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Letter by Gaspard-Joseph Chaussegros de Léry on the necessity of enclosing the city and preventing fires, 25 October 1721.


The cause of the Fire that occurred in montreal has not yet been established. Some say that a man having fired a Gunshot following the procession, the wad [discharge] set fire to the roof of the hotel dieu Church; What was Surprising, was that the City was quickly ablaze in various locations, the fire having raged against the wind. I have the honour of transmitting to the council the attached plan of Montreal; what was Consumed by the fire is enclosed within a curved Line

[ Plan of the new alignment for a portion of rue Saint-Paul following the fire of 1721, Chaussegros de Léry, Gaspard-Joseph, ANQM P1000-50/188-4 ]


in Red; the burned houses Are also marked in red with punctuated Lines. On the morning of July 10 a fire was discovered at a dormer window of M. Mantet’s house, which was soon extinguished; a few hours thereafter a fence post from his garden was found that had Been split, and filled on the inside with lit embers; in the same moment smoke was noticed coming from the woodpile; again the fire consisted of lit embers covered with wood shavings, which appeared to have been set by arsonists; such


accidents normally occur in cities that are open and not well protected, particularly in those cities where Strangers come and live without anyone’s Knowledge, and establish trading activities with the inhabitants; I went up to Montreal shortly after the Fire and found the city in a bad State of affairs.

[signed]Chaussegros de Lery

Source: France. Archives nationales, Fonds des Colonies. Série C11A. Correspondance générale, Canada, vol. 44, fo 260-261, Chaussegros de Léry, Gaspard-Joseph, Letter to the Council of Marine regarding the 1721 fire of Montréal, October 25, 1721.

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