President with mortar
The office of president to mortar is one of the most important loads of the French justice of the Ancien Mode. They are the principal magistrates of the highest institutions of justice: the Parlement S which are the supreme degree of call.
Eleven in 1789, the Parliaments organize themselves in several rooms gathering on the one hand advisers which play the part of assessors of justice, on the other hand presidents intended to chair the meetings.
Most important of these rooms is Grand' Chambre. Its presidents, to mark their preeminence with respect to the presidents of the other rooms, take the title of “presidents with mortar”, of the name of their hairstyle, a hat of black velvet raised of two gallons gilded.
The load of president with mortar is venal, i.e. purchasable and héritable freely, under the condition of paying a transfer tax to the sovereign. Nevertheless, to really exert the load, it is necessary to be approved by the Parliament in the form of a legal examination. The office is thus theoretically reserved to the holder of university degrees in right. The load confers at the end of twenty working years the hereditary nobility, but the system of venality makes that she is exerted only by already noble people.
The presidents are normally under the authority of a “first president”, who is not to him owner of a venal office, but is named by the king, from where continual tensions.
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