- "To administer is to govern, to govern is to reign. That is the essence of the problem."
- ―Mirabeau after a royal session reprimanding the National Assembly, 1789.[src]
Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau (1749 – 1791), better known as simply Mirabeau, was a French statesman and author, as well as a leader of the French Revolution during its early stages. Spending many years in and out of prison, he became a skilled orator and noted critic of France's arbitrary justice system.
In 1789, he was elected a deputy for the Third Estate at the Estates-General, where he became a leading figure in the National Assembly and aided in the writing of a constitution. As the revolution broke out, Mirabeau was determined to keep it peaceful, wishing for a constitutional monarchy similar to that in Great Britain. He became a secret advisor to King Louis XVI and had several old debts paid off while scheming to ensure that the monarchy would never be overthrown.
Unknown to historians, Mirabeau was also the Mentor of the Parisian Brotherhood of Assassins, who sought to establish peace with the Parisian Rite of the Templar Order and its Grand Master, François de la Serre in the early days of the revolution. After a coup within the Templar Order, he was forced to give up on the truce, until the Grand Master's daughter, Élise de la Serre, offered to work with the Assassins in 1791. Unlike most of the Assassin Council, he was eager to accept this offer. Regarding Mirabeau as a traitor to the Brotherhood, council member Pierre Bellec poisoned him.
After his death, Mirabeau's dealings with the king were discovered, and public opinion turned against him, leading to his remains being moved away from the Panthéon. Viewed as a complex man who is not easily understood, historians disagree on whether he was a great leader who might have prevented the Reign of Terror, an opportunistic demagogue or a traitor to the revolution.
- De la Serre: "Mirabeau is a good man. An honest man."
- Lafrenière: "Mirabeau is a self-aggrandizing drunk!"
- ―François de la Serre and Chrétien Lafrenière discussing Mirabeau, 1789.[src]
Mirabeau was born into a wealthy aristocratic family in Le Bignon as the eldest surviving son of the economist Victor de Riqueti, marquis de Mirabeau and Marie-Geneviève de Vassan. He was born with a twisted foot, a deformed tongue and two fully grown teeth. Upon being presented to his father, the first words said to the latter were supposedly "Do not be alarmed". Mirabeau grew up near Marseille, and suffered a virulent attack of smallpox at the age of three, leaving his face scarred with pockmarks. His father obtained a commission for him in the French Army's cavalry, although the army proved to be a bad place for the young man. It was discovered that he had had an affair with his colonel's wife. His father obtained a lettre de cachet and had him imprisoned on the Île de Ré, a common type of punishment at the time.
Mirabeau would spend many years in and out of prison, avoiding creditors and engaging in affairs with various women. While imprisoned at Fort de Joux in 1776, he seduced his jailer's wife, known as Sophie. He wrote several indecent letters to her, and the two eloped to Switzerland. Settling in Amsterdam, Mirabeau became involved with various occult societies, and joined the Assassin Order around this time. He became a trusted acquaintance of fellow Assassin, Charles Dorian.
In 1777, Mirabeau was arrested once more and imprisoned in the Château de Vincennes, accused of rape in spite of Sophie's devotion to him. Sentenced to death, he became acquainted with the Marquis de Sade, a fellow prisoner, although they eventually came to passionately hate one another. During this period, Mirabeau wrote numerous texts criticizing the arbitrary nature of the French justice system, most notably Des Lettres de Cachet et des prisons d'état, a criticism of the practice through which one could be imprisoned without a trial so long as a letter was signed by the king. He also wrote an essentially pornographic text, Erotica Biblion. Having become a skilled orator, Mirabeau was able to clear all charges against him. Upon being released from prison in 1782, he returned to the Dutch Republic, where he met the educated Madame de Nehra.
After his time in the Dutch Republic, Mirabeau traveled to Great Britain, where his paper on the lettres de cachet had proven popular. He befriended several Whig politicians and became acquainted with the American revolutionaries Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. An anglophile of sorts, he came to be inspired by the British constitutional monarchy and would later propose a similar system for France.
His life changed when he met a group of exiled Genevese revolutionaries, including the financier Étienne Clavière, in Neuchâtel. The exiles became vital to the foundation of Mirabeau's group and political reasoning, writing several texts in his name. After he began working as a pamphleteer for hire to pay off his massive debts, Mirabeau attacked all sorts of issues in his writings, from financial speculation to the nature of the Prussian royal court. In one instance, he also attacked the banks in his texts in return for payment by another banker.
