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Marie-Joseph-Angélique. André Vachon. 1969

MARIE-JOSEPH-ANGÉLIQUE, Black slave born around 1710, hanged in Montréal on the 21st of June, 1734.

Owned by François Poulin de Francheville, this slave woman was baptized in Montréal on June 28, 1730. At the time, she was the mistress of a man named César, the slave of Ignace Gamelin, with whom she had a son in January 1731, and twins in May 1732. She then fell in love with a White man, Claude Thibault, and decided to leave with him for New England, believing that the widow de Francheville was about to sell her. Possibly to conceal the fact that she was fleeing, during the night of the 10th to the 11th of April, 1734, she set fire to the house of the Francheville woman, on rue Saint-Paul. The fire grew to catastrophic proportions: 46 houses and the Hôtel-Dieu were destroyed. Apprehended by the constabulary (Thibault was never found), the slave was thrown into jail, convicted, and sentenced on June 4 to make honourable amends, to have her hand severed and to be burned alive. In an appeal, the Conseil supérieur, on June 12, reduced the harshness of the punishment: she was driven to the main door of the church in a trash cart, where she made honourable amends; she then was hanged, and her body burned. The sentence was carried out in Montréal on June 21, after the slave had been subjected to torture. Her ashes were thrown to the wind.

AQ, NF, Dossiers du Cons. sup., Mat. crim., IV: 237; NF, Registre criminel, IV: 24–26. — P.-G. Roy, Inv. jug. et délib., II: 147s. — Marcel Trudel, L’esclavage au Canada français; histoire et conditions de l’esclavage (Québec, 1960): 226–229, passim.

Source: Vachon, André, "Marie-Joseph-Angélique" in Dictionnaire biographique du Canada, (: Les Presses de l'Université Laval, 1969), vol. 2, page 477.

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