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Illegitimacy, inter-generational conflict and legal practice in eighteenth-century northern Burgundy.

Early Modern France was a society obsessed with the harmful effects of "disorder." The perception that women were subject to their passions more than men meant that the period saw the law used increasingly as a means of controlling women. Legal changes in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries tended to place husbands more firmly in control of a couple's property, and even to exclude women from ruling as monarchs. (1) But perhaps none of the legal changes in this period has received as much attention from historians as those that attempted to regulate female sexuality. To a significant extent these changes revolved around the question of how to deal with illegitimate children and their mothers--the re-definition of infanticide and the corresponding spike in prosecutions, the criminalization of rapt (elopement), and the decline in the recherche de paternite. (2)

While there is little doubt that elites were concerned about the problem of disorder, and that legal changes from 1500 to 1789 increasingly marginalized women and criminalized their sexuality, it is much more difficult to say if and how life may have changed for ordinary women. Indeed there is evidence that women during the Old Regime continued to control substantial amounts of property, that many daughters inherited as much as their brothers, and that women remained active in the labor market and market economy. (3) Economic necessity, a lack of political will within the judiciary, and the stubborn resilience of popular culture may have mitigated against the growing misogynistic tendencies of the law. In fact several historians have recently argued that attempts by social elites during the Early Modern period to impose discipline on ordinary men and women were largely ineffective. (4) The present article examines laws and practices surrounding illegitimacy in the eighteenth century. I show that, whatever the intentions of those writing the laws, ordinary women finding themselves pregnant outside marriage could use the courts and turn repressive laws to their own advantage.

The cast of players involved in the disputes and lawsuits examined over paternity, illegitimacy and breach of promise included more than just young couples and judges. An examination of interrogations and depositions underlines the considerable involvement of the parents of the young man accused of being the father. While parties often tried to hide this fact from the judge, much of the disputing surrounding illegitimacy was as much inter-generational conflict over the right of young people to choose their own partners, as it was conflict between a seducing man and a wronged woman. There is sometimes evidence that the young man being sued for child support had promised marriage with the intent of carrying it out, but that his parents (and especially his mother) refused to allow it. Young women shamed by illegitimate pregnancy and often unable to make a good marriage match were at least partly victims of two centuries of legal changes that had extended parental control over marriage rather than of laws that supposedly criminalized their sexuality.


This article is based on two main kinds of sources--declarations of pregnancy before notaries and judges, and civil litigation for child support. The declarations of pregnancy were required under a law that in the eighteenth century was already several hundred years old. According to the strict wording of the 1556 law, all pregnant women, including those who were married, were required to make a formal declaration to some kind of judicial or police authority that they were pregnant. But only unmarried pregnant women ever lodged a formal report. Indeed there was no provision for a fine or punishment for those who failed to report, but the presumption of infanticide in all cases where the unreported baby did not survive the birth provided sufficient pressure to motivate most unwed mothers who intended to have the baby, to report it.

The requirement for the declaration of pregnancy was one of which few Burgundian women by the late eighteenth century could claim to be ignorant. The province of Burgundy had effective, active, local jurisdictions in the form of seigneurial courts. In addition to regular weekly sessions for civil cases and probate jurisdiction, each of these local courts held annual meetings in the village (assizes, called Grands-Jours in Burgundy), where the judge read out various kinds of local, provincial and national police regulations, including, in the words of one public prosecutor, "the edict of Henry II ... on the subject of women that conceal their pregnancy and delivery." (5) These assizes were attended by all of the household heads of the village, married men and widows, and although this meant that the population directly affected by the law was not present, young women doubtless knew of the requirement.

Most pregnancy declarations were lodged with royal notaries and seigneurial judges. While the local judge was likely to perform the service more cheaply, a distant notary would probably prove more confidential, since at the very least prying village eyes would see the woman stop by to visit the judge's clerk. Interestingly, the notaries of at least the city of Dijon had by the late eighteenth century formally agreed to protect the privacy rights of mothers, promising not to submit declarations of pregnancy to the stamp tax authorities unless the mother needed to use the document in court. (6) It seems likely, then, that women who planned to raise the child within the village with family support, would prefer the services of the seigneurial judge, while women who planned to leave the baby in au urban hospital or orphanage, would probably go further away and talk to a notary.

