Louis-Michel le Peletier, marquis de Saint-Fargeau

Last updated

Louis-Michel le Peletier
Lepeletier de Saint-Fargeau by Francois-Seraphin Delpech.jpg
Portrait of Le Peletier by François Delpech (1830)
National Convention
for Yonne
In office
20 September 1792 20 January 1793
Succeeded by Alexandre Edmé Pierre Villetard
Member of the National Constituent Assembly
In office
9 July 1789 5 July 1790
Constituency Paris
Member of the Estates-General
for Nobility
In office
16 May 1789 9 July 1789
Constituency Paris
Personal details
Born(1760-05-29)29 May 1760
Paris, France
Died20 January 1793(1793-01-20) (aged 32)
Paris, France
Resting place Château de Saint-Fargeau, Burgundy, France
Political party Montagnard
Spouse(s)Marie-Louise Adelaide Joly
Children Suzanne le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau
Profession Lawyer, magistrate
Signature Signature Lepeletier de St Fargeau.png

Louis-Michel le Peletier, Marquis of Saint-Fargeau (sometimes spelled Lepeletier; 29 May 1760 20 January 1793) was a French politician and martyr of the French revolution. [1]



Born in Paris, he belonged to a well-known family, his great-grandfather, Michel Robert Le Peletier des Forts, count of Saint-Fargeau, having been Controller-General of Finances. [2] After the death of his title-holding family, Le Peletier gained a vast amount of wealth.

The Controller-General or Comptroller-General of Finances was the name of the minister in charge of finances in France from 1661 to 1791. The position replaced the former position of Superintendent of Finances, which was abolished with the downfall of Nicolas Fouquet.

Le Peletier entered into politics by becoming a lawyer ("avocat") in the employ of the Place du Châtelet, a prison. In 1785 he was advanced to avocat-general. In 1789 he was elected to the Parlement of Paris, and in that same year he became a deputy of the noblesse to the States-General. [2]

Place du Châtelet square in Paris, France

The Place du Châtelet is a public square in Paris, on the right bank of the river Seine, on the borderline between the 1st and 4th arrondissements. It lies at the north end of the Pont au Change, a bridge that connects the Île de la Cité, near the Palais de Justice and the Conciergerie, to the right bank. The closest métro station is Châtelet

Initially, he shared the conservative views of the majority of his class, but by degrees his ideas changed and became increasingly radical. On 13 July 1789 he demanded the recall of Necker, whose dismissal by the king had aroused great excitement in Paris. In the Constituent Assembly he moved the abolition of the death penalty, of the galleys and of branding, and the substitution of beheading for hanging. This attitude won him great popularity, and on 21 June 1790 he was made president of the Constituent Assembly. [2] He remained in this position until 5 July 1790.

Conservatism is a political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization. The central tenets of conservatism include tradition, organic society, hierarchy, authority, and property rights. Conservatives seek to preserve a range of institutions such as religion, parliamentary government, and property rights, with the aim of emphasizing social stability and continuity. The more traditional elements—reactionaries—oppose modernism and seek a return to "the way things were".

Jacques Necker French statesman of Genevan birth and finance minister of Louis XVI

Jacques Necker was a banker of Genevan origin who became a finance minister for Louis XVI and a French statesman. Necker played a key role in French history before and during the first period of the French Revolution.

National Constituent Assembly (France) Revolutionary legislature of France, 1789 to 1791

The National Constituent Assembly was formed from the National Assembly on 9 July 1789 during the first stages of the French Revolution. It dissolved on 30 September 1791 and was succeeded by the Legislative Assembly.

During the existence of the Legislative Assembly, he was elected President of the General Council for the Yonne département in 1791. He was then elected by this département to become a deputy to the Convention. Here he was in favor of the trial of Louis XVI by the Assembly and was a deciding vote for the death of the king. [2]

Yonne Department of France

Yonne is a French department named after the river Yonne. It is one of the eight constituent departments of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and is located in the northwest of the region, bordering Île-de-France. It was created in 1790 during the French Revolution. Its prefecture (capital) is Auxerre and its postcode number is 89.

