By Thomas McStay Adams
Within the mid-eighteenth century in France, the royal experts introduced a brand new crusade to brush beggars from the streets, pinning their hopes at the construction of a uniform royal community of lock-ups during which someone came upon begging may be detained. during this learn, Adams probes the accomplishments and the issues of those so-called d?p?ts de mendicit?, as visible by way of critics of the scan (including discovered judges and influential spokesmen of the provincial Estates) and as visible via these answerable for its good fortune: the provincial intendants, the royal engineers, the medical professionals, the inspectors, the contractors, and diverse givers of recommendation. He indicates how the debate--both inner and external--over the operation of the d?p?ts contributed to the highbrow ferment of the Enlightenment and the Revolution. The ensuing internet of reasoning and empirical information gave help to Montesquieu's precept that the country owes each of its electorate "a safe subsistence, appropriate nutrition and garments, and a fashion of existence that's not opposite to reliable health."
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Extra info for Bureaucrats and Beggars: French Social Policy in the Age of the Enlightenment
Some beggars, warned by officers to stop begging or be arrested, acted their delinquent part in order to be institutionalized. In other cases, there were grounds for believing that officers were bribed to make arrests. Thus the description of any given population of beggars arrested or incarcerated does not necessarily describe the actual social phenomenon of mendicity. The marechaussee were perhaps more likely to arrest those who were suspected of criminal behavior or those who were especially irritating in their importunities.
The terms were stretched enormously to accommodate the needs of "police" as interpreted by the officers themselves, by peasants or local notables who brought complaints to them directly, and by higher authorities who channeled their requests through the office of the royal intendant. Some beggars, warned by officers to stop begging or be arrested, acted their delinquent part in order to be institutionalized. In other cases, there were grounds for believing that officers were bribed to make arrests.
16 Later commentators alleged that hospital administrators had diverted royal funds in order to support the general upkeep of their establishments, and had failed to invest adequate funds and effort toward putting to work those beggars sent to them for reha- 32 Bureaucrats and Beggars bilitation. In his regional study of the Declaration of 1724 and its implementation, Jean-Pierre Gutton found evidence that some hospital administrators sheltered individual beggars from the harsh consequences of recidivism.