The requirement that women declare their pregnancies is in some ways good evidence of the strength of the sexual double standard, since it was intended to punish mothers who hid the results of premarital sexual activity. Nevertheless, one of the most interesting things about the declarations is the way in which by the eighteenth century these had become a potent means whereby a woman unexpectedly pregnant could bring the father of the child to account. What's more, the judicial system of the province of Burgundy provided significant legal means of ensuring that the young man was held responsible, including gendered legal presumptions of guilt and the threat of prison.

By the second half of the eighteenth century most declarations of pregnancy contained a clause stating that the woman had requested a copy to use in her pursuit of the father for civil damages or child support. Some simply requested a legal copy of the declaration to use "in case of necessity," while others were more elaborate, almost the beginning of a lawsuit. Marie Feny stated that she was declaring her pregnancy to satisfy the edicts, and "to proceed against the said Jean Ronard for the child or children with which she is pregnant, or for the damages that are due her in this case." (7) Indeed one study of two rural towns in Burgundy found that ninety percent of pregnancy declarations contained a formal request for a copy of the act, while by the 1780s slightly less than half of the declarations specified that the woman reserved the right to pursue the father judicially for damages in addition to child support. (8)

Many young women followed through on their threats to proceed judicially on the basis of their declarations, while doubtless many others used the threat to get some money from the father without going to court. The jurisprudence practiced within the area under the authority of the Parlement of Dijon made the declaration a particularly powerful instrument for the economic protection of an unmarried woman. This was because the courts of the province automatically assumed the veracity of the declaration of pregnancy. In fact so strong was the presumption, that pregnant women could sometimes receive a judgment ordering the man to pay for the costs of the pregnancy and delivery without any judicial investigation at all. In contrast to other legal regimes, there was no requirement that the father be named during labor pangs, and in some cases judges would award child support or at least costs of the delivery without even speaking to the purported father. In 1752, for example, in the seigneurial court of the barony of Gemeaux, a young woman appeared before the judge to declare her pregnancy, and the judge awarded her 30 livres from the named father, for the costs of her delivery, with no court case. (9) The Hopital General in Dijon sometimes also ordered fathers to pay between 30 and 50 livres on the simple basis of a declaration of pregnancy. (10)

Most judicial awards for child support, though, were the result of civil court cases initiated by the spurned mother. Here too, the presumption that the woman had told the truth in her declaration was total, and I have never seen a civil case for child support where the mother lost. The jurisprudence made an interesting distinction between child support, where the woman's word sufficed, and civil suits for damages, where the court would weigh the testimony of both parties and hear witnesses. The lawyers of a defendant in one such suit for damages, explained as follows: "it is nevertheless an incontestable maxim that the girl is only believed for the purpose of feeding the child, and that her declaration does not prejudice the principal question of whether or not the child belongs to the accused." (11) In other words, the law held that a woman would have no reason to lie when it came simply to getting money to raise or place the child, since child support payments would be the same regardless of the wealth or position of the father (presumably based on the woman's social position). But in litigation over breach of promise for payment of damages, it was possible that she might claim to have been engaged to a more promising man.

How much were unmarried fathers sentenced to pay? The first thing that judges ordered was a one-time payment for the costs of her pregnancy and delivery. This could vary from about 30 to about 100 livres, although 50 or 60 seems to have been the most common. This would pay for the clothes and blankets that she would have to buy, as well as the midwife's or surgeon's fees. Sometimes the judge would also order punitive damages paid by the man, which could be as high as 500 livres, but damages were comparatively rare for reasons discussed below. But surely the most important part of the sentence was the order that the man was to pay all costs of raising or placing the child until she or he could acquire a skill or trade, up to and including costs of an apprenticeship. Judges sometimes specified an amount (for example 40 livres per year), sometimes ordered the man to pay all costs incurred by the woman, and sometimes ordered him to place the infant, presumably either in an orphanage or with a wet-nurse in the countryside.


