Provinces

Archival and fictional sources associate sexual corruption, in principle if not practice, with notables more than the populace and with the capital more than the provinces. The records of the lieutenant general and commissaires provide evidence not only about sodomy in Paris but also about sodomites who immigrated from other cities. When the police arrested Jacques Poirier, a young man from Flanders, they found a letter from his mother in his pocket, in which she urged him “to avoid bad company and not to let anyone sleep with him” (AB 10258, f. 148v). After just eight or ten days in Paris, Pierre Joseph Geoffrey, domestic called l’Artois and presumably from that region, encountered two men on the quai des Quatre Nations who invited him to have a drink in a cabaret. After resisting their advances at first he then “let them do all that they wished” (AB 10259, f. 353). An abbé from Troyes who visited Paris three times a year always visited a decoction vendor on the Pont Neuf in order “to have the pleasure of seeing him and handling him, for it’s a beauty to see” (AB 10258, f. 35).1

When the police exiled Martin Lheureux to the village of Carentan in Normandy, they assumed that “being distant from Paris, he will be less able to commit his abominations” (AB 10786, f. 39). It sounds like a plausible assumption, but we do not know for sure. The young man from Flanders assured the officer who arrested him that he and the abbé he encountered in the Tuileries “had done nothing together but to get hard, which is common among young folks in his native region.” Jean Nicolas Regaud, tailor’s assistant from Metz, described his home town as “a second Rome for scorning women and loving to have a good time among men” (AB 10258, f. 423). François Bourdin, 22, who supported himself through prostitution in Paris, was debauched by a lackey in his home town of Vendôme at the age of 12 (AB 10811, f. 18). Pierre Lahoussaye, 22, unemployed lackey, was debauched by a Cistercian in Nantes at the age of 14 and had no difficulty “in finding folks of his taste” in Paris (AB 10973, f. 249).

Did men leave the provinces, at least in part, to escape sexual accusations or pursue sexual satisfaction? After they reached Paris did they interact with other migrants from their cities, in person, or with friends back home, through letters? How did life in the capital influence their desires and conduct? If exiled to their native regions, did they return to cities like Dijon, Lyon, and Rouen with Parisian attitudes in their minds and Parisian behavior in their blood? The database will allow us to suggest answers to some of these questions and extend our inquiries from the capital across the kingdom.

Working lists of references to three cities

Dijon

Dijon1Dijon2

cartonpagedatename
Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, Archives de la Bastille
1025585Gourier, native
10258134Pariset, native
163Girardot, native
241Rigolet, native
1077037Gaudelet, native
1079567Rougemont was corrupted there.

Lyon

Lyon1Lyon2

cartonpagedatename
Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, Archives de la Bastille
1025429 Jun 15Guerin, native
10257121provincials in Paris
1077028Chevelet lived with a young man from there for two years.
1077861Fleury, native
10885145Hyver, native
Archives Nationales, series Y
1340819 Jun 81La Rue, native
22 Sep 81Compte met Leclerc there.

Rouen

rouen1 rouen2

cartonpagedatename
Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, Archives de la Bastille
102554Foucault, sousbrigadier there
10256200vDe Brie reported “a large number of infâmes” there.
292Des Barres, native
340Grisel du Fossé, native
1025737Georget, grocer’s assistant there
121no spies there
191Guillibaud, merchant there
326LeMoyne, native
10258102De Laune came to Paris to find a job as a tutor.
120vDossin came to Paris to find a job as a cook.
171Né, native
391vlimonadier there with “a monstrous virile member”2
10259291Charpentier had sex with Bouchet, self-styled mayor.
1069854vLaCrenonnere, son of a grocer there
10770257Crosnier, native, relegated there
10798206vTravers had business there.
1082150, 96vDesfontaines, native, relegated there
10829120Godet had sex with 23 men there.
1087339Duval, native
10888158Latour, native, relegated there
11353215A decoy claimed that he had “amused himself well” there.
Archives Nationales, series Y
134081-Jun-81Selegny, native
1-Jun-81Varin, native
6-Oct-81Darnaudery, guilty of misconduct there
4-Dec-81Bailleul, native
1304925-Apr-82

Author: Jeffrey Merrick

  1. The vendor told the decoy not only not to drink his brew but also that he did not like the priest.
  2. Limonadiers sold beer, cider, fortified drinks, sweet liqueurs, ice cream, coffee, chocolate.