Page:English Historical Review Volume 37.djvu/285

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author is referred to in her fine bibliography. Some of the instances brought forward by Miss Murray are extraordinarily interesting. The fifth earl of Bothwell attempted to murder the king in 1591. It is plain that men feared Bothwell because he was the chief of the witches, and therefore was in possession of magical powers. Indeed, some regarded this arch-Dianist as divine. Miss Murray traces Dianist influence at the court of Charles VII of France. During his reign the Marshal de Retz suffered death as a wizard.

Miss Murray boldly applies her theory to the case of Joan of Arc. She believes—and adduces evidence for her belief—that Joan was put to death as a witch, and that the conduct of her associates during her military career sustains the fact that she belonged to the Dianic cult, not to the Christian. It is not without significance that nine years after her death her commander, Gilles de Rais, was tried on the same charge and condemned to the same fate. Anatole France grasps the fact that behind Joan of Arc lay some hidden force, and this force the author identifies with Dianism.

The questions asked [Miss Murray concludes] by the judges at Joan's trial show that they were well aware of an underlying organization of which they stood in some dread. The judges were ecclesiastics, and the accusation against the prisoner was on points of Christian faith and doctrine and ecclesiastical observance. It was the first great trial of strength between the old and the new religions, and the political conditions gave the victory to the new, which was triumphant accordingly. 'We have caught her now', said the Bishop of Beauvais, and she was burned without even the formality of handing her over to the secular authorities. After the execution, the judges and counsellors who had sat in judgement on Joan received letters of indemnity from the Great Council; the Chancellor of England sent letters to the Emperor, to the kings and princes of Christendom, to all the nobles and towns of France, explaining that King Henry and his Counsellors had put Joan to death through zeal for the Christian Faith; and the University of Paris sent similar letters to the Pope, the Emperor, and the College of Cardinals. Such action can hardly be explained had Joan been an ordinary heretic or an ordinary political prisoner. But if she were in the eyes of the great mass of the population not merely a religious leader but actually the incarnate God, then it was only natural for the authorities, who had compassed her death, to shelter themselves behind the bulwark of their zeal for the Christian religion, and to explain to the heads of that religion their reasons for the execution. On the other hand, the belief that Joan was God Incarnate will account, as nothing else can, for the extraordinary supineness of the French, who never lifted a finger to ransom or rescue Joan from the hands of either the Burgundians or the English. As God himself or his voluntary substitute she was doomed to suffer as the sacrifice for the people, and no one of those people could attempt to save her.

On the whole, we are in agreement with the views Miss Murray expresses. She uses, we think, needlessly offensive expressions about the Christian religion. As we ponder her evidence a doubt suggests itself. Is she not unduly anxious to interpret late medieval evidence as implying more continuity with a remote past than there really is?

Robert H. Murray. 


The History of English Parliamentary Privilege. By CARL WITTKE. Ohio State University Studies : Contributions in History and Political Science, no. 6. (Columbus : Ohio State University, 1921.) PROFESSOR WITTKE has undertaken an ambitious task in attempting a survey of the whole history of parliamentary privilege from its origins to the present day. Writers have long been misinterpreting the history