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Title: A History of The Inquisition of The Middle Ages; vol. 2
Author: Lea, Henry Charles, 1825-1909
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A History of The Inquisition of The Middle Ages; vol. 2" ***

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[Every attempt has been made to replicate the original book as printed.
             Some typographical errors have been corrected.
                        A list follows the text.
                      (etext transcriber's note)]

                        THE INQUISITION OF SPAIN

                        WORKS BY THE SAME AUTHOR

     volumes, octavo.

     CHURCH._ In three volumes, octavo.

     CHURCH._ Third edition. (_In preparation._)

     One volume, octavo. (_Out of print._)

     _SUPERSTITION AND FORCE._ Essays on The Wager of Law, The Wager of
     Battle, The Ordeal, Torture. Fourth edition, revised. In one
     volume, 12mo.

     _STUDIES IN CHURCH HISTORY._ The Rise of the Temporal Power,
     Benefit of Clergy, Excommunication, The Early Church and Slavery.
     Second edition. In one volume, 12mo.

     INQUISITION._ Censorship of the Press, Mystics and Illuminati,
     Endemoniadas, El Santo Niño de la Guardia, Brianda de Bardaxi. In
     one volume, 12mo.

     volume, 12mo.

                               A HISTORY

                                 OF THE

                          INQUISITION OF SPAIN


                        HENRY CHARLES LEA, LL.D.

                            IN FOUR VOLUMES

                               VOLUME II.

                                New York
                         THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
                     LONDON: MACMILLAN & CO., LTD.


                         _All rights reserved_

                Printed in the United States of America.

                            COPYRIGHT, 1906
                        BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

           Set up and electrotyped. Published September, 1906



  Importance attached to Unity of Belief                                 1
  Popular Abhorrence of Heresy                                           2
  Limitations of Inquisitorial Jurisdiction                              3
  Classification of Heresy--Heresy both a sin and a crime                4
  Original Episcopal Jurisdiction                                        5
  The Inquisition obtains exclusive Jurisdiction                         6
  Episcopal Concurrence--It is merely formal                            11
  Jurisdiction over the Forum of Conscience                             10
  The Question of Papal Indulgences                                     24
  Extension of Exclusive Jurisdiction                                   26


  The Regular Clergy claim exemption from the Inquisition               29
  Fluctuations of the Struggle--the Inquisition triumphs                31
  Resistance of the Jesuits--their Defeat                               33
  Jurisdiction assumed in Quarrels between the Orders                   37


  Torquemada vainly seeks Jurisdiction over Bishops                     41
  Cases of Dávila of Segovia and Aranda of Calahorra                    42
  Case of Acuña of Zamora                                               45
  Jurisdiction conferred personally on Inquisitor-general Manrique      44
      Case of Archbishop Carranza of Toledo                             45
      Inquisitor-general Valdés falls into disfavor                     46
      Seeks to re-establish himself by prosecuting Carranza             48
      Carranza's Orthodoxy--Melchor Cano                                49
      Carranza's Commentaries on the Catechism                          54
      Royal and Papal Assent obtained for the Prosecution               56
      Carranza's Arrest and Incarceration, Aug. 22, 1559                65
      He recuses Valdés and two other Judges                            69
      Procrastination--Trial begins July 30, 1561                       71
      Continued Delays--Intervention of Council of Trent in 1563        73
      Fruitless Efforts of Pius IV to expedite the trial                75
      Pius V evokes the Case to Rome                                    77
      Carranza reaches Rome May 28, 1567--Trial recommenced             79
      Gregory XIII recommences the Trial in 1572                        81
      Sentence rendered April 24, 1576                                  82
      Carranza's Death, May 2d--Estimates of him                        84
  Jurisdiction claimed over Bishops                                     87
  Cases of Toro of Oviedo and Queipo of Mechoacan                       88


  Its Effectiveness in stimulating Denunciations                        91
  Its comprehensive Details                                             93
  Its Anathema                                                          95
  Popular Training in Delation                                          99


  Supremacy of Papal Jurisdiction                                      103
  Conversos purchase Letters of Pardon from the Holy See               104
  Ferdinand and the Inquisition disregard them                         105
  Papal Pardons claimed to be good in the Judicial Forum               107
  Struggle between Spain and Rome--Pardons sold and revoked            108
  Citation to Rome of Inquisitorial Officials                          118
  Tergiversations of the Curia                                         120
  Charles V carries on the Struggle                                    123
  He obtains exclusive Appellate Jurisdiction for the
    Inquisitor-general                                                 126
  But the Curia still entertains Appeals                               128
  Friction continued under Philip II and Philip III                    129
  Philip IV enforces surrender of papal letters                        132
  Case of Gerónimo de Villanueva                                       133
      His connection with the Convent of San Placido                   134
      He obtains an Acquittal from the Inquisition in 1632             136
      Arce y Reynoso reopens the Case in 1643                          138
      Villanueva's Sentence--His Appeal to Rome entertained            143
      Persistent Resistance of Philip IV                               146
      Copies of the Papers sent to Rome in 1651                        154
      Efforts to have them returned continued until 1660               157
  Appeals to Rome forbidden under the Bourbons                         159



  Commissions of Officials expire with the Inquisitor-general          161
  Suprema at first merely a Consultative Body                          162
  Rapid Increase of its Functions                                      164
  It becomes the ruling Power                                          167
  Its struggle with Inquisitor-general Mendoza in the Case of
            Froilan Diaz                                               169
      Mendoza removes the opposing Members                             174
      Philip V. decides in favor of the Suprema and of Froilan Diaz    177
  The Suprema reduces the Tribunals to Subordination                   179
  It gradually intervenes in Sentences and Trials                      181
  It requires monthly Reports of current Business                      183
  Centralization becomes complete--The Tribunals are merely
            ministerial                                                185
  Appellate Jurisdiction of Inquisitor-general and Suprema             187
  Control over all Details of the Tribunals                            189
  Control over the Finances                                            190
  Salaries and Perquisites of the Suprema                              194
  Its Enjoyment of Bull-fights                                         198
  Its Revenues and Expenses                                            200


  Gradual Delimitation into Districts                                  205
  Organization of the Tribunal--Multiplication of Officials            208
  Vain efforts to restrict the Number                                  211
  Sale of Offices                                                      212
  Census of Officials in 1746                                          216
  Hereditary Transmission of Office                                    218
  Tenderness shown to official Malfeasance and its Results             223
  Visitations or Inspections of the Tribunals                          227
  The Palace or Building of the Tribunal                               230
  The Personnel of the Tribunal--The Assessor                          232
      The Inquisitors--Their Qualifications                            233
          Their Duty of visiting their Districts                       238
      The Promotor Fiscal or Prosecutor                                241
      The Notaries or Secretaries                                      243
      The Alguazil                                                     245
      The Nuncio, Portero and Gaoler                                   246
      The Physician, Surgeon and Steward                               248
      Financial Officials                                              250
  Salaries and Ayudas de Costa                                         251
  The Records                                                          255


  Calificadores or Censors                                             263
  Consultors                                                           266
  Commissioners                                                        268
  Familiars                                                            272
      Their excessive Numbers and Turbulence                           274
      Qualifications prescribed                                        279
  Organization of officials--Hermandad de San Pedro Martir             282
      Fernando VII makes it an Order of Knighthood                     283


  Origin of Limpieza or Purity of Blood                                285
  Distinction between Old and New Christians                           286
  The Religious Orders seek to exclude New Christians                  287
  New Christians excluded from Colleges                                289
  The Church of Toledo adopts a Statute of Limpieza                    290
  Limpieza enforced in the Observantine Franciscans                    293
  It becomes a Prerequisite in the Inquisition                         294
  Verification of Limpieza                                             295
  Number of Generations required--Penitents of the Inquisition         297
  Character of Investigation--It is a Source of Revenue                300
  Perjury and Subornation                                              304
  Futile Effort of Philip IV to diminish the Evils of Limpieza         307
  Unfortunate Effects of the Proscription                              308
  It increases the Terror of the Inquisition                           310
  Rigidity relaxed under the Restoration                               311
  Remains of Prejudice in Majorca                                      312



  Necessity of Confiscation to support the Inquisition                 315
  Confiscation borrowed from the imperial Jurisprudence                316
  Responsibility for it                                                317
  Claims of the Church in Cases of Clerics                             318
  Division made with feudal Lords                                      319
  Enforced on all reconciled or condemned Heretics                     320
  Methods to prevent Evasion                                           321
  Commissions paid to Informers                                        323
  Rapacious Practice of the Old Inquisition                            325
  The Question of Alienations and Creditors                            326
  The Question of Dowries                                              332
  The Question of Conquests                                            334
  Thoroughness of Confiscation--Provision for Children                 335
  Alienations subsequent to Commission of Heresy                       339
  Slaves of Confiscated Estates                                        339
  Rigorous Collection of Debts                                         340
  Routine of Business--Responsibility of Receivers                     341
  Hardships inflicted by Confiscation                                  349
  Exclusive Jurisdiction of the Inquisition                            349
  Compositions for Confiscation                                        352
  Losses and Dilapidation                                              363
  Productiveness                                                       367
  Becomes Obsolete in the Eighteenth Century                           370
  Disposition made of the Proceeds                                     371
      Lavish Grants to Favorites                                       372
      Ferdinand's Kindliness                                           378
      Reckless Grants by Charles V                                     380
  Influence of Confiscation                                            386


  Pecuniary Penance                                                    389
  Distinguished from Confiscation                                      391
  Sometimes substituted for Confiscation                               394
  Its Productiveness                                                   396
  Fines as Punishment                                                  389


  Rehabilitation from Disabilities                                     401
  Struggle between the Crown, the Inquisition and the Papacy           403
  Sale of Commutation of Punishments                                   408


  Officials provided with Benefices                                    415
  Quinquennial Dispensations from Residence                            416
  Patronage granted to the Sovereigns                                  416
  Opposition of Cathedral Chapters                                     417
  Doctoral and Magistral Canonries                                     421
  Grant of a Canonry in each Church, in 1559                           423
      Fruitless Resistance of the Churches                             428
      Productiveness                                                   431


  Failure to provide permanent Funds                                   433
  Improvidence--Complaints of Poverty                                  435
  Power of Recuperation                                                439
  Deficiency of Revenue in the Eighteenth Century                      441
  Financial Organization--The Receiver                                 445
  Detailed Accounts required--Neglect to render them                   447
  The Coffer with three Keys--Its Ineffectiveness                      450
  The _Junta de Hacienda_                                              453
  Defalcations                                                         454



  Nature of the Edict of Grace                                         457
  Confession under the Edict                                           459
  Its Utility to the Inquisition                                       460
  Revived in 1815                                                      463


  The Inquisitorial Process in secular Procedure                       465
  Laxity in the Spiritual Courts                                       469
  Rigid Secrecy in the Inquisition                                     470
      Its Importance                                                   476
  The Fiscal as Party to the Case                                      478
  The Inquisitorial Ideal                                              482


  Duty of Denunciation                                                 485
  Preliminaries to Arrest                                              486
      Their Disregard                                                  491
  Segregation of the Prisoner                                          493
  Immediate Sequestration of Property                                  495
  Provision for Families                                               499
  The Secrestador                                                      501
  Embargo                                                              503


  Grades of Imprisonment                                               507
  Character of the Secret Prison                                       509
  Terror inspired by Imprisonment                                      511
  The Chaining of Prisoners                                            511
  Escape from Prison                                                   513
  Deprivation of all outside Intercourse                               513
  Restrictions on writing Materials                                    517
  Prison Regulations                                                   518
  Deprivation of the Sacraments                                        520
  Treatment of the Sick                                                522
  Care of Female Prisoners                                             523
  Humane Instructions--not always obeyed                               524
  Expenses of Maintenance--Rations                                     528
  Collection of Costs                                                  533


  The Judge assumed to weigh the Character of Evidence                 535
  No Qualifications required in Witnesses for the Prosecution          536
  Strict Qualifications for Witnesses for the Defence                  539
  Witnesses forced to testify                                          540
  Examination of Witnesses                                             541
  Control over Evidence for the Defence                                543
  Ratification of Evidence                                             544
  Suppression of Witnesses' Names                                      548
  False-witness                                                        554
  Character of Evidence admitted                                       563
  Negative Evidence                                                    567


  Duty of Saving Souls                                                 569
  Urgency to induce Confession                                         570
  Spontaneous Confession, its Frequency                                571
  Confession must be complete--The _Diminuto_                          573
  Denial of Intention                                                  576
  Denunciation of Accomplices                                          577
  Time of Confession                                                   580
  Revocation of Confession                                             582
  Denial of Guilt--The _Negativo_                                      585

  APPENDIX OF DOCUMENTS                                                587






The Inquisition was organized for the eradication of heresy and the
enforcement of uniformity of belief. We shall have occasion to see
hereafter how elastic became the definition of heresy, and we have seen
how far afield its extinction led the operations of the Holy Office but,
to the last, the suppression of unorthodox belief remained the
ostensible object of its existence.

It is not easy at the present day, for those accustomed to universal
toleration, to realize the importance attached by statesmen in the past
to unity of belief, or the popular abhorrence for any deviation from the
standard of dogma. These convictions were part of the mental and moral
fibre of the community and were the outcome of the assiduous teachings
of the Church for centuries, until it was classed with the primal truths
that it was the highest duty of the sovereign to crush out dissidence at
whatever cost, and that hatred of the heretic was enjoined on every
Christian by both divine and human law. The heretic was a venomous
reptile, spreading contagion with his very breath and the safety of the
land required his extermination as a source of pestilence.[1]

In the earlier periods of the Inquisition, moreover, when the hierarchy
was filled with New Christians of doubtful orthodoxy, it was essential
to know that the sacraments necessary to salvation were not vitiated by
the apostasy of the ministrant, for his intention is indispensable to
their validity. No man could tell how many priests there were like
Andrés González, parish priest of San Martín de Talavera, who, on his
trial at Toledo, in 1486, confessed that for fourteen years he had
secretly been a Jew, that he had no intention when he celebrated mass,
nor had he granted absolution to the penitents confessing to him. There
was also a classical story, widely circulated, of Fray Garcia de Zapata,
prior of the Geronimite monastery of Toledo, who, when elevating the
Host, used to say "Get up, little Peter, and let the people look at you"
and who always turned his back on the penitent to whom he pretended to
grant absolution.[2]


The merciless zeal of the Holy Office might gradually relieve the people
of this danger, but it intensified by its methods the unreasoning
abhorrence of heresy. The honest cavalier Oviedo, about the middle of
the sixteenth century, merely phrases the current opinion of the time
when he says that all possible punishments prescribed by the canons and
admitted by the laws should be visited on the persons and property of
heretics; they eat the bread of the good, they render the land infamous,
by their conversation they lead souls to perdition and, with their
marriages and kinships, they corrupt the blood of good houses.[3] As
time wore on this increased rather than diminished. Galceran Albanell,
Archbishop of Granada, who had been tutor of Philip IV, wrote to his
former pupil April 12, 1621, to express his horror at learning that the
English ambassador had been allowed to have divine service performed in
his house, after the rites of his sect. The king should not allow it; it
is the greatest of sins and unless it is remedied we shall all perish.
It is an accursed reason to allege that that accursed king permits the
Spanish ambassador to have mass celebrated in London. The English
ambassador should be dismissed and the English king can send away the
Spanish ambassador; if the Council of State interferes, let Philip show
them the way of God. The Licenciado de Angulo should have a bishopric
because he resigned his office as fiscal of the Council rather than
affix his name to a paper in which the English king was styled Defender
of the Faith and Albanell declares his readiness to resign his own see
in Angulo's favor.[4] To a population sedulously trained in such
sentiments the awful ceremonies of the auto de fe were a triumph of the
faith, of which they felt proud, and they were filled with pious
exultation when the flames of the _brasero_ consumed the bodies of
heretics who passed through temporal to eternal fire. It was a
vindication of the honor of God, and it is necessary to understand and
bear in mind this temper when considering the performance by the
Inquisition of its allotted task.

       *       *       *       *       *

The jurisdiction of the Holy Office over heresy was confined to the
baptized, for baptism is a condition precedent to heresy; the unbaptized
are outside of the Church and it has no spiritual authority over them.
In the auto de fe of 1623, at Valladolid, a woman taken out to be
relaxed for Judaism, declared that she was not baptized, whereupon the
proceedings respecting her were stopped and she was remanded for
investigation.[5] Although baptism can be validly administered by a
heretic, yet in the trial of foreign Protestants, minute inquiry was
made as to the details of their baptism in their sects, so as to be
assured that they were truly baptized; in the case of Jacques Pinzon, at
Toledo, in 1598, his advocate ingeniously but vainly argued that this
could not be assumed, because it could not be proved that the minister
had the proper intention, without which the rite was invalid.[6]

Age placed slender limits on inquisitorial jurisdiction. Children were
considered capable of committing heresy as soon as they were _doli
capaces_, at six or seven years, but were not held responsible until
they reached years of discretion. This was fixed by Torquemada at twelve
for girls and fourteen for boys, below which they were not to be made to
abjure in public,[7] but the limit was frequently infringed. In 1501,
Inesita, daughter of Marcos Garcia, between nine and ten years old and
Isabel, daughter of Alvaro Ortolano, aged ten, were sentenced to appear
in an auto de fe. They had confessed to fasting once or twice and the
latter had been told by her father not to eat pork.[8] In 1660, at
Valladolid, Joseph Rodríguez, aged eight, accused of Judaism, was
regularly tried, with all the complicated formalities of procedure,
occupying a year, and was made to give evidence against his father and
brother; he was absolved secretly and placed in the penitential prison
for instruction.[9] Of course there was no maximum limit of age. In
1638, at Valladolid, María Díaz, a hundred years old, was thrown into
the secret prison for Judaism and her trial went forward.[10]

Responsibility to the Inquisition varied with the grade of heresy, which
was carefully classified by the theologians. Material heresy is error in
a baptized person arising from ignorance and, if the ignorance is
inculpable, it is scarce to be considered as true heresy deserving of
punishment.[11] Formal or mixed heresy is voluntary and pertinacious
error, pertinacity being adherence to what is known to be contrary to
the teachings of the Church. This formal heresy is again distinguished
into internal, or mental, and external. Internal, or mental, heresy is
that which is secretly entertained and is not manifested by either word
or act. External heresy is subdivided into occult and public. Occult
external is that which is manifested by words or signs, either in secret
or to one or two persons only--as though a man in the solitude of his
chamber should say "There is no God," or should utter his thought in the
presence of another. Public external is that which is manifested openly,
either in public or to more than two persons.[12] The bearing of these
distinctions on the work of the Inquisition will be apparent hereafter.


There was still another definition of even greater importance. Heresy
was both a sin and a crime. As a sin it was subject to the _forum
internum_, or forum of conscience; as a crime, to the _forum externum_
or judicial forum. A penitent in sacramental confession, admitting
heretical belief, might receive sacramental absolution and be pardoned
in the sight of God, but the crime, like that of murder or any other
violation of human laws, would still remain to be punished in the
judicial forum. We shall see that in the Inquisition the penitent, who
confessed and repented and received absolution, was still subject to
penalties ranging, according to circumstances, from slight penance to

       *       *       *       *       *

Prior to the organization of the Inquisition in the thirteenth century,
the cognizance of heresy was a natural attribute of the episcopal
office. The duty of persecution was negligently performed and, when the
Catharan and Waldensian heresies threatened the predominance of the
Latin Church and the Albigensian Crusades left it master of the
situation, the Inquisition gradually sprang up as an assistance to the
bishops. There was some rivalry, but the bishops, as a rule, did not
share in the confiscations and, as few of them had persecuting zeal
sufficient to induce them to perform this gratuitous service, the field
was virtually abandoned to the new organization, in the lands where it
was introduced. Still the episcopal rights were undisputed. Jurisdiction
over heresy was recognized to be cumulative--that is, it was enjoyed by
both tribunals, either of which was entitled to any case in which it had
taken prior action. Finally, in 1312, the Council of Vienne, in response
to complaints of the cruelty of inquisitors, formulated a settlement
under which the combined action of both jurisdictions was required in
all commitments to harsh detentive prison, in all sentences to torture
and in all final sentences, unless the one called upon to coöperate
failed to come within eight days.[13] This, embodied in the acts of the
council, technically known as the Clementines, remained the law of the
Church. The bishops, however, remained indifferent and rarely took
independent action. The inquisitorial districts were large,
comprehending a number of dioceses; the episcopal jurisdiction was
limited to the subjects of a single diocese. It was impossible for the
bishops to assemble at the seat of the tribunal, and when an auto de fe
was in preparation they would usually delegate their Ordinaries to
represent them or commission an inquisitor to act.

Such was the somewhat cumbrous combination of episcopal and
inquisitorial jurisdiction which the founding of the Holy Office brought
into Spain. Independent action by bishops still continued occasionally,
of which we have seen example (Vol. I, p. 167) and it was recognized,
though subordinated to the inquisitorial jurisdiction in a brief of
Innocent VIII, September 25, 1487, conferring on Torquemada appellate
power in cases before episcopal courts, whether they were acting
separately or in conjunction with inquisitors, provided appeal was made
before sentence was rendered.[14] The popes of the period, moreover,
were careful to maintain the assertion of episcopal participation in
inquisitorial proceedings, as is manifested in the superscription of
their letters addressed "Ordinariis et Inquisitoribus," or assuming that
inquisitors acted under episcopal as well as papal authority.[15]
Theoretically, this continued throughout the sixteenth century. The
writers of highest authority treat bishops and inquisitors as possessing
cumulative jurisdiction, so that both could prosecute, either separately
or conjointly and the old canons were still cited threatening with
deposition the bishop who was negligent in purifying his diocese of


Thus there was no legislation depriving the episcopal order of its
traditional jurisdiction over heresy, yet the Inquisition claimed, and
made good the claim, that its cognizance was exclusive and that the
Clementines merely gave to the bishops a consultative privilege in the
three sentences specified. No such privative right was conferred in the
papal commissions to the inquisitors-general and the only source of such
right is to be looked for in Ferdinand's masterful determination that
nothing should interfere with the swift operation of his favorite
institution, and no claim be admitted to a share in its pecuniary
results. It was natural that he should favor the Inquisition, for
procedure in the spiritual courts was public and was much less likely to
result in conviction than the secrecy of the tribunals, and by 1500 he
seems to have established the matter to his satisfaction for, in a
letter of August 19th of that year to the Archbishop of Cagliari, he
expresses surprise that the prelate, without his licence, or a
commission from the inquisitor-general, should have meddled with matters
belonging to the Inquisition and have collected certain pecuniary
penances, although he had already been forbidden to do so. This
prohibition is now emphatically repeated; he is to have nothing to do
with the affairs of the Inquisition, except to aid the inquisitor when
called upon, and he is at once to hand over his collections to the
receiver, Pedro López, who is going to Sardinia.[17] Nothing can be more
peremptory in tone than this missive, although the Sardinian tribunal
was thoroughly disorganized and was about to be reconstructed by sending
a full corps of officials. We may assume from this that if there had
been any resistance on the part of the Castilian episcopate it had by
this time been overcome.

That this concentration of exclusive jurisdiction in the Inquisition was
the work of the royal power and was not universally admitted, even by
the middle of the sixteenth century, is manifest from the remark of
Bishop Simancas, himself an experienced inquisitor, when he says that it
is the duty of bishops to enquire into cases of heresy, but they ought
to send the prisoner and the testimony to the inquisitor, for otherwise
their inexperience is apt to result in failure, as he had often found;
there ought to be a papal decree prescribing this and, in default of it,
the king is accustomed to order it of the bishops.[18] Of this we have
an example, in 1527, when the vicar-general of the Archbishop of Toledo
was required by Inquisitor-general Manrique to surrender a cleric whom
he had arrested and was prosecuting.[19]

Simancas still recognizes the duty of the bishop to make preliminary
inquiries into heresy, but even this had long before been forbidden,
although there was a prolonged struggle before it was surrendered. In
1532 the Ordinary of Huesca issued an Edict of Faith, modelled on that
of the Inquisition, calling for denunciation of heretics, for which the
empress-regent sharply rebuked him, in a letter of March 23d, calling it
an innovation unknown since the Inquisition had been introduced, and
threatening him with fitting measures for the repetition of such
intrusion on the jurisdiction of the Inquisition.[20] In spite of this,
Archbishop Ayala of Valencia, in 1565, and his successor the Blessed
Juan de Ribera, in 1576, and another bishop in 1567 repeated the
indiscretion for which they were promptly called to account. When, in
1583, the Bishop of Tortosa committed the same offence, the Suprema
wrote, January 14, 1584, that the popes had given the Inquisition
exclusive jurisdiction over heresy and had prohibited its cognizance by
others and that he must not in future intervene in such matters.[21]
Undeterred by this, the Council of Tarragona, in 1591, reasserted the
ancient episcopal jurisdiction by ordering all bishops to be vigilant in
watching their flocks and, if they found any disseminators of heresy, to
see to their condign punishment according to the canons.[22] How
completely justified was the council in this and how false was the
assertion of the Suprema, was manifested in 1595, when the Archbishop of
Granada complained to Clement VIII that the inquisitors had forbidden
him to issue an edict on the subject of heresy and the pope forthwith
wrote to the inquisitor-general that this must not be allowed, for the
faculties delegated to inquisitors in no way abridged episcopal


After this, at least, the Suprema could not plead ignorance and yet it
persisted in the assertion that it knew to be false. A savage quarrel
broke out in Guatimala between the bishop, Juan Ramírez, and the
commissioner of the Inquisition, Phelipe Rúiz del Carral, who was also
dean of the chapter. Ramírez imprisoned him and undertook to organize a
sort of inquisitorial tribunal of his own, whereupon, in 1609, the
Suprema presented to Philip III for signature a letter which it
describes as drawn in the form customary for cases where bishops
interfere in matters concerning the faith. This describes how the pope,
in instituting the Inquisition, evoked to himself all cases connected
with heresy and committed them to the inquisitor-general and his
deputies, inhibiting all judges and Ordinaries from intervening in them,
in consequence of which they have ceased to take cognizance of such
matters and have referred to the inquisitors whatever came to their
knowledge. As the bishop has laid his hand on things beyond his
jurisdiction, he is ordered in future not to meddle with anything
touching the Inquisition, as otherwise fitting measures will be
taken.[24] The only foundation for this mendacious assertion was, as we
shall see hereafter, that, in the struggle made by Ferdinand and Charles
V to prevent appeals to Rome from the Inquisition, briefs were sometimes
obtained from popes evoking to themselves all cases pending in the
tribunals and committing them to the inquisitor-general, with inhibition
to any one, including cardinals and officials of the curia, to entertain
appeals from him. In this there is absolutely nothing that relates to
original jurisdiction and nothing to limit the traditional functions of
the episcopate, but the Suprema held the records and could assert what
it pleased concerning them.

Still the bishops did not wholly abandon their rights and cases
continued occasionally to occur, in which of course they were worsted.
They were frequent enough to justify, in a Formulary of 1645, the
insertion of a formula framed to meet them. It is addressed to the
provisor of Badajoz and recites that the fiscal complains of him as
having commenced proceedings against a certain party for heretical
propositions; as this is a matter pertaining exclusively to the
Inquisition, he is commanded to surrender it under the customary
penalties of excommunication and fine. The fiscal also demands that the
provisor be prosecuted so that in future neither he nor any one else
shall dare to usurp the jurisdiction of the Inquisition and the document
ends with a statement that the prosecution has been commenced.[25] Such
methods were not easily resisted. When, in 1666, the Barcelona tribunal
learned that the Bishop of Solsona, on a visitation, had taken
considerable testimony against some parties in a matter of faith, it at
once claimed the papers, which he promptly surrendered. It had the
audacity to propose to prosecute him, but the Suprema wisely ordered it
to take no action against him.[26] Yet Benedict XIV repeated the
assertion of Clement VIII that the popes, in delegating powers to
inquisitors, had never intended to interfere with episcopal jurisdiction
or to relieve bishops from responsibility.[27]

Not content with thus depriving the episcopate of its immemorial
jurisdiction over heresy, inquisitors sought to obtain cognizance of a
class of cases clearly belonging to the spiritual courts, on the ground
of inferential heresy--bigamy, disregard of church observances,
infractions of discipline and the like. In 1536 the tribunal of Valencia
created much excitement by including in its Edict of Faith a number of
matters of the kind but, on complaint from the vicar-general, the
Suprema ordered the omission of everything not in the old edicts.[28]
The attempts continued and, in 1552, a decision was required from the
Suprema that eating pork on Saturdays was not a case for the
Inquisition,[29] and the Concordia of 1568 contains a clause prohibiting
inquisitors from entertaining cases belonging to the Ordinaries.


In a carta acordada of November 23, 1612, the Suprema made an attempt to
define the boundaries of the rival jurisdictions, in which it allowed to
the spiritual courts exclusive jurisdiction only over ecclesiastics in
matters touching their duties as pastors, the ministry of the Church,
simony and cases relating to Orders, benefices and spiritual affairs,
while it admitted cumulative jurisdiction in usury, gambling and
incontinence.[30] Restricted as were these admissions, the Suprema
itself did not observe them. In 1637, Sebastian de los Rios, cura of
Tombrio de Arriba, who met with one or two accidents in handling the
sacrament and feared accusation, by his enemies, of irreverence,
denounced himself to the provisor of Astorga and was fined in four
thousand maravedís. In spite of this he was prosecuted, in 1640, by the
tribunal of Valladolid; he vainly pleaded his previous trial; the
Suprema assumed its invalidity in ordering his incarceration in the
secret prison, where he died.[31] This process of encroachment continued
and towards the end, when there was little real heresy to occupy its
energies, its records are full of cases which, even under its own
definitions, belonged unquestionably to the spiritual
courts--inobservance of ecclesiastical precepts of all kinds,
irregularities in the celebration of mass, taking communion after
eating, eating flesh on fast days, working and inattendance at mass on
feast days and other miscellaneous business, wholly foreign to its
original functions.[32] It does not argue favorably for the Spanish
episcopate that they seem to have welcomed this relief from their duties
and strenuously resisted the abolition of the Inquisition in 1813, which
restored to them, under limitations, their original functions. After the
Restoration, the Archbishop of Seville, in 1818, gathered evidence to
show that the cura of San Marcos had not confessed for many years and
then, in place of punishing him, handed the papers over to the tribunal.
This was probably fortunate for the peccant priest, as the Suprema
ordered that nothing should be done except to keep him under
surveillance and that the archbishop should be warmly thanked and
assured that the necessary steps had been taken.[33]

       *       *       *       *       *

There was one formality preserved which recognized the episcopal
jurisdiction over heresy. We have seen that, in the Clementines, the
concurrence of both bishop and inquisitor was requisite in ordering
severe detentive incarceration, in sentencing to torture and in the
final sentence. No allusion was made to this in the bull of Sixtus IV
authorizing the appointment of inquisitors for Castile. No allusion, in
fact, was necessary, as it had been for nearly two centuries a matter of
course in inquisitorial procedure, but the earliest inquisitors took no
count of it and Sixtus, in his brief of February 11, 1482, called forth
by complaints of their cruelty, insisted on the concurrence of episcopal
officials in all judgements.[34] Ferdinand was indisposed to anything
that threatened interference with the autonomy of the Inquisition and
his experience in Valencia with the representatives of Rodrigo Borgia,
the absent archbishop, showed him how this episcopal right could be
exercised to obstruct proceedings and compel division of the spoils. He
doubtless represented to Sixtus that there were many of Jewish blood
among the bishops and their officials, whom it would not be safe to
trust, for Sixtus, with Borgia behind him, met such objection with a
brief of May 25, 1483, addressed to all the Spanish archbishops. In
this he ordered them to warn any of their suffragans of Jewish
extraction not to meddle with the business of the Inquisition but to
appoint an Old Christian, approved by the archbishop, who should have
exclusive powers over all such matters. In case this was not done the
archbishop was to make the appointment for each diocese and the
appointee was to be wholly independent of the bishop.[35] Then a
question arose whether Torquemada's appellate jurisdiction, as
inquisitor-general, could override judgements in which bishops
participated, but this was settled in Torquemada's favor by a brief of
Innocent VIII, September 25, 1487, thus completely subordinating
episcopal to inquisitorial jurisdiction.[36]

Ferdinand was not satisfied, but he had to acquiesce and adopt the
device of the bishops delegating one of the inquisitors as their
representative--an expedient for which precedents can be found in the
early Inquisition of Languedoc. That this soon became common is
indicated in the Instructions of 1484, which warns the inquisitor
holding the commission that he is not to deem himself superior to his
colleagues.[37] Another plan was to require the bishops to issue a
commission as vicar-general to whomsoever the inquisitors might
designate, as Ferdinand ordered the bishops of Aragon to do, in a letter
of January 27, 1484. The individual thus selected became an official of
the tribunal and was borne on its pay-roll for a salary to be paid out
of the confiscations for which he might vote. Of this we have examples
in Martin Navarro thus serving at Teruel, in 1486, on a yearly stipend
of two thousand sueldos and in Martin Garcia, included as vicar-general
at a salary of three thousand sueldos, in the Saragossa pay-roll of the
same year.[38]


It is possible that the bishops grew restive under this absorption of
their powers and that they remonstrated with the Holy See for, in 1494,
when Alexander VI issued commissions to the four new inquisitors-general
there appeared a new condition requiring them to exercise their
functions in conjunction with the Ordinaries of the sees or their vicars
or officials, or other persons deputized by the Ordinaries.[39]
Ferdinand, however, was not accustomed to brook opposition to his will.
The most efficient and economical expedient was the episcopal delegation
to an inquisitor and this he enforced by whatever pressure was
necessary. Thus when, in 1498, the Bishop of Tarazona demurred to do
this, Ferdinand, in a letter of November 21st, brushed aside his reasons
and imperatively ordered the delegation to be sent at once. Still the
bishop recalcitrated and Ferdinand wrote, January 4, 1499, that he must
do so at once; no excuse would be admitted and nothing would change his
determined purpose, but it was not until March that he learned the
bishop's submission. In this same year, 1499, he broke down, in similar
rude fashion, the resistance of two other bishops and when, in 1501, the
Archbishop of Tarragona notified the tribunal of Barcelona not to hear,
without his participation, certain cases committed to them on appeal,
Ferdinand expressed his indignant surprise; the archbishop must remove
the obstruction at once and not await a second command.[40]

Ferdinand's resolve was to render episcopal concurrence a mere
perfunctory form and, when bishops presumed to act or their
vicars-general were distasteful to him, there are various cases which
attest his imperious methods of dealing with them. He had some trouble,
on this account, with his son, Alfonso Archbishop of Saragossa, who, in
1511, obtained the perpetual administratorship of Valencia and who
persisted in retaining as his delegate the vicar-general of Valencia,
Micer Soler, against the commands of his father, so that in 1512 and
again in 1513, there was delay in the celebration of autos de fe,
greatly to Ferdinand's annoyance.[41] These occasional obstructions
explain why, as he wrote November 27, 1512, he endeavored to reduce it
to a rule that the Ordinary should confer his powers on the inquisitors
and should not be allowed to see the cases.[42]

The people did not view the matter in the same light and regarded the
participation of the bishop or his representative as some guarantee
against the arbitrary proceedings of the inquisitors. Among the
complaints of the prisoners of Jaen, in 1506, to Philip and Juana, is
one reciting that the inquisitors act independently of the episcopal
provisor and communicate nothing to him, so as to be able to work their
wicked will without interference.[43] Similarly the Córtes of Monzon, in
1512, included among the abuses requiring redress the royal letters
concerning episcopal concurrence, the delegation of powers to
inquisitors and other methods by which the participation of the bishops
was evaded, and when Leo X, in 1516, confirmed the Concordia, he ordered
that the Ordinaries should resume their functions.[44] It was the same
in Castile, where, as we have seen (Vol. I, p. 217) one of the petitions
of the Córtes of Valladolid, in 1518, was that the episcopal Ordinaries
should take part in the judgements.


While the petitions of Valladolid for the most part received scant
attention, this one at least bore fruit for, with the removal of
Ferdinand's pressure, the bishops had an opportunity to reassert
themselves. In 1520, a decision of Cardinal Adrian required the presence
of both inquisitors and Ordinary at abjurations and confessions under
Edicts of Grace and, in 1527, Manrique and the Suprema declared that the
Ordinary concurred in the cases required by the law--an ambiguous phrase
which seems to have been variously construed.[45] This was not conducive
to harmony, the inquisitors grudging any intrusion on their jurisdiction
and the Ordinaries insisting on their rights under the Clementines. In
1529, when the Suprema chanced to be at Toledo, the matter was brought
before it by Diego Artiz de Angulo, fiscal of the local tribunal, in a
memorial arguing that to require the presence of the Ordinary would
entail great delay, as he often could not attend when summoned; besides,
he was always in contradiction with the tribunal, as was notorious to
all connected with the trials, objecting to pecuniary and light
penalties and endeavoring to acquire jurisdiction at the expense of the
Holy Office. At Angulo's request, the Suprema had a number of witnesses
examined, of whom the most important was Martin Ximenes, who had been
occupied for forty years in the tribunals of Barcelona, Toledo, and
Seville. He testified that the Ordinaries were only called in for the
three acts specified in the Clementines, but in explaining details he
showed that the inquisitors construed them in a fashion to exclude the
Ordinary from much of his functions, for, in place of participating in
all sentences, he was allowed to join only in convictions for heresy and
bore no part in the lighter cases, the object being to prevent his
claiming a share in the pecuniary penalties, although he was summoned to
the _consulta de fe_ in which they were voted on. Other witnesses bore
the same testimony and it is not difficult to understand why the
Ordinaries took little interest in the exercise of the jurisdiction thus
arbitrarily limited.[46] It was probably owing to this discussion that
the Suprema, January 25, 1530, told the tribunals that differences with
the Ordinary must be avoided. In the same year it notified Valencia that
all cases sent up to it must have been voted on by him and, in 1532, it
sent similar orders to Barcelona, adding that the presence of the
Ordinary was requisite at all abjurations.[47] Evidently the tribunals
were jealous, the Ordinaries were rebuffed and discouraged, and the
coöperation of the two jurisdictions was little more than a formal
recognition of a virtually obsolete right.

The routine practice and its working are exemplified in the report of a
summons served, August 8, 1534, on Blas Ortiz, then vicar-general of
Toledo. It cited him to come and assist in despatching the accumulation
of cases since the last auto de fe, held nearly four years before. He
was to lay aside all other business and present himself daily at the
morning audience to witness the torture in nine specified cases and, at
the afternoon audience, to vote on ten of which the trials had been
completed. He was notified that, if he did not come, the inquisitors,
after the delay specified by law (eight days) would proceed without him.
The summons was borne by the fiscal, accompanied by a notary, who made a
formal act of the service. When the fiscal stated his errand, Blas Ortiz
negligently told him that there was no necessity of reading the paper;
he was not well but, if he were able, he would be present at all the
cases; if he did not come he committed his powers to the two
inquisitors, or to either of them who was willing to accept the
commission.[48] Apparently Ortiz did not come, for in several sentences
rendered this year at Toledo the inquisitors styled themselves
"apostolic inquisitors holding the powers of the Ordinary."[49]

From some motive, not clearly apparent, a custom arose to some extent of
appointing episcopal Ordinaries or provisors as inquisitors. This was
frequent enough to lead the Córtes of Madrid, in 1552, to complain of
the combination of the two offices, because when a provisor arrested a
layman, which he could not do legally, he claimed that he acted as
inquisitor, with the result that many persons were subjected to infamy.
They therefore petitioned that no provisor should also be inquisitor, to
which the answer was returned that in such cases royal cédulas had been
issued and that this would be continued.[50] Discouraging as was this
reply, the petition seems to have made an impression for, in 1556, both
Charles V and Philip II rebuked Inquisitor-general Valdés, who was also
Archbishop of Seville, because his provisor was also inquisitor in that
tribunal. His defence was that this had been the case in Seville for
half a century, owing to the poverty of the tribunal, which paid only
one-third the customary salaries and that he himself defrayed the
stipend of the provisor.[51]


During the remainder of the century we generally find the participation
of the Ordinary carefully recorded, whether it was by a special
representative or by delegation to the inquisitors. In 1561, Inquisitor
Cervantes takes the Barcelona tribunal to task for not keeping record of
this and he orders the fiscal to observe it sedulously for, without the
concurrence of the Ordinary, the sentence is invalid.[52] A carta
acordada of October 15, 1574, reminds the tribunals that he must sign
all sentences of torture and all final sentences on which he has a vote,
but there was a rule that he did not sign sentences of acquittal, even
though he had voted on them.[53] Yet how purely perfunctory was his
participation appears in the case of Fray Hieronimo de la Madre de Dios,
at Toledo, in 1618. In the consulta de fe, Melgoso, the provisor, agreed
with one of the inquisitors and a consultor on a certain punishment;
another inquisitor voted for a heavier penalty and, when the matter was
submitted to the Suprema, it adopted the latter, but Melgoso obediently
signed the sentence.[54] The inquisitorial jurisdiction, for all
practical purposes, had absorbed the episcopal.

As the inquisitorial districts usually embraced several dioceses and it
was impossible for the bishop or provisor of those at a distance from a
tribunal to be personally present when their subjects were tortured or
sentenced, it became customary for them to delegate their powers to some
resident of the city which was the seat of the tribunal. That they were
not always careful in their selection would appear when the tribunal of
Sicily was obliged, in 1574, to notify an archbishop that he must
appoint ecclesiastics and not laymen to sit in judgement on matters of
faith.[55] Taking advantage of this carelessness the Inquisition
undertook to control the character of appointees and it issued, August
17, 1637, instructions to bishops that their provisors must be graduates
in canon law but, as canonists proved to be scarce, it was obliged,
October 12, to modify this and permit the appointment of theologians. In
accordance with this there is an entry by the tribunal of Valencia, that
it will recognize Don Luis Crispi as Ordinary of Tortosa, although he is
a theologian.[56]

Thus a further encroachment was made on episcopal jurisdiction by the
Inquisition in claiming and exercising the right to determine whom it
would recognize as a fit representative of the bishop. How offensively
this was sometimes used was manifested in 1752, in Lima, when the
inquisitors Amusquibar and Rodríguez were involved in a prolonged
quarrel with the secular and ecclesiastical organizations. To annoy the
inquisitors, Archbishop Barroeta notified them that in view of their
bitter competencia with the viceroy, he withdrew the faculty of Don
Fernando de la Sota as his representative and appointed Padre Francisco
Larreta, S. J. To this they replied that they recognized his right to
withdraw the faculty, but as for Larreta he was incapacitated by his
profession from exercising the functions; if the archbishop would
appoint some one in accordance with the statutes of the Holy Office and
possessing the necessary qualifications, he would be received. The
assumption that they would recognize only whom they pleased staggered
the archbishop and he asked them to explain the disqualification of
Larreta, to which they insolently replied that they had already stated
what was sufficient for his guidance. He submitted and appointed the
Franciscan Thomas de la Concha, who was accepted, but when the
archbishop transmitted the correspondence to Inquisitor-general Prado y
Cuesta and asked for reparation he obtained none.[57]

Episcopal concurrence had never been more than a bare formality in
recognition of the immemorial jurisdiction of bishops over heresy and,
as time wore on, the Inquisition became careless even of this. In a
number of trials by the tribunal of Madrid, between 1703 and 1710, the
inquisitors are recorded as acting sometimes with and sometimes without
the episcopal representatives and, in the latter half of the century, a
writer informs us that the concurrence of the Ordinary is unusual; it
depends on the will of the inquisitors, who sometimes summon him and
sometimes do not.[58] Still there were some bishops, zealous for the
claims of their order, who persisted in asserting this remnant of
jurisdiction. Antonio Tavira, Bishop of Canaries, and subsequently of
Salamanca, expressed their feelings when, in 1792, he complained to
Carlos IV of the treatment of the episcopal order by the Inquisition,
saying that they had ceased to vote in cases of faith in order to escape
the humiliation and degradation to which they were exposed; they sent
their vicars, although this was indecorous and wholly useless, but they
felt that they must preserve this little shadow of a jurisdiction which
was rightly theirs.[59]


Under the Restoration greater attention seems to have been paid to
episcopal concurrence and the adherence to strict formalities is shown
in a duplicate trial of Juan Antonio Manzano, a physician of Lumbrales
in the diocese of Ciudad-Rodrigo and inquisitorial district of Llerena.
In 1817 he was tried for heretical propositions by the tribunal of
Logroño, which inquired of the Suprema whether the Ordinary of its own
diocese could act and was told that the authority of the culprit's own
bishop was imperative and that the Bishop of Ciudad-Rodrigo must
appoint a representative. The next year Manzano was again arrested, for
the same offence, by the tribunal of Llerena and was transferred to
Seville because Llerena had no prison. April 17, 1819, the Seville
tribunal asked whether its own Ordinary could join in the sentence and
received the same answer--that it must apply to the Bishop of
Ciudad-Rodrigo to make an appointment.[60] It was all the merest
technicality, for by this time the Suprema decided all cases,
irrespective of how the consulta de fe might vote and thus the
incontestable episcopal jurisdiction over heresy was practically

       *       *       *       *       *

As regards the internal forum, or forum of conscience, the Inquisition
claimed and enjoyed a still more absolute jurisdiction than in the
external forum for which it had been primarily instituted. While in a
formal and perfunctory manner it recognized the episcopal claims in the
judicial forum, it so employed its delegated papal authority as to
vindicate with the utmost jealousy exclusive control over the forum of
conscience in matters of heresy. Bishops, in fact, had long before been
ousted from this by the invention of papal reserved cases--cases in
which sacramental absolution could only be had from the Holy See, thus
creating a profitable market for its indulgences, confessional letters
and the absolutions of its Penitentiary. Heresy was the chief sin
anathematized in the early form of the bull, subsequently known as _in
Coena Domini_, from its annual publication on Holy Thursday and, in
1364, Urban V placed all the offences enumerated in it under the
jurisdiction of the papal chamberlain.[61] The papacy thus assumed
exclusive control over the sin of heresy, for which no absolution could
be granted save by papal delegation, and Paul II, in 1469, and Sixtus
IV, in 1478, issued further decrees to the effect that special licence
was necessary for this, as no general commissions were held to cover
it.[62] The Council of Trent, in 1563, timidly endeavored to revendicate
a fraction of episcopal rights by asserting that bishops, in the forum
of conscience only, could personally absolve for secret or occult
heresy, but the Roman Inquisition, by repeated decisions based on the
utterances of St. Pius V and Gregory XIII, overrode the conciliar
decree and deprived them of that slender remnant of their functions.[63]

This strict reservation of the sin of heresy was imperfectly understood
in Spain and so little was known of the laws of persecution that at
first the New Christians, who apprehended arrest, endeavored to escape
by sacramental confession and absolution, ignorant that already in the
thirteenth century it had been decided that the pardon of the sin, in
the forum of conscience, did not cover the crime in the judicial forum.
This method of evasion could not be allowed and yet the Inquisition was
uncertain how to act. A brief was therefore procured, November 10, 1487,
from Innocent VIII, addressed to all the inquisitors and Ordinaries in
Spain, reciting their doubts about proceeding against those who assert
that they have secretly confessed and abjured to their confessors. To
overcome this it was asserted that the decrees of the fathers required
such abjurations to be accompanied by an oath, taken before an Ordinary,
in presence of a notary and witnesses, never to return to the abjured
heresy, wherefore the inquisitors were empowered to proceed against all
who had not observed this rule.[64] If such a rule had ever existed,
which is doubtful, it had long been forgotten and was wholly unknown in
Spain, so that all who had had recourse to this device were brought
under the jurisdiction of the Inquisition.

[Sidenote: _OCCULT HERESY_]

The New Christians were not long in realizing the futility of such
attempts and we hear little of them in the later periods. Yet there were
cases of occult heresy concerning which the functions of the Inquisition
seem to have varied. In the earlier times the Edicts of Grace brought
these to the tribunals and the Instructions of 1484 permit the
inquisitor to admit them to secret reconciliation and abjuration and do
not contemplate his delegating his power to another.[65] There must have
been doubts as to his faculties for this, since, in 1530, Clement VII
delegated powers to inquisitors to absolve and reconcile for occult
heresy, with the imposition of appropriate penance.[66] This evidently
contemplates his administering sacramental absolution and yet not long
afterwards he was told that he was judge in the external and not in the
internal forum and that it was not his business to hear sacramental
confessions.[67] In fact, the inquisitor was by no means necessarily in
priests' orders and, when acting in his judicial capacity, sentencing a
culprit and hearing his abjuration, he simply granted licence to any
approved confessor to absolve him from excommunication and to impose
salutary penance.[68]

There was, however, a class of cases, by no means infrequent, demanding
sacramental rather than judicial ministration, which gave rise to some
debate before their treatment was settled. These consisted of good
Christians, who were assailed by secret doubts or indulged in erroneous
speculations and who brought their spiritual troubles to the
confessional. Over these, priest and bishop had been deprived of
jurisdiction, and to make sure of this there was a clause in the annual
Edict of Faith prohibiting confessors from granting absolution in any
case touching the Inquisition and ordering the penitent to be sent to
the tribunal.[69] If he refused to go, the only alternative was for the
confessor to obtain from the inquisitor a licence to absolve him, for
the confession was covered by the seal and prosecution was out of the
question, but as to this, even in the middle of the sixteenth century,
there were doubts. Bishop Simancas says that the power of the inquisitor
to grant licences is doubtful and he can only suggest reference of each
case to the Suprema.[70] A body of practice, of uncertain date, asserts
that when a confessor reports that a penitent has confessed heresies and
asks for a licence to absolve him, it cannot be given. He must be
ordered to induce the penitent to come to the tribunal; in case of
necessity, or of persons in high station, the inquisitor may go with a
notary to receive the confession, which is examined in the tribunal and
the consequent absolution or abjuration is performed in secret. In the
case of nuns, who could not be induced to discharge their consciences
before a commissioner and a notary, there was a concession that the
confessor might reduce the confession to writing and send it to the
tribunal which would consult the Suprema, and frailes were to be
compelled to seek the tribunal, where they were treated as
_espontaneados_, or spontaneous self-denouncers and were absolved or
reconciled secretly with spiritual penances.[71]

The indisposition to license confessors to absolve for heresy in the
forum of conscience is easily explicable. By compelling the penitent to
come to the tribunal, a record was made for use in case of relapse; if
he had accomplices he could be forced to reveal them and their
prosecution followed, and there was an opportunity of inflicting
pecuniary penances, although confiscation was waived in such cases.[72]
These same reasons operated in a contrary sense with the penitent,
besides the horror which all men felt as to falling into the hands of
the Inquisition. When he was obstinate, the tribunal was powerless, for
the seal of confession shielded his identity; it finally yielded the
point and no longer pretended that licenses could not be given to
confessors. In 1562 a case was referred to the Suprema of a person who
had confessed sacramentally to certain heresies, without having been
taught them by any one, when the inquisitor-general empowered the
inquisitors to absolve him in such way as they thought best and they
empowered the confessor.[73] Finally it became the rule that the
confessor sought to induce the penitent to apply to the Inquisition; if
he resolutely refused the confessor applied for a faculty, which was
granted or not, according to the temper of the tribunal.[74]

[Sidenote: _OCCULT HERESY_]

A case in 1754 shows the Inquisition in a favorable light and has
interest also as illustrating the tortures of a soul which rejects
belief and yet holds belief to be essential to salvation. Fray Thomas de
Sos reported to the Toledo tribunal that, while on a mission at Ajofrin,
a penitent had asked him to obtain a commission to absolve her for
heresies internal and external, which yet were occult, as she had never
expressed them except to her aunt. She said that, on a previous
occasion, a confessor had done this for her and she wished to avoid the
disgrace of personal appearance before the Inquisition. He was ordered
to ascertain all details and reported that the penitent was a poor woman
named María Lara, living with an aunt aged eighty. Her heresies were
only of a few months' standing, occasioned by intense grief at the
ingratitude of one whom she had benefited; she disbelieved in the
Trinity, the Incarnation, the Law of God, the Virgin, hell and the devil
and at the same time felt herself lost beyond the hope of salvation. She
could not say how much of this she had uttered to herself or before her
aunt and the importance attached to this point indicates the weight
attributed to the distinction between internal and external heresy. The
aunt was examined, the cura of Ajofrin was called in, the registers were
searched and finally, after six weeks had been consumed, a commission
was issued which the good fraile, eager to heal a despairing soul, at an
hour's notice bore to Ajofrin and absolved her.[75]

These cases gave the Inquisition considerable concern and, in 1772, the
Suprema called upon all the tribunals to report what was their practice.
After carefully weighing their answers, it issued, November 9, 1772,
instructions that, when a confessor reported such a case, he was to be
ordered to use every effort to induce the penitent to denounce himself,
assuring him of merciful treatment and showing him that he would thus be
saved in case of denunciation by others. He could make this denunciation
to the tribunal or to a commissioner, or could even authorize the
confessor to denounce him, giving all details under oath. If, however,
the penitent obstinately refused, then the confessor could absolve him,
explaining that it was only in the forum of conscience.[76] If we may
believe Lorenzo Villanueva, however, this liberal concession was by no
means put in practice, at least by all tribunals.[77]

Confession of formal heresy was not so leniently treated and, as it
inferred accomplices, every effort was made to secure their
denunciation. The confessor was ordered to persuade, if possible, the
penitent to come to the Inquisition and confess as to himself and
others, promising secret absolution without confiscation. This was
virtually the offer made to those who came forward under an Edict of
Grace and did not exclude arbitrary pecuniary penance; it was not
likely to attract self-denunciation, especially as it included betraying
kindred and friends, although power to absolve was not granted in case
of refusal. This led to a dead-lock and possibly in such cases the
confessor was expected to violate the seal of confession under the old
rule that it did not cover heresy. At least this may be inferred from a
case occurring in Lima about 1580, when Padre Luis López, S. J. reported
that a penitent in confession had admitted to have Judaized and on being
told to go to the Inquisition had refused. The matter was regarded as so
grave that it was referred to the Suprema which sent orders to deliver
López to the viceroy for shipment to Spain--apparently one who would not
violate the seal was too dangerous to be left in Peru.[78] Simancas,
however, characterized this as a most pernicious doctrine and argues
that infraction of the seal is much worse than allowing a heretic to
escape punishment.[79]

When the Inquisition was re-established in 1814, under the Restoration,
it recognized the impossibility of investigating and punishing the
innumerable heresies disseminated in the licence of years of warfare and
exposure to foreign armies. In its zeal for the salvation of souls it
therefore, by edict of January 2, 1815, granted for a year, to all
confessors, faculties to absolve for heresy external or mixed. The
confessor, in fact, was made a quasi-inquisitor and the procedure
formidably resembled that of the tribunals. The penitent had a pledge of
secrecy, but his confession had to be minute and comprehensive; it was
reduced to writing, signed and sworn to, and was then forwarded to the
tribunal to be filed among its records. This relieved him from
prosecution in case of denunciation by others, while, if he refused to
do this, he was to be absolved, but only in the forum of conscience; he
was to be reported to the tribunal and remained liable to the external

       *       *       *       *       *


In view of the recognized principle that sacramental absolution does not
affect the external forum, it shows the watchful jealousy with which the
Inquisition guarded its jurisdiction that it remonstrated against the
papal indulgences of the Santa Cruzada and the jubilee. The former
granted an _indulgentia plenissima_; it was a state affair, managed by
the Government and bringing in a large revenue of which a portion
accrued to the Holy See; its sale was pushed in every quarter with the
utmost vigor and the Inquisition punished severely any utterances
calculated to diminish the demand. Only extreme sensitiveness as to its
jurisdiction could have led the Inquisition to cast any doubt as to the
unlimited efficacy of the indulgence but, when St. Pius V, in 1571,
after an interval of five years, renewed the concession of the Cruzada,
it took the alarm. In cartas acordadas of May 30 and June 13, 1572, the
Suprema informs the tribunals that in some places it is asserted that
the Cruzada bulls grant faculties for the absolution of heresy; this is
not the case and, if it were, the pope would be asked to withdraw them;
the assertion must be contradicted everywhere and the prelates are to be
asked to give corresponding instructions to confessors.[81] A more
effective step was taken, in 1576, by procuring from Gregory XIII a
brief declaring that it never was the papal intention that the
indulgence should include heresy and to make this known he authorized
the Commissioner of the Cruzada to translate the brief into the
vernacular and publish it wherever the Cruzada was preached. The Suprema
did not trust the Commissioner, but sent copies of the brief to all the
tribunals, with instructions to notify the Ordinaries and the prelates
of the Orders, so that confessors might be duly informed. A month later,
in January, 1577, it ordered the brief to be published in all the
churches.[82] Eventually, however, its anxieties were removed by a
clause in the _bulas_ of the Cruzada specifically excepting heresy from
the faculties granted to confessors, a form which they have retained to
the present day, long after the extinction of the Holy Office.[83]

The Cruzada indulgence was a special financial favor to the Spanish
monarchy which it could virtually control, but it was otherwise with the
jubilee indulgences which, about this period, the popes began to
publish--plenary remissions of sins such as were obtainable by
pilgrimage to Rome at the jubilees celebrated every twenty-five years.
St. Pius V set the example of this, on his accession in 1566, which has
since been followed by his successors, together with special jubilees
decreed at decreasing intervals. The jubilee published in 1572, on the
accession of Gregory XIII, excepted heretics and readers of prohibited
books and added a positive declaration that in it and all that might be
subsequently issued the absolution was only in the forum of conscience
and did not affect the judicial forum.[84] Taking advantage of this,
when another jubilee indulgence appeared, in 1578, the Suprema ordered
it to be published with the omission of all that concerned the
Inquisition, in accordance with the declarations of Gregory.[85]
Subsequent jubilees, however, of 1589, 1592 and 1595 included heresy and
called forth unavailing protests from Spain until finally, in the latter
year, preachers were ordered to declare, as of their own motion, that,
under the general clause of the jubilee, absolution could not be had for
heresy.[86] While the Roman Inquisition made no protest against these
indulgences, the Spanish persistently objected to them and it seemed
impossible to harmonize the conflict. When Alexander VII, on his
accession, in 1655, published a jubilee, it contained the obnoxious
clause; Cabrera, the agent of the Suprema in Rome, warmly remonstrated
with him and he promised in future to except heresy; this did not
satisfy Cabrera who asked for a constitution excepting heresy from all
jubilees. Alexander promised to investigate the matter, but apparently
his investigations were resultless for the subject continued till the
end of the century to furnish occasion for repeated discussion.[87]

       *       *       *       *       *


Heresy was an elastic term and the Inquisition stretched it to extend
its exclusive jurisdiction in all directions. It did the same to shield
itself from investigation and restraint. We are told that, in the
numerous cases of appeal to the throne for injustice suffered at its
hands, if the king ordered the inquisitor-general to report on the
subject so that it might be submitted to a junta composed of members of
the Suprema and Royal Council, the first business of the Suprema was to
examine whether the question arose from a matter of faith, or was in
any way dependent upon faith, or concerned the free exercise of the
duties of the Holy Office. There were not many things that could not be
brought within this charmed circle and then a consulta was addressed to
the monarch protesting that he could not refer it to a junta, because
its nature precluded its consideration by laymen and it would be a
violation of the secrecy of the Inquisition, so that it had to be
submitted to the Suprema alone, which would make a verbal report to him.
It was on record that, in a case of this kind, Philip II pledged his
royal word that he and Don Cristóval de Mocera alone should be admitted
to the confidence and, in 1645, Philip IV could only obtain from Arce y
Reynoso a verbal explanation.[88] Thus between exclusive cognizance and
inviolable secrecy the Inquisition realized the ideal of spiritual
jurisdiction--it judged all and was judged by none.



Over the laity the jurisdiction of the Inquisition was complete. No one
was so high-placed as to be exempt, for heresy was a universal leveller.
Theoretically the king himself was subject to it, for it was based on
the principle of the supremacy of the spiritual over the temporal power.
The piety of the Spanish monarchs prevented occasion for putting this to
the test, for we may safely reject as fables the stories concerning
Juana la loca and Don Carlos, but no station exempted him who was
suspect in the faith from prosecution and from punishment if he was
found guilty. In Valencia, nobles who sought to protect their Morisco
vassals from the raids of the Inquisition were tried as fautors of
heresy, the most conspicuous of these being Don Sancho de Córdova,
Admiral of Aragon and allied to the noblest blood of Spain. At the age
of 73 he was compelled to abjure for light suspicion of heresy, he was
fined and confined in a convent, where he died.[89] We shall have
occasion to consider in detail the still more remarkable case of Don
Gerónimo de Villanueva, Prothonotary of Aragon and favorite of both
Olivares and of Philip IV and, even when the Inquisition was far gone in
its decline, we shall see how it took steps to assail Don Manuel de
Godoy, Prince of the Peace and all powerful favorite of Carlos IV.

With the exception of bishops, of whom more hereafter, the secular
clergy were equally at the mercy of the Holy Office. Even when, as we
have seen, in the bitter quarrels between the tribunal of Majorca and
the clergy of the islands, the latter obtained the protection of special
papal briefs, these exempted them only from the royal jurisdiction of
the Inquisition and did not affect their liability in matters of faith,
against which they raised no protest. The regular clergy, however--the
members of the religious Orders--made long and persistent struggles to
escape subjection, preferring the milder discipline of their own
prelates. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the monastic
establishments had, for the most part, obtained exemption from episcopal
jurisdiction and were amenable only to the Holy See. When the Mendicant
Orders were organized, in the thirteenth century, they were likewise
subject immediately to the pope. It is true that, in 1184, Lucius III,
in his Verona decree, had abolished this immunity in matters of faith
and had remanded, in so far, the regulars back to episcopal
jurisdiction, for as yet the Inquisition had not been thought of,[90]
but, when the Mendicants claimed that this did not apply to their
subsequently founded Orders, Innocent IV, in 1254, subjected them to the
Inquisition, which by that time was in full operation. Boniface VIII
emphatically confirmed this, even declaring that for heresy they were to
be punished more severely than laymen, as the Spiritual Franciscans
found to their cost under John XXII.[91] As inquisitors acted under
delegation from the pope, there would be no question as to their
jurisdiction over the regulars, but, in the case of the Dominican Master
Eckart, tried, in 1327, by the Archbishop of Cologne, it was settled
that the episcopal Inquisition also had cognizance.[92] Yet, about 1460,
Pius II granted to the Franciscans the privilege of being tried only by
the vicar-general of their Order and, in 1479, Sixtus IV, in view of the
inveterate hostility between Franciscans and Dominicans, from which
Orders nearly all inquisitors were drawn, prohibited those of one Order
from prosecuting members of the other.[93]


Such was the situation when the Spanish Inquisition was founded.
Conversos were numerous in the Orders and many were prosecuted. Under
Torquemada, himself a Dominican, the inquisitors were largely Dominicans
and the Franciscans naturally claimed the privileges of the papal
decrees of 1460 and 1479; when, in 1487, some Observantine Franciscans
were prosecuted, Innocent VIII ordered their release and repeated the
provisions of 1479.[94] In the following year, however, by a _motu
proprío_ of May 17, 1488, he declared that none of the Orders were
exempt and specially mentioned the Cistercians, Dominicans and
Franciscans.[95] Even before this, Torquemada had treated the regulars
as under his jurisdiction for, though he had granted to the Geronimite
prelates power to try some of their frailes he revoked this, May 3,
1488, and commissioned the inquisitors of Toledo to prosecute them.[96]
In Rome the influence of the regular Orders was great; that of the
growing Spanish power was steadily increasing, and the contest between
these opposing forces is seen in the fluctuating policy of the Holy See.
The _motu proprio_ of 1488 remained in force for a considerable time,
but, after the death of Ferdinand, the Franciscans in 1517 obtained from
Leo X the renewal of their old privileges, which probably also included
the Dominicans.[97] The Augustinians soon followed, for a letter of the
Suprema, May 7, 1521, directs the tribunals, in view of their privileges
to be tried by their prelates, to obtain from the superiors delegated
power to act in their cases, or to get a fraile assigned to sit as
assessor, or to remit the cases to the Suprema as they may deem
best.[98] Apparently these exemptions were not always respected, for
Clement VII, by a brief of January 18, 1524, emphatically confirmed the
Franciscan privileges and ordered all their cases pending in the
tribunals to be transferred within six days to the prelates of the
accused.[99] So when, in a brief of March 19, 1525, he prohibited
descendants of Jews and heretics from acquiring dignities in the
Observantine branch of the Order, he gave as a reason that the
provincials are judges of their subjects.[100]

It required but a few months to change all this. The Inquisition was
restive under this restriction on its jurisdiction. Inquisitor-general
Manrique, in a letter of June 30, 1524, asserted that a revocation of
the Augustinian privileges would be procured and he proved a true
prophet.[101] The services of Charles V in stemming the tide of the
Lutheran revolt were indispensable and his demands could not be refused.
A brief of April 13, 1525, subjected the frailes again to the
Inquisition, but softened the blow by providing that the provincials
should appoint assessors to sit with the tribunals in their cases. This
did not satisfy Spain and, two months later, a brief of June 16th
subjected them absolutely to the inquisitor-general.[102] That the
Inquisition thus obtained and exercised jurisdiction over the regulars
is seen in an order by the Suprema, July 18, 1534, requiring that it
should be consulted and the testimony be submitted to it, before
proceedings were instituted against a fraile--an order repeated, June
10, 1555, and subsequently extended to all ecclesiastics.[103]


In issuing this the Suprema evidently was unaware that some three weeks
earlier there had occurred another shifting of the scales. The frailes
had not been idle; the Franciscans, and presumably the other Orders, had
won a victory. A brief of Clement VII, June 23, 1534, recites the
various exemptions granted by preceding popes to the Franciscans, while
numerous complaints showed that some inquisitors continued to prosecute
them, to their great perturbation and scandal, wherefore it was ordered
that whenever any of the frailes were suspected of heresy they must be
remitted to their superiors for punishment, notwithstanding all
privileges granted to the Holy Office. Confirmation of this was procured
from Paul III, November 8th of the same year, but apparently these
commands received slender attention, for another confirmation was
obtained, December 15, 1537, with the addition that all cases pending in
the Inquisition must be surrendered to the superiors of the Order within
six days and all sentences in derogation of this were declared
invalid.[104] Even this did not keep the Inquisition in check and Paul
issued, March 6, 1542, another decree reciting cases in contempt of his
orders, wherefore all inquisitors, in every part of the world, were
commanded, under penalty of excommunication, deprivation of benefice and
disability for preferment, not to proceed against the frailes and to
deliver up any who might be imprisoned. All bishops and prelates were
made executors of the brief, with power to invoke the aid of the secular

The rigor of these provisions is the measure of the resistance
encountered and, in singular contrast to them is the fact that, but a
fortnight later, Paul, by a brief of March 21st, annulled all the
exemptions of the Mendicant Orders in Upper Italy and the Island of
Chios, and subjected their members, with the exception of bishops, to
the Inquisition, in matters of faith.[106] This put the Spanish
Inquisition at a disadvantage in comparison with the newly organized
Roman Congregation, although its order of June 10, 1555, above referred
to, would indicate that it paid but little attention to the papal
utterances. It fully recovered its lost ground, however, when the Holy
See recognized that it was the only tribunal that could be relied upon
to check the prevalent vice of "solicitation" or seduction in the
confessional--the principal offenders being frailes. When, as an
experiment, Paul IV, in 1559, empowered the tribunal of Granada to
prosecute these cases, he withdrew all privileges and exemptions, not
only in this offence but in all heretical crimes; he authorized the
inquisitors to degrade the culprits and to deliver them to the secular
arm for execution and the provisions of this brief were extended by Pius
IV, in 1561, to all the tribunals in the Spanish dominions.[107] This
rendered the Inquisition master of the situation, while, at the same
time, the inclusion of solicitation among heretical crimes made the
regular Orders still more solicitous to escape from its jurisdiction.

The development of the Society of Jesus and the unbounded favor which it
enjoyed with the Holy See introduced a new factor in the struggle. In
1587 the Inquisition discovered that the Jesuits claimed exemption. The
Compendium of their privileges stated that Gregory XIII, _vivæ vocis
oraculo_, on March 18, 1584, had conferred on their General, with power
of subdelegation, faculty for absolving his subjects from heresy, even
in cases of relapse; any one knowing the heresy of another was therefore
to denounce him to his superior and not to the Inquisition and it was
broadly asserted that the members were subject to no judge, episcopal or
inquisitorial.[108] It was impossible for the Inquisition to overlook
such denial of its authority and it promptly ordered the suppression of
the Compendium and of all regulations incompatible with its
jurisdiction, giving rise to considerable correspondence with Rome.[109]

The case which led to this proceeding is too suggestive not to deserve
relation in some detail. Solicitation being subjected to the exclusive
jurisdiction of the Inquisition it became, under the Edict of Faith, the
duty of every one, under heavy penalties, to denounce to the nearest
tribunal any case coming to his knowledge. In 1583, the Jesuits of the
college of Monterey, in Galicia, learned that one of their number, the
Padre Sebastian de Briviesca, had been guilty of it with certain
_beatas_ and also of some Illuminist practices. Padre Diego Hernández
was sent to Segovia to report the matter to Antonio Marcen, the
Provincial of Castile. To avert from the Society the disgrace of the
prosecution of a member, Hernández was ordered to return and get the
evidence in legal shape, so that Briviesca could be secretly tried and
punished, but Marcen warned him that all consultation and action must be
under pretext of confession, so as to be covered by the seal. Hernández
went back to Monterey and consulted with Padres Francisco Larata and
Juan López, who said it was a dangerous business; the case belonged to
the Inquisition and but for the seal of confession, they would be bound
to denounce Briviesca, however damaging it might be to the Society.
Profound secrecy was enjoined on the beatas; Hernández took the evidence
to Marcen, gave it to him under the seal and was sent with it to
Salamanca, where it was submitted, without names, to the theologians of
the Jesuit college. They reported that the culprit must be denounced to
the Inquisition and that the beatas could not be absolved unless they
denounced him but, on being told that the Society was involved, they
reversed their opinions. Hernández was sent to Monterey, where he
absolved the beatas, while Marcen imprisoned Briviesca, obtained a
partial confession, gave him dismissory letters and the habit of a
secular priest, and sent him with a companion to Barcelona, where he was
shipped to Italy. He had previously been guilty at Avila of the same


Hernández had dutifully obeyed orders, but he was becoming thoroughly
frightened. He begged Marcen to allow him to denounce the matter to the
Inquisition and was told that if through him harm came to the Society
he would be imprisoned for life in chains. He persisted and then reports
were spread that he was insane and possessed by the devil; he was sent
to the college at Oviedo, where there was no Inquisition and no means of
communicating by post, and for a year he was unable to discharge his
conscience, for the confessors were forbidden to absolve him unless he
pledged submission to his superiors. Then promises were tried and he was
told that whatever he asked for would be obtained for him from the
General, and he was further informed that the beatas had retracted their

How the Inquisition obtained knowledge of the affair is not stated, but
it was probably through the garrulousness of the beatas who could not be
kept from talking. As soon as it obtained sufficient evidence it acted
vigorously. Marcen, Larata and López were imprisoned and put on trial,
in 1585; in the progress of the case it was found that this was by no
means the first time that Marcen had defrauded the Inquisition of its
culprits. Padre Cristóbal de Trugillo had been guilty of the same
offence and Marcen had simply dismissed him from the Society. Also Padre
Francisco de Ribera had repeatedly uttered heretical propositions for
which some of the brethren demanded that he should be denounced to the
Inquisition, but Marcen dismissed him from the Society and gave him
money to betake himself to Italy, for all of which his defence was that
he only obeyed the orders of the General.[110]

The case was a clear one; Marcen and his colleagues were convicted, but
the Inquisition had not the satisfaction of punishing them. The Society
did not venture to question the jurisdiction of the Inquisition, but its
influence at Rome was great and it probably had little difficulty in
convincing Sixtus V that the interests of religion required the
suppression of the scandal, for which he had only to exercise his right
of evoking the case to himself. He did so, in 1587, and when the Suprema
tried its usual dilatory tactics, the impetuous pontiff notified
Cardinal Quiroga that, if the prisoners and the papers were not
surrendered forthwith, he would be deprived of both the cardinalate and
the inquisitor-generalship. Sixtus was not a man to be trifled with and
the surrender was made.[111] The treatment of Briviesca, Trugillo and
Ribera serve to explain why the frailes were so anxious to avoid the
inquisitorial jurisdiction of which the familiars were so eager to avail

The ascription to the Inquisition of the crime of solicitation naturally
stimulated the desire of the frailes to recover their exemption and
Marcen's case rendered the Jesuits especially active. A prolonged
agitation in Rome was the result, which finally took the shape of
submitting to the Congregation of the Inquisition the question whether,
in this crime, the jurisdiction of the Holy Office was exclusive or
whether it was cumulative with that of the prelate, depending on the
first possession of a case. The decision was made, December 3, 1592, in
the presence of Clement VIII, declaring that the jurisdiction of the
Inquisition was exclusive, that the prelates could not exercise it and
that all members of the Orders were bound to denounce offenders to the
tribunals. The victory of the Inquisition was complete, but the pope
expressed to the Suprema, through a cardinal, his desire that the
inquisitors would exercise their functions with the prudence,
circumspection and moderation that would preserve the cult due to the
sacrament of penitence and, at the same time, the good repute of the

Still the regulars could not be brought to submit to the jurisdiction of
the Inquisition and Paul V, by a brief of September 1, 1606, evoked to
himself all pending cases and committed them to it, at the same time
decreeing that it should have exclusive jurisdiction in all cases of
suspected heresy; whenever, during a visitation, any member of an Order
was found to be suspected he was at once to be denounced and any
superior refusing obedience was threatened with deprivation and
perpetual disability. Moreover this decree was to be read in all
chapters of the Orders. Even this was deemed insufficient and was
supplemented, November 7th, with another prohibiting superiors, under
any pretext or custom, from receiving denunciations or taking cognizance
in any way of cases pertaining to the Inquisition. Every member, whether
superior or subject, was required, without consulting any one, to
denounce to the Inquisition or to the Ordinary all who were suspected,
however lightly, of heresy.[113]


Some details in this would seem to point to the Society of Jesus as the
chief recalcitrant and this is confirmed by a brief of Alexander VII,
July 8, 1660, which condemns, as pernicious and rash, opinions calling
in doubt the obligation to denounce and the pretexts employed of
fraternal correction to prevent denunciation. Even the Company of Jesus
is ordered to obey the constitution of Paul V; no superiors are to
molest or oppress their subjects for performing this duty but must
exhort them to it. Disobedience is threatened not only with the
penalties provided by Paul V but with deprivation of office, the right
of voting and being voted for, perpetual disability and other
punishments at the discretion of the pope and removable only by him. The
decree is to be read annually on March 1st at the public table and
notarial attestation of the fact is to be sent to the nearest tribunal
or to Rome and a copy is to be posted where all can read it. The
Inquisition lost no time in publishing this and the decree of November
7, 1606, in an edict commanding their observance and pointing out that
the alternative of denunciation to the Ordinary was invalid in Spain,
where the Inquisition had exclusive jurisdiction. It further ordered
that in all books where contrary opinions were taught there should be
noted in the margin "This opinion is condemned as pernicious and rash by
our Holy Father, Alexander VII."[114]

No further papal utterances seem to have been asked for; indeed there
was nothing that the Holy See could add to these comprehensive decrees.
In time, however, they seem to have been conveniently forgotten for, in
1732, Inquisitor-general Juan de Camargo reissued them in an edict
saying that some persons were ignorant, or affected ignorance, of the
doctrines expressed in them, wherefore he ordered them to be posted in
the sacristies of all churches, with the announcement that all
contraventions would be punished with the utmost rigor.[115] Of course
it is impossible to say how many frailes may have escaped prosecution
through the indisposition of the Orders to recognize the jurisdiction of
the Inquisition, but, from the numbers who appear in the registers of
the tribunals, it is charitable to assume that evasion in this way was

       *       *       *       *       *

The completeness of the domination assumed by the Inquisition over the
religious Orders is illustrated by its intervention in a matter which
would appear wholly beyond any possible definition of its jurisdiction.
The internecine strife between the different bodies had long been an
inextinguishable scandal. The old hatred between Franciscans and
Dominicans was inflamed to white heat by the quarrel over the Immaculate
Conception. The immense success of the Jesuits brought upon them the
virulent enmity of the older communities, which regarded them as
upstarts and were repaid with interest. The new Moral Philosophy of the
Probabilists was a fresh source of active discord. These mutual
antagonisms found free expression in the press, the pulpit and the
professorial chair, where the rivals derided and insulted each other, to
the grief of the faithful and the amusement of the godless. The
Inquisition appeared to be the only authority that could restrain the
expression of the mutual wrath of the good fathers, though it might not
be easy to define on what grounds it could claim authority on such a
matter. Scruples as to this, however, rarely gave it concern and it
undertook to effect what popes had repeatedly failed to accomplish.

March 9, 1634, the Suprema issued a decree which it printed and sent to
all superiors with instructions to publish and make it known. This
recited the evils arising from the discord and rivalry between the
Orders, scandalous to the Christian people and dangerous as arising from
the difference in the manners and customs of the various organizations.
To bring about peace and concord the inquisitor-general proposed to
assemble a council of the superiors of all the Orders and meanwhile
rigorous proceedings were threatened against all who should provoke or
foment these discords. Any religious who, by writing or words or in
sermons or lectures, should insult another Order, or any of its members,
would incur major excommunication and be recluded in a convent in
another district, for a time proportioned to the gravity of the offence
and moreover be incapable of holding any position in the Holy Office.
Superiors were charged to expurgate all offensive expressions in books
written by their subjects, before according the necessary licence to
print or, if they had not authority to do this, they must refer the
objectionable matter to the Suprema, and this was binding on those
deputed to examine the MSS. The decree closed with a threat of rigorous
punishment for all contravention of its provisions.[116]


Whether the council indicated was ever assembled or whether any
offender was ever punished under this decree does not appear, but any
effect which it may have produced was transient. The old passions and
hatreds remained as vehement as ever and the controversy over the claims
of the Carmelites to have been founded by Elijah furnished fresh
material for acrimonious debate. In spite of this failure, the
Inquisition maintained its claim to intervene and Inquisitor-general
Valladares, June 24, 1688, issued another edict, incorporating that of
1634 and deploring that the old quarrels had become more virulent than
ever. It was doubtful, he said, whether the previous utterances had been
communicated to the Orders outside of Madrid, so a copy was ordered to
be sent to every convent in Spain, with orders to be posted in a
conspicuous place and the threat that it would be rigidly enforced. The
belligerent ebullitions of the holy men were as little checked by this
as by its predecessor and Inquisitor-general Rocaberti, October 19,
1698, took a further step by an edict in which he reprinted the previous
ones and sent it to the tribunals with orders to publish it in all towns
and have it posted on all church doors, thus taking the public into
confidence and proclaiming to it not only the disreputable conduct of
the frailes but the powerlessness of the Inquisition to reduce them to
order and decency.[117] In fact, the Inquisition eradicated Judaism, it
virtually expelled the Moriscos, it preserved Spain from the missionary
zeal of Protestantism, but it failed ignominiously when it undertook to
restrain the expression of aversion and contempt mutually entertained by
Dominican and Franciscan, Jesuit and Carmelite.



There was, in Spain, but one class over which the Inquisition had no
jurisdiction. Boniface VIII, at the close of the thirteenth century, had
decreed that, when a bishop was suspect of heresy, the inquisitor could
not prosecute. The most that he could do was to gather evidence and send
it to the Holy See, which reserved to itself judgement on the episcopal
Order.[118] This was embodied in the canon law and remained in force,
although of course the pope could delegate his power or could enlarge
inquisitorial commissions, as when, in 1451, Nicholas V responded to the
request of Juan II and included bishops among those subjected to the
inquisitors whom he appointed.[119] During the middle ages the question
was one of scarce more than academic interest, but in Spain, where the
conversos had attained so many lofty positions in the Church and where
all of Jewish blood were regarded with suspicion, it might at any moment
become of practical importance.[120] The influence and power of the
Inquisition would manifestly be increased if it should be granted
faculties to prosecute bishops and Torquemada seems to have applied for
this, in 1487, intimating that there were suspects among the bishops.
Innocent VIII, however, was not disposed to subject the whole episcopate
of Spain to the Holy Office and replied, September 25th, reciting the
decree of Boniface and telling him to examine carefully all the evidence
collected by the inquisitors and, if in it he found what incriminated
prelates or showed that they were defamed or suspected of heresy, he
should send it in legal shape and carefully sealed to Rome, where it
would be duly weighed and proper action be taken.[121]


If Torquemada failed in obtaining the desired jurisdiction over the
Spanish episcopate, he could at least strike terror by accusing some of
them to the Holy See, where their condemnation would be followed by that
of their ancestors and large confiscations would result. Two of those of
Jewish blood, Dávila of Segovia and Aranda of Calahorra, were selected
for attack. In the existing popular temper it could not have been
difficult to collect evidence that they were regarded as suspect and
were defamed for heresy. Presumably this was sent to Rome and the matter
was regarded as of sufficient moment to induce the despatch of
Antoniotto Pallavicini, then Bishop of Tournay, as a special nuncio to
confer with Torquemada.[122] He returned to Rome with evidence deemed
sufficient to justify their summons thither. In 1490, Dávila went to
Rome, in his eightieth year. Since 1461 he had been Bishop of Segovia
and, in spite of Jewish descent, his family was one of the most
influential in Castile, intermarried with its noblest blood.[123] He had
given ample proof of pitiless orthodoxy, in 1468, when, at Sepúlveda,
the rabbi, Solomon Pico and the leaders of the synagogue were accused of
crucifying a Christian boy during Holy Week. Bishop Dávila promptly
arrested sixteen of those most deeply implicated, of whom seven were
burnt and the rest were hanged, except a boy who begged to be
baptized--although this did not satisfy the pious Sepúlvedans, who slew
some of the remaining Jews and drove the rest away.[124] He had given
cause of offence, however, for, when the Inquisition was introduced in
Segovia, he drove the inquisitors from his diocese and remonstrated
boldly with the sovereigns and, when this proved fruitless, it was in
evidence that he dug up at night, from the cemetery of the convent of la
Merced, the bones of his ancestors and concealed them, in order to
destroy the proof of their interment in the Jewish fashion.[125] In Rome
he seems to have found favor with Alexander VI who, in 1494, sent him to
Naples in company with his nephew, the Cardinal of Monreale. His case
was protracted and he died in Rome, October 28, 1497; the result is not
positively known, but it must have been favorable as otherwise his pious
legacies would have been fruitless and Colmenares, the historian of
Segovia, would not have dared to call him one of the most useful
prelates that the see had enjoyed, nor would Galindez de Carvajal have
said that his errand to Rome was merely to defend the bones of his

Pedro de Aranda of Calahorra was a man of equal mark who, in 1482,
acquired the high position of President of the Council of Castile. His
father, Gonzalo Alonso, had been baptized with the famous Pablo de Santa
María and had been ennobled. The Valladolid tribunal prosecuted his
memory, with the result of a _discordia_, or disagreement, and the
bishop went to Rome in 1493, where he gained papal favor and procured a
brief transferring the case to the Bishop of Córdova and the Benedictine
Prior of Valladolid. He remained in Rome, when Alexander VI, in 1494,
sent him to Venice as ambassador and subsequently made him Master of the
Sacred Palace. Since 1488, however, Torquemada had been collecting
evidence against him. It was sent to Rome and, on the night of April 21,
1498, he was ordered to keep his room in the palace as a prison; on the
26th he was brought before the pope and had a hearing, after which he
was taken to other rooms and kept under guard until September. Meanwhile
Alexander seized his property and Sanuto intimates that his real crime
was his abundance of ready money, while Burchard tells us that he was
accused of heresy and _marrania_ and that he had many enemies. Three
bishops of the curia were commissioned as his judges; they heard many
witnesses presented by the fiscal and a hundred and one by the accused,
but all of these testified against him. The points against him were that
he said the Mosaic Law had one principle, the Christian three; in
praying he said _Gloria Patri_, omitting _Filio et Spiritui Sancto_; he
celebrated mass after eating; he ate meat on Good Friday and other
prohibited days; he declared that indulgences were useless and had been
invented by the Fathers for gain; that there was neither hell nor
purgatory but only paradise, and much more of the same nature. On
November 16th the judges laid the evidence before the pope in secret
consistory when, by the advice of the cardinals, Aranda was deposed and
degraded from Orders; he was confined in the Castle of Sant' Angelo,
where he was given a good room and he died there, apparently in

Pope Alexander seems to have felt that it was necessary to guard his
jurisdiction against the encroaching tendencies of the Spanish
Inquisition, for in granting to the Bishop of Avila appellate powers, in
his brief of November 4, 1594 (Vol. I, p. 179), he was careful to except
the venerable brethren, the archbishops and bishops, whose cases by law
were reserved to the Holy See.[128] It was well understood by this time,
however and, in the case of Archbishop Talavera of Granada, it will be
remembered that Lucero made no attempt to do more than gather evidence
to be sent to Rome and, when papal authority was obtained, it was
granted not to the Inquisition but to prelates specially


Half a century was to elapse before there was another case involving the
episcopal Order. It has been sometimes thought that the Inquisition was
concerned in the trial and execution of Antonio de Acuña, Bishop of
Zamora, but such was not the fact, although the case illustrates the
difficulty of holding a bishop accountable for his misdeeds. That
turbulent prelate, somewhat absurdly styled a second Luther by Leo X,
was an active leader in the Comunidades, who, after the defeat at
Villalar, April 21, 1521, fled in disguise but was caught at
Villamediana, on the Castilian border. Episcopal immunity rendered him a
doubtful prize; Charles V was resolved on his death, but there was
considerable doubt as to how he was to be punished. The Inquisition was
not brought into play but, after some negotiation, Leo X was induced to
issue a commission to Cardinal Adrian and the nuncio to take testimony
and forward it for judgement by the pope in consistory. On Adrian's
accession to the papacy he transferred the commission to the Archbishop
of Granada and the Bishop of Ciudad-Rodrigo, but gave no authority to
employ torture. Then Clement VII, by a brief of March 27, 1524, granted
faculties to proceed to extremities, under which the trial went on, but
apparently died out when carried to Rome. Wearied with five years'
confinement in the castle of Simancas, Acuña made a fruitless attempt to
escape, in which he killed the alcaide, Mendo Noguerol. Charles then
sent to Simancas his alcalde de casa y corte, Rodrigo Ronquillo, with
instructions to torture Acuña and put him to death--instructions
faithfully executed, March 23, 1526. This violation of the immunities of
the Church caused no little scandal. Charles speedily obtained for
himself, from Clement, absolution from the _ipso facto_ excommunication
incurred, but that which he had promised to procure for his subordinates
was granted with difficulty and only after delay of more than a year,
the final ceremony not taking place until September 8, 1527. At
Valladolid a tradition was long current that Ronquillo came to an evil
end, being carried off by demons.[130]

As the Lutheran revolt grew more threatening and the dread of its
extending to Spain increased, a certain limited jurisdiction over
bishops was conferred on Cardinal Manrique by a brief of Clement VII,
July 15, 1531. He was empowered to inquire against them if suspected of
favoring Lutheran doctrines or of aiding those who held them; he was not
permitted, however, to arrest and imprison, although he could punish
them according to the canons and he was granted the fullest faculties of
absolving and rehabilitating those who abandoned their errors and asked
for forgiveness.[131] It is not likely that any occasion arose for the
exercise of these faculties, but if there was it has left no trace.

This evidently was a personal delegation, expiring with Manrique, for no
reference to it was made in the next case--that of Bartolomé de
Carranza, Archbishop of Toledo. This was, perhaps, the most important
affair during the career of the Inquisition. It attracted the attention
of all Catholic Europe and illustrates in so many ways, not only
inquisitorial methods but the conflict between orthodoxy and reform that
it merits consideration in some detail.[132]


Inquisitor-general Valdés, who was also Archbishop of Seville and whose
name often comes before us, was perilously near disgrace in 1557. Philip
II was in desperate straits for money; the glories of Saint-Quentin and
Gravelines were not acquired cheaply and the war forced upon him by Paul
IV was exhausting his Italian possessions. From Flanders he sent Count
Melito to Spain with orders to raise forced loans from nobles and
prelates, and the Princess Juana, then Governor, called among others on
Valdés for a hundred and fifty thousand ducats. The Bishop of Córdova
when approached, promptly furnished a hundred thousand and promised more
if he could raise it: the Archbishop of Saragossa, who was asked for a
hundred thousand, only gave twenty thousand. Valdés was even more
niggardly, and supplied nothing, although it was observed about this
time that six loads of money reached Valladolid for him. Charles V, from
his retirement of Yuste, wrote to him, May 18th, expressing surprise
that he, the creature of imperial favor, should hesitate to repay the
benefits conferred, especially as he could have what security he desired
for the loan. This letter, with one from Juana, was conveyed to him by
Hernando de Ochoa, whose report to Charles, May 28th, of the interview,
showed how little respect was felt for the man. Ochoa reproached him
with having promised to see what he could do, in place of which he had
gone into hiding at San Martin de la Fuente, fourteen leagues from the
court at Valladolid, where he had lain for two months, hoping that the
matter would blow over. "He said to me, before a consecrated host, that
the devils could fly away with him if ever he had 100,000 or 80,000, or
60,000, or 30,000 ducats, for he had always spent much in charities and
had made dotations amounting to 150,000." Ochoa pressed him hard; he
admitted that his archbishopric, which he had held since 1546, was worth
60,000 ducats a year and Ochoa showed that, admitting his claims for
charities and expenses, he had laid aside at least 30,000 a year "which
you cannot possibly have spent, for you never have any one to dine in
your house and you do not accumulate silver plate, like other gentlemen;
all this is notorious, and the whole court knows it.... This embarrassed
him, but he repeated with great oaths that he had no money, that it was
not well thus to oppress prelates, nor would money thus obtained be
lucky for war; God would help the king and what would Christendom say
about it." The honest Ochoa still urged him to return to the court and
save his honor, intimating that the king might take action that would be
highly unpleasant, but it was to no purpose. Valdés was obdurate and
clung resolutely to his shekels.[133]

Philip had sent instructions as to the treatment of
recalcitrants--probably relegating bishops to their sees and nobles to
their estates--but there was hesitation felt as to banishing Valdés from
the court, although the continued pressure of Charles and Juana only
extorted a promise of fifty thousand ducats. Yet it was desired to
remove him and plans were tried to offer him a pretext for going. In
March, 1588, Juana ordered him to accompany the body of Queen Juana la
loca to Granada for interment, from which place he could visit his
Seville church; he made excuses but promised to go shortly. Then, when
she repeated the order, he offered many reasons for evading it,
including the heresies recently discovered in Seville and Murcia; the
translation of the body could wait until September and everybody, he
said, was trying to drive him from the court. She referred the matter to
the Royal Council, which decided that his excuses were insufficient and
that, even if the interment were postponed he could properly be ordered
to reside in his see.[134]

It was evident to Valdés that something was necessary to strengthen his
position and he skilfully utilized the discovery of a few Protestants in
Valladolid, of whom some were eminent clerics, like Augustin Cazalla and
Fray Domingo de Rojas, and others were persons of quality, like Luis de
Rojas and Doña Ana Enríquez. We shall have occasion to note hereafter
the extraordinary excitement caused by the revelation that
Protestantism was making inroads in court circles, the extent of which
was readily exaggerated, and it was stimulated and exploited by Valdés,
who magnified his zeal in combating the danger and conjured, at least
for the moment, the storm that was brewing. Philip wrote from Flanders,
June 5, 1558, to send him to his see without delay; if he still made
excuses he was to be excluded from the Council of State and this would
answer until his approaching return to Spain, when he would take
whatever action was necessary. Ten days later, on receiving letters from
Valdés enumerating the prisoners and describing the efforts made to
avert the danger, he countermanded the orders.[135] Still, this was only
a respite; we chance to hear of a meeting of the Council of State, in
August or September, in which Juan de Vega characterized as a great
scandal the disobedience of a vassal to the royal commands, in a matter
so just as residence in his see, and he suggested that, when the court
moved, no quarters should be assigned to Valdés, to which Archbishop
Carranza replied that it was no wonder that the orders of the king were
unable to effect what the commandments of God and the Church could not

Something further was necessary to render him indispensable--something
that could be prolonged indefinitely and if, at the same time, it would
afford substantial relief to the treasury, he might be forgiven the
niggardness that had resisted the appeals of the sovereign. He had for
some time been preparing a scheme for this, which was nothing less than
the prosecution of the Primate of the Spanish Church, the income of
whose see was rated at from 150,000 to 200,000 ducats. To measure the
full audacity of this it is necessary to appreciate the standing of
Archbishop Carranza.


Bartolomé de Carranza y Miranda was born in 1503. At the age of 12 he
entered the university of Alcalá; at 18 he took the final vows of the
Dominican Order and was sent to study theology in the college of San
Gregorio at Valladolid, where, in 1530, he was made professor of arts,
in 1533 junior professor of theology and, in 1534, chief professor as
well as consultor of the tribunal of Valladolid. In 1540 he was sent as
representative of his Order to the General Chapter held in Rome, where
he distinguished himself and was honored with the doctorate, while Paul
III granted him a licence to read prohibited heretic books. On his
return to Spain his reputation was national; he was largely employed by
the Suprema in the censorship of books, especially of foreign Bibles,
while the Councils of Indies and Castile frequently submitted intricate
questions for his judgement. In 1542 he was offered the see of Cuzco,
esteemed the wealthiest in the colonies, when he replied that he would
willingly go to the Indies on the emperor's service but not to undertake
the cure of souls.[137] On the convocation of the Council of Trent, in
1545, Charles V selected him as one of the delegates and, during his
three years' service there, he earned the reputation throughout
Christendom of a profound theologian. When, in 1548, Prince Philip went
to join his father in Flanders, they both offered him the position of
confessor which he declined, as he did the see of Canaries which was
tendered to him in 1550. In this latter year he was elected provincial
of his Order for Castile and, in 1551, he was sent to the second
convocation of the Council of Trent by Charles and also as the
representative of Siliceo, Archbishop of Toledo. As usual, he played a
prominent part in the Council and, after its hasty dissolution, he
remained there for some time employed in the duty of examining and
condemning heretical books. In 1553 he returned to his professorship at
Valladolid and when, in 1554, Prince Philip sailed for England to marry
Queen Mary and restore the island to the unity of the Church, he took
Carranza with him as the fittest instrument for the work.[138]

Carranza subsequently boasted that, during his three years' stay in
England, he had burnt, reconciled, or driven from the land thirty
thousand heretics and had brought two million souls back to the Church.
If we may believe his admiring biographers he was the heart and soul of
the Marian persecution and Philip did nothing in religious matters
without his advice. When, in September, 1555, Philip rejoined his father
in Flanders, he left Carranza as Mary's religious adviser, in which
capacity he remained until 1557. Regarded by the heretics as the chief
cause of their sufferings he barely escaped from repeated attempts on
his life by poison or violence.[139] It is true that English authorities
of the period make little mention of him, but the continued confidence
of Philip is ample evidence that his persecuting zeal was sufficient to
satisfy that exacting monarch.

When, in 1557, Carranza rejoined Philip in Flanders he was probably
engrossed in the preparation and printing of his large work on the
Catechism, of which more hereafter, but he still found time to
investigate and impede the clandestine trade of sending heretic books to
Spain.[140] That he had completely won Philip's esteem and confidence
was seen when Siliceo of Toledo died, May 1, 1557, and Philip appointed
him as successor in the archbishopric. He refused the splendid prize and
suggested three men as better fitted for the place. Philip persisted; he
was going to a neighboring convent to confess and commune prior to the
opening of the campaign and ordered Carranza to obey on his return. When
he came back he sent the presentation written in his own hand; Carranza
yielded, but on condition that, as the war with the pope would delay the
issue of the bulls, the king in the interval could make another
selection. This effort to avoid the fatal gift was fruitless. On his
return from the campaign, Philip in an autograph letter summoned him to
fulfil his promise and made the appointment public. So high was
Carranza's reputation that, when the presentation was laid before the
consistory in Rome, on December 6th, it was at once confirmed, without
observing the preconization, or the customary inquiry into the fitness
of the appointee, or a constitution which prohibited final action on the
same day.[141]


The elevation of a simple friar to the highest place in the Spanish
Church was a blow to numerous ambitions that could scarce fail to arouse
hostility. Valdés himself was said to have aspirations for the position
and to be bitterly disappointed. Pedro de Castro, Bishop of Cuenca, had
also cherished hopes and was eager for revenge. Carranza, moreover, was
not popular with the hierarchy. He was that unwelcome character, a
reformer within the Church and, while everyone acknowledged the
necessity of reform, no one looked with favor on a reformer who
assailed his profitable abuses. As far back as 1547, while in
attendance on the Council of Trent, Carranza had preached a sermon on
one of the most crying evils of the time, the non-residence of bishops
and beneficiaries, and had embodied his views in a tractate as severe as
a Lutheran would have written on this abuse and the kindred one of
pluralities, to which possibly the stringent Tridentine provisions on
the subject may be attributed.[142] Such an outburst was not calculated
to win favor, seeing that the splendor of the curia was largely
supported by the prelacies and benefices showered upon its members and
that in Spain there was scarce an inquisitor or a fiscal who was not a
non-resident beneficiary of some preferment.

Carranza had, moreover, a peculiarly dangerous enemy in a brother
Dominican, Melchor Cano, perhaps the leading Spanish theologian of the
time when Spanish theology was beginning to dominate the Church.
Learned, able, keen-witted and not particularly scrupulous, he was in
intellect vastly superior to Carranza; there had been early rivalry,
when both were professors of theology, and causes of strife in the
internal politics of the Order had arisen, so that Cano could scarce
view without bitterness the sudden elevation of his brother fraile.[143]
His position at the time was somewhat precarious. When, in 1556, Paul IV
forced war on Philip II, that pious prince sought the advice of
theologians as to the propriety of engaging in hostilities with the
Vicegerent of God, and the _parecer_, or opinion which Cano drew up, was
an able state paper that attracted wide attention. He defended
uncompromisingly the royal prerogatives, he virtually justified the
German revolt when the _Centum Gravamina_ of the Diet of Nürnberg, in
1522, were unredressed and he described the corruption of Rome as a
disease of such long standing as to be incurable.[144] This hardy
defiance irritated Paul in the highest degree. April 21, 1556 he issued
a brief summoning that son of perdition, Melchor Cano, to appear before
him within sixty days for trial and sentence, but the brief was
suppressed by the Royal Council and Cano was ordered not to leave the
kingdom. The Spanish Dominicans rallied to his defence; in the chapter
of 1558 he was elected provincial and deputy to the general chapter to
be held in Rome, but Paul ordered the election to be annulled and Cano
to be deprived of his priorate of San Esteban. Cano complained of
lukewarmness in his defence on the part of both Philip and Carranza and
it is easy to understand that, feeling keenly the disgrace inflicted on
him, he was in a temper to attack any one more fortunate than


At this inauspicious moment Carranza presented himself as a fair object
of attack by all who, from different motives, might desire to assail
him. If we may judge from his writings, he must have been impulsive and
inconsiderate in his speech, given to uttering extreme views which made
an impression and then qualifying them with restrictions that were
forgotten. He was earnestly desirous of restoring the Church to its
ancient purity and by no means reticent in exposing its weaknesses and
corruption. He had been trained at a time before the Tridentine
definitions had settled points of faith which, since the twelfth
century, had been the subjects of debate in the schools, and even in his
maturity the Council of Trent had not yet been clothed with the awful
authority subsequently accorded to it, for the inglorious exit of its
first two convocations, in 1547 and 1552, gave little promise of what
lay in the future. The echo of the fierce Lutheran controversies had
scarce penetrated into Spain and comparatively little was there known of
the debates which were shaking to its centre the venerable structure of
the Church. Carranza's very labors in condemning heretic books and
converting heretics had acquainted him with their doctrines and modes of
expression; he was a confused thinker and his impulsive utterances were
liable to be construed in a sense which he did not anticipate. As early
as 1530 he had been denounced to the Inquisition by Fray Juan de
Villamartin as a defender of Erasmus, especially in the matter of
confession and the authorship of the Apocalypse and, during his
persecuting career in England, he more than once gave opportunity, in
his sermons, to unfavorable comment.[146] It was also in evidence that
when in Rome, in 1539, he had written to Juan de Valdés in Naples,
asking what authors should be studied for understanding Scripture, as
he would have to teach that subject, and that Valdés replied in a letter
which Carranza circulated among his students in Valladolid--a letter
highly heretical in its teachings which Valdés subsequently included in
his "One hundred and ten Divine Considerations."[147] It is true that,
in 1539, Juan de Valdés was not reckoned a heretic, but, if the letter
was correctly identified with the "Consideration" in question its
circulation was highly imprudent, for it asserted that the guides for
the study of Scripture are prayer inspired by God and meditation based
on spiritual experience, thus discarding tradition for private
interpretation, and it further dwelt upon the confidence which the soul
should feel in justification through Christ. In the death-struggle with
Protestantism the time had passed for easy-going latitude of opinion
and, in the intricate mazes of scholastic theology, it was necessary to
walk warily, for acute censorship could discover heresy in any unguarded
expression. The great services rendered by Cardinal Morone and Cardinal
Pole did not save them from the prosecuting zeal of Paul IV and
Contarini and Sadoleto were both suspect of heresy.[148] Under such
conditions a rambling inconsequential thinker like Carranza was
peculiarly open to attack.

