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Commissioner Foucault, Inspector Noel, and the "pederasts" of Paris, 1780-3.

On 10 October 1783 Jacques Francois Pascal, a defrocked monk who had assaulted an errand boy and stabbed him seventeen times, was broken on the wheel and burned alive in the place de Greve before a large crowd. The Memoires secrets, the most voluminous collection of news and gossip about the court and the capital in the last decades of the Ancien Regime, reported, wrongly, that no "sodomist" had been executed since Benjamin Deschauffours in 1726 and suggested, rightly, that the authorities did not want "to make the sin against nature more common by making it known" through exemplary public retribution.(1) It explained that they generally exiled, imprisoned, or simply chastised men arrested in flagrante delicto, "depending on personalities or circumstances." It also noted that this vice, previously associated only with "aristocrats, wits, and Adonises," now infected the populace as a whole. "Commissioner Foucault, recently deceased, was responsible for this matter and showed his friends a big book in which were written all the names of pederasts known to the police. He claimed that there were almost as many of them as prostitutes in Paris, that is to say about forty thousand."(2) The crime was already so widespread, the Memoires secrets concluded, that the authorities not only had no need to worry about acknowledging that fact but also had good reason to make a "striking example" of the monstrous Pascal. This case was not typical, to be sure, because of the identity of the man, the age of the boy, the use of violence, the involvement of neighbors, and the severity of punishment. The authorities knew that they could not eliminate what they called pederasty, any more than prostitution, by making examples of the most transgressive individuals. With the means at their disposal, they attempted less to enforce sexual morality from day to day than to contain urban problems in the long run.

As indicated by recent publications, scholars investigating the intellectual, cultural, and social history of same-sex sexual relations in eighteenth-century France, and in early modern Europe more generally, have a variety of printed and manuscript sources available to them.(3) In studying prescriptive works written by theologians and magistrates, and by critics of the religious assumptions incorporated into traditional jurisprudence, they have realized that the laws were not enforced systematically and recognized that the critics had mixed feelings about this subject. In analyzing literary and polemical texts, which expressed social and political messages by connecting private and public order and disorder, they have contextualized perennial sexual themes in specific historical circumstances. In exploring criminal records, they have not only described the geography, chronology, and sociology of sexual relations between men (these records contain little information about sexual relations between women) but also discussed the ways in which deviance was experienced, regulated, and represented. They have asked what the men arrested by the police thought about themselves, as well as what others thought about them, and related their research to ongoing debates about the development of sexual identities. Three series of Parisian criminal records, composed of different materials and located in different archives, provide a considerable amount of information about the sodomitical subculture of the capital in the eighteenth century.(4) Two of them, from the first half of the century, have been examined systematically, but the third, from the 1780s, has not. This series does not, unfortunately, include commissioner Foucault's "big book," but it does include his official papers, which document the cases of hundreds of men who did not make it into the pages of the Memoires secrets and other published sources.(5)

Like the other commissioners of the Chatelet, the royal court with jurisdiction over Paris, Pierre Louis Foucault performed a variety of judicial and administrative functions within his district.(6) Some of the commissioners were responsible for one category of problems throughout the city. Foucault, who had acquired his office in 1775, routinely handled cases involving sexual relations between men, almost always in collaboration with inspector of police Louis Henri Noel, who had acquired his office in 1778. It was Noel who was formally "responsible for the division of pederasty," to use the language used in Foucault's papers. The papers contain a number of references to and names of agents who assisted Noel with the work of surveillance and investigation, not to mention entrapment: Antoine, Brisset, Robinet, Saint-Andre.(7) At least one of them, and probably others as well, had been recruited from the ranks of men arrested by the police: Germain Brisset was dismissed for unspecified misconduct and later imprisoned for soliciting, procuring, and pretending that he was still employed by the police in order to practice extortion (6 February 1781). Foucault's papers do not explain why arrests proliferated during these years, in response to instructions from the government or activities in the streets, but they demonstrate that the pederasts of Paris kept Noel and his agents busy between the fall of 1780 and the spring of 1783.(8) The papers include more than 200 documents that provide evidence about sexual relations between men: 111 reports of arrests concentrated in several locations, 75 reports of nocturnal "pederasty patrols," 23 reports of detailed interrogations, 18 reports of residential searches for incriminating evidence, and 2 reports of denunciations by relatives and neighbors.

The pederasty patrols, which provided much of the information included and produced many of the arrests recorded in the "big book," require a few words of explanation. The very first patrol documented in Foucault's papers, summarized in just two sentences, left him emptyhanded.

In the year 1780, on 10 November, at 6 P.M., we [formal use of first person plural instead of singular], Pierre Louis Foucault, conseiller du roi, commissioner of the Chatelet of Paris, at the demand of Louis Henri Noel, conseiller du roi, inspector of police, went with him on pederasty patrol for the purpose of looking after what might [missing word: concern] public order. In the course of which we visited the southern boulevards and various other quarters of this city, where nothing was found contrary to good order, which patrol was continued until the hour of midnight, and of everything above we have had the present report drawn up ... (10 November 1780).

Most of the later patrols were more successful, in the sense that the police usually encountered, arrested, and questioned men engaged in disorderly or at least suspicious conduct. On 31 May, 25 June, and 4 July 1781, for example, they apprehended six, seven, and eight individuals, respectively. The reports repeated the same formulaic language, but they registered variations in the frequency and itinerary of these manhunts, which often continued past midnight and sometimes concluded after dawn. Foucault and Noel patrolled the city at least once a month, with two exceptions (March 1781 and March 1783), and as many as five times in one month (July 1782). They walked the northern and southern boulevards more regularly than the quais, but they also checked what they described as "various streets and quarters of Paris where these sorts of profligates take refuge" (7 June 1781), in order to avoid arrest, or "various places where these kinds of profligates gather" (1 March 1782), as if they had nothing to hide.

Characteristics and Behaviors

As Noel prowled the city, by day and by night, with or more commonly without Foucault, he arrested men already listed in the "big book" or previously "unknown" to the police, to use his language, because he recognized them by name or found them in suspicious places, at suspicious times, with suspicious persons, sometimes dressed in suspicious clothes. Many of these individuals had already been taken into custody, sometimes more than once, and chastised, imprisoned (and subsequently released), or exiled. To cite just one colorful example, the haberdasher Charles Rassant, arrested for sticking his hand into the pants of a tiler's assistant in a billiard room, had been arrested just six weeks before for sticking his hand into the pants of a wigmaker's assistant during an execution in the place de Greve (8 February 1781).(9) Others did not have records, but they did have reputations. The journeyman saddler Louis Ducros had been "known for a long time as a pederast" (10 September 1781), and the wigmaker's assistant Emmanuel Loyer had been "listed in the register as a pederast" (21 November 1780) before either one of them was apprehended. Noel observed such men strolling back and forth, on the boulevards and in the parks, and watched some of them make connections with other men. With the help of his agents, he caught a number of pederasts in the act, including a carpenter arrested in a stoneyard on the banks of the Seine (19 June 1781) and a silkworker arrested under the trees in the Champs-Elysees (5 September 1782), both with their pants unbuttoned. Two dozen individuals were betrayed not by their pants in particular but by their outfits in general, which generally included some combination of frock coat, large tie, round hat, small chignon, and bows on the shoes. After spelling out the sartorial details a few times (11 and 23 April 1781), the police resorted to shorthand. The gilder Core was "attired in such a way as to be recognized by everyone as a pederast" (15 October 1781), and the hairdresser Calman was "clothed with all the distinctive marks of pederasty" (6 November 1781). Others, like the unemployed Joubert, who was caught "in a suspicious posture," were simply "dressed like a pederast" (25 August 1782).

