List Of Contents | Contents of Urbain Grandier, by Dumas, Pere
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Duthibaut.  The latter received a copy of the decision arrived at by
the bishop, before Grandier knew of the charges that had been
formulated against him, and having in the course of his defence drawn
a terrible picture of the immorality of Grandier's life, he produced
as a proof of the truth of his assertions the damning document which
had been put into his hands.  The court, not knowing what to think of
the turn affairs had taken, decided that before considering the
accusations brought by Grandier, he must appear before his bishop to
clear himself of the charges, brought against himself.  Consequently
he left Paris at once, and arrived at Loudun, where he only stayed
long enough to learn what had happened in his absence, and then went
on to Poitiers in order to draw up his defence.  He had, however, no
sooner set foot in the place than he was arrested by a sheriff's
officer named Chatry, and confined in the prison of the episcopal

It was the middle of November, and the prison was at all times cold
and damp, yet no attention was paid to Grandier's request that he
should be transferred to some other place of confinement.  Convinced
by this that his enemies had more influence than he had supposed, he
resolved to possess his soul in patience, and remained a prisoner for
two months, during which even his warmest friends believed him lost,
while Duthibaut openly laughed at the proceedings instituted against
himself, which he now believed would never go any farther, and Barot
had already selected one of his heirs, a certain Ismael Boulieau, as
successor to Urbain as priest and prebendary.

It was arranged that the costs of the lawsuit should be defrayed out
of a fund raised by the prosecutors, the rich paying for the poor;
for as all the witnesses lived at Loudun and the trial was to take
place at Poitiers, considerable expense would be incurred by the
necessity of bringing so many people such a distance; but the lust of
vengeance proved stronger than the lust of gold; the subscription
expected from each being estimated according to his fortune, each
paid without a murmur, and at the end of two months the case was

In spite of the evident pains taken by the prosecution to strain the
evidence against the defendant, the principal charge could not be
sustained, which was that he had led astray many wives and daughters
in Loudun.  No one woman came forward to complain of her ruin by
Grandier; the name of no single victim of his alleged immorality was
given.  The conduct of the case was the most extraordinary ever seen;
it was evident that the accusations were founded on hearsay and not
on fact, and yet a decision and sentence against Grandier were
pronounced on January 3rd, 1630.  The sentence was as follows: For
three months to fast each Friday on bread and water by way of
penance; to be inhibited from the performance of clerical functions
in the diocese of Poitiers for five years, and in the town of Loudun
for ever.

Both parties appealed from this decision: Grandier to the Archbishop
of Bordeaux, and his adversaries, on the advice of the attorney to
the diocese, pleading a miscarriage of justice, to the Parliament of
Paris; this last appeal being made in order to overwhelm Grandier and
break his spirit.  But Grandier's resolution enabled him to face this
attack boldly: he engaged counsel to defend his case before the
Parliament, while he himself conducted his appeal to the Archbishop
of Bordeaux.  But as there were many necessary witnesses, and it was
almost impossible to bring them all such a great distance, the
archiepiscopal court sent the appeal to the presidial court of
Poitiers.  The public prosecutor of Poitiers began a fresh
investigation, which being conducted with impartiality was not
encouraging to Grandier's accusers.  There had been many conflicting
statements made by the witnesses, and these were now repeated: other
witnesses had declared quite openly that they had been bribed; others
again stated that their depositions had been tampered with; and
amongst these latter was a certain priest named Mechin, and also that
Ishmael Boulieau whom Barot had been in such a hurry to select as
candidate for the reversion of Grandier's preferments.  Boulieau's
deposition has been lost, but we can lay Mechin's before the reader,
for the original has been preserved, just as it issued from his pen:

"I, Gervais Mechin, curate-in-charge of the Church of Saint-Pierre in
the Market Place at Loudun, certify by these presents, signed by my
hand, to relieve my conscience as to a certain report which is being
spread abroad, that I had said in support of an accusation brought by
Gilles Robert, archpriest, against Urbain Grandier, priest-in-charge
of Saint-Pierre, that I had found the said Grandier lying with women
and girls in the church of Saint Pierre, the doors being closed.

