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Title: A History of the Inquisition of Spain; vol. 4
Author: Lea, Henry Charles, 1825-1909
Language: English
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                        THE INQUISITION OF SPAIN

                       WORKS BY THE SAME AUTHOR.

     volumes, octavo.

     octavo. (_Shortly._)

     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 Bardaxí. In
     one volume, 12mo.

     volume, 12mo.

                               A HISTORY

                                 OF THE

                          INQUISITION OF SPAIN


                        HENRY CHARLES LEA, LL.D.

                            IN FOUR VOLUMES

                               VOLUME IV.

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

                            COPYRIGHT, 1907

                        BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

           Set up and electrotyped. Published September, 1907

                          CONTENTS OF VOL. IV.




Antiquity of Mystic Aspirations                                     1

Dangers--Impeccability--Independence                                2

Illuminism and Quietism--Confusion with Protestantism--Uncertainty
as to Source of Visions--Contempt for Theology                      4

Development in Spain                                                6

Commencement of Persecution--The Mystics of Guadalajara             7

Francisca Hernández                                                 9

María Cazalla--The Group in Toledo--Ignatius Loyola                13

Archbishop Carranza--San Francisco de Borja--Luis de Granada--the
Jesuits                                                            15

Fray Alonso de la Fuente--his struggle with Jesuitism              19

The Alumbrados of Llerena                                          23

Hostility of the Inquisition to Mysticism                          24

Padre Gerónimo de la Madre de Dios                                 26

_Mística Theología_ of Fernando de Caldera                         29

Prosecution of the Mystics of Seville--Condemnation of Alumbrado
Errors                                                             29

Illuminism becomes formal Heresy--Procedure                        34

Madre Luisa de Carrion                                             36

Influence of Mystics--Sor María de Agreda                          39

Mysticism in Italy--Canon Pandolfo Ricasoli--The Impostor

Giuseppe Borri--The _Sequere me_                                   42

The Pelagini of Lombardy                                           46

Miguel de Molinos--Condemnation of Mysticism                       49

The Beccarellisti                                                  61

Mysticism in France--Condemnation of Fénelon                       62

Molinism in Spain--Persecution                                     68

Bishop Toro of Oviedo                                              71

Madre Agueda de Luna                                               76

Fray Eusebio de Villaroja--abusive Methods                         77

Mysticism regarded as delusion                                     79

Prevalence of Imposture                                            81

Magdalena de la Cruz                                               82

Madre María de la Visitacion                                       83

Variable Treatment of Imposture                                    86

The Beata Dolores--The Beata de Cuenca--The Beata

Clara                                                              89

Sor Patrocinio                                                     92


Frequency of Seduction in the Confessional                         95

Invention of the Confessional Stall                                96

Leniency of Spiritual Courts                                       97

The Inquisition indirectly seeks Jurisdiction                      98

Paul IV and Pius IV grant Jurisdiction                             99

The Regular Clergy endeavor to obtain Exemption                   100

Legislation of Gregory XV--Struggle with Bishops over Jurisdiction100

Solicitation included in Edict of Faith                           105

Difficulty of inducing Women to denounce Culprits                 106

Solicitation a technical Offence against the Sacrament, not
against Morals                                                    109

Difficulty of practical Definition                                110

Passive Solicitation                                              111

Absolution of the Partner in Guilt                                113

Facility of evading Penalty                                       114

Flagellation--Connection with Illuminism                          116

Procedure--Tenderness for Delinquents                             119

Two Denunciations required                                        123

Registers kept of Soliciting Confessors                           125

Moderation of Penalties                                           126

Self-Denunciation--It finally secures immunity                    130

Statistics of Cases--Predominance of the Regular Orders           134


Growth of Jurisdiction over Utterances, public and private        138

Influence of habitual Delation                                    138

Danger incurred by trivial Remarks                                140

Severity of Penalties--Question of Belief and Intention           142

Special Propositions--Marriage better than Celibacy               144
Fornication between the Unmarried no Sin                          145

