Louis-René de Caradeuc de La Chalotais was for 60 years procureur general at the parliament of Brittany.
He was an ardent opponent of the Jesuits; drew up in 1761 for the parliament a memoir on the constitutions of the Order, which did much to secure its suppression in France; and in 1763 published a remarkable " Essay on National Education, " in which he proposed a programme of scientific studies as a substitute for those taught by the Jesuits. The same year began the conflict between the Estates of Brittany and the governor of the province, the due d'Aiguillon (q. v. ). The Estates refused to vote the extraordinary imposts demanded by the governor in the name of the king. La Chalotais was the personal enemy of d'Aiguillon, who had served him an ill turn with the king, and when the parliament of Brittany sided with the Estates, he took the lead in its opposition
The parliament forbade by decrees the levy of imposts to which the Estates had not consented.
At this time the secretary of state who administered the affairs of the province, Louis Philypeaux, due de la Vrilliere, comte de Saint-Florentin (1705 - 1777), received two anonymous and abusive letters.
La Chalotais was suspected of having written them, and three experts in handwriting declared that they were by him.
The government therefore arrested him, his son and four other members of the parliament.
The arrest made a great sensation.
There was much talk of " despotism. "
On the 16th of November 1765 a commission of judges was named to take charge of the trial.
La Chalotais maintained that the trial was illegal; being procureur general he claimed the right to be judged by the parliament of Rennes, or failing this by the parliament of Bordeaux, according to the custom of the province.
The judges did not dare to pronounce a condemnation on the evidence of experts in handwriting, and at the end of a year, things remained where they were at the first.
Louis XV then decided on a sovereign act, and brought the affair before his council, which without further formality decided to send the accused into exile.
The government at last gave way, and consented to recall the members of the parliament of Brittany who had resigned.
This parliament, when it met again, after the formal accusation of the due d'Aiguillon, demanded the recall of La Chalotais.
The opposition to the royal power gained largely through it, and it may be regarded as one of the preludes to the revolution of 1789.
See, besides the Comptes-Rendus des Constitutions des Jesuites and the Essai d'education nationale, the Memoires de la Chalotais (3 vols. , 1766 - 1767).
Two works containing detailed bibliographies areMarion, La Bretagne et le due d'Aiguillon (Paris, 1893), and B. Pocquet, Le Due d'Aiguillon et La Chalotais (Paris, 1901).