« 前へ次へ »
he has dissipated their contents, and under shadow of this office, inimense sums have been wasted, as shall be spoken of in proper time and place. The manner in which you, the queen, and the duke of Aquitaine, are pillaged, is easily shown; for when you have need of a speedy sum of money for the war, or for any other urgent necessity, application must be made to certain money-lenders, who, for usury, make a traffic of money, and supply your wants on having your plate and jewels in pawn, and at an exorbitant loss in the interest paid for these loans, insomuch that what may be worth ten thousand francs costs you fifteen or sixteen; and thus your losses are annually very great from these usurious practices and pretended exchanges. You may readily suppose that your officers must be accomplices in this traffic, and that this alone will occasion such an empty treasury. Your inferior servants are much distressed and ill treated; and in this manner are not only your own affairs but those of the princes of your blood managed, without any exception.
“Item, it is proper that you should be made acquainted with the tricks and deceit of those officers called Generals, in the receipt of your finances. When any receiver shall have lent you a sum amounting to five or six thousand crowns over and above his receipt, he is dismissed from his office, to prevent him from reimbursing himself, and another put in his place, who will receive the whole of the taxes in that department. When, therefore, there shall be little or nothing to receive, he that was dismissed will be replaced in his office, provided he has made sufficient presents to his superior officers. By this means, the aforesaid receiver can neither be paid nor pay what he owes; and thus they ride one on another, to the ruin of your finances, and you drink your wine sour.—Item, when there is an ambassador to be sent, or even a simple canon to be despatched to a foreign country, money for their expenses must be borrowed from usurers; and it frequently happens that the aforesaid ambassador cannot depart for want of money, which renders the embassy useless, and the kingdom suffers greatly from it.—Item, it is also necessary that you should know what is become of all the money that for these last two years has been raised, as well from the domains of the crown as from the very numerous and heavy taxes and impositions of all sorts, of which the provost of Paris has, as is notorious, taken on himself the management, and styled himself Director and General Superintendant of the Finances.—Item, it should likewise be remembered, that other great officers, as well as the provost, have held many offices of importance, which they have sold, and pocketed the amount, to your great disadvantage and contrary to your royal edicts, and also to the prejudice of the kingdom,for by this system, ignorant and improper persons are put into the said offices.
“Item, the provost of Paris, who had held for some time the office of grand-master of waters and forests, has now resigned it to the lord de Jury, for which six thousand francs have been levied. But beside the provostship of Paris, he holds the government of the towns of Cherbourg and its dependencies, which brings him an annual rent of six thousand francs, with the government of Nemours, amounting to two thousand more. Your income is also ruined by another mode, namely, by the immense number of receivers, treasurers, clerks, comptrollers, and other officers, who swallow enormous sums by way of fees, over and above the regular fees of office, of which the provost and his dependants have the greater share, and which they regard as their own personal property, to your great loss, and to the delay of payments to many of your faithful servants, knights, and counsellors of state. It is daily witnessed, that when a young man has been appointed to any of the above offices, however poor his situation may have been before, or how little versed he may be in the management of public affairs, he soon becomes rich, keeps a grand establishment, and purchases large estates and manors, all at your expense. There are great frauds committed by your treasurers of the war department, who are accustomed to take from your knights and e-quires blank receipts sealed by them, of which they make a very bad use, as they know to their cost: but they can more fully inform you on this head than we can. It is melancholy to hear their complaints of the delays in the payment of their salaries, which are always much curtailed, at least to the greater part of them. It is consequently now become a rule among your men-at-arms, when their salary is in arrear, to pay themselves from the countries they are quartered in, saying, that, since they cannot obtain their pay, they must live by their service.