Theological Propositions--Case of Fray Luis de Leon               148

Scholastic Disputation, its Dangers                               150

Fray Luis accused of Disrespect for the Vulgate                   151

Arrested and imprisoned March 27, 1572                            153

Endless Debates over multiplying Articles of Accusation           154

Vote _in discordia_, September 18, 1576                           156

Acquitted by the Suprema, December 7, 1576                        157

Second trial in 1582 for Utterances in Debate--Acquittal          159

Francisco Sánchez, his Contempt for Theology                      162

He is summoned and reprimanded, September 24, 1584                164

Again summoned and imprisoned, September 25, 1600--his
Death                                                             166

Fray Joseph de Sigüenza--Plot against him in his Order            168

Prefers Trial by the Inquisition--is acquitted                    170

Case of Padre Alonso Romero, S. J.                                171

Prosecutions of incautious Preachers                              172

Increasing Proportion of Cases of Propositions, continuing to
the last                                                          176


Accumulation of Superstitious Beliefs in Spain                    179

Toleration in the early Middle Ages                               180

John XXII orders Persecution of Sorcery                           181

Persistent Toleration in Spain                                    182

The Inquisition obtains Jurisdiction                              183

Question as to Heresy--Pact with the Demon                        184

The Demon omnipresent in Superstitious Practices--Hermaphrodites  186

Belief thus strengthened in Divination and Magic                  189

The Inquisition thus obtains exclusive Jurisdiction               190

Astrology--Its Teaching suppressed in the University of Salamanca 192

Procedure--Directed to prove Pact with the Demon                  195

Penalties--Less severe than in secular Courts                     197

Rationalistic Treatment in Portuguese Inquisition                 202

Prosecuted as a Reality in Spain, to the last                     203

Increase in the Number of Cases                                   204

Belief remains undiminished to the present time                   205


Distinctive Character of Witchcraft--The Sabbat                   206

Origin in the 14th Century--Rapid Development in the 15th         207

Genesis of Belief in the Sabbat--The _Canon Episcopi_             208

Discussion as to Delusion or Reality--Witch-Burnings              209

Congregation of 1526 deliberates on the Subject                   212

Witch Epidemics--Active Persecution                               214

The Suprema restrains the Zeal of the Tribunals                   216

Enlightened Instructions                                          219

Auto-suggestive Hypnotism of confessed Witches                    220

Conflict with secular Courts over Jurisdiction                    222

Lenient Punishment                                                223

Retrogression--The Logroño Auto of 1610                           225

Revulsion of Feeling--Pedro de Valencia                           228

Alonso de Salazar Frias commissioned to investigate               230

His rationalistic Report                                          231

Instructions of 1614 virtually put an end to Persecution          235

Persistent Belief--Torreblanca                                    239

Witchcraft Epidemics disappear                                    240

Witchcraft in the Roman Inquisition                               242

The Witchcraft Craze throughout Europe                            246


Assertion that the Inquisition was a political Instrument         248

No Trace of its Agency in the Development of Absolutism           249

Rarely called upon for extraneous Service                         251

Case of Antonio Pérez                                             253

Assassination of Juan de Escobedo                                 254

Pérez replaced by Granvelle--is imprisoned--escapes to
Saragossa--is condemned in Madrid                                 255

Futile Attempts to prosecute him before the Justicia of
Aragon                                                            258

The Inquisition called in and prosecutes him for Blasphemy        258

He is surrendered to the Tribunal--the City rises and rescues
him                                                               259

Philip's Army occupies Saragossa--Pérez escapes to France--Execution
of the Justicia Lanuza                                            263

Prosecutions by the Inquisition in opposition to the policy
of Philip II--Auto de fe of October 20, 1592                      267

Córtes of Tarazona in 1592 curtail the Liberties of Aragon        269

Death of Pérez in 1611--his memory absolved in 1615               272

Sporadic Cases of Intervention by the Inquisition                 273

It is used in the War of Succession                               275

Gradually becomes subservient under the Bourbons                  276

Is a political Instrument under the Restoration                   277

Sometimes used to enforce secular Law--The Export of Horses       278


Indefinable Character of Jansenism, except as opposed
to Ultramontanism                                                 284

