By his heavy imposts and the debasement of the coinage he forfeited his popularity with the rest of the community, and gave rise to riots.
He kept to the old system of revenues from the demesne and from imposts that were reactionary in their effect, such as the taille, aids, salt-tax (gabelle) and customs; only he managed them better.
Disease and famine; crushing imposts and extortions; official debasement of the currency; bankruptcy; state prisons; religious and political inquisition; suppression of all institutions for the safe-guarding of rights; tyranny by the intendants; royal, feudal and clerical oppression burdening every faculty and every necessary of life; monstrous and incurable luxury; the horrible drama of poison; the twofold adultery of Madame de Montespan; and the narrow bigotry of Madame de Maintenon-~--all concurred to make the end of the reign a sad contrast with the splendour of its beginning.
In the course of the flour-war (guerre des farines) (AprilMay 1775); he substituted a territorial subsidy for the royal corveso burdensome upon the peasantsand thus tended to abolish privilege in the matter of imposts; and he established the freedom of industry by the dissolution of privileged trade corporations (1776).
The American war had finally exhausted the exchequer, and, in order to replenish it, he would have needed to inspire confidence in the minds of capitalists; but the resumption in 2778 of the plan of provincial assemblies charged with remodelling the various imposts, and his corn pterendu in which he exhibited the monarchy paying its pensioners for their inactivity as it had never paid its agents for their zeal, aroused a fresh outburst of anger.