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June 26, This is a submission from Rutronik. The company is expanding its portfolio with products from HMS Industrial Networks, a manufacturer of solutions for industrial communication and the Internet of Things. The companies have entered into a global distribution agreement. For that reason, key sections of a wide array of documents are reproduced here, the better to enable us to listen to the diverse voices of revolutionary France.
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My colleague Chips Sowerwine has given the manuscript the benefit of his critical and knowledgeable gaze: I am grateful to him for that, as I am for his friendship and encouragement. Note 1. Perhaps 28 million people inhabited France in if we define an urban community as one with more than 2, people, then only two persons in ten lived in an urban centre in the eighteenth century.
The great majority inhabited 38, rural communities or parishes with, on average, about residents.
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A glimpse of two of them reveals some of the central characteristics of that distant world. The tiny village of Menucourt was typical of the Vexin region to the north of Paris. It was situated between bends in the Seine and Oise rivers, a few kilometres west of the nearest town, Pontoise, and 35 winding kilometres from Paris. It was a small village: there were just inhabitants in its 70 households but it had grown from 38 households in Cultivated fields covered 58 per cent of the hectares of the surface of the tiny parish; forest covered another 26 per cent.
Some inhabitants were involved in winegrowing, or in working wood from the chestnut trees to the south of the village into wine barrels and stakes; others quarried stone for new buildings in Rouen and Paris. This market-oriented activity was supplemented by a subsistence economy on small plots of vegetables and fruit-trees walnuts, apples, pears, plums, cherries , the gathering in the forest of chestnuts and mushrooms, and the milk and meat of sheep and FRANCE IN THE s 5 50 or 60 cows. As in villages everywhere in France, people plied several trades: for example, Pierre Huard ran the local inn and sold bulk wine, but was also the village stonemason.
Indeed, most people in Gabian could not have communicated with their fellow subjects in Menucourt, for like the mass of the people of Languedoc they spoke Occitan in daily life.
Among the dues payable to him were setiers a setier was about 85 litres of barley, 28 setiers of wheat, bottles of olive oil, 18 chickens, 4 pounds of bees-wax, 4 partridges, and a rabbit. Two other seigneurs also had minor claims over its produce. Across most of the country French was the daily language only of those involved in administration, commerce, and the professions. Members of the clergy also used it, although they commonly preached in local dialects or languages. Several million people of Languedoc spoke variants of Occitan; Flemish was spoken in the northeast; German in Lorraine.
There were minorities of Basques, Catalans, and Celts. I spoke to them in French, I spoke to them in my native patois, I even tried to speak to them in Latin, but all to no avail. When at last I was tired of talking to them without their understanding a word, they in their turn spoke to me in a language of which I could make no more sense.
Regional cultures and minority languages and dialects were underpinned by economic strategies which sought to meet the needs of the household within a regional or micro-regional market. The rural economy was essentially a peasant economy: that is, household-based agrarian production which had a primarily subsistence orientation.
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An insight into this world is provided by Nicolas Restif de la Bretonne, born in in the village of Sacy, on the border of the provinces of Burgundy and Champagne. Covin was also a weaver, and his wife had some domestic work; her lot in consequence must have been pleasant enough. In most regions, however, the bulk of the population were either smallholders, tenant-farmers, or sharecroppers, many of whom were also reliant on practising a craft or on wage-work. In all rural communities there was a minority of larger farmers, often dubbed the coqs du village, who were large tenant-farmers fermiers or landowners laboureurs.
Larger villages also had a minority of people——priests, lawyers, artisans, textile-workers——who were not peasants at all, but who commonly owned some land, such as the vegetable garden belonging to the priest. This varied from about 17 per cent in the Mauges region of western France to 64 per cent in the Auvergne. Paradoxical as it may seem, rural France was also the centre of most manufacturing. Across the eighteenth century, large owners and tenants monopolized the land, increasingly specializing in corn; the middling and small peasants instead found spinning and weaving linen the answer to poverty and land-hunger.
In turn, the textile industry provided the incentive for farmers to increase crop yields substantially to feed an increasing population. A key role was played by middlemen, merchant-weavers from places like Montigny who mortgaged small family holdings to join the rush to be rich. However, Montigny was an exceptional case.
Most of rural France was a place of unremitting manual labour by tillers of the soil. A rural world in which households engaged in a highly complex occupational strategy to secure their own subsistence could inevitably expect only low yields for grain crops grown in unsuitable or exhausted soil. The dry and stony soils of a southern village like Gabian were no more suited to growing grain crops than the heavy, damp soils of Normandy: in both places, however, a large proportion of arable land was set aside for grain to meet local needs.
