Boehmert, "engaged in the same profession formed associations for the protection of their person, their families, and their property; for the creation of an internal moral and economic police, and particularly to punish associates who, by cheating in the quality of their products, could injure the reputation of the whole city; to watch over the completion of a regular apprenticeship, and to exercise a moral censorship over apprentices and journeymen; to take care of the widows, the orphans, the aged, and the infirm among them; to join together in the parish and to have masses said over the dead; to furnish a contingent of arquebusiers to the troops of the city, and, in general, to satisfy all social wants."
Even when Étienne Boyleau, the famous provost of Paris under St. Louis and the author of the still more famous Livre des Métiers, gave these corporations a legal status, there was still an excuse. He was a warrior, with a warrior's love of discipline and system; he was a magistrate, with a magistrate's hatred of all kinds of lawlessness and dishonesty; he was a tax reformer, with tax reformer's eye to new sources of revenue for the impoverished treasury of a crusading monarch. "He reestablished discipline in commerce, and in the arts and trades," says a writer in the Biographie Universelle, "in the collection of the royal taxes within his jurisdiction, and fixed those of the seigniorial courts included in his provostship; he moderated and fixed the imposts that were raised arbitrarily, under the provost farmers, on commerce and merchandise; he arranged all the traders and all the artisans in different bodies and communities under the title of brotherhoods; it was he that gave these corporations their first status for disciplinary purposes, and established the rules for the encouragement of honesty and commerce." But there is reason to believe that the chief purposes of this feudal reformer were police and fiscal. "The kings," says Depping, "made successful use of the corporations for the collections of imposts, then very imperfectly done. When the artisans and traders were formed into a body, it sufficed to summon the head men and to charge them with the collection of the taille for each trade. . . . It became easier to designate the persons that should keep watch during the night, a forced labor that displeased the Parisians very much, and from which they sought as much as possible to escape."
It is an inevitable tendency of all organizations, whatever be their purpose, be it political or industrial, to consolidate and
- Dictionnaire général de la Politique. Par M. Maurice Block. See Corporations, by V. Boehmert, vol. i, p. 537.
- Vol. v, p. 436.
- Règlemens sur les Arts et Métiers de Paris. Avec Notes et une Introduction. Par G.-B. Depping, p. lxxxiv. See also Palgrave, Dictionary of Political Economy, pp. 430, 431.