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Agrarian ideology and commercial republicanism in the French Revolution.

The central conundrum that faced all actors in the French Revolution was that of reconciling the Revolution's commitment to the collective regeneration of the nation with its matching commitment to modern individualism.(1) The tensions between these two opposed tendencies were everywhere apparent in the classic texts of the Revolution. The Declaration of the Rights of Man, for instance, struggled to organize its assertion that legality was rooted in the general will of the people and its avowal of the sacred nature of property within a unitary language of rights. Sieyes's variously defined the nation, his master concept, as a commercial society created out of the productive interaction of its members, and as a unitary political community created out its commitment to the law.(2) The organic and individualistic conceptions struggled with one another and were only fitfully resolved. This ideological problem had very concrete results. Most crucially, the various Revolutionary assemblies wavered in their attitudes to extra-parliamentary political organization in terms of this dilemma. The notion that the nation was a community of individuals was invoked to justify the Loi le Chapelier of September 1791 outlawing workers' associations and was also deployed in support of the proposal put forward in the same month that the Societes des Amis de la Constitution be disbanded. Conversely, the legitimacy of the sans-culottes movement depended on its claim to speak for the real, organic nation.(3) There was an incoherence at the heart of Revolutionary ideology, one that the Revolutionaries fought hard to overcome.

Some recent commentators have argued that as the Revolutionaries strove to create a new polity they were driven to embrace the organic conception of the nation.(4) The project of creating a sovereign citizenry, transparent to itself and harmonizing private desire with public commitment, has been seen as a central logic that drove the Revolutionary process along. The tragic reading of this ideal, in particular, has been identified as the mindset that made the Terror thinkable.(5) By arguing that the emergence of the empowered nation was impeded by egoists, defined as those who saw their interests separate from those of the nation, Robespierre, Saint-Just and others created a Revolutionary `other', the aristocrat, who was the legitimate object of Revolutionary violence. In this reading, the tension between individualistic and organic notions of the nation that characterized the early stages of the Revolution was resolved by making individualism a form of treason.

This view is flawed in serious ways. It collapses all Revolutionary discourse into High Jacobinism, assumes a teleological approach to the Terror that is very difficult to maintain, and gives priority to political discourse in the explanation of the Revolutionary dynamic at the cost of ignoring all other spheres of experience.(6) Moreover, it is guilty of a naive philosophical determinism. This view assumes that the philosophical difficulty or reconciling individual and collective rights was sufficient reason for the instability of revolutionary institutions. It fails to confront the difficult task of establishing why certain social and political interests organized themselves around such absolute conceptions of the nature of the polity. Finally, and most importantly, this interpretation of the logic of the Revolution has focused our attention too narrowly on the tendencies of the Revolutionary discourse toward fragmentation and dissonance. Little or no work has been done on the more hybrid discourses within Revolutionary ideology that sought to resolve the tensions.(7)

The Revolutionaries were not unaware of the tensions inherent in their discourse, though they did not characterize them in terms of individualism and communitarianism. The Revolutionary debate on this topic was, instead, posed in terms of the compatibility of the features of modern societies: large states, extensive commerce and ubiquitous communication, with the Revolutionary principles of liberty, equality and fraternity. The debate intensified after the declaration of the republic in 1792. Thereafter the problem was to find the features of the modern world that could be integrated into the practices of the ancient republics.(8) The text that framed this entire discussion was Rousseau's Discours sur l'origine de l'inegalite, which had argued that commerce and communication degenerated the human race by substituting false needs for the true need for moral autonomy. Regeneration was the Revolutionary goal of restoring the moral and political autonomy of the citizenry; the problem was to find representations of the regenerated citizen that retained the features of the modern world.

The Revolutionary debate on the role of education dramatized the difficulties that the Revolutionaries faced in finding representations of a modern citizen. Since the uneducated man could not be free, the goal of education had to be regeneration, the provision of the means to exercise liberty: `without the sciences, the arts, and most importantly without philosophie, liberty can never be securely founded. The ignorant man is always a slave, he must allow himself to be led by those who hold, or seem to hold, the light'.(9) Jean-Antoine Nicolas de Caritat, marquis de Condorcet, was the major republican theorist and educationalist to tackle this problem in his writings and his reports to the educational committees. He embraced Rousseau's conceptualization of the issue totally, and asserted that Rousseau's moral insights `merit the glory of being placed among those truths that it is not permitted either to forget or to deny'.(10) However, the very meaning of education was highly contested. Proponents of republican liberty argued that the schooling of the citizenry should be an education nationale, a training in the political virtues. Their opponents argued instead for a national system of instruction publique, a schooling in the useful arts of civil society. The difficulty for the proponents of instruction publique lay in explaining how such an education would not serve to increase inequality, which, it was argued, had been `one of the principal causes of the destruction of liberty in the ancient republics'.(11) Differential access to knowledge had been fatal to the ancient republics: how much more dangerous it would be in modern societies which, Condorcet argued, following Adam Smith, were characterized by a high degree of division of labour. Division of labour threatened to create `in every nation a class of men incapable of raising their view above their basest interests.'(12) The problem was not simply that of the possibility of creating a class of helots, but that of producing a specialized political class that would engross all public activity of themselves. This would create a new, modern, form of inequality by making `power the exclusive patrimony of those individuals who could buy it by devoting themselves to certain professions.'(13) This was the very crux of the problem: republican virtue demanded equality, while modern commercial societies demanded differentiation -- and differentiation seemed to threaten the possibility of a virtuous republic.

While Condorcet's analysis of the goals of a Revolutionary educational policy was absolutely clear, he could not find a means through which to attain them. He could not find a representation of a modern, educationally and socially differentiated citizen to anchor his educational agenda and, instead, distributed the tasks of regeneration between the school and the family. Education in the civic virtues could safely be left to the home, while the goal of public education should be `to assure to everyone the opportunity to perfect his industrie, to make him capable of fulfilling those public duties to which he has the right to be called, to develop the potential of the talents which he has been endowed by nature, and by this means to establish among the citizenry a real equality, and so render real the political equality recognized by the law'.(14) Just how performing one's private or social role contributed to the task of exercising political liberty was not explained. The inability of even the most articulate theorist of the modern republic to explain how the arts and sciences could contribute to political equality left open the possibility of a Revolutionary education policy that would reject them in favour of antique liberty.(15) The difficulties that Condorcet faced in reconciling political liberty and modern social life in his plans for education dramatized the ideological problem that lay at the heart of the Revolutionary experience.

In the aftermath of the Terror, counter-Revolutionary publicists became adept at exploiting this flaw in Revolutionary ideology. Political liberty of the republican kind, they argued, was incompatible with the moderate spirit of the moderns.(16) Competition between the elements of the political class would inevitably lead to factions and then on to civil war.(17) Francois-Dominique de Reynaud, comte de Montlosier, accepted that the Directors understood this tendency, and the concomitant necessity to halt Revolutionary violence and allow the citizenry to re-engage with their private lives, but argued that the very logic of the republic they were trying to save would frustrate them.(18) Jacques Mallet du Pan did not even allow for misguided goodwill among the republicans. Since the republic was so obviously impossible, the rhetoric of equality could be nothing more than a cloak for a shameless expropriation of property.(19) Constitutional monarchists felt themselves to be on sure ground in claiming political modernity for themselves.

