The Inquisition

The Inquisition
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Estimates of the number killed by the Spanish Inquisition, which Sixtus IV authorised in a papal bull in , have ranged from 30, to , Some historians are convinced that millions died. Other experts told journalists at the Vatican yesterday that many of the thousands of executions conventionally attributed to the church were in fact carried out by non-church tribunals. What the church initiated as a strictly regulated process, in which torture was allowed for only 15 minutes and in the presence of a doctor, got out of hand when other bodies were involved.

The church does not deny its responsibility for atrocities committed by Catholics in its name. In the Pope publicly apologised for the unnecessary "violence" used. Cardinal Georges Cottier, a Vatican theologian, said: "You can't ask pardon for deeds which aren't there. European and North American historians have been searching the archives since a Vatican conference on the Inquisition in Their findings support the recent theories of some independent historians that the Spanish Inquisition has been exaggerated into a kind of legend.

European school histories are filled with images of torture used to force heretics to confess in Spain , France, Italy and Portugal. Pope Gregory IX instituted the papal inquisition in for the apprehension and trial of heretics, initially the Cathars. Such was the state of the Inquisition in Spain towards the end of the fourteenth century.

It is uncertain if the Inquisition existed in Castile in the beginning of the fifteenth century; for, though Boniface IX. Vicente de Lisboa inquisitor-general, his authority was not recognized, as that kingdom belonged to the party of Benedict XIII. The town of Perpignan was the seat of one of the provincial Inquisitions of Aragon, whose jurisdiction extended over the countships of Rousillon and Cerdagne, and over the islands of Majorca, Minorca, and Iviza.

Benedict XIII. The election of Martin V. Juan de Santa Justa; but the Dominicans who were at Constance persuaded the Pope that his jurisdiction was too extensive, which induced the pontiff to subdivide the province of Spain into three parts: the first part was named the province of Spain, and comprised Castile, Toledo, Murcia, Estremadura, Andalusia, Biscay, and the Asturias de Santillana; the second, Santiago, was composed of the kingdom of Leon, Galicia, and the Asturias of Oviedo; and the third, that of Portugal, extended over all the dominions of the monarch.

Martin V. The Inquisitor of Aragon, , was F. Michael Ferriz, and that of Valencia, F. Martin Trilles, who reconciled in their districts several Wickliffites, and condemned many others to be burnt. John II. A LTHOUGH the Popes, in establishing the Inquisition, had only proposed to punish the crime of heresy, yet the inquisitors were commissioned to pursue those Christians who were only suspected, because it was the only means of discovering those who were really guilty. There were many crimes which came under the jurisdiction of a civil judge, which the Popes considered no one could be guilty of without being tainted with a false doctrine; and although they were pursued by secular tribunals, the inquisitors were enjoined to consider the accused as suspected of heresy, and to proceed against them, in order to ascertain if they committed these crimes from the depravity natural to man, or from the idea that they were not criminal; which opinion caused a suspicion that their doctrine was erroneous.

A species of blasphemy which was called heretical, belonged to this class of crimes; it was committed against God or his saints, and showed in the offender erroneous opinions of the omniscience or other attributes of the Deity. It rendered the blasphemer liable to be suspected of heresy, as the inquisitor might consider it a proof that his habitual thoughts were contrary to the faith.

The second species of crime which caused a suspicion of heresy, was sorcery and divination. If the offenders only made use of natural and simple means of discovering the future, such as counting the lines in the palm of the hand, they came under the jurisdiction of a civil judge; but all sorcerers were liable to be punished for heresy by the Inquisition, if they baptized a dead person, re-baptized an infant, made use of holy water, the consecrated host, the oil of extreme unction, or other things which proved contempt or abuse of the sacraments and the mysteries of religion.

The same suspicion affected those who addressed themselves to demons in their superstitious practices. A third species of crime was the invocation of demons. Nicholas Eymerich informs us that, in his office of inquisitor, he had procured and burnt, after having read them, two books which treated of that subject; they both contained an account of the power of demons, and of the mode of worshipping them.

The same author adds, that in his time a great number of trials for this crime took place in Catalonia, and that many of the accused had gone so far as to worship Satan, with all the signs, ceremonies, and words of the Catholic religion. A fourth kind of crime which caused suspicion of heresy, was, to remain a year, or longer, excommunicated without seeking absolution, or performing the penance which had been imposed. The Popes affirmed that no Catholic, irreproachable in his faith, could live with so much indifference under the censure of the church.

Schism was the sixth case where heresy was suspected. It may exist either without heresy or with it. To the first class belong all schismatics, who admit the articles of the faith, but deny the authority of the Pope, as head of the Catholic Church, and vicar of Jesus Christ. The second is composed of those who hold the same opinions as the first, and also refuse to believe in some of the articles; such as the Greeks, who hold that the Holy Ghost proceeds only from the Father, and not from the Son.

The Inquisition also proceeded against concealers, favourers, and adherents of heretics, as being suspected of professing the same opinions. The seventh class was composed of all those who opposed the Inquisition, and prevented the inquisitors from exercising their functions. The eighth class comprehended those nobles who refused to take an oath to drive the heretics from their states.

