Clermont-de-Lodève 1633-1789: Fluctuations in the Prosperity by J. K. J. Thomson

By J. K. J. Thomson

Within the 17th and eighteenth centuries Clermont-de-Lod?ve, a Languedocian cloth-making city, skilled significant cycles in its improvement. within the 17th century remarkable prosperity used to be by means of deep and lengthy melancholy, and within the eighteenth a swift, if abnormal, commercial growth used to be interrupted through a tremendous quandary and by way of a painful and chronic decline. the aim of this ebook is to explain the commercial and social manifestations of those cycles as accurately because the resources allow, focussing particularly at the various features of Clermont's elite.

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H. Kellenbenz, The Rise of the European Economy: Economic History of Continental Europe, 1500-1750, p. 209. 29. P. Wolflf, 'Esquisse d'une histoire de la draperie en Languedoc du xn e au debut du xvne siecle' in Produzione, commercio e consumo dei panni di lana, pp. 435-62. 30. R. Descimon, 'Structures d'un marche de draperie dans le Languedoc au milieu du xvie siecle', Annales 30 (1975), 1414-46. Languedoc 31 organization of production? Were they distinct too? Descimon provides a comparatively full description of Upper Languedoc's industry.

There could be no better illustration of the diverging prosperity of mountain and plain than the evidence for this continuous southward movement which contributed to that exceptional human mobility which was a characterizing feature of south-eastern France. 5 For many of these mountain-dwellers Lower Languedoc was not the final destination. There was a regular, seasonal exodus to Spain undertaken above all to avoid the rigours of the mountain winters. '6 If the mountain areas were saved from the dire consequences of over-population by these migrations the plain of Lower Languedoc, and the provinces of Catalonia and Valencia (the destination in Spain of most French emigrants), benefited too for they were provided not only with cheap labour but also with the means of renewing their human stock which was vulnerable because of the excessive mortality occasioned by both their high level of urbanization and the unhealthy marshy conditions, characteristic of most coastline areas of the Mediterranean.

The artisanal production unit characterized all the more remote cloth-making centres of the Gevaudan, Auvergne and Cevennes and continued to do so until the end of the Ancien Regime. Attempts in the eighteenth century to impose industrial regulations and guild systems on these isolated areas were invariably frustrated because of the poverty and illiteracy of producers (they could neither read regulations nor provide the necessary financial support for inspectors), and also the difficulties of communications.

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