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Lettre de cachet
(901 words)

lettre de cachet (French, “signet letter”) in French law was a special form of royal order. In contrast to public lettres de patentes, which were signed by the chancellor and confirmed with the great seal, lettres de cachet were signed by the secretary of state, and sometimes the king, and stamped with the small seal (cachet) of the king (hence also known as lettres de petit signet or de petit cachet). First mentioned in 1560 (Ordonnance d'Orléans, art. 91), they were first used more frequently under Richelieu, peaking at around 23,000 letters between 1741 and 1775 [3. 17].

A lettre de c…

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Schmoeckel, Mathias, “Lettre de cachet”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 31 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_023360>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20190801

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