The ordeal of the parlementaires
in Louis XIV and the parlements

This chapter delineates the grinding ordeal magistrates were subjected to by the late reign of Louis XIV. He left the magistrates with their offices taxed, yielding scant income, reduced in value, heavily mortgaged, exposed to creditors and with unpaid augmentations de gages. To fund the War of the Spanish Succession (1702–1714), Michel Chamillart, the controller general, increased current taxes, invented new taxes, borrowed heavily and manipulated the currency, the customary methods long called into use by hard-pressed finance ministers. Long before the war ended, the magistrates had reached the limits of their financial endurance, with their offices heavily mortgaged and dwindling in value, and office income drying up. These depredations served as the denouement to the political subservience that began with Colbert in the 1670s. When the king died, however, his political regimen was beginning to show the first signs of wear and tear, brought on by unrest over the alarming state of venal office.

Louis XIV and the parlements

The assertion of royal authority

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