By Geoffrey Treasure
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Extra info for The Huguenots
Even when it came to the essential business of raising revenue, along with local variations we find two distinct regimes, pays d’états and pays d’élections, each requiring different treatment by government. At the heart of society and government in the pays d’états was the representative body, the Estates, of which seven survived: Languedoc, Provence, Dauphiné, Auvergne, Brittany, Burgundy and Normandy. With the exception of Normandy, its Estates progressively enfeebled and destined to fade away in 1655, their most valued privilege was the right, in response to government’s annual demand, to vote a contribution.
Where Louis XI had faced hostility and feared, with reason, the conspiracies of leading subjects, Francis and Henry could usually bask in approval. Amid intrigues and rivalries they kept a firm grip on business. Aware of the weakness of royal authority in the more distant provinces Henry II started to interest himself in the composition of governors’ councils. That royal government intruded forcibly into the fabric of feudal society is undeniable; yet that is what in many respects France remained.
One such was Premier Président Charles Guillart who, in 1527, sought to justify past actions held by Francis to exceed the authority of Parlement and to be derogatory to that of the crown. . ’5 The words are discreet, nudging rather than defiant, but Francis would read the veiled meaning. He was receiving a lecture about balance; between the absolute powers that were his in theory and the traditional restraints of the fundamental law and the rights of his subjects. He would have been familiar, no doubt, with the language of ‘restraint’ and its principal and respected source.
The Huguenots by Geoffrey Treasure