The prisoner was named and he was jailed on the island of Martinique for getting into a bar brawl. Some people claim he killed a man during this fight, but there is no evidence to support this. The eruption nearly killed him and left him horribly burned and disfigured so that circus work was his only option. Assuming the murder charge is unsubstantiated, his pardon is definitely reasonable and he had paid more than sufficiently for his crimes.
Yes, so long as the crime that he committed was not murder. Prisoners should not be subjected to cruel treatment and being severely burned when Mt. Pelee erupted was cruel and should not have happened to the prisoner. This is especially true if he was convicted of property or drug crimes.
Whatever he faced that day was an enough punishment for the crime that he had committed. This was actually a miracle that happened to his life. Ludger became something of a celebrity and was known as “the man who lived through Doomsday” and “the Most Marvelous Man in the World.”
While tragic that the prisoner was one of a handful of survivors of that eruption, being lucky hardly seems justification to pardon a person of crimes already committed. Unless, of course, there was poor evidence in the first place or the crimes were those of social class, in which case, no harm. But to release a violent offender because an act of God spared his mortal life seems arbitrary.