1789 was not an especially good year for the people of Turin. The population figures, published the following January, showed that deaths had exceeded births that year by 55 per cent, in part due to an epidemic of measles. Despite immigration from rural areas the town’s population had fallen. Its foundling hospital received over 500 children, presumably because their parents had died or could not cope with them. The government was similarly confronted by traditional problems. The large number of abuses in the administration of communal properties, despite the regulations of 1775, led to the establishment of a council to deal with the problem. Victor Amadeus III was greatly concerned about military matters, leading in early 1790 to Genoese fears of an attack. There were few signs that the established order was soon to be disrupted and Nice and Savoy overrun in 1792 by the armies of Revolutionary France, though in the summer of 1790 the peasants on the lands of Prince Carignan near Turin rose against tax demands, while the government backed up with arrests its prohibition of public discussion of politics and its limitation of the newspapers permitted to circulate. However, these restrictions were hardly novel: Turin had long been known as a rigorously policed city where the free expression of opinion was restricted.
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