translated by Allen Williamson

Joan of Arc's Second Letter to the English
(April 30, 1429)



The second letter Joan of Arc sent to the English commanders at Orléans, on 30 April 1429, has not survived, but a brief description was given in the eyewitness testimony at the appeal of her case after the war.

This testimony is included below, translated so as to retain its original form - in the third-person voice, as court transcripts of that era were recorded. An English translation is on the left, notes and commentary on the right. A transcription of the original language is also available.
English Translation Notes and Commentary

[Excerpt from the deposition of Pierre Milet,n1 on 11 May 1456]n2

"...not long after her arrival at Orléans, she sent word to the English maintaining the siege around the town, and sent a summons to them in writing, sending a small note rather simply done, which the witness himself had read, containing in essence that she was telling the English what the will of God was, saying these words in her dialect:n3 "My Lord commands you to go back to your own land; for it's His will, or otherwise I will cause such a disaster for you."1

[Excerpt from the deposition of Jean, Count of Dunois,n4 on 22 February 1456]n5

"... she sent an ultimatum to the aforesaid English, by a letter written in her native dialect, in quite simple words, containing in essence that the English should agree to withdraw from the siege, and go back to the Kingdom of England; otherwise she would launch such a great assault against them that they would be compelled to withdraw. And the aforesaid letter was sent to Lord Talbot;n6 and [the witness, Dunois] asserts that from that hour onward, the English, two hundred of whom would previously rout eight hundred or a thousand of the Royal troops,n7 after that point four or five hundred soldiers would fight in battle against practically the full strength of the English, and so harried the English at the siege that they didn't dare leave their revetments and fortresses..."2

[Excerpt from the deposition of Jean Luillier,n8 on 16 March 1456]n9

"...questioned as to what she did in this city after her entry: he says that she urged everyone to trust in God; and [said that] if they would have good hope and trust in God, they would be rescued from their enemies. He additionally says that she wanted to send an ultimatum to the English besieging the city, before she would allow an attack against these enemies to drive them away; and this was done, for she sent an ultimatum to these Englishmen by a letter containing, in substance, that the English should agree to withdraw from the siege and go [back] to the Kingdom of England, otherwise they would be compelled to withdraw by force. He additionally says that from that point onward the English were terrified,n10 and no longer had such ability to resist as previously..."3

Note 1: Pierre Milet, a clerk of the Eslection [tax jurisdiction] of Paris at the time of his testimony, had been at Orléans with his wife during the siege, where both had personally met Joan of Arc at that time.
Note 2: Milet was the nineteenth of the twenty witnesses questioned at Paris from April 2 - May 11, 1456. His wife Colette was the eighteenth.



Note 3: The quote from her which follows was kept in the original French in the transcript, and in words easily recognizable as her typical speech in the rural Barrois/Lorraine dialect which she spoke.

Note 4: Jean d'Orléans, Count of Dunois and Longueville, half-brother of Duke Charles d'Orléans and commander at Orléans on his behalf when Joan of Arc arrived at the besieged city on 29 April 1429.
Note 5: Dunois was the first of the forty-one witnesses questioned at Orléans from 22 February - 16 March 1456.




Note 6: John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, was overall English commander of the troops besieging Orléans. After the siege was lifted, he was captured by Joan's troops at the Battle of Patay on 18 June 1429.

Note 7: The truth of this can be confirmed from the combat record up to that point: small English forces often defeated vastly larger French armies. Dunois himself had been wounded in the foot during the most recent such disaster (the Battle of Rouvray-St-Denis on 12 February 1429).


Note 8: Jean Luillier was a bougeois (townsman) of Orléans who, it seems, was the same merchant who had provided the cloth for two items of clothing bought for her by the council at Orléans on behalf of its Duke, since a "Jean Luillier" is listed as such in documents dated 30 September 1429 and 5 August 1430. Quicherat thought he was also the "Jean Luillier" who was among those later duped by the "false Joan", Claude des Armoises, when she visited Orléans in 1439.
Note 9: Luillier was the sixth of the forty-one witnesses questioned at Orléans from 22 February - 16 March 1456.


Note 10: I.e., because they had already developed the fear that she was supernatural. We know from English government decrees that even after she was captured, numbers of their soldiers were still refusing to fight, since - as was confirmed by some of the members of the tribunal selected to convict her - they believed that she could influence events on the battlefield even while in prison.

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