The one-time Genevan Revolutionary, Francois d'Ivernois, reinforced this argument by harnessing to it the insights of political economy. D'Ivernois argued that the republic was a dangerous chimera that obscured the real concern of the moderns, the promotion of their private interests. In arguing in this manner he was taking up the position of constitutionalists such as Pierre-Louis Roederer, who denied that virtue was the goal of a modern republic and substituted for it the happiness of the citizenry:

The real social bond is the happiness of the citizens which depends not on

their virtue but on that of those who govern them ... citizens have no

need of any qualities which go beyond those necessary for the partners

in a business enterprise. All that is necessary is that everyone, acting in

his own self-interest, does not act against the common good. Each republic

that guarantees everyone's interests will constantly grow and improve.(20)

Where d'Ivernois diverged from Roederer was in arguing that the republic could not change its legitimating principle from virtue to happiness, so the modern republic was an impossible regime. The experience of the Terror, he argued, had revealed this to the French population:

Having experienced that the jealousy of wealth and of cultivated

understanding, which is inherent in a pure democracy, makes it the most

ignorant of all forms of government, while the multitude and avidity of

its agents make it the most expensive, they will direct all their wishes

towards one less burdensome, more simple in its arrangements, and more

powerful in its protection: in short, they will fly for refuge to the

arms of a monarchy.(21)

The Directory, as a republican regime, was inherently opposed to the two defining characteristics of a modern polity, extended commerce and the widest circulation of knowledge. It could not make up for this deficiency through mobilization of popular military force for long, for inevitably the realities of the commercial system would undermine its capacity to make war and thus expose its total ideological bankruptcy.(22) Modern life, the fruit of the development of the arts and sciences, could not be reconciled to republican liberty; thus, republican liberty could only be a dangerous political fantasy.



Between 1795 and 1799 there was a flowering of political economy in France.(23) Republican political economists sought to delimit the relationship between modern commerce, the arts and the republic.(24) Yet the practical effects of republican political economy depended upon the rhetoric and practices that made use of its insights. One of the most forceful and innovative political strategies to reclaim the arts for the republic, which built on this foundation, was the Abbe Gregoire's coinage of the rhetoric of vandalism.(25) Gregoire's manoeuvre was to lay responsibility for Revolutionary violence at the feet of the ancien regime which had trained the people in infamy. The September Massacres, he argued, were `the fruit of a government without morality, and of the depravity of a court which had raised its scandalous monuments of the ruin of morality'.(26) The true enemy of the arts and sciences was not the virtuous republican, but the degenerate subject of the ancien regime, who shared his master's hatred for learning and the freedom it promoted.(27) The denomination of a degenerate population, created by the monarchy, as the cancer of vandalism that fed on the body of the Revolution, had tremendous currency as a defence of the republic.(28) Yet, while the discourse of vandalism could designate an agency other than that of the Revolutionary process itself to explain the destruction of cultural institutions and art objects, it could not resolve the central problem of reconciling modern social life and political liberty. The review of Gregoire's speech in the Decade philosophique acknowledge this dilemma, pointing out that the consequence of his arguments was a rejection of the model of any ancient republic, even Athens, as well as ancient barbarism. Even the commercial Greeks were not a sure guide to the creation of a virtuous republic.(29) The vandal was everything antithetical to the modern citizen; opposition to the vandal, however, was not a sufficient definition of modern citizenship.

The way out of this crux (as Condorcet had acknowledged, though he was unable to find it) went beyond the opposition of virtue to luxury, of neo-Stoic elevation to Epicurean self-indulgence.(30) Gregoire found this route, where commerce and the arts fostered virtue rather than luxury, through the fields. The commitment of the republic to agricultural development would make commerce and the arts virtuous:

The precarious commerce in fashion, founded on the corruption and

luxury of a destroyed court, will no doubt collapse: so much the better!

morality will gain by it and the improved mills of Durand will gain a

more solid profit for us than all the trash sent out to the North every

month. The Revolution will destroy some English gardens: so much the

better again! it is of more importance to us to harvest good grains than

to build picturesque ruins, and the view of a good kitchen garden is

fundamentally more pleasing than that of a cunningly designed formal


In his speech Gregoire used the ideal of a regenerated agriculture as the means through which the ideological and practical problems of the republic could be solved. Training in agricultural science would make citizens of all Frenchmen, and their agricultural disposition would found an alternative political economy to one based on luxury goods.(32) the ruinous imports of colonial goods, which he alleged cost up to 300 million livres, could be replaced by French produce, if ingenuity and art were turned to the soil. Even money, that most corrupting of substances, could be cleansed by ploughing it into the earth and, by creating work for the poor, helping to extirpate `the leprosy of poverty'.(33) By instituting the first of the arts, agriculture, as the queen of the arts, modern life could be integrated into the republic. Agriculture was not only virtuous and useful, it was also profitable, and would inculcate the habits of `questioning, experiment and diligence'.(34) It was the perfect activity for a modern republic: virtuous and commercial at a stroke.

Gregoire's celebration of the possibilities of agricultural education was echoed in the work of Jean-Baptiste Dubois.(35) Dubois's originality was not to assert that agricultural education was a necessity for the success of the republic: this had been a constant claim in the agricultural press from the very early days of the Revolution. His contribution was rather to develop this view and to show how agricultural education could ground an education in the useful arts without offending against equality. His goal was to improve agriculture and in so doing to integrate the French nation through the creation of a common agricultural culture. Dubois imagined the classroom as a theatre of the fields, creating a representation of the life of the soil for the inhabitants of the towns who did not share in it directly:

The buildings that house the Ecoles Primaires in the large towns should

be adorned with exact representations, either painted or sculpted, of the

productions of agriculture ... this decoration should be designed in the

form of the twelve months of the rural year, pointing out, for every

month, the tasks to which the farmer should attend.(36)

Universal agricultural education would foster liberty and commerce together by overcoming the prejudices and resistance to change that had characterized the degenerate peasantry of the ancien regime.(37) Education in agriculture would be an education in the reality of the nation, the soil of the 40,000 communes, and in the skills required to make that soil flourish. Agricultural education would therefore provide a new focus for fraternity. Armed with a positive knowledge of their country and its productive capacity, citizens should be encouraged to unite in societies to share and develop their useful knowledge -- associations that would create a fraternity far removed from the political fantasies of the Jacobins.(38) Regenerated France would be educated into a nation of fraternal, efficient, citizen farmers.

This idealization of agricultural education by Dubois and Gregoire was not an idiosyncratic gesture. Plans for educational reform organized around agriculture continued to emerge throughout the Revolution.(39) Yet the ideological specificity of this ideal is not obvious given the ubiquity of agrarian imagery in the Revolution. The citizen farmer was used as a neutral image of a free man: the Jewish community of Metz, for example, in its celebration of emancipation in 1792, used the Jewish farmer as the central symbol of that emancipation.(40) This belief in the agricultural mission of a regenerated France survived the vicissitudes of the Revolutionary process and was reiterated time and again, so much so that La Feuille du cultivateur could remark in 1796: `we have not ceased to repeat to France, for the last six years, that it should rest its faith in its soil and its labour, and that agriculture is the basis, and the only basis, for the political and moral regeneration of the country'.(41) Every version of the regenerated Frenchman seems to have been a farmer.

The prevalence of an agrarian ideal in the Revolution should not obscure the differences between different versions of that agrarian vision, nor does it force us to conclude that agrarian patriotism was of no real political consequence. La Feuille villageoise, with its 15,000 subscribers, was the main newspaper of agrarian patriotism and the mouthpiece of the Cercle social in the early part of the Revolution. It deliverately positioned itself between all factions and saw its function as the explication of the new constitution and laws for a rural audience.(42) Its message that the Revolution heralded a transformation of agricultural practice and that transformed agriculture would sustain the new order of things was not politically neutral.(43) Addressed as it was to `well-off farmers, patriotic cures, doctors and surgeons', who were encouraged to read it to the local peasantry as a means of political education, La Feuille villageoise painted a picture of an ideal rural community where inequality of station was balanced by mutuality of respect and the regime of liberty did not threaten rural elites. One of its favourite pedagogical devices was the letter series between individuals from different social groups. In one sequence a fictive peasant and his landlord discussed the formal nature of equal rights and the fundamental inequalities of duty, position and function. In another, written by Madame de Genlis, Felicie addressed Marianne, her one-time servant now married to a farmer, and explored how equality of recognition and of respect did not entail social equality: `nothing other than vice is low, and we owe respect only to talent and virtue: soon good women will be the only Grandes Dames'. But Grandes there still would be.(44) In the context of the politics of the rural Revolution, La Feuille villageoise was concervative in inspiration. It sought to buttress the social power of rural elites, whose position was under threat from the peasant mobilization first seen in the Great Fear of 1789 and sustained in peasant refusal to acknowledge the difference between `feudral' and `real' property in the privileges abolished on the night of 4 August.(45) Most tellingly, it had little or nothing to say about actual agriculture. It was very concerned with the politics of the peasantry, but vague on agricultural improvement, alternatives to the three-field system, or any other specifically agricultural question. Agriculture, for La Feuille villageoise, was a synonym for political revolution with social stability and only a gesture towards economic modernization.(46) This bucolic vision could not survive intense political conflict.

