The National Assembly wasted no time in setting up a special committee to deal with the amelioration of agriculture. On 2 September 1789 the Committee of Agriculture and Commerce was established. It was made up of thirty-five members, met three times a week and elected a President, Vice-President and two Secretaries, who all held their posts for a month at a time. Some of its more prominent members were Dupont de Nemours, Pons de Soulages and Heurtault de Lamerville, who declared that the committee was ‘entrusted to defend the rights

and interests of cultivators’. Although this committee would survive in one form or another until the Year III, the principal work of this first incarnation under the National and Legislative Assemblies was the project to codify all rural practices in France. There were many opinions on how to do this, but most of them expanded upon the agronomic principles developed in the 1760s and 1770s. A deputy to the National Assembly and member of the Committee of Agriculture wrote a report in 1790 entitled, La restauration de l’agriculture en France. In this document, the idea of agricultural freedom was central: ‘liberty in all agricultural domains is the only way to facilitate progress’.4