The men who donned the "pederastical uniform" (4 February 1782) undoubtedly did so in order to make themselves visible not to the police but to other pederasts. Most of them, and most of the individuals named in Foucault's papers, would not have dressed in this stylish manner from one day to the next. The papers specify the status of more than 250 men: 50 servants, 20 clerks, 10 soldiers, 10 shopkeepers, and dozens of workingmen, including more than a few cooks, hairdressers, wigmakers, jewelers, shoemakers, painters, sculptors, and glaziers. The servant Duclos identified himself to the police as a bourgeois de Paris, a man of means, but they were not deceived (20 November 1780).(10) Several workingmen disguised themselves in bourgeois attire, presumably to avoid trouble with the authorities, with no more success. The police arrested half a dozen individuals who turned out to have the status claimed by Duclos and captured three aristocrats during pederasty patrols in the Champs-Elysees. The intoxicated baron de Lunas shook hands with one of Noel's agents and followed him (22 April 1781). Count Despaulx, dressed in a frock and tie, with bows on his shoes, asked a Swiss guard to take a stroll with him (23 April 1781). The marquis de Saint-Clement was walking and talking with an unemployed eighteen-year-old whom he had already picked up in the same location several nights before (16 August 1781).(11) The police also took several members of the clergy into custody, including one priest, Mathurin Dupuy, apprehended in ecclesiastical costume in the Luxembourg gardens after dark (30 July 1781), and another, thirty-year old Francois Deleobardy, arrested, along with a twenty-year-old leadworker, in his own apartment (10 July 1781).

The reports specify the age of almost 250 men, including 37 between 15 and 19, 59 between 20 and 24, 43 between 25 and 29, 49 between 30 and 34, 21 between 35 and 39, 15 between 40 and 44, 6 between 45 and 49, and 8 over 50. A disproportionate number of them, some 80 percent, were between 15 and 35 years old. Many, though by no means all, of the men apprehended together turned out to be separated by five or ten or fifteen years. Noel saw a thirty-three year-old door-keeper accost an eighteen-year-old apprentice (25 May 1782). He charged one twenty-year-old with "taking advantage of the youth" of a thirteen-and-a-half-year-old (13 December 1780) and described another twenty-year-old as the intended "victim" of a thirty-two-year-old (6 February 1781). It would be imprudent to make generalizations about differences in age and patterns of solicitation based on these kinds of cases, since more than a few individuals in their teens and twenties propositioned or allowed themselves to be propositioned by males older than themselves, more often than not to make money. Foucault released the fifteen-year-old Prudhomme the first time he was taken into custody, "on account of his age," but had no more illusions about his innocence and no more doubts about his culpability the second time around, less than two months later (4 July 1781). He concluded that the sixteen-year-old Mostelin, who had already been warned not to frequent the public promenades, was "more knowledgeable about the reasons for his arrest than he wanted to admit" (23 October 1780). It is significant, nonetheless, that the commissioner and the inspector assumed that many of the men they arrested were involved in corrupting what they routinely called "young folk," who could evidently be turned into pederasts and therefore needed to be rescued from or at least protected against older sodomitical predators. It should be noted that the police did make distinctions between adolescent and prepubescent boys. They charged no more than half a dozen men specifically with abusing boys, including one aged six (13 July 1781).

The police apparently assumed that pederasts were interested mostly in younger males and only in the male sex. They almost never bothered to ask if the individuals they arrested were married. Many of them were too young to be married, according to the demographic patterns of the time, but it seems noteworthy that only eight reports mentioned wives.(12) Three of the men did and three others did not live with their wives. The reports, as a matter of fact, located as many pederasts in the disorderly world of harlotry as in the domestic world of matrimony.(13) Three men lived with their mothers, who allegedly ran brothels, and three others cohabited with prostitutes, who supposedly procured sexual partners for them. Several more socialized with such women, including a "disreputable subject "named Vallier, who was arrested, disguised as a woman, along with a prostitute named Dumesnil, disguised as a man, in a tavern. When asked if she had really called him a "f[ucker or perhaps fucked] in the a[ss]," she replied that her words were nothing more than a "joke" (12 February 1781), typical or not in the demimonde? Several others were apprehended, like Vallier, in women's clothes, including a servant nicknamed La Petite Bergamotte (12 February 1782), and a fruitseller who lived with a man nicknamed La Petite Troteuse (15 December 1780). Judging from the reports, the police did not ask these individuals about their clothes and did not ask two others about the rouge on their cheeks (25 April and 29 September 1781). Perhaps they regarded these unusual accoutrements as conclusive evidence of deviant conduct and felt no need to ask questions. Many of those arrested or mentioned by the commissioner and the inspector had nicknames.(14) More than half of those nicknames, like those just mentioned, involved female persons or feminine objects, but relatively few dossiers contain additional evidence of effeminacy.

Several nicknames, like Le Breton and La Picarde, indicate that the individuals in question had immigrated from the provinces. Some 150 men, like so many other residents of the capital, were not born there. They came from obscure villages, populous cities, and, in a dozen instances, foreign countries. Like the nineteen-year-old tailor from Orleans taken into custody after only one week in Paris (11 April 1782), they learned where to go to meet others who shared their inclinations. Men with addresses throughout Paris ended up in the same locations: the boulevards, the Palais-Royal, the Tuileries, the Champs-Elysees, the fairs, and the quais, including the quai des Tuileries, "known as le Canape among persons of this kind" (30 October 1780). The reports described one house in the rue Saint-Denis as an "abode of pederasts" (8 January 1782), but they connected one type of address with sodomitical sociability and sexuality more frequently than others: taverns, which they regarded as sites and sources of disorder.(15) Taverns provided shelter from rain and cold, refuge from relatives and neighbors, release from responsibilities and problems, and, of course, some degree of privacy. Several individuals claimed that they went to taverns to meet friends or acknowledged that they went to taverns to make friends. When Noel captured two men dressed in women's clothes who had attacked some of his agents outside the Image Saint-Pierre, in the rue de Clichy, one mentioned that he had been going there every day for ten years, and the other mentioned that the two of them had met there and subsequently moved in together (23 February 1781). During one pederasty patrol the police apprehended four men, who had spent the preceding night in the same room, at the Cadran blanc, and a fifth individual, in the company of someone "dressed from head to toe in the most extravagant costume," in another tavern in the neighborhood of Vaugirard (15 October 1781). Pederasts reportedly held orgies at the nearby Lune eclatante (16 August 1781) and at a tavern in the neighborhood of La Courtille, where "various young folk" rented a room for that purpose (16 September 1781). Noel and his agents visited the Grand Salon, in the neighborhood of Les Porcherons, with some regularity and apprehended at least a dozen men there, including several members of what they labeled "cliques" (12 January and 12 February 1781). The "big book" listed the names of individuals, mostly unmarried workingmen aged 15 to 35, but the police recognized the existence of networks among them.