The pastoralism of La Feuille villageoise had little connection to the realities of French agriculture; the same could be said of the Revolutionaries' fear of an `Agrarian Law' that would forcibly redistribute all land among the households of the French nation. The debate on the Agrarian Law did at least have this specific idea for agricultural improvement at its core. As R. B. Rose has shown, even speculation on such a measure was at best sporadic, and popular support for it non-existent.(47) Yet the fear of it was enough that the Convention accepted, on 13 March 1793, Barere's suggestion that its proposition be declared a capital offence. Fear of one sort of agricultural revolution did not motivate the members of the revolutionary assemblies to come up with another.(48) The Code Rurale, hastily cobbled together as one of the very last acts of the Constituent Assembly, asserted the rights of property without limiting the communal rights of pasturage and gleaning. It made no provision for the consolidation of scattered holdings, the first prerequisite for an improved agriculture.(49) A vague awareness that the long-term success of the Revolution required some transformation in landholding and agricultural practice was no substitute for a more considered approach to the tasks of consolidation, the encouragement of stock-holding and the introduction of new fodder crops, to mention but three of the themes of the agronomes.(50)

The educational plans of Dubois and Gregoire owed something to the vague ideal of rural harmony, and something also to the republican vision of the independent citizen farmer connoted by the language of the Agrarian Law. However they escaped the limitations of these modes of thought in the way that they reflected the responses of peasants and landowners to Revolutionary agricultural legislation.(51) Dubois and Gregoire had been on the Revolutionary agricultural committees and had seen the correspondence from the departments in which land users brought the complexity of practice to bear on the ideologically driven legislative schemes. Laws, such as those of 14 August 1792 demanding that common land be divided after the next harvest, or that of 10 June 1793 amending the previous law and decreeing that commons should be divided on a per capita basis, provoked individuals, the administrations of rural districts and local Jacobin clubs to write to the committees, explaining how the laws as framed would interact with local agricultural methods, landholding patterns and relationships to markets. The inhabitants of the district of Moussac, in the Creuse, for instance, wrote to the Convention observing that it could not have meant the partage to extend to their high summer pastures, which were necessary to maintain the local cattle trade.(52) On the other hand, the majority of the citizens of Roquefort addressed to the Convention their subtle analysis of the domination of the town by the local elite through their monopolization of the cheese caves, and insisted that liberty would only be possible once partage ended this tyranny.(53) Administrations, such as that of the Cote d'Or, showed considerable sophistication as well, giving short shrift to large farmers who argued that breaking up common lands would reduce the national herd, by pointing out that partage would create the incentive for the creation of meadows.(54) Since 1771, when the monarchy had first tried to promote agricultural individualism through breaking up the commons, rural communities had undergone a political education in the uneven of modernization, an education reinforced by vivid contrasts in the fortunes of various regions in a liberalized, grain economy.(55) They were therefore in a good position to understand, and to express, how political liberty, economic power and social position interacted: to act, in short, like modern citizens. Dubois and Gregoire did not need to invent the figure of the citizen farmer, they only had to popularize it.



The vision of a modern, agricultural republic crystallized in the general disillusionment with Jacobinism after Thermidor Year II.(56) The ideas of Gregoire and Dubois on agricultural education were but one expression of, and one response to, the general perception that the Jacobin project had been both tyrannical and wrong-headed in its ambition to turn Frenchmen into antique citizens: `to make France a country in continual assembly, was to deprive agriculture of those men who should attend to it with assiduity, and would better serve their country with their work than by vain declamations and superficial discussions'.(57) Agrarian patriotism formed the backbone of the commercial republicanism that informed the ideology of the Directory. The language of the commercial republic was developed by the editorial team of the Decade philosophique, in the specialist agricultural press and by pamphleteers, and represented in the personnel of the Directory by such figures as Francois de Neufchateau and Pierre Louis Ginguene. The concerns of the commercial republicans were various, ranging from the role of education to the status of property, but their central object of concern was agriculture. Just as the notion of agricultural education resolved the tensions between contesting ideals of Revolutionary education, so the ideal of the agricultural republic gave coherence to the efforts of the Directory to reconcile political liberty and modern social life.(58)

The Decade philosphique was the major periodical to develop the ideal of the agrarian republic. The central claim of the relationship of agriculture to political liberty was repeated ad nauseam; clearly, as in the early American republic, it had become a cliche.(59) However, the Decade was of the opinion that agricultural liberty would not occur naturally, but would have to be induced by government action inspired by agricultural science.(60) This government action had three aspects: the creation of prizes as an encouragement to improvement, the provision of credit, and the establishment of agricultural instruction.(61) That the government had this role in creating the conditions for liberty was a result of the unfortunate history of the nation. The inheritance of monarchical rule meant that economic liberty, like political liberty, would have to be taught to the people. Agricultural policy was presented as the paradigm of a new politics of regeneration, more the education of the population than the excision of the counter-Revolutionaries among them: `as with those long illnesses which require a convalescence longer again, so oppression has produced a laziness, an inertia from which the farmer cannot be rescued except through the attention of the government'.(62) The farmer encapsulated within himself the history of the nation: the Revolution had returned to him his liberty; it was now the task of the government to make him capable of exercising it.

The most pressing inertial effect to be overcome, if the ideal of the independent peasant farmer was to become a reality, was the three-field system. Joseph Eschasseriaux has argued as early as Year II that consolidation, enclosure and improvement could only happen if this system was suppressed.(63) It was used as the symbol of everything that was wrong with French agriculture: the vast tracts of land that were left fallow could more profitably be sown with the new root crops to support a larger national herd; the introduction of fodder crops and the replacement of commons by meadows would promote a significant improvement in breeds;(64) this in turn would feed a larger population with the meat of liberty rather than the thin gruel of slavery.(65) The three-field system was also a political symbol of considerable importance. Its continuation was a standing memorial to monarchical oppression. The pattern of land-use that demanded that villagers live in centralized villages rather than as free men on their own land inscribed feudal relations into the landscape: `superstition, in league with feudalism, seeing mankind as a herd under its control, would not allow its slaves to remove their cabins from the shadow of the castle or the sound of the bells ... Finally, the land is freed, man emancipated'.(66) As a rural manifestation of the routine and ignorance of the ancien regime it could legitimately be excoriated without denigrating the peasants who laboured under it. The problem, in this discourse, was not peasant resistance to the demands for increased agricultural production from the state, but their lack of education in rural science, and the fault for this lay with the monarchy not the peasants themselves.(67)

Considerable practical and legal obstacles lay in the way of encouraging independent peasant proprietors. Notwithstanding, the image of the individual peasant proprietor promoting commerce and exchange through the circulation of goods became the central image of the economy for commercial republican thinkers. Agriculture made modern commercial life safe for republics, and improved agriculture would stimulate increased manufacturing:

One may imagine manufactures as outlets offered by the arts to primary

goods ... one may further argue that extended commerce, increased

domestic consumption and an expanded exportation of manufactured

goods will increase agricultural production by encouraging the farmer to

raise from the earth the primary goods to exchange for manufactures.(68)