In the administrative divisions of France, the department is one of the three levels of government below the national level, between the administrative regions and the commune. Ninety-five departments are in metropolitan France, and five are overseas departments, which are also classified as regions. Departments are further subdivided into 334 arrondissements, themselves divided into cantons; the last two have no autonomy, and are used for the organisation of police, fire departments, and sometimes, elections.

National Convention Single-chamber assembly in France from 21 September 1792 to 26 October 1795

The National Convention was the first government of the French Revolution, following the two-year National Constituent Assembly and the one-year Legislative Assembly. Created after the great insurrection of 10 August 1792, it was the first French government organized as a republic, abandoning the monarchy altogether. The Convention sat as a single-chamber assembly from 20 September 1792 to 26 October 1795.

Educational Reform

While in the Convention, Le Peletier focused mainly on revolutionary reform of education, promoting a Spartan education. It called for both males and females to be taught in state-run schools and taught revolutionary ideas instead of the customary history, science, mathematics, language and religion. His educational plan was supported by Robespierre and his ideas were borrowed in later schemes, notably by Jules Ferry.

Maximilien Robespierre French revolutionary lawyer and politician

Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre was a French lawyer and politician who was one of the best known and most influential figures of the French Revolution. As a member of the Constituent Assembly and the Jacobin Club, he campaigned for universal manhood suffrage, and the abolition of both celibacy for the clergy and of slavery. Robespierre was an outspoken advocate for the citizens without a voice, for their unrestricted admission to the National Guard, to public offices, and for the right to carry arms in self-defence. Robespierre played an important part in the agitation which brought about the fall of the French monarchy in August 1792 and the summoning of a National Convention.

Jules Ferry French politician

Jules François Camille Ferry was a French statesman and republican. He was a promoter of laicism and colonial expansion.

Death and later honors

Louis-Michel Lepeletier de Saint-Fargeau, by Garneray, engraved by Alix Lepel(l)etier, Michel, par Garnerey (sic) et Alix, BNF Gallica.jpg
Louis-Michel Lepeletier de Saint-Fargeau, by Garneray, engraved by Alix

On 20 January 1793, the eve of the king's execution, Le Peletier was assassinated in a restaurant in the Palais Royal. [2] His murderer, Philippe Nicolas Marie de Pâris, a member of the Garde du Corps, allegedly plunged a saber that he had hidden under his cloak into Le Peletier's chest. His assassin fled to Normandy, where, on the point of being discovered, he supposedly shot himself in the head. [2] Other sources claim the real murderer fled to England where he died years later.

The Convention honored Louis Michel Le Peletier with a magnificent funeral. [2] His body was displayed in the Place Vendôme beneath the statue of King Louis XIV. Le Peletier was buried in the Panthéon in Paris in 1793. His body was removed by his family on 14 February 1795.

Just a month after the assassination, on 23 February 1793, the Opéra-Comique presented the first of four performances of a musical treatment of his life and death called Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau, ou Le premier martyr de la République française, with a libretto by Auguste-Louis Bertin d'Antilly and music by Frédéric Blasius. [3] [4]

The station Saint-Fargeau of the Paris Métro is named for him.

A Sèvres biscuit porcelain bust of Louis Michel Le Peletier is on display in the Château de Vizille, Isère.

On 30 September 1793 the French Navy's ship Séduisant , one of two newly commissioned ships, with 74 guns, over 56 meters in length and 1550 tons in weight, was renamed Peletier. On 30 May 1795, the ship reverted to her original name Séduisant.