Some of the men arrested together already knew each other, because they came from the same province or lived in the same neighborhood, or because they had met through work or friends, but most did not. Some of them identified themselves to others through clothes, but most made their intentions known through words and gestures. One gregarious individual accosted several men at the opera (10 February 1781), but most of the pederasts in Foucault's papers looked for partners in the streets and parks. After one man accosted another, they typically walked and talked for a while. Sometimes they engaged in sexual relations on the spot, especially in the Champs-Elysees, since they could conceal themselves in the vegetation there. More often than not they went elsewhere, "holding each other by the hand" in one case (4 December 1781), "arm in arm" in another (27 December 1781). One night in the Palais-Royal, for example, a cook named Berger (a known pederast) said good evening to a servant named Less (previously "unknown" to Noel) and invited him to sit down. After Berger suggested that they share a bottle of wine, they walked out into the street and were taken into custody on their way to a tavern (8 October 1780). Innocent or not, Less represented himself as innocent, and the police believed him, as well as several other men who provided evidence about solicitation strategies. A servant named Perrier complained that a tailor's assistant named Brunet sat down next to him in the Champs-Elysees and, without saying a word, grabbed his thighs. Perrier got up at once and sat down elsewhere, but Brunet followed him and grabbed his hands (18 July 1782). A soldier named Maison reported that a servant named Sivars spoke to him in the shadow of the porte Saint-Martin, on the pretext that he needed help finding something he had lost, then offered to buy him a drink at a nearby tavern. The soldier accepted, he assured the police, with the intention of having the servant arrested. When they left the tavern, Sivars put his hand on Maison's pants, told him that "they would have a lot of pleasure together," and offered him twelve sols. Sivars claimed, in his own defense, that he had met Maison in a cafe a year or so before and that it was the soldier who had accosted him on this occasion and suggested that they might "have a good time" together. He insisted that he had not understood what these words meant, but Foucault sent him to prison (3 October 1781).(16)

Noel assumed that many of the men he arrested had, to use his language, solicited each other. These men, anxious to exculpate themselves, did not reveal much about what they did together. Witnesses saw two journeymen carpenters hugging and kissing, but the one who ended up in custody naturally denied it (19 June 1781). The police obtained the most detailed information about sexual activities from the most unrepresentative sources, the boys molested by the thirty-three-year-old jeweler Joseph Lafosse. Pierre Varin, a twelve-year-old found in his apartment, testified that Lafosse accosted him in the Palais-Royal, led him into an alley, undid his pants, felt his buttocks, set the boy on his knees, and "manipulated himself," that is to say masturbated. Later in the day the jeweler took the boy home with him, slept with him, and caressed him again as in the alley. Varin reported that three other "children" and a wigmaker shared Lafosse's room that night and that "they said they were shooting" [qu'ils dechargaient], that is to say ejaculating (9 July 1781). The stories of the other boys interrogated by the police followed the same pattern in many ways, but fourteen-year-old Jean Baptiste Dauthier added more details. He stated that the jeweler had sucked his penis [verge] (Dauthier's word) several times and suggested more than once that he put his "bowels" [entrailles] (Lafosse's word?) into the boy's body, the only explicit references to oral and anal sex in Foucault's papers. Lafosse warned him not to let anyone else do likewise because of the danger of disease and specifically told him to avoid the Tuileries because it was frequented by "many vile men." He also instructed Dauthier not to say anything to his mother or his confessor, since there was nothing wrong with what they did and since his confessor undoubtedly did the same thing (14 July 1781). Lafosse forestalled objections by distinguishing himself from unknown persons he assumed the boy would dislike and identifying himself with a known individual he assumed the boy would respect. If Foucault wondered why Varin and Dauthier returned to the jeweler's apartment after their first nights there, he did not ask.

Lafosse gave Varin two sols and Dauthier twelve sols, perhaps in order to encourage them to come back. Several men who offered money to soldiers evidently assumed that men in uniform could be bought.(17) A soldier named Jean Claude Clarard told someone who suggested six livres "that he could not be paid like a slut" (6 October 1780). Under interrogation he admitted that one Robinet had offered him money in the name of the comte de Buterlin and taken him to the Palais-Royal to meet the count, who put his hand on the soldier's pants, told him to return the next day, and gave him a louis d'or (7 October 1780).(18) Few reports mentioned coins of any denomination, but many cases involved money, because many of the men arrested by the police solicited not (only) in order to satisfy their sexual desires but (also) in order to make money by prostituting themselves or selling the services of the "young folk" they debauched.(19) Given their good looks and loose talk, not to mention their outfits, Foucault suspected that five "young folk" aged sixteen through twenty-one, arrested together in a billiard room, prostituted themselves to pederasts "in order to make money" (9 March 1781). He knew that a wigmaker's assistant named Callet procured for the chevalier Eklin and the marquis de M ... and that this Callet had debauched another wigmaker's assistant named Lambert (12 January 1781), but apparently not the same Lambert, identified as a wigmaker's son, who spent a year in the service of the marquis de Marigny. Marigny did not hire a man interrogated by Foucault, but he did ask this man if he had any friends "with a presentable face" (7 March 1781). Pierre Paul procured for his master, the marquis de Thibouville, and some of the other servants arrested by the police undoubtedly did likewise (15 March 1781).(20)

It seems likely that men of wealth and rank, underrepresented in Foucault's papers, employed the services of such intermediaries instead of soliciting for themselves in public places. Noel knew that the twenty-nine-year-old Villeneuve, arrested on his way out of the Tuileries with a nineteen-year-old who had arrived in the capital only five or six months before, procured for the farmer general De la R ... fils (9 March 1781) and that Pujol procured for the abbe V ... (15 December 1780). Other reports mentioned two abbes whose last names began with the letter v: Vineron and Viennet. When Foucault asked Pierre Cluzel, who was introduced to Vineron by an individual who had been raised and was currently employed by him, if the abbe wore ecclesiastical attire, Cluzel remembered that he wore his hair in a small chignon (25 April 1782), one of the marks of the "pederastical uniform." When the commissioner asked Jean Etienne Dessard, who supposedly procured for Viennet, if he had not taken a "young man" to one of the abbe's "parties," Dessard insisted that he did not know what the police were talking about (20 February 1782).(21) A number of other dossiers mentioned sexual activities involving groups of males but, unfortunately, provided no details about who did what with whom at these private events. When Noel searched Clarard, who would not sell his services for six livres, he found the addresses of some persons "known for holding parties of men" (6 October 1780). The "good-looking" Lemenager, an unemployed nineteen-year-old, did not know if some of the individuals named by Foucault "procure themselves to men" because he had never been "in a party" with them, although he had, evidently, attended other such gatherings (14 April 1780). Fontaine organized "orgies" along with four other men, and Laurent invited wigmakers' assistants to "orgies" on Sundays and holidays (11 February 1781).

