Preparing for the Trial
WHERE Joan. had spent Christmas we do not know. What thoughts must have crept into her lonely heart of fair Domremy and of childhood! Whatever joy there may have been at Christmas, her New Year was certainly about to have less. On the 3rd of January, that is soon after her coming to Rouen, the boy-king of England (resident in the castle of Rouen, and therefore near his prisoner), is made to say in a formal document that, at the instance of his royal council (of which Bishop Cauchon was one of the most influential members), and at the prayer "of the Reverend Father in God (Cauchon), our friend and faithful councilor, the ecclesiastical judge and ordinary of the said Jeanne (which he was not), and at the exhortation of the Doctors and Masters of our beloved daughter, the University of Paris," he hands over Joan for trial, as if he had a right.
In the Process, which is written in the name of Cauchon, for he speaks in it all through, he says, that, on January 9th, he assembled in the hall of the royal council, near the castle, the abbots of Fecamp and Jumieges; Miget, prior of Longueville; Roussel, treasurer of the
church of Rouen; Venderes, archdeacon of Eu; Barbier, licentiate in theology and canon law; Couppequesne, bachelor in theology; and Loyseleur, a Master of arts. They agreed that information should be taken regarding Joan—a step legally necessary. The bishop said that some information had been already taken, and more would be, forthwith. Cauchon states in the minutes of the meeting, that, with the advice of his assessors, the following officers were appointed. "The venerable and discreet person, Jean d'Estivet, canon of Rouen and Beauvais," was made prosecutor. Guillaume Colles, called Boisguillaume, and Guillaume Manchon, notaries of the archbishop of Rouen, were retained for their official functions. Jean Fontaine was to supply the place of the judge, if absent. And Jean Massieu was made apparitor, or usher, to carry out the judge's orders, and present the prisoner before him.
On January 13th the judge held a meeting in his own house, at which were present the abbot of Fecamp, Venderes, Couppequesne, Fontaine, Loyseleur, and Hayton, an English priest and councilor of the king. The bishop says in the Process, that information had been received, and was read at the meeting; but no one has ever known anything about it. On the 23rd there was a session of the same assessors under the presidency of Fontaine, in the absence of Cauchon. It is stated in the minutes, that articles of indictment, drawn up upon information received, were approved.
But of information or articles there is no record; they are not in the Process. In the trial of Rehabilitation it was testified, that the information procured by the bishop in Domremy and its neighborhood was so favorable to Joan, that he never made it known.
On the 13th of February to these counselors was made the important addition of six doctors of theology from the University of Paris; Beaupere (a man of many benefices) Midi, and Maurice, who held canonries in Rouen, and were ex-rectors of the Paris University; Courcelles, the great foe of Papal prerogatives, who had been twice rector; Touraine, Texier, and Feuillet, Friars Minor.
In a session on February 19th, Bishop Cauchon said that, in view of the information received from the boy-king, the cause of the Maid should be introduced. The counselors "deliberated long and maturely"; and, apparently, approved; for the case was taken up. Of this preliminary information, legally required for a trial, nothing is known; it is a fatal lacuna. Loyseleur and Manchon, who, if it existed, must have seen, and, probably, written it, remembered nothing about it at the trial of Rehabilitation. The judges at this second trial found no trace of it.
In these first five sessions, therefore, we find no basis for a Process against the Maid. Cauchon never ventured to show any.
He does not say that the assessors agreed that there was ground for a trial; but that, after having heard them, he instituted it.
In this session of February 19th Cauchon made a bold move quite in harmony with his and his English employers' plan, to make the French Inquisition responsible, at least in part, for the trial and condemnation of Joan of Arc. "Out of respect for the Apostolic See," he summons "the venerable and discreet person," Jean Lemaitre, of the Order of Preachers, Vice-Inquisitor of France, to become his yoke-fellow in judgment. The discreet man said he was quite willing to fulfill his duty as Vice-Inquisitor, but that Cauchon was judging a case outside his own diocese, and in virtue of his diocesan authority. He did not see how this was quite correct. However, on the 20th he said that the bishop might go ahead, while he himself -was waiting for the authorization of his principal, the Inquisitor.