Unmarried pregnant women sometimes requested damages from the judge, suing the father for breach of promise, usually claiming that sex took place only after the man's repeated promises to marry her. Many declarations of pregnancy stated, like Marguerite Carriere's, that the "author" of her pregnancy "seduced her with a promise of marriage." (12) This means that many, indeed most, paternity disputes in court were simultaneously breach of promise cases. These cases are highly informative in that they tell us a great deal about the perceptions of villagers and judges with respect to courting, marriage and sexual activity before marriage. Men wishing to contest paternity in order to avoid large awards of damages for breach of promise had only a few legal strategies at their disposal. They could either claim never to have known the plaintiff sexually, or could accuse her in court of being too promiscuous to be able to name the father with any certainty. Both of these legal strategies, however, placed the male defendant at a distinct disadvantage and could backfire with disastrous results.

The preferred strategy was to claim never to have known the woman sexually, and never to have promised to marry her--this was because impugning the woman's virtue could disgust the judge and lead to still higher awards of damages. But in villages of only several hundred inhabitants, plaintiffs never had any trouble finding witnesses who could demonstrate, if not the certainty, at least the likelihood of sexual intercourse having taken place--and village opinion was inevitably on the woman's side, with innumerable villagers testifying that they had advised the man to marry her. Because an award of damages (rather than simply child support) would depend on evidence of intent to marry, or at least publicity of the relationship, judges were at least as interested in hearing evidence of courtship as of the actual sexual act. Witnesses testified that Francois Bitouset "frequented" Jeanne Guigard, that they were often seen dancing together, that Bitouset kissed her on the mouth and that he held her in his arms in public. (13) The judge that interrogated Claude Petitjean asked if he propositioned Jeanne Philipot to "accord to him her favors, after his promise to marry her." The judge also wanted Claude to respond to the statements of the other farmhands that when he was "tired or indisposed she involved herself, and soothed him while expressing her concern, and took particular cares for him." Although Claude denied noticing her public care for him, the judge apparently agreed with the witnesses that this was evidence both of the public nature of their courtship and the likelihood that Claude had asked Jeanne to marry him. He sentenced Claude, the son of a yeoman farmer, not only to look after the child, pay 100 livres for the delivery, but also to pay 600 livres for the harm he had done to her reputation by refusing to marry her and claiming not to be the child's father. When poor day-laborers got by on 50 livres a year or less, this was a staggering award of damages that could have sent Jeanne well on her way financially. (14)

The burden of proof in suits for damages was much higher than in suits for child support. The plaintiff had to show, usually by witness testimony, not only that the man was likely the father, but also that he had proposed marriage and that the proposal had been believable. When these suits were successful, though, the damages awarded could be considerable. It seems, in fact, that awards of damages in these cases were sometimes based on an estimate of how much the woman might have expected to receive as a dowry had she married. Antoine Dauny, a master patissier, told witnesses that if the parents and family of Nicolle Depres would "act in the proper manner and without a court case ... with respect to the damages to the girl, Claude Depres [Nicolle's father] had already married children, and he would pay him as much." (15) It is not clear whether this was based on the assumption that the woman would not be able to find a husband in the future, or rather that the marriage proposal contained already an implicit promise to contribute financially. It is clear, however, that to most ordinary people, and even to most judges, the main problem with illegitimacy within settled rural society was less the sexual activity during courtship and more the man's failure to marry her.