Painting by David

Les derniers moments de Michel Lepeletier, an engraving by Anatole Desvoge after the painting by Jacques-Louis David Lepeletier-David 1.JPG
Les derniers moments de Michel Lepeletier, an engraving by Anatole Desvoge after the painting by Jacques-Louis David

The painter Jacques-Louis David represented his death in a famous painting, Les Derniers moments de Michel Lepeletier or Lepelletier de Saint-Fargeau sur son lit de mort. David described his painting of Le Peletier's face as "Serene, that is because when one dies for one's country, one has nothing with which to reproach oneself." This painting, known only through a drawing made by a pupil of David, is considered by scholars the first official painting of the French Revolution, a rehearsal for David's later achievement The Death of Marat .


Le Peletier had a brother, Felix (1769–1837), well known for his advanced ideas, [2] and a brother Amédée Louis Michel Lepeletier de Saint Fargeau (1770–1845), a noted entomologist. The writer and academician Jean d'Ormesson is descended from his daughter Suzanne le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau.

Le Peletier appears as an antagonist in Assassin's Creed Unity , where he is depicted as a secret member of the Templar Order under Grand Master Francois-Thomas Germain who believes that he is doing what is right for France before what is right for the Templars. He is assassinated by the protagonist Arno Dorian in the Palais-Royale after he votes to have the king executed.


  1. LIVESEY, JAMES. "Republicanism." Europe 1789–1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of Industry and Empire, edited by John Merriman and Jay Winter, vol. 4, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2006, pp. 1958–1964. Gale Virtual Reference Library, http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=GVRLsw=w&u=miam11506&v=2.1it=r&id=GALE%7CCX3446900702asid=98c2ab49ec52acf19cb3480650c50c44. Accessed 16 February 2017.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau, Louis Michel". Encyclopædia Britannica . 16 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 464.
  3. Arthur Pougin, L'Opéra-Comique pendant la Révolution de 1788 à 1801: d'après des documents inédits et les sources les plus authentiques (Paris: Albert Savine, 1890), View at Google Books, 73-4
  4. Nicole Wild and David Charlton, Théâtre de l'Opéra-Comique Paris: répertoire 1762–1972 (Sprimont, Belgium: Editions Mardaga, 2005), 55, 301, 489


Related Research Articles

Jacques-Louis David French painter

Jacques-Louis David was a French painter in the Neoclassical style, considered to be the preeminent painter of the era. In the 1780s his cerebral brand of history painting marked a change in taste away from Rococo frivolity toward classical austerity and severity and heightened feeling, harmonizing with the moral climate of the final years of the Ancien Régime.

Jean-Paul Marat politician and journalist during the French Revolution

Jean-Paul Marat was a French political theorist, physician, and scientist. He was a journalist and politician during the French Revolution. He was a vigorous defender of the sans-culottes and seen as a radical voice. He published his views in pamphlets, placards and newspapers. His periodical L'Ami du peuple made him an unofficial link with the radical Jacobin group that came to power after June 1793.

Thérésa Tallien French courtesans

Thérésa Cabarrus, Madame Tallien, was a Spanish-born French noble, salon holder and social figure during the Revolution. Later she became Princess of Chimay.

Joseph Bara French soldier

François Joseph Bara, also written Barra, was a young French republican drummer boy at the time of the Revolution.

Musée Carnavalet History Museum, Art museum, Historic site in Paris, France

The Musée Carnavalet in Paris is dedicated to the history of the city. The museum occupies two neighboring mansions: the Hôtel Carnavalet and the former Hôtel Le Peletier de Saint Fargeau. On the advice of Baron Haussmann, the civil servant who transformed Paris in the latter half of the 19th century, the Hôtel Carnavalet was purchased by the Municipal Council of Paris in 1866; it was opened to the public in 1880. By the latter part of the 20th century, the museum was full to capacity. The Hôtel Le Peletier de Saint Fargeau was annexed to the Carnavalet and opened to the public in 1989.

Amédée Louis Michel le Peletier, comte de Saint-Fargeau French entomologist

Amédée Louis Michel le Peletier, comte de Saint-Fargeau, also spelled Lepeletier or Lepelletier, was a French entomologist, and specialist in the Hymenoptera.

