chapter  10
Pages 15

A close study of the problematic relationship between the ministry and the parlement in the 1730s is a highly instructive approach to the structure of perhaps the single most important area of politics beyond the royal court.1 Relations with the sovereign courts were of great importance for the ministry because the parlement was an indispensable institution both for the administration of justice and for the registration of royal edicts. In the eighteenth century, the courts rather than the local or provincial estates were more usually the focal point of opposition to the regime and their hostility could result in a direct challenge to royal authority. Yet the French parlements were not simply a potential source of opposition. Like the provincial estates, they were both government and opposition.2