Venality: The Sale of Offices in Eighteenth-Century France

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

byWilliam Doyle

not yet rated|write a review
In ancien regime France almost all posts of public responsibility had to be bought or inherited. Rather than tax their richer subjects directly, French kings preferred to sell them privileged public offices, which further payments allowed them to sell or bequeath at will. By the eighteenthcentury there were 70,000 venal offices, comprising the entire judiciary, most of the legal profession, officers in the army, and a wide range of other professions - from financiers handling the king's revenues down to auctioneers and even wigmakers. Though now yielding diminishing returns to theking, offices were more in demand than ever for the privileges and prestige, profit and power, that they conferred; and although it was widely accepted that selling public authority was undesirable, nobody imagined that those who had invested in offices could ever be bought out. The Revolutionbrought an unexpected opportunity to do so, but the legacy of venality has marked French institutions down to our day. William Doyle, one of the foremost historians of early modern Europe, has written the first comprehensive history of the last century of venality. He traces the evolution and dissolution of a system which was fundamental to the workings of state and society in France for over threecenturies.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$320.23 online
$442.50 list price (save 27%)
Ships within 1-3 weeks
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

In ancien regime France almost all posts of public responsibility had to be bought or inherited. Rather than tax their richer subjects directly, French kings preferred to sell them privileged public offices, which further payments allowed them to sell or bequeath at will. By the eighteenthcentury there were 70,000 venal offices, compri...

From the Jacket

In ancien regime France almost all posts of public responsibility had to be bought or inherited. Rather than tax their richer subjects directly, French kings preferred to sell them privileged public offices, which further payments allowed them to sell or bequeath at will. By the eighteenth century there were 70,000 venal offices compri...

William Doyle is a Professor of History at University of Bristol, Fellow of the British Academy.

other books by William Doyle

The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction
The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction

Paperback|Aug 1 2001

$9.12 online$11.95list price(save 23%)
PT 109: An American Epic of War, Survival, and the Destiny of John F. Kennedy
PT 109: An American Epic of War, Survival, and the Dest...

Paperback|Jun 7 2016

$18.52 online$19.99list price(save 7%)
The Oxford History of the French Revolution
The Oxford History of the French Revolution

Paperback|Dec 15 2002

$36.31 online$39.95list price(save 9%)
see all books by William Doyle
Format:HardcoverDimensions:364 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.98 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198205368

ISBN - 13:9780198205364

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of Venality: The Sale of Offices in Eighteenth-Century France

Reviews

Extra Content

Editorial Reviews

`excellent book'Times Literary Supplement