E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
A generic name for the poor artisan class in France. Jaques is a sort of cotton waistcoat without sleeves.
Jacques, il me faut troubler ton somme;
Dans le village, un gros huissier
Rôde et court, suivi du messier:
Cest pour limpôt, las! mon pauvre homme.
Lève-toi, Jacques, lève-toi,
Voici venir lhuissier du roi.
Pauvre Jacques. Said to a maiden when she is lackadaisical (French). Marie Antoinette had at the Little Trianon an artificial Swiss village, which she called her Petite Suisse, and actually sent to Switzerland for a peasant girl to assist in milking the cows. The Swiss maiden was one day overheard sighing for Pauvre Jacques, and the queen sent for the distant swain, and had the lovers married. To finish this absurd romance, the Marchioness de Travanet wrote an ode on the event, which was for a time wonderfully popular.