The Patricians are a segment of the population of New Francy which are considered to share some of the trapping of the Nobility without actualy being part of it. It was created following the Patoisants Revolt of 1837.
The Durant Report written just after the revolt recommended that to avoid a repeat of the conflict at a later date, more power should be given to the local gentry. At first it was thought that this could take the form of enobling some of the seigneurs but the Indentant had not the power to do so (it required a patent letter from the king) and fearing the backlash from the current nobility, another option was devised. A new class (for the sake of tradition, the word "estate" was avoided) would be created with its own duties and prerogative to be called "Patricians".
The basis for inclusion into this class was not to be based on genealogy (although in pratice, some are as can be seen below) but on ownership of certain lands, membership into some organisation or elevation to certain governmental post. Based of the fact that the nobility's function was originaly the defence of its fiefs, new ranks were created within the army for the patricians (originaly, only noblemen could become officers and command men). These (the "adjudants") were in theory below the officers although in practice they had the same commands. The abolition of the army a few decades later meant the end of class-specific ranks. It was argued that the militia, being allowed to elect its officers during the ancient regime, was not under the same restriction as the army.
The existence of the Patricians has over the years help keep a balance of power with the Intendancy. Because its members come from all three estates, a class consciousness has evolved amongst them that allow them to understand their various needs while at the same time being able to see beyond to the greater interests.
Note that except for those cases where a person "brought his post into disrepute", the status of patrician is for life. Those who are still in function follow their rank by "habere" while those who are patrician due to a previous occupation have as a suffix "averrere".
List of Ranks (non-exaustive):
|Armigier:||Being accepted by the Intendancy's Order of Merit. The name of this rank is meant to represent the fact that they have symbolicaly "carried the arms" [the honnour] of the Intendancy.|
|Seigneur:||Ownership of a seignory. Although not technicaly hereditary, one seigneur will normaly sell it to one of his sons for a token amount. Also note that since the seignory represent the right to collect the cens (and not the land itself), the seignory is not subject to normal inheritance laws in regard to real estate. In other words, the seignory could not be divided among more then one person. For legal purpose, a religious congregation is considered to be an individual and can own a seignory. In this cases, the Abbot is considered to be de facto the seigneur.|
|Vice-Intendant:||The Vice-Intendants are in charge of one of the regions of the Intendancy. While the day to day affairs are handled by the civil servants, the Vice-Intendants are still more then just symbolic figures as they are invested with some power of reserve.|
|Intendant:||The Intendant's post was formely held by the same family since the french revolution. Altough in theory it could pass to another one, the justification was that the ancestor had been named by the king and only another reigning king could remove him (or his designated succesor). In terms of practicality, having an inherited Head of State has prevented much infighting within the various noble families of New francy. Since the republican reform of 2008, the post is now an elected one.|