Of course it's one thing to order a penniless 22 year-old to pay child support or damages, and another thing trying to collect. In Burgundy in the late eighteenth century, there were, however, established methods for ensuring the collection of child support. In a few cases the court remained actively involved in the collection, as when the judge ordered Claude Petitjean to "report every three months to the court on the existence and state of the said child." (16) But more often it seems that the collection of damages, and especially of child support, was left in the hands of the mother. In some ways this was treated by the judicial system similarly to any other kind of unpaid debt, for which the law provided two well-establish forms of coercion: debtor's prison and the judicial seizure of property. In 1785, for example, the seigneurial court of Varranges ordered execution of a seizure that Anne Divelle (the daughter of a yeoman farmer) had brought against the soldier who had gotten her pregnant. He had apparently not yet paid the 300 livres in damages, 60 livres for the costs of the pregnancy, and all costs of raising the child that the court had ordered. (17) But judicial seizures were comparatively rare, since the young age and single status of most fathers meant that there was little property to seize. A prison sentence, on the other hand, might persuade the man's family to pay.

Because many of the young fathers may have been too poor to pay the high costs of seeing to the child's upbringing, prison seems to have been a more common solution to non-payment of child support than was property seizure. This was so common that people apparently had a special name for this function of the royal prison, as in 1785 when the son of a blacksmith presented the court with his request that he be freed from the bailliage "matrimonial prison." (18) Indeed it seems likely that within the province of Burgundy there was at any given time at least a couple of young men in jail for failing to meet their obligations to the their illegitimate children. Out of a sample of 230 civil prisoners (debtors) in the bailliages of Arnay-le-Duc and Beaune, eighteen were there for their failure to provide child support, among them Pierre Bernot, son of a village schoolmaster, who in 1784 missed his annual payment of fifty livres to the daughter of an innkeeper. (19)

Debtor's prison was not a cure-all for the financial woes of single mothers, and the high awards of child support handed down by the courts may actually have encouraged those young men with weaker ties to the village to run away. Furthermore, in the Old Regime the person requesting imprisonment in civil cases had to pay for the prisoner's food. In 1785 one young father was released from prison because the mother of his infant could not afford the 12 sols for costs of entry and exit from the prison in addition to 3 sols per day for his bread. (20) If such instances are rare, it is nevertheless likely that many young women were unwilling to use their savings to pay for the imprisonment of someone who might simply not have the money to pay her.

In other cases, though, the threat and use of civil imprisonment could be highly effective. Take, for example, the case of Lazare Bretin, a sharecropper. His time in jail, and the realization of the seriousness of his financial position, apparently brought him to reconsider his attitude toward his ex-girlfriend/fiancee. The jailer ended up releasing him at the request of the woman and her father, "as a result of his oath taken toward the girl for the celebration and consummation of their marriage." (21) This is the only such reconciliation that I have come across, and a prison sentence more generally likely served only to strain relations further. But time in prison probably often served as a wake-up call to the young man, and especially to his family. Many of the young fathers had substantial ties to their community, were often the sons of substantial farmers in the village, and for them flight was hardly an option.

The declaration of pregnancy was a powerful document for protecting the financial interests of unmarried mothers. Occasionally we can see young men reacting to the declaration of pregnancy, always with alarm and fear. One villager testified on behalf of a pregnant seamstress that while he was drinking together with Rainet Laureau, the father, he told him that "Jeanne Drouhin had done her declaration on his account, that he had the feebleness to abuse of her, and that he was lost (qu'il etait homme perdu)." (22) Jean Louis Bocard was so alarmed when Marie Jaumaine became pregnant that he offered another villager a large sum of money to marry her, threatened her "it would go badly for her" if she declared her pregnancy, and finally murdered her out of fear that she would go to the judge. (23)

Judge's and popular sympathies in paternity cases were invariably with the woman; village women chastised the young man's mother and village men often upbraided the man or his father. Burgundian courts systematically sentenced the father to pay all costs of raising an illegitimate child, and the judicial system had a certain amount of coercive power to enforce the award. All of this emphasizes the importance of the Napoleonic Code in setting back women's causes and strengthening the sexual double standard, challenging those who would see developments during the French Revolution as the judicial realization of a slow degradation of women's status over the course of the eighteenth century.