He had unquestionably been more or less intimate with some of the
prominent personages whose arrest for Lutheranism, in the spring of
1558, produced so immense a sensation. It was not unnatural that, on
their trials, they should seek to shield themselves behind his honored
name, but the detached fragments of conversation which were cited in
support of vague general assertions, even if correctly reported, amount
to nothing in the face of the emphatic testimony by Fray Domingo de
Rojas, for the discharge of his conscience, a few hours before his
execution, that he had never seen in Carranza anything that was not
Catholic in regard to the Roman Church and all its councils, definitions
and laws and that when Lutherans were alluded to he said their opinions
were crafty and deceiving; they had sprung from hell and the incautious
could easily be deceived by them.[149] The credence due to the evidence
of the Lutherans, on which so much stress was laid, can be gauged by a
subsequent case illustrative of the tendency to render Carranza
responsible for all aberrations of belief. A certain Gil Tibobil (de
Bonneville) on trial in 1564 for Lutheranism, in Toledo, sought to
palliate his guilt by asserting that he had heard Carranza preach, in
the church of San Agustin, against candles and images and that
confession was to be made to God and not to the priest. This was too
crude to be accepted and he was sternly told that it cast doubt on the
rest of his confession for, if Carranza had thus preached publicly, it
would have come to the knowledge of the Inquisition and he would have
been punished.[150]

Whether the testimony acquired in the trials of the Lutherans was
important or not, Inquisitor-general Valdés lost no time in using it to
discredit Carranza in the opinion of the sovereigns. As early as May 12,
1588, in a report to Charles V at Yuste, his assistance is asked in
obtaining the arrest of a fugitive, whose capture would be exceedingly
important; he had been traced to Castro de Urdiales, where he was to
embark for Flanders to find refuge with Carranza or with his companion
Fray Juan de Villagarcia, where he was sure of being well received. That
the real motive was to injure Carranza with Charles appears from Valdés
repeating the story to him in a report of June 2, adding that the
fugitive had escaped and that information had been sent to Philip in
order that he might be captured.[151] It is reasonable to assume that
whatever incriminating evidence could be obtained from the prisoners was
promptly brought to the notice of the sovereigns and that inferences
were unscrupulously asserted as facts.


At this critical juncture, Carranza delivered himself into the hands of
his enemies. In England and Flanders he had employed the intervals of
persecution in composing a work which should set forth the irrefragable
truths of the Catholic faith and guard the people from the insidious
poison of heretical doctrine. This was a task for which, at such a time,
he was peculiarly unfitted. He was not only a loose thinker but a looser
writer, diffuse, rambling and discursive, setting down whatever idea
chanced to occur to him and wandering off to whatever subjects the idea
might suggest. Moreover he was earnest as a reformer within the Church,
realizing abuses and exposing them fearlessly--in fact, he declared in
the Prologue that his object was to restore the purity and soundness of
the primitive Church, which was precisely what the heretics professed as
their aim and precisely what the ruling hierarchy most dreaded.[152]
Worst of all, he did this in the vulgar tongue, unmindful of the extreme
reserve which sought to keep from the people all knowledge of the errors
and arguments of the heretics and of the contrast between apostolic
simplicity and the splendid sacerdotalism of a wealthy and worldly
establishment.[153] This he cast into the form of Commentaries on the
Catechism, occupying a folio of nine hundred pages, full of impulsive
assertions which, taken by themselves, were of dangerous import, but
which were qualified or limited, or contradicted in the next sentence,
or the next page, or, perhaps, in the following section.

No one, I think, can dispassionately examine the Commentaries without
reaching the conviction that Carranza was a sincere and zealous
Catholic, however reckless may seem many of his isolated utterances. Nor
was his orthodoxy merely academic. He belonged to the Church Militant
and his hatred of heresy and heretics breaks out continually, in season
and out of season, whether apposite or not to his immediate subject.
Heretic arguments are not worthy of confutation--it is enough to say
that a doctrine is condemned by the Church and therefore it is
heretical. The first duty of the king is to preserve his dominions in
the true faith and to chastise those who sin against it. Even if
heretics should perform miracles, their disorderly lives and corrupted
morals would be sufficient to guard the people from listening to them or
believing them. If they do not admit their errors they are to be
condemned to death; this is the best theology that a Christian can learn
and it was not more necessary in the time of Moses than it is at

Even in that age, when theology was so favorite a topic, few could be
expected to wade through so enormous a mass of confused thinking and
disjointed writing, and it was easy for Carranza's enemies to garble
isolated sentences by which he could be represented to the sovereigns as
being at least suspect in the faith, and suspicion of heresy was quite
sufficient to require prosecution. Carranza himself, after his book was
printed, seems to have felt apprehension and to have proceeded
cautiously in giving it to the public. A set of the sheets was sent to
the Marchioness of Alcañizes and a dozen or more copies were allowed to
reach Spain, where they were received in March, 1558. Pedro de Castro,
Bishop of Cuenca, obtained one and speedily wrote to Valdés, denouncing
the writer as guilty of heretical opinions. Valdés grasped the
opportunity and ordered Melchor Cano to examine the work. Cano took as a
colleague Fray Domingo de Cuevas and had no difficulty in discovering a
hundred and one passages of heretical import. The preliminaries to a
formal trial were now fairly under way, the result of which could scarce
be doubtful under inquisitorial methods, if the royal and papal assent
could be obtained, necessary even to the Inquisition before it could
openly attack the Primate of the Spanish Church.

Despite the profound secrecy enveloping the operations of the
Inquisition, it was impossible that, in an affair of such moment, there
should not be indiscretions and Carranza in Flanders was advised of what
was on foot. His friends urged him not to return to Spain but to take
refuge in Rome under papal protection, but he knew that this would
irrevocably cost him the favor of Philip, for exaggerated jealousy of
papal interference with the Inquisition was traditional since the time
of Ferdinand and Isabella, and he virtually surrendered his case at once
by instructing his printer, Martin Nucio, not to sell copies of the
Commentaries without his express orders, thus withdrawing it from


But little adverse impression seems as yet to have been made on Philip.
When Carranza was about to leave Flanders, the king gave him detailed
instructions which manifest unbounded confidence. He was to go directly
to Valladolid and represent the extreme need of money; then he was to
see Queen Mary of Hungary, Charles' sister, and persuade her to come to
Flanders; then he was to hasten to Yuste where Philip, through him,
unbosomed himself to his father, revealing all his necessities and
desires in family as well as in state affairs. In short, Carranza was
still one whom he could safely entrust with his most secret

Carranza, with his customary lack of worldly wisdom, threw away all the
advantages of his position. Landing at Laredo on August 1st, he passed
through Burgos, where he was involved in an unseemly squabble with the
archbishop over his assumed right to carry his archiepiscopal cross in
public. He did not reach Valladolid until the 13th and there he tarried,
busied ostensibly with a suit between his see and the Marquis of
Camarasa over the valuable Adelantamiento of Cazorla, but doubtless
occupied also with efforts to counteract the intrigues of Valdés. Then
he performed his mission to Mary of Hungary and it was not until the
middle of September that he set out on a leisurely journey to Yuste.
Valdés had taken care to forestall his visit. An autograph letter of the
Princess Juana to Charles, August 8th, says that Valdés had asked her to
warn him to be cautious in dealing with Carranza, for he had been
implicated by the Lutheran prisoners and would already have been
arrested had he been anyone else. Charles was naturally impatient to see
him, not only to obtain explanations as to this, but also to receive the
messages expected from Philip, for which he was waiting before writing
to Flanders. Carranza's delay, in spite of repeated urgency from Yuste,
could not but create a sinister impression and all chance of
justification was lost, for Charles was prostrated by his fatal illness
before Carranza left Valladolid and the end was near when he reached
Yuste about noon on September 20th. Charles expired the next morning at
half-past two, Carranza administering to him the last consolations, his
method in which formed one of the charges against him on his trial. He
had thrown away his last chance and the unexpected death of Charles
deprived him of one who might possibly have stood between him and his

The plans of Valdés were now sufficiently advanced for him to seek the
papal authorization which alone was lacking, and his method to obtain
this was characteristically insidious. The Suprema addressed, September
9th, to Paul IV a relation of its labors in discovering and prosecuting
the Lutheran heretics. There was skilful exaggeration of the danger
impending from a movement, the extent of which could not be known, and
it was pointed out that sympathy with the sectaries might be entertained
by officials of the Inquisition itself, by the Ordinaries and the
consultors; so that extraordinary powers were asked to arrest and judge
and relax those suspected or guilty, even though they were persons
holding a secular or pontifical and ecclesiastical dignity or belonging
to any religious or other Order.[158] As the Inquisition already had
jurisdiction over all but bishops (it had not hesitated to arrest and
try the Dominican Fray Domingo de Rojas) the self-evident object of this
was to obtain surreptitiously, under cover of the word "pontifical,"
some general expression that might be used to deprive Carranza of his
right to trial by the pope. The Dean of Oviedo, a nephew of Valdés, was
sent to Rome as a special agent to procure the desired brief; whether
royal sanction for this application was obtained does not appear, but it
probably was not, at least at this stage.


Carranza meanwhile had been vainly endeavoring to get copies of the
censures on his book in order to answer them. He appealed earnestly to
his friends in Philip's court and in Rome but, without awaiting their
replies, he pursued his policy of submission and, on September 21st, the
day of Charles's death, he wrote to Sancho López de Otálora, a member of
the Suprema, that he consented to the prohibition of his work, provided
this was confined to Spain and that his name was not mentioned.[159] In
this and what followed he has been accused of weakness, but it is
difficult to see what other course lay open to him. He doubtless still
considered his episcopal consecration a guarantee for his personal
safety, while his reputation for orthodoxy could best be conserved by
not entering into a fruitless contest with a power irresistible in its
chosen field of action--a contest, moreover, which would have cost him
the royal favor that was his main reliance.

In pursuance of this policy he even descended to attempting to
propitiate Melchor Cano by offering to do whatever he would recommend.
Cano subsequently asserted, with customary mendacity, that Carranza
would have averted his fate had he adopted any of the means which he
devised and advised to save him, but it is difficult to imagine what
more he could have done.[160] Towards the close of November he wrote to
Valdés and the Suprema and to other influential persons professing his
submission. He explained the reasons which had led him to write his book
in the vernacular after commencing it in Latin; it could readily be
suppressed for, on reaching Valladolid, he had withdrawn the edition
from the printer; there were no copies in the bookshops and what he had
brought with him he would surrender, while the dozen or so that had been
sent to Spain could easily be called in as the recipients were all
known. Then, on December 9th, he proposed to the Suprema that the book
should be prohibited in Spanish and be returned to him for correction
and translation into Latin.[161] Had the real object of Valdés been the
ostensible one of preserving the faith, this would have amply sufficed;
the book would have been suppressed and the public humiliation of the
Archbishop of Toledo, so distinguished for his services to religion,
would have been an amply deterrent warning to all indiscreet
theologians. It was a not unnatural burst of indignation when, in a
letter to Domingo de Soto, November 14th, he bitterly pointed out how
the heretics would rejoice to know that Fray Bartolomé de Miranda was
treated in Spain as he had treated them in England and Flanders and
that, after he had burnt them to enforce the doctrines of his book, it
was pronounced in Spain unfit to be read.[162] Carranza's submission
brought no result save to encourage his enemies, who put him off with
vague replies while awaiting the success of their application to the

Meanwhile he had reached Toledo, October 13th, and had applied himself
actively to his duties. He was rigid in the performance of divine
service, he visited prisons, hospitals and convents, he put an end to
the sale of offices and charging fees for licences, he revised the
fee-bill of his court, he enforced the residence of parish priests and
was especially careful in the distribution of preferment--in short he
was a practical as well as theoretical reformer. His charity also was
boundless, for he used to say that all he needed was a Dominican habit
and that whatever God gave him was for the poor. Thus during his ten
months of incumbency, he distributed more than eighty thousand ducats in
marrying orphans, redeeming captives, supporting widows, sending
students to universities and in gifts to hospitals.[163] He was a model
bishop, and the resolute fidelity with which the chapter of Toledo
supported his cause to the end shows the impression made on a body
which, in Spanish churches, was usually at odds with its prelate.

He had likewise not been idle in obtaining favorable opinions of his
book from theologians of distinction. In view of the rumors of
inquisitorial action, there was risk in praising it, yet nearly all
those prominent in Spanish theology bore testimony in its favor. The
general view accorded virtually with that of Pedro Guerrero, Archbishop
of Granada, than whom no one in the Spanish hierarchy stood higher for
learning and piety. The book, he said, was without error and, being in
Castilian, was especially useful for parish priests unfamiliar with
Latin, wherefore it should be extensively circulated. It was true that
there were occasional expressions which, taken by themselves, might on
their face seem to be erroneous, but elsewhere it was seen that they
must be construed in a Catholic sense. To this effect recorded
themselves Domingo and Pedro de Soto, men of the highest reputation,
Garrionero Bishop of Almería, Blanco of Orense, Cuesta of Leon, Delgado
of Lugo and numerous others.[164] If some of these men belied themselves
subsequently and aided in giving the finishing blow to their persecuted
brother, we can estimate the pressure brought to bear on them.


Valdés speedily utilized the power of the Inquisition to check these
appreciations of the Commentaries. When, at the University of Alcalá,
the rector, the chancellor, and twenty-two doctors united in declaring
the work to be without error or suspicion of error, save that some
incautious expressions, disconnected from the context, might be
mistaken by hasty readers, Valdés muzzled it and all other learned
bodies and individuals by a letter saying that it had come to his notice
that learned men of the university had been examining books and giving
their opinions. As this produced confusion and contradiction respecting
the Index which the Inquisition was preparing, all persons, colleges and
universities were forbidden to censure or give an opinion concerning any
book without first submitting it to the Suprema, and this under pain of
excommunication and a fine of two hundred ducats on each and every one
concerned.[165] It was impossible to contend with an adversary armed
with such weapons. Not content with this, the rector of the university,
Diego Sobaños, was prosecuted by the tribunal of Valladolid for the part
he had taken in the matter; he was reprimanded, fined and absolved _ad
cautelam_. Similar action was taken against the more prominent of those
who had expressed themselves favorably and who, for the most part, were
forced to retract.[166] The Inquisition played with loaded dice.

Dean Valdés of Oviedo meanwhile had succeeded in his mission to Rome,
aided, as Raynaldus assures us, by the express request of Philip, though
this is more than doubtful. The brief was dated January 7, 1559; it was
addressed to Valdés and recited that, as there were in Spain some
prelates suspected of Lutheranism, he was empowered for two years from
the receipt of the brief, with the advice of the Suprema, to make
investigation and, if sufficient proof were found against any one and
there was good reason to apprehend his flight, to arrest and keep him in
safe custody, but as soon as possible the pope was to be informed of it
and the prisoner was to be sent to him with all the evidence and papers
in the case.[167] With the exception of the provision against expected
flight, this was merely in accordance with the received practice in the
case of bishops, but it was the entering wedge and we shall see how its
limitations were disregarded.

The brief was received April 8th. In place of complying with it and
sending Carranza to Rome with the evidence that had been collecting for
nearly a year, a formal trial was secretly commenced. The fiscal
presented a _clamosa_ or indictment, on May 6th, asking for Carranza's
arrest and the sequestration of his property, "for having preached,
written and dogmatized many errors of Luther." The evidence was duly
laid before _calificadores_, or censors, who reported accordingly and,
on the 13th, there was drawn up a summons to appear and answer to the
demand of the fiscal. Before proceeding further, in an affair of such
magnitude, it was felt that the assent was required of Philip, who was
still in Flanders.[168] As recently as April 4th he had replied
encouragingly to an appeal from the persecuted prelate. "I have not
wanted to go forward in the matter of your book, about which you wrote
to me, until the person whom you were sending should arrive; he has
spoken with me today. I had already done something of what is proper in
this business. Not to detain the courier who goes with the good news of
the conclusion of peace, I do not wish to enlarge in replying to you,
but I shall do so shortly and meanwhile I earnestly ask you to make no
change in what you have done hitherto and to have recourse to no one but
to me, for it would be in the highest degree disadvantageous."[169]
Philip evidently thought that only Carranza's book and not his person
was concerned, that the affair was of no great importance and his
solicitude was chiefly to prevent any appeal to Rome, a matter in which
he fully shared the intense feeling of his predecessors. When Carranza
ordered his envoy to Flanders, Fray Hernando de San Ambrosio, to proceed
to Rome and secure an approbation of the Commentaries, he replied, April
19th, that all his friends at the court earnestly counselled against; it
had been necessary to assure Philip of the falsity of the reports that
he had done so, whereupon the king had expressed his satisfaction and
had said that any other course would have displeased him.[170]


Advantage, for which Carranza foolishly offered the opportunity, was
taken of this extreme jealousy to win him over. When the Dominican
chapter met, in April, 1559, there was open strife between him and Cano,
over a report that Cano had styled him a greater heretic than Luther and
that he favored Cazalla and the other prisoners. Carranza demanded his
punishment for the slander and sought to defeat his candidacy for the
provincialate. In this he failed. Cano's assertion that he had been
misunderstood was accepted; he was again elected provincial and Carranza
unwisely carried his complaint to Rome.[171] There it became mixed up
with the question of Cano's confirmation, for Paul IV naturally resented
the repeated presentation of that "son of iniquity." Philip, on the
other hand, could not abandon the protection of one whose fault, in
papal eyes, was his vindication of the royal prerogative, and he
interested himself actively in pressing the confirmation. Paul
equivocated and lied and sought some subterfuge which was found in
Cano's consecration, in 1552, as Bishop of Canaries (a post which he had
resigned in 1553) which was held to render him ineligible to any
position in his Order, and a general decree to that effect was issued in

All this was skilfully used to prejudice Philip against Carranza. In
letters of May 16th to him and of May 22nd and 25th to his confessor
Bernardo de Fresneda, Cano with great adroitness and small respect for
veracity represented himself as subjected to severe persecution. He had
always been Carranza's friend; he had withheld for seven months his
censure of the Commentaries and had yielded only to a threat of
excommunication and now Carranza was repaying him by intriguing against
the confirmation in Rome--the truth being that it was not until the end
of June that Carranza's agent reached there. It was a terrible thing,
Cano added, if the archbishop, through his Italian General, could thus
wrong him and he could not defend himself. He was resolved to suffer in
silence, but the persecution was so bitter that if the king did not
speedily come to Spain he would have to seek refuge in Flanders.[173]
What, in reality, were his sufferings and what the friendly work on
which he was engaged, are indicated by a commission issued to him, May
29th, granting him the extraordinary powers of a substitute
inquisitor-general and sending him forth on a roving expedition to
gather evidence, compelling everyone whom he might summon to answer
whatever questions he might ask.[174] The Suprema and Valdés, moreover,
in letters of May 13th and 16th to Philip, adopted the same tone; Cano's
labors throughout the affair had been great and it was hoped that the
king would not permit his persecution for the services rendered to God
and his majesty; there need be no fear of injustice to Carranza, for the
investigation was impartial and dispassionate.[175]

Philip had already been informed by Cardinal Pacheco, February 24th and
again May 13th, that Carranza had sent to the pope copies of the
favorable opinions of his book, asking that it be judged in Rome and
that his episcopal privilege of papal jurisdiction be preserved.[176]
Whatever intentions he had of befriending Carranza were not proof
against the assertions that to his intrigues was attributable the papal
interference with Cano's election. On June 26th he wrote to Cano,
expressing his satisfaction and assuring him of his support in Rome and,
on the same day, to the Suprema approving its actions as to the
Commentaries and expressing his confidence that it would do what was
right.[177] In thus authorizing the prosecution he ordered the
archbishop's dignity to be respected and he wrote to the Princess Juana
that, to avoid scandal, she should invite him to Valladolid to consult
on important matters, so that the trial could proceed without attracting


Philip's letters were received July 10th, but there was still hesitation
and it was not until August 3d that the princess wrote, summoning
Carranza in haste to Valladolid, where she would have lodgings prepared
for him. This she sent, with secret instructions, by the hands of
Rodrigo de Castro, a member of the Suprema.[179] Carranza was at Alcalá
de Henares, whither Diego Ramírez, inquisitor of Toledo, was also
despatched, under pretext of publishing the Edict of Faith. Carranza,
who suspected a snare, was desirous of postponing his arrival at
Valladolid until Philip, on whose protection he still relied, should
reach Spain. Accordingly he converted the journey into a visitation,
leaving Alcalá on the 16th and passing through Fuente el Saz and
Talamanca to Torrelaguna, which he reached on the 20th. On the road he
received intimations of what was in store and at Torrelaguna Fray Pedro
de Soto came with the news that emissaries had already started to arrest
him, which elicited from him a despairing and beseeching letter to
Fresneda, the royal confessor.[180]

De Soto's report was true. Valdés dreaded as much as Carranza desired
Philip's arrival; the delay on the road risked this if the device of the
invitation to Valladolid was to be carried out. For his plans it was
essential that an irrevocable step should be taken in the king's
absence--a step which should compromise Carranza and commit the
Inquisition so fully that Philip could not revoke it without damaging
the Holy Office in a way that to him was impossible. To allow Carranza
to be at liberty while investigating the suspicion of his heresy, as
Philip had ordered, would leave the door open to royal or papal
intervention; to seize and imprison him would leave Philip no
alternative but to urge forward his destruction, while his dilatory
progress could be assumed to cover preparations for flight. Accordingly,
on August 17th the Suprema issued a commission, under the papal brief of
January 7th, to Rodrigo de Castro to act with other inquisitors in the
case, while, as justice required Carranza's arrest, Valdés commissioned
de Castro, Diego Ramírez and Diego González, inquisitor of Valladolid,
to seize the person of the archbishop and convey him to such prison as
should be designated, at the same time sequestrating all his property,
real and personal and all his papers and writings. Simultaneously Joan
Cebrian, alguazil mayor of the Suprema, was ordered to coöperate with
the inquisitors in the arrest and sequestration.[181]

Cebrian started the same day for Torrelaguna, where he kept his bed
through the day and worked at night. The inquisitors came together; a
force of familiars and others was secretly collected and, by day-break
on the 22nd the governor, the alcalde and the alguaziles of Torrelaguna
were seized and held under guard, the house where Carranza lodged was
surrounded, de Castro, Ramírez, Cebrian and a dozen men ascended the
stairs and knocked at the door of the antechamber. Fray Antonio de
Utrilla asked who was there and the dread response came "Open to the
Holy Office!" It was the same at the door of Carranza's chamber; de
Castro knelt at the bed-side, where Carranza had drawn the curtains and
raised himself on his elbow; he begged Carranza's pardon with tears in
his eyes and said his face would show his reluctance in performing his
duty. Cebrian was called in and read the order of arrest. Carranza
replied "These señores do not know that they are not my judges, as I am
subject directly to the pope." Then de Castro produced the papal brief
from the bosom of his gown and read it. Some say that Carranza fell back
on his pillow, others that he remained imperturbable. He ordered out all
the rest and remained for a considerable time alone with de Castro and

He was at once secluded in the most rigid manner, all his people being
excluded, except Fray Domingo Ximenes, who was required to assist in the
sequestration and inventory. At table he was served by de Castro and
Ramírez, who treated him with the utmost respect and endeavored to
console him, for by this time his fortitude had given way and he was
overwhelmed. His attendants were all dismissed and given money to find
their way whither they chose and their grief we are told moved every one
to compassion. Only the cook and steward and a muleteer were retained to
serve the party. At nine in the evening proclamation was made throughout
the town that until daylight no one was to leave his house or look out
of a window. At midnight Cebrian assembled forty horsemen; de Castro and
Ramírez brought Carranza down and stationed themselves on either side of
his mule as the cavalcade rode forth in the darkness and then Salinas,
the owner of the house, was allowed to come out to close his door. The
heat was overpowering and when, by ten in the morning they reached
Lozoya, they rested for a day and a night. On the 27th they arrived at
Laguna del Duero, near Valladolid, where de Castro and Ramírez left the
party and rode forward for instructions, returning the same day and, at
two in the morning of the 28th, Carranza was brought to the city and
lodged in the house of Pedro González de Leon, in the suburb of San
Pedro beyond the walls, which had been taken by the Inquisition.[183]


Carranza thus disappeared from human sight as completely as though
swallowed by the earth. It is a forcible illustration of inquisitorial
methods, but conspicuous only by reason of the dignity of the victim,
for it rested with the discretion of the officials whether thus to
spirit away and conceal their prisoners or to cast them publicly into
the secret prison. Morales tells us that it was years before the place
of Carranza's incarceration was known, although every one said that he
had been seized by the Holy Office. Even to say this, however, was not
unattended with danger, for, in the trial, in September, by the tribunal
of Toledo, of Rodrigo Alvárez, one of the charges against him was that,
about September 5th, he had remarked to a casual fellow-traveller, that
he came from Valladolid and was quite certain that the archbishop was

There could be no doubt about it in Toledo, where the news of the arrest
was received on the 24th. On the 26th the chapter assembled in sorrow to
take what measures they could, in aid of their beloved prelate, but they
were powerless save to delegate two of their number to reside in
Valladolid and render such assistance as was possible. It amounted to
little save a testimony of sympathy, for no communication was allowed,
but they advised with his counsel and performed what service they were
able. This faithful watch was kept up during the long and weary years of
the trial and when it was adjourned to Rome they went thither and
remained to the end. The chapter also, almost monthly, sent memorials to
Philip praying for a speedy and favorable end of the case. The great
Dominican Order also felt keenly the disgrace inflicted on its
distinguished member and exerted itself in his favor as far as it could.
The Spanish episcopate also was greatly perturbed, not knowing where the
next blow might fall and the scandal throughout the land was

Philip had disembarked at Laredo on August 29th. Valdés evidently felt
that some excuse was necessary for action so much more decisive than
that prescribed by the king and, in a letter of September 9th, explained
to him that Carranza was delaying his movements in order to meet him on
his arrival at Laredo; that he was working in Rome to impede the matter;
that the infamy of his position was daily spreading and that the auto de
fe prepared for the Lutherans could not take place while he was at
liberty. Seeing that the effort to entice him to Valladolid had failed,
it was resolved to bring him there, which was done quietly and without
disturbance. He had been well treated and would continue to be so and
the king might rely on the affair being conducted with all rectitude. An
intimation, moreover, that all his property had been sequestrated
indicates that the financial aspect of the matter was deemed worthy of
being called to the royal attention and the whole tone of the letter
shows that Carranza's imprisonment was predetermined. The allusion to
his design of meeting the king at Laredo disposes of the plea that he
was suspected of flight and the fact that the auto de fe of the
Lutherans did not take place until October 8th is a test of the
flimsiness of the reasons alleged.[186]

Carranza's treatment was vastly better than that of ordinary prisoners
confined in the cells of the secret prison. He was asked to select his
attendants, when he named six, but was allowed only two--his companion,
Fray Alonso de Utrilla and his page, Jorje Gómez Muñoz de
Carrascosa.[187] Two rooms were allotted to the party--rooms without
provision for the needs of human nature, with windows padlocked and
shutters closed, so that at times the stench became unendurable. The
foul atmosphere brought on a dangerous illness in which Carranza nearly
perished; the physicians ordered the apartment to be ventilated, morning
and evening, but all that the Suprema would permit was a small grating
in the door, though at times it was left ajar with a guard posted at
it.[188] Communication with the outside world was so completely cut off
that when, in 1561, a great conflagration ravaged Valladolid, raging for
thirty hours, destroying four hundred houses and penetrating to the
quarter where the prison stood, the prisoners knew nothing of it until
after reaching Rome.[189] The inquisitorial rule that all consultation
with counsel must be held in the presence of an inquisitor was rigidly
observed and also that which denied to prisoners the consolation of the


Diego González, one of the inquisitors of Valladolid, was assigned to
the special charge of Carranza who, in a long and rambling memorial to
the Suprema represents him as treating him without respect, insulting
him, suppressing his communications with the Suprema, fabricating
answers, throwing every impediment in the way of his defence and
aggravating, with malicious ingenuity, the miseries of his position.
Some details as to the parsimony with which he was treated are almost
incredible when we reflect that the Inquisition and Philip were enjoying
the enormous sequestrated revenues of their prisoner.[190]

Although the papal brief only authorized the collection of evidence and
its transmission to Rome with the person of the accused, the trial was
conducted as though the Inquisition had full jurisdiction. It was
commenced September 4th; as Carranza could not be taken to the
Inquisition, Valdés and the Suprema came to his place of confinement,
administered the customary oath and, according to routine procedure,
gave him the first monition to discharge his conscience and confess
freely. He replied by recusing Valdés as his judge on the score of
enmity, to whom he subsequently added two members of the Suprema, Andrés
Pérez, Bishop of Ciudad-Rodrigo and Diego de Cobos, Bishop of Jaen.[191]
This recusation excited no little debate. There were some who pronounced
it frivolous, others that it should be referred to the pope and others
again that it should be decided by arbitrators. The latter opinion
prevailed; Carranza and the fiscal named their arbitrators who rendered
a decision in Carranza's favor on February 23, 1560. A new judge thus
became necessary; Carranza's friends and the Dominicans were busy in
Rome to have the case transferred thither, but at that time Philip's
will was substantially law to Pius IV and, on May 4th a brief was
obtained authorizing the king to appoint one or more bishops, or other
just and experienced ecclesiastics, to hear the case and bring it to a
proper conclusion. This conferred full jurisdiction and placed Carranza
in a worse position than before. Strenuous representations must have
been made to Pius for, on July 3rd he issued another brief defining his
intention to be that the judges should conduct the case up to the point
of sentence and then send the papers under seal to Rome, where he, in
secret consistory, would decide it as a matter specially reserved to the
Holy See.[192] This revendicated the papal jurisdiction, but at the same
time it confirmed the usurpation of Valdés in formally trying Carranza
in lieu of merely collecting testimony for a trial in Rome.


Philip leisurely postponed for a year the nomination of new judges. It
may seem harsh to attribute this to the repulsive motive of prolonging
the trial in order to enjoy the benefit of the sequestrated revenues of
Toledo, but his financial needs were extreme and the temptation was
great. In violation of the rule of the Inquisition that sequestrations
were held for the benefit of the owner, to be accounted for unless
confiscation was imposed, Philip had appointed Tello Giron administrator
of the archbishopric, had procured his confirmation from Pius IV, in
spite of the earnest remonstrances of the chapter, and was quietly
absorbing the revenues, except such portion as the Suprema claimed for
the expenses of Carranza and of the trial.[193] We happen to have
evidence of this in the promise of a pension of twelve thousand cruzados
on the see of Toledo, by which he won over Cardinal Caraffa to the
Spanish interest, during the long conclave which resulted in the
election of Pius IV[194], and the acquiescence of that pope in his
enjoyment of the revenues was probably purchased by the promise of a
similar pension of twelve thousand crowns to his favorite nephew, St.
Charles Borromeo--a promise which he neglected to fulfil although, in
1564, it was reckoned that he had already received from the see some
eight hundred thousand crowns. When he quarrelled with Pius for deciding
the question of precedence in favor of France, the pope threatened to
make him disgorge, but without success.[195] It is therefore easy to
understand why the case promised to be interminable. The two years of
the original brief expired in April, 1561; Pius extended it for two
years more; then, by a brief of April 4, 1563, he renewed it for another
year, at the same time prescribing that Carranza should be more
mercifully treated; then, August 12, 1564, it was extended until January
1, 1565, and for another year still before the matter passed into the
sterner hands of St. Pius V.[196] These delays it was the fashion to
impute to Carranza. Bishop Simancas, who hated him for the proverbial
reason _odisse quem læseris_, asserts that he was constantly employing
devices to prevent progress, but this is absurd.[197] It was Carranza's
interest to be released from his dreary incarceration and to be sent to
Rome, where he felt confident of favor; the cumbrous _estilo_ of the
Inquisition enabled it to retard action at will, while the accused could
do little either to hasten or to impede.

When Philip at last acted on the power to name Carranza's judges he
appointed, March 13, 1561, Gaspar Zuñiga, Archbishop of Santiago who, on
May 2nd, subdelegated the work to Bishops Valtodano and Simancas, both
members of the Suprema and hostile to the prisoner. Carranza, as the
result of his recusation, thus found himself practically remanded to
Valdés, who was moreover shielded from direct responsibility. Carranza
naturally recused his new judges, on the ground that they had voted for
his arrest, but Philip airily dismissed the recusation, saying that if
this were just cause no judge could try a culprit whose apprehension he
had ordered.[198] In the following June Carranza was allowed to select
counsel--a special favor for, as a rule, the accused was restricted to
one or two lawyers who held appointments under the tribunal. He chose
Martin de Azpilcueta and Alonso Delgado and also Doctors Santander and
Morales, though of these latter we hear nothing subsequently.
Azpilcueta, known also as Doctor Navarro, was one of the leading
canonists of the time and a man of the highest reputation. He served
faithfully to the end and probably thereby ruined his career in Spain,
for he remained in Rome as a papal penitentiary.

After nearly two years of imprisonment the formal trial began July 30th
and proceeded in most leisurely fashion. The rules of the Inquisition
required three monitions to be given within ten days after arrest, but
Valtodano and Simancas administered the first monition to discharge his
conscience by confession on July 30th, the second on August 25th and the
third on August 29th. He replied that for two years he had been desirous
of learning the cause of his arrest and begging to be informed, which
showed how ignorant he was of inquisitorial practice, for this was
sedulously concealed from the accused, who was sternly ordered to search
his conscience and earn mercy by confession. Then, on September 1st, the
fiscal presented the accusation, in thirty-one articles, to each of
which the accused was required to make answer on the spot. After this a
copy was given to him on which to frame a more formal defence and for
this he asked to have access to his papers--a fruitless request, for it
was not the style of the Inquisition to allow the accused to have means
of justifying himself.[199]

The articles of accusation were drawn not only from the Commentaries but
from the confessions of the Lutheran heretics, the gossip and hearsay
evidence industriously collected, and from the mass of papers seized
when he was arrested. Many of these were not his own, but essays of
others. There were extracts from heretic books which he had made at
Trent for the purpose of refuting them; there were essays written when
as a youth he had entered the Dominican Order, forty years before; there
were notes of sermons taken down for practice when he was a student, and
sermons preached in the refectory as required by the Rule of his Order;
scattered thoughts jotted down for consideration and development;
memoranda made when examining heretic Bibles and their comments for the
Inquisition--in short all the vast accumulation of a man who for forty
years had been busily studying and teaching and preaching and writing
and wrangling on theology.[200] All the intellectual sins of youth and
manhood had been scrutinized by malevolent eyes and he was called upon
to answer for them without being allowed to know from what sources the
charges were brought. There was in this no special injustice inflicted
on him--it was merely the regular inquisitorial routine.


Thus a year passed away and, on June 5, 1562, the fiscal presented a
second accusation, for there was no limit to these successive charges,
each of which could be made to consume time. These new articles were
mostly based on rumors and vague expressions of opinion, for all who
were inimical, secure in the suppression of their names, were free to
depose as to what they thought or imagined and it was all received as
evidence. These he answered as best he could and he succeeded in
identifying the names of some of the adverse witnesses. Then he
presented a defence, doubtless drawn up as customary by his counsel, for
it was clear and cogent, bearing little trace of his discursive and
inconclusive style. In support of this he handed in a long list of
witnesses to be examined, including Philip II and the Princess Juana,
but the fiscal, passing over the royalties, objected to the rest on the
ground that they were friends of Carranza--hostile testimony was
admitted from any source, but that which was suspected of favorable
partiality was rejected. As a principle, this was recognized in
inquisitorial practice, but it was not habitually applied with so much

On August 31, 1562, Carranza addressed an earnest appeal to Philip,
reminding him of his command, in April, 1559, to trust in him alone.
Three years had passed in prison, his case had scarce more than begun
and promised to be interminable. His judge, the Archbishop of Santiago,
had not delegated full powers to Valtodano and Simancas; questions arose
which they could not or would not decide and, when these were submitted
to the archbishop, months elapsed before an answer was received. On
January 19th his counsel had issued a requisition on the archbishop to
come and hear the case personally or to grant full powers to his
delegates, but up to the present time no reply had come. Never in the
world, he said, was justice administered in this fashion, and he
despairingly entreated Philip to expedite the case or to permit him to
appeal to the pope.[202] Whether or not this cry from the depths reached
Philip, it produced no effect.

By this time the affair had become a European scandal. The bishops
assembled at the third convocation of the Council of Trent felt it
acutely, both as an opprobrium to the Church and an attack on the
immunities of their order. Philip was aware of this and, in letters of
October 30th and December 15, 1562, to his representative at Trent, the
Count of Luna, and to Vargas, his ambassador at Rome, he gave
instructions to prevent its discussion and to ask the pope to order his
legates to see that the Council kept its hands off from the Spanish
Inquisition.[203] It was with difficulty that the council could be
restrained. In the early months of 1563 the legates repeatedly reported
that it ardently desired him to evoke the case and order the papers sent
to Rome. In reply Pius earnestly disclaimed indifference; he had urged
the matter until Philip's temper showed that further pressure would
disrupt the concord so necessary to the universal good. This did not
satisfy the bishops, who persisted till Pius assured them that he had
seen the earlier papers in the case and could affirm that Carranza's
imprisonment was not unjust; he promised that he would not permit delay
beyond April, 1564, and that he would render a just judgement.[204] If
the bishops could not help their captive brother, they could at least
provide for their own safety and this they did by a decree which
greatly strengthened a declaration adopted in 1551 concerning the
exclusive papal jurisdiction over bishops.[205]

There was another way in which the council sought to aid Carranza. It
had a standing congregation employed in compiling an Index of prohibited
books. The Commentaries came legitimately before it and, after
examination, it was pronounced, June 2, 1563, to be good and Catholic
and most worthy to be read by all pious men. The secretary of the
congregation, Fra Francesco Forerio, issued a certificate of this,
conferring licence to print it, and Pius followed, June 23rd, with a
papal licence to the same effect. The Count of Luna was greatly
exercised at this and was aided by the celebrated scholar, Antonio
Agustin, then Bishop of Lérida. Matters went so far that the Legate
Morosini dreaded the disruption of the council and peace was only
restored by withdrawing the certificate of approbation. A copy had been
given to Carranza's friends which they were forced to surrender.[206]
Philip's indignation at this, as expressed in a letter to Luna, of
August 2nd, was too late to be of service and is important only from its
statement that he considered the affair of Carranza to be the most
momentous that he had in connection with the council.[207]

Meanwhile the case was dragging on, one series of charges being
presented after another, until the aggregate was over four hundred, each
of which furnished opportunity for discussion and procrastination.[208]
Besides the financial motive for this delay, Philip was now engaged in a
struggle with Rome to protect the Inquisition from the consequences of
its own evil work. There was nothing in his eyes more important than to
preserve and augment its privileges, and his jealousy of any attempt at
interference by the Holy See was an overmastering passion. His secret
object was to arrogate to it complete jurisdiction over bishops and
prevent the final submission of the case to papal decision.


Pius IV, to do him justice, felt keenly the humiliating position in
which he was placed by the overbearing determination of Philip, but each
attempt at self-assertion only rendered more evident the contempt in
which he was held. More than once he wrote to the Archbishop of Santiago
rebuking him for the long delay which kept Carranza in prison while the
case made no advance. He named January 1, 1564, as the limit of the
archbishop's commission, after which the process, whether completed or
not, was to be forwarded to Rome. The limit passed without obedience to
his commands and he wrote again, expressing high displeasure at the
contumacy which doomed such a man to grow old in the squalor of a prison
without law or justice. Again he ordered the case, whether completed or
not, to be sent to Rome; if there were delay, all concerned were _ipso
facto_ anathematized, deprived of all dignities and functions and
rendered infamous and incapable of restoration; all letters granting
jurisdiction were revoked and the case was evoked to Rome for decision.
Carranza himself was to be delivered forthwith to the nuncio, who was
empowered either to keep him in honorable custody or to liberate him on
bail. These were brave words, but there was no heart to back them up
with action and, when they were disregarded, he extended, on August 12th
the Archbishop's commission until January, 1565, after which, as
previously ordered, the case was to be transmitted to Rome, and there
was a significant absence of the minatory tone so prominent in the
previous briefs.[209]

Encouraged by this evidence of weakness, on November 24, 1564, Philip
sent Rodrigo de Castro to Rome on a mission to have Carranza abandoned
to the Inquisition, significantly instructing him not to disdain
whatever means he might find necessary to win over everybody of
influence. Even the unlimited bribery thus planned failed of success,
although the secondary object of procrastination was effected. Castro
commenced by demanding, in a private audience, that the case be
abandoned to the Inquisition, but refused to put the demand in writing.
Then he lowered his tone and the pope agreed to send a special legate to
Spain to review the case and pronounce sentence, but Castro insisted
that the Suprema and such prelates as the king might select should be
adjoined to the legate. This the pope refused, but there was some
misunderstanding about it, and when Castro saw the commission drafted
for the legate he was furious. He sought an audience and accused the
pope of breaking his word; Pius lost his temper and said that in this
whole business he had been treated like an ass; the affair was his and
he would do as he pleased. Thus rebuffed, Castro poured forth his griefs
to Cardinal Borromeo and declared that, if the legate went to Spain with
such a commission, he would not get a real. This assertion may seem
enigmatical to modern ears, but it is explained by the remark of the
shrewd French ambassador, when reporting to Charles IX the arrival of
the legate, that the case of Carranza and the use of his legatine
faculties would bring him much money.[210]

The Holy See has rarely sent abroad a body so distinguished as this
legation, predestined to failure. The special legate A LATERE was
Cardinal Buoncompagni, afterwards Gregory XIII, accompanied by
Archbishop Rossano, subsequently Urban VII, Fra Felice Perretti,
afterwards Sixtus V and Giovanni Aldobrandini, subsequently cardinal and
brother of Clement VIII. The legate had been given discretional power as
to admitting Spanish associates, but he found on arrival at Madrid, in
November, 1565, that the demand made on him was the impossible one which
Pius had refused to Castro--the whole Suprema and prelates, amounting in
all to fifteen Spaniards. He offered to admit two as against two of his
associates, but he would do no more. As he wrote to Pius, the terror
inspired by the Inquisition was beyond belief; to admit a majority of
Spaniards would be to invite injustice, for the acquittal of Carranza
would be the conviction of the Inquisition and any one who had the
courage to bring this about would be exposed to lifelong
persecution.[211] Of course Philip was firm, as his object was to baffle
the legate, but discussion was cut short when the news came of the death
of Pius IV, December 9th. Buoncompagni departed in haste to participate
in the conclave; he was met at Avignon with the intelligence of the
election of Pius V, January 7, 1566, in spite of which he continued his
journey to Rome.[212]


Pius IV had carried to an extreme his subservience to Philip. Pedro de
Avila, one of Philip's agents, wrote, August 23, 1565, that Cardinal
Borromeo assured him that the pope had done and was doing more than he
had power to do in order to gratify the king; he had gone against the
canons, the councils and the cardinals and, when recently he thought
himself to be dying, nothing weighed on his conscience more heavily than
this.[213] His successor was a man of different stamp. To few popes does
Catholicism owe more than to St. Pius V, for, while pitiless in his
persecution of heresy, his recognition of the need of reform and his
unbending resolution to effect it, regained for the Church much of the
respect which it had forfeited. The Spanish agents speedily found that
in the matter of Carranza he was incorruptible and intractable. As the
ambassador Zuñiga plaintively reported to Philip, February 23, 1566, "He
is certainly well-intentioned but, having no experience in affairs of
state and no private interests, which are the two things that ordinarily
make popes yielding, he fixes his eyes on what he deems just and is
immovable."[214] As cardinal-inquisitor and Dominican he had been
favorably inclined to Carranza, whose friends received with hope the
news of his accession. They conveyed this by means of an arrow aimed at
one of his window-shutters and he responded by casting out a paper,
picked up by a person stationed for the purpose, in which he addressed
the new pope in the words of Peter, "Lord, if it be thou, bid me come
unto thee on the water" (Matt. xiv, 28).[215]

Pius did not need urging. One of his first acts was to despatch a
messenger to Buoncompagni ordering him to remain and bring the affair to
a conclusion, but the legate's Spanish experience did not incline him to
return from Avignon. Doubtless his report brought conviction that
justice was not to be expected in Spain, for Pius speedily made a demand
for the person of Carranza and the papers so that he might decide the
case. Accustomed to browbeat popes, Philip replied that the demand was
offensive and contrary to the royal prerogative, as an attempt to change
a matter unalterably fixed by the Holy See, and that it would not be
entertained; the pope could commit the case to such persons as he
pleased, provided they were Spaniards, otherwise, if Carranza should
linger in prison until he died, the responsibility would not be with
those who had offered every possible alternative. This audacious answer
only strengthened the determination of Pius, who summoned Zuñiga and
told him to tell his master that he exposed himself to all the
indignation of the Holy See, for the pope was resolved to carry the
matter to a conclusion. Zuñiga was silenced and could only report to
Philip the terrible earnestness of Pius, from which there was no hope of
diverting him.[216]

That he was in deadly earnest is apparent in his brief of July 30th,
which he caused to be privately printed and sent copies to the nuncio
Rossano, with an autograph letter of August 3rd, commanding its rigid
execution. After dwelling on the injustice and scandal of the treatment
of Carranza, he deprived Valdés, the Suprema and all concerned of
jurisdiction in the case. Under pain of excommunication and suspension
of functions, Carranza was to be set at liberty and, after appointing a
vicar for his see of Toledo, was at once to present himself to the pope
for judgement. Under pain of the indignation of God and of the apostles
Peter and Paul and of excommunication, all the papers in the case were
to be delivered in Rome within three months, and any one impeding the
execution of these commands incurred excommunication and suspension from

By this time Pius was known as a man who was not to be trifled with, but
Valdés and the Suprema were ready to risk a rupture with the Vicegerent
of Christ rather than to remit their victim to his judgement. When
Philip consulted them they urged him not to permit even a copy of the
process to be sent to Rome, much less Carranza's person, lest he should
impair his prerogatives. They asserted that the papal brief had given
ample power both to prosecute and to sentence and that, having been
granted, it could not be withdrawn; that, under the papal concessions to
Ferdinand and Isabella, the Spanish Inquisition was wholly independent
of Rome and that, if the episcopal character were successfully urged in
this case, some other excuse would be found in other cases.[218]


Valdés might be willing to risk a schism, but Philip drew back; it was
not to be thought of that the Catholic king should incur
excommunication, and he recognized what strength the heretic cause
throughout Europe would derive from such a quarrel in such a cause.
Still he dallied, until Pius forced Valdés to resign and threatened to
lay all Spain under interdict.[219] He had encountered a will stronger
than his own and Antonio Tiepolo, the Venetian envoy, is doubtless
correct in saying that no other pope but Pius could have carried his
point.[220] The pressure became irresistible and he yielded. Carranza,
under charge of the hated inquisitor Diego González and guarded by a
body of troops, left Valladolid December 5th, reaching Cartagena on the
31st, where he was confined in the castle until April 27, 1567, awaiting
the arrival of the voluminous papers of the case, when he was placed on
the admiral's ship which was conveying the Duke of Alva on his fateful
way to Flanders. Civita Vecchia was reached May 25th and Rome May 28th,
where he was confined in the Castle of Sant' Angelo--a second
imprisonment that was to last for nine years. It was much less harsh
than the previous one; besides his two faithful attendants he was
allowed two others; he was assigned apartments in the quarters reserved
for archbishops, he was sometimes permitted to leave his room under
guard and enjoy the landscape, and at the first jubilee he was admitted
to confession, although communion was still denied.[221]

The case promised to be as interminable in Rome as it had been in Spain.
The anxiety of Pius for a thorough investigation caused endless delays,
which were skilfully improved by the agents of the Inquisition. The
enormous mass of papers reached Rome in the utmost confusion and some
portions were lacking which had to be sent for. Then they had to be
translated, as well as the voluminous Commentaries, which consumed a
year. Philip was frequently sending new opinions and statements and Pius
ordered all of Carranza's writings, and even notes of his lectures taken
by students, to be searched for and brought to Rome. He formed a special
congregation of seventeen consultors, including four of the Spaniards
who had been concerned in the case, with Ramírez as the fiscal. When all
was ready the congregation met weekly under the presidency of the pope;
the Spaniards insisted on his presence and, as his other duties
frequently prevented this, the affair dragged on from year to year.
Philip followed it with intense anxiety, as shown in his correspondence
with Zuñiga. Thus a long letter of instructions, June 6, 1570, tells the
ambassador to assure the pope that everything had been done in Spain
with the most minute deliberation; there is an almost childish
insistence on the opinions of some obscure theologians as to Carranza's
guilt, and it is pointed out that, if he is acquitted, he will teach and
preach with greater authority than before and the whole prosecution will
have been a blunder. All this, he says, should have weight with the
pope, who is moreover to be threatened with what the king may find it
necessary to do if the sentence is warped by personal considerations.
Foolish communications of this kind were reiterated until, August 12,
1571, Pius, in an autograph letter, alluded to the repetition of these
insinuations, which he declared to be groundless and, in dignified
terms, warned Philip not to let his pious zeal get the better of his


The Spanish tactics of delay were successful. Pius V died, May 1, 1572,
without having published a sentence. Whether one was framed or not is a
disputed question. Salazar tells us that it was drawn up, but that Pius,
before publication, desired to submit it to Philip and sent it by his
chief chamberlain, Alessandro Casale, who was detained by bad weather
and other accidents until after the death of the pope. Llorente gives
the details of the sentence as absolving Carranza of the charges but
maintaining the prohibition of the Commentaries in the vernacular, with
permission to translate it into Latin after removing the doubtful
expressions. Simancas, who was one of the inquisitors employed on the
case in Rome, says positively that Pius died without framing a sentence;
that when Carranza's friends claimed that he had done so, and urged his
successor, Gregory XIII, to publish it, the latter offered twenty
thousand crowns to any one who would produce it and thus save him the
task of reviewing the case.[223] However this may be, Pius was convinced
of Carranza's innocence. He allowed the Commentaries to be publicly sold
in Rome; when the fiscal Salgado petitioned for its suppression, he made
no answer and, when Salgado insisted upon it in the congregation, he
replied angrily that he did not consider it subject to suppression and
that they had better not by persistence force him formally to approve it
by a _motu proprio_.[224]

Gregory XIII was not liable to the reproach bestowed by Zuñiga on Pius V
of indifference to personal and worldly considerations. He was quite
accessible to them and realized fully the importance to the Holy See of
keeping on good terms with the Spanish master of Italy. His experience
as the Legate Buoncompagni had sufficiently acquainted him with Philip's
temper and, when Carranza's friends naturally expected him to take the
matter up where the death of Pius had left it, he insisted on going over
it personally from the beginning. As he could give but fragmentary
attention to it he was thus able to postpone committing himself for some
years. This gave Philip opportunity to gather fresh testimony. By means
not the most gentle, the survivors of Carranza's friends, who had
approved of the Commentaries, were induced to retract. The three
bishops, Guerrero, Blanco and Delgado condemned propositions by the
hundred, drawn from works submitted to them as Carranza's and they
exculpated themselves from their approval of the Commentaries by saying
that they had not then seen his MS. writings and, in view of his
reputation, they had sought to give a Catholic sense wherever possible.
Other opinions were industriously collected; Gregory made a decent show
of resistance to admitting fresh testimony at this late day, but yielded
to Philip's threats of what he might find necessary to do in case his
desires were thwarted, and thus excuses, if not reasons, were afforded
for reaching a different conclusion from that of Pius V.[225]

As the time approached at which it was understood that the long
protracted case would be terminated, Philip's anxiety increased. An
autograph letter of February 16, 1575, to Pope Gregory, strongly urged
Carranza's speedy condemnation, in view of the dangers which he had
represented to Pius, and asked the fulfilment of a promise to
communicate to him the sentence before publication. Whether such promise
was made or not, Gregory refused to submit it to him, but intimation of
what it was to be reached him and, on April 20th, he wrote vigorously
to Zuñiga expressing surprise that the pope did not keep his word. As
for Carranza, he was so thoroughly convicted of heresy that, according
to inquisitorial routine, he ought to be burnt, or at least reconciled
after abjuring all kinds of heresy. To allow him to abjure for vehement
suspicion of heresy, with temporary suspension from his see, assumes
that in time he will return to occupy the primatial church of Toledo,
which would cause disturbance and scandal impossible to contemplate. The
pope can well conceive the dangers which may follow, in Spain and
elsewhere, by the mere example of such a criminal in such a position.
Even if the suspension were perpetual yet, if God should remove his
Holiness, a successor might lift the suspension unless Carranza is
wholly deprived.[226]

This was passion and eloquence wasted, for the sentence had been
pronounced six days before, on April 14, 1576. Whatever promise Gregory
had made was kept to the letter but not to the spirit by announcing it
to him on April 11th. Its provisions were shrewdly framed to turn the
whole affair to the advantage of the Holy See, by keeping Carranza as a
potential sword of Damocles hanging over Philip's head and meanwhile
absorbing the revenues of the see of Toledo. The tenor of the articles
was, as communicated to Philip:--

The Archbishop of Toledo will be declared vehemently suspect of sundry
errors and as such will be required to abjure them.

He will be suspended and removed from the administration of his church
for five years and subsequently at the pleasure of the pope and the Holy

During this time he will be recluded in a monastery in Orvieto, and not
allowed to depart without special licence of the pope and the Holy See.

The pope will appoint an administrator of the church of Toledo, with
disposition of all the fruits since the date of sequestration and during
the suspension, which he will convert to the benefit of the Church and
other pious uses, after deducting pensions, expenses and debts.

For the support of the archbishop there shall be assigned a monthly
allowance of a thousand gold crowns.

Some salutary penances will be imposed on him.


His Catechism will be prohibited to be possessed, read, or printed.[227]

The errors of which he was declared vehemently suspect amounted to
sixteen, professedly drawn from his writings. As they were merely the
peg on which to hang the sentence they need not be recapitulated here
and it suffices to say that on April 12th they were taken, with the
abjuration, by Giantonio Fachinetti (afterwards Innocent XI) to the
Castle of Sant' Angelo, where Carranza obediently signed the

The publication of the sentence was made with a solemnity befitting the
conclusion of a case which, for seventeen years, had occupied the
attention of Christendom. On April 14th, Carranza was brought from his
prison to the Hall of Constantine, where Gregory occupied the papal
throne under a canopy, the cardinals sat on benches and about a hundred
other spectators stood around. After the opening formalities, Gregory
handed a roll containing the sentence to Alonso Castellon, the secretary
in the case, who read it aloud. It was very long, reciting the
vicissitudes of the affair from the beginning and concluded with the
articles as stated above. Then Carranza read his abjuration, as Simancas
tells us, with impassive indifference, as though it related to another,
after which he was led to the feet of the pope who expatiated on the
mercy shown to him and told him he might expect more if he lived as he
ought. He was then handed to the captain of the guard to be conveyed to
the Dominican convent of Santa Maria sopra Minerva and, as he was led
out, in passing Cardinal Gambara, he quietly asked him to have his
effects transferred to the convent. Evidently there was no sense of
guilt or humiliation.[229] It was a fitting end to Gregory's disgraceful
part in the tragedy that when, on April 20th, he formally notified
Philip and the chapter of Toledo of the result, he mournfully expressed
his regret that he had been compelled to condemn in place of acquitting,
as he had hoped.[230]

As a penance, the pope ordered Carranza to visit the seven churches on
Saturday of Easter week (April 28th) and offered him his own litter and
horses for his servants, which he declined. It was noised abroad and
the whole population was stirred to accompany him, for the compassion
felt for him was universal. To avoid such a demonstration Gregory
changed the day to Monday the 23rd, but notwithstanding this the throng
of coaches and crowds of people changed the penance into a triumph. In
the churches he was received with all honor and at the Lateran he
celebrated mass but, towards the end of the day, a strangury commenced
and, on his return to the convent, he took to his bed, never to leave
it. The disease made rapid progress, during which the pope repeatedly
sent consolatory messages and, on April 30th, his apostolic benediction,
with an indulgence _a poena et a culpa_. The same day Carranza made a
solemn declaration before his secretaries, affirming his unbroken
adhesion to the faith; he received with fervor the last consolations of
religion and passed away at 3 A.M. on May 2nd. He had entered his prison
a vigorous man of 56 and had left it to die, a broken old man of


That an autopsy should have been ordered indicates that immediately
doubts had arisen whether the death had been natural. The physicians
reported some slight ulcers in one kidney and three stones in the
gall-bladder, but in a position to do no harm and they attributed the
retention to some "carnosities."[232] If suspicions existed of poison,
they found no public utterance that has reached us, yet, in an age when
the removal of an impediment was a recognized resource of state policy,
the opportune and sudden death of Carranza is at least suggestive. We
have seen how energetically Philip remonstrated against his being left
in a position in which his return to Toledo was possible. His resumption
of his see would have inflicted an incurable wound on the authority and
influence of the Inquisition and have covered the monarch with
mortification; it would have led to complications which, in the temper
of the age, would have been insoluble. The injustice meted out to
Carranza had rendered his death a necessity, if he was not branded as a
heretic or disqualified as a bishop. Philip and he could not exist
together in Spain. Besides, so long as Carranza lived, he was a
dangerous weapon, in the hands of the papacy, to thwart Spanish policy
by threats of removing the suspension or to extort concessions as the
price of maintaining it. To attribute his sudden death to the zeal of
Spanish agents in Rome, or to secret orders sent in advance, would do
no injustice to a prince who did not shrink from the executions of
Montigny and Lanuza or the assassinations of Escobedo and of William the
Silent. It suited him, however, to accept it piously as a special
dispensation of Providence. June 11th he replied to Gregory's letter of
April 11th and 16th conveying copies of the sentence and abjuration. To
persons, he said, of great learning and experience in Spain, the
sentence was too lenient, but he recognized the pope's holy zeal and
that God's hand had applied the proper remedy to avert greater
evils.[233] Yet subsequently Morales, writing by Philip's order,
concludes his account "They say that he apparently died as a saint,
which I believe and that it was really so.... The Lord reserved him for
the other life, a signal mercy which he grants to those whom it pleases

In one respect the Inquisition was triumphant. The Commentaries, which
had been approved by the Council of Trent and by Pius IV and Pius V, was
condemned and prohibited with a callous disregard of consistency. The
work remained in the successive issues of the Spanish Index until 1747,
but was dropped in the latest one of 1790. Rome was even more persistent
and retained it until 1899, though it disappeared, with much other
antiquated lumber, in the recension of 1900. Yet Carranza's reputation
as an orthodox champion of the Church seems to have suffered little from
his prosecution and condemnation. Cardinal Quiroga, the
inquisitor-general, who in 1577 succeeded him in the see of Toledo,
caused his portrait to be placed with those of his predecessors, erected
a tomb to his memory and, in June, 1578, performed solemn obsequies for
him which lasted for a fortnight.[235] Odoricus Raynaldus, the official
annalist of the Holy See, and Cardinal Pallavicini, the official
historian of the Council of Trent, unite in saying that nothing serious
was found against him, only vehement suspicion, and that on his
death-bed he gave evidence not only of uncorrupted faith but of singular
piety.[236] Nicholás Antonio tells us that for some mere presumptions,
in the absence of legitimate proof of admitted impiety, he was ordered
by abjuration to purge all suspicion of guilt.[237] Balmés, the champion
of Catholicism, while admitting that, on the delicate subject of
justification, his expressions lacked clearness, asserts that beyond
doubt, in his own conscience before God, he was wholly innocent.[238]
The dispassionate judgement of posterity has condemned the Inquisition
in acquitting its victim.

If Philip failed to blast the memory of Carranza he at least succeeded
in one of his objects. For seventeen years he had wrongfully enjoyed
Carranza's sequestrated revenues, which, allowing for all deductions,
must have yielded him two or three millions of ducats. Much must have
been spent in the endeavor to convict the rightful possessor but, when
the case was concluded, outstanding engagements were repudiated. During
the trial in Rome, Don Lope de Avellaneda had borrowed twenty-six
thousand ducats to pay the salaries of the parties employed in the
notoriously expensive litigation of the curia, but the bills of exchange
drawn to satisfy the indebtedness were returned dishonored. The Roman
bankers were too important an adjunct of the curia not to be efficiently
protected; on April 10, 1577, Gregory wrote to the inquisitors (probably
of Toledo) to collect the amount, with interest up to the date of
payment, from the revenue of the archiepiscopal table of Toledo,
enforcing the demand, if necessary, by excommunication, interdict and
the invocation of the secular arm.[239] Philip evidently maintained his
hold on the revenues until the consecration of Archbishop Quiroga, in
December, 1577, and his administrator would allow no diversion of the
funds. Gregory, in the sentence had endeavored to provide for an
accounting to him of the accumulations, but the effort was a failure.
Like Philippe le Bel, in the analogous case of the Templars, Philip had
a grip on the spoils which nothing could loosen. When, in 1581, Gregory
sought to stimulate him to undertake an expedition against Queen
Elizabeth, and promised him financial assistance towards so pious an
enterprise, it turned out that this aid was merely the mesne profits of
the see of Toledo which he had collected and had long since


The affair of Carranza seems to have been regarded as weakening the
position of bishops and, with the customary audacity of the inquisitors
in extending their jurisdiction, the tribunal of Cuenca boasted or
threatened that it would arrest the bishop. The services of the
incumbent, Pedro de Castro, in furnishing evidence against Carranza, had
been too recent to permit him to be hoisted by his own petard and
Valdés, in a letter of June 17, 1560, rebuked the tribunal for its
superserviceable zeal.[241] We have seen how the bishops, at the Council
of Trent, endeavored to protect themselves by reserving to the pope
exclusive right to pronounce sentence, but this was of small avail when
he assumed the right to delegate his power as he pleased. When Sixtus V,
January 25, 1586, issued a commission to the Cardinal Archduke Albert of
Austria, as inquisitor-general of Portugal, it specifically subjected
archbishops, bishops and patriarchs to his jurisdiction and that of his
subdelegates.[242] As Portugal was under the Spanish crown, this served
as a precedent when in December, 1629, the Inquisition desired to
prosecute Gavino Mallani, Archbishop of Oristano in Sardinia, against
whom it had gathered evidence that, since his consecration, in 1627, he
had never been to confession or had celebrated mass, that he was a
blasphemer, that he had a familiar demon confined in a ring, etc. The
Suprema submitted to Philip IV the Portuguese commission and asked him
to instruct his ambassador to procure a similar one for Spain or,
failing this, to obtain a special brief for the case of Mallani. Philip
ordered the necessary letter to be drafted for his signature, but the
effort failed. Mallani was probably sent to Rome with the evidence, for
he was deposed, being succeeded, in 1635, by Pedro Vico, while he did
not die until 1641.[243] In spite of this recognition of lack of
jurisdiction over bishops, we have seen (Vol. I, p. 501) that, in the
quarrel with Manjarre de Heredia, Bishop of Majorca, in 1668,
Inquisitor-general Nithard claimed that the Inquisition could prosecute
him criminally. He had the effrontery to assert, in a consulta of
February 5, 1668, that its possession of this power was so notorious and
so completely established in practice as to require neither argument nor
demonstration, and the infatuated queen-regent sustained him in
summoning the bishop to appear for trial. In spite of an adverse
decision in Rome, the Inquisition continued the prosecution, even after
the expulsion of Nithard, and proceedings ceased only with the death of
the bishop.[244]

The next case in which the Inquisition had to deal with a bishop was one
which attracted much attention at the time--that of José Fernando de
Toro, Bishop of Oviedo. We shall have to consider it hereafter in its
relation with Illuminism and Molinism and need only say here that he was
an adept in the dangerous mysticism which mistook the promptings of the
senses for divine impulses and taught that union with God conferred
impeccability. There was no doubt of his guilt, for he confessed freely
when arraigned, and the Inquisition raised no question as to the
exclusive papal jurisdiction. After elaborate investigation,
Inquisitor-general Ibañez de la Riva Herrera put the mass of testimony
into shape and sent it to Clement XI, November 27, 1709. On June 7,
1710, Clement authorized the imprisonment of Toro and the prosecution of
the case, the results to be sent to him. After the death of Ibañez, a
fresh commission was sent to his successor Giudice; in 1714 Clement
granted permission to Toro to come to Rome, but this was not carried out
until 1716, when he was confined in the Castle of Sant Angelo and his
trial dragged on until 1719. Sentence was pronounced July 27th, with the
same ceremonies as that of Carranza, the records of which were examined
for the purpose.[245]


While the Inquisition thus freely admitted its incompetence to sit in
judgement on bishops yet, in the next case that occurred, it asserted
complete jurisdiction. Manual Abad Queipo was bishop-elect of Mechoacan
(Valladolid) in Mexico where, although not consecrated, he was accepted
by the chapter and governed the diocese as bishop, fulminating, in 1810,
excommunication against Hidalgo and his followers, which was confirmed
by the archbishop, Ligama y Beaumont.[246] He was thus fully recognized
as bishop and it was probably the disturbed state of the land, during
the rebellion of Hidalgo and Morelos, that prevented the assembling of
bishops for his consecration. In the turbulence of the period he made
enemies and an anonymous denunciation was lodged against him with the
Mexican tribunal. It collected evidence and forwarded it, August 31,
1814, to the Suprema which referred it to the Madrid tribunal for
investigation and report.

The question as to the liability of bishops-elect is rather intricate,
dependent on whether there has been presentation by the king or election
by the chapter and confirmation by the pope,[247] but it would seem that
Queipo was not subject to the Inquisition, nor were the charges matters
of heresy. The Madrid tribunal recognized this in its report, October
27, 1814, saying that he should be cited to answer, provided his office
did not stand in the way, at the same time admitting that the charges
were the work of enmity and that at most he had been careless in conduct
and ministration. Queipo returned to Spain and, on February 12, 1816,
the Suprema ordered the tribunal to proceed. He refused to acknowledge
the jurisdiction; the tribunal, May 16th, pronounced his reasons invalid
and the Suprema, September 2nd took the high ground that no one could
question its acts; when it has once declared itself a competent judge no
private person could dispute it or impede the execution of its decrees.
This could only be done by an authority feeling its jurisdiction invaded
and, as there was none such in the kingdom, he was only prejudicing his
case, which otherwise he could expedite and preserve the right of
maintaining his claims by a protest which would be admitted. Queipo
offered to answer the charges extra-judicially, but this was refused and
he was told that if he did not present himself to answer them fully
within three days, he would be prosecuted in contumacy. He yielded under
protest and was spared the humiliation of appearing in the Inquisition,
for Inquisitor Zorilla was ordered to conduct the audiences in the
convent where he was residing, but during them he was ordered not to
leave it and when they were over he was set at liberty, under command to
present himself at the house of the fiscal whenever summoned. Thus, at
the end of its career, the Inquisition successfully asserted its
jurisdiction over a bishop, but he had his revenge. It was evidently no
accident that, in the revolution of 1820, Queipo was made a member of
the Provisional Junta of March 9th which, on the same day, caused
Fernando VII to decree the extinction of the Holy Office.[248]



Occasional allusions have been made above to the Edicts of Faith,
whereby the tribunals obtained knowledge of offences coming within their
jurisdiction. This was one of the most efficient methods by which that
jurisdiction was exercised and was brought home to the consciences of
the people as an ever-present power. It rendered every individual an
agent of the Inquisition, bound under fearful penalties spiritual and
temporal, to aid it in maintaining the purity of the faith and, at the
same time, it made every man conscious that his lightest word or act
might subject him to prosecution by that terrible court whose very name
inspired dread. No more ingenious device has been invented to subjugate
a whole population, to paralyze its intellect and to reduce it to blind
obedience. It elevated delation to the rank of high religious duty, it
filled the land with spies and it rendered every man an object of
suspicion, not only to his neighbor but to the members of his own family
and to the stranger whom he might chance to meet. Continued through
generations, this could not fail to leave its impress on the national
character. Even Mariana, in enumerating the results of the Inquisition,
ventures to allude to the cautious reserve which it rendered habitual
among Spaniards.[249]

A somewhat crude prototype of the Edict of Faith is found in the old
Inquisition, when inquisitors visited their districts and, at each town,
summoned an assembly of the people, preached to them and caused to be
read an edict calling upon all the inhabitants to come forward within a
specified time and reveal anything that might tend to the suspicion that
any one was a heretic, under pain of _ipso facto_ excommunication,
removable only by them or by the pope.[250] While this was nominally
preserved in the Aragonese Inquisition, that institution had become so
inert that we may assume that the inquisitors no longer visited their
districts or had occasion to issue edicts. In Castile, when the
Inquisition was founded, this practice was evidently unknown, for the
Instructions of 1484 merely order that when the inquisitors open their
tribunal in any town, after the sermon they shall publish a monition
with censures against all who resist or contradict them.[251] By 1500,
however, the efficacy of what became known as the Edict of Faith had
been discovered, and Inquisitor-general Deza, in ordering yearly
visitations of the districts, specifies that, on arriving at every town
or village, a general edict shall be issued, summoning those who know
anything of heresy to come forward and reveal it.[252] The form of this
was probably the same as that which, in the same year 1500, the
inquisitors of Sicily, Dr. Sgalambro and Montoro Bishop of Cefalù,
issued, requiring all cognizant of heresy to denounce it within fifteen
days, promising secrecy to the informer and threatening with
prosecution, as fautors of heresy, those who failed to do so.[253] In
Catalonia, the Concordia of 1512, in alluding to the edict requiring the
denunciation of all offences against the faith, shows that it was
already an established custom,[254] while, in 1514, the Instructions of
Inquisitor-general Mercader prove that the various offences included in
the expanding jurisdiction of the Inquisition were specifically
enumerated, for the general term of heresy no longer sufficed.[255] The
effect on the people of these proclamations, with their threats and
anathemas, is vividly expressed in the description of the terror excited
by the publication of the edict, when the tribunal of Jaen made a raid
on Arjona.[256]


As, in the course of time, new fields of activity were opened to the
Inquisition the enumeration of offences requiring denunciation grew to
be a long and detailed catalogue, in which all the acts by which they
could be recognized were specified so that there could be no excuse for
omission. The simplest and oldest formula which I have met is that
published in Mexico at the installation of the Inquisition, in 1571,
and, in view of its comparative brevity, it is given in the Appendix.
Subsequently the edict grew to portentous dimensions, the purport of
which can be gathered from an abstract of that of 1696.

It begins by reciting that the fiscal has represented that for some time
there has been no visitation or inquest made in many places of the
province, whereby numerous crimes against the faith remain unpunished.
Seeing this complaint to be justified, the edict is addressed to every
one individually, so that, if he has known or heard say that any one,
living or dead, present or absent, has done or uttered or believed any
act, word or opinion, heretical, suspect, erroneous, rash, ill-sounding,
scandalous or heretically blasphemous, it must be revealed to the
tribunal within six days. Then follows an enumeration of all Jewish
rites and customs; then similar lists concerning Mahometanism,
Protestantism and Illuminism; then, under the heading of "Diversas
Heregias," follow blasphemy, with specimens of heretical oaths; keeping
or invoking familiar demons; witchcraft; pacts tacit or expressed with
the devil; mixing for this purpose sacred and profane objects and
attributing to the creature that which belongs to the Creator; marrying
in Orders; solicitation of women in confession; bigamy; saying that
there is no sin in simple fornication, or usury, or perjury, or that
concubinage is better than marriage; insulting or maltreating crucifixes
or images of saints; disbelieving or doubting any article of faith;
remaining a year under excommunication or despising the censures of the
Church; having recourse to astrology, which is described at length and
pronounced fictitious; being guilty of sorcery or divination, the
practices of which are described with instructive profusion; possessing
books condemned in the Index, including Lutheran and Mahometan works and
Bibles in the vernacular; neglecting to perform the duty of denouncing
what has been seen or heard, or persuading others to omit it; giving
false witness in the Inquisition; concealing or befriending heretics;
impeding the Inquisition; removing _sanbenitos_ placed by the
Inquisition; throwing off sanbenitos or non-performance of penance by
reconciled penitents, or their saying that they confessed in the
Inquisition through fear; saying that those relaxed by the Inquisition
were innocent martyrs; non-observance of disabilities by reconciled
penitents, their children or grandchildren; possession by scriveners or
notaries of papers concerning the above-enumerated crimes. Confessors,
moreover, were ordered, under the same penalties, to withhold absolution
from penitents who had not denounced all offences coming to their
knowledge.[257] This was a tolerably searching grand inquest in which
the whole population was summoned to assist, and the ceremonies of its
publication were designed to render it as impressive as possible.

On the Saturday previous, a proclamation was made by the inquisitors,
requiring all persons over the age of twelve (or of fourteen in some
texts) to assemble to hear the edict and, on the following Sundays to
hear the anathema, under pain of excommunication and of fifty
ducats.[258] In the smaller towns this proclamation was made by the
town-crier or, if there were none, by house-to-house notification. The
next day, at the offertory in the mass, the edict was to be read slowly,
distinctly and in a loud voice, after which the priest was to explain
the obligation to denounce whatever was known of the living and of the
dead, of themselves or of others, and the peril of omitting it; it was
not to be talked about but was to be done directly, even if it was known
that others had done so, otherwise the penalty was incurred.[259]

In larger cities, especially the seats of tribunals, the ceremonies were
more imposing. In Seville, for instance, on the afternoon of Saturday
before the second Sunday of Lent, the familiars assembled on horseback
at the castle of Triana, where they formed a procession with drummers
and trumpeters and the town-crier to escort the alguazil mayor and one
of the secretaries of the Inquisition. This wound through the city,
stopping at eight principal places, to publish the proclamation and to
order that there should be no sermons in other churches on the days of
the publication and anathemas. Then, on those Sundays, other processions
were timed to meet the inquisitors at the doors of the cathedral and San
Salvador--the churches designated for the ceremonies. Inside, the
secretary, at the proper time, mounted the pulpit and read the edict;
the sermon followed and then the mass was resumed.[260]

[Sidenote: _THE ANATHEMA_]

When the six days allowed for denunciation or confession had elapsed, a
second proclamation was made, reciting the former one and adding that
the fiscal complained that many had not complied with it and he demanded
the fulmination of the censures in the most aggravated form. An edict
was therefore addressed to all priests requiring them at high mass, when
the people were assembled, to denounce as publicly excommunicated and
anathematized all who had not obeyed the first edict, sprinkling holy
water to drive away the demons who kept them in their toils and praying
Christ to bring them back to the bosom of the Church. If they persisted
in contumacy, all faithful Christians were ordered within three days to
withdraw from all intercourse with them, under pain of similar
excommunication. Both those who should have confessed and those who
should have denounced, but who continued contumacious, were involved in
the anathema pronounced on the third Sunday.

This was an awe-inspiring solemnity. The clergy marched in procession;
the cross was covered with black and two flaming torches were on the
altar, where the priests stood in profound silence during the reading of
the curse.--"We excommunicate and anathematize, in the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, in form of law, all
apostate heretics from our holy Catholic faith, their fautors and
concealers who do not reveal them, and we curse them that they may be
accursed as members of the devil and separated from the bosom and unity
of the holy Mother Church. And we order all the faithful to hold them as
such and to curse them so that they may fall into the wrath and
indignation of Almighty God. May all the curses and plagues of Egypt
which befell King Pharaoh come upon them because they disobey the
commandments of God! May they be accursed wherever they be, in the city,
or in the country, in eating and in drinking, in waking and in sleeping,
in living and in dying! May the fruits of their lands be accursed and
the cattle thereof! May God send them hunger and pestilence to consume
them! May they be a scorn to their enemies and be abhorred of all men!
May the devil be at their right hand! When they come to judgement may
they be condemned! May they be driven from their homes, may their
enemies take their possessions and prevail against them! May their wives
and children rise against them and be orphans and beggars with none to
assist them in their need! May their wickedness ever be remembered in
the presence of God! May they be accursed with all the curses of the Old
Covenant and of the New! May the curse of Sodom and Gomorrha overtake
them and its fire burn them! May the earth swallow them alive, like
Dathan and Abiram for the sin of disobedience! May they be accursed as
Lucifer, with all the devils of hell, where may they remain with Judas
and the damned forever, if they do not acknowledge their sin, beg mercy
and amend their lives!" Then the people responded Amen! while the clergy
again marched in procession, chanting the Psalms _Deus laudem meam_ and
_Miserere_, to the chapel or altar. The great bells tolled as for a
death and the bearers of the torches extinguished them in the font of
holy water saying "As these torches die in the water, so will their
souls in hell!" and the procession was resumed to the sacristy. After
this, the edict continues, any one knowing these things and not
revealing them, and remaining contumaciously and persistently thus for a
year, is held suspect in the faith and shall be prosecuted with all the
rigor of the law.[261]

Thus all the resources of religious terrorism were exhausted to impress
upon the popular conscience the supreme duty of denouncing kindred and
friends for the slightest act or word which might be held to infer
suspicion of heresy or of the varied classes of offences over which the
Inquisition had succeeded in extending its jurisdiction. It is true that
the constant abuse of anathemas in the pettiest quarrels with officials,
lay and clerical, must have somewhat blunted their effect. It is also
true that casuistry, early in the seventeenth century, had no difficulty
in proving that, when the obligation to denounce involved danger to life
or reputation, the natural law of self-protection overrode the positive
law of denunciation, with its threat of excommunication.[262] Still, to
those not trained in such subtilties and who piously believed in the
power of the keys, it was impossible that this terrible cumulation of
curses, temporal and spiritual, should not overcome natural affection
and human kindliness. It was not the fault of the Inquisition if Spain
was not converted into a nation of spies and informers, in which no man
could trust those nearest and dearest to him.


The Edict of Faith was published annually, on a Sunday in Lent, in
cities which were the seat of a tribunal and, during the earlier times,
elsewhere, when the inquisitors went on their visitations; indeed, we
are told, in 1560, that it was of little service unless the inquisitors
visited their districts, for people would not incur the labor and
expense of coming from a distance and the publication was regarded as
the chief object of the visiting inquisitor who was directed to see that
it was made in the monasteries as well as in the churches.[263] Visiting
their districts, as we shall see, was the duty most disliked by the
inquisitors, which they shirked whenever possible, and, with the
development of postal communication, it was easier and more speedy to
send the printed edicts to commissioners for distribution. What was the
total number thus annually showered upon the land we have no means of
knowing, but it must have been large. In 1595, the Inquisitor Arevalo de
Zuazo, reporting his visitation of the mountainous dioceses of Urgel,
Vich and Solsona, states that he distributed six hundred copies among
the parish churches, besides personally publishing it in all the towns.
From a printer's bill of June 7, 1759, when the custom was declining, it
appears that in Valencia the edition printed was four hundred and a list
of churches in the city, in which it was posted, amounted to

This device was not confined to Spain, though Rome was somewhat tardy in
adopting it. The Congregation of the Inquisition issued, January 3, 1623
a brief edict, commanding the denunciation, within twelve days, of all
heretics, under pain of excommunication removable only by it or by the
pope.[265] This was followed, January 10, 1666, by one more in detail,
specifying the offences to be denounced. It was universal in its
character and therefore applied to Spain, but as usual the Spanish
Inquisition maintained its independence and continued to employ its own
more elaborate formulas.[266]

Although the annual publication remained the rule, there were
occasional intermissions. In 1638, for instance, it was suspended
without a reason being assigned and again in 1689 on account of the
death of María Luisa, wife of Carlos II.[267] Local causes, also,
sometimes interfered with it, especially when questions of etiquette
arose, as that which we have seen at Valladolid, in 1635, over the point
whether, at its reading, a bow should be made to the sacrament or to the
inquisitors. Sixteen years later, we are told that since then there had
been no reading of the edict at Valladolid and that in consequence,
during the visitations of the inquisitors, other places refused to have
it read, on the ground that this was not done in the city where there
was a full tribunal.[268] A similar trouble arose at Quito, because the
Audiencia refused to allow the commissioner of the Inquisition a seat
with a cushion during the reading; for this, in 1699 and again in 1700,
he appealed to the viceroy, stating that, in consequence of this, it had
been many years since the edict had been published there.[269]

With the decline in the activity of the Inquisition, towards the close
of the eighteenth century, there grew to be negligence in the annual
publication. In 1775 the Suprema ordered that there should be no change
with regard to it. A document of 1777 indicates that it was still
customary, but on inquiry, in 1784, by the Suprema of the tribunals,
whether or not it had been suspended, shows that it was falling into
desuetude, and another of 1806, asking how long it had been since the
publication ceased, indicates that it had become obsolete.[270]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _ITS INFLUENCE_]

The efficacy of the Edict of Faith is incontestable, although, in 1578,
the Inquisitor Francisco de Ribera, in reporting his visitation of the
dioceses of Gerona and Elne and his publication of it in places which
had never before been visited, complains that it did not render the
people disposed to make denunciations, which he attributes to their
limited intelligence.[271] In more enlightened centres its effectiveness
is seen in the frequency with which accusers preface their charges with
the statement that their attention has been called to the duty by the
publication of the edict. It naturally set men to searching their
memories for what they had seen or heard respecting the various offences
so elaborately enumerated and described. For instance, the edict was
published in Madrid on September 4, 1569 and, the next day, Hans de
Evalo appeared before the inquisitor to denounce Hans Brunsvi and
Costancio, two members of the royal Guarda Tudesca, for things which he
had heard and known of them, but of which he had thought nothing until
he heard the edict read.[272] It was the same in stimulating
self-denunciation, whether through pricks of conscience or fear of
accusation by others. Thus, in 1581 we have two cases following each
other, in which Juan González and Bartolomé Benito accuse themselves of
having, in conversation with their wives, asserted that fornication is
no sin, for which both were duly penanced and fined. The wives were sent
for and confirmed the confessions, which we may safely attribute to the
fear that the spouses might be led to denounce them.[273]

The habit of delation in which the Spaniard was thus trained continued
after the Edict of Faith ceased to be published and was stimulated by
the assurance of immunity through the profound secrecy which denied to
the accused all knowledge of his accuser. The records of the tribunals
show how these were welcomed, no matter how flimsy was the evidence, nor
through how many months it had passed. Thus, January 5, 1816, the
Dominican Fray Vicente Manendo writes to the tribunal of Barcelona that
he had heard Joseph Castellar of Manlleu say that, on Easter day, 1815,
he had been discussing some pending suits with the advocate Balderich
when the time came for hearing mass and he said "Let us go to mass" to
which Balderich replied by a contemptuous expression. Instructions were
therefore forthwith sent to the commissioner at Panelada to put the
denunciation into formal legal shape for prosecuting Balderich.
Informers thus were not put to the trouble of coming forward personally
and facilities for delation were brought to every man's door. Thus on
June 28, 1807 Dr. Pedro Reguart of Suria writes to the tribunal of
Barcelona that he has a denunciation to make and asks that a commission
be sent to some one in Suria to receive it. Full instructions were
accordingly sent to the parish priest of Suria, when deposition was made
to the effect that, eighteen months before, at the clinic in Barcelona,
Reguart had seen, in the possession of a student named Pedro Sitzas, a
book entitled Eusebio, which he understood to be prohibited, and a year
ago he had also seen a copy in the hands of another student named Jaime
Coll. In this case the tribunal, with rare moderation, only ordered its
apparitor to seize the books in the hands of the students.[274] So
carefully were accusers protected against recognition that when, in
1818, Don Francisco de Mora, a retired lieutenant of artillery, accused
Don Thomas Sans, of the same corps, to the tribunal of Valencia,
because, in a loose conversation between them, he had asserted that
there was no sin in fornication, and when Mora found himself obliged to
testify that another officer, Manuel Moreno was present, the tribunal
dropped the case at his request because Moreno would have identified the
source of the accusation.[275]

The very triviality of these cases is the measure of their importance.
It was not merely the Judaizing converso or the secret Protestant, but
the whole body of the Catholic nation that was exposed to prosecution
and infamy for a thoughtless word, the denunciation of which was
commanded by the Edict of Faith and invited by the impenetrable secrecy
of the tribunal. The shadow of the Holy Office lay over the land and no
one could feel sure that a trusted comrade might not at any moment
become a spy and an informer, or might not repeat an incautious word
until it reached some one who recognized the inexorable duty imposed on
all--a duty more deeply felt by the conscientious than by those of easy

[Sidenote: _ITS INFLUENCE_]

There was, moreover, the fatal facility afforded for the safe
gratification of malice, as in the case of Don Joseph del Campillo,
whose merits raised him from obscurity to the position of finance
minister under Philip V, in 1740. In 1726, when holding a responsible
office in the administration of the navy, he had a quarrel with a
Gerónimite fraile over the occupancy of a house. The fraile forthwith
collected gossip about him, especially from a dissolute chaplain whom he
had dismissed from the service, and all this was welcomed by the
tribunal of Logroño, which commenced to gather testimony against him
with a view to prosecution. It came to his ears through the boasts of
the frailes as to what they had done, and the profound horror which
seized him at the prospect of being dishonored for life, by the mere
suspicion that he was liable to prosecution, shows how terrible a weapon
the system placed at the service of malignity.[276]

       *       *       *       *       *

In the life of a nation, outward calamities can be survived and recovery
from their effects is but the work of time. Far more lasting and
benumbing are the results of the perpetual and unrelaxing vigilance
which seeks to penetrate into the secret heart of every man, to control
his thoughts, to stifle their expression, to repress every effort to
move out of a beaten and prescribed track, to destroy mutual confidence
and to lead each individual to regard his fellows as the possible
destroyers of his reputation and career. Such was the system imposed on
Spain by the Inquisition, and its appropriate expression is found in the
Edict of Faith.



So long as the acts of the Spanish Inquisition were not final but were
subject to revision by the Roman curia, its jurisdiction was incomplete.
To emancipate itself from this it struggled for more than two centuries,
aided unreservedly by all the power of the Spanish crown. This
long-protracted and intricate contest is full of interest and merits a
somewhat detailed investigation.

Soon after the Inquisition commenced its work, complaints of its
remorseless cruelty poured in upon the sovereigns. They sent around, as
we are told, certain conscientious prelates to investigate and report,
who informed them that four thousand houses had been abandoned in
Andalusia, but this seems only to have inflamed Isabella's ardor and the
business of vindicating the faith was prosecuted with undiminished
energy.[277] The only refuge of the victims was the Holy See, which had
always been open to appeals from the sentences of the Inquisition.

[Sidenote: _APPEALS TO ROME_]

Papal predominance had its foundation in the universal supreme
jurisdiction, original and appellate, of Rome in all matters of faith
and the unlimited area of affairs contingent on faith. This had been
gradually acquired during the dark ages and was strenuously upheld, as
it was the source of wealth as well as of power, and without it the
Bishop of Rome would speedily shrink to his original primacy of honor.
That he should divest himself of it was not to be expected, especially
for the benefit of inquisitors, whose jurisdiction was a delegation from
him and whose claim to superiority over bishops was based on the
functions of the latter being merely "ordinary" while theirs were
"apostolic." It is true that Nicholas V, in his projected Castilian
Inquisition of 1451, had granted jurisdiction without appeal, but this
could have been withdrawn at any time and the whole attempt had been so
soon forgotten that no allusion was ever made to it in the subsequent
controversy. In the Old Inquisition, appeals to the pope were
recognized, but it was an intricate and costly process, only possible to
those familiar with canon law and, as the victims then were mostly
peasants or ascetic missionaries, it was rarely employed and still more
rarely successful.

Now, however, the situation was wholly different. The class assailed
consisted largely of men of wealth or learning--merchants, bankers,
lawyers, high officials, theologians and prelates, able to command the
services of skilful canonists and ready to sacrifice a portion of their
fortunes to save their persons from the stake and their estates from
confiscation. The curia of the period, moreover, was notorious for
shameless venality--a place where everything was for sale, from
cardinalates to pardons, and where the supreme jurisdiction of the
papacy was exploited to the utmost. It did not take long for the
keen-witted Conversos to recognize that the mercy denied them in Spain
could be bought in the open market of Rome and the curia, which had
mourned the lost opportunity of sharing in the confiscations, welcomed
the prospect of selling exemptions from confiscation.

Everything therefore pointed to an exercise of the supreme appellate
jurisdiction of the Holy See which would seriously limit the activity of
the Spanish Inquisition, or at least would confine it to those whose
poverty rendered them unprofitable subjects of persecution. Ferdinand
soon became alive to the situation and manifested little reverence for
the papacy in his resolute resistance to the protection which it sold to
all applicants.


The earliest recourse was naturally to the papal Penitentiary. It had
long been in the habit of selling confessional letters, empowering any
confessor, whom the purchaser might select, to absolve him from all
sins, including those reserved to the Holy See. Originally these were
understood to be good only in the forum of conscience, but the further
step was easily taken of making them effective also in the judicial
forum, thus anticipating or annulling the action of the courts and
selling immunity for crime as well as pardon for sin.[278] There was no
difficulty in obtaining such letters for anyone, and they were sought by
the Conversos as a means of protection in advance and of setting aside
sentences after conviction. In the Appendix will be found a specimen,
issued December 4, 1481, by the Major Penitentiary, to Francisco
Fernández of Seville and his wife and mother. It purports to be granted
by the direct command of the pope and authorizes the recipient to select
any confessor who, after secret abjuration, can absolve him for all acts
of heresy, apostasy, relapse and dogmatism and annul all sentences by
whomsoever pronounced after trial and conviction, redintegrating him
into the Church, removing all stain of heresy, restoring him to all his
rights and releasing him from all punishment, only imposing on him
salutary penance--which, at that period, was understood to be a money
payment for the benefit of the poor, _i. e._ the Church or its members.
A final clause grants the further faculty of overcoming all opposition
by the use of censures under papal authority.

It was impossible for Ferdinand and Torquemada to allow the Inquisition
to be reduced to impotence by the speculative activity of the curia in
selling such exemptions, which were not only good for the future but had
a retroactive effect in annulling its acts. No reverence for the Holy
See could restrain them from visiting their wrath on all who were
concerned in rendering effective this purchasable clemency. We have a
glimpse at the methods adopted by both sides, in a notarial act,
evidently part of a process to set aside a papal letter of a somewhat
different kind, and to punish those engaged in its use, the narrative
showing that all concerned felt that they were incurring serious perils.
The notary, Anton Peláez, deposes that in Xeres de la Frontera he
received from the Duke of Medina Sidonia a letter of April 16, 1482,
calling him to San Lucar de Barrameda to draw certain business papers.
He went and, while engaged on them in the house of Juan Matheos, on
April 20th, at 2 P.M. a messenger summoned him to the duke, whom he
found in company with the duchess, the Teniente de Bora, Fray Thomas,
prior of the Order of Santa María de Barrameda, and others. Then entered
Juan Ferrández of Seville, the duke's contador, or auditor, carrying a
bull with a lead seal, said to be from the pope, Sixtus IV, and ordered
Peláez to read it to the prior. He was alarmed and refused, but finally
yielded to the entreaties of the duke and duchess. Then Fray Thomas
refused to accept it, as he had been inhibited verbally by the
inquisitors, and promised to produce the inhibition in writing within
eight days. The duchess left the room in anger, but, in a quarter of an
hour, Ferrández brought Fernando de Troxillo, prior of the universidad
of Xeres and not of the church of San Salvador, as described in the
bull. The duke told him that this made no difference and urged him to
accept it, throwing his arms around him and promising that he would
expose his whole rank and dignity to make good whatever he might suffer
in person or property. Troxillo accepted the bull with the greatest
reverence and kissed it. Then, as apostolic judge under it, he ordered
Juan Matheos, cura and vicar of San Lucar, to absolve Ferrández and his
wife of any sentence of excommunication, interdict, suspension etc.
placed on him by the inquisitors, on his giving security, which was
promptly furnished by Gonzalo Peráez, Ruy Perráez and Ferrand Riquel,
swearing that Ferrández would stand to the mandates of the Church, as
required in the bull. Thereupon Troxillo, as apostolic judge, ordered
Juan Matheos to absolve Ferrández and his wife, which was duly
performed. The duke's lawyers drew up an inhibition to the inquisitors,
which the deponent engrossed; the duke wanted Troxillo to sign it, but
the deponent privately advised him not to do so until he should consult
his counsel at Xeres and, whether he did so or not, the deponent could
not say.[279]


This gives us an inside view of the struggle to escape the Inquisition
which was going on in every corner of the land. It was useless, for
these papal letters were disregarded and the purchasers could look for
no redress from the curia, for Pope Sixtus had no scruple in abandoning
his customers. It was a lucrative business, this disposing of exemptions
and then allowing them to be annulled for a consideration. Both sides
thus contributed to the papal treasury and, as it all came from the
Conversos in the end, the curia indirectly got its share of the
confiscations, and the Inquisition was but nominally restricted. One
device for accomplishing this is revealed in a cruzada indulgence,
granted March 8, 1483, ostensibly in aid of the war with Granada, but,
as Sixtus bargained for one-third of the proceeds, his share was
sufficient inducement for sacrificing the purchasers of his confessional
letters. A special clause of the indulgence empowered any confessor to
absolve the possessor of it--the price being six reales--for killing or
despoiling those seeking the Roman court, or for preventing the
execution of papal letters, or for forbidding notaries to draw up acts
concerning such letters, or for detaining them from those to whom they
belonged,--all of which was evidently framed to allow the sovereigns to
annul the papal briefs in any way they deemed best.[280]

Yet while Sixtus thus was content, for a moderate compensation, to
permit those who were seeking his court to be detained or slain and to
have his letters contemptuously annulled, yet when their market was
threatened by the assertion that the Penitentiary was only a court of
conscience and its absolutions were good only in the interior forum, his
indignation burst forth in a bull of May 9, 1484, stigmatizing all such
opinions as contumacious and sacrilegious. The Penitentiary, he
declared, could grant absolutions good in either forum and those for the
judicial forum were good in both spiritual and secular courts. This
monstrous assumption, which claimed for the Penitentiary the power to
anticipate or set aside the judgement of every criminal court in Europe,
for the benefit of culprits who could pay the moderate fee demanded for
its letters, was not merely a temporary policy adopted by Sixtus for
this occasion. Having once been asserted, it was persisted in. Paul III,
July 5, 1549, confirmed the bull of 1484 and subjected to the anathemas
of the bull _in Coena Domini_ all who called in question the validity of
such letters; when confined to the forum of conscience they were sealed
and addressed to the confessor, when intended for the judicial forum
they were patent. As Paul died, November 10, 1549, before the
publication of this brief, it was confirmed and issued, February 22,
1550, by Julius III.[281] It was the settled purpose of the Holy See of
the period to continue this profitable business of selling pardons so
long as purchasers could be found for them; they continued to plague the
Inquisition and we shall see what stern measures Ferdinand found
necessary for their suppression. Yet Ferdinand was justified and the
curia was self-condemned for, when the Roman Inquisition was reorganized
and found its operations similarly impeded by the letters of the
Penitentiary, it ordered, September 26, 1550, its subordinates to pay
no attention to them.[282]

Meanwhile the struggle continued in Spain. Isabella applied in 1482 to
Sixtus to give her inquisitors power to pronounce final judgements that
should not be subject to revision or appeal. He replied, February 23,
1483, that he would take counsel with the Sacred College, the result of
which was a bull of May 25th, in which he conferred on Iñigo Manrique,
Archbishop of Seville, appellate jurisdiction from the inquisitors,
deputizing him in place of the pope for the Spanish dominions.[283] This
expedient brought no relief to the Conversos. The inquisitors paid no
respect to it and would-be appellants found that it was not safe to go
to Seville for revision of their cases by the archbishop. It was the
same with the letters of absolution that continued to be issued; they
were disregarded and many fugitives who had procured them found on their
return that they had been burnt in effigy during their absence and that
the document on which they relied was of no avail. They needed something
more and Sixtus was nothing loath to grant it. As early as August 2nd,
he followed the bull of May 25th with another, for which we may safely
assume that the Conversos paid roundly, for in it he evoked to Rome all
pending cases of appeal, he ordered the Spanish bishops to protect at
all hazards the bearers of papal letters of absolution, even to the
invocation of the secular arm, and he entreated Ferdinand and Isabella
to show mercy to their subjects as they hoped for mercy from God.[284]


Whatever was paid for this was money vainly thrown into the bottomless
sea of the curia. Eleven days later, with shameless effrontery, Sixtus
wrote to the sovereigns that it had been issued without proper
deliberation and that he suspended it. This reinstated Manrique as
appellate judge, and Juan of Seville, who had carried the previous brief
to the Bishop of Evora for multiplying, was brought, with his
companions, before the archbishop, who condemned them.[285] The gold of
the victims was vainly pitted against the unalterable will of the
sovereigns, for the Holy See had no scruple in selling exemptions and
abandoning the purchasers. The delegation to Archbishop Manrique by no
means inferred that Sixtus relinquished his own profitable appellate
jurisdiction and, to encourage appeals, it was necessary to manifest
indignation when the inquisitors rated the papal action at its true
value. How little they respected it is manifested in a brief of July 4,
1484, addressed to the inquisitors Miguel de Morillo and Juan de San
Martin, reciting that the Dean of Mondoñedo, two canons of Seville and
several others, whom they were prosecuting and whose property they had
sequestrated, had appealed from them; that Sixtus had referred the cases
to the Bishop of Terracina and some auditors of the Sacred Palace, at
whose instance the inquisitors had been ordered to cease proceedings, to
grant absolution _ad cautelam_ and to lift the sequestration which
deprived the parties of the means to carry on the appeal; that the
inquisitors had not only flatly refused obedience and had kept
possession of the property, but had constrained the appellants under
oath and threat of censures not to prosecute the appeal or even to write
to Rome, on the ground that they had the jurisdiction and would render
judgement. Wherefore Sixtus now pronounces null and void all proceedings
since the issue of the inhibitory order and prohibits further action
under threat of excommunication; the sequestration is to be lifted and
all the papers are to be sent to Rome.[286] There was no reason why this
should command obedience more than the previous order and we may feel
sure that the appellants fared no better in consequence. The case has
interest only as a specimen of innumerable others which were bringing an
abundant harvest to the officials of the curia, without affording relief
to the victims, who were like a shuttlecock between two battledores,
yielding sport to the players, as they were driven from one to the

Archbishop Manrique's position as appellate judge must also have been
lucrative for, on his death in 1485, the succession was eagerly sought
for and was obtained by the papal vice-chancellor, Rodrigo Borgia, but
Ferdinand had had experience of him in Valencia and the sovereigns
remonstrated so effectually that he was obliged to withdraw in favor of
their nominee, Cardinal Hurtado de Mendoza, Bishop of Palencia.[287]

Sixtus IV had died, August 12, 1484, to be succeeded by Innocent VIII.
The Inquisition might hope for an improvement, but was resolved to
resist with greater energy than before, if the new pope should imitate
his predecessor. In a series of instructions, issued December 6, 1484,
Torquemada provided for a resident agent in Rome, whose expenses were to
be defrayed from the confiscations; he complained of the extraordinary
and illegal letters so profusely granted by Sixtus and announced that
the sovereigns would suspend the operation of such letters, but that
action would be withheld until it should be seen whether Innocent
continued a practice so prejudicial.[288] Innocent must already have
given evidence that his methods were the same as those of Sixtus, for,
in less than ten days, Ferdinand issued, December 15th, a savage
pragmática far more decisive than Torquemada had forecast, for it
decreed death and confiscation for all who should use such letters,
whether emanating from the pope or his subordinates, unless they should
have received the royal exequatur, and all notaries and scriveners who
should act under them or make transcripts of them were deprived of their


As a matter of course the change of pontiffs worked no change in the
lucrative business, except that perhaps under Innocent the practice of
taking money and betraying those who paid it became more unblushing than
before and promises to both sides were made and broken with still
greater facility. To this end, care was taken to maintain the papal
jurisdiction, for when the new pope was asked to confirm or renew
Torquemada's commission and power was asked for him to disregard the
exemptions issued in blank for names to be filled in and absolutions
granted on false confessions, and other abuses impeding in every way the
Inquisition, Innocent turned a deaf ear and the commission was only
renewed, not enlarged.[290] Then the sovereigns assumed the power denied
to Torquemada and issued circular letters, July 29, 1485, addressed to
all the ecclesiastical authorities, reciting how, to the scandal of
religion, disregard of the royal pre-eminence and damage to the fisc,
certain parties obtained bulls, rescripts, provisions and confessional
letters, from Sixtus IV and Innocent VIII, to protect themselves in
their crimes. As it is not to be supposed that the popes would do this
knowingly, all such letters are suspended until the papal intention,
after due information, can be ascertained and obeyed. Meanwhile no such
briefs are to be enforced until after submission to the sovereigns for
their approval.[291]

It is not easy to follow the rapid tergiversations of the pope, for the
pledges given to either side were impartially violated almost as soon as
given, the only explanation being that both sides could get what briefs
they desired provided they were willing to pay what was demanded. For
awhile the influence of Ferdinand and Isabella prevailed and, in a
solemn repetition of Torquenada's commission, April 24, 1486, Innocent
directed that all appeals should be made to him and not to the Holy
See.[292] Still more emphatic was a disgraceful brief of November 10,
1487, by which he declared inoperative all the letters issued by the
Penitentiary, whose purchasers he thus surrendered to the inquisitors,
whom he authorized to proceed in spite of the inhibitions contained in
them.[293] Possibly he may have recognized that this breach of faith was
likely to damage the market by destroying confidence, for the ink was
scarce dry on this brief when he issued another, November 27th, ordering
that, when such letters were produced, they, or authentic copies of
them, should be sent, with details of the case, and that, until his
decision was announced, proceedings should be suspended.[294]

Ferdinand thereupon forbade the inquisitors to accept such letters,
notwithstanding which their issue continued without intermission for, on
May 17, 1488, Innocent declares that they should be invalid unless
presented within a month of that date.[295] Simultaneous with this was
an elaborate bull of the same date, doubtless procured by the Converses
of Aragon, addressed to the Bishop of Majorca, reciting the daily
appeals from the kingdoms of Aragon which were committed to judges in
the curia who issued inhibitions to the inquisitors. As this impeded the
Inquisition the pope evoked to himself all pending cases and committed
them to the bishop to be decided without appeal, his commission
continuing during the papal pleasure.[296] We may reasonably doubt
whether Ferdinand permitted the bishop to exercise these functions; even
if he did so the Conversos profited little, for the good bishop died in
about six months and there is no trace of the appointment of a

Yet when Ferdinand wanted to save those whom he favored from the
Inquisition, he sometimes had recourse to procuring for them papal
letters to which he granted his exequatur. He did this for his
treasurer, Gabriel Sánchez and for the vice-chancellor of Aragon, Alonso
de la Caballería; Gabriel Sánchez also obtained letters for his brothers
Alonso and Guillen, which Ferdinand approved and had some difficulty, in
1498, in preventing the tribunal of Saragossa from seizing and
suppressing them.[297] There was an even more significant recognition of
the appellate power of the Holy See in the case of Gonsalvo Alfonsi,
defunct, in 1493. The _consulta de fe_ was unable to reach unanimity
and, in place of referring it to the Suprema, the consultors referred it
to Alexander VI, who, by brief of August 13th, appointed the Bishop of
Córdova and the Benedictine Prior of Valladolid to decide the case, at
the same time inhibiting the inquisitors from further cognizance.[298]


The year 1492 saw the conquest of Granada achieved and the death of
Innocent VIII. The one event greatly increased the reputation and
influence of Ferdinand and the other placed in the papal chair Rodrigo
Borgia, better known as Alexander VI. Both men were unscrupulous, but
the political situation brought them into close relations and the
services rendered by the king to the pope--or still more, perhaps, the
disservice which he could render--made the latter eager to gratify him.
In 1494 he confirmed and enlarged the letters of Innocent VIII
prescribing that appeals should be made to the inquisitor-general and
not to the Holy See.[299] To render this effective he commissioned, as
we have seen, one of the inquisitors-general, Francisco de la Fuente, as
appellate judge to hear all cases. The brief of appointment, November 4,
1494, shows in what a tangled condition these matters had been brought
by the shifting and shiftless papal policy, governed alone by the
expectation of profit. It recites that Innocent VIII, at the instance of
Spanish suspects of heresy, had committed their cases, both original and
appellate, to various auditors of the Sacred Palace, where they remained
pending for lack of evidence not obtainable in Rome, wherefore Innocent
had evoked them all to himself, but had appointed no judge to hear them
and no further progress was made. Besides, under their commissions, the
said auditors had issued letters compulsory, inhibitory and citatory on
inquisitors and other officials, in consequence of which they were under
excommunication and against this they appealed. To put an end to these
dangers and scandals, Alexander therefore evoked anew all these cases to
himself and committed them to la Fuente, together with all arising in
future, granting him full power for their final determination.[300]

Still the lucrative business of issuing letters of absolution and
redintegration went on unchecked, until pressure from Spain, which was
insufficient to restrain their manufacture and sale, at least induced
Alexander to betray those who had bought them. On August 29, 1497, he
issued a bull reciting how heretics, who had been burnt in effigy, had
obtained from him absolution, rehabilitation and exemption from
inquisitorial jurisdiction, to the scandal of the faithful, wherefore,
at the request of Ferdinand and Isabella, he now withdraws and annuls
all these letters, except in the forum of conscience.[301] Even this did
not satisfy Ferdinand who, under the pretext that a papal secretary
named Bartolommeo Florido had issued false ones, ordered the inquisitors
to seize them when presented and send them to him in order that he might
communicate with the pope about them. This was followed by decrees of
the Suprema, January 8 and February 12, 1498, commanding all who had
obtained absolutions and dispensations from Rome to deliver them within
a given time to the inquisitors, who would forward them to the
inquisitor-general for verification of their genuineness, thus obtaining
possession of all letters, to the general terror of the owners.
Ferdinand, as we have seen, was obliged to write to Saragossa to protect
Alonso de la Caballería and the brothers Sánchez, while Isabella
interceded, June 26th, for a servant of hers who had procured such a
letter and could not produce it.[302] Then Alexander was called upon for
a more absolute surrender of those who had dealt with him and, on
September 17th, he addressed a brief to the Spanish inquisitors
empowering them to proceed against all heretics, notwithstanding all
letters of absolution and redintegration heretofore or hereafter issued,
for all such letters were to be held as having been granted
inadvertently.[303] What with Spanish fanaticism and papal faithlessness
the Conversos were between the hammer and the anvil.


