Time and History 3:00 P.M. First Guillotine Victim

About major and minor historical events around the clock such as Nicolas Jacques Peleteir becoming the first man to be executed by Guillotine at three o'clock in the afternoon.


3:00 in the Afternoon

Apr. 25, 1792. Nicolas Jacques Peletier became the first victim of the guillotine. He had been found guilty of "assaulting a private individual" with several blows of a knife and stealing a wallet containing 800 livers. When sentencing him, the judge offered the following comfort: "The condemned will have nothing to endure but the apprehension of death, which apprehension will be more painful to you than the blow that robs you of life." Peletier wasn't convinced and had to be dragged to the scaffold in a fainting fit. The Place de Greve in Paris was packed with eager spectators, but after the executioner, Charles Henri Sanson, released the blade the crowd gave a groan of disapproval. It had all been too quick. They began chanting, "Give me back my wooden gallows." The inventor, the kindly Dr. Ignace Joseph Guillotin, wasn't too pleased either. From that day on, whenever he was recognized, people would strike the napes of their necks with the palms of their hands. The good doctor even hated having the device named after him, and if anyone ever used the name guillotine in his presence he would always correct the person by calling it "the Maiden." It is also a fact that Dr. Guillotin not only didn't attend the beheading of Peletier but was never present at a single capital execution.

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