1792 Post-Revolutionary French Property Seizure of Emigres Legal Document

1792 Post-Revolutionary French Property Seizure of Emigres Legal Document

  • $499.99
    Unit price per 
Tax included.

On offer is a superb copy of the laws relating to the French national debt and the seizure of property of those French nobles who fled France to escape the guillotine.

At the outset of the French Revolution, France’s national finances were in total disarray. The country had virtually bankrupted itself in the Seven Years War with Britain and with its participation in the American Revolution. Moreover, the French Royalty and nobility were a study in corruption and excess. Taxation only applied to the peasants. Making matters worse, levying taxes at a local level was controlled, not by the French government but by local boards who were very reluctant to impose more taxes on their already deeply-burdened local communities.

It had to boil over at some point and that point came in 1789 with a full national revolution. The new republic still had the same financial mess on its hands.

This document describes part of the efforts to deal with that mess.

The first 8 pages deal with the financial levies that were imposed on local regions. This was an entirely new concept and it may have gone nowhere except for the looming shadow of the guillotine. However, many regions appealed their levies and sought relief:

Repartition des decharges accordees a titre de degrevement
Sequestre des biens des Emigres

L'Assmblee Nationale ayant entendu le rapport du son comite de l'ordinaire des financees, sur les petitions qui lui ont eye adressees par plusieurs departments, afin d'obtenir un degrevement sur leur part dans les contributions des anees 1791 et 1792, ainsi que les trois lectures du projet de decret dans ses seances des 1re et 9 aout, et 12 septembre, et decrete qu'elle etoit en etat de deliberer definitivement


Breakdown of discharges granted as a rebate
The seizure of the property of the Emigrants

The National Assembly having heard the report of its ordinary committee of finances, on the petitions which were addressed to it by several departments, in order to obtain a relief on their share in the contributions of the years 1791 and 1792, as well as the three readings of the draft of decree in its sessions of the 1st and 9th of August, and 12th of September, and decrees that it was in a position to deliberate definitively...]

The Law then goes on to address various issues raised and proposals to deal with them.

Of interest is a chart, inserted at what would normally be the end of the legal document, that details the breakdown of discharges granted to each of the 17 Departments of France.

Following the chart are pages 7 & 8, a far more sinister law relating to the properties and belongings of those French nobility and wealthy bourgeoisie who fled France at the outset of the Revolution, known to history as Emigres.

As the country spiralled downward into chaos and violence, thousands fled France. Many went to neighbouring European countries and to Great Britain. They were definitely seen as a threat to the Revolutionary government.

Fearful of these monarchists outside the country and with an all-but-destitute public treasury, the leader of the Revolution hit upon the idea of seizing the property of all who had fled. They were offered the opportunity to return and failing that, would lose all of their property and be executed if they ever returned.

These 2 pages speak directly to that:

Sequestre des biens des Emigres

...La loi du 8 avril dernier, relative aux sequestre des biens des emigres, s'applique (sauf les exceptions y portees) a tous Francois sortis du royaume, soit a l'epoque de la publication du decret du 9 fevrier precedent, soit depuis, ou qui viendroient par la fuite a emigrer.


The seizure of the property of the Emigrants

...The law of last April 8, relative to the sequestration of the property of emigrants, applies (except for the exceptions contained therein) to all French citizens who left the kingdom, either at the time of the publication of the decree of the preceding February 9, or since, or who would emigrate by flight.]

The document is signed in print by Monge and Danton. Monge was Gaspard Monge, a noted mathematician and founder of differential geometry. He was Minister of Marine. He later was heavily involved in new developments in French education and served in Napoleon’s administration. Danton was Georges Danton, a leading figure of the Revolution. He died on the guillotine.

For a historian, this is a superb document. It is a direct connection to the chaos of the Revolution and the dark underside of popular revolutions.

This is a 10-page document. It measures 9.0 inches by 8.5 inches and is 10 pages in length. The pages are bound together with thread. There is a large stain on the top left of the front page but it does not interfere with the legibility of the text. There is slight staining around the edges die to age. The document is printed and is very legible. Interestingly, there is a chart inserted into the document between pages 6 and 7. It too is number Page 6. It is a single-sided chart.

Please don't hesitate to contact us for more information or to request photos. (Kindly include the SKU, listed on this page above the price, in your e-mail so we can more easily answer your questions.)

We Also Recommend