Their only recourse was exile. Many abandoned Spain and a portion of
these found in Rome a refuge, for Alexander welcomed them in view of the
heavy imposts which they paid for safety and toleration. They also
furnished him with material for a speculative outburst of persecution
when, in 1498, he was in need of funds to furnish forth the magnificent
embassy of his son Cæsar, sent to bear to Louis XIII the bull of divorce
from Queen Jeanne. He appointed as inquisitors Cardinal Pietro Isuali
and the Master of the Sacred Palace, Fra Paolo de Monelia, who
proclaimed a term of grace during which the Spaniards suspect of heresy
could come forward. Two hundred and thirty presented themselves; the
form of receiving and examining their confessions was gone through with;
they were admitted to mercy and a salutary penance was imposed in lieu
of the penalties that might have been inflicted in Spain. What was the
amount of this cannot be known, but it must have been considerable, for
the inquisitors could ransom them at discretion. A solemn auto de fe was
celebrated in St. Peter's, July 29th, in the presence of Alexander and
his cardinals. The penitents were marched thither in pairs, were
reconciled to the Church, abjured their heresies and were sentenced to
wear the sanbenito and to undergo penance, after which they were taken
in procession to Santa Maria sopra Minerva, where they were relieved of
the sanbenitos and discharged. The performance evidently was expected
not to be pleasing to the Spanish sovereigns, for part of the penance
assigned was to furnish a notarial attestation that they would not
return to Spain without licence from the Catholic kings under pain of
relaxation as relapsed.[304]

There were doubtless intimations of Ferdinand's displeasure which drew
from these impromptu inquisitors a letter of September 10th to their
Spanish brethren and one of October 5th from Alexander to the
sovereigns, in which the provision respecting return to Spain was
emphasized. Ferdinand however was not to be thus placated; indeed he had
already, on August 2nd, issued an edict, designed to frustrate further
attempts by the papacy to share in the profits of persecution. In this
he ordered the execution, without trial, of all who had fled from
condemnation by the Inquisition and who should venture to return, no
matter what exemptions, reconciliations, safe-conducts or privileges
they might allege. Any property they might possess was apportioned in
thirds to the informer, the official and the fisc and any one harboring
them and any official neglecting to execute the edict was threatened
with confiscation.[305] The prevention of further speculative
performances of the kind was doubtless the motive for the stringent
regulations, which we have seen above, in 1499 and 1500, to prevent the
escape of Conversos.[306]

Ferdinand sometimes recognized the papal letters as in the case of some
parties named Beltram, in 1499, which he permitted to be heard by the
commissioners appointed by the pope,[307] but there was too much at
stake for him to abandon the struggle and the papacy followed its
practice of sacrificing those who sought its protection, while never
failing to promise it. Early in 1502, the sovereigns remonstrated
forcibly as to the great damage to the faith resulting from these
letters transferring cases to special commissioners, and Alexander
promptly responded by a bull evoking to himself all such cases and
committing them to Inquisitor-general Deza, to be decided by him
personally or with assessors whom he might call in. To this Ferdinand
objected, under pretext of the hardship which it would inflict on the
appellants, as Deza had to follow the migratory court and Alexander,
with his usual pliancy, empowered Deza, August 31st, to appoint deputies
to decide cases. Deza availed himself of this to restore the cases to
the tribunals, instructing them to proceed to final judgement without
regard to any papal letters that might be presented, and thus again the
unlucky appellants were delivered back to their persecutors without

Julius II was elected November 1, 1503, and the next day, even before
his coronation, he issued a _motu proprio_ to Ferdinand and Isabella,
confirming all graces and privileges granted by his predecessors and
especially those to the Inquisition. Still, appeals to the Holy See
continued to pour in and to be welcomed and, in 1505, Ferdinand
remonstrated energetically, asking a recall of all commissions and
drawing a doleful picture of the religious condition of Spain, which was
saved only by the Inquisition from a schism worse than that of
Arius.[309] Philip of Austria, however, in his eagerness to win papal
support, abandoned the claims of the Inquisition and admitted to the
Holy See that it could not refuse to entertain the appeals of those who
sought its protection.[310] Julius had no intention of divesting himself
of the supreme jurisdiction which was so profitable and he took care to
assert it in the commissions issued, in 1507, to Ximenes and Bishop
Enguera, as inquisitors-general respectively of Castile and Aragon, by
evoking to himself all cases pending in the tribunals and committing
them to the new incumbents and those whom they might deputize.[311]


Like his predecessors, Julius, with one hand, sold letters of absolution
and inhibition while, with the other, he declared them invalid. A brief
of November 9, 1507, recites that some persons, pretending to be
aggrieved, have appealed to the Holy See, whereby the Inquisition is
impeded; therefore he decrees that all appeals must be to the
inquisitor-general, while those to Rome are to be regarded as null; the
inquisitors are to disregard them and not to delay on account of
them.[312] Still, the output of these letters was unchecked and for
awhile Ferdinand fluctuated in his policy with regard to them.
Sometimes, as in a Sardinia case, in 1508, he orders the inquisitor to
arrest and punish severely those concerned in procuring them, assuring
him of the royal protection against the indignation of Rome.[313]
Sometimes, as in a Valladolid case, in 1509, he assumes the current
convenient fiction that the letters are issued surreptitiously, that the
pope, on better information, will withdraw them, and meanwhile they are
held suspended; the trial is to go on and the sequestrations are not to
be lifted.[314] Finally, in a pragmática of August 31, 1509, a definite
policy was adopted combining both methods and based on the principle
that, if the letters were surreptitious, those who obtained them
deserved condign punishment. This required all such briefs to be
submitted to the Suprema for examination and reference back to Rome; if
found to be rightly issued, exequatur would be granted, but without this
any one presenting such letters to inquisitors incurred, as in the
pragmática of December 15, 1484, irremissible death and confiscation;
notaries acting under them were deprived of office, while secular
officials were commanded to execute the edict under pain of five
thousand florins and ecclesiastics under seizure of temporalities and
perpetual exile.[315]

The ferocity of this, after a constant struggle with the curia for
twenty-five years, shows the importance attached by Ferdinand to the
autonomy of the Inquisition and his determination to suppress all papal
interference. Still that interference continued and Ferdinand could not
but recognize that it was legal. In a case occurring in 1510, when a
certain Augustinian Fray Dionisio, on trial before the tribunal of
Seville, obtained letters committing the case to a judge who inhibited
the tribunal, Ferdinand requested the pope to evoke the case and commit
it to Cardinal Ximenes and further that all future cases of the kind
should be similarly treated.[316]

In all this long wrangle the diplomatic reserve is observable which
assumed that the Holy See was actuated by motives that, if mistaken,
were at least disinterested. The financial element underlying its action
was fully recognized, however, and, when the Spanish delegates were sent
to the Lateran Council in 1512, among the instructions which they bore
was one which said that Rome must not in future defend, as it had been
defending, the apostates of Jewish race who were burnt in effigy at home
while they purchased for money dispensations in the curia. In fact,
Charles V, in a letter of April 30, 1519, to his ambassador Luis Carroz,
openly asserted that the briefs issued in the time of Ferdinand had been
obtained by the Conversos through the payment of heavy sums.[317]

The delegates to the Lateran council of course effected nothing, and Leo
X, while his penitentiaries and auditors were as busy as ever, was even
more regardless than his predecessors of the papal dignity, in annulling
their acts after the fees had been paid. In a _motu proprio_ of May 31,
1513, he alludes to the letters negligently granted by Julius II and
himself, through which the business of the Inquisition was impeded,
wherefore he empowers Ximenes to inhibit, under excommunication and
other penalties, all persons, even of episcopal rank, from using such
letters of commission to entertain appeals.[318]


In the kingdoms of Aragon, the Córtes of Monzon, in 1510, agreed that no
one should appeal from the tribunals to the pope, but only to the
inquisitor-general.[319] Possibly this may have led to the invention of
a method of reprisals which was infinitely annoying and difficult to
meet. A certain Baldiri Meteli procured from Rome a citation to appear
addressed to Mossen Coda, the judge of confiscations in Barcelona, and
some other officials. This completely nonplussed the tribunal and
Ferdinand was driven to instructing, November 2, 1510, his
Lieutenant-general of Catalonia to consult with Inquisitor-general
Enguera as to the best mode of inducing Meteli to withdraw the
citation. He was obstinate, especially as he had meanwhile procured
citations on other officials, and Ferdinand could find no other remedy
than notifying the diputados that the agreement of Monzon was a totality
and that, if the clause respecting appeals was violated, Enguera would
disregard the rest.[320] What was the result the documents fail to
inform us, but an even more troublesome case occurred in Saragossa when
Sánchez de Romeral on being prosecuted fled to Rome. March 11, 1511,
Ferdinand wrote to his ambassador to request the pope to send him back
to the inquisitor-general, but the pope declined and Ferdinand was moved
to lively wrath, in 1513, on learning that Romeral, who had meanwhile
been burnt in effigy, had procured citations on all the officials, from
inquisitors down, including even the consultors who had acted in the
consulta de fe, and that he had managed to get the citations published
in Tudela and Cascante. Ferdinand wrote to Rome in terms of vigorous
indignation and ordered the Archbishop of Saragossa, the Captain-general
of Navarre and the inquisitors to consult with lawyers as to the best
means of punishing this audacious attack on the Inquisition. Apparently
there were no means of parrying such an attack save coming to terms with
the other side, so long as the curia was willing to lend itself to this
guerrilla warfare. This was seen in a somewhat similar case in Sicily,
in 1511, when a certain Cola de Ayelo, condemned to perpetual
imprisonment by Inquisitor Belorado, managed to escape; he took himself
to Rome as a penitent and there commenced suit against Belorado and his
colleague the Bishop of Cefalù. The bishop was obliged to obey a summons
to Rome; the affair was protracted and gave so much trouble that, when
Ayelo wanted to return to Sicily and offered to withdraw the suit,
Ferdinand agreed to let him come back, pardoned his offences, including
gaol-breaking, and gave him a safe-conduct against further prosecution.
This method of fighting the Inquisition would probably have been more
frequently adopted but for the risk to which were exposed the notaries
and scriveners whose ministrations were essential. In the present case
the one who sent the citation to the bishop was seized by the viceroy,
tortured and probably punished severely.[321]

One or two cases will illustrate the chaotic condition produced by these
contending elements, especially after the death of Ferdinand, January
23, 1516, had removed from the scene of action his resolute will and
ceaseless activity. Miguel Vedreña, suspected of complicity in the
murder of Bernardo Castelli, assessor of the tribunal of Balaguer,
appealed to the pope from the prison of the tribunal of Barcelona. The
Suprema of Aragon vainly instructed its Roman agent to make every effort
to defeat the appeal. Leo X committed the case to the Bishop of Ascoli,
who ordered the tribunal to release Vedreña on his giving security to
constitute himself a prisoner in Rome. The inquisitors had lost all
respect for papal letters and refused obedience, whereupon the bishop
appointed certain local prelates as commissioners to prosecute them and
inflict censures. The Suprema inhibited these commissioners from acting,
but not before they had excommunicated the inquisitors, who applied to
Leo for relief. Leo had already, at least in appearance, abandoned
Vedreña, in a brief of May 5, 1517, addressed to Cardinal Adrian, then
Inquisitor-general of Aragon, styling Vedreña "that son of iniquity,"
evoking the case to himself and committing it to Adrian. But
accompanying this brief and of the same date was another of private
instructions, in which Vedreña was alluded to as his dearest son and
Adrian was told that the case was committed to him in order that his
dexterity might compound it; the evidence was doubtful and Vedreña had
purged it sufficiently; it would seem that he should rather be acquitted
than condemned but if Adrian thought otherwise he was to send a
statement, when Leo would give final orders. Some three months later
there was another brief to Adrian about the excommunicated inquisitors;
if the censures were subsequent to the withdrawal of the case from the
Bishop of Ascoli, they were invalid, but the whole matter was left to
Adrian.[322] We have no means of knowing what was the final outcome of
the case, but it sufficiently indicates the entanglements caused by the
conflicting jurisdictions and the contradictory actions of the pope as
his officials were bought by one side or the other.


Another aspect of these affairs is exhibited in the case of the heirs of
Juan Enríquez de Medina, whose bones were condemned, by the tribunal of
Cuenca, to be exhumed and burnt. The heirs appealed to Ximenes, who
commissioned judges to revise the sentence, but these refused to the
heirs a copy of the proceedings, by which alone they could rebut the
evidence. Then they appealed to Pope Leo, who appointed three
commissioners to hear the case and communicate the proceedings to the
heirs, on their giving security not to harm the witnesses. The parties
appointed, doubtless fearing to incur the enmity of the Inquisition,
declined to serve and the last we hear of the case is a brief of May 19,
1517, threatening them with excommunication for persistence.[323]

With the appointment of Cardinal Adrian, as inquisitor-general of
Castile as well as of Aragon, Leo, in 1518, confirmed the decrees of
Innocent VIII and Alexander VI, granting to him exclusive appellate
jurisdiction and Adrian, when pope, repeated this in 1523, in favor of
Manrique.[324] Yet this in no way interfered with the reception in Rome
of the multitudinous applications, both appellate and in first instance,
which Charles V, in a letter of October 29, 1518, to Cardinal
Santiquatro, broadly hinted was accomplished by the free use of
money.[325] How recklessly, indeed, the papal jurisdiction was
prostituted at the service of the first comer, is evidenced in the case
of a mill in Paterna, purchased by Juan Claver from the confiscated
estate of Jufre Rinsech. The Infante Enrique laid claim to it; the
tribunal of Valencia decided in favor of Claver and imposed perpetual
silence on Enrique. On the death of Claver, Enrique brought suit against
his heir before a judge of his own selection, whom the tribunal promptly
inhibited. Enrique then procured a papal brief inhibiting the tribunal
and committing the case to this judge. Then Charles V intervened,
October 29, 1518, ordering Enrique to bring his suit before the
tribunal.[326] Papal letters issued after such fashion had no moral
weight and were lightly disregarded. The contempt felt for them was
increased by Leo's perpetual vacillations. A brief of September 9, 1518,
to Adrian states that, in view of the iniquity and injustice of the
tribunal of Palermo and some others, he had placed all such matters in
the hands of his vicar, the Cardinal of S. Bartolommeo in Insula, with
faculties to decide them and coerce the inquisitors with censures and
fines, but now he thinks it better that these affairs shall be confided
to Adrian, to whom he commits them with full powers.[327]


A contemporary case, which attracted much attention at the time, shows
Leo in a more favorable light. Blanquina Díaz was an octogenarian widow
of Valencia, whose orthodoxy had never been suspected, but in 1517 she
was denounced for Judaism and thrown into the secret prison. An appeal
to the pope brought orders that she be released on good security, be
allowed defence and the case be speedily tried. This brief never reached
the tribunal, being apparently suppressed by the Suprema, whereupon Leo
issued a second one, March 4, 1518, evoking the case to himself and
committing it to two ecclesiastics of Valencia, Blanquina being
meanwhile placed in a convent and Cardinal Adrian being especially
prohibited from intervening, anything that he might do being declared
invalid. It was probably before this was received that the tribunal
submitted the case to Adrian, who assembled a consulta de fe and
condemned Blanquina to perpetual imprisonment and confiscation. The
papal intervention seems to have aroused much feeling; Charles was ready
to sign anything drawn up for him by Adrian, and, in two letters, of May
18th and June 18th to his Roman agent Luis Carroz, he ordered the latter
to disregard all other business in the effort to procure the withdrawal
of the two briefs. If the safety of all his dominions had been at stake
he could not have been more emphatic; such interference with the
Inquisition was unexampled; unless the pope would revoke the briefs and
promise never to issue similar ones, the Holy Office would be totally
destroyed, and heresy would flourish unpunished, for every one would
seek relief at the curia and the service of God would become impossible.
He also wrote to the pope and the cardinals, while Adrian and the
Suprema sent pressing letters. Leo, however, was firm in substance,
though he yielded in form. In briefs of July 5th and 7th to Adrian he
ordered that everything done since his letters of March 4th should be
annulled, Blanquina being restored to her good fame, her sanbenito being
removed and she being placed, under bail, in a convent or in the house
of a kinsman. As the evidence against her consisted of trifles committed
in childhood, he again evoked the case to himself and committed it to
Adrian. There had been active work on both sides in Rome, for the brief
of July 5th gave Adrian full power to decide the case while that of the
7th limited him to sending the results to Leo and awaiting instructions
as to the sentence. Leo thus kept Blanquina's fate in his hands; Adrian
was only his mouthpiece and the sentence pronounced her to be lightly
suspect of heresy and discharged her without imprisonment or

A further instance of Leo's vacillation is the coincidence that the
brief of March 4th in Blanquina's favor was dated the same day as
Adrian's commission as inquisitor-general of Castile, in which Leo
evoked to himself all pending cases, whether in the tribunals or the
curia, and committed them to Adrian with full power to inhibit all
persons from assuming cognizance of them.[329] With this before him it
is scarce a subject of surprise that Charles V on April 30th instructed
his ambassador to tell the pope that no letters prejudicial to the
Inquisition would be admitted.[330] This threat he carried out in a
contemporaneous case which for some years embroiled the Inquisition with
the curia. Bernardino Díaz had been tried and discharged by the tribunal
of Toledo, after which he had a quarrel with Bartolomé Martínez, whom he
accused of perjury in his case, and killed him. Díaz fled to Rome, while
the tribunal not only burnt him in effigy but seized his wife and mother
and some of his friends as accomplices in his escape. In Rome he secured
pardon in both the interior and exterior forum on condition of
satisfying the kindred of Martínez, to the great indignation of Charles,
who complained, not without reason, of this invasion of jurisdiction.
Díaz also procured a brief ordering the liberation of the prisoners and
the release of their property, but when the executors named in it
endeavored to enforce it, the Toledo tribunal seized their procurator
and compelled its surrender. This realization of Charles's threat
exasperated the curia and the auditor-general of the Camera summoned the
inquisitors to obey the brief or answer personally in Rome for their
contumacy; they did neither and were duly excommunicated. Charles wrote
repeatedly and bitterly about this unexampled persecution of those who
had merely administered justice; the case dragged on for some three
years and its ultimate outcome does not appear, but the family of Díaz
were probably released for, in 1520, we hear of the removal of the
excommunication in connection with the revocation by the inquisitors of
their proceedings against Juan de Salazar, a canon of Toledo, residing
in Rome in the papal service, whom they had deprived of citizenship and
temporalities for some action of his in prejudice of the


Another person who, about this time, gave infinite vexation to Charles
and Adrian was Diego de las Casas of Seville, the agent who bore to Rome
the contested proceedings of the Córtes of Aragon and labored for their
confirmation. He was well supplied with funds and naturally was a
_persona grata_ to the curia. The Inquisition speedily attacked him, in
its customary unscrupulous manner, by not only prosecuting him _in
absentia_ but by seizing his brothers, Francisco and Juan, and their
wives. To meet this he procured a brief committing the cases to Adrian
and to Ferdinand de Arce, Bishop of Canaries, with a provision that the
parties should present themselves to Adrian and Arce and keep such
prison as might be designated for them, and further permitting them to
select advocates for their defence. Equitable as were these provisions,
the brief excited hot indignation. When laid before the royal council it
was pronounced scandalous and of evil example and its execution was
refused. Charles wrote in haste to Leo, April 30, 1519, that it was
scandalous and would destroy the Inquisition; he instructed his agents
to procure its revocation to be forwarded by the next courier and he
invoked by letters the cardinals in the Spanish interest to bring what
pressure they could upon the pope. His urgency was fruitless and when,
in September, he sent Lope Hurtado de Mendoza to Rome, as special
ambassador in the quarrel with Aragon, his instructions were to
represent to the pope the impropriety of harboring in Rome fugitives
from the Inquisition, especially Diego de las Casas and his colleague
Juan Gutiérrez, whose parents and grandparents and kindred had been
reconciled or burnt; they should be expelled, and Mendoza was to labor
for the revocation of their briefs and all other exemptions and
commissions in favor of Conversos. Mendoza exerted all his diplomatic
ability, but, although Leo admitted, in a brief of July 13, 1520, to
Adrian that the evocation of cases to Rome, both on appeal and in first
instance, led to delays, impunity for offenders and encouragement of
offences, still he would not abandon Diego de las Casas. The grant by
Sixtus IV of appellate jurisdiction to the inquisitor-general, he
admitted had been beneficial and, in hopes that Adrian would use it with
integrity and justice, he evoked to himself all cases pending in the
Roman courts and committed them to Adrian with full powers, but he made
no promises as to the future and he especially excepted his physician,
Ferdinand de Aragon and his wife, Diego de las Casas, Juan Gutiérrez and
the deceased Juan de Covarrubias, whose cases had long been in dispute.

To all these, and to their kindred to the third degree and their
property, Leo granted letters exempting them from the jurisdiction of
the Inquisition and committing them to the Archbishop of Saragossa and
certain other ecclesiastical dignitaries. Complaints soon arose as to
the manner in which these commissioners exercised their powers to the
dishonor of the Inquisition; Leo yielded by a brief of January 8, 1521,
in which he substituted Adrian and the nuncio Vianesio de' Albergati,
with full power to inhibit their predecessors. Then, in a more formal
brief of January 20th he deprecated the evil caused by the cases which
were daily brought to Rome and committed them all to Adrian, saving
those of the five exempts, in which the nuncio was to be conjoined with
him, and at the same time he revoked the letters exempting them and
their kindred and empowering them to select judges for themselves.[332]
It was a practical surrender, although Leo distinguished las Casas and
Gutiérrez by styling them his beloved children.

These cases will suffice to show how the traditional policy of the curia
continued, of taking the money of the refugees and appellants for
protecting briefs, and then abandoning them by revocations issued,
without even a sense of shame, when their funds were exhausted in the
protracted struggle. Yet, undeterred by this, there was a constant
succession of new applicants, who had no other refuge on earth, and the
valueless briefs were granted with unfailing readiness. It was a source
of perpetual irritation and Charles was untiring in his efforts to
counteract it, not always observing due courtesy, as when, March 25,
1525, he wrote to Clement VII, in violent language, to revoke and erase
from the registers a brief granted to Luis Colon and to order his
officials not to issue such letters, as they were scandalous.[333] He no
longer had the excuse of his youthful tutelage under Adrian and yet his
subserviency to the Inquisition was complete. This was manifested in the
case of Bernardo de Orda, a servant of Cardinal Colonna, who had a suit
against Doctor Saldaña about the treasurership of the church of Leon.
Saldaña was a member of the Suprema and, when Orda came to Spain, it was
not difficult to have him charged with heresy and arrested by the
tribunal of Valladolid. He escaped to Rome and the prosecution was
continued against him _in absentia_, whereupon Charles demeaned himself
by writing to Colonna, July 30, 1528, asking him to prevent Orda from
obtaining a brief of exemption, as it would be an injury to the faith,
and also not to favor him in his suit with Saldaña.[334]


Meanwhile the popes continued to propitiate Charles's growing power by
granting, with as much facility as ever, what was nominally exclusive
appellate jurisdiction to the inquisitor-general. In 1523, Adrian VI, as
we have seen, confirmed in favor of Manrique the bulls of Sixtus IV and
Alexander VI. Clement VII went even farther for, in a bull of January 6,
1524, he not only evoked all pending cases and committed them to
Manrique but decreed that any commissions which he might thereafter
issue should be invalid without the express assent of Charles, while all
appeals were to be made to the inquisitor-general and not to the Holy
See, and this he repeated, June 16, 1525. Still appeals continued to be
made to Rome and briefs to be granted requiring repeated confirmations
of the bulls of 1524 and 1525 with inclusion of the letters obtained in
the interval, of which we have examples in 1532 and 1534.[335] Charles
was thus justified in enforcing Ferdinand's pragmática of 1509, as when,
in 1537, he ordered the corregidor of Murcia to prevent the publication
of certain letters understood to have been procured from the pope
against the Inquisition; if presented they were to be sent to the
Council of Castile for its action, and parties endeavoring to use them
were to be arrested and dealt with as might be deemed most advantageous
to the Holy Office.[336]

The position of Charles, as the master of Italy and the protagonist of
the Church in its struggle with Lutheranism, had thus enabled him to
obtain for the Inquisition virtual, though not acknowledged,
independence of Rome. There is a very striking illustration of this, in
1531, when Clement VII intervened in favor of Fray Francisco Ortiz, a
celebrated Observantine preacher, prosecuted for audaciously criticizing
the Inquisition from the pulpit. He had lain in prison for more than two
years, obstinately refusing to retract, when the interposition of
Clement was sought. He did not evoke the case but, in terms of
remarkable deference, July 1, 1531, he suggested to Manrique that, if
nothing else was alleged against Ortiz, he might be held as sufficiently
punished by his long imprisonment and might be restored to liberty, in
view of his blameless life and the profit to souls to be expected from
his preaching. This Clement asked as a favor, moved only by Christian
charity and zeal for the salvation of souls.[337] To this carefully
guarded request the Inquisition turned a deaf ear. If the trial of Ortiz
came to an end in February, 1532, it was because he voluntarily
submitted himself completely and his sentence was by no means light,
including public penance, which was rarely inflicted on an
ecclesiastic.[338] Paul III was more decided when his intervention was
asked by Charles V, who, in spite of his bitter protests against papal
interference, found himself obliged to appeal in behalf of his favorite
preacher, Fray Alonso Virues. The Seville tribunal had prosecuted the
latter on a charge of Lutheranism, had kept him imprisoned for four
years and had sentenced him to reclusion in a convent for two years and
suspension from preaching for two more. Charles, who had vainly sought
to protect him during his trial, supported an appeal to the pope and
obtained a brief of May 29, 1538, which not only annulled the sentence
but forbade his future molestation.[339]

When, in 1542, Paul III reorganized the moribund papal Inquisition by
forming a congregation of cardinals as inquisitors-general for all
Christendom, there was a not unnatural apprehension that this, even if
not so intended, might interfere with the independence of the Spanish
Holy Office. To representations of this he responded by a brief of April
1, 1548, in which he characterized such fears as baseless; he declared
that it was not designed to interfere with the authority of inquisitors
in Spain and he formally revoked anything to their prejudice that might
be found in the decree establishing the Congregation.[340] This brief
remained to the end the charter to which the Spanish Inquisition
appealed in its frequent collisions with the Roman Congregation and, but
for such a declaration, it would probably have been subordinated.[341]

This in no way affected the continual applications to Rome for relief,
nor the effort of the Inquisition to suppress them. It was a singular
departure from the settled policy of the government in this matter which
led the Suprema, in 1548, to utter a bitter complaint to Charles V,
setting forth the facility with which citations and inhibitions and
commissions were granted in Rome and the daily royal cédulas despatched
to prevent them, and yet when recently a Converso presented to the Royal
Council a petition stating that he did not dare to notify the
inquisitor-general of letters concerning a case which had been decided,
the Council issued an order permitting any notary to serve the papers
and testify to the service, with penalties for impeding it.[342] The
popes were more consistent in their inconsistency. We have seen how Paul
III, in 1549 and Julius III in 1551, confirmed the 1484 bull of Sixtus
IV insisting on the validity of papal letters in both the interior and
judicial forum and threatening the curses of the bull _in Cæna Domini_
on all who should impede them, yet in 1550 a case in which papal letters
were obtained led to vigorous remonstrance and Julius, by a brief of
December 15, 1551, confirmed those of Clement VII and Paul III, besides
evoking all pending cases and committing them to Inquisitor-general


Yet the very fact of doing this inferred the papal possession of supreme
jurisdiction which it merely delegated, a point of which the Holy See
never lost sight. The commissions to the successive inquisitors-general
during the century contains a clause by which all unfinished business
was evoked and committed to the appointee. It is true that there was
also a provision that no appeals from the tribunals should lie except to
the inquisitor-general, all other appeals, even to the Holy See, being
invalid and referred back to him, who was empowered to use censures to
prevent interference even by cardinals.[344] The popes could afford to
be thus liberal in their grants, for their irresponsible power enabled
them to disregard or to modify these delegated faculties at discretion,
and these provisions never prevented them from entertaining appeals.

This was shown in the friction which continued throughout the long reign
of Philip II, who was no less earnest than his father in maintaining the
independence of the Inquisition, although his attitude was more
deferential. In 1568 we find him complaining to his ambassador, Juan de
Zuñiga, that appeals were made from Sardinia to Rome, not only in cases
of faith, but in matters of confiscation, and in civil cases concerning
familiars and officials, all of which was damaging to the Inquisition
and in derogation of the royal jurisdiction. Zuñiga was therefore
ordered to supplicate the pope to refuse admission to all such appeals,
while the viceroy of Sardinia was instructed to prevent testimony from
being taken in such cases.[345] This effort was fruitless as likewise
was that of Abbot Brizeño, sent in 1580 as special commissioner on the
subject to Gregory XIII, to remonstrate with the utmost earnestness
against the reception accorded in Rome to fugitives from the

Soon after this a case occurred which strained the relations between the
courts. Jean de Berri, a Frenchman on trial by the tribunal of
Saragossa, managed to escape to Rome, whereupon he was condemned in
contumacy and burnt in effigy. He presented himself to the Congregation
of the Inquisition which admitted him to bail and he went to reside in
Orbitello. The case must have been the subject of active recrimination
for Juan de Zuñiga, at that time Viceroy of Naples, with superabundant
zeal, kidnapped him and despatched him to Spain. Instantly the papal
court was aflame; Zuñiga was promptly excommunicated, but the censure
was suspended for four months to allow him to return the fugitive. A
rupture seemed imminent and Zuñiga, conscious of his mistake, on
learning that the galeasses had been driven back to Palermo, sent
thither in hot haste, but his messenger was too late and Jean de Berri
was carried to Spain. Papal despatches couched in vigorous language were
forthwith sent to the nuncio, to Philip, to Inquisitor-general Quiroga
and to the Saragossa tribunal, the nuncio being ordered to prosecute
Quiroga if the prisoner was not remanded. Philip had no alternative;
Quiroga, in a letter of September 12, 1582 to Gregory announced Berri's
departure, at the same time remonstrating against the asylum to
fugitives offered by Rome. Berri was duly delivered to the Roman
Inquisition, but there was probably a secret understanding for, at a
meeting of the Congregation, June 13, 1583, presided over by Gregory, it
was decreed that he should be placed in the hands of Quiroga, who should
judge his case. Quiroga did nothing of the kind; he was sent to
Saragossa and the last we hear of him is a letter of the Suprema, August
3rd, to that tribunal ordering it to do justice--the customary formula
for confirming a sentence.[347] As usual, the curia abandoned those whom
it had undertaken to protect.


From 1582 to 1586, the nuncio, Taberna Bishop of Lodi, was largely
occupied with the question of these appeals.[348] It formed one of
several grievances arising from the exercise of papal jurisdiction in
Spain--a jurisdiction which was becoming an anachronism in the
development of absolute monarchy, but, as the faculties of the
Inquisition were solely a delegation from the Holy See, papal control of
its operations was unassailable and had to be endured. Philip gained
nothing by instructing his ambassador Olivares, November 10, 1583, that
it was highly important to represent to the pope that appeals should not
be entertained but should be remitted back to the
inquisitor-general.[349] We have seen how little ceremony was used by
Sixtus V, in 1585, when he evoked the case of the Jesuit Provincial
Marcen and his colleagues, and how the Suprema was forced to submit.

While Philip thus was unable to dispute the papal right of intervention,
he had as little scruple as his predecessors in disregarding papal
letters. In 1571 he ordered the surrender of all briefs evoking cases to
the Holy See. Some years later the Suprema instructed the tribunal of
Lima that, if apostolic letters were presented, it was to "supplicate"
against them--that is, to suspend and disregard them--and this was
doubtless a circular sent to all tribunals.[350] They were practically
treated as a nullity and it is a singular fact that, after so long an
experience, the curia still found purchasers credulous enough to seek
protection in them. In a Toledo auto de fe of 1591 there appeared
twenty-four Judaizers of Alcázar, detected by Inquisitor Alava during a
visitation. Among them was Francisco de Vega, a scrivener who, on
hearing that the inquisitor was coming, had sent to Rome and procured
absolutions for himself, his mother and his sister, thinking to find
safety in them, but they were treated with contempt and all three
culprits were reconciled with the same penalties as their

While thus the supreme jurisdiction of the Holy See was admitted and
evaded, the Inquisition sought to create the belief that it had been
abandoned. Zurita who, as secretary of the Suprema, unquestionably knew
better, makes such an assertion and Páramo, whose experience as
inquisitor in Sicily had taught him the truth, does not hesitate, in
1598, to say that, since Innocent VIII decreed that appeals should be
heard by the inquisitor-general, no pope had permitted cases to be
carried to the Apostolic see.[352] It is a fair example of the incurable
habit of the Inquisition to assert its possession of whatever it desired
to obtain.

       *       *       *       *       *

Under Philip III, the papal supremacy continued to be exercised and was
submitted to as reluctantly as ever. In 1602 a Doctor Cozas, under
prosecution by the tribunal of Murcia, managed to escape to Rome and to
have his case tried there. Philip labored strenuously and persistently
to have him remanded, first through his ambassador the Duke of Sesa and
then through the succeeding envoy, the Duke of Escalona, to whom, on
April 1, 1604 he sent a special courier, urging him to renew his
efforts, for every day the Roman Inquisition was intervening in what the
popes had granted exclusively to the inquisitor-general, thus
threatening the total destruction of the Spanish Inquisition.[353] In
1603 a Portuguese appealed to the Roman Inquisition, alleging that his
wife was unjustly held in prison; he obtained an order on the
inquisitor-general to transmit the papers and meanwhile to suspend the
case; Acevedo demurred, eliciting from Clement VIII a still more
peremptory command, whereupon the documents were sent and, while the
case was under consideration in Rome, the woman was discharged.[354] It
was preferable to let an assumed culprit go free than to allow the Roman
Holy Office to exercise jurisdiction.

       *       *       *       *       *


The subserviency of Philip IV to his inquisitors-general was even more
marked, and we have seen how vigorously he supported the Inquisition in
its extension of its jurisdiction over matters foreign to the faith,
leading the clergy of Majorca to procure papal briefs exempting them
from it in such cases. The chapter of Valencia was less fortunate and
was exposed to the full force of the royal indignation in 1637.
Inquisitor-general Sotomayor had obtained a pension of nine hundred
ducats on the archdeaconry of Játiva and one of three hundred and forty
ducats on a prebend vacated by the death of the canon Villarasa. The
chapter refused payment; Sotomayor sued them in the tribunal and of
course obtained a decision in his favor. The aggrieved chapter revenged
itself by ceasing the customary courtesy of sending two canons to
receive the inquisitors at the door of the cathedral on the occasion of
publishing the edict; this continued for two years and, on the second,
the door of the great chapel was locked and the inquisitors had to await
its opening. For this disrespect they prosecuted the chapter, which then
appealed to Rome on both suits and obtained briefs committing the cases
to a special commission of the Roman Inquisition, granting a faculty to
relieve them from any excommunication and citing Sotomayor to appear in
Rome. The case was assuming a serious aspect and the Suprema, November
30, 1637, presented to Philip a consulta with letters for his signature,
addressed to his ambassador, to the pope, to the viceroy, the
archbishop, and the chapter. Philip was in the full ardor of a contest
with the pope over the jurisdiction of the nuncio and the Roman
condemnation of books supporting the royal prerogative; he was not
content with the measures proposed and returned the consulta with the
comment that much more vigorous methods were required, nor did it
comport with the royal dignity to ask for what he could legally enforce.
He had therefore ordered the Council of Aragon to write to the chapter,
through the viceroy, expressing his displeasure and his determination to
resort to the most extreme steps. Letters were also to be written to the
viceroy and the archbishop commanding the prosecution of the chapter in
the Banco Real unless the briefs were forthwith surrendered; the
Inquisition was not to appear in the matter, but only the archbishop,
and a minister of justice was to be at hand when the demand was made, so
as to seize the briefs as soon as they were produced. This violent
program was duly carried out; Canon Oñate, the custodian of the briefs,
was forced to surrender them; through the hands of the Council of Aragon
they were passed to Sotomayor and were carefully preserved as trophies
in the archives of the Suprema.[355]

If this inspired in ecclesiastics the terror desired it did not
influence defendants under trial, who continued to appeal to Rome, for a
carta acordada of August 3, 1538, orders the tribunals, when such cases
occur, to send reports not only to it but direct to the Roman agent of
the Inquisition, in order that no time should be lost by him in working
for their withdrawal.[356] A few years later there followed the most
bitter and stubborn conflict that had yet occurred between Madrid and
Rome on the subject of appeals--the case of Gerónimo de Villanueva,
which is so illustrative in various ways that it merits a somewhat
detailed examination.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _APPEALS TO ROME_]

Gerónimo de Villanueva, Marquis of Villalba, belonged to an ancient
family of Aragon, of which kingdom he was Prothonotary, or secretary of
state; while his brother Agustin was Justicia. He won the favor of
Olivares, as well as of Philip, and accumulated a plurality of offices,
rendering him at last one of the most important personages of the state,
for he became a member of the Councils of Aragon, War, Cruzada and
Indies, of the Camara of the Council of Indies, Secretary of State and
of the "Despacho universal de la Monarquia."[357]


In 1623 there was founded in Madrid, with the object of restoring the
relaxed Benedictine discipline, a convent under the name of _La
Encarnacion bendita de San Placido_, with funds furnished by Villanueva
and by the family of Doña Teresa de Silva (also called Valle de la
Cerda), who was elected abbess. She had for some years been under the
direction of Fray Francisco Garcia Calderon, a Benedictine of high
reputation, who was inclined to mysticism. Villanueva had an agreement
with the superiors of the Order giving him the appointment of spiritual
directors and he naturally placed Calderon in charge. Before the year
was out, one of the nuns became demoniacally possessed; the
contagiousness of the disorder is well known and soon twenty-two out of
the thirty were similarly affected, including Teresa herself. Calderon
was reckoned a skilful exorcist, but he was baffled, as was likewise the
Abbot of Ripel, who was called in. At the suggestion of the latter, the
wild utterances of the demoniacs were written down, and a mass
accumulated of some six hundred pages, for it was a current belief that
demons were often compelled by God to utter truths concealed from man.
These largely took the shape of announcing that the convent would be the
source of a reformation, not only of the Order but of the whole Church;
eleven of the nuns were to be the apostles of a New Dispensation, one
having the spirit of St. Peter, another that of St. Paul and so forth,
while Calderon represented Christ. They would go forth to redeem the
world; when Urban VIII should die he would be succeeded by Cardinal
Borgia, who would bestow the cardinalate on Calderon; then Calderon
would be pope for thirty-three years and Villanueva, who would be made a
cardinal, would have a share in the great work.

For three years this went on, to the despair of the exorcists; people
began to suspect some underlying evil and Fray Alonso de Leon, who had
been associated with Calderon in the direction and had quarrelled with
him, denounced the affair to the Inquisition in 1628. Calderon's
prosecution was ordered: he endeavored to escape to France but was
caught at Gerona and brought back to Toledo for trial. The nuns were all
cast into the secret prison, where it was not difficult to extort from
their fears such evidence as was wanted. Calderon endured without
confession three rigorous tortures, but nevertheless he was condemned as
an Alumbrado, guilty of teaching impeccability and the other heresies
ascribed to Illuminism. April 27, 1630 he was sentenced to a living
death in a cell of the convent designated to receive him. Doña Teresa
was relegated to a convent for four years and the nuns were scattered in
different houses.[358]

Apart from Illuminism, there were the consultation of demons and the
prophecies of a renovation of the Church through a new apostolate. The
latter was qualified as a heresy; the former was a debatable point. The
six censors appointed by the Suprema held that belief in prophecies made
by demons was superstitious divination, aggravated by the character of
the prophecies and the practice of writing them out; it was no excuse to
say that the demon acted as the minister of God, for this could be made
to justify all heresies, and even to believe the demon to be the
minister of God was superstitious divination.[359]

In all this Villanueva was compromised. His house adjoined the convent
and he was much there, especially at night, after his official duties
were over. The conventual discipline became inevitably relaxed and, in
the subsequent proceedings, it was in evidence that he had been seen
sitting in Teresa's lap while she cleaned his hair of insects. He took
much interest in the demonic prophecies, especially those which foretold
his importance in the Church, and he treasured a picture which was drawn
of his guardian angel, in which he was represented as a pillar
sustaining the Church. He took part in interrogating the demons and
writing what they said and he kept these writings in his house. This
appeared in the evidence taken in the trial of Teresa and the nuns and,
according to inquisitorial practice, the portions relating to him were
extracted and submitted to censors who reported, March 12, 1630,
unfavorably; he was an accomplice or, if not, he was at least a fautor
of the heresies. Then other censors were called in and a junta was held,
March 20th, which reduced the finding to his being moderately suspect of
having incurred the above censure.[360]

There was evidently no desire to attack so influential a personage who
was supported by the favor of Olivares, and the Inquisition carried the
matter no further, but doubtless Villanueva felt the danger of his
position and possibly hints may have reached him of the evidence
collected which might at any time be used for the furtherance of some
court intrigue. He seems to have hesitated long but finally on January
7, 1632, he presented a self-denunciation to Fray Antonio de Sotomayor,
confessor of the king, not as yet inquisitor-general, but a member of
the Suprema. In this he naturally extenuated matters; he alleged his
misplaced confidence in Calderon and Alonso de Leon and professed that,
being unable to judge the import of it all, he made the statement in
order that the proper remedy might be applied. Six months elapsed
without action but, in July, five different groups of censors were
consulted, whose opinions varied from holding him as an accomplice to
declaring him guilty of no mortal sin. July 30th the Suprema considered
the case and decided that there was no ground for prosecution--one
member, however dissenting and voting for further consultation with
competent theologians. The majority opinion governed and, on November
22nd, a certificate was duly given to Villanueva.[361]


He might well congratulate himself on his escape and turn his attention
to rehabilitating the unfortunate nuns of San Placido. It was well-nigh
unexampled that the Inquisition should confess fallibility by revoking a
judgement and to accomplish it demanded time and perseverance. When all
was ready, on February 5, 1638, Fray Gabriel de Bustamente, in the name
of the Benedictine Order, petitioned the Suprema to revise the case and
that the nuns be set free and restored to their honor. This was referred
to nine censors, who reported, April 14th, that the nuns were innocent
of anything rendering them amenable to the Inquisition; they had merely
obeyed their spiritual director and what was guilty in him was innocent
in them. To save appearances, however, they added that, if they had
acted on the evidence laid before their predecessors, their conclusions
would have been identical. The Suprema delayed action until October 2nd,
when it decided that the imprisonment of the nuns and their sentences
should not affect their good name and repute or that of their kindred,
monastery, or Order. They were thus rehabilitated, the convent was
reorganized and, to erase from human memory all that had occurred, in
November an edict was published requiring, under severe penalties, the
surrender of all relations and copies of the former sentence, many of
which were fabulous.[362] As though to secure the future of San Placido,
a new building was commenced for it by Villanueva, in 1641, the
cornerstone of which was laid with much ceremony.

It was never safe to reckon upon the Inquisition. If it could reverse a
condemnation, it could reverse an acquittal, especially as St. Pius V
had decreed that no acquittal for heresy should be held to be _res
judicata_ and permanent, whether pronounced by inquisitors, bishops,
popes or even the Council of Trent.[363] For awhile, matters were
quiescent. Villanueva was receiving fresh proofs of the royal favor.
October 27, 1639 Philip gave him a seat in the Council of War and, on
January 16, 1640, granted him additional graces in reward of services
performed in Aragon. Even the fall of his protector Olivares, in
February, 1643, did not affect his position, for his membership in the
Council of Indies was bestowed on April 23d of that year.[364] Yet the
disgrace of the chief favorite opened the way to many intrigues and
especially to those directed against his return to power, of which, at
one time, there seemed much probability. It would be impossible now to
assert with absolute certainty what was the direct object sought for in
Villanueva's ruin, but we may feel confident that, in addition to the
desire to divide his spoils, a powerful motive was the wish to get
possession of his papers, in the hope of finding in them compromising
material for use against Olivares.

The first attack was skilfully directed against San Placido and not
against Villanueva. Sotomayor, the aged inquisitor-general, was forced,
as we have seen, to resign on June 20, 1643, although he continued
nominally in office until his successor, Arce y Reynoso, took
possession, November 14th. Arce had already been designated for the post
and, on July 13th, a royal letter informed him that Sotomayor had
promised to subdelegate to him any cases that the king desired. Philip
went on to say that the affair of San Placido had never ceased to give
him concern; the truth had never been ascertained and, as it concerned
so greatly the Catholic religion, it required a searching and impartial
investigation, such as it would receive at Arce's hands, wherefore, as
soon as he received power from Sotomayor, he must undertake it in such
wise as would give public satisfaction. The commission from Sotomayor
followed the same day and comprehended not only the nuns but all persons
concerned, whether lay or clerical.[365]

The letter was evidently drawn up by Arce for the signature of Philip,
who was but a tool in the hands of the intriguers. With the existence of
the monarchy imperilled by three wars at once and the affairs of state
disorganized by the sudden removal of the minister who had managed them
for twenty years, it is absurd to suppose that he could spontaneously
have given a thought to the concern of the little nunnery, the
settlement of which had been acquiesced in for five years, or that he
had the slightest inkling of what was to follow. That this action was
but a pretext is shown by the fact that, although there were some
proceedings taken against the nuns, which for several years gave them
anxiety, they were allowed without protest to appeal to the pope who, in
1648, committed the case to the Bishop of Avila, after which it seems to
have been dropped, for in 1651 we find them in full enjoyment of their


Arce had evidently been preparing in advance for the attack on
Villanueva; on July 15, 1643, he acknowledged the royal commands which
he was ready to obey; on July 24th the king sent him an order for all
the papers in the case, expressing confidence that he would act as
expected from his zeal, rectitude and prudence, and, only two days
later, July 26th he wrote to the king that the case of one of the
accomplices was ready for definite sentence but, as it involved
confirming or setting aside a judgement of the Suprema, he hesitated to
take the responsibility. He suggested various methods and invoked the
angel of the kingdom to bring light from God to aid the king in solving
so difficult a problem. To this Philip, in total ignorance of what was
on foot, replied that he had placed the matter absolutely in Arce's
hands, who then concluded to let it take the form of an ordinary trial.
Matters were already so far advanced that although the papers amounted
to the enormous bulk of 7,500 folios, by August 27th the fiscal already
had his _clamosa_ or indictment prepared and presented. This displays
the animus of the matter in being directed, not against the nuns but
exclusively against Villanueva and the proceedings of 1632 which had
acquitted him. Then, on September 18th the fiscal asked for the
examination of new witnesses and, on January 13, 1644, he demanded that
the affair should be submitted to new censors. He recapitulated the
charges which we have seen, that Villanueva wrote down the utterances of
the demons and kept them in his own house, his enquiring into future
events dependent upon human free-will, his belief in the demons after
experiencing their mendacity, his treasuring the picture of the angel,
etc.[367] There was nothing new in all this, but at a time when the
Inquisition was daily trying and penancing old women for fortune-telling
and divination and superstitious practices, which were held to imply
what was called a pact with the demon, there was technical ground for
Villanueva's prosecution, although not for the manner in which it was
carried on.

The new censors were selected--learned men, we are told, and eminent
theologians, many of them professors in Toledo and Alcalá de Henares. A
formidable array of twenty-one articles was submitted to them, including
not only Villanueva's dealings with the demons of San Placido but his
subsequent dabbling in astrology, through which he used to predict the
result of campaigns. The censors could not well hesitate in pronouncing
him vehemently suspect in the faith and some even held that those who
had signed the exculpation of 1632 should be prosecuted.[368] All this
was conducted with the inviolable secrecy of the Inquisition, both the
king and the intended victim being kept in profound ignorance of what
was on foot.


The opinions of the censors were furnished at various times up to May
15, 1644 and then the Suprema took three and a half months to consider
them, until Philip was conveniently absent, conducting the campaign in
Catalonia. After much prayerful thought, we are told, and supplication
to God, a sentence of arrest was adopted, August 31st, and executed the
same day. Two inquisitors, Juan Ortiz and Calaya, went to Villanueva's
house about 2 P.M., woke him from his siesta, placed him in a coach and
hurried him off to Toledo, where he was thrust into a narrow cell with a
little cot, and kept as usual, strictly _incomunicado_. Six keys were
found on him, which he said covered papers belonging to the king. He
declined to give orders as to his own papers and we are informed that
large quantities were found concerning San Placido, but there is
discreet silence about other matters. That same day and the next there
came for him important despatches from the king, which had to be opened
by his principal secretary. Arce at once wrote to Philip announcing the
arrest and assuring him that the case would be prosecuted with the
utmost desire for the greater service of God. Philip's reply is the most
abject expression of weakness; the mere assumption that the faith is
concerned seems to paralyze his intellect and deprive him of all power
of self-assertion. He was completely taken by surprise and expressed his
astonishment at such action without consulting him or the queen.
Villanueva was a minister in two tribunals and also secretary of state,
having in his hands papers of the utmost consequence to the kingdom;
there was no risk of his flight, nor would Philip have interfered had it
been his own son, wherefore it was a matter for prior consultation. As
it is done, however, he can only order the Suprema to act with the sole
object of the service of God and exaltation of the holy Catholic faith,
which are his chief desire and the only purpose of its existence. Arce
answered this, September 21st, in a tone almost contemptuous. The
inviolable secrecy of the Inquisition required that no one but the king
should be informed of the commencement of the trial of one of the
accomplices in the case of the nuns of San Placido, which was revived by
his command. As to the queen, the arrest was made between one and two
o'clock, which was an hour inconvenient for intrusion on her. This would
appear sufficient as to giving notice to the king and queen, besides the
disadvantage of delay and the risks of correspondence. Promptitude was
essential and the king's holy zeal always desires that there should be
no delay in the affairs of God and the holy faith. When the king returns
he can give orders about the papers, which are under lock and key.[369]
These were all the reasons that Arce deigned to give his sovereign for
increasing the confusion of that terrible time by suddenly imprisoning a
principal minister of state, for the furtherance of a court intrigue.

The arrest of course created much excitement. The Council of State
promptly presented a consulta, which Arce, in his letter to the king,
characterized as very remarkable, and it was followed by similar appeals
from the other councils of which Villanueva was a member--War, Indies,
Aragon, and Cruzada. The kingdom of Aragon remonstrated with the king in
a memorial setting forth the long and faithful services of Villanueva,
his sudden imprisonment, without allowing time to settle official and
personal affairs, and the infamy cast upon all his kindred; in view of
the nature of the charges and his character it would have sufficed to
assign as a prison his house or a convent, as was frequently done with
those of much lower rank. The kingdom begged, for the sake of a family
which had so long served it, that while his case was pending he might be
restored to his home under sufficient guard and that he might have the
benefit of the royal clemency and justice. Temperate as was this appeal,
it aroused Arce's wrath and he expressed to Philip a doubt whether it
could be genuine, it being so extraordinary and amounting to fautorship,
for which the parties should be prosecuted, although the Inquisition had
not yet done so. Appeals to Philip's humanity were in vain. Although he
was speedily recalled to Madrid by the illness of the queen, who died
October 9th, he made no remonstrance against the unnecessary cruelty
shown to Villanueva, who was left in his cell, cut off from the world.
In September he fell seriously ill and was allowed to have a servant, a
youth of his chamber much attached to him, who was not allowed to leave
the cell until the trial was concluded.[370]

The case followed the ordinary routine, the only new matter introduced
being a little book found in his desk, setting forth fortunate and
unfortunate days for him as deduced from the letters of his name. Over
this the censors differed, two of them pronouncing it innocent, while
five held it to be included in the prohibitions of the _Ars Notoria_ as
a tacit pact with the demon. Villanueva in his defence pleaded his
former acquittal and there was a learned discussion, between his
advocate and the fiscal, as to the applicability to the case of the bull
_Inter multiplices_ which defined that in heresy there could never be a
final decision in favor of the accused. Philip urged despatch on the
tribunal but it proceeded with the customary exasperating deliberation.
After eighteen months had passed, when Philip was holding the Córtes of
Saragossa, the deputies presented, January 18, 1646 an appeal in the
name of the kingdom, expressing entire confidence in Villanueva's
innocence and urging that a period be put to the cruel suspense by the
early conclusion of the trial. This was as fruitless as all previous
efforts had been; it was not until he had passed two dreary years in his
cell that a vote was taken in the case, August 3, 1646. There was
general agreement that his sentence, with full details of his offences,
should be read in the audience-chamber and not in a public auto de fe,
that he should be severely reprimanded and be forbidden to occupy the
house which he had built alongside of the convent, but there was
discordia as to the number of persons to be present, as to whether or
not he should be required to abjure _de levi_--for light suspicion of
heresy--and as to banishing him, and there were some who voted for
fining and suspending him from office for two years. Evidently, at the
worst, there was no serious culpability proven and there were probably
few courtiers of Philip IV against whom superstitions as grave could not
have been alleged.[371]


In the _estilo_ of the Inquisition, when there was discordia in the
consulta de fe, the case was referred to the Suprema, which thus became
the judge. September 1st, Villanueva recused one of the members, Antonio
de Aragon, and the recusation was admitted after a hearing. Finally, on
February 7, 1647, the Suprema pronounced sentence; there were to be
present in the audience-chamber four ecclesiastics, four frailes, and
four laymen; Villanueva was to be severely reprimanded and warned, he
was to abjure _de levi_, be prohibited from communicating with the nuns
or living in the adjoining house and be banished for three years from
Toledo and Madrid and from twenty leagues around them.[372]

This sentence may not appear severe but, to understand the rest of the
story it must be borne in mind that to be penanced by the Inquisition
and be required to abjure for even light suspicion of heresy inflicted
an ineffaceable stigma, not only on the culprit but on his kindred and
posterity. The whole race was involved in infamy and no temporal
punishment, however severe, could be so disastrous in its effect upon
the honor of a noble family as the blot on its _limpieza_, or purity of
blood, resulting from such a sentence. The extreme length to which this
was carried will be considered hereafter; at present it suffices to
point out that, while Villanueva's worldly career was ruined already and
his wanton incarceration in the secret prisons had been a severe
infliction on him and his kindred, there had still been hope that this
might yet be at least partially effaced by an acquittal. Penance and
abjuration destroyed this hope and, to the Spanish noble, no effort was
too great to avert so crushing a misfortune.

The nature of the sentence must have leaked out, for before its
publication by the tribunal of Toledo, to which it was sent, the brother
and sister of Villanueva, Agustin the Justicia and Ana, now abbess of
San Placido, with Luis de Torres as proctor of Gerónimo, presented an
appeal from it to the pope and a recusation of Arce y Reynoso and of
others of the judges. The appeal was not admitted and they were told
that the Inquisition did not listen to kindred in matters of faith.
Then, on March 18th, Torres, in the name of Gerónimo, presented to the
tribunal of Toledo a recusation of all the inquisitors and fiscals of
Spain as being dependents of the inquisitor-general. It was all in vain.
On March 23d Villanueva was brought into the audience-chamber to hear
the sentence, but he acted in a manner so disorderly and made such
outcries that the publication was suspended--a thing, we are told,
unexampled in the history of the Inquisition--and the presiding
inquisitor ordered the alcaide to take that man back to his cell. He
recused every one who had acted as judge and appealed to the pope, to
the king, and to any other competent judge.[373]

The tribunal consulted the Suprema and was ordered to execute the
sentence. Another attempt was made on March 29th, but Villanueva refused
to abjure and this was repeated on several subsequent occasions, in
spite of warnings of the excommunication that would follow persistent
obstinacy. At length, on June 7th, he offered to abjure under a protest,
which he presented in writing, to the effect that he did so through fear
of the censures and without prejudice to his appeal or other recourse
that he might take and, on this protest being publicly read, he made the
abjuration.[374] He was not set at liberty, but was transferred from the
secret prison to the Franciscan convent, the tribunal giving as a reason
his outcries and the disturbance that he made. This leniency the Suprema
disapproved and, in a few days, he was remanded to the secret prison,
where he was treated with much rigor. On June 18th he was notified that
the fiscal accused him of contumacy for not complying simply with his
sentence and, on July 18th, he made the abjuration and was released.
There is an intimation that he withdrew the recusation and appeal, but
the statement is not clear, though it is quite possible that means were
found to effect it. John Huss was burnt for refusing to abjure; a bull
of Martin V, quoted by the Inquisition, authorized the prosecution and
relaxation of suspects who refuse to abjure and there is probably truth
in a contemporary statement that the fiscal of the Suprema went to
Toledo and threatened Villanueva that he would be publicly stripped of
his habit as a knight of Calatrava and be relaxed to the secular arm for
burning.[375] He was helpless in the hands of those who would shrink
from nothing to accomplish their ends; they had gone too far to hesitate
now and his power of endurance was exhausted.


Meanwhile his brother Agustin had not been idle. In several interviews
with the king he had presented memorials which Philip forwarded to Arce,
March 27th, exhorting him to observe justice but to take care that the
severity and authority of the Inquisition do not suffer. He added that
the memorials showed that the secrecy of the Inquisition had been
violated; this must be investigated and exemplary punishment be
administered.[376] There was no hope of justice in this quarter and
Agustin turned to Rome as a last resort. Don Joseph Navarro, who is
spoken of as secretary, a devoted follower of Villanueva, was despatched
thither to procure a brief and was doubtless well provided with funds.
His errand soon was known and, on June 7th, Philip wrote to his
ambassador, the Count of Oñate, to use every means to prevent the
granting of the brief and, if issued, to procure its revocation; a
personal note to the pope, at the same time, pointed out the irreparable
injury which the admission of the appeal would cause to the holy
Catholic faith and the free exercise of the Inquisition. Communications
were slow for, on July 26th, Oñate reported the arrival of Navarro and
asked for instructions.[377]

Navarro found little difficulty in obtaining the desired brief, in spite
of Oñate's efforts. Villanueva seems to have awaited it, while
recuperating in retirement from his three years' incarceration and final
struggles. When it arrived he went to Saragossa, which he reached August
31st. His coming aroused many fears, for people thought it might be the
prelude to a bloody drama, like that of Antonio Pérez. On September 2nd
he presented himself at the prison of Manifestacion, where bail was
entered for him by the sons of his brother Agustin and of the Count of
Fuentes, after which he applied for a firma, to protect him from
molestation during the course of his appeal, which was duly granted. He
was given the city--or as some said the kingdom--as a prison and, on
September 4th the Bishop of Málaga, who was captain-general, reported to
the Count of Haro, Philip's new minister, that the city was quiet and
there was nothing to fear. The bishop enclosed a letter of September 1st
from Villanueva to the king, announcing that, during his imprisonment,
his representatives, without his knowledge, had appealed to the pope,
who had granted a brief empowering either the Bishop of Cuenca, Segovia
or Calahorra, to hear the case in appeal and to render a final
decision. While anxious for this means of obtaining justice, he would
desist from it if such were the royal pleasure; the brief had not been
presented to either of the prelates, nor would it be without the royal

Arce had already been informed of the brief and had lost no time in
taking steps to neutralize it. On September 3rd orders were sent to the
Bishop of Calahorra--and doubtless to the others--ordering him not to
receive it. He promptly replied that it had not been presented, but that
if it should come he would refuse to accept or to execute it, trusting
to the royal protection against all penalties that it might contain; he
had been connected with the Inquisition and knew its justice with regard
to Villanueva and, if these appeals to Rome were allowed, the
consequences to the Catholic religion would be lamentable.[379]
Apparently the Spanish episcopate had small reverence for the Vicegerent
of God.


The leading statesmen of Spain took a different view. A junta had been
assembled to consider the situation, of which five members out of six
(including the President of Castile and the Commissioner-general of the
Cruzada) united in a consulta of September 15th. This set forth that
when the Toledo tribunal sentenced Villanueva he had a right of appeal
to the Suprema; he presented reasons for recusing the inquisitor-general
and some of the members and was denied a hearing; he was seized again
for the protest and appeal and held until he accepted the sentence and
renounced all defence. He was thus forced to have recourse to the pope,
whose jurisdiction is supreme in matters of faith and is the source of
that of all inquisitors. In ordinary cases three decisions in conformity
[through appeals] are required to render a sentence conclusive, while
here, in a case involving the honor of a whole family, the single
sentence of an inferior tribunal is all that has been allowed.
Villanueva did not violate his sentence in going to Saragossa, for it
required him not to come within twenty leagues of the court, and he had
gone away fifty leagues. He was justified in applying for the firma, for
the right of appeal includes the means necessary to enjoy the appeal.
The inquisitor-general should be instructed not to order his arrest for,
besides that no man should be deprived of his defence, it might cause
some disturbance in Saragossa, under pretext of a violation of the
fueros, for it is notorious that he was discharged by the Inquisition.
There are two courses open--one to solicit the pope to withdraw the
brief; the other that the fiscal of the Suprema apply for it and then
retain it; but these raise the scruple that a man struggling for his
honor and that of his family is denied all defence, after he has been
forced to seek it beyond the kingdom and moreover, in the disturbed
condition of Naples [then in revolt under Masaniello], it is well not to
offend the pope, who might cause the loss of the Italian possessions of
Spain. The sixth member of the junta, the Licenciado Francisco Antonio
de Alarcon, denounced Villanueva as guilty for going to another kingdom
[Aragon]; he was impeding the Inquisition and inviting the papal
interference which would destroy its usefulness; the fiscal should
demand the papal brief and the Council should retain it.[380]

The opinion of the junta doubtless prevented the re-arrest and renewed
prosecution of Villanueva, which was evidently contemplated, but
otherwise all reasons of justice and reasons of state were wasted on
Philip, who was completely under the domination of Arce y Reynoso and
ready to rush blindly into a contest with Rome. Equally fruitless was an
appeal, made September 23rd, by Agustin Villanueva, who furnished a list
of cases in which appeals to the pope had been admitted.[381] A warning
came from Oñate, who wrote, December 17th and again February 12, 1648,
that Navarro was busily utilizing the impediments thrown in the way of
the brief to procure another, that the curia attributed all the trouble
to Arce, that the delay was producing a bad impression and that there
was serious talk in the Congregation of the Inquisition of disciplining
him for it. This brought from Philip, March 17th, a rambling and
inconsequential letter, scolding Oñate for his lack of success and
urging him to fresh efforts; the brief was invalid as being obreptitious
and surreptitious; Navarro was ordered home and Oñate must see that he
left Rome forthwith. Letters, moreover, to the pope and the cardinals in
the Spanish interest, drawn up by the Suprema and signed by Philip,
manifest how every influence that Spain possessed was employed to
deprive Villanueva of his last resource.[382]

Innocent X, in fact, had grown indignant at the opposition to his brief
and had transmitted through his nuncio another to Arce, forbidding all
further resistance under pain of deprivation of the
inquisitor-generalship, suspension of all functions and interdiction
from entering a church, while other officials would be removed from
office and excommunicated. To this Arce replied, March 12th, assuring
the pope that the case had been suspended awaiting the papal decision,
and representing, what he knew to be also false, that for a hundred and
fifty years the popes had refused to entertain appeals or had revoked
the briefs and remanded the cases to the inquisitor-general. The
authority of the Inquisition, he argued, was now more necessary than
ever, in consequence of the spread of Judaism and heresy. Villanueva had
been treated with extreme kindness and benignity, as would be learned
from a person about to be sent to inform the pope, wherefore he begged
that the case be remitted to him and the Suprema.[383]

This was a typical specimen of inquisitorial methods of
mis-representation and of evasion--of practical but not open
disobedience. Innocent, however, was not to be thus juggled with. He had
substituted the Bishop of Sigüenza for him of Cuenca. Then the Bishop of
Segovia died and Calahorra was transferred to Pampeluna, whereupon
further letters commissioned Sigüenza, Pampeluna and the Bishop-elect of
Segovia, but Pampeluna died and was replaced by the Bishop of Avila, so
finally a brief of April, 1648 ordered Avila, Sigüenza and Segovia to
act, on their obedience and under penalty of suspension from all
functions and of ingress to their churches. They all refused the
dangerous office, under various excuses, but the nuncio brought great
pressure to bear on Avila and he finally accepted. It is noteworthy,
however, that Villanueva never presented himself before the bishop,
either in person or by procurator, to have the case reopened.[384]


The matter was evidently growing serious and juntas were held, July 14th
and August 27th, to consider the situation. As the latter was presided
over by Arce, whom Philip had made President of Castile, so as to
increase his powers of evil, it decided that the king should not submit
to the abuses of the curia in a matter in which the Catholic religion
was at stake.[385] Philip scarce needed urging, but it was not until
November 5th that he took the offensive by sending Don Pedro de Minerbe,
of the Royal Council, to seize the brief, in whomsoever's hands it might
be, and any others that Villanueva might have procured, together with
all papers relating to it. These were to be considered by a junta to be
assembled for the purpose so that, if they did not contravene the
privileges of the Inquisition, they might be executed and, if otherwise,
that his Holiness should be advised of it and be supplicated to revoke
them. Any notaries who had served the briefs were to be arrested and
imprisoned with a view to their prosecution.[386]

Minerbe fulfilled his mission, but the time had passed when Ferdinand
and Charles V had treated papal letters thus irreverently. Philip IV was
a prince of very different caliber and his tottering monarchy inspired
but little respect. Arce felt the danger of his position, for Innocent
had threatened him with deposition if the execution of the brief was
impeded and an explosion of papal wrath was inevitable. He sought
shelter in playing a double game and, on January 19, 1649, he presented
to Philip a report as to cases which had been evoked by the pope. In
this, after citing a number, he added that there were many more recent
ones in which the cases and papers had been demanded and the demands had
been obeyed, notably in 1626 and 1627; these proved the subordination of
the Spanish Inquisition to Rome and even without them the papal
supremacy was incontestable; Villanueva's appeal was directly to the
pope, whom all the faithful were bound to obey.[387] Having thus placed
himself on the record, doubtless with the royal connivance, he felt free
to repeat his assertions that papal interference was unprecedented and
to urge his master to stand fast.

The Suprema had sent its fiscal Cabrera to Rome on this business and his
efforts, added to those of Oñate, were inclining Innocent to yield, when
the news came of the seizure of the briefs. The papal displeasure was
extreme and there was no hesitation in taking up the gage of battle. It
had become a struggle for independence on the one side and for supremacy
on the other, which had to be fought out, for there was no ground for
compromise. All the advantage was on the side of the curia in the
contest thus rashly provoked; it knew this and its next move showed
that it felt assured of victory. A brief of March 1st recited the
preliminaries of the case and then evoked it from the Inquisition and
the bishops to the Apostolic See. Perpetual silence was imposed on the
Inquisition, the inquisitor-general and other officials, any action by
whom would bring upon them, _ipso facto_ and without further sentence,
perpetual and irrevocable suspension from divine service, the exercise
of pontifical functions and ingress into churches, together with
deprivation of their offices and ecclesiastical revenues. Moreover,
within three months after notice of this, they were to transmit to Rome
all papers and documents, public and private, concerning Villanueva,
under the same penalties, and finally all bulls, from those of Alexander
VI onward, concerning appeals were derogated.[388]

The Suprema might well characterize to Philip this document as
containing extraordinary and unusual clauses and it could only suggest
to him the favorite Spanish formula, _obedecer y no cumplir_--to obey
and not to execute. The first thing done was the customary supplication
to the pope to withdraw it, based on the laws of the kingdom and the
high deserts of the Holy Office. This was done in such haste that there
was no time to make a clean copy and it was despatched by a courier,
April 24th. This gave breathing time, and more was gained by
representing that it was impossible to trust the originals of the
documents to the risks of transportation and that the copying of them
would consume much more than the three months allowed, as the
secretaries were busy and the records so voluminous that they occupied
more than eight thousand pages--a gross exaggeration for when copied
they amounted only to forty-six hundred. This served for the present,
however, and successive postponements were obtained.[389]


The supplication against the brief was of course useless and the papal
anger increased on learning that Villanueva's salaries had all been
stopped--a petty persecution most unwise under the circumstances. At
this time a curious incident was a memorial from Villanueva, May 23rd,
asking that his case be heard by the Council of Castile--although that
body could not assume jurisdiction in such a matter. It was probably a
despairing effort to find some exit from the complication, for Philip
transmitted it to the Council, with some subsidiary papers, to be
considered in the junta which he had ordered and a consults to be
presented to him.[390] It of course had no result, but it indicates the
perplexities with which the situation had become surrounded.

These perplexities were increased by a demand from Innocent for
satisfaction for the treatment of his brief to the Bishop of Avila. A
junta was assembled which could do nothing but refer it to the Suprema
and the latter could only reply with a consulta of July 15th,
exculpating itself for paying no regard to Villanueva's appeal. Nor did
it succeed much better in a paper, drawn up July 17th, for the benefit
of the Duke del Infantado, the new ambassador to Rome, for it could only
recite the old briefs granting exclusive jurisdiction and endeavor to
explain away as exceptional the cases in which the pope had insisted on
his rights. All this, however, was felt to be useless and there was
preparation for war in instructions sent to the sea-ports to keep close
watch on all vessels arriving from Italy, when, if there appeared to be
papal agents or notaries among the passengers, their baggage was to be
minutely examined and any papal briefs addressed to bishops or judges
were to be sent to the secretary of state and the bearers were to be
held until further orders--this being done with the utmost secrecy and
as if in the ordinary routine of business. The precaution proved
superfluous, but in December the Duke del Infantado reported that his
efforts and Cabrera's had been in vain; the pope insisted that the
process should be brought to Rome.[391]

On the plea of the time required for copying, successive postponements
had been obtained, the latest of which expired in April, 1650. The pope
was becoming more and more impatient, especially as no satisfaction had
been given for the seizure of the brief to the Bishop of Avila, nor had
it been returned as he demanded. February 5th orders were sent to the
nuncio that, if the papers were not forthcoming in April, the full
penalties of the brief of evocation must be inflicted, and due notice of
this was given to Arce. These penalties withdrew all functions from the
inquisitor-general and Suprema--abrogated their offices, in fact--and
the friends of Villanueva were busy collecting evidence of their being
at work so as to prove to Innocent the disregard of his withdrawal of
faculties. The gravity of the situation is reflected in a consulta
presented to Philip at this time, weighing the courses that might be
followed and hinting at a possible schism as the result of the king's
standing firm in defence of the Inquisition. To avert this it is hoped
that a further delay may be obtained and the pope be placated by
returning the Avila brief. The plan finally adopted of offering to send
the papers and letting the king detain them was deprecated because the
pope would see through it, and the blame of the perilous situation was
thrown on the Spanish cardinals whose indifference was ascribed to their
belief that the king favored Villanueva.[392] Arce's court intrigue had
brought matters to such a pass that the sundering of Spain from Catholic
unity was looming on the horizon.

On April 8th, the Archbishop of Tarsus, the papal nuncio, made a formal
demand on the king for the papers; the latest term of delay had expired
and the penalties for contumacy would operate of themselves. The policy
of delay was still followed and, on May 2nd, Arce notified the nuncio
that the copying was completed--two secretaries and five other officials
had been working on them for twelve or fourteen hours a day--but in view
of certain risks it was thought better to wait till the pope should
indicate how they should be sent. The nuncio asked for a formal
certificate that the papers were ready, on the strength of which he
would ask the pope for instructions, and thus a month or two were


This was all mere playing for time. There was no intention of letting
the papers go to Rome for, on April 24th, the king sent secret
instructions to Infantado to avert it, but he replied June 27th and
again July 26th, that Innocent refused all suggestions and there was
little hope of an adjustment. Then another scene of the comedy was
acted, September 14th, by issuing a formal order to forward the papers
and, on the 16th they were delivered to Damian de Fonolleda, notary of
the tribunal of Barcelona, in five volumes aggregating 4600 pages. There
was no intention of sending them, however, and Fonolleda was detained in
Madrid until November 5th. Meanwhile a junta, assembled for the purpose,
presented a consulta, September 24th, setting forth that in no case
should the papers be allowed to leave the kingdom and suggesting as a
compromise that the matter be decided by three bishops sitting in the
Suprema, without Arce and the members. Innocent of course rejected this
and Fonolleda was allowed to depart on November 5th. In due time he
reported his arrival at Valencia and was instructed to take passage by
the first vessel and deliver the papers to the pope, but before he could
obey this order it was countermanded and he was told to wait. Meanwhile
the Suprema, to keep itself right on the record and avert the papal
wrath, addressed to Philip on September 16th, October 3rd and 19th and
January 23rd and February 4, 1651, repeated requests to allow the
messenger to sail.[394]

This transparent by-play did not deceive Innocent. Cabrera had an
audience, January 8, 1651, and told him that Fonolleda was only waiting
for a vessel, to which the pope replied that he had been in Spain and
knew how things were managed there--there was collusion between the king
and inquisitor-general. He added that he bore ill-will to Villanueva, of
whom he had had to complain, and would probably punish him more severely
than the Inquisition had done, to which Cabrera replied that this was a
matter of indifference, for all that the Inquisition wanted was to close
the door on these appeals. The tension was becoming dangerous for, on
February 18th, the nuncio notified Arce that he and the Suprema had
incurred the penalties of the brief of evocation, that they could not be
absolved until the papers reached Rome and that still stronger measures
would be adopted. When Arce attempted to explain, the nuncio told him
that the pope would abolish the Inquisition, to which Arce rejoined that
God would not permit him to do so. In reporting this to Philip, Arce
recapitulated the heavy penalties incurred _ipso facto_, adding that if
the pope should publish such a sentence there would be scandal and
discredit to the Inquisition, wherefore, in the name of the Suprema, he
begged, as had frequently been asked before, that there should be no
further delay in Fonolleda's departure. Of this a certificate was asked
for transmission to the pope, as was likewise a supplication of much
urgency from the Suprema on March 1st.[395]

This was all purely for papal consumption. Philip himself was beginning
to hesitate and, on March 2nd, he ordered the Council of State to
consider the tenacity with which the pope was insisting upon his
encroachment on the regalías and the privileges of the Inquisition. Arce
at once took the alarm and, in a memorial to the king, he sought
earnestly to dissuade him from yielding. He repeated the falsehood that,
for a hundred and fifty years, there had not been an instance of the
pope disregarding the royal wishes, and reminded him that he had
declared that he would rather lose his crown than allow the case to go
to Rome. Now he learns that the king, in consultation with the Council,
has resolved to let the papers go to Infantado with instructions not to
deliver them or to ask the pope to return the package without opening
it; it is folly to believe that he would do so and such precedent will
be ruin to the Inquisition.[396]

In this memorial, Arce alludes to a papal command, received some time
before, to retire to his see of Plasencia, from which he had been absent
for eight years--a favorite method, as we have seen, of getting rid of a
troublesome inquisitor-general. The command had been disregarded and now
it was emphatically repeated. Philip complained to his ambassador that
this was even more offensive than the evocation of Villanueva's case; it
would result in irretrievable damage to religion and to the state; he
had asked the nuncio to suspend the order and now he requests the pope
to accept Arce's resignation of his bishopric and pass the bulls of
presentation for his successor. Innocent was too shrewd to forfeit his
hold on his antagonist; he played fast and loose with the resignation
until he had carried his point and it was not until December 2, 1652,
that it was accepted and Arce's successor, the Bishop of Zamora, was
preconized. Arce lost his see, but he gratefully acknowledged that
Philip's liberality was such that he could forego the revenues. It must
have cost the king dear, for Plasencia was one of the wealthy sees,
estimated, in 1612, as worth forty thousand ducats a year.[397]


In spite of Arce's remonstrance, Philip yielded to the advice of his
counsellors. In a letter of April 11, 1651, he announced to Infantado
that orders have been given to Fonolleda to sail and deliver to him the
papers. Then, with an earnestness that betrays the cost of the
sacrifice, the duke is told to refresh his memory with all the arguments
advanced in previous despatches and, when thus fully prepared, he is to
seek an audience and express the king's mortification at being forced to
submit to an innovation so unexampled and so subversive of the rights
of the Inquisition. If this fails to move the pope, he is to ask that
the process be returned unopened, when the Inquisition will revise the
case. If this is unsuccessful he is to request that the case be referred
back to the three bishops. In the event of the rejection of these
proposals, the process is to be laid at the pope's feet with an
exhortation to consider, before opening it, the disfavor shown to the
royal person and to the kingdom of Spain, in the sight of all
Christendom.[398] Philip was fairly beaten. If his humiliation was
extreme it was because he had attributed such absurd adventitious
importance to the question and had staked everything on a struggle in
which the papacy had unquestionable right on its side. There was nothing
left for him but retreat and, with curious infelicity born of weakness
and obstinacy, he contrived to render his defeat as undignified as

Permission to sail was issued to Fonolleda, April 14th, but it was not
until September 17th that Infantado reported that he had delivered the
process to the pope with the hope that it would be speedily returned
without being read by the ministers, or at least by more than one. It
suited the Spaniards subsequently to assert that a promise had been
given that the package should not be opened, but such a promise would
have been grotesque and this letter shows that at most there was some
assurance that a knowledge of the contents would be confined to a few.
At the same time there can be no wonder that the Inquisition felt
acutely the disgrace of having such a record exposed to unfriendly eyes,
and the effort to get the papers back commenced at once. As early as
October 31st, Infantado reports his efforts to accomplish this, but as
yet without success.[399]

Infantado was replaced by the Count of Oropesa, whose letter of
instructions, April 23, 1652, orders him to pay special attention to the
matter. Innocent had committed it to Cardinals Lugo and Albizi, but in
June he stated to Cardinal Trivulzio, then the representative of Spain,
that he had given much labor to it and had recognized in it
contradictions and variations, leading him to the conviction that it was
a matter of vindictiveness. He refused to return the papers, but did not
care to intervene personally in the case and thought he might delegate
it to some bishops.[400] Now that he had vindicated his jurisdiction he
evidently felt little interest in what he regarded as merely an

Nothing further was done until, October 12th, Innocent addressed two
briefs, one to the king and the other to Arce. It is evident that the
acquittal in 1632 and the condemnation in 1647 had excited no little
comment in Rome, for in these briefs great surprise is expressed at the
mutability in the opinions of calificadores, consultors and judges, such
as might be expected of the populace but not of learned and thoughtful
men. To soften this reproof some expressions followed highly commending
the Inquisition as the ornament and protection of Spain and, to the
king, Innocent added that, owing to the importance and prolixity of the
case, he had not been able to reach a conclusion. The nuncio, however,
in handing his brief to Arce, told him that the pope had concluded to
place the case at the disposition of the king and that the papers had
been returned to Trivulzio in Rome. Arce was radiant with triumph;
Cabrera had reported the same and petitioned to be allowed to return and
nothing remained but to get the papers back. They did not come, however,
nor any brief recommitting the case; Arce grew anxious and begged the
king, January 4, 1653, to urge Trivulzio to obtain them.[401]

Innocent either was taking malicious pleasure in exciting hopes and then
disappointing them or else he was using the position to obtain
diplomatic advantage in the growing tension between the courts over the
Barberino marriage of the grand-daughter of his brother--a transaction
in which he complained that the Spanish ministers had almost threatened
him and that no present had been sent on the occasion. Cabrera's letters
of December, 1652 and the first half of 1653 report a series of
tergiversations and of promises made and broken by Innocent which show
that to him Villanueva was merely a pawn in the game between Rome and


Villanueva died in Saragossa, July 21, 1653. In his will, executed the
day before, he made ample provision for the salvation of his soul, and
San Placido was in his mind to the last, for he appointed as its patron
his nephew Gerónimo and his descendants, or in their default his niece
Margarita and her descendants, they being the principal heirs of his
large estate. The only change which this brought into the affair was
that the Inquisition proposed to take advantage of the opportunity to
commence a new prosecution against his fame and memory--apparently with
the double purpose of vindicating its jurisdiction and, by sequestrating
his property, of restraining the family, who continued their efforts in
Rome for a vindication. Fortunately for them, Alexander VII, who saw in
such action an invasion of his jurisdiction, prohibited, in 1656, this
cowardly profanation of the ashes of the dead and when, with quenchless
malignity, Arce, in 1659, sought to get this prohibition removed, the
attempt was unsuccessful.[403]

It is scarce worth while to follow in detail the further weary progress
of this affair, in which Spanish tenacity was pitted against the wily
diplomacy of Rome. Pertinacious efforts continued for years to get the
case remitted back, or at least to have the papers returned, in order to
create the belief that it had been remitted. Stimulated by energetic
instructions of August 24, 1658 from Philip, his ambassador Gaspar de
Sobremonte had a stormy interview with Alexander VII, in which the pope
finally told him that the case had never been considered by the
Congregation of the Inquisition and that the king must content himself
with the brief of October 12, 1652. To this Sobremonte retorted that
that brief settled nothing, when the pope said vaguely that he would see
whether any satisfaction could be given to the Inquisition. So it
continued until Alexander, grown weary of the urgency which promised to
be interminable, cut it short, March 29, 1660, by a brief to the king in
which he said that the case had been finally concluded by Innocent X, as
appeared from his letters to Philip and Arce of March 12 (October 12,
1652). There was nothing more to be said about it, as would be fully
explained by the Archbishop of Corinth, the nuncio, to whom full credit
was to be given.[404]

This ended the case which, from its inception in 1628, had lasted for
thirty-two years. Cabrera had spent nearly twelve years in Rome and had
richly earned the bishopric of Salamanca which rewarded his labors, but
his efforts while there had cost the Suprema nearly a hundred thousand
ducats, at a time when it was representing itself as wholly
impoverished. Arce had succeeded in removing Villanueva from the court
and in blackening his memory, but the victory remained with the papacy,
which had vindicated its appellate jurisdiction, for, although it never
decided the case it retained possession of it and the papers which were
the symbol of its rights.

With its customary unscrupulousness, the Suprema endeavored to evade the
precedent when, in 1668, it was alleged in the quarrel with the Bishop
of Majorca (Vol. I, p. 501). In a consulta of that year it gives a
summary of the case up to the delivery of the papers to the pope, who
then, it proceeds to state, sent a brief full of favors to Arce,
approving of Villanueva's sentence and the method of procedure; there
was, it is true, an irregularity in allowing the papers to remain in
Rome, but the pope excused himself because the originals were in Spain;
the evil example led several powerful men to seek appeals to the Holy
See, but the pope refused to entertain them, recognizing that it was
injurious to the faith. When, in the same quarrel, it boasted of the
bulls which it held prohibiting appeals, the Council of Aragon pointed
out that the popes always preserved their reserved rights by a clause
excepting cases in which they should insert in their letters the text of
the bulls thus derogated.[405]


In the subsequent quarrel with the canons and clergy of Majorca, in 1671
(Vol. I, p. 503) the latter appealed to the Holy See, under the brief
obtained in 1642, and procured letters declaring void the
excommunications fulminated by the tribunal and valid those uttered by
the executors of the brief. The nuncio exhibited these letters to the
inquisitor-general with a paper arguing that these appeals should be
allowed and asking, in case there was a privilege or regalía to the
contrary, that it should be shown to him. This was a test which the
Suprema could not meet and, after a long delay, it sent, June 11, 1676,
to the king all the documents bearing on the subject and asked him to
assemble a junta to consider them and advise him what to do. It must
have been impossible to solve the question favorably for, in a consulta
of July 28, 1693, on the occasion of a fresh disturbance, it expressed
its profound regret that the junta had failed to reach any

       *       *       *       *       *

Two centuries of bickering thus left the Holy See in possession of its
imprescriptible jurisdiction, but the Bourbons were less reverential
than the Hapsburgs. In 1705, the hostility of the papacy led Philip V to
forbid the publication of papal briefs without the royal exequatur and
to prohibit all appeals to Rome. He held his ground in spite of the
furious manifestos of Monroy, Archbishop of Santiago, proving that
obedience was due to the pope rather than to the king, and the more
temperate argumentation of Cardinal Belluga, then Bishop of
Cartagena.[407] We hear little after this of appeals of individuals and,
indeed, the experience of Villanueva, while apparently a defeat for the
Inquisition, was in reality a victory, for it showed how hopeless was
the contest of a prisoner against the whole power of the Inquisition and
of the crown. Even when the Holy See had the advantage of being in
possession of the person in dispute it could only fight a drawn battle,
as in the case of Manuel Aguirre who, in 1737, escaped from the prison
of the Inquisition, made his way to Rome, and presented his appeal in
person. When the curia demanded the papers necessary for his trial, the
Inquisitor-general Orbe y Larrategui did not in terms deny the papal
rights but argued that the Inquisition was privileged to conclude a case
before forwarding the papers for review and offered that, if the Holy
See would return the prisoner, his flight should not be held to
aggravate his offence and in due time all the desired information would
be furnished to Rome. The acceptance of such a proposition was
impossible, but the papacy was in no position to contest the matter.
After the death of Orbe, in 1740, the curia took the case up again for
discussion, but the only course open seemed to be to instruct the nuncio
to persuade the Inquisition to obedience and we may safely conclude that
Aguirre escaped without a trial.[408]

The ecclesiastical organizations, as in the Majorca cases, were in
better position to engage in such conflicts, but Philip V was as little
disposed as his predecessors to permit them. The multitudinous quarrels
over suppressed prebends and the benefices held by officials of the
Inquisition had always been a fruitful source of such appeals and the
curia was never loath to entertain them. A typical case was that of
Francisco Vélez Frias, private secretary of Inquisitor-general Camargo,
who obtained the dignity of precentor in the cathedral of Valladolid,
much to the disgust of the chapter. It applied to the inquisitor-general
for the papers in the case, alleging that it would reply, but returned
them without comment and appealed to Rome, where it obtained a rescript
from Benedict XIII, committing the case to an auditor of the Camera and
inhibiting the inquisitor-general from its cognizance. When Philip was
informed of this he intervened in the spirit of Ferdinand. By his order
the Marquis de la Compuesta wrote to the dean and chapter, June 19,
1728, expressing in vigorous terms the royal displeasure at an act so
offensive to the inquisitor-general, whose jurisdiction in such matters
was exclusive, and so contrary to the will of the king and to his
regalías. They were ordered, without making a reply, to abandon the
appeal and to apply to the inquisitor-general and the Suprema who would
render justice in the case. It is safe to assume that they did not
venture to disobey.[409]

The papacy of the eighteenth century was in no position to contest the
growing independence of the temporal powers, while the revival of Spain
under the Bourbons rendered hopeless any struggle against the resolve of
the monarchs to regulate the internal affairs of the kingdom. Yet in
this the Holy See was deprived of its inviolable rights, for the latest
authoritative utterance of the Church, in the year 1899, tells us that
it is an article of faith that the Roman pontiff is the supreme judge of
the faithful and that in all ecclesiastical cases recourse may be had to
him. It is therefore forbidden, under pain of excommunication, to appeal
from him to a future council or to impede in any way the exercise of
ecclesiastical jurisdiction, whether in the internal or external forum.
Moreover it is against right reason to exalt human power over spiritual
power, which is supreme over all powers.[410]





The superior efficiency of the Spanish Inquisition was largely due to
its organization. The scattered subordinate tribunals, which dealt
directly with the accused, were not independent, as in the old papal
Inquisition, but were under the control of a central head, consisting of
the inquisitor-general and a council which, for the sake of brevity, we
have called the Suprema. It has been seen how Ferdinand and Isabella,
after a few years' experience, obtained from the Holy See the
appointment of Torquemada as inquisitor-in-chief with power of
delegating his faculties and of removing his delegates--a power which
gave him absolute control. At first the commission of the
inquisitor-general was held to require renewal at the death of the pope
who issued it, although, in the old Inquisition, after considerable
discussion, it was decided, in 1290, by Nicholas IV, in the bull _Ne
aliqui_, that the commissions of inquisitors were permanent.[411] This
formality was subsequently abandoned and, towards the close of the
sixteenth century, the commissions were granted _ad
beneplacitum_--during the good pleasure of the Holy See--and this
continued until the end.[412] Similarly there was a question whether the
powers of the inquisitors lapsed on the death of the inquisitor-general.
When Mercader of Aragon died, in 1516, the Suprema, in conveying the
news to the tribunals, instructed them to go on with their work; in some
places the secular authorities assumed that they were no longer in
office, a royal letter had to be procured to prevent interference with
them, and, when Cardinal Adrian was appointed, he confirmed their
faculties.[413] It became customary for each new inquisitor-general to
renew the commissions on his accession, but as there frequently was a
considerable interval, the question arose whether, during that time, all
the acts both of the Suprema and the tribunals were not invalid. In 1627
it was concluded that they held delegated power directly from the pope
and not from the inquisitor-general, so that their faculties were
continuous.[414] This was a forced construction, somewhat derogatory to
the authority of the inquisitor-general, and was upset in 1639, when the
Suprema decided that the inquisitor-general could confer powers only
during his own life and therefore each one on his accession confirmed
the appointments of all officials during his pleasure, which continued
to be the formula employed.[415] This left open the question of the
interregnum, which seems to have been somewhat forcibly settled by
necessity, as when Giudice resigned in 1716 and his successor, Joseph de
Molines, was serving as auditor of the Rota in Rome. The Suprema, in
notifying the tribunals of his appointment, told them that, until his
arrival in Madrid, they were to continue their functions.[416]


As regards the Suprema, it would appear at first to have been merely a
consultative body. I have already alluded to the case in which
Torquemada ferociously overruled the acts of the tribunal of Medina del
Campo, acting autocratically and without reference to the Council, as
though it had no executive functions. Neither had it legislative powers.
The earlier Instructions were issued in the name of the
Inquisitor-general and, when he desired consultation and advice in the
framing of general regulations, he did not confer with the Council, but
assembled the inquisitors and assessors of the tribunals, who discussed
the questions and formulated the rules of procedure, as in the
Instructions of Valladolid, in 1488.[417] The crown, in fact, was the
ultimate arbiter for, in the supplementary Instructions of 1485,
inquisitors were directed, when doubtful matters were important, to
report to the sovereigns for orders.[418] It was the inquisitor-general
also who held the all-important power of the purse. The instructions of
Avila in 1498, still issued in the name of Torquemada, fix the salaries
of all the officials of the tribunals and add that, when the
inquisitors-general see that there is necessity or especial labor, they
can make such _ayudas de costa_, or gratuities, as they deem

It was inevitable, however, that the Council should acquire power.
Torquemada was aging and, although at this period the tribunals acted
independently, convicting culprits and holding autos de fe at their
discretion, yet he held appellate jurisdiction, which doubtless brought
a larger amount of business than he could attend to individually, in
addition to his other functions. Cases also must have been frequent in
which the _consultas de fe_, or juntas of experts called in to assist in
pronouncing judgement, were not unanimous, or where there were doubts
which the local judges felt incompetent to decide. Thus we are told
that, in the gathering of inquisitors at Valladolid, in 1488, there was
full discussion as to the difficulties arising from the incompetence or
insufficient number of the consultors, and it was resolved that when
there was doubt or _discordia_ (the technical name for lack of
unanimity) the fiscal of the tribunal should bring the papers to
Torquemada, who would refer them to the Suprema or to such of its
members as he might designate--thus indicating how completely its powers
were derived from him and how subordinate was its position.[420] As
Torquemada grew more infirm, even though four colleagues were adjoined
to him, the importance of the Suprema increased, as is seen in the 1498
Instructions of Avila, where this provision wears the altered form that
when difficult or doubtful questions arise in the tribunals, the
inquisitors are to consult the Suprema and bring or send the papers when
so ordered.[421]


When Torquemada passed away, in the absence of his vigorous personality,
the Council rapidly became a determining factor in the organization. In
1499 and in 1503, instructions of a general character, although signed
by one inquisitor-general, also bear the signatures of two or three
members of the Council and are countersigned by the secretary "por
mandado de los señores del consejo." A decree of November 15, 1504,
although signed by Deza alone, bears that it is with the concurrence,
opinion and vote of the Council.[422] It was also assuming the appellate
jurisdiction, for it announced to inquisitors, January 10, 1499, that,
if any parties came before it with appeals, it would hear them and
administer what it deemed to be justice.[423] If papal confirmation of
this were lacking it was supplied by Leo X, in his bull of August 1,
1516, in which he conferred on members of the Council, in conjunction
with the inquisitor-general, power to act in all appeals arising from
cases of faith.[424]

The death of Ferdinand, January 23, 1516, the preoccupations of Ximenes
who, till his death in November, 1517, was governor of Spain, and the
youth and inexperience of Charles V, gave the Suprema an opportunity of
enlarging its functions. We find it regulating details and giving
instructions to the tribunals much after the fashion of Ferdinand
himself.[425] This was facilitated by the fact that it had a president
of its own who, during vacancies, acted as inquisitor-general, a
practice apparently commenced in 1509 when Ximenes, on the eve of his
departure with his expedition to Oran, was required by Ferdinand to
appoint the Archbishop of Granada, Francisco de Rojas, president of the
Council during his absence.[426]


The Suprema, with a permanent president of its own, was evidently well
fitted to encroach on the functions of the inquisitor-general and, as
policy varied with regard to this presidency, it is perhaps worth while
to follow such indications as we can find with regard to it. In 1516
Martin Zurbano was president of the supreme Councils of both Castile and
Aragon and, in the interval between the death of Mercader and the
accession of Cardinal Adrian, he acted as inquisitor-general of
Aragon.[427] In 1520, when Charles at Coruña was departing from Spain,
he appointed Francisco de Sosa, Bishop of Almería, as president. In
1522, Cardinal Adrian on August 5th, the day of his departure from
Tarragona for Rome, appointed Garcia de Loaysa, the future
inquisitor-general, president of the Councils of both Castile and
Aragon.[428] It was inevitable that questions should arise as to the
comparative standing of such an official and the inquisitor-general.
Sosa, as president, had a salary of 200,000 maravedís, while Adrian as
inquisitor-general had only 150,000, the same as the other members of
the Council.[429] This implied superiority and it was evidently
necessary to enforce subordination as when, in 1539, Cardinal Tavera was
made inquisitor-general and Fernando Valdés president, the latter was
told that he was not in any way to modify the orders of the former. So
when, in 1549, Valdés succeeded Tavera and Fernando Niño, Bishop of
Sigüenza, became president, Charles V wrote to him from Brussels, March
26th, that he was to obey the instructions given to Valdés on his
accession.[430] It was doubtless found that this duplicate headship led
to trouble, and the position of president was allowed to lapse for, in
1598, Páramo tells us that the inquisitor-general was president.[431] In
1630 Philip IV proposed to revive it under the title of governor of the
Suprema, but the Council protested, arguing that it had from the
beginning functioned successfully without such a head; if the office had
no special prerogatives, it would be superfluous; if it had, there would
be collisions with the inquisitor-general; in either case, the
innovation would be regarded by the public as evidence that the Council
needed improvement.[432] This may have postponed but did not prevent the
creation of the office for, in 1649, we find a president acting.[433] It
was probably soon discontinued for, in some lists of members about 1670,
none is designated as president and if, in 1815, there is one found
occupying the seat of honor as dean, he was probably only the senior

Irrespective of the influence which the office of president may have
had, the relations between the inquisitor-general and Suprema were
ill-defined and fluctuating. Under Cardinal Adrian we sometimes find the
Councils acting as though independent and sometimes Adrian doing the
same. In the Aragonese troubles over Juan Prat, the Suprema nowhere
appears--everything is in the name of Adrian or of Charles. During the
interval between Adrian's election as pope, January 9, 1522, and his
leaving Spain, August 5th, he and the Suprema acted at times each
independently of the other.[435] As the vacancy was not filled until
September 1523, by the appointment of Manrique, there can be little
doubt that this effacement of the inquisitor-generalship established
precedents for a development of the activity and functions of the
Suprema which, under Manrique, is found taking part in all business, the
signatures of the members following his in the letters and decrees; it
was rapidly becoming the direct executive and legislative head of the
Holy Office.[436] His disgrace and relegation to his see, in 1529, could
not but stimulate this tendency. During his absence there are many
letters from it submitting questions for his decision, but there are
also many to the tribunals, showing that it was acting in full


The result of this is seen, in 1540, when Cardinal Tavera, in announcing
to the tribunals his accession to office, tells them that he will act
with the concurrence and opinion of the members of the Council and when,
in the same year, he appointed Nicolao Montañánez inquisitor of Majorca,
he refers him to what the Council writes to him with regard to his
duties. The appointing power continued to give to the inquisitor-general
a certain predominance, but otherwise he and the Suprema had coalesced
into one body--a fact emphasized by a declaration, May 14, 1542, that
they formed together but a single tribunal and that there was no appeal
from the one to the other.[437] Still, there was a primacy of honor in
the inquisitor-generalship. When the _Instrucciones nuevas_--the
elaborate code of procedure embodied in the Instructions of 1561--were
sent to the tribunals, it was in the name of Inquisitor-general Valdés
but, in the prefatory note, he is made to state that they had been
maturely discussed in the Council, where it was agreed that they should
be observed by all inquisitors.[438]

Thus the Suprema had fairly established itself as the ruling power of
the Inquisition, and its independent position is described by the
Venetian envoy, Simone Contarini, in his Relation of 1605, where he says
that it is absolute in everything concerning the faith, not being
obliged, like the other Councils, to consult with the king. The
inquisitor-general, he adds, fills all the offices except the membership
of the Council, whose names are presented to the king.[439] Even in the
matter of these appointments, as we have seen, the instructions of
Philip II, III, and IV, from 1595 to 1626, require the
inquisitor-general to consult with the Suprema in appointing inquisitors
and fiscals.

Various documents, during the seventeenth century, show that the
inquisitor-general by no means attended all the daily sessions of the
Council and rarely voted on the cases brought before it.[440] In the
letters of the Suprema, a decision reached when he was present records
the fact--"visto en el consejo, presente el ex^{mo} señor
inquisidor-general"--but by far the greater number have no such formula,
indicating that it acted without him and that its acts were
binding.[441] Another formula frequently employed is "consultado con el
ex^{mo} señor inquisidor-general," which makes the Suprema act and the
inquisitor-general merely consult.[442] Yet of course the power wielded
by the inquisitor-general must have varied greatly with the character of
the individual and the influence which he had with the king. A man like
Arce y Reynoso, in such a case as Villanueva's or Nithard under the
queen-regent, used the tremendous authority of the Holy Office at his

In the deliberations of the Council, as early as 1551, we find
decisions reached by a majority vote and when, about 1625, there chanced
to be a tie and the imperious Pacheco endeavored to decide the matter,
he was bluntly told that he could not do so--his vote counted no more
than that of any other member.[443] An elaborate account of the
procedure, dating between 1666 and 1669, tells us that, when a letter,
petition or memorial is read, if it is a matter of routine, the
inquisitor-general decides it without taking votes; if it is doubtful,
he takes the vote, beginning with the youngest member. If it is a
question of justice, the majority decides; if there is a tie, it is laid
aside until other members can be called in; all sign the papers,
irrespective of how they had voted. It is not necessary for the
inquisitor-general to be present throughout the session; it suffices for
him to be there for two hours in the morning, for what especially
concerns his jurisdiction and he need not assist in the afternoons, when
matters not of faith are discussed with the two adjunct members of the
Council of Castile. Another writer tells us that it was forbidden to
give reasons for the vote and that absent members could vote in

The relations between the inquisitor-general and the Suprema thus had
grown up without any precise definition and consequently were open to
diversity of opinion. A writer who, about 1675, drew up an exhaustive
account of the working of the Inquisition, admits that it was a disputed
question whether the inquisitor-general could act by himself and
dispense with the Suprema, but he states that the prevailing opinion is
that the members are independent and act by immediate delegated papal
powers; in his absence their acts are final and it is the same when the
office is vacant. This, he says, is the invariable custom, nor can there
be found an instance of his acting without the Suprema, while the
Suprema in his absence acts without him.[445]

As we have seen, this was a usurpation, grown strong by prescription. It
was fairly put to the test, in 1700, by Inquisitor-general Mendoza, in
the trial of Fray Froilan Díaz, which was, in some respects, one of the
most noteworthy cases in the annals of the Inquisition.