As practiced by judges and understood by ordinary people, then, the law in eighteenth-century northern Burgundy provided considerable financial protection for unmarried pregnant women. But the study of these lawsuits over child support raises another question, that of why these disputes happened in the first place. Why did these men apparently resist pressure from priests, neighbors, social elites and a heavy economic burden from the court and stubbornly refuse to marry? We know that by the eighteenth century an appreciable percentage of brides were pregnant at the altar (about 12 and 15 percent in two demographic studies of Burgundian parishes, as high as half in some parts of France). (24) The vast majority of unmarried women who found themselves pregnant, in other words, successfully transitioned to respectable marriage. What made the cases discussed in this article end instead in heartbreak and tragedy?

This question is difficult to answer because judges seem to have been relatively uninterested in asking it. They sought proof that the couple was known to spend time together, and to comport themselves as if they were courting, but did not ask why the couple remained unmarried. Still, male and female parties sometimes offered one of two competing explanations for why they were not having bans read in Church. The first explanation, offered implicitly in many pregnancy declarations, was that the man involved was a rogue, who had used marriage proposal as a seduction tool, without ever intending to carry through on the promise. The second explanation, generally loudly proffered in field and tavern, but more rarely mentioned to the judge, was that the woman was promiscuous, and had simply picked out an attractive mate to entrap. While each of these circumstances may have occurred occasionally, as explanations they raise suspicion by the fact that they are laden with the vocabulary of victim-hood--the innocent maiden seduced and betrayed, the likeable young man coldly chosen to raise children he did not father.

Interestingly, much of the public arguing, fighting and disputing surrounding paternity and breach of promise was carried out by the parents of the man accused of fathering the child, and especially by his mother. Furthermore, in some cases the testimony of witnesses provides evidence that the young man's attitude had changed over time, moving from acceptance of the child and even continued assurances to marry the woman, to open contempt and insults by the time the case came to court. Together this suggests that in some cases at least, the marriage talk leading to sex really took place, and that the "seducing" man was sincere, but that his parents ultimately refused to allow him to marry the young woman.

The extent to which the parents of the young father, and especially his mother, involved themselves in paternity disputes is considerable. Take, for example, the case of Anne Galinet and Jean Baptiste Viard. Galinet was well supported by locals, and called no fewer than a dozen witnesses to testify on her behalf. Viard, on the other hand, called no witnesses, despite the fact that he grew up in the village. Several women testified that they advised Viard's mother, Jacquin, to settle the dispute and marry her son to Galinet. When talking to Viard's mother, Denise Francois, wife of a merchant, "represented to her that she would do well to arrange the affair." Margueritte Martin, the wife of the village herder, was more direct, telling Jacquin that "she should allow her son to marry with Galinet," to which Jacquin answered that Anne was "a slut and a whore, and that she did not want to hear any more about it." Another female witness told of Jacquin's admiration for the witness's new grandchild, to which she answered "when Galinet delivers you should accept her baby, and you will find it still prettier than that of my daughter." Jacquin responded with tedious lack of originality, "don't speak to me of her, she is a whore, a slut that I do not ever want to see. The child is not from my son, since she has known over fifty people." (25)

The parents of the young man were sometimes more involved in the actual disputes surrounding the pregnancy than the couple themselves. In the case discussed above, Jacquin was far more vitriolic than her son Jean Baptiste. Indeed when Francoise Marechal invited the two extended families to her home to reach a resolution, Jacquin lost her temper so badly that no solution was reached. Jacquin told Anne "you are a whore and a thief, do you want to see me strike you?" and it was only the fact that her son physically restrained her that stopped her from carrying out the threat. This failed reconciliation or arrangement attempt happened in May, and the witnesses made no reference to Jean Baptiste participating in the insults and mistreatment of Anne. But by late in August of the same year Jean Baptiste's position toward Anne seems to have come to resemble that of his mother. On the 18th or 19th of that month he came to Anne's window late at night to hurl insults at her, calling her a whore in five or six different ways. Anne's response that she had known nobody but him sexually, and only after his repeated promises to marry her, failed to placate his anger: "You wanted to have the youngest Viard, to feed the baby you are having, but you won't have him. I don't give a damn about you or it."