The police did not explain what went on during parties and orgies, and they did not, for the most part, define sexual roles and relationships in so many words. They probably assumed that younger males played the passive role and that older males played the active role, but they rarely alluded to such matters. They claimed that some men "prostituted" or "procured" themselves but identified only one individual, a twenty-three-year-old, married clerk nicknamed La Belle Parfumeuse, as a "passive" (20 November 1780). They described four others as gitons and thereby suggested that these four played the same role, without adding any pejorative words about that role: the eighteen-year-old soldier Clarard, "known as a giton of pederasts," observed in the Palais-Royal with others "known to practice the trade of giton" (6 October 1780); an unemployed nineteen-year-old named Dufresnoy, "dressed in the most suspicious manner," known to be the giton of a "famous pederast" named Chateau (1 December 1781); the twenty-two-year-old surgery student Lesec, the subject of several complaints to the police, known to be the giton of the surgeon Philippe (12 March 1782); and the twenty-year-old soldier Cabrol, who had enlisted in order to avoid punishment, known to be the giton of the forty-two-year-old shopkeeper Courville (24 November 1780).(22) They knew that Cabrol lived with Courville and that more than a dozen of the pederasts, like many Parisian workingmen, shared living quarters. They used several different words to describe these arrangements: demeurer, habiter, loger, vivre, all of which mean "to live," chez [in the residence of], avec [with], ensemble [together]. When they were sure that the men were more than just roommates, they said so.(23) Berger, who frequented the Palais Royal, lived "in pederasty" with Ferriere (8 October 1780). The twenty-eight-year-old Lange and the twenty-three-year-old Coffin, who were "continually together," slept "in the same bed." Lange had not only debauched Coffin, who continued to prostitute himself, but also staged a "sham marriage" with one Beaupre, "with all the usual formalities," conducted by the abbe de S.... Lange insisted that he did not remember the "scandalous scene," so the dossier, unfortunately, contains no other information about it (15 March 1781). The police recorded evidence of consensual and affective relationships, sometimes between men of more or less the same age, but they generally assumed that pederasts were promiscuous and that most of them bought or sold sexual services.

Interrogations and Attitudes

The commissioner and the inspector obviously did not expect pederasts to acknowledge their profligacy, let alone identify themselves as predators or prostitutes. They certainly did not want to enlighten any innocent men who had been arrested by mistake about sodomitical practices they might have known nothing about.(24) For these reasons they did not ask questions about sexual activities in every case and did not always ask such questions in explicit language. They asked the twenty-two-year-old Leclerc, who was apprehended in the company and, as a matter of fact, in the room of the twenty-three-year-old Cotelle, "if something had not happened between them," and he replied that he did not know what they were talking about (8 January 1782). They asked the aged knife-grinder Jouvet, who had reportedly seduced "young folk" (5 February 1782), and the married merchant Mion, who had reportedly seduced soldiers (22 February 1782), if they did not have some cause to reproach themselves for misconduct, and both men answered negatively. In at least a dozen cases Foucault or Noel questioned men more much more bluntly, and most of them responded no less negatively. Asked "if he has never had relations or slept with men who served him as gitons," Jean Baptiste Arnauderie responded "no" (6 October 1781). Asked "if he has never had the weakness to surrender himself to the passion for men," Jean Antoine d'Etignard declared that "never in his life has he had a weakness of that nature" (10 February 1781). Asked "if he has never allowed himself to touch men inappropriately," Pierre Cluzel affimed "before God that he has never allowed himself or even thought about allowing himself to touch men in the slightest way and that it is quite contrary to his manner of thinking and his tastes" (25 April 1782). In response to a simple question about sexual acts, he made a striking comment about sexual "tastes."

Fleurot denied that another man had made him any propositions "tending to sodomy" (27 June 1781), and Pruneau stated that he knew nothing about sodomy "through practice" (26 July 1781), but several others, like Cluzel, revealed much in few words. Belaire maintained that he had never allowed himself to have "complaisances" for men but acknowledged that he had been asked (by whom?) if his employer, the baron de Fenelon, had made him any propositions. He recalled that he had replied that the baron was not "of that caliber," that is to say that he did not have those tastes, since he lived with a female singer or dancer (7 March 1781). Clarard insisted that he had never lent himself to satisfying the "passion" of men but admitted that "he has been solicited to do so many times." He claimed that he had contemplated caning two individuals who made him "offensive propositions," no doubt because he wanted the police to believe that he did not share those tastes (7 October 1780). Jacques Courtois acknowledged, without any prodding, that he had just returned from Versailles, where he had spent four days procuring himself.(25) In the gardens of the royal palace he had encountered someone who identified himself as the hairdresser of the comtesse de Provence, the king's sister-in-law. This person took him home but supposedly did not make him any propositions. Courtois declared that he had never committed the "crime of sodomy" but admitted that he had let men whom he did not know touch him and explained that he had been led into this "error" by "bad acquaintances" from the taverns he frequented, most notably the Lune eclatante. One of these men had bought him dinner three times and made him "various propositions" (19 July 1781). Asked if he had never noticed the "depraved taste" of many of his friends and if he had never succombed to the same "depravation," Jean Baptiste Cotelle confessed not only that he knew about their their taste but also that he had in fact surrendered to it himself in their company (28 January 1781).

Few men taken into custody incriminated themselves in this way. Some refused to talk, and one fainted during interrogation. Most answered the simple questions about name, age, origin, residence, and work straightforwardly and the sensitive questions about costume, nickname, friends, activities, and arrests evasively. Most of them acted as if they did not know why they had been arrested and, when they had a chance to do so, challenged the conclusions drawn from the circumstantial evidence by the commissioner and the inspector. When Foucault and Noel wondered what they were doing in suspicious places, at suspicious times, with suspicious persons, they maintained that they were just walking and talking "like everyone else" (15 December 1780). Durand insisted that the Palais-Royal was not out of his way (18 August 1781), Jeannal declared that 10:45 P.M. could not be considered an "unseemly" hour for a stroll (23 August 1781), and Desestre denied that there was anything "suspicious" about the fact that another man followed him into the rue Basse to see the construction in progress there (13 December 1782). Nicolas Bailleul, arrested on the way out of the Tuileries with a man he had accosted there, pretended that he did know know that "saying good evening to someone he does not know" was a "decent way of soliciting him" (4 October 1781). Claude Borin, arrested on the way out of the Palais-Royal with a man who turned out to be the agent Saint-Andre, explained that he had taken him by the hand because he thought he was one of his neighbors (6 October 1780).(26) Francois Troyzer, arrested with his pants unbuttoned in the Champs-Elysees, along with another individual who managed to escape, insisted that he was just satisfying a "need," by which, of course, he meant nothing more than urinating or defecating (11 April 1782).(27)

Men could not deny that they were wearing the clothes they had on when they were arrested or that they were carrying addresses written on pieces of paper found in their pockets by the police, but they could and did deny that they deliberately wore those clothes for some reason or that they actually knew the people who lived at those addresses. If they acknowledged that they had any nicknames, they belittled the significance of the sobriquets. Courtois admitted that friends called him La Belle Jardiniere in the taverns but nothing more (19 July 1781). If they acknowledged that they had been arrested or imprisoned in the past, they downplayed the gravity of the offenses. Hue admitted, in lively but loose language, that he had been arrested for "being found in a bacchanalian state" (10 November 1781). Beaufils admitted, after he had been asked about it for the second time, that he had been imprisoned, but for something so trivial that he could not even remember what it was (21 June 1781). As a last resort, when they could not think of anything to say or did not want to say anything else, pederasts could always claim, as more than a few of them did, that they knew nothing about the matter in question or did not understand what the police were talking about. Now and then Foucault expressed impatience when men did not answer his questions straightforwardly. When he asked Feydeau if he knew someone named Saint-Louis, Feydeau replied evasively that he knew many people with that name. Foucault retorted that he must know one more "intimately" than the others, since he had slept with him and stolen some shirts from him! Feydeau responded that he was not a thief. He thereby admitted that he was a pederast or perhaps simply acknowledged that he regarded, or believed that the commissioner regarded, robbery as a more serious offense than sodomy (23 February 1781).