Far more important to most peasants were nearby small towns or bourgs, whose weekly, monthly, or annual market-fairs were as much an occasion for the collective rituals of local cultures as for the exchange of produce. Rural communities consumed so much of what they produced—— and vice versa——that towns and cities faced both chronic problems of food supply and a limited rural demand for their goods and services.app.userengage.io/purchasing-selection-and-procurement-for-the-hospitality-industry.php
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However, although only 20 per cent of French people lived in urban communities, in a European context France was remarkable for the number and size of its cities and towns. There were eight cities with more than 50, people Paris was easily the biggest, with perhaps as many as , people, then Lyons, Marseilles, Bordeaux, Nantes, Lille, Rouen, and Toulouse , and another seventy with 10,—40, These cities and towns all had examples of large-scale manufacturing involved in an international trading framework, but most were dominated by artisan-type craftwork for the needs of the urban population itself and the immediate hinterland, and by a range of administrative, judicial, ecclesiastical, and policing functions.
They were provincial capitals: only one person in forty lived in Paris, and communication between the capital Versailles and the rest of its territory was usually slow and uncertain. The size and topography of the country was a constant impediment to the rapid movement of instructions, laws, and goods see Map 1.
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Like many other cities, Paris was ringed by a wall, largely for the collection of customs duties on goods imported into the city. Within the walls were a number of faubourgs or suburbs, each with its distinctive mix of migrant population and trades. In the western neighbourhoods of the city, the building industry was booming as the well-to-do constructed imposing residences away from the teeming medieval quarters of the central city. However, most Parisians continued to live in congested streets in central neighbourhoods near the river, where the population was vertically segregated in tenement buildings: often, wealthy bourgeois or even nobles would occupy the first and second floors above shops and workplaces, with their domestic servants, artisans, and the poor inhabiting the upper floors and garrets.
As in rural communities, the Catholic Church was a constant presence: there were convents and monasteries in Paris housing 1, monks and 2, nuns and 1, parish clergy. This was a world in which small employers and wage-earners were bonded by deep knowledge of their trade and of each other, and where skilled workers were identified by their trade as well as by whether they were masters or workers.
Nevertheless, frustrations between workers and their masters were evident in trades where entry to a mastership was difficult; in some industries, such as printing, the introduction of new machines was threatening the skills of journeymen and apprentices. Social relations focused on the neighbourhood and the workplace as much as the family. Large cities like Paris, Lyons, and Marseilles were characterized by tightly packed, medieval centres where most families occupied no more than one or two rooms: most of the routines associated with eating and leisure were public activities.
Historians have documented the use made of streets and other public spaces by working women to settle domestic disputes as well as issues to do with rents and food prices. Men in skilled trades found their own solidarities in compagnonnages, illegal but tolerated brotherhoods of workers which acted to protect work routines and wages and to provide outlets for leisure and aggression after working days of 14—16 hours. Smaller, newer urban centres had sprung up around large iron foundries and coal mines, such as at Le Creusot, Niederbronn, and Anzin, where 4, workers were employed.
However, it was particularly in the Atlantic ports where a booming colonial trade with the Caribbean colonies was developing a capitalist economic sector in shipbuilding and in processing colonial goods, as in Bordeaux, where the population expanded from 67, to , between and This was a triangular trade between Europe, North America, and Africa, exporting wines and spirits from ports such as Bordeaux to England and importing colonial produce such as sugar, coffee, and tobacco.
One leg of the trade involved scores of purpose-built slave-ships which carried a human cargo from the west coast of Africa to colonies such as St-Domingue. In there were ships actively engaged in the slave trade: 48 of them from Nantes, 37 each from La Rochelle and Le Havre, 13 from Bordeaux, and several from Marseilles, St-Malo, and Dunkerque.
In Nantes, the slave-trade represented 20—25 per cent of the traffic of the port in the s, in Bordeaux 8—15 per cent and in La Rochelle as much as 58 per cent in Across the century from , these slave-ships had made more than 3, voyages, 42 per cent of them from Nantes: their trade was essential to the great economic boom of the Atlantic ports in the eighteenth century. Perhaps 15 per cent of rural property was owned by such bourgeois. While the nobility dominated the most prestigious positions in the administration, its lower ranks were staffed by the middle classes.
The royal administration at Versailles was tiny, with only about employees, but across a network of provincial cities and towns it employed many thousands more in courts, public works, and government. For bourgeois who had substantial means, there were no more attractive and respectable investments than low-return, secure government bonds or land and seigneurialism. The latter, in particular, offered the hope of social status and even marriage into the nobility. By the s as many as one-fifth of the seigneurs in the countryside around Le Mans were of bourgeois background.
Eighteenth-century France was characterized by the multiplicity of links between town and country. In provincial towns, in particular, bourgeois owned extensive rural property from which they drew rent from peasant farmers; in turn, domestic service for bourgeois families was a major source of employment for young rural women.
Less fortunate girls worked as prostitutes or in charity workshops.