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THE FOREGOING MANUSCRIPTS.
These twelve documents, whether originals or copies, and verified or not, of the proceedings at the condemnation of Jeanne d'Arc, are by no means calculated to furnish the information so ardently required ; because, they do not even specify those minutes of the process, in Latin, which must have been originally transcribed in French; that is to say, the interrogatories of Jeanne, and other acts that transpired during the proceedings, when she herself spoke, or was spoken to, because she did not comprehend the Latin language. It is also unknown what became of such minutes, as well as of those that took place at the two proceedings of condemnation and absolution, in Latin. M. Le Baron de Bréteuil instigated Louis XVI. to issue orders that every research on this interesting subject might be made; but the most strenuous endeavours were attended with no success whatsoever.
PROCESS OF ABSOLUTION.
MANUSCRIPTS IN THE ROYAL LIBRARY
The seventh manuscript respecting Jeanne d'Arc, is the first appertaining to the process of absolution or revision ; being a very magnificent document in every respect. It consists of a folio volume twenty inches high, bound in red morocco, embellished with the arms of France, and is contained in a case ornamented with gold. This is certainly one of the most interesting relics extant, and served as the groundwork of the valuable production of M. de Laverdy. On the back of the manuscript are these words: Processus Justificationis Jeannæ d'Arc (Proceedings on the justification of Jeanne d'Arc), being numbered 5970. This process is in Latin throughout, even to the depositions of the witnesses, one only excepted, that is written in French. The vellum is of the most beautiful texture, and consists of 140 leaves, after which there are three not paged, containing a Latin poem in praise of Jeanne d'Arc.
The writing, which is of the time, is beautiful for that
period, but so fine, that it becomes fatiguing to peruse it; the majuscule letters of the alinéa are in many places designed with the pen, and the gilding is rich. Every page is signed and verified by two of the notaries, clerks of the judges delegated by the pope, whose names were Denise le Comte, Comitis, and François Ferrebouc, followed by these words: Sic Afirmo (1 thus certify it). At the termination of the principal acts of the process appear the attestations, signatures, and flourishes of the keepers of the records, and of a third, apparently named by the inquisitor, who gave instructions, and judged with the judges delegated : consequently, this is a document in every respect authentic.
The manuscript commences with a long preface by the keepers of the records, forming, in some degree, a species of process, which they have continued in transcribing the acts of the proceeding in the form of intermediate recitals, necessary to assist the reader in comprehending the subject, as well as to transmit to posterity all that passed relating to each separate act of instruction, and in some measure even going beyond the regular matter referred to; a line of proceeding, since that period, most severely prohibited, and with very just cause.
The title runs thus : Commissio et Ordinatio Notariorum Delegatorum (commission and ordinance of the process, by the notaries' secretaries).
This process, according to their statement, was instituted by order of pope Calixtus III., the judges delegated by him upon that occasion having been the archbishop of Rheims, the bishops of Paris and of Coutances, and John
Brehal, a brother preacher, and one of the inquisitors of France.
After this, they state that proceedings were entered into at the request of Isabella d'Arc, widow, and mother of La Pucelle, as well as of her brothers John and Peter d'Arc; and that the judgment delivered in consequence, declared the former process carried on against her invalid and without a precedent, containing errors in act and in deed, as that judgment was passed, to the prejudice of the submission to the holy see of Rome, pronounced by Jeanne, which, in itself, had all the force of a true appeal, &c.
The eighth manuscript in the king's library, and the second, containing the process of revisal, written in Latin, originally belonged to the library of the chapter of Notre Dame, at Paris, having been presented to that body by Chartier, bishop of Paris, as appears from a note written on the inside of one of the covers; this prelate having officiated as one of the commissaries of the holy see of Rome. It is numbered H 10, and it was some few years back removed from Notre Dame to the royal collection.
The work is in folio, and bound in calf, bearing this title: Processus Puellæ Aurelianensis (process of the maid of Orleans).
The first leaf is not written upon, being of parchment, of which material also is the second, whereon the transcript commences: the whole volume is so formed, that the first and last leaves of every sheet are of parchment,
the remainder consisting of remarkably strong paper. The whole volume forms 181 leaves; and at the bottom of each, on the recto side, appear the signatures and the flourishes of the two notaries, Le Comte and Ferrebouc; which circumstance proves this transcript equally authentic with the manuscript described in the foregoing article. There is good reason to conclude, that the present document was that remitted to the bishop of Paris, he having officiated as one of the judges ; a circumstance that tends to enhance its value.
No. XV. The ninth manuscript preserved in the royal library at Paris, being the third process of the revisal, is transcribed in Latin, having formed part of the Brienne collection, No. 181; the binding and armorial bearings accompanying the same, are similar to the volumes in that collection which contained criminal proceedings. It is in folio, the copy being collated similar to all those of which we have hitherto spoken.
This collated copy is entitled : Procés de Justification de la Pucelle, 145; and on the seventh white leaf is written: Procés de l'Innocence de Jeanne d'Arc, dite La Pucelle d'Orleans.
Manuscript in the Chamber of Accounts.
A copy in folio, neither signed nor collated, of the process of absolution of Jeanne d'Arc, which appears to