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Surrogate Fathers, Suitable Sons

Manufacturing ‘Paternity’ and Honourable Inheritance
  • Ralph Kingston
Chapter
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Part of the War, Culture and Society, 1750–1850 book series (WCS)

Abstract

In October 1779, Robert-Denis Gambier de Campy joined the office of his uncle, Nicolas Jean, premier commis in the Ministry of War. His older brothers, Jean Nicolas and Pierre François, already worked there. Nicolas Jean, in charge of the administration of provinces under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of State for War, had inherited his position from his own uncle. Dying a bachelor in 1782, he was succeeded by his own eldest nephew, Jean Nicholas.1 Therefore, in 1791, when his brother died, Robert-Denis was the fourth Gambier de Campy to become premier commis. He did so even though his office and its responsibilities had been transferred to the newly created Ministry of Interior. In 1791, with the royalist Terrier de Montciel in charge, the position of premier commis still ‘belonged’ to the Gambier de Campy family. This would not be the case after Revolutionary politicians took full control of the ministries in 1792. It would certainly not be the case during the Terror. Finally, in theory at least, no family dynasty could survive the Constitution of Year III. It declared that ‘direct family lines — brothers, uncles and nephews, or [any] family members linked by a single degree, cannot belong to the same administration, and cannot succeed one another until after an interval of two years’.2

Keywords

Foreign Affair Secretary General Family Network Moral Order Good Father 
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Endnotes

  1. 6.
    Jean-Pierre Samoyault, Les bureaux du secrétariat d’état des affaires étrangères sous Louis XV (Paris, 1971), 212–213. Church, Revolution and Red Tape, 36, suggests that clerks in Versailles married ‘within the circle of the Ministry or into that of minor domestics in the Royal Household’. Although I would agree that most clerks did not marry above their rank, my evidence points to the existence of a large number of matches made across administrations.Google Scholar
  2. 7.
    Jean Petot, Histoire de l’administration des ponts et chaussées, 1599–1815 (Paris, 1958), 185–186.Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    Guy Thuillier, La bureaucratie en France aux XIXe et XXe siècles (Paris, 1987), 24–25.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    On the Ségur law, see David D. Bien, ‘La réaction aristocratique avant 1789: L’exemple de l’armée’, Annales ESC, 29 (1974), 23–48, 505–534, and ‘The Army in the French Enlightenment: Reform, Reaction and Revolution’, Past and Present, 85 (1979), 68–98; André Corvosier, ‘Hiérarchie militaire et hiérarchie sociale à la vielle de la Révolution’, Revue internationale d’histoire militaire, 30 (1970), 77–91; Jean Egret, The French Pre-Revolution, 1787–1788, trans. J. Bosher (Chicago, 1977), 47–53; Jay M. Smith, The Culture of Merit: Nobility, Royal Service, and the Making of Absolute Monarchy in France, 1600–1789 (Ann Arbor, MI, 1996), 218.Google Scholar
  5. 12.
    Desan, The Family on Trial. See also Jean Carbonnier, Droit civil (Paris, 1957); Godechot, Les institutions de la France, 691–696; Michelle Perrot, ‘The Family Triumphant’, in A History of Private Life, IV [From the Fires of Revolution to the Great War], ed. Michelle Perrot, trans. Arthur Goldhammer (Cambridge, MA, 1990), 99–129; Martyn Lyons, Napoleon Bonaparte and the Legacy of the French Revolution (New York, 1994), 94–103.Google Scholar
  6. 14.
    Godechot, Les constitutions de la France depuis 1789, 103. For the ‘band of brothers’ argument, see Lynn Hunt, The Family Romance of the French Revolution (London, 1992).Google Scholar
  7. 15.
    For a discussion of ‘women’s history’ and its relationship to the ‘history of feminism’, see Karen Offen, ‘The New Sexual Politics of French Revolutionary Historiography’, French Historical Studies, 16 (1990), 909–922.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 16.
    More has been done by historians of Britain, in particular by John Tosh in A Man’s Place: Masculinity and the Middle-Class Home in Victorian England (New Haven, 1999) and Manliness and Masculinities in Nineteenth-century Britain: Essays on Gender, Family and Empire (Harlow, 2005). See also Catherine Hall, White, Male and Middle Class (Manchester, 1992); Masculinities in Politics and War: Gendering Modern History, ed. Stefan Dudink, Karen Hagemann, John Tosh (Manchester, 2004); Mary Poovey, ‘Exploring Masculinities’, Victorian Studies, 36, No. 2 (1993); Karen Harvey and Alexandra Shepard, ‘What Have Historians Done with Masculinity? Reflections on Five Centuries of British History, circa 1500–1950’, Journal of British Studies, 44, No. 2 (2005).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Ralph Kingston 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ralph Kingston
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryAuburn UniversityUSA

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