The "war of watchmakers"

The "war of watchmakers"

Postby koimaster » January 22nd 2018, 4:48pm

This is how the people of Geneva began to assert the rights that the ruling class had kept for itself for too long. This people was largely made up of factory workers. So we called the watchmaking sector in Geneva. The word "Fabrique" encompassed all trades related to the manufacture of watches and their decoration. This activity was deployed in workshops called cabinets, thanks to the know-how of cabinotiers. They were found at the top of buildings, preferably facing the harbor or the edge of the Rhone, where the natural light was the most generous. The craftsmen of La Fabrique were recruited from a class of the population that would make things happen on the political level. That of the natives, that is to say people born in Geneva, descendants of refugees who could not acquire the bourgeoisie for lack of money. Only this one conferred on the beneficiary all the rights granted to a citizen of the Republic.

Private prices for military fire

This laborious class, rather satisfied at first to have escaped religious persecutions, gradually became aware of the fate reserved for it by an aristocracy which had locked democracy. In addition to being deprived of political rights, natives received no prize in military shooting and had to pay a marriage tax, in case their children fell to the state. At the hospital, they were treated worse than the citizens.

Watchmakers, there were also among the bourgeois - the father of Jean-Jacques Rousseau was one. Without sparing with the natives, these citizens were more progressive than the rulers. One of them, Jacques-François De Luc, sent in 1763 to the authorities a "representation", that is to say a letter criticizing their condemnation of the Emile and the Social Contract of Rousseau. This approach demonstrated an openness and a desire for change that would animate the political debate until the Geneva Revolution.

From then on, the deputies of the new party endeavored to defeat by their vote the projects of the oligarchic government. In 1765, he finally summoned his allies in Berne, Zurich and France to help him to mediate.

The watchmakers of Petit-Maure

During this time, the natives were organized around a craftsman of the Factory, the fitter of watches Georges Auzière. This descendant of Languedoc refugees had married the daughter of a bourgeois, which made his native status particularly painful. He gathered his friends at the Petit-Maure, a cabaret in the Place Longemalle. There was the clockmaker Pierre Rival, who was going to join Auzière to try to win Voltaire to their cause. The squire of Ferney liked to rage the government of Geneva. He gladly received this delegation of natives, advised them, and wrote for them a text whose author was not to be named. This text was passed on to the mediators, but the latter wanted first of all to reconcile the citizens among themselves (conservative citizens and citizen representatives), before taking an interest in the fate of the natives.

They remained on their hunger. They had taken refuge at Carouge, Savoyard land, where the house of Count de Viry hosted their forbidden meetings on the soil of Geneva. In the spring of 1768, shortly after the signing of an Edict of Conciliation between the government party and that of the representatives, the discontent of the natives increased a notch. A watchmaker (yet another!), Jean Bacle, was sentenced to ten years banishment for refusing to indicate "native of Geneva", after his signature on an official act. This affair provoked the indignation of the Fabrique. In February 1770, a new conviction was pronounced, this time against a native named Ressegueire, for having sung verses deemed subversive. Determined not to observe the home stops that were imposed on him, he went out after dark. The ideal opportunity for the trustee of the guard to make an act of authority against this fringe too restless of the population (read opposite). (TDG)

Taking arms: the hunt for the natives

On February 14, 1770, the natives came in crowds near the Hôtel de Ville where Guillaume Ressegueire must be judged. This fitter of watch boxes was arrested because he was singing against the government. Since the banishment of Jean Bacle (read opposite) , the natives are wary of the condemnations for the example. For Ressegueire, the verdict is less heavy. The sentence pronounced against him is the "domestic prison". He must stay a few weeks without leaving home. His comrades from La Fabrique crown him with laurels and accompany him to Saint-Gervais. They jostle in passing the trustee of the guard (State Councilor for Security), Gabriel Rigot, who has always displayed the greatest disdain for the natives. The next day, Ressegueire is arrested again and returned to prison on the pretext that he went out for a drink the night before. This new arrest is a revenge of the syndic Rigot, who wants to force the natives to react, in order to better submit them after. They merely make a reasonable request to the authorities. They find the City Hall full of soldiers and the heavy atmosphere.
Obviously, the natives have become prey to frighten, if not to kill. Three murders are committed that night. The three victims are natives and their killers are armed citizens. It was later learned that the orders of the government were to discourage the riot, not to allow citizens to bring passersby like rabbits. The soldiers do not shoot, but lock up many natives in public buildings, at the Saint-Gervais temple, in the tower of the Island and in the Longemalle pomegranate. They are released on February 16, but eight of them are sentenced to banishment. Georges Auzière is among the number, who transports his penates to Versoix, French land, where he will produce watches with the nose and the beard of the Genevans. The "war of watchmakers", as Choiseul called it, will lead, after a first revolution in 1782, to the accession of all natives to the status of citizens, in 1792 ... y/23331616


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