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A HISTORIC DOCUMENT

The document is an extract from the Court in Grenoble, published with priority ("avec privilege") on the 21st November 1701 by Alexandre Giroud, librarian of the Parliament. The publication contains the establishment of a tax for playing cards, as recorded in the original Edict, published in  October 1701 in Fontainebleau.
It's interesting to see how this is decribed in a legislative text and how possible loop-holes in the legislation have been forseen and dealed with. The document also gives an insight in how the law-enforcement was organised during the reign of Louis XIV, the Sun King, from 1643 until 1715.  But it also refers to new figures to be introduced on the court cards.

The text is in "old" French and certain ancient French titles are used. They have been translated in a strict manner in order to stay close to the original text. It was also interesting to see how certain words, like the "Ieu de cartes joer", were spelled or to find that in the old French an f-like letter was used in certain words for the "s", just like in old German texts.
In the English translation, I've kept to the original interpunction and use of capitals. And I haven't tried to smoothen the legislative text, so sometimes some re-reading may be necessary.

Before continuing there are a two terms that are used in the French text and that need some additional information:
-- "Fermier" has been translated here in a strict manner as "Farmer", but this Farmer has nothing to do with our present conception of a farmer. The old French title refers to what we would now call a tax-collector.
-- "18 Deniers" = 1,5 sou = 7,50 centimes. In the Dutch Kramer dictionary for French-Dutch 1 denier is described as 1/12 sou and 1 sou as 5 centimes. Too bad that I don't know how much this was in those days, compared to a general income of a labourer, nor do I have any idea about the price of a deck of cards in those days. So it's impossible to make a judgement about the harshness of this tax, although Louis thought it was "modique"...... modest.
In the text the exact reason for this tax remains obscure, but it was most likely inspired by the start of the Spanish Succession War on September 7th 1701.

Although neither French nor English are my native languages, I still hope that I've been able to produce a truthful and conscientious translation. Should there be any visitors, that can point out mistakes, I'll be happy to replace them here with a more correct translation.

Joop Muller                               

 

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