Translation and Annotations

Notes on the Translation: 

Some minor changes have been undertaken in translation for ease of reading, which are noted here. The pamphlet uses the ampersand sign quite often. Throughout, this has been written out as "and" to aid in legibility. While most numbers occuring within the pamphlet are written out fully, the dates given for the exploits of Mandrin and his companions are maintained in numerical form. This formatting is in keeping with the original text.

No attempt has been made to maintain line breaks from the original as idiomatic phrasing would often make this unwieldy. The translation does indicate where the original text breaks across pages. Comma use has been standardized where the translation indicated such a change, although the capitalization of noun forms has generally been maintained. 


 The Translation: 


Soverign Judgment

Condemning to the wheel Louis Mandrin, of S. Etienne de S. Geoirs en Dauphiné, leader of the gang of smugglers who committed the crimes and disorders mentioned in this same sentence.

The 24th of May, 1755                                    Executed the 26th of the same month

Gapard Levet, Seigneur de Malaval, Judge, Secretary of the king, Judge of the Council, named by decrees on the 3rd of December 1738, the 2nd of October 1742 and the 2nd of April 1743. to investigate and judge supremely and in the last resort, the criminal trials of smugglers, unfaithful workers, and those false salt-workers, their agitators and accomplices, in the Provinces of Dauphiné, Provence, Languedoc, Lyonnois, Bourgogne, Auvergne, Rouergue, & Quercy. The same decree of Council heard the 3rd of December 1738 and commissioned by the grand Seal here and on this same day, etc. 

We the Commisioners of the Council above named, by Sovereign Judgment, and in last resort, by virtue of the power given by the said decree of December 3rd 1738. by the advice of the graduates[1], Judge-Assessors of the Commision, in the number required by the Order, have declared the so named Louis Mandrin, native of Saint Etienne de Saint Geoirs in this Province of Dauphiné, found guilty and convicted of gang smuggling and possession of arms in the two years since he was obliged to leave his home in the said place of S. Geoirs, because of the prosecution brought against him for accusations of making and counterfeiting money, and of an assassination: And in particular for having been the leader of a gang of eleven or twelve Smugglers, of which five to six broke away in the Village of CurÅ¿on the 7th of January of the previous year, to go meet five Employees of the Roman Brigade, who let themselves approach, believing they were from another Brigade, and profiting from this surprise, they fired, killing two, and injuring two others, of which one died two days later of his wounds; stole the weapons of these same Employees, the horse of the Sergeant who was among the dead, his coat and his hat with gold trim, which the said Mandrin wore; & the evening of the 8th or 9th went to the home of a man named Durret, Employee of the horse Brigade from Grand-Lemps, and after having mistreated and threatened him with death, stole his weapons, and forced his wife to take them to the stable, where they took the horse of the said Durret: more than thirty of whom on the 7th of the following June, attacked the Employees in their guard at the Bridge of Claix on the Drac, after they had been made to open the door by surprise; killed one of the same Employees, injured several, stole their weapons and possessions, and so also several of the members to one in particular whose home was near the same guard station; of those comprising the larger part of the same gang, who on the 10th near the Village of Laine, fired on the Employes of the Brigade of Taulignan, who followed them on the path from this Village to Montelimart, to return to their post; killing one, injuring three others, of which one died a few days later: of three of the [END PAGE ONE]