This vision of the republican economy as an exchange of the goods of city and country allowed republican writers to imagine the city not as a site of degenerating luxury, but as the mainspring of a virtuous economy. The prerequisite for agricultural improvement was the existence of towns like Paris, where the density of population meant that emulation drove innovation and efficiency forward.(69) All the elements of the polity could find a role in a republican political economy constructed around the figure of the farmer. The state, through its provision of canals and education, would create the context in which the farmer would work.(70) Only a republic could contemplate the vast public works that demanded the alliance of civil society and the state.(71) Under monarchical government private fear would always rule over the public interest, but a republic could turn a risky venture, such as the creation of a canal system, into a viable opportunity by, for instance, having the state engineers perform the preliminary surveying. The action of a free state could turn private advantage to the public good by creating conditions in which private profits would produce public benefits: `they [investors] have only lacked this encouragement to capture their attention and direct the use of their funds toward these enterprises that glorify as they profit, by associating their private interests with the national interest'.(72) France, these writers argued, because of its geographical situation, was uniquely suited to reconcile city and country, virtue and pleasure, modern and ancient; the role of the government was simply to aid in the achievement of that destiny.(73)

The discourse of the agricultural republic provided a representation of the citizen as farmer and from that could function as a means of reconciling the features of a modern society with the demand of a republican politics. The power of this language can be seen in its ability to integrate two of the most troublesome features of modern commercial life, property and the market, into the life of the republic. Property and the market were the fundamental conditions for free trade, and free trade was justified because it created prosperity. Under the ancien regime any attempted improvement in diet would have been annulled as the extra population outstripped the food supply. Republican free trade in foodstuffs would promote the improvements necessary to sustain a larger population.(74) A free grain trade, they argued, was an egalitarian measure since it lowered the death-rate of the urban poor.(75) Infringements of the rights of property, such as the uprooting of hedges, was theft from the poor and so a crime against the republic.(76) Without the protection of property the engines of republican improvement, emulation and industrie, would lose their effect.

However, the central claim of the commercial republicans went beyond economic rationality to a moral and political argument. They held that free trade was the economic principle of the modern republic and its restriction that of monarchies.(77) They developed this idea through an innovative reading of the works of the British political economists and, in particular, of Adam Smith. When commenting on Smith they put forward their clearest statements of the superiority of the commercial society:

In all large societies the progress of industry and commerce forms a

common stocks of riches, in which everyone has an unequal share, but

from which no one is excluded. This is one of the admirable laws of the

supreme legislator, who has created no privileges, and who wishes that

all of the humanity share in the discoveries of one people, or even of one


Their great criticism of Britain was that it did not live up to Smith's vision. Monarchical Britain was at war with republican France because `it feared to see the domination of the seas that it had usurped taken away from the English nation'.(79) Britain understood that its limited liberty was the foundation of its prosperity, so it feared that the greater liberty of France would create a prosperity greater than its own.(80) The British ministry's perverse strategy to crush the emerging competitor was to establish `a universal monarchy of the seas', in alliance with continental despots who would be allowed the `domination of the land'.(81) The British could not fulfil the promise of economic liberty because they did not have full political liberty. Instead, they were driven to continue the process of undermining the `Gothic Constitution' of Europe that had begun with the attempt at world domination by the Habsburgs.(82) The task for the commercial republic of France was to separate that wheat from the chaff of English experience: `let us abjure their appalling politics, detest their corrupting government; but let us compete with their agriculture, and study their methods of improving that useful art'.(83) In emulating, and so transcending, the British experience, the French nation would have its best possible revenge on Britain.(84)

The comparison with Britain was extended to develop an ideal of the regenerated international trading system that would be promoted by France once she was successful in her war with England. France, in the view of the commercial republicans, was only the latest in the line of agricultural, free state that had struggled with Britain.(85) While Britain could only see the war as a struggle for control of the colonial trade, France, mindful of the crimes that had created and sustained that trade, wished to transform it.(86) One strategy for transformation was to do away with the necessity for slavery by replacing colonial products with home-grown commodities. A scheme for the production of sugar from honey promised that `no longer will we owe the sweetest of our foods to the tears and sweat of some thousands of slaves, but to free men, property-owning and happy'.(87) Products that could not be grown in the metropolis would be raised in new colonies of free citizens.(88) What could not be produced by France could be traded for a new republican trading bloc, with the United States for a partner: `would it not be pleasant if this country was a second France, a piece of ourselves, a peaceful France, when the other is warlike and victorious'.(89) The ideal of the commercial republic could guide both the domestic and foreign policy of France.

The republican reading of Smith was a stick with which to beat domestic as well as foreign enemies. Home-grown political economists, true to their physiocratic education, were far less sanguine about the possibilities of free trade and free labour than were the republicans. The standard reading of Smith, that of Germain Garnier, criticized him for not recognizing that all wealth was eventually created by landowners.(90) Thus, though Garnier endorsed free trade, following Turgot's Iron Law of Wages, he argued that wages would tend to subsistence levels.(91) Constitutionalists like Roederer followed this reading to argue for a Chinese model for a modern French empire: in the face of the Malthusian effects of the modern economy, the republic was a fantasy.(92) Their predilection for large landowners, and their sympathy for royalists, made these figures the ideological bedfellows of John Sinclair, the head of the British Board of Agriculture, who had declared himself against small farms as a form of `republican farming', or Arthur Young in his defence of emigre property.(93) The difference between the republican ideal of small, consolidated farms and the physiocratic idealization of the large landowner was so well established that it became proverbial. In Year V, Louis-Pierre Couret-Villeneuve analogized those who lacked respect for teachers to `the rich economiste who actively scorns the country dweller who works for the landowner for a modest wage, placing him among the men condemned to drudgery, forgetting the respect due to him, and the fact that the harvest is gathered with the sweat of his brow'.(94) The agrarian, commercial republic had a very specific political and economic valency.



The political figure most clearly associated with the ideal of an agricultural, commercial republic was Francois de Neufchateau. In his various writings he had argued that French agriculture might be transformed by public granaries, improved bureaucratic oversight of agricultural practice, or the creation of new villages in waste lands.(95) The outbreak of peace in the Year V provoked him to a new consideration of the relationship of agriculture to the republic.(96) His ideas were generated from a further development of the critical comparison of France with England characteristic of commercial republican thought. English prosperity, he argued, was a result of enclosure, long leases and a uniform tax on land; any progress in France would have to be based on English agricultural science.(97) However, praise for England was tempered by his realization that agricultural improvement there had operated solely to the benefit of large landowners: `I am far from sharing the enthusiastic preference of Arthur Young, Stewart and the English in general for large land-holdings'.(98) He argued that the deficiencies of the edicts of 28 September 1791 and 14 August 1792 were due to their slavish imitation of the English model. France needed a land-reform measure that reflected its republican constitution and would avoid promoting that shameful private luxury, `which is the devouring ulcer of despotic states'.(99) He argued that the means to this end was the application of local democracy to the problem. Communes should be allowed to vote to redistribute and consolidate their lands on the basis of a cadastral survey to be undertaken at the expense of the state.(100) The law enabling this should define the grades of land and the means of division, but the act was to be at the will of the inhabitants of the commune. Since the measure would acquire democratic legitimacy, it could not offend particular interests and therefore only a majority, rather than unanimity, was necessary to initiate it. It would be a signal example of the superiority of a republic over any other from of commercial society: `I do not wish to promote larger farms by the consolidation project that I am proposing ... A few rich men do not make a nation. A great number of men, content, sober, hard-working, this is the basis of a free people'.(101) Moreover, such a measure would come about as the result of the direct result of the application of republican principles to the problems of commerce. The republic did not need new land to create a commercial society, it merely had to redeploy the lands it already had.