Struggle in Spanish Flanders                                      286

Quarrel with Rome over the Condemnation of Cardinal Noris in
the Index of 1747                                                 288

Opposition to Ultramontanism and Jesuitism persecuted as
Jansenism                                                         292

Expulsion of the Jesuits--Reaction under Godoy                    294


Development of Masonry--Condemned by the Holy See                 298

Persecuted by the Inquisition and the Crown                       300

It becomes revolutionary in Character                             303

Persecution under the Restoration                                 304

Its pernicious Activity in the Constitutional Period              306


Growth of Incredulity towards the End of the Eighteenth Century   307

Olavide selected as a Victim                                      308

Impression produced by his Trial                                  311

Struggle between Conservatism and Progress                        312


Assumption of Jurisdiction over Bigamy                            316

Based on inferential Heresy                                       318

The Civil and Spiritual Courts strive to preserve
their Jurisdiction                                                319

Penalties                                                         321

Contest over Jurisdiction revived--Carlos III subdivides it into
three                                                             323

The Inquisition reasserts it under the Restoration                326

Number of Cases                                                   327


Distinction between heretical and non-heretical Blasphemy         328

Contests over Jurisdiction with the spiritual and secular Courts  329

Attempts at Definition of heretical Blasphemy                     330

Cumulative Jurisdiction                                           333

Moderation of Penalties                                           334

Number of Cases                                                   335


Marriage in Orders                                                336

Personation of Priesthood                                         339

Roman Severity and Spanish Leniency                               340

Hearing of Confessions by Laymen                                  344

Personation of Officials                                          344

Demoniacal Possession                                             348

Insults to Images                                                 352

Uncanonized Saints                                                355

The Plomos del Sacromonte                                         357

The Immaculate Conception                                         359

Unnatural Crime                                                   361

Jurisdiction conferred in the Kingdoms of Aragon                  363

The Portuguese Inquisition obtains Jurisdiction                   365

Trials conducted under secular Procedure                          366

Penalties                                                         367

Case of Don Pedro Luis Galceran de Borja                          370

Usury                                                             371

Jurisdiction abandoned                                            374

Morals                                                            375

The Seal of Confession                                            377

General Utility                                                   378



Independence of the Inquisition in the XVII Century               385


Increased Control exercised by Philip V                           386

Gradual Diffusion of Enlightenment                                387

Progress under Carlos III--he limits Inquisitorial Privilege      389

Influence of the French Revolution                                390

Diminished Respect--Increasing Moderation                         392

Projects of Reform--Jovellanos--Urquijo                           394

Growth of Opposition--Bishop Grégoire and his Opponents           397


The Napoleonic Invasion and the Uprising of Spain                 399

The Inquisition supports the Intrusive Government                 400

Its desultory Functions during the War of Liberation              402

The Extraordinary Córtes assemble, September 24, 1810             403

Freedom of the Press decreed--Controversy on the Inquisition      404

The Constitution adopted                                          406

Prolonged Struggle over the Suppression of the Inquisition--Carried
January 26, 1813                                                  407

Resistance of the Clergy                                          414

Reaction preceding the Return of Fernando VII                     418


Character of Fernando VII                                         420

Proscription of the Liberals                                      421

The Inquisition re-established                                    424

Its Reconstruction and financial Embarrassments                   426

Resumption of Functions                                           429

Its diminished Authority--Its Moderation                          430


Growing Disaffection culminates in successful Revolution          434

Fernando compelled to abolish the Inquisition, March 9, 1820      436

Suicide of Liberalism                                             438

Quarrel with the Church--Increasing Anarchy                       440

The Congress of Verona orders Intervention                        444

The French Invasion--Ferdinand carried to Cádiz                   446

Proscription of the Liberals                                      448

Fernando released and returns to Power                            449


Absolutism revenges itself on Liberalism                          450

Fernando refuses to revive the Inquisition                        453

Discontent of the Extremists--Rising in Catalonia                 456

Dormant Condition of the Inquisition                              458

Episcopal juntas de fe--Execution of Cayetano Ripoll              460


The Question of Succession causes Reversal of Policy              462

Death of Fernando VII--The Carlist War--Alliance of the Regent
Cristina with the Liberals                                        466

