Some twenty witnesses filed before the judge, all of them convinced that the mistress of the widow Francheville was guilty, yet not one of them saw her set the fire. Among the witnesses, Marie, an Amerindian slave, claimed that the accused had intended to do her mistress in by fire, while Jeanne Montreal dit Labaume realised, too late, that she had contributed to the spread of the rumour.
However, in reading the original documents, you will discover that doubt persists as to the guilt of the accused. As for Thibault, the pd accomplice, he was never found and charges against him were dropped.
You will discover how a colonial city functioned, its people, its housing and its constant fear of fires. You will be able to read documents on the administration of justice, the criminal court system and its application, the use of torture, and the role and duties of various officers of the court.
Reading through archival documents on the trial, you will hear the depositions submitted by witnesses; you will consider the interrogations; you will discover the daily way of life led by the rich and their servants; you will be present at the torture session and execution of the accused. What was her motive?
Was there sufficient proof to sentence her? Was there enough of an enquiry?
Was the fire accidental? You will also notice that this story currently has ificant echoes in different types of productions: monographs, documentary film, novels and plays.