The cahier of the Third Estate in Levet (1789)


Levet was a small village in central France, south of Bourges. The Third Estate cahier for this village was drawn up by fewer than three dozen people:


“His Majesty is entreated by the inhabitants of the parish of Levet to order:

Article 1. That the Third Estate vote by head at the assembly of the Estates General…

Article 3. That the aides [indirect taxes] and the salt tax, and also customs duties, having become arbitrary after the abuse of an infinity of decisions surprising to the opinion of the Council, be and remain abolished, the province of Berry giving the king in some other way the same net funds…

Article 4. That all types of exemptions be abolished, such as those concerning the taille, capitation, lodging of soldiers, etc., entirely borne by the most unfortunate class of the Third Estate…

Article 5. That the abuses be dealt with which are committed by soldiers in the parishes where they are sent and where they pass their days in the most vexatious manner, usually in debauchery and at the cabaret.

Article 6. That a regulation will be created for farm workers, requiring them to continue their service instead of abandoning it at the moment they are most needed.

Article 7. That the ballot for militia in the countryside be conducted by the closest official, who will go there to that end in order to avoid the expense and travel of farm workers who take advantage of the occasion to spend entire weeks in debauchery. Article 8. That priests be forbidden to absent themselves from their parishes for more than twenty-four hours without a replacement priest, in order to avoid the abuses which are committed daily in the parishes.

Article 9. That seigneurial justice be abolished and those called to justice instead plead before the closest royal judge.”