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The Rumour Circulates

[ View of the area affected by the fire of Montréal, three-dimensional reconstruction, Centre Canadien d'Architecture et Centre for Landscape Research, adapté par Léon Robichaud et Mathieu Bilodeau, Bibliothèque du Centre Canadien d'Architecture  ]

On April 11, 1734, a rumour circulated that accused Marie-Josèphe-Angélique and Claude Thibault of setting the fire that destroyed a number of houses and the Hôtel-Dieu hospital. The king’s prosecutor relied on this rumour to have the two suspects arrested. Angélique was found in the garden of the paupers of the Hôtel-Dieu, and taken to the king’s gaols to wait for a formal charge to be filed against her. Thibault, for his part, remained at large. One day later, Angélique underwent her first of many interrogations behind closed doors, while the prosecutor presented the judge with a list of witnesses he wished to have called forward in order to be heard. The authorities began the search for Claude Thibault and an ordinance compelling witnesses to appear was posted and cried out everywhere in the city and its suburbs.

In this section, you will read the depositions and re-examinations of the many witnesses called forward to depose on the facts mentioned in the prosecutor's petition against the accused, Angélique. Their depositions are based on a rumour that spread from person to person from the moment that Marie dite Manon, an Amerindian slave, declared to have heard the accused state that she would have her mistress burn.

Court Documents