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Database: Jean-Henri Latude

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Jean-Henri Masers de Latude was thrown into prison by Louis XV's mistress, Madame de Pompadour, albeit for good reason. Indeed, acting out of greed and ambition, he had invented a false conspiracy against her. He secretly sent her a vial of poison, followed by a letter warning her about the poison. Imprisoned in Vincennes, he escaped, was captured and locked up in the Bastille, he escaped again, using a make-shift rope ladder. Again captured, an again sentenced to Vincennes he escaped one last time. In 1787 he published his memoirs in which he recounted his various escapes from prison, including that of 1755 when he broke out of La Bastille through the chimney using the afore-mentioned rope ladder. When the Bastille was taken, he recovered the ladder and offered it - with great pomp - the the Hôtel de Ville. During the Revolution, he seized every opportunity to present himself as a tormented victim of tyranny. The storied rope-ladder can be found today in the Carnavalet Museum in Paris.

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