“Item, whenever these directors or superintendants of your finances are called upon, they make answer, that they are ready to produce their accounts, as if that were sufficient, and even go so far as to desire commissioners may be appointed to inspect and examine them; but, under correction, this answer is futile,_and if the real culprits are to be discovered, let their original state, and what substance they possessed before they entered into office, be inquired into, what the amount of their salaries and fees, how much their reasonable expenditure, and then what is their present income, what estates they possess, and what buildings they have erected. It is notorious, that the superior officers are rich and magnificent, but that they were indigent before their appointment to office, and that some of them have purchased houses of great value, namely, master Jean Chastegnier, Guillaume Luce, and Nicaise Bouses. To say the truth, every loyal subject must be astonished and grieved at heart when he witnesses such management, that you, their lawful prince and sovereign, should be thus robbed, and that all your finances should be lodged in such beggarly purses, by the aforesaid, whose purses are swollen out, and by those who have preceded them, without any regard to your own wants, or to those of the state.—Item, since mention has been made of the grand state in which many live, it seems to your daughter, that such a style of living is too generally adopted throughout your kingdom; and she fears, from the evils that daily result from it, lest God may be angered against his people.—Item, in regard to the great councils, they are not held in the manner they ought to be; for generally almost every one is admitted, whereas none but wise and discreet men, such as knights and clerks, should be suffered to enter, to a competent number receiving pay and salaries from you, and from none other, and these should always have an attentive eye to your personal profit and honour, and to the strengthening of your crown and kingdom. It frequently happens, from the numbers admitted, that business of every sort is neglected or delayed, and that when any good resolution has been made, as now and then will be the case, it remains unexecuted, however nearly it may affect your interests.-Foreign ambassadors should have their negotiations terminated, and our own should be despatched; and whenever anything conclusive has, by mature deliberation, been settled, it ought not to be broken off by a few persons afterward, as has often happened.
“Item, it is very distressing to hear such loud complaints of the debility of your government in protracting business. We even see the lord de Mouberon, the viscount de Murat, and those of la Rochelle, complaining of the delays of your council, although they are employed for the service of your kingdom, and declaring, that if more energy is not exerted, they must necessarily make peace with your enemies, and thus you may lose many of your faithful vassals. In regard to the administration of justice in the realm, your court of parliament, which is the most eminent, is not governed as it is wont to have been. Formerly it was composed of excellent lawyers, as well secular as ecclesiastical, of a mature age and learned in the laws; and from its great fame for learning and justice, without partiality to any one, was resorted to, not only by Christians of all nations, but even by Saracens, who have applied to it for judgment. For some short time past, through favour of friends, relations, or other means, many young men have been admitted who are ignorant of the laws and unworthy of such honour, by which the authority and fair reputation of this court is greatly lessened. There are also other inconveniences attending these indiscriminate admissions: for instance, there are in this court many sons, brothers, nephews, and relations, sitting together, and many others who are lineally connected, as is the case with the family of the first president, and from this circumstance great injustice may ensue in the decisions of the court.
“Item, there are now before the parliament several causes between poor persons, that are, as it were, dead; for the members do not use such expedition in deciding upon them as they in reason should. – Item, respecting the chamber of accounts, nothing is done, for all causes are there buried; for although some new members have been lately admitted, no progress seems to be made. Among the new ones is Alexander Boursier, who has several times been receiver-general of taxes, and whose accounts are said not yet to have been closed. You may, consequently, be a great loser in this business; for he who ought to be narrowly examined himself, is appointed to examine and reduce the accounts of others.-Item, the
better to effectuate his own business, this Alexander has so well practised that he has got Jean Vautier, who was his clerk, appointed to succeed him in the office of receiver-general; and notwithstanding the royal ordinances, and the oaths which receivers, and other officers in the receipt of taxes, take on entering their offices, to make the proper payments in regard to alms, they avoid, as it is said, by dissimulation and fraud, these distributions of alms, and frequently infringe the aforesaid ordinances. “Item, respecting the administering of justice on those guilty of crimes against the revenue laws, it appears to us that the great multiplicity of officers is useless in this general dissipation of the substance of the kingdom, as well as the number of inferior officers, who, from their salaries and the presents they receive, devour the wealth of the country; for the greater part of these aforesaid officers are intruded on this court by the influence of friends. We must also notice the many presidents of the criminal court. During the reign of king Charles, there was but one, or two at the utmost,-whereas at present there are seven, who receive each annually one hundred livres, not including the notaries. Were we to enter into any detail respecting the masters of requests of the king's household, God knows how far it would lead us. In former times, ancient men, experienced in the laws and customs of the realm, were appointed to such places, who replied to all the petitions presented to them, and signed such as they judged expedient, so that the matter was speedily decided in chancery; but now raw and inexperienced youths are appointed, who expedite nothing but by orders from the chancellor, and this occasions supernumerary officers to be named, to supply their defects, whose pay is very great, and of course to your loss. “Item, in respect to your chancery, it is well known, that your chancellor of France undergoes great labour, and is very deserving of a large salary, but without prejudice to your realm. Although his salary should not amount to more than two thousand livres parisis, he has, nevertheless, for these last twenty years, taken, besides these two thousand livres and the gift of two thousand livres for the profits of the great seal, fines on remissions and registerings, of twenty sols parisis, which in the course of a year amount to a very large sum of money. He has also received other two thousand francs from the taxes levied for the support of the war.