The promulgation and application of systematic measures from above had a response from below, from the corporation, the urban workshop, and the village street, which supported ecclesiastical and royal authority in its suppression of heresy, and frequently even went further: individual and local~ fanaticism co-operating with the head of the state, the intendants, and the military and judiciary authorities.
Traditional rights, differences of language, provincial autonomy, ecclesiastical assemblies, parlements, governors, intendants-vestiges of the past, or promises for the futureall jostled against and thwarted each other.
The movement attracted even the ministers, Boulainvilliers at their head, who caused the intendants to make inquiry into the causes of this general ruin.
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.
The estates opposed most of the intelligent ~nd humane measures proposed by such intendants as Tourny and Turgot to relieve the peasants, whose distress was very great; they did their utmost to render the selfishness of the privileged classes more oppressive and vexatious.