We can follow the transformation of the young father's attitude toward his ex-girlfriend and child in other cases as well. The judge of the village of Chamblanc heard a paternity dispute/breach of promise case between two young villagers. Witnesses called by the woman told of various statements made by Micherat, the man involved. One heard him say that he would marry Cottain (the pregnant woman) if she would only be patient, while several others testified that he had earlier promised at least to look after the child. By the time of the lawsuit, Micherat was maintaining that he was not the father and that he had never promised either to marry her or pay for the child's upkeep. One witness told the judge that Micherat had explained that his mother would not allow him to acknowledge the child. (26)

Part of the context for these paternity disputes/breach of promise cases was the ongoing struggle between three rival conceptions of marriage, overlaid by the issue of parental authority over their twenty-something children. The popular medieval model of marriage was that it was made by the combination of publicity and sexual consummation--two people known to live together were held to be married. From sources all over Europe, we know that this view of marriage persisted well into the eighteenth century among peasants and the poor. (27) There is no doubt that many of the women with illegitimate children who appear in the judicial and notarial records felt that the marriage proposal and its acceptance formed the most important part of the wedding process, regarding themselves as mostly married when the sexual act took place.

Neither the Catholic Church nor the monarchical state supported this traditional view of marriage, although the Church was closer to the popular model of marriage than was the monarchical state. While religious leaders held that a formal ceremony overseen by a priest was necessary, they also placed a great deal of emphasis on the importance of free consent from the parties getting married. Legislators and legal theorists, on the other hand, complained that priests frequently performed clandestine marriages against the wishes of parents. Undermining parental authority, clandestine marriages were thought to cause political instability by threatening the orderly devolution of property between the generations. By the late 16th century royal, edicts required parental consent for marriage and raised the customary age of majority to thirty for men and 25 for women (from 20 and 17 respectively). The official governmental view of marriage by the eighteenth century, then, was that it was a "familial accord officially rendered in a legal contract." (28)

Although institutionally the French government had managed to wrest control from the Church, and had imposed a legal requirement of parental consent on courting couples, in reality there remained a certain amount of uncertainty surrounding the issue of parental authority over marriage. Yves Jeanclos has recently demonstrated the continuing emphasis on the free consent of the couple as the basis for marriage, arguing that judicial sentences favorable to consent were about as numerous as those favorable to parental authority into the eighteenth century. The judges who enforced the laws, Jeanclos argues, generally accepted "certain human behaviors that did not necessarily correspond to the official conception of matrimony." (29)

While everyone agreed that successful matches involved both courtship between a man and woman and the involvement of parents, and of wider networks of family and friends, the coexistence of at least three models of marriage (popular, religious and state models) caused a certain amount of uncertainty about how courting should work. This uncertainty created a situation where some couples had spent time together, spoken of marriage, and perhaps consummated the relationship sexually, only to find that their parents refused to allow the match. When women told a judge that sex had taken place only after a marriage proposal, they might have been telling the truth rather than simply trying to win his sympathy. And the young man's proposal in these cases may have been, not a seduction attempt, but another step in a process leading to a good match. From a simple cast of roguish seducers and abandoned young women, understanding illegitimacy within the context of settled rural Burgundian society requires us to expand the cast to include fathers and mothers determined to assert their right to make good matches for their children.

The misogynistic moralizing of a few magistrates does not describe lived reality for ordinary people. Certainly those writing the laws targeted female sexuality as a leading source of social disorder. And until about the end of the seventeenth century and the development of the birth preparation defense, there is little doubt that the high number of women sentenced to death for infanticide strained gender relations and heightened the distance between popular and elite culture. (30) But the present analysis of lawsuits and prosecutions involving illegitimacy suggests both the considerable resilience of popular culture and the unhelpfulness of simple dichotomies between popular and elite culture. It is perhaps unsurprising that villagers remained sympathetic to pregnant young women and exerted considerable pressure on young men and their families to encourage respectable marriage. But the continued willingness of judges to believe women over men and to place all financial responsibility for raising children on men, plus the existence of effective means of ensuring collection and enforcement suggest that even in the eighteenth century judges and lawmakers remained sympathetic to the peasant model of marriage and accepted sexual contact as part of the courtship process leading to marriage.

