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The End of an Elite : The French Bishops and the Coming of the Revolution 1786-1790 - Nigel Aston

The End of an Elite

The French Bishops and the Coming of the Revolution 1786-1790

Hardcover Published: 29th October 1992
ISBN: 9780198202844
Number Of Pages: 352

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This is the first scholarly study in English of the bishops of the French Church at the outbreak of the French Revolution. The 130 members of the episcopate formed an elite within an elite, the First Estate of the kingdom. Much has been written in recent years about the late eighteenth-century French nobility, but the high political picture remains incomplete without taking the bishops into account. This book is designed to correct the imbalance.
Nigel Aston explores the role of the episcopate in national and provincial politics in the vital last years of the ancien regime and looks particularly at the policies and patronage of episcopal ministers like Lomenie de Brienne and J.-M. Champion de Cice, who were as much politicians as pastors. Dr Aston emphasizes the leading role of the bishops in the Assemblies of Notables, in moves towards decentralization in 1787-9, and offers a fresh interpretation of clerical elections to the Estates-General in 1789. He also considers the performance of the bishops in the National Assembly, their links with lay politicians, and their response to the Civil Constitution of the Clergy in 1790.
This is an intensively researched and immensely readable account, which will be invaluable to all historians and students of late eighteenth-century France.

`It is rare that doctoral monographs are converted with fluency and distinction into influential academic books. However, in this invigorating and scholarly analysis of French prelates in the build-up to the French Revolution, Aston has capably managed the transition. Aston's study is an engaging and useful assertion of the important and conscientious role played in this crucial period by the French high clerisy ... in the fluency of his prose, the depth of his research and the importance of his subject, Aston has produced a valuable addition to the history of late eighteenth-century France.' Peter Spence, History, Vol. 81

Introductionp. 1
An Apostolic Elite: The Bishops of the French Church at the end of the Ancien Regimep. 5
The Bishops, Political Reform and Public Administrationp. 30
The Bishops and the First Assembly of Notables, Spring 1787p. 46
A Clerical Minister: Brienne, the Bishops, and the Local Assembliesp. 67
The Fall of Briennep. 89
Necker, the Clergy, and 'Patriotism'p. 117
Bishops versus Cures: Clerical Elections to the Estates-General, Spring 1789p. 134
The End of the First Estate: The Bishops and the Estates-General, May-July 1789p. 157
The Failure of Patriotism: The Bishops in the National Assembly, July-September 1789p. 182
The Bishops outside the Assembly and the New Political Order, 1789-1790p. 203
The Constitutionalists on the Defensive, Winter 1789-1790p. 212
The Bishops and the Civil Constitution, 1790p. 231
Appendix 1. Map of the Bishoprics of France, 1789p. 247
Appendix 2. The Archbishops and Bishops of France in 1789 Listed by Provincep. 250
Appendix 3. Episcopal Membership of the Provincial Assemblies, 1787-1788p. 266
Appendix 4. Prelates Elected to the Estates-General, May 1789p. 268
Appendix 5. Summary of Careers of the Archbishops and Bishops of the French Church after the Outbreak of the Revolution, Arranged According to Provincep. 269
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780198202844
ISBN-10: 0198202849
Series: Oxford Historical Monographs
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: 29th October 1992
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.4 x 14.4  x 2.5
Weight (kg): 0.57