Neufchateau was given the opportunity to work for the creation of a commercial republic by his appointment as Minister of the Interior on 28 Messidor Year V. The Interior ministry was the key department of state concerned with domestic policy under the republic: `in the administration of justice, finance, war and the marine are governed the highest interests of the Republic, the Republic itself is governed by the Ministry of the Interior'.(102) During Neufchateau's two terms of office, in the interlude of Letourner's occupation of the post, the ideal of creating a commercial republic governed the work of the ministry:

Citizens, the task of a republican government which has triumphed over

its enemies is to employ all its forces to consolidate the basis of liberty

and its own power. All our ills derive from the oppression and

demoralization of agriculture ... It is by perfecting that fruitful art which promotes

morality, enhances the population and creates and maintains liberty that

we will induce a new vigor into our commerce.(103)

The agricultural mission of the commercial republic was not merely economic, nor was it relevant only to farmers; rather, it was a political representation of the republic that was offered to all citizens: `every French citizen must be aware of the importance of agriculture and assign it the first place in the sources of national prosperity'.(104) In his portrayal of the agricultural republic, Francois de Neufchateau re-imagined many of the features of Revolutionary political culture. In his explanation of the rather prosaic necessity of preserving the Republic's forests, he transformed the image of the tree of liberty:

We have restricted ourselves, up to now, to a single liberty tree in every

commune. A lone tree is a sad thing, what does one tree per commune

amount to? Let us plant two before every house. Let us sow entire woods,

vast forests; let us raise natural temples to liberty with portals of


and may the Republic grow in strength along with its trees.(105)

The force of the image was to take the already existing symbol of the republic, the tree of liberty, and turn it into a new symbol of a commercial republic. Liberty trees became commercial forests but retained their sacral aura. Neufchateau emphasized that this plantation policy was a paradigm of the practice of the commercial republic: `happy the man who inspires this spirit in his countrymen, and who arouses in them the love of plantations'.(106) In both rhetoric and practice he sought to infuse commerce with the values of the republic and the republic with the values of commerce.

The rhetoric of the commercial republic had pragmatic effects, but faced considerable practical difficulties. The political situation was never settled and the French economy was in ruins after eight years of Revolution. Moreover, Revolutionary change had done little to effect the transformation of agriculture. The central obstacle was that the creation of commercial republicans, the independent peasant proprietors that would be the pattern for the nation, depended on material changes in French agriculture. Enclosure of lands, consolidation of properties, drainage and the end of the three-field system were prerequisites for the creation of a republican economy.(107) His correspondents repeated this time and again: `the farmer is waiting for regulations and especially a code that is calibrated to his needs and his prosperity'.(108) These changes depended on the legislature and it did not provide the law that he required, something that he continued to lament in later years.(109) In the absence of a definitive law he was forced to use the legal instruments that were available to encourage the changes he thought necessary.(110) Juges de paix were particularly directed to protect enclosed pastures from communities that wished to exercise old rights of pasturage on them.(111) Similarly, he sought to protect the rights of vignerons to harvest their grapes at their convenience and to maintain the rights of individuals to enter into leases at whatever times and under whatever conditions they wished.(112) Any means that could be used to interrupt customary agricultural practices were. While he could not bring about a wholesale reformation of French agriculture, what he could try to do was encourage and protect a parallel reformed sector, in order to foster change by emulation and persuasion: `by revealing to farmers their true interests, by constantly stimulating them with the attraction of profit, we will persuade a few; their properties will serve as a stimulus to the rest'.(113) Neufchateau attempted to put the logic of self-interest to use, to achieve things that political will could not.

The strategy of promoting through emulation the creation of a new kind of independent peasant proprietor as the backbone of the republic was not restricted to the protection of enclosures. Emulation was the heart of a series of initiatives that Neufchateau sponsored in the Year VII. The key institutions he used in this regard were the Agricultural Societies. There had still been twelve Agricultural Societies functioning in France in 1789, but by 1793 all had closed. There were some spontaneous foundations of new societies as early as 1796, but the real effort began in 1797, with Neufchateau's campaign to create a new network.(114) The agricultural society was imagined as the locus of the community of independent men, the community of research and mutual aid that agricultural improvement demanded: `there is work best done by a man alone, there is also that which demands the collective collaboration and perseverance of many men. The experiments and tests necessary for the improvement of agriculture are of the latter'.(115) The goal was the creation of a national network with a central co-ordinating body on the model of the English Agricultural Society set up by parliament in 1792. This policy met with some success; by Germinal Year VII forty departments had set up agricultural societies.(116) Neufchateau used this network to promote many of his own schemes, including his effort to improve the nation's sheep. He argued that the French wool industry had been retarded in comparison to those of England, Holland and Germany for lack of supplies of good wool.(117) His plan was to exploit the terms of the Treaty of Basle by sending an agent to Spain to buy 1,200 head of Spanish merinos.(118) By setting up a national herd in the Pyrenees the sheep could be acclimatized to French conditions and when sold on to farmers at 50 francs a head would result in a steady improvement in the national herd. Gilbert was dispatched to Spain to achieve this end.(119) Sadly, he died in Spain, his mission unachieved.(120)

Most, if not all, of Neufchateau's practical projects for the stimulation of agriculture through the creation of pockets of good practice met the same fate. Either they failed or the results were not seen until he had left office. This was also true of his other efforts to promote the commercial republic. The first of the statistical accounts of the departments that he had planned appeared very slowly.(121) His own work on plough improvements did not appear until the Year IX.(122) Despite his best efforts he was not even able to raise the circulation of La Feuille du cultivateur, the main journal of agricultural improvement, and was forced to lower its subsidy.(123) The lack of time and money was the great enemy that frustrated his efforts.

The failure of the practical efforts to create a commercial republic should not be allowed to obscure its political significance. The agricultural republic was not just a policy for the development of the country, but a representation of the manner in which political liberty could be reconciled to modern commerce and manners. Modern commerce of itself, in the view of Neufchateau, created a cycle of needs that was endless and threatened the possibility of the reconciliation of interests:

the communication established between the nations of the world has

created new needs ... what dike can we construct to shield us from this

torrent that dominates us? ... Where should it stop? If the needs generated

by the progress of the arts and of maritime commerce continue to grow

from century to century, as they have since the seventeenth century, what

shall remain of our well-being?(124)

Agriculture was to be encouraged because it could create characters who could control this cycle of needs. It was an occupation and a study that returned men to their common interests and their social nature.(125) Various examples of the regenerative power of agriculture could be found. Much was made, for instance, of the thirty-seven vignerons of Vesoul who devoted their leisure to harvesting the crops of a colleague who had been hospitalized.(126) The civilizing effect of agricultural labour here produced exactly the kind of civil culture that Neufchateau imagined. Despite the evidence that such reconciliation was less a feature of rural life than constant conflicts over the wages of farm labourers and customary land rights, Neufchateau and the other adherents of the commercial republic retained their faith in agriculture as the master metaphor and central policy of the commercial republic.

The project of the commercial republic foresaw an individualistic organization of agriculture as the basis of a commercial society and demanded that land be held as far as possible by peasant proprietors. This element of the project was fulfilled: though Revolutionary land sales would not initially favour the peasantry, by the nineteenth-century they would acquire their own farms.(127) The Revolutionary definition of property rights would eventually create the legal basis for the transportation and irrigation infrastructure necessary for agricultural development, another feature of the imagined commercial republic.(128) In these respects the commercial republic was a prescient programme. Yet, though the commercial society foreseen by the commercial republicans became a reality, it did so under conditions, and under a political culture, far removed from their ideals.

We should not, however, lose sight of the fact that notwithstanding its failure as a project, the commercial republic was a powerful ideal that confounds many of our understandings of Revolutionary political culture. The commercial republic managed to reconcile republican politics with modern commerce and to produce representations of the citizen that were far removed from the notion of antique citizenship. This hybrid political ideology harmonized elements of Revolutionary political culture that we have assumed were irreconcilable. The discourse of the commercial republic reveals that actors in the French Revolution had a more flexible and innovative disposition towards Revolutionary political culture than we have given them credit for, and demands of us in turn a more complex and insightful approach to the Revolution.

(1) Patrice Higonnet, `Sociability, Social Structure and the French Revolution', Social Research, lvi (1989).

(2) Emmanuel Sieyes, Qu'est-ce que le tiers etat?, ed. Roberto Zapperi (Geneva, 1970), 121-3, 126.

(3) Of course the sans culottes' representations of the nation were not expressed or generated so abstractly. See Michael Sonenscher, `The Sans-Culottes of the Year II: Rethinking the Language of Labour in Pre-Revolutionary France', Social Hist., ix (184).

(4) This view is canonized in Francois Furet and Mona Ozouf (eds.), A Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution (Cambridge, Mass., 1989). See, in particular, Ran Halevi, `Estates General'; Francois Furet, `Terror'; Pierre Nora, `Nation'.