The ninth class consisted of governors of kingdoms, provinces and towns, who did not defend the Church against heretics, when they were required by the Inquisition. The tenth class comprised those who refused to repeal the statutes in force in towns and cities, when they were contrary to the measures decreed by the holy office. The eleventh class of suspected persons, were all lawyers, notaries, and other persons belonging to the law, who assisted heretics by their advice; or concealed papers, records, and other writings, which might make their errors, dwellings, or stations known.

In the twelfth class of suspected were those persons who have given ecclesiastical sepulture to known heretics. Those who refused to take an oath in the trials of heretics when they were required to do it, were also liable to suspicion. The fourteenth class were deceased persons who had been denounced as heretics.

The Popes, in order to render heresy more odious, had decreed that the bodies of dead heretics should be disinterred and burnt, their property confiscated, and their memory pronounced infamous. The same suspicion fell upon writings which contained heretical doctrines, or which might lead to them. Lastly, the Jews and Moors were considered as subject to the holy office, when they engaged Catholics to embrace their faith, either by their writings or discourse. Although all the persons guilty of the crimes above-mentioned were under the jurisdiction of the holy office, yet the Pope, his legates, his nuncios, his officers, and familiars were exempt; and if any of these were denounced as heretics, the inquisitor could only take the secret information and refer it to the Pope.

Bishops were also exempt, but kings had not that privilege. As the bishops were the ordinary inquisitors by divine right, it seems just that they should have had the power of receiving informations, and proceeding against the apostolical inquisitors in matters of faith; but the Pope rendered his delegates independent, by decreeing that none but an apostolical inquisitor could proceed against another. The inquisitor and the bishop acted together, but each had the right of pursuing heretics separately: the orders for imprisonment could only be issued by both together, and if they did not accord they referred to the Pope.

The inquisitors could require the assistance of secular power in the exercise of their authority, and it could not be refused without incurring the punishment of excommunication and suspicion of heresy. The bishop was obliged to lend his house for the prisoners; besides this, the inquisitors had a particular prison to secure the persons of the accused. The first inquisitors had no fixed salary: the holy office was founded on devotion and zeal for the faith; its members were almost all monks, who had made a vow of poverty, and the priests who were associated in their labours, were generally canons, or provided with benefices.

But when the inquisitors began to make journeys, accompanied by recorders, alguazils, and an armed force, the Pope decreed that all their expenses should be defrayed by the bishops, on the pretence that the inquisitors laboured for the destruction of heresy in their dioceses.

This measure displeased the bishops, still more as they were deprived of part of their authority. The expenses of the Inquisition were afterwards defrayed by the fines and confiscations of the condemned heretics: these resources were the only funds of the holy office; it never possessed any fixed revenue. When a priest was appointed an inquisitor by the Pope, or by a delegate of the holy see, he wrote to the king, who issued a royal mandate to all the tribunals of the towns where the inquisitor would pass to perform his office, commanding them, on pain of the most severe penalties, to arrest all the persons whom he should mark as heretics, or suspect of heresy, and to execute the judgments passed upon them.

The same order obliged the magistrates to furnish the inquisitor and his attendants with a lodging, and to protect them from insult and every inconvenience. When the inquisitor arrived at the town where he intended to enter upon his office, he officially informed the magistrate, and required his attendance, fixing the time and place. The commander of the town presented himself before the delegate, and took an oath to put in force all the laws against heretics. If the officer or magistrate refused to obey, the inquisitor excommunicated him; if he made no difficulty, the inquisitor appointed a day for the people to meet in the church, when he preached, and read an edict which commanded that all informations should be given within a certain period.

The inquisitor afterwards declared that all who should voluntarily confess themselves heretics, should receive absolution, and be subjected to a slight penance, but that those who were denounced should be proceeded against with severity. If any accusations took place during the interval, they were registered, but did not take effect until it was known that the accused would not come voluntarily before the tribunal. After the expiration of the period allowed, the informer was summoned; he was told that there were three ways of proceeding to discover the truth,—accusation, information, and inquisition, and was asked to which he gave the preference.

If he chose the first, he was invited to accuse the denounced person, but at the same time to consider that he was subject to the law of retaliation if he was found to be a calumniator.

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This manner of proceeding was adopted by very few persons: the greater number declared, that fear of the punishments with which the holy office menaced those who did not inform against heretics was the cause of their appearance; and they desired that their information might be kept secret, on account of the danger they incurred of being assassinated if they were known. The inquisitor interrogated the witnesses, assisted by the recorder and two priests, who were commissioned to observe if the declarations were faithfully taken down, and to be present when they were read to the witnesses, who were then asked if they acknowledged all that was read to them.

If the crime or suspicion of heresy was proved in the information, the criminal was arrested and taken to the ecclesiastical prison. After his arrest, he was examined, and his answers compared with the testimony of the witnesses. If the accused confessed himself guilty of one heresy, it was in vain for him to assert that he was innocent of the others; he was not permitted to defend himself, because his crime was proved. He was asked if he would abjure the heresy of which he acknowledged himself guilty. If he consented, he was reconciled, and the canonical penance was imposed on him, with some other punishment; if he refused, he was declared an obstinate heretic, and was delivered up to secular justice, with a copy of his sentence.