François Gérard French painter

François Pascal Simon Gérard, titled as Baron Gérard in 1809, was a prominent French painter. He was born in Rome, where his father occupied a post in the house of the French ambassador, and his mother was Italian. After he was made a baron of the Empire in 1809 by Emperor Napoleon, he was known formally as Baron Gérard.

Salle Le Peletier theatre of the Paris Opera from 1821 to 1873

The Salle Le Peletier or Lepeletier was the home of the Paris Opera from 1821 until the building was destroyed by fire in 1873. The theatre was designed and constructed by the architect François Debret on the site of the garden of the Hôtel de Choiseul on the rue Lepeletier. Due to the many changes in government and management during the theatre's existence, it had a number of different official names, the most important of which were: Théâtre de l'Académie Royale de Musique (1821–1848), Opéra-Théâtre de la Nation (1848–1850), Théâtre de l'Académie Nationale de Musique (1850–1852), Théâtre de l'Académie Impériale de Musique (1852–1854), Théâtre Impérial de l'Opéra (1854–1870), and Théâtre National de l'Opéra (1870–1873).

Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny French composer

Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny was a French composer and a member of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts (1813).

<i>The Death of Marat</i> painting of Jean-Paul Marat lying dead in his bathtub by Jacques-Louis David in 1793

The Death of Marat is a 1793 painting by Jacques-Louis David of the murdered French revolutionary leader Jean-Paul Marat. It is one of the most famous images of the French Revolution. David was the leading French painter, as well as a Montagnard and a member of the revolutionary Committee of General Security. The painting shows the radical journalist lying dead in his bath on July 13, 1793, after his murder by Charlotte Corday. Painted in the months after Marat's murder, it has been described by T. J. Clark as the first modernist painting, for "the way it took the stuff of politics as its material, and did not transmute it".

Séduisant was a 74-gun ship of the line of the French Navy, lead ship of her class.

Michel, chevalier de Cubières, the brother of Louis Pierre de Cubières, was an 18th-century French writer, known under the pen-names of Palmézaux and Dorat-Cubières, taking the latter name as he had Claude Joseph Dorat as his master.

The name le Peletier may refer to:

Frédéric Blasius French violinist, clarinetist, conductor, and composer

Frédéric Blasius was a French violinist, clarinetist, conductor, and composer. Born MatthäusBlasius, he used Frédéric as his pen name on his publications in Paris.

Auguste-Louis Bertin d'Antilly (1763–1804) was a French dramatist and journalist whose patriotic songs and topical libretti were prominent during the French Revolution, but who emigrated from France under Napoleon.

Le Peletier de Saint Fargeau may refer to:

<i>The Last Moments of Michel Lepeletier</i> lost painting by Jacques-Louis David

The Last Moments of Michel Lepeletier, The Death of Lepeletier de Saint-Fargeau or Lepeletier on his Deathbed was a 1793 painting by Jacques-Louis David.

<i>The Death of Young Bara</i> painting by Jacques-Louis David

The Death of Young Bara, Joseph Bara or The Death of Bara is an incomplete 1794 painting by the French artist Jacques-Louis David, now in the musée Calvet. Joseph Bara, a young drummer in the army of the French First Republic, killed by the Vendéens. He became a hero and martyr of the French Revolution and – with The Death of Marat and The Last Moments of Michel Lepeletier – the painting formed part of a series by David showing such martyrs. There is also an anonymous contemporary copy dating to 1794, now in the musée des beaux-arts de Lille and exhibited at the Musée de la Révolution française.

Château de Saint-Fargeau Castle in France

Château de Saint-Fargeau is a 17th-century, Renaissance château located in the commune of Saint-Fargeau in the department of Yonne, in the Burgundy region of France.

Suzanne le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau

Suzanne le Peletier is the daughter of Louis-Michel le Peletier, marquis de Saint-Fargeau. After the death of her father, she became the "Daughter of the State" with her new father being the National Assembly.