The cahier of the Third Estate in Gisors (1789)

This cahier of the Third Estate was drafted in Gisors, a small town in Normandy, and reflects the values and interests of the local bourgeoisie there:

“The Third Estate of this town invites the deputies to the Estates-General to do all they can to encourage the Assembly to adopt the following resolutions, but not until they have first of all joined with all the deputies of the kingdom in demonstrating to the best of kings the gratitude, respect, love and submission of his subjects of the town of Gisors.

Resolutions shall be taken and decreed in the Estates-General by the three orders jointly and votes shall be counted by head and not by order.

That in the matter of taxes and loans the sovereign’s authority cannot be exercised except by the general agreement of the assembled nation, and with the assistance of its deliberations and its advice in matters of legislation.

Before giving recognition to the national debt or imposing any taxation, the deputies shall cause to be decreed, as the kingdom’s permanent system of government, the regular recall of the Estates-General at fixed periods. They shall ask for the abolition of every kind of indirect tax, under whatever description it was set up, and that none be created within the interior of the kingdom.

No citizen may be made prisoner nor deprived of his liberty for any reason whatever without having been first taken before his natural judge, or before the judge of the offence of which he is accused, and without having been sentenced to that imprisonment, for which purpose all arbitrary imprisonment and especially lettres de cachet shall be forbidden.

Deputies will ask for the abolition of all forms of seigneurial justice; the abolition of the venality of office; the nation’s right to choose its judges in all future tribunals; reform of the civil and criminal codes.

Game should be destroyed, or nobles who wish to preserve it should be compelled to enclose it within their parks; and the destruction of harmful animals should be encouraged.

Deputies shall ask for the abolition of immunities damaging to the Third Estate, such as exemption from troop billeting, from militia duty, coastguard duty and others of that kind.

That free schools be set up in every parish in the kingdom for the instruction of young people.

That begging be entirely prohibited, and that means be found to subsidise the feeding, maintenance and housing of the infirm poor by the establishment of charity boards in all towns, boroughs and villages.

That the champart (seigneurial tithe) and dues payable in kind or in labour, and other such rights which produce little for the landlord and are a grievous enslavement to the tenants, be changed to a payment in grain and straw or to money payments.

That tolls payable on goods crossing land, bridges, and on roads and others of that kind be abolished as harmful.

That dues on markets and on corn measurement be reduced to two sous per sack uniformly throughout the kingdom, and that steps be taken to avoid the excessive costliness of cereals.

That pigeons be kept shut up in pigeon-houses from June 24th to September 1st and from September 29th to November 11th.”