If the accused denied the charge, and undertook to defend himself, a copy of the process was given to him, but without the names of the accuser or the witnesses, and with every circumstance omitted which might lead to their discovery. The accused was asked if he had enemies, and if he knew their motives for hating him. He was also permitted to declare that he suspected any particular person of wishing to ruin him. In either case the proof was admitted, and the inquisitor considered it in passing judgment. The inquisitor sometimes asked the accused if he knew certain persons; these individuals were the accusers and witnesses; if he replied in the negative, he could not afterwards challenge them as enemies: in the course of time, every one concluded that these persons were the accuser and the witnesses, and the custom was abandoned.

The accused person was also permitted to appeal to the Pope, who rejected or admitted his appeal, according to the rules of justice. There was no regular proceeding before the Inquisition, and the judges did not fix a time to establish the proof of the facts. After the replies and defence of the accused, the inquisitor and the bishop of the diocese, or their delegates, proceeded to pass sentence without any other formalities. If the accused denied the charges, although he was convicted or strongly suspected, he was tortured, to force him to confess his crime; or if it was thought that there was no necessity for it, the judges proceeded to pass the final sentence.

If the crime imputed to the accused was not proved, he was acquitted, and a copy of the declaration given to him, but the name of his accuser was not communicated. If he had been calumniated, he was obliged to clear himself publicly by the canonical method, in the town where it had taken place; he afterwards abjured all heresy, and received the absolution ad cautelam [2] for all the censures which he had incurred.

In order to proportion the punishment to the suspicion, it was divided into three degrees, named slight , serious , and violent. The person who was declared to be suspected, though in the least degree, was called upon to renounce all heresies, and particularly that of which he was suspected. If he consented, he was reconciled, and was subjected to punishments and penances; if he refused, he was excommunicated; and if he did not demand absolution, or promise to abjure after the space of one year, he was considered as an obstinate heretic, and proceeded against as such. If the accused was a formal heretic, willing to abjure, and not guilty of having relapsed, he was reconciled with penances.

A person was considered as relapsed if he had already been condemned, or violently suspected of the same errors. The abjurations were made in the place where the inquisitor resided, sometimes in the episcopal palace, in the convent of Dominicans, or in the house of the inquisitor, but most generally in the churches.

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The Sunday before this ceremony, the day on which it was to take place was announced in all the churches of the town, and the inhabitants were requested to attend the sermon which would be preached by the inquisitor against heresy. On the appointed day the clergy and the people assembled round a scaffold, where the person slightly suspected stood bare-headed, that he might be seen by every one.

The mass was performed, and the inquisitor preached against the particular heresy which was the cause of the ceremony; he announced that the person on the scaffold was slightly suspected of having fallen into it, and read the process to the people: he concluded by saying, that the culprit was ready to abjure. A cross and the Bible was given to the offender, who read his abjuration, and signed it, if he could write; the inquisitor then gave him absolution, and imposed upon him those penances which were thought most useful. The offender was warned, not only to be a good Catholic for the future, but to conduct himself in such a manner as not to be accused a second time; as, if he relapsed, he would suffer capital punishment, although he might abjure and be reconciled.

If the offender was suspected in the highest degree, he was treated as an heretic, and wore the habit of a penitent during the ceremony; it was composed of brown stuff, with a scapulary which had two yellow crosses fastened on it. If the suspected person was to clear himself from calumny by the canonical method, the ceremony was also announced before it took place, and he was obliged to take an oath that he was not an heretic, and to produce twelve witnesses who had known him for the last ten years, to swear that they believed his affirmation to be true.

He then abjured all heresies. If the accused was repentant, and demanded to be reconciled after having relapsed, he was to be delivered over to secular justice, and was destined to suffer capital punishment. The inquisitors, after having passed judgment on him, engaged some priests, who were in their confidence, to inform him of his situation, and induce him to demand the sacrament of penance and the communion.

If the unfortunate heretic had relapsed, it was in vain for him to return to the true faith; he could not avoid death, and the only favour shewn him was, that he was first strangled, and afterwards burnt. Those who escaped from the prisons, or fled to avoid being arrested, were burnt in effigy. The tribunal of the Inquisition being ecclesiastical, had originally only the power of inflicting spiritual punishments; but the laws of the emperors during the fourth and following centuries, and other circumstances, caused the inquisitors of the thirteenth century to assume the right of imposing punishments entirely temporal, except that of death.

The sentence of the Inquisition imposed a variety of fines and personal penalties; such as entire or partial confiscation; perpetual, or a limited period of imprisonment; exile, or transportation; infamy, and the loss of employments, honours, and dignities. Those persons who abjured as seriously suspected of heresy, were condemned to be imprisoned for a certain time proportioned to the degree of suspicion.

If the accused was violently suspected , he was condemned to perpetual imprisonment, but the inquisitor had the power of mitigating the sentence, if he judged that the prisoner repented sincerely. If the abjurer had been a formal heretic, he was imprisoned for life, and the inquisitor had not the power of shortening the duration of the punishment.

Among the punishments to which heretics were condemned, must be enumerated that of wearing the habit of a penitent, known in Spain under the name of San Benito , which is a corruption of saco bendito. Its real name in Spanish was Zamarra. The first became the common name, because the penitential habit was called sac in the Jewish history. Before the thirteenth century it was the custom to bless the sac which was worn in public penance, and hence it derived the epithet of bendito blessed. It was a close tunic, made like the cassock of a priest, with crosses of a different colour affixed to the breast.