Carlos II, the last of the Hapsburgs who were the curse of Spain, was
imbecile equally in mind and body. A being less fitted to rule has
probably never encumbered a throne and it was his misfortune, no less
than that of his people, that, reaching it in his fourth year, through
thirty-five weary years, from 1665 to 1700, he staggered under the
burden, while his kingdom plunged ever deeper in misery and humiliation.
He was but a puppet in the hands of any intriguing man or woman or
artful confessor who might obtain ascendancy; prematurely old, when he
should have been in the prime of manhood, with mental and bodily
sufferings continually on the increase, he was restlessly eager for
whatever might promise relief. His first wife, Marie Louise of Orleans,
had died childless, and the second, Maria Anna of Neuburg, whom he
married in 1690, in the vain hope of an heir, was an ambitious woman who
speedily dominated him and ruled Spain through her favorites. It soon
became recognized that a successor would have to be selected from among
the collateral branches and, after active intrigues, parties formed
themselves in the court in support of the two most prominent
aspirants--Philip Duke of Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV, who was
preferred by the mass of the people, and the Archduke Charles, son of
the Emperor Leopold I, whose claims were urged by the queen. It was the
misfortune of Froilan Díaz that he became the sport of the contending

In 1698 there was a court revolution. The kingdom was practically
governed by the royal confessor, a Dominican named Pedro Matilla, who
controlled the queen by enriching and advancing her favorites, prominent
among whom was Don Juan Tomás, Admiral of Castile. He asked nothing for
himself--as he told Count Oropesa, he preferred making bishops to being
one. Carlos hated and feared him and at last secretly unbosomed himself
to Cardinal Portocarrero, Archbishop of Toledo, one of the leaders of
the French faction. No time was lost in utilizing the opportunity and
Carlos welcomed the suggestion of replacing Matilla by another
Dominican, Fray Froilan Díaz, a professor of theology in the University
of Alcalá, a simple-minded and sincere man, whose life had been passed
in convents and colleges and who knew nothing of intrigues and politics.
Carlos asked to have him brought secretly to court and Matilla's first
intimation of his disgrace was seeing Díaz conducted to the king through
the royal antechamber. He retired to his cell in the convent del
Rosario where, in a week, he died--it was said of mortification.

In April 1698 Froilan Díaz took possession of the seat in the Suprema
reserved for the royal confessor. Plots for his overthrow commenced at
once and he unconsciously aided them by fomenting strife in his own
Dominican Order so injudiciously that, at the next chapter, his most
bitter enemy, Nicolás de Torres-Padmota, was elected provincial. His
inconsiderate zeal soon led him into still more dangerous paths, which
inflamed hostility and afforded opportunity for its gratification. The
king's health had been growing steadily worse, the convulsions and
fainting-spells which afflicted him had constantly increased, and the
opinion had spread that he was bewitched. Inquisitor-general Valladares
had brought the matter before the Suprema, when it had been anxiously
discussed without taking action. Valladares had died in 1795 and had
been succeeded by the Dominican Juan Tomás de Rocaberti, Archbishop of
Valencia, who, in January 1698, was secretly consulted by Carlos
concerning the rumors attributing his sickness to sorcery, and was asked
to investigate the matter and devise a remedy. It was again laid before
the Suprema but, as before, the council deemed it too perilous a matter
to be meddled with. When Díaz became a member, Rocaberti appealed to him
and he eagerly promised to assist.


There were no indications to guide an investigation until Díaz chanced
to learn that, in the nunnery of Cangas (Oviedo), there were several
nuns demoniacally possessed who were being exorcised by Fray Antonio
Alvarez de Argüelles, a former fellow-student of his. It had for ages
been the belief that possessing demons, under the torture of exorcisms
and abuse lavished on them by the priest, could be compelled to reveal
facts beyond human capacity to ascertain. Much of the current medieval
conceptions concerning the spiritual universe were derived from this
source and the practice of thus seeking knowledge for laudable purposes
was recognized as lawful, provided it was done imperatively and not
solicited as a favor. Even the gratification of idle curiosity with
demons was merely a venial sin.[446] Froilan Díaz was therefore merely
adopting a legitimate method when he suggested that the demons of Cangas
should be made to reveal the causes of the king's illness, which would
be a step to its cure. Rocaberti eagerly assented and applied to the
Dominican Bishop of Oviedo, but that wary prelate hesitated to embark in
a matter so dangerous and discouraged the suggestion. Díaz then
addressed Argüelles, who at first refused but finally consented, if he
could have written commands from the inquisitor-general and confessor.
Rocaberti accordingly wrote, June 18th, to inscribe the names of the
king and queen on a piece of paper, place it in his breast and ask the
demon if either of them were suffering from sorcery; Díaz enclosed this
in a letter of his own and arranged a cipher for the correspondence. The
obliging demon swore by God that the king had been bewitched at the age
of fourteen to render him impotent and incapable of governing. With this
Argüelles endeavored to withdraw, but Rocaberti and Díaz were insistent
that he should ascertain further particulars and antidotes for the
sorcery and, on September 9th, he wrote that the spell was administered
April 3, 1675 in a cup of chocolate by the queen-mother, in order to
retain power; the charm was made with the members of a dead man and the
remedies were inunction with blessed oil, purging and separation from
the queen.

Carlos was industriously stripped and anointed and purged and prayed
over, but to no purpose save to terrify and exhaust him. For a year
correspondence was vigorously kept up, obtaining from the demons answers
curiously explicit and yet evasive and contradictory. At one time it was
said that he had been bewitched on a second occasion, September 24,
1694; then the demons refused to say more except that their previous
assertions had been false and that Carlos had not been bewitched. There
were also contradictions as to the sorceresses employed, who were named
and their addresses were given, but the efforts to find them were
fruitless. The destinies of Spain were made to hang on the flippant
utterances of hysterical girls, who unsaid one day what they had averred
the day before. The affair reached such proportions that the Emperor
Leopold officially communicated the revelations of a Viennese demoniac
implicating a sorceress named Isabel, who was searched for in vain, and
he also sent to Madrid a celebrated exorcist named Fray Mauro Tenda, who
secretly exorcised the king for some months, which naturally aggravated
his malady.

Meanwhile a storm was brewing. The queen's temper had been aroused by
her political defeat; she was angered by the enforced separation from
her husband and she was inflamed to fury when she secretly heard of the
second bewitching of September, 1694, which was attributed to her. A
month after her learning this Rocaberti died, with suspicious
opportuneness, June 19, 1699. This failed to relieve her, for soon
afterwards three _endemoniadas_ in Madrid were found confirming the
story and implicating both her and the former queen-regent. Her wrath
was boundless and she vowed Fray Froilan's destruction, for which the
Inquisition offered the readiest means. To this end she sought to induce
Carlos to appoint in Rocaberti's place Fray Antonio Folch de Cardona, a
friend of Don Juan Tomás, Admiral of Castile, who had fallen from power
when Matilla was dismissed. The king, however, who was resolved on
pushing the investigation, appointed Cardinal Alonso de Aguilar and sent
for the papal commission. In announcing his choice to Aguilar he said it
was for the purpose of probing the matter to the bottom. To this Aguilar
pledged himself and promptly sent for the senior member of the Suprema,
Lorenzo Folch de Cardona (a half-brother of Antonio), telling him that
all indications pointed to the guilt of the Admiral who must at once be
arrested and his papers seized. Cardona replied that this was
impossible; semi-proof was requisite prior to arrest and here there was
no evidence. The queen grew more anxious than ever; Aguilar was taken
with a slight indisposition, he was bled _secundum artem_ and in three
days he was dead--on the very day that his commission arrived from Rome.
Suspicion was rife but there was no proof.


Carlos by this time was so enfeebled that the queen obtained from him
the appointment of Baltasar de Mendoza, Bishop of Segovia, with whom she
had a satisfactory understanding, he pledging himself to gratify her
vindictiveness and she promising him a cardinal's hat as the reward of
success. The first move was against the Austrian exorciser Fray Tenda,
who was arrested in January, 1700, on a different charge, but under
examination he described the revelations of the Madrid demoniacs, made
in Froilan's presence and he escaped with abjuration _de levi_ and
banishment. Froilan was then examined, but he refused to speak without
the consent of the king, under whose orders he had acted and with strict
injunctions of secrecy. Meanwhile the Dominican Provincial
Torres-Padmota used his authority to obtain from Argüelles at Cangas the
letters of Froilan, on the strength of which he promptly accused him to
the Suprema in the name of the Order, to which Froilan answered that he
had acted under Rocaberti's order at the pressing instance of the king,
in what was sanctioned by Aquinas and other doctors.[447] Mendoza
informed the king that Froilan was accused of a grave offence but could
not be prosecuted without the royal permission; Charles resisted feebly
and then yielded to the pressure of the queen and Mendoza by dismissing
him and replacing him with Torres-Padmota. Stunned, dazed and helpless,
Froilan obeyed Mendoza's order to betake himself to the Dominican
convent at Valladolid, but on the road he turned his steps and sought
refuge in Rome. A royal letter to the Duke of Uceda, then ambassador,
was speedily obtained ordering the arrest of Froilan on his arrival, as
he was under trial by the Inquisition which permitted no appeal to Rome,
while the tribunals of Barcelona and Murcia were instructed to throw him
on arrival into the secret prison. He was shipped back to Cartagena and
duly immured by the Murcia tribunal.

Then followed a struggle for mastery in the Suprema. Mendoza procured
the assent of the members to the appointment of special calificadores or
censors to consider the charges and evidence. Five theologians were
selected who reported unanimously, June 23, 1700 that there was no
matter of faith involved, whereupon the Suprema, with the exception of
Mendoza, voted to suspend the case, which was equivalent to acquittal.
Then, on July 8th, Mendoza signed an order of arrest and sent it around
for the signatures of the members, who unanimously refused, whereupon he
summoned them to his room and with alternate wrath and entreaty vainly
sought their co-operation. In a gust of passion he declared that he
would have his way and in an hour he had ordered three of them to keep
their houses as prisons and the Madrid tribunal to prosecute the
secretary for refusing to counter-sign the warrant. Folch de Cardona was
the only member left and this was because his half-brother Antonio, now
Archbishop of Valencia, was a favorite of the queen. This violence
caused no little excitement, which was increased when Miguélez, one of
the members, who talked freely, was arrested one night in August and
hurried off to the Jesuit college in Compostella, followed by the
jubilating, or retiring on half-pay, of all three in terms of
reprobation, as unfaithful to their duties, while the secretary was

The Council of Castile intervened with a consulta pointing out to the
king that the members had been punished without trial for upholding the
laws, the canons and the practice of the Holy Office. The queen became
alarmed and urged Mendoza to be cautious but he assured her that in no
other way could her wishes be gratified. Meanwhile he had sent the
papers to the tribunal of Murcia with orders to prosecute Froilan and
send the sentence to him. It obeyed and twice submitted the case to its
calificadores and other learned men, who reported in favor of the
accused, whereupon it voted for his discharge. Then Mendoza evoked the
case to himself and committed it to the Madrid tribunal; he brought
Froilan there and confined him in a cell of the Dominican house of
Nuestra Señora de Atocha where, in the power of Torres-Padmota, he lay
for four years, cut off from all communication with the outside world,
his very existence being in doubt, while the tribunal selected another
group of calificadores who had no difficulty in finding him suspect of


Carlos had died, November 1, 1700, appointing in his will Philip of
Anjou as his successor, until whose coming the queen-dowager was regent.
For some months the members of the Suprema, jubilated by Mendoza's
arbitrary assumption of authority, were kept in reclusion, but were
finally liberated. Mendoza, who belonged to the Austrian faction, was
relegated to his see of Segovia, but this brought no redress to Froilan.
The Dominican General, Antonin Cloche, a Frenchman without bias to
either party in the Inquisition, felt keenly the injustice committed
against him and sent from Rome successively two agents who for three
years labored in vain for his release. Mendoza was at bay and, in
defiance of the traditions of the Spanish Inquisition, he appealed to
the pope, to whom he sent an abstract of the proceedings. Clement XI was
delighted with this surrender of Spanish independence and referred the
case to the Congregation of the Inquisition which, after much
deliberation, reported that it could not act without seeing all the
papers. Mendoza replied that he was in exile through political reasons
and could not furnish them, which was false, as he had carried them with
him; he sent an agent with an argument drawn up by the new fiscal of the
Suprema, Juan Fernando de Frias, at the instance of the nuncio at
Madrid, in which the Suprema was denounced as the canonizer of a
doctrine, heretical, erroneous, superstitious and leading to idolatry.
This paper had been prepared in answer to one by Folch de Cardona,
arguing that the members of the Suprema had not merely a consultative
but a decisive vote and that the inquisitor-general had no more. Frias,
however, had foolishly devoted himself to proving that the
interrogations of the demoniacs were heretical; this did not suit the
nuncio who openly declared that, in place of refuting Cardona, he had
published a thousand scandals and was a fool of no account. The
argument, which he had printed, was condemned and suppressed and he
himself was suspended from office, in 1702, by the queen, Marie Louise
Gabrielle of Savoy, who was regent during the absence of Philip in
Naples. It was probably about this time that the Suprema notified the
tribunals that any orders from Mendoza, contrary to its own, were

The intervention of the nuncio shows that the struggle had widened far
beyond the theological question as to the lawfulness of interrogating
demons and the guilt of the luckless Froilan Díaz. Two important
principles had become involved--the appellate jurisdiction of Rome and
its original jurisdiction in determining disputed points in the internal
organization of the Spanish Inquisition. Pope Clement had eagerly
welcomed the opening afforded by Mendoza, not only to claim that
Froilan's case should be submitted to him, but he had also assumed, in
Mendoza's favor, that the Suprema was subordinate to the
inquisitor-general, through whom its powers were derived from the Holy
See, which alone could decide the question. All this was vigorously
combated by Cardona, with the aid of the Council of Castile. In the name
of the Suprema, which now had three new members, he rehearsed all of
Ferdinand's decrees against appeals and argued that the Suprema had
always been a royal council, subjected to the king, and that the only
distinction between its members and the inquisitor-general lay in his
prerogatives as to appointments. He earnestly supplicated the king to
order the seizure of a letter of Cardinal Paolucci, papal secretary of
state, committing Froilan's case to Mendoza or to the Archbishop of
Seville. The nuncio, on the other hand, insisted that the papacy had
never divested itself of its supreme authority to judge everything
throughout the world, and that the pope was the only authority entitled
to construe papal grants, including the functions of the Suprema. While
the controversy thus raged, Froilan lay forgotten in his dungeon.

Practically the decision lay with the king and, in the vicissitudes of
the War of Succession, Philip had more pressing matters to vex his new
and untried royalty. He seems to have vacillated for, in July 1703,
there was circulated a paper purporting to confirm the jubilation of the
members of the Suprema and to commit Froilan's case to Mendoza. This
drew from the Suprema two energetic consultas, pointing out Mendoza's
arbitrary course and the injury to the regalías of his appeal to Rome.
Philip was embarrassed and, by a royal order of December 24th, sought
advice of the Council of Castile, which responded, January 8 and 29,
1704, by vigorous consultas denouncing Mendoza's actions as inexcusable
violence. The case seemed to be drawing to a conclusion when it was
delayed by a new complication. The succession to Mendoza was actively
sought by two churchmen of the highest rank, but the king declared that
he would not appoint any one of such lofty station, when both withdrew
and one of them, or some one in his name, started what Cardona calls the
diabolical proposition that the Inquisition had become superfluous; the
few Judaizers and heretics remaining could be dealt with by the
episcopal jurisdiction--the case of Froilan Díaz could be settled by his
bishop--and thus the enormous expense of the Holy Office could be saved.
This revolutionary suggestion was warmly supported by the Princesse des
Ursins but Philip rejected it--wisely, no doubt, for even had he been
inclined to it his throne was as yet too insecure to risk the results of
such an innovation.


The Admiral of Castile was a refugee in Portugal, whence he was actively
fomenting resistance to Philip. Mendoza notoriously belonged to the
Austrian party and Philip could ultimately scarce fail to decide against
him. On October 27th he sent for Cardona, with whom he had a secret
interview, resulting in a paper drawn up for his signature the next day.
On November 3rd a royal order was read in the Suprema restoring to their
places the three _jubilado_ members, who were to receive all the arrears
of their salaries. This was followed November 7th by a decree addressed
to Mendoza ordering him and his successors to respect the members of the
Suprema as representing the royal person, as exercising the royal
jurisdiction and as entitled to cast decisive votes. Moreover, he was,
under pain of exile and deprivation of temporalities, within seventy-two
hours, to deliver to the Suprema all the papers concerning Froilan Díaz
and to make known whether he was alive and in what prison. The next day
it was ordered that the Suprema should decide the case and, on November
17th, after hearing the proceedings, a sentence was unanimously
rendered, absolving Froilan, restoring to him his seat in the Suprema,
with all arrears of salary, and also the cell in the convent del Rosario
assigned to the royal confessors, of which he had been unjustly
deprived. A copy of this sentence was ordered to be transmitted to all
the tribunals for preservation in their archives.[449]

Froilan Díaz was duly reinstated in the Suprema and we find his
signature to its letters at least until 1712.[450] In reward of his
sufferings, Philip nominated him to the see of Avila; he was not,
however, a _persona grata_ in Rome and Pope Clement refused his
confirmation on the ground that he must first see the papers in the case
and determine whether the acquittal was justified, thus asserting to the
last his jurisdiction over the matter.[451] Philip held good and would
make no other nomination until after Froilan's death, the see remaining
vacant from 1705 until filled by Julian Cano y Tovar in 1714.

As for Mendoza, he was obliged to resign the inquisitor-generalship
early in 1705. When, in 1706, Philip returned to Madrid, after his
flight to Burgos, Mendoza and the Admiral, with many others, were
arrested as traitors and the queen-dowager was escorted to Bayonne.
Mendoza, of course, missed the coveted cardinalate, but he survived
until 1727, in peaceful possession of his see. In replacing him as
inquisitor-general, Philip was true to his maxim not to appoint a man of
high rank and he nominated Vidal Marin, bishop of the insignificant see
of Ceuta, who had distinguished himself, in 1704, by his gallant defence
of that place against the English fleet that had just captured
Gibraltar. In confirming him, after some delay, Clement took occasion,
in a brief of August 8, 1705, to reassert the papal position and
urgently to exhort him to maintain the subordination of the Suprema. He
is to remember that he is supreme and in him resides the whole grant of
apostolic power, while the members of the council derive their power
from him; over them he has sole and arbitrary discretion by deputation
from the Holy See, and the consultas of the Royal Council have caused
great scandal and spiritual damage to souls by seeking with fallacious
and deceitful arguments to prove that he, after receiving his
deputation, is independent of the Holy See. If he will examine his
commission he will see that his powers are derived from the Vicar of
Christ and not from the secular authorities, who have no rights in the
premises, and whatever is done contrary to the rights of the Holy See is
invalid and is hereby declared to be null and void.[452]

This was doubtless consoling as an enunciation of papal claims and
wishes, but the Bourbon conception of the royal prerogative was even
more decided than that of the Hapsburgs. The exhortation to reassert the
supremacy of the inquisitor-generalship fell upon deaf ears and the rule
in the Suprema continued to be what Folch de Cardona described in
1703--that the majority ruled; if there was a tie, the matter was laid
aside until some absent member attended, while, if the meeting was a
full one, the fiscal was called in to cast the deciding vote.[453]


In its relations with the tribunals the Suprema had even greater
success. As it gradually absorbed the inquisitor-general, it exercised
his power, which was virtually unlimited and irresponsible, over them,
until it became a centralized oligarchy of the most absolute kind. To
this, of course, the progressive improvement in communication largely
contributed. In the earlier period, the delays and expenses of special
messengers and couriers rendered it necessary for the local tribunals to
be virtually independent in the routine business of arresting, trying,
sentencing and punishing offenders. Only matters about which there could
be dispute or which involved consequences of importance, would warrant
the delay and expense of consulting the central head. Items in the
accounts and allusions in the correspondence show that, when this was
necessary, the outlay for a messenger was a subject to be carefully
weighed. The matter was complicated by the fact that the central head
was perambulating, moving with the court from one province to another,
and its precise seat at any one moment might be unknown to those at a
distance. The permanent choice of Madrid as a capital by Philip
II--broken by a short transfer to Valladolid--was favorable to
centralization, and still more so was the development of the
post-office, establishing regular communication at a comparatively
trivial cost, although at first the Inquisition was somewhat chary about
confiding its secret documents to the postmen.

At first there was hesitation in intruding upon the functions of the
tribunals. A letter of November 10, 1493, from the Suprema to the
inquisitors of Toledo, asks as a favor for the information on which a
certain arrest had been made, explaining that this was at the especial
request of the queen.[454] Where there was not unanimity, however, a
reference to some higher authority was essential, and we have seen that,
in 1488, Torquemada ordered that all such cases should be sent to him to
be decided in the Suprema and, in 1507, Ximenes went further and
required all cases in which the accused did not confess to be sent to
the Council.[455] This seems speedily to have become obsolete, but the
rule as to _discordia_ was permanent. In 1509 a letter of the Suprema
extends it to arrests and all other acts on which votes were taken, when
a report with all the opinions was to be forwarded for its
decision.[456] The costs attendant on these references were not small,
for we happen to meet with an order, May 23, 1501, to pay to Inquisitor
Mercado a hundred ducats for his expenses and sickness while at the
court examining the cases brought from his tribunal of Valencia.
Possibly for this reason references to the Suprema were not encouraged
for, about this time, it ordered that none should be brought to it
except those in which there was discordia, and in these it expected that
the parties should be represented by counsel.[457] The same motive may
have led to an order, in 1528, limiting these references to cases of
great importance, but this restriction was removed in another of July
11, 1532, when it was explained that, if an inquisitor dissented from
the other two and from the Ordinary, the case must be sent up.[458]

Practically, the authority of the Suprema over the tribunals was limited
only by its discretion, and inevitably it was making constant
encroachments on their independence of action. Its correspondence, in
1539 and 1540, with the Valencia tribunal shows an increasing number of
cases submitted to it and its supervision over minute details of current
business.[459] In 1543 the case of a Morisca, named Mari Gomez la
Sazeda, shows that a sentence of torture had to be submitted to it and
its reply indicates conscientious scrutiny of the records, for it
ordered the re-examination of certain witnesses, but, if they were
absent or dead, then she might be tortured moderately.[460] A further
extension of authority is seen during a witch-craze in Catalonia when,
to restrain the cruelty of the Barcelona tribunal, in 1537, all cases of
witchcraft, after being voted on, were ordered to be submitted to it for
final decision and, in a recrudescence of the epidemic, between 1545 and
1550, it required all sentences of relaxation to be sent to it, even
when unanimous.[461] On this last occasion, however, the Barcelona
tribunal asserted its independence of action by disregarding the command
and a phrase in the Instructions of 1561, requiring, in all cases of
special importance, the sentences to be submitted before execution, was
too vague to be of much practical effect.[462]


The supervision which the Suprema was thus gradually developing was most
salutary as a check upon the irresponsibility of the tribunals, whose
acts were shrouded in impenetrable secrecy except when scrutinized with
more or less conscientious investigation by visitors at intervals of
five or ten years. The conditions in Barcelona as revealed by successive
visitations, between 1540 and 1580, show how a tribunal might violate
systematically the Instructions, and how fruitless were the exposures
made by visitors when the inquisitors chose to disregard the orders
elicited by reports of their misdoings. They were virtually a law unto
themselves; no one dared to complain of them and the victims' mouths
were closed by the oath of secrecy which bound them under severe
penalties not to divulge their experiences. The whole system was so
devised as to expose the inquisitor to the maximum of temptation with
the minimum risk of detection, and it was the merest chance whether this
power was exercised by a Lucero or by a conscientious judge. The
consulta de fe and the concurrence of the Ordinary furnished but a
feeble barrier, for the record could generally be so presented as to
produce the desired impression and the consultors, proud of their
position and its immunities, were indisposed to give trouble, especially
as their adverse votes did not create a discordia. When Salazar, in
1566, took the unusual trouble of investigating the interminable records
of the individual trials, the rebuke of the Suprema to the inquisitors
of Barcelona speaks of the numbers of those sentenced to relaxation,
reconciliation, the galleys, scourging, etc., after the grossest
informalities in the conduct of the trials.[463] The world can never
know the cruelties perpetrated under a system which relieved the
tribunals from accountability, and consequently any supervision was a
benefit, even that imperfectly exercised by the distant Suprema.

There seems to have come a dawning consciousness of this, possibly
stimulated by the revelations of Salazar's investigations into the three
tribunals of the crown of Aragon, which led to the Concordia of 1568. In
the same year a carta acordada of June 22nd ordered that even when
sentences of relaxation were voted unanimously, the process should be
sent to the Suprema for its action.[464] From this time forward its
intervention, on one score or another, gradually increased. From the
records of the tribunal of Toledo, between 1575 and 1610, it appears
that it intervened in 228 cases out of 1172, or substantially in one out
of five, while in only 82 of these cases, or one out of fourteen, was
there discordia--sometimes as to arrest and trial, sometimes as to
torture, but mostly as to the final sentence.[465]

At this period it would seem to be the practice in the Suprema to refer
cases to two members and act on their report. Thus in the matter of Mari
Vaez, condemned in 1594 to relaxation in effigy, the two are Vigil de
Quiñones and Mendoza, whose names are inscribed on the back of the
sentence and under them the word "Justª" on the strength of which the
secretary writes the formal letter to the tribunal, ending with "hagais,
señores justicia"--the customary formula of confirmation.[466] As might
be expected the degree of scrutiny exercised in the performance of this
duty was variable. In the case of Jacques Curtancion, in 1599, it was
observed that the ratification of the confession of the accused had been
made in the presence of only one interpreter, when the rules required
two; the papers were therefore returned to the tribunal of Granada for
the rectification of this irregularity, but this exactitude was of no
benefit to the sufferer.[467] On the other hand, Pedro Flamenco was
tortured in Toledo at 10 A.M., June 10, 1570, after which the consulta
de fe was held which condemned him to relaxation for fictitious
confession. At the earliest the papers could not have reached Madrid
until late on the 11th, but on the 12th was despatched the formal reply
confirming the sentence. There could scarce have been time to read the
voluminous record and certainly none to give it more than perfunctory
consideration.[468] Again, delays attributable only to negligence were
not infrequent. Diego de Horozco was sentenced to relaxation by the
tribunal of Cuenca, which sent the process to the Suprema, September 3,
1585 and, at the same time, asked for instructions about the cases of
Alonso Sainz and Francisco Caquen which had been previously forwarded.
No reply was received for more than a month, when the tribunal wrote
again, October 14th, that it was anxious to hold an auto de fe. This
brought the prompt answer to torture Horozco and execute justice in
accordance with the result.[469]


Besides this direct intervention there grew up a watchfulness over the
proceedings of the tribunals through their reports of autos de fe, which
were closely scrutinized and returned with criticisms. These reports
were required to give full details of all cases decided, whether for
public autos or private ones in the audience-chamber, and their regular
transmission was enforced by conditioning upon it the payment of the
annual _ayuda de costa_ or supplement to the salaries of the officials.
There was also an opportunity, which was not neglected, of administering
reproofs on the reports required from inquisitors of their annual
visitations of portions of their districts. These were closely
criticized and errors were pointed out without reserve, such as judging
cases that ought to have been sent to the tribunal for its action,
punishing too severely or too lightly, imperfect reports of cases,
etc.[470] Thus in various ways a more or less minute supervision was
exercised, and the inquisitors were made to feel the subordination of
their position.

This was greatly increased when, in 1632, each tribunal was required to
send in a monthly report of all its current business and the condition
of each case, whether pending or decided, and this in addition to an
annual report on which depended the allowance of the ayuda de costa. It
was difficult to enforce the regular performance of this and the command
had to be frequently repeated, but it was successful to some extent and
afforded an opportunity of criticism which was not neglected. Thus, in
1695, in acknowledging receipt of such a report from Valencia, its
slovenliness and imperfection are sharply rebuked as deserving of a
heavier penalty, which is suspended through benignity. The character, it
is said, of the witnesses should be noted, the number or letter of the
prisoner's cell, the ration assigned to him, whether or not he has
property and, if sequestrated, a copy of the sequestration should be
added; the crime and the time of entering the prison and the property
items should be repeated in all successive reports. After this, each
individual case is considered and much fault is found with the details
of procedure.[471] Even the requests for information, made by one
tribunal of another, were required, by an order of 1635, to be the
subject of regular reports by the fiscal every four months.[472] It was
impossible, however, to enforce with regularity the rendering of monthly
reports and, in 1800, the Suprema contented itself with requiring them
thrice a year, a regulation which continued to the end, although it was
irregularly observed.[473]

The same process of centralization was developed in the control over
individual cases. It was not only when there was discordia or sentences
of relaxation that confirmation was required. A carta acordada of August
2, 1625, ordered that no sentence of scourging, galleys, public penance,
or vergüenza should be executed until the process was submitted to the
Suprema.[474] The records of the tribunal of Valladolid, at this period,
not only show that this was observed when corporal punishment was
inflicted, but also indicate that a custom was springing up of
submitting the sentence in all cases involving clerics, and further that
the habit was becoming frequent of consulting the Suprema during the
course of trials.[475] When, in 1647, the Suprema required all sentences
to be submitted to it as soon as pronounced, it assumed full control
over the disposition of cases.[476] It was concentrating in itself the
management of the entire business of all the tribunals. The minuteness
of detail in its supervision is illustrated when, in 1697, the daily
ration of four maravedís for a prisoner in Valladolid was regulated by
it and the vote of the tribunal whether a prisoner is to be confined in
the _carceles medias_ or _secretas_ had to be confirmed by it.[477]


Simple arrest by the Inquisition was in itself an infliction of no
common severity and, from an early period, the Suprema sought to
exercise supervision over it. In 1500, the Instructions of Seville
require the tribunals, whenever they make an arrest, to send to the
inquisitor-general, by their messenger, the accusation, with the
testimony in full, the number of the witnesses and the character of the
accused.[478] This salutary check on the irresponsible power of the
inquisitors was too cumbrous for enforcement and it soon became obsolete
but, in 1509, when there was discordia as to sentences of arrest they
were ordered, before execution, to be submitted to the Suprema with the
opinions of the voters.[479] In 1521, to check the persecuting zeal of
the tribunals towards the Moriscos, or newly baptized Moors, Cardinal
Adrian ordered that they should not be arrested save on conclusive
evidence which must first be submitted to the Suprema--a humane measure
speedily forgotten.[480] The religious Orders were favored, in 1534, by
requiring confirmation of all sentences of arrest pronounced against
their members--a measure which required to be repeated in 1555 and, in
1616, it was extended to all ecclesiastics.[481] The Instructions of
1561 order consultation with the Suprema before arresting persons of
quality or when the case is otherwise important[482] and, in 1628, it
was ordered that no arrest be made on the testimony of a single witness,
without first consulting the Suprema; if escape were feared, precautions
might be taken, but in such wise as to inflict as little disgrace as
possible.[483] Under these limitations the practice is summarized by a
writer, about 1675, who tells us that there are cases in which the
tribunals can vote arrest, but not execute it without the assent of the
Suprema; these are where there is but one witness (but this is not
observed with Judaizers), when the accused is a cleric, religious,
knight of the Military Orders, notary or superior officer of
justice--unless, indeed, flight be apprehended. In these cases the
_sumaria_, or summary of evidence, must be well drawn up and submitted
to the Suprema with the votes of the inquisitors.[484]

Thus gradually the independent action of the tribunals was curtailed
until it finally disappeared and centralization in the Suprema was
complete. The precise date of this I have been unable to determine, but
a writer of the middle of the eighteenth century tersely describes the
conditions, telling us that the inquisitors determine nothing without
the orders of the Council, so that, when they draw up the _sumarias_ in
cases of faith they submit them and, on their return, do what they are
told; they do not sentence but only append their opinions to the
processes and the Council decides.[485]

This continued to the end. The book of votes of the Suprema, in the
restored Inquisition, from 1814 to 1820, shows that the tribunals had
become mere agencies for receiving denunciations, collecting evidence
and executing the orders of the Council. Even these slender duties were
sometimes denied to them. In the case of Juana de Lima of Xeres, tried
for bigamy, the sumaria was made up by the commissioner of Xeres and on
it the Suprema, without more ado, sentenced her to four years in a house
of correction and sent the sentence to the commissioner to be read to
her; the functions of the Seville inquisitors were reduced to
transmitting the papers and keeping the records.[486] If a tribunal
ventured on the slightest expression of dissent, it was roundly taken to
task. Thus, December 23, 1816 that of Madrid was sternly rebuked
because, in the case of Don Teodoro Bachiller, it had described as
unjustified his imprisonment; that imprisonment had been approved by the
Suprema and the tribunal was ordered to expunge from the records this
improper expression and never to repeat such an offence, if it desired
to escape serious action. So, when the fiscal of the same tribunal
remonstrated against an order to remove Caietano Carcer, on the ground
of ill health, from the secret prison, the Suprema replied, January 14,
1818, that its orders were dictated by justice and there was no fiscal
or tribunal that could object to them. It expected that the tribunal and
its fiscal would in future be more self-restrained and obedient to its
superior decisions, thus escaping all responsibility, and that they
would not oblige the Council to enforce its authority by measures
necessary although unpleasant.[487] To this had shrunk the inquisitor
before whom, in the old days, bishops and magnates trembled.


It is satisfactory to be able to say that, as a rule, the interference
of the Suprema with the tribunals was on the side of mercy rather than
of rigor. It is true that torture, then the universal solvent of doubt,
was frequently ordered, but there seems to have been a fairly
conscientious discharge of the responsibilities which it had grasped.
In the Valladolid records of the seventeenth century, the modifications
of sentences are almost uniformly mitigations, especially by the
omission of scourging, which the tribunals were accustomed to administer
liberally, and there would seem to be especial tenderness for the
offences of the clergy.[488] A typical instance of this moderation is
seen in the case of Margarita Altamira, sentenced by the Barcelona
tribunal, in 1682, to appear in an auto de fe, to abjure de levi, to
receive a hundred lashes through the streets and to seven years' exile
from Barcelona and some other places, the first two of which were to be
passed serving in a hospital without pay. All this the Suprema reduced
to hearing her sentence read in the audience-chamber and to four years'
exile from the same places.[489] This mitigating tendency is especially
apparent in the restored Inquisition, from 1814 to 1820, where the
sentences are almost uniformly revised with a reduction of penalties.
Scourging is more rarely prescribed by the tribunals and, when it is
ordered, it is invariably omitted by the Suprema, the power of
dispensing with it being attributed to the inquisitor-general.[490]

       *       *       *       *       *

As the functions of the tribunals thus gradually shrank to mere
ministerial duties, the appellate jurisdiction lodged in the
inquisitor-general and absorbed by the Suprema, of which we heard so
much in earlier times, became less and less important. The bull of Leo
X, in 1516, prescribes that appeals shall be heard by the
inquisitor-general in conjunction with the Suprema and that, pending the
decision, the case shall be suspended.[491] This indicates that appeals
were suspensive, although subsequently the Inquisition eluded this by
arguing, as in the matter of Villanueva, that they were merely
devolutionary--that is, that sentences, in spite of them, were to be
promptly executed, thus practically rendering them useless.[492]

At this period the relations between the Council and the
inquisitor-general as to appellate jurisdiction do not appear to be
definitely settled. In 1520, Antonio de la Bastida appealed about his
wife's dowry from the judge of confiscations of Calahorra, and the
decision in his favor was rendered by the Suprema "in consultation with
the very reverend father, the Cardinal of Tortosa (Adrian)," and, as the
crown was concerned, it was confirmed by Charles V.[493] In two cases,
however, in 1527 and 1528, in which, on appeal, Cardinal Manrique
remitted or mitigated sentences, the letters were issued in his name and
without signature by the members of the Council.[494] During Manrique's
disgrace, the Suprema apparently acted independently for, in a letter of
December 9, 1535, to the Valencia tribunal, alluding to the cases on
appeal pending before it, it promises to adjudicate them as speedily as
possible.[495] That, by this time, at least its concurrence had become
essential would appear from the modification, on appeal by Juan Gómez
from a sentence imposed by the Valencia tribunal, when the letter was
signed both by Inquisitor-general Tavera and the members of the
Council.[496] When, as we have seen, the secular courts endeavored to
entertain appeals in cases of confiscation and matters not strictly of
faith, Prince Philip's cédula of March 10, 1553 emphatically declared
that appellate jurisdiction was vested solely in the Suprema, which held
faculties for that purpose from the Holy See and from the crown.[497]


This would seem to dispose of any claim that appellate jurisdiction was
a special attribute of the inquisitor-general, and this is confirmed by
a case, in 1552, in which Angelica Vidama appealed from the sentence of
the Valencia tribunal condemning the memory and fame of her deceased
mother Beatriz Vidama. On March 8th, Inquisitor-general Valdés and the
members of the Council with some assessors declared that, after
examining the matter in several sessions their opinion was that the
sentence should be revoked. Then, on March 12th, in the presence of
Valdés, the Council adopted a sentence restoring her and her posterity
to honor and good fame and releasing the confiscation of her estate. The
sentence is not signed by Valdés but only by three members of the
Council, which indicates that his signature was unnecessary.[498] When
he was held simply to have a vote, like every other member, he could
claim no special authority as to appeals and, with the gradual
intervention of the Suprema in all the acts of the tribunals, appeals
themselves became obsolete.

       *       *       *       *       *

From a comparatively early period the control assumed by the Suprema
over the provincial tribunals was absolute. Already, in 1533, it tersely
informed them that what it ordered and what it forbade must be obeyed to
the letter; this it repeated in 1556 and, in 1568, it took occasion to
tell them that it was not to be answered, nor were inquisitors to offer
excuses when they were rebuked.[499] This control was not confined to
their judicial proceedings but extended to every detail of their
affairs. Even Ferdinand, with his minute watchfulness over the
management of the tribunals, gave to the inquisitors a certain latitude
as to expenses and instructed his receivers that they were to honor the
requisitions of the inquisitors for outlays on messengers, lodgings,
work on houses, prisons, stagings, etc.[500] The Suprema permitted no
such liberty of action; it required to be consulted in advance and
roundly scolded tribunals which incurred expenses on their own
responsibility.[501] In 1569 a general order specified in minute detail
the trifling matters of daily necessity for which they could make
disbursements; for everything else reference must first be made to the
Suprema.[502] This continued to the end and its correspondence is filled
with instructions as to petty outlays of all kinds, and largely with
regard to repairs of the houses and other properties belonging to the
Inquisition. If Valencia, in 1647, wanted a clock in the
audience-chamber, it had to apply for permission to purchase one and, in
1650, the Suprema ordered its price to be allowed in the receiver's
accounts. In 1665 it ordered the fiscal of Barcelona to be lodged in the
palace of the Inquisition and gave minute instructions how the
apartments were to be redistributed so as to accommodate him.[503] It is
scarce necessary to add that the determination of salaries, which had
originally been lodged in the hands of the inquisitor-general, had
passed absolutely under the control of the Suprema.

Among the perquisites of the officials was that they were furnished with
mourning on occasions of public mourning, and a carta acordada of
January 20, 1578 ordered that, when this was to be given, a detailed
statement must be made out in advance of the persons entitled to it, how
much there would be required, what kind of cloth and at what price. On
the death of Philip II, in 1598, two persons in Valencia complained that
they had been omitted in the distribution, whereupon it wrote to the
tribunal for information, on receipt of which it ordered that one of
them should be gratified.[504] So, in 1665, on the death of Philip IV,
Dr. Paladio Juncar, one of the physicians of the tribunal of Barcelona,
asked for an allowance such as had been given to his colleague Dr.
Maruch, whereupon the Suprema called for a report as to the cost of the
mourning given to Dr. Maruch and whether it was customary to give it to
two physicians. A similar petition from Juan Carbonell, one of the
advocates for poor prisoners, led to another demand for information and
the result was that the Suprema refused them both.[505]

This close watchfulness did not diminish with time. In 1816, when
returning the papers of a case to the tribunal of Madrid, a reprimand
was administered because in one place there was a blank of half a page
which might have been utilized for a certain record. So, in 1817,
Seville was rebuked for the number of blank pages in the processes sent,
causing not only a useless waste of paper but an increase of postage;
six months later Seville sent the sumaria of Miguel Villavicencio, in
which the Suprema counted fourteen blank pages, whereupon it referred to
its previous instructions and commanded the tribunal to tell the
secretaries that they must obey orders, else they would be not only
charged with the excess of postage but would be severely punished.[506]

       *       *       *       *       *


The development of this absolute authority was largely aided by the
complete control over the finances of the tribunals claimed and
exercised by the inquisitor-general or the Suprema or concurrently by
both. This, after the death of Ferdinand, practically passed into their
hands, except when Charles, in his early years, made grants to his
courtiers from the confiscations. All that was gathered in by the labors
of the provincial inquisitors was treated as a common fund at the sole
discretion of the central power. Most of the tribunals, as we shall see,
held investments, partially adequate to their support, in addition to
their current gains, but even these were held subject to the Suprema. In
1517, orders were sent to the farmers of the revenue to pay to the
receiver-general of the Suprema, instead of to the tribunals, the
_juros_, or assignments on the taxes, held by the latter. Of these the
holdings of the Seville tribunal amounted to 500,000 maravedís per
annum--100,000 on the tithe of oil, 200,000 on the alcavala of oil and
200,000 on the alcavala of the shambles. Córdova suffered less from
this, for that tribunal held only 103,000 maravedís of income--63,000 on
the alcavala of meal, 16,000 on that of wine and 24,000 on that of
fruit.[507] But it was not only on the investments but also on the
current earnings of the tribunals that the Suprema laid its hand. Its
salary list was considerable, it had no settled source of income and the
royal policy was that the Inquisition must pay its own way besides
having a surplus for the treasury. In 1515, while the Suprema of Castile
was yet separate from that of Aragon, its pay-roll aggregated 750,000
maravedís, with 340,000 additional for ayudas de costa, or in all
1,090,000, without counting Inquisitor-general Ximenes who seems to have
disdained the emoluments of his office. This large sum, the receiver of
Seville, Pedro de Villacis, was required to defray in 1515, while, in
1516, the demand fell upon Guillastegui, receiver of Toledo; in 1517 the
salaries were paid by Seville and the ayuda de costa by Toledo and, in
1518, by Valencia.[508] The burden was apportioned among them according
to their luck. In addition to this were the innumerable orders to pay
the salaries and expenses of the tribunals, which were sometimes issued
in the name of Cardinal Adrian and sometimes in that of the Suprema.

It would seem that the receivers of the tribunals, who were practically
treasurers, occasionally hesitated in honoring these calls for, in 1520,
Charles V issued cédulas to all the receivers of Castile and Aragon to
pay whatever the inquisitor-general and Suprema should order.[509] The
theory that the funds belonged to the crown in no way limited the
control of the inquisitor-general and Suprema and this, during the
disgrace of Manrique, naturally passed into the hands of the Council.
Under his successor, Tavera, orders were sometimes drawn in his name and
countersigned by the members of the Council and sometimes all reference
to him was omitted. There seems not to have been any settled rule until,
about 1704, the victory of the Council over Mendoza was emphasized by an
instruction that no order for the payment of money, given by the
inquisitor-general, was to be recognized unless countersigned by the

The Suprema called without stint on the tribunals to meet its expenses
and its fluctuating sources of supply are indicated in its varying
demands for a few ducats for some special payment to large sums from
some tribunal which had made a fortunate raid on wealthy heretics as
when, being in Valladolid in 1549, it demanded 2000 ducats from that
tribunal for its pay-roll.[511] It seems to have made an attempt to levy
a settled contribution on Saragossa which, in 1539, it ordered to
furnish the money for its salaries, but the enforcement of this seems to
have been difficult for, from 1540 to 1546, we find it paying its
receiver-general Loazes 15,000 maravedís a year for making the
collection. After an interval of ten years, in 1557, it demanded of
Saragossa 10,000 sueldos (400 ducats) a year toward its pay-roll, but
again there was trouble, for although the order was issued in April, the
inquisitors in October were reminded of it, with the significant hint
that, unless the money were forthcoming, their salaries would be cut
off.[512] In 1559 a papal grant of 100,000 ducats on the ecclesiastical
revenues of Spain kept it in funds for awhile and when the tribunals of
the colonies were fairly in operation they contributed largely but, in
the eighteenth century, we still find it drawing upon the tribunals,
although it had accumulated a considerable invested capital, yielding a
handsome income.[513]


While thus caring for itself, it also looked after the tribunals which
were less fortunate than their fellows, treating the profits of all as a
common fund to be distributed at its discretion. These transfers were
incessant; as examples of them may be cited an order, in 1562, to
Valladolid to pay 1000 ducats to Barcelona which was deeply in debt and,
in 1565, Murcia was called upon to give it 400,000 maravedís for its
salaries. Murcia, at this time, seems to have struck a rich vein of
confiscations for, in 1567, it was required to contribute 1500 ducats
for the salaries of Valencia. Barcelona continued in trouble; there were
few heretics there and its chief business was quarrelling with the
people, which was not productive financially, so, in 1579, Llerena was
required to give it 500 ducats towards its pay-roll and, in 1586,
Seville, Murcia and Llerena were ordered to furnish 500 ducats each for
the same purpose. The expulsion of the Moriscos, in 1609-10, brought
Valencia to destitution and, in 1612, Granada and Seville were obliged
to lend it 1000 ducats apiece.[514]

This system remained in force until the last. Under the Restoration the
Holy Office was seriously cramped for funds, as we shall see, and its
financial troubles were frequent. In 1816, Majorca was required to
furnish over 40,000 reales to Logroño and Logroño was called upon to
supply the same sum to the Suprema. It was not prompt in meeting this
demand but paid 15,000; in March, 1817, the Suprema notified it that the
balance would be drawn for; on this a partial payment seems to have been
made, leaving 12,000, for which, in 1818, the receiver-general of the
Suprema drew, but his draft came back dishonored. This aroused the wrath
of the Council which wrote, July 3rd, expressing its surprise; if the
tribunal had no funds in hand, it should have gone out and borrowed
them; it must do so now and not let such a thing occur again.[515]

A necessary feature of this financial control was the centralization in
the Suprema of the auditing of the accounts of all the tribunals. Their
receivers or treasurers were supposed to send, at regular intervals,
itemized statements with vouchers of all receipts and expenditures,
which were audited by the _contador general_, or auditor, of the
Council.[516] The efficiency of this system was marred by habitual vices
of maladministration and the hesitation to punish offenders, of which a
petition of the historian, Gerónimo Zurita, affords us a glimpse. In
1538 he was made secretary, or _escribano de camera_ of the Suprema. In
1548 Inquisitor-general Valdés gave this place to Juan de Valdés,
presumably a kinsman, and Zurita was transferred to the _contaduría
general_ for Aragon. In a petition presented May 2, 1560, he represents
that he has served as contador for twelve years at a salary less than
that of his predecessor and with more work; there were the accounts of
the tribunal of Sicily, which had not been rendered for twenty years,
and it was notorious that the accounts of the receivers had been very
confused and embarrassing, all of which he had straightened out with the
utmost care, rejecting, for the service of the Holy Office,
opportunities offering him better prospects, and now the only reward he
asks is that his son, Miguel Zurita, a youth of 18, may be adjoined to
him as an assistant--a moderate prayer which was granted.[517] That
Zurita was a laborious and conscientious auditor it would be impossible
to doubt, but the frequency of defalcations, as we shall see hereafter,
would indicate that such officials were not universal and that the
precautions of the system were negligently enforced.

       *       *       *       *       *


That the Suprema should exact all that it could from the tribunals was a
necessity, for its pay-roll grew, partly as the result of its increased
functions in the centralizing process, and partly in accordance with the
inevitable law of an office-holding class to multiply. As the business
and profits of the Inquisition decreased its officials consequently grew
more numerous and costly. After the death of Ferdinand in 1516, when
Aguirre and Calcena were dismissed, there were for some years only three
members, a fiscal, a secretary, an alguazil, a "relator" (to report on
cases sent up on appeal), a contador and receiver-general, two
physicians, a messenger and a portero--twelve in all--with a pay-roll,
including the ayuda de costa, of 1,090,000 maravedís or a little less
than 3000 ducats.[518] In the seventeenth century all this had changed.
Various gratifications had become habitual additions to the salaries
proper, in lieu of the old ayuda de costa. Thus there were three larger
_propinas_ or _pourboires_ a year, on the days of San Isidro (May 15th),
San Juan (June 24th) and Santa Ana (July 26th) and five smaller ones,
called _manuales_ on certain other feasts. There were also _luminarias_
or reimbursement for the cost of the frequent illuminations publicly
ordered, which seem to have been averaged into a fixed sum, and at times
there was an allowance for the Autos of Corpus Christi, or plays
represented before the Council on Corpus Christi day, while the _toros_
or bull-fights which were celebrated on the days of the three chief
propinas sometimes replace the latter. There were other smaller
perquisites, such as wax and sugar--the latter a distribution, on each
of the feasts of Corpus Christi and San Pedro Martir, of an arroba (25
pounds) of sugar to the inquisitor-general, half an arroba to the
members and a quarter to the subordinates, making in all nine arrobas.
In 1657 we learn that sugar was worth 161 reales per arroba, making an
annual outlay for this purpose of 2900 reales.[519] A larger gratuity
was that of houses. The Suprema owned a number and allowed them to be
occupied by its officials, while those who were not thus housed received
a cash equivalent. Thus in various ways the nominal salaries were
largely supplemented and, whatever were the necessities of the State,
the Council took care that its members and officials should be
abundantly supplied.

When, in 1629, there was some talk of reforming the Suprema, Philip IV
called upon Castañeda, the contador-general, for a detailed statement of
the salaries, propinas, bull-fights and illuminations, with their
aggregate for each person connected with it, from the inquisitor-general
down to the lowest employee, and the same information was required as to
the tribunals. As usual the Suprema equivocated and concealed. All that
it saw fit to reply was that the salary of a member was 500,000
maravedís, of a _consejero de la tarde_ 166,666, of the royal secretary
and receiver-general 200,000 each.[520] We happen to have a detailed
statement of the personnel and emoluments of the Suprema at this period
which furnishes the information thus withheld from the king. It shows
that the salary of the inquisitor-general was 1,100,000 maravedís and
the extras 352,920, or in all, 1,452,920. Each of the full members
received one half of this, while the _consejeros de la tarde_ had one
third of the salary of a full member, one half of his propina and no
luminarias. The whole number on the pay-roll was thirty-six; the
aggregate of their salaries was 7,152,539 maravedís and of the extras
2,891,088, or in all, 10,043,627, equivalent to 295,400 reales or 26,855
ducats, being about ten-fold the cost of a century earlier.[521] Of
course, the purchasing power of money had fallen greatly during the
interval, but this does not wholly explain the later extravagance. It is
observable, moreover that, in the case of the minor subordinates, where
the salaries were low, the extras amount to twice as much as the regular
pay, and also that as yet there were but three propinas a year and these
and the luminarias were the only extras.

A statement of a few years later, probably 1635, may be summarized thus:

  Salaries                                           7,644,600 mrs.
  Propinas                                           2,382,900  "
  Luminarias                                         1,232,875  "
  Allowances to officials for houses, estimated        800,000  "
  Expenses, repairs to houses, estimated               890,000  "
    " postage, couriers, secret service, estimated     400,000  "
                                                    13,350,275  "


In this for the first time appears the name of the king as a recipient
of the propinas and luminarias, with an allowance double that of the
inquisitor-general, but though he figured in the estimates he was not
paid.[522] So carefully were these extras observed that when, in 1679
and 1680 the _fiestas de toros_ or bull-fights, on the feasts of San
Isidro and Santa Ana, were omitted and, in 1680 the _Autos
Sacramentales_ of Corpus Christi, the Suprema indemnified itself, in
1680, by distributing 687,276 maravedís, from which we learn that the
perquisites of a bull-fight amounted to 137,275 and of an exhibition of
autos to 144,976.[523]

The terrible condition of the debased currency, known as _vellon_, at a
discount from _plata_ or silver, ranging from 25 to 50 per cent., gave
further opportunities for quietly increasing salaries. As a rule, public
officials had to take their salaries in the depreciated vellon--the
government was obliged to accept it for taxes and to pay it out at its
face value.[524] The Suprema, however, computed its salaries in silver
and paid in vellon with the discount added. In 1680 the members made a
special grant to themselves, for they ordered the salaries to be paid
one half in silver and the other half in vellon with a hundred per cent.
added, thus in effect doubling their salaries. How often this liberality
was repeated it would be impossible now to say; it was not a settled
matter, for the receipts in 1681 show a return to the usual practice of
payment in vellon with 50 per cent. added.[525] Another device by which
the depreciation in vellon was made a pretext for augmenting salaries is
shown by the receipts for 1670. Payments were made every three months in
advance; the first _tercio_, on January 1st, and the second on May 1st,
were made in vellon with the customary addition of 50 per cent.; then,
on September 1st this augmented sum was taken as a basis and 66-2/3 per
cent. added, bringing the payment to two and a half times the legitimate
amount.[526] The Suprema was not particular as to other devices for
increasing its emoluments. In 1659, the birth of the Infante Fernando
Thomás served as an excuse for two extra propinas and for five
luminarias.[527] In 1690, when it probably was in funds from the
confiscations in Majorca, under the transparent pretext of replacing
various articles of which it had availed itself, it voted to its members
and chief officers 14,160 reales in silver and to the subordinates 8555
in vellon.[528] It was also profuse in gratuities to its employees, as
when, in 1670, it voted to Doña Juana de Fita y Ribera--evidently the
daughter or niece of its secretary Joseph de Ribera--the handsome
pension of four hundred ducats, to enable her to marry.[529] In spite of
its perpetual complaints of poverty, it evidently was not an inexpensive
department of the government.

The Suprema was none the less liberal in providing for the amusement and
gratification of its members, in ghastly contrast with the sources from
which the funds were drawn--the confiscations that ruined thousands of
industrious and happy families. In fact, it gives us a new conception of
the grim tribunal, which held in its hand the life and honor of every
Spaniard and had as its motto "Exsurge Domine et vindica causam tuam,"
to note its careful provision for comfort and enjoyment on festal

[Sidenote: _BULL-FIGHTS_]

We happen to have the details of the cost of the autos sacramentales
performed before the Council on the Corpus Christi feast of 1659,
amounting to 2040 reales vellon and 1168 of silver.[530] The _fiestas de
toros_, or bull-fights, cost nothing for the performers but were
attended with elaborate and somewhat expensive preparations for the
enjoyment and refreshment of the members and officials. As there were
three or four of these a year, the amusement was costly, but the Suprema
did not grudge expense when its own gratification was concerned. As
affording an insight into this unexpected aspect of the Holy Office, I
give below the items of expenditure for the "toros" of June 5, 1690,
amounting to 2067 reales 7 mrs., to which is to be added, as the
exhibition was given at the palace of Buen Retiro, the sum of 4400
reales paid to the treasurer of the palace for the use of the balconies
occupied by the Council and its servants.[531] This is a single example
of a constant outlay on occasions where the Suprema defrayed the
expenses of its members and attendants. They were by no means confined
to the toros and autos. In this same year 1690, the Suprema paid 3300
reales for balconies on the Calle Mayor from which to see the new queen,
Maria Anna of Neuburg, when she entered Madrid.[532]

In addition to salaries and extra emoluments, the officials of the
Suprema had a fertile source of income from the fees which they were
entitled to charge. Every act or certificate or paper made out was paid
for by the party applying for it, in the multitudinous business flowing
in to the Council, from applicants for favors, examinations into
limpieza or purity of blood, or in the perpetual litigation subject to
its extensive jurisdiction. From the fiscal and his clerk, who levied
upon all documents passing through his hands, down to the portero who
had his recognized fee for serving a summons, every one was entitled to
charge for the services pertaining to his office. According to the
_arancel_, or fee bill, issued in 1642, the secretaries were entitled to
twenty reales for every grace issued--licences to read prohibited books,
commutations of penance, dispensations and the hundred other matters in
which the Suprema alone could grant favors. The _secretario de camera_,
or private secretary of the inquisitor-general, had a fee for every
commission issued--on one for an inquisitor or fiscal, he collected a
hundred reales, besides eight for his clerk, on those for minor offices
a doubloon and eight reales for his clerk, and so on, and these,
according to the arancel of Cardinal Giudice, were payable in
silver.[533] Burdensome as were these legalized fees, the limitations of
the arancel were not enforced and complaints of imposition were
constant. The members of the Suprema had not this source of income, but,
as a rule, they held lucrative benefices with dispensation for

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _RESOURCES_]

The Suprema could not be thus lavish in its expenditures without an
assured and steady source of income. It no longer was dependent on what
it could call from one tribunal or another, for it had so persistently
utilized its control over their funds as to accumulate for itself an
amount of invested capital the interest on which went far to meet its
regular requirements, the deficiency being made up by contributions from
the tribunals, especially those of the colonies. These latter had become
very productive. Besides accumulating large capital for themselves, they
were able to make heavy remittances to Spain. Mexico and Lima were
expected to furnish regularly 10,000 ducats a year and this was
frequently exceeded. Even from Cartagena de las Indias the Suprema
received, in 1653 and 1654, more than 100,000 pesos.[534] About 1675, we
chance to hear of a remittance of 40,000 pesos (about 29,000 ducats) of
which Lima furnished 10,000 and Mexico 30,000.[535]

An estimate of income and outlay, of about the year 1635, shows that the
Suprema held securities of various kinds bringing in an annual return as

  Assignments on the public revenues                 7,497,703 mrs.
  In the hands of the Fuccares (Fuggers) awaiting
      investment, 2,618,200, @ 5 pr. ct.               130,000  "
  Censos                                             2,210,625  "
                                                     9,839,228  "

Against this its regular expenses were estimated at 13,350,275, which,
with a sum of 1,353,625 that it had been ordered to pay to Cardinal
Zapata, the late inquisitor-general, left a deficit of 4,864,672, or
12,966 ducats.[536] This it could have had no trouble in making up from
the tribunals at home and in the colonies, besides such amounts as might
still come in from confiscations.

In the period of storm and stress for some twelve years, commencing with
1640, the incessant demands of the king unquestionably caused the
Suprema some trouble. Already, in 1640, we find it borrowing
considerable sums, but its resources were large and, about 1657, a
statement of its indebtedness amounts, reduced to silver, only to 14,500
ducats. Against this may be set a list of investments and sources of
income, yielding a revenue of 18,500,000 maravedís or 50,000 ducats,
showing what power of accumulation it had possessed, in spite of the
troublous times through which it had passed.[537] All this was clear
interest on investment securities except 10,000 ducats from the colonial
tribunals, about 2000 ducats estimated to come in from confiscations,
etc., and 200,000 maravedís from the _Fabrica de Sevilla_. This latter
item merits a word of explanation. In 1626, the Castle of Triana,
occupied by the Seville tribunal, was threatened with ruin by an
inundation. In view of the heavy cost of repairs, in 1627, it was
determined to meet this by imposing for three years, on every
calificador appointed, a fee of 10 ducats, on every commissioner and
familiar 5, and on every notary 4. The three years passed away but the
charge was continued and, in 1640, it was extended to a number of other
minor positions, both salaried and unsalaried. The repairs had long been
finished but the Suprema coolly appropriated the income as part of its
regular resources and kept it to the end. In 1790 the receipts from
Valencia amounted to 27-1/2 libras, and an allusion to it in 1817 shows
that the _Fabrica de Sevilla_ was still collected.[538]

[Sidenote: _LABORS_]

In 1743, Philip V made an effort to reduce the excessive number of
officials and expenses of the Inquisition and some other departments,
but he was unable to withstand the conservative influences brought to
bear. It was probably in connection with this that an elaborate
statement of the resources and expenditures of the Suprema was prepared.
The work of the Inquisition by this time had shrunk virtually to
censorship of the press and punishing bigamists, soliciting confessors,
blasphemers, diviners, wise-women and incautious utterers of suspicious
propositions, but its machinery was as ponderous and costly as ever. The
pay-roll of the Suprema counted forty names whose salaries and
emoluments aggregated in round numbers 64,000 ducats, to which were
added the expenses of the Madrid tribunal, dependent on the Suprema, and
other estimated outlays amounting to 12,000, making a total of 76,000
ducats. Its annual revenue was stated at 51,000 ducats, leaving a
deficit of 25,000.[539] How this was made good does not appear; possibly
there was concealment in the statement of resources, for the Suprema
does not seem to have curtailed its liberalities, and a salary list of
1764 shows that there had been no change in the pay and emoluments,
except that the number of officials had increased to forty-one.[540]

The financial condition of the whole Inquisition, however, was seriously
compromised by royal orders, from 1794 onward, requiring investments to
be sold and the proceeds to be placed in government securities to aid in
defraying the costs of the wars, in which Spain became involved, with
France and then with Portugal and England.[541] The virtual bankruptcy
of the monarchy and the destruction consequent on the Napoleonic wars
naturally reduced it to the greatest straits, the results of which will
be seen when we come to investigate its finances as a whole.

       *       *       *       *       *

Considering the liberal salary and allowances which, in the eighteenth
century, amounted to 4030 ducats for each full member, the labor was not
heavy. The council held daily sessions of three hours in the morning
and, on three days of the week--Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays--a
two hours' session in the afternoon at which were present the two
auxiliary members from the Council of Castile, who received 1400 ducats.
The pay of the inquisitor-general was nearly 7000 ducats,[542] besides
which he usually held a bishopric and the members some comfortable
preferment. The meetings of the Council were originally held in the
apartments of the inquisitor-general, until the accession of Philip IV,
when the house of the condemned favorite, Rodrigo Calderon, was
purchased for it and became its permanent office.[543]



During the active career of the Inquisition, it was the local tribunal
which represented it to the people. The inquisitor-general and Suprema
were distant and held no direct relations with the community. It was
otherwise with the inquisitors, at whose bidding any one, however
high-placed, could be thrown into the secret prison, to emerge with an
ineffaceable mark of infamy, while his property, to the minutest item,
was sequestrated and tied up, perhaps for years, and, if not
confiscated, was largely consumed in expenses. Men wielding such power,
and virtually irresponsible, shed terror around them as they walked
abroad and, as we have seen, their habitual use of their position was
not such as to allay these apprehensions. They were the visible agents
of the Holy Office, the embodiment of its mysterious and all-embracing
authority, empowered to summon to their aid the whole resources of the
State and answerable only to their chief. The tribunal, in which they
sat in judgement on the lives and fortunes of all whom they might call
before them, could only be regarded with universal dread, for no one
knew at what moment an unguarded utterance, or the denunciation of some
enemy, might bring him before it.

       *       *       *       *       *

The delimitation of the land into districts, each subject to its own
tribunal, was naturally a work of time. In the early period, when there
were Converso suspects everywhere, it mattered little where an
Inquisition was set up, for it could find abundant occupation in any
place and, when the field was temporarily exhausted, it could transfer
itself elsewhere in search of a fresh harvest. Ferdinand, in his
instructions to the inquisitors of Saragossa, in 1485, tells them that
wherever in Aragon they think that an Inquisition is necessary, they are
to notify Torquemada, who will send inquisitors there.[544] Thus we hear
of tribunals in Aragon at Teruel, Jaca, Tarazona, Barbastro and
Calatayud; there was one, partly Aragonese and partly Catalan--Lérida
and Huesca, which was not divided between Saragossa and Barcelona until
1532. In Catalonia there were tribunals at Perpignan and Balaguer, and,
in Castile, others more or less permanent, at Medina del Campo, Avila,
Guadalupe, Osuna, Jaen, Xeres, Alcaraz, Plasencia, Burgos, Durango, Leon
and doubtless many other places.[545] Even as late as 1501, a royal
cédula announces that Deza is about to send inquisitors with their
officials to various bishoprics to provide them with tribunals and all
receivers were instructed to pay them such sums as he might
designate.[546] Under such conditions there could be no very precise
boundaries of jurisdiction, for it mattered little who burnt a Judaizing
New Christian, but it was otherwise with the confiscations which
required to be garnered by those responsible and authorized by the king,
and the first strict definitions of districts would seem to have arisen
in commissioning receivers. Thus, in 1498, the receiver of Saragossa is
qualified for the sees of Saragossa and Tarazona; he of Valencia for
those of Valencia, Tortosa, Segorbe and Teruel, while we hear of one for
Huesca, Gerona and Urgel, apparently distinct from Barcelona.[547]


For a considerable time, moreover, the tribunals, to a certain extent,
were ambulatory, travelling around with their whole corps of officials
and empowered to take possession of such buildings as they might
require, wherever they saw fit to establish themselves for a time, while
the receivers were instructed not to require of them an account of their
travelling expenses. The regulations for such an itinerant court may be
gathered from a cédula of May 17, 1517, addressed to all the officials
and inhabitants of Leon and the bishoprics of Plasencia, Coria, Badajoz
and Ciudad Rodrigo, instructing them to give free lodgement, but not in
inns, to the inquisitors and their officials and to charge them only
current prices for food. Where they settle for a time and set up their
court, they are to rent lodgings in houses where they can have the use
of one door and the owner of another, while suitable provision must be
had for an audience-chamber and a secret prison; the rent is to be
determined by appraisers mutually selected but, if the stay is less than
a year, rent will be payable only for the time of occupancy. There is
to be no opposition or maltreatment, but they are to have all aid and
favor under penalty of ten thousand maravedís.[548] The power thus
conferred of temporary expropriation was not always exercised
considerately. In 1514, Hernando Sánchez of Llerena complained to
Ferdinand that, seven years before, the inquisitors had taken his house,
compelling him to build another, and this they were now about to seize;
Ferdinand compassionated him and prohibited them from doing so. It was
otherwise when the tribunal, in 1516, was transferred to Plasencia. The
corregidor reported that the most suitable house was that of the dean
who was residing in Rome and had rented it; when he was told to turn out
the tenant and install the tribunal, the rent, as usual, to be
determined by two valuers.[549] Even the episcopal dignity had to give
way to the exigencies of the Inquisition. The Bishop of Cuenca was
president of the audiencia of Toro and, during his absence, his palace
was occupied by the tribunal. In 1519 he was about to return and gave it
notice to quit, when Charles V wrote to him that, if he was going to
Cuenca, he could find other buildings for his residence; the Inquisition
had spent much money on the prisons and must not be disturbed--nor was
this the only similar case.[550] Yet existing rights were sometimes
respected. When, in Seville, the castle of Triana was assigned to the
tribunal, the Count-duke of San Lucar was its hereditary alcaide; he
ceded his position in exchange for the hereditary office of alguazil
mayor of the tribunal and, in 1706, this office was still enjoyed by his
descendants, the Marquises of Leganes, to whom it was reckoned to be
worth 150,000 maravedís a year. A similar bargain was made with the
Marquis del Carpio, who was hereditary alcaide of the royal alcázar of
Córdova, when it was occupied by the tribunal of that city and, in 1706,
the marquis of the period was drawing an income of 100,000 maravedís
from it. In both cases the incumbents provided deputies at their own

In the original economical simplicity of the institution, Torquemada, in
1485, ordered that all the officials should lodge in one house, but, as
the personnel of the tribunals waxed larger and self-indulgence
increased, this rule became obsolete and houses were furnished to the
subordinates, the rents of which, under instructions from Cardinal
Manrique, about 1525, were defrayed from the fines and penances levied
on culprits.[552] This became the general rule, although there are some
instances of its inobservance and of individual officials complaining of
adverse discrimination in not being thus favored.[553] In thus providing
houses for its employees the Inquisition claimed the right of eminent
domain and vindicated it after the usual arbitrary fashion, when it
encountered resistance, as occurred in Valladolid in 1612. The secretary
of the tribunal wanted a house which was occupied by an official of the
chancellery, or high court of justice for Old Castile and Leon. The
tribunal incontinently ejected him and installed its secretary, who in
turn was ousted by the offended court. The judges were promptly
excommunicated and the court rejoined by fining the parish priests for
publishing the censures; arrests were made on both sides; the court
imposed fines on the inquisitors who replied by threats of further
anathemas. The chronicler fails to inform us of the outcome but, under
Philip III, there can be little doubt of the final triumph of the

The cédula of 1517 was repeated in another of February 8, 1543 and
remained as a permanent regulation. In 1645 a formula shows that,
whenever any official travelled on the business of a tribunal, he was
furnished with a letter embodying the cédula of 1543 and commanding, in
the customary imperious style, that he be furnished with free lodging,
and beds and provisions at current rates, under pain of excommunication
and a fine of a hundred thousand maravedís.[555]

       *       *       *       *       *


The organization of the tribunal at first was exceedingly simple. We
have seen how, in 1481, in Seville, two Dominican friars, with a legal
assessor to guide them, and a fiscal as prosecuting officer, did such
active work that they speedily required two receivers of confiscations
to gather in the products of their industry. There must doubtless have
been subordinates to attend to the clerical duties, to serve citations
and to take charge of prisoners, but the tribunal was manned on the
most economical basis and there was no time wasted. After four years'
experience, Torquemada defined a tribunal as consisting of two
inquisitors, an assessor, an alguazil and a fiscal, with such notaries
and other minor officials as might be necessary; they were to receive
salaries and no fees were to be charged under pain of dismissal, and no
inquisitor was to use an official as a household servant.[556] In this
no account was taken of the force necessary to secure and handle the
confiscations, for these were the concern of the sovereigns and as yet
their management was distinct from the prosecution of heretics. It
constituted an intricate business, involving innumerable questions
arising from claims of every description, which at first were settled in
the secular courts, not always to Ferdinand's satisfaction. He grew
intensely anxious to bring them within the jurisdiction of the
Inquisition, declaring that if they were decided according to the law of
the land he would never get justice.[557] For awhile these duties were
therefore thrown upon the inquisitors; in 1499, in the tribunal of
Burgos and Palencia, Rodrigo de Cargüello is styled inquisitor and judge
of confiscations at a salary of 75,000 while his colleague, Alonso de
Torres, receives only 60,000.[558] Eventually, as we shall see, a
subsidiary court for this purpose was established in each tribunal under
a _juez de bienes_, or judge of confiscations.

Ferdinand was thriftily resolved that the profits of persecution should
be protected against the growth of expenses and he struggled, though in
vain, against the expansion of the pay-roll. Writing to Torquemada, July
22, 1486, he protests against the efforts of the inquisitors to multiply
salaried positions--the torturer, the scriveners, the deputy
alguaziles--the alguazil should supply the latter and also pay the
portero; the pay-roll is already excessive and the inquisitors demand so
many salaries that they must be carefully watched.[559]

Ferdinand might chafe under the increasing burdens, but he could not
check them. In this same year we find him obliged to give orders for the
payment, in the tribunal of Saragossa, of two inquisitors, an assessor,
an episcopal vicar-general, an advocate fiscal, a procurator fiscal, an
alguazil, two notaries, a receiver of witnesses, two messengers, a
receiver and his scrivener, a physician, and a royal notary for the
confiscations, whose salaries amounted to 37,700 sueldos (about 1800
ducats), to which were to be added _ayudas de costa_, not as yet an
established custom, but prevalent in one form or another. At the same
time the pay-roll of the tribunal of Medina del Campo was somewhat
smaller, amounting to about 1550 ducats, although there were three
inquisitors and an assessor, for there were fewer minor officials.[560]
In 1493 the tribunal of Valencia, one of the most active, was run with
only one inquisitor and no assessor, costing only about 1450
ducats.[561] At the same time it should be borne in mind that these sums
include the prison expenses, defrayed by the alguazil out of his salary,
which was usually the largest in the list--an arrangement more
economical than conducive to the welfare of the captives.


The law of growth continued to operate. A list of ayudas de costa for
Valladolid, in 1515, shows three inquisitors, a fiscal, an alguazil,
three notaries of the _secreto_ or trial-chamber, a receiver, a notary
of sequestrations, a gaoler, a messenger and a portero.[562] In 1568,
Philip II, in defining the salaried officials exempt from taxation
enumerates, for this same tribunal, two or three inquisitors, a fiscal,
an alguazil, an auditor, a judge of confiscations, four notaries of the
secreto, a notary of sequestrations, a receiver, a messenger, a portero,
an alcaide of the secret prison and one of the penitential prison, a
notary of the _juzgado_ or court of confiscations, an advocate of the
fisc, a procurator of the fisc, two chaplains, a physician, a barber, a
surgeon and a steward for the poor prisoners.[563] Besides these
salaried officials, there was an indefinite number of unsalaried ones,
consultors, who served in the consultas de fe, calificadores or censors,
who pronounced on the charges prior to arrest and sat in judgement on
books and writings, advocates of the accused, "personas honestas" who
were present at the ratification of witnesses, in addition to the
familiars and commissioners with their notaries. Then there came
subsequently to be other officials, either salaried or living on
fees--the notary _de lo civil_ or secretary in civil cases, the notary
of _actos positivos_ in matters of limpieza, the depository with whom
applicants to prove their limpieza had to deposit in advance the cost of
investigation, the superintendent of sequestrations, the superintendent
of property, the _proveedor_ or purveyor of food for prisoners and, in
some tribunals, the locksmith and bricklayer were reckoned as
officials.[564] Even when the salaries were trifling, the pressure for
place was incessant, in order to enjoy the privileges and exemptions of
the Inquisition, and we shall see that when financial despair caused
offices to be offered for sale they were eagerly purchased, irrespective
of profit.

This overgrown personnel was admitted to be an abuse and repeated
efforts were made for its reform. A decree of June 19, 1629, repeated in
1638, prescribed the number to be allowed in each tribunal but, as
usual, these provisions were disregarded or eluded. In 1643 Philip IV
animadverted on this disobedience; the excessive number of officials
caused the greatest evils, both to the tribunals and the kingdom, and he
ordered their reduction to the ancient standard in the briefest time
possible. To this the inquisitor-general replied, fully admitting that
this overplus of officials was the cause of the impaired character of
the Inquisition and of the insufficiency of the revenues to meet the
salaries; the Suprema, he said, had repeatedly attempted a reform, but
the misfortunes of the times and the pressure of the king had rendered
it powerless and the only remedy would be a papal brief defining numbers
and invalidating all surplus commissions. The Suprema, on its side,
presented a consulta suggesting a reissue of the decrees of 1629 and
1638, while the inquisitor-general should be deprived of power to exceed
these limitations. It further stated that it had sent orders to each
tribunal prescribing the numbers and requiring them to be reduced

The effect of all this was nugatory. In the Aragon Concordia, forced
upon the king in 1646, the number allowed to a tribunal, in addition to
the inquisitors and fiscal, commissioners and their notaries and
familiars, was twenty-three, which shows how excessive had been the
practice.[566] What this was elsewhere is indicated in a memorial from
Majorca, about 1650, occasioned by the imprisonment in chains of a
familiar, named Reginaldo Estado, because he desired to resign on being
appointed Consul del Mar. The opportunity is taken of representing the
evils arising from the multiplication of officials, as set forth in a
previous petition of January 11, 1647, and protesting that the civil and
criminal jurisdiction of the Inquisition was the total ruin of the
people, so that they would welcome its limitation to matters of faith as
a full recompense for all the services rendered to the crown. In each of
the thirty-four villages, outside of the capital, there were three
officials, besides familiars. In Palma they were multiplied without
limit, by creating places that had no duties and appointing assistants
and deputies ad libitum, while all the tradespeople and mechanics
employed were reckoned as officials, bringing the number up to a hundred
and fifty besides familiars. All these, with their wives and children
and household servants, and the widows of the deceased, enjoyed the
active and passive fuero in both civil and criminal cases, bringing in
large revenues to the tribunal, through the excessive costs of
litigation, and stimulating oppression of all kinds endured through
dread of its censures. This memorial, with evidence sustaining its
allegations, was submitted to the Council of Aragon which, after due
examination, reported it to the king with a recommendation that the
officials and familiars in Majorca should be reduced to what was
necessary for the business of the tribunal, but there is no trace that
attention was paid to this advice.[567]

[Sidenote: _SALE OF OFFICES_]

These Mallorquin grievances reveal not only the consequences but the
causes of this inordinate multiplication of official positions. It had
been stimulated, moreover, by the suicidal policy of selling offices and
of creating them for the purpose of sale--one of the ruinous expedients
resorted to by Philip IV in his desperate efforts to make an exhausted
treasury supply the extravagance of the court and the drain of foreign
wars. There is no positive evidence that this example was followed by
inquisitors for their individual profit, but it would be surprising if
this were not occasionally the case. Venality had crept in as early as
1595, when Philip II, in his instructions to Manrique de Lara, speaks of
an innovation by which offices were transferred for money--sometimes for
large sums--which was very prejudicial and caused much murmuring.[568]
These apparently were transactions between individuals, but they could
not take place without the connivance of the appointing power, and from
this the step to creating offices for sale was easily taken, when the
pressure or the temptation was sufficient. It came in 1629, though in
justice to Philip IV it must be said that he hesitated before
succumbing. In that year the Suprema assembled, December 23rd, a number
of theologians and submitted for their opinion the proposition that, in
every place where there were six familiars, one of them should be
permitted to purchase the _vara_ or wand of an alguazil, with the title
and all the privileges and exemptions, being a valuable privilege that
would bring in much money. The theologians pronounced the scheme lawful,
with advantages far outweighing its disadvantages, and suggested that
districts might be combined so as to furnish the six familiars. The
proceeds were evidently intended for the exchequer of the Suprema for,
when the plan was submitted to Philip, he said that it might greatly
prejudice the public peace and referred it to the Council of Castile and
the Suprema. Finally, on March 20, 1630, he returned it to the
inquisitor-general saying that it had been approved by persons of
learning and conscience and he asked for an estimate of its

After some further parleying the scheme was adopted and announced to the
tribunals by the Suprema, August 7, 1631. The limitation of one familiar
out of six was abandoned and the offer was thrown open to all who could
prove limpieza; the sale was for three lives, the commissions were
issued by the inquisitor-general himself, the _vara_ of the alguazilship
carried with it a familiarship and the only limitation was that, if the
third life fell to one who could not prove limpieza, the tribunal could
sell it again and report to the Suprema.[570] Thus the sale went on, the
ostensible object being the payment of the troops; there was no limit to
the alguazilships and finally other offices came into the market--the
depositario de pretendientes, the notariat of civil causes, of the
juzgado, of sequestrations, and receiverships, auditorships, etc. It
goes without saying that simple familiarships were sold and, in 1642, we
hear of a block of three hundred being offered.[571] Regulations issued
between 1631 and 1643 show that, although public auctions were nominally
forbidden, the positions were put up privately and sold to the highest
bidder. Even women sought to obtain the privileges attached to the
offices and, in 1641, it was found necessary to prohibit receiving bids
from them, except when made in favor of men whom they were about to
marry.[572] In 1639 Philip proposed even to put up for sale the office
of alguazil mayor of the Suprema and of all the tribunals, by which he
expected to defray the pay of 400 foot and 200 horse. This staggered the
Suprema, which represented that papal authority would be necessary and
the proceeds would be small, as the places were all filled and would
fall in slowly, while only that of the Suprema and three or four others
would fetch considerable sums, reasoning which put a quietus on the

[Sidenote: _SALE OF OFFICES_]

From various indications we may assume that the confidential posts in
the secreto were not sold and that offices of active duty in the
tribunals were sold only when vacated, although a decree of 1641 shows
that they were vacated for the purpose. The prices realized were large.
February 6, 1644, Valencia reported that the sale by auction of the
unimportant office of depositario de pretendientes for 6000 reales of
full-weight silver had been cancelled because the purchaser insisted
that it conferred the exemptions of an office in the secreto.[574] A
reply of the Suprema, February 11, 1643, to a request from Philip for
means to pay 400 foot and 200 horse for eight months, gives us the
prices fetched by a number of positions and also shows that the terms
varied from spot cash to instalments running through a year or two. In
Murcia, it says, there were still due 3500 ducats vellon for the offices
of auditor and notary of sequestrations; in Seville the receivership had
been auctioned for 8500 ducats, of which 2000 were in silver, and there
was still due 1000 ducats in silver for an auditorship; in Llerena the
notariat of sequestrations had brought at auction 3000 ducats vellon; in
Logroño the auditorship had fetched 1000 ducats vellon; in Toledo the
receivership had been sold at auction for 6360 ducats vellon; in Córdova
the receivership had brought 5000 ducats, one-fourth in silver; the
aggregate, payable at various periods, was 4250 ducats silver and
24,110 ducats vellon--but the final remark of the Suprema shows the
incurable prodigality of Philip, even in his deepest distress, for it
quietly adds that none of this is available because it had all been
granted by royal decree to Don Pedro Pacheco, a member of the

We are told that when, in 1643, Arce y Reynoso assumed the
inquisitor-generalship, he recognized that there were too many
supernumeraries and that he prohibited the sale of offices until further
orders. If so, the intermission was but temporary, for a royal decree of
1648 shows that it was still going on, and, in 1710, we happen to hear
of the sale in Valencia of a notariat del juzgado for four lives for
16,000 reales.[576] In 1715 the tribunal of Peru seems to have been
doing a little business of the kind on its own account, which the
Suprema promptly stopped, stigmatizing it as simoniacal.[577] This
probably indicates that it had ceased in Spain, but the custom of
selling for three or four lives seems to have been conducive to
longevity, for many continued to be thus held until late in the
eighteenth century. An investigation ordered, in 1783, into the records
concerning them, indicates that there were still survivors, or at least
claimants, whose titles were to be scrutinized.[578]

It was impossible to get rid of those who held offices under these
grants for successive lives, but efforts were made to reduce the numbers
of the class that had not been put up at auction. In 1677, Valladares
represented to Carlos II that the income of the Inquisition did not meet
more than half the expenses for salaries, prisons, etc., wherefore he
recommended that, as vacancies occurred, the offices should be
suppressed until, in the busiest tribunals, there should not be more
than three inquisitors, a fiscal and four secretaries, while in the
smaller ones two inquisitors, a fiscal and three secretaries would
suffice. The king assented and the plan was enlarged by leaving unfilled
other superfluous places. Like other reforms, this was not permanent. In
1695 Carlos caused Rocaberti to investigate the personnel of the
tribunals and to enforce the regulations of 1677. About 1705, Philip V,
in his attempted reform, instituted a searching examination into the
increase in numbers and salaries since the time of Arce y Reynoso and of
Rocaberti, and the Inquisitor-general Vidal Marin again put in force the
schedule of 1677, which continued to be, nominally at least, the rule.
At intervals, as in 1714, 1728 and 1733, inquiries were made and reports
were ordered from the tribunals, doubtless with a view to see that the
limitations were observed for, under the Bourbons, the Inquisition was
held to an accountability much stricter than of old.[579]


We have seen the futile effort of Philip V, in 1743, to reduce the
overgrown numbers of officials in the Santa Cruzada and Inquisition. It
was possibly in connection with this that Prado y Cuesta, on his
accession in 1746, demanded from all tribunals detailed reports as to
all officials and their salaries, stating any vacancies or
supernumeraries, and whether there were more familiars than were allowed
by the Concordias. The answers to this ought to give a complete census
of the Holy office. In the Appendix will be found a table compiled from
these returns and also the report from Murcia, at that time one of the
most active of the tribunals, which give a tolerably clear inside view
of existing conditions. These documents represent an institution which
had outlived its purpose, rapidly falling into decadence, no longer
commanding popular veneration and chiefly useful as a refuge for those
who were content to live on a miserable pittance in virtual idleness.
The diminished number of consultors indicates, as we shall see
hereafter, that the consulta de fe was falling into desuetude, while the
army of calificadores points to the fact that the chief business
consisted in the censorship of the press and the prosecution of
propositions requiring theologians to define them. The irregularity in
the number of commissioners is explained by the Murcia report which
shows that, for the most part, they were omitted from the statements,
but it is not so easy to understand the absence of alguazils, of whom at
least one would seem to be necessary to each tribunal. There are many
honorary officials and others serving without pay, while still others
are _jubilado_ or retired, especially among the secretaries and, where
there are two receivers, one is jubilado or absent.

The paucity of keepers of penitential prisons shows that that punishment
had become practically obsolete. With the absence of confiscations the
_juez de bienes_ has disappeared, except in Majorca. The blanks in the
returns of familiars, although information concerning them had specially
demanded, may be due either to the tribunals keeping no registers of
them, or to concealment of the fact that the numbers allowed by the
Concordias were exceeded. That there were serious omissions, indeed is
proved when we consider that the total aggregate reported is only 951,
while the census of 1769 gives 2645 as the number of those admitted to
exemption through connection with the Inquisition. During the interval
between this and the next census in 1787, strenuous and successful
efforts were made to diminish the number of exempts, in spite of which
the employees of the Inquisition had increased to 2705.[580]

Surveying the table as a whole it will be perceived that the higher
offices of inquisitors and secretaries had rather increased than
diminished from the standard set by Valladares in 1667. Yet there was
virtually no serious work for them to do. Their predecessors had
successfully enforced unity of faith and little remained except to
repress all freedom of thought and aspiration for improvement. How they
earned their salaries by laborious trifling is exemplified, in 1808,
when three inquisitors and an inquisitor-fiscal of the Valencia tribunal
pottered for eighteen months over the case of a poor laboring woman
accused of "supersticiones," because she had suggested certain charms to
some of her neighbors, and finally concluded to suspend it and to order
her parish priest to reprimand and threaten her.[581]

The tribunals were constantly complaining of their penury and of the
inadequacy of the salaries, doubtless with reason, but the pressure for
appointment precluded the wholesome reduction in numbers which would
have afforded relief. It was probably with a view to some practical
re-adjustment that the Suprema repeatedly, in 1776, 1783, 1793 and 1806
called upon the tribunals for full and exact reports of all
employees.[582] If so, the only result was a trifling increase in the
salaries of the lower officials, averaging about fourteen per cent.,
leading to a complaint, in 1798, repeated in 1802, that the pay of the
secretaries and messenger--the hardest worked of all the officials--had
remained unchanged for a hundred years, while the cost of living had
quadrupled and they had been deprived of their old exemptions and
emoluments. It took, as the Valencia tribunal declared, half of their
salaries to rent a decent house, which would seem to show that they were
no longer furnished with dwellings.[583]

The excess of officials is emphasized by the fact that the Inquisition
was empowered to call upon every individual for gratuitous service. Its
commissioners were told that, if there was no appointed notary
available, he could make another one serve and, when he summoned any one
to accompany him on duty, even to a distant place, if the party refused
to go he was to report the fact to the tribunal that it might take the
proper steps.[584] Temporary commissions were constantly sent to the
parish priest or to a canon, even when their names were unknown, with
instructions as to what they were required to do. As the real work of
the tribunals diminished there was an increasing habit of deputing what
remained to outsiders. Inquisitors, who did not decide more than five or
six trivial cases in a year, were too indolent to investigate
denunciations or examine witnesses and would issue a commission to some
priest or friar to do the work for them.[585] They spared their
subordinates in the same way. Thus, in 1791, at Barcelona, there was
some reason for identifying a man described as Alexandre Valle, sergeant
in the second battalion of the Walloon guards. In place of sending one
of the underlings of the tribunal on so simple an errand, a formal
commission was made out to Francisco Lluc, Augustinian prior, who in due
time reported that he had found him in the sixth battalion.[586] If the
salaries were trivial so was the work which earned them.

       *       *       *       *       *


Offices were virtually held for life, although the commissions
technically expired with the death or removal of the grantor, for we
have seen that, with each change in the inquisitor-generalship, the new
incumbent renewed them and the interregnum was bridged over by the
action of the Suprema. This did not cover the financial officials, who
held from the crown and the same process was required on a change of
sovereigns. Thus, when Philip II died, in 1598, the Suprema made haste
to inform the tribunals that Philip III confirmed all the judges of
confiscations, receivers and auditors.[587] Thus the incumbents came to
regard themselves as holding vested rights in their offices and in fact
were technically called "proprietors" of them, a corollary to which was
to consider them as property, subject to hereditary transmission or to
transactions more or less disguised.

A tendency to nepotism seems to have manifested itself early, for the
Instructions of 1498 forbid the appointment, in any tribunal, of a
kinsman or servant of the inquisitors or of any other official.[588] The
force of this was weakened, in 1531, by a decision of the Suprema that
the deputy of the receiver of Valencia was not an official in the sense
of the prohibition--a decision which opened the door to hereditary
transmission by enabling fathers to introduce their sons as deputies in
their offices, as we have seen in the case of Géronimo Zurita.[589]
Still, the prohibition was held to be in force and, in the instructions
to visitors, one of the points to be investigated was whether two
members of a family were employed in a tribunal.[590] Like all other
wholesome rules, however, there was no hesitation in violating it. When
the tribunal of Lima was established in 1570, it was specifically called
to the attention of the inquisitors, but they had scarce been installed
when a letter from Secretary Vázquez ordered them to appoint Pedro de
Bustamente, brother of one of them, to any office for which he was
fitted, and he was duly made notary of sequestrations.[591]

Hereditary transmission seems to have been favored from an early period.
In 1498, we find Ferdinand not only approving the resignation of Pedro
Lazaro, alguazil of Barcelona, in favor of his son Dionisio, but
increasing the salary of the latter because he is a person who cannot
live upon the regular stipend. So, in 1502, when Juan Pérez, notary of
the tribunal of Calatayud, was incapacitated by age, he executed a will
leaving all the papers and documents to his son Juan, and Ferdinand
confirmed the bequest and empowered Juan to act.[592]

So completely did this become the policy of the Inquisition that when an
official died, leaving a minor son, the place was filled temporarily
till the boy should reach adult age and he was provided for meanwhile.
In 1542, Luis Bages, notary of sequestrations in Saragossa, died and
Tavera appointed Bartolomé Malo to the vacancy, ordering the receiver to
pay from the fines and penances five hundred sueldos a year to Juan
Bages, the young son of Luis. Accompanying this was a private
communication to the inquisitors, informing them that Malo was appointed
only until Juan should have age and experience for the position and, as
the arrangement does not appear in his commission, a notarial act must
be taken so as to insure Juan's succession. Secret arrangements such as
this, however were not usually considered necessary. The next year died
Miguel de Oliban, notary of the secreto in the same tribunal, when a
temporary appointee was inducted who divided the salary with Juan Pérez
de Oliban, son of Miguel, till he should be old enough to take the
place.[593] The requirements of age were waived in favor of such
transmissions. About 1710, Carlos Albornoz, receiver of Valencia, asked
to be allowed to transfer his office to his son, aged twelve; this was
refused but when, two years later, he renewed the request, it was
granted.[594] Of course the service suffered from the incompetence of
those thrust into it, but when they were absolutely unfit they were
allowed to employ substitutes who served for a portion of the salary.
Thus when Juan Romeo, in 1548, resigned a notariat of the juzgado in
favor of his brother Francisco, Valdés wrote to the inquisitors that he
hoped that Francisco would soon learn his duties and be able to fill the
office personally without employing a substitute as had previously been
the case.[595]


It would be useless to multiply examples of what was of daily
occurrence. Officials were constantly resigning or retiring on half-pay
in favor of their sons or grandsons or nephews, who were accepted as a
matter of course. So completely was office regarded as property that a
bereaved widow sometimes held it as a dowry, with which to tempt a new
husband, or was granted a pension on it to be paid by the successor. Or,
a man with a marriageable daughter would secure the promise of the
succession for whoever would marry her; or, if he died leaving a girl
unprovided for, the tribunal would kindly look up a husband for her on
the same conditions, as in the case of Juana de Treviño, daughter of
Antonio Españon in Valencia. Unluckily the first suitor failed to prove
his limpieza and another one was found in the person of Antonio de

The natural result of this was to found inquisitorial families who
continued through generations to live on the Holy Office, rendering such
service as might be expected from those who held their positions to be
personal property, like purchasers for four or more lives. Many examples
of this could be cited, but a single one will suffice. In 1586 we find
Juan del Olmo officiating as notary or secretary of the Valencia
tribunal--whether the first of the line or not does not appear. In 1590,
his widow Magdalena asked the reversion for her son Joseph, to whom it
was given, and during his minority it was served by the alcaide, Pedro
Juan Vidal, who gave a third of the salary to the widow. In 1623 this
Joseph secured the succession for his son Joseph, who seems to have been
a somewhat turbulent gentleman for, in 1638, he and his son were accused
of the murder of his fellow secretary, Julian de Palomares. Escaping
punishment for this, he died in 1644 and was succeeded by his son Jusepe
Vicente, who, in 1666, not without difficulty, obtained the reversion
for his son Vicente. The latter was still functioning in 1690. Who
followed him I have not been able to trace, but the male line seems to
have failed and the office to have passed to a nephew for, in 1750, it
is filled by a Vicente Salvador y del Olmo.[597]

Philip II was not blind to the evils of this abuse and, in his
instructions of 1595 to Manrique de Lara, he ordered that offices should
not be transferred to brothers or sons unless there were special cause
and the recipients were capable of filling them without appointing
deputies; but Philip III reversed this, in 1608, in his instructions to
Sandoval y Rojas, and prescribed that, when an official died, his
children should be borne in mind.[598] In the instructions of Carlos II,
in 1695, there is exhibited the fatal Spanish tendency of recognizing
evils while tolerating them. He prohibited the transfer of office, save
from father to son or from brother to brother when there is a just cause
and the appointee has capacity for the position, for it had often
happened that sons and brothers so appointed were unfit, or were so
young that the Inquisition had to wait long to its detriment and even
more so when substitutes were taken temporarily, for they went out with
a knowledge of the secrets of the Inquisition and imagined themselves no
longer bound to secrecy. Yet, after this clear admission he proceeded to
repeat the order of Philip III that, when an official died, care was to
be taken of his children.[599] Of course the warning went for nothing
and the abuse continued to the last. A certificate of limpieza issued,
November 23, 1818, to Juan Josef Paris, describes him as secretary of
the tribunal of Toledo, on half-salary, while his father, Juan Antonio
Paris, jubilado, has the other half.[600]


When there was no lineal successor available, the custom arose of
granting--doubtless for a consideration--coadjutorships with the right
of reversion. In 1619 the tribunal of Valencia took exception to this
and consulted the Suprema, resulting in a decision not to recognize such
transactions for the future.[601] They still continued, however and, in
September 1643, a papal brief was procured prohibiting them, in spite of
which a well-informed writer tells us that the inquisitor-general still
granted them.[602] Another frequent abuse was saddling an office with a
pension in favor of some representative of the previous incumbent or
even of a stranger, suggesting collusion of the appointing power. Even
inquisitors themselves sometimes accepted office under these degrading
conditions. In 1636, a commission issued to Don Alonso de Buelva, as
inquisitor of Toledo, bore on its face the full salary, but it was
secretly coupled with the condition that he was to draw only the half,
while the other half was given to Don Francisco de Valdés. A man taking
such an office on these terms would probably not be nice in his methods
of recouping himself. Still more suggestive of this was the not
infrequent custom of taking office "sin gages"--without pay. Thus, in
1637, the Licenciado Pedro Montalvo accepted such a commission as notary
of the secreto in Toledo and, in 1638, a similar one was issued for
Córdova to Pedro Gutiérrez Armentía. Even inquisitors did not disdain to
stoop to this as when, in this same year 1638, Doctor Villaviciosa took
the inquisitorship of Murcia without pay.[603]

It is easy to understand how a system such as this should encumber the
tribunals with useless hangers-on whose only serious duty was the
drawing of salaries. So well was this understood that when, in the
confusion of the War of Succession, there often was not money enough to
go around, an order was issued that those who were performing duties
should be paid in preference to those who were not. So, one of the
features of the reform of 1705, attempted by Philip V, was a royal
decree declaring null and void all commissions issued without carrying
the obligation to work in the office, that no jubilation with salary
should be granted without consulting the king, and that no ayuda de
costa or other gratification should exceed thirty ducats without the
royal assent.[604]

       *       *       *       *       *

Malfeasance was stimulated by the excessive tenderness which forbore to
visit misconduct with punishment. Warnings and threats were freely
uttered but rarely enforced and, even when the penalty of suspension was
inflicted, the term was apt to be reduced before expiration. This
patience under repeated and prolonged wrongdoing was partly owing to the
paternalism which generally governed the relations between superiors and
subordinates, but principally because dismissal was a public
acknowledgement of fallibility, endangering the popular veneration which
the Inquisition sought to inspire. It was so from the first. It is true
that the reformatory instructions of 1498 declare that any notary, who
does what he should not do, shall be condemned as a perjurer and forger
and be perpetually deprived of office, besides such other penalty of
fine or exile as the inquisitor-general may determine, but this carried
few terrors for offenders.[605] The power of effective punishment lay
exclusively with the central head, which was not readily moved to
active indignation by offences committed at a distance. A letter of
Ferdinand, May 17, 1511, to an inquisitor, who had complained bitterly
of a subordinate and evidently had asked his discharge, embodies the
principle to which the Inquisition remained faithful to the last. The
complainant was told that, when any of his officials was in fault, he
was to be admonished; if he persisted, he was to be rebuked in the
presence of his fellows; if this did not suffice, consultation was to be
had with those who had been present and every care be taken to avoid
injustice before going further, for the dismissal of officials of the
Inquisition is most odious; the utmost caution must be observed that it
is founded on justice and the success of the work depends on all living
in harmony.[606] This forbearance Ferdinand himself practised in cases
which might well move him to inflict summary chastisement.[607] When the
inquisitor himself proved incorrigible, he might be suspended for a year
or two, but the usual course was to transfer him and inflict him on some
other district. In extreme cases he might be jubilado or retired on
half-pay as was done with officials who were superannuated or too infirm
to work. Dismissal was almost unknown and I have met with but few cases
of it.

Jubilation might be either a reward or a punishment. In the earlier
time, when an official was obliged to retire on account of age or
infirmity he was taken care of with either a pension or a substantial
gift, of which various cases are to be found in the records. In time
this became an established custom, known as jubilation, and the retiring
pension was usually half the salary, sometimes, but not often, deducted
from the salary of the successor. Applications for jubilation were
common, as men grew old or incapacitated, and we have seen, in the
enumeration of the tribunal of Murcia, how many wage-eaters of this kind
weighed on the finances of the Inquisition.


The use of jubilation as a punishment affords a striking illustration of
the tenderness shown to offenders. Instead of the deserved dismissal,
they were shielded as far as possible from disgrace and were retired
with a pension, thus placing them on a par with aged officials worn out
in service. So far was this sympathy carried that, in the instructions
of Carlos II to Rocaberti, in 1695, he is warned that, as jubilation
inflicts grave discredit, even sometimes involving risk of life, it is
only to be resorted to with ample cause, after taking a vote in the
Suprema.[608] How superfluous was this caution could be instanced by a
number of cases, of which it suffices to mention that of Melchor Zapata
who, about 1640, succeeded his father-in-law as alcaide of the secret
prison of Valencia. Then the correspondence of the tribunal becomes
burdened with complaints of his disorderly conduct; he was constantly
getting into scrapes and being tried on various charges, among others,
that of hiring four soldiers to commit a crime of violence. At length,
in place of dismissal, he was jubilated with a life-pension of 20,000
maravedís in silver and his office was given to his cousin, Crispin
Pons. The _titulo de jubilacion_ issued to him by Sotomayor describes
his long and faithful service, for which he is thus rewarded and he was
assured of the enjoyment of all the exemptions and prerogatives attached
to his office--though his subsequent conduct was so disreputable that,
in 1642, it was felt necessary to deprive him of them.[609] When this
was the policy observed toward incapable and delinquent officials it is
not difficult to understand the financial troubles of the Holy Office
and the grievances endured by the people.