The police assumed or at least suspected that a number of the men they arrested were guilty of other crimes in addition to pederasty, most commonly theft and extortion. They accused the shoemaker Berthier, for example, of stealing buckles from "someone he slept with in the rue des Petits Champs" (21 June 1781). They believed that Lemaire, in collaboration with two other "disreputable subjects," supplemented his income by selling clothes and articles that the three of them had extorted from individuals who did not dare to demand the return of the objects they had lost, no doubt because of the circumstances under which they had surrendered them (15 June 1781). The reports never spelled out the details in this type of case, but it sounds like such men solicited or allowed themselves to be solicited by prospective victims, then threatened them with violence and robbed them of valuables. An unnamed chevalier de Saint-Louis was victimized, presumably in this way, by the twenty-four-old Buquet, nicknamed Chiffon, and the twenty-year-old Lemarchand, nicknamed Griffon, who shared an apartment in the rue Saint-Jacques and prostituted themselves in the parks (6 and 7 October 1780). Foucault and Noel did not discover any incriminating evidence when they searched the apartment, but they must have suspected that this criminal couple had many accomplices, because they questioned at least eight individuals about them before and after their arrest. After their release from prison Chiffon loyally assured the police that Griffon had changed his ways (23 December 1782). Some pederasts provided the police with a considerable amount of information, about themselves and others, but most admitted no more than what they thought they could not deny and volunteered no more than what they thought they needed to say in order to exculpate themselves.

The commissioner and the inspector asked questions about acquaintances in order to collect evidence not only against the individuals they had arrested but also against other pederasts listed in the "big book" or still "unknown" to the authorities. When they captured two or three suspects at once, they inevitably required them to explain just how they knew each other and just what they were doing together in that place at that time. If these individuals did not tell the same story, the police concluded that they were not really acquainted and had actually "solicited each other" (27 December 1781). They obviously believed that someone like the priest Dupuy had no business consorting with the characters he first described as "friends" but later recognized as "disreputable subjects" (30 July 1781), and they evidently assumed that strangers had no business walking and talking with each other in the streets and parks.(28) The police wanted to locate the men taken into custody within the network of sexual and social relations documented in their reports, and these men, at the same time, wanted to avoid guilt by association. They defended themselves, on the one hand, by claiming that they knew the men apprehended with them in public places and, on the other hand, by denying that they knew the men mentioned during interrogation or at least by insisting that they knew such men no more than casually. Valoux, for example, stated that he had met Lefevre through friends and admitted that he had "lodged" with him for several days but stated that he had moved out when Lefevre was arrested for a "scandalous affair" in the Palais-Royal. When Foucault asked if this affair involved a (female) prostitute, he prudently distanced himself from Lefevre by replying, the "opposite" (10 February 1781).

When the police found the address of the jeweler Lafosse in the pocket of the buttonmaker Arnauderie, they asked him if he knew Lafosse, and he said no. They wondered why he had the address in his pocket, and he replied that he knew nothing about it. They remarked that it seemed strange to carry the address of an unknown person in one's pocket, and he recalled that the jeweler had visited him for some reason related to work. He acknowledged that he knew that Lafosse lived in the rue Saint-Christophe but added, somewhat defensively, that he had never visited him there. These exchanges persuaded Foucault that the buttonmaker, who reportedly debauched and procured "young folk," was "associated" with the jeweler, who reportedly propositioned apprentices and corrupted "children" with money (20 January 1781). After capturing Lafosse six months later, at his new address in the rue de la Juiverie, and recording the testimony of the four boys against him, they questioned several other men about him. Noel arrested two of his "friends," actually former apprentices, aged twenty and fifteen, when they walked out of the Palais-Royal after seeking to solicit and allow themselves to be solicited. Foucault asked them if they had noticed that Lafosse was involved with "young folk" and in "disreputable relations." When they responded negatively, he retorted that they were lying and that they knew about the jeweler's "indecencies." When he suggested that they must remember "what they did" the night Lafosse slept with the twelve-year-old Varin, they remained silent (18 August 1781). Noel described Fraigniere, who was apprehended a month later, as a "friend" of these "apprentices and gitons" of Lafosse and suggested that he, too, was implicated in the jeweler's sexual escapades (24 September 1781).

Lafosse, in his own defense, protested that "one can make children say whatever one likes" (9 July 1781), and another man accused of molesting boys blamed the charges against him on "women's chatter" (13 July 1781).(29) The police reported that "all the inhabitants of the neighborhood" suspected that Courville was responsible for the "loss" of two "young" men (25 November 1781), and they mentioned "complaints" about predatory behavior in a dozen other cases. They recorded depositions from five witnesses against the married, thirty-nine-year-old cook Percheron. The three adults, all of whom described him as a dangerous character, testified that he had bragged about keeping a "young man," attempted to seduce a servant with gifts and drink, and lured a boy into his house. A fifteen-year-old reported that Percheron had made him "various propositions," caressed him, and unbuttoned his own pants in front of him. A sixteen-year-old reported that the cook had thrown him onto a bed, undone his pants, fondled him, and encouraged him to do likewise. Both adolescents, unlike the children molested by Lafosse, testified that they had not only resisted his advances but also struggled with him (29 March 1783).(30) An apprentice cook named Jean Marie Paris, also fifteen or sixteen years old, could not defend himself against the unknown individual who raped him. When he returned to an address where he had made a delivery, in order to retrieve the dishes, this man caressed him "a lot" and suggested that they "have a good time together." When he refused, the man locked the door and knocked him down, then picked him up, beat him, threw him onto a bed, undid his pants, and had his way with him. Having satisfied his "passion," he gave Paris some money and sent him away. According to his brother, who made the deposition against the unnamed assailant, the victim told his confessor about the "crime he had committed in spite of himself" and used the money to have several masses said (25 January 1781).(31)

His brother and his father did their best to console him, presumably by assuring him that he was not responsible for what had happened to him, but the dejected Paris felt "guilty in the eyes of God," presumably because he had been taught, or at least thought he had been taught, that sodomy, voluntary or involuntary, constituted a serious violation of divine commandments. None of the adults taken into custody who stated that they had rejected the advances of other men expressed such feelings, and none of the other reports alluded to the religious condemnation of sexual relations between members of the same sex. Foucault's papers contain some documentation about popular hostility, most notably in cases of predatory conduct and violent acts, but scanty evidence about collective attitudes more generally. When the police arrested Arnauderie, his pockets contained not only the addresses of Lafosse and some soldiers but also two letters from his parish priest back home in Gascony, which indicated that his mother had complained about his behavior, but in what terms (20 January 1781)? Cluzel told the police that he had stopped visiting the abbe Vineron because of "public suspicions" but did not tell them just what people were saying about the abbe behind his back (25 April 1782). The "populace" pursued two individuals, one of them dressed like a pederast, through the Champs-Elysees and called them "rebels" (11 April 1781). The "populace" also chased and jeered seventeen-year-old Joseph Prainguet on the boulevards, not once but twice, "because of his indecent and distinctive costume" (11 October 1781).(32) It was clear to Noel that the unidentified Parisians who constituted the "populace" recognized the "pederastical uniform," but it is not altogether clear, in retrospect, why they reacted in this way on these occasions.

