- "Ah, dear Louis. He went from abolishing the death penalty to calling for the King's head in two short years."
- ―Marquis de Sade on le Peletier, 1793.
Louis-Michel le Peletier, Marquis de Saint-Fargeau (1760 – 1793) was a French politician during the French Revolution and a member of the Parisian Rite of the Templar Order. An advisor of Grand Master François de la Serre from a young age, he eventually sided with François-Thomas Germain and plotted against de la Serre. Le Peletier was responsible for casting the final vote that condemned King Louis XVI to death. On the night before the execution, le Peletier was killed inside the Palais-Royal by the Assassin Arno Dorian.
Le Peletier was born in Paris in 1760 to a noble family. At a young age, he became a member of the Parisian Rite of the Templar Order. A promising youth, he became a member of the Paris Parliament in 1779. Despite being under the age limit, he was admitted with special permission, most likely because of Templar involvement. Le Peletier would eventually rise to become an advisor for Grand Master François de la Serre along with Charles Gabriel Sivert, Marie Lévesque and Chrétien Lafrenière.
Joining Germain and early revolutionEdit
At some point around 1774, le Peletier's fellow Templar François-Thomas Germain was expelled from the Templar Order due to his radical ideas. Inspired by the writings of Jacques de Molay, Germain envisioned a capitalist society in which the nobility was stripped of its power, and the rising middle class would gain power. This way, the Templars would be able to exert control over the populace more subtly. Eventually, le Peletier secretly joined Germain's faction of the Order along with Lévesque and Sivert.
Le Peletier continued to rise in the Parliament until 1789, when he was elected to the Estates-General as a deputy for the nobility's Second Estate. Keeping in line with Germain's plan, le Peletier abandoned his aristocratic origins, symbolically giving up his titles of nobility. Through supporting the Third Estate, he became an ardent defender of the people's cause. On 5 May that year, le Peletier attended the induction soirée of de la Serre's daughter, Élise, at the Palace of Versailles with Lévesque, Sivert and Lafrenière. During the soirée, Sivert and his fellow Templar, the Roi des Thunes, murdered Grand Master de la Serre in the palace gardens, framing the Grand Master's adopted son, Arno Dorian, for the murder.
As the revolution broke out, Germain had his followers create as much chaos as possible by exploiting dissatisfaction with the monarchy. However, they were not told about the purpose of their activities. Being a lawyer, le Peletier took part in writing a draft of a criminal code, including a point for the abolition of death penalty. Although the idea was dismissed, it led to le Peletier serving as the president of the National Constituent Assembly from 21 June 1790 to 5 July that same year.
Meeting with Germain and condemning LouisEdit
- Germain: "The King must be seen as a criminal and a traitor. Only then, when he is executed like a common villain, can we show the world Jacques de Molay's great truth."
- Le Peletier: "You may show the world what truths you like, Grand Master. What I do, I do for the good of France."
- ―Le Peletier with Germain at the Templar meeting, 1791.[src]
On the evening of 31 March 1791, le Peletier and Lévesque went to the Hôtel de Beauvais to meet with Germain, who would explain the reason behind their orders. Since Lafrenière had discovered their betrayal of de la Serre, Lévesque feared that he would retaliate. Their fellow Templar Aloys la Touche informed them however, that Lafrenière had been killed hours earlier. Arno, now an Assassin, had been manipulated by Germain into killing Lafrenière, who had intended to strike at Germain's faction.
At the meeting, Frédéric Rouille presented evidence that King Louis had been plotting against the revolution. At Germain's request, le Peletier ensured that this evidence would become public. While a member of the National Convention, le Peletier worked covertly on a draft about education, suggesting that males and females were taught revolutionary ideas in state-run schools. Renouncing his opposition to the death penalty, he cast the deciding 361st vote for Louis' execution in 1793. While reporting back to Germain, he claimed to have voted in accordance with what he belived best for France, rather than the Grand Master's visions of de Molay.
Pleased with le Peletier's vote, Germain claimed that he looked forward to witnessing Louis' death. Le Peletier then assured the Grand Master that he would personally see to it that he was given a proper viewing spot at the execution.
- "So. I thank you at least for sparing my daughter the sight of this. All that I've done has been for the good of my country, my people, and my family. Ah. But you are unmoved. So be it. If it must be done, let it be done swiftly. Do it!"
- ―Le Peletier upon being confronted by Arno before his death, 1793.[src]
In celebration of the King's imminent execution, le Peletier attended a party at the Palais-Royal with his daughter, Louise-Suzanne, dining at the Café Fevrier. Unknown to him, Arno was also present. As le Peletier called for a bottle of wine, Arno placed a bottle cut with lead sugar at the bar. This bottle was served to le Peletier, who soon began to feel the effects of the poison.
Telling his daughter to find her nurse, le Peletier went into a hallway, where he was confronted by Arno. There, he told Arno that he was glad to see his daughter spared the sight of his death. He then claimed that all of his actions were done for the good of France, its people, and his own family. Noting that Arno was unmoved by this, he told the Assassin to kill him quickly. Arno complied, stabbing him with his Hidden Blade. The Assassin then saw a vision of le Peletier's memories. Through them, he discovered that Germain would be present at the Place de la Révolution the following morning.
- Le Peletier historically did not cast the deciding vote for the King's assassination. The votes had a majority of 387 for death over 334 against execution.
- Le Peletier was in fact historically assassinated at the Palais-Royal on the eve of the execution of Louis XVI, by a royalist soldier, for voting in favor of execution.