The natural effect of this misguided leniency was looseness of
discipline and indifference to duty. Inquisitors could inflict fines on
their subordinates, except the fiscal, but for serious offences they
could only report to the Suprema and, as they had no power of
appointment or dismissal, it was impossible for them to exert adequate
authority.[610] How little control they possessed is indicated when, in
1546, it was necessary for the Suprema to issue a formal order to the
janitor of the Granada tribunal to shut the inner gates of the castle,
which was its residence, at such hours as the inquisitors might
designate and, if he did not do so, he was to be reported for such
action as the Council might see fit to take.[611] Under such a system it
is not surprising that, in the suggestions for reform, in 1623, it was
proposed to give the inquisitors power to punish and suspend, for the
tying of their hands resulted in insubordination, causing grave troubles
in the tribunals.[612]

That there was gross neglect of duty follows as a matter of course. The
hours prescribed for work, during which all were required to be present,
were only six--three in the morning and three in the afternoon--except
on the numerous holidays, and visitors in their inspections were
instructed to inquire especially into this.[613] From such reports of
visitations as I have examined, it would appear that the enforcement of
the rule was difficult; Cervantes, indeed, in his report on Barcelona in
1561, says that there is no hope of securing regular attendance unless
the Suprema will impose a penalty for default of more than an hour.[614]

[Sidenote: _INSPECTORS_]

Absence from the post of duty was an abuse which also seemed incurable.
Even under the vigilant rule of Ferdinand, a circular letter of the
Suprema, September 7, 1509, calls attention to the absence of the
officials on their private business; the inquisitors, in urgent cases,
could grant leave of absence for twenty days in the year, but this was
never to be exceeded; records were to be kept and salaries were to be
proportionately docked.[615] This was perfectly ineffectual. In 1520 we
find the Suprema writing to the officials of Barcelona to return to
their posts within ten days, and rebuking the inquisitors for permitting
this neglect of duty, but a repetition of the letter in 1521 shows how
fruitless had been the first one. The trouble was by no means confined
to Barcelona and, in 1521, Cardinal Adrian made an effort to check it by
declaring vacant the office of any one absenting himself for two
months.[616] It was not only the subordinates, for the inquisitors
themselves had frequently to be taken to task for similar neglect of
duty.[617] The trouble was endless and serves in part to explain the
cruel delays which aggravated so greatly the sufferings of those under
trial. In 1573 the rule of 1509 was repeated with the addition that, if
the twenty days granted were exceeded by ten days, the absentee was not
to be admitted to his office on his return and this again was reissued
in 1597, together with an order that no inquisitor should absent
himself without the permission of the Suprema.[618]

This was not the only matter in which inquisitors had to be kept in
check. The frequent commands for them not to accept commissions to
attend to outside business show how eager were people to secure the
service of agents so powerful and how ready were the inquisitors thus to
sell their influence. So, when Valdés, in 1560, ordered them not to ask
for favors, for complaints were made by people that they were forced to
grant what was asked, we recognize how infinite were the resources of
petty tyranny afforded by the terror which they inspired. That they were
not superior to the vices of the period may be inferred from an
injunction of Valdés, in 1566, to exercise great moderation in

       *       *       *       *       *

Earnest efforts were not lacking to maintain a fair standard of
efficiency and discipline in the tribunals, although they were largely
neutralized by the restricted authority allowed to the inquisitors and
the fatal clemency shown to delinquents. Isabella has the credit of
reforming the administration of justice in Castile by periodically
sending inspectors, incorruptible and inflexible, to scrutinize the
operation of the courts, and it was not long after the organization of
the Inquisition that a similar plan was found necessary for its
tribunals. We happen to hear of a _visitador_ or inspector at Medina del
Campo, while Torquemada was still in the active exercise of his
functions, probably before 1490.[620] From letters of 1497 we learn that
the salaries of an inspector and his notary were the same as those of an
inquisitor and notary--a hundred thousand maravedís for the one and
forty thousand for the other. These were appointed by the
inquisitor-general and carried royal letters ordering inquisitors to
receive and treat them well and all officials to aid them, give them
free passage and levy no tolls, dues, ferriages or fees of any
kind.[621] The Instructions of 1498 create permanent inspectors-general,
of whom there were to be one or two, to visit all tribunals and report
their condition; they were not to lodge or eat with the inquisitors or
to receive presents from them and were to exercise only the powers
expressed in their commissions.[622] Under this Francisco de Simancas,
Archdeacon of Córdova, was appointed inspector, with González Mesons as
his notary; how long he served does not appear, but orders for the
payment of his salary can be traced until 1503.[623]

When the Inquisitions of Castile and Aragon were separated, in 1507,
each continued to employ inspectors. Alonso Rodríguez, of whom we hear
in 1509, probably belonged to Castile; in 1514 Ximenes appointed Juan
Moris as inspector, after which special inspectors ceased for a time to
be employed for, in 1517, the Inquisitor of Córdova was sent to inspect
Toledo, Seville and Jaen and the Inquisitor of Jaen to inspect Córdova,
Cuenca and Valladolid.[624] In Aragon, Mercader in 1513 sent Juan de
Ariola to inspect Majorca, Sardinia and Sicily and, about the same time,
Hernando de Montemayor to inspect the tribunals of Aragon, Catalonia and
Valencia.[625] After the reunion of the Inquisition, Cardinal Adrian
introduced an innovation by appointing laymen to the office--the
Licentiates Sisa and Peña--the former a judge in the high court of
Valladolid. Their functions were enlarged, for Charles V describes them
as persons of high authority, not connected with the Inquisition, sent
to investigate all the tribunals and to reform whatever required
amendment, for which he clothed them with ample powers.[626]

[Sidenote: _INSPECTORS_]

These regular routine inspections came to an end and, though the
wholesome supervision was not abandoned, it became irregular, either
employed occasionally or when complaints seemed to indicate its
necessity. Barcelona was a troublesome tribunal, but it seems to have
been visited only at intervals of from six to ten years. The inspections
were not inexpensive and the cost had to be defrayed by the Suprema.
When, in 1567, de Soto Salazar, a member of the Suprema, was sent to
investigate Valencia, Barcelona and Saragossa, he was given at the
outset four hundred ducats and his secretary, Pablo Garcia, two
hundred.[627] The rule became established to employ only inquisitors and
those in active service, not retired.[628] The work, when
conscientiously performed, was not light. An inspection of the Canary
tribunal, made by Claudio de la Cueva, lasted from 1595 to 1597 and his
report forms a mass of 1124 folios.[629] This was unusually laborious,
but reports covering three, four or five hundred pages are not uncommon.

The _visitador_ was expected to make a thorough investigation of the
condition and working of the tribunal, to discover all neglect of
regulations, all abuses and malfeasance of the officials, all
derelictions of duty, all maladministration of the property and
revenues, all misuse of power, whether through oppression of the
defenceless or remissness in vindicating the faith. He was to examine
the records, not only to see that they were properly kept and indexed
but also whether justice had been duly administered and the _estilo_ of
the Holy Office had been rigidly followed. He visited the prisons,
listened to the complaints of the prisoners and investigated them. On
arrival, he fixed a day on which he would appear in the
audience-chamber; the inquisitors and all officials were assembled, his
credentials were read and the inquisitors promised obedience in the name
of all present. The next day the inquisitors were examined under oath,
as to whether there was anything requiring amendment and whether the
officials performed their full duty, the answers being taken down in
writing. The inspector brought with him an elaborate series of
interrogatories, usually forty-eight or fifty in number, covering all
the points which experience had shown as likely to tempt to wrongdoing
and on these he examined all the officials singly. He also listened to
all who had complaints to make; if these appeared to be justified he
investigated them thoroughly, summoning all witnesses, who were
guaranteed that their names would be kept secret, and on this evidence
he framed charges against those inculpated and heard them in defence.
When his duties in the tribunal were accomplished he was expected to
visit the district and investigate all complaints. The results were
reduced to writing and, when his labors were completed, he sent or
carried the whole to the Suprema for its action.[630] As a rule, he had
no executive authority and could only make recommendations, but
visitadores to the colonies were frequently invested with greater
power, presumably in view of the long delays in communication. When, in
1654, Medina Rico came as inspector to Mexico, where maladministration
was flagrant, he sat in judgement on the inquisitors, Estrada and
Higuera, suspended them and occupied the tribunal for years.[631] It can
readily be conceived that at times there was no little friction between
inspector and inquisitors, and, in 1645, the Suprema presented to the
king a consulta on the controversies thence arising.[632]

The necessity for these visitations diminished in proportion as the
tribunals were subordinated to the Suprema. When they had to make
monthly reports of all pending cases, so that their action was under
constant supervision; when all sentences were submitted for confirmation
or revision, with the papers showing the conduct of the cases; when no
arrest could be made without presenting the sumaria and receiving
authority; when, moreover, the business management of property was
scrutinized through monthly reports of the _junta de hacienda_, there
was no longer a justification for the expenses of visitations. The
growing facilities of intercommunication encouraged centralization and
enabled the Suprema to maintain a constant supervision. When, therefore,
it concentrated in itself all the judicial faculties of the Inquisition,
rendering the tribunals merely instruments for investigation, the
functions of the visitador became superfluous, at least in the

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _THE SECRETO_]

The palace or building, which was the seat of the tribunal, was divided
into the _secreto_ and the outside rooms or apartments. It was expected
to furnish lodgings for the inquisitors and, if spacious enough, for the
other officials. The most important feature was the _carceles secretas_
or secret prison for those on trial, for it was necessary that they
could be brought at any moment to the audience-chamber without being
seen by any one. There was, of course, a torture-chamber, which seems to
have generally been underground. The _secreto_ originally was merely a
record-room in which the papers and documents were preserved. From the
first these were guarded with jealous secrecy, not only on account of
their importance in the trials but because their abstraction or
destruction was so ardently desired by the kindred or accomplices of
convicts. As early as 1485, Ferdinand, in his instructions to the
tribunal of Saragossa, orders that no servant of any of the officials
shall enter "lo secreto de la Inquisicion."[633] The Instructions of
1498 provide that the chest or chamber in which the papers are kept
shall have three keys, two held by the _notarios del secreto_ and one by
the fiscal, so that no one can take out a document save in the presence
of the others, and no one shall enter it except the inquisitors, the
notaries and the fiscal, rules substantially repeated in the Sicilian
instructions of 1516. Among the derelictions of the Barcelona tribunal,
reported in 1561 by Cervantes, was the neglect of this rule, leading, he
said, to grave abuses.[634] The functions and extent of the secreto were
gradually enlarged. In Mercader's Instructions of 1514, the money-chest
with three keys was ordered to be kept in the secreto, a provision which
became permanent.[635] When the rule was established of conducting the
trials in profound secrecy, and a veil of impenetrable mystery was
thrown around all the operations of the Inquisition, the
audience-chamber was included in the secreto, as well as the offices
occupied by the fiscal and secretaries. The door to it was secured by
three locks having different keys and entrance was forbidden save to
those officially privileged or summoned.[636] In 1645, it was discovered
that there was danger in the notaries or secretaries bringing in their
swords, for a prisoner when led to an audience might in his desperation
seize one and give trouble, and they were consequently ordered in future
to be left outside.[637] In the Valencia tribunal there was considerable
excitement, in 1679, when the pages of the inquisitors got possession of
the keys and had false ones made, with which they gained at will access
to the sacred precincts, but no harm seems to have arisen from the
boyish prank.[638] One feature of the audience-chamber was
significant--a _celosía_ or lattice, behind which a witness could
identify a prisoner, without being seen or recognized.[639]


In considering the personnel of the tribunal, we may dismiss the
assessor with a few words. Such an official was unknown in the Old
Inquisition, but we have seen that, when the first inquisitors were sent
to Seville, they were accompanied by an assessor, and such a functionary
continued for some time to be considered a necessary adjunct to a
tribunal. At the beginning the inquisitors were Dominican friars,
presumably good theologians but unversed in the intricacies of the law.
It was therefore desirable to associate with them a lawyer as a guide,
and his presence moreover might serve as an assurance to the people of
the legality of the proceedings. In Torquemada's instructions of 1485 it
is provided that they must always act in concert and that anything done
by one without the other was invalid; even communications to the Suprema
must be signed by both.[640] In the trials of this period we sometimes
find the assessor sitting with the inquisitors and sometimes not, and
the sentences are rendered by the latter with the concurrence of the
former.[641] In the secular law of the period, the assessor had only a
consultative and not a decisive vote, and this would appear to be his
position in the tribunal, when the routine of the Inquisition had
established its own precedents, when all doubtful questions were decided
by the Suprema and the services of trained lawyers were no longer
required.[642] In the early time their salaries were the same as those
of the inquisitors--indeed, at Saragossa, in 1486, Martin Martínez, the
assessor, receives five thousand sueldos while the inquisitors are rated
at four thousand.[643] It was not long, however, before it apparently
became indifferent whether there was an assessor or not. In 1499, the
salary lists of Seville, of Burgos and of Palencia have no mention of
such an official, while there is one at Saragossa and, in 1500,
Ferdinand empowers the inquisitor of Sardinia to select for his assessor
any doctor he pleases.[644] The office continued to exist for a time, as
a kind of supernumerary, employed in hearing the civil cases of
officials but, in the Aragonese Concordia of 1568, this duty was placed
on the inquisitors and the assessorship was abolished. In Castile, the
list of officials, promulgated in the same year by Philip II, as
entitled to exemption from taxation, makes no mention of the assessor,
who may be assumed by this time to disappear.[645]

The inquisitors, of course, were the superior officials of the tribunal.
They were the judges, with practically unlimited power over the lives
and fortunes and honor of all whom they summoned before them, until they
were gradually restricted by the growing centralization in the Suprema.
To the people they were the incarnation of the dreaded Holy Office,
regarded with more fear and veneration than bishop or noble, for all the
powers of State and Church were placed at their disposal. They could
arrest and imprison at will; with their excommunication they could, at a
word, paralyze the arm of all secular officials and, with their
interdict, plunge whole communities into despair. Such a concentration
of secular and spiritual authority, guarded by so little limitation and
responsibility, has never, under any other system, been entrusted to
fallible human nature. To exercise it wisely and temperately called for
exceptional elevation of character, self-control and mature experience
of men and things. That friars, suddenly called from the cloister or the
schools and clothed with such limitless power over their fellow-beings,
should sometimes grow intoxicated with their position and commit the
awful slaughter which marked the early years of the Inquisition, gives
no occasion for surprise, nor that their successors should have trampled
with such arrogant audacity on all who ventured to raise a voice against
their misuse of their prerogatives. It is therefore worth our while to
examine what qualifications were required by popes and kings in those
whom they selected as fitted for an office of such bewildering
temptations and such vast opportunities for evil.


Sixtus IV, in the bull of November 1, 1478, empowered Ferdinand and
Isabella to appoint, as inquisitors, three bishops or other worthy men,
priests either regular or secular, over forty years of age, God-fearing,
of good character and record, masters or bachelors of theology or
licentiates of canon law. The prescription as to the minimum age was as
old as the Council of Vienne, in 1312, and had become a matter of
course; the rest was as well-chosen a definition of the requisite
qualities as perhaps could be expressed in general terms, considering
the temper of the age and the work to be performed.[646] So, in 1483,
when Sixtus, under the influence of Cardinal Borgia, desired to get rid
of Inquisitor Gualbes, he asked Ferdinand to replace him with some
master of theology who had the fear of God and was eminent for his
virtues.[647] The only inquisitors that Spain had known were Dominicans
and, although they were not specified, it seemed to be a matter of
course that the Inquisition should remain in their hands, but Ferdinand,
in his struggle with Sixtus for the control of the Aragonese
Inquisition, had encountered the obstacle of the obedience due by the
friars to their General, who of course was a creature of the curia. He
was resolved to organize the Inquisition to suit himself, which explains
why Torquemada, in his Instructions of December 6, 1484, simplified the
formula of qualifications to _letrados_ (either lawyers or men of
university training) of good repute and conscience, the fittest that
could be had.[648] This did not even require the inquisitor to be an
ecclesiastic, except in so far as there were comparatively few letrados
of the time who were not in orders. When Innocent VIII renewed the
commission of Torquemada, February 3, 1485, it empowered him to appoint
as inquisitors fitting ecclesiastics, learned and God-fearing, provided
they were masters of theology or doctors or licentiates of laws, or
cathedral canons or holding other church dignities, but, while this was
repeated in a subsequent bull of March 24, 1486, it was simplified, in
another clause, into ecclesiastics of proper character and learning, not
less than thirty years of age.[649] This reduction in the age limit was
retained by Alexander VI, in the commissions issued to Deza, November
24, 1498 and September 1, 1499, when the requisite of being an
ecclesiastic was omitted, for the qualification was reduced simply to
suitable men of good and tender conscience, even if they have not
reached forty years of age but are more than thirty.[650] This became
virtually the accepted formula, as shown in the commissions issued, June
4 and 5, 1507 by Julius II, to Enguera for Aragon and to Ximenes for
Castile, and in those of Leo X to Mercader and Poul in 1513 and to
Cardinal Adrian in 1516 and 1518.[651]

The office of inquisitor was thus thrown open to the laity and there was
no hesitation in employing them so long as they remained single but, if
they married, they were obliged to resign--possibly because it was
thought impossible for a married man to preserve the absolute secrecy
regarded as essential in the Holy Office. The Licentiate Aguirre,
Ferdinand's favorite member of the Suprema, was a layman. On June 28,
1515, Ferdinand writes to Ximenes that the Licentiate Nebreda,
Inquisitor of Seville, desires to marry and, as he is a good servant,
another office has been found for him, while the treasurer of the church
of Pampeluna will make a suitable appointee for Seville.[652] Two other
similar cases occur about the same time.[653] It was an anomaly to allow
laymen to sit in judgement on matters of faith, but no action was taken
to prevent it until Philip II, in his instructions of 1595 to Manrique
de Lara, ordered that inquisitors and fiscals at least must be in holy
orders--a clause omitted by Philip III in his instructions of 1608.[654]
At length the Suprema met the question, November 10, 1632, by requiring
all inquisitors to have themselves ordained and prohibiting them
otherwise from exercising their functions, a provision which apparently
met with slack obedience, for it had to be repeated January 12 and June
5, 1637, with the addition that inquisitors and fiscals who were not in
orders should receive no salaries.[655] Even this does not seem to have
been effective for, in 1643, a consulta called attention to the matter
as a great evil and indecency, and suggested that a papal brief should
be obtained, rendering priests' orders an essential qualification for
inquisitors and fiscals.[656] This was not done, but we may presume that
in time the functions were confined to ecclesiastics.

Legal training was prescribed as a requisite in 1608, by Philip III, who
ordered that no one should be appointed inquisitor or fiscal who could
not exhibit to the Suprema his diploma of graduation in law. Carlos II
repeated this, in 1695, adding that inquisitors and secretaries must
not be natives of the provinces to which they were assigned, so as to
avert partisanship, and that the strictest investigation into character
and limpieza must precede appointment.[657]

The papal requirements expressed in the successive commissions issued to
inquisitors-general continued for a while to be simply that they should
appoint prudent and suitable men of good repute and sound conscience who
had attained the age of thirty years. Apparently this violation of the
Clementine rule of forty years led to some animadversion and, in the
commission of Valdés, in 1547, there is no allusion to age. This example
was followed until, in 1596, Clement VIII, in the commission to
Portocarrero, inserted a minimum age limit of forty years, as required
by the canons, adding that if enough suitable men of that age could not
be found, as to which he charged Portocarrero's conscience, then men of
thirty-five could be appointed, but if this were done without necessity,
the appointment would be invalid. To this Portocarrero objected, saying
that it rendered it impossible for him to make appointments without
scruples of conscience, as it was difficult to find suitable persons of
the designated age to take the office, and he therefore begged that the
limit should be reduced to thirty years, as had been done by all popes
since Innocent VIII. Clement yielded, but was careful to insert a
derogation of the apostolic constitutions and especially of the
Clementine _Nolentes_.[658]


Thenceforth to the end all limitation of age was discreetly omitted, the
formula being simply "prudent and suitable men of good repute and sound
conscience and zealous for the Catholic faith."[659] Yet the minimum age
was understood to be thirty and, when younger men were appointed,
dispensations were required, as when, in 1782, Inquisitor-general
Bertran gave the inquisitorship of Barcelona to Don Matias Bertran.
Apparently objection was made to his youth and, in 1783, a papal
dispensation was procured empowering him to exercise the office in
spite of his not having attained the age of thirty.[660]

       *       *       *       *       *

The patronage of the inquisitors was greatly limited by the gradual
centralization of power in the Suprema. In the early period they had the
appointment of porteros and nuncios--apparitors and messengers--and
when, in 1500, Ferdinand reorganized the Sicilian tribunal, he sent
inquisitors with power to fill all offices except that of receiver. In
1502 he even authorized the inquisitor of Lérida and Huesca to appoint a
judge of confiscations and notary at each place.[661] Subsequently, as
we have seen, the inquisitor-general absorbed all the patronage of
salaried offices, even to the porteros and nuncios. If a vacancy
occurred in a post of which the daily duties were essential, the
inquisitors could fill it temporarily, while reporting it at once to the
Suprema and awaiting its orders, but they had no other power.[662] As
regards the numerous unsalaried officials, the inquisitor-general
appointed the consultores and calificadores, or censors, and also the
commissioners for cathedral towns, sea-ports and cities which were seats
of tribunals. This left to the inquisitors only the appointment of
familiars and of commissioners in other places, though at first in
cathedral towns they might select a canon of the cathedral for
commissioner.[663] It was the same with regard to expenditures, as to
which originally they enjoyed a certain freedom of action. This, as has
been shown above, was curtailed until ultimately the Suprema controlled
even the smallest outlays.

It also kept watch over the morals of the inquisitors, recognizing the
temptations to which they were exposed and the opportunities afforded by
their position. Among the interrogatories which the inspector was
instructed to make was whether the inquisitors lived decently, without
publicly keeping concubines or corrupting the female prisoners or the
wives and daughters of prisoners or of the dead whose fame and memory
were prosecuted.[664] When attention was called to official misconduct
it was promptly looked into, as in 1528, when the inquisitors of
Barcelona were accused of receiving bribes and suborning witnesses, an
inquisitor of Valencia with a notary of Tortosa was despatched thither,
fully commissioned to investigate and report.[665]

       *       *       *       *       *


The most laborious work imposed on the inquisitors was the visitation of
their districts. These were large, usually embracing several bishoprics,
and, when the tribunals became sedentary, the necessity was apparent of
a closer watch over aberrations than could be exercised from a fixed
centre. Already, in the Instructions of 1498, a system of visitation,
termed the General Inquisition, is seen at work and, in 1500, Deza
ordered the inquisitors to visit all places where an inquest had not
been held. Each inquisitor was to travel with a notary, receiving
denunciations and taking testimony, so that on his return the colleagues
could consult together and order such arrests as might be found
necessary. In districts where such visitations had already been made,
one of the inquisitors was ordered to travel every year, holding
inquests in the towns and villages and publishing the Edict of Faith to
attract denunciations; the other inquisitor remained in the tribunal to
despatch routine business or, if there were none such, he too was
ordered to take the road. Reports in detail of the work accomplished in
the visitation were to be made to the inquisitor-general.[666] This
remained the basis of the system and the Instructions of 1561 merely
define more clearly the functions of the visiting inquisitor, who was
told that he was not to make arrest unless there were danger of flight,
but was only to gather testimony and carry it to the tribunal for
action; if he made an arrest he was not to try the accused but to send
him to the secret prison. Trifling cases, however, he could despatch on
the spot, taking care that he bore delegated powers from the Ordinary
for that purpose.[667] The importance attached to these visitations is
apparent when, during the siege of Toledo in the Communidades, Cardinal
Adrian and the Constable and Admiral of Castile joined in an order,
November 3, 1521, to the commanders of the besieging forces, to allow
the inquisitors to come out and perform their accustomed visits.[668]

In 1517 these visits were ordered to be made every four months, each
inquisitor taking his turn under pain of forfeiting a year's salary.
This indicates that the duty was distasteful and likely to be shirked
and, in 1581, the obligation was reduced to once a year, starting at the
end of January and taking such portions of the district as were deemed
to require special attention. In 1607 the districts were ordered to be
laid out in circuits, to be visited in turn until all were covered, when
the process began anew.[669] In 1569 an elaborate code of instructions
was framed by which it appears that the principal objects were the
publication of the Edict of Faith with its consequent crop of
denunciations, an investigation into the character and conduct of
commissioners and familiars and the maintenance in the churches of the
sanbenitos of those punished by the Inquisition, for which purpose the
visitor carried lists for all the places to be visited.[670]

A certain amount of stateliness and ceremony attended the visit. Before
reaching a town, word was sent forward of the hour of expected arrival,
when the authorities, the church dignitaries and the principal gentlemen
of the place were summoned to go forth to meet the inquisitor and escort
him to his lodgings. The secretary was instructed to note the details of
these receptions, whether honorable or otherwise, the character of the
lodgings provided and utensils furnished.[671] Lack of respect on these
occasions was punishable. In 1564, Dr. Zurita, visiting the sees of
Gerona and Elne found the gates of Castellon de Ampurias closed against
him and one of the guards seized his horse's reins. He proceeded to
prosecute the local authorities, when the consuls proved that they were
not in fault, but two guards, Salbador Llop and Juan Maraña, were sent
to Barcelona for trial.[672]

Although occasionally nests of Morisco and Jewish apostates were
discovered in these visits, as a rule the practical results appear to
have been rather the gratification of old grudges by neighbors in little
towns and the gathering in of fines by the inquisitors. In 1582, Juan
Aymar, Inquisitor of Barcelona, in reporting a visitation of the sees
of Gerona and Elne and part of Barcelona and Vich, makes parade of
having published the Edict of Faith in 263 places, but he brought in
only seven trivial cases, of which four were of Frenchmen.[673]

These trips involved no little labor and even hardship; four months was
the time prescribed for them, commencing early in February, and the
vernal equinox was not likely to be agreeable, especially in mountainous
districts. Naturally the duty was shirked whenever practicable, and the
effort of the Suprema to compel its performance was endless. In 1557 it
instructed the receiver at Saragossa that each inquisitor, on alternate
years, must spend at least four months in visitations and that this
performance is an absolute condition precedent to his receiving the
customary ayuda de costa.[674] This was carried even further in a carta
acordada of January 25, 1607, to all the tribunals; the inquisitor, in
his turn, must start on the first Sunday in Lent, without attempting an
excuse or a reply, and the report of his visit must be included in the
annual statement of cases, for otherwise the ayuda de costa will be
withheld from the whole tribunal, because these visits are the principal
reason of its bestowal.[675] This solidarity enforced on all the
officials was possibly owing to the recalcitrance of subordinates for,
in 1598, we find a tribunal asking the Suprema to issue the necessary
orders to them direct, which it obligingly did, while remonstrating that
it should not be burdened with such details.[676] Throughout the
seventeenth century, the correspondence of the Suprema with the
tribunals of Valencia and Barcelona is filled with orders to the
inquisitor whose turn it is to go and refusals to accept excuses and, in
1705, a letter to Valencia asks why the visit had been neglected.[677]

[Sidenote: _THE FISCAL_]

When there were three inquisitors, the absence of one did not interfere
with current business, but where there were only two it was a serious
impediment. From the beginning the rule was absolute that two must act
conjointly in all important matters, such as sentencing to torture,
ordering publication of evidence, or rendering final sentence, and this
in both civil and criminal actions. Minor and trivial cases, however,
could be despatched by one in the absence of his colleague and he could
continue to hold audiences and gather testimony, while, in the habitual
leisurely transaction of inquisitorial business, procrastination caused
by the crippling of the tribunal for four months in every year was
evidently not regarded as of any moment.[678] In the little tribunal of
Majorca, however, which could support but a single inquisitor, he was
deemed competent to act by himself and he probably was excused from

       *       *       *       *       *

Next in importance to the inquisitors stood the promoter fiscal, or
prosecuting officer. In the original Inquisition of the thirteenth
century there was no such officer; there was candor in the position of
the inquisitor as both judge and prosecutor, infinitely preferable to
the hypocrisy that the trial was an action between a prosecutor and an
accused with the inquisitor as an impartial judge. How this came to pass
will be considered hereafter.

We have seen that, even in the skeleton organization of the first
tribunal in 1480, a fiscal was deemed essential. He ranked next to the
inquisitors and, in 1484, it was ordered that he should assist in all
public functions, after the inquisitors and Ordinary but before the
judge of confiscations.[680] Yet he was a subordinate. In the regulation
of salaries in 1498, the inquisitors received 60,000 maravedís, the
receiver the same, while the fiscal was rated at 40,000, the same as the
notaries, and even the messenger had 20,000.[681] So, in the Sicilian
tribunal, in 1500, the inquisitors and receiver have 6000 sueldos, while
the fiscal and notaries have only 2500.[682] It was the same with the
ayuda de costa. In 1540 we find the fiscal allowed only the same as the
notaries and alguazil, and when, in 1557, the scale was fixed for
Saragossa, the fiscal was portioned with 1000 sueldos and the
inquisitors with 3000.[683]

The fiscal was held to act wholly under orders from the inquisitors. In
the Instructions of 1484, they are represented as ordering him to accuse
the contumacy of fugitives and to denounce the dead against whom they
find evidence. So, in a trial of 1528, we find the inquisitors ordering
the fiscal to present his accusation against the defendant.[684] In
1561, among his duties was prescribed that of keeping the secreto clean
and in good order; he opened and closed its door with his own hands and,
in 1570, he was required to have all the multitudinous documents well
arranged, sewed, covered and so marked that they could readily be had
when wanted. The letters and instructions of the Suprema were placed in
his hands and it was his duty to give in writing to each official such
portion as applied to him. In 1632, there was added to his labors that
of furnishing the Suprema a monthly report embracing every pending case
with a summary of all that had been done in it since the beginning--a
duty apparently not relished for the order had to be repeated in
1639.[685] With all these somewhat multifarious duties, we never hear of
a fiscal having a clerk, assistant or deputy.

In 1582, it was prescribed that his seat in the audience-chamber was to
be smaller than those of the inquisitors, placed to one side and without
cushions. In public functions his chair was to be similar to theirs
except that it had no cushion. The inquisitors were required to address
him and the judge of confiscations as _merced_, and, when he entered,
they were not obliged to rise but merely to raise their caps.[686]


The position of the fiscal gradually improved. In his instructions of
1595 to Manrique de Lara, Philip II couples him with the inquisitor, in
requiring both to be in orders, and prescribes great care in the
appointment for it is customary to promote fiscals to the
inquisitorship. Similarly Philip III, in 1608, requires both offices to
be filled by jurists and when, in 1632 and 1637, the Suprema made holy
orders a condition it included fiscals with inquisitors.[687] The
assimilation between the offices was rapid and, in 1647, in a payment of
ayuda de costa in Valencia there occurs an item of thirty thousand
maravedís to Inquisitor Antonio de Ayala y Verganza, "por la plaza de
fiscal," showing that he was acting as fiscal.[688] The idea of
coalescence was becoming familiar. When, in 1658, Gregorio Cid, after
six years' service as inquisitor of Sardinia, was transferred to Cuenca,
he suggested that there ought to be there two inquisitors and a fiscal,
or at least that the junior inquisitor should serve also as fiscal.[689]

The identification of the offices was facilitated, in 1660, by a royal
cédula prescribing that fiscals were to be held the equals of
inquisitors in precedence and honors, canopies, cushions and the like,
as well as in pay and emoluments.[690] Thenceforth the office of fiscal
came to be filled by one of the inquisitors, though he took care to
preserve his dignity by styling himself "inquisidor fiscal" or "the
inquisitor who performs the office of fiscal." Thus at length the two
offices coalesced and we have seen in the table of officials in 1746
that they were reckoned together. As a matter of course the inquisitor
who acted as prosecutor did not enter the consulta de fe and vote on the
fate of the accused whom he had prosecuted.[691] Sometimes, when there
was no fiscal and no inquisitor willing to perform the duties, the
senior secretary assumed the function. Such a case occurs as early as
1655, and it continued occasionally to the end.[692]

       *       *       *       *       *

The notaries, or secretaries, formed an important part of the tribunal.
They reduced to writing all the voluminous proceedings of the trials,
all the audiences given to the accused with the interrogatories and
answers, all the evidence of the witnesses and its ratification, the
endless repetitions in the cumbrous and involved system of procedure
which developed until the object seemed to be to protract business
beyond the limits of human endurance. They kept the records which
required an elaborate system of indexing, so that the name of any
culprit and his genealogy could be found whenever wanted. In the later
period, moreover, when the tribunals communicated to each other all
their acts, the correspondence served to fill the gap arising from
diminished business. At the beginning they were forbidden to employ
clerks and were required to write everything with their own hands and
this seems to have continued to the last.[693] In the earlier period
they were styled notaries and sometimes _escribanos_ or scriveners,
possibly because as such their attestation authenticated all papers.
Early in the seventeenth century the title gradually changed to
secretaries, an innovation to which a writer in 1623 objects, as not
distinguishing them from the secretaries of magnates and cities.[694]
This objection did not prevail and a document of 1638 uses the terms as
convertible, although an order of the Suprema, in the same year, forbids
notaries to be called secretaries, while in 1648 we find the new
appellation firmly established.[695] The importance of the office is
shown by its fairly liberal salary. In the Instructions of 1498 it is
placed at 30,000 maravedís, one-half of that of the inquisitors,[696]
though the proportion diminished in time, for we have seen that, in
1746, the secretary received 2352 reales, while the inquisitor had 7352.
There was compensation for this, however, in the heavy fees accruing to
the secretaries from applicants for proofs of limpieza--a business
shared with a new official known as "secretario de actos positivos." The
number moreover had greatly increased for, while at the early period,
with its heavy work, a tribunal was allowed but two notaries, in the
later time there were often four or five salaried secretaries, to whom
were sometimes added honorary secretaries with entrance to the secreto
and honorary secretaries without entrance.[697]

[Sidenote: _THE ALGUAZIL_]

There was also a notary of sequestrations, whose duties were highly
important in the early times of abundant confiscations. He was always
present when arrests were made, so as to draw up on the spot an
inventory of the property seized, but, as confiscations diminished, the
office became superfluous and was suppressed by a carta acordada of
December 1, 1634. After this we hear of a superintendent of
sequestrations, in 1647, and subsequently its occasional duties were
discharged by some other official for a moderate compensation as, in
1670, in Valencia, the procurator of the fisc received twenty-five
libras a year for attending to them.[698]

       *       *       *       *       *

The alguazil was the executive officer of the tribunal. In the early
lists of salaries his pay is the same as, or even larger than, that of
the inquisitors, but this was because the prison was at his charge.[699]
From this he was relieved, in 1515, by Ferdinand, who empowered the
inquisitors to appoint _carceleros_, at a salary of five hundred
sueldos, after which the wages of the alguazil declined to those of the
secretaries and even of the alcaide who succeeded him as gaoler.[700]
His superior dignity, however, was recognized in a carta acordada of May
13, 1610, which provided that in public functions he should have
precedence over the secretaries.[701] His long wand of office, which
exceeded that of secular alguaziles, was also a distinction and when, in
1576, the alguaziles of the Santa Cruzada in Barcelona ventured to
imitate him, the Suprema ordered the inquisitors to punish them.[702]

His functions were various. The inquisitors, the receiver and the judge
of confiscations were forbidden to appoint any one else to execute their
orders if he were at hand. If, in his absence, an arrest had to be made,
the fact had to be attested at the foot of the warrant issued to
another, without which the receiver was ordered not to pay the expenses
incurred. He made all levies and seizures and was entitled to fees for
the service.[703] By the instructions of 1488, if the duty was at a
distance of more than three or four leagues, he was not to be sent, but
a temporary substitute, whose commission expired with the performance of
the errand. Perhaps this was because the thrifty Ferdinand had insisted
that, if he was sent out of the city, he must pay his own expenses, but
this was relaxed for, in 1502, we find the rule established that, if an
alguazil is sent from one province to another, to a greater distance
than four leagues, his expenses were to be paid. He had, however, to
furnish at his own cost a satisfactory person to take charge of the
prison during his absence and, if he required assistance in making
arrests, the inquisitors selected the persons and determined their

The alguazil mayor seems to have been an ornamental personage, usually a
man of distinction, who thereby proclaimed his purity of blood and
devotion to the faith. We have seen that, in Seville and Córdova, the
office was hereditary in noble houses whose ancestors had abandoned to
the Inquisition royal castles of which they were alcaides, receiving in
return this position with handsome emoluments. In 1655 the alguazil
mayor of the tribunal of Córdova was Luis Méndez de Haro, Conde-Duque of
Olivares and his deputy was Gonzalo de Cardenas y Córdova, a Knight of
Calatrava. In Seville, Don Juan de Saavedra y Alvarado, Marquis of
Moscoso, served as alguazil mayor at the auto de fe of March 11, 1691,
and November 30, 1693. About 1750, the tribunal of Seville had the
Marquis of Villafranca as alguazil mayor; that of Valladolid had the
Marquis of Revilla; in Granada the incumbent was a minor, Don Nicolas
Velázquez, and the office was served by Don Diego Ramírez de la

       *       *       *       *       *


The humbler officials of the tribunal were the nuncio, the portero and
the carcelero or alcaide de las carceles secretas. Strictly speaking the
nuncio was a messenger or courier, bearing despatches to the Suprema or
other tribunals and, before the post-office was organized, his life must
have been an active one. In 1502 we hear of his salary being twelve
hundred sueldos, out of which he defrayed his travelling expenses, but
subsequently these were paid by the receiver and, in 1541, his stipend
was five hundred sueldos.[706] His ayuda de costa, in 1567, was made
dependent on his accompanying the inquisitors on their visitations.[707]
At that period the tribunals seem to have been allowed two nuncios but,
with the development of postal facilities, the functions of the position
gradually shrank, the number was cut down to one and, in the eighteenth
century we find him converted into a _nuncio de camera_, or interior
attendant, called indifferently nuncio and portero, while a _nuncio
extraordinario_ makes the fires and attends to other servile work.[708]

The _portero_ in the secular courts was a kind of apparitor, to serve
summonses, authorized to take bail up to the sum of a hundred reales and
forbidden to keep a shop or tavern.[709] In the Inquisition his function
was to serve citations, notices of autos de fe, decrees and other
similar work, and he was prohibited from engaging in trade of any kind;
he was not allowed to enter the audience-chamber, but, in the eighteenth
century we find him converted into a _portero de camara_, or usher and
janitor, in which capacity he had entrance to the audience-chamber.
When, in 1796, we find a Doctor Don Josef Fontana serving as portero in
the Valencia tribunal, we may infer that the office was not servile, and
it is observable that the portero and his wife are qualified as Don and
Doña, a title withheld from the nuncio and his spouse. Their salaries,
however, were the same, 1420 reales. When about 1710, porteros laid
claim, in public functions, to seats on the _banco de titulados_--the
bench of commissioned officials--their pretensions were rejected.[710]

The gaoler was necessary to a tribunal which had its special prison. At
first, as we have seen, the alguazil had charge of this and his
employees were not reckoned among the officials. The first allusion to a
_carcelero_ that I have met occurs in 1499, when Juan de Moya is spoken
of as the _carcerarius_ of the Barcelona tribunal; he must have been an
exceptional official and a person of some consideration, for he was
provided with a prebend.[711] In 1515 Ferdinand deemed it advisable to
put the prisons under control of the tribunals, with which view he
empowered the inquisitors to appoint carceleros with salaries of five
hundred sueldos.[712] The gaoler thus became a salaried official,
entitled to all the privileges and immunities of this position and
gradually, toward the middle of the sixteenth century, the humble title
of carcelero was exchanged for the more dignified one of _alcaide de las
carceles secretas_.[713] He was necessarily a person of confidence,
responsible for the safe-keeping of prisoners and for their proper
maintenance, functions which will be more conveniently treated when we
come to consider the prison system. From the report of the tribunal of
Murcia, in 1746, it appears that the salary then was 2353 reales, in
addition to which there was a jubilado alcaide with 330 reales. Possibly
this habit of providing for supernumeraries explains why, in the table
of officials, Toledo has four alcaides and Llerena and Valencia have
three each.[714] In the early period the carcelero sometimes served as
torturer, but subsequently it became customary to employ the public


The prison, sometimes crowded with inmates and exposed to insanitary
conditions, rendered necessary an official physician, whose services
were also indispensable in examinations before and after torture and in
the not infrequent cases of insanity, real or feigned. As his duties
called him within the sacred limits of the secreto, he had to be a
person of confidence, sworn like all the rest to secrecy. He was
expected also to bestow gratuitous service on the officials, and the
Suprema, in the eighteenth century, indulged itself in two, at the
fairly liberal salary of 1258 reales apiece, though they did not share
in the extra emoluments so freely bestowed on other officials.[716] At
first the appointment of physicians was not universal, although the
salary was inconsiderable--attributable, no doubt, to the fact that the
physician was at liberty to continue his private practice. Thus, in
1486, Ferdinand designated ten libras as the pay of the physician of the
Saragossa tribunal, while there was none provided for that of Medina
del Campo.[717] The surgeon was rated at even less for, in 1510, one is
furnished to Saragossa at a salary of five libras and the same is paid
to an apothecary, who can scarce have furnished expensive drugs on such
a stipend.[718] The surgeon, at this period, was also a barber and, in
1502, a grant, once for all, of fifteen libras was made to Joan de
Aguaviva, "cirujano y barbero" of Calatayud, for fourteen years curing
and barbering the poor prisoners, without salary or other
advantage.[719] By 1618, apparently, the professions had become
distinct, for there is an order to pay Narciso Valle, surgeon and Miguel
Juan, barber, to the tribunal of Valencia.[720] A chaplain was also a
necessity, not for the prisoners, who were denied the sacraments, but
for the daily mass celebrated before commencing the work of the
audience-chamber. In 1572, a stipend of 7500 maravedís is assigned for
this but, in the eighteenth century, the Suprema paid the handsome
salary of 5500 reales.[721] Confessors were also required for the
penitential prison and were called in to the secret prison for the
moribund.[722] There were also two _personas honestas_, or discreet
persons, friars as a rule, whose duty it was to be present when
witnesses ratified their testimony. In the earlier period these services
were gratuitous but, in the later time, there was a small payment which,
in the case of a friar, would enure to his convent. An alcaide of the
_casa de penitencia_, or penitential prison, was also a necessity during
the period of active work, although subsequently it was virtually a
sinecure and in many tribunals was suppressed. We occasionally also meet
with the office of _proveedor_, or purveyor of the secret prison, who
seems to be identical with the _dispensero_ or steward. In the sixteenth
century this official had a salary of 2000 maravedís, besides two
maravedís a day for each prisoner and five blancas for cooking and
washing; he was required to have honest weights and not to charge more
for food than it cost him; he kept an account with each prisoner and was
paid out of the sequestrations.[723] Locksmiths, masons and other
mechanics employed on the buildings were also sometimes reckoned as
officials, for their duties in repairing the prisons were confidential.
All tribunals moreover had from one to three _abogados de presos_ or
advocates of prisoners, whose duties will claim consideration hereafter;
they were classed as salaried officials, though sometimes they received
a small stipend and sometimes none, and they were allowed to serve other
clients if they had any.

       *       *       *       *       *

Besides these officials who were concerned in the primary business of
the tribunal as a bulwark of the faith, there were others whose
functions may be briefly dismissed here. The finances necessarily
required a special organization, consisting of a receiver of
confiscations, subsequently called the treasurer, whose duties in the
active period were of the utmost importance, entitling him to a salary
which sometimes was even larger than that of the inquisitors.[724] The
fines and penances also amounted to large sums for which, in the earlier
period, there was usually a special receiver, for they were kept as a
separate fund, but finally they likewise passed through the hands of the
treasurer. The receiver had to pay his own assistants and agents but, in
the enormous amount of complicated business thrown upon him, he was
aided by the _abogado fiscal_, a salaried official of legal training,
while the notary of sequestrations had charge of sequestrated property
until its confiscation was pronounced, and further served as a check
upon the receiver. The intricate claims arising from these seizures were
settled in a separate court of confiscations, known as the _juzgado_,
presided over by the _juez de bienes_ or judge of confiscations and
furnished with its notary and nuncio. We sometimes also meet with a
_procurador del fisco_ and also with a superintendent of property. All
this, which, especially at first, formed so large a part of the business
of the Inquisition, will be more conveniently considered in detail

We have seen how much of the activity of the tribunals was consumed in
the civil and criminal business of their officials, and it necessarily
formed a separate department, which had its _notario de lo civil_ and
_secretario de las causas civiles_, the latter office being suppressed
in 1643.[725]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _SALARIES_]

The qualifications for holding office in the tribunal were simple. From
some of the cases of hereditary transmission it would appear that the
minimum age was nineteen or twenty. Limpieza, or purity of blood from
admixture of Jewish or Moorish or heretic strain, was the chief
essential, as will be seen when we come to consider that important
subject. Legitimacy was also a requisite in both the official and his
wife, although dispensations could be had for its absence.[726] By a
carta acordada of June 15, 1608, those who were unmarried could not
marry without permission of the Suprema; they were obliged to furnish
proof that the bride was _limpia_ and, if a foreigner or the daughter or
grand-daughter of foreigners, a dispensation was necessary, of all of
which the appointee was solemnly notified when he took the oath of

There was also a well-intended _informacion de moribus_ concerning
applicants for office. When the inquisitor-general proposed to make an
appointment in a tribunal he notified it; it then issued a commission to
some one at the residence of the nominee, with an interrogatory asking
whether he was a person modest, quiet, peaceable, of correct life and
habits and what was known as to his limpieza, which, when returned, was
forwarded to the inquisitor-general. As the witnesses examined were,
however, presented by the applicant, the whole was scarce more than a

       *       *       *       *       *

In spite of the constant complaint of the meagreness of the salaries,
they seem to have been fairly adequate, at least during the first
century and a half of the existence of the Inquisition. The rapid fall
in the purchasing power of the precious metals necessitated frequent
advances and I have met with allusions to these in 1548, 1567, 1581, and
1606, after which they seem to have remained stationary until 1795,
although the vellon coinage reduced still further the value of the
currency.[729] The salary of an inquisitor, which, in 1541, was 100,000
maravedís, including ayuda de costa, by 1606 had become 300,000 or 800
ducats. This was not extravagant, but was fairly remunerative. In 1630,
Arce y Reynoso, when occupying one of the highest professorships in
Salamanca, as _catedratico de prima de leyes_, received only 300
ducats.[730] It must be borne in mind that most of the lower officials
had a comfortable additional source of revenue from the fees which they
were entitled to charge for nearly all their work outside of cases of
faith and, when the _arancel_ or fee-bill of 1642 sought to regulate
these charges it was generally disregarded and the inspectors winked at
its violation, charitably alleging the increased cost of living as an
excuse.[731] The inquisitors and fiscal, on their side, usually held
some canonry or other benefice which served to make good all
deficiencies. In fact towards the middle of the eighteenth century, when
the salaries had become really inadequate, a writer ascribes the
inefficiency of the Inquisition to the fact that the inquisitors-general
were obliged to appoint ignorant men who happened to possess prebends or
other benefices.[732]

[Sidenote: _AYUDA DE COSTA_]

There were also the gratifications for house-rent, illuminations,
bull-fights and mourning, which the officials of the tribunals enjoyed,
like those of the Suprema, although not on so liberal a scale, while the
ayudas de costa replaced the propinas.[733] There was also a kindly
liberality in granting extra ayudas de costa to those in need and to
their widows and children when they died. Applications of this kind were
perpetual and innumerable; they were made to the Suprema, which
naturally found little difficulty in being charitable at the expense of
others.[734] It would be needless to enumerate examples of what was of
such constant occurrence and these liberalities, together with the
exemptions and the economies in the cost of the necessaries of life,
rendered the financial position of the officials reasonably secure.
Perhaps the resources of the tribunals might have justified larger
salaries if they had not been drawn upon to supply the extravagance of
the Suprema and been squandered on other objects with careless profusion
characteristic of the age. Thus, in 1633, a Doctor Pastor de Costa, of
the Royal Council of Catalonia, obtained from Inquisitor-general Zapata,
on the plea of services rendered by his father, a grant of a hundred
ducats a year, in silver, on the tribunal of Barcelona. Doubtless it
was suspended during the Catalan revolt to be subsequently resumed and,
in 1665, he applied to Arce y Reynoso to confirm it to him for life, but
Arce only ordered it to be continued for four years. Not content with
this, he asked for an ayuda de costa on the ground of his poverty.[735]
It is not surprising that Philip V, as we have seen, in his attempted
reform of 1705, forbade all grants of over thirty ducats without his

       *       *       *       *       *

The _ayuda de costa_, of which we hear so much, was either a more or
less definite increase of salary, or a special gift for cause, or else a
simple _merced_ or benevolence. While the salary was a matter fixed and
due, the ayuda was always to a certain extent arbitrary and was used as
an incentive to compel the performance of duties regarded as onerous. We
see the germ of it in Torquemada's instructions of 1485, prohibiting
fees and bribes, for the king provides a reasonable support for all and
in time will give them _mercedes_.[736] An advance is marked in the
Instructions of 1498 where, after specifying salaries, it is added that
the inquisitors-general, when they see that there is much labor or
necessity, can grant such ayudas de costa as they deem proper.[737]
Accordingly about this time, while we find no regular ayudas given,
there are constant examples of special ones, sometimes of large amounts,
granted for the most varied reasons, of which two or three instances
will suffice. Thus Ferdinand, April 30, 1499, in ordering the payment of
the salaries in Seville, includes 40,000 maravedís of ayudas de costa
for one of the inquisitors, but none for any one else. August 10, 1502,
Juan Royz, receiver of Saragossa, is given an ayuda de costa of 10,000
sueldos to meet expenses incurred in illness and, on September 27th, an
official of Seville is gratified with 20,000 maravedís to help him in
his marriage.[738]

It cannot have been long after this that the ayuda de costa was becoming
a regular annual payment as an increment of the salary. December 3,
1509, an order for the payment of arrears to Diego de Robles, fiscal of
the Suprema, speaks of there being due to him his ayuda de costa for
1506 and half of 1507, at the rate of 20,000 maravedís per annum. The
first formal statement of it as a settled thing, that I have met,
occurs in this same year 1509, in the list of salaries made out for the
attempted Inquisition of Naples, where the ayuda de costa is designated
for each official. It varies from a little over half the salary to
considerably below that proportion and for two of the officials there is
none. Yet it was not a universal custom for, in the salaries assigned to
the Sardinia tribunal, September 10, 1514 there is no allusion to ayuda
de costa.[739] That the custom, however, was gradually establishing
itself as a substantial addition to the regular salaries is deducible
from formal lists of the ayudas de costa of the Suprema and the
Valladolid tribunal in 1515 and, by this time, it may be regarded as
fairly established, although innumerable special grants continued, such
as one of 75,000 maravedís, June 30, 1515, to Alonso de Montoya, notary
of the Seville tribunal, to assist in his marriage.[740] Confiscations,
at the time, were fruitful, and the laborers were not deprived of their
share in the harvest, if only to stimulate their industry.
Reimbursements of travelling and other expenses also frequently took the
form of ayudas de costa although, as the grants were made in round sums,
it is evident that no accounts were rendered and that the payments were

However customary the annual payments had become, they still were
regarded as a special grace to which the recipients had no claim of
right. In 1540, the officials of Barcelona complained to
Inquisitor-general Tavera that the receiver refused payment on the
ground that the grant had expired with the death of Manrique, in 1538,
and that it required confirmation, which Tavera hastened to give,
February 12, 1540. In fact, a number of orders issued by Tavera, in
1540, would indicate that this was the accepted view of the matter.[742]
Another marked distinction at this time is that the ayudas de costa are
ordered to be paid out of the fines and penances inflicted for the
"gastos extraordinarios" of the tribunals, while the salaries come from
the funds arising out of the confiscations.

[Sidenote: _RECORDS_]

For awhile there was a regular scale of fifty ducats for the
inquisitors, thirty for the fiscal, alguazil, notaries and receiver,
fifteen for the nuncio and ten for the portero and alcaide but, in 1559,
this was increased by twenty per cent. Care was taken to make it
understood that it was a grace and not a right and the ordinary formula
was that it was given in view of the labor in determining the cases of
the auto de fe of the previous year and when, in 1561, Calahorra was
exceptionally active and celebrated a second auto, it was rewarded with
a supplementary ayuda of half the customary amount.[743] The grant was
dependent on the receipt of detailed reports of all the cases in the
previous auto, which were frequently accompanied with an humble petition
for it, setting forth the insufficiency of the salaries and the cost of
living, and begging the Suprema to obtain the grace from the king, who
was technically the giver.[744] Subsequently, as we have seen, it was
made conditional on rendering monthly reports and on the discharge of
the duty of visiting the district and other matters apt to be neglected,
such as rendering prompt statements of accounts and of properties.
Finally, in the later period, when the tribunals were under close
supervision of the Suprema, it sometimes took the form of a
Christmas-gift.[745] Perhaps the most remarkable of all ayudas de costa
was one granted by Carlos IV, in October 1807, in the midst of his
troubles with his son Fernando, when the shadow of Napoleon was already
darkening Spain and the treasury was empty. It was possibly with the
object of securing the fidelity of the Inquisition that he ordered an
ayuda de costa of 100 ducats to be given to every official of all the
tribunals who did not enjoy an income of 7000 reales outside of his
salary.[746] In the existing condition of Spanish finances the money
could probably have been better employed.

       *       *       *       *       *

The perfected system of records kept by the tribunals so greatly
increased the effectiveness of the Inquisition and rendered it such an
object of dread, that some reference to it is indispensable. Its
development was slow. At the start, amid the enormous labors of the
slenderly manned tribunals, there could be little thought bestowed on
the preservation and arrangement of the records of their operations. In
the Instructions of 1484 the only allusion to them merely prescribes
that the notaries shall enter on their registers all orders issued by
the inquisitors to the officials.[747] As the registers accumulated, the
Instructions of 1488 require all writings and papers to be kept in
chests, in the public place where the inquisitors transact business, so
that they may be at hand when wanted; they are never to be removed and
the keys are to pass through the hands of the inquisitors to the
notaries, all this being under pain of deprivation of office.[748] Ten
years later we hear of a chamber assigned to their safe keeping, with
three keys, held by the fiscal and the two notaries, so that all must be
present when they are consulted.[749] By this time indexes to facilitate
references to the rapidly growing mass of papers had become necessary,
and an article in Deza's instructions, in 1500, shows that this had
become recognized.[750] The disabilities inflicted on descendants of
culprits rendered it essential that genealogies should be traceable, but
the incredible crudeness of these early lists shows how informal was the
rapid work of that awful time. One kept at Toledo, about 1500, contains
such entries of the individuals despatched as "un porquero del alguazil
que tiene un ojo remellado," "un converso retajado," "un converso
judyo," "un sastre," "un platero sobrino de lope de cuellar platero." In
Valencia, from 1517 to 1527, the index to the fifth volume of persons
denounced shows equal indifference to the identification of individuals
catalogued as "le boges, mare y filles," "la condesa que lleve el habito
penitential," "el bachiller que esta en companya del calonge Proxita,"
"uno que ha sido flayle," "un remendon sastre, esta delante la rexa de
mosen Penaroja," etc.[751]

[Sidenote: _RECORDS_]

After some contradictory decisions as to furnishing papers or
information from the records to competent courts applying for it, the
Suprema, in 1556, forbade the tribunals, without its express order, from
giving any information tending to prove that any one had not been
condemned or reconciled, or penanced or arrested by the Holy Office--a
most cruel regulation in view of the tremendous consequences to the
posterity of those who had fallen under suspicion of heresy and had
been tried or even arrested. An order by the Suprema, in 1576, to the
Valencia tribunal to erase from its records the name of Maestro Jusepe
Esteban, because he had not been arrested for a matter of faith, is
suggestive of the fearful power which the Inquisition possessed of
inflicting infamy on whole families and of the importance of the
accuracy of its registers.[752] The abuse of its power in this respect
is indicated, as we have seen above, by the instructions which sometimes
followed visitations, to remove from the records the names of those who
had been improperly prosecuted for offences not of faith.

It was not easy to preserve the completeness of the records. Officials
were apt to regard them as personal property and to keep them, like the
notary of Calatayud who thus secured for his son the reversion of his
office. In 1512, Ferdinand desired from a tribunal complete statements
concerning the finances; there arose delay, during which the notary of
sequestrations died, whereupon he ordered that the receiver should have
all the papers or copies of them and, if the heirs of the notary refused
to surrender them, execution should be levied on his estate for the
whole of his salary received during his incumbency.[753] It was not only
the notaries, however, but other officials who took and kept documents.
In 1517 Cardinal Adrian complained of this and ordered that papers
should never be removed from their depository, except to the
audience-chamber for the purpose of conducting a trial.[754] This was
disregarded and, about the middle of the century, the instructions to
inspectors require them to order inquisitors, under pain of
excommunication, to return all papers that they had taken and to
discontinue the practice.[755] Even inquisitors-general were guilty of
this, for Philip II issued an order March 6, 1573, on the executors of
Ponce de Leon, to allow his papers to be examined and everything
pertaining to the Inquisition to be removed--an order which can only be
regarded as revealing a general custom, for Ponce de Leon died, January
17, 1573, before entering upon his office.[756]

The looseness which had prevailed during the early period is strikingly
manifested when, in 1547, the Suprema made an attempt to gather in and
preserve its past records. A commission was issued to its secretary
Zurita, reciting the importance of having an inventory of all the papal
bulls, briefs, registers and other papers relating to the Inquisition,
which had been in the custody of the secretaries and other officials.
There is, it says, information that many of these are at Calatayud and
others at Huesca, among the papers of Calcena and Urries, the
secretaries of Ferdinand and Charles V, and Zurita is ordered to collect
these and is armed with full powers to examine witnesses and inflict
penalties. All holding such papers are required to surrender them, under
pain of excommunication and a hundred ducats. The inquisitors of
Saragossa are instructed to assist him with censures, while letters to
various parties indicate that the task is expected to be arduous. The
instructions are not clear as to whether he is expected to seize the
papers or merely to make inventories of them, but there can be little
doubt that whatever he laid his hands on was kept.[757] What success
attended his mission we have no means of knowing, but we probably owe to
it many of the important documents illustrating the early history of the

In addition to this source of incompleteness, it seemed impossible to
compel the tribunals to keep their records in proper shape. In 1544, Dr.
Alonso Pérez, in an inspection of Barcelona, found them in complete
disorder. Another inspection, in 1550, showed still greater confusion.
In 1561, Inspector Cervantes described them as being in such a state,
without indexes and inventories, that it was impossible to find
anything. After the visit of Salazar, the Suprema, in 1568, took the
inquisitors sharply to task for not having yet provided indexes and
registers; it ordered them to do so at once and to furnish a certificate
to that effect within twenty days of receipt.[758] The certificate was
doubtless supplied, but we may question whether the work was done.
Possibly Barcelona was worse than other tribunals, but the memorial of
1623 to the Suprema states that in many of them there are processes,
books, papers, informations of limpieza etc., requiring to be
inventoried, sorted into bundles and reduced to order, causing great

[Sidenote: _RECORDS_]

Meanwhile the masses of papers had been accumulating more rapidly than
ever. In 1570 the Suprema had ordered nine books to be kept--one of the
commissions of officials, their oaths and royal provisions, one of
commissioners and familiars with full details, one of the votes in the
consultas de fe, one of letters from the Suprema and another of letters
to it, one recording the inspections made of the prisons, one of the
orders issued on the receiver, one of the pecuniary penances inflicted
and one of the autos de fe, with statements as to the culprits and their
punishments. Besides these the alcaide of the prison was to keep lists
of those relaxed and penanced with three indexes. All this was exclusive
of the voluminous records of the trials which it was the duty of the
fiscal to keep in order.[760] Then, in order to accommodate the
increasing bulk, it was ordered, in 1566 and 1572, that there should be
four apartments in the camara del secreto, one for pending cases, one
for suspended ones, one for those finished, divided into the relaxed,
the reconciled and the penanced, and the fourth for papers concerning
commissioners and familiars and _informaciones de limpieza_.[761] In
1635, alphabetical lists of all persons tried were ordered to be kept,
with dates and references to the papers of the case, commencing with
1620. The order had to be repeated in 1636 and 1638, with further
instructions in 1644, and these lists furnished additional means for
tracing the antecedents and kindred of those who were brought before the
tribunals.[762] But more potent than the mandates of the Suprema to keep
the archives in order and thoroughly indexed was the mania which arose
for limpieza, or purity of blood which, as we shall see hereafter,
pervaded all classes and furnished a source of very profitable business
to the officials, for the Inquisition was the ultimate arbiter and its
records contained the evidence.

Gradually these records became an immense storehouse of minute and
detailed information concerning all heretics and suspects and their
kindred. Under the Instructions of 1561, the first thing in examining a
prisoner was to require of him an account of parents and grandparents,
brothers and sisters, uncles, aunts and cousins, with their wives and
children and whether any of them had been arrested or penanced by the
Inquisition.[763] Then, when the accused was brought to profess
conversion and to beg mercy, his confession was not accepted unless he
gave information, to the best of his ability, as to all other heretics,
whether kindred or strangers, whom he had known or heard of, with
details as to their culpability. All this was carefully entered and
indexed, until the records became a fairly complete directory of the
suspects of Spain. A Jew arrested in Granada might compromise twenty
others, scattered from Compostella to Barcelona, each of whom when
seized became a new source of information, and the intercommunication
established between the tribunals placed the records of all at the
service of each. This vastly increased the effectiveness of the
Inquisition and rendered the chances of escape slender indeed. The
trials of the seventeenth century, when the system became fairly
perfected, show that, although the arrest of a few might scatter their
accomplices, the Inquisition was ever on their track and change of name
and habitation was unavailing. As soon as a suspect was arrested and his
genealogy was obtained, the sister tribunals were called upon for
reports, and testimony poured in, reaching back, perhaps, for twenty or
thirty years, concerning himself and his kindred. The net of the
Inquisition covered the land and its meshes were fine. Go where they
would, hide themselves as they might, the Judaizers lived in the
knowledge that it was ever remorselessly in pursuit and that its hand
might fall upon them at any time.

[Sidenote: _RECORDS_]

In the eighteenth century the system was elaborated by what were known
as the _Libros Vocandorum_. When any one was denounced to a tribunal or
came forward spontaneously, his name, description and offence were
transmitted to all the other tribunals, which entered them in
alphabetical registers, arranged under the first baptismal names. These
entries give the name, the date, a brief description of the person, and
the nature of the charge, with a blank to be filled in with the result
of the trial, which was also reported to all. Thus each tribunal
possessed a digested record of the current business of the whole
Inquisition, clearly arranged for ready reference, and, as the years
passed, it afforded at a glance the means of ascertaining whether any
culprit had been in the hands of the Holy Office before, and of
facilitating researches into limpieza. The importance of the Libros
Vocandorum was so fully recognized that the Suprema required the monthly
reports of the fiscal always to specify that they were kept posted up to
date. These registers were not arranged uniformly in all the tribunals,
but the usual plan was that adopted in Valencia, where there was one
general index in two volumes and a third for confessors accused of
soliciting women _ad turpia_ in the confessional.[764] Thus all the
tribunals co-operated and, with their machinery of commissioners and
familiars in almost every town and village, they formed one harmonious
organization for the detection and punishment of culprits. Human
ingenuity could scarce devise a more perfect system of promptly
suppressing all deviations from the standards established by the



We have seen, when treating of privileges and exemptions, the
distinction drawn between salaried and unsalaried officials. The former,
except in the case of physicians and advocates of the accused, were
understood to devote all their time to the service of the tribunal. The
latter were only called upon incidentally for special work. It is true
that the Inquisition was empowered to summon every one for aid, but its
service was confidential and its ministers, at least in the later
period, had to be of unblemished lineage, so that it was requisite to
have at hand those on whom it could rely and whom it could summon at any
moment. There was no difficulty in finding men ready to serve without
pay. The honor of connection with the Inquisition, the privilege of its
fuero in greater or less degree and the assurance of limpieza which it
carried with it, rendered applicants for appointment more numerous than
positions to be filled. These unsalaried officials consisted of
calificadores, consultores, commissioners with their notaries, and

The functions of the calificador or censor were important. When the
_sumaria_, or preliminary array of evidence against the accused, was
collected, the theological points involved were submitted to three or
four calificadores, who pronounced whether the acts or words testified
to amounted to heresy or suspicion of heresy. If there was doubt or
disagreement, another group was called in, to whom the opinions of the
first were given, along with the evidence. If the conclusion was that
the matter did not concern the Inquisition, the case was dropped or
suspended; if it held that there was heresy, expressed or implied,
arrest and trial followed. We have seen the working of the system in the
cases of Carranza and Villanueva, in both of which it played so
momentous a part. In addition to this was the censorship of books. Any
work against which suspicion was aroused was submitted to them and,
according to their decision, it was approved, expurgated, or

To perform these duties properly required learned theologians, and they
seem to have enjoyed the opportunity of displaying their erudition in
prolix and elaborate opinions, developing vast ingenuity in discovering
traces of the beliefs of the Marcionites and Carpocratians and other
forgotten heresies in the careless propositions submitted to their
criticism. As a matter of course only ecclesiastics were eligible and,
in 1627, the minimum age was fixed at forty-five.[765] The duties of
this profitless office were not light, if we may believe the experienced
Fray Maestro Alvarado. In 1811 he complains that, if a book is sent to a
calificador, no matter what his other engagements may be, he must devote
a month or two to reading it and forming a judgement, expressed in an
elaborate opinion, such as would command for a lawyer two or three
thousand reales. Or, some modern philosopher utters scandals and the
calificador must investigate his words and acts and point out the errors
as a guide for the inquisitor; if a trial follows, the calificador must
wait on the tribunal and rack his brains to decide whether the culprit's
explanations are valid; if he is contumacious, conferences must be held
with him until he is converted or found incapable of conversion, and all
this without recompense.[766]

The calificador was thus an important and laborious assistant in the
current work of the tribunal, and it is somewhat remarkable that,
although reckoned among the officials, with a recognised place in public
functions, there should be doubt whether he was entitled to the fuero.
Yet, in 1662, when Doctor Vicente Cortes, a cathedral canon and
calificador of the Valencia tribunal, was involved in a suit, it
declined to defend him. It reported to the Suprema that it was ignorant
whether calificadores were entitled to the fuero and the Council
replied, asking on what ground the privilege was claimed.[767]


The need of calificadores was not likely to be felt in the early period,
when almost the whole business of the Inquisition was with Judaizers and
Moriscos, whose guilt was assumed from their adherence to well-known
customs and rites. The first allusion I have met occurs in 1520, when
the inquisitors were ordered to make no appointment without submitting
to the Suprema the petition of the applicant.[768] There is no
reference to them in the Instrucciones Antiguas, but in the Nuevas of
1561 their employment is fully developed.[769] As the appointment was in
the hands of the inquisitors, there was a tendency to undue
multiplication and, in 1606, there was an effort to check this by
calling for reports as to the number existing and how many were
necessary, pending which no applicants were to be admitted. This
resulted, the following year, in an order limiting the number to eight
in each tribunal; only the most eminent theologians were to be selected
and appointments were to be made only to fill vacancies. Again, in 1619,
reports were called for and emphasis was laid on the importance of the
position and the necessity of discrimination in the choice. This
received scant attention, and the memorial of 1623 to the Suprema
recommends the reduction of the number to three or four in each tribunal
and the exercise of great care in appointments, for lack of which they
had fallen so greatly in public estimation. Nothing was done and, in
1630, the fiscal of the Suprema called attention to the fact that but
few tribunals had made the reports demanded in 1619; meanwhile the
necessity for reform had increased and he asked that information be
called for again so that, with full information, the Suprema might
remedy the evils existing.[770] The futility of the effort to limit the
tribunals in the exercise of their patronage is visible in the
statistics of 1746, where Valencia has forty calificadores, Saragossa
has twenty-nine and even the little tribunal of Majorca has twenty-four.
If Llerena has none and Logroño only two, this is explicable, as we
learn from another source, by the absence in those places of men
competent for the position. Yet not much attention was paid to the
selection of suitable material if we may believe an official report
presented to Carlos IV, in 1798, which says that it is notorious that
calificadores are mostly people of little learning, full of
preconceptions and errors, who have had money enough to take out proofs
of limpieza.[771]

       *       *       *       *       *

In the medieval Inquisition all sentences were agreed upon in an
assembly of experts summoned for the purpose by the inquisitors, prior
to holding the auto de fe in which the sentences were executed. This
custom was naturally followed in Spain, and these _consultas de fe_, as
they were called, will be considered hereafter when treating of the
conduct of trials. At present we have merely to consider the
_consultores_ who assisted the inquisitors in passing judgement.

At first they had no permanent connection with the Inquisition. The
inquisitors had an unlimited power of summoning all persons in whatever
capacity, but sometimes it was not easy to obtain the services of
competent men, especially when migratory tribunals were sitting in
places where jurists were few, and the Instructions of 1488, in response
to complaints on this score, tell inquisitors in such cases to send the
papers to the Suprema which will decide on them.[772] At this time the
inquisitors were theologians and, to supplement their lack of legal
knowledge, it was customary to call in lawyers; the incongruity of
laymen sitting in judgement on matters of faith was waived, and they
were freely employed, the inquisitors summoning such doctors and
maestros and licenciados and bachilleres as they saw fit, who served
without pay and might never be called in again.[773] In 1502 the
Barcelona tribunal complained that it sometimes had difficulty in
securing the services of the lawyers of the Audiencia, whereupon
Ferdinand wrote to his lieutenant-general that, as it is a work of God
and the service is required only two or three times a year, he must see
that the inquisitors get them whenever they are wanted.[774] In 1515 the
same trouble showed itself at Valladolid, where the inquisitors were in
the habit of calling in the judges of the high court, who endeavored to
evade the duty by alleging certain royal cédulas, prohibiting their
engaging in other functions than those of their office. Ferdinand was
appealed to and promptly ordered them to serve when called upon, but
they were not to be obliged to absent themselves from court, during the
hours of its sessions.[775] Apparently there was no eagerness to perform
gratuitous service which brought with it no privileges.

[Sidenote: _CONSULTORES_]

When in time jurists were preferred in the tribunals, the inquisitors
called in theologians, mostly from the regular Orders who, to a great
degree, monopolized the learning of the Church. Even with these there
was sometimes difficulty and, in 1544, the Suprema asked the Dominican
vicar to rebuke the Prior of San Pedro Martir for forbidding his frailes
to serve.[776] It had already been found that the chance selection made,
when a consulta de fe was to be held, was unsatisfactory. The permanent
office of consultor was created and was rendered attractive by attaching
to it the privileges and immunities of the Holy Office; formal
commissions were issued by the inquisitor-general and the appointee
swore to the faithful discharge of his duties. The earliest commission
that I have met is one issued, April 2, 1544, to Doctor Miguel de
Nuedes, Archdeacon of Murviedro, as consultor in the tribunal of
Valencia.[777] This continued for some twenty years when confusion and
contradictions arose. January 16, 1565, the Suprema writes that neither
it nor the inquisitor-general is accustomed to notify any one of his
appointment as consultor; the inquisitors can appoint properly qualified
persons whenever they are needed. In 1566 this was followed by
admonitions as to the care necessary in examining into the fitness of
aspirants and then, in 1567, inquisitors were scolded for making
appointments without reporting them and awaiting orders. This was
repeated in 1571 but, in 1572, Rojas asserts positively that consultors
are not selected by inquisitors, but are appointed by the Suprema.[778]

The Suprema continued to retain control but ceased to issue regular
commissions for, in 1645, a writer informs us that the consultor and
calificador are received and sworn in on the strength of a letter from
the Suprema.[779] Finally however, the matter was restored to the
inquisitors. A Formulary of about 1700 contains the form of a commission
issued to consultores. It is drawn in the name of the inquisitors who
confer on the recipient the powers necessary for the discharge of his
duties and order all secular officials to yield him all the honors,
graces, franchises, exemptions, liberties and prerogatives inherent in
his office. He was obliged to furnish proofs of his purity of blood and,
if he was married, of that of his wife, thus giving another example of
the capacity of laymen to act in judgements of faith.[780]

With the progressive centralization of business in the Suprema, the
consulta de fe gradually diminished in importance and, as we shall see,
in the eighteenth century it became virtually obsolete. The table of
officials in 1746 shows that, at that time, there were only eighteen
consultores in all the tribunals and, of these, eight were in the little
Inquisition of Majorca.[781]

       *       *       *       *       *

The office of commissioner was peculiar to the Spanish Inquisition and,
although its powers were strictly limited, it was an important factor in
keeping the authority of the Holy Office constantly before the people
and in detecting offenders in obscure places where they might otherwise
have enjoyed security. It was not part of the original organization and
there is no reference to it in the Instructions. It is true that, in
1509, Ferdinand addresses a certain Beltran de la Sala, of Perpignan, as
commissioner of the Inquisition, but he is also "hoste de correos" or in
charge of couriers on the important line between Spain and Italy.[782]
He was therefore not a commissioner in the later sense, but probably was
employed to look after the sequestrations which had been extensive in
Perpignan. As the tribunals became sedentary in their extensive
districts, the need of representatives scattered everywhere made itself
felt, and the first suggestion seems to have come from Valencia. The
Suprema represented, December 4, 1537, to Cardinal Manrique, the size of
the district of Valencia, where the difficulties of intercommunication
were such that it never had been and never could be properly visited. It
was therefore proposed that, in the cathedral towns, commissioners
should be appointed with power to publish the edicts and to take
testimony and ratifications with notaries. The cathedral clergy would
probably furnish proper appointees, serving without pay, as the duties
would be only occasional.[783] This corresponds so nearly with the plan
adopted that it may safely be assumed to be its origin.


Authority was given to inquisitors to appoint commissioners, but
apparently at first the limitation on their powers was ill defined. The
visitation of Barcelona, in 1549, showed that they undertook to arrest
and prosecute, in fact to make themselves inquisitors in their little
districts and, in 1550, the Suprema instructed the tribunal to grant
faculties only to receive denunciations, collect evidence and send it
to the Inquisition for its action.[784] This remained the rule until the
end. In the _cartillas_, or detailed printed instructions, they were
forbidden to make arrests unless three conditions coexisted--that the
case clearly pertained to the Holy Office, that the evidence was ample,
and that there was apprehension of flight. Even then they were warned to
act only on mature deliberation, and they were forbidden to sequestrate
property, though they were to keep an eye on it. If an arrest took
place, the prisoner and the evidence were to be transmitted to the
tribunal under guard of familiars, without being allowed to communicate
with any one. In addition the commissioner could hear the civil cases of
familiars, up to the value of twenty libras and execute his decisions.
All this was concisely expressed in the commission issued to him.[785]

As in everything else, it was impossible to enforce compliance with
wholesome regulations. Cervantes, in the report of his Barcelona
visitation of 1561, says that commissioners paid no attention to the
limitations of their powers. They were thoroughly untrained and ignorant
of their duties and had no hesitation in appointing other commissioners.
As they had authority to appoint a notary and an alguazil, they set up
little courts throughout the land, armed with the awful authority of the
Holy Office, and it requires no stretch of the imagination to conceive
the tyranny and extortion with which they afflicted the people.[786]

Not much was gained when, in 1561, the Suprema ordered that they should
be appointed only in places where it was necessary and that they must be
quiet and peaceable persons; or, in 1565, when it prescribed great care
in issuing commissions, which must be so limited as to prevent them from
appointing deputies.[787] Salazar's report of his inspection of
Barcelona, in 1566, shows that the evil continued unchecked;
commissioners were appointed in unnecessary numbers, often by a single
inquisitor during a visitation, and sometimes they were ignorant laymen,
although the office inferred that it should be reserved exclusively to
those in holy orders.[788] It is not strange that this new infliction,
which seemed to bring the terrors of the Inquisition to every man's
door, should form the subject of vigorous remonstrances, and the
Concordias of 1568, by their enumeration of what was forbidden, show the
abuses under which the populations were suffering. That of Valencia
provided that there should be such officials only in Tortosa, Segorbe,
Teruel, Gandía, Castellon de la Plana, Denia and Játiva, with two in the
city of Valencia, and that they should be called deputized commissioners
and not, as heretofore, lieutenant inquisitors. That of Aragon limited
them to Lérida, Huesca, Tarazona, Daroca, Calatayud, Jaca, Barbastro and
towns on the French frontier. Both provided that in future they should
not try cases, or make arrests save to prevent flight, nor should they
grant licences for the importation or exportation of provisions and
other matters. They might have an assessor and a notary, enjoying all
privileges and exemptions, and, if an alguazil was needed, they could
assign that post to a familiar without enlarging his exemptions.[789]
All this is eloquent of the methods by which these would-be local
inquisitors had magnified their office to the vexation of the people.

Catalonia rejected the Concordia of 1568 and, in the Córtes of 1599, it
demanded that neither rectors of churches nor frailes should be
appointed as commissioners. To this the Suprema, in its memorial to
Clement VIII, replied that the object was to prevent the Inquisition
from having proper commissioners, as Catalonia was too poor in the
requisite material to exclude these classes in places where there were
no cathedrals or collegiate churches.[790]

In 1572, the Suprema made an effort to check the multiplication of these
officials by decreeing that they should be appointed only in the chief
towns of archpriestly districts, but it promptly receded from this and,
the next year, authorized them wherever it seemed necessary, which
amounted to unlimited permission. An order, in 1576, that they were not
to be defended in prosecutions for concubinage is suggestive as to the
prevailing morality and, in 1584, they were instructed to keep in
constant correspondence with the tribunals, reporting everything that
occurred in their districts, which indicates how comprehensive a system
of espionage was established.[791]


The Suprema, in a carta acordada of March 24, 1604, made a serious
attempt to check existing evils. It called attention to the abuses in
appointing commissioners, notaries and familiars, whose multitude and
general unworthiness resulted in greatly impairing the authority of the
Inquisition. In future, commissioners were to be appointed only in the
chief towns of the _partidos_, or local judicial districts, or at least
four leagues apart. Inquisitors should bear in mind that their duties
embrace cases of the utmost importance, requiring men of intelligence,
virtue and silence; they should have benefices or revenues sufficient to
live with the dignity befitting their high office.[792] The prescription
as to number and location received scant obedience. We chance to meet
with them in obscure places like Cobeña and Fuentelsas, and a list of
them in the little province of Guipúzcoa, which has but four partidos,
amounts to seventeen. An experienced writer, in 1648, after reciting the
limitations, states that there are places where there are three or four,
disguised by appointments nominally to neighboring hamlets.[793]

Although without salary, the office had become attractive, not only on
account of the importance and immunities which it conferred, but also
because a large part of the attendant labor brought in satisfactory
fees. In the eagerness to prove limpieza, investigations into
genealogies were perpetual; nearly all these passed through the
Inquisition and were confided to the commissioner nearest to the
birth-place of the applicant. He was expected to pay roundly and the
commissioner was entitled to sixteen reales a day for his time, or to
two ducats if he had to leave his residence. Moreover the knowledge thus
acquired of the genealogies of his neighbors gave him power to render
them uncomfortable, as we may gather from a carta acordada of 1622,
forbidding commissioners to make notes of the ancestry of those who were
not officials of the Inquisition and threatening dismissal for
stigmatizing any one as a Jew, Moor, Converso or descendant of
such.[794] At sea-ports and frontier towns, also, the commissioners had
a considerable source of revenue from fees for the examinations
requisite to prevent the entrance of heretics and heretic books--fees
which, as we shall see hereafter, were the abundant source of complaint.
These positions the inquisitor-general reserved for his own appointment
and finally also those in the cathedral towns and larger cities.[795]

In the effort at reform made by Philip V, investigation was made into
the character of the commissioners, their notaries and the familiars
and, soon after this, in 1706, the Suprema asserted that, in Castile,
there was not one fourth of the number permitted by the Concordia of
1553, which it attributed partly to the War of Succession then raging
and partly to the molestation to which they were exposed.[796]
Unquestionably the number declined rapidly during the eighteenth
century, as will be seen by the table in the Appendix where, although
Saragossa still has thirty-eight and Barcelona twenty-eight, the other
tribunals report only from two to seven, except the Canaries, where the
scattered group of islands necessarily demanded a considerable number.
This diminution may be explained by the growing habit of appointing
temporary commissioners in any place where work was to be done. Moreover
the increasing facilities of communication favored local centralization
in the tribunal, even as general centralization was stimulated in the
Suprema. Denunciations were readily sent by mail and temporary
commissions were issued for their investigation. So, too, in the matter
of limpieza, the tribunal could dispense its patronage more profitably
by sending out from head-quarters special commissioners who earned a
larger per diem at the expense of the applicant. To accommodate this new
development, when in 1816 a new _cartilla_ of instructions for
commissioners was printed, it was provided at the end with a number of
blank commissions which could be detached and filled in for use. A
hundred copies were supplied to each tribunal, twenty of them bound to
be used as a whole and eighty in sheets to be thus cut up. Within a
month one tribunal applied for a further stock and fifty copies were
sent.[797] Little as the inquisitors of the time had to do, they were
evidently devolving their duties upon others more generally than ever.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _FAMILIARS_]

In a previous chapter it has been seen that of all the officials of the
Inquisition those who occasioned the most frequent trouble and who
aroused the most strenuous animadversion were the familiars. They were
the most numerous, they were largely drawn from the turbulent element,
seeking the position for the protection afforded against secular
justice, and they abused their privileges accordingly. For more than two
centuries they were an object of dread to all peaceable folk, and no
stronger evidence can be furnished of the subjection to which the
Inquisition had reduced Spain than the tolerance of this dangerous
class, whose services were overpaid by the immunities which relieved the
Inquisition from paying salaries.

In the medieval Inquisition the inquisitor had the right to surround
himself with armed guards, whether to protect his person or to execute
his orders. They were reckoned as members of his family, thence
obtaining the name of familiars, entitling them to immunity from
justice. They were dreaded and hated, not without reason, for the
position was attractive only to the ruffian and brawler, nor was
anything gained when, in 1213, the Council of Vienne warned inquisitors
to be moderate and discreet in their use of the privilege.[798]

Of course the old Aragonese Inquisition enjoyed this prerogative and
when the new institution was organized it inherited the right. This,
moreover, was developed in an entirely novel manner, for the familiar
was not attached to the person of the inquisitor. Appointments were made
all over the land, the Inquisition thus obtaining, without cost, a small
army of servitors, scattered everywhere, sworn to obedience and ready,
at any moment, to perform whatever duty they might be called upon to
render. They served, moreover, as spies upon their neighbors and were
eager to manifest their zeal by volunteer action, for it was a
commonplace of the canon law that the heretic could be arrested by any

It was impossible that such a class as this, released from the
restraints of law, should not prove troublesome and even dangerous.
Inquisitors appointed them at discretion, furnished them with licences
to bear arms and turned them loose on the community. It would have been
some slight protection if registers of these appointments had been kept,
and the names of the appointees furnished to the magistrates, so that it
could be known whether those who claimed immunity were entitled to it.
It was impossible, however, to induce the inquisitors to do this.
Ximenes and the Suprema ordered the names to be entered in a book and a
copy to be furnished to the corregidors and Ferdinand, in a general
order of July 11, 1513 emphasized this, but to no purpose and it was
repeated endlessly with the same result.[799] The inquisitors steadily
refused obedience, for it would have imposed some check upon
multitudinous and indiscriminate appointments which had a recognized
money value. The result of all this appears in a letter of Ferdinand, in
1514, to the inquisitors of Toledo, informing them that the royal and
municipal authorities complained of the number of turbulent fellows,
carrying licences signed by only one inquisitor, who went around in
bands disturbing the peace and, if the civil magistrate endeavored to
restrain them, the tribunal at once interposed, leading to dissensions
between it and the ministers of justice, to the great injury of the city
and its vicinity. Ximenes had already endeavored to check these
disorders without success, and Ferdinand now insists that his orders
must be obeyed, that all such licences must be signed by the three
inquisitors, a record of them must be kept and a copy be furnished to
the corregidor.[800]

The same troubles existed in the Aragonese kingdoms where, it will be
remembered, the Córtes of Monzon, in 1512, endeavored to remedy them in
the Concordia, by providing that for Aragon there might be twenty armed
familiars in Saragossa, while in other towns, where the tribunal was in
actual session, there might be temporary appointments, not exceeding
twenty for the whole kingdom. Notwithstanding the acceptance of this
agreement by Ferdinand, its confirmation in 1516 by Leo X, and its
solemn ratification in 1520, it never received the slightest respect
from the Inquisition, and its only interest lies in its proof of the
popular anxiety for relief and that a very moderate number of familiars
sufficed at a period of great activity in the work of the Holy Office.

[Sidenote: _FAMILIARS_]

The complaint was renewed, about 1530, by the Córtes of Aragon, that
familiars were appointed in every place in the three kingdoms, and that
no lists were furnished, so that the Inquisition could set free any
offender by declaring him to be a familiar, to which Cardinal Manrique
merely replied that no more were appointed than were necessary, and that
the instructions were observed.[801] Again, in 1547, the Córtes of
Catalonia declared that the abuse had been carried to a point that
seriously limited the royal and ecclesiastical jurisdictions, and it
requested that Barcelona should be restricted to fifty, with five each
for the Catalan districts subjected to Valencia and Saragossa, and also
that lists be furnished, but Prince Philip only answered that he would
consult the Suprema and do what was fitting.[802] Of course nothing was

While thus the Suprema defended the tribunals against the public, it was
constantly scolding them for their excesses and issuing orders to
diminish the evil. A carta acordada of 1543 alludes to the excessive
numbers of familiars, their turbulence and evil lives; they must be
persons of good repute and the rest must be dismissed. In 1546
moderation in appointments was enjoined. When the Castile Concordia of
1553 was framed, instructions were issued for its strict observance; all
not registered and reported to the authorities were not to be held as
familiars. In 1560 and again in 1573, they were ordered to be married
men, quiet, peaceable, _limpios_ and not ecclesiastics; all others were
to be removed. In 1562 the inquisitor of Majorca was rebuked for
unnecessary appointments of turbulent and unfit men and for not giving a
list to the magistrates. In 1566 lists were ordered to be given to the
civil authorities and none not borne on them were to enjoy exemption. In
1573 instructions were issued requiring them to be householders and
heads of families, residents of the place for which the commission was
given and none to be appointed for uninhabited places. In 1578 it was
ordered that appointments should only be made to fill vacancies. In 1586
a carta acordada commanded the number to be reduced to the provisions of
the Concordia; the surplus must surrender their commissions and support
themselves honestly, new appointments were restricted to quiet and
peaceful men of good life and habits, and evidence of compliance with
the order must be furnished.[803]

This brief summary could be largely extended, but its only interest lies
in its showing that the Suprema recognized the evil and sought to abate
it, while the tribunals paid no attention to its commands, secure in
the assurance that it would defend them through thick and thin, whenever
a question arose between them and the people or the authorities.
Sometimes, indeed, continued pressure might induce temporary compliance
but it was abandoned as soon as it appeared safe to do so.

A single instance will illustrate the tenacity and successful evasions
of the inquisitors. Valdés wrote to the Valencia tribunal, March 12,
1551, that the excessive number of familiars interfered with its proper
functions in consequence of the time required for their cases. They were
to be reduced to a hundred in the city of Valencia; in towns of three
thousand inhabitants the maximum was to be eight; in smaller places, if
any were needed, the number was not to exceed four without notifying the
Suprema. To effect this, all commissions were to be revoked and, if
necessary, he revoked them. Instructions were given as to
reappointments; every commission was to be signed by both inquisitors
and countersigned by one of the notaries; the commissions were to be
limited to two or three years so as to stimulate good behavior and lists
were to be furnished to the Suprema.

[Sidenote: _FAMILIARS_]

To this promising scheme of reform the inquisitors replied that they
suspended its operation because the Governors of Valencia thought the
number assigned to the city inadequate. July 9th the Suprema ordered
them to learn from the governors their views as to numbers. This was
left unanswered and, on November 5th, the Suprema ordered a report
within thirty days of what had been agreed upon with the governors;
otherwise the provisions of March 12th were to be put into execution
and, if this was not done, a person armed with full powers would be sent
to do it. This looked like business and brought from Inquisitor Artiaga
the reply that, as soon as his colleague returned from visiting the
district, it would be complied with. Valdés waited till December 23rd
and then wrote that there must be no further delay; the king had
repeatedly ordered a reduction of the familiars on account of the daily
complaints received against them. He therefore commanded peremptorily
that, without reply or further excuse, the instructions be executed and
a notarial attestation of the fact be furnished during January; if both
inquisitors were not in Valencia, the one in residence must do the work;
if it was not accomplished within the time named, they must present
themselves personally before him to give their reasons for
disobedience. This would seem to leave no opening for evasion, but it
received no attention and, on March 10, 1552, Valdés wrote again,
repeating the injunctions of the previous March, but conceding that
there might be two hundred familiars in the city. Public proclamation of
the revocations was to be made and evidence of execution with lists of
those retained was to be furnished during April. Again no attention was
paid to this and it was repeated September 10th. This, in time, brought
a statement that the number in the city had been reduced to two hundred,
but there is no evidence as to reductions elsewhere or that the
wholesome limitation of commissions to two or three years had been
observed.[804] If it were, it was but for a brief time, and we have seen
what were the familiars of Valencia early in the next century.

It was the same in Castile. When the Concordia of 1553 was agreed upon,
a royal cédula of March 10th prescribed the number of familiars to be
allowed in cities and towns and ordered that all in excess should be
deprived of their commissions, while lists of those retained were to be
given to the secular authorities. The Suprema seems to have honestly
endeavored to enforce these provisions by letters issued under the same
date, but the inquisitors were sullen and refractory and the Valencia
experience was repeated. July 13, 1555, another royal cédula and
circular letter of the Suprema repeated the command to reduce the number
and furnish lists. Again, in 1565 these orders were renewed, which
brought out the fact that the tribunals had not even kept registers of
the appointments, for in 1566 they were ordered to call in all
commissions and compile lists from them, with a warning that all who
were not borne on such lists would not be allowed enjoyment of the fuero
and, if the judges were inhibited in such cases, when the competencia
reached the Councils it would be abandoned. Even this required to be
supplemented with another order the next year.[805]

It would be a weariness of the flesh to follow in detail these fruitless
efforts of the Suprema to force the tribunals to comply with the law,
but a carta acordada of 1604 affords a glimpse into some of the tricks
and evasions resorted to. It lays down salutary rules as to the
observance of the Concordia and the character of appointees, and
proceeds to forbid the granting of expectative appointments, the
admission of applicants to prove limpieza unless there is a vacancy, and
then he must be a resident of the place where it occurs and not one with
a supposititious domicile. Appointments in derogation of these rules
will not render the individual an official of the Inquisition and no
competencias will be entertained for him. It shows how slack was the
observance of this that it had to be repeated in 1620 and again in

[Sidenote: _FAMILIARS_]

While thus the Suprema was vainly busied in repressing the exuberance of
its subordinates, it fiercely resented any assistance offered by
outsiders. The Concordia of 1553 was part of the law of the land, and as
such it was printed in the official Nueva Recopilacion (Lib. IV, Tit. i,
ley 20). In 1634 the Council of Castile, apparently wearied with the
stubbornness of the tribunals, undertook to enforce it by printing the
articles concerning the numbers and qualifications of familiars and
sending them to the magistrates of the towns and villages with
instructions that, if the number was in excess, they were to strike off
the surplus; if a list had not been furnished, they were not to regard
any one as a familiar and entitled to exemptions and privileges. When
this practical method of enforcing obedience to law came to the
knowledge of the Suprema, it was highly incensed. On December 22nd it
addressed an indignant consulta to the king; the Council of Castile, it
said, was meddling with concerns wholly beyond its competence; it had no
authority in matters concerning the Inquisition; if inquisitors
transgressed the law, specific complaints could be made and settled in a
junta of the two bodies; the Council was leading the local magistrates
to sit in judgement on inquisitors and get themselves into trouble.
Besides the familiars are so molested when they seek to avail themselves
of their privileges that they think it better to abandon them; they are
fewer already than the Concordia permits, are diminishing daily and, in
a few years, the Inquisition will not have ministers to attend to its
business. The consulta concludes by asking the king to order the Council
to erase the paper from its records and not to issue similar ones in
future. For once this arrogance overshot the mark. There must have been
a desperate contest waged over the matter for Philip kept the consulta
until October 3, 1636, when he returned it with the endorsement that
the Council of Castile can issue the provision embodying the articles of
the Concordia and can order the local magistrates to observe and execute

       *       *       *       *       *

The reasons inducing inquisitors to the perpetual and illegal
multiplication of these officials are not far to seek. The position was
much coveted and the high value set upon it, notwithstanding the
assertions of the Suprema as to diminishing numbers, is shown in one of
the expedients for raising money resorted to in 1641, when an additional
familiarship was created in each place, to be sold for fifteen hundred
ducats. The offer was withdrawn in 1643, possibly because, as we have
seen (p. 213), in 1642 a block of three hundred was thrown upon the
market, thus breaking the price.[808] When such estimates were placed on
the office, the opportunity for illicit gains was tempting to those who
had power to issue commissions and, in addition to this, were the
profits of litigation and the abundant fees for officials in the
investigation into the limpieza of aspirants and their wives. The fines
also arising from cases in which familiars were concerned were a not
inconsiderable addition to the income of the tribunals. Thus, in 1564,
Dr. Zurita, in a four months' visitation of the dioceses of Gerona and
Elne, collected a hundred and six ducats for offences committed by or
against familiars and, in addition, five culprits were sent to Barcelona
on more serious charges which doubtless yielded still larger
returns.[809] It is easy then to understand the temptation to enlarge so
profitable a jurisdiction, and the steady opposition to revealing the
number of appointees by furnishing lists.

It is true that the Suprema drew up an excellent list of qualifications
as requisites for eligibility. No one was to be appointed who was not an
Old Christian, at least twenty-five years of age, married or a widower,
head of a household, virtuous, quiet, peaceable and fitted for the
office, as well as of legitimate and not of foreign birth.[810] Yet
there was no difficulty in obtaining dispensations for age, for
celibacy, for illegitimacy and for foreign birth or parentage, the
considerable fees for which went to the secretary of the
inquisitor-general.[811] There was no formal dispensation for the moral
qualities, but these were elusive and the general character ascribed to
familiars, as we have seen in Valencia, shows how little care was
frequently taken as to these. They are not even alluded to in the
formalities required, in the middle of the seventeenth century, when we
are told that the petition of the applicant must be accompanied with a
certificate from the secretary of his place of residence setting forth
the number of inhabitants, the number of familiars, evidence of baptism
to show his age, that he did not follow any mechanic or low occupation,
and that he had property sufficient for his decent support. He was also
of course required to furnish the genealogies of himself and his wife
for investigation into limpieza.[812]

To what extent precautions were taken to avoid improper appointments
depended of course upon the temper of the tribunal and necessarily
varied with time and place. In 1561, Inquisitor Cervantes says that in
Córdova, Seville and Saragossa, where he had served, aspirants for
appointment were taken on probation for two or three months, after which
inquiry was made as to their limpieza and mode of life when, if they
were married and peaceable men they were appointed, but that nothing of
this was observed in Barcelona.[813] It is not likely that such scrutiny
was frequent, for the appointments were treated as patronage by
inquisitors, who took them in turn until, in 1638, this was forbidden by
the Suprema, which ordered that they should be decided by voting; the
fiscals were required to report whether this was observed, which it
doubtless was, because it could be so easily eluded by a private

[Sidenote: _FAMILIARS_]

There was some effort made, but without success, to maintain the dignity
of the office by excluding those engaged in trade or in pursuits
regarded as degrading, such as butchers, shoemakers, pastry-cooks and
the like. On the other hand there was naturally welcome for personages
of distinction and of these there was no lack. The bluest blood of Spain
did not disdain to serve the Inquisition in the office of familiar.
This excited apprehension in the Aragonese kingdoms and, in the
Concordias of 1568, it was provided that familiars should be plain men
and not powerful ones such as gentlemen and barons. At once the Valencia
tribunal enquired of the Suprema whether this excluded gentlemen who
were not barons and it was assured that barons only were excluded. The
tribunal disregarded even this limitation and appointed barons and
gentlemen holding vassals, turbulent men, rendered reckless by the
exemptions, leading to quarrels with the Audiencia, in which Philip II
interposed, in 1590, by ordering all such appointments made since the
Concordia to be revoked. Loud were the complaints of the inquisitors;
they denied that they had appointed barons; if the gentlemen with
vassals were deprived of their commissions the Inquisition would be
dishonored and, what made matters worse, the Audiencia had registered
the decree where it could be read by every one, and had sent it to the
governors of provinces, thus publishing it to the world.[815]

How long this exclusion lasted under the crown of Aragon it would be
impossible to say, but probably it was not permanent. In Castile there
was no such distinction. At the Madrid auto de fe of July 4, 1632, the
standard of the Inquisition was borne by the Admiral of Castile,
assisted by the Constable of Castile and the Duke of Medina de las
Torres, all familiars.[816] Fernando VI, however, adopted the Aragonese
precaution and required all familiars to be _pecheros_ or taxpayers,
when an indignant memorial, apparently from Inquisitor-general Prado y
Cuesta, called his attention to the fact that there was not, in all
Castile, Aragon, Valencia and Andalusia, a grandee or gentleman of
illustrious birth who did not find ancestors on the rolls of the Holy
Office, or count it among the glories of his house that they were
enlisted in the militia of the faith.[817]

By this time the number of familiars had greatly fallen, though not to
the extent that would be inferred from the table in the Appendix, for
the tribunals had evidently not reported them--in fact, it is probable
that few if any had kept registers enabling them to do so. The
diminishing influence of the Inquisition, the curtailment in the
privileges of the office, the new spirit vivifying Spain under the
Bourbons, all combined to render the position less sought for, and
thenceforth we hear comparatively little of the familiar as a disturbing
element in the social order.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was a matter of course that the officials of the tribunals should
form organized bodies. They did so under the name of the Cofradia or
Congregacion or Hermandad de San Pedro Martir, which assumed to be the
same as the Cruce-signati, founded in Italy by Innocent IV, after the
murder of St. Peter Martyr, in 1252. The bulk of the membership was
naturally formed by the familiars, who were the most numerous class of
officials, and there are occasional allusions to _Colegios de
Familiares_, which may have been a subdivision of the general body. At
what date the Cofradia was organized it would be impossible to assert,
but, as early as 1519, it was a formidable body with chiefs known as
_mayordomos_ for when, in that year, there were rumors of an attempt in
Saragossa to liberate Juan Prat by force, Charles V ordered the
Zalmedina of Saragossa to assemble it and resist the movement, and he
wrote to the mayordomos to obey the Zalmedina.[818]

The Hermandad became elaborately organized in the inquisitorial centres
with a constitution which was printed in 1617. Each branch had as
officers a padre mayor, a secretary, a mayordomo mayor, a mayordomo
menor and a fiscal. The entrance-fees were considerable and the
reception of new members was attended with a certain amount of
ceremonial, in which the candidate took a solemn oath, in the hands of
an inquisitor, to imperil his life in executing the commands of the Holy
Office and to denounce all heretics, after which the inquisitor gave him
a cross and imparted to him all the privileges and indulgences of the


The extension of the Hermandad over Spain was by no means simultaneous.
It was not established in Seville until 1604 and then only after
considerable opposition. Even as late as 1700, in a Formulary, there is
a formula of a grant by inquisitors to the commissioners and familiars
of an arch-priest district to found a cofradia.[820] The functions of
the body may be assumed as purely ornamental, giving lustre to the
solemnities of the auto de fe and an occasion for the Inquisition to
exhibit its strength. Marching in procession under the standard of the
Holy Office in the Seville auto of November 7, 1604, they formed a body
four hundred strong and at that of Córdova, in 1655, they were reckoned
at over five hundred. At the last of the great autos, celebrated in
Madrid, in 1680, the Suprema ordered all the familiars of the city to
join the Congregation, under penalty of forfeiting the fuero, and each
member was required to carry in the procession a wax candle of two
pounds' weight, with the insignia of the Inquisition, whereupon it
ordered three hundred candles. On this occasion it received a splendid
standard which it continued to use in solemn celebrations.[821]

The organization was not always as faithful as it might have been to its
oaths of obedience. In 1603, in 1675 and again in 1715 there was trouble
over the right claimed by the members to wear habitually their crosses
and habits as insignia of St. Dominic, though the Suprema restricted
this to occasions of solemnity, and it finally required a threat of
dismissal to enforce the rule.[822] There was still greater indiscipline
in 1634 and 1635, at Valencia, where they excited a popular tumult and
refused to obey the orders of the Suprema in the matter of the
celebration of the feast of the _Cruz nueva_.[823]

When, under the Restoration, Fernando VII endeavored to revive the
somewhat dilapidated glories of the Inquisition, it was suggested to him
to elevate the Hermandad into a Royal Order of Knighthood. He welcomed
the idea and, on March 17, 1815, he issued a decree in which he says
that, at the request of the mayordomos of the Most Illustrious
Congregation of San Pedro, composed of the Suprema, the inquisitors and
the subordinates of all the tribunals, and in order that they may be
distinguished and honored, he commands that they wear daily on their
outer garments, like the other orders of knighthood, the habit and
badge of the Inquisition. To set the example, on the feast of St. Peter
Martyr (April 29th) he presided over the Congregation in person,
accompanied by the infantes Don Carlos and Don Antonio, when he wore
these insignia, which was imitated by the members, so that it became the
fashion in the court. April 26th the Royal Council promulgated the
decree, in accordance, it said, with concessions from the Holy See, and
it ordered that no individual or court should impede the members in the
enjoyment of this right. On May 10th the Suprema communicated the decree
to the tribunals, with orders for its strict observance by all
officials. It was disheartening to find that all this was not taken
seriously by the people, for it was not long before the inquisitor of
Valladolid had occasion to complain to the Suprema of the insults
offered by the ecclesiastical authorities to the officials, on account
of the decoration of the Royal Order of Knighthood of St. Peter



Repeated allusions have occurred above to the _limpieza_, or purity of
blood, required in all officials of the Inquisition. This was so
remarkable a development of the prevailing fanaticism and exercised so
much influence on the social condition of Spain that it deserves a
somewhat detailed investigation.