—Item, he receives annually for his robes two hundred francs; and also from the treasury, for the use of his chancery, five or six hundred livres parisis. He receives likewise, in addition to the above gifts, to a very large amount, on the different taxes and impositions. He has likewise signed and sealed with too great facility letters patent for large sums, without making any opposition: the particulars of them may be found in the accounts of Michel de Sabulon and Alexander Boursier, and in the accounts of several others, who have not failed to make advantage of them. To speak more plainly in regard to this article, there will be found in the above accounts grants, to the amount of six thousand francs, to private persons, sealed by the chancellor, although he well knew that this money was appropriated for carrying on the war.—These grants bring considerable emolument to the chancery, whose finances are managed by master Henry Machalie and master Buder, comptroller of the seal of chancery. They charge double fees on the king's dues, namely, those of notary and secretary, and receive exorbitant salaries and presents; and in such wise is your chancery governed, that no great profit comes to you, although the emoluments of it are immense. In regard to the fees of notaries, as they connect themselves with whomever they please, we shall enter more fully into their detail when occasion offers. “Item, there are several offices in the kingdom which are incompatible, and yet are held by the same persons, who serve them by proxy, and thus in different ways pillage your subjects of their money. The debasement of your coin must not be forgotten, and its weight and value have been lately so much diminished, that a crown is now of less worth than two sols were formerly. The penny and twopenny pieces are scarcely worth as many farthings, which is very prejudicial to your people; and thus the good money is carried off, —for the Lombards, in their exchanges, collect all the good, and make payment in the new coin. You ought to know by whose advice this debasement of the value of your coin has been made, for it is commonly said to have been thus lowered in value by the provost of Paris, the provost of the merchants, and Michel Lallier, who have taken upon themselves the management of your mint; and although they may have allowed you some profit on this diminution of the coin, the loss that you and the queen will ultimately suffer is incomparably greater, as you may learn from those who are competent to give you information. “Although your daughter and others of your subjects have now briefly laid before you the guilt of the aforesaid, this is not enough, nor will several days suffice, to enter into a full detail of all the wickedness and disgraceful conduct of your ministers and their adherents. Very many others, besides those we have named, are equally guilty, but we now pass them over, in the expectation of more amply speaking of them hereafter, for the welfare of yourself and of your kingdom. In regard to the aid, advice, and support, most sovereign lord, which you demand from your aforesaid daughter, and other loyal subjects, whom you have summoned for the purpose, they pray to God that he would be pleased, out of his grace, to comfort and advise you, for we are willing to expose our lives and fortunes in your service and support: indeed, we are bounden so to do by the solemn resolutions entered into at our last congregation, feeling ourselves greatly obliged to your royal majesty for the innumerable acts of kindness shown to us. “The first advice we shall give regards your finances, that they may be put under a better | administration as speedily as may be. We therefore recommend it as expedient for you to shut the hands of all your treasurers, directors, and receivers, without any exception, and to dismiss them from their offices, taking, at the same time, possession of all their fortunes, moveable and immoveable, and having their persons secured, until they shall have rendered you a just account of their administration.—Item, we think it necessary that you should annul all assignments of grants and extraordinary pensions. We advise, that you instantly , a command, under pain of death and confiscation of goods, all receivers, treasurers, and other officers in the country, as well of your domain as of other taxes, to bring you the whole sums they may have in their hands, and that they make no payment whatever, by way of assignation, to any one, however great his rank, excepting to such as yourself shall then order; that, at the same time, they bring you their books, and all papers concerning their receipt, and that, on their arrival, they have no communication whatever with the aforesaid directors, under pain of the above punishments. “Item, in order the more effectually to establish order in your finances, seeing the great waste and misapplication of the large sums that have been raised for your personal defence, and in support of the war, you will order the whole of the receipt of taxes to be produced before you, as is your right, that henceforth they may be applied according to the true intent of raising them, and as the urgency of events may require. When the great need of such an ordinance is considered, no one ought to be dissatisfied; and on this subject have the goodness to keep in remembrance the prudent conduct of your father king Charles, whose soul may God receive! who nobly employed his taxes in driving the English out of his kingdom, and by this means made himself master of fortresses that were not before under his subjection: his officers and army were, at the same time, well paid; and there remained to him an overplus, which served him to purchase many precious jewels.