A certain measure of financial protection was available to unmarried pregnant women in eighteenth-century Burgundy, and many took advantage of the law in a savvy attempt to make the best of a bad situation. Unfortunately court cases and pregnancy declarations end the story just as it starts to get interesting, at the beginning of what may sometimes have been a significant lifestyle change for whole families. They leave unanswered the most interesting question, namely: what happened to the young women and their illegitimate children in the long run? How often were the children raised by the mother, by a wet-nurse, or in an orphanage? Did the women subsequently marry? Did illegitimacy destine both mother and child to a lifetime of poverty? Marc Pena has recently described the serious legal impediments that faced illegitimate children even in the eighteenth century, but he gives the reader little sense of how the laws were enforced in practice or experienced by ordinary people. (31) Answering these questions will require document-matching between pregnancy declarations and lawsuits on the one hand, and parish marriage records, marriage contracts, probate records and notarial archives on the other. When this work is finished, we may find that ordinary women unexpectedly pregnant managed, with the help of family and friends, to land on their feet to a surprising extent.


The author is Assistant Professor at the Universite de Moncton. Earlier versions of this article were presented at the 2003 International Federation for Research in Women's History conference in Belfast, and at the Mount Allison University faculty works-in-progress seminar. For their help, the author would like to thank Chris Corley and James Collins.

1. Sarah Hanley, "Engendering the State: Family Formation and State-Building in Early Modern France," French Historical Studies 16(1989), pp. 8-20; Sarah Hanley, Les femmes dans l'histoire. La loi salique (Paris, 1994).

2. James Farr, Authority and Sexuality in Early Modern Burgundy (1550-1730) (Oxford, 1995), pp. 13-31; Olwen Hufton, The Prospect before Her. A History of Women in Western Europe. Volume 1, 1500-1800 (New York, 1996), pp. 257-298; Robert Muchembled, Popular Culture and Elite Culture in France, 1400-1750 trans. Lydia Cochrane (London, 1985), pp. 187-234; Robert Muchembled, La societe policee: politique et politesse en France du XVIe au XVIIIe siecle (Paris, 1998); Alfred Soman, "Anatomy of an Infanticide Trial: The Case of Marie-Jeanne Bartonnet (1742)," in Michael Wolfe ed, Changing Identities in Early Modern France (Durham, 1997), pp. 248-272.

3. Anne Zink, L'heritier de la maison. Geographie coutumiere du SudOuest de la France sous l'Ancien Regime (Paris, 1993), pp. 407-8; Zoe Schneider, "Women before the Bench: Female Litigants in Early Modern Normandy," French Historical Studies 23(2000), pp. 1-32; James B. Collins, "Economic Role of Women in Seventeenth-Century France," French Historical Studies 16(1989), pp. 436-70.

4. Ann B. Tlusty, Bacchus and Civic Order. The Culture of Drink in Early Modern Germany (Charlottesville, 2001), pp. 6-10; Benoit Garnot, "Une illusion historiographique: justice et criminalite au XVIIIe siecle," Revue historique 283(1989), pp. 361-380.

5. Archives departementales de la Cote d'Or (hereafter ADCO) B2 458/4, seigneurial court of Billey, Grands-Jours, Aug. 30, 1780. See also Reglements generaux qui s'observent dans tout le ressort de la cour, et dont on fait lecture a la tenue des Grands-Jours. Nouvelle Edition. Revue, corrigee et augmentee (Dijon, 1786), pp. 54-55.

6. "Certificat d'usage sur les declarations de grossesse" ADCO E2172, register of the community of notaries of Dijon.

7. ADCO 4E5/145, notaire Forneron, Messigny, Pregnancy declaration, Jan. 16 1793.

8. M. C. Straboni, "Recherches sur la sexualite illegitime: Les declarations de grossesse dans les deux cantons ruraux actuels d'Is-sur-Tille et Grangey-le-Chateau de 1751 a 1791." (Memoire D.E.A. Droit, Universite de Bourgogne, 1976), pp. 77-8, 82.