The first indication of this exclusiveness is seen in the _Sentencia
Estatuto_ of Toledo, in 1449, under which all Conversos were stripped of
official positions as being suspect in the faith (Vol. I., p. 126).
This, as we have seen, elicited the bull of Nicholas V, denouncing such
legislation as unchristian, forbidding discrimination between Old and
New Christians and confirming the laws to that effect of Alfonso X,
Henry III and Juan II. This was evaded in the founding of a
confraternity, under the title of Christian Love, in Córdova, in 1473,
from which all Conversos were rigorously excluded, leading to the
tumults and massacres described above.[825] It may have been this which
induced Archbishop Carillo of Toledo, in a provincial synod held at
Alcalá, to denounce the growing practice of brotherhoods, bound under
oaths to exclude Conversos and alleging these oaths in justification.
All such statutes were declared invalid and all who had taken such oaths
were released from them.[826] In 1473, also, Juan II of Aragon abrogated
the statutes of a similar association in Majorca and ordered that
Conversos should have full enjoyment of all faculties in his
dominions.[827] A somewhat ludicrous aspect was given to this prejudice
by a guild of stone-masons in Toledo, composed principally of Mudéjares,
which, in 1481, adopted a rule forbidding members from teaching their
art to Conversos, and the next year a still more prescriptive statute
was adopted in Guipúzcoa, prohibiting Conversos from settling or
marrying in the province.[828]

The earliest official recognition of a distinction between Old and New
Christians was the bull of Sixtus IV, in 1483 (supra, p. 11) ordering
that episcopal inquisitors should be Old Christians. The next step was
more portentous of the future. When, in 1485, the temporary Inquisition
was established in the Geronimite monastery of Guadalupe, a Jew was
found among the monks, who had been living as one of them for forty
years and yet had never been baptized. His prompt burning in front of
the convent gates did not allay the dread that other heretics might find
similar refuge in the Order, leading the General Chapter to decree that
no descendant of a Jew should be admitted; those already entered, if
they had not professed, were expelled, and those who had professed were
incapacitated for any honor or dignity. Much discussion ensued; the
decree was held as contravening the bull of Nicholas V in 1449, and
there was prospect of trouble, leading Ferdinand and Isabella to apply
to Innocent VIII for a remedy. He evaded a decision in the brief _Decet
Romanam_, September 25, 1486, by clothing the Archbishop of Seville and
the Bishops of Córdova and Leon with authority to decide all questions
under the decree and to revoke, modify and strengthen it at their
discretion. This of course was held to be a practical confirmation of
the new rule, and we are told that Our Lady of Guadalupe was so
delighted that she coruscated in miracles, which Fray Francisco Sancho
de la Fuente undertook to record, but they were so abundant that his
zeal was exhausted and he abandoned the pious task.[829]

The next instance was a special and limited one. After Torquemada had
founded at Avila his convent of St. Thomas Aquinas, he grew apprehensive
that the hatred which he had earned from the Conversos might lead them
to enter it with evil intent. In 1496 he therefore applied to Alexander
VI for a decree forbidding the reception of any one descended, directly
or indirectly from Jews, a request which the pontiff readily granted,
subjecting to _ipso facto_ excommunication any prior or other person
contravening the rule.[830]


The tendency to discriminate against Conversos was stimulated by the
disabilities inflicted under the canon law on the children and
grandchildren of impenitent heretics. This will be treated more fully
hereafter and it suffices to say here that it was construed as applying
to the children and grandchildren of all condemned or reconciled by the
Inquisition. It was the subject of some debate, and the Instructions of
1488 required inquisitors to enforce by heavy penalties the incapacity
of such descendants to hold any public office or to be admitted to holy
orders.[831] These disabilities were extended still further by the
sovereigns, in two pragmáticas of 1501, forbidding the children and
grandchildren by the male line and the children by the female to hold
any office of honor or to be notaries, scriveners, physicians, surgeons,
or apothecaries. These pragmáticas were promptly sent by the Suprema to
all tribunals, with orders for their strict enforcement, as the
sovereigns did not permit exceptions to be made.[832]

In this rising tide of proscription it is pleasant to find an exception.
There was no more uncompromising defender of the faith than Ximenes but,
in organizing his University of Alcalá, he made no discrimination
against Conversos. In his carefully elaborated details as to
qualifications for professorships, fellowships, degrees and the other
objects of academic ambition, there is not a word indicating that the
taint of Jewish or Moorish blood was an obstacle.[833] It was doubtless
this which excepted Alcalá from the ominous decree of the Suprema,
November 20, 1522, prohibiting Salamanca, Valladolid and Toledo from
conferring degrees upon any convert from Judaism, or on any son or
grandson of one condemned by the Inquisition.[834] Where it found
warrant for such assumption of authority it might be difficult to say,
but the effect of such proscription can scarce be exaggerated, in thus
barring the way to all the learned professions and consequently to
public employment and ecclesiastical preferment.

The next step was taken by the Observantine Franciscans who, in 1525,
procured from Clement VII a brief providing that in Spain no fraile
descended from Jews, or from one convicted by the Inquisition, should
be promoted to any office or dignity, and that thereafter no one
laboring under such defect should be admitted into the Order.[835]

By this time the question of limpieza was ever present and every one was
popularly classed as an Old Christian or a New, for genealogies seem to
have been public property. When, in 1528, Diego de Uceda was tried for
Lutheranism and claimed to be an Old Christian, the Toledo tribunal
sought testimony in Córdova, where the witnesses unhesitatingly
described his family, paternal and maternal, as perfectly pure from
stain of Converso blood, which they said was notorious throughout the
city.[836] The increasing importance of the matter led the Inquisition
to amass evidence for itself and, in 1530, the tribunals were ordered to
summon before them the descendants of all who had been relaxed or
reconciled and ascertain whether they had changed their names. From this
general inquest each tribunal compiled for its own district a register
of genealogies, comprising all the infected families which, when duly
kept up, preserved a mass of testimony infinitely disquieting to
subsequent generations.[837] The growing importance of the questions
involved, to society at large, is indicated by a petition of the Córtes
of Segovia in 1532, that those should be held as Old Christians who
could prove their descent from Christian parents, grand-parents and
great-grand-parents--or, if necessary, from
great-great-grand-parents--and that no imputation of lack of limpieza
should be cast on them, unless there was evidence to prove their descent
from Jews or Moors, or that an ancestor had been condemned by the


The Dominicans were not as active as the Franciscans in obtaining papal
protection of their limpieza. In a long list of briefs conceded to
Spanish Dominican houses there is no allusion to the exclusion of
Conversos between Torquemada's of 1496 and 1531 when the houses of Santa
Maria Nieba and San Pedro Martir of Toledo were forbidden to receive any
fraile suspected of Jewish or Moorish origin, while in the college of
Santa Maria the professors and students of arts and theology were
required to be free from all suspicion of such descent.[839] The
sentiment of the Order was less proscriptive than that of the
Franciscans. Its most conspicuous member of the period was Thomas de
Vio, better known as Cardinal Caietano who, when consulted, in 1514, by
the regent of Salamanca, as to the legality of excluding those of Jewish
blood from the Order, replied that it was not a mortal sin but, seeing
that the race had furnished Jesus Christ and the apostles and the
salvation of man, it was irrational and ungrateful to discriminate
against them, as well as an obstacle to their conversion.[840] Paul III
agreed with him for, in a _motu proprio_ of 1535 addressed to the
Dominican Provincial, he forbade any impediment to the entrance in the
Order of those of Jewish or Moorish blood and, on learning that this was
disregarded in some houses, he repeated and confirmed it with censures
by a brief of August 3, 1537.[841]

In this, as in so much else, any one seemed able to get from the Holy
See whatever he wanted and Paul reversed himself, in 1538, when the
convent of San Pablo of Córdova represented that, in most of the
colleges of the Order, descendants of Conversos were not received or, if
admitted in error, were ejected, and it desired the same concession to
its college, as necessary for its preservation and the peace of the
house. Paul promptly acceded to this request and ordered the inquisitors
and the dean of Córdova to defend the convent in these privileges, even
to calling in the aid of the secular arm.[842] This was followed by a
more general measure, in 1542, when, by command of Paul, Cardinal Juan
de Toledo, Bishop of Burgos, prohibited the Dominicans of Aragon from
receiving into the Order descendants of Jews or of convicts of the
Inquisition to the fourth generation. It is not likely that this was
confined to Aragon and, in the next year, we find the Suprema addressing
the provincial and the definitors urging that no Conversos be allowed to

Charles V was as inconsistent as Paul III. In 1537 he issued a decree
reciting that as, in some colleges of the universities, admittance was
refused to New Christians he ordered that the constitutions of the
founders be observed.[844] Yet when the chapter of Córdova, in 1530,
adopted a statute of limpieza applicable to all the ministrants of the
cathedral, and was unable to obtain papal confirmation, he ordered its
observance and contributed by his influence to induce Paul IV, in 1555,
to confirm it.[845]

The movement was one which was constantly gaining momentum. In 1548,
Archbishop Siliceo of Toledo enumerates, among the bodies refusing
admission to all except Old Christians, the three great military Orders
of Santiago, Calatrava and Alcántara, membership in which was the object
of ambition to almost every Spanish layman of gentle birth. In all the
Spanish colleges, including that of Bologna founded by Cardinal
Albornoz, none but Old Christians were received and from these colleges
were drawn the members of councils and chancelleries and other judicial
officials. It was the same with the Minims, by express statute of the
founder St. Francis de Paula, and in other Orders and monasteries of
both men and women. Cathedral chapters were beginning to adopt it, such
as those of Córdova and Jaen; numerous confraternities were based upon
it, and many _mayorazgos_, or entailed estates were conditioned on
it.[846] Thus the mania for absolute purity of blood was spreading
irresistibly and, while it would be impossible now to enumerate
accurately the bodies which made it a condition precedent of membership,
it is safe to say that the avenues of distinction, and even of
livelihood, in public life and in the Church, were rapidly closing to
all who bore the fatal _mancha_ or stain. In time even admission to holy
orders required proof of limpieza.[847]


The Conversos, however, were too able and energetic to yield without a
struggle and how the losing battle was waged is seen in the decisive
case of the primatial church of Toledo. The Cardinal Archbishop Tavera
attempted, in 1539, to procure the adoption of a statute of limpieza in
the cathedral, but the opposition was so strong that he was obliged to
desist.[848] His successor was Juan Martínez Pedernales, who adopted the
classic appellation of Siliceo--a Salamanca professor who had the luck
to be appointed tutor to Prince Philip and was rewarded with the see of
Murcia, in 1541, whence he was translated to Toledo, in 1546. He was
roused to indignation when, in September of that year, papal letters
were presented to the chapter granting a canonry to Doctor Hernan
Ximenes, whose father had been reconciled by the Inquisition. Although
the chapter had several Converso members it refused admission to Ximenes
and wrote a rambling and inconsequential letter to Paul III justifying
its disobedience. To prevent such contamination for the future, Siliceo
drew up a statute forbidding that any but an Old Christian should hold a
position in the cathedral, even down to the choir-boys; all aspirants
were to present their genealogies and deposit a sum of money to defray
the expense of an investigation. In July, 1547, he came to Toledo, with
a large retinue of gentlemen, and secretly assured himself of the assent
of a majority of the canons, who bound themselves with oaths to adopt
it; a meeting of the chapter was called and the measure was sprung upon
it, in violation of its rules of order--as he frankly said, if notice
had been given and discussion allowed it could not have been passed, for
the Conversos would have intrigued successfully against it. The vote in
its favor was twenty-five to ten, not including the dean, who opposed it
but had no vote. The minority claimed that they were the wiser and
better part of the chapter, and probably they were, for they included
the archdeacons of Guadalajara and Talavera, both sons of the Duke del
Infantado, and Juan de Vergara, one of the most illustrious men of
letters of the day, who had had experience of the rigor of the
Inquisition. This action aroused so much excitement in the city that the
Royal Council sent an _alcalde de corte_, who reported that, for the
sake of peace, the statute had better not be enforced, in consequence of
which Prince Philip, then holding the Córtes of Monzon, sent orders to
suspend it until the emperor's pleasure could be learned. The struggle
was thus transferred to the imperial court and to Rome. The matter was
argued publicly in the Rota, when the conclusion was against
confirmation and the pope signed a brief to that effect, but the
archbishop's envoy, Diego de Guzman, used such persuasive arguments that
Paul secretly evoked the matter to himself and signed another brief, May
28, 1548, confirming the statute, so that each side could boast of his
support. Charles referred the question back to the Royal Council, to
which both sides presented memorials. Their temper may be judged by the
argument of the chapter that, after so many religious bodies had
adopted the exclusion, if the opponents contend it to be unscriptural,
they are manifest heretics and should be burnt to ashes.

A memorial of Siliceo to Charles is in the same key. A strange medley of
evils is attributed to Jews and Conversos--even the German Lutherans are
descendants of Jews. On taking possession of his archbishopric he had
found that nearly all the beneficed priests and those having cure of
souls were of Jewish extraction, and there was danger of Conversos
obtaining entire possession of the Church, owing to the sale of
preferment in Rome, where there were at the time five or six thousand
Spaniards, most of them Conversos, bargaining for benefices. It was the
same in the other professions, where judges, lawyers, notaries,
scriveners, farmers of the revenue, etc., were mostly of Jewish stock,
and they alone were physicians, surgeons and apothecaries, in spite of
all that the Inquisition had burnt and was daily burning; they adopted
these callings solely for the purpose of killing Christians--it was but
the other day that, in a Toledo auto, there was reconciled a surgeon who
always placed a poisonous powder in the wounds of his Christian
patients. If Charles did not confirm the statute, the outlook was that
the Conversos would govern the church of Toledo. Wild as all this may
seem to us, it gives us a valuable insight into the impulses which
governed Spain in its dealings with the alien races within her borders.
It was a humiliating admission that they were regarded as men of
superior intelligence and ability, whose wrongs for generations had
converted them into irreconcilable enemies, the object of mingled dread
and detestation; as they could not be matched in intellect, the only
policy was brute repression and extermination.[849]

Of course Siliceo carried the day. The confirmation of his statute by
Paul III was conclusive and was regarded as establishing on irrefragable
grounds the necessity of limpieza as a qualification for all who aspired
to position in Church or State.[850] Toledo maintained it even against
the pope. In 1573, the Venetian envoy, Leonardo Donato, reports that he
had seen all the authority of the stern Pius V vainly exerted to secure
the archidiaconate of Toledo for a servant of his who was not _limpio_
and who finally had to content himself with transferring the dignity to
another and retaining a heavy pension on the revenues.[851]

It was not only in Toledo that the capacity of the Conversos was filling
the minds of the faithful with direful apprehensions of their ultimate
triumph over their oppressors. While Siliceo was at work, the
Inquisition was endeavoring to enforce the brief by which, in 1525,
Clement VII had excluded them from the Observantine Franciscans. To the
Suprema its fiscal represented that the unbridled licence of frailes of
Jewish descent had prevailed to such an extent that they were elected as
general and provincial ministers, guardians, vicars, procurators,
visitors and other officials, to the oppression of the Old Christians of
the Order, who were thus excluded from office, causing daily scandals
and threatening worse. Valdés consequently ordered the brief to be
published anew and observed everywhere under heavy penalties. Thereupon
the General of the Order, Andreas de Insula, was incensed and, on the
assumption that this had been instigated by Old Christian frailes,
threatened to punish them severely. The Suprema therefore appealed to
Julius III, reciting all this and pointing out the crafty and
unscrupulous ways in which that unquiet race disturbed the peace of all
bodies to which it found entrance, forming factions and aspiring to
rule, with the object of ruining the Old Christians, thus opening the
way to a return to Judaism and the destruction of Christianity. Julius
responded favorably, in a brief of September 21, 1550, instructing
Valdés to summon the General Andreas and all concerned to obey the
decree of Clement, and granting him full powers to decide summarily the
prosecutions proposed with a view to protect the Old Christians from
molestation, using for the purpose whatever censures might be
necessary.[852] It shows how indomitable were the Conversos that
confirmatory briefs had to be procured from Gregory XIII and Sixtus
V.[853] Yet again the Holy See manifested its inconsistency for, when
the chapter of Seville, in 1565, petitioned Pius IV to confirm a statute
of limpieza, he refused and condemned the Spanish practice as contrary
to law and as upsetting the churches. Cardinal Pacheco defended it and
described the evils wrought by the Jews, when Pius turned fiercely on
him, saying that he would do as he thought best and that the Spaniards
all tried to be popes.[854]

When those who had the slightest taint of Jewish or Moorish blood were
thus regarded as not only implacable enemies of the Christian faith, but
as gifted with pre-eminent intelligence and craft, it became impossible
for the Inquisition to consider them as fitted for its service. One
would have expected it to take the initiative and the only subject of
surprise is that it should have been so late in adopting for itself the
rule which it was enforcing on other bodies. Discrimination may have
been exercised in special cases but, till the middle of the sixteenth
century, there is no trace of any systematic adoption of limpieza as a
test. A carta acordada of July 20, 1543 and a decree of Prince Philip in
1545, respecting the numbers and character of familiars, are silent as
to this as a qualification.[855] The first allusion to it that I have
met occurs in a commission issued to Francisco Romeo as scrivener of
confiscations in Saragossa, signed April 16, 1546, by the
inquisitor-general, but not countersigned by members of the Suprema
until July 9th, "after the inquisitors of Aragon had ascertained the
limpieza of the said Francisco Romeo."[856] A step forward is seen in
the instructions issued by the Suprema, October 10th of this same year,
in which it ordered that no familiar be received until it is ascertained
that he is an Old Christian.[857] Still this was rejected as a general
principle for, when the Córtes of Monzon, in 1547, complained that
Moriscos were appointed as familiars, the answer of the Suprema was a
formal declaration that the Inquisition regarded as capable of holding
office all who had been baptized and who lived as Christians, except
heretics or apostates or fautors of heretics.[858]


This vacillation continued. A number of appointments subsequent to that
of Romeo have no allusion to limpieza until 1549, when, on April 8th,
Valdés enquires of the inquisitors of Barcelona whether Gerónimo de
Torribos, candidate for the receivership, possesses the qualifications
of limpieza and habits required in officials, and whether there is
anything connected with his wife to prevent his appointment. So, on
April 8th, when Moya de Contreras, inquisitor of Saragossa, proposed to
employ commissioners of the Cruzada, Valdés emphatically negatived the
suggestion, giving, among other reasons, the fact that the officials of
the Cruzada were not "tan limpios de sangre." Yet, in an order of
October 8th of the same year to the tribunal of Cuenca, remodelling its
familiars, there is no allusion to the necessity of limpieza.[859]

This uncertainty continued yet for a while, of which further instances
could be cited, but a decisive step seemed to be taken when Philip, in
instructions of March 10, 1553, concerning the Concordia of Castile,
prescribed that all familiars must be Old Christians and yet a carta
acordada of March 20th on the same subject makes no allusion to such a
condition.[860] The tribunals appear to have been somewhat slack in
conforming their patronage to the new regulation. December 23, 1560, the
Suprema felt it necessary to order that all familiars must be married
men and _limpios_.[861] When the inquisitor-general made an appointment
and required the inquisitors to certify to the limpieza of the nominee,
they would do so, as appears from the commission of Bernaldo Mancipi, as
assistant notary of sequestrations in Barcelona in 1561, but in this
same year Inspector Cervantes reported that they paid no attention to it
in their appointments of commissioners, consultores and familiars, a
negligence which continued for, in 1568, the Suprema was obliged to
rebuke them for it.[862] This is scarce surprising when Philip II
himself, in 1565, had issued a series of conciliatory instructions
regarding the Moriscos of Valencia, in which he ordered that their
leading men should be made familiars.[863]

Thus far there does not seem to have been any definite system adopted as
to verifying limpieza. The statute of Toledo required aspirants to
furnish genealogies and deposit money for expenses and this was probably
the common plan. In 1557 we are told of Beltran Ybañez de Arzamendi,
appointed alguazil in the tribunal of Sardinia, that the examination of
his paternal genealogy was made in Valencia and of his maternal in
Calahorra, the birth-places of his respective parents,[864] but
doubtless much of this was perfunctory. It was evidently felt that the
highest authority must be invoked to prescribe a settled system and
Philip II was called upon for this. In 1562 he accordingly issued a
decree in which, according to custom, antiquity was claimed for
innovation, for it recited that, since the Inquisition had been founded
in Castile and Aragon, all inquisitors and officials appointed by the
inquisitor-general had been required to furnish genealogies to prove
that there was no trace of descent from Jews or Moors, or from those
condemned or penanced by the Inquisition. The king therefore ordered
that all appointees, in tribunals of the kingdoms of the crown of Aragon
and of Navarre, and of Logroño, should furnish satisfactory proofs of
limpieza, even though they might hold canonries or churches or be
members of Orders which required limpieza. Moreover married men were
obliged to furnish proofs of the limpieza of their wives and those
already in office were to be dismissed if there was defect of limpieza
in the wife. These rules were to be embodied in the Instructions and
were to be inviolably observed.[865] Undoubtedly a similar order was
issued for Castile and the utterance is important as embodying the first
absolute demand for proofs of limpieza and as marking the extravagant
extension of the rule to wives.

This royal cédula was interpreted as applicable to existing incumbents,
and investigations as to their genealogies were set on foot, with the
intention of weeding out at least the familiars who were not limpios.
Several efforts had already been made to this effect after the Castile
Concordia of 1553, without apparent result, and it was now undertaken
again with instructions that, if any were found to be Conversos, they
were to be dismissed without assigning a reason.[866] It was a work
ungrateful both to the investigators and investigated and dragged along
in the most perfunctory fashion. Cartas acordadas in 1567 and 1575
called for lists of those who had been investigated and those who had
not and, when it came to taking action, the habitual tenderness
manifested toward officials was displayed in orders issued in 1572 and
again in 1582 that if any officials, commissioners or familiars, were
found lacking in the requisite qualifications, they were to be reported
to the Suprema without dismissing them.[867]


As a matter of course the test was applied to all new appointments and
no one was admitted to office in any capacity in the Inquisition who
was not free from the _mancha_ of Jewish or Moorish blood or of
ancestral punishment. Even for temporary employment, limpieza was
essential. In his visitation of the Canaries, in 1574, the Inspector
Bravo de Zayas brought an accusation, against the Inquisitor Ortiz de
Funes, of appointing officials without preliminary investigation, the
cases being two emergency appointments to fill temporary vacancies, and
the appointees being _montañeses_, or highlanders from the northern
provinces of Spain, where purity of blood was presumable--to say nothing
of the fact that an investigation would probably have consumed a year or
two.[868] Yet this was but the natural expression of the infatuation
which had taken possession of Spain. In 1595, Philip II, in his
instructions to Manrique de Lara, lays especial stress on the importance
of limpieza. Investigation as to this and as to habits must be made with
the utmost rigor and no dispensations must be granted. No examinations
are to be made before the party is selected, because otherwise, if he is
not appointed owing to other reasons, it may be ascribed to a _mancha_
and thus undeserved infamy be cast upon an entire kindred.[869]
Strangely enough, however, the inquisitor-general himself was never
required to furnish proofs of purity of blood.[870]

Unfortunately, in the craze for absolute limpieza, no limit was set to
the number of generations through which the taint could be carried. The
canon law, as we have seen, limited disabilities to grandchildren and,
in 1573, Leonardo Donato describes the rule as extending to what were
called the four quarters, that is, the parents and the four
grandparents, and in this moderate shape he says it was the cause of
constant strife and of preserving the old Judaizing memories.[871] In
this, however, he greatly understated Spanish craving for purity of
blood. We have seen the Córtes of Castile, in 1532, petition that it
should be satisfied with great-grandparents, indicating that it was
carried beyond this, and Siliceo's Toledo statute affixed no limit. Each
body, it is true, could prescribe its own rules, but the more important
ones discarded all limitations and refused admission to those against
whom a stain could be found, however remote. In 1633 Escobar informs us
that among these were included the Inquisition, the Orders of Santiago,
Alcántara, Calatrava and St. John, the church of Toledo and all the
greater colleges and universities, including that of Alcalá; these all
required the most rigorous investigation to trace out the slightest
_mancha_ in the remotest grade of parentage.[872]


There were two sources of descent which caused impurity of blood--from
an ancestor of either of the proscribed races, or from one who had ever
been penanced by the Inquisition. As regards the former, the line was
drawn at the massacres of 1391 for Jews and at the enforced baptisms of
the early sixteenth century for Moors. Voluntary converts, prior to
those periods, were accepted as Old Christians, the subsequent ones were
considered as unwilling converts and were regarded as New Christians,
together with their descendants, no matter how zealously they had
embraced the Christian faith. The prevalence of intermarriage with
Conversos throughout the fifteenth century had led to infinite
ramifications throughout the land in the course of generations and,
about 1560, Cardinal Mendoza y Bobadilla, apparently moved by some
discussion on limpieza, drew up and presented to Philip II a memorial in
which he showed that virtually the whole nobility of Castile and Aragon
had a strain of Jewish blood.[873] There was no lack of material for
tracing the dissemination of this blood through the land. In Aragon,
Juan de Anchias, the zealous secretary of the first Saragossa tribunal,
compiled what was known as the _Libro Verde de Aragon_, giving the
affiliations of all the leading Conversos who had suffered, so as to
serve as a beacon for all who desired to avoid contamination. In Castile
there was no such authoritative publication, but the records of the
tribunals had accumulated ample material, and the sanbenitos of the
relaxed and reconciled, hung in the parish churches, kept the memory of
the sufferers green, to the discomfiture of their descendants. Many
individuals, moved by zeal or by malignity, from these and other
sources, with greater or less exactness, and including much that was
mere idle hearsay, compiled books which were circulated under the name
of _Libros verde_ or _del Becerro_. No one of the upper or middle class,
except in the remote mountainous districts of the North and East, could
feel secure that investigation might not reveal some unfortunate
_mésalliance_ of a distant ancestor. In fact, only those could feel safe
whose obscurity precluded any prolonged research into their ancestry. As
a writer remarks, in 1629, if it were not for limpieza the Inquisition
could select the best men for familiars, in place of appointing the
low-born whose ignorance enables them to pass the examinations

The second source of impurity--descent from one penanced by the
Inquisition--originally applied only to those who had incurred the
heavier penalties of relaxation or reconciliation, but there was nothing
to check the scrupulosity of the examiners, who worked in secret, and
they came to regard any penance inflicted by the Holy Office as affixing
an indelible stigma on the descendants. The results of this are forcibly
described in a memorial presented, in 1631, to Philip IV by Doctor Diego
de Sylva, a member of the Suprema. After alluding to the greatly
increased rigor of investigation, dating from the later years of Philip
II, he proceeds to state a further source of wrong only appreciable by
one who has handled the records of the Inquisition, and not to be openly
mentioned. In contrast to the exquisite justice and benignity which he
ascribes to the existing tribunals, the proceedings in the earlier
period were hurried and violent; many to save their lives made
confessions which may have been groundless; whole districts were
reconciled rather as a spiritual than a judicial process; in that
dangerous period careless words and propositions created suspicion, and
people were tried and dismissed with some trivial penance--a few masses,
some almsgiving or a light fast--for offences belonging really to the
exterior forum. Yet all these were sentences and, as there has since
grown up the rule requiring immemorial limpieza, whole families are
branded with infamy.[875] As, in fact, since the Reformation, the
Inquisition had grown more and more exacting and had inflicted on Old
Christians innumerable penances for careless words, it is easy to
conceive how this rigorous definition of limpieza spread infection
throughout the land, even outside of those who had a drop of Jewish or
Moorish blood.

These evils were aggravated by the looseness with which adverse
testimony was admitted in the investigations. Anonymous communications
were received and acted upon, for, although this was prohibited by law
and by papal briefs, these were commonly disregarded.[876] In a decree
by Philip IV, in 1623, designed to curb some of the evils, it was
ordered that no weight be attributed to idle talk, but the diffuseness
with which Escobar, in his commentary on this section, dwells upon the
worthless character of scandal and idle gossip and angry words uttered
in quarrels, shows how largely such evidence entered into the
conclusions reached. Common fame or reputation, he tells us, suffices,
even if the grounds for it be unknown, and purity or impurity of blood
is for the most part a matter of common fame and belief.[877] That this
was so is seen in an elaborate series of instructions for the conduct of
such investigations, where the fiscal is warned that great weight is to
be given to such expressions of opinion, even though the witness can
offer no proof except that he has heard it from his elders.[878] The
avenue thus opened to the malignant to gratify hatred is dwelt upon by
the writer with too much insistance for us to question the frequency
with which it was utilized.


This was facilitated by the secrecy which shrouded these investigations.
The applicant put in his genealogy, named his witnesses and awaited the
event. The process at best was a deliberate one and, if the result was
unfavorable, the answer never came, though the failure to secure an
appointment might arise from any other cause. As Doctor Sylva says, the
silence and mysterious authority of the Inquisition will not give the
slightest glimmer of light to the applicant, even through twenty years
of suspense, though meanwhile the opinion gains ground that his family
is impure, without his being able to rebut or investigate it, and thus a
whole lineage suffers with all its kindred.[879] A glimpse into the
anxieties thus caused is afforded by a consulta of February 26, 1634,
from the inquisitor-general to the king, respecting a memorial from the
Marquis of Navarrez asking for a speedy decision for his son, Don
Francisco Gurrea y Borja, who had put in his proofs for an appointment
as familiar, as the delay is damaging to his reputation. The
inquisitor-general reports to the king that no conclusion had been
reached; perhaps the king may please to decide it, for the marquis has
been in court for a long time pressing the matter, and the delay has
brought upon him suffering and stigma.[880] The suspense endured by all
the kindred, when one of its members decided to undergo the ordeal, is
visible in a letter of 1636, from Fernando Archbishop of Cuzco to his
nephew, the Coronel Jacinto de Vera, on learning that he was about to
apply for admission to one of the military Orders. He gives him advice
and information, and so important did he consider it that he had seven
copies made, to be forwarded by different routes and vessels, and
another member of the family wrote to Jacinto earnestly cautioning him
not to let any eye but his own to fall upon the archbishop's

In the routine adopted by the Inquisition for these investigations, the
applicant handed in his genealogy and, if married, that of his wife,
giving the names and residences of parents and grandparents. If thorough
search through the registers, by names and districts, revealed a fatal
blot, that of course was sufficient. If not, commissioners or
secretaries with notaries were sent from the tribunal, or the nearest
commissioners were ordered to go to the places of residence, where from
eight to twelve of the most aged Old Christians of good repute were
summoned as witnesses, with precautions to prevent the interested
parties from knowing who was called upon. The witnesses were examined
under oath, on a series of printed interrogatories, as to their
knowledge of the parties, whether they were descended from Conversos or
from penitents, what were the sources of information and whether it was
public fame and report. The replies were duly taken down and attested.
If salaried officials or familiars were concerned, the results of the
information were transmitted to the Suprema, to which were also referred
doubtful questions and votes in discordia.[882] In a more perfected
form, known as the _nueva orden_, in use in the seventeenth century,
stringent additional precautions were taken to prevent the insufficient
secrecy observed by officials which was supposed to deter witnesses from
giving adverse evidence. A carta acordada of January 22, 1628,
threatened excommunication and deprivation of office for this and, under
subsequent regulations, all concerned were forbidden, under rigorous
penalties, to reveal to any one, even to a minister of the Inquisition,
any evidence taken or papers, or records, or even the name of a witness,
so that the applicant should be kept in perfect ignorance of the
progress of his affair.[883]

The commissioners were invested with full power to cite witnesses, to
examine into sanbenitos suspended in churches, and to demand any papers
bearing upon questions that might arise, whether these were in private
hands or public archives, and, at their discretion, to make copies or
carry away the originals, the owners of which were told that if they
wanted them back they might apply to the tribunal. If a witness absented
himself, a summons to appear before the tribunal was left with the
parish priest to be served on him when he should return.[884] Evidently
no family records were too sacred to escape these searching

[Sidenote: _EXPENSES_]

All this, of course, involved expense and the fees earned in the work by
the officials formed a welcome source of revenue. In 1625 the pay of
notaries or secretaries was fixed at a _per diem_ of sixteen
reales.[885] This was subsequently raised for, in 1665, a statement of
expenses in the case of Doctor Martin Roig, applicant for the position
of consultor in Valencia, shows that the secretary was paid 30 sueldos a
day and a local commissioner 20. This was only part of the cost, for
every act and every blank filled in, every piece of writing bore its
separate charge. The bill rolled up for him and his wife in Barcelona,
for this unsalaried position, amounted to 955-2/3 sueldos and this was
only the beginning. Similar researches were required in the tribunals of
Valencia and Cuenca, which must have been still more costly, for the
Barcelona report only occupied twenty-three folios, while that of
Valencia was in ninety and one against his son Vicente was in a hundred
and eight. Two years later, in 1667, the affair was still dragging
on.[886] It was a large price for the honor of an unpaid position, even
if he proved successful. These extortions were multiplied as often as
possible. In 1661, Juan Temprado Múñoz made his proofs as receiver of
the tribunal of Murcia and of course this included his wife, but when,
in 1667, their son Juan Temprado de Cereña desired an office in the
tribunal of Barcelona, he had to go through the same process afresh,
when the examination of the Barcelona registers alone cost him 546
sueldos. In addition to this the registers of Cuenca and Valencia had to
be examined and evidence had to be taken in the home of his ancestors.
This chanced to be in Roussillon, which was now French territory; there
was war between the nations and, even in peace, France refused entrance
to officials of the Inquisition, so the ingenious formality was devised
of sending a commissioner to the border and examining there the
requisite number of old men as witnesses. The evidence of course was
valueless, but it gathered in the _per diem_ all the same.[887] In time
this _per diem_ for the secretary was increased to 50 reales and, from
one or two cases in 1815, it appears that it was a perquisite which the
secretaries took in turns, and, when the commissioner nearest to the
place of examination was employed, it was without prejudice to the
secretary--that is, the commissioner who did the work received 30
reales a day, while the secretary took the other 20.[888]

In order to secure the payment of these fees, the applicant was
required, when he presented his genealogy, to make a deposit, originally
of 300 reales. As the business increased it became evident that a
separate fund and separate accounts of these moneys must be kept and, in
1600, it was ordered that a special chest be provided, with two keys,
one entrusted to the fiscal and the other to a secretary. Abuses crept
in, effectively described in the memorial of 1623 to the Suprema, as a
remedy for which a new official was created, known as the _Depositario
de los Pretendientes_, who received and accounted for the deposits,
charging two per cent. on the sums passing through his hands. This he
remitted to the Suprema, for his office was salaried and he was relieved
of the temptation of perquisites. The office was one of those put up for
sale, for three or four lives, under Sotomayor.[889]

The whole business was provocative of fraud and perjury and bribery.
Despite the well-meant efforts of the Inquisition to preserve the
profoundest secrecy, the writers of the period are too unanimous in
deploring the success of enemies in casting infamy on those they hated,
for us to doubt that means were found to ascertain what was on hand and
to abuse the opportunity. To the applicants the stake was too great for
them to shrink from any means that promised success. Cases become not
infrequent in the records of prosecutions for false-witness in matters
of limpieza, showing that aspirants were not remiss in furnishing
testimony to prove fraudulent claims.


Although, in 1560, Valdés humanely ordered that descendants of
penitents, who committed perjury in getting up statements of limpieza,
should not be prosecuted, this policy changed in 1577, when they were
subjected to prosecution and in 1582 the thrifty plan was adopted of
inflicting pecuniary penance.[890] This proved profitable, for the
culprits were many, not only among aspirants to office but because
limpieza was requisite in many careers, and the Inquisition took
cognizance of all cases of perjury in this matter, whether it was
concerned or not in the investigation. Thus, in 1585, Bernardino de
Torres, a prominent citizen of Toledo, had occasion, in a suit, to prove
his nobility and purity of blood, which he did with a number of
witnesses. The tribunal had evidence in its records that, on both
father's and mother's side, he was descended from Conversos who had been
penanced, and it promptly prosecuted both him and his witnesses. Among
them was the Regidor of Toledo, Diego de Parades, who had likewise sworn
to his own limpieza, although the records showed his descent from
reconciliados in a time of grace. Altogether there were sixteen
witnesses, the advanced age of most of them showing that old men found
profitable occupation in testifying to their recollections. Bernardino
himself was penanced in fifty thousand maravedís. Many of the witnesses
were let off with perpetual disability to testify in such cases, but a
hundred and thirty-six thousand maravedís were collected from the rest.
A few other Toledo cases at the same time may be mentioned to show the
various motives impelling men to these frauds. Gerónimo de Villareal
desired to place his daughter in a convent where limpieza was required.
The Licenciado Antonio de Olvera was about to emigrate to the colonies
and wished to protect himself from insult. Hernando de Villareal had a
son who proposed to take orders and another who aspired to an
appointment as familiar. The records showed them to be descended from
grandparents or great-grandparents who had been burnt or reconciled and
they were duly punished.[891] The taint spread with every new generation
and a large part of the population was heavily handicapped in life.

If there were frequent perjury and subornation of testimony it is not to
be supposed that the seekers for limpieza hesitated to corrupt the
officials who controlled their destinies, nor is it unreasonable to
assume that many of the latter were accessible to bribery. The
opportunities were tempting and they were freely exploited. An
experienced writer, in 1648, describes this as the most troublesome
business in the tribunals, leading to quarrels, which he hints arose
between those honestly endeavoring to discharge their duty and those who
had been bribed. The fiscal is reminded that he must set his face like
flint against all efforts to pass a genealogy in which there is a flaw,
for the aspirants tempt the officials, there is collusion between them
and forged documents are to be expected. The chief reason, he says, why
commissionerships are sought is because of the opportunities thus
afforded and, writing in Toledo, he declares that all the commissioners
and notaries attached to that tribunal are untrustworthy and venal.[892]

       *       *       *       *       *

It was natural that the evils with which this absurd cult of limpieza
afflicted the land should arouse opposition and call forth suggestions
to mitigate its hardship. The earliest writer who ventured publicly to
urge a reform seems to have been Fray Agustin Salucio, a distinguished
Dominican theologian. In 1599 he issued a brief tract, pointing out that
practically all Spaniards, in the course of ages, had contracted some
more or less infinitesimal impurity of blood and that, unless
investigations were limited to some moderate period, such as a hundred
years, only the lower orders, whose genealogies were untraceable, could
escape the consequences. He tells us that both Pius V and Gregory XIII
drew up briefs prescribing narrow limits to these investigations but
that, on communicating their designs to Philip II, discussions arose as
to the term, which proved so protracted that the briefs were never
published. Philip himself became convinced of the necessity of some
limitation and, towards the close of his reign, he assembled a junta,
including Inquisitor-general Portocarrero (1596-99) which unanimously
agreed to a term of a hundred years, but Philip's death caused the
project to be dropped. Salucio's tract was promptly suppressed by Philip
III, but it was reprinted, in 1637, by Fray Gerónimo de la Cruz with a
verbose confutation. Yet, while he indignantly denied the aspersion on
the limpieza of the nation, he was fully alive to the misery caused by
the current practice and he urged a limitation of time, placing it at
1492, the year of the expulsion of the Jews.[893]


At length Philip IV was induced, in a pragmática of February 10, 1623,
to attempt some amelioration of existing conditions. Anonymous
communications were to receive no attention and precision as to dates
and persons was required in alleging punishment inflicted by the
Inquisition. Witnesses were prohibited to testify as to common rumor
unless they could allege reasons and details. Some tribunals, especially
colleges, were so rigorous that they required not only proof of limpieza
but also that no doubts had been expressed, whereby many families had
been unjustly defamed through the malice so frequent in these matters,
all of which was forbidden for the future. A significant clause pointed
out that, in the early days, persons sometimes confessed to matters
about which there was no other evidence and such confessions,
unsupported by external proofs, were not to be prejudicial to their
descendants. The practice of many persons in compiling books called
"Libros verdes ó del Becerro," fabricated with no greater authority than
their own malignity, was condemned, because they caused irreparable
injury and injustice and disturbance of the public peace, seeing that
many persons gave evidence based only on having read such books. Any one
possessing books or papers calling in question the limpieza or nobility
of others was therefore commanded to burn them under pain of five
hundred ducats and two years of exile. Then, to place some limit on the
multiplication of investigations, it was decreed that when there had
been "tres actos positivos"--three positive decisions affirming limpieza
or nobility--it should be deemed a proved and settled matter for the
party involved and his lineal descendants, not thereafter to be called
in question, provided always that the decisions were made, with full
knowledge of the case by proper tribunals, which were defined to be the
Inquisition, the Council of Military Orders, the Order of St. John, the
four principal colleges of Salamanca, the two principal ones of
Valladolid and Alcalá and the Church of Toledo.[894]

Considering the acute perception of existing evils displayed in the
preamble to the law, the slender restrictions imposed manifest the
strength of the prejudices to be overcome. Slight as they were, the
Inquisition and the Council of Military Orders, after nominally
accepting the law, proceeded vigorously to nullify the provision of the
_tres actos positivos_. A writer, in 1629, tells us that they had
succeeded in requiring regular investigations, in spite of the
production of the three acts; they also held that these only related to
parents and grandparents and that they were conclusive only as to the
articles covered by them and not as to new points that would require
fresh examinations and thus the fees of the officials and the anxieties
of the applicants remained undiminished.[895] As regards the character
of the testimony received, the secrecy of the procedure renders credible
the assertion of Escobar, in his commentary on the law, that there was
little if any improvement. There was some mitigation of rigor in an
order of the Suprema, about 1645, that when an applicant could prove the
_tres actos positivos_ it was not necessary to push investigations as to
his great grandparents. Somewhat halting was another rule promulgated in
1639, requiring submission to the Suprema of matters more than a hundred
years old, before rejecting the applicant, but this was withdrawn in

       *       *       *       *       *

The futility of the system and its unfortunate influence are forcibly
set forth by the writer of 1629, who tells us that those who succeed
best in their proofs are the poor peasants, whose grandparents have been
forgotten, and the great nobles, against whom no one dares to testify.
The chief sufferers are the lesser nobility and gentlemen--too
conspicuous for their ancestry not to be known and too powerless to
exclude adverse witnesses. Everybody knows that he who has friends
succeeds and that he who has enemies fails, irrespective of the truth,
and thus the statutes wholly fail of their object. This is facilitated
by the secrecy enabling the enemy to produce false witnesses and the
accomplice to bribe and bring forward perjured testimony, so that it is
notorious that in no other class of cases are the results so fallacious.
In this way there has been created a sort of factitious nobility--that
of limpieza--the possessors of which look down with contempt on the old
nobility of the land.

[Sidenote: _EVILS_]

Another evil of magnitude is the fearful waste of money. He who
succeeds, after paying his agents for things too scandalous to be
described, finds himself penniless, and he who fails has not money
enough left to make another attempt; his proofs are destroyed and he
hangs around the court, wasting his life and perhaps that of his father
and sons, and all this under the ban of being infamous--he and his
latest posterity.

The damage to men's honors is incredible and also to the kingdom, for
strangers call us all Marranos. Moreover those whose talents would be of
great service to State and Church are lost to us, for they have not
confidence to seek to enter a college and, what a base cobbler can risk
and gain, those who are noble and ambitious fail in, because there may
be a single drop of tainted blood in their veins. It is also one of the
causes of depopulation, for women enter nunneries and men remain
celibates rather than inflict infamy on descendants, while large numbers
emigrate. Besides all this are the hatreds arising from adverse
testimony and the infinite bribery and collusions and perjury, so that
Satan has no greater source of winning souls. It is not required for an
Archbishop of Toledo, but it is insisted on for the beadle of his
cathedral; it is not demanded for an inquisitor-general, but for the
messenger of a tribunal; not for the President of Castile, but for a
familiar or the purveyor of a college.[897]

This is not exaggeration, for it is merely an amplification in detail of
the preamble of the pragmática of 1623 and is fully borne out by Escobar
in his commentary on the law.[898] That in fact it was the conviction of
all sober-minded and thinking men of the period may be gathered from the
emphatic testimony of Fray Benito de Peñalosa, though he does not
venture to suggest a remedy more radical than restricting the effect of
impurity of blood to five generations.[899]

The effects of this proscription were manifold. As early as 1575,
Lorenzo Priuli, the Venetian envoy, describes the descendants of the
Conversos as living like other good Christians and being among the
richest and noblest of the land, yet perpetually incapacitated from the
honors and employments which were the ambition of every Spaniard--an
evil which was increasing every day. Thus Spain, being full of
discontented persons and divided in itself, some rising would be feared
but for the severe execution of justice and the presence of the king.
In 1598, Agostino Nani repeats the assertion--the descendants of all,
who have at any time been punished by the Inquisition, live in a state
of despair for, to the third and fourth generation they are regarded as
infamous and incapable of any office in Church or State.[900] Navarrete
does not hesitate to suggest that, but for the exclusion from public
life of all but Old Christians of purest lineage, the fatal necessity of
the expulsion of the Moriscos might have been averted: they might have
been Christianized had they not been driven to desperation and hatred of
religion by the indelible mark of infamy to which they were

In fact, the statutes of limpieza created a caste of pariahs who
infected all with whom they might form alliances, but the caste was not
recognizable by exterior signs and no one could tell what corruption of
blood he might entail upon his family by any marriage that he might
contract. As Fray Salucio says, no one, entering into wedlock, could
make the investigations required by the colleges and the Military
Orders. Thus the infection was constantly spreading; every man stood
upon a mine which might explode at any moment when some distant kinsman
of his own or of his wife might provoke an investigation during which a
taint might be discovered in the common line of ancestry. When we recall
the history of the Conversos anterior to the sixteenth century and the
enormous operations of the early Inquisition we can conceive how this
indelible stain must have spread throughout society, to be revealed at
any moment in the most unexpected places.[902] A writer in 1668 reflects
the popular prejudice when he compares a marriage with a man whose
father has been penanced by the Inquisition to sleeping in a bed full of
lice or in sheets that have been used by one who has the itch.[903]

[Sidenote: _EFFECTS_]

Another result was greatly to increase the authority of the Inquisition
and the terror which it shed around it, by the fact that at a word it
could inflict this undying infamy upon a lineage. To be arrested and
cast into the secret prison, even without cause, was sufficient. In
1601, Philip III, when instructing the Inquisition to furnish to the
Council of Military Orders full information as to any one, when called
upon, required the report to include, not only the imprisonment of an
ancestor subsequently acquitted, but even the fact of an accusation
never acted upon.[904] It can readily be understood that even a summons
to appear, in a matter not of faith, was felt acutely through a whole
kindred. In the long struggle at Bilbao over the _visitas de navios_,
the corregidor Mendieta took an active part against the commissioner
Leguina who, to silence him, caused him to be cited by the tribunal of
Logroño. This caused intense excitement and the Señorio of Biscay had
him accompanied by two caballeros. When he demanded to know the charges
against him, there were none forthcoming and he was dismissed. The
affair was regarded as so serious that the Council of State presented a
consulta to the queen-regent in October, 1668, setting forth that the
citation might lead to the disgrace of his family and posterity and
suggesting that some relief should be found for him.[905]

All this is of supreme importance in estimating the benignity and mercy
of which the Inquisition was constantly boasting. The sentences rendered
may frequently appear to us trivial, but the penance was the smallest
part of the penalty. Villanueva, as we have seen, was condemned merely
to abjure for light suspicion of heresy and to a few years' absence from
Madrid, but that cast disgrace upon his whole kindred; he and his
descendants fell into the class of pariahs and could form no alliance
outside of that caste; through generations they were branded with an
ineffaceable stigma. To Spanish _pundonor_ the scaffold were merciful in
comparison. The mercy of the Inquisition was more to be dreaded than the
severity of other tribunals and men might well beware of incurring the
enmity of those who could at discretion consign them and their posterity
to infamy.

       *       *       *       *       *

The limpieza test survived the Revolution and purity of blood was as
essential under the Restoration as under the old monarchy, but there was
some relaxation of rigidity. Thus, if a man and wife proved their
limpieza, it sufficed for their children, only a legal certificate of
baptism being required, and in the same way the proofs presented by one
brother answered for another on his furnishing evidence of their common
paternity.[906] A couple of years was also allowed to appointees in
which to put in their proofs, and there is even a case of secretaries
admitted without proofs, but with a warning that it would not be allowed
again.[907] In the extreme penury of the time the Suprema imposed a fee,
for its own benefit, of 60 reales on every investigation, which the
receivers were required to collect and to remit yearly.[908] It was also
in receipt of the two per cent. levied by the _depositarios de los
pretendientes_, and one of its last acts was the acknowledgement,
February 10, 1820, of 360 reales remitted by the depositario of Seville,
which would show that 18,000 reales had passed through his hands.[909]
The part of the business which fell to the Suprema was not large. Its
first certificate is dated January 3, 1816 and the last one January 4,
1820, the whole number being only one hundred and eight.[910] From these
certificates it would appear that the investigation was scarce more than
a formality.

The demand for limpieza survived the Inquisition, though with its
closure it is not easy to conjecture where any serious proofs could be
found. Up to 1859 it was still requisite for entrance into the corps of
cadets but, in 1860, the Córtes unanimously abolished this survival of
prejudice and intolerance.[911]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _MAJORCA_]

Yet there is still a corner of Spain where that prejudice has proved
superior to law. We shall have occasion hereafter to refer to the
terrible persecution of the Judaizing New Christians of Majorca, in 1679
and 1691. Padre Francisco Garau, S. J., who promptly printed an exulting
account of the four autos de fe celebrated in the latter year, tells us
that the descendants of Conversos formed a community of some two hundred
families, living huddled together in the _calle_ and apart from the rest
of the population, for there never was intermarriage between them and
the Old Christians. The people called them Jews and, on their
complaining of this, an offensive nick-name was speedily invented and
they were termed _chuetas_ in allusion to their avoidance of pork. They
were not allowed to hold public office, although great efforts,
supported by the government, were made by the wealthy and influential
among them. The same proscription was exercised by the guilds and
brotherhoods, especially by the surgeons, confectioners, candle-makers,
grocers and silk-weavers, so that they were virtually all traders.[912]
Thus there was a solid foundation of inveterate prejudice which was
stimulated, in 1755, by the malicious reprint of Father Garau's book,
followed by the circulation of lists, furnished by the secretary of the
tribunal, of all Conversos punished by the Inquisition, comprising all
the families of Jewish extraction. This caused a recrudescence of
ill-feeling, and complaint was made to Carlos III, who responded in
cédulas of December 10, 1782, October 9, 1785 and April 18, 1788,
ordering that they should not be impeded from residing in any part of
Palma or of the islands, that the entrance-gate of the _calle_ should be
destroyed, and that insults or calling them Jews or _chuetas_ should be
punished with four years of presidio. They were declared fit for service
in army or navy or any other department, and free to exercise all arts
and trades, and all this was extended to the descendants of Conversos
throughout Spain.[913]

Yet even an autocratic monarch could not overcome prejudices so
deep-rooted. Church and State in Majorca had bitterly opposed the appeal
to the throne and had succeeded in postponing action for ten years. The
University, in 1776, had revived its statute of limpieza and had closed
its doors to the proscribed class. When the royal decrees came they
provoked warm opposition on the part of the municipal authorities who
resolved not to yield obedience. It was the force of events rather than
the growth of tolerance that gradually brought relief. In 1808, when the
nation rose against the French, they were admitted to military service,
but when the local levies were ordered to the mainland, there was a
mutiny in which the _barrio del Segell_ was sacked.

After the reaction of the Restoration, under the revolution of 1820 they
were enrolled in the National Guard, but when came the
counter-revolution of 1823 they were disarmed and the rabble promptly
sacked their houses and made bon-fires of what was too cumbrous to
steal. After the death of Fernando VII the enforced constitutionalism
of the Cristina government restored them practically to citizenship and
military service and gradually their exclusion from civil office

Popular aversion however was not to be overcome by statute. It was
rekindled, in 1856, by a suit brought to establish their right to
membership in the Circulo Balear, or Balearic Club, which led to
republication of the essential portions of Father Garau's book. This was
answered, in 1858, by Tomás Bertran Soler, from whom we learn that the
New Christians were still excluded from Christian society and continued
to dwell in the _calle_; they were refused all public offices and
admission to guilds and brotherhoods so that they were confined to
trading; they were compelled to marry among themselves, for no one would
contract alliance with them, nor would the ecclesiastical authorities
grant licences for mixed marriages. Since then there has been some
abatement of popular prejudice, but the latest accessible view of the
situation, in 1877, by Padre Taronji, a priest of the proscribed class,
represents the clergy as still obstinately impervious to all ideas of
extending fellowship to their fellow-believers and as busily fanning the
dying embers of class hatred, based on events two centuries old.[914]

Wise statesmanship in Spain would have sought the unification of the
races within its borders. In place of this, race hatred was stimulated
in the name of religion, with the deplorable results recorded in Spanish





When the Inquisition was established it was expected to be not only a
self-sustaining institution but a source of profit. To what extent the
anticipation of gain, by seizing the substance of their subjects, may
have influenced Ferdinand and Isabella, in adopting this method of
vindicating the faith, it would be useless now to enquire, but they
refused to permit any division of the spoils as in the older papal
Inquisition of Italy. These were reserved to the crown and, when the
first inquisitors were sent to Seville, in 1480, they were accompanied
by a receiver of confiscations--a royal official whose appointment shows
what were the expectations entertained. Yet the support of the
Inquisition had to come out of the product of its labors; the basis of
its finances was confiscation and the use which it made of its powers in
this respect, whether for its own benefit or for that of the sovereign,
exercised so large an influence on the prosperity of Spain that it
demands a somewhat careful examination. Spoliation on such a scale,
continued unremittingly for nearly three centuries, was a tremendous
burden on the productivity of the most industrious class of the
population. At the commencement, a very large portion of the accessible
wealth of Spain was in the hands of the Jews and Conversos. By the
expulsion of the former and the prosecution of the latter they were
stripped of it. The marvellous persistence of the New Christians, their
tireless activity and business aptitude, kept them incessantly at work
making acquisitions which continued to render persecution profitable and
contributed to maintain the institution which was laboring, with equal
persistence, for their destruction. It would not be wholly true to
assert that the exhaustion of confiscations caused the inertia of the
later decades of the Inquisition, but it unquestionably was a
contributing factor.

The cruelty of confiscation was equal to its effectiveness. To strip a
man, perhaps advanced in years, of the results of the labors of a
life-time and to turn his wife and children penniless on the street was
a severity of infliction which rendered the sparing of his life a
doubtful mercy, and it was not without reason that the legists deemed it
equivalent to capital punishment.[915] To the persecutor this was a
recommendation, in addition to its financial advantages, and we can
readily understand why it was enforced with such remorseless

       *       *       *       *       *

Confiscation as a punishment for crime was too settled a principle of
the imperial jurisprudence for any jurist to call in question its
propriety. As heresy was held to be treason to God, more detestable than
treason to an earthly prince, the Church naturally adopted it as soon
as, in the twelfth century, persecution became systematized. In 1163,
Alexander III, at the Council of Tours, commanded all potentates to
seize heretics and confiscate their possessions, and Lucius III, in his
Verona decree of 1184, sought to divert this to the benefit of the
Church.[916] Under the Roman law of treason, the property of a traitor
was forfeited from the time when he first conceived his crime and this
was applied to the heretic, whose earliest act of heresy was the date
from which the fisc claimed his estate--a provision of much importance
in the settlement of debts.


In Aragon, the introduction of the Inquisition in the thirteenth century
rendered confiscation for heresy a matter of course. In Castile a more
tolerant spirit, as expressed in the laws of Alfonso X, forbade it, so
long as there were Catholic heirs or kindred; if there were none, the
king inherited, subject to the right of the Church, if the culprit were
a cleric, to claim it within a year.[917] This code however was not
confirmed until 1348, by which time scruple had diminished, for Alfonso
XI, followed by Henry III, confiscated to the royal treasury one-half of
the possessions of the convicted heretic.[918] It was reserved for
Ferdinand and Isabella tacitly to accept the canon law in all its rigor,
while diverting to the royal treasury all the proceeds. A contemporary
asserts that they divided it into thirds--one for the war with the
Moors, one for the support of the Inquisition and the third for pious
uses,[919] but there is no trace of such allotment and we shall see that
the crown made such use as it pleased of its acquisitions.

Strictly speaking, the Inquisition did not confiscate but merely
pronounced the culprit guilty of that which implied confiscation, and it
seems to have felt some hesitation as to assuming the responsibility. In
the earliest trials that have reached us, there is no settled formula,
either in the demand of the fiscal for punishment or in the sentences,
confiscation being sometimes expressed and sometimes inferred and left
for the alcalde to pronounce.[920] The Instructions of 1484 are silent
as to confiscation in cases of the living but, in treating of
prosecution of the dead, they order the heirs to be heard, so that the
property may be confiscated and applied to the fisc of the sovereigns,
and it is noteworthy that in sentences on the dead, immediately after
this, the Instructions are referred to as though to shield the
inquisitor from responsibility.[921]

There evidently was popular repugnance to this spoliation and no one
wished to be responsible for it. Ferdinand, in a proclamation of October
29, 1485, declared that the confiscations were made by order of the
pope, in discharge of his conscience and by virtue of his obedience to
holy Mother Church.[922] It was probably owing to his instructions that
the tribunals finally assumed the responsibility, as is seen in a
sentence of July 8, 1491, in Saragossa, on the deceased Juan de la
Caballería, where the king is ordered, in virtue of holy obedience, to
take the property and hold it as his own.[923] Apparently all did not
acquiesce promptly for we find him, in 1510, ordering the inquisitor of
Majorca, when pronouncing any one to be a heretic, to add at the end of
the sentence that he declares the property confiscated and applied to
the royal fisc and orders the receiver to take it, when the receiver is
to do so in virtue of the sentence.[924] In accordance with this the
official formula adopted bore that the tribunal found the culprit guilty
of heresy and as such to have incurred excommunication and the
confiscation and loss of all his property, which it applied to the royal
treasury and to the receiver in the name of the king, from the time when
he commenced to commit the crime of heresy. Or, if the offender was an
ecclesiastic, it was applied to whom it lawfully belonged. This rather
evaded the question whether confiscation was self-acting, but the _Fe de
confiscacion_, given by the notary to the judge of confiscations,
formally asserts that the inquisitors and Ordinary had confiscated the
property to the king's treasury and by the sentence had applied it to
his receiver in his name.[925] If any uncertainty remained, it was
removed by a carta acordada of 1626, which ordered that, in all cases of
formal heresy, the sentence should include confiscation for, if there
was to be any mitigation, the granting of such grace belonged to the
inquisitor-general.[926] The anterior date to which the confiscation
operated was determined, under the Instructions of 1561, by the consulta
de fe when voting on the sentence.[927]


The phrase, in the case of ecclesiastics, of adjudging the property to
whom it legally belonged, was a recognition of the claims of the Church.
What these were seems to have been open to question. Under the Partidas
the Church had the right, if it put forward the demand within a year,
but Ferdinand, in a letter of March 11, 1498, says he is told that he
has a right to a third in such cases. Whence this was derived we are not
told, but he established the rule and it remained in force as late as
1559 when two-thirds of the estate of Dr. Agustin Cazalla passed to the
Bishop of Palencia who, however, transferred it back to the
Inquisition.[928] This was probably a compromise, for the Inquisition
had asserted its right to the whole, and Bishop Simancas, in 1552, had
said that many hold that the property of clerics goes to the bishop, but
the truer opinion, which had always been followed in Spain, was that it
belongs to the fisc, for the use of the Inquisition.[929] The question,
however, was not definitely settled for, in 1568, the Suprema called
upon all the tribunals to report without delay what was their practice
and what was their formula of sentence.[930] It was inevitable that any
doubts should eventually be construed in favor of the Holy Office and,
in the seventeenth century, the authorities assume as a matter of course
that the confiscations of clerics enure to the tribunals, although the
sentence still attributed them to whom they lawfully pertained.
Forfeited benefices of heretics, however, were a papal perquisite, by
decree of Paul IV, June 18, 1556 and this is cited, about 1640, as still
in force in Spain.[931]

For awhile the confiscations were subject to another diversion. The
feudal lords, who saw the property of their vassals swept into the royal
maelstrom, grew restless and, although they do not seem to have put
forth any legal claim, Ferdinand, in many cases, deemed it wise to
pacify them with a grant of one-third of the confiscations made in their
estates. The earliest grant of the kind that I have happened to meet is
to the Infante Enrique, Duke of Segorbe, April 20, 1491.[932] These
grants were subject to a deduction for the expenses of the trials, which
led to a good deal of friction, as none of the parties concerned were
over-scrupulous. If the grantee quarrelled with the receiver over the
question of expenses he had a fashion, when the customary auction of the
property was held, of announcing that he desired to bid and that nobody
should bid against him. By this device the Duke of Bejar enforced a
settlement in 1514 and again in 1517.[933] The experience of the Duke
del Infantado shows how skilful were the officials in neutralizing these
grants. In 1515 he obtained a grant of one-half of confiscations up to
that time and one-third for the future, subject to expenses. Disputes
arose as a matter of course and, in 1519, he prevented auction sales
till he should be paid and, in 1520, he compromised for two hundred
ducats in settlement of claims up to that time and ten per cent. for the
future, free of expenses.[934] It is safe to say that Ximenes was
exposed to no such trouble in his settlements but, with his enormous
revenues and his position as inquisitor-general, it would have better
comported with his dignity to have abstained from procuring, in 1515, a
grant of one-third of the confiscations made in his estates and in the
Cazorla lands assigned for the expenses of his table.[935] With the
gradual weeding out of the wealthier Conversos and the increasing
expenses of the tribunals, the share of the feudal lords doubtless
diminished until it was not worth contesting, for shortly after this
period we cease to hear of this division of the proceeds.

       *       *       *       *       *


Confiscation, as we have seen, was one of the invariable penalties of
heresy under the canon law. The heretic was outside of the Church; if
persistent he was relaxed and burnt; if he repented and professed
conversion he was "reconciled" to the Church, but though he thus escaped
death the forfeiture of his property remained. Reconciliation, as a
rule, inferred confiscation. An exception to this was when a Term of
Grace was published, usually of thirty or forty days, during which those
who made full confession of their sins and gave full information about
others were received to reconciliation, under promise of release from
imprisonment and confiscation, but subject to public penance and giving
as "alms" such portion of their property as the inquisitors should
designate.[936] This was an abandonment by the king of the property
which had become forfeit through heresy and was confirmed by a formal
grant by him to them of what was lawfully his, empowering them to sell
and convey a good title, which otherwise they could not do.[937] This
did not apply to what the penitent suffered from the crimes of others,
and thus children so reconciled could not claim estates forfeited by
their parents. Outside of the Term of Grace there was no escape.
_Espontaneados_--those coming forward spontaneously--after its
expiration, had already forfeited all their possessions and, as it was
explained, it was not the intention of the sovereigns to remit the
penalty to them, save when, in special cases, they might exercise
clemency.[938] This covetous policy, which discouraged the repentant
sinner, was continued until, in 1597, the Suprema ordered that
espontaneados should be reconciled without confiscation.[939] Yet, in
spite of this, when, in 1677, Alvaro Núñez de Velasco, came forward
voluntarily to denounce himself and was reconciled, his sentence
included confiscation.[940]

Occasional instances are met in which confiscation was spared on account
of the extreme youth of the penitent, but I have been unable to find any
formal rule to that effect and it seems to have been discretional with
the tribunal. In 1501, at Barcelona, when Florencia, daughter of Manuel
de Puigmija, was condemned to perpetual prison, it is said that her
property was spared in view of her tender age. In the reconciliation, at
Toledo, April 20, 1659, of Ana Pereira, aged ten, confiscation was
included; in that of Beatriz Jorje of the same age, December 8, 1659,
there is no allusion to confiscation and, in that of Diego de Castro,
aged ten, December 8, 1681, it is stated that confiscation is omitted in
view of his age.[941]

       *       *       *       *       *

The enforcement of confiscation was a business matter, reduced to a
thorough and pitiless system. The sufferers naturally sought to elude it
and every possible means that experience could suggest were adopted to
prevent the loss of the minutest fragment. When the accused was
arrested, all his visible possessions were simultaneously sequestrated
and inventoried. His papers and books of account were examined to
ascertain what debts were owing to him, and he was at once subjected to
an _audiencia de hacienda_ in which he was interrogated under oath, in
the most searching manner, as to all his property, his debts and
credits, his marriage settlement, dowries or gifts to his children,
their estates if they were dead, whether he had secreted anything in
apprehension of arrest, and every detail that the circumstances
suggested. Any failure to answer fully and truly was perjury, for which
he could be punished, as occurred in the case of Louis de Perlas, tried
in Valencia for Lutheranism in 1552.[942] The most repulsive incident in
this perquisition was the advantage taken of the terrors of approaching
death, when the confessors of those who were to be executed in an auto
de fe were employed during the preceding night in exhorting them to
reveal any portion of property that might have escaped previous
investigations. Thus, June 29, 1526, Fray Castell reported that Pedro
Pomar, whom he had confessed during the night of the auto de fe "estando
en el suplicio de la muerte" had revealed where certain account books
could be found and also some debts due to him. So, December 21, 1529,
Anton Ruiz, under the same circumstances, confessed to debts due to him
which had eluded previous search.[943]


This prostitution of religion to the service of greed was exploited to
the utmost. Excommunication was so habitually abused for temporal
purposes that it was naturally resorted to, and all who concealed or
held any property of a convicted heretic were subjected to it. In 1486
Ferdinand writes that certain notaries refuse to give copies of
contracts passed before them, relative to obligations due to heretics,
to which they must be constrained by censures and the invocation, if
necessary, of the secular arm, and the same course must be taken with
debtors refusing to pay what they owe.[944] October 17, 1500, he scolds
some inquisitors for their negligence; those who know that they are
suspected commonly hide their property or place it in the hands of third
parties and "in this way those who hold such property become
excommunicated to the great damage of their souls, for they continue
under the censure and my fisc suffers, for the property escapes
confiscation."[945] In 1645 a writer gives us the form adopted in such
cases. If the fiscal thought that there was property of a confiscated
estate concealed or debts due to it unrevealed, the tribunal issued an
edict to be read from the pulpits, ordering under pain of
excommunication every one holding such property, or cognizant of facts
concerning it, to make it known to the commissinoner or to the parish
priest within three days. On the expiration of this term the priests
were required to denounce from their pulpits all such persons as
excommunicated and to be avoided by all Christians. Then, after three
days more, followed the anathema, in its awful solemnities of bell, book
and candle, with the imprecatory psalm, and invoking the wrath of
Almighty God and the glorious Virgin his Mother and of the Apostles
Peter and Paul and all the saints of heaven and all the plagues of Egypt
on the wicked ones who were withholding its own from the Holy

This spiritual punishment did not exclude temporal. In 1671, Manuel
Fernández Chaves, tried in Toledo for the "occultation" of confiscated
effects, was fined in five hundred ducats and was banished for two years
from Toledo, Pastrana and Madrid. When the concealment was for the
benefit of a culprit, there was the additional charge of fautorship, as
in the case of Gabriel de la Sola and Joseph López de Sossa, who
secreted property of the latter's sister Beatriz and whose trial, in
1697, in Valladolid, lasted for two years.[947]

More effective, at least in the earlier period, when the press of
business rendered minute investigation difficult, was the offer of heavy
commissions to those who would furnish information as to confiscated
property that had escaped the search of the receivers. This resulted in
creating a gang of professional detectives and informers of whom a
certain Pedro de Madrid, "delator," may be taken as the type. Under a
provision of 1490 he was entitled to one-third of all the hidden
property that he might discover, whether alienated or conveyed under
other names or otherwise concealed. In 1494 he complained that this was
not enough, in view of his heavy expenses, travelling to France, sharing
with other informers, etc., whereupon Ferdinand agreed to give him
one-half, and moreover to those who should furnish information he
pardoned the offence committed by their knowing without revealing; the
inquisitors were to remove the excommunication and all receivers were to
comply with these instructions under penalty of a thousand florins.[948]
Ferdinand however did not always play fair with these gentry. Under the
stimulus of his fifty per cent., Pedro worked hard and successfully but,
when in 1499 the account of a receiver who had settled with him came in
for audit, Ferdinand ordered the payments to be disallowed for the
present; Pedro ought not to have such large sums; his success was
attributable to the negligence of the receiver rather than to his own
activity and, in fact, it was a voluntary gift to him. A year later we
find Ferdinand agreeing to let him have one-half of thirty libras that
he had discovered and promising to determine what share he should have
when other properties unearthed by him should be settled.[949]

The frequent allusions to these transactions in Ferdinand's
correspondence show what an active business it was, both with
professionals and volunteers, and Ferdinand was sometimes liberal in
rewarding the zeal of the latter as when, in 1501, he made a gift to Don
Antonio Cortes, his sacristan mayor, of a house and an oil warehouse in
Seville, which Cortes had discovered to be the property of Beatriz
Fernández, condemned to perpetual imprisonment, which had escaped the
receiver.[950] This indicates that men of standing did not disdain to
engage in this disreputable business, and it would seem that Juan de
Anchias, the secretary of the Saragossa tribunal, to whom we owe the
_Libro Verde_, gave up his office to speculate in it for, in 1509, we
find him complaining that the receiver refused to pay him the one-third
which he had been promised on certain discoveries and Ferdinand ordering
the bargain to be carried out. There was no settled rate of commissions.
About this same time Clíment Roderes, of Barcelona, was only allowed
one-seventh of the property recovered through his investigations, while
the Majorca tribunal was authorized to offer twenty-five per cent. and,
when the case seemed desperate, in 1514, Juan Martínez was encouraged by
a promise of fifty per cent. to devote himself to looking up the
concealments in Teruel and Albarracin, which were understood to be


While doubtless the fisc, by thus stimulating detectives, recovered
property which might otherwise have escaped, the system was one which
invited collusion between them and the officials. Frauds of this kind
were probably not uncommon for, in 1525, the Suprema complained of the
abuses that had sprung up through the disregard by the receivers of
their instructions. These were to be strictly observed and, in future,
commissions must be paid only on property of which nothing had been
known to the officials, and the informer must not be an official whose
knowledge had been acquired in the discharge of his duties. Moreover the
compensation was strictly limited to twenty per cent. of the amount
realized through the information furnished.[952] This is the latest
allusion that I have met with to this phase of the business; it
evidently diminished with the falling off in the confiscations, though
doubtless special transactions continued to occur, for it was inevitable
that the victims should exhaust their ingenuity in the effort to save
for their children some fragments of their possessions.

       *       *       *       *       *

Cruel as was confiscation in principle, its enforcement by the older
papal Inquisition was iniquitous to a degree which multiplied to the
utmost its cruelty and power of evil. The forfeiture of property from
the time when the first act of heresy had been committed was construed
to invalidate all subsequent acts of the heretic, for he had lost his
dominion over all his possessions. All alienations thus were void, all
debts contracted and all obligations given were invalid and the
prescription of time against the Church had to be at least forty years'
possession by undoubted Catholics, ignorant of the former owner's
heresy. Prosecutions of the dead, moreover, for which there was no
limit, carried back to previous generations the claim of the Inquisition
to upset titles. Thus in practice, when a man was adjudged a heretic,
all debts due to him were rigorously collected, while all due by him
were cancelled, and all real estate that he had sold was reclaimed. The
only mitigation of this was a declaration, by Innocent IV in 1247,
giving to a Catholic wife, under certain conditions, a life-interest in
her dowry, expiring at her death, for her children were incapable of

It is pleasant to be able to say that, in time, some of the worst
features of this all-grasping rapacity were softened in the Spanish
Inquisition. Its early operations were so extensive and the commerce of
the land was so largely in the hands of the New Christians, that we can
readily imagine the general consternation aroused by the strict
enforcement of the canon laws which vitiated all alienations and
stripped all creditors of their claims. It could lead only to
wide-spread ruin and general paralysis of trade, and there doubtless
arose a cry for relief which the sovereigns could not disregard. With a
wise liberality, therefore, they consented to a partial abandonment of
their claims, which is set forth in the Instructions of 1484, in a
manner showing how fully they knew what were their rights. The clause
recites that they could recover all alienations and refuse to pay all
debts unless the proceeds could be identified among the effects of the
confiscated estate, whether of those condemned or of those reconciled
outside of the term of grace, but, out of clemency and to avoid
oppression of vassals who had dealt with heretics, they ordered that all
sales, donations, exchanges and contracts, prior to the year 1479,
should be valid, if duly proved to be genuine. Attempts to take
fraudulent advantage of this were declared punishable, in reconciled
heretics, with a hundred lashes and branding in the face with a hot
iron; in Christians, with confiscation, deprivation of office and
penalties at the royal discretion.[954]


While there was substantial relief in this abandonment of the right to
upset all transactions prior to the introduction of the Inquisition, yet
it was retained with regard to all subsequent dealings and no man could
know whether the banker or merchant or tradesman with whom he dealt
might not soon fall into the hands of the Holy Office. It thus can
readily be conceived how fatally credit was affected and what risks were
encountered in the daily transactions of business. That there was
difficulty in making the tribunals respect even this concession is
visible in its promulgation anew by the Suprema in 1491 and again in
1502.[955] Cases, in fact, occur which show that the officials paid
slender attention to it. Thus in 1499, Costanza Ramirez appealed to
Ferdinand for property comprised in the dowry given to her mother, in
1475, by her grandfather Juan López Beltran, whose estate had been
recently declared confiscated, and the king ordered its restoration if
the statement was true. So, in 1509, the widow and wards of Johan Pérez
de Oliva petitioned him for the release of certain houses which Oliva
had bought in 1474 and which were now claimed as having been purchased
from a condemned heretic.[956] Here was a perfectly legitimate
transaction, thirty-five years old, which the Inquisition was
endeavoring to set aside.

In the Instructions of 1484, prosecutions against the dead, including
confiscation, were ordered, even if they had died forty or fifty years
before. As it stands in the printed collections, this virtually
postponed indefinitely the prescription against the Inquisition, as the
transactions of the deceased might have extended anteriorly through
forty or fifty years and, in fact, it was quoted, about 1640, as a proof
that there was no prescription.[957] This however was a later additional
severity for, in a MS. copy of the Instructions of 1484, there is a
clause, omitted by the official compilers, to the effect that, if the
heretic had died more than fifty years before the accusation was brought
and, if the heirs or owners of the property had been good Catholics and
had held it in good faith, they were not to be disturbed.[958] There is
significance in this suppression and, under such a system, it is
conceivable what a cloud hung over the titles of all property that had
ever passed through the hands of a New Christian, and how poignant was
the feeling of insecurity of its possessors.

In the struggle made by the kingdoms of Aragon against the oppression of
the Inquisition the iniquities of confiscation were prominent. They were
illustrated in the Córtes of Monzon, in 1512, by a special grievance
which illustrates the working of the system. The local government had
borrowed money and secured it by a censo or obligation given to Maestro
Miro and Juan Bertran, who were condemned for heresy and the censo was
demanded. The authorities showed that the censo had been paid off and
the debt cancelled twenty-nine years before, but the receiver insisted
on their paying it again because the heretical acts of Miro and Bertran
were anterior and their release of the censo was therefore invalid. They
petitioned Ferdinand for relief but he contented himself with ordering
that they should not be unduly oppressed, which left the matter
open.[959] Still, one of the concessions granted in 1512 was that
prescription of time should be reduced to thirty years; this was
confirmed in Mercader's Instructions of 1514 and when, in 1515, the
Catalans complained of its inobservance, Ferdinand ordered it to be
maintained. Leo X went even further in his bull of 1516, confirming the
Concordia of 1512 and, in that of 1520 this was defined as protecting
from confiscation all property acquired in good faith from those not
publicly noted for heresy even though they should subsequently be
condemned and the prescription of thirty years had not expired. This was
declared applicable to all pending cases and, to render it more
emphatic, Charles V made a formal grant of all such property to the
holders.[960] We have seen, however, how completely the Inquisition
ignored this settlement, denying its authority and even its existence.
Castile was no more successful for, when the Córtes of 1534 petitioned
that possession for three years in the hands of Catholics should confer
immunity from confiscation and that dowries of Catholic wives should be
exempt, Charles flatly refused both requests.[961] Finally the question
settled itself in the canonical prescription of forty years' undisturbed
possession by orthodox Catholics, for this is what Simancas informs us
was the rule. The old Instructions requiring longer possession, he says,
had been abrogated and, although some authorities argued that five years
sufficed, or at most twenty, these were not recognized by the
tribunals.[962] How business adjusted, itself to the risks attending all
transactions with New Christians, we can only conjecture.

       *       *       *       *       *


In one important respect the Inquisition mitigated the iniquitous
harshness of the older institution by recognizing the claims of the
creditors of the condemned heretic. This, however, was not the case at
first and it would not be easy to exaggerate the general confusion and
distress when it came to be understood that confiscation included the
debits as well as the credits of the victims. The early extensive
arrests were followed by the wholesale flight of those who felt
themselves under suspicion; flight was regarded as confession and the
fugitives were condemned _in absentia_ as soon as the necessary
formalities could be despatched. The losses of the consequent
confiscation of debits fell not only on individuals connected with their
extensive transactions but on the public bodies and ecclesiastical
establishments, the collection of whose revenues was largely in their
hands. The conditions thus created are impressively reflected in the
records of Xeres de la Frontera, where the municipal taxes were largely
farmed to Conversos who had fled; the public funds had been in their
hands and they were naturally in debt to the town as well as to churches
and private persons. It would appear that all these obligations were
calmly ignored by the Inquisition and the municipality appealed to the
sovereigns who replied, December 6, 1481, that the matter had been
referred to the Licenciado Ferrand Yañez de Lobon--the very commissioner
who, for about a year, had been busy in enforcing the collections of the
confiscations. This boded ill for relief; the documents do not reveal
the outcome but, as all the efforts of the authorities only brought them
in contact with the officials engaged in gathering the spoils, it is
evident that the sovereigns did not propose to abandon their

We have seen that the Instructions of 1484-5, when recognizing the
validity of transactions anterior to 1479, asserted absolutely the right
of the fisc to refuse payment of debts and made no concessions as to
those contracted subsequently to that period. At the same time a clause
concerning claims made by nobles, who had received fugitives in their
lands, shows that the Inquisition felt the matter to be within its
discretion.[964] The earliest positive admission that I have met of an
obligation to pay debts due by a confiscated estate is an order by
Ferdinand, May 12, 1486, to Alfonso de Mesa, receiver at Teruel, that
wages due in good faith by heretics to their Moorish servants, are to be
paid--but this may perhaps be attributable to the special preference
allowed to servants' wages by the laws of Aragon.[965] Various
contradictory decisions illustrate the uncertainty hanging over the
matter at this time, and it is clearly manifested by two letters of
Ferdinand, evidently drawn up for him by his unscrupulous secretary
Calcena. The first of these, March 6, 1498, relates to the Castillo de
Calanya, which Calcena had obtained from the confiscated estate of Johan
Benete and against which certain parties held censos (ground-rents) and
other claims. The king is made to order the receiver to suspend action,
because the debts had been contracted after Benete had committed acts of
heresy. The other letter, March 11, 1498, reiterates an order of August
29, 1497, to a receiver to pay out of the sequestrated property of
Antoni Cones a hundred ducats which Calcena had lent him and to pay him
before any other creditors.[966]

By this time however the claims of creditors were beginning to be
officially recognized. The Instructions of 1498 give detailed orders as
to surrendering property belonging to others, and promptly paying debts
clearly due out of sequestrated estates and, when confiscation was
pronounced, a proclamation was to be made to all claimants to present
their claims within a designated time, which in 1499 was fixed at thirty
days, while no property was to be sold until the claims against it had
been determined.[967] Yet, in spite of this, the rights of creditors
were admitted with difficulty by the receivers and numerous instances
occur in which they were obliged to appeal to Ferdinand. As late as
1515, Margarita Dartes, wife of Doctor Francisco Dartes, assessor of the
Valencia tribunal, complained that in 1499 she had bought a censo
secured on a house of Aldonza Cocarredes; Aldonza had now been relaxed
and Aliaga, the receiver, refused to recognize the censo because it had
been created after she had committed heresy. Ferdinand admitted the
validity of this argument and said that, in the rigor of justice, she
had lost her claim but, in view of the fact that her husband had been in
the service of the Inquisition since its foundation, he ordered it paid
as a favor.[968]


An examination of the records of the Valencia court of confiscations, in
1531 and 1532, evinces on the whole an evident desire to administer the
law rigidly, whether in favor of or against the fisc. Among the
claimants were a number of serving women for wages, which were always
allowed, although the court exercised somewhat arbitrary discretion in
cutting down the amounts.[969] Gradually the honest policy prevailed
and, in 1543, the Suprema instructed the tribunals that the first thing
to be paid were the debts that were properly proved--a rule which
apparently was difficult to enforce, for the order had to be repeated in
1546 and again in 1547.[970] Yet it was no easy matter for creditors to
obtain payment against the resistance offered by receivers and their
advocates. In 1565, after Pierre and Gilles de Bonneville were burnt for
Protestantism in Toledo, the fiscal reported to the inquisitors that
numerous creditors had come forward whose claims were pending before the
_juez de los bienes_, wherefore he asked for a certificate as to the
date of the culprits' heresies, in order to use it before the court. The
inquisitors duly certified that the date was about 1550, the object
being to plead the obsolete canonical rule that subsequent obligations
were invalid.[971] That chicanery of all kinds was employed to exhaust
the patience of creditors and accumulate costs is plainly admitted in
the memorial of 1623 to the Suprema, which states that, in the suits of
creditors, there is much that brings discredit on the Inquisition, for
confiscations are managed solely for the benefit of those who administer
them, the appointees of the _juez de los bienes_ and ordinarily his
kinsmen or friends, for whose advantage the suits are prolonged until
they become immortal.[972] Abuses such as these were inevitable in a
system which confined everything within the circle of the Inquisition,
permitting no outside interference or supervision, while dealing so
tenderly with official malfeasance. It would be difficult to
overestimate the wide-spread damage resulting when the accused were
merchants with extensive and complicated transactions, as in the immense
confiscations in Mexico and Peru from 1630 to 1650 and those of Majorca
in 1678, when funds and merchandise of correspondents were tied up for
an indefinite time to the destruction of their credit. The hazards to
which business was thus exposed was a factor, and by no means the least
important, in the decay of Spanish commerce, for no one could foresee at
what moment the blow might fall. Sequestration accompanied arrest and,
in 1635, it was ordered that, during the pending of a trial, no payments
or delivery of property should be made to creditors, no matter what
evidence they presented, without awaiting the decision of the Suprema,
the only exception being claims of the king, which were to be paid
without delay. In 1721 this prohibition to pay debts was made absolute,
excepting a few trivial matters such as servants' wages and
house-rent.[973] That foreigners dealing with Spain had ample cause to
dread the decisions of the _juez de los bienes_ is shown by a remarkable
clause in the English treaty of 1665 which provided that, in case of
sequestration of property by any tribunal of either nation, the effects
or debts belonging to a subject of the other should not suffer
confiscation but should be restored to the owner.[974] On the whole,
however, the Spanish Inquisition is entitled to the credit of
mitigating, in favor of creditors, the abhorrent harshness of the
inquisitorial law of confiscation, although in practice its officials
were guilty of minimising, as far as they could, the benefits of this

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _DOWRIES_]

In the matter of dowries there was also a partial mitigation of the old
severity. The dowry was forfeited by the wife's heresy but not by that
of the husband and, in the latter case, it descended to her children.
There was one provision, however, which worked infinite hardship for, if
the parents of the wife had been guilty of heresy at the time of her
marriage, it was forfeited on the ground that all their property then
belonged to the fisc and they had no power of alienation. The cases are
numerous in which the parties, after prolonged married life, thus
suddenly found themselves despoiled by the condemnation of parents who
had enjoyed the reputation of faithful Christians and, in the
inter-marriages, so frequent in the earlier period, the blow thus often
fell upon Old Christians. We hear of these cases through despairing
appeals to Ferdinand for mercy--appeals to which he not infrequently
responded by abandoning his claims or surrendering a part. A typical
case, illustrative of many others, is that Juan Quirat, of Elche, whose
petition to the king, in 1513, represents that, twenty-five years
before, he had married Violante Propinan, receiving ten thousand sueldos
as her dowry from her parents, Luis and Blanca. Eight years ago they
were condemned, and now the receiver claims the dowry; he is a poor
_escudero_ or squire and the enforcement of the claim would send him
with his wife and children to the hospital, in view of all which
Ferdinand charitably waived his right.[975] More peculiar was the case
of Juan Castellon of Majorca who, when trading in Tunis, was enslaved by
a brother of Barbarossa; after forty-two months of captivity he was
ransomed for four hundred ducats and returned home in 1520 to find that
his wife's mother, Isabel Luna, had been condemned and the dowry
received from her was claimed by the receiver. He petitioned Cardinal
Adrian; the matter was referred to Charles V, who humanely ordered that,
if his story was true and he was unable to pay, the confiscation should
be remitted.[976] The hardship was sometimes aggravated by an
ostentatious custom of inserting in the marriage-contract a larger sum
than was actually paid. Thus, in 1531, the magnifico Diego de
Montemayor, Baile of the Grau of Valencia, swore that he received only
three thousand sueldos of the six thousand specified in his
marriage-contract with Beatriz Scrivana, in 1510, and that the larger
sum had been inserted _honoris causa_.[977]

The dowries of nuns were subject to the same merciless absorption. In
1510, the convent of Santa Inez of Córdova appealed to Ferdinand,
stating that, some twenty years previous, Pedro Syllero had placed his
niece there as a nun, giving as her dowry certain houses which it had
peacefully enjoyed until her grandfather had recently been condemned for
heresy and the property was seized as part of his confiscated estate.
This was strictly legal and it was a pure act of grace when the king
ordered the houses to be released.[978]

Still, the dowry of an orthodox wife was exempt from the confiscation of
a heretic husband's estate, but it was imperilled by the possibility
that the estate might be exhausted in the maintenance of the husband in
prison during a prolonged trial and by the sacrifice of values in the
realization of assets at auction, which was imperative. In the
proceedings of the _juzgado de bienes_ of Valencia in 1531 there are
numerous cases which show that this claim of the wife was fully
recognized and a fair adjudication made in the complicated questions
which frequently arose.[979]

Correlative to this was the liability of the husband to pay to the fisc
the dowry of a wife condemned or reconciled for heresy. How pitilessly
in time this was exacted is manifested in 1549 by a petition to Valdés
from Don Pedro Gascon, who represents himself as an hidalgo whose
ancestors had served the king faithfully. The judge of confiscations at
Cuenca had condemned him in a hundred and fifty ducats for the dowry of
his wife and the receiver had cast him in prison to enforce payment.
While there he had sold a large part of his property and had paid fifty
ducats, but the rest of his estate would not produce the remaining
hundred. Ferdinand would have forgiven him the balance, but Valdés only
looked to obtaining assurance of ultimate payment when he empowered the
receiver to grant him six years' time on his furnishing good


Another feature, which frequently complicated these settlements, was the
question of the conquests--the _ganancias_ or _creix_--the gains made
during married life, in which both spouses had an equal share. The laws
of Toro, in 1505, provide that neither husband nor wife could forfeit
claim to half the _ganancias_ for the crime of the other, even if the
crime were heresy, and the _ganancia_ is defined to be the whole
increase during wedlock until the decree of confiscation, no matter when
the crime was committed--a rule which remained in force.[981] The
complexity introduced by these various interests in the settlement of
confiscations is illustrated in the case of Diego López, a merchant of
Zamora, reconciled in the auto de fe of Valladolid, in June, 1520. He
kept no books and the number of debits and credits rendered his affairs
exceedingly complicated; moreover the paternal estate had never been
divided between him and his brothers, while his wife put in claims for
her dowry and share of the _ganancias_. In this perplexity the only
solution was a compromise, which was reached by the wife and brothers
agreeing to pay four hundred and fifty thousand maravedís in
instalments, giving adequate security.[982] The Valencia court of
confiscations, however, invented a method of evading the wifely claim to
the accretions for, in 1532, when Angela Pérez, widow of Luis Gilabert,
burnt for heresy, demanded her dowry of three thousand sueldos and the
_creix_, the court ordered the receiver to pay the dowry but refused the
_creix_ on the ground that the date of his committing heresy showed that
he could not lawfully make any gains.[983]

The exemption from confiscation of those who came in under Edicts of
Grace, confessed and were reconciled, gave rise to an impressive
illustration of the passionate greed aroused among all classes by the
legalized spoliation of the New Christians and the corollary that they
had no rights. Prelates and chapters of churches, abbots and priors of
convents, rectors of hospitals and pious institutions and other
ecclesiastics and laymen, who had mortgaged their properties to the
heretics or had sold ground-rents to them or otherwise hypothecated
them, repudiated their engagements and would render no satisfaction,
whereby, we are told, many were deterred from seeking reconciliation. A
more practical objection was that those who were thus despoiled were
hindered in paying the heavy fines laid upon them by the inquisitors.
Ferdinand and Isabella therefore applied to Innocent VIII for a remedy
which he furnished, in 1486, by a brief in which, after reciting the
above, he granted to those thus reconciled the mortgages and censos and
other liens which they held on properties, forbidding the debtors from
claiming release and pronouncing invalid any judgements which they might

       *       *       *       *       *

While thus the Spanish Inquisition, in some respects, dealt more
liberally than its medieval predecessor with the unfortunates subjected
to its operations, it was ruthlessly systematic in its absorption of
everything that was not covered by the above exceptions. It was in vain
that, in 1486, Innocent VIII--probably induced by the gold of the
Conversos--represented to the sovereigns that, as the confiscations had
been conceded to them, it would stimulate the penitents to be firm in
the faith if their property was restored to those who were
reconciled.[985] It was much more profitable for greed to disguise
itself as zeal for religion, as when, in 1533, at the Córtes of Monzon,
Valencia petitioned that an exemption from confiscation granted to the
forcibly converted Moriscos should be extended to their children, and
the Suprema replied that confiscation was the penalty most dreaded and
that which most deterred from heresy; as for relying on the terror of
burning as a preventive, the fact was that the Church received to
reconciliation all who repented and, if they were not punished with
confiscation, they would enjoy immunity.[986] In the same spirit, Bishop
Simancas argued that it was for the public benefit that the children of
heretics should be beggared and therefore the old laws which allowed
Catholic children to inherit had justly been abrogated.[987]

This heartless remark indicates that, by the middle of the sixteenth
century, there was no compassion for the helpless offspring, but at
first there was some responsibility felt for them, possibly through a
reminiscence of the old laws. The Instructions of 1484 provide that,
when the children of those condemned to the stake or to perpetual prison
are under age and unmarried, they were to be given to respectable
Catholics or to religious, to be brought up in the faith, and a record
of such cases was to be kept, for it was the intention of the sovereigns
that, if they proved to be good Christians, they should have alms,
especially the girls, to enable them to marry or to enter religion.[988]
There is no trace of any systematic attempt to carry out this humane
provision, but when cases of special hardship were called to Ferdinand's
attention, he occasionally was moved to make liberal concessions. When,
however, in 1486, the inquisitors of Saragossa asked for authority to
grant relief to some poor culprits, not very guilty, who were encumbered
with daughters likely to be forced to evil courses, the canny monarch
evidently distrusted this sudden access of benevolence and, while
approving the kindliness of the suggestion, he said that he was better
acquainted than they with the people of Saragossa and less likely to be
deceived, so they could send him the names of the parties, their
properties and the number of their daughters, when he would determine
what should be done.[989] It was evidently a question only of kindly
impulses; there was no obligation, moral or legal and, as the wants of
the Holy Office grew more urgent in the shrinkage of the stream of
confiscations, inquisitors like Simancas argued that the service of God
required the sacrifice of the innocents.


In practice, everything on which the officials could lay their hands
under any pretext was swept remorselessly into the fisc. Even the
bedding and clothes of those led out to execution at the autos de fe
were seized, as appears from occasional donations of them to
officials.[990] When, in 1495, Charles VIII occupied Naples, it became a
place of refuge for fugitives from Spain, but the pious skippers of the
vessels carrying them not infrequently served God by stripping their
defenceless passengers and carrying home the spoils. This was an
invasion of the rights of the crown which vindicated itself by sending
to Biscay and Guipúzcoa Anton Sánchez de Aguirre to search for the
jewels and merchandise thus taken from heretics and sell them for the
benefit of the fisc.[991] In 1513, when Jayme de Marrana, scrivener of
the court of Segorbe, was condemned, all his subordinates were called
upon to surrender the fees which they had received during his term of
office.[992] A dying man could not make even a pious bequest if his
natural heir was a heretic, for when, in 1514, Nicholas de Medina, a
merchant of Seville returning from France, died at Bayonne in the
Hôpital du Saint-Esprit and bequeathed to it a bill of exchange for a
hundred and twenty-six ducats, the procurator of the hospital came to
Seville to collect it. Villacis, the receiver there, promptly
sequestrated it on the ground that Medina's heir, Rodrigo de Córdova,
had been condemned for heresy and, although the Suprema finally released
it, this was done as an act of charity to the hospital.[993] The same
rule applied when there was heresy in the ascendants. Juan Francisco
Vitalis, a native of Majorca, was settled in Rome as a merchant. He
desired to trade with Spain but feared to do so, for his father and
grandfather had been condemned for heresy and any merchandise or funds
that he might send would be liable to confiscation as constructively
derived from them. He therefore, in 1511, applied for a safe-conduct for
his goods which Ferdinand issued, exempting them from seizure by the
Inquisition; it was good however, only during the royal pleasure and for
six months after its withdrawal should be notified to Vitalis or be
publicly proclaimed in Valencia.[994]

Heresy shed around it an infection which contaminated everything with
which it came in contact. Not only was a ship carrying heretics
forfeited but also its cargo. In 1501, Vicencio de Landera, a merchant
of Gaeta, shipped some cotton by a Biscayan vessel for Alicante. On her
arrival the receiver seized the cargo because she carried two persons
condemned by the Inquisition, but the Bishop of Gaeta, head chaplain to
Ferdinand's sister the Queen of Naples, brought influence to bear, and
the king ordered Landera to be paid the proceeds of his cotton.[995]
Apparently the other owners of the cargo had no redress. Ferdinand was
more obdurate, in 1511, when a ship and its cargo were condemned in
Seville for carrying heretics. This included a quantity of pepper
belonging to a Portuguese merchant named Juan Francisco. King Manoel
interposed to protect his subject, when Ferdinand replied that he had
ordered justice done but that the Inquisition had represented that
Francisco had bought the pepper from King Manoel and had paid for it
with bills of exchange drawn by heretics, and thus with heretic money,
which was held to forfeit the pepper.[996]


This policy was not merely transient. In 1634 the Inquisition seized the
goods and credits of Portuguese merchants, residents of Holland, Hamburg
and France, trading with Spain. Agents had been sent abroad to secure
evidence of their Judaism; they naturally sought to defend their
property and presented certificates of their orthodoxy; the affair
dragged on and, in 1636, Doctor Juan de Gosa presented an elaborate
opinion in justification of this, proving that the property must be
confiscated, although the owners were not Spaniards, nor domiciled in
Spain, nor had committed heresy in Spain. His argument was based on the
principle of the canon law that the heretic had no rights and that any
Catholic could seize and despoil him; heresy is a crime all-pervading
and not limited to the spot where it is committed for it is an injury to
the whole Christian Republic. No evidence was required, for it was
notorious that the Portuguese absented themselves in order to indulge
their heretical proclivities and that they frequented the synagogues in
Amsterdam and elsewhere. The Inquisition was to hold the property and,
for greater justification, to summon by edict the owners to appear and
defend it within a fixed term, or it could appoint defenders to act for
them, but in no case was it to raise the sequestration or surrender the
property.[997] It is superfluous to point out the effect of all this on
Spanish commerce.

       *       *       *       *       *

As regards property alienated subsequently to the commission of heresy,
the only limitation on its confiscation is found in the provision
prohibiting interference with transactions anterior to 1479.[998] All
later ones were subject to forfeiture, without compensation to the
purchaser, unless, indeed, he had made improvements, the value of which
was reimbursed to him. The frequency of these cases and the hardship to
which they exposed innocent third parties are amply illustrated by the
numerous appeals to Ferdinand for relief, which, be it said to his
credit, he often granted. The cloud thus thrown on the title to all
property that had passed through the hands of New Christians, at any
time subsequent to 1479, continued to hang over it, and the Inquisition
grew stricter in the interpretation of its rights. A letter of May 6,
1539, from the Suprema to the inquisitor of Saragossa, says that he is
reported to have decided that, when a person is condemned or reconciled
with confiscation, and has alienated real property subsequently to the
commission of heresy, if the purchaser is required to surrender it to
the fisc, he is entitled to reimbursement of the purchase-money. The
inquisitor is therefore summoned to state his authority for this
decision, as law and custom are to the contrary and it is so
practised.[999] This was peremptory and it is not likely that the
question was raised again, although it took no count of the rule, which
Simancas soon afterwards tells us was still in vigor, that if the
purchase-money or what represents it is found in the confiscated estate,
restitution should be made to the purchaser.[1000] The Spanish
Inquisition preferred to both keep the money and take the property.

       *       *       *       *       *

Ferdinand and Isabella manifested liberality in setting free the
Christian slaves of confiscated estates, and this was extended by the
Instructions of 1484, at the cost of those reconciled under Edicts of
Grace, for, though they were not subject to confiscation, their
Christian slaves were manumitted.[1001] It was, perhaps, a kindly care
that kept these freedmen in a species of serfdom, for Instructions about
1500 direct the inquisitors to place them with proper persons under
agreements as to wages and, if they are not reasonably treated, to
transfer them to other masters.[1002] Embarrassing cases sometimes
arose, such as that in which a slave was owned jointly by a good
Catholic and a condemned heretic, but it would seem, from a decision in
1531, that the manumitted half carried with it into freedom the enslaved
half, and the Catholic owner had no redress.[1003] The inquisitors did
not always respond to the humane intentions of the Instructions; they
seem to have sometimes kept slaves for themselves, in place of setting
them free, for which, in 1516, they were rebuked and were also ordered
that, during the trials of the owners, the slaves should be hired out
and their wages be strictly accounted for--all of which points to
current abuses. These did not cease for, in 1525, Dr. Mercader, in a
visitation of Sicily, found similar ones flourishing.[1004]

While thus considerate of the slaves of culprits, confiscation seems
sometimes to have extended to the persons of the culprits themselves.
One of the few letters concerning the Inquisition, in which Isabella
joins with Ferdinand, is of December 28, 1498, addressed to the Count of
Cifuentes, Governor of Seville, ordering him, for the service of God and
good execution of justice, to take all the Jews condemned for heresy,
now held as prisoners by the Abbot of San Pedro, and sell them as slaves
at such prices as he deems fit, the proceeds to be handed over to the
receiver and be applied to the debts and necessities of the tribunal. An
intimation of a similar kind is made, November 6, 1500, respecting
Maestre Luis Carpano of Antequera and his wife, who are described as
confiscated to the royal fisc, with all their property, real and


In the rigor of collection, debtors to the confiscated estates, who were
unable to pay, were imprisoned without mercy. Thus, in 1490, the judge
of confiscations at Segovia orders the alguazil to seize the lands and
goods and money of Don Mosé de Cuellar, who was indebted in the sum of
393,000 maravedís to the late Gonzalo de Cuellar, regidor of Buitrago,
burnt for heresy; if he cannot find property enough to satisfy the debt
he is to seize the person of Don Mosé and confine him in the public
prison of Segovia.[1006] It was the same with husbands who were liable
for the dowries of their wives, as we have seen in the case of Don Pedro
Gascon (p. 334). Forbearance, however, was sometimes found to be better
policy. In 1509 Sancho Martínez of Hellin was sentenced to pay 50,000
maravedís for the dowry of his wife whose parents had been reconciled.
He pleaded poverty to the Suprema, which ordered that, if his property
was insufficient, he should not be imprisoned and that, at the auction
of his effects he should be allowed to purchase to the amount of 10,000
or 12,000 maravedís on a year's credit. The event showed the wisdom of
the arrangement. The auction realized 17,000; he was the purchaser and
paid for it at the expiration of the year. He accumulated, as the years
went by, 100,000 maravedís and the judge ordered execution on him for
the 33,000 still due on the dowry. Again he appealed to the Suprema,
some members of which doubted whether his subsequent acquisitions were
liable and the matter was compromised, July 5, 1519, by ordering him to
pay half the deficiency.[1007] These instances are not without interest
as illustrations of the manner in which this gigantic spoliation was
effected through more than a couple of centuries.

       *       *       *       *       *

The elaborate system adopted is revealed to us in the records of the
Valencia court of confiscations in 1530 and 1531. When an arrest was
made with sequestration, the receiver opened an account in his _Libro de
Manifestaciones_, in which the notary of sequestrations entered all the
items of the inventory. Then followed the _audiencia de hacienda_ and
the summons to debtors, to declare their obligations, which were
likewise entered. If the prisoner was engaged in trade, his books were
examined and all debts were duly placed in the same record. Information
of all kinds was diligently sought and, no matter how vague and
worthless, was similarly recorded. Much of this was obtained from
prisoners, who testified to gossip heard from cell-companions in the
dreary hours of prolonged confinement. Thus, July 9, 1527, Violante
Salvador testified that Leonor Benin told her that Angela Parda, when
arrested, had entrusted certain small coins to Leonor Manresa. Angela
Parda and Leonor Bonin were both burnt and Violante Salvador was
reconciled. Leonor Manresa, when summoned to account for the deposit,
denied it under oath and, as there was no other witness, the claim for a
few pennies was abandoned.[1008]

The persistence with which these shadowy claims were pursued is
illustrated in the case of Rafael Moncada, arrested in 1524. A certain
Sor Catalina testified that she had heard say, by some one whose name
she could not recall, that Moncada had said that, during the revolt of
the Germanía (1520-1522), he had hidden a large amount of goods. His
wife, or widow, Violante, when summoned, declared that during the
troubles he had hidden some silks in the dye-house; when peace was
restored, he had taken them out and when, two years later, he was
arrested, they were among the effects sequestrated. She was brought
forward again and again, always adhering to the same story, and it was
not until 1531 that she was discharged.[1009]

This persistence is explained by the fact that the receiver was
responsible for every item entered by the notary of sequestrations
unless he could show that it was not collectable, to the satisfaction of
the judge, who would then relieve him by a _sentencia de diligencias_,
signifying that he had made due exertion. The care thus induced in
following up the minutest fragments of property is manifested in a
petition presented by the receiver, March 4, 1531, to the effect that he
had made every effort to recover fourteen sueldos, the dowry given by
Pere Barbera and Grabiel Barbera to their sister Leonor Barbera on her
marriage to Grabiel Mas. More than twenty years ago Pere Barbera was
burnt in effigy, Mas went to the Canaries covered with debts and died
there poor. Leonor died eighteen years ago, leaving her property to
Pere's son Anrich and he, too, had been reconciled with confiscation.
Anrich was called and duly interrogated and then the judge allowed the
entry to be cancelled.[1010]


Besides the excommunication incurred by all who did not voluntarily
reveal their indebtedness to a confiscated estate, the receiver was
clothed with ample powers enabling him to perform his duties thoroughly.
When the first appointments were made for Aragon, in 1484, all
officials, secular and ecclesiastic, were required to assist him when
called upon, under pain of the royal wrath and three thousand gold
florins.[1011] Apparently this was found insufficient, for the formula
in a commission issued, September 5, 1519, to Alonso de Gumiel, receiver
of Ciudad Rodrigo, sets forth that, if any one refused or delayed to
deliver up confiscated property, the receiver could impose penalties at
discretion and these penalties were confirmed in advance, while every
one, of whatever station, was required to obey his orders under the same
discretional penalties.[1012] It is easy to imagine the wrong and
oppression which an unprincipled official could inflict, under powers so
vague and arbitrary, and the terror which the office shed around it is
exemplified in a Valencia case, decided in 1532. September 2, 1528,
Noffre Calatayut mustered courage to present to the court of
confiscations a petition setting forth that, in 1507, as heir to his
father, he became liable for a _violario_--a sort of annuity--of fifty
sueldos a year, redeemable at fifteen libras, due to Luis Alcanys, which
he paid sometimes to Jayme Alcanys and sometimes to a daughter of Joan
Alcanys. Jayme was condemned and the receiver seized the violario.
Through fear of the consequences, Noffre continued to pay it up to the
present time, although it did not belong to Jayme and the parties on
whose lives it was based, Guillem Rancon de Belvis and Johan Voluda, had
been dead for twenty years. The case must have been bitterly contested
for it was not until April 17, 1532, that a decision was rendered in his
favor, to the effect that the violario had not belonged to Jayme Alcanys
and that the lives had ended a quarter of a century before, wherefore
the receiver was ordered to refund all the payments that he had
received.[1013] It was fortunate that a court was sometimes found to
check the lawless rapacity of the receivers.