For his criticism of the French finance minister Charles Alexandre de Calonne, Mirabeau was issued another lettre de cachet and exiled to Prussia. He became convinced that "the middle classes shall only be freed by joining forces with the lower classes". This revolutionary stance soon alienated him from the nobility. Several circles looked down on Mirabeau for his frequent imprisonment, numerous scandals and famously poor relationship with a father who had seen to his imprisonment several times. Despite this, the general public grew to admire him. He showed what appears to have been genuine kindness and consideration for the lower classes. After having moved to Paris, he personally invited the family butler to work for him there. He treated the butler kindly, paying him twice the going wage. Mirabeau also paid for medicine when the butler's daughter became ill with distemper.
Around this time, Mirabeau became the Mentor of the Assassin Brotherhood based in Paris, and headed the Assassin Council. He also established connections with the French royal court, and became a close confidant of the Templar Grand Master François de la Serre. Together, Mirabeau and de la Serre strived for peace between the Assassins and Templars, as both leaders recognized that they held common ground when it came to the future of France.
Estates-General of 1789
- "If you have orders to remove us from this hall, you must also get authority to use force, for we shall yield to nothing but bayonets!"
- ―Mirabeau at the royal session, 1789.[src]
In 1789, King Louis XVI summoned the Estates-General to solve the economic problems faced by France. Already popular within politics, Mirabeau attempted to assist in the elections of the nobility, the Second Estate. Rejected, he instead ran successfully for election as a representative for the Third Estate, attempting to win his father's support by dedicating his book on the Prussian court to him. Despite his noble background, Mirabeau's revolutionary outlook caused him to stand with the lower and middle classes, who accepted him as one of their own, and he became a powerful figure thanks to his popularity and reasoned idealism.
As the assembly opened on 5 May, Mirabeau met with Grand Master de la Serre. While discussing the future of the nation, the two arranged a truce between the Assassin Brotherhood and Templar Order. Later that day, de la Serre was murdered at the Palace of Versailles, as part of a coup within the Templar Order. Despite this, Mirabeau remained convinced that the Templars would uphold the truce.
With no solution having been reached at the Estates-General, Mirabeau and the Third Estate formed the National Assembly on 17 June, and invited the other two Estates to join. In response, Louis ordered the National Assembly's hall closed, and the Third Estate convened at a tennis court instead. There, they pledged not to separate until they had written a constitution.
When told of the King's displeasure at a royal session on 23 June, the assembly refused to leave the hall, and Mirabeau stated that they would "yield to nothing but bayonets". Impressed by Mirabeau's speech, the guardsman Frédéric Rouille wanted to shake hands with him. Mirabeau brushed him off, and Rouille would soon join the Templar Order.
Although Mirabeau continued to use his oratory skills at the Estates-General, his main inspiration and writings came from his friends, serving as their spokesman. Nonetheless, with the Third Estate in rebellion against King Louis, the French Revolution had begun.
- Bellec: "He's a politician. Sees himself as a great peacemaker. He thinks he can end the war between Assassins and Templars, bring the Revolution to a happy conclusion, and convince dogs and cats to live together in peace."
- Arno: "And that's... bad?"
- Bellec: "It's a self-aggrandizing pipe dream. The Templars are at their weakest since Jacques de Molay burned, and we're running around after second rate smugglers! All because Mirabeau wants to secure his legacy."
- —Pierre Bellec and Arno Dorian discussing Mirabeau, 1791.[src]
On 14 July 1789, the Bastille was stormed by armed protesters, and Master Assassin Pierre Bellec escaped from the prison along with Charles' son and Grand Master de la Serre's adopted son, Arno Dorian. Bellec invited Arno to join the Brotherhood, as his father had done before him.
Arno found the Assassin headquarters underneath the Sainte-Chapelle, and was brought before Mirabeau and council. Arno claimed that he wanted to redeem himself for failing to rescue de la Serre, and Mirabeau told him to drink from a goblet as part of his initiation. After Arno went through a hallucination of his personal failures, he awoke before Mirabeau and the council. After they recited the tenets of the Creed, Mirabeau officially inducted Arno into the Brotherhood.
In August 1789, he helped draft the constitution, which was named the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. Defending the King's power of veto against the Assembly, he argued that the continued protests should end. He also advocated the abolition of slavery. On the tensions between the slaves and colonists of Saint-Domingue, Mirabeau commented that "the whites of Saint-Domingue [slept] at the foot of Vesuvius". He also rose to become president of the Jacobin Club, which later became known for its radical views, and took note of one of its prominent members, Maximilien de Robespierre. Mirabeau said of him, "He will go far. He believes everything he says".
In October 1789, Mirabeau began negotiating with King Louis and Marie Antoinette. In return for receiving funds to pay off his debts, Mirabeau advised the king on how to manage the revolution and remain on the throne, as the count personally wanted to ensure that the revolution remained peaceful. Still wishing the king to be under the power of the Constituent Assembly, Mirabeau sent Arno and a team of Assassins to protect the Women's March on Versailles, which compelled Louis to return to Paris.