(5) Ferenc Feher, The Frozen Revolution: An Essay of Jacobinism (Cambridge, 1987), 114; Lynn Hunt, Politics, Culture and Class in the French Revolution (Berkeley, 1984), 37-9.

(6) David Bien has developed an argument along these lines in `Francois Furet, the Terror, and 1789', French Hist. Studies, xvi (1989-90).

(7) An exception to this criticism is the work of Jacques Guilhamou; see his La Langue politique et la Revolution francaise (Paris, 1989).

(8) For a discussion of the early debate, see Patrice Gueniffey, `Cordeliers or Girondins: The Prehistory of the Republic', in Biancamaria Fontana (ed.), The Invention of the Modern Republic (Cambridge, 1994).

(9) `Instruction publique: reflexions sur trois nouvelles lois relatives a l'instruction publique', Decade philosphique (An II [1794]), 39. All translations are the author's unless otherwise noted.

(10) Jean-Antoine Nicolas de Caritat, marquis de Condorcet, Esquisse d'un tableau historique des progres de l'esprit humain, ed. Alain Pons (Paris, 1988), 218.

(11) Ibid., 271.

(12) Condorcet, `Rapport et decret sur l'organisation generale de l'instruction publique', in his Ecrits sur l'instruction publique, ed. Charles Coustel, 2 vols. (Paris, 1989), ii, 97.

(13) Condorcet, `Premier Memoire: nature et objet de l'instruction publique', ibid., i, 52.

(14) Condorcet, `Rapport et decret sur l'organisation generale de l'organisation publique', ibid., ii, 81. It is worth noting that contemporary German thinkers came up with an entirely different solution to the problem of equality in a modern social order through their derivation of the ideal of Bildung, an aesthetic ideal of the development of the whole man.

(15) While it could never gather support and was always unpopular among the sans culottes, LePeletier de Saint-Fargeau's plans for obligatory state military boarding-schools, introduced to the Convention by Robespierre on 13 July 1793, were an effort in this direction: R. R. Palmer, The Improvement of Humanity: Education and the French Revolution (Princeton, 1985), 141-54.

(16) M. de Montlosier, Des Effets de la violence et de la moderation dans les affaires de la France (London, 1796), 27.

(17) Jean-Francois Marmontel, Le Peuple et le senat traites comme ils le meritent (Paris, An VI [1798]), 14.

(18) Montlosier, Des Effets de la violence et de la moderation dans les affaires de la France, 43.

(19) Jacques Mallet du Pan, Correspondance politique pour servir a l'histoire de republicanisme francaise (Hamburg, 1796), xxxiv, 24-5.

(20) P. L. Roederer, `De l'etat politique et economique de la France sous la constitution presente, ouvrage traduit de l'Allemand', Journal d'economie publique, de morale et de politique, i (An IV [1796]), 126-7.

(21) Francois d'Ivernois, A Cursory View of the Assignats and the Remaining Resources of French Finance (Dublin, 1795), 25.

(22) Francois d'Ivernois, Tableau historique et politique de l'administration de la Republique francaise pendant l'annee 1797, des causes qui ont amene la revolution du 4 Septembre et de ses resultats (London, 1798), 136.

(23) The fundamental work on this body of writing is Guy Faccarello and Philippe Steiner (eds.), La Pensee economique pendant la Revolution francaise (Grenoble, 1990). See also T. E. Kaiser, `Politics and Political Economy in the Though of the Ideologues', Hist. Polit. Econ., xii (1980); Martin Staum, `The Institute Economists: From Physiocracy to Entrepreneurial Capitalism', Hist, Polit. Econ., xix (1987); Philippe Steiner, `Politique et economie politique chez Jean-Baptiste Say', Revue francaise d'histoire des idees politiques, v (1997); Richard Whatmore, `Republicanism and the Origins of Jean-Baptiste Say's Traite d'economie politique, 1763-1803 (University of Cambridge Ph.D. thesis, 1995).

(24) See principally the writers in the Decade philosophique, litteraire et politique. The bibliography of materials beyond this is immense but for a good example of republican political economy, see Charles Theremin, De la situation interieure de la Republique (Paris, An V [1797]); Charles Theremin, De l'incompatibilite du systeme demagogique avec le systeme d'economie politique des peuples modernes (Paris, An VIII [1800]).

(25) Bronislaw Baczko, `Vandalism', in Furet and Ozouf (eds.), A Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution, 861.

(26) Henri-Baptiste Gregoire, `Rapport sur les moyens de rassembler les materiaux necessaires a former les annales de civisme, et sur la forme de cet ouvrage, seance du 28 Septembre 1793, Convention Nationale', in Oeuvres, 8 vols. (Paris, 1977), iii, 3.

(27) Henri-Baptiste Gregoire, Rapport sur les destructions operees par le vandalisme, et sur les moyens de le reprimer (Paris, An II [1794]), 7-8.

(28) See, among others, Germaine de Stael, Considerations sur la Revolution francaise (Paris, 1983), 75; Lacratelle le Jeune, Ou faut-il s'arreter? (Paris, An V [1797]), 14.

(29) Citoyen Gregoire, `Beaux-Arts: rapport sur les destructions operees par le vandalisme et les moyens de le reperer', Decade philosphique, iii (An III [1795]), 18.

(30) Condorcet, Esquisse d'un tableau historique des progres de l'esprit humain, ed. Pons, 149.

(31) Henri-Baptiste Gregoire, `Rapport et decret sur les moyens d'ameliorer l'agriculture en France, par l'etablissement d'une maison d'economie rurale dans chaque departement, presente a la seance du 13 du premier mois de l'An Deuxieme de la Republique francaise, au nom des Comites d'Alienation et d'Instruction Publique', in Oeuvres, ii, 7-8.

(32) Ibid., 7, 2-3.

(33) Ibid., 23.

(34) Henri-Baptiste Gregoire, `Nouveaux Developpemens sur l'amelioration de l'agriculture par l'etablissment de maisons d'economie rurale', Oeuvres, ii, 132.

(35) See Jean-Baptiste Dubois, Vues generales sur l'amelioration de l'agriculture en France, presentees a la Commission d'Agriculture et des Arts (Paris, An III [1795]), 34; Jean-Baptiste Dubois, `Economie rurale: observations sur l'economie rurale, consideree dans ces rapports avec l'instruction publique', Decade philosophique, vii (An IV [1796]). Dubois was head of the fourth section of the Ministry of the Interior and founder of La Feuille du cultivateur.

(36) Jean-Baptiste Dubois, `Economie rurale: observations sur l'economie rurale', Decade philosphique, vii (An IV [1796]), 270.

(37) Ibid., 265.

(38) Ibid., 273.

(39) For two examples, see Armand-Joseph Bethune-Charost, Vues generales sur l'organisation de l'instruction rurale en France (Paris, An III [1795]); Flamen d'Assigny, De l'agriculture, consideree dans ses rapports avec l'economie politique d'ou l'on deduit la necessite d'etablir des fermes experimentales pour fonder l'art agricole (Paris, An XII [1802]).

(40) Ronald Schechter, `Translating the "Marseillaise": Biblical Republicanism and the Emancipation of Jews of Revolutionary France', Past and Present, no 143 (May 1994), 121.

(41) `Discours preliminaire', La Feuille du cultivateur, vi (An VI [1798]), 1.

(42) On La Feuille villageoise, see Melvin Edelstein, `La Feuille villageoise and Rural Political Modernization', Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, cclxxxvii (1991); and his La Feuille villageoise: communication et modernisation dans les regions rurales pendant la revolution (Paris, 1977). The phrase `agrarian patriotism' is C. A. Bayly's and he argues that this political language was the dominant discourse of the `Second British Empire' from 1780 to 1830: see C. A. Bayly, Imperial Meridian: The British Empire and the World, 1780-1830 (London, 1989), 125.

(43) La Feuille and the World, 1780-1830 (London, 1989), 125. `Journals: The New Face of News', in Robert Darnton and Daniel Roche (eds.), Revolution in Print: The Press in France, 1775-1800 (Berkeley, 1989), 158.