Dominic and the other inquisitors caused the reconciled heretics to wear these crosses, as a protection against the Catholics who massacred all known heretics, although they might be unarmed. The reconciled heretics wore two crosses to distinguish them from pure Catholics, who only wore one as crusaders. T HE state of the Inquisition in the kingdom of Aragon, at the accession of Ferdinand and Isabella, has been shown in a preceding chapter.

This tribunal was then introduced into the kingdom of Castile, after having been reformed by statutes and regulations so severe, that the Aragonese violently resisted the fresh burdens which were imposed on them. This is the Inquisition which has reigned in Spain since the year , which was destroyed, to the satisfaction of all Europe, and which has since been re-established to the grief of all enlightened Spaniards. The war against the Albigenses was the first cause of the establishment of the Inquisition; and the pretended necessity of punishing the apostacy of the newly-converted Spanish Jews, was the reason for introducing it in a reformed state.

It is important to remark, that the immense trade carried on by the Spanish Jews had thrown into their hands the greatest part of the wealth of the Peninsula; and that they had acquired great power and influence in Castile under Alphonso IX. The Christians, who could not rival them in industry, had almost all become their debtors, and envy soon made them the enemies of their creditors. This disposition was fostered by evil-minded men, and popular commotions were the consequence in almost all the towns of the two kingdoms. In , five thousand Jews were sacrificed to the fury of the people in different towns.

Several were known to have escaped death by becoming Christians; many others sought to save themselves in following their example; and in a short time more than a million persons renounced the law of Moses to embrace the Christian faith. The number of conversions increased considerably during the ten first years of the fifteenth century, through the zeal of St.

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The converted Jews were named New Christians ; they were also called Marranos, or the cursed race, from an oath which the Jews were in the habit of using among themselves. As the fear of death was the cause of most of these conversions, many repented, and secretly returned to Judaism, though they outwardly conformed to Christianity. The constraint to which they were obliged to submit was sometimes too painful, and several were discovered.

This was the ostensible reason for the establishment of a tribunal which gave Ferdinand an opportunity of confiscating immense riches, and which Sextus IV. In , Philip de Barbaris, inquisitor of the kingdom of Sicily, went to Seville, to obtain from Ferdinand and Isabella the confirmation of a privilege granted in , by the Emperor Frederic, which gave to the Inquisition of Sicily the right of seizing a third part of the property of condemned heretics.

Barbaris, through zeal for the interests of the Pope, endeavoured to persuade the king that the Christian religion derived the greatest advantages from the fear which the judgments of the Inquisition inspired. He was eagerly seconded by Alphonso de Hojida, prior of the convent of Dominicans at Seville; and Nicholas Franco, the nuncio of the Pope at the court of Spain.

A report was then spread in different parts of the kingdom that the New Christians , with the unbaptized Jews, insulted the images of Jesus Christ, and had even crucified Christian children in mockery of his sufferings on the cross. Ferdinand was willing to receive the Inquisition into his states: the only obstacle was the refusal of Isabella; that excellent queen could not approve of measures so contrary to the gentleness of her character, but her consent was obtained by alarming her conscience: she was told that it became a religious duty to adopt them in the present circumstances.

Isabella suffered herself to be led away by the representations of her council, and commissioned her ambassador at Rome, Don Francis de Santillan, Bishop of Osma, to solicit in her name a bull for the establishment of the Inquisition in Castile, which was granted in It authorized Ferdinand and Isabella to name the priests who were to be commissioned to discover in their states all heretics, apostates, and favourers of these crimes. As this measure was displeasing to Isabella, her council, by her order, suspended the execution of the bull until less severe remedies had been tried.

The queen commissioned D. Diego Alphonso de Solis, Bishop of Cadiz, Diego de Merlo, and Alphonso de Hojida, prior of the convent of Dominicans, to observe the effects produced by gentle means, and give a faithful account of them. Their reports were such as might be expected from the situation of affairs; and the Dominican fathers, the nuncio, and even the king, desired that the measures preferred by Isabella should be declared insufficient. The events of this year proved how displeasing the institution was to the Castilians. In the beginning of the year , the Cortes assembled at Toledo.

It was occupied in providing means to prevent the evil which the communication of the Jews with Christians might produce: the ancient regulations were renewed; and among others, those which obliged unbaptized Jews to wear some distinguishing mark, and to inhabit separate quarters, to which they were compelled to retire before night: they were also prohibited from exercising the professions of physicians, surgeons, merchants, barbers, and innkeepers; yet the Cortes had no intention either of approving or demanding that the Inquisition should be established in the kingdom.

The consent of the queen was obtained; and while the two sovereigns were at Medina del Campo, on the 17th of November, , they named as the first inquisitors Michael Morillo and John de San Martin, both Dominicans, as adviser and accessor of these two monks, Doctor John Ruiz de Medina, a counsellor of the queen's; and as procurator-fiscal attorney, John Lopez del Barco, the queen's chaplain. On the 9th of October an order was sent by the king and queen to all the governors of provinces to furnish the inquisitors and their suite with everything they might require in their journey to Seville; an extraordinary circumstance in that time, and which proves the influence which the Dominicans had already acquired.

Their privileges were the same as those granted in by the Emperor Frederic. The Castilians were so far from being pleased at the introduction of the Inquisition, that the inquisitors, on their arrival at Seville, found it impossible to collect the small number of persons necessary to the performance of their functions, although they shewed their commission; and the Council of Spain was obliged to issue another order, that the prefect and other authorities of Seville, and the diocese of Cadiz, should assist the inquisitors in their installation; this order was also interpreted in such a manner that it was only executed in those towns which belonged to the queen.