Revolutionary politician and investigating the Templars
- Arno: "You look terrible."
- Mirabeau: "For months, I have been wrangling the Brotherhood, the National Assembly, and the King. Taken all together they have the political acumen of an especially stupid village council. I believe that excuses my appearance, young man."
- Arno: "I meant no disrespect, Mentor. I am only... concerned."
- Mirabeau: "Forget me, Arno. Weep for France."
- —Arno and Mirabeau, 1791.[src]
In January 1791, Mirabeau sent Bellec and Arno to assassinate the Templar smuggler Arpinon at the Conciergerie, and retrieve a ledger from him. Returning to the Assassin headquarters, Bellec voiced his dislike of Mirabeau to Arno, believing that the Mentor was naive in seeking peace with the Templars and keeping the revolution peaceful.
The ledger revealed that Arpinon had been extorting money from imprisoned nobles. Arno also reported that Grand Master de la Serre's killer, Charles Gabriel Sivert, had met with Arpinon, and requested that he be allowed to assassinate him. The council reminded Mirabeau that the new Templar Order was not likely to seek peace with the Assassins. Thus, Mirabeau relented and charged Arno with going to the Notre-Dame, gathering intelligence from Sivert and killing him.
Returning successful from his mission, Arno informed Mirabeau that Sivert had an accomplice, the Roi des Thunes, leader of the Cour des Miracles. Issuing Arno with a new weapon, the Phantom Blade, Mirabeau sent him to kill the Roi des Thunes.
On 30 January, Mirabeau was elected president of the National Constituent Assembly, having earned the respect of all sides and proving a promising leader. When the assembly convened, he spoke at great length, rarely yielding the floor for other politicians. When Arno returned successfully from his mission, he met an exhausted Mirabeau, who explained that his health had been affected by constant discussions and dealings with the Assassin Council, the National Constituent Assembly and King Louis. He claimed that, taken together, they had the "political acumen of an especially stupid village council".
Arno reported that Sivert and the Roi des Thunes were hired to kill de la Serre, and had killed the Grand Master with a pin fashioned by the silversmith François-Thomas Germain. Mirabeau then sent Arno to find Germain and learn what he knew. As he returned, he found Mirabeau arguing with the Council about the Day of Daggers, where four hundred armed noblemen had entered the Tuileries Palace and supposedly attempted to help the King escape Paris, only to be arrested by the Marquis de Lafayette.
Arno reported that Germain had been commissioned to produce the pin by a man named Chrétien Lafrenière. Surprised that the supposedly loyal Lafrenière had ordered the murder of de la Serre, Mirabeau nonetheless instructed Arno to kill him. However, Arno revealed that he had already done so. The Council strongly reprimanded him, but Mirabeau hushed them and calmly reminded Arno not to act without the Council's approval.
Arno explained that Lafrenière seemingly prepared to strike at the Brotherhood, forcing him to act immediately. However, after seeing his memories, Arno became uncertain of Lafenière's true motives, with the attack directed at the Hôtel de Beauvais, not an Assassin safehouse. Arno then requested permission to investigate further. With the attack imminent, Mirabeau granted Arno's request, while reminding him not to act rashly.
Alliance with Élise de la Serre
Through his investigation, Arno learned of an ambush by the new Templar faction on Élise de la Serre, daughter of the late Grand Master and a personal lover. He persuaded her to meet with the Assassins and negotiate an alliance with them to bring down the new faction of the Templar Order.
Arno brought Élise before the Council, and she proposed an alliance. Bellec and the Council strongly objected, but Mirabeau insisted that they continue the discussion in private. While Arno and Élise were away, they learned that Germain was in fact the Grand Master of the new faction of the Templar Order.
- Arno: "You poisoned Mirabeau!"
- Bellec: "He poisoned us! Peace with the Templars is a fairy tale!"
- ―Arno confronting Bellec over the latter's murder of Mirabeau, 1791.[src]
Around this time, Mirabeau's last speech was delivered by Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, although the speech had actually been written in Mirabeau's name by the Genevese pastor Étienne Salonion Reybaz.
With Mirabeau insisting on accepting Élise's offer, Bellec resolved to kill him, regarding him a traitor to the Assassins. Meeting with the Mentor at the latter's estate, Bellec gave him a chance to change his mind. Realizing he could not convince him, Bellec snuck aconite into Mirabeau's wine. Once Mirabeau drank the poisoned wine, Bellec paid him his final rites. He then placed Mirabeau on his bed with a Templar pin underneath his pillow, wishing to frame Élise.
Shortly after, Élise and Arno came to inform Mirabeau of their findings, only to discover his body. After an investigation, Arno discovered Bellec to be the culprit, and that the latter planned to poison the rest of the council. Although Bellec tried to justify the poisoning, the two entered a fight, with Arno being forced to kill him.
