Cahier of the nobility in Berry (1789)


The following extract is from a cahier written by eleven noblemen, comprising the Second Estate (nobility) of Berry:


“The spirit of unity and agreement, which has always reigned between the three orders, is equally manifest in their cahiers. The question of voting by head in the assembly of the Estates-General was the only one to divide the Third Estate from the other two orders, whose constant wish has been to deliberate there by order… it is with the greatest satisfaction that the orders have seen that their cahiers, although separate, could be seen as effectively comprising only one, motivated by the same spirit.

Constitution

Article 1. The deputies will seek to discuss any other matter only when they will have stated in the most positive manner and in the form of fixed and unalterable law:

1. The recognition of administrative power belonging fully to the king;

2. The rights of the nation to consent to laws as well as the grants [taxes], their sharing out and collection;

3. Public and individual freedom, from which derives that of the press, guaranteed according to the law;

4. The sacred and inviolable right of property, the stability of the courts, the irremovability of their officers…

7. The periodic return of the Estates-General.

8. The establishment of provincial Estates in each province…

Grants [taxes]

Article 1. The deputies will present to the Estates-General a picture of abuses resulting from the arbitrariness employed in assessments of the taille, capitation, one-twentieth levies [vingtiemes], contributions to roads, and will demand the abolition, modification, combination or conversion of these taxes.

Article 2. They will demand the abolition of the salt tax and the replacement of this imposition by another that is less onerous…

Nobility

The deputies of the order of the nobility of Berry at the Estates-General will ask:

Article 1. That all venal nobility will be abolished.

Article 2. That the provincial Estates be able to present to the king those of their fellow citizens whose services rendered put them in the position of obtaining nobility.

Article 3. That in each province a nobiliary be formed by a court made up of nobles.

Article 4. That seigneurial justice be preserved… as well as honorific and useful rights, inherent in lands or people…”