The New Christians then immediately emigrated into the states of the Duke de Medina Sidonia, the Marquis of Cadiz, the Count D'Arcos, and other nobles; and the new tribunal declared that their heresy was proved by their emigration. The inquisitors established their tribunal in the Dominican convent of St. Paul, at Seville; and on the 2nd of January, , they issued their first edict, which commanded the Marquis of Cadiz, the Count D'Arcos, and all grandees of Spain, to seize the persons of the emigrants within fifteen days; and to send them under an escort to Seville, and sequestrate their property, on pain of excommunication, besides the other punishments to which they would be liable as favourers of heresy.

The number of prisoners was soon so considerable, that the convent assigned to the inquisitors was not sufficiently large to contain them, and the tribunal was removed to the Castle de Triana, situated near Seville. The inquisitors soon published a second edict, named the Edict of Grace, to engage those who had apostatized to surrender themselves voluntarily: it promised that if they came with true repentance, their property should not be confiscated, and they should receive absolution; but if, on the contrary, they suffered the time of grace to elapse, or were denounced by others, they would be prosecuted with all the severity of the tribunal.

Several suffered themselves to be persuaded; but the inquisitors only granted them absolution when they had declared upon oath the names, condition, and place of dwelling, of all the apostates whom they knew or had heard spoken of. They were also obliged to keep these revelations secret; and by these means a great number of New Christians fell into the hands of the inquisitors. When the period of grace was passed, a new edict was published, which commanded all persons to denounce those who had embraced the Judaic heresy, on pain of mortal sin and excommunication.

The consequence of this edict was, that an heretic was only informed that he was accused, at the moment when he was arrested and dragged to the dungeons of the Inquisition. The same fate awaited the converted Jew, who might have acquired certain habits in his infancy, which, though not contrary to Christianity, might be represented as certain signs of apostacy. The inquisitors mentioned in their edict several cases where accusation was commanded. The following cases are so equivocal, that altogether they would scarcely form a simple presumption in the present time. All these articles show the artifice used by the inquisitors in order to prove to Isabella that a great number of Judaic heretics existed in the dioceses of Cadiz and Seville.

These measures, so well adapted to multiply victims, could not fail in their effect, and the tribunal soon began its cruel executions.


On the 6th of January, , six persons were burnt, seventeen on the 26th of March following, and a still greater number a month after; on the 4th of November, the same year, two hundred and ninety-eight New Christians had suffered the punishment of burning, and seventy-nine were condemned to the horrors of perpetual imprisonment in the town of Seville alone. In other parts of the province and in the diocese of Cadiz, two thousand of these unfortunate creatures were burnt; according to Mariana, a still greater number were burnt in effigy, and one thousand seven hundred suffered different canonical punishments.

The great number of persons condemned to be burnt, obliged the prefect of Seville to construct a scaffold of stone in a field near the town, name Tablada; it was called Quemadero, and still exists. Four statues, of plaster, were erected on it, and bore the name of the Four Prophets ; the condemned persons were enclosed alive in these figures, and perished by a slow and horrible death [3]. The dread which these executions inspired in the New Christians caused a great number to emigrate to France, Portugal, and even to Africa. Many of those who had been condemned for contumacy had fled to Rome, and demanded justice of the Pope against their judges.

The sovereign pontiff wrote on the 29th of January to Ferdinand and Isabella, and complained that the inquisitors did not follow the rule of right in declaring those to be heretics who were not guilty. His Holiness added that he would have pronounced their deprivation but from respect to the royal decree which had instituted them in their office, but he revoked the authorization which he had given.

On the 11th of the following month the Pope despatched a new brief, in which, without mentioning the first, he says, the general of the Dominicans, Alphonso de St. Cebriant, having proved to him the necessity of increasing the number of inquisitors, he had appointed to that office Alphonso de St. Cebriant, and seven monks of his order. It was at this time that Queen Isabella requested the Pope to give the Inquisition a permanent form which should be satisfactory to all parties; she required that the judgments passed in Spain should be definitive and without appeal to Rome, and complained at the same time that many persons accused her of being influenced in all that she did for the tribunal by a desire to seize the wealth of the condemned.

When Sixtus IV. He replied to the queen, and praised her zeal for the Inquisition; appeased her scruples of conscience in regard to the confiscations; and assured her that he would have complied with all her demands, if the cardinals, and those charged with the administration of affairs, had not found insurmountable difficulties in so doing. He exhorted her to maintain the Inquisition in her states, and above all to take proper measures that the apostolical bulls should be received and executed in Sicily.

The councillors to whom the Pope had submitted the demands of Isabella, approved of the creation of an apostolical judge of appeal in Spain; and proposed at the same time that no person descended from the Jews, either by the male or female side, should be admitted among the inquisitorial judges.

The suppression of heresy during the first twelve centuries

Don Inigo Manrique was named sole judge of appeals in all matters of faith. It would have been impossible to find a man more proper to fulfil the intentions of Ferdinand in multiplying the number of confiscations than Torquemada. He then permitted the Dominican fathers to exercise their functions in the kingdom of Castile: these monks, who held their commission from the holy see, did not submit to the authority of Torquemada without some resistance; they declared that they were not his delegates.

