Philippe Olivier de Grandpré (1722 – 1776) was a wealthy French merchant who lived in New Orleans and the father of the Assassin Aveline de Grandpré. He is an ancestor to "Subject 1" of the Animus Project.
Happily married to the slave Jeanne, albeit unofficially, Philippe experienced a personal enlightenment upon the birth of his daughter Aveline. However, he would marry Madeleine de L'Isle roughly five years later, in an effort to alleviate his financial troubles, straining his relationship with Jeanne.
When Jeanne vanished without a trace in 1757, Philippe was devastated, but remained confident Madeleine would take good care of Aveline. He also saw to his daughter's education in business, ensuring she would grow into a woman of independent means.
Philippe was born in Nantes, France in 1722 to a family of successful merchants. As a young man, he traveled to Louisiana in search of new business opportunities and established a trading enterprise there, shipping goods from the new world to the old.
Marriage to Jeanne
- "P— was full of emotion at her birth. On seeing her, he falls to his knees [...] He begs forgiveness for keeping me enslaved all this time. He vows to grant us both our freedom. Perhaps there is hope for the future."
- ―Jeanne on Philippe's reaction to Aveline's birth, 1747.[src]
In 1744, whilst on a trade mission to Saint-Domingue, Philippe purchased a slave named Jeanne, whom he rapidly grew fond of. Treating her with kindness despite her status, Philippe would regularly pay Jeanne nightly visits during the trip back to Louisiana. Upon their arrival in New Orleans, he informed her that, unlike the other slaves, Jeanne was allowed to take up residence in his villa.
In the next two years, Philippe and Jeanne grew closer, which led to Philippe asking her to become his placée bride on 7 May 1746. She accepted, and in 1747, gave birth to their daughter Aveline. Upon seeing his newborn daughter, Philippe was overcome with guilt at keeping Jeanne enslaved and vowed to grant both his wife and daughter their freedom.
The next few years passed peacefully, with the young Aveline tightly knitting the small family together. Philippe doted on his daughter, with his status and success in trading largely shielding Jeanne and Aveline from the prejudices of others. However, by August 1750, Philippe's business began to suffer, causing him to become troubled, despite Jeanne's assurances that they could make do with less if that was required.
Marriage to Madeleine
- "Monsieur de G— (I will not call him P— now) has married The Madame. He insists nothing need change between us, but he is blind, already everything has changed."
- ―Jeanne on Philippe's second marriage and its repercussions, 1752.[src]
As a result of Philippe's financial troubles, Madeleine de L'Isle, the daughter of one of Philippe's investors, became a regular visitor of the de Grandpré family. Slowly but surely, she managed to convince Philippe into marrying her, as it would benefit both his business as well as that of her family's. He conceded and wed Madeleine in February 1752.
The marriage put a strain on the relationship between Jeanne and Philippe, who insisted nothing need change between them, to no avail. Although Madeleine soon moved in, Jeanne and Aveline were allowed to remain at the de Grandpré mansion, receiving their own private quarters. For the next few years, this arrangement continued, with Madeleine being responsible for Aveline's education, while also employing Jeanne as her personal handmaid. Around 1755, Philippe would take on Gérald Blanc, an orphan from Acadia, as an errand boy.
However, in 1757, Jeanne suddenly disappeared, greatly saddening Philippe. Despite this, he was confident that Madeleine would raise his daughter with care and support. He too would start educating Aveline on business matters, so that she would grow into a woman of independent means, as the law technically prohibited her from inheriting his estate. Simultaneously, Gérald grew up to be a capable clerk and accountant, becoming one of Philippe's most trusted employees.
In late January of 1765, Philippe discovered his business was suffering from shipments disappearing, causing customer relations to become strained. During one of his visits to the warehouse, he informed Gérald, who offered to look into the matter for him; unbeknownst to both men, Aveline had eavesdropped on this conversation and intended to discreetly investigate the affair herself. She subsequently managed to recover the goods, securing a discount from Gilbert-Antoine de Saint Maxent, one of her father's business partners. Gérald later reassured Philippe that the cargo would arrive on time.
Following a conversation regarding her contributions to his business, Philippe gifted Aveline with a page from Jeanne's diary in 1768; this inspired his daughter to subsequently start a search for the missing volumes. That same year, Philippe informed her that Gérald requested her presence at the warehouse, reminding her to be careful during her journey, as New Orleans was in upheaval.
Following his discovery of Templar interference in business, Philippe was slowly poisoned by Madeleine, who was in truth the region's Master Templar. Under the guise of a cure, Madeleine would begin administering a herbal tonic that was laced with foxglove, causing her husband to become bedridden. During one of his conversations with Aveline, Philippe, delirious from pain, began to speak to his daughter as if she were Jeanne and confessed the regret and guilt he felt ever since her disappearance.
Philippe succumbed to the poison in October 1776 and was subsequently buried in Saint Peter's Cemetery. Madeleine would inherit the mansion, as Aveline was unable to, while the de Grandpré business was left to Gérald.
Personality and characteristics
- Aveline: "No need to worry, Papa."
- Philippe: "I will try to restrain myself. I know your charm and grace will protect you like armor."
- —Aveline reassuring her father, 1768.[src]
A product of the 18th century Age of Enlightenment, Philippe was a caring, well-mannered and considerate person. Despite the racial prejudices of his time, he treated Jeanne with kindness and generosity, allowing her to live within his mansion, instead of the usual slave quarters. While it was not uncommon in New Orleans for men of Philippe's stature to take women of color as their "unofficial" brides, he appeared to have no intentions of marrying again after meeting Jeanne, being truly in love with her.
Upon Aveline's birth, Philippe was ashamed to have kept his wife enslaved, and vowed to grant both her and Aveline their freedom, though he would still keep other slaves as servants. Despite his love for Jeanne, Philippe later married Madeleine to save his business. When Jeanne left New Orleans in 1757, he was deeply saddened and would later come to blame himself for her disappearance, believing his marriage to Madeleine was responsible.
A doting father, Philippe loved Aveline dearly, teaching her about business matters so that she would be able support herself financially. Still, marriage was a frequent topic of discussion, one which he sometimes seemed reluctant to bring up, as his rebellious daughter had made her disinterest in a husband clear on numerous occasions. Due to Aveline's many trips and errands, Philippe also tended to worry about her well-being and often reminded her to be careful.
- Philippe is a name of Greek origin that means 'lover of horses', derived from the elements φιλος (philos) 'friend, lover' and ‘ιππος (hippos) 'horse'; Olivier is a variant of Oliver, meaning 'olive tree'. "Grandpré" is a name formed of the French words grand, meaning 'great', and pré, meaning 'meadow'.
- In the internal files of Assassin's Creed III: Liberation, Philippe is named "François de Marigny".