       *       *       *       *       *

It would not be easy to exaggerate the confusion and the hardships
caused by the enforcement of confiscation, especially in the early
period. The New Christians had filled so many positions of public and
private trust, and the trade of Spain was so largely in their hands,
that the long procession of arrests, accompanied with sequestration and
followed by confiscation, could not but be paralyzing and affect
interests far wider than those of the victims and their kindred. Even
after the first wild torrent of persecution, the industry of the
tribunals was constantly involving men hitherto unsuspected, bringing
ruin or inextricable perplexities on the innocent who had chanced to
have dealings with them. The backward search, moreover, into the
heresies of those long since dead, vitiated old transactions and
invalidated titles to property that had long been held by innocent
owners. During Ferdinand's life we hear of many of these cases brought
before him on appeal, and for the most part not in vain, for, when the
injustice of his receivers was clear, he was prompt to revoke their
action, and when there was doubt he would often kindly waive a portion
or the whole of his claim. A few typical instances will illustrate some
of the various aspects of the troubles which pervaded the land and
crippled the development of Spanish prosperity.


Early in 1498, Ferdinand was startled to learn that the Barcelona
tribunal had arrested Jaime de Casafranca and had sequestrated his
property. Casafranca was deputy of the royal treasurer-general of
Catalonia; he had served long and faithfully, without suspicion of his
orthodoxy, and possessed the king's fullest confidence. In his hands
were the moneys of the crown and also sums sent thither for the repairs
of the castles of Roussillon, and the embargo laid on these funds
threatened serious complications. Had private interests only been
concerned, the embarrassment would have been irremediable, but Ferdinand
set aside the established routine by ordering all the sequestrations to
be placed in the hands of his advocate-fiscal, who was directed to
employ the moneys as instructions should be sent to him and to furnish
an inventory so that public and private property could be separated.
Then a messenger to Italy had just been despatched in hot haste with
orders to Casafranca to provide immediate passage for him to Genoa and,
as delay would be most injurious, this must be seen to at once. Besides
this there were two chests of silk, in the name of Gabriel Sánchez, but
belonging to the king, and two chests of paper for the royal secretary
and some horse-covers and tools, the property of the treasurer-general,
and some books belonging to the heirs of González Ruiz, all of which had
to be looked after. Moreover Ferdinand recommended Casafranca to the
kindly consideration of the tribunal, as the accusation might be
malicious, and he charged the conscience of the inquisitors to observe
justice. Casafranca, however, in the end was convicted and Ferdinand
consoled his children with some fragments of the confiscation.[1014]

The arbitrary comprehensiveness of inquisitorial procedure and the
difficulties thrown in the way of the New Christians are exemplified in
the case of Gilabert de Santa Cruz the younger. When his father, of the
same name, was penanced, the son made a compromise with the receiver,
under which he received a portion of his father's property in settlement
of his mother's dowry and some other claims. Then he married María Cid
and pledged this property in the nuptial contract. In 1500 the father
was again arrested, when the property was at once sequestrated again; he
was living with the son, under which pretext all the latter's household
effects, even to the clothes and trinkets of the wife, were included in
the inventory. Moreover, the son was a member of a firm who employed the
father as a factor, on which account all their goods and books were
sequestrated, threatening the ruin of their business. In this emergency
the only recourse was to Ferdinand, who responded with instructions to
the tribunal that his will was that injustice should be done to no one;
it was to examine the papers and at once to act according to the facts,
without oppressing or injuring the parties in interest and without
awaiting the result of the father's trial.[1015]

The insecurity which overshadowed all transactions is illustrated by the
case of Diego de Salinas of Avila, who had received as a marriage
portion with the daughter of González Gómez, since deceased, a rent of
forty-five fanegas of wheat, which the latter, in 1499, had bought for
the purpose from Rodrigo del Barco for 30,000 maravedís. In 1501 it was
found that Rodrigo had inherited this rent from his grandfather, Pedro
Alvárez, whose fame and memory were condemned, and it was legally
claimed by the fisc. Luckily for Diego, he had rendered services to the
sovereigns, in consideration of which they granted him 25,000 maravedís
of the rent; it was to be valued and he was to pay whatever it was worth
over and above that sum.[1016]

Ferdinand's kindly interposition was sought by Pascual de Vellido, who
had sold to Pedro de Santa Cruz a house for 1000 sueldos, reserving the
right of redemption at the same price. Pedro was reconciled with
confiscation and Pascual applied to the receiver to allow him to redeem
the house but, as he had mislaid his _carta de gracia_, he was denied,
and the house was sold for 1600 sueldos. In 1502 he found the document
and claimed the excess of 600 sueldos which the receiver refused to pay,
until Ferdinand ordered him to do so, because Pascual was poor and had a
daughter to marry.[1017]

It was by no means the Conversos only who suffered in this way, for Old
Christians were constantly finding themselves embarrassed by the cloud
thrown on titles. In 1514, Don Pero Nuñez de Guzman, Clavero, or
treasurer of the Order of Calatrava and majordomo of the Infante
Ferdinand, represented to the king that his uncle, Luis Osorio, Bishop
of Jaen, had a majordomo named Rodríguez Jabalin who fell in debt to him
and settled with certain properties renting for 4500 maravedís. The
bishop died in 1496 and Guzman, who inherited the properties, gave them
to the dean and chapter of Jaen to found a perpetual mass for his
uncle's soul. The chapter sold them and, in 1514, the Inquisition seized
them because Jabalin had inherited them from an ancestor whose fame and
memory were condemned. Guzman represented that, if the present
possessors were ejected, the chapter would have to make it good; the
mass thus would be discontinued and, at his prayer, Ferdinand ordered
the seizure to be withdrawn.[1018]


As an insurance against such losses, sellers and purchasers sometimes
sought to procure, from the king or the tribunals, licences to convey
property, real and personal. This was probably rare, as I have met with
but a single case, that of Johan Garriga, his wife and children who, in
1510, from Majorca, petitioned Ferdinand for licence to sell his
property and faculties for others to purchase. Ferdinand referred the
matter to the Mallorquin inquisitor, saying that he did not know whether
the property was in any way liable to the fisc, but if the inquisitor
thought the licence ought to be granted he was empowered to issue it
with the royal confirmation.[1019] If Garriga obtained his licence he
probably had to pay roundly for it, for the officials were often by no
means nice in the abuse of their unlimited power. In this same year,
1510, Antonio Mingot of Alicante complained to Ferdinand that he had
been sentenced to pay 294 libras as a debt due to Gonzalo Roiz,
condemned for heresy. He had appealed to the inquisitor-general, who
referred the matter back to the inquisitors but, before they had decided
the case, the receiver put up at auction property of his worth more than
4000 ducats, and then, for a payment of 100 ducats, postponed the sale
to St. John's day. Mingot sought to appeal to the king, but could not
get copies of the necessary papers, delays being interposed to carry the
matter over the postponement. Ferdinand warmly expressed his
displeasure, in a letter of May 21st, ordering copies of all papers to
be furnished and proceedings to be suspended for seventy days
thereafter--but the peccant officials were not punished.[1020]

Old claims, long since satisfied, were constantly turning up and
prosecuted, from which the only recourse would seem to be the king. A
few months later than the last case, he had a petition from the people
of the hamlets of Scaviella and La Mata stating that on November 3,
1487, they had paid off a censo of 400 sueldos to Leonart de Santangel
and now, after nearly a quarter of a century, the receiver demands it of
them on the ground that Santangel at the time was in prison and
incapable of receiving the money. Ferdinand ordered the receiver not to
trouble them, as they were ignorant peasants and the payment was made
with the assent of their lord, the Bishop of Huesca. Similarly, in 1511,
Domingo Just of Saragossa represented that, in 1484, he had given an
obligation for 3000 sueldos, as security for the issue to him of a bill
of exchange on Rome. On his return he had been unable to secure the
surrender of the paper, in consequence of the flight of the holder, but
it had turned up and was now demanded of him. Ferdinand ordered him to
be relieved on his taking an oath guaranteed by excommunication.[1021]

Old and forgotten heresies were exploited with equal rigor. In 1510,
Pedro de Espinosa of Baza represented to Ferdinand that, when Baza was
recovered from the Moors (December 4, 1489) he married Aldonza
Rodríguez, niece and adopted daughter of the esquire Lazaro de Avila and
Catalina Ximenes and, on Lazaro's death, they went to live with
Catalina. Now Catalina has been condemned for an act of heresy committed
when a child in her father's house (probably a fast, or eating
unleavened bread) and her property, worth some 18,000 ducats, has been
confiscated. In view of his services in the war with Granada, Espinosa
begged that the confiscation be remitted and Ferdinand liberally
assented, to the amount of 18,000 ducats.[1022]

With the death of Ferdinand these frequent appeals to the crown become
fewer and are met with less kindliness, though the call for relief from
the rigor of the law was undiminished, as will be seen from the case of
the monastery of Bonifaza. In 1452, Pedro Roy, priest of Tortosa, sold
to Dalvido Tolosa of Salcet for 400 libras a rent of 20 libras per annum
secured on certain property, and this property Roy subsequently sold to
the monastery. In 1475, Dalvido died, leaving the rent to his son, Luis
Tolosa, from whom the monastery redeemed it, March 1, 1488. Luis, or his
memory, was condemned and, about 1519, the receiver demanded of the
monastery the 400 libras and all arrearages of rent, claiming that the
redemption had been in fraud of the fisc, as Luis's heresy antedated it.
The case was clear and judgement against the monastery was rendered,
June 7, 1519. Pleading poverty, it applied for relief to Charles V, who
instructed the receiver that, if it would pay 100 libras during July and
50 more within a year, he should release the claim.[1023]


The avidity of the Inquisition did not diminish with time, nor its
disastrous influence on all exposed to its claims. In 1615, a German
Protestant, known as Juan Cote, was condemned by the Toledo tribunal to
perpetual prison and confiscation. He was then twenty-four years old and
had been taken, in early youth, by his uncle Juan Aventrot, to the
Canaries, where the uncle married María Vandala, a widow with four
children, who died in 1609, leaving one-fifth of her estate to Cote. In
1613 Aventrot sent him to Spain with a letter to the Duke of Lerma,
which led to the discovery of his heresy. Proceedings for the
confiscation of his share in the widow's estate dragged on interminably.
September 7, 1634, the Suprema ordered the Toledo tribunal to furnish
papers in the case, including a certificate of the date of Cote's
heresy, which, in view of his having been brought up as a Protestant, it
fixed at the age of fourteen, when he could be considered responsible.
In this the Inquisition overreached itself, for in 1635 the Canary
tribunal reported that the heirs alleged Cote to have been incapable of
inheritance, seeing that he was brought up as a Protestant and both he
and his uncle had pretended to be Catholics, and they called for a copy
of the sentence to demonstrate this. The unabashed Suprema then shifted
its ground and procured, September 10, 1640, from the Toledo tribunal, a
certificate that Cote had commenced his heretical acts in 1613, when he
brought the letter to Lerma and delivered it to Philip III, in August,
1614. How the affair terminated and how much longer it was protracted we
have no means of knowing, but the Inquisition had at least succeeded in
tying up the estate for twenty-five years.[1024]

The hardship of the system on innocent third parties was intensified by
the fact that in this, as in all else, the Inquisition claimed and
exercised exclusive jurisdiction. There was no appeal to a disinterested
tribunal but only from the judge of confiscations to the Suprema, which
was as much interested as its subordinates in obtaining as large returns
as possible from all sources. As these fell off, the liberality, so
often displayed by Ferdinand, was no longer in place and it became
inexorable. Confiscations were specially assigned to the payment of
salaries and the judges were thus directly interested in their
productiveness. The danger and the humiliation of this were fully
recognized. In his futile plan of reform, in 1518, Charles V proposed to
assign to the officials definite salaries and relieve them from
dependence on the sentences which they pronounced.[1025] In 1523, he
received from his privy council a memorial in which, among other
matters, he was urged to see that proper appointments were made in the
Inquisition and that they had fitting salaries from other sources, so
that they should live neither by beggary nor on the blood of their
victims, and that their labors should tend to instruction rather than to
destruction and to rendering Christianity odious to the infidel.[1026]
The Córtes of Castile remonstrated repeatedly to the same effect. Those
of 1537 complained of the salaries being thus defrayed; those of 1548
asked Charles to provide fixed salaries so as to put an end to the
notorious evil of the judges paying themselves by fining and
confiscating, and again, in 1555, they pointed out that, besides the
danger of judges deriving their pay from the condemnations which they
decree, it diminished the respect due to the Holy Office. To this the
answer was merely that the matter has been considered and will be
fittingly decided.[1027] Spanish finances, however, were never in a
position to assure the Inquisition that, if it paid over its receipts to
the crown, it would get them back in appropriations for salaries and
expenses. As we have seen, it kept them under its own control and it
jealously repelled all intrusion, even by the crown, on its exclusive
jurisdiction over confiscations.


This position had not been won without a struggle. January 20, 1486,
Ferdinand empowered the inquisitors of Saragossa to act as judges in the
complicated litigation which was growing, and he commissioned them to
decide all questions thence arising. On March 31 he reiterated the
injunction; if the secular judges were allowed to intervene, everything
would be lost; they were to be restrained by censures, as had already
been done and, if royal letters or _exequutorias_ were required, they
would be promptly furnished. There evidently was active resistance to
this for, on May 5th he wrote that all questions must be settled by
ecclesiastical law for, if the fueros were admitted, he would never get
justice. The inquisitors must therefore act, the receiver and fiscal
must try the cases before them alone, and they must be speedy.[1028]
When persecution was active, this threw upon the inquisitors too heavy a
burden and one, moreover, for which they were unprepared, for they were
theologians and not canon lawyers. The assessors, it is true, assisted
them, but a special tribunal evidently was a necessity and this was
furnished by the erection of courts of confiscation, presided over by
the _jueces de los bienes_. In Castile, where the _fueros_ were not an
impediment, this had already been tried. As early as 1484, there is an
allusion to such an official[1029] and a commission as such was issued,
April 10, 1485, to the Bachiller Juan Antonio Serrano, of Córdova.[1030]
For some time, however, such appointments continued to be unusual. In
1490, we hear of Juan Pérez de Nieva as juez de los bienes in
Segovia,[1031] but for the most part the inquisitors and their assessors
continued to perform the functions and, when a juez existed, his
position was subordinate, as appears by a letter of Ferdinand, August
27, 1500, to an assessor, telling him that the juez was only to relieve
him in ordinary cases and not to tie his hands in important ones.[1032]
Inquisitors also continued to act for, in 1509, we hear of Niño de
Villalobos as inquisitor and juez in Cartagena and a certain Dembredo as
filling both positions in Seville, while as late as 1514 Toribio de
Saldaña is spoken of as inquisitor and juez.[1033] With the gradual
disappearance of the assessors, however, the necessity of a separate
functionary became apparent, and the courts of confiscations grew to be
an established feature of the tribunals, so long as confiscations
continued to be numerous and profitable. Towards the end, when they had
become infrequent, the senior inquisitor performed the duties of the

Ferdinand, meanwhile, persisted in asserting the exclusive jurisdiction
of the Inquisition over all matters connected with confiscation,
recognizing that his interests would suffer if the secular courts were
allowed to intervene. The establishment of this as a rule of practice is
attributable to the year 1508. The receiver of Jaen had sold a
confiscated house to Diego García el rico for forty-two thousand
maravedís on a year's credit. When the term expired, García, instead of
paying, exhibited a grant made to him of the house by Philip of Austria.
After Philip's brief career was over, his acts were not treated with
much respect, and the juez de los bienes refused to recognize the grant,
on the ground that it was not countersigned by the Suprema. García
appealed to the chancellery of Granada which ordered the grant to be
recognized, but Ferdinand interposed, January 18, 1508, commanding the
judges to keep their hands off and not to interfere with the
Inquisition, in any way, either in its civil or criminal
jurisdiction.[1035] The chancellery did not take this kindly and
invited, in 1510, another rebuke for meddling in suits concerning
sequestrations and confiscations; if any cases of the kind were pending
they must be forthwith remitted to the tribunals to which they belonged,
and in future nothing of the kind was to be entertained.[1036]

It was impossible that this monstrous policy, of making it the judge in
its own cases, should be submitted to without resistance, but it was
stoutly maintained by the crown. The tribunal of Jaen invested some of
its funds in a censo created by a cleric of Alcalá. He died in 1524,
when his mother and brothers attacked the censo as being secured on a
property in which they held undivided interests, and another party came
forward with an incumbrance on the same property. The Inquisition seized
it and also collected some debts due to the deceased, which reduced its
claim to seven or eight thousand maravedís. The other parties appealed
to the chancellery of Granada, which entertained the case, but the
Inquisition invoked Charles V who, in letters of May 19 and July 7,
1525, repeated the commands of Ferdinand to abstain from all
interference. The Inquisition was the sole judge and parties thinking
themselves aggrieved must appeal to the Suprema.[1037] Still, those who
smarted under injustice sought relief in the secular courts, which were
nothing loath to aid them; complaints were loud on both sides and
competencias were frequent until, as we have seen, they led to the
settlement of 1553, in which Prince Philip emphatically forbade
cognizance of such matters to all courts and ministers of justice, and
confined appellate jurisdiction strictly to the Suprema.[1038]

As has been seen in other matters, the great high court of Granada was
recalcitrant and persisted in asserting its jurisdiction. In 1571 and
1573 it entertained cases relating to confiscations, in both of which it
was told by Philip II to hold its hand and not to meddle with such
affairs. Despite this, in 1575, it intervened in a case which suggests
the reasonable objection felt to rendering the Inquisition a judge in
its own cause. The creditors of Don Diego de Castilla had embargoed his
property and the court had placed it in the hands of an administrator
for their benefit; but the tribunal of Murcia chanced to hold a censo of
his for a thousand ducats; the juez de los bienes stepped in, seized the
property, sold it and kept the money. The chancellery was seeking to
obtain justice for the other creditors; it arrested the juez and threw
him into prison, when Philip again intervened, ordering his liberation
and the abandonment of the case.[1039]

[Sidenote: _COMPOSITIONS_]

It illustrates the independence of the kingdoms of the crown of Aragon
that, when the tax-collectors of Valencia levied taxes and imposts on
confiscated property and its sale, Charles V was obliged to appeal to
the Holy See for its prevention. Clement VII obligingly granted a bull,
July 7, 1525, forbidding this under pain of excommunication and a fine
of a thousand ducats to the papal camera; the inquisitor-general was
named as conservator and judge to enforce it by censures and interdict
and invocation of the secular arm, which doubtless put an end to the

       *       *       *       *       *

As the operations of the Inquisition developed, an additional source of
gain was found in speculating upon the terror pervading the New
Christian communities. Whether the idea originated in their mercantile
instincts, or in the desire of the sovereigns for prompt realization,
cannot be determined, but it was in essence a kind of rude and imperfect
insurance against certain contingencies of confiscation, for which those
in danger were willing to pay a heavy premium. As early as September 6,
1482, in a letter of Ferdinand to Luis Cabanilles, Governor of Valencia,
there occurs an allusion to an arrangement of this kind, made with the
Conversos of that city, under which apparently they had agreed to pay a
certain sum in lieu of the confiscations and had appointed assessors to
apportion the share of each individual. Some of those thus assessed
refused to pay, and Ferdinand ordered them to be coerced by
imprisonment.[1041] What were the exact terms of this we have no means
of knowing but, on June 6, 1488, he made another bargain with the
Valencia Conversos, who were reconciled under an Edict of Grace, by
which they paid him for exemption from confiscation--apparently rather a
fresh impost, for this reconciliation substituted fines for
confiscation. Then, April 6, 1491, he confirmed this and, for a further
payment of five thousand ducats, he added exemption for heretical acts
subsequently committed, if they did not amount to relapse, and for
imperfect confessions made under the Edict of Grace--for, as we shall
see hereafter, such confessions were frequently a source of danger
arising from trifling omissions, construed by the inquisitors as
rendering them fictitious and entailing relaxation. It is an indelible
disgrace to Ferdinand that, in these compositions, he did not keep faith
with those whose money he took. In 1499, the Suprema took exception to
this arrangement, probably in consequence of complaints that it was
violated by the seizure and sale of properties comprehended under it.
Then Ferdinand declared that it had not been his intention to relieve
from confiscation those whose confessions had been imperfect, whereupon
the Suprema ordered the inquisitors and receiver to prosecute and
confiscate the property of all such penitents in spite of the agreement.
Even the hardened receiver Aliaga seems to have hesitated to obey these
orders, for Ferdinand was obliged to write to him, September 27th, that
they were to be executed notwithstanding the privilege and its

The hardships inflicted on the innocent by this breach of faith are
illustrated in a petition presented, in 1519, to Charles V by Juan and
Beatriz Guimera, children of Bernat and Violante Guimera who, after the
composition of 1488, had been condemned for imperfect confession and
their property confiscated. Juan and Beatriz, with other children in the
same position, appealed to Ferdinand who, under the provision of April
6, 1491, ordered the receiver to restore all such property. They
received and enjoyed possession for twelve years, after which, under the
orders of 1499 the inquisitors took it from them. From this they
appealed, but were too poor to follow it up, and the Suprema declared
the appeal abandoned. Now they prayed Charles for the restoration of
their property and showed that, after the execution of their parents,
they had paid all the instalments remaining of the composition. In view
of this, Charles, as a special grace and in the exercise of the royal
clemency, ordered--not that the property of which they had been robbed
should be restored--but that the receiver should repay them what the
inquisitors might find that they had paid of the composition after the
death of their parents, without deducting therefrom the claim of the
fisc for the income of the property during their twelve years'

[Sidenote: _COMPOSITIONS_]

Even worse, if possible, was Ferdinand's course in a composition made,
September 10, 1495, with the heirs and successors of all who in Aragon
had died up to that time and whose memories had been or might in future
be condemned. For the sum of five thousand ducats he abandoned, to those
who contributed, all the confiscations of their inheritances and also
the inheritances of those who refused to contribute, to be distributed
among them in proportion to their contributions. Inferentially this was
confirmed when, in 1499, in view of trouble with the receiver, at the
prayer of the contributors, he appointed Vicent de Bordalva
administrator of the property, to claim and hold it and distribute it to
the owners. After seven years had passed, in 1502, he was seized with
qualms of conscience at thus violating the canon law which incapacitated
the children of heretics as inheritors. It is true that he might have
assumed the property and then made a free gift of it, as was frequently
done in special cases, but his scruples were too delicate for such a
subterfuge. By letters of December 13, 1502, to the inquisitors and
assessor, he ordered the seizure and confiscation of all the property
thus devolved and the return to the contributors, in all cases where
they were sufferers, of the moneys which they had paid--thus retaining
the contributions of those who had not profited by the composition. This
breach of faith made an immense sensation in Saragossa and even his son,
the archbishop, ventured to remonstrate, when he replied sanctimoniously
that he was acting by the advice of learned and God-fearing men, who had
demonstrated to him that he could not, with a clear conscience and
without peril to his soul, grant a privilege contrary to the canon law;
the sufferers must have patience, for it was in accordance with the
canons of holy Mother Church which were obligatory on him.[1044]

The inquisitors and receiver were not over-nice in utilizing their
opportunity and complaints speedily came pouring in that, besides the
inheritances, they seized all the property belonging to the heirs,
including their acquisitions and the dowries of their wives, and that
moreover they did not repay the contributions. Thus, before the month of
December, 1502, was out, the brothers Buendia appealed to him; they had
paid fifteen thousand sueldos to the composition and now the receiver
had seized what they had inherited from their father; much of this they
had sold; they had acquired other properties by their labor, they had
inherited from their mother, who was an Old Christian, and had received
dowries with their wives, all of which was included in the seizure.
Ferdinand merely reported this to the inquisitor, with a vague order to
do justice so as not to afford grounds for complaint. It is easy to
conceive the confusion of titles, the multiplicity of suits and the
amount of misery resulting from this arbitrary abrogation of a
contract. Resistance was prolonged, but it was unavailing, for Ferdinand
held good and repeated his peremptory orders, January 4 and March 8,
1503, July 8 and November 7, 1504 and October 7, 1508.[1045] It would
appear, moreover, that many of the contributors who suffered never
obtained a return of their money, for this formed the subject of one of
the articles of the Aragonese Concordia of 1512, confirmed in the 1516
bull of Leo X, providing that whoever had joined in a composition for
the property of the dead and had paid his money, if the deceased was
subsequently convicted and the fisc seized his inheritance, he should
recover from the estate what he had paid, provided the payment had not
been made out of the effects of the deceased.[1046] It was thus admitted
that the contracts were no bar to the Inquisition.

There were various forms of these compositions, insuring against the
different risks and disabilities to which the property of the Conversos
was exposed, but they all had this in common that the contributor threw
his money into a pool from which his chance of deriving advantage was in
the highest degree problematical. It is therefore a striking evidence of
the desperation to which the New Christians were reduced that they were
eager to grasp at these forlorn chances and to pour their money into the
ever-gaping royal treasury, while Ferdinand, in spite of his
conscientious scruples, was always ready to speculate on their despair.
It is impossible now to say how many compositions were made, from first
to last, but they probably covered nearly the whole of Spain, at one
time or another. We have seen that there was one in Córdova, prior to
1500, which was highly profitable to the inquisitor who managed it and
another of uncertain date in Andalusia (Vol. I, pp. 190, 220); there was
one in Orihuela in 1492 and a second in Valencia in 1498 and, in 1515,
there were others in the Biscayan provinces and in Cuenca. Occasionally,
moreover, inquisitors were authorized to enter into such bargains with
individuals, as in Majorca in 1498 and in Catalonia in 1512.[1047]

[Sidenote: _COMPOSITIONS_]

A specimen of these individual compositions is revealed to us in an
investigation made in 1487, by Doctor Alfonso Ramírez, juez de los
bienes of Toledo, into the accounts of Juan de Urría, the late
receiver, who was reported to have defrauded the fisc of more than a
million and a half maravedís. Pedro de Toledo had fled to Portugal, to
escape trial, and his wife, Isabel Díaz, arranged with Urría for a royal
letter of security and pardon for him, his property and his paternal
inheritance, for which the price agreed upon was half a million
maravedís, in addition to which Urría was promised a hundred florins for
his services. Pedro returned and paid for the letter, when Isabel gave
Urría thirteen gold cruzados and fourteen pieces of cloth, which he sold
and claimed that he was five hundred maravedís short.[1048] This was
productive but still more so was one, in 1514, by which Francisco
Sánchez of Talavera ransomed the estate of his deceased father for a
million maravedís.[1049]

These transactions justify the conclusion that persecution was largely a
matter of finance as well as of faith. Such conviction is strengthened
by the history of the greatest of the general compositions, a most
prolonged and involved transaction, of which space will permit only the
barest outline. It commenced with a composition, signed December 7,
1508, with Seville and Cádiz, by which, in consideration of twenty
thousand ducats, there was made over to the penanced and condemned, or
to their heirs, all confiscated property in suit, or that had not been
discovered and seized, from the commencement of the Inquisition up to
November 30th, except what was included in the auto de fe of October
29th. The property of those who did not join in the agreement and pay
their assessments was liable to seizure and all amounts thus realized
were to be deducted from the payment. There was also granted the valued
privilege of going to and trading with the Indies, forbidden to all
_reconciliados_. This was extended, October 10, 1509, in the name of
Queen Juana, covering the archbishopric of Seville, the bishopric of
Cádiz and the towns of Lepe, Ayamonte and la Redondilla, and providing
for the payment of forty thousand ducats, for which the queen made to
the contributors a donation of all real and personal property forfeit to
her from persons reconciled and guilty of imperfect confessions or other
offences prior to reconciliation; also all the property of those who had
died reconciled or to be reconciled and forfeitable by reason of prior
offences, together with all property confiscated on those who refused to
contribute. All alienations made by contributors were confirmed to the
purchasers and contributors were relieved from all penalties incurred
for disregarding the disabilities inflicted on those reconciled and
their descendants. On the other hand, it was expressly stated that the
grant did not exempt the property of those who relapsed or committed
offences subsequent to reconciliation, nor did it relieve them from
prosecution in person or fame. After this, for some cause, the total
payment was increased to eighty thousand ducats, of which sixty thousand
were for the composition and twenty thousand for rehabilitation or
removal of disabilities.

The first obstacle lay in the assembling of the enormous mass of papers
relating to the old confiscations. The tribunal of Leon, which held some
of them, refused to deliver them, and the same occurred with papers
concerning Ecija, requiring repeated peremptory orders from Ferdinand to
procure their deposit in the Castle of Triana for inspection. At last
the unwieldy business was got under way. Assessors were appointed to
make the assessments on contributors, but troubles arose and the whole
affair was put in the hands of Pedro de Villacis, the experienced
receiver of Seville, who had been instrumental in getting up the
agreement of 1508. The work went on and large collections were made,
although delays in payment incurred penalties which, by 1515, amounted
to seven hundred and fifty thousand maravedís, to be paid to the
tribunal of Seville--but it never got the money.[1050]

[Sidenote: _COMPOSITIONS_]

Encouraged by this initial success the scheme was extended over the
kingdom of Granada, the bishoprics of Córdova, Jaen, Badajoz, Coria, and
Plasencia and the province of Leon, the sum agreed upon for them being
fifty-five thousand ducats. Complaints however arose about injustice in
the assessments; payments were not forthcoming in time; difficulties
apparently insuperable accumulated and Ferdinand, after consultation
with Ximenes and the Suprema, revoked the composition. Then it was
revived and Ferdinand, January 18, 1515, placed it in the hands of
Villacis, whose instructions justify the assumption that, under the
guise of an act of mercy, the whole scheme was merely the pretext for
fresh exactions on the defenceless. He was ordered to proclaim the
composition in all places within the districts concerned; to order all
persons obligated to pay their contributions; those proposing to join
were to appear before him by their procurators at a specified time and
arrange the assessments to be paid by each place or person, such
assessments being binding on the absent. As for those who refused to
join, Villacis was empowered to levy on their property as being jointly
liable and to sell it at auction, giving to the purchasers good and
sufficient title, guaranteed by the crown, while all secular officials
were required to give him whatever aid he required. Inquisitors were to
do the same and were to commission as alguazils such persons as he might
name. Letters were sent to the corregidors of the towns, telling them
that some contributors refused to pay, and they were empowered to decide
all such questions summarily and finally.[1051]

That the matter was really an unauthorized impost, enforced by the
authority of the Inquisition, would appear not only from this admittance
of secular jurisdiction but also from what we know as to the methods
pursued in the original composition of Seville. Each town was assessed
at a certain sum which it divided at discretion among the contributors.
When Alcázar was assessed at a thousand ducats it remonstrated to
Ferdinand, who kindly ordered execution suspended. Other places were not
so fortunate and the pitiless exaction of the assessment provoked
resistance. Thus in March, 1514, when, by order of the tribunal and as
representative of Villacis, Fernando Royz went to San Lucar de
Barrameda, he seized some slaves and other property and placed them in
the prison for safe-keeping. The Duchess of Medina Sidonia ordered the
alcalde to return them to their masters and would allow no further
levies to be made. Ferdinand forthwith rebuked her, ordering her to
assist the officials and never again to interfere in matters concerning
the Inquisition. He also wrote to the inquisitors to inflict due
punishment on the person and property of the alcalde and all connected
with the affair; the levies and executions must proceed and the money be
collected, for the last instalment of the composition was to be paid by
the end of May.[1052]

This indicates that the Seville composition had been fairly productive,
but the other had continued to drag. With the death of Ferdinand, in
January, 1516, pressure was removed and resistance became general. A
cédula issued in the name of Queen Juana, February 24th, states that
those who were assessed were refusing to pay and were supported by
nobles and magnates, wherefore the inquisitors of Seville, Córdova, Jaen
and Leon were instructed to enforce the payments by levy and execution
and to prosecute with all rigor those who impeded the collection,
irrespective of their rank and dignity. This was ineffective. In
Córdova, the Count of Cabra and the Marquis of Priego forced the agents
of Villacis to abandon work among their vassals, and the latter
compelled them to deposit sixty thousand maravedís which they had
collected. It was in vain that the Governors of Castile ordered them to
desist and when, in September, the Count of Cabra justified his
persistence by stating that his people had paid their composition to
Rodrigo of Madrid--who had organized the scheme--and he would not allow
them to be coerced into duplicate payments, he and the marquis were told
that Rodrigo had no authority and that his receipts were worthless,
which suggests the impositions practised on the victims. In the lands of
the Duke of Medina Sidonia the same opposition was offered and the high
court of Granada took advantage of the opportunity by issuing mandates
restraining the collection, nor is it likely that it respected a royal
cédula of July 4th commanding it to abstain from interference.[1053]

[Sidenote: _COMPOSITIONS_]

This resistance was fully justified. Even before Ferdinand's death, the
proceedings of Villacis and his underlings had aroused general
indignation. At the Córtes of Burgos, in 1515, the procurators of
Seville had called the attention of the nation to their extortions in a
petition which set forth their misdeeds, doubtless with exaggeration,
but which, coming from those not personally interested, must have had
substantial foundation in fact. Villacis was accused of arbitrary
assessments and of making up deficiencies by assessing again those who
had already paid, of cruelty, extortion and fraud, of selling at auction
property taken in execution, at unusual places and times, so that he and
his friends could buy it in, of using the machinery of the composition
to collect his private debts, of defrauding the fisc by false returns,
of charging to the contributors the exorbitant fees and expenses of his
collectors, although the agreement provided that the fisc should bear
them, of rendering to the contributors only a partial account of his
collections and refusing to complete it, and in this charging himself
with only forty ducats as collected in the Canaries, when there was
evidence that the amount was more than a thousand. In short, he was
accused of abusing his arbitrary powers in almost every conceivable way
to oppress the people and enrich himself, and numerous specific cases
were cited in support of the allegations. The magistrates of Seville had
endeavored to restrain him but he scorned their jurisdiction and
therefore, in the name of the whole community, the king was supplicated
to send to Seville some one empowered to investigate and punish and make
restitution to those wrongfully despoiled.

It was impossible to ignore such an appeal made in the face of the
nation, and the Licenciado Giron, one of the judges of the high court of
Granada, was despatched to Seville, but only with power to investigate
and report to the Suprema within sixty days. The time proved too short
and, after exceeding it, he begged to be relieved on making a partial
report. In December, 1516, the Licenciado Mateo Vázquez, a resident of
Seville, was commissioned, with the same powers, to complete the
investigation and also to enquire into many complaints coming from
various places that, prior to the appointment of Villacis, Pedro del
Alcázar and Francisco de Santa Cruz and their employees had made large
collections, of which they had rendered no account; that they had
retained more than a million of maravedís, while those who had paid them
were subjected to levy and execution to enforce duplicate payments.
Altogether the whole business would seem to have been a Saturnalia of
spoliation and embezzlement. Vázquez undertook the task and, on
September 17, 1517, he was ordered to furnish to Villacis a copy of the
evidence to enable him to put in a defence, after which all the papers
were to be submitted to the Suprema for its action.

If anything resulted from this it has left no trace in the documents.
The influence of Villacis carried him through, for he was continued in
office and went on with the work. August 13, 1518, Charles V ordered an
audit of his accounts and payment of balances due, which he skilfully
parried. A new assessment was ordered to make good any part of the
eighty thousand ducats that might still be uncollected and this was
given to him to enforce. The old methods were still pursued for, in
March, 1519, Charles was obliged to write vigorously to the Count of
Cabra, the Marquis of Priego and the alcalde mayor of the Marquis of
Comares, who had again interfered with his collectors and stopped all
proceedings in their lands.

[Sidenote: _DILAPIDATION_]

Charles's Flemish favorites were growing impatient to share in the
elusive spoils. He had granted to his chamberlain, M. de Beaurains, the
rest of the composition, but it was not forthcoming, nor were the
accounts of Villacis. In January, 1519, he wrote to Torquemada, one of
the Seville inquisitors, to enforce on Villacis, with the utmost rigor
of the law, the payment to Beaurains of any amounts collected and not
paid over, while, if there was a balance uncollected, Villacis was to
assess it afresh and account for it to Beaurains. This produced nothing
and, on March 24th Charles emphatically repeated the order, granting
full power to enforce it with penalties at discretion. Villacis,
however, had experience in eluding such demands and Ferdinand had not
left much to glean. In 1515 he had divided up the Córdova composition,
giving twenty thousand to the Inquisition and reserving thirty thousand
for himself. Of this he had received twenty thousand and the remaining
ten he granted to the Marquis of Denia, but when the latter presented
this order to Villacis, he was told that eight thousand was covered by
previous grants and he could only have two thousand. Denia complained to
Ferdinand, by that time mortally sick, who, on December 4th, assented to
the transfer to him of the previous grants, but Ximenes, in transmitting
this order to Villacis, made a condition that the twenty thousand for
the Inquisition must first be paid and he subsequently suspended Denia's
grant altogether. The marquis complained of this to Charles, who from
Ghent, May 22, 1517, ordered Ximenes to lift the suspension, but again
Ximenes insisted with Villacis that the Inquisition must first be paid.
The funds seemed to evaporate and vanish into thin air. It is probable
that Denia got little or nothing and that Beaurains fared no better, for
Charles's prime favorite, Adrien de Croy, received as his share of the
spoils only the seven hundred and fifty thousand maravedís, the
penalties for delay, which had been assigned to the tribunal of Seville.
The insatiable Calcena and Aguirre, however, secured a thousand ducats
which, in 1515, Ferdinand granted them in recompense for their labors on
the composition.[1054] Thus for ten years the New Christians of a large
part of Spain had been harried and impoverished under delusive promises
of exemption and, of the moneys thus extorted, but little reached either
the crown or the Inquisition. The tribunal of Seville, indeed, can have
received virtually nothing for, as we have seen, in 1556, its Archbishop
Valdés asserted that, since the beginning of the century, it was so
impoverished that it could support but a single inquisitor and pay only
one-third of the ordinary salaries.[1055]

       *       *       *       *       *

It would be impossible now to conjecture what was the amount of which
the industrious and producing classes of Spain were thus despoiled, or
what was the sum of misery thus inflicted, although we may estimate the
retribution which followed in the disorganization of Spanish industries
and the retardation of economic development. What reached the royal
treasury and the money-chests of the Inquisition was but a portion of
the values of which the owners were deprived. The assets taken melted in
the hands of the spoilers. The expenses of the trials, which became
inordinately prolonged, and the maintenance of the prisoners consumed a
considerable part. Dilapidation and peculation, which even Ferdinand's
incessant vigilance could not prevent, were the source of constant loss.
Even without these, the necessity for immediate realization, to supply
the peremptory demands of the treasury and the tribunals, threw an
enormous amount of property and goods of all kinds on the market, in
forced sales which were inevitably sacrifices. It was the established
rule, perpetually enunciated, that every thing, except money and
securities, was to be sold at auction, the real estate on the thirtieth
day after condemnation, in presence of the receiver and notary of
sequestrations.[1056] Notwithstanding all precautions, collusion and
fraud were perpetual. It was doubtless as an effort to check them that
Valdés, in 1547, ordered that real estate or censos, or government
securities should not be sold without consulting the Suprema, together
with an attested statement of past income and probable proceeds, and
this was followed, in 1553, with an order that property in litigation
was not to be sold.[1057] Precautions however were unavailing. The
memorial of 1623 to the Suprema remarks that there are many
opportunities for human wickedness in the sequestration, valuation and
sale of sequestrated property; the valuations are habitually too low and
the sales are made at the lowest prices. Whenever possible, property
should be brought to the city of the tribunal, be properly valued and
the receiver be forbidden to sell it for less. When sales have to be
made at the place of arrest, they should be by public auction, in the
presence of the commissioner and of a familiar, to see that just prices
are obtained.[1058] The Suprema seems to have mooned over this until
1635, when it called for reports as to the manner in which the auctions
were held and whether just prices were obtained; if the property was in
some small place it must be brought to a larger town to prevent

During the period of active confiscation, moreover, when the moneyed
classes were either ruined or anticipating ruin, it was sometimes
impossible to effect sales and, in the pressure and confusion, property
was allowed to go to waste. A letter of March 20, 1512, to the receiver
of Huesca and Lérida, speaks of the uninhabited houses and lands which
had not been sold, because fair prices could not be had, and which were
perishing in consequence, and he was told to see whether he could not
sell them on ground-rent, redeemable or irredeemable.[1060] It is
impossible not to see in this the commencement of the _despoblados_
which were the despair of Spanish statesmen for more than two centuries.
So, in 1531, the dwelling in Játiva of Juan Sanz, on whom it was
confiscated, was allowed to fall into such disrepair that no one would
take it subject to the incumbrances, and the rentals did not meet the
ground-rents, so it was abandoned to the incumbrancers.[1061]

[Sidenote: _DILAPIDATION_]

The manner in which property melted away is seen in the settlement, made
in 1519, of the estate of Mayor de Monzon, burnt for heresy. It was
appraised at 110,197 maravedís, but against this were the expenses of
the woman and her children while in prison, amounting to 41,100, and the
widower, Diego de Adrade, finally agreed to take the estate for 17,000
maravedís, subject to whatever claims there might be against it.[1062]
Everybody concerned grasped at what he could. In 1532, the Valencia
tribunal sent Rafael Diego to Majorca to arrest and fetch Leonor Juan,
wife of Ramon Martin who was blind. She was reconciled with
confiscation and Charles V made a grant to the husband of a hundred
libras from the estate, but when the account was made up the expenses
did not leave enough to pay him. One item against which he protested was
twenty-five ducats to Diego for twenty days' work, when his salary was
only eighty ducats a year; the Suprema consequently suspended the item
but, in 1545, Inquisitor-general Tavera ordered it to be paid.[1063]

       *       *       *       *       *

It is perhaps superfluous to insist upon what was inevitable in an age
when integrity was exceptional in public affairs, and in a business
affording peculiar temptations to malversation, through the fluctuating
uncertainty of receipts and the difficulty of effecting competent
supervision. Ferdinand did his best to establish accountability, and his
incessant activity exhibits itself in his minute criticisms on his
auditor's reports of the accounts of receivers, but even his vigilance
could not prevent frauds and peculation, nor was it possible for him to
penetrate the mysteries lurking behind statements of receipts and
expenditures, when the receivers were apt to use the funds as their own.
When Juan Denbin, the receiver of Saragossa, died and his accounts were
balanced, after all possible allowances were made, he was found, in
1500, to owe 9367 sueldos, which Ferdinand vainly endeavored to collect
from his heir, the Abbot of Veruela. Denbin's deputy at Calatayud
improved on his example and was found, in 1499, to be short 24,000
sueldos, of which he paid 8000 and promised the rest at the rate of 4000
a year; the installment of 1500 was obtained after some delay and, when
we last hear of him, Ferdinand was endeavoring to secure that of

It is easy to understand the chronic reluctance of such officials to
render statements, and Ferdinand's correspondence shows how difficult it
was to force them to do so. There is much suggestiveness in a letter of
October 15, 1498, to the Maestre Racional or Auditor-general of
Catalonia, telling him that, as Jayme de la Ram, the former receiver,
and Pedro de Badia, the present one, refuse under various pretexts to
hand over their books so that their accounts can be settled, he is to
take legal steps to compel it; they can have until March 1, 1499, to
obey and, if they still refuse, their salaries are to be stopped. When
the books are obtained no time is to be lost in striking a balance, and
especial care is to be taken that they do not give themselves fraudulent
credits. Juan de Montaña, receiver of Huesca and Lérida was another
whose accounts were chronically in arrear.[1065] This continued to the
end of Ferdinand's reign. In 1515 we find him writing to a receiver, who
had flatly refused to obey an order of Ximenes to go to Valencia with
his books and papers and render an account of his collections, for
persistence in which the king threatened him with prosecution.[1066]
After his death Ximenes labored energetically to evoke order out of
disorder. He appointed a receiver-general, with power to collect by
levy, execution and sale, all moneys due by the receivers, and all
fines, penances, commutations and rehabilitations; moreover, to a new
auditor-general Hernando de Villa, he addressed a cédula, February 21,
1517, reciting that the receivers had collected from the confiscations
and other sources large sums of which for a long time they had rendered
no account, wherefore he was instructed to visit every tribunal, to
demand an accounting from the receiver, to examine all papers and
vouchers and ascertain the balances due, while all notaries were
instructed to furnish whatever documents he might call for, and he was
empowered to enforce his orders with punishment at discretion.[1067]


Possibly this may have produced improvement, but if so it was but
temporary. We have just seen how recalcitrant about his accounts was
Pedro de Badia, the receiver of Barcelona; he did not improve and when
he died, in 1513, he left his office in bad condition. He was replaced
by Martin de Marrano, transferred from Majorca, who proved to be no
better. In 1520 Cardinal Adrian, to punish him, reduced his salary to
2880 sueldos and then, April 16, 1521, wrote a long and indignant letter
to the inquisitors, principally devoted to Marrano's misdeeds, among
which was refusal to settle his accounts and alleging claims for which
he had no vouchers. Yet, to all appearances, with the inexplicable
tenderness shown to official culprits, he was retained in office.[1068]
The tribunal of Sicily, where the confiscations were large, was in even
worse hands. Diego de Obregon, who served as receiver from 1500 to 1514,
left its affairs in lamentable confusion. He was succeeded by Garcí
Cid, who was sent to reduce it to order. How he accomplished this is
seen in a report of Benito Mercader, sent as inspector, describing the
financial management as characterized by every vice, while peculation
was rife among all the officials. Garcí Cid returned to Spain in 1520
and it was not until 1542 that the Suprema ordered him to pay the 1420
ducats, which he was found to owe, as well as what he had collected of
9300 more which were charged against him.[1069] Things did not mend for,
as we have seen, Zurita, who became Auditor-general for Aragon in 1548,
describes his untangling of the Sicilian accounts, which had not been
received for twenty years and were in the utmost disorder.[1070]

       *       *       *       *       *

It is evident that the receipts of the royal treasury formed but a
portion of the amount wrung from the victims. What those receipts were,
we have no means of knowing but, in 1524, the Licenciado Tristan de
Leon, in an elaborate memorial addressed to Charles V, asserted that
Ferdinand and Isabella obtained from this source the enormous amount of
10,000,000 ducats, which greatly assisted them in their war with the
Moors.[1071] Occasionally we have scattering indications of the
productiveness of inquisitorial labors. Thus in the little temporary
Geronimite Inquisition of Guadalupe, in 1485, the sovereigns
appropriated the proceeds to the erection of a royal residence for their
frequent devotional visits to the shrine. It was a magnificent palace,
the cost of which, 2,732,333 maravedís, was almost wholly defrayed from
this source.[1072] In 1486, the Valencia tribunal must have been
productive, for Ferdinand wrote from Galicia to the receiver Joan Ram,
to supply all that was needful for a fleet, as he had not the money in
hand at the court.[1073] The impression produced on contemporaries is
conveyed in Hernando de Pulgar's grim remark, when, describing the
violent expulsion from Toledo of the Count of Fuensalida, he adds that
the populace, like rigid inquisitors of the faith, found heresies in
the properties of the count's peasants, which they plundered and

The large sums which were raised in the various compositions, in return
for the very slender exemptions offered, are an index of the magnitude
of the confiscations and so is a proposition, made to Ferdinand and
declined, of a loan of 600,000 ducats if he would transfer the
adjudication of such matters to the secular courts.[1075] Although
receipts were perhaps diminished, with the weeding out of the Judaizing
New Christians, we have seen (Vol. I, p. 220) the offer made, in 1519,
to Charles V, to provide an endowment which would meet all the salaries
and expenses of the Inquisition and, in addition, to pay him 400,000
ducats in compensation for the abandonment of the confiscations. Soon
after this another offer was made of 700,000 ducats, which seems to have
been held under consideration for a year or two.[1076]


During the remainder of the sixteenth century, the constant drafts by
the Suprema on the several tribunals shows that they were, as a rule,
supporting themselves, with a surplus for the central organization,
although occasionally a tribunal in bad luck had to be helped by some
more fortunate brother. The grant, in 1559, of a prebend in each
cathedral and collegiate church, supplied the growing deficiency of
confiscations, but the latter received a notable augmentation after the
annexation of Portugal, in 1580. This was followed by a large influx of
New Christians from the poorer to the richer kingdom, where their
business ability speedily led to the acquisition of wealth, while their
attachment to the ancient faith gave to the Inquisition a new and
lucrative field of operations. We shall see hereafter the curious
transaction by which, in 1604, they purchased a brief immunity, and this
led soon afterwards to an offer, by the New Christians of Seville and
the western provinces, of 1,600,000 ducats for a forty years' suspension
of confiscation, coupled with the release of descendants from
disabilities and infamy, the rating of testimony at its true worth, and
papal intervention with the king in the rendering of sentences. The
offer was seriously considered, but an investigation of the treasury
accounts showed that, in its financial aspect, it would be a losing
bargain for the crown, which would have to support the Inquisition, and
it was rejected.[1077]

The persecutions in Peru and Mexico furnished evidence against wealthy
merchants at home which was profitably utilized. In 1635, the Pereiras,
who were large contractors in Madrid, were implicated and also "the
Pasariños and all the rich merchants of Seville." Then too, Francisco
Illan of Madrid, rated at 300,000 ducats, was accused and we hear of the
arrest of Juan Rodríguez Musa, described as a wealthy merchant of
Seville.[1078] It is true that when, in 1633, Juan Nuñez Sarabia was
arrested, and his books showed a fortune of 600,000 ducats, hope was
dashed by Gabriel Ortiz de Sotomayor, a member of the Suprema, who
claimed the major part of it as a deposit by him as curador of Doña
María Ortiz and as executor of Don Bernabé de Vivanco.[1079] Still, a
class of culprits such as these, composed of rich bankers and merchants,
gave ample opportunity of swelling the assets of the Holy Office. In
1654, in an auto de fe at Cuenca, there were fifty-five Judaizers, many
of them evidently in easy circumstances, one of whom said, on the way to
the brasero, that his chances of heaven were costing him 200,000
ducats.[1080] Yet these were uncertain resources and we have seen that
the Suprema, in its budget for 1657, only reckoned on receiving from the
tribunals 755,520 maravedís, or about 2000 ducats, but, on the other
hand, in a consulta of May 11, 1676, it boasted that, within a few
years, it had contributed to the royal treasury confiscations amounting
to 772,748 ducats vellon and 884,979 pesos in silver.[1081] In addition
to this the confiscations were not only defraying any deficiencies in
its income, but it was gradually becoming richer, for, in the years
1661-1668, the surplus of the Suprema and tribunals invested in
government securities amounted to 21,064 ducats.[1082]

Towards the end of the seventeenth century, the persecution of the
Judaizing New Christians became sharper and we have seen the large
results obtained, in 1679, by the Majorca tribunal from its wholesale
prosecution of the Conversos of Palma. This persecution lasted till near
the middle of the eighteenth century, with a large number of victims
and, as they belonged in great part to the commercial class, the
receipts must have been substantial. In sixty-six autos de fe,
celebrated between 1721 and 1727, there were 776 sentences of
confiscation. Many of these were unproductive, for confiscation was
included in the sentence, whether the culprit had property or not, and
the formula "confiscacion de los bienes que no tiene"--of the property
which he has not got--is one of frequent occurrence, but there were
doubtless enough possessed of wealth to make a fair average.[1083] Then
there were occasional windfalls from others than Judaizers, as in the
case of Melchor Macanaz, in 1716. The financial management seems not to
have improved since the days of Ferdinand. No account of the estate was
rendered until December 31, 1723. This shows that his real estate
brought in a revenue of 1269 libras, indicating a value of about 25,000
libras. There had been collected 9320ll. 7s. 10d. and expended 5838ll.
1s., leaving a balance of 3482ll. 6s. 10d. If the results were not
greater it was not owing to any scruples. Melchor's brother Luis had an
interest of 770 doubloons on the books of the glass-factory of Tortosa.
It was guessed that he had not sufficient capital to justify such an
investment, so the Madrid tribunal, October 21, 1716, ordered Valencia
to sequestrate it.[1084] Another piece of good fortune was the
discovery, in 1727, of an organization of Moriscos, who had preserved
their faith and whose confiscations were so profitable that the
principal informer, Diego Díaz, received as reward a perpetual pension
of 100 ducats a year.[1085]


As the eighteenth century advanced, confiscation gradually grew
obsolete. Heresy had been so successfully extirpated that relaxation and
reconciliation grew rarer and rarer. In the records of the Toledo
tribunal, extending to 1794, there is no sentence of confiscation later
than 1738.[1086] In the census of all the tribunals, about the year
1745, there is but a single _juez de los bienes_, though occasionally we
find that office tacked on to an inquisitorship, as in Valencia in 1795,
where an addition of 52ll. 10s. is made to the salary in consequence,
but that it was a sinecure is apparent from the fact that, in a record
of the sentences of that tribunal from 1780 to 1820, there is not a case
of confiscation.[1087]

       *       *       *       *       *

It is not without interest to examine what was the use made of the large
receipts during the early period, when they were controlled by Ferdinand
and Charles V, and before the Suprema monopolized them for the support
of the tribunals, save an occasional concession extorted by the crown.
Pulgar and Zurita loyally assure us that, large as they were, the
sovereigns employed them solely for the advancement of the faith--the
war with Granada, the maintenance of the Inquisition and other pious
uses.[1088] Supported by these authorities, modern writers assume that
no covetousness can be attributed to the sovereigns in the employment of
these means for the public weal.[1089]

Unfortunately, the records do not bear out these flattering assurances.
The Inquisition, of course, had the first claim on the product of its
labors and its expenses were defrayed from this source. I have met with
but two cases, one in 1500 and one in 1501, where a salary was paid from
the royal treasury and in both of these the recipient was Diego López,
member of the Suprema and royal secretary--a duplicate position which
might justify calling upon either source of supply.[1090] During the war
with Granada, ending with 1491, undoubtedly the funds derived from the
industry of the Holy Office were largely employed in its prosecution
which, according to the standards of the age, was not only a patriotic
but an eminently pious use. While this drain continued it is not likely
that much of the confiscations was otherwise employed, and I have met
with but one or two pious gifts--in 1486 a thousand sueldos to aid in
the construction of an infirmary for the Franciscan convent of Santa
Maria de Jesus and, in 1491 a rent of five hundred sueldos a year to the
church of San Juan of Calatayud.[1091] After the conquest of Granada we
find occasional grants to convents and churches, but they are not
frequent and, as a rule, are meagre in comparison with the profusion
lavished on courtiers and servants. The only large recipient of bounty
seems to have been Ferdinand's favorite Geronimite convent of Santa
Engracia of Saragossa to which, in 1495, he gave thirteen thousand
sueldos for the purchase of certain lands and gardens and, in 1498, ten
thousand more. There was, in addition, a yearly allowance of six
thousand sueldos for the maintenance of the frailes; the payment of this
was suspended, in 1498, on account of lack of funds, but Ferdinand,
after some hesitation, made this good by transferring to the convent
certain censos that had been appropriated to the Inquisition.[1092] In
his correspondence of this period, up to 1515, there occur a few more
pious expenditures, but all are of moderate amount and in no way justify
the assertion that the confiscations were largely expended in this


The acquisitive secretary Calcena was a much more frequent beneficiary.
His position gave him exceptional facilities for watching the
confiscations and of profiting by his knowledge. His name continually
recurs as the recipient of gifts of censos, houses and money, and he had
indirect means of participating, as we have seen when he shared in the
ruin of the Archdeacon of Castro. Some light is thrown on the methods in
vogue when, in 1500, the estate of Francisco López of Calatayud was
confiscated. In this certain houses, valued at ten thousand sueldos,
were included, which the son of López hoped to save, as belonging to his
mother's dowry, but the father's papers had been seized and the marriage
settlement was inaccessible. The son thereupon promised Calcena a third
of the valuation for a copy of the document; the effort failed, the
houses were confiscated and Ferdinand, compassionating Calcena's loss,
not only gave him the promised third but pledged himself to defend the
title in case it should be attacked.[1093] This suggests a possible
source of profit in favoring the sufferers by confiscation. Many
instances have been cited above of Ferdinand's kindly consideration in
mitigating exceptional cases of hardship, and we shall have occasion to
refer to others; it would be pleasant to attribute them wholly to a
side of his character that has not hitherto revealed itself in history,
but one cannot escape an uneasy suspicion that, as Calcena was the
channel through which these bounties flowed, in some cases, at least,
the successful petitioners were those who had made it worth his while to
aid them.

The abuse of making to favorites grants out of confiscations antedated
the establishment of the Inquisition. The Córtes of 1447 petitioned
against it and Juan II assented in a fashion too equivocal to hold out
much prospect of improvement.[1094] It continued and, when the property
of the New Christians came pouring in, Ferdinand yielded to the greed of
his courtiers and nobles with a profuseness which explains where much of
the products of confiscation disappeared. His recklessness in this
matter is illustrated by a complaint, in 1500, of the Admiral of
Castile, representing that he had been given a censo on his vizcondado
of Cabrera, confiscated in the estate of Juan Beltran, but that certain
parties to whom it had also been granted were suing him for it.
Ferdinand evidently kept no record of these heedless gifts, for he could
remember nothing as to this duplication, and he applied to the tribunal
for a list of the provisions respecting the estate so that he could
decide between the claimants.[1095]

His only serious collision with the Inquisition arose from this source
and he found its censures more effective than his own. His lavishness
kept the tribunals drained to the point that frequently there was no
money to pay the salaries. As early as 1488 the inquisitors assembled at
Valladolid complained of this and supplicated the sovereigns to order
receivers to provide for salaries before honoring royal drafts; if they
failed to keep sufficient funds on hand for salaries they should be
subject to removal by inquisitors.[1096] This was ineffective; the royal
treasury was chronically bankrupt, endurance ceased to be a virtue and
the question came to a head at the close of 1497. On November 15th,
Ferdinand wrote to receiver Juan Royz of Saragossa to pay some small
amounts, less than a hundred ducats in all, chiefly needed for an
inspection and reform of Franciscan convents then on foot. He knew, he
said, that the Saragossa tribunal was in great straits, but he could not
furnish the money himself and means must be found to raise it, without
compelling him to write again. Royz however refused to make the
payments, stating that the inquisitors-general had placed him under
excommunication if he should pay any royal grants. Ferdinand shifted the
order to the receiver of fines and penances, but the inquisitors-general
had been beforehand with him by removing that official. Thus baffled, he
wrote to them, January 28, 1498, telling them that these payments were
absolutely necessary and he had nothing wherewith to meet them; besides,
there were other pressing demands. The Córtes were about to meet at
Saragossa and he had ordered certain alterations in the Aljafería to
accommodate him during his residence, the cost of which Royz refused to
pay and the work was stopped. There was also the tomb of his father and
mother, with alabaster statues, which he was building at the abbey of
Poblet (the burial-place of the kings of Aragon) at a cost of fifteen
hundred ducats; five thousand sueldos were due to the architect, Maestre
Gil Morlan, and when Royz refused to pay this from the confiscations,
Ferdinand ordered the amount to be collected from the ground-rent of
Parascuellos, but it chanced that Royz himself owed that ground-rent and
was in no haste to pay it. Meanwhile the salaries were paid, but the
excommunication still hung over Royz and he refused obstinately to
furnish money for these needs and for some more that were crowding in.
February 28th, Ferdinand vainly endeavored to induce the inquisitor to
make Royz yield by excommunicating him, and he then appealed to Suárez
de Fuentelsaz, one of the inquisitors-general, but equally without
success. Finally, on March 30th, he wrote to Torquemada by a special
messenger, with orders to bring an answer, telling him that, as the
salaries were paid, the excommunication must be lifted, for he would not
permit it. This was successful and, on April 10th, he wrote again,
promising that in future he would not make grants from the confiscations
and penances. On April 20th he communicated to Royz the removal of the
excommunication and urged the speedy completion of the alterations of
the Aljafería and the payment to Santa Engracia of what was due.[1097]
Thus ended this episode, which sheds a curious light on the relations of
Ferdinand with the Inquisition and on the precarious nature of public
finance at the time.


The excommunication had not been confined to Saragossa, nor was it
removed elsewhere when Saragossa paid its salaries. In July, 1500, we
find Ferdinand arguing with the obdurate Juan de Montaña, receiver of
Huesca and Lérida, that it did not apply to the completion of an old
donation to the church of Lérida, which had never been fully paid. We
hear nothing subsequently of the censure, though complaints continued of
salaries in arrears, and the Archdeacon of Almazan, who was inquisitor
at Calatayud, was consequently unable to pay his debts when, in 1500, he
was transferred to Barcelona. The tribunal of Valencia was hopelessly
bankrupt when, in 1501, there came a lucky composition with the heirs of
Juan Macip, for sixty thousand sueldos, which Ferdinand ordered to be
applied to its liabilities so that, for once, it might be out of
debt.[1098] It is scarce necessary to add that Ferdinand's promise to
make no more grants was violated almost as soon as made.

In the profusion which kept the tribunals exhausted it by no means
followed that those who had no influence profited by the royal favor. In
1493, Ferdinand granted to Leonor Hernández two thousand sueldos as a
marriage-portion. Under various pretexts, payment was evaded. Leonor
married and died, leaving the claim to her husband and brother who, in
1502, procured from Ferdinand an order for its immediate settlement, but
whether this was honored is problematical.[1099] Even more delayed was a
concession, in 1491, to Martin Marin of Calatayud, of three thousand
sueldos on the confiscations of his father and mother-in-law; in 1512
Marin represented that he had never been able to obtain it and Ferdinand
ordered its payment forthwith. These postponements were not always due
to poverty. In 1491, a grant was made to Anton del Mur, royal alguazil,
of a vineyard, forming part of the confiscated estate of Pascual de
Santa Cruz. Receiver Royz of Saragossa made answer that the vineyard had
been sold, but when the king ordered him to make over the proceeds to
del Mur, the latter got nothing and Royz managed fraudulently to keep
the vineyard in the hands of a third party. After nineteen years, del
Mur, in 1510, revived the matter, when Ferdinand ordered the inquisitor
and receiver to find out who held the vineyard and by what title and, if
it was not found that Royz had sold it for a just price, del Mur was to
be placed in possession.[1100]

The eagerness for these spoils was such that claims for them were put
in without waiting for confiscation to be decreed, and it is evident
that, when a man of wealth was arrested, there were agencies to convey
the news to the expectants and the prey was divided before the quarry
was killed. After Isabella's death, in 1504 these grants were an
economical way to secure the fluctuating allegiance of the Castilian
nobles, which Philip of Austria was ready to exploit and the nobles
eager to profit by. When the Licenciado de Medina, of Valladolid, was
arrested, the Admiral of Castile, Fadrique Enríquez, petitioned him at
once for the confiscation and Philip from Brussels, May 5, 1505, granted
the request, repeating it six months later. While awaiting Juana's
confinement, before sailing for Spain, the two spouses, on September
12th, sent orders to all the cities, the nobles and officials not to
obey Ferdinand or to pay taxes to him, and the receivers of the
tribunals were specially told to withhold from him the
confiscations.[1101] Philip's orders from Flanders, however, received
scant respect and his reign in Castile was too transitory for him to
exercise any notable influence on the disposition of the confiscations.


As for Ferdinand, what he granted with one hand he withheld with the
other. February 23, 1510, he issued a cédula to all receivers saying
that, in consequence of the falling off in confiscations, if all the
grants which he had made and was making were paid, the officials would
not receive their salaries and would abandon the work, to the great
disservice of God, wherefore in future, no matter what orders he or the
inquisitor-general might issue, no grants were to be paid until all
officials had received their salaries and ayudas de costa and, when such
grants were presented, he or the inquisitor-general was to be consulted.
The rule was to be that debts must be paid first, then salaries and
grants not until the last.[1102] Yet, on the day previous, he had given
to Fernando de Mazueco, a member of the Suprema, certain olive orchards
and censos confiscated on Gonzalo Ximenes of Seville; the same day he
ordered the receiver of Jaen to deduct twenty thousand maravedís from
the appraised value of some confiscated houses wanted by Dr. Juan de
Santoyo, former judge of confiscations of Jaen, and he continued making
gifts with reckless prodigality as though the royal treasury were
overflowing and the Inquisition were richly endowed. In January, the
Admiral of Castile had had a grant of houses valued at eight or nine
thousand sueldos and, on April 2nd, he ordered the receivers of Toledo,
Seville, Córdova and Jaen each to pay 375,000 maravedís, or 1,500,000 in
all to his servant Juan Rodríguez de Portocarrero.[1103] Apparently it
was exceptional for the Inquisition to enjoy the product of its
exertions for, in May, we find him assuring the Suprema that no one had
asked him for a confiscation of 100,000 maravedís just made in
Valladolid, and that he will reserve it for the known necessities of
that tribunal and, in July, that, although he has been much importuned
for another confiscation, he will make no grant of it, so that the
officials shall not suffer want.[1104] It is needless to point out what
a stimulus this state of things gave to the condemnation of those whose
estates promised relief.

Ferdinand went on precisely as before and it would be superfluous to
multiply instances of his reckless profusion, save that we may mention a
gift to his wife Queen Germaine, in 1515, of 10,000 florins from the
confiscations of Sicily and we may recall his attempted grant of 10,000
ducats to the Marquis of Denia from the composition of Córdova.[1105] In
this general scramble for fragments of the spoils, there is one point
that may be noted--the demand for attractive slave-girls. How their
existence came to be known to those who asked for them we can only
guess, and it would be indiscreet to enquire why reverend members of the
Suprema seem to be especially desirous of such acquisitions. April 7,
1510, Ferdinand writes to the receiver of Cartagena that he is told
that, in the confiscated property of Ramado Martin de Santa Cruz, there
is a Moorish female slave named Alia; if this is so she is to be
delivered to Doctor Pérez Gonzalo Manso, of the Suprema, to be his
property as a gift. March 18, 1514, the Licenciado Ferrando de Mazuecos,
of the Suprema, petitions for a Moorish slave-girl, confiscated among
the property of Juan de Tena of Ciudad Real, and Ferdinand orders her to
be given to him, to do what he pleases with her. There was some contest
over Fatima, a white Moorish slave-girl confiscated in the estate of
Alonso Sánchez del Castillo. The Marquis of Villena asked for her and
Ferdinand granted his request, June 15, 1514, but when the order was
sent to Toledo, the deputy receiver refused to obey it, alleging that it
was obtained by false representations, as the Suprema had already given
her to the fiscal, Martin Ximenes. This was promptly answered, in a
letter signed not only by Calcena but by the members of the Suprema,
reiterating the grant to Villena and ordering the receiver to compensate
Ximenes for her value.[1106] It is suggestive that no such eagerness is
shown to obtain male slaves.

Ferdinand himself was not above appropriating articles found among the
spoils of his subjects. In 1502 we find him taking fifty-five pearls
from Sardinia, a part of the confiscation of Micer Rejadel, burnt for
heresy. Sometimes he did not even wait for the conviction of the owner,
as in the case of a horse which, in 1501, he gave to the inquisitor of
Córdova, and then, on learning that the animal would be serviceable to
him in the chase, he had it sent to him and ordered four thousand
maravedís to be paid to the inquisitor wherewith to buy a horse or
mule.[1107] He was even more unscrupulous, in 1501, when in Granada, on
hearing of the death of Bernaldalla, a prisoner not yet convicted, he
ordered that the garden belonging to him in the Rambla should be seized
and given to the Princess Juana for her pastime, although he did not
know whether it had been sequestrated.[1108] It manifests the abiding
confidence felt in the conviction of all who fell into the hands of the


Yet it would be unjust to Ferdinand not to allude again to the numerous
cases in which he softened the hardships of confiscation by concessions
to the sufferers or their representatives--and this when, as we have
seen, his own treasury was empty. No doubt in many instances the
influence of Calcena was purchased but, as a whole, they are too
numerous not to find their origin in a kindliness which has been deemed
foreign to the stern consolidator of the Spanish monarchy, nor could
Calcena have ventured to presume too far, during a long series of years,
in making his master an unconscious almoner. Two or three examples of
this must suffice to show the spirit actuating him. In 1509, Juan de
Peralta of Segovia betrothed himself to Francisca Nuñez, daughter of
Lope de Molina and his wife, who were prisoners of the tribunal of Jaen.
They were condemned and burnt, their estate was confiscated and Peralta
petitioned the king, saying that he could not marry without a dowry and
begging an allowance out of the estate, whereupon Ferdinand ordered the
receiver to give them two hundred thousand maravedís. The Inquisition
was not to be balked; Francisca in turn was tried and reconciled with
confiscation. Peralta made another appeal and this time Ferdinand
granted twenty thousand maravedís.[1109] October 21, 1500, he writes to
the receiver of Leon to release to Leonor González, reconciled, a
vineyard confiscated on her, of the value of two thousand maravedís,
because she is poor and has a daughter to marry.[1110] In 1510, he
instructs receiver Badia of Barcelona to collect from the Bishop of
Urgel ninety libras due to the confiscated estate of Guillen Dala, and,
in view of the poverty and misery of Beatriz, Violante, Isabel and
Aldonza his daughters, the money is to be paid to them. There was also
an old debt due to Dala by Ferdinand's father, Juan II; this he orders
to be collected from the rents of property set aside for the benefit of
Juan's soul and to be also paid to the daughters.[1111] These are only
examples of numerous similar acts, which afford a welcome sense of
relief as mitigations in some small degree of the miseries inflicted on
thousands of the helpless through the pitiless enforcement of the cruel
laws of the Church.

It would be wrong not to bear testimony also to the spirit of justice
which is apparent in many of Ferdinand's decisions of questions brought
before him. Thus on January 8, 1502, in instructing a receiver about a
censo in dispute with Galceran de Santangel, he concludes by telling him
to act without legal delays, so that justice may be administered with
rectitude and promptitude, and that nothing may be taken but what
belongs to the fisc, without wronging any one. September 12, 1502, he
wrote that Garcí Corts complains that he had granted him certain censos
and then, by a second letter, had stopped the transfer, whereupon he now
orders the matter to be settled according to justice, without reference
to what he may have written to the contrary, for it is not his will to
inflict wrong on any one.[1112] It would be easy to multiply these
examples, from his confidential correspondence with officials, when
there could have been no possible object in a hypocritical affectation
of fairness. If he not infrequently rebuked inquisitors and receivers
for negligence in gathering in confiscations, it may be truly said that
he more often scolded them for undue harshness and delay in settling
honest claims.

The pressure on Ferdinand for grants from the confiscations continued to
the last and was yielded to more often than prudence would dictate. The
courtiers maintained intelligence with the tribunals to obtain advices
in advance of the arrest or condemnation of wealthy Conversos, in order
to make early application, and occasional letters from the king to
receivers asking information as to such estates and forbidding their
sale without further orders, indicate a growing sense on his part of the
necessity of caution. One of his latest utterances, as mortal sickness
was stealing over him, is a letter of September 23, 1515, to the
receiver of Toledo, in reply apparently to a statement thus furnished.
He had received, he says, the information as to the confiscated property
of Pero Díaz and his wife, and also the representation as to the
pressing needs of the tribunal, in consideration of which he will change
his mind and make no grants from it except of a hundred thousand
maravedís to his treasurer Vargas to reimburse him for certain
outlays.[1113] Thus to the end was maintained the struggle between those
who labored for the harvest and those who sought to reap its fruits.


When, after his death, Ximenes sought to bring order into the finances
of the Inquisition, he seems to have felt that his conjoined power as
inquisitor-general and governor was insufficient to remedy these abuses,
and he procured from the young King Charles a pragmática dated at Ghent,
June 14, 1517, which was assuredly drafted by him. This recites that the
salaries and ordinary expenses of the Inquisition are defrayed by the
confiscations, but experience shows that often they cannot be paid, in
consequence of the grants made by the crown; this must be remedied, or
the Inquisition cannot be sustained, to the great damage of the royal
conscience, and therefore, during the good pleasure of the king and
until the salaries and ordinary expenses are provided for, no graces,
donations or reliefs are to be complied with, under pain of a thousand
gold ducats. Copies of this are to be sent to every tribunal and all
officials are exhorted to see to its enforcement.[1114] The gloss put on
this by Cardinal Adrian, when sending it to the tribunal of Sicily,
shows that there was no scruple in construing its provisions most
liberally. He says that he has heard that many are obtaining grants on
the Sicilian confiscations; what was collected under Ferdinand must be
used as he had ordered, which was to buy rents for the support of the
tribunal. The new pragmática postpones all grants to the salaries and
charges of the Inquisition and, as Sicily must provide for the support
of the Suprema and of some of the home tribunals, it can be alleged in
refusing to pay all grants that are presented, wherefore none must be
paid without consulting him.[1115]

Having issued this pragmática, Charles proceeded to nullify it with all
convenient speed, but it served as a justification to the receivers in
withstanding him. Three months later, on September 19th, he landed in
Spain, surrounded by a crowd of hungry and greedy Flemish favorites,
eager to enrich themselves at the expense of their master and his
subjects. This reinforcement of the importunate native beggars made the
profusion of Ferdinand seem niggardly by comparison. Peter Martyr tells
us that the Flemings, in less than ten months after their arrival, had
already sent home eleven hundred thousand ducats, drawn partly from the
indulgence of the Santa Cruzada and partly from the Inquisition, for
they obtained grants not only of estates confiscated but also of those
of prisoners still under trial--showing how promptly they established
relations which gave them secret information of the operations of the
tribunals, and how little chance of escape had the unlucky prisoners
whose estates would have to be refunded if they were not convicted. This
was one of the abuses of which the cure was sought in the project of
reform in 1518, which failed through the death of Jean le Sauvage.[1116]

The booty thus secured by the Flemings shows how the confiscations had
increased under this pressure, especially as the Spaniards were no less
eager, if not quite so fortunate. This thoughtless prodigality of
Charles is emphasized by the fact that he was impoverished in the midst
of his profuseness. July 5, 1519, we find him ordering the receiver of
Cartagena to pay the paltry sum of thirty ducats to Fernando de
Salmeron, receiver-general of the Suprema, to reimburse him for a loan
of that amount.[1117] The receivers did all that they could to check
these extravagant liberalities for, large as were the receipts, the
tribunals were threatened with bankruptcy. Saragossa, in reporting,
March 18, 1519, to the Suprema, some impending convictions, endeavored
to avert the dissipation of the results by representing its poverty; the
salaries of most of the officials were more than a year in arrears and,
if the king did not exercise more restraint, the tribunal could no
longer be maintained.[1118]

One or two instances of the struggles between the receivers and the
recipients of the royal bounty will illustrate the existing conditions,
and incidentally show how Adrian and the Suprema were forced to bow to
the tempest and to connive at the pillage of the resources of the Holy
Office. A letter of Charles, January 19, 1519, to Juan del Pozo,
receiver of Toledo, relates how he had granted to M. de Cetebrun, of his
body-guard, the confiscation of Alonso de Baena and had ordered Pozo to
convert it into money and pay it to him; how Pozo had subsequently been
notified that Cetebrun had sold it to Iñigo de Baena, son of Alonso, and
had been ordered to deliver it to the latter; how neither of them had
been able to make him surrender it; how another royal order had been
served on him and then one from Adrian and the Suprema, with no result
save an assertion that he had no funds; how Baena had made four journeys
to Madrid, to his great loss and expense, the whole winding up with a
peremptory command to obey the repeated mandates without further delay
or excuse. It is probable that still more energetic measures were
requisite to get the property, for Pozo was an obstinate man. A letter
from Charles to him, September 5, 1519, refers to an order on him for
six hundred ducats, in favor of M. Baudré which remained unpaid, in
spite of repeated commands from the king and Cardinal Adrian, whereat
Baudré is much aggrieved, especially as he has been keeping a man in
Toledo, at his expense, to collect it. Charles now orders it to be paid
within sixty days, in default of which Pozo must, within twenty days
thereafter, present himself at the court, wherever it may chance to be,
with all his books and papers for examination. This was a most
formidable threat and perhaps brought Pozo to terms for, on December 2nd
we find him ordered to pay on sight four hundred ducats to La Chaulx, as
procurator of the Toison d'Or and, the next day, five hundred more to
Jean Vignacourt, a gentleman of the royal chamber.[1119]


Cristóval de Prado, receiver of Cuenca, was another troublesome
subject. Charles granted to Cortavila and Armastorff, two of his
chamberlains, the confiscated estate of Francisco Martínez and his wife.
It must have been a large one, for a suggestion was made of giving the
courtiers four thousand ducats and reserving two thousand to pay the
salaries, but they demanded the whole and Charles, April 10, 1518,
ordered it to be turned over to them and, if any part had been converted
to the use of the Inquisition, it was to be made good out of other
confiscations. Prado staved it off for nearly eighteen months,
pretending to hesitate about including the dowries and marriage portions
of the children, until Charles, September 5, 1519, ordered all these to
be swept into the grant. Soon after this, on November 9th, there was
another crop of confiscations at an auto de fe at Cuenca when, in
preparation for fresh bounties, Salmeron, the receiver-general, was
ordered to report as to their value and also as to the condition of the
salaries and other indebtedness. This probably deprived Prado of excuses
for awhile, and we hear of no more refusals to pay until April 16, 1520.
The Duke of Escalona had asked for the confiscations of three of his
vassals at Alarcon, amounting to three hundred and fifty ducats, but
Prado alleged that only two of the parties named had been condemned and
that the order therefore must be surreptitious. He wrote in this sense
to Charles and to the Suprema but, on September 7th he was commanded to
pay it, and the letter was signed by Doctor Manso of the Suprema and
countersigned by Cardinal Adrian. Cuenca, at this time, must have been a
mine of wealth. Just before sailing from Coruña, Charles, on May 8,
1520, ordered Prado to pay a thousand ducats to Antoine de Croy, two
hundred to Henri d'Espinel, four hundred to Simon Fisnal, mayordomo to
Charles de Croy, Prince of Chimay, and five hundred to Adolf Duke of
Cleves. On October 23rd Charles writes that his secretary Gui Morillon,
who had been charged with these collections, reported that Prado refused
to pay them, but he adds that, as there are now funds sufficient, after
paying salaries and expenses, and the thousand ducats to Cardinal
Adrian, they must be paid in preference to subsequent grants. As Adrian
had been given an interest in this heavy raid on Cuenca, it is probable
that Prado was coerced into obedience.[1120]

Our old friend Villacis of Seville was wary and experienced and
accustomed to hard blows. He gave the courtiers infinite trouble, but
the cases in which he was involved were too numerous to be detailed here
and space can only be found for one of five hundred ducats to Francisco
Guzman and Antonio Tovar, gentlemen of the king's chamber. This had
originally been drawn on Cuenca, but Prado had been found too impervious
and it was transferred to Seville. Villacis evaded it until Charles, on
May 6, 1519 threatened him with _merced_--being placed at the king's
mercy--if it was not paid at once. This was serious, but Villacis was
unmoved and merely replied that he had no money to pay the overdue
salaries, besides large sums owing for services and for judgements
rendered against the confiscations. The affair dragged on until, on
August 23, 1520, Adrian and the Suprema ordered immediate settlement, in
default of which an agent would be sent, at his expense, to do it
personally. This was probably effective, as we hear no more of it.[1121]

[Sidenote: _DANGER OF WEALTH_]

Aliaga of Valencia was one of Ferdinand's oldest and most trusted
receivers and had given evidence of similar powers of resistance, if we
may judge from the anticipatory measures taken when the interests of the
powerful favorite, the Prince of Chimay, were involved. When news was
brought to the court of the reconciliation and confiscation of the
wealthy Alonso de Abella of Valencia, a speedy partition was made among
the vultures. Eight hundred ducats were assigned to Jean de Baudré and
Philibert de la Baulme, gentlemen of the chamber, three hundred to
another gentleman, Jayme de la Trullera, and the rest of the estate to
the Prince of Chimay, after paying salaries, if they could not be met
out of other confiscations. Orders to this effect were despatched to
Aliaga, July 5, 1519, with a pressing letter from Charles to the
inquisitors. Apparently the beneficiaries felt that more active measures
were necessary; Simon Tisnot, the prince's majordomo, was empowered to
receive the property and, as his agent, Gui Morillon was sent to
Valencia, July 9th, with letters to the inquisitors, to the Governor of
Valencia and to Aliaga. The inquisitors were told that, as the clause
concerning salaries might be so construed as to consume the whole, they
must order Aliaga, under pain of excommunication, to deliver to Chimay's
agent, within three days, all the property, goods, debts and money of
the confiscation, except the eleven hundred ducats to the other
courtiers; if the necessities of the tribunal required any portion, it
must be very moderate so that Chimay, if possible, might get the whole.
The governor was ordered to help Tisnot and to urge the inquisitors to
compel Aliaga to obey. Aliaga was told that, under pain of deprivation
of office, he must deliver the estate to Morillon within three days and
must strain every nerve to meet the needs of the tribunal from other
sources, so that Chimay may suffer no deduction. If the salvation of the
monarchy had depended on the realization of the grants, the letters
could scarce have been more vehement. Yet it was all in vain; Aliaga was
imperturbable and, on December 8th, Charles expressed his displeasure
that the eleven hundred ducats had not yet been paid though he had
postponed to them the grant to Chimay, but it is not likely that his
vague threats, in case of further delay, proved effective.[1122]

In this carnival of plunder, there is small risk in assuming that the
pressure on the tribunals gave a stimulus to the prosecution of the
richer class of the Conversos and that wealth became more than ever a
source of danger. In fact, the number of large estates referred to in
these transactions would seem to indicate that few escaped whose
sacrifice would supply needful funds to the Inquisition, while
ministering to the greed of the courtiers. It need occasion no surprise,
therefore, if the threatened New Christians, in their despair, appealed
to Leo X and rendered it worth his while to remonstrate with Charles.
Yet the latter, while scattering ducats by the thousand among his
sycophants, had the effrontery to instruct his envoy, Lope Hurtado de
Mendoza, September 24, 1519, to disabuse the pope as to the accusation
that the Inquisition was prosecuting the rich for the confiscations, the
truth being that all, or nearly all, of those prosecuted were poor, and
that the fisc had to support them while in prison and to pay their
advocates and procurators.[1123]

After Charles's departure, in May, 1520, to assume the imperial dignity,
we hear of few new grants. He was rapidly ripening under the weight of
the tremendous responsibilities accumulated upon him and was recognizing
that his position implied other duties than the gratification of his
courtiers' greed. It would seem that he willingly shifted upon the
inquisitor-general and Suprema the burden of such trivial matters, and
left it to them to assent to or dissent from such graces as he might
bestow. A grant from a confiscation at Saragossa, dated at Brussels,
October 1, 1520, bears the formula that it is with the assent and advice
of the inquisitor-general and Council of Aragon, and, though it is
signed by Ugo de Urries by order of the emperor, it has the _vidimus_ of
Cardinal Adrian.[1124] Practically thus the control was lodged with the
Suprema, whose needs, as we have seen, prevented any accumulations in
the tribunals and we hear little or nothing subsequently of this
dissipation of the confiscations.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _RESULTS_]

If I have entered thus minutely into the details of this branch of
inquisitorial activity, it is because its importance has scarce been
recognized by those who have treated of the Inquisition. It not only
supplied the means of support to the institution during its period of
greatest activity, but it was recognized by the inquisitors themselves
as their most potent weapon and the one most dreaded by the industrious
classes which formed their chief field of labor. Its potency is the
measure of the misery which it inflicted, through long generations, on
the innocent and helpless, far transcending the agonies of those who
perished at the stake. To it was largely owing the ultimate extinction
of Judaism in Spain, for the exalted heroism which might dare the
horrors of the _brasero_ might well give way before the prospect of
poverty to be endured by disinherited offspring. To it also is greatly
attributable the stagnation of Spanish commerce and industry, for trade
could not flourish when credit was impaired, and confidence could not
exist when merchants and manufacturers of the highest standing might, at
any moment, fall into the hands of the tribunal and all their assets be
impounded. Even the liberality of the Spanish Inquisition, in not
confiscating the debts due by the heretic, was but a slender mitigation
of this, for the creditor was liable to ruin through the difficulties
and delays interposed on the realization of his credits, and past
transactions were not secure until protected by a proscription of forty
years. The Inquisition came at a time when geographical discovery was
revolutionizing the world's commerce, when the era of industrialism was
dawning, and the future belonged to the nations which should have fewest
trammels in adapting themselves to the new developments. The position of
Spain was such as to give it control of the illimitable possibilities
of the future, but it blindly threw away all its advantages into the
laps of heretic Holland and England. Many causes, too intricate to be
discussed here, contributed to this, but not the least among them was
the bleeding to anæmia, through centuries, of the productive classes and
the insecurity which the enforcement of confiscation cast over all the
operations of commerce and industry.



Although, at least in the earlier period, confiscation was the main
financial reliance of the Inquisition, it had other resources. Of these
a productive one was the pecuniary penance which the tribunals had
discretionary power of imposing on those whose offences amounted only to
suspicion of heresy and not to the formal heresy which entailed
reconciliation or relaxation with confiscation.

Almsgiving in satisfaction of sin formed a feature of ecclesiastical
practice and, in the middle ages, the schoolmen had no difficulty in
proving that pecuniary penance was more efficacious than any
other[1125]--and it certainly was more efficacious in the sense that the
enormous possessions of the Church were largely gathered from this
source. Moreover, the inquisitor inherited from his medieval
predecessors an undefined duplicate function of confessor and judge--his
culprits were penitents and the punishments he inflicted were
penances.[1126] Even when the canon law required the hardened or
relapsed heretics to be relaxed to the secular arm for burning, they are
sometimes alluded to as _penitenciados_[1127] When, under the early
Edicts of Grace, penitents by the thousand flocked to confess their sins
and escape corporal penalties and confiscation, the inquisitor was
instructed to make them give as "alms" a portion of their property,
according to the quality of the person and the character and duration of
his offences, and these _penitencias pecuniarias_ were to be applied to
the war with Granada as to the most pious of causes.[1128] Thus, at the
start, pecuniary penance and almsgiving were regarded as convertible
terms, both equally applicable to the discretionary fines which the
inquisitor could impose on his penitent. There was a technical, though
not a practical, distinction between these and the mulcts inflicted on
offenders for other than spiritual offences, in the exercise of the
royal jurisdiction conferred on the Holy Office. They formed together a
common fund which was known as that of the _penas y penitencias_--the
fines and penances--of which the former were drawn from the secular and
the latter from the spiritual jurisdiction. This distinction at best was
shadowy and though it was observed at first, in time the tribunals grew
indifferent and recognized that penance was punishment.

The earliest formality is seen in the case of Brianda de Bardaxí, where
the consulta de fe, March 18, 1492, pronounces her guilty of vehement
suspicion, to be penanced at the discretion of the inquisitors.
Accordingly, on March 20th, the inquisitors deliberated on the "penance"
and pronounced an _Impositio penitentie_, consisting of five years'
imprisonment, with certain spiritual observances, "and moreover we
penance her in the third part of all her property, which we apply to the
coffer of penances of this tribunal and to the costs of her trial, which
third part, or its true value, we order to be paid within ten days to
Martin de Cota, receiver of penances."[1129] By the middle of the
sixteenth century this scruple was overcome. In the case of Mari
Serrana, at Toledo in 1545, the consulta de fe, it is true, votes that
she be "penanced" in a third of her property, but the public sentence,
which customarily did not specify the amount, after enumerating certain
spiritual observances, adds "also the pecuniary punishment imposed on
her, for a certain reason is reserved for the present." So, in the case
of Mari Gómez, in 1551, it is stated that she is "condemned" in twenty
ducats for the expenses of the tribunal, which she is to pay within nine
days to the receiver. When the sentence was read to her in the
audience-chamber, she asked how she was to pay the twenty ducats and was
told it would come out of the property sequestrated at her arrest.[1130]
Sequestration, we may observe, enabled the tribunal to help itself at
discretion from the culprit's property and to proportion the penalty to
his ability.


There was an advantage to the Inquisition in considering these fines as
penitential, for penance was part of the sacrament of absolution which
was an ecclesiastical function, the proceeds of which were controlled by
the Church, and it differed thus wholly from confiscation. It is true
that practically this was merely a verbal juggle, for the inquisitor did
not absolve and, as he was not necessarily a priest, his office did not
comprise the administration of the sacraments, but the verbal juggle
sufficed and serves to explain the rigid separation of the funds arising
from penance and from confiscation, even after both were controlled by
the Inquisition. We have seen (Vol. I, p. 338) the prolonged struggle
made by Ferdinand to obtain possession of the penances, which finally
terminated in favor of the Inquisition. This was rather beneficial to
the accused, as the tribunal would be inclined to find him guilty only
of suspicion of heresy, enabling it to inflict a pecuniary penance for
its own benefit, rather than of formal heresy which inferred
confiscation. Of course this passed away when financial control
practically lapsed to the Suprema, but the distinction between the funds
was still maintained.

In the earlier period the distinction was emphasized by the office of
special receiver for the penances, who seems to have been subject to the
inquisitor-general, while the receiver of confiscations held from the
king. Thus the sentence of Brianda de Bardaxí shows us Martin de Cota as
receiver of penances in Saragossa in 1492 and we still hear of him in
that position in 1497, while Ferdinand had, as his own receiver, Juan
Denbin, succeeded by Juan Royz. As early as 1486, Esteve Costa was
"receptor de las penitencias" in Valencia, whose salary of fifty libras
shows the office to be of much less importance than that of the receiver
of confiscations.[1131] Still, there came to be no settled rule about
this. In 1498, Juan Royz was receiver of both penances and confiscations
in Saragossa and, in Valencia, Juan de Monasterio was inquisitor and at
the same time receiver of penances, while, in 1512, in Barcelona the
fiscal also filled the latter office, as we learn from his salary being
suspended until he should render an account of his receipts.[1132] As
late as 1515 there was still a special receiver of penances in Huesca,
the Canon Pero Pérez, whose death revealed him to be a defaulter to the
extent of four thousand sueldos, when the office was consolidated with
that of the receivership.[1133] In 1516, among his other reforms,
Ximenes abolished this special office and put the fines and penances in
the hands of the receivers of confiscations, with instructions, however,
to keep the funds separate and not to disburse the fines and penances
except on orders from the inquisitor-general. There had previously been,
in the Suprema, a receiver-general of fines and penances, an office
which was likewise suppressed and all the revenues were placed in charge
of a single official, a regulation which was confirmed by Manrique in


There was difficulty in preventing the unauthorized collection of these
funds, by other officials, with the consequent absence of responsibility
and risk of embezzlement. In instructions for the prevention of abuses,
October 10, 1546, it is prescribed that all fines be paid to the
receiver; again, August 20, 1547, it is ordered that neither the
inquisitors nor other officials save the receiver shall collect the
penances or other moneys. Inspection of the Barcelona tribunal, in 1549,
showed that this was not obeyed; other officials made the collections
and they were not reported to the receiver, all of which was forbidden
for the future, but the order of 1547 had to be repeated December 4,
1551, May 9, 1553, and December 20, 1555.[1135] Evidently there were
leaks which the Suprema was vainly seeking to stop. A special commission
was issued, January 12, 1549, to Gerónimo Zurita, as contador for the
kingdoms of Aragon, to audit the accounts of all receivers, past,
present and to come, concerning the fines and penances and other
_parties casuelles_, with full powers to send for persons and papers
under such penalties as he might designate, which is highly
significant.[1136] Possibly his investigations led to a carta acordada
of September 23, 1551, which states that, in some tribunals, some of the
pecuniary penalties are not entered in the Book of Punishments; the
notaries of sequestrations are therefore impressively ordered, under
holy obedience and major excommunication _latæ sententiæ_, to make such
entries when sentence is rendered, stating whether they are applicable
to the Inquisition or to some pious work, so that the contador may know
whether they are collected, and all fines thus omitted are to be
deducted from the salaries of the notaries.[1137] As, by this time, the
fines and penalties were invariably applied to the Inquisition, the
pretence of appropriating to pious uses was presumably a mere device
for embezzling them. The Suprema evidently had no doubts as to this,
when the inquisitors of Barcelona, in the case of Pirro de Gonzaga,
imposed a penance of three hundred ducats and appropriated twenty-five
to the convent of N. Señora de los Angeles, twenty-five to the nuns of
San Gerónimo and the remainder to beds and garments for the poor. It
told them, in 1568, that all fines were for the expenses of the
Inquisition and required them, within thirty days, to furnish authentic
evidence of the disposition made of the two hundred and fifty ducats,
under pain of rigorous proceedings against them.[1138] As for holding
the notaries responsible, there was manifest injustice in this, for they
were powerless to prevent fraud by the inquisitors. In 1525, some
instructions to the tribunal of Sicily mention that the notary had
repeatedly and vainly requested that notice be given to him of all
penances, in order that he might charge them to the receiver.[1139] How
reckless sometimes were the inquisitors appears in the case of the
murder of Juan Antonio Managat, deputy receiver at Puycerda. In 1565 the
three Barcelona inquisitors inflicted on the accused certain heavy fines
which were duly collected and placed in the coffer with three keys,
after which they coolly helped themselves to a thousand reales apiece,
under pretext that it was for fees in trying the case. On this being
discovered, in the inspection by de Soto Salazar, the Suprema ordered
the money to be returned to the coffer and satisfactory evidence of the
restitution to be furnished within thirty days.[1140]

       *       *       *       *       *

The distinction between the confiscations and the fines and penances was
rigidly maintained when both were concentrated in the hands of the
receiver. A special commission was issued to authorize him to receive
the latter[1141] and he was straitly instructed to keep the accounts
separate. The confiscations were devoted to salaries and, if there was
an overplus, to investments of a more or less permanent character, while
the fines and penances were levied, as the formula of the sentences
habitually expressed it, for the _gastos extraordinarios_--the other and
extraordinary expenses of the tribunals. Still, when the confiscations
ran short, there was no hesitation in drawing upon the other fund,
although a special order of the Suprema was necessary for its
authorization. Ayudas de costa were generally drawn from the fines and
penances, though frequently the receiver is told to pay them out of any
funds in hand.[1142] In 1525, Manrique directed the house-rents of the
officials to be paid from the fines and penances; in 1540 Tavera
granted, from the same fund in Valencia, three thousand sueldos to the
nunnery of Santa Julia as the dowry of a reconciled Morisca, placed
there to save her soul; in 1543 he calls upon the receiver of Granada to
furnish, from the same source, two hundred ducats to Juan Martínez
Lassao, secretary of the Suprema, on the occasion of his marriage; in
1557 the inquisitors of Saragossa were allowed, in the same manner, to
defray the cost of alterations in the Aljafería.[1143] In short, this
fund was expected to meet the innumerable miscellaneous expenses of the
tribunals and to supply all deficiencies, rendering the inquisitors
watchful to keep it abundantly supplied.