(44) `Premiere Lettre de Felicie a Marianne', La Feuille villageoise, i (1790), 102.

(45) John Markoff, `Violence, Emancipation and Democracy: The Countryside in the French Revolution', Amer. Hist. Rev., c (1995). The relationship between the peasant revolution and the urban revolution has been a matter of contention throughout the century and there is as yet no consensus on the issue, though Peter Jones's synthesis of recent work, The Peasantry in the French Revolution (Cambridge, 1988), argues convincingly that the peasantry were both anti-seigneurial and at least regionally in favour of an individualistic organization of agriculture. The two classic statements on the issue are Albert Soboul, `A la lumiere de la Revolution francaise: probleme paysan et revolution bourgeoise', in his Problemes paysans de la revolution, 1789-1848: etudes d'history revolutionnaire (Paris, 1983); Georges Lefebvre, `The Place of the Revolution in the Agrarian History of France', in Robert Forster and Orest Ranum (eds.), Rural Society in France: Selections from the Annales: Economies, Societes, Civilizations (Baltimore, 1977).

(46) The most popular version of the Horatian ideal that underlay this attitude was Jacques Delille, L'Homme des champs, ou, les georgiques francaises, which had nine editions between 1771 and 1799.

(47) R. B. Rose, `The "Red Scare" of the 1790s: The French Revolution and the "Agrarian Law"', Past and Present, no. 103 (May 1984).

(48) Guy Lemarchand argues that the majority of members of the revolutionary assemblies simply did not understand the real problems of agricultural development: Guy Lemarchand, `Du feodalisme au capitalisme: a propos des consequences de la revolution sur l'evolution de l'economie francaise', Annales historiques de la Revolution francaise, lxvi (1988), 201.

(49) Jones, The Peasantry in the French Revolution, 132.

(50) The development of French agricultural science falls outside the scope of this article, but the key work in this area has been done by Andre Bourde, Agronomie et agronomes en France au [xviii.sup.e] siecle, 3 vols. (Paris, 1969).

(51) For an account of the relationship of the peasant revolution to this legislation, see P. M. Jones, `The "Agrarian Law": Schemes for Land Redistribution during the French Revolution', Past and Present, no. 133 (Nov. 1991).

(52) `Observations soumis au Comite d'Agriculture par les Citoyens du district de Moussac au departement de la Creuse, sur la mode de partager les communaux ou des terreins vaines et vagues', n.d.: Archives Nationales, Paris (hereafter AN), F10 329.

(53) `La Majeure Partie des habitans de Roquefort aux citoyens composant la Commission d'Agriculture de la Convention Nationale', n. d.: AN, F10 332.

(54) `Rapport sur le partage des communaux fait au nom du Comite d'Agriculture par l'Assemblee Administrative du Departement de la Creuse', 28 Nov. 1791: AN, F10 333 (.169).

(55) On the legal and political conflicts between rural groups over agricultural modernization, see Hilton L. Root, Peasants and King in Burgundy (Berkeley, 1987). On regional differences, see Gerard Beaur, `La Revolution et la question agraire: vieux problemes et perspectives nouvelles', Annales ESC, xlviii (1993); David R. Weir, `Les Crises economiques et les origines de la Revolution francaise', Annales ESC, xlvi (1991), 933.

(56) Bronislaw Baczko, Comment sortir de la Terreur: Thermidor et Revolution (Paris, 1989), 93.

(57) Boissy d'Anglas, Discours preliminaire au projet de constitution pour la republique francaise (Paris, 1795), 25.

(58) Octave Festy argued the opposite position in `La Place de l'agriculture dans le gouvernement de la France sous le Directoire et le Consulat', Revue d'histore economique et social, xxxi (1951). The argument turned on the disbandment of the Commission d'Agriculture et des Arts and its subsumption into the fourth section of the Ministry of the Interior. A consideration of the work of the section, of the pamphlet literature, and of the correspondence of the ministry does not support this contention.

(59) On agriculture in America, see Drew McCoy, The Elusive Republic: Political Economy in Jeffersonian America (New York, 1982), 76-104.

(60) `Economie rurale', Decade philosophique, i (An II [1794]), 335.

(61) Citizen Dubois, `Agriculture: cours d'agriculture', Decade philosophique, v (An III [1796]), 327.

(62) Charles Pinel, `Agriculture: des encouragements dus a l'agriculture', Decade philosophique, vi (An IV [1796]), 394.

(63) Joseph Eschasseriaux, `Economie rurale et politique: analyse du rapport fait au nom du Comite de l'Agriculture', Decade philosophique, i (An II [1794]). For an enthusiastic endorsement of Eschasseriaux's report, see Borelly, `Prospectus', Journal d'agriculture et d'economie rurale (Paris, An III [1795]), 21.

(64) M. A. Giraud, `Economie rurale: reflexions sur la necessite et la possibilite d'ameliorer les laines en France', Decade philosophique, i (An II [1794]), 397-401; `Economie rurale: betes a laine', Decade philosophique, iii (An III [1795]), 14-17.

(65) Martin Chassiron, `Quelques idees sur l'etat politique de la France depuis la Revolution, sur sa population, son agriculture et son commerce', La Feuille du cultivateur, vi (An V [1797]), 328; Depere, `Memoire sur les subsistances et l'agriculture', La Feuille du cultivateur, vi (An IV [1796]), 117.

(66) `Arrete de l'administration centrale du departement des Vosges, pour parvenir a la fondation de trois nouveaux villages', La Feuille de cultivateur, vi (An V [177), 74.

(67) J. B. Dubois, 'Agriculture: vues generales sur l'amelioration de l'agriculture en France', Decade philosphique, iv (An III [1795]), 19.

(68) Pinel, 'Agriculture: des encouragements dus a l'agriculture', 393.

(69) J. B. Rougier-Labergerie, Observations sur l'instauration des societes d'agriculture, et sur les moyens d'utiliser leurs travaux (Paris, An VIII [800]), 17.

(70) Bertand Barere, De la pense du gouvernement (Paris, An V [1797], xxxvi.

(71) Plan des commissions qui vont etre etablies pour la navigation interieur, An VII [1799], 4: AN, AF III, dossier 93.

(72) Ibid., 9.

(73) This was the argument of J. Bosc, Essai sur les moyens d'ameliorer l'agriculture, les arts et commerce en France (Paris, An VIII [1800]).

(74) C. Depere, 'Memoire sur les subsistances et l'agriculture', La Feuille du cultivateur, vi (An IV [176]]), 117.

(75) Antoine Danniyere, 'Economie politique: preuves arithmetiques de la necessite d'encourager l'agriculture et d'abandonner, dans les tems ordinaires, l'approvisionement des grains au commerce libere', Decade philosophique, vi (An VI [1798]), 130.

(76) Le Ministre de l'Interieur aux commissaires du Directoire executif pres des administrations centrales de departement, sur les abus du renversement des terres labourees et ensemencees', La Feuille du cultivateur, vii (An VII [1799]), 97.

(77) J. B. Rougier-LaBergerie, Essai politique et philosophique sur le commerce et la paix, considerees sous leurs avec l'agriculture (Paris, An V [1797]), 4.

(78) J. A. Roucher, 'Economie politique: recherches sur la nature et les causes de la richesse des nations, traduites de l'Anglais, de Smith', Decade philosophique, iii (An III [1795]), 401.

(79) 'Politique exterieur: vues ambitieuses et tyranniques du ministere anglais' Decade philosophique, iv (An III [1795]), 497.

(80) Barere, De la pensee du gouvernement, 42.

(81) 'Politique: affaires etrangeres', Decade philosphique, iv (An IV [1796]), 42; `Convention Nationale: discours de Boissy d'Anglas sur diplomatie de la France', Decade philosophique, iv (An III [1795]), 316.

(82) 'Politique raisonee: de la maison d'Autrieche et de la coalition, ou l'interets de l'Allemagne et de l'Europe', Decade philosophique, xxiii (An VIII [1800]), 14.

