Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/442

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royal impost. As a rule the salt of the kingdom is brought into the royal warehouses, greniers, and left there by the merchants for sale, this taking place in regular turn. A fixed addition for the royal profit is made to the price of the salt as it is sold; and heads of houses are required to purchase a fixed annual minimum of salt. In Languedoc the tax is levied on its passage from the salt works on the sea coast, and the black salt of Poitou and Saiiitonge gets off with a tax of 25 per cent.; but the general principle is the same. From a quarter upwards is added to the price of a necessary of life, and the product is in 1461 about 160,000 l.t., rising in the more prosperous times and with the more accurate finance of Louis XII to some 280,000 l.t.

Finally there is the tattle, jbuage, hearth or land-tax. The gradual process by which the right of the seigneurs to levy tattle on their subjects had passed into the exclusive possession of the King is too long to admit of being followed here. Here as in other cases the Estates at first permitted what the King afterwards carried on without their leave. Under the agonising pressure of foreign and civil war Charles VII was allowed,—we can hardly say that he was authorised,—to transform the tattle into an annual tax levied at the King's discretion. The normal total was fixed at 1,200,000 l.t.; but Charles VII established a precedent by imposing crues, or arbitrary additions to the tax, levied for some special emergency. The intervention of the Estates in Languedoil and Outreseine ceased; in Normandy it became a mere form; in Languedoc it was reduced to a one-sided negotiation between the province and the King, in which he might show indulgence, but the deputies could hardly show fight. Yet resistance was not infrequently tried, and was sometimes successful even with the inexorable Louis XI. On the other hand even in Languedoc a crue is sometimes ordered and paid without a vote, though never without protest. The tattle fell only on the roturiers, and spared the privileged orders of clergy and noblesse. In Languedoc the exemption followed the traditional distinction of tenements into noble and non-noble; in Languedoil the peasant paid if occupying a noble fief, the noble was exempt, although in actual possession of a villain holding.

Thus the clergy and the nobility escaped, except in a few cases, the direct burden of the principal tax. Speaking generally, they did not escape the burden of the aides and gabelle, though they had certain privileges. Royal officers for the most part escaped not only tattle but gabelle. Many of the principal towns also escaped the former. Such were Paris, Rouen, Laon, Reims, Tours, and many others. There were other inequalities and injustices. Normandy paid one-fourth of the whole toi&,—a monstrous burden upon a province which had suffered not less than any other from the War. The proportion of one-tenth fixed on Languedoc was probably also excessive. In the recherche of 1491 it was