Crime and Criminals

France’s First Serial Killer Martin Dumollard

Frances’s first serial killer Martin Dumollard was discovered after he attempted to murder a young servant from Lyons named Marie Pichon. Although the murder happened in France, his story was particularly appealing to people in England and of the incident the Norfolk Chronicle reported:

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The First Morphine Murderer Edme Castaing

The opiate and pain medication morphine began to be marketed to the public in 1817, and, four years later, in 1821, a young man by the name of Edme Samuel Castaing graduated from the School of Medicine in Paris as a physician. He had been an outstanding student during his school years and won many…

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19th Century Romance and Murder in France

A story of romance and murder in France begins with a 30-year-old man named Antoine Roure, who was described as tall, strong, with a long face and blue eyes. He also had a beard and dark-blond hair. He belonged to one of the richest families in Marseilles, possessed a considerable fortune, and owned a villa…

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Polite Robber of the 18th Century: Louis Mandrin

Louis Mandrin was a well-known French smuggler and highwayman during Louis XV’s reign. He was also extremely popular during his lifetime and considered the Robin Hood of France because he rebelled against Louis XV’s tax collectors. The tax collectors, called fermiers, collected taxes for salt (the gabelle), tobacco, and farming. The tax collectors had to…

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Dreadful Murder in France in 1818 by a Peddler

A dreadful murder in France in 1818 by a peddler had everyone talking. It also had newspapers everywhere reporting on the horrid event that occurred in Brie. It all began when a peddler and his wife presented themselves at a farmer’s door named Monsieur Pinard around nightfall in June of 1818. They asked if they…

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The French Robin Hood or the Prince of Smugglers: Louis Mandrin

Louis Mandrin has been called the French Robin Hood or the Prince of Smugglers. He became famous for rebelling against the tax collectors of France during the time of Louis XV. The tax collectors, known as fermiers, were (tax) farmers who collected taxes for the King. However, besides the pre-agreed tax amount, the tax collectors…

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Torture in 18th Century France: An Irishman’s View

Before the guillotine was proposed by Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin in October of 1789, an Irish gentleman visited Paris, France, in 1787. While in Paris, he wrote a number of letters to a friend in Ireland. He noted in the letters that Frenchmen used various methods of torture in 18th Century France. This torture was applied…

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Pierre Poulailler the 18th Century Robber

Despite being a handsome child, Pierre Poulailler acquired a reputation at birth of belonging to the devil. He demonstrated this devilish reputation when, even as a toddler, he behaved incorrigible. At the age of ten, he ran away and became a cabin-boy on a merchant ship, but his sea career did not last long. He…

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The Four Soldiers of the La Rochelle Conspiracy

In 1821, under the Bourbon Restoration, a sergeant-major named Jean-Francois Louis Leclerc Bories was in the 45th regiment. He was also garrisoned at Paris. While there, he was initiated into the society of the Carbonari, a group of secret revolutionary societies originally founded in Italy that influenced secret societies in France.

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