Foucault knew that the "public" had already "judged" Prainguet but simply warned him, the first time, not to wear the conspicuous outfit anymore and then released him "out of consideration for his master," who combined the titles of commissaire des guerres and intendant de l'armee. The adolescent, who was (sexually) "employed," as it turned out, by the "most crapulous pederasts," disregarded the warning, so the commissioner had him locked up the next time.(33) When he sentenced pederasts, Foucault considered many variables (including rank, record, reputation, and responsibility) and several options (not including indefinite incarceration). He let many of them go the first time they were arrested, including some already listed in the "big book," because he did not have enough information about them. He routinely instructed such individuals to avoid suspicious places, at suspicious times, with suspicious persons and occasionally advised inattentive parents to discipline their adolescent sons more carefully (9 March 1781 and 20 February 1783). In less indulgent moods he imprisoned men on the basis of nothing more than circumstantial evidence, especially if they were known to be "disreputable subjects" and especially if they had been arrested before, because he knew very well that that many individuals who had already been warned, incarcerated, or exiled were still "inclined to the same vice" (15 May 1781). Some cases, because of the identity of the individuals involved, were handled differently from the beginning or in the end. Noel released two of the aristocrats arrested during pederasty patrols on the spot. Foucault referred the third to Jean Charles Lenoir, lieutenant-general of police from 1775 to 1785, who agreed that the inspector's "suspicions" were "well founded" but released the marquis as well as the eighteen-year-old apprehended with him (16 August 1781).(34) Lenoir later declared that "pederasty, in the long run, can only be a vice of great nobles," but he knew, as the police under his command and the populace under his jurisdiction knew, that this stereotype was anachronistic in the 1780s.(35)


Like the executions of the Protestant Calas and the profane LaBarre, which provoked the wrath of Voltaire and his brethren, the execution of the defrocked Pascal was not representative of French jurisprudence at the time when his ashes were scattered in the place de Greve. The authorities did not routinely enforce the letter of the laws against sabbathbreaking, blasphemy, sacrilege, heresy, gambling, usury, dueling, suicide, abortion, infanticide, prostitution, adultery, bigamy, sodomy, or bestiality in the last decades of the Ancien Regime. The principles of the philosophes, who had more ambivalent feelings about relations between men than they did about relations between church and state, undoubtedly influenced the legislators who drafted the criminal code of 1791, which did not even mention many of these issues, but decriminalization, in and of itself, did not revolutionize the repression of what the commissioner and the inspector called pederasty.(36) This matter was already handled before the Revolution in the way that it was generally handled after the Revolution, not by the courts but by the police. The police did not describe it as ungodly, in the language of religion, or, for that matter, as unnatural, in the language of Enlightenment. They sometimes used emphatic adjectives to characterize notorious offenders, but, judging from Foucault's papers, they were not shocked, outraged, or disgusted by the offense, which, in most cases, constituted nothing more than routine business. It was not their job, of course, to moralize in their reports, but it was also not their objective to eliminate immorality from the capital. They knew that they could do little or nothing about sodomitical assignations and recreations behind the closed doors of private residences throughout the city. They also knew that the Parisian magistrates would not execute the men they could arrest in the streets and parks and that the available punishments would not rehabilitate most of these individuals.

The police used the word pederasty rather than sodomy, presumably because they were concerned about controlling disorder rather than eradicating sin and because they assumed that sexual relations between males usually involved corruption of "young folk" by predatory adults. Some cases involved such age differences, but others did not, and more than a few cases demonstrated the limitations of their assumptions about victimization. The sixteen-year-old Lormant, for example, confessed that he and another adolescent novice had fondled each other and "even lent themselves to each other to consummate the crime" before he had sexual relations with two of the Carmelite brothers, aged twenty-one and twenty-two. Arrested a week after his departure from the monastery, he complained that the two abbes he had encountered and "amused" in the Champs-Elysees had not given him anything (7 April 1783).(37) As indicated by this one pederast's progress, from sexual gratification to public prostitution, "young folk" were capable of taking the initiative in making connections with others of their own age as well as males older and younger than themselves. The police may have standardized the cases somewhat, by describing them in certain words and in certain ways, but their reports illustrate the diversity of the sexual subculture. Populated largely but not exclusively by working-class men, connected with the worlds of both notables and criminals, this subculture provided pederasts with places to meet, gestures to make, lines to speak, names to use. They satisfied their sexual desires with or without spending money, with or without employing intermediaries. Some of them dressed in distinctive attire or put on women's clothing, had sex in public, attended parties or orgies, seduced boys, formed couples, used violence, but most of them did not.

Foucault's papers confirm many of the late Michel Rey's conclusions about the geography, chronology, and sociology of sexual relations between males in the French capital, based largely on the depositions of undercover agents involved in entrapment between 1723 and 1747.(38) They also suggest that fewer notables looked for sex in public places, that more men were exclusively interested in their own sex, and that more adults had sex with other adults in the second half of the century. They provide limited support for Randolph Trumbach's argument about the emergence of the adult, effeminate, passive homosexual role in the eighteenth century, but this fact undoubtedly has something to do with the nature of the sources.(39) The reports from the 1780s include a large number of examples of feminine nicknames but only a modest number of dossiers containing additional evidence of effeminacy. They do not provide much information about what pederasts did in the relatively private space of taverns, where Rey located striking cases of effeminate gestures and behavior. And they do not reveal what pederasts said to each other or to agents who engaged them in conversation before having them arrested. The men were not usually apprehended under circumstances that might have encouraged them to express a desire to be penetrated by other males, and the police were not especially interested in who played what role. Whatever their limitations, the Parisian police records, along with those from London and various Dutch cities provide important evidence about the development of sexual identities. The papers of the eighteenth-century Foucault suggest, contrary to the pronouncements of some disciples of the twentieth-century Foucault, that it is not inappropriate to speak of sodomitical identities before the development of the medicalized conception of homosexuality in the nineteenth century.

