E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
An insurrection of the peasantry of France in 1358, excited by the oppressions of the privileged classes and Charles the Bad of Navarre, while King Jean was a prisoner in England. When the peasants complained, and asked who was to redress their grievances, they were told in scorn Jacques Bonhomme (Johnny Goodman), i.e. no one. At length a leader appeared, called himself Jacques Bonhomme, and declared war to the death against every gentleman in France. In six weeks some 12,000 of these insurgents were cut down, and amongst their number was the leader himself. (See JACK, JACQUES.)