9. ADCO B2 618, seigneurial justice of the barony of Gemeaux, 1752.

10. Hopital General de Dijon, E1/38, register of deliberations, for example Mar. 20 1757. The Hopital St. Jacques in Aix-en-Provence similarly had some jurisdiction over fathers of illegitimate children and summarily ordered them to pay support. Nicole ArnaudDuc, "La recherche des debiteurs de l'entretien des enfants abandonnes pendant l'Ancien Regime a Aix-en-Provence, ou comment detourner un texte repressif a ses fins civiles," in Benoit Garnot ed., L'infrajudiciaire du Moyen Age a l'epoque contemporaine (Dijon, 1996), pp. 166-170.

11. Dijon Municipal library, Fonds Carnot 8(21), "Memoire pour Toussaint Sirugue, contre Etienne Breton, tanneur, et de son autorite Anne Breton sa fille," 1721.

12. ADCO 4E/5 notaire Forneron, Messigny, Feb. 11 1788.

13. ADCO B2 470/1, seigneurial justice of Monaigy, session Apr. 30 1721.

14. ADCO B2 763/1, seigneurial justice of Montot, sessions Jun. 27 1780, Jul. 15 1780, Aug. 4 1780.

15. ADCO B2 874/1, seigneurial justice of Selongey, session Nov. 17 1724.

16. ADCO B2 763/1, seigneurial justice of Montot, sessions Jun. 27 1780, Jul. 15 1780, Aug. 4 1780.

17. ADCO B2 118/14, Dijon bailliage, civil qualities, Jun. 30 1785 (on appeal from the seigneurial court of Varanges).

18. ADCO B2 118/42, Dijon bailliage, civil qualities, Feb. 19 1785.

19. ADCO B2 sup. 276, Beaune bailliage, ecrous, Jan. 1 1784.

20. ADCO B2 sup. 23, Arnay-le-Duc bailliage, ecrous, Dec. 9 1785.

21. ADCO B2 sup 23, Arnay-le-Duc bailliage, ecrous Sep. 7 1756.

22. ADCO B2 424/2, seigeurial justice of Aisy, Pont-d'Aisy, sessions Jul. 3 1779, Jul. 4 1779, Jul. 22 1779.

23. ADCO B2 46/42, Parlement of Dijon, Tournelle, arrets definitifs, Feb. 5 1785.

24. Jacques Houdaille, "Quatre villages au Morvan," Population 42(1987), p. 661; Marc Lindimer, "Mesisgny et Vantoux. Etude demographique, 1690-1790," (Memoire de maitrise, Universite de Bourgogne, 1997), p. 61.

25. ADCO B2 457/4, seigneurial justice of Villerrottin, sessions Oct. 4 1782, Oct. 8 1782, Oct. 18 1782.

26. ADCO B2 491/1, seigneurial justice of Chamblanc, witness depositions, Apr. 19 1731.

27. James R. Farr, Authority and Sexuality, pp. 91-122; Lawrence Stone, The Family, Sex and Marriage in England, 1500-1800 (London, 1977).

28. Sarah Hanley, "The Jurisprudence of the Arrets: Marital Union, Civil Society and State Formation in France, 1550-1650," Law and History Review 20(2003), p. 35.

29. Yves Jeanclos, "Consentement et pratique matrimoniale en France au XVIIe siecle," Memoires de la Societe pour l'Histoire du Droit et des Institutions des anciens pays bourguignons, comtois et romans 58(2001), pp. 310, 357.

30. Hufton, Prospect Before Her, pp. 276-7.

31. Marc Pena, "Des liberalites accordees aux batards en ancien droit francais," Memoires de la Societe pour l'Histoire du Droit et des Institutions des anciens pays bourguignons, comtois et romans 52(1995), pp. 49-81.

By Jeremy Hayhoe

Universite de Moncton

Departement d'histoire et de geographie

Moncton NB

E1A 3E9 Canada
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Author:Hayhoe, Jeremy
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Date:Mar 22, 2005
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