The Ancient Regime eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 652 pages of information about The Ancient Regime.
and the fine is three hundred livres.  The man must come to the warehouse and purchase other salt, make a declaration, carry off a certificate and show this at every visit of inspection.  So much the worse for him if he has not the wherewithal to pay for this supplementary salt; he has only to sell his pig and abstain from meat at Christmas.  This is the more frequent case, and I dare say that, for the métayers who pay twenty-five francs per annum, it is the usual case. — It is forbidden to make use of any other salt for the pot and salt-cellar than that of the seven pounds.  “I am able to cite,” says Letrosne, “two sisters residing one league from a town in which the warehouse is open only on Saturday.  Their supply was exhausted.  To pass three or four days until Saturday comes they boil a remnant of brine from which they extract a few ounces of salt.  A visit from the clerk ensues and a procès-verbal.  Having friends and protectors this costs them only forty-eight livres.” — It is forbidden to take water from the ocean and from other saline sources, under a penalty of from twenty to forty livres fine.  It is forbidden to water cattle in marshes and other places containing salt, under penalty of confiscation and a fine of three hundred livres.  It is forbidden to put salt into the bellies of mackerel on returning from fishing, or between their superposed layers.  An order prescribes one pound and a half to a barrel.  Another order prescribes the destruction annually of the natural salt formed in certain cantons in Provence.  Judges are prohibited from moderating or reducing the penalties imposed in salt cases, under penalty of accountability and of deposition. — I pass over quantities of orders and prohibitions, existing by hundreds.  This legislation encompasses tax-payers like a net with a thousand meshes, while the official who casts it is interested in finding them at fault.  We see the fisherman, accordingly, unpacking his barrel, the housewife seeking a certificate for her hams, the exciseman inspecting the buffet, testing the brine, peering into the salt-box and, if it is of good quality, declaring it contraband because that of the ferme, the only legitimate salt, is usually adulterated and mixed with plaster.

Meanwhile, other officials, those of the excise, descend into the cellar.  None are more formidable, nor who more eagerly seize on pretexts for delinquency[34].  “Let a citizen charitably bestow a bottle of wine on a poor feeble creature and he is liable to prosecution and to excessive penalties. . . .  The poor invalid that may interest his curate in the begging of a bottle of wine for him will undergo a trial, ruining not alone the unfortunate man that obtains it, but again the benefactor who gave it to him.  This is not a fancied story.”  By virtue of the right of deficient revenue the clerks may, at any hour, take an inventory of wine on hand, even the stores of a vineyard proprietor, indicate

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The Ancient Regime from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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