Torquemada did not pronounce their deposition, as he feared it would injure the execution of the enterprise which he was commencing, but prepared to form laws which he found very necessary. At this time Ferdinand, perceiving how important it was to the interest of the revenue to organize the tribunal, created a royal council of the Inquisition, and appointed Torquemada president, and as councillors, Don Alphonso Carillo, Bishop of Mazara in Sicily, Sancho Velasquez de Cuellar and Ponce de Valencia, both doctors of law.

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Torquemada commissioned his two assistants to arrange the laws for the new council, and convoked a junta, which was composed of the inquisitors of the four tribunals which he had established, the two assistants, and the members of the royal council. This assembly was held at Seville, and published the first laws of the Spanish tribunal under the name of instructions in These instructions were divided into twenty-eight articles. The 1st article regulated the manner in which the establishment of the Inquisition should be announced in the country where it was to be introduced.

The 2nd article commanded that an edict should be published, accompanied with censures against those who did not accuse themselves voluntarily during the term of grace. The 4th regulated that all voluntary confessions should be written in the presence of the inquisitors and a recorder. The 5th, that absolution should not be given secretly to any individual voluntarily confessing, unless no person was acquainted with his crime. The 6th ordained, that part of the penance of a reconciled heretic should consist in being deprived of all honourable employments, and of the use of gold, silver, pearls, silk, and fine wool.

By the 8th, the person who accused himself after the term of grace could not be exempted from the punishment of confiscation. The 9th article decreed, that if persons under twenty years of age accuse themselves after the term of grace, and it is proved that they were drawn into error by their parents, a slight punishment shall be inflicted. The 10th obliged the inquisitors to declare, in their act of reconciliation, the exact time when the offender fell into heresy, that the portion of property to be confiscated might be ascertained.

The 11th article decreed, that if a heretic, detained in the prisons of the holy office, demanded absolution, and appeared to feel true repentance, that it might be granted to him, imposing, at the same time, perpetual imprisonment. By the 12th, if the inquisitors thought the repentance of the prisoner was pretended, in the case indicated by the former article, they were permitted to refuse the absolution, to declare him a false penitent, and as such condemn him to be burnt.

By the 13th, if a man, absolved after his confession, should boast of having concealed several crimes, or if information should be obtained that he had committed more than he had confessed, he was to be arrested and judged as a false penitent. By the 14th article, the accused was to be condemned as impenitent, if he persisted in his denials even after the publication of the testimony.

By the 15th, if a semi-proof existed against a person who denied his crime, he was to be put to the torture; if he confessed his crime during the torture, and afterwards confirmed his confession, he was punished as convicted; if he retracted, he was tortured again, or condemned to an extraordinary punishment. The 16th article prohibited the communication of the entire deposition of the witnesses to the accused. The 17th article obliged the inquisitors to interrogate the witnesses themselves, if it was not impossible. The 18th article decrees, that one or two inquisitors should be present when the prisoner was tortured, or appoint a commissioner if they were occupied elsewhere, to receive his declarations.

By the 19th article, if the accused did not appear when summoned, according to the prescribed form, he was condemned as a heretic. The 20th article decrees, that if it is proved that any person died a heretic, by his writings or conduct, that he shall be judged and condemned as such, his body disinterred and burnt, and his property confiscated. By the 21st, the inquisitors were commanded to extend their jurisdiction over the vassals of nobles; if they refused to permit it, they were to be censured. The 22nd decreed, that if a man, burnt as a heretic, left children under age, a portion of their father's property should be granted to them under the title of alms, and the inquisitors shall be obliged to confide their education to proper persons.

By the 23rd, if a heretic, reconciled during the term of grace, without having incurred the punishment of confiscation, possessed property belonging to a condemned person, this property was not to be included in the pardon. The 24th obliged the reconciled to give his Christian slaves their liberty, when his property was not confiscated, if the king granted the pardon on that condition.

The 25th prohibited the inquisitors, and other persons attached to the tribunal, from receiving presents, on pain of excommunication, deprivation of their employments, restitution, and a penalty of twice the value of the gifts received. The 28th and last, commits to the prudence of the inquisitors the discussion of all points not mentioned in the foregoing articles. Ferdinand having convoked at Tarazona the Cortes of his kingdom of Aragon, decreed that the Inquisition should be reformed in a privy-council.

A royal ordinance commanded all the authorities to aid and assist them in their office, and the magistrate known by the name of Chief Justice of Aragon, took the oath with several others. This circumstance did not prevent the resistance which the Aragonese opposed to the tribunal; on the contrary it augmented, and rose to such a height, that it might have been termed national. The principal persons employed in the Court of Aragon were descended from New Christians : among these were Louis Gonzalez, the royal secretary for the affairs of the kingdom; Philip de Clemente, prothonotary; Alphonso de la Caballeria, vice-chancellor; and Gabriel Sanchez, grand treasurer; who were all descended from Jews condemned, in their time, by the Inquisition.

These men, and many others employed in the court, had allied themselves to the principal grandees in the kingdom, and used the influence which they derived from this circumstance, to engage the representatives of the nation to appeal to the Pope and the king, against the inquisitorial code. Commissioners were sent to Rome and the Court of Spain, to demand the suspension of the articles relating to confiscation, as contrary to the laws of the kingdom of Aragon. They were persuaded that the Inquisition would not maintain itself if this measure was abandoned. While the deputies of the Cortes of Aragon were at Rome, and with the king, the inquisitors condemned several New Christians as Judaic heretics.