The Inquisition definitely abolished, July 15, 1834               467

Gradual Development of Toleration                                 469


Vicissitudes in the History of Spain                              472

Causes of Decadence--Misgovernment of the Hapsburgs               473

Industry crushed by Taxation                                      478

Lack of Means of Intercommunication--_The Mesta_                  480

Debasement of the Coinage                                         482

Aversion for Labor                                                483

Multiplication of Offices--Empleomanía                            485

Gradual Recuperation under the Bourbons                           486

Inordinate Growth of the Church in Numbers and Wealth             488

Demoralization of the Clergy                                      496

Clerical Influence--Development of Intolerance                    498

Superficial Character of Religion                                 502

Results of Intolerance                                            504

Influence of the Inquisition on the People                        507

Contemporary opinion of its Services                              508

Indifference to Morals                                            509

Disregard for Law--Aspirations to Domination                      511

Suppression of adverse Opinion                                    513

Statistics of its Operations                                      516

Conscientious Cruelty                                             525

Persecution Profitable                                            527

Influence on Intellectual Development                             528

Result of seeking to control the Human Conscience                 531

APPENDIX OF DOCUMENTS                                             535

INDEX                                                             547


BOOK VIII. (Continued).



The belief that, by prolonged meditation and abstraction from the
phenomenal world, the soul can elevate itself to the Creator, and can
even attain union with the Godhead, has existed from the earliest times
and among many races. Passing through ecstasy into trance, it was
admitted to the secrets of God, it enjoyed revelations of the invisible
universe, it acquired foreknowledge and wielded supernatural powers. St.
Paul gave to these beliefs the sanction of his own experience;[2]
Tertullian describes the influence of the Holy Spirit on the devotee in
manifestations which bear a curious similitude to those which we shall
meet in Spain,[3] and the anchorites of the Nitrian desert were adepts
of the same kind to whom all the secrets of God were laid bare.[4] These
supernal joys continued to be the reward of those who earned them by
disciplining the flesh, and the virtues of mental prayer, in which the
soul lost consciousness of all earthly things, were taught by a long
series of doctors--Richard of Saint Victor, Joachim of Flora, St.
Bonaventura, John Tauler, John of Rysbroek, Henry Suso, Henry Herp, John
Gerson and many others. If Cardinal Jacques de Vitry is to be believed,
the nuns of Liége, in the thirteenth century, were largely given to
these mystic raptures; of one of them he relates that she often had
twenty-five ecstasies a day, while others passed years in bed, dissolved
in divine love;[5] and Richard Rolle, the Hermit of Hampole, who missed
his deserved canonization, was fully acquainted with the superhuman
delights of union with God.[6] These spiritual marvels are reduced to
the common-places of psychology by modern researches into hypnotism and
auto-suggestion. The connection is well illustrated by the Umbilicarii,
the pious monks of Mount Athos who, by prolonged contemplation of their
navels, found their souls illuminated with light from above.[7]


Yet there were dangers in the pursuit of the _via purgativa_ and the
_via illuminativa_. The followers of Amaury of Bène, who came to be
popularly known in Germany as Begghards and Beguines, invented the term
Illuminism to describe the condition of the soul suffused with divine
light and held that any one, thus filled with the Holy Ghost, was
impeccable, irrespective of the sins which he might commit; he was
simply following the impulses of the Spirit which can do no sin. Master
Eckhart, the founder of German mysticism, was prosecuted for sharing in
these venturesome speculations and, if the twenty-eight articles
condemned by John XXII were correctly drawn from his writings, he
admitted the common divinity of man and God and that, in the sight of
God, sin and virtue are the same.[8] Zealots too there were who taught
the pre-eminent holiness of nudity and, in imitation of the follies of
early Christian ascetics, assumed to triumph over the lusts of the flesh
by exposing themselves to the crucial temptation of sleeping with the
other sex and indulging in lascivious acts.[9] The condemnation, by the
Council of Vienne in 1312, of the tenets of the so-called Begghards
respecting impeccability[10] was carried into the body of canon law and
thus was rendered familiar to jurists, when mysticism came to be
regarded as dangerous and was subjected to the Inquisition.