The commissioner and the inspector did not spell out their assumptions in so many words, but they did not seem to think that all men were likely to be sexually attracted to and sexually involved with other men. They thought that some men, most of whom evidently had no interest in women, not only performed certain kinds of sexual acts but also displayed certain kinds of sexual inclinations that could be acquired much more easily than they could be abandoned. The police did not know, or at least did not explain, what made some men "determined" (7 October 1780) or "decided" (23 August 1781) pederasts, but they did know, as they had known for decades, that it was usually difficult and frequently impossible to make pederasts renounce or even control their inclinations.(40) The jeweler Lafosse, who was imprisoned in Bicetre for several months and then exiled from Paris, ended up in custody again because he returned to the capital and continued his "infamous debauchery" (3 June 1782). Jacques Francois Bernard, nicknamed La Petite Perruquiere, was apprehended just three or four days after his release from the Petit Chatelet, under circumstances that confirmed his "infamous taste" (8 October 1781). Foucault and Noel arrested such men not only because of their individual acts but also because of the shared tastes that distinguished them from other men, not only because of what they had already done but also because of what they might still do, not only to punish them for offending society but also to keep them from debauching others. They tried to prevent men whose tastes they could not change by punishing them from changing the tastes of "young folk" by corrupting them. They were concerned about nobles who corrupted servants, clergy who corrupted students, and masters who corrupted apprentices, but they were even more concerned about the multitude of pederasts who spread corruption throughout urban society by locating victims outside structures that had traditionally helped to contain the problem.

Some pederasts escaped the police by running or, in one case, swimming away, and a few even attacked them with stones or fists, but most resisted in less demonstrative ways, by refusing to answer questions, confess transgressions, identify accomplices, implicate friends, acknowledge guilt, or discontinue the acts and repudiate the tastes that earned so many of them a place in the "big book." It is difficult to describe their consciousness, in the end, because Foucault's papers reveal more about what the police thought about these men than they do about what these men thought about themselves. Asked about his behavior on the boulevards, one individual confessed that he "had unfortunately remembered the inclinations that are only too common in the secondary schools" without, of course, explaining what he knew about these inclinations and how he knew it (13 December 1782). Asked about his acquaintances in the capital, another replied that "he sees very well that he was arrested on account of la Manchette" and assured the police that they were mistaken without, of course, explaining what he knew about men "of the cuff," another name for sodomites, and how he knew it (22 September 1781).(41) The pederasts played cat and mouse with the inspector who followed them and the commissioner who interrogated them. None of them, to be sure, justified pederasty, but several of them made remarks that implied that they claimed for themselves some degree of liberty to do what they liked, when, where, and with whom they liked. When asked about his distinctive outfit, Beaufils asserted that everyone "dresses as he sees fit" (21 June 1781). When asked why they frequented the public promenades and the Grand Salon, respectively, Dufresnoy and Souchet declared that "everyone is free" (1 December 1781) and that "everyone takes his pleasure where he finds it" (12 February 1781). Several men insisted that they had no intention of doing anything "wrong" or denied that they had caused any "harm," and these words, if they constituted anything more than automatic excuses, suggested some second thoughts about conventional notions of wrong and harm (4 and 25 December 1781 and 10 July 1782). Foucault and Noel, naturally but regrettably, did not take such remarks seriously and did not bother to question these relatively talkative men about their sense of themselves before letting them go or locking them up.

Department of History Milwaukee, WI 53201


My thanks to the members of the Chicago Eighteenth-Century Seminar for their questions after my talk about this material and to Gary Kates, Charles Porter, Bryant Ragan, Michael Sherry, Michael Sibalis, Randolph Trumbach, and Jack Undank for their comments on the draft of the article.

1. Memoires secrets pour servir a l'histoire de la republique des lettres en France depuis 1762 jusqu'a nos jours, 36 vols. (1780-9; reprint Westmead, 1970), 23: 241-2 [13 October 1783]. The authors remembered Deschauffours because he, like Pascal, molested boys and used violence. They forgot about Diot and Lenoir, arrested before but executed after the "kidnapping" riots of 1750, analyzed in Arlette Farge and Jacques Revel, Logiques de la foule: L' Affaire des enlevements d enfants (Paris, 1988). On these three cases see Maurice Lever, Les Buchers de Sodome: Histoire des "infames'" (Paris, 1985).

2. In an untitled chapter about what he called "deplorable vices," "monstrous errors," and "unbelievable turpitudes," Louis Sebastien Mercier noted that "the magistrate who keeps a secret register of those who betray the laws of nature may be alarmed by their number." Le Tableau de Paris, 4 vols. (Paris, 1782), 3: 130-3.

3. See the extensive bibliography of secondary literature on homosexuality in early modern Europe available through my web page (

4. Registers of disorderly behavior compiled from the papers of Marc Rene de Voyer d'Argenson, lieutenant-general of police of Paris from 1697 to 1718, Bibliotheque Nationale, Collection Clairambault 984-5; records of police entrapment and interrogation (1715-50), Bibliotheque de l'Arsenal, Archives de la Bastille 10254-60; papers of commissioner Foucault, Archives Nationales, Y13407 (1780), 13408 (1781), 13409 (1782), 13410 (1783). Dates in parentheses in the text and the notes refer to these unpublished and unpaginated papers.

5. One report (8 March 1782) mentioned B ... de M ..., presumably the actor Boutet de Monvel, who, according to Memoires secrets, 17:274 [27 June 1781], left the country after the police had arrested him for the fifth time.

6. On commissioners, inspectors, and agents, see Alan Williams, The Police of Paris, 1718-89 (Baton Rouge, 1979).

7. The agent Antoine (14 September and 5 December 1782) could be the "famous pederast" Antoine (11 April 1781) or the twenty-five-year-old shoemaker or jeweler Jacques Antoine, who was arrested after accosting "one of Mr. Noel's men" (21 August 1781).

8. After Foucault's death in 1783, Noel collaborated with commissioner Convers-Desormeaux. See AN Y11722. Bryant Ragan is working on a comprehensive prosopographical study of eighteenth-century Parisian pederasty cases. Our documentary volume on same-sex relations in early modern France, forthcoming from Oxford University Press, will include material from the police records as well as many other types of sources.

9. Perhaps the wigmaker's assistant exaggerated, since the agent who made the arrest reported that Rassant was no more than ready to stick his hand into the young man's pants.

10. See Joseph de Corcia, "Bourg, Bourgeois, Bourgeois de Paris from the Eleventh to the Eighteenth Century," Journal of Modern History 50 (1978): 207-33.

11. Saint-Clement had described himself to the eighteen-year-old as a servant, in order to protect his good name, encourage familiarity, avoid the expectation of payment or the possibility of blackmail?

12. Because the parish registers of baptisms, marriages, and burials were destroyed in 1871, there are no reliable demographic figures for Paris. Studies based on other sources and other cities indicate that most men married in their late twenties and that the percentage of men who remained unmarried increased in the course of the eighteenth century.

13. One man arrested on the boulevards, who talked himself out of custody, mentioned his wife and child (26 December 1782). Another, who ended up in prison, told the police that he was following a prostitute, but they concluded that he was a pederast because of his costume (21 November 1782).

14. Some nicknames undoubtedly had something to do with the origins (La Flamande), appearance (La Blonde), or occupation (La Belle Selliere) of the men who adopted or accepted them. The list also includes aristocratic (La Comtesse de Jeannneau), ecclesiastical (La Religieuse), mythological (La Venus aux Belles Fesses), and exotic (La Petite Zelmire) names, but the most colorful ones are not the most representative ones.

15. On taverns and urban disorder, see Thomas Brennan, Public Drinking and Popular Culture in Eighteenth-Century Paris (Princeton, 1988).