same gang, who the next day on the 11th, were staying at the tavern of Tioulle in the Parish of S. Bozille inVivarais, fired upon a Sergeant of the Regiment of Belfunce in front of the tavern, supposing him to be a worker or a spy; the same gang went to Rouergue, where they committed several disorders, and among others, on the 23rd killed a pregnant woman at S. Rome-de Tarn, at whose home a particular individual, pursued by some smugglers, tried to take refuge; the 30th, forced the Commissioner of the Farmers General of Rhodez to take their Tobacco, and to pay the price that the same Mandrin fixed; and the gang wrote to the underdelegate of the supply office to lay down their arms at the “Maison de Ville,”[2] seized some years before from other smugglers; the 3rd of July following, also took by force Tobacco from the Commissioner of the Farms General of Mende; and the 9th of the same month, the same Mandrin, having withdrawn to Savoye or Switzerland, and passing with his company the same place of S. Etienne de S. Geoirs, killed the named Sigismond-Jaques Moret, this same worker, and an 18 month-old infant he held in his arms, suspecting the same Moret had been the reason that Pierre Mandrin his brother, who had suffered the death penalty for counterfeiting, had been arrested; having been the leader of those who entered in the end of last July into Franche-Comté, killed, injured and stole from several Employees of the Brigades of Moushe[3] and Chauneuve; and also the leader of those who entered into Savoie in France the 20th of the following August; forced on the 26th the Commissioner of the Farms-General of Tobacco at Brioude, to pay a sum of money, under the pretext of a deposit in his office of several bundles of Tobacco; the 28th the merchants of Crabone paid him a sum, for a delivery of Tobacco, and also the Commissioner of the Farmers General of Montbrison, where the gang forced the prisons, and set free eleven prisoners; the 2nd of September, stopped two workers of the Brigade of Cormoranche, passing by the Pont-de-Velle in Bresse, from whom they stole the court papers they were carrying; on the 5th, near the Châteaux de Joux, fired on some workers they met, of whom one was killed and others injured; of  having been the principal leader of a numerous gang, which entered Savoie in Bugey the evening of the 3rd and 4th of last October, demanded payments of several tax collectors of the Judge General of the Farms of the King, under pretext of having given them several bundles of false Tobacco; the 4th at Nantua; the 5th at Bourgen-Bresse; the 6th at Chatillot-les-Dombes; the 9th at Charlieu; a Rouanne the same day; the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th at Thiers, Amberg, Marsal, Arlan, and Chaise-Dieu; the 16th paid a sum of 600 pounds to the Proprietors of grain which were in the attic of the house occupied by the Commissioner of Puy, to not hand them over; the 17th, 18th, 20th, 21st, and 22nd continued to demand payments from the tax collectors, Commissioners and merchants, at Pradelle, Langogne, Tance, S. Didier, S. Bonnet-le-Chateau; the 23rd at Montbrison and at Boën, and the 24th for the second time at Charlieu; fired on the 7th on the postal courier driving a carriage en route from Lyon to Châlon, injured one of the horses, and the so-named Mandrin mounted the same carriage to see if some people he was looking for were not there; the 9th passed by S. Just in Chevalet, and searched the workers on whom he fired, and injured one of them dangerously; arms and personal effects, those of a Brigadier, were pillaged and stolen; on the 16th, broke into the office and home of the Commissioner of Puy, stole, pillaged and ruined the Tobacco, effects and furniture of the same Commissioner; injured two workers who were posted as guards for the same Commissioner; pillaged also S. Didier on the 21st, S. Bonnet on the 22nd, Clugny on the 25th, and S. Trivier on the 27th, the homes of other employees of the same place, so also the 28th at S. Laurent in Franche-Comté, where the gang killed one worker, stole also various effects in one home [END PAGE 2]


in Orgeles on the 27th; broke into the prisons of Bourg, Roane, Thiers, Puy, Montebrison, Clugny, Pont-de-Vaux, S. Amour and Orgeles, and set free several prisoners; was also found at the head of those who entered from Switzerland into Franche-Comté the evening of the 14th through the 15th of last December; on the 16th fired on the Cavaliers of the Regiment of Harcourt, who were passing near a Tavern where the said gang had stopped, killed one, stole their weapons, clothes, hat and coat; the 17th returned to Seurre in Bourgogne, and searched the workers, stole the possessions of the general Captain, after having broken in the doors of his lodging and dresser; forced the tax collectors of the salt Grenier and of the Tobacco Commissioner to pay him a sum of money, and the latter to give him a recognition for a number of bundles of false Tobacco which the gang had left in his office, where he was obliged to receive them; on the 18th forced the Bourgeoise Guard of the city of Beaune to open the gate, having received notice at a distance that there was only one guard; killed two Bourgeois who were leaving, and injured others; killed also a Soldier who was in this same city on leave, who was found by chance on the rampart near the said door; made the Mayor come to the outskirts of the city to speak to the named Mandrin, to handle the sum he demanded, constrained the Mayor to write to the Tax collectors of the Salt storehouse and the Commissioner of Tobacco to bring the sum required, set by the said Mandrin at 20,000 pounds, which was done by the said tax collectors; which gang on the 19th forced the Mayor and inhabitants of Autun to open the gates, threatened to scale the walls, to put the suburbs to “fire and fang”, and to take with them a group of young Ecclesiastics who they had met at some distance from the village and who had taken orders at Châlon, and hold them as hostages until they had received the sum they desired from the tax collectors of the Salt Grenier and the Commissioner of Tobacco, which would be gathered and brought to the Maison de Ville, where the said Mandrin and two others would return, while the greater part of the gang stood in front of the Hôtel de Ville; on the 20th in the Village of Grenand, Parish of Brion, fought against the troops of the King, during which the gang fired first, killed and injured several Officers, Soldiers, Dragons and Hussards[1], and did much the same at Autun as they had at Seurre, and forced open the prisons, and set free prisoners, having then gathered thirty or thirty-two of the said Smugglers of this same gang, at the head of which was the said Mandrin, who stole on the 21st four horses, weapons and equipage of four Cavaliers from Maréchauffée in the place of Dompierre in Bourbonnois; on the 22nd, killed in Breuil five workers of the Brigade of Vichy, of whom several begged on their knees for their lives; on the 23rd one individual in S. Clement, for not telling them which homes were those of the Employees, who they believed there were in that place; the same day and the 24th forced by violence and threats the Tax collectors of Cervieres and of Noire-Table to give them a sum of money, and in the latter place fired on the door of the home of the Brigadier of the Farms to open it, injuring his wife who was behind, and who died several days later of her wounds; on the 25th opened fire on the Merchants of Chaise-Dieu, and on the 26th opened fire on the Volunteer Cavalry of Flandre and Dauphiné in the place of Sauvetat in Velay, and killed a sergeant; and finally the said Mandrin having written and signed demands of sums from the same Tax collectors, Commissioners and Merchants, of whom he had declared that the sums [END PAGE 3]


