Last summer I wrote about a 1797 pamphlet covered in manuscript annotations taking the writer to task on issues of church and state. Something similar from the dawn of the Revolution has just worked its way through the workflow. Mandement de Monseigneur l’évêque de Périgueux, qui ordonne des prières publiques dans tout son diocese pendant la tenue des États généraux du royaume (Case folio FRC 26783) bears an apology on the cover: “Excusez l’état crasseux de ce mandement. Je le tiens d’un curé indecrassable” (Excuse the execrable state of this mandement. I think it’s written by an inexecrable prelate).
The anonymous former reader/owner of the mandement has filled it with angry comments and rhetorical questions, numbered for your convenience. Some of his concerns are spiritual, but just as often they are financial–after all, the Estates-General of 1789 were convened to address the realm’s dire financial problems.
Here are a few examples of the reader’s annotations.