16. These cases are more informative than the ones involving entrapment. One of Noel's agents testified that Claude Baurin had suggested that they go into the Champs-Elysees in order "to have a good time together" (25 December 1781). Louis Cabares (14 September 1782) and Henri Hurzel (5 December 1782) made "indecent popositions," not recorded in the reports, to another agent.

17. Two men allegedly corrupted Swiss guards, which suggests that Swiss guards could be corrupted (23 December 1780 and 4 January 1781). Another man offered money to a guard in the Champs-Elysees, first to have sex with him and then to let him go (8 September 1782).

18. When Clarard ran into Buterlin on the boulevards six weeks later, the count wanted to take him to Russia. Chauvot, like Robinet, procured for Buterlin (15 October 1780).

19. Erica Marie Benabou's La Prostitution et la police des moeurs au XVIIIe siecle (Paris, 1987) includes a few pages (180-6) on homosexual prostitution, but this subject has not been investigated systematically.

20. Noel described a pederast named Langlois as a friend of Thibouville's servant nicknamed Lajeunesse (27 November 1780). Thibouville's landlord, the marquis de Villette, was probably the most notorious sodomite of his generation. Andre Laurent, secretary of Villette's wife, was arrested with another man under the trees in the Champs-Elysees (7 June 1782). On Villette see Jeffrey Merrick, "The Marquis de Villette and Mademoiselle de Raucourt: Representations of Male and Female Homosexuality in Late Eighteenth-Century France," in Homosexuality in Modern France, ed. Jeffrey Merrick and Bryant Ragan (New York, 1996), 30-53.

21. Viennet is mentioned in one other report (15 March 1781). He plays a prominent role in the pamphlet Les Enfants de Sodome a l'Assemblee Nationale, published in 1790. For additional references to abbes see the reports dated 28 January, 10 February, and 6 October 1781, and 8 March 1782.

22. Another forty-two-year-old man followed his giton into the army (10 November 1781). This word, derived from the name of a character in the Satiricon of Petronius, generally referred to younger males who played the "passive" role in sexual relations between men. See Claude Courouve, Vocabulaire de l'homosexualite masculine (Paris, 1985), 118-20.

23. Foucault and Noel did not explain what they made of the fact that they found the soldier Laplanche's uniform in another man's room (25 September 1781).

24. The police did not interrogate Francois Lelouze, for example, "in order not to let him know the reason why he was arrested" (4 January 1782). For a case of a man arrested by mistake, see the report dated 22 April 1781.

25. Foucault's papers contain two other reference to Versailles. One man visited Paris with the intention of soliciting and taking "recruits" back to Versailles (8 November 1781). Another visited Versailles to debauch "young folk" for a count in Picardy (8 March 1782).

26. Saint-Andre reported that Borin had touched his hand, told him it was cold, and taken it in his own to warm it.

27. Others used the same excuse (23 April 1781 and 13 December 1782). The more imaginative Lafosse (not the jeweler) explained that he had fallen asleep in the Champs-Elysees after eating and drinking with another man and that he had unbuttoned his pants because they were too tight (10 July 1782).

28. Foucault's papers include a considerable amount of raw material for the study of the elusive subject of friendship. A clerk named Clier stated that he had met a soldier named Martin at a tavern in the neighborhood of La Courtille, where they spoke to each other because they were seated at adjacent tables, and that they had been "friends" from that time on. When Foucault asked if he was "intimitely associated" with anyone else, Clier replied that he was "always alone" with Martin, which evidently suggested to the commissioner that they were more than just friends (14 January 1781).

29. Several men accused individuals of making false accusations against them for personal reasons (5 December 1780, 4 January and 15 May 1781, and 8 February 1782).

30. During his interrogation Percheron stated that he had never had sexual relations with men and denied all the charges against him (3 April 1783).

31. The brother told the commissioner that the assailant lived in a wigmaker's house in the rue Saint-Honore. Less than a week later Noel searched the apartment of one Lefevre in a wigmaker's house in that street but found no relevant evidence. He asked Lefevre "various questions," not recorded in the report, and concluded that the assailant was a disreputable character named Valoux (30 January 1781). Valoux was arrested by Noel on 5 February and asked by Foucault on 10 February if he had encountered an apprentice cook when he lived in the apartment of his friend Lefevre.

32. According to this report Prainguet was arrested on 11, 15, 18, and 20 October, but his name is not mentioned in the reports of the pederasty patrols on the 15th and the 18th.

33. When Foucault sent men to prison he never wrote down how many days, weeks, or months they would spend there, but he did mention the length of previous imprisonments in the cases of some recidivists.

34. The cautious Foucault also asked his superior to decide what to do with two priests, a lawyer named Tessler, and a secretaire du roi named Desestre. Lenoir imprisoned one priest and instructed the other to leave Paris, released Tessler, and warned Desestre to be "more circumspect" in the future (13 December 1782).

35. Quoted by Jacques Peuchet, Memoires tires des archives de police de Paris, 6 vols. (Paris, 1838), 1: 290, from manuscripts given to him by Lenoir.

36. See Bryant Ragan, "The Enlightenment Confronts Homosexuality," and Michael Sibalis, "The Regulation of Male Homosexuality in Revolutionary and Napoleonic France, 1789-1815," in Merrick and Ragan, Homosexuality, 8-29 and 80-101, respectively.

37. Brothers Armand and Placide denied the charges. Placide declared that "there could be no suspicions about this crime except with respect to b[rother] Cofans," who, like the other adolescent novice, had joined the army after his expulsion from the monastery (14 April 1783).

38. See Michel Rey, "Les Sodomites parisiens au XVIIIe siecle," memoire de maitrise, Paris VIII, 1980, as well as the articles based on his thesis and additional research: "Justice, police, et sodomie a Paris au XVIIIe siecle," in Droit, histoire, et sexualite, ed. Jacques Poumarede and Jean Pierre Royer (Paris, 1987), 175-84; "Parisian Homosexuals Create a Lifestyle, 1700-1750: The Police Archives," in Tis Nature's Fault: Unauthorized Sexual Behavior during the Enlightenment, ed. Robert Maccubbin (Cambridge, 1987), 179-91; "Police and Sodomy in Eighteenth-Century Paris: From Sin to Disorder," in The Pursuit of Sodomy in Renaissance and Enlightenment Europe, ed. Kent Gerard and Gert Hekma (New York, 1989), 129-46.

39. See, most recently, Randolph Trumbach, "Are Modern Western Lesbian Women and Gay Men a Third Gender?" in A Queer World: The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader, ed. Martin Duberman (New York, 1997), 87-99. This article includes references to others by the same author, most notably "London's Sapphists: From Three Sexes to Four Genders in the Making of Modern Culture," in Third Sex/Third Gender, ed. Gilbert Herdt (Chicago, 1994), 111-36.

40. See Jeffrey Merrick, "Sodomitical Inclinations in Early Eighteenth-Century Paris," Eighteenth-Century Studies 30 (1997): 289-95.

41. On gens de la Manchette, see Courouve, Vocabulaire, 156-8.
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Title Annotation:police commissioner Pierre Louis Foucault; police inspector Louis Henri Noel
Author:Merrick, Jeffrey
Publication:Journal of Social History
Date:Dec 22, 1998
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