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.
“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