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The Price of Bread

Anecdotes Home




Some years ago, the bakers of Lyons thought they could
prevail on M. Dugas, the provost of the merchants in that city, to befriend
them at the expense of the public. They waited upon him in a body, and
begged leave to raise the price of bread, which could not be done without
the sanction of the chief magistrate. M. Dugas told them that he would
examine their petition, and give them an early answer. The bakers retired,
having first left upon the table a purse of two hundred louis d'ors. In a
few days the bakers called upon the magistrate for an answer, not in the
least doubting but that the money had effectually pleaded their cause.
"Gentlemen," said M. Dugas, "I have weighed your reasons in the balance of
justice, and I find them light. I do not think that the people ought to
suffer under a pretence of the dearness of corn, which I know to be
unfounded; and as to the purse of money that you left with me, I am sure
that I have made such a generous and noble use of it as you yourself
intended. I have distributed it among the poor objects of charity in our
two hospitals. As you are opulent enough to make such large donations, I
cannot possibly think that you can incur any loss in your business; and I
shall, therefore, continue the price of bread as it was."





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