Archomania: Venality at the Limit, 1689–1722

William Doyle

in Venality

Published in print October 1996 | ISBN: 9780198205364
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191676598 | DOI:
Archomania: Venality at the Limit, 1689–1722

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The great war, which Louis XIV began when he invaded the Rhineland in September 1688, lasted nine years, forcing all the powers involved to marshal their resources more effectively than ever before. Eventually they were forced to impose new taxes and experiment with new financial institutions. France embarked on the sale and manipulation of public offices. However, it was not ordinary revenue that the king was seeking. His interest was in what were known as ‘extraordinary affairs’, or special expedients to help meet the extraordinary expenses of war. Extraordinary affairs were normally synonymous with traitants, who were employed in every aspect of wartime venality. The turbulent history of venality between 1689 and 1722 did much to determine how it would operate and develop right down to the French Revolution. The return to the annual in 1722, though it brought back heavier payments, signalled that the government of Louis XV, too, accepted the permanence of this peculiarly French institution.

Keywords: France; venality; public offices; revenue; Louis XIV; special expedients; traitants; annual; war

Chapter.  16558 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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