(83) Athanase Veau, Opinion sur la necessite de perfectionner en France l'agriculture, les arts et les sciences par les etablissemens adaptes aux localites et a l'interet general de la Republique (Paris, An III [1795]), 11.

(84) `Extrait des livres: Letters and Papers on Agriculture, Planning, etc., Selected from the Correspondence Book of the Society of Bath etc., 5 volumes', La Feuile du cultivateur, v (An III [1795]), 34.

(85) `Agriculture: observations sur l'agriculture hollandaise', Decade philosophique, v (An III [1796]), 461.

(86) `Politique raisonnee: sur la situation politique et finaciere d l'Angleteree', Decade philosophique, vii (An VI [1798]), 138; `Agriculture: cultures etrangeresepiceries' Decade philosophique, vii (An III [1795]), 81.

(87) `Economie rurale: lettre aux auteurs de la Decade', Decade philosophique, iv (An III [1795]), 336.

(88) `Agriculture: cultures etrangeres-epiceries', 83.

(89) Constantin-Francois de Chasseboeuf de Volney to LaRevelliere-Lepeaux [Philadelphia], 14 Jan. 1797: Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, Aq. Fr. 21565, fo. 71.

(90) Germain Gernier, Abrege elementaire des principes de l'economie politique (Paris, An IV [1796]), 16.

(91) Ibid., 32.

(92) `De l'etat politique et economique de la France sous la constitution presente, ouvrage traduit de l'Allemand', Journal d'economie publique, de morale et de politique, i (An IV [1797]), 124.

(93) For Sinclair's position, see Bayly, Imperial Meridian, 123; for Young's see Arthur Young, The Example of France a Warning to Britain (Bury St Edmunds, 1793), 36. For the British debate on enclosure and farm size throughout the early modern period, see Robert C. Allen, Enclosure and the Yeoman (Oxford, 1992).

(94) Louis-Pierre Couret-Villeneuve, Lettre au Citoyen Sicard, instituteur des sourds et muets, membre de l'Institut National, et de la Societe Libre des Sciences, Lettres et Arts de Paris (Paris, An V [1797]), 3.

(95) Francois de Neufchateau, Les Lectures du citoyen ou suite de memoires sur des objets de bien public: premier memoire, sur l'etablissemen d'un grenier d'abondance, ou magazin public, dans chaque canton du royaume (Toulouse, 1790); Dix epis de bled au lieu d'un, ou la pierre philosophique de la Republique (Paris, An III [1795]; Administration Centrale du Departement des Vosges, Arrete de l'administration centrale du departement Centrale du Departement des Vosges, Arrete de l'administration centrale du departement des Vosges, pour parvenir a la fondation de trois nouveaux villages (Epinal, An V [1797]).

(96) Francois de Neufchateau, Des ameiliorations dont la paix doit etre l'epoque (Epinal, An V [1797]).

(97) Ibid., 70, 12.

(98) Ibid., 56. This debate on farm size continues, with current more sympathetic to peasant proprietors; see Robert C. Allen and Cormac O Grada, `On the Road Again with Arthur Young: English, Irish and French Agriculture during the Industrial Revolution', Jl Econ. Hist., xlvii (1988); Robert C. Allen, `The Growth of Labour Productivity in Early-Modern English Agriculture', Explorations in Econ. Hist., xxv (1988). For an argument more friendly to large, see Gregory Clark, `Labor Productivity and Farm Size in English Agriculture before Mechanisation'. Explorations in Econ. Hist., xxvii (1991).

(99) Neufchateau, Des ameliorations dont la paix doit etre l'epoque, 4.

(100) Ibid., 47.

(101) Ibid., 58-9.

(102) Dominique-Joseph Garat, Conseil des Anciens: rapport fait par Garat, sur la resolution relative aux depenses du Ministere de l'Interieur pendant l'an VII (Paris, An VII [1799]), 3-4.

(103) `Lettre du Ministre de l'Interieur aux administrations centrales des departements et aux commissaires pres des dites administrations', La Feuille du cultivateur vii (An VI [1798]), 197.

(104) Ibid., 199.

(105) Francois de Neufchateau, `"Aux administrations centrales", 22 Fructidor An V', in his Recueil des lettres circulaires, instructions, programmes, discours et autre actes publics emanes du C.en Francois (de Neufchateau) pendant ses deux exercises du Ministere de l'Interieur, 2 vols. (Paris, An VII [1799]), i, lxxiii.

(106) Ibid.

(107) Gregoire, `Nouveaux developpemens sur l'amelioration de l'agriculture', 123-5.

(108) Citizen Baud to Citizen Minister of the Interior, 8 Ventose An VII [26 Feb. 1799]: AN, 27 AP 2, dossier 4.

(109) Francois de Neufchateau, Voyages agronomiques dans la Senatorie de Dijon (Paris, 1806), viii.

(110) Francois de Neufchateau, `9 Frimaire An VII, abus du renversement des terres labourees et ensemencees', in Neufchateau, his Recueil, i, 297-8.

(111) Francois de Neufchateau to Citizens Dupin, Mors, and other signatories in the region of Pontempeirat, department of the Loire, 24 Nivose An VII [4 Dec. 1798]: AN, F10 336.

(112) Minister of the Interior to the administrators of the department of Haute Garonne, 29 Thermidor An VII [7 July 1799]: AN, F10 245; Rapport presente au Ministre de l'Interieur, Messidor An VII [June/July 1799]: AN, F10 245.

(113) Minister of the Interior to the administrators of the department of the Hautes Alpes, 19 Floreal An VII[29 Apr. 1799]: AN, F10 245.

(114) `Etablissement d'une societe d'agriculture dans le departement de la Creuse', La Feuille du cultivateur, vi (An VI [1798]), 127-8.

(115) Francois de Neufchateau, `Memoire en forme de lettre, au Citoyen Ministre de l'Interieur, avec un projet de arret, sur le moyen de rendre les societes d'agriculture les plus utiles possible', Pluviose An IX [Jan./Feb. 1801]: AN, 27 AP 6.

(116) `Formation des societes libres d'agriculture', La Feuille du cultivateur, viii (An VII [1799]), 211-12. This article includes a complete list of the societies.

(117) Francois de Neufchateau to the administrations of the departments, 9 Prairial An VII [28 May 1799]: Bibliotheque Saint Genevieve, MS. 4124.

(118) Rapport presente au Directoire Executif par le Ministre de l'Interieur, Fructidor An VI [Aug./Sept. 1798]: AN, 27 AP 2, dossier 2.

(119) Francois de Neufchateau to Citizen Gilbert, 29 Vendemaire An VII [20 Oct. 1798]: AN, 27 AP 1, dossier 2.

(120) J. B. Dubois to Citizen Francois de Neufchateau, 2 Germinal An X [22 Mar. 1802]: AN, 27 AP 3.

(121) Francois de Neufchateau, Analyse des annuaires statistiques du departement du Bas-Rhin, pour les annees VII, VIII et IX, lu a la Societe d'Agriculture de Paris, le 14 Germinal An X (Paris, An X [1802]).

(122) Francois de Neufchateau, Rapport sur la perfectionnement des charrues (Paris, An IX [1801]).

(123) Rapport presente au Ministre de l'Interieur, 9 Frimaire An VII [29 Nov. 1798]: AN, F10 303.

(124) Francois de Neufchateau, Des Vins et des fruits, extrait des notes du huitieme lieu de la nouvelle edition du Theatre de l'agriculture et mesnages des champs, d'Olivier des Serres (Paris, An XIV [1806]), 2.

(125) Francois de Neufchateau to M. Challan, 22 Messidor An XII [4 June 1804]: AN, 27 AP 1, dossier 1.

(126) Rapport presente au Ministre de l'Interieur, 20 Floreal An VII [18 May 1799]: AN, F10 245.

(127) Beaur, `La Revolution et la question agraire', 140.

(128) Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, The Fruits of Revolution: Property Rights, Litigation and French Agriculture, 1700-1860 (Cambridge, 1992), 52.
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