Giuseppe Marco Fieschi

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Giuseppe Fieschi

Giuseppe Marco Fieschi (13 December 1790 – 19 February 1836) was the chief conspirator in an attempt on the life of King Louis-Philippe of France in July 1835.

Review of the National Guard, attack of Fieschi, 28 July 1835 by Eugène Lami (Chateau de Versailles)

Fieschi was a native of Murato in Corsica. He served under Murat, then returned to Corsica, where he was condemned to ten years imprisonment and perpetual surveillance by the police for theft and forgery. After a period of vagabondage he eluded the police and obtained a small post in Paris by means of forged papers; but losing it on account of his suspicious manner of living, he resolved to revenge himself on society. He took lodgings on the Boulevard du Temple, and there, with two members of the Société des Droits de l'Homme, Morey and Pépin by name, contrived an "infernal machine" (in French, machine infernale), consisting of twenty gun barrels, to be fired simultaneously.

On 28 July 1835, as Louis-Philippe was passing along the Boulevard du Temple, which connected Place de la République to the Bastille, accompanied by his three sons and a numerous staff, the device was fired from an upper storey of n° 50 Boulevard du Temple (a commemorative plaque has since been engraved there). A ball grazed the king's forehead, and his horse, with those of the Duke of Nemours and of the Prince de Joinville, was shot; Marshal Mortier was killed, with seventeen other persons, and many were wounded; but the king and the princes escaped essentially unharmed.

Fieschi himself was severely wounded by the discharge of his machine, and vainly attempted to escape. The attentions of the most skilful physicians were lavished upon him, and his life was saved for the stroke of justice. On his trial he named his accomplices, displayed much bravado, and expected or pretended to expect ultimate pardon. He was condemned to death, and was guillotined on 19 February 1836. Morey and Pépin were also executed, another accomplice was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment and one was acquitted. No less than seven plots against the life of Louis Philippe had been discovered by the police within the year, and apologists were not wanting in the revolutionary press for the crime of Fieschi.

His death mask is on display in Norwich Castle.


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