They tried to establish the model of a nobility entirely dedicated to the profession of arms, finding justification in an ascetic ideal. The disappointed hopes of the petty nobility thus led them to dream of a class of heroes and an antidote to a society devoted to luxury and the rising power of money. It was the equivalent, on a chivalric level, of the religious mysticism of the Jansenistic middle class of the previous century. The frustration of this petty nobility, kept out of senior posts and sometimes the army itself by venality and the privilege of courtiers, bred a mystique of heroism and selflessness. The chevalier d’Arc, who gave his book the characteristic title of the French Patriot, gave vigorous expression to this yearning for sacrifice, and his frenzied debate with the abbé Coyer elevated this ideal of austerity, purity and service to the fatherland to paradoxical heights.
—Guy Chaussinand-Nogaret, The French Nobility in the Eighteenth Century