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Overture to RevolutionThe 1787 Assembly of Notables and the Crisis of France's Old Regime$
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John Hardman

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199585779

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199585779.001.0001

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Customs and Excise Reform and the Royal Domain

Customs and Excise Reform and the Royal Domain

The Memoirs of the Second and Third Divisions

(p.182) 6 Customs and Excise Reform and the Royal Domain
Overture to Revolution

John Hardman

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers reform measures which Calonne trusted would be dealt with quickly as the king was merely ‘conferring benefits’ not increasing taxes. However measures such as the gabelle (salt tax) and customs union aroused regional resistance, notably from those provinces (Brittany and the eastern and northern regions) which were last to be absorbed into France and had retained their distinctive régimes. Their hostility was heightened by Calonne's blustering attempt in his speech to the Notables on 12 March to convey the impression that the Assembly had endorsed the principles of his measures, querying only the details. This was part of Calonne's ham-fisted attempt to bring the pressure of public opinion to bear on the Notables, who were providing unexpected resistance to his proposals.

Keywords:   12 March, Calonne, Brittany, customs, Gabelle, public opinion

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