"ITEM, that on several different occasions, at unsuitable hours both
day and night, I had seen women and girls disturb the said Grandier
by going into his bedroom, and that some of the said women remained
with him from one o'clock in the after noon till three o'clock the
next morning, their maids bringing them their suppers and going away
again at once.

"ITEM, that I had seen the said Grandier in the church, the doors
being open, but that as soon as some women entered he closed them.

"As I earnestly desire that such reports should cease, I declare by
these presents that I have never seen the said Grandier with women or
girls in the church, the doors being closed; that I have never found
him there alone with women or girls; that when he spoke to either
someone else was always present, and the doors were open; and as to
their posture, I think I made it sufficiently clear when in the
witness-box that Grandier was seated and the women scattered over the
church; furthermore, I have never seen either women or girls enter
Grandier's bedroom either by day or night, although it is true that I
have heard people in the corridor coming and going late in the
evening, who they were I cannot say, but a brother of the said
Grandier sleeps close by; neither have I any knowledge that either
women or girls, had their suppers brought to the said room.  I have
also never said that he neglected the reading of his breviary,
because that would be contrary to the truth, seeing that on several
occasions he borrowed mine and read his hours in it.  I also declare
that I have never seen him close the doors of the church, and that
whenever I have seen him speaking to women I have never noticed any
impropriety; I have not ever seen him touch them in any way, they
have only spoken together; and if anything is found in my deposition
contrary to the above, it is without my knowledge, and was never read
to me, for I would not have signed it, and I say and affirm all this
in homage to the truth.

"Done the last day of October 1630,
"(Signed) G.  MECHIN."

In the face of such proofs of innocence none of the accusations could
be considered as established and so, according to the decision of the
presidial court of Poitiers, dated the 25th of May 1634, the decision
of the bishop's court was reversed, and Grandier was acquitted of the
charges brought against him.  However, he had still to appear before
the Archbishop of Bordeaux, that his acquittal might be ratified.
Grandier took advantage of a visit which the archbishop paid to his
abbey at Saint-Jouin-les-Marmes, which was only three leagues from
Loudun, to make this appearance; his adversaries, who were
discouraged by the result of the proceedings at Poitiers, scarcely
made any defence, and the archbishop, after an examination which
brought clearly to light the innocence of the accused, acquitted and
absolved him.

The rehabilitation of Grandier before his bishop had two important
results: the first was that it clearly established his innocence, and
the second that it brought into prominence his high attainments and
eminent qualities.  The archbishop seeing the persecutions to which
he was subjected, felt a kindly interest in him, and advised him to
exchange into some other diocese, leaving a town the principal
inhabitants of which appeared to have vowed him a relentless hate.
But such an abandonment of his rights was foreign to the character of
Urbain, and he declared to his superior that, strong in His Grace's
approbation and the testimony of his own conscience, he would remain
in the place to which God had called him.  Monseigneur de Sourdis did
not feel it his duty to urge Urbain any further, but he had enough
insight into his character to perceive that if Urbain should one day
fall, it would be, like Satan, through pride; for he added another
sentence to his decision, recommending him to fulfil the duties of
his office with discretion and modesty, according to the decrees of
the Fathers and the canonical constitutions.  The triumphal entry of
Urbain into Loudun with which we began our narrative shows the spirit
in which he took his recommendation.


Urbain Granadier was not satisfied with the arrogant demonstration by
which he signalised his return, which even his friends had felt to be
ill advised; instead of allowing the hate he had aroused to die away
or at least to fall asleep by letting the past be past, he continued
with more zeal than ever his proceedings against Duthibaut, and
succeeded in obtaining a decree from the Parliament of La Tournelle,
by which Duthibaut was summoned before it, and obliged to listen
bareheaded to a reprimand, to offer apologies, and to pay damages and

Having thus got the better of one enemy, Urbain turned on the others,
and showed himself more indefatigable in the pursuit of justice than
they had been in the pursuit of vengeance.  The decision of the
archbishop had given him a right to a sum of money for compensation,
and interest thereon, as well as to the restitution of the revenues
of his livings, and there being some demur made, he announced
publicly that he intended to exact this reparation to the uttermost
farthing, and set about collecting all the evidence which was

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