That it should eventually be so regarded was inevitable. The mystic, who
considered himself to be communing directly with God and who held
meditation and mental prayer to be the highest of religious acts, was
apt to feel himself released from ecclesiastical precepts and to regard
with indifference, if not with contempt, the observances enjoined by the
Church as essential to salvation. If the inner light was a direct
inspiration from God, it superseded the commands of the Holy See and,
under such impulse, private judgement was to be followed, irrespective
of what the Church might ordain. In all this there was the germ of a
rebellion as defiant as that of Luther. Justification by faith might not
be taught, but justification by works was cast aside as unworthy of the
truly spiritual man. The new Judaism, decried by Erasmus, which relied
on external observances, was a hindrance rather than a help to
salvation. Francisco de Osuna, the teacher of Santa Teresa, asserts that
oral prayer is a positive injury to those advanced in mental prayer.[11]
San Juan de la Cruz says that church observances, images and places of
worship are merely for the uninstructed, like toys that amuse children;
those who are advanced must liberate themselves from these things which
only distract from internal contemplation.[12] San Pedro de Alcántara,
in his enumeration of the nine aids to devotion, significantly omits all
reference to the observances prescribed by the Church.[13] In an
ecclesiastical establishment, which had built up its enormous wealth by
the thrifty exploitation of the text "Give alms and behold all things
are clean unto you" (Luke, XI, 41), Luis de Granada dared to teach that
the most dangerous temptation in the spiritual life is the desire to do
good to others, for a man's first duty is to himself.[14] Yet these men
were all held in the highest honor, and two of them earned the supreme
reward of canonization.

There was in this a certain savor of Lutheranism, but it was not until
the danger of the latter was fully appreciated that the Inquisition
awoke to the peril lurking in a system which released the devotee from
the obligation of obedience to authority, as in the _Alumbrado_ or
Illuminated, who recognized the supremacy of the internal light, and the
_Dejado_ or Quietist, who abandoned himself to God and allowed free
course to the impulses suggesting themselves in his contemplative
abstraction, with the corollary that there could be no sin in what
emanated from God. The real significance of that which had been current
in the Church for so many centuries was unnoticed until Protestantism
presented itself as a threatening peril, when the two were classed
together, or rather Protestantism was regarded as the development of
mysticism. In the letter of September 9, 1558, to Paul IV, the
Inquisition traced the origin of the former in Spain farther back than
to Doctor Egidio and Don Carlos de Seso; the heresies of which Maestro
Juan de Oria (Olmillos?) was accused and of those called Alumbrados or
Dejados of Guadalajara and other places, were the seed of these Lutheran
heresies, but the inquisitors who tried those heretics were
insufficiently versed in Lutheranism to apply the proper vigor of
repression.[15] It is necessary to bear all this in mind to understand
the varying attitude of the Inquisition in its gradual progress towards
the condemnation of all mysticism.


The distinction at first attempted between the mysticism that was
praiseworthy and that which was dangerous was complicated by the
recognized fact that, while visions and revelations and ecstasies might
be special favors from God, they might also be the work of demons, and
there was no test that could be applied to differentiate them. The
Church was in the unfortunate position of being committed to the belief
in special manifestations of supernatural power, while it was
confessedly unable to determine whether they came from heaven or from
hell. This had long been recognized as one of the most treacherous
pitfalls in the perilous paths of illumination and union with God. As
early as the twelfth century, Richard of St. Victor warns his disciples
to beware of it, and Aquinas points out that trances may come from God,
from the demon or from bodily affections.[16] John Gerson wrote a
special tractate in which he endeavored to frame diagnostic rules.[17]
The Blessed Juan de Avila emphatically admonishes the devout to beware
of such deceptions, but he fails to guide them in discriminating between
demonic illusions and the effects of divine grace.[18] Arbiol describes
the uncertainty as to the sources of these manifestations as the
greatest danger besetting the path of perfection, causing the ruin of
innumerable souls.[19] When, in the eighteenth century, mysticism had
become discredited, Dr. Amort argues that, even if a revelation is from
God, there can be no certainty that it is not falsified by the operation
of the fancy or the work of the demon.[20] When to this we add the
facility of imposture, by which a livelihood could be gained from the
contributions of the credulous, we can appreciate the difficulty of the
task assumed by the Inquisition, in a land swarming with hysterics of
both sexes, to restrain the extravagance of the devout and to punish the
frauds of impostors, without interfering with the ways of God in guiding
his saints. It is merely another instance of the failure of humanity in
its efforts to interpret the Infinite.

