Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Slave Angélique and The Burning of Montreal

This is an French to English translation from the Africa Record's Nerrati-Press Network, in an article entitled, "Angelica: The Killing Of A Black Slave In New France (Currently Quebec, Canada)," by Lencrenoir, on 4 June 2013 --  Angélique was born in Portugal, which was a major player in the lucrative Atlantic slave trade, and was then sold to a man named Flemish Block Nichus or Nicolas Bleeker which led to the New World. She lived in New England before being sold in 1725 to a major French businessman Montreal named François Poulin de Francheville , and after his death in 1733 , it belonged to his wife Teresa of Couagne .

Slavery in New England and New France was essentially domestic, as opposed to the southern part of what became the United States economy n 'was not based on the work of large-scale planting. Angélique has therefore worked at home Francheville in Montreal, and sometimes helped the small family farm on the island of Montreal, which was mainly used to produce goods for commercial expeditions family Francheville.

Angélique had three children in Montreal: A boy born in 1731 who lived only a month and a twin in 1732 , both died within five months after their births. Recorded in official documents Baptism father was Jacques César , a black slave who belonged to Madagascar Ignace Gamelin , a friend of Francheville. It is not known if Angelique and Jacques were lovers by choice or if their owners were forced to reproduce.

During the year preceding the fire and the trial, Angélique became involved in a relationship with Claude Thibault , a white indentured servant, who was employed by the Francheville . Following the death of Mr. Francheville in November 1733 , the operation of its business and succession occupy much time Ms. Francheville . In early 1734 , being taken by real estate business in Trois-Rivières, the widow asked his brother Alexis Monière keep his slave and servant for her until her return.

On 22 February 1734 , while the widow was still far away, Angelique and Claude tried to flee to New England, the frozen St. Lawrence River. They stopped to retrieve a bread Claude Thibault had hidden in a barn in Longueuil in preparation for their getaway. However, the cold Canadian forced the two men to take refuge in Châteauguay, near the road to Chambly up that the weather improves. They were captured a few weeks later and returned to Montreal by three militiamen . Thibault was jailed on 05 March 1734 and released on 08 April 1734 , the day of the fire that burned down a large part of the young city of Montreal. Angelica visited him several times while he was in prison and he brought something to eat.

The Hanging of Angélique

As for the latter, it was simply given to Madame de Francheville without being disciplined in any manner whatsoever, for his attempt to escape. Maybe because that was already expected to sell. As mentioned at the trial, Thérèse Francheville found itself unable to control Angélique and intention to accept an offer made ​​by one of the partners of her late husband, François-Étienne Cugnet : 600 pounds of gunpowder cannon. The offer was conditional upon the widow covers shipping 's Angélique to Quebec, where Cugnet lived. The fear of being sold and eventually end up in the Caribbean was perhaps the reason for the attempted escape.

Tensions were high between the slave and his mistress. Widow Francheville fired a free maid, Louise Poirier , due to quarrels and discord between the slave and servant. Angelica promised her that she could possibly do the job better than Louise Poirier, hoping that a good performance on his part would bend and keep his mistress. The widow agreed, but promised Louise that she would contact her from the start 'of Angélique to Quebec City. After his release, Thibault , visited Madame de Couagne to claim his salary. The woman called and warned Thibault never set foot in his house. Angry, she also confirmed it that Angelica had been sold and would be sent to Quebec as soon as the ice would base.

Claude Thibault ignore this order and Angélique visits several times during the absence of the widow Couagne. It was the beginning of April 1734 . They both knew that the St. Lawrence River would soon again passable for ships, and that Angélique would no longer be in Montreal for a long time. Angelica promises to be a servant to his intention to run again. It is possible that they conspired to set fire to cover their escape. On the evening of April 10, 1734 , while slavery was to the Church, Angelica shouts " Fire ! "Heard the neighbors try to extinguish the fire, but it spread rapidly and within three hours, 46 buildings were destroyed, including a large part of the market sector, along the Rue St. Paul, as well as hospital and convent of Hotel-Dieu. No one was injured in the fire. As Angélique and Thibault helped save property houses burned, rumors began circulating accusing fired.

The origin of the word seems to have been the observations made ​​by Marie-Manon , a slave owned by the neighbors of Mrs. De Couagne the Berey of Essars . When the fire was extinguished, the popular opinion was that Angelica had fired. She was arrested the next morning. An arrest warrant was also issued later Thibault , but although it was seen again on Tuesday morning after the fire ( two days later ), when bailiffs set out its mandate to arrest, he had disappeared and has never been seen in New France.
Angélique was charged and tried. French law at the time allowed a suspect to be arrested on " rumor "when the community decided that a suspect is guilty. Over the next six weeks, the prosecution called a number of witnesses. No witnesses saw Angélique fire, but they all said that they were certain that it did.
They testified at length the character 'of Angélique . They say it is a slave who misbehaves, who often meets his mistress. However, no solid evidence has been presented as to his guilt. Frustrated by the lack of evidence to convict Angélique, further considering applying torture before making the final judgment, which was rarely allowed in very unusual procedure . New France Unfortunately, Angelica , an eyewitness suddenly tip: A girl of five years , named Amable. The child's testimony that she saw Angelique , carrying a shovelful of coal in the attic of the house in the afternoon when the fire started.

This is all you need as proof to allow the prosecutor to close his business. The judge and four commissioners asked to take part in the award, all agreed that Angelica was guilty. Ms. Denyse Beaugrand-Champagne , author says that nobody wondered why it took so long for the small Amable occurs in a city where the fire and the trial were known. She attributes this sudden willingness of the girl the fact that too many people had lost much in the fire and a scapegoat was needed.  (source: text TRANSLATED French to English from the website: Africa Record, Nerrati-Press Network)  


  1. I was wondering why I was having such a hard time understanding the gist of this post. Then I realized it was a translation.

    Not to complain--I'm new here, after all--but: It is not a good translation. It's extremely confusing and, in many places, makes no sense at all. If I spoke French, I'd offer to take a shot at it myself, but unfortunately, I don't.

    Otherwise, I've found your site to be very interesting and informative!


    Get professional trading signals sent to your mobile phone every day.

    Start following our signals NOW & profit up to 270% a day.



Click here to return to the US Slave Home Page