William Godwin's Diary


Assassination attempt carried out as Louis-Philippe reviewed the National Guard in Paris on the fifth anniversary of the July revolution. As the royal procession moved down the Boulevard du Temple, a volley of shots were heard, killing eighteen and wounding a further twenty-two, but leaving the King with only a graze on his forehead. Louis-Philippe waved his hat in the air, shouted ‘Here I am!’ and continued the review for another two hours. The assassination attempt was carried out by Joesph Fieschi, a former soldier in Napoleon’s army, who had built a machine out of twenty-five musket-barrels mounted on a wooden frame in the upstairs of a house on the Boulevard du Temple. He was badly wounded when his invention went off and arrested trying to escape. He was discovered to have two accomplices, Pierre Morey and Theodore Pepin, both active members of the Society of the Rights of Man, and all three sentenced to death by guillotine. The incident led to a major legislative clamp-down on the press and judiciary, which was relatively successful in containing republicanism until 1848.

See Munro Price, The Perilous Crown: France Between Revolutions, 1814-1848 (London: Macmillan, 2007), pp. 249-54.