These executions increased the irritation of the Aragonese; and when the deputies wrote from the Court of Spain, that they were not satisfied with the state of affairs, they resolved to sacrifice one or two of the inquisitors, with the hope that no one would dare to take the office, and that the king would renounce his design. It appears, from the examination of some of the murderers, that the inquisitor wore a coat of mail under his vest, and a kind of helmet covered with a cap. He was at last assassinated in the metropolitan church, during the performance of the matins, on the 15th of November, Vidal d'Uranso wounded him so severely in the back of the neck, that he died two days after.

The next day the murder was known in the town, but its effects were different from what had been expected, for all the Old Christians , or those who were not of Jewish origin, persuaded that the New Christians had committed the crime, assembled to pursue them and revenge the death of the inquisitor. The disturbance was violent, and its consequences would have been terrible, if the young archbishop, Don Alphonso of Aragon, had not shewn himself, and assured the multitude that the criminal should be punished.

A magnificent monument was erected to his memory, by Ferdinand and Isabella. It would be difficult to enumerate the number of families plunged into misery through their vengeance; two hundred victims were soon sacrificed. Vidal d'Uranso, one of the assassins, revealed all he knew of the conspiracy, which was the cause of the discovery of its authors.

Don James Diaz d'Aux Armendarix, lord of the town of Cadreita, a knight of Navarre, and ancestor of the Dukes of Albuquerque, was condemned to a public penance, for having concealed in his house, for one night, several persons who fled from Saragossa. The same punishment was inflicted on several other illustrious knights of the town of Tudela in Navarre, for having received and concealed other fugitives. Don James de Navarre the son of Eleanor, Queen of Navarre, and Gaston de Foix was imprisoned in the dungeons of the Inquisition, and was subjected to a public penance for having assisted several of the conspirators in their flight.

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The inquisitors knew, when they had the audacity to imprison him, that he was not beloved by Ferdinand, who always feared him, although he was not legitimate. Don Lope Ximenez de Urrea, first count of Aranda; Don Louis Gonzalez, secretary to the king; Don Alphonso de la Caballeria, vice-chancellor of the kingdom; and many other persons of equal rank, were condemned to the same punishment. Their bodies were quartered, and their limbs exposed in the highways. John de l'Abadia killed himself in prison the day before the execution, but his corpse was treated in the same manner as the others.

The hands of Vidal d'Uranso were not cut off until he had expired, because he had been promised his pardon if he discovered the conspirators. All the other provinces of Aragon made an equal resistance to the introduction of the new Inquisition. The seditions at Teruel were only quelled in , by extreme severity.

The town and bishopric of Lerida, and other towns in Catalonia, obstinately resisted the establishment of the reform, and were not reduced to obedience until Barcelona refused to acknowledge Torquemada or any of his delegates, on account of a privilege which it possessed of having an inquisitor with a special title. The king applied to the Pope, who instituted Torquemada special inquisitor of the town and bishopric of Barcelona, with the power of appointing others to the office. The king was obliged to employ the same method with the inhabitants of Majorca and those of Sardinia, who did not receive the Inquisition until and It is an incontestable fact in the history of the Spanish Inquisition, that it was introduced entirely against the consent of the provinces, and only by the influence of the Dominican monks.

T HE inquisitor-general judged it necessary to augment the laws of the holy office; and added eleven new articles to them; the substance of them is as follows:—. That each inferior tribunal should consist of two inquisitors as civilians, an attorney, an alguazil, a recorder and other persons, if necessary, who were to receive a fixed salary. The same article prohibits the admission of the servants or creatures of the inquisitors into the tribunal. That if any of the persons employed should receive presents from the accused or his family, he should be immediately deprived of his office.

That the holy office should employ an able civilian at Rome, under the title of agent, and that this expense, should be supported by the money arising from the confiscations. That the contracts signed before the year , by persons whose property had since been seized, should be regarded as valid; but if it was proved that any deception had been used in the transactions, that the culprits should be punished by a hundred strokes of a whip, and branded on the face with a red-hot iron.

That the nobles who should receive fugitives in their estates, should be compelled to deliver up to government the property committed to their care; and if they claimed the fulfilments of contracts signed by the accused for their profit, that the attorney should commence an action to reclaim the property at belonging to the revenue. That the notaries of the Inquisition should keep an account of the property of the condemned persons.

That the stewards of the holy office could sell the confiscated property, and receive the rents of the estates which might be let. That a steward could not sequestrate the property of a condemned person, without an order from the Inquisition; and even in that case, that he should be accompanied by an alguazil, and place the effects and an inventory of them in the hands of a third person. That the steward should pay the salaries of the inquisitors quarterly, that they might not be obliged to receive presents. That in all circumstances not foreseen in the new regulations, the inquisitors should conduct themselves with prudence, and apply to the government in all difficult cases.

The nature of these articles proves that the number of confiscations had been considerable. Ferdinand and Isabella often gave the property of the condemned persons to their wives and children, granted them pensions on the property, or a certain sum to be paid by the receiver-general. These sums, and the care which people took to conceal their effects, diminished the funds of the Inquisition; besides which, most of the New Christians were merchants or artisans, and it often happened that the receivers who paid the royal gifts were unable to pay the salaries of the inquisitors.

