THERE were preliminaries on Monday in Holy Week, March 26th, in the house of Cauchon, as, long ago, in the case of Judas, in the house of Caiaphas. The Vice-Inquisitor was present, with the six Masters of Paris, with Chatillon, Fontaine, Marguerie, Venderes, Loyseleur, all in the views of the presiding prelate. The trial proper was decided on; and the articles prepared were to be read to Joan.
On March 27th there were thirty-eight assessors present, amongst them two English priests, Brewster and Hayton. Estivet brought in Joan, who was to be excommunicated if she did not answer, and under oath. Then he, being sworn, declared that, not hatred, but pure love of the Faith made him propose the articles of indictment. Joan thanked the bishop for his alleged desire of her good (in his speech to her), and she thanked him and all for what they said about the Faith. She expressed her gratitude for their offer of a counsel, or advocate, now, at last; but she declined the favor, she knew its purpose, declaring that she would not depart from the counsel of her Lord.
Courcelles read the charge to Joan, i. e., the seventy heads of accusation. It has been
remarked that, in the two sessions of the 27th and 28th of March, one could not have read the whole composition which it had taken fifteen interrogatories to prepare. In the charge actually read, or rather actually written, we find answers given by Joan on the 31st of March and the 18th of April! The indictment is really an accusation without basis of proof. In the closing words of the exordium, the judges are called upon to condemn Joan as a sorceress, a heretic, and a blasphemer. The two physicians, Tiphaine and de la Chambre, are present as assessors, which seems to show that Joan was yet very ill.
The first article proclaims the right of the tribunal. Joan answered that the Pope, the Bishops, and other ecclesiastics, were the defenders of the Faith—"But as to me," she continued, "in what concerns my acts, I submit to the Church of Heaven, to God, the Blessed Virgin, and the Saints of Paradise. I believe I have not failed in the Christian faith nor do I wish to fail." In the original French, we have "I demand," followed by a line. Here, it appears certain, must be placed Joan's appeal to the General Council of the Church, at the recommendation of Manchon, La. Pierre, and Ladvenu, who went to the prison to instruct her in the meaning of the "Church." Fontaine disappeared soon after, and La Pierre was in danger; nor does he
come on the scene again until the 12th of April.
In this session, thirty of the seventy articles were read. Joan denied each charge, or refers to what she said before, or appeals to Our Lord, and sometimes adds a word of explanation.
On March 28th, Wednesday in Holy Week, the remaining forty articles were read in presence of twenty-five assessors. The seventieth article declares that "all these facts are true, notorious, manifest. . . . The accused has repeatedly avowed them." Joan denied this article, and referred to what she had said before. The articles contained the most absurd statements about Baudricourt, Catherine de la Rochelle, etc., without any foundation whatsoever.
After the session of Tuesday in Holy Week, extreme threats were made against Fontaine, La Pierre, Manchon, and Massieu. On Holy Saturday, March 31st, there is a return to the question of submission to the Church. The only Church from which there was the slightest hope of justice or aid for poor Joan in that dark hour, as she well knew, was the Church of Heaven, to which she had appealed. In this session of March 31st, she declares she will submit if she be not asked impossibilities; that is, to deny her life, revelations, and deeds. "If the Church commands what is against God's command, I will not obey." The only Church capable of such a command was the Church of Rouen. "If the Church militant," she continued, "tells me my revelations and acts are diabolical, I leave it to Our Lord."
"Do you obey the Pope and prelates of the Church?" "I do." The ecclesiastical lawyers of the Rehabilitation found Joan's answers in this matter irreproachable. Her false judges wanted her to consider them as the Church and allow them to condemn her, and make her retract.
The physician de la Chambre testified under oath to Warwick's desire to have Joan's life saved for her burning. She cost much, the Earl said; he would not have her die a natural death. He objected to bleeding, lest she should commit suicide. Joan was bled, however; and improved. Estivet came in afterwards, de la Chambre says, and called Joan vile names, which irritated her extremely, so that she relapsed into fever, and the physician forbade the immoral scoundrel to abuse her. De la Chambre remembered Joan's denial to the bishop that he was her judge.
On Easter Monday, April 2nd, and the two following days, the XII Articles were drawn up. The judges of the Rehabilitation brand them as "false, perfidious, calumnious, fraudulently composed on a pretended juridical examination, and on the alleged answers of the accused."
On the 18th of April, an attempt was made to have Joan make a retractation. She was ill in the prison—so ill that she believed herself in danger of death, and begged for Confession, Holy Communion ("her Savior," she said), and burial in holy ground.
Cauchon and others pressed submission to the Church; that is, to them, who had condemned her. She proclaimed her faith in the Church and her love for it.
Next Beaupere, Touraine, Midi, and Feuillet, were dispatched with the XII Articles to Paris, provided with a document bearing the name of the English boy-king, in which he was said to send them "to his beloved daughter, the University of Paris," and ordered all expenses paid. They were sent, be it noted, not only to the University, but also to Bedford and to the members of the royal council that happened to be in Paris.
The session of May 2nd was more solemn, apparently, and longer than any preceding. There were sixty-four assessors, and, all told, probably seventy persons. Cauchon sums up the march of the trial, and asserts that "the object of all their desires" was to make Joan retract. Hitherto, all had been in vain. But now, before so solemn a gathering, they thought there might be more hope. Jean de Chatillon, Archdeacon of Evreux, recalled certain more important heads of fault. Chatillon exhorted Joan to correct her errors, according to the advice of the doctors. "Read your book (finish your harangue)," she said, "and I will answer. I leave all to God my Creator. I love Him with my whole heart" Again the idiotic "Will you submit to the Church?" "I believe sincerely the Church here below," she replied; "but
my acts I leave to God. I believe the Church cannot err or fail. I submit to God, who commanded me to do what I have done." "Have you no judge on earth? Is the Pope not your judge?" "I will tell you no more (it was as superfluous as useless, she knew). I have a good Master, Our Lord." "If you do not submit to the Church you are a heretic." "I will tell you no more, even if in sight of the fire." "Would you not submit to the Pope, Council, Cardinals, if they were here?" "You will have no more." "Do you wish to submit to the Pope?" It would have been capital for them if she said no. But she replied, "Bring me to him, and I will answer him." We have here a truncated text for our information, as appears from its form, abbreviations, etc.
The question of dress came up again. Will she not change for Holy Communion? She answers she will change for Holy Communion, if immediately she may resume her male attire. She would wear it until her mission be accomplished. We may suppose from the words in the original French that other reasons were given. The next question was a clever one. "Would you submit to the Church of Poitiers?" She answered, "Do you wish to take me in this way, and draw me to you?" "To you" is probably emphatic; they would add, "Have not we as much right to judge as the ecclesiastics of Poitiers?"
Joan told them, that, the day of the Holy Cross (May 3rd), St. Gabriel came to comfort her. This occurred probably after the last interrogatory, on the eve of the feast.