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of boldness above her sex;, and, though only twenty-one years of age, she listened with pleasure to the martial achieve ments, the constant topics of conversation in a warlike age. The calamities of her country, and the distress of her sovereign, Charles VII, were the objects of her daily thoughts and nightly dreams. She was soon inflamed with the desire of avenging on the English the misery of France; and an ignorant mind might possibly mistake the impulse of her passions for heavenly inspirations. She procured admission to Baudrecourt, the governor of Vaucouleurs; she declared to him that she had been exhorted by frequent visions and distinct voices to achieve the deliverance of her country; and the governor, either equally credulous himself, or sufficiently penetrating to foresee ihe effect such an enthusiast might have on the minds of the vulgar, granted her an escort to the French court, which at that time resided at Chinon, in Touraine.
On her arrival at Chinon, she is said to have distinguished Charles from his courtiers, though divested of every ensign of royalty; to have revealed a secret to him unkngwn to all the world beside himself; and to have demanded, and described by particular marks, a sword she had never seen, and which sbe required as the instrument of her future victories; she asserted that she was commissioned to raise the siege of Orleans, and to conduct her lawful prince to Rheims, to be there crowned and anointed King of the French. Charles and his ministers pretended to examine her pretensions with scrupulous exactness: they affected at length to be convinced of the sincerity of her declarations, and of her supernatural powers; their opinion was solemnly and publicly countenanced by an assembly of doctors and theologians, and by the parliament of France, then residing at Poictiers. After repeated examinations, the inission of Joan of Arc was pronounced to be divine; and the spirits of a despairing people were again elevated by the hope that heaven had declared itself in favour of France.'
The English were at that time besieging the city of Orleans, the last resource of Charles, and every thing indicated a speedy surrender. Joàn underlook to raise the siege; and, to render herself still more remarkable, girded herself with the miraculous sword, of which she before had such extraordinary notices. Thus equipped, she ordered all the soldiers to confess themselves before they set out; she displayed in her hand a consecrated banner, and as
sured the troops of certain success. Such confidence on her side soon raised the spirits of the French army; and even the English, who pretended to despise her efforis, felt themselves secretly influenced with the terrors of her mission. When she arrived near leans, she wrote to the English to quit the siege; but her messenger was detained, and loaded with irons: she complained of this violation of good faith, and her herald was then sent back with a letter full of contempt. She then addressed a second letter, which she fastened to the end of an arrow, and shot it into the English fort raised before the city. The superscription was, “ To the Duke of Bedford, who calls himself Regent of France in the name of the King of England. Having no right to this kingdom, God commands you, by me, the Maid of Orleans, to abandon the forts you have raised, and to retire." A supply of provisions wanting to be conveyed into the town, Joan, at the head of some French troops, covered the embarkation, and entered Orleans at the head of the convoy which she had safely protected. While she was leading her troops along, a dead silence and astonishment reigned among the English; and they regarded with religious awe that temerity, which they thought that nothing but supernatural assistance could inspire. But they were soon roused from their state of amazement by a sally from the town; Joan led on the besieged, bearing the sacred standard in her hand, encouraging them with her words and actions, bringing thein' to the trenches, and overpowering the besiegers in their own redoubts. In the attack of one of the forts, she was wounded in the neck with an arrow; but instantly pulling out the weapon with her owo hands, and getting the wound quickly dressed, she hastened back to head the troops, and to plant her victorious banner on the ramparts of the enemy. These successes continuing, the English found it was impossible to resist troops animated by such superior energy; and the Earl of Suffolk, who-conducted the attack, thinking it dangerous to remain any longer in the presence of such an enthusiastic enemy, raised the siege, and retreated with all imaginable precaution.
The siege of Orleans was raised in 1425; and the French, animated by this first essay of the holy Maid, prepared to improve their advantage The Earl of Suffolk, with part of his forces, had retired to Jergeau; he was there invested by the French, animated by the presence of Joan, and in ten days the town was taken by assault, and Suffolk himself made prisoner. Joan of Arc entered the town in triumph at the head of her army. The constable Richemont pressed the remnant of English, who, endeavoured to retreat; they were overtaken at the village of Patay: oppressed by their fears, they scarcely awaited the charge of their enemies; two thousand were slaughtered on the field, and among the numerous captives were Talbot and Scales. Thus the Maid of Orleans had early fulfilled great part of her mission; but a more arduous enterprise remained, to conduct the king lo receive the crown at Rheims. The city itself lay far distant from any place possessed by Charles; it was in the hands of the English; and the whole road which led to it was occupied by iheir garrisons. Yet Joan insisted on the execution of her design; the king himself shook off his general indolence, and resolved to follow the exhortations of his warlike prophetess; the nobility of France crowded to the standard of their youthful sovereign, who began his march at the head of twelve thousand men; he passed without interruption through an enemy's country; received in his progress the submission of Troyes; was instantly admitted into Rheims, the inhabitants of which drove out the English, and in that city he was solemnly inaugurated; the Maid of Orleans standing by his side in complete armour, and displaying, during the ceremony, her holy banner. The claim of Charles, from his coronation at Rheims, received new lustre; and Laon, Soissons, ChateauThierri, Provins, and many other towns in the neighbourhood, instantly revolted from the English.