There were occasions when penances replaced confiscations, to the
manifest advantage of the tribunals. Thus, in 1519, when the estate of
Fernando de Villareal was subject to confiscation, Charles V authorized
the inquisitors to impose on him such penance as they deemed fit and
released to him the surplus. It is not likely that this surplus was
allowed to be large for, when in 1535, the tribunal of Valencia was
trying the Bachiller Molina and learned that the viceroy had promised
Molina's wife that, in case of confiscation, he would ask the emperor to
forego it, the inquisitors wrote to the Suprema that they proposed not
to confiscate his property but to impose a penance of something less
than its value.[1144] This indicates that the penances were not subject
to the crown and thus it exposes the disingenuousness of the Suprema, in
replying to a petition of Valencia, in the Córtes of Monzon in 1537,
that the Inquisition should be restrained from penancing the Moriscos.
It argued that these pecuniary penances were applied to the royal
treasury and that his majesty should not be asked to remit them, or be
required to supplicate the pope to revoke what the canons


The canons prescribed confiscation, but there was no hesitation, as we
have just seen, in substituting penance. The largest scale on which this
was tried was in the kingdoms of Aragon, where the Moriscos were mostly
vassals of the gentry and nobles, who suffered when they were
impoverished and their lands were taken. The fueros of Valencia provided
that feudal lands confiscated, whether for heresy or other cause, should
revert to the lord, and this was repeatedly sworn to by Ferdinand and
Charles, but the Inquisition calmly disregarded all laws and insisted on
confiscating for its own benefit. Even a brief of Paul III, August 2,
1546, decreeing that for ten years and subsequently, at the pleasure of
the Holy See, there should be no confiscations or pecuniary penances
inflicted on the Moriscos, received no attention and the practical
answer to the remonstrances of the Córtes of 1564 was a specific
instruction from the Suprema to the Valencia tribunal to go on
confiscating, no matter what the people might say about their
privileges.[1146] Aragon, meanwhile, had obtained, in 1534, a pragmática
by which Charles renounced his right to the Morisco confiscations, which
were to revert to the heirs or be distributed as intestate, and to this
the assent of the Suprema was secured. This was, however, practically
nullified for, in 1547, the Córtes complained that confiscations were
replaced by penances greater than the wealth of the culprits, who were
obliged to sell all their property and, in addition, to impoverish their
kindred, to which the Suprema loftily replied that, if any one was
aggrieved, he could appeal to it or to the inquisitors.[1147]

A lucrative bargain was finally made with Valencia, which had the
largest Morisco population. In 1537 the Córtes proposed that, for a
payment of 400 ducats a year, the Inquisition should abstain from
penancing the Moriscos, but the Suprema refused, on the ground that it
would be a disservice to God. It was shrewd in this for, in 1571, it
secured an agreement under which, for an annual payment of 50,000
sueldos (2500 ducats) it abandoned confiscation and limited penance to
10 ducats, the payment of which was rendered secure by levying it on the
aljamas of the culprits.[1148] Favorable as was this, the inquisitors
did not restrain themselves to its observance. In the auto de fe of
January 7, 1607, there was a penance of 50 ducats, one of 30 and one of
20 and, while there were only eight reconciliations, there were twenty
penances of 10 ducats. The Suprema took exception to this, saying that,
without reconciliation, the fines were uncalled for, in the absence of
some special offence.[1149] The agreement, in fact, was one under which
the gains of the tribunal were limited only by its industry, for there
was no lack of Morisco apostates. The little village of Mislata, near
the city, must have been well-nigh bankrupted, for it was liable for the
penances of its inhabitants, of whom there were eighty-three penanced in
1591 and seventeen in 1592.[1150]

       *       *       *       *       *

As confiscations diminished throughout Spain, the unrestricted power to
impose fines and penances came in opportunely to fill deficiencies. They
could be levied in a vast variety of cases--not only for suspicion of
heresy and for fautorship, but for bigamy, blasphemy, ill-sounding
expressions and all offences against the tribunal and its officials, as
well as for those of the officials themselves and the familiars. The
temporal jurisdiction especially afforded large opportunities, for the
defendant, whether he was a familiar or an outsider, could always be
fined for the benefit of the tribunal and this was rarely omitted. It
was no secret within the Holy Office that this discretional power was to
be exercised, not in accordance with the merits of the case, but with
the needs of the Inquisition. As early as 1538, this was intimated in
the instructions to Inquisitor Valdeolite of Navarre, when sent on a
visitation to investigate witchcraft. He was forbidden to inflict
confiscations but was told that he could impose fines and penances, in
proportion to the offences and wealth of the culprits, in order to meet
expenses and enable the receiver to pay salaries.[1151] In time the
Suprema grew more outspoken. A carta acordada of October 22, 1575 told
inquisitors that they could impose pecuniary penalties while on
visitations, as well as when sitting in the tribunal, and must bear in
mind the poverty of the Suprema as well as the wealth of the culprits
and the character of the offence. This was repeated in 1580, and in 1595
attention was called to the necessity of relieving the wants of the
Inquisition in this manner, an exhortation repeated in 1624.[1152]


This stimulation was apparently superfluous, for the inquisitors
exploited their powers in this respect to a degree that sometimes moved
even the Suprema to reproof. In a visitation of Gerona and Elne by
Doctor Zurita of Barcelona, in 1564, we find him inflicting fines and
penances continually, of 4, 6, 10, 20, 30 or 100 ducats, apparently
limited only by the means of the victim. His colleague, Dr. Mexia, on a
visitation penanced Damian Cortes in 100 ducats because, thirty years
before, when some one told him to trust in God, he had exclaimed "Trust
in God! By trusting in God last year I lost 50 ducats" and, when Juan
Barbero made a comment on this sentence, he was fined 20 ducats and
costs. When this last exploit was reported by de Soto Salazar, the
Suprema ordered the fines to be refunded, as it also did with those
inflicted by Mexia, of 60, 40 and 15 ducats, on the Bayle of Vindoli and
two jurados for an offence so trifling that their names were ordered to
be stricken from the records. When sitting as a tribunal these
inquisitors were even more liberal to themselves, for they fined the
Abbot of Ripoll 400 ducats for keeping a nun as a mistress--an offence
wholly outside of their jurisdiction.[1153] As late as 1687, the
tribunal of Logroño furnished a flagrant instance of this abuse of
arbitrary power, when it excommunicated and fined in 200 ducats D.
Miguel Urban de Espinosa, a Knight of Santiago and familiar, because,
when summoned to attend at the publication of the Edict of Faith, he
sought to enter the church while wearing a sword. The inquisitor-general
promptly ordered his absolution and suspended the fine until further

The receipts from penances, although fluctuating, were a substantial
addition to income. In the Seville auto de fe of May 13, 1585, a
penitent accused of Lutheranism was penanced in 100 ducats, a bigamist
in 200, provided it did not exceed half his property; for asserting
fornication to be no sin one man was penanced in 200 ducats or less,
according to his wealth, another in 200 and two in 1000 maravedís
apiece, while, for concealing heretics, there was a penance of 50
ducats. In all, the auto yielded 850 ducats and 2000 maravedís.[1155]
Even more productive was the auto of June 14, 1579, at Llerena, where
the tribunal harvested 626,000 maravedís and 2700 ducats, or about 4375
ducats in all--owing to some of the penitents being well-to-do
ecclesiastics, given to Illuminism.[1156] Toledo, in 1604, imposed a
penance of 3000 ducats on Giraldo Paris, a German of Madrid, guilty of
sundry heretical propositions, including the assertion that St. Job was
an alchemist.[1157] The same tribunal, in 1649 and 1650, penanced four
persons engaged in endeavoring to shield a Judaizer, two of them 500 and
the other two 300 ducats apiece. In 1654, again, in two autos, November
8th and December 27th, it realized a total of 4000 ducats. After this it
had occasional good fortune and, in 1669, it was supremely lucky in a
rich penitent, Don Alonso Sanchez, priest and physician to the Cuenca
tribunal, whom it convicted of fautorship and penanced in the large sum
of 13,000 ducats.[1158] In 1654, Cuenca realized 2250 ducats, besides
thirteen confiscations, from its auto of June 29th.[1159] Córdova was
more fortunate, in an auto of May 3, 1655, when a group of wealthy
Judaizers and their friends yielded an aggregate of 7000 ducats.[1160]

In addition to this source of revenue from penance imposed on penitents
there were the fines inflicted in the exercise of the secular
jurisdiction of the Inquisition. How liberally this power was exercised,
even when the delinquents were officials, is seen in the defence offered
by the Suprema, in 1632, when strenuous complaints were made about the
familiars of Valencia. It instanced the case of Jaime Blau, who was
fined 600 libras, half to the complainant and half to the fisc; Vicente
de San German fined 300 libras; Hierónimo Llodra, 500 ducats; Pedro
Carbonel, 500 ducats; Tomás Real, 300 ducats; Miguel Rubio, 400 libras,
and Hierónimo Pilart, 500 libras.[1161] Doubtless through these
inflictions the culprits escaped corporal punishments much less
endurable, and they serve to explain the persistent multiplication of
familiars, coupled with disregard of the character of the appointees. It
was the same with outsiders who were prosecuted for offences against
officials, as when, in 1565, Don Tristan de Urria of Saragossa was fined
60 ducats for insulting a notary.[1162]


In the seventeenth century the Suprema claimed these fines as its
special perquisite. When Jaime Blau, for instance, was mulcted in 300
ducats for the fisc, no sooner was the Suprema apprised of it than it
ordered the amount to be remitted at once, and the length of
correspondence which ensued indicates that this was a novelty submitted
to unwillingly.[1163] Even a fine of 100 libras, imposed on Ignacio
Navarro, in 1636, was called for immediately and remitted, as was also
soon afterwards 100 ducats with which he purchased his pardon; as he was
forthwith arrested again for murdering Don Juan Augustin Saluco, he
probably yielded another series of fines.[1164] In the extreme
exigencies of the royal treasury, the king claimed a portion of these
receipts and, by a decree of September 30, 1639, he ordered one-fourth
of all fines for secular offences to be paid to the official designated
to receive the fines of the royal courts.[1165]

In the unscrupulous exercise of discretional power, fines and penances
were frequently imposed beyond the culprit's ability to pay, and
inquisitors had a habit of adding in the sentence the alternative of
some corporal punishment, such as the galleys, scourging or vergüenza,
with the object of inducing the kindred to contribute, in order to avert
from the family the shame of the public infliction. The Instructions of
1561 strictly forbid this cruelty; the sentences are to be without
condition or alternative and inability to pay is not to be thus
visited.[1166] This received scant obedience. In 1568 it was the
ordinary practice of the Barcelona tribunal to enforce payment of its
arbitrary impositions by the alternative of such punishment.[1167] About
1640, however, we are told by an inquisitor that the question was evaded
by the prudent custom of sending poor men to the galleys and reserving
pecuniary penance for the wealthy.[1168]

In fact, after the middle of the seventeenth century, the number of such
penances diminished and they are usually for larger amounts. In a record
of the autos de fe of Toledo, from 1648 to 1794, there is but one that
is less than 100 ducats and that one is for 50. In all there are but
sixty-four penances imposed up to 1742 and none subsequently. The
aggregate is 30,600 ducats, besides fourteen of half the property of the
culprit.[1169] Whether from a growing sense of their indecency or from a
lack of material, the custom of imposing pecuniary penances rapidly
declined in the eighteenth century. In a collection of sixty-six autos
de fe, between 1721 and 1745, comprising in all 962 cases, there is not
a single pecuniary penance.[1170] Fines, however, continued to be
imposed to the last. March 27, 1816, Pasqual Franchini of Madrid, for
possessing two indecent pictures, was fined 100 ducats and, as these are
defined as applicable to the royal treasury, it would appear that the
crown had absorbed this trifling source of revenue.[1171]

In this matter the Roman Inquisition offered a creditable contrast to
the Spanish. Except in Milan, Cremona and other places under Spanish
rule, pecuniary punishments were rarely to be inflicted; the assent of
the Congregation of cardinals was required, and they were at once to be
distributed in pious uses, of which a strict account was required. Thus
in 1595, one of 4000 crowns was given to the poor of Genoa and, in the
same year at Naples, one of 400 crowns was parcelled out among the
charitable establishments. Even this was felt to derogate from the
character of the Holy Office and, in 1632, Urban VIII decreed that papal
confirmation must be had in each case and, at the same time, he withdrew
the special privileges of the Milanese tribunals.[1172] So strong was
the disgust felt in Rome for this commercialized zeal for the faith
that, when the Fiscal Cabrera was there representing the Inquisition, in
the case of Villanueva, and Arce y Reynoso sent to him, for presentation
to the pope, a report of an auto celebrated by the tribunal of Santiago,
with the expectation of arousing his sympathy for an institution that
was doing so much for religion, Cabrera replied, January 6, 1656, that
he would not present it without special orders. Alexander VII, he said,
disliked pecuniary penalties in matters of faith, and there were some of
these in the report; his Holiness had already spoken to him on the
subject and it was wiser not to call his attention to it afresh.[1173]



The Roman curia had so long accustomed Christendom to the idea that
pardon for the consequences of sin was purchasable, that we cannot be
surprised if relief from the penalties imposed by the Inquisition was a
marketable commodity to be regarded as a source of revenue. We have
already seen this exemplified in the compositions for confiscation, and
it was carried out with regard to the more personal inflictions
prescribed by canon and municipal law--the disabilities of culprits and
their descendants alluded to above (p. 287). The Instructions of 1484
and 1488 adopted these and extended the sumptuary regulations by
including the carrying of arms and riding on horseback; they enlarged
the list of prohibited callings and applied them all to the descendants
of those who were burnt in person or effigy. Then Ferdinand and
Isabella, by pragmáticas in 1501, made the prohibition of office-holding
and the following of numerous trades and professions a matter of
municipal law, reserving the right to grant relief by royal licences.
Thus these disabilities, which weighed cruelly upon penitents and their
descendants, drew their origin from different sources. The sumptuary
restrictions, which came to be known as _cosas arbitrarias_, were
considered to be the act of the tribunal, which could remove them.
Permission to hold office, or to follow the inhibited callings, was a
royal prerogative, while the Holy See, as the guardian of the faith and
of the canon law, and as the supreme source of inquisitorial
jurisdiction, claimed a general control, which was grudgingly conceded.

In addition to these disabilities were the personal punishments, relief
from which was claimed by the Inquisition. Those which concern us here
were the galleys, exile, imprisonment and the wearing of the sanbenito
or "habito"--a kind of yellow tunic with a red St. Andrew's cross--a
mark of infamy and a severe infliction, as it largely impeded the
efforts of the penitent to gain a livelihood.

The curia was not long in recognizing the abundant market opened for its
dispensations by the large numbers of those subjected to disabilities.
In the Taxes of the Penitentiary there was inserted a clause offering
the fullest possible dispensation for "Marrania." To a cleric the price
was 60 _gros tournois_, or 15 ducats; to a layman 40 gros, or 10 ducats,
besides a fee to the datary of 20 gros. When the dispensation was
partial, allowing a layman to follow his accustomed calling, or a priest
to celebrate mass, the charge was 12 gros, or 3 ducats, but, if the
profession was that of a physician or advocate, the charge was

We have seen the extreme jealousy which existed as to any papal
interference with the Inquisition and Ferdinand's repeated efforts to
suppress papal letters, but the power to issue these dispensations could
not be questioned. Cardinal Mendoza, Archbishop of Toledo, held from
Innocent VIII a faculty to grant rehabilitations, and one of these,
issued to Pero Díaz of Cifuentes, whose mother had been burnt, was
recognized and confirmed, in 1520, by the Suprema and Charles V.[1175]
At the same time, the Inquisition claimed the right to control relief
from the punishments which it inflicted, and it held these favors at a
far higher price than the cheap papal dispensations. Anchias, the
secretary of the Saragossa tribunal, tells us how Juan Gerónimo was
sentenced to wear the sanbenito and carried it for a long time, until
his father paid for him to the tribunal a thousand florins for
permission to abandon it. Some of the gold proved to be of light weight
and eighteen or twenty florins were demanded of him to make good the
deficiency, when he handed them to the messenger saying "How is this?
Are not the señores well paid for the merchandise they sold me? But take
it and welcome."[1176] When exactions on this scale were possible, we
can readily believe that Dr. Guiral, the embezzling inquisitor of
Córdova, could easily secrete a hundred and fifty thousand maravedís
from the dispensations sold to the wearers of the sanbenito (Vol. I, p.
190), nor can we wonder that the Holy Office was resolved to maintain a
hold on so prolific a source of gain.


The situation was complicated by the pretensions of the sovereigns to
intervene and claim their share, and this they sought to establish by
procuring from Alexander VI a brief of February 18, 1495, which recites
that the inquisitors collect various sums from those who had obtained
papal rehabilitations and retained them; all such moneys theretofore and
thereafter received for commutations and rehabilitations were to be
placed at the disposal of the sovereigns, under pain of _ipso facto_
excommunication.[1177] It is obvious from this that the papal
dispensations were not admitted without the exaction of further
payments; that the pope was content with this, so long as the taxes of
the Penitentiary were paid in Rome, and that Ferdinand was concerned
only with the destination of the proceeds and was quite willing to
acknowledge the papal authority when it was exercised for his benefit.
He lost no time in availing himself of the papal grant on a large scale
and, before the year was out, we find him selling relief in mass to all
those disabled by the tribunal of Toledo, a transaction which brought in
large returns for, in 1497, Alonso de Morales, the royal treasurer,
acknowledges the receipt of 6,499,028 maravedís from Toledo commutations
and rehabilitations, and this was doubtless only one of numerous similar

The Inquisition was not disposed to abandon its profitable commerce. The
Suprema continued to assert its control, in instructions, June 3, 1497,
ordering inquisitors to take no fees for rehabilitations without
consulting it; May 25, 1498, it declared that if there were no
inquisitors-general there would be no one able to grant rehabilitation
or to relieve from sanbenitos, and it forbade the tribunals to commute
for imprisonment except by spiritual penances.[1179] There was evidently
a contest on foot between the Inquisition and Ferdinand, of which the
details are lost, for we have a letter from him, February 24, 1498, to a
tribunal in which he says "You know that we have granted a privilege
through which the children of condemned heretics are rehabilitated as to
the _cosas arbitrarias_ imposed by you. As it is our will that this
privilege be maintained, we charge you not to levy or take anything from
them for the enjoyment of it and if, perchance, the inquisitors-general
have written or shall write anything contrary to this, consult us before
acting on it and we will write to them and to you what most comports
with our service."[1180]

The sovereigns, however, yielded the point when, by a cédula of January
12, 1499, they formally made over to the inquisitors-general all the
moneys accruing from penances, commutations and rehabilitations in the
kingdoms of Castile and Aragon, in order to provide for the salaries,
but this grant as usual was practically subject to the exigencies of the
royal treasury and the promise was irregularly kept.[1181] The
inquisitors seem to have speedily arrogated to themselves this
profitable privilege, for the Instructions of 1500 forbid them to grant
dispensations and commutations, the right to which is reserved to the
inquisitors-general.[1182] It was greatly impaired, however, by the next
move in the game, the pragmáticas of 1501, which made disability to hold
office or to follow numerous callings a matter of municipal law and
reserved to the crown the right to issue licences in derogation of it,
thus depriving the Inquisition of control over this important section of
the penalties.


While Ferdinand thus secured a share in the business, he fully admitted
the necessity of papal rehabilitation as a condition precedent. In 1510,
writing to a member of the Suprema about the rehabilitation of the
Jurado Alonso de Medina, issued at the request of Queen Juana, he says
that it was granted under the belief that Medina held a papal brief; if
he did not, it was invalid as there must first be papal rehabilitation.
Yet papal action amounted to nothing in these matters without the royal
licence. About this time the Licenciado Portillo applied to him stating
that, as the memory of his grandfather had been condemned, he was
incapacitated from holding office; he had been rehabilitated by the pope
and now he asked for a licence in view of certain services rendered, and
Ferdinand granted the prayer. The strictness with which these licences
were construed is illustrated by a petition, in 1515, from Dr. Jaime de
Lis, a physician of Logroño, representing that, by the condemnation of
his parents, he had been incapacitated; he had procured a papal brief
authorizing him to practice everywhere, and a royal licence to practice
in Logroño. Unable to resist importunities, he had exceeded his bounds,
for which he craved pardon and also permission to attend the Duke of
Najera, who joined in the supplication. This was granted, with a
warning not to transgress again, and the tribunal of Calahorra and the
magistrates of all the towns were charged to make him observe the

When the papal dispensation was issued to ecclesiastics, the king did
not intervene, but there can be no doubt that the _vidimus_, or
confirmation of the Suprema, was required and had to be paid for, for it
had, on January 8 and February 12, 1498, summoned all reconciled
penitents to present the absolutions and dispensations which they had
procured from Rome, a significant indication that otherwise they would
not be respected.[1184] Such dispensations were issued as readily as
those to laymen, though, as we have seen, the price was fifty per cent.
higher. Thus, April 8, 1514, Leo X dispensed Cristóbal Rodrigo, priest
of Luduena, from the disabilities incurred by the condemnation of his
parents and authorized him to retain his benefices, acquire others and
perform all his functions. So also, November 3, 1514, he dispensed
Bartolomé Eruelo, beneficed in the convent of Santa Cruz of Saragossa,
from all the disabilities resulting from the heresy of his paternal

Yet there frequently occur cases of rehabilitation in which there is no
mention of papal intervention, under circumstances where it could scarce
fail to be alluded to had it existed.[1186] There would seem to have
been no thought of invoking the co-operation of the Holy See in the
great composition of Seville, under which twenty thousand ducats were
obtained by Ferdinand for the rehabilitations alone and, when it was
extended to Córdova and other places, they formed part of the
inducements offered.[1187] So, when Cardinal Manrique issued by
wholesale licences to hold office, to the large districts of Seville,
Córdova, Granada and Leon, there is no allusion to papal dispensations.
For some reason, probably financial, these licences were issued for
short terms and required renewal; in one case, a document, issued in
February, 1528, prolonged the time to April 15th and then, on April 6th,
it was extended to the end of June.[1188]

This disregard of papal participation seems to have provoked the curia
to retaliatory action, and it issued rehabilitations with clauses of
censures and penalties for all who might impede them, thus rendering
unnecessary the concurrence of the king and the Inquisition. Charles
thereupon reissued the pragmáticas of 1501 and empowered the Inquisition
to enforce them, while the Suprema explained to the tribunals that there
was a disability under the canons and another under the pragmáticas, so
that the papal rehabilitation was insufficient without the royal and
vice versa, wherefore inquisitors were instructed to look closely into
this and prosecute those who did not possess both. It withdrew however
from this position and issued cartas acordadas May 15, 1530 and May 16,
1531, complaining of this new form of papal dispensations. If these were
allowed to continue, it said, all the disabled would be rehabilitated
and the laws of the kingdom would be annulled, wherefore, when such
letters were presented, the fiscal was ordered to draw up a supplication
to the pope setting forth that the disabilities were enacted by the laws
of the land and that it had been found by experience that these children
of heretics, if they obtain judicial positions, condemn Christians to
death unjustly, or, if they become physicians, surgeons or apothecaries,
give their patients poisons in place of remedies. All these
supplications were to be sent to the Suprema, which would forward them
to the Roman agent of the Inquisition--and meanwhile, we may assume, the
papal letters were suspended. In another document of the period,
opposition to the papal rehabilitations is enumerated as one of the
regular duties of the fiscal. It is somewhat remarkable that this seems
to have been confined to Castile for, in 1535, the Suprema learned that
the Valencia tribunal accepted and respected papal rehabilitations and
hastened to instruct it to follow the Castilian method. The struggle
continued and the instructions of 1531 were repeated July 19 and October
26, 1543 and May 14, 1546.[1189]


The strenuous days of Ferdinand were past and resistance was vain. The
curia continued imperturbably to sell dispensations of the most liberal
character which completely annulled Spanish legislation. One bearing the
name of Paul III, February 1, 1545, issued to Juan de Haro of Jaen,
whose grandparents had been burnt in effigy, gives assurance of his high
deserts and concedes that, even if his progenitors had been condemned
and burnt, he can ascend to the degrees of bachelor, licentiate and
doctor; he can assume the office of judge, corregidor, advocate,
procurator and notary, legate, nuncio, physician, surgeon, apothecary,
farmer of revenue, collector and receiver of taxes and all honors and
dignities, including professorial chairs; he can wear garments of any
color and material, ornaments of gold and silver and jewels; he can bear
arms and ride on horses and mules, inherit from any kindred, acquire
property of all kinds, enter the priesthood and obtain any dignity or
preferment, and all inquisitors and secular powers are forbidden to
interfere with him in the enjoyment of these privileges.[1190] This is
evidently the customary formula of these dispensations, and it was
galling to have the laws of the land and the jurisdiction of the
Inquisition thus calmly set at naught, but there was no help for it.
Sometimes, however, the recipients of these papal rehabilitations deemed
it wise to show humility, in which case they were fairly assured of a
benignant reception. In 1548, the Saragossa tribunal penanced for
fautorship five hidalgos, vassals of the Count of Ribagorza, in a way
disabling them from holding office. They procured letters from Rome, but
submitted them to the Suprema and declined to use them, whereupon Valdés
told the inquisitors to follow the letters and dispense the penitents
from their disabilities.[1191]

Roman competition, however, by no means destroyed the home traffic in
dispensations. Whatever was imposed by the inquisitors could be removed
by the inquisitors-general, as when Valdés, May 27, 1551, granted
licence to Leandro de Loriz to accept the position of assessor to the
bayle of Valencia after he had been disabled by the tribunal from
holding any office of justice.[1192] When, however, disabilities were
the result of the pragmáticas, it was recognized that their removal was
a function of the crown. Thus, in 1549, the Suprema expresses pleasure
that those reconciled under an Edict of Grace should procure
rehabilitations from the king and, in 1564, it explains that the
dispensations granted by the inquisitor-general only relate to the
sumptuary _cosas arbitrarias_, so that those obtaining them who exceed
in this are to be prosecuted.[1193] The functions of the Inquisition
thus were restricted to enabling the disabled to wear costly apparel
and jewels, to bear arms and ride. These, which were known as
dispensations "en lo arbitrario" were in great demand and a brisk
business was done in them. In the records of course there is nothing
said about their being sold, or the prices paid for them, which were
doubtless proportioned to the station or wealth of the penitent or of
his kindred, but that they were articles of traffic is shown by their
being frequently given as gratifications to the lower officials, issued
in blank, to be disposed of at the best price that could be had.[1194]
So customary, indeed, became the issue of these dispensations that,
towards the close of the sixteenth century, Peña closes his remarks on
disabilities by saying that, after a time, it is usual to dispense for

The rehabilitation for holding office and trading was likewise a source
of profit to the crown and its officials. The sale of these became so
general that, in 1552, it formed a subject of complaint by the Córtes of
Madrid, which represented that the children and grandchildren of
condemned heretics were rich and obtained rehabilitations from the king,
in contravention of the pragmáticas, to the great detriment of the
Republic. To the petition that this should cease the reply was that the
supplication would be borne in mind and the pragmáticas be
observed.[1196] That this promise was kept may well be doubted,
especially as, in time, the curia abandoned its claim to issue
dispensations of this nature. When, in 1603 and 1604, several
applications for such a grace were made to it, the Congregation of the
Inquisition refused to interfere.[1197]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _COMMUTATIONS_]

The curia had never assumed to interfere with the commutation or
redemption of the punishments inflicted by the Inquisition. In these it
therefore had a free hand, and the resultant revenue must have been
important, for it was always ready to show mercy for a reasonable
consideration. The speculative value of such commutations were
recognized, at least as early as 1498, when they were already regarded
as a regular source of income, for Juan de Monasterio was then
characterized as inquisitor of Valencia and receiver of penances and
commutations.[1198] In 1524 we find Manrique commissioning Francisco de
Salmeron to collect from the receivers of the tribunals all "penas y
penitencias, conmutaciones y habilidades" and a similar grouping in 1540
and 1544 shows that they all continued to be sources contributing to a
common fund.[1199]

Of these punishments the one most productive and most commonly commuted
was the sanbenito or penitential habit, release from which in the early
period, as we have seen, was reckoned, in one case at least, at a
thousand gold florins. The severity of the infliction is well set forth
in the petition, about 1560, of "lo povero Notar Jacobo Damiano" to the
Sicilian tribunal. He says that he has tried in every way to earn a
living without success, and his only resource is a return to his
birth-place, Racalmuto, where his family will aid in his support and he
can end the few days that remain to his age and infirmities, but, as his
kindred are persons of honor, if he comes with the sanbenito they will
drive him away and leave him to die of starvation. He therefore begs to
have the habit commuted to a money payment for the redemption of
captives and some other penance, and he will raise the amount from his
family; otherwise he is in peril of death from want, as he is abandoned
by all.[1200] What between the degradation and the impediment to winning
a livelihood, those subjected to the penalty and their kindred were
likely to pay whatever sum they could afford for release. It was
commonly coupled with imprisonment--the "carcel y abito" usually went
together and commutation covered both.

As a rule, inquisitors were prohibited from granting these
commutations--the temptation to retain the proceeds was doubtless too
great. In 1513 Ximenes, on learning that some inquisitors were doing so,
forbade it for the future and reserved the right to the
inquisitor-general.[1201] There were some exceptions however, especially
in the case of distant tribunals, as in a commission granted to Sicily
in 1519, to Navarre in 1520, and a limited one to Majorca in 1523.[1202]
As a rule all applications were submitted to the Suprema, which gave the
necessary instructions and directed the money to be remitted to it, or
to be held subject to its order for pious uses.[1203] Its full
realization of the financial possibilities of the matter is seen in
instructions, in 1519, to Barcelona--and doubtless to the other
tribunals--to report how many penitents were wearing sanbenitos and how
much could be obtained from them for commutations.[1204] When conviction
would bring not only confiscation but the prospect of another
contribution from the kindred, it will be realized how great was the
temptation to severity.

The "pious uses" for which the payments were ostensibly received were
various. Doctor Arganda, Inquisitor of Cuenca, in rendering, May 9,
1585, a statement revealing a deficit in revenue, renewed a request of
the month previous, that the Suprema would grant to the tribunal the
commutations of Francisco Abist and Juan Joaibet, Moriscos; they were
very old, had been sentenced ten years before, and would die Moors;
therefore it would be well that the tribunal should have the benefit of
the four thousand reales which they offered. The Suprema replied with an
inquiry whether this was the utmost that could be obtained from them.
Then on August 9th the inquisitor urged the acceptance of the offer, so
that the money could be used for a much needed prison for familiars and
other purposes, and reminded the Suprema that, in 1583, it had made a
similar grant of commutations for a building.[1205] Another pious use
was giving to Dr. Ortiz, when sent to Sicily as inquisitor, in 1541,
certain commutations as part of his salary. They must have been
considerable, for the fees accruing on them to Secretary Zurita amounted
to fifty-five ducats.[1206] Still another pious use is indicated in an
order from the Suprema, in 1549, to the tribunal of Granada, to commute
the sanbenito of Catalina Ramírez into spiritual works and such
pecuniary penance as she could pay for pious uses. The latter are
explained, in an accompanying private note of instruction, to hold the
money until the apparitor Cuebas marries his daughter, when he is to be
aided with it. He evidently had petitioned for a "comutacion de abito"
and it was accorded in this form.[1207]

[Sidenote: _COMMUTATIONS_]

These commutations, in fact, became a sort of currency in which favors
were asked and granted, replacing, to some extent, the confiscations of
an earlier period. Thus, in 1589, the Valencia convent of the new
Discalced Carmelites of Santa Teresa petitioned for the grant of the
commutations of certain sanbenitos and soon afterwards the Dominican
convent made a similar request.[1208] The most usual pious work,
however, for which they were ostensibly employed, was in assisting the
redemption of captives. Yet this formula frequently covered other
destinations, as in the case of Martin de Burguera of Calatayud, who was
relieved of prison and sanbenito for fifteen ducats "para reducion de
cautivos" and the ducats were simultaneously granted to Pedro Salvan,
apparitor of the Saragossa tribunal.[1209] When the proceeds were really
to be employed for the redemption of captives, precautions were taken to
see that they were so applied. These are expressed, January 18, 1559, by
Valdés to Horozco de Arce, Inquisitor of Sicily, when empowering him to
grant commutations to four penitents, provided their sentences are not
irremissible and they have completed three years of imprisonment, when,
besides the money payment, there are to be simple penances of fasting,
prayer and pilgrimage. The penitents are to be designated by Nicolas
Calderon or his agent, who will bargain as to the amounts of payment,
and the money is to be given to him for the ransom of his mother, sister
and two nieces, on his furnishing good security that, within a term to
be designated by the inquisitor, he will present them to the tribunal or
refund the money.[1210] The condition in this, that the penalty commuted
must not be irremissible, was not always observed. Such sentences, as we
shall see, were reserved for cases of special guilt, but they yielded to
the powerful solvent of money, a larger price presumably being demanded.
Thus March 7, 1560, the Sicilian inquisitor was ordered to select some
one who had served not less than nine years under such a sentence and
commute it for the ransom of the wife of ---- of Cibdadella.[1211]

Even the galleys, which were regarded as a much severer punishment than
the "carcel y abito," were commutable, though, as the prisoner was an
incumbrance, while the galley-slave was useful and the supply was always
deficient, we may infer that his commutation was held at a higher price.
Condemnation to the galleys was also much less frequent than to the
sanbenito, and of course was only inflicted on able-bodied men, so that
cases of its commutation do not occur in such abundance. Yet they were
sufficiently numerous to lead to complaint by the Suprema to Charles V,
in 1528, that when it sent messengers to liberate those whose sentences
were thus commuted, the commanders of the galleys refused to surrender
them, whereupon Charles issued a cédula ordering their liberation under
pain of two thousand florins.[1212]

[Sidenote: _COMMUTATIONS_]

Commutations for the galleys had various shapes. In 1543, Don Luis
Muñoz, Lord of Ayodan, offered two slaves as substitutes for two of his
Morisco vassals, Juan Maymon and Juan Muñoz, condemned to serve, the one
for ten and the other for twelve years, of which three had elapsed and,
after investigation to see that the substitutes were able-bodied, the
bargain was closed. In 1547, Miguel Mercado obtained the remainder of
his sentence to the galleys commuted to service on the French border,
when presumably there was some money consideration.[1213] It is probable
that commutations for money became too frequent for the good of the
naval service, for in 1556 the Suprema strictly forbade them for the
future, doubtless under royal command.[1214] This prohibition seems to
have lasted for a considerable time, as the Spanish armada was greatly
in need of men and we happen not to meet with cases until near the close
of the century, when they reappear in the Valencia records. In 1590,
Jusepe Gacet, a familiar condemned for the murder of his wife, obtained
a commutation of his sentence. In 1596, a New Christian, Gaspar Moix,
negotiated for release from the three years which he still had to serve
and, after investigation into his means, it was fixed at seven hundred
libras and a slave. Moix, however, on his liberation, found that his
sanbenito was not included in the bargain and he had to pay a hundred
libras more for its removal. In 1597, Onufre Quintana offered two
thousand reales and a slave which were accepted. In the same year Miguel
Saucer applied for a commutation, when the Suprema instructed the
tribunal to ascertain what he would pay for it and the same answer was
given, in 1600, to a similar petition from Jaime Cornexo.[1215] It is
apparent from the high value set on these mercies that comparatively few
convicts could afford their purchase.

Evidently the Suprema paid little heed to the instructions of Philip II
to Manrique de Lara, in 1595, to be very cautious in granting
dispensations for galleys, exile, reclusion and sanbenitos; there must
be ample cause and no attention should be paid to prayers, and favors,
for it was essential that sentences should be completely executed. This
was repeated, with some amplification, by Carlos II, in 1695, showing
that there was still occasion to restrain the Holy Office from bartering
pardons for money.[1216]



When the Inquisition was established, it was apparent that if its
officials, or a portion of them, could be quartered on the Church there
might be less diversion of the confiscations from the royal treasury. At
the very commencement, in 1480, Ferdinand and Isabella obtained, from
Sixtus IV, an indult authorizing them to present the four earliest
inquisitors to benefices, of course without obligation to reside. As
yet, however, the Inquisition had not inspired general terror, and the
people refused to admit the intruders, whereupon the sovereigns provided
them with four chaplaincies in the royal chapel.[1217] The attempt was
not abandoned and, in the supplementary Instructions of December, 1484,
Torquemada announced that it was the intention of the sovereigns to
procure a papal indult authorizing them to bestow benefices, not only on
the inquisitors but on all the clerics employed in the holy work.[1218]
Something of the kind was evidently obtained for, when the Holy Office
was organized, in 1485, under Torquemada, the brief confirming his
appointment dispensed from residence all officials in its service who
held or might thereafter obtain preferment; new appointees were released
from the customary temporary residence, and all were assured of their
full revenues without deduction, all apostolical and conciliar decrees
to the contrary notwithstanding.[1219] There was nothing in this to
shock public opinion, for the canon law permitted canons to be absent
for study in any recognized university, and the enjoyment of benefices
everywhere by the creatures of the curia was legalized by assuming
service to the pope to be equivalent to service in a chapter.[1220] Yet
the Spanish Church, apparently, was not disposed to submit quietly to
this and its resistance may be assumed as the cause of another brief of
Innocent VIII, February 8, 1486, which limited the grant to five years
and required the beneficiary to supply a vicar to fill his place. At the
same time it specified all officials, down to messengers and gaolers, as
entitled to its benefits and provided for opposition by appointing the
Bishops of Córdova and Leon and the Abbot of San Emiliano of Burgos as
executors with full powers to suppress recalcitrants.[1221] When the
five years expired, the indult was renewed for another five years and so
it continued until the end of the Inquisition--the popes steadily
refusing to prolong the term, as it gave them an important advantage, in
their frequent collisions with the Spanish Holy Office, to say nothing
of the fees consequent upon the issue of briefs so voluminous and so

The next step was to procure the power of presenting to benefices, and
this was secured by another brief from Innocent VIII, in 1488, granting
to the sovereigns the patronage of a prebend in each metropolitan,
cathedral and collegiate church, excepting, in prudent deference to the
Sacred College, those of which the bishops were also cardinals. Of this
brief, Alonso de Burgos was made executor, enabling him to fulminate
censures and take all necessary steps, until the appointee enjoyed
pacific possession of his prebend. Under it Ferdinand and Isabella, on
October 30th of the same year, made the first presentations, amounting
to ten, six being inquisitors, two fiscals, one an apparitor and one
designated merely as an official.[1222]


This brief probably was good only for five years for, in 1494, the
sovereigns obtained from Alexander VI another, with enlarged powers, of
which Martin Ponce, Bishop of Avila, was executor. Under this, on April
11, 1495, they made twenty-four appointments, mostly inquisitors, but
comprising seven fiscals, two members of the Suprema and two Roman
agents of the Inquisition. Among the inquisitors we recognize the
notorious Lucero and his predecessor in Córdova, the embezzling Dr.
Guiral.[1223] It is probable that these briefs encountered resistance,
for, in this latter case, we chance to hear of a prolonged struggle
required to install Doctor Manuel Fernández Angulo of the Suprema in the
Seville canonry given to him.[1224] Haughty canons of noble blood might
well resent the intrusion of low-born officials such as Ferdinand
sometimes thrust upon them. Thus, in 1499, on the death of Inquisitor
Cevallos of Barcelona, his first appointee to a prebend in the church of
Santa Ana, in the same city, he replaced him with Juan Moya, a simple
tonsured clerk and gaoler of the tribunal, nor was this the only
instance of such abuse of patronage.[1225] He also availed himself
largely of the privilege of non-residence by appointing canons and other
beneficed clerks to positions in the tribunals, and his letters of the
period are numerous in which he notifies the chapters that their members
have been thus drafted to the service of God, during which they are,
under the papal letters, to be reckoned as present and are not to be
deprived of any of the fruits of their preferment. So, when he drew the
Licentiate Pero González Manso from the professorship of law in
Valladolid, he told the college that the chair would be filled by a
substitute at half-price during Manso's absence.[1226] Everything was
subservient to the Inquisition and all other institutions were expected
to minister to its needs.

When Julius II, November 16, 1505, renewed the quinquennial indult, he
no longer appointed executors but empowered the inquisitor-general to
coerce with censures the chapters to account for and pay over to the
appointees the revenues of their benefices. It appears that they
sometimes compelled the appointees to agree under oath that they would
take only a portion of the fruits, for Julius pronounced such agreements
to be void and released the incumbents from their oaths. This brief he
repeated, September 8, 1508, with some additions, of which more
hereafter.[1227] The opposition of the chapters, in fact, had in no way
diminished and defeat only seemed to intensify their obstinacy. When, in
1501, Diego de Robles, fiscal of the Suprema, was granted a canonry in
the church of Zamora, the persistence of the chapter carried the matter
to Rome, where Gracian de Valdés, nephew of the bishop, boasted that he
would get the pope to reserve the benefice to himself. It gave infinite
vexation to Ferdinand, who wrote to the canons, July 24th that, if they
did not admit Robles within three days, they must leave the city and
present themselves before him within thirty days, under pain of
forfeiture of citizenship and temporalities. Similar orders were sent to
the provisor; the corregidor was commanded to see to their execution,
while urgent letters were addressed to Rome to counteract the labors of
Valdés. These vigorous measures brought the chapter to terms and
Ferdinand, on September 2nd, accepted their submission, revoking their
banishment to take effect after their giving possession to Robles.[1228]
Simultaneously a similar quarrel was on foot with the chapter of
Barcelona, over the grant of a canonry to the Inquisitor of Saragossa,
who was already Archdeacon of Almazan, and this was likewise carried to
Rome.[1229] So resolutely did the chapters resist the invasion of their
rights that Enguera, Inquisitor-general of Aragon and Bishop of Lérida,
in 1512, had to invoke both royal and papal authority to secure the
revenues of benefices held by him in the churches of Tarragona and
Lérida and, with regard to the latter, the pope was obliged to appoint
executors to enforce his briefs.[1230]

If Ferdinand had expected, by this abuse of patronage, to lighten the
burden of supporting the Inquisition, he was doomed to disappointment.
He probably found that those, who thus obtained positions for life,
could not be depended upon to perform gratuitous service in the
tribunals. Their full salaries had to be paid and their benefices were
only an extra gratification, so that his anxiety to secure these for
them must be attributed to his desire to obtain able and vigorous men
for the moderate remuneration provided by the pay-roll. When Pedro de
Belorado was sent to Sicily, in 1501, as Archbishop of Messina and also
as inquisitor, the receiver was ordered to continue to him the salary
paid to his predecessor Sgalambro.[1231] So it continued. When, in 1540,
Blas Ortiz was commissioned as inquisitor of Valencia, the orders were
to pay him the regular salary of six thousand sueldos, although, as
canon of Toledo, he possessed a handsome income.[1232]


By this time these matters were in the hands of the Suprema, and its
members and officials were too eager seekers after pluralities not to
enforce the papal indults with vigor, giving rise to incessant struggles
with recalcitrant churches. Thus, in 1546, when Pedro Ponce de Leon was
made a member, he was _maestre escuela_ in the church of Alcalá de
Henares. There was trouble about his revenues for, on February 27, 1547,
Valdés summoned the abbot and chapter to keep on paying him and
expressed the hope that they would not compel him to resort to censures.
Similar letters, about the same time, were issued in behalf of the
private secretary of Valdés, Fortuno de Ibarquen, who was an insatiable
pluralist, being Archdeacon of Sigüenza and canon in the churches of
both Leon and Oviedo. Simultaneous were letters to the chapter of
Segovia about the revenues of its dean and canon Miguel de Arena, who
was Inquisitor of Seville, and to that of Sigüenza for its treasurer and
canon, Menendo de Valdés, who was Inquisitor of Valladolid. A couple of
months later there were letters to the chapter of Badajoz, about its
canon Baltodano, who was Inquisitor of Toledo, and in August to the
chapter of Majorca, about Joan García, who had been appointed consultor
to the tribunal of Saragossa. In October prosecutions were commenced
against the recalcitrant chapter of Leon, which had refused to pay the
fruits of the canonries of Ibarguen and of Cervantes, the Inquisitor of

It would be useless to multiply examples of this incessant strife, in
which the chapters persistently, but unavailingly, sought to prevent the
absorption of their revenues by the Holy Office. The resistance was
hopeless for, even with the most resolute, it was only a question of
time when opposition was broken down by excommunication and the summons
to appear before the Suprema, while appeal to Rome was fruitless when it
was the duty of the Spanish ambassador to watch for such cases and
oppose them.[1234] Of course the greater number yielded without
remonstrance and we hear only of those who dared to offer futile

It is observable that all the cases which thus come before us involve
benefices without cure of souls. The papal indults comprised both those
with and without such cure, and it is not to be supposed that the former
were not extensively exploited, though we do not hear of them because,
in such cases, there was no organized body to feel aggrieved and raise a
contest. When came the Counter-reformation, the Council of Trent
pronounced strongly against non-residence by beneficiaries holding cure
of souls; special episcopal licence was required for absence which, save
in exceptional cases, could not exceed two months and no privilege
could be pleaded.[1235] Accordingly when, in 1567, Pius V was called
upon to renew the quinquennial indult, he expressly excepted parochial
churches and benefices with cure of souls. This was somewhat tardily
obeyed and it was not until June 8, 1571, that the Suprema announced the

There was another provision of the Council of Trent which met with less
observance. It required all obtaining preferment of any kind to make,
within two months, profession of faith in the hands of the Ordinary or
chapter. No attention was paid to this and the chapters, waking up to
the advantage that it gave them, refused to pay the fruits, giving rise
to multitudinous suits. At length, in 1612, a brief was procured from
Paul V, declaring that the work of the inquisitors was most necessary to
the Church and could not be interrupted to travel to the distant seats
of their benefices. He therefore evoked all pending cases, imposing
perpetual silence on the chapters and validating all payments made to
incumbents, who were allowed in Spain six months, and in the colonies
two years, to perform the duty; in future it should suffice to do it in
the place of their residence and furnish a public instrument attesting
the fact within six months or two years.[1237] The Council of Trent was
of small importance when brought into collision with the Inquisition.


At length Philip III listened to the complaints of the chapters and, in
a decree of December 24, 1599, addressed to the Suprema, he called
attention to the injury inflicted on the cathedral services by
withdrawing canons from their duties, and he ordered that in future much
caution be exercised, especially as regarded the deans, the doctoral and
magistral canons and the penitentiaries.[1238] If this produced an
effect it was but temporary. In 1655 we chance to learn that, in the
tribunal of Córdova, of the three inquisitors, Bernardino de Leon de la
Rocha was a prebendary of Córdova and collegial of the cathedral of
Cuenca; Bartolomé Bujan de Somoza was a canon of Cuenca and Fernando de
Villegas was collegial of San Bartolomé. In addition, the fiscal, Juan
María de Rodesno was collegial of Cuenca and the secretary, Pedro de
Armenta was prebendary of Córdova.[1239] This single tribunal thus
deprived Cuenca of three of its dignitaries and Córdova of two.

The doctoral and magistral canonries alluded to by Philip afforded a
special grievance. These were stalls in each chapter to be occupied
respectively by a doctor of laws and a master of theology, for the
purpose apparently of furnishing to the church what it might need as to
law and faith. They had been instituted by Sixtus IV, who decreed that
the holders should not absent themselves for more than two months
without express licence of the chapter under pain of forfeiture. The
Inquisition was restive under this limitation on its acquisitiveness
and, at its special request, Julius II, in his second brief of September
8, 1508, revoked the decree of Sixtus and included them among the
benefices that could be held by officials without residence.[1240] At
length, in 1599, the chapter of Córdova, in a contest over the matter,
procured a papal brief requiring the residence of the doctoral canon,
who was not to be excused under pretext of serving the
Inquisition.[1241] Apparently this was disregarded, for Philip III, in
his instructions of 1608 to Sandoval y Rojas, called special attention
to the matter.[1242] Even this failed until there was a sharp conflict
with the chapter of Toledo, over the case of Doctor Bernardo de Rojas,
in which the chapter won and he was forced to resign an appointment as
inquisitor. Then again the question came up, in 1640, when Philip IV
appointed Doctor Andrés de Rueda Rico as supernumerary member of the
Suprema; it resented the intrusion and addressed to the king a very
free-spoken consulta, in which it laid particular emphasis on his being
doctoral canon of Córdova and therefore obligated to residence. Yet, in
spite of this, when the Córdova chapter refused to pay him his fruits,
the Suprema decided against it. Then the chapter carried the case to
Rome where, as the agent of the Inquisition reported, September 12,
1640, Urban VIII, to evade a direct decision, revived the brief of
Sixtus IV forbidding the use of the doctoral and magistral canonries in
this manner. Córdova followed up its victory and, in 1641, obtained
another brief forbidding Rueda from receiving the fruits and appointing
the nuncio and the Ordinary of Córdova executors to enforce it and to
relieve the chapter from any censures fulminated in consequence. The
Suprema was flushed with its recent victory, over the chapter of
Valencia, in the matter of Sotomayor's prebend and pension and, in 1642,
it addressed to the king an urgent appeal to suppress all such briefs,
as Ferdinand had done, and representing the eagerness of the curia to
destroy the independence of the Inquisition and the prerogatives of the
crown. Philip, however, was now embarrassed with the Catalan and
Portuguese revolts and for once was moderate, merely ordering the
chapter to desist from the appeal and to surrender the briefs, while the
inquisitor-general must require Rueda to abandon the canonry, seeing
that he had enough to live on, with his salary in the Suprema and the
wealthy archidiaconate of Castro which he also held. Incidentally the
Suprema declared that the magistral canonries were out of reach, but the
doctoral ones were not, probably presuming on the royal ignorance.[1243]

Trouble continued to the end. In 1684, the chapter of Santiago contested
vigorously the right of the receiver-general of the Suprema to hold a
canonry and, in spite of the prohibition to appeal to Rome, it carried
the matter there, arguing that the officials of the Suprema were not
included in the papal briefs. In this it had the support of the churches
in general, which united in a memorial to the Holy See, but the effort
was fruitless.[1244] Close watch seems to have been kept on the
expiration of the quinquennial periods for, in 1728, the chapter of
Valencia refused the daily distributions to non-resident members on the
ground that the indult had run out; the tribunal appealed to the Suprema
which replied, April 22nd, with a copy of the renewal of the grant by
Benedict XIII, carrying it to 1733.[1245] Apparently there had nearly
been a lapse.


Commissioners were frequently selected from the chapters of their places
of residence, and it was a long-debated question whether they were
entitled to constant non-residence, seeing that their duties were
occasional and mostly local. It was finally settled that they should
enjoy the fruits when absent on duty for the Inquisition, but even this
was disputed, in 1780, by the collegiate church of San Ildefonso of
Llerena, in the case of the prebendary, Pedro Enríquez Verones, a
commissioner of the Valladolid tribunal, who was refused his share of
the distributions during absence by order of the inquisitors.
Inquisitor-general Bertran complained to Carlos III, who peremptorily
ordered payment whenever absent on business of the faith. A similar
question apparently arose in 1818, for the Suprema sent, July 18th, to
the tribunal of Llerena, a statement of the case with a copy of the
letter of Carlos.[1246]

The Napoleonic wars caused a slight lapse in the quinquennial indults.
One expired, February 6, 1813, a few days before the publication of the
edict of suppression by the Córtes of Cádiz. When the Inquisition was
re-established, it promptly applied for a renewal of the privilege and,
on November 19, 1814, the Suprema announced that Pius VII had not only
granted it but had ratified the receipt of revenues by non-residents
during the interval. This renewal expired, February 6, 1818, when there
was delay and the new brief was not issued until March 15th, but it does
not appear that any chapter took advantage of the interval.[1247] When
this expired, there was no longer an acting Inquisition.

       *       *       *       *       *

The overgrown church establishment of Spain, with its accumulation of
wealth, afforded a fair mark for acquisitiveness, and several efforts
were made to obtain from it a permanent foundation for the Inquisition.
We have seen how waste and prodigality, to say nothing of peculation,
notwithstanding the active business of confiscation, rendered it
difficult, in 1497 and 1498, to pay the salaries of officials. A remedy
for this was sought in the spoliation of the Church, and Ferdinand and
Isabella turned to Alexander VI, representing the constant increase of
heresy, the additional efforts required for its extirpation and the
insufficiency of confiscation to meet expenses. If the holy work were
not to end, aid was needed and those engaged in it were performing a
service to God equivalent to that of canons in the recitation of the
daily offices. If a canonry with its prebend, in each metropolitan,
cathedral and collegiate church, were devoted to the support of the
officials, so long as the Inquisition should last, it would be a great
safeguard to the faith and aid in the destruction of heresy. Alexander
granted the request and, by a brief of November 25, 1501, he
incorporated in the Inquisition a canonry and prebend in every church,
authorizing the inquisitor-general to take possession of the first
vacancies and appointing the Bishops of Burgos, Córdova and Tortosa as
executors with power to suppress all resistance without appeal.[1248]


It is remarkable that we hear nothing more of this portentous grant. No
evidence has reached us of any attempt to enforce it or of any
resistance. Probably even Ferdinand recognized an opposition too
dangerous to be provoked and contented himself with using it as a threat
against unruly chapters, which objected to his using canonries to pay
his inquisitors. In the project of reform drawn up in 1518, it was
proposed that, in place of living on the confiscations and penances, the
inquisitors should have one or two canonries for their support. After
this scheme fell through, Charles adhered to the idea and, on October
29th, he instructed his ambassador at Rome to procure from Leo X a brief
similar to that of Alexander VI; without some such support, he said, it
would be impossible to procure the services of men of proper character
and learning.[1249] Leo was not as complaisant as Alexander, although
Charles repeated the request in a personal letter to him, September 3,
1520.[1250] Then, on August 14, 1521, Cardinal Adrian wrote to Charles,
reminding him that, long before, the pope had conceded a prebend in
every church where there was a tribunal, in order to remove the infamy,
ascribed by some persons to inquisitors, of desiring the condemnation of
the accused in order to assure their support. That concession had not
been enforced, principally because the revocation was awaited of the
bull against the Inquisition. Now the Bishop of Alguer, the Roman agent
of the Inquisition, has announced the revocation of the bull and, in
order to remove the infamy and perpetuate the Inquisition, he urges
Charles to write to Don Juan Manuel in Rome to procure the grant of the
prebends in accordance with a list prepared by the Bishop of
Alguer.[1251] Charles was probably too much engrossed in the attempt to
suppress Luther to devote much attention to the matter and Adrian, when
he succeeded to the papacy, did not use his power to make the grant,
although he was involved in a quarrel with the stubborn chapter of
Almería, which refused to admit his transfer, to Inquisitor Churruca of
Valencia, of a precentorship which he held in that church--a quarrel
which lasted until 1524 and required the united efforts of the Suprema,
the tribunal of Murcia and of the emperor to bring to a

We hear nothing more of the effort at this time, but Charles bore it so
strongly in mind that, in his will, executed in Brussels, June 6, 1554,
he dwelt upon the advantages of the measure and ordered Philip, in case
of his own death without obtaining it, to labor with the Holy Father to
procure what would be of such advantage to the Inquisition and service
to God.[1253] The occasion came in a few years with the panic caused by
the discovery of Protestantism among a few people of quality--a panic
skilfully stimulated and exploited. Philip urged his ambassador Vargas
to obtain from Paul IV a grant of one per cent. of ecclesiastical
revenues, to relieve immediate necessities, and the suppression of a
canonry and prebend in each cathedral and collegiate church. The Suprema
aided, in a report to the pope, September 9, 1558, on the alarming
progress of Lutheranism. After exaggerating the danger and the labors of
the Inquisition, which could only have been carried on through the gift
of ten thousand ducats by the king and contributions from Valdés, for it
was penniless, the report went on to state that, when the Inquisition
was established, there was a tribunal in almost every bishopric but, as
the confiscations fell off, they were diminished to the few that
remained, so that there was one which had fifteen sees in its district
and it had not funds enough to pay the slender salaries of its
officials. Although this had been repeatedly represented to the popes,
no remedy had been granted, but now, in these perilous times of heresy,
it seemed necessary that the tribunals should be multiplied, as at the
beginning, and rendered permanent. All this could very readily be
accomplished if the pope would apply some ecclesiastical revenues, which
were of little service to God and could be better employed in sustaining
the Holy Office, now so enfeebled through lack of funds. Although its
work was pushed with all possible diligence, its future was uncertain
if it could not be sustained and the remedy for this lay with his

This lying plea aided the pressure brought to bear by the king and, on
December 10th, Vargas was able to report that he and Cardinal Pacheco
had had an audience of the pope, who manifested great goodwill and
offered to grant a concession of a hundred thousand ducats to be levied
on the clergy, in place of one per cent. on their revenues. After
considering the question of the prebends, including the doctoral and
magistral ones, he was content to apply to the Inquisition the first
vacancy in each cathedral and collegiate church in Spain. This, Vargas
adds, should receive special consideration, as it might be refused by
another pope and, when this was gained, if the expenses of the
Inquisition increased, there would be little trouble in getting it
duplicated.[1255] The spread of heresy in France and the dread of its
infecting Spain had brought the curia to a complying mood.

The Suprema needed no urging to secure so great a prize without loss of
time. There could have been little opportunity for discussing details
between Rome and Madrid, for the brief was signed January 7, 1559. It
recited the reasons set forth in the report of September 9th and argued
that, as the churches could not subsist without faith, it was better for
them to sacrifice a portion of their substance than to risk the whole.
Wherefore, _motu proprio_, with certain knowledge and in the plenitude
of apostolic power, the pope suppressed one canonry and prebend in all
cathedral and collegiate churches in Spain and the Canaries, the first
falling vacant, no matter who might have the collation of it, and
applied its revenues in perpetuity to the Inquisition. As each fell
vacant, the inquisitor-general should appropriate it and collect the
fruits, the consent of the diocesan or of any one else being in no way
requisite, notwithstanding all conciliar decrees and papal constitutions
to the contrary, or the claims of holders of expectatives or reversions,
or of a long list of possible claimants, which shows how these benefices
had been made matters of trade in every possible way.[1256]


It can only have been the haste in which this long and elaborate
document was prepared that explains the omission of executors empowered
to break down the opposition to be expected from the whole Spanish
hierarchy. Valdés, however, boldly assumed that he had the power. On
April 29th, he sent the papal letter to all prelates and chapters, with
a missive exhorting bishops, under pain of interdict of entrance to
their churches, and requiring all deans, chapters, etc., under penalty
of excommunication and two thousand gold ducats, to hold as suppressed,
extinct and perpetually united to the Inquisition the first vacant
canonry and prebend. In the name of the Inquisition he accepted them and
declared them incorporated in it, and ordered the revocation of all
nominations and collations that might have been made since the date of
the letters or might be made thereafter. The chapters were commanded to
pay over all emoluments as completely as though the canonry were served
by an incumbent at all services, and inquisitors were empowered to
prosecute all who resisted and to inflict censures and penalties, as
well as to appoint procurators to take possession and collect the
revenues--and all this he audaciously said that he did "by virtue of the
said apostolic faculty conceded to us."[1257]

Pius IV died, December 9, 1565, and Valdés was shelved in 1566. The
brief had conferred the power on his successors as well as on himself
and there was no necessity for its confirmation, but one was procured
from Pius V, July 15, 1566. The object evidently was to cure the defect
as to executors, who were now appointed with full and arbitrary powers,
those named being the Bishops of Sigüenza and Palencia and the
auditor-general of the papal camera. Some details were added, an unusual
feature being a prohibition to assail the letters as surreptitious and
obreptitious, showing that this argument had been freely used in the
endeavor to escape from their operation. A further confirmation was
obtained from Gregory XIII, July 8, 1574, but none seems to have been
subsequently thought requisite.[1258]

No time had been lost in gathering the fruits of the papal grant. April
16, 1559, a provision was despatched to take possession of a prebend,
which had fallen vacant in the church of Palencia; April 27th another
for one in Leon and soon afterwards for others in Calahorra and
Saragossa. Frequently they were found to be burdened with pensions that
had to be recognized, but the process went on and, in comparatively a
few years, it would seem that vacancies had occurred in most of the
chapters.[1259] Possession, however, was not had without sturdy
resistance, during which, at one time or another, nearly all the
chapters were under excommunication. Legal proceedings were frequently
resorted to in the desperate hope of averting the absorption, but it was
futile. The Suprema was the court of appeal, the cases practically were
prejudged before they were commenced and there was no escape.


In the end, of course, it made little difference, but a more shameless
mockery of justice can scarce be conceived than that which made the
tribunal, which was to profit by the suppression, the judge in its own
case. The process may be followed in the voluminous proceedings
attending the seizure of a prebend in the collegiate church of
Belmonte--a town of some importance in the diocese of Cuenca. In 1559 it
fell vacant by the death of Gregorio Osorio and was filled by the
appointment of Francisco García del Espinar, at the instance of the Duke
of Escalona, who seems to have had the collation. Valdés ordered its
seizure and the matter took the form of a suit between the fiscal of the
tribunal of Cuenca on the one side and, on the other, the duke, Espinar
and the prior and chapter of Belmonte, with the Cuenca tribunal as
judge, by virtue of a commission from Valdés. The judicial farce ended,
October 8, 1560, by the inquisitors gravely reciting that they had heard
the case and duly considered it with the assistance of persons of
conscience and learning, and had found judgement in favor of the fiscal,
suppressing the prebend and ordering all the income to be turned over to
the receiver of the tribunal, including what had accrued since the death
of Osorio. It is a striking illustration of the perversion of the sense
of justice, induced by the inquisitorial process, that they were
unconscious of the grotesqueness of such a performance, which was
rounded out with a long and detailed enumeration of the penalties of
disobedience--first a fine of two thousand ducats and then all the steps
of excommunication, anathema and cursing with bell, book and candle and
interdict on the town of Belmonte. This formidable sentence was served,
October 15th, on each member of the chapter, and a notarial act was
taken of the service. Resistance was felt to be useless. On the 16th the
chapter met and adopted a formal act of obedience, stating that it was
through fear of the penalties threatened; the suppression of the prebend
was ordered to be entered on the capitular records, with the addition
that, as the sentence gave no instructions as to the services or masses
dependent upon it, or as to the payment of the accrued revenues received
by Espinar, the necessary action would be taken subsequently.[1260]

While thus summarily enforcing the papal grant, the Inquisition
prudently respected papal infractions of it. Advantage was taken of the
papal claim to all benefices falling vacant while their possessors were
in Rome--doubtless a costly proceeding, but better than forfeiture. Thus
Gaspar Escudero promptly went to Rome and resigned his canonry of
Calahorra in the hands of the pope, and his brother Rafael obtained
bulls for it--probably subject to a pension. Similarly Diego de Ortega
went through the same form and Francisco de Vellasañe secured the bulls.
The inquisitors claimed them as vacancies, but there was risk in
contesting the papal prerogative; Valdés decided, July 6 and 8, 1559, in
both cases, that the vacancies had occurred in Rome and that the bulls
were good. We meet, in 1560, with several similar cases, in Córdova,
Alcalá de Henares and Tudela, where, after proceedings more or less
vigorous, the papal action was respected.[1261] Another device to save
something from the wreck was to obtain papal grants of pensions. Thus
January 29, 1560, Andrés Martin presented bulls entitling him to a
pension of thirty ducats on a canonry of Calahorra vacated by the death
of his brother and it was ordered to be paid. It was the same with a
pension of fifty ducats, on a suppressed canonry of Cuenca, for which
bulls were obtained by Juan Rodríguez and Pedro Vara.[1262]

Respect at first was also shown to canonries under royal patronage. In
Logroño the inquisitors seized one in the church of S. María la Redonda,
but it proved to be a patrimonial one and was released.[1263] In time,
however, this respect for the crown was surmounted, as we have seen in
the century-long contention over the canonries of Antequera, Malaga and
the Canaries.[1264]

It was necessary to systematize the new business thus thrown upon the
tribunals and, in August 1560, agents were appointed in the
inquisitorial districts to keep watch over vacancies occurring and to
take the necessary action. They also made the collections and rendered
accounts; but, as the income was largely payable in kind, the disposal
of which was a matter of judgement, they were to make no sales without
consulting the Suprema nor payments without its orders.[1265] This
arrangement was soon found unsatisfactory. The variable character of the
revenues, chiefly based on tithes and dependent on harvests and markets,
afforded abundant opportunity for malversation; it seemed best to come
to some understanding with the chapters and, after much investigation
into details, the policy was adopted of farming out the prebends to
them. In 1565 and 1566 we find numerous arrangements made of this kind.
This too proved short-lived and, in 1567, it was determined to farm them
out to the best bidders. Finally, in 1570, regulations were adopted for
putting them up at auction, thus insuring full competition and
preventing collusion and, in 1586, the returns were required to be
placed in the coffers with three keys--a system which seems to have
continued to the end.[1266]


There were many intricate questions affording prolific causes of quarrel
to keep alive the hostility between the chapters and the Inquisition,
engendered by the seizure; there were frequent appeals to Rome, which
appear rarely to have benefited the appellant, and the Inquisition
eventually was left in assured possession of its acquisitions. Yet the
friction was constant, as was inevitable when the relations were so
close between parties who disliked and distrusted each other. Thus, in
1665, we find the Suprema rebuking the Barcelona tribunal for requiring
a chapter to exhibit its books to show what were the allotments made to
the resident canons; the information, it said, could be obtained in a
less offensive way. Again, about the same time, when the tribunal
ordered the farmer of the revenues of the prebend of Guisana to
investigate whether the chapter was defrauding it, the Suprema wrote
that, as no increase of revenue could be thus obtained, it would be more
prudent to keep quiet, especially if the farmer was a beneficed member
of the church; it would be better to order the commissioner at Agramont
to examine the books of the chapter, because the fifty libras paid by
the farmer, when compared with the two hundred distributed to the
canons, was too small. To this the tribunal replied that it had long
been exposed to frauds and suppression of the value of fruits by some of
the chapters; as for that of Guisana, it would be useless to examine the
books, as the contador would be the first of the conspirators.[1267]

Petty quarrels such as these are significant of much that was going on
everywhere and of the chronic condition of enmity between the tribunals
and the chapters. The former doubtless received considerably less than
their dues and the latter, regarding themselves as despoiled, felt
justified in withholding from the spoiler whatever they could, _per fas
et nefas_. Yet, however much the revenues may have suffered in this way,
the prebends constituted, as we shall see hereafter, three-eighths of
the resources of the tribunals, reaching, in 1731, to nearly six hundred
thousand reales a year and enabling them to prolong their existence
during the later period, when the confiscations and fines and
rehabilitations had ceased to furnish available means of support. But
for the brilliant stroke by which Valdés secured them, in 1559, it may
be doubted whether the Inquisition would not have proved so heavy a
burden that Carlos III would have allowed it to perish of inanition.



Indications are not lacking that, when the Inquisition was established,
it was not regarded as a permanent institution but as one to last only
until it had purified the land of Jewish apostates. Had its prolonged
existence been expected, doubtless provision would have been made,
during the early period of large confiscations, to lay aside a fund
sufficient for its support after the tide of spoliation should have
ebbed. Ferdinand occasionally manifested a desire to establish a
foundation for its maintenance, but his own necessities and the greedy
pressure for grants rendered nugatory whatever intentions of the kind he
may have entertained from time to time. In the proposition made to
Charles V, in 1519, there is allusion to such a plan, proposed by
Ferdinand, of securing censos which should place the institution on a
firm financial basis and which had been partially carried out in some
places.[1268] There is slender trace, however, of any results of such
policy. When there were large confiscations in Sicily, he ordered, June
27, 1513, that none of the censos so obtained should be sold, but that
they should be kept for the support of the tribunal. Apparently this was
not done by the receiver, Diego de Obregon who, on quitting Sicily in
1514, left behind him the considerable sum of twelve hundred ounces,
which Ferdinand ordered his successor, Garcí Cid, to invest in
censos,[1269] but the subsequent condition of the tribunal shows that
peculation and extravagance rendered impossible any accumulation. We
have seen that, in 1517, Seville and Córdova had reserved funds in
public securities, but they were absorbed by the Suprema.[1270] Possibly
these were derived from the great composition described above; a cédula
bearing the name of Queen Juana, February 24, 1516, states that it was
devoted to the purchase of censos for the Inquisition, but we have had
occasion to see how it was frittered away so that only a moderate
portion can have reached its destination.[1271] The Toledo tribunal, in
1515, received from Ferdinand the absolute ownership of the building
occupied by it and some other properties.[1272] Doubtless there were
other donations of greater or less amount, but these are the only
appropriations for the permanent support of the tribunals of Castile
that I have met with.

As for those of Aragon, a letter of Cardinal Adrian, January 30, 1520,
allowing Saragossa to draw upon the fines and penances for its expenses,
until it could get some confiscations, shows that it had no other source
of support.[1273] Barcelona was somewhat better off, for the local
government, in consideration of the Concordia of 1520, granted it twelve
thousand libras and, though the Inquisition subsequently saw fit to deny
this, a letter of the Suprema in 1521, directing the diputados to invest
in censos the sum, which they had already deposited, shows that on their
side, at least, the bargain was honestly carried out.[1274] What between
this and the results of the somewhat irregular industry of the
inquisitors, the tribunal must have been fairly well supplied for, in
1550, we chance to hear of an ayuda de costa of twenty-four ducats
granted to its notary Bartolomé García for his labor in copying the
books of censos which it held in Perpignan and the accounts of the
receiver.[1275] As for Valencia, at this period, I have met with no

[Sidenote: _IMPROVIDENCE_]

These indications are fragmentary but they suffice to justify the
conclusion that the proceeds of the great confiscations in the early
period were dissipated without laying up any permanent provision for the
future. As the Suprema, throughout the first half of the sixteenth
century, was constantly drawing upon the tribunals, it proves that, as a
rule, they were making more than their expenses and that when one
chanced to run short its deficiency was supplied from some more
fortunate one. The grant, in 1559, of a hundred thousand ducats, levied
upon the Spanish ecclesiastics, was probably, for the most part,
invested by the Suprema for its own benefit, though ten thousand ducats
were placed in the hands of its alguazil mayor Ibarra, to be drawn upon
for special purposes.[1276] Then came the suppression of the prebends,
which was expected to relieve all necessities, but it seems to have led
to improvidence for, in 1573, the Suprema complained that moneys
received from redemption of censos had not been reinvested but had been
spent, and it called for reports as to amounts received and expended.
Apparently the explanations were not satisfactory for, in 1579,
peremptory orders were issued that, when a censo was paid off, the money
must be reinvested in another, no matter how imperative might be other
calls.[1277] Thus, in 1586, the tribunals were called upon for reports
of their revenues, as it was understood that these had increased,
together with statements as to the product of the prebends and
censos.[1278] It is not likely that these were fully and frankly
rendered. Under the rules, as we shall see, monthly statements were
required, which should have made demands for special reports
superfluous, but the tribunals were apt to observe towards the Suprema
the same reticence which it showed to the king. We happen to have the
report of Valencia, made in 1587, in response to this order, and find
that it is quite imperfect. No mention is made of the confiscations and
penances, and various items are omitted, while the 2500 ducats levied on
the Moriscos shrink to 1500 libras, and the total amounts to about 5000
libras for the year.[1279] Yet Valencia must have been abundantly
supplied for, when in 1601, the Suprema gave it permission to have a
canopy, for occasions of extraordinary sentences, made at a cost not
exceeding 500 ducats, when it was finished the bill amounted to over
900. The Suprema grumbled at this extravagance, but finally ordered it
to be paid.[1280] The tribunal of Logroño must also have been in funds,
for we chance to learn that, in 1587, it lent to the Countess of Osorno
the sum of 155,535 reales 17 mrs. for which it received the annual
interest of 4552 reales 5 mrs., or about three per cent.[1281]

At this period the Inquisition ought to have been financially
comfortable, with its prebends and ordinary sources of income, besides
having nearly all its higher officials quartered on the churches, but
the fall in the purchasing power of money had necessitated a rise in
salaries and it was not backward in making complaint. In 1595, a
memorial of the Suprema to Philip II refers to frequent previous appeals
representing the diminution of its property and income, together with
the multiplication of officials, and declares that, if some remedy is
not found, the king will be obliged to make up the deficiency.[1282]
Soon after this the tribunals of the kingdoms of Aragon suffered
considerably from the expulsion of the Moriscos in 1609-10, to which
they had so largely contributed. The blow fell with special severity on
Valencia, where the Moorish population was largest, and the tribunal
lost its 2500 ducats a year and unlimited power of inflicting ten-ducat
fines. In 1615 we find the Suprema ordering the salaries prorated in
conformity with the collections--though, at the same time, the alcaide
Gil Noguerol was jubilated with a salary of 40,000 maravedís and Nicolas
Claver, the steward of the prison, was told to look for something from
which a grant could be made to him.[1283]


Ample use was made of the distress in Aragon to stimulate royal
liberality. January 30, 1617 the Suprema represented it to Philip III,
but his extravagance had kept him penniless and the appeal was
unanswered. It returned to the charge, October 22, 1618, perhaps
thinking that the fall of the Duke of Lerma might lead to a more
favorable hearing. The condition of the tribunal of Majorca was
represented as deplorable; it could no longer be helped, as formerly, by
Valencia, for that tribunal had a yearly deficit of 400 ducats.
Barcelona was in like evil plight, and the tribunals of Castile could no
longer afford it the aid they used to give. As for Saragossa, its
distress had already been represented to the king, who was prayed to
order the Vice-chancellor of Aragon to make provision for its
relief.[1284] Then, in another consulta of 1619, the Suprema asserted
that, taking the Inquisition as a whole, its expenses exceeded its
income and that the deficiency must be supplied by the king; as a
convincing argument it added that, when vacancies occurred, it proposed
to suppress three inquisitorships, sixteen secretaryships and its own
three supernumerary members--an intention that failed of
realization.[1285] We may reasonably hesitate to accept these clamorous
complaints of poverty, when the Suprema so carefully kept the sovereign
in the dark as to its real resources, nor is it easy to reconcile with
them the assertion of Fray Bleda, in 1618, that the Spanish Inquisition
was so richly endowed that it had a hundred places in receipt of incomes
larger than those of many Italian bishoprics.[1286]

No doubt, during the ensuing period of war, misgovernment and elaborate
financial blundering, the Inquisition, in some degree, shared the
distress which was universal throughout Spain, but it had resources more
available and more jealously husbanded than the other departments of the
State; it was exposed to less pressure and it managed to meet the
incessant demands of Philip IV with no very severe sacrifice of its
invested capital. Of course the customary complaints continued. In a
consulta of March 28, 1681 the Suprema bewailed the poverty of the
organization, the lack of means among the tribunals to pay the salaries
and maintenance of prisoners, which it had repeatedly represented, with
statements of the contador-general showing the income of each tribunal
with its deficit.[1287] This may have been true as regards some of them,
owing to special causes. Thus a consulta of November 6, 1677, asserts
that the Concordia of 1646 had reduced Saragossa to such penury that the
last statement of its very moderate salaries showed an amount of
111,246 silver sueldos due to the officials, forcing the Suprema this
year to assist it with 1750 pieces of eight, a grant that it cannot
repeat owing to its own very narrow means.[1288] In other cases,
distress may be attributed to incurable laxity of management, as in
Toledo, where a statement of 1647 shows a payment by the receiver of
105,984 mrs. to the Inquisitor Santos de San Pedro, accompanied with the
remark that lack of means prevents his paying the balance still due. But
it also shows that the receiver held 801,724 mrs. of obligations so
worthless that the auditor did not consider advisable any attempt to
collect them, and that there were arrearages due on censos and other
sources of revenue amounting to 1,353,452 mrs.[1289]


This justifies what is asserted in the plain-spoken memorial of 1623 to
the Suprema--that through negligence there have been such losses that,
if they had been avoided, the tribunals would be abundantly provided.
This is attributed to the beggarly salaries of the financial officials;
not having enough to support them, they engage in other occupations and,
being sure of their salaries, they pay no attention to their duties.
Another effect is that it is necessary to appoint natives who, through
kinship or fear of offending their neighbors, do not execute orders, or
who grant such delays that the chances of collecting are lost. Moreover,
as they get no fees for looking up evidence and documents, suits
miscarry.[1290] Incompetent, slovenly and often corrupt administration
such as this affords ample explanation of whatever distress may have
existed. Nor was malversation confined to the local tribunals. In
November, 1642, Madrid was startled when, by order of the
inquisitor-general, the presiding member of the Suprema, Pedro Pachecho,
was suddenly arrested for malversation in office and was hurried off to
Leon, without allowing him to communicate with the king or with
Olivares, and every one said that it was a judgement of God on him for
his extortions[1291]--the same Pacheco to whom Philip had just granted
some 30,000 ducats accruing from the sale of offices (p. 215). There is
significance in the cautious remark of Pellicer, August 15, 1643,
comparing the death of Don Lope de Morales, of the Council of Castile,
who died very poor, and of Inquisitor Alcedo, of the Suprema, who died
very rich, leaving 40,000 ducats in gold and silver.[1292]

The financial elasticity of the tribunals was remarkable, especially
when stimulated by the pressure of poverty, for they held the means of
recuperation in their own hands. Valencia undoubtedly suffered for
awhile from the Morisco expulsion, yet in 1630 we chance to learn that
it had 45,500 ducats invested in municipal bonds at five per cent.,
yielding an income of 2275 ducats. In 1633 the Suprema is scolding it
for its extravagance in illuminations and bull-fights and, in the same
year, it is seeking investments for its spare funds. This prosperity
continued for, in 1660, a statement of its income shows 4600 libras from
interest on bonds and 530 from the rents of some houses, in addition to
the four canonries and the fines and confiscations.[1293] After the
suppression of the Catalan rebellion, in 1652, the restored Barcelona
tribunal had to reconstruct itself from the foundations, but it speedily
became opulent for, in 1662-4, it spent more than 4200 libras in damask
hangings, repairs and extraordinary ayudas de costa and, in 1666, it was
investing 1000 libras in a censo.[1294]

As in duty bound, a portion of the savings of the Inquisition was
invested in government securities. Between 1661 and 1667 there were
placed in this manner, from the proceeds of confiscations, sums
amounting to 691,272 mrs. and, in 1668, this was increased by 202,771,
the whole aggregate at this date being 7,877,999. With customary
favoritism, its holdings were exempted from the deductions, amounting to
partial repudiation, in which the necessities of Spanish finance sought

Taking it as a whole I think we may assume that, during the vicissitudes
of the seventeenth century, the Inquisition had abundant means for its
support and that, despite its incessant complaints of poverty, it
suffered less from the exigencies of the times than any other department
of the government. Internal mismanagement or external causes may have
brought temporary distress on individual tribunals, but persecution was
still a lucrative business and such troubles were speedily overcome. As
for the Suprema, we have seen that it was always in funds, not only for
its necessities but for its luxuries and for the liberalities showered
upon its members and subordinates, while the examination of a large
series of receipts for salaries and perquisites shows that payments were
made with a punctuality rare in the Spanish administration of the
period. Certain it is that the Count of Frigiliana, in his addition to
the _Consulta Magna_ of 1696, assumes that the Inquisition was richly
endowed with the prebends, the real estate acquired through confiscation
and the censos and other investments which it had accumulated.[1296]

       *       *       *       *       *

The opening of the eighteenth century was ominous of troubles to come.
The War of Succession threw everything into disorder. Not only were the
inquisitorial finances affected, but the exigencies of the Bourbon
government caused it to levy exactions which Philip IV in his deepest
distress had not ventured upon. About 1704 a tax of five per cent. was
laid on the salaries of all officials, and this soon afterwards was
increased to ten. Then, in 1707, the Inquisition had to bear its part in
a general donation, the collection of which was entrusted to the
bishops, as though the Suprema was distrusted and, in 1709, this was
followed by an "honesto subsidio."[1297] To obtain some return for this,
the Suprema ordered lists to be made up of all benefices not requiring
residence throughout Spain, under royal patronage, and asked the king to
incorporate them in the Inquisition, but this somewhat audacious request
was refused.[1298]

[Sidenote: _CONDITION IN 1731_]

Complaints of poverty continued and, if we may trust a tabular statement
of the receipts and expenditures of each tribunal, drawn up in 1731,
they were fully justified, for the finances must have undergone a most
notable deterioration under Philip V. Indeed, it is a mystery how the
institution continued to exist under such conditions, with a yearly
deficit of over half a million reales and nearly a million and a half of
overdue wages to its employees.[1299] The expenses of the Suprema are
represented as about double its receipts. Only two tribunals, those of
Santiago and Seville, show a small excess of income, while Valencia
prudently squares its accounts to a maravedí. The rest all show a
greater or less deficit. The Suprema no longer draws at will on the
tribunals, but some of them have to make to it definite subventions;
thus Santiago is obliged to contribute 18,000 reales, Córdova 10,000,
Seville 20,000, Murcia 45,000 and Majorca 10,000, the rest nothing, but
on what principle these payments were based does not appear. Each
tribunal, although subordinate to the Suprema in financial matters, has
its own budget, its own independent resources, and is left to manage its
deficit as best it can. The result, as might be expected, is various.
Córdova, Murcia and Majorca would be solvent but for the subventions to
the Suprema. The little Majorca tribunal, formerly so necessitous, has
now the largest salary list of all, amounting to 104,694 reales, but it
likewise enjoys the largest revenue from investments, 96,829 drawn
naturally from its lucky confiscations in 1678 and 1691, from which it
doubtless secured an endowment. Toledo, with but a moderate deficit of
27,000, owes over 250,000 reales to its officials. Saragossa continues
unfortunate; it was ejected from the Aljafería, probably as an incident
of the War of Succession, but Philip V, in 1708, granted it 5200 ducats
a year out of the confiscations to rent buildings. This was withdrawn in
1725 and, in 1727, the Suprema appealed to the king with a deplorable
account of its condition, dependent on its prebends and with an income
less than half of its pay-roll.[1300] Its position had not improved in
1731. It had undertaken to put up new buildings, on which 20,000 ducats
had been spent and more than 20,000 additional were required for their
completion. It was very expensively managed, with a salary list of
nearly 93,000 reales and total expenses of 118,000, on an income of
about 80,000, while Barcelona paid in salaries only 50,000 and its whole
expenditure was less than 60,000 on an income of 48,000. Santiago was
fortunate in its prebends, which brought in nearly 88,000 a year;
outside of this it had only 5000 from investments, but it was able to
pay its subvention and had a surplus of nearly 4000. In only four
tribunals--Santiago, Seville, Murcia and Valencia--were the salaries
fully paid up.

The whole statement illustrates the curious lack of system under which
the Inquisition had continued since its foundation. Under Ferdinand, he
handled its finances as his own, using them according to his
necessities, with improvident disregard of the future, and without
formulating an arrangement by which its affairs could be placed on a
stable basis, although its gains were aleatory and subject inevitably to
diminution as it accomplished the object of its creation. Then, under
Charles V, the Suprema assumed control, supplying its own wants from any
surplus presumably existing in any tribunal, and transferring sums from
one to another as exigencies presented themselves in the fluctuating
stream of confiscations. The absorption of the prebends afforded for the
first time a more stable revenue, although these too were variable. Each
tribunal acquired those which fell within its district, thus obtaining
an unequal basis of support, and becoming in a certain sense financially
independent, although subject to the scrutiny and control of the
Suprema. Thus one might be wealthy and another poverty-stricken. There
was no solidarity, no common treasury into which the receipts of each
were poured and from which their necessities were supplied. The Suprema
had a general auditor's office, to which the accounts of all the
receivers or treasurers were rendered, enabling it to exercise
supervision and a more or less fitful and efficient direction, but it
was more intent on providing for its own wants than on enforcing
responsibility upon the local financial officials. It wasted its
energies on the pettiest details, while distance and difficult
communication forced it practically to leave important questions to the
discretion of the tribunals. The anomalous financial organization, which
thus developed, combined the vices of centralization and local
self-government, with divided responsibility and inefficient
supervision. A tribunal which chanced to have large confiscations or
numerous and lucrative prebends, with honest and capable administration,
prospered, while others not so fortunate were reduced to penury.


Towards the middle of the century the condition seems to have slightly
improved. A writer, evidently well-informed, who complains bitterly that
the usefulness of the Inquisition was crippled by inadequate means,
states its revenues at 948,000 reales derived from invested property and
637,000 from a hundred prebends and some pensions, while its salaries
and expenses amount to 1,900,000, leaving a deficit of 400,000. He
proposes that the property derived from confiscations, representing a
capital of 36,000,000, should be abandoned to the king and that the
Church be levied upon to raise the total income to 2,700,000 which he
assumes to be absolutely essential. It is scarce necessary to enter into
the details of this proposed levy, except to mention that he says that
there were a hundred and thirteen collegiate churches, in which no
prebend had been suppressed and these, averaging them at 2500 reales,
would yield 282,500 a year; also that there were forty-nine inquisitors
enjoying prebends and benefices, averaging 11,000 a year which should be
incorporated, yielding 539,000.[1301]

Another writer of the same period seeks relief by suppressing
unnecessary officials and absorbing some more prebends, after which the
king should assume the whole responsibility, appointing the salaried
officials, collecting the revenues and paying the expenses, when, if he
had to make good a deficiency, he could not devote public money to a
cause more useful and just. This writer also makes a most earnest appeal
for increased salaries for the inferior officials, who, he says, were
objects of popular derision in consequence of the meanness of their
appearance. When one died, the expenses of his sickness and burial had
to be defrayed by the tribunal in the shape of an ayuda de costs and,
while living, they were overwhelmed with debts which they had no means
of paying, as shown by the number of claims filed by creditors. In the
provinces they often had to supplement their wages by beggary, and their
integrity suffered, for the starving are easy subjects for

I have not met with statistics as to the subsequent condition of each
tribunal, but there are indications that some, at least, were
comfortably endowed. Thus Valencia which, in 1731, showed a carefully
balanced statement of receipts and expenditures, is found, in 1773 and
1774, purchasing real estate as an investment for surplus funds.[1303]
In 1792, the Suprema, in response to a demand for increase of salaries,
ordered from all the tribunals a statement of income and expenses for
the seven years, 1784-90. The return of Valencia shows, for 1790, an
income of 12,207 libras and an expenditure of 7777, or a surplus of
4430, though its pay-roll comprised twenty-five officials, receiving in
all 5616. Its coffer contained at the time an accumulation of 32,707
libras, although, for the five previous years, it had spent an average
of 5000 libras a year in permanent improvements and investments. Perhaps
this can scarce be taken as an example of all the tribunals, but it
would indicate that some, at least, were not oppressed with poverty,
while the absurdly small item of 39 libras 4 sueldos expended on
maintenance of prisoners, in 1790, indicates how little real work was
performed by its overgrown staff.[1304]

This flourishing condition was not destined to continue. The necessities
of the Government, in its foolish wars with France, England and
Portugal, caused it to call upon the Inquisition to convert its
investments into public funds. The Valencia tribunal reported to the
Suprema, February 23, 1802, that, in obedience to its order of January
22nd, there had been realized from the sale of farms the sum of 62,584
libras, which had been duly paid over to the "Caja de consolidacion de
vales," and of course all such patriotic contributions disappeared in
the years of trouble which ensued. Equally unfortunate was an investment
made in 1795, likewise by order of the Suprema, of 6640 libras in an
obligation of the Real Compañia Maritima, on which, as it reported in
1805, it had never received any interest. In the same year it presented
a dolorous account of the misery of its officials who, from their
inadequate salaries, had been forced to make a voluntary donation of
four per cent. to the Government and, under pressure from the
captain-general, to contribute 175 reales to the support of the
silk-weavers thrown out of employment, which, it suggested, should be
paid for them by the tribunal as, for two years and a half, it had had
no fiscal and thus had saved his salary.[1305] The tribunal of Logroño
must have husbanded its resources, for it was able, July 23, 1808, to
lend to the authorities 30,000 reales towards a fund demanded by the
French General Verdier for abstaining from sacking the town. Under the
Restoration a return of the loan was vainly claimed.[1306]

[Sidenote: _THE RECEIVER_]

Worse was to come in the revolutionary times which followed. Napoleon,
on his arrival at Madrid, December 4, 1808, issued a decree abolishing
the Inquisition and confiscating its property to the crown and this, of
course, was enforced wherever the French armies penetrated. On the other
hand, the Córtes of Cádiz had learned, from the example of the
Inquisition, that useless benefices were a financial resource, and one
of their earliest acts was a decree of December 1, 1810, forbidding the
nomination of incumbents to all prebends, _raciones_ and benefices,
vacant or falling vacant, except magistral, doctoral, lectoral and
penitentiary prebends, or benefices having cure of souls, under which
the suppressed canonries were made to contribute to the War of
Independence.[1307] The Holy Office was virtually extinct when it was
suppressed by the Córtes in 1813, and we shall see hereafter how painful
was the resuscitation of its finances under the Restoration.

       *       *       *       *       *

The financial organization of the Inquisition at first was simple and
even crude. The receiver of confiscations, or treasurer, was a royal
official. Ferdinand always speaks of him as _mi receptor_ and it was the
king who issued commissions to all the officials on the financial side
of the tribunals--the receiver, the auditor and the judge of
confiscations--although, after the incorporation of the prebends, the
inquisitor-general added powers to administer the revenues from
ecclesiastical sources, as this was his exclusive province under the
papal briefs.[1308] When Ferdinand died, January 23, 1516, it is not
surprising that difficulties were thrown in the way of the receivers, on
the ground that their commissions expired with him. To meet this,
letters were issued to them, in the name of Queen Juana, February 28th
and March 4th, instructing them that they were still in office, with
full authority to make collections and to pay salaries and
expenses.[1309] By the time of the resignation of Charles V, the system
had become so firmly established that no questions seem to have arisen,
although probably with each new monarch commissions were renewed.

The office was rightly considered to be one of much importance,
especially in the early period of large confiscations. In 1486, the
receiver figures, in the Saragossa pay-roll, for a salary of 3000
sueldos to 4000 for the inquisitors, while, in those of Medina del Campo
and Jaen, he has 80,000 mrs. to 60,000 for the inquisitors. In 1515, the
receiver and the inquisitor in Sicily both receive 300 ducats.[1310] The
receiver necessarily required assistants and agents, as the properties
under his charge were scattered throughout his district. At first these
were paid by the fisc, but Ximenes, in his reform of 1516, required
receivers to pay for them out of their salary of 60,000 mrs.--an economy
of doubtful wisdom.[1311] In time the comparative importance of the
receiver diminished and, in the middle of the eighteenth century, we
find him--or treasurer as he was then called--rated at 400 ducats, while
the inquisitors and fiscal have 800.[1312] At times there were distinct
receivers for the confiscations and for the fines, penances and
rehabilitations, but usually one sufficed, though the accounts were kept
separate. The receiver was required, by the Instructions of 1498, to
give satisfactory bonds to the amount of 300,000 mrs.[1313] A regulation
of 1579 prescribed that these bonds were to be renewed every three years
and that, when one of the bondsmen died, he was to be replaced at once,
under pain of major excommunication, _latæ sententiæ_, but the frequency
with which this rule was enunciated indicates how difficult was its


While the power of the receiver in making collections was almost
boundless, in disbursements he was prudently limited. An instruction of
Deza, in 1504, requires the auditors not to pass in the accounts any
item for which the receiver could not exhibit an order from the king,
the inquisitor-general, the Suprema, or the judge of confiscations in
matters adjudicated by him.[1315] In Aragon, the accounts were audited
by the _maestre racional_ or auditor-general of the kingdom and, in
Castile, by the auditor of the Suprema, after which they were submitted
to Ferdinand, who examined them minutely and decided as to the items
disallowed by the auditors.[1316] All this, as we have seen, passed into
the hands of the Suprema, which exercised the most careful watchfulness
over all _gastos extraordinarios_, or expenditures other than the
regular payment of salaries and the like. Thus, in 1645, Martin Pretel,
the treasurer of Toledo, paid out, on orders of the inquisitors, 190-1/2
reales for repairs to a house occupied by one of them and 116 reales for
repairs to the prison. The auditor refused to pass these trivial
outlays, and it was not until 1654 that the Suprema allowed them, with a
caution that in future the cartas acordadas must be observed.[1317]

The utmost precision and minuteness were exacted, with elaborate
vouchers containing the order authorizing payment and the receipt of the
payee. In the accounts for 1524, of Cristóval de Medina, receiver of
Valencia, he recites an order issued by the inquisitors to Pere Sorell,
who was repairing the palace of the Inquisition, granting him an old
chain which hung under some of the windows and he includes Sorell's
receipt for it.[1318] Similarly in the Valencia accounts for 1759 we
find the inquisitors issuing orders and receipts taken in the case of
the charwoman Josefa Serra, who was paid 3 libras for sweeping out the
rooms from January 1st to St. John's day and 5 libras for carrying the
seat of honor twice to the church of Santa Ana and once to San Salvador.
So with Juan García, paid 1 libra 10s. for taking up and putting down
the mats and 1 libra 4s. for two cords for the well.[1319]

There was perhaps some excuse for dilatoriness in rendering accounts so
elaborately minute, accompanied with the requisite orders and vouchers,
but a more efficient reason was that the receiver was apt to be in
arrears, using the funds for his own profit, in defiance of stringent
regulations, and his account rendered was sure to be followed with a
demand to pay a balance due. Ferdinand, as we have seen, and after him
the Suprema, labored vainly to secure promptitude and regularity. In
1560 it devised an elaborate plan of appointing an auditor for every two
tribunals, with a salary of 40,000 mrs., for which he was to spend
alternate years in examining their several accounts. Collusion between
him and the receivers was guarded against by severe penalties for paying
his salary except on orders from the Suprema and threats of prosecuting
him for neglect of duty. When a balance was struck, the receiver was to
deposit it within nine days in the coffer of the tribunal and furnish
the Suprema with evidence of the fact within nine days more; if he
failed in this, the inquisitors were to imprison him under pain of
forfeiting their salaries from that time forth. As each account was
completed, the auditor was to forward a copy to the Suprema, and he was
further to supervise the accounts of the collectors of the suppressed
prebends and to see that all receipts were duly deposited in the
coffer.[1320] The scheme has interest from the insight which it gives
into the disorder and dilapidation characteristic of inquisitorial
finance, rather than from any improvement which it caused, for it seems
to have proved impracticable. It is true that, in 1570, there were some
additional instructions as to details, which look as if, after ten
years, there was an effort to make it work, but it was soon afterwards
abandoned and, in 1572, there was a return to the old system by ordering
from each tribunal an annual statement.[1321] This was followed by
requiring a monthly report as to the management of property and the
returns collected, but this seems to have received as little obedience
as previous instructions.[1322]

The memorial of 1623 to the Suprema urges strongly the enforcement of
the instructions of 1560--that an auditor should, every year, audit the
accounts of the treasurer, in the presence of an inquisitor, under
penalty of forfeiture of a year's salary by both. The statements thus
rendered should then be examined by the fiscal of the Suprema, with the
aid of an expert accountant for, through the lack of this, in the
previous accounts there have been great errors, and if they were
reviewed by a shrewd examiner it would be discovered how large have been
the losses.[1323] The writer evidently had little faith in the
receivers-general and auditors-general on whom the Suprema depended, but
his suggestions were not acted upon, and the Suprema contented itself
with calling upon the dilatory treasurers for annual reports and
occasionally getting their statements. The secret of the delay is
indicated in instructions to the Valencia tribunal, in 1633, that, when
Melchor de Mendoza, the treasurer, has finished the accounts which he
has commenced, pressure must be brought to bear to make him pay the
balance against him.[1324]


The Depositarios de los Pretendientes, who had charge of the deposits of
those seeking proofs of limpieza, emulated the treasurers. A letter of
March 28, 1665, to the Barcelona tribunal calls attention to a carta
acordada of January 16, 1620, ordering the accounts of the depositario
to be included in the annual statements required for the
auditor-general. The latter, however, reports that he has received none
for many years, wherefore it is ordered that an itemized statement in
detail, including everything since the last account rendered, shall be
made out, showing what is due to all parties concerned. It may
reasonably be doubted whether the command was obeyed. In 1713, orders
were sent to Valencia that, if the depositario did not pay the balance
in four months, pressure was to be brought to bear upon him, and the
secretaries were to be forced to pay him what they owed him. The
pressure was unavailing, for a prolonged correspondence ensued on the
subject, throughout 1714. Towards the close of the century, however, we
find the depositario of Valencia rendering statements with some degree
of regularity every two years.[1325]

If the accounts of the tribunals were thus carelessly kept, those of the
Suprema would appear to be equally disordered. At least such conclusion
is justified when, in 1685, we find it asking the tribunal of Valencia
for a statement of the remittances which it had made to the
treasurer-general. In 1695 the request is repeated for the years 1693
and 1694 and again in 1714, 1715 and 1726--all of which would argue most
slovenly bookkeeping.[1326]

Towards the close of its career, apparently, the Inquisition had
succeeded in establishing a more methodical system. In 1803, Barcelona
is rendering monthly statements of receipts and expenditures with
commendable regularity and we may attribute to the political
perturbations the fact that the accounts of Valencia for the years 1807,
1809 and 1810 were not audited by the Suprema until 1816.[1327]

Confidence in the integrity of the average receiver was evidently
neither felt nor deserved, and, at an early period, the device was
adopted of the _arca de tres llaves_--a coffer placed in the secreto
with three locks of which the keys were held by the receiver, by an
inquisitor and by the scrivener of sequestrations, so that it could be
opened only in presence of all three. In this repository the receiver
was required to place all moneys coming into his hands and so it
remained until the last, as a fine example of archaic simplicity. To
this there were occasional variations, such as requiring two arcas, one
for confiscations and one for fines and penances, or, when the tribunals
were living on their incomes, one for capital and the other for revenue.
As a rule, however, one sufficed and it was customarily divided into two
compartments, for confiscations and fines and penances respectively.

The rules prescribed, in 1514, by Inquisitor-general Mercader, indicate
the precautions regarded as necessary to reduce to a minimum the
temptations of the receiver. He was to receive no money save in presence
of the scrivener of sequestrations or of the secreto. All collections
were to be placed in the coffer within three days of their receipt, in
the presence of an inquisitor and of a scrivener. When subordinates
brought funds from other places, they were to be delivered to him within
two days in presence of a scrivener and he was required to deposit them
within twenty-four hours. Fraud and deceit, Mercader says, must cease in
the collection and sales of confiscations and in depositing and taking
out moneys from the coffer. All expenses, ordinary and extraordinary,
were to be paid with money taken from the coffer. The scrivener must,
with his own hands, keep duplicate books, with dated entries, of all
deposits and withdrawals, one copy to be kept in his possession and the
other in the coffer. No moneys must be taken out for loans or other
purpose, save the expenses of the tribunals, without the express licence
of the king and inquisitor-general. Every two months the receiver and
scrivener, in presence of an inquisitor, must verify the accounts and
the money on hand, and must send a written statement of the latter to
the inquisitor-general. Any omission or deviation from this by receiver,
inquisitor or scrivener was punishable with excommunication and a fine
of five hundred ducats. All the officials concerned were to be furnished
with copies of these instructions and one was to be placed in the


It was one thing to frame precise regulations and another to secure
their observance. These instructions were sent to Sicily in 1515, but
evasions were speedily invented for already, in 1516, a letter of the
Suprema asserts that experience had shown that the custodians of the
three keys, by lending them to each other, committed frauds on the
moneys in the coffer. To prevent this it devised wholly inefficient
regulations as to the parties to whom the keys should be confided, in
the absence of the regular custodians, so that, as it naïvely remarked,
no frauds may be committed in the future.[1329]

It argues a singularly hopeful spirit in the Suprema if it expected that
such precautions would preclude embezzlement, when the standard of
official morality was so low that malversation was prevalent everywhere
and was rarely if ever punished by dismissal from office. How tenderly
such indiscretions were treated is manifested in a case occurring in
Barcelona, in 1514. Francisco de San Climent owed 186 libras to the
confiscated estate of Bernardo and Dionis Venet; his father paid 150 on
account, but this was not credited, being evidently embezzled, and, on
June 13th, Ferdinand ordered the receiver, Mateo de Morrano, not to
press the suit against San Climent on account of the damage that it
would inflict on the honor of the officials--the matter was to be hushed
up in order to spare the reputation of the tribunal.[1330] When theft
was thus condoned we need not wonder at the condition of the
_receptoria_ of Saragossa, characterized by fraud, disorder and neglect,
as described by the auditor Anton Navarro in a letter which Ferdinand
gave, in 1515, to the Archdeacon of Almazan when sending him thither as

Allusion has been made above to the remedy sought by Ximenes in 1517, by
sending an auditor-general to inspect all the tribunals and ascertain
the balances due. It was probably in consequence of this that Juan
Martínez de Guilestegui, the former receiver of Toledo, was found
indebted in the sum of 51,500 mrs., but there was no thought of
punishing him and, with customary tenderness, Charles V forgave him half
of the debt and promised that on payment of this he should be free of
all further claim.[1332] Apparently it was a matter of course that
receivers should be in debt to the fisc, although, if the rules as to
the three-keyed coffer were observed, there was no opportunity for them
to be in arrears. The rules in fact were disregarded with impunity.
Inquisitor-general Manrique, writing to Sicily in 1525, says that they
had not been observed for several years and orders them to be enforced
under the prescribed penalties, but as he did not inflict those
penalties for past disobedience, his threats were a mere _brutum

The consequence of this condonation of malpractice appears whenever
there is opportunity of investigation. One of Ferdinand's most trusted
receivers was Amador de Aliaga of Valencia. On his death, about 1529,
when concealment was no longer possible, he was found to be a defaulter
and, as one of the inquisitors was his heir, the Suprema ordered him to
make good the deficit out of the estate. Then Pedro Sorell, a notary of
the secreto, was in the enjoyment of certain confiscated houses, granted
to him by Ferdinand, subject to a censo of 2975 sueldos; this had
clandestinely been paid off out of the funds of the tribunal; Sorell
refused restitution, and the Suprema merely told the inquisitors to
persuade him to refund the amount without a suit. This same Sorell had
covertly, through a third party, purchased a censo of 8000 sueldos,
particularly well secured, sold by the fisc in order to pay salaries.
The Suprema rebuked the tribunal for parting with so choice an
investment, but there was no talk of dismissing or punishing the guilty
notary.[1334] When the officials enriched themselves with impunity it is
not difficult to understand the incessant complaints of the poverty of
the tribunals.


That a receiver was expected to use the money in his hands and to be in
arrears is indicated by a letter of the Suprema, in 1542, on learning
the death of Ramon de Esparza, receiver of Majorca. He had not sent in
his accounts and the inquisitor was empowered to compel his heirs to
render a statement and to pay whatever balance might be found due.[1335]
The device of the coffer had fallen evidently into complete neglect and
the Suprema endeavored to resuscitate it by a carta acordada of December
9, 1545, which prescribed that all collections were to be deposited
within three days of receipt, if made in the city, or within four days
if made in the country, and salaries and other expenses were to be paid
only from the money in the coffer, under pain of excommunication _latæ
sententiæ_ and of ten ducats for each infracion. This was the
commencement of an endless series of legislation reiterating or
modifying the regulations in a manner to indicate how impossible it was
to enforce observance. The delay allowed for deposit was increased from
three days to ten; receivers were required to take an oath to obey;
reports of all deposits and withdrawals were ordered to be rendered
every four months. These constant repetitions are the measure of their
inefficiency, and the hardened indifference of the receivers is
evidenced by a complaint of Reynoso, Inquisitor of Toledo, in 1556, that
since the accounts of the receiver had been balanced he had received
large sums which he refused to deposit in the coffer, saying that his
accounts had been settled. Then, in 1560, the order of 1545 was reissued
with instructions that, in case of infraction, the receiver was to be
prosecuted and punished, evidence of which was to be furnished to the
Suprema.[1336] It was all in vain and the receivers continued to hold
their collections at their convenience.

In 1569, with the object of reducing to some kind of order the finances
of the tribunals, a _junta de hacienda_, or finance committee, was
constituted in each, consisting of the inquisitors, the judge of
confiscations, the receiver and the notary of sequestrations, which was
to meet on the last day of each month and consider all questions of
property and income, deciding them by a majority vote. This, with
occasional modifications, remained a standing feature of the tribunals,
although the repeated exhortations and commands that the sessions be
held regularly show how difficult it was to secure business-like action
and management.[1337] The attempt was made to utilize this organization
in compelling the receivers to deposit their collections in the coffers.
In 1576 and again in 1579, orders were issued that, at the monthly
meetings, the receiver should declare, under oath and under
excommunication, the amount of money in his hands, what he had collected
and what placed in the coffer. This was ineffectual and then it was
tried to compel the notary of sequestrations to make a declaration that
the receiver had deposited all that he admitted to have received. Then,
in 1584, a concession was made allowing the receiver to make his
deposits monthly, which of course only increased the risk of
defalcations. This was followed, in 1586, by orders that he must be
compelled to collect and deposit promptly the revenues of the prebends
and that, at the monthly meetings, the schedule of income was to be
examined in order to see what had been collected and deposited.[1338] It
would be wearisome to pursue further these details, which continued
indefinitely, with perpetual and ineffectual iteration, to compel the
receivers to hand over their collections without delay. It hardly needs
the assertion of the memorial of 1623 that the coffer was used in but
very few places as a depository for the funds of the tribunals. The
writer adds that the receivers thus incur excommunication and commit
perjury monthly; the finances suffer great losses and the receivers are
ruined by squandering the money, but the only remedy that he can suggest
is that the penalties be increased and strict orders be issued that,
under no pretext, should funds be left outside of the coffers. These
expedients had been abundantly tried but, in the absence of rigid
discipline and of punishment of offenders, they had been and continued
to be fruitless. Another and most serious omission pointed out was that
in many tribunals there was no _Libro Becerro_ or register of property,
with descriptions and titles, the lack of which led to great losses and
much difficulty in making collections.[1339] The cause of the poverty
complained of is not far to seek.

[Sidenote: _DEFALCATIONS_]

Under the flagrant disregard of the prescribed safeguards, it is not
surprising that defalcations were by no means infrequent. The general
negligence and the tenderness manifested to official malfeasance
facilitated and encouraged embezzlement. It could be concealed by
skilfully falsified statements but, when a receiver died, his estate was
not uncommonly found to be indebted to the fisc. Thus, in the account of
Lazaro del Mar of Valencia, in 1647, there is an item of 372ll. 14s. 2d.
still due by the heirs of the late receiver Minuarte, although 2400ll.
had already been collected of them during the previous five or six
years.[1340] So when, in 1664, Joan Matheu, receiver of Barcelona, was
murdered and his accounts were finally reduced to order, in 1666, they
were found to be short in the large sum of 47,359ll. 1s. The widow
petitioned to be released, or at least to have an abatement, which was
refused, but she was given two years in which to settle.[1341]

A somewhat typical ante-mortem case was that of Carlos Albornoz,
receiver of Valencia, who, it may be remembered, endeavored, in 1713, to
secure the reversion of his office for his son aged twelve, and a few
years later succeeded in so doing. There was trouble in getting him to
render his accounts for 1723 and three or four subsequent years, and
making him pay over the tolerably large confiscations of Alarcon and
Macanaz. In 1727 he was allowed to resign in favor of his son and, in
1728, active measures were taken to compel him to furnish his accounts
and make payments, which resulted in obtaining 6000 reales and a
statement. On this, in December, 1728, the auditor-general found a
balance against him of 6248ll. 10s. 1d. besides sums paid by the towns
of Villanueva de Castellon and Denia which were not entered in his
books. Then commenced the attempt to effect a settlement, which
continued, until 1734, with more or less success, his son being
meanwhile continued in office, while in the whole voluminous
correspondence there is no intimation of any thought of punishing him
for his inveterate disobedience and dishonesty.[1342] The confiscations,
in fact, seemed to carry with them an infection. The Licentiate Vicente
Vidal was administrator of the Valencia portion of the estate of Macanaz
and, on settlement of his accounts, he was found to be in debt some
1800ll. The administration was transferred to Manuel Molner, to whom he
gave a deed for a property renting for 100ll.; in 1729 he paid his debt
and then, in 1732, he had the effrontery to ask the Suprema to refund to
him the rents received from his property while in Molner's hands.[1343]

While thus much of the chronic complaint of indigence may reasonably be
attributed to mismanagement and peculation, it would be unjust to the
Inquisition to ascribe to it a specially bad eminence in this respect.
It was probably neither better nor worse than the other departments of
the Government. Neglect of duty and misappropriation of funds, common
enough to this day in public affairs, were in past times rather the
rule than the exception and flourished in Spain, perhaps, to a greater
extent than elsewhere. Multiplication of offices and inadequate salaries
are direct incentives to irregular gains, and the practical immunity of
offenders, caused by the unwise effort to preserve the external
reputation of the Holy Office, was an encouragement which could not fail
to induce slovenly service, disobedience of rules and frequent





Allusion has occurred above to the Edicts of Grace which, in the earlier
period, played an important part in the machinery of the Inquisition. It
was a custom inherited from the thirteenth century of which the