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or Basoche Bazoche

clerks, justice, royal, court and king

BAZOCHE, or BASOCHE. A guild consisting of the clerks attached to theParlement of Paris, as well as the provincial parlements. When the French Parlenient ceased to be the grand council of the King. and confined itself ex clusively to administering justice, a distinction of name necessarily sprang up between those no blemen who formed the royal train and the at taclass of the court of justice. The former were called courtiers: the latter, basochians. To keep up their dignity the Bazoche gathered round a mock king of their own, who resided at the Cha teau des Tournelles or the Hotel Saint Pol. The Bazoche was divided into chapters, each wear ing the livery of its captain. in Paris there were several of these chapters: Bazoehe of Parlenient (du Pala is) ; Bazocho of Chatelet; Bazoehe of the Chambre des Comptes, which last body took the name of 'High and Sovereign Em pire of Galilee.' Parlements in other parts of France had also their Bazoche. Their historical existence can be traced to the beginning of the Fourteenth Century, when Philip the Fair con ferred on the brotherhood certain privileges. The President was called King, Prevot, or Emperor. The principal authorities in this harmless mon arch•, after the sovereign himself, were the chan cellor. the masters of requests, the referendary, and the attorney-general. Henry III. suppressed the regal titles, and conferred all the privileges and rights attached to these offices on the chan cellor. At this time it is said that the order in cluded 6000 clerks. Still, the Bazoche contin ued to exist as a kingdom, minus its head, and affected on all occasions the language of royalty. Its jurisdiction included the consideration and decision of all processes and debates that arose among- the clerks, being the court of last resort in such controversies. It administered justice

twice a week, and also caused a species of coin to be struck which had currency among its mem bers; but, judging from the proverb about la »wallah' de basoelle, it did not enjoy an immense credit in the outer world of hard cash. The mock monarch also enjoyed the privilege of selecting at his pleasure. yearly, from the French royal forests, a tall tree, which his subjects, the clerks, were in the habit of planting, on the 1st of May, before the grand court of the palace, to the sound of tambourines and trumpets. But this was not all. In the public sports this fantastic little kingdom was worthily honored; its chancellor had rooms at the lirdel de Bourgogne; at the car nival the basoehians joined themselves to the corps of the prince of fools, and to the performers of low farces and 'mysteries.' They also acted a species of satirical 'morality' (see MYSTERIES), in which they made extensive use of the liberty granted to them, in ridiculing vices and the fa vorites of fortune. Of course. they could not fail to provoke enmity and occasion serious scandal. Louis XII. patronized these amusements. In 1500 he gave the brotherhood of the Bazoche permission to perform plays in the grand salon of the royal palace. Francis I. witnessed them in 1538, but in 1540 they were interdicted. From these plays, however, the comedy of Moliere was evolved. The Bazoche took an active part in the early Revolutionary proceedings, but the order was suppressed by the general decree of Feb ruary 13. 1791.