Following Mirabeau's death, he was cremated in accordance with Assassin tradition. By then, he had become a French national hero, which led to a desire to honor leaders of the revolution. Thus, the Church of Sainte-Geneviève was transformed to the Panthéon. The Brotherhood therefore buried Mirabeau's remains in an Assassin crypt underneath the building along with a set of Assassin relics.
During the funeral procession, Templars attempted to strike at the vulnerable Assassins. However, a team of Assassins blended with the crowd and dispatched the attackers non-lethally, in order to avoid creating a scene. Mirabeau's sarcophagus was put under guard, although one of the guards was attacked by a thief named Pierre Thibault. He also broke into the sarcophagus and looted it. After identifying him, a team of Assassins were dispatched to eliminate Thibault.
While sorting Mirabeau's personal dealings, the council discovered his correspondence with King Louis. Knowing that the Templars could use it to expose and eliminate Assassins across France, they tasked Arno with infiltrating the Tuileries Palace and destroying the correspondence.
Despite Arno's efforts, the iron cabinet containing correspondence and a list of payments was eventually discovered. Robespierre, secretly a Templar, subsequently exposed this evidence, and Mirabeau was publicly disgraced. The Templars had articles and posters printed revealing Mirabeau's relations with the royal house, while also making false claims about a supposed affair with Marie Antoinette. Arno later tore down the posters and destroyed the press printing them and the articles.
Mirabeau's friends also attempted to rescue Marie Antoinette from execution in 1793, however this attempt was foiled by the Templar Jean Gilbert. Gilbert knew of Mirabeau's involvement, for which he was killed by Arno on the orders of the Council.
While many wanted his remains removed from the Panthéon, the Templars also sought to claim Mirabeau's relics. With the Brotherhood's secrecy at risk, Arno and a team of Assassins infiltrated the Panthéon in May 1794 and claimed the relics for safekeeping before anyone could find them. However, Mirabeau's remains were eventually moved to another grave.
With the retrieval of the relics, the Assassins hid them in an unknown location where the Templars could never find them. In historical records, Mirabeau's death would be attributed to pericarditis, caused by the excessive drinking and womanizing throughout his life.
Personality and characteristics
- "Nothing baffles the schemes of evil people so much as the calm composure of great souls."
Throughout his life, Mirabeau led a frivolous lifestyle. Despite his facial disfigurement, he managed to charm a lot of women. However, his impetuosity would repeatedly get him in trouble. Mirabeau was also a heavy drinker, receiving large weekly deliveries of wine at his estate. These traits led many to question his integrity.
In spite of his carefree way of life, Mirabeau was genuinely concerned with the well-being of both his country and Brotherhood. He demonstrated a wealth of knowledge, and was famed for being a highly charismatic speaker, even if others wrote his speeches for him. Believing strongly in the virtue of his goals, Mirabeau was unafraid of attacking powerful figures, such as the monarchy. When the National Constituent Assembly convened, he would rarely yield the floor for other politicians to speak. Abstergo Entertainment employee Robert Fraser claimed that, "Despite human weaknesses, he grasps the potential of human greatness."
At times, however, he could also be ambitious and vain, erupting into angry outbursts when others questioned his sincerity. Mirabeau would frequently argue with the Assassin Council, as well as King Louis and the National Constituent Assembly, believing their intelligence below his while remaining highly confident in his own skills as a politician and negotiator. Among the Council, he was one of the few who held faith in Arno Dorian. While the other members scolded Arno for assassinating Chrétien Lafrenière without consulting them, Mirabeau calmly and constructively criticized the young Assassin for his actions. This welcoming and friendly demeanor also earned him the trust of many, including his fellow Assassin Charles Dorian and even the Templar Grand Master François de la Serre. Upon meeting Mirabeau, de la Serre's daughter, Élise, noted that "he had kind trustworthy eyes and I liked him at once".
In regards to both politics and the Brotherhood, Mirabeau was a shrewd and pragmatic moderate. A confidante of Grand Master de la Serre, he sought peace between the two Orders, and was reluctant to act aggressively against the Templars. He also made secret deals with King Louis in order to repay his own debts and ensure that the revolution would not become violent, and gladly accepted Élise de la Serre's offer to cooperate. This approach was met with some skepticism from the Council, Pierre Bellec in particular. Bellec regarded Mirabeau as a traitor to the Assassins for negotiating with the Templars and prioritizing the outcome of the revolution above the destruction of the Brotherhood's age-old enemies.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 1.33 1.34 1.35 1.36 1.37 1.38 1.39 1.40 1.41 Assassin's Creed: Unity
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 Assassin's Creed Unity: Abstergo Entertainment - Employee Handbook
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Project Widow
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Assassin's Creed: Unity novel
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Initiates - Letters to the Dead
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Unity companion app