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"Ah, but to administer is to govern, to govern is to reign. That is the essence of the problem."
―Mirabeau at the Tennis Court Oath, 1789.[src]

Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau (1749 – 1791), better known as simply Mirabeau, was a French nobleman, the Mentor of the Assassin Council of the French Brotherhood, and a leader of the French Revolution during its early stages. A gifted orator, he favored a constitutional monarchy built on the model of Great Britain, being a voice of moderation in the National Constituent Assembly.

Biography

Early life

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.[src]

Mirabeau was born into a wealthy aristocratic family in Le Bignon, and grew up near Marseille. At a young age, he suffered a virulent attack of smallpox, leaving his face scarred with pockmarks. Mirabeau's 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 Mirabeau had had an affair with his colonel's wife. Mirebeau's father obtained a lettre de chachet and had him imprisoned on the Île de Ré, a common type of punishment at the time.[1]

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.[1]. He wrote several indecent letters to her, and the two eloped to Switzerland.[2] Settling in Amsterdam, Mirabeau became involved with various occult societies.[1]

In 1777, Mirabeau was arrested once more and imprisoned in the Château de Vincennes,[1] accused of rape in spite of Sophie's devotion to him.[2] There, he wrote numerous texts criticizing the arbitrary nature of the French justice system. He also wrote an essentially pornographic text, Erotica Biblion.[1] Having become a skilled orator, Mirabeau was able to clear all charges against him. Upon being released from prison, Mirabeau returned to the Dutch Republic, where he met the educated Madame de Nehra.[2]

Political beginnings

After his time in the Dutch Republic, Mirabeau traveled to Great Britain, where he befriended several Whig politicians. He came to be inspired by the British constitutional monarchy.[2] Mirabeau's life changed when he met 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. Mirabeau attacked the banks in his texts in return for payment by another banker, allowing the former to pay off his massive debts.[1]

After criticizing the French finance minister Charles Alexandre de Calonne, Mirabeau was issued another lettre de chachet and exiled to Prussia. He became convinced that "the middle classes shall only be freed by joining forces with the lower classes". His revolutionary stance soon alienated him from the nobility.[1]

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. After having moved to Paris, Mirabeau also 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.[1]

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 Tennis Court Oath, 1789.[src]

In 1789, Mirabeau was elected to represent the Third Estate at the Estates-General. Despite his noble background, Mirabeau's revolutionary outlook caused him to stand with the lower and middle classes.[1]

The Estates General 10

Mirabeau meeting with Grand Master de la Serre

The Estates-General had been summoned by King Louis XVI to propose solutions to the financial problems faced by France. As the Convention opened on 5 May, Mirabeau met with 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 insisted that the truce continue.[1]

With no solution having been reached, the Third Estate, led by Mirabeau, 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.[1]

When told of the King's displeasure, Mirabeau replied that the Assembly would "yield to nothing but bayonets". Impressed by Mirabeau's speech, the French guardsman Frédéric Rouille wanted to shake hands with him. Mirabeau brushed him off, and Rouille joined the Templar Order, disgusted by the nobility's influence in revolutionary politics.[1]

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.[1]

Early revolution

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 Grand Master de la Serre's adopted son, Arno Dorian. Bellec invited Arno to join the Brotherhood, as his father Charles had done before him.[1]

Arno found the Assassin headquarters underneath the Sainte-Chapelle, and was brought before Mirabeau and the Assassin 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 the Council recited the tenets of the Creed, Mirabeau officially inducted Arno into the Brotherhood.[1]

Around this time, Mirabeau commented on the tensions between the slaves and colonists of Saint-Domingue, claiming that the whites of the island "[slept] at the foot of Vesuvius".[3]

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. However, Mirabeau did this 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.[1]

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.[1]

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.[1]

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.[1]

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 Arno returned 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".[1]

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. Arno returned to find Mirabeau arguing with the Council, and reported that Germain had been commissioned to produce the pin by a man named Chrétien Lafrenière.[1]

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.[1]

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.[1]

Alliance with Élise de la Serre

Quemar: "Must we rehash this debate again?"
Mirabeau: "We must, and we will, Master Quemar. If you cannot see the advantage in being owed a favor by François de la Serre's daughter, I despair for our future."
Hervé Quemar debating with Mirabeau, 1791.[src]

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 Arno's love interest. He persuaded her to meet with the Assassins and negotiate an alliance with them to bring down the new faction of the Templar Order.[1]

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.[1]

Death

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.[1]

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 Mirabeau his final rites. Bellec then placed Mirabeau on his bed with a Templar pin underneath his pillow, wishing to frame Élise.[1]

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.[1]

Legacy

Following Mirabeau's death, he was cremated in accordance with Assassin tradition, and his remains were placed in an Assassin crypt underneath the Panthéon along with relics.[1] 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.[4]

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.[1]

Despite Arno's efforts, Frédéric Rouille recovered an iron chest containing correspondence and a list of payments. Templar politician Maximilien de Robespierre 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.[1]

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.[1]

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.[1]

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.[1]

Personality and characteristics

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 Dorian and Mirabeau, 1791.[src]

Throughout his life, Mirabeau led a frivolous lifestyle. Despite his facial disfigurement, he managed to charm a lot of women, having an affair with a member of his staff. 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.

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. 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 reminded the young Assassin that such decisions were not up to him.

In regards to both politics and the Brotherhood, Mirabeau was a pragmatic moderate. A personal friend of Templar Grand Master François 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, eventually resorting to murdering him.

Gallery

References

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