Torquemada, in , decreed that the royal gifts should not be paid, until the salaries and other expenses of the Inquisition had been defrayed, and wrote to request the approbation of Ferdinand, who refused it. The inquisitor-general was then obliged to permit the inquisitors to impose pecuniary penalties on reconciled persons which permission was afterwards revoked. As experience showed that the revenue of the Inquisition was never sufficient, on account of the great number of prisoners which it was obliged to maintain, and the expenses incurred by the agent at Rome, Ferdinand and Isabella requested the Pope to place at the disposal of the holy office, a prebendary in each cathedral in their dominions; to which he consented in The receivers finding themselves unable to defray the expenses of the administration, demanded restitution of many persons whom they accused of retaining estates belonging to the Inquisition.

This conduct caused so many complaints, that the council of the Inquisition was obliged to prohibit the receivers from molesting the proprietors of estates which had been sold before the year It is not surprising that the receivers should employ such measures to augment the revenue, when the inquisitors contributed to impoverish it themselves, by disposing of it according to their caprices, and without the permission of the sovereigns.

This abuse rose to such a height, that Ferdinand and Isabella complained to the Pope, who prohibited the inquisitors from disposing of their revenues without an order from the king, on pain of excommunication. The inquisitors were afterwards obliged to refund the sums which they had seized. In the inquisitor-general formed, with the assistance of the supreme council, a new ordinance, which consisted of fifteen articles.

The first decreed that the regulations of should be followed in all things, except in regard to the confiscations, which were to be regulated by the rules of equity. The 2nd enjoins the inquisitors to proceed in a uniform manner, on account of the abuses produced by a contrary system. The 3rd prohibits inquisitors from delaying to pass sentence, on the pretence of waiting for the full proof of the crime.

The 4th imports, that as there are not in all the tribunals civilians of sufficient ability to be consulted in the preparation of the definitive sentences, the inquisitors shall send the writings of the trials to the inquisitor-general, in order to be examined by the civilians of the supreme council.

The 5th decrees that no person shall be allowed to hold any communication with the prisoners, except the priests, who were obliged to visit the prisons once in a fortnight. The 6th commands that the testimony of witnesses shall be received in the presence of as small a number of persons as possible, that secrecy may not be violated. The 7th, that the writings and papers belonging to the Inquisition shall be kept in the place of residence of the inquisitors, and locked up in a chest; the key of which shall be kept by the notary of the tribunal, who must not give it up, on pain of losing his place.

The 8th article decrees, that if the inquisitors of a district arrest a man already pursued by another tribunal, all the papers relating to his trial shall be placed in the hands of the first. The 9th article decrees, that if there are papers in the archives of a tribunal which may be of use to another, the expenses incurred in sending them shall be paid by it. The 10th article declares, that as there are not prisons enough for all who are condemned to perpetual imprisonment, they shall be permitted to remain in their houses, but not to go out, on pain of being punished with the utmost severity.

In the 11th, the inquisitors are recommended to execute rigorously all those laws which prohibit the children and grandchildren of condemned persons from exercising any honourable employment, and from wearing any garment of silk, or fine wool, or any ornament of gold, silver, or precious stones.

The 12th article decrees, that males cannot be admitted to reconciliation and abjuration before the age of fourteen years, or females before that of twelve; if they had abjured before that age, a ratification was necessary. The 13th prohibited the receivers from paying the royal gifts, until the expenses of the Inquisition were defrayed. The 14th declares, that the holy office should petition the sovereigns to build a prison in each town where it was established, for the reception of those who might be condemned to that punishment. It also recommends that the cells should be arranged in such a manner, that the prisoners might exercise their respective professions, and thus maintain themselves.

The 15th and last article obliged the notaries, fiscals, and alguazils, and other officers of the Inquisition, to perform their functions in person. The inquisitor-general found that these regulations were not sufficient to prevent abuses; he therefore convoked a junta of inquisitors at Toledo. The decrees of this assembly were published at Avila in , and were as follows:—. First, that each tribunal should be composed of two inquisitors, one a civilian, the other a theologian.

They were prohibited from inflicting imprisonment or torture, or communicating the charges made by the witnesses, without the consent of both. Secondly, that the inquisitors should not allow their dependents to carry any defensive arms, except where their office obliges them to do so. Thirdly, that no person should be imprisoned if his crime had not been sufficiently proved; and that when the arrest had taken place, his judgment should be immediately pronounced, without waiting for fresh proofs.

Fourthly, that the Inquisition should acquit deceased persons, if sufficient proof was not produced, and not delay the trial to wait for fresh accusations, as it was injurious to the children, whose establishment was prevented, from the uncertainty of the result of the trial. Fifthly, that the entire failure of the funds of the holy office should not occasion the imposition of a greater number of pecuniary penalties. Sixthly, that the inquisitors should not change imprisonment, or any other corporeal punishment, to a pecuniary penalty, but for the punishment of fasting, alms, pilgrimages, or other similar penances.

Seventhly, that the inquisitors should carefully examine into the expediency of admitting to reconciliation those who confessed their crimes after their arrest, since they might be considered as contumacious, as the Inquisition had been established many years.