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Public Flagellation as Punishment
inmh wrote in little_details
Story is set in Paris, France in 1830-1832.

Searched: Various combinations of "Public Flagellation", "Public whipping", "Whipping", "Flogging", "Paris, France", "Corporal Punishment", "Flagellation as formal punishment", "Whipping as formal punishment".

So, a character in my story starts a minor riot. He gets caught, he goes to trial, he gets sentenced- and as you might have guessed from my search parameters, I was going with public flogging for punishment.

Now, I know they used whipping as a punishment in the 1780s (and suspect it was used into the 1790s, but I only have an already historically unreliable movie for reference), but I don't know if it was banned during or after the Reign of Terror or at some point over the next forty years. I tried searching, but Google seems to have a strong dislike for me and refuses to yield any answers.

So: Was flogging/whipping used as a formal punishment (that being, a punishment that would be imposed by a court) in Paris in the 1830s? Might it be used informally?

And also, if it seems unlikely that flogging would be the punishment for starting a minor riot (no deaths, just some injuries and property damage), let me know.

I'm not an expert in French history, but in les Misérables, which is set in 1815-1832, Jean Valjean is sent to the galleys for simply breaking a window and stealing some bread, so I'm not really sure if anyone would have been sentenced to flogging for even that kind of offence? It seems a bit... light for the time period?
(I mean, this is the century where flogging was used in schools as a way to make students behave...)

OTOH, most of the actual participants in the insurrection of 1832 were pardoned entirely to preserve civil peace. Valjean's case is...complicated.

They were pardoned? Huh. If we're being perfectly honest, this is for the Les Misérables fandom, and so that may benefit me with other fic-ly endeavors... Thank you! :D

There was some meta about this going around on Tumblr...let me see if I can find it. Basically, the Amis who died in the book are a ridiculously high percentage of the people who actually died in the real 1832 insurrection. (Wiki: Total casualties in the rising were about 800. The army and national guard lost 73 killed and 344 wounded; on the insurgent side there were 93 killed and 291 wounded.)

Gah, I can't find it. Wikipedia has this:

A man named Michael Geoffroy was charged with starting the rebellion by waving the red flag. He was initially sentenced to death, but a series of legal manoeuvres led to much reduced prison sentence. Later trials led to some other death sentences, but all were commuted.

Several rebels took the opportunity to deliver republican speeches at their trial. Republicans used the trials to build support for their cause, emphasising the trial of Charles Jeanne, one of the leaders who proudly defended his actions. He was convicted and imprisoned, becoming a republican martyr after dying in prison in 1837.

Basically, a lot of people were pardoned, ringleaders got prison time (they didn't want to create martyrs by executing them).


*COUGH* Sorry.

That does make a lot of sense. Killing people only would have angered anyone who might hold some resentment (but not enough to necessarily start a revolution over). AAAND gives me more ideas for an alternative to what I was going to write, so thank you again for the info!

I'm sure he had Reasons for all the tragic deaths! And of course people who resisted to the last did generally get shot in the process, but I think you could very easily come up with an AU where they get captured or surrender instead.

(There's also some interesting stuff out there about the Suretê's involvement in the whole thing, and possibly trying to stir things up further. I have trouble imagining Javert being part of the Suretê, since Vidocq still has a warrant out on him and it would be rather hypocritical since Javert's after Valjean for similar reasons, but if he's part of a different branch of the police, there's some interesting potential there, too.)

Basically it is a super-interesting political situation all around. :D

I will never ever forgive Victor Hugo for killing everyone at the barricades except Marius, or the musical for following the book to the letter on that point.

You might find some of 10littlebullets's resources here useful:

Particularly (much of it deals with 1830, but still relevant) (very good summary of the revolt and the aftermath)

Edited at 2013-02-15 05:57 am (UTC)

Windows were REALLY expensive back then, so we are discussing a man causing substantial property damage in the course of a theft.

I've also heard that he was armed, and that the family was home at the time of the theft.

Those would add up to serious jail time even nowadays.

THAT'S a bit of context the musical left out (I'm still working on the book). I can see why he got five years initially.

In 1830, it was still Napoleon's Code Pénal. Flogging was not in it. Jougs was, but only for minor civil crimes (small-scale electoral fraud, hitting a judge...)
For a riot, if there's incitation of "rebellion" with no riot at all, it was six day to one year of jail. And putting fire to... basically anything big was death sentence. [Edit] So I think his punishment will be something bigger.

Edited at 2013-02-13 08:01 pm (UTC)

Thank you! I'll have to go look up that Code Penal. Sounds like it could be useful!

If you can read French, it's here

Nope, no dice. It wasn't in use at all during that time period; whether or not it was in ad-hoc use during the Revolution, Napoléon overhauled and codified the entire legal system in 1804, and some variant of the Code Napoléon has been in use ever since. In the 1830s, inciting a riot could get you sentenced to death or to a lengthy term of imprisonment with or without hard labor. Death sentences for political acts tended to get commuted to imprisonment to avoid creating martyrs, which is what happened to Charles Jeanne, the leader of the most tenacious band of insurgents in 1832.

Ah, damn. I'll have to rework it. Thank you!


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