required had not been paid but by force and threats; and having been written himself on the Registers of  custody the prisons of Bourg and of Seurre, waiting for him on the said prisons; to make amends for which and for other crimes and cases resulting from trial, having condemned the said Louis Mandrin to be brought before the Executor of High Justice, who will bring him naked, in only a shirt, a cord around his neck holding a sign, on which will be written the words, in large characters: “Leader of Smugglers, Criminals Violating Majesty, Assassins, Theives, and Disruptors of the Public Peace”; and holding in his hands a torch of burning wax, weighing two pounds, before the door of the Church Cathedral of this Village, who will face the street Perollerie, where the named Mandrin, with naked head and on his knees, will make honorable amends, and declare in loud voice that he asks pardon of God, of King and of Justice, for all his crimes and attacks; will then be taken to the Place des Clercs, and there will his arms, legs, thighs and hips be broken, quickly on a scaffold which will be for this prepared; then put on a wheel, his face turned to the heavens to end his days after which his dead corpse will be exposed by the same Executioner on the forks of this said city; beforehand this said Mandrin was applied to by question ordinary and extraordinary, to have from his mouth the truth of these events as a result of trial, and the revelation of his accomplices: We all declare and each forfeits to the King, on this beforehand the sum of ten pounds of financial penalty in the event this confiscation is not taken in the profit of His Majesty; and further we take the sum of a thousand pounds also in financial penalty towards the said Jean-Baptiste Bocquillon Judge General of the Farms, and at the expense of the trial: those fines and costs of the condemnation of Mandrin surrounding the said Bocquillon,are in this regard at his request from yesterday. And as to the present Judgement imprinted, read, published and sealed in all the cities and places heresaid, and moreover what appertains thereto. Given in the Criminal Chamber of the Presiding of Valence in Dauphiné the 24th of May 1755. Signed, Levet, Gaillard, Luillier, Bolozon, Bachasson, Rouveyre, De Letang & Cozon.

And below is written: the 26th May 1755. The judgment above has been read by me Clerk of the Commisssion undersigned, of this Louis Mandrin, and executed the same day, following the form and tone. Signed, Leorier.




[1] The original term is "gardues", which does not appear in the Eighteenth century dictionaries. It may be a misprint for "gradues". 

[2] The “Maison de Ville” was a place where municipal officers gathered. It appears also on page 3 of the document, during the lengthy discussion of the events that took place in Beaune, where Mandrin and his men engaged in a detailed scheme demanding money from the local salt and tobacco tradesmen.

[3] The spelling of this word is unclear in the original pamphlet. The fourth character appears smudged.

[4] According to the Dictionaires Autrefois, “Dragons” were companies of soldiers who fought sometimes on foot and sometimes on horseback. Hussards are listed in a dictionary published in 1872, seventeen years following Mandrin’s case. There, they are described only as “Hungarian soldiers”. No other detail is given.



"Dictionaires D'Autrefois: French Dictionaries of the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries." The Project for American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language (ARTFL). University of Chicago Library. Web.  Dictionaires D'Autrefois

Translation and Annotations