Joan of Arc had declared, that with the inauguration of Charles VII. at Rheims her mission expired; and that it was her wish, after having fulfilled her promises, to return to her former condition. The Count of Dunoise had exhorted her to persevere till the English were finally expelled. Overcome by his importunities, she had thrown herself into *Compeigne, which ai that time was besieged by the Duke of Burgundy. In a sally on the quarters of John of Luxeinbourg, she was deserted by her friends, surrounded by her enemies, and after a gallant resistance taken prisoner. She is supposed to have been betrayed by the envy of the French, who repined at every success being ascribed to her influence; and the neglect of Charles, who made not the slightest effort to procure her release, proves that he no longer expected to derive any benefit from the instrument he had adopted. The Duke of Bedford purchased from John of Luxembourg this important captive, and commenced a prosecution against her, which, whether undera taken from policy or revenge, stains with barbarity his accomplished character. As a prisoner of war, Joan was entitled to the courtesy of good usage, practised by civilized nations; and in her military capacity she never had been impeached of acting with treachery or cruelty. But her enemies were inexorable; and to disguise the source of their enmity, they prevailed on the Bishop of Beauvais to prostitute the sacred name of religion to the persecution they meditated. The Bishop pretended that Joan had been taken in his diocese, and desired to have her tried by an ecclesiastical court for sorcery, impiety, idolatry, and magic; the university of Paris disgraced itself by joining the request. But Joan for a long time defended herself with becoming firmness: she acknowledged her intention to expel the English, the invaders of her country; and replied, that she submitted her inspirations, which ber judges urged as magical, to God, the fountain of truth. But she was already prejudged ; her revelations were declared to be the inveniions of the devil to delude the people; and she was sentenced to be delivered over to the secular arm. It is with indignation the reader must peruse her fate: the Maid of Orleans was found guilty of heresy and witchcraft; and sentenced to be burnt alive, the then punishment for such offences. But, previous to the infliction of this dreadful sentence, they were resolved to make her abjure her former errors; and at length so far prevailed by terror and rigorons treatment, that her spirits were broken by the hardships she was to suffer. Her former visionary dreams began to vanish, and a gloomy distrust took place of her late inspirations. She publicly declared herself willing to recant, and promised never more to give way to the vain delusions which bad hitherto misled her, and imposed on the people. This was what her oppressors desired ; and, willing to shew some appearance of mercy, they changed her sentence into perpetual imprisonment, and to be fed during life on bread and water. But the rage of her enemies was not yet satiated. Suspecting that the female habit which she had consented to wear was disagreeable to her, they purposely placed in her apartment a suit of man's apparel, and watched for the effects of their temptation upon her. Their artifices prevailed. Joan, struck with the sight of a dress in which she had gained so much glory, inmediately threw off ber penitent's robes, and put on the forbidden garment. Her enemies caught her equipped in this manner; and her imprudence was considered as a relapse into her former transgressions. No recantation would suffice, and no pardon would be granted. She was condemned to be burnt alive in the market-place of Rouen ; and this infamous sentence was executed with brutal severity, A. D. 1432. A mausoleum was afterwards erected to the memory of this woman, in the city of Orleans, which is described by Wraxall
, in his Tour, as follows: " In the street leading from the bridge stands the celebrated monument where Charles VII. and Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans, are represented on their knees before the body of our Saviour, who lies extended on the lap of the Virgin.. It was erected by order of that monarch in 1458, to perpetuate his victories over the English, and their expulsion from his dominions. All the figures are in iron. "The king appears bareheaded, and by him lies his helmet surrounded with a crown, Opposite to him is the Maid herself, in the same attitude of grateful devotion to heaven. It is a most precious and invaluable historical monument.
“ In the Hotel de Ville (continues Wraxall) is a portrait of the same immortal woman, which I studied long and attentively. Though it was not done till 1581, which was near 130 years after her decease, it is yet the oldest and best picture of her now existing. The painter seems undoubtedly to have drawn a flatteriug resemblance of her, and to have given his heroine imaginary charms. Her face, though long, is of exceeding beauty, heightened by an expression of intelligence and grandeur rarely united. Her hair falls loosely down her back, and she wears on her head 8 sort of bonnet enriched with pearls, and shaded with white plumes, tied under her chin with a string. About her neck is a little collar, and lower down, upon her bosom, a necklace composed of small links. Her dress, which is that of a woman, I find it difficult exactly to: describe. It sits close to the body, and is cut or slashed at the arms and elbows. Round her waist is an embroidered girdle, and in her right hand she holds the sword with which she expelled the enemies of her sovereign, and her country. I am not surprised at the animated and enthusiastic attachment which the French still cherish for her memory. The critical and desperate emergency in which she appeared'; her sex, youth, and even the obscurity of her birth; the unparalleled success which crowned her enterprise; the cruel and detestable sentence by which she was put to death; the air of the marvellous spread over the whole narration, increased