The noblesse were divided on the matter of toleration, but the cahiers (lists of grievances and suggestions for reform) submitted by the Third Estate demanded, besides regular meetings of the estates every five years, complete toleration and a reform of the Church.
The cahiers or written instructions given to the deputies covered well-nigh every subject of political, social or economic interest, and demanded an amazing number of changes.
Most of what the Assembly did had been suggested in the cahiers, and many of its decrees were anticipated by actual revolt.
The Cahiers were the statements of grievances drawn up for the guidance of deputies to the States-General by those who had elected them.
In every bailliage and senechaussee each estate drew up its own cahier and the cahiers of the Third Estate were condensed from separate cahiers drawn up by each parish in the district.
Thus the cahiers of the Third Estate number many thousands, the greater part of which have not yet been printed.
Among the collections printed we may mention Les Elections et les cahiers de Paris 1789, by C. L.
Chassin (4 vols., Paris, 1888); Cahiers de plaintes et doleances des paroisses de la province de Maine, by A.
Duchemin (4 vols., Le Mans, 1881-1893); Cahiers de doleances de 1789 dans le departement du Pas-de-Calais, by H.
Loriquet (2 vols., Arras, 1891); Cahiers des paroisses et communautes du bailliage d'Autun, by A.
A more general collection of cahiers than any above named is given in vols.
The cahiers must not be read in a spirit of absolute faith, as they were influenced by certain models circulated at the time of the elections and by popular excitement, but they remain an authority of the utmost value and a mine of information as to old France.