Trial Documents for the Arson Trial of Marie Joseph Angélique
Marie Joseph Angélique was a Black slave woman living in Montreal in the early eighteenth century. She was accused of setting fire to her mistress’s house and, in doing so, burning down half of what is now Old Montreal. She was tried in a court of law and found guilty. Because she would not confess the name of her suspected accomplice and lover, her sentence was made harsher. She was paraded through the streets, tortured, hanged, her body burned at the stake, and her ashes cast to the winds. Today questions have arisen as to her guilt or innocence, as well as the fairness of her trial. Her story also demonstrates that public attitudes towards Blacks in the eighteenth century were not generous. Not only was slavery legal in Canada, or what was then New France, but Canadians subjected blacks to considerable racism.
Quebec Library and Archives
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