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We shall now proceed to recapitulate the charges as read to La Pucelle, and subjoin to each a series of remarks tending to exculpate the unfortunate maid from any act that could in justice affect her life.
The judges being assembled, Maître Pierre Maurice, doctor of theology, read aloud the several charges to the prisoner, which we give as closely to the original as possible.
“ Jeanne, thou hast said that from the age of thirteen thou hast had revelations and apparitions of the angels, and Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret, whom thou hast often seen with thine eyes, and that they have conversed with thee.
“ In respect to this first assertion, the clerks of the University of Paris have considered the manner of the said revelations and apparitions, the purpose of the things revealed, and the quality of the person. All points considered, they delare that those assertions are lies, fancies, and seductive and pernicious things, proceeding from wicked and diabolical spirits.".
We do not wish to maintain that Jeanne d'Arc was really honoured with revelations from heaven, but it certainly was the height of absurdity, and barbarous in the extreme, to condemn her to the flames for those which she professed to have witnessed; as the manner of her revelations was precisely similar to that described by all those who have pretended to such miraculous disclosures of the secrets of futurity. Saint Ignatius beheld a cross; Saint Dominick saw the holy Virgin, who presented him with a scapulary; Saint Theresa heard the voices of a choir of angels; and Jeanne d'Arc gazed upon Saint Michael, and heard Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret converse.
It is true we have no other proofs of the fact but her own declaration; but what other evidence have we of the revelations of Saints Ignatius and Dominick?
“ The purpose of the things revealed” To effect the raising of a siege, upon which depended the glory, and almost the salvation of her country, and to restore to her legitimate monarch his usurped crown, was, beyond dispute, a more important conclusion than is attendant upon the generality of such revelations.
The quality of the person claims a similar indulgence; she was simple, a virgin, &c.
Second. “ Jeanne, thou hast asserted that thy king had a token whereby he knew that thou wast the emissary of God, from Saint Michael, accompanied by a host of angels, of whom many had wings, and others crowns on their heads, and that with the said angels were Saint Catherine
and Saint Margaret; the whole of which company came to thee at the castle of Chinon, and ascended the steps of the same, even to the chamber of the king, before whom an angel, bearing a crown, bent reverently; and thou hast once affirmed that thy king had this sign when alone. On another occasion, thou hast stated that this crown, which is called by thee a sign, was delivered to the archbishop of Rheims, to be by him presented to thy king, in the presence of several princes and lords whom thou hast named.
“ In regard to this article, the clerks allege that the thing is not likely, but a presumptuous falsehood; a seductive and pernicious tale, derogatory to the dignity of the holy and evangelic church.”
This second article, it must be confessed, contains an absurdity and a contradiction; but is a person to expire in torments for absurdities and contradictions? Is the assertion that an angel has delivered a crown to a king one day, and on a subsequent day that the crown was given to the archbishop of Rheims in order to be remitted to the king, derogatory to the dignity of the holy and evangelic church? The dignity of the church could in no way be affected by the extravagant reveries of a visionary. But even suppose she had derogated from the evangelic dignity, which would have been very blameable ; was it absolutely requisite that she should be burnt? Was the Spanish Nun conducted to the stake, who wrote the Life of the Holy Virgin, from the hour of the Conception, which she affirms took place on a Sunday? Was Antoinette Bourignon committed to the flames, who very gravely asserted, that previous to the fall Adam was possessed of