)
  7. LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. xv-2)
  8. INTRODUCTION. THE NOBLESSE DE ROBE AS AN HISTORICAL PROBLEM
    (pp. 3-15)

    “If I were to speak of the middle estates of this world and the low ones,” wrote Philippe de Commynes, “it would take too long. It will be sufficient to speak of the high-ranking people, for it is through them that God’s power and justice are made known. For if misfortunes befall a poor man or one hundred of them, no one worries about this, for it is attributed to his poverty or lack of proper care, or if he drowns or breaks his neck because no one was there to save him, people hardly talk about it.”¹ For the...

  9. ONE PROFESSIONAL IDENTITY AND PROFESSIONAL ATTACHMENTS
    (pp. 16-68)

    “So much of our fine youth lives uselessly,” complained the military nobleman Blaise de Monluc, in the early 1570’s, “although these youths would be very capable of bearing arms. Entering from time to time the Parlements of Toulouse and Bordeaux, … I have continually been astounded that so many young men could thus amuse themselves in a law court, since ordinarily youthful blood is boiling.”¹ Monluc’s comments reflect the disdain with which the nobility of the sword regarded the nobility of the robe. His comments also point to the complex reasons which underlay the nobility’s feeling. He did not complain...

  10. TWO SOCIAL ORIGINS AND SOCIAL VALUES
    (pp. 69-112)

    In 1499, on the eve of the Parlement’s foundation, only one sovereign court existed at Rouen. This was the Cour des Aides, which included eight members. Only one other judge at Rouen, the lieutenant general of the bailliage, was of comparable importance and status. The Parlement’s foundation began a process of growth in the number of high officials that was to continue through 1600, and that was to make of royal officials a dominant group within the city and province. By 1554 the Cour des Aides had grown to fifteen members, and the Parlement itself had expanded from its original...

  11. THREE PARLEMENTAIRE WEALTH
    (pp. 113-161)

    Contemporaries believed thenoblesse de robeto be very wealthy, especially in comparison with the military nobility. “The opulence and pride of the officials,” wrote Richelieu in the 1630’s, “enable them to take gainful advantage of the nobles, rich only in a courage which leads them freely to proffer their lives to the state.” As Richelieu and other commentators saw it, the problem was not merely that the magistrates might often have more money than the military noblemen. More serious was the fact that members of the parlements and other high courts were extending their influence into the countryside, buying...

  12. FOUR THE MEANINGS OF LANDOWNERSHIP
    (pp. 162-220)

    Land held the central place in mostparlementairefortunes. Now it is necessary to consider this economic configuration more closely. The present chapter seeks to analyze the social as well as the more purely economic dimensions ofparlementairelandowning. We shall be concerned, first, with the relationships that their country properties created between the magistrates and their rural neighbors, whether of the peasantry or of the nobility; then we shall consider the attitudes and techniques they brought to landowning, and some of the problems they encountered; the last part of this chapter, finally, will analyze the changing economics of the...

  13. FIVE THE ECONOMICS OF SUCCESS AND FAILURE
    (pp. 221-245)

    Previous chapters have considered the size and sources ofparlementaireincomes. The present chapter asks how the magistrates spent this money, how expenditures balanced against incomes, and what this balance meant for the growth or decay ofparlementairefortunes over time. Ultimately, then, the chapter is directed to understanding some of the processes by which families built up fortunes, or failed to do so, and to understanding some of the economic dangers which confronted even the successful.¹

    The magistrates’ robes symbolized restraint in expenditure as in other aspects of life, but the robe milieu was not immune to the wild...

  14. SIX THE PARLEMENTAIRE FAMILY
    (pp. 246-304)

    “He was very wealthy, both in his own right, through his mother and paternal grandmother, and by right of his two wives, and he enjoyed great credit at Rouen in the minds of the populace.” These were the terms that a mid-seventeenth-century magistrate used to describe his predecessor in office, Charles Maignart (presidentà mortierfrom 1600 to 1621).¹ Bigot’s comments point to an obvious fact: the centrality of family relationships in determining therobin’s economic and social position. Contemporaries understood family arrangements to be crucial sources of wealth, equal in importance to office and land—and over the long...

  15. SEVEN CONCLUSION
    (pp. 305-312)

    When Marc Bloch discussed the place of thenoblesse de robein French rural history, he presented the matter in clearcut terms: “This [sixteenth-century] advance by the bourgeoisie,” he wrote, “followed by such rapid entrenchment, was the most decisive event in French social history, especially in its rural aspect.” What was at issue, in Bloch’s view, was the maintenance of the seigneurial system itself and of the aristocratic society that profited from it. In the fourteenth century the urban rich had been revolutionary opponents of the seigneurial structure. In the sixteenth century, on the contrary, they flocked into the newly...

  16. APPENDIX A. THE PARLEMENTAIRES AND CRIME
    (pp. 313-322)
  17. APPENDIX B. PARLEMENTAIRE FORTUNES
    (pp. 323-332)
  18. APPENDIX C. THE COSTS AND RETURNS OF OFFICE
    (pp. 333-339)
  19. APPENDIX D. SEIGNEURIAL REVENUES IN NINE UPPER NORMAN ESTATES
    (pp. 340-342)
  20. APPENDIX E. PARLEMENTAIRES AND THE LANDS OF THE CHURCH
    (pp. 343-346)
  21. APPENDIX F. PARLEMENTAIRE MARRIAGE
    (pp. 347-364)
  22. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 365-384)
  23. INDEX
    (pp. 385-402)
  24. Back Matter
    (pp. 403-403)