By Philip F. Riley
Midway via his reign, within the severe decade of the 1680s, the lusty photo of Louis XIV paled and used to be changed via that of a straitlaced monarch devoted to locking up blasphemers, borrowers, gamblers, and prostitutes in wretched, foul-smelling prisons that allotted abundant doses of Catholic-Reformation advantage. the writer demonstrates how this assault on sin expressed the punitive social coverage of the French Catholic Reformation and the way Louis's activities clarified the felony and ethical differences among crime and sin.
As a hot-blooded younger prince, Louis XIV paid little consciousness to advantage or to sin and, regardless of his adored identify of God's so much Christian King, violations of God's 6th and 9th Commandments by no means afflicted him. certainly, for the 1st twenty years of his reign, he paraded a circulation of royal mistresses ahead of all of Europe and fathered 16 illegitimate youngsters. but, halfway via his reign, within the serious decade of the 1680s, the lusty photo of Louis XIV paled and used to be changed through that of a straitlaced monarch devoted to locking up blasphemers, borrowers, gamblers, and prostitutes in wretched, foul-smelling prisons that allotted considerable doses of Catholic-Reformation virtue.
Using police and criminal records, administrative correspondence, memoirs, and letters, Riley describes the formation of Louis's slender sense of right and wrong and his efforts to shield his topics' souls by means of attacking sin and infusing his state with advantage, specifically in Paris and at Versailles. all through his assault on sin, women--so-called infantrymen of Satan--were the distinct goals of the police. via the 17th century, fornication and adultery had develop into completely lady crimes; males in charge of those sins have been hardly punished as significantly. even though unsuccessful, Louis's assault on sin clarified the felony and ethical differences among crime and sin in addition to the futility of implementing a religiously encouraged social coverage on an irreverent, secular-minded France.
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Additional resources for A Lust for Virtue: Louis XIV’s Attack on Sin in Seventeenth-Century France
Now he called for help from his assistants. René and François were cut down from their crosses, their legs bent under their torsos so that their heels now touched the back of their skulls. Each mutilated body was then carried to the front of the scaffold, where it was lashed to the spokes of the wheel. Guillaume knew that if he tied the ropes tightly the Touchets would die in a few hours, the boisterous crowd would then be satiated, and he could be home before nightfall. , however, neither brother was dead.
Though often arbitrary and capricious, the commissaires’ method of policing was simple and direct. In Louis XIV’s Paris no complicated proof was needed to arrest and imprison sinners. To improve their morale and increase the prestige of his police officers, La Reynie prevailed upon the king to increase the commissaires’ wages and perquisites. Stylish uniforms, complete with smart capes and jaunty square caps, once worn only for ceremonies, were now encouraged for daily patrol. Beginning in 1668, the commissaires were even permitted to keep their hats on when entering the Châtelet; and in 1674 all commissaires with twenty years’service were accorded all the privileges of a military veteran’s status including the right to buy tax-free salt.
Nighttime illumination, bridge inspection, waste removal, prison administration, water supply, and neighborhood security were the key topics addressed. Colbert, ever-mindful of cost and efficiency, urged that Swiss mercenary soldiers, presently idle in bivouac, be moved to Paris to police the city and attack street crime. But the specter of uni- 18 A Lust for Virtue formed Swiss ordering Parisians about the streets of the city could well spark a riot, and Colbert’s overly efficient suggestion was wisely omitted from Séguier’s final report.