-Item, should these means not be sufficient for your immediate wants, it seems to us that as you have treasuries in different parts, you may justly take from them, for they are alike your own. There are also a number of very rich persons, to the number of sixteen hundred, who can at any time be named to you: these ought to assist in the support of the poor, for one-third of them do not pay, one with another, one hundred francs, which certainly cannot oppress them; but repayments may be made them when the treasury shall be better filled, according to the most advised plan. “Item, we recommend that you nominate for receivers of your finances, as well from your demesne, as from the taxes, prudent persons, fearing God, without avarice, and who were never employed in any such offices, with reasonable salaries, but without any extraordinary presents, by whom your finances will be distributed according to the wants of the state, and the overplus paid into your private treasury. When such are appointed, all deputy-receivers, and tax-collectors, should be ordered to produce their papers and books to them.—Item, we recommend that all the schedules of the common expenses of yourself, the queen, and the duke of Aquitaine, be carefully examined, so that the annual amount may be exactly known, which we believe does not exceed two hundred thousand francs; for the treasurers do not receive more than that sum from the demesne or taxes.—Item, in regard to the court of parliament, it is necessary that all inefficient members be dismissed, and replaced by others better informed, who shall adhere to ancient usages. The presidents of finances, of the civil and criminal courts, with the greffiers, treasurers, and clerks, must be handsomely provided for. but reduced to a competent number.—Item, the chamber of accounts must undergo similar regulations; and the members of it should consist of men of a prudent age, who may inform you of any mismanagement in the finance department.—Item, in regard to the minor officers, and deputy-receivers of finance, we think that if the whole of this business was put under the management of the presidents, you would gain considerably, whereas these minor officers swallow up great sums in salaries and fees. “Item, it appears to us that you ought to select certain wise men, that they may be solely your council, in conjunction with the princes of your blood, and that they may loyally advise you for the real good of yourself and state, having their attention directed to nothing else, and that, when so doing, they should be strenuously supported by you in such wise that whatever they may propose for the welfare of the state may be instantly put into execution, without any opposition whatever. They should take such oaths as are usually taken, or any more solemn ones, such as you shall think proper. Item, we recommend that the defence of the frontiers of Picardy, of Aquitaine, and of other parts, be sufficiently provided for, by allotting adequate sums of money for the payment of men-at-arms and repairs of castles, so that all danger of invasion, and other inconveniences, may be prevented.—Item, to check as much as possible the daily oppression of the lower orders, by provosts and other inferior officers, it will be necessary to nominate honest and discreet persons, with moderate salaries, to overlook their conduct, and see that these men do not surcharge the poor by exorbitant fines. “Item, there are several other oppressive grievances that have lasted for a considerable time, and which cannot be immediately remedied. Your daughter and aforesaid dutiful subjects promise to apply themselves diligently concerning them ; and they most humbly and earnestly supplicate you to reform the abuses they have stated to you, and more especially those that relate to your treasury, which has been exceedingly wasted, and that without any cause. They also beg of you to appoint a commission of the princes of your blood, with other well-informed persons, no way connected or related to those who have had the management of your finances, that they may reform and punish all who have been culpable let their rank be what it may. Item, we also entreat that you would order the prelates and chief citizens in the difierent provinces, to impeach those who in their districts have been guilty of any peculations in your finances. All these things, most redoubted lord, have your aforesaid daughter and dutiful subjects laid before you, as being anxiously interested in your honour and welfare, and in the reservation of your crown and kingdom. Your aforesaid daughter has not done this through any expectation of worldly profit, but simply as her duty; for it is well known she has not been accustomed to hold offices, nor to seek for such profits, but solely to attend to her studies, and to remonstrate with you on what touches your honour and welfare whenever the case may require it. “But although she has several times presented herself before you, to remonstrate on some of the before-mentioned grievances, no remedy has been hitherto applied, by which your kingdom is in the utmost possible danger. Your faithful and loyal subjects again acquit themselves of their duty; and, that the reformation may now be entered upon in earnest, your aforesaid daughter requires the aid of your eldest son the duke of Aquitaine, and of the duke of Burgundy, by whom a reform was some time since begun, with heart and hand, without sparing any one, with whom your daughter joined, considering such reformation was so much wanted. However, from the great opposition made by those who were interested in checking it, no great progress was made, for they were afraid the consequences would have been fatal to them. They urged every objection to it, as well as those now in power. We demand also the assistance of our much-honoured lords of Nevers, of Vertus, of Charolois, of Bar, and of Lorrain, of the constable and marshal of France, of the grand-master of Rhodes, of the admiral, of the master of the cross-bows, and in general of all the chivalry and esquiredom in the realm, whose peculiar duty is to watch for the preservation of your