Apart from visions and revelations, there was another feature of
mysticism which rendered it especially dangerous to the Church and
odious to theologians. Though the mystic might not controvert the
received doctrines of the faith, yet scholastic theology, on which they
were founded, was to him a matter of careless contempt. Mystic theology,
says Osuna, is higher than speculative or scholastic theology; it needs
no labor or learning or study, only faith and love and the grace of
God.[21] In the trial of María Cazalla, one of the accusations was that
she and her brother Bishop Cazalla ridiculed Aquinas and Scotus and the
whole mass of scholastic theology.[22] When Gerónimo de la Madre de Dios
was on trial, one of his writings produced in evidence was a comparison
between mystic and scholastic theology, to the great disadvantage of the
latter. Its learning, he says, is perfectly compatible with vice; its
masters preach the virtues but do not practise them; they wallow in the
sins that they denounce; they are Pharisees, and this is so general a
pest that there is scarce one who is not infected with the

       *       *       *       *       *


Medieval Spain had been little troubled with mystic extravagance.
Eymerich who, in his _Directorium Inquisitorum_, gives an exhaustive
account of heresies existing towards the close of the fourteenth
century, makes no allusion to such errors, except in his denunciation of
his special object of hatred Raymond Lully, to whom he attributes some
vagaries of mystic illuminism, and the _Repertorium Inquisitorum_ of
1494 is equally silent.[24] Spiritual exaltation, however, accompanied
the development of the fanaticism stimulated by the establishment of the
Inquisition and its persecution of Jews and Moors. Osuna, in 1527,
alludes to a holy man who for fifty years had devoted himself to
_recojimiento_, or the abstraction of mental prayer, and already, in
1498, Francisco de Villalobos complains of the _Aluminados_ or
Illuminati, derived from Italy, of whom there were many in Spain, and
who should be reduced to reason by scourging, cold, hunger and
prison.[25] This indicates that mysticism was obtaining a foothold and
its spread was facilitated by the _beatas_, women adopting a religious
life without entering an Order, or at most simply as Tertiaries, living
usually on alms and often regarded as possessing spiritual gifts and
prophetic powers. The first of the class to obtain prominence was known
as the _Beata de Piedrahita_. A career such as hers was common enough
subsequently, as we shall see, and the discussion which she aroused
shows that as yet she was a novel phenomenon. The daughter of a fanatic
peasant, she had been carefully trained in mystic exercises and was
wholly given up to contemplative abstraction, in which she enjoyed the
most intimate relations with God, in whose arms she was dissolved in
love. Sometimes she asserted that Christ was with her, sometimes that
she was Christ himself or the bride of Christ; often she held
conversations with the Virgin in which she spoke for both. As her
reputation spread, her visions and revelations won for her the character
of a prophetess. Many denounced them as superstitious and demanded her
suppression, but Ximenes who, as inquisitor-general, had jurisdiction
in the matter, argued that she was inspired with divine wisdom and
Ferdinand, who visited her, expressed his belief in her inspiration. In
1510 the matter was referred to the Holy See, and Julius II appointed
his nuncio, Giovanni Ruffo, and the Bishops of Burgos and Vich, as
commissioners to examine her and to suppress the scandal if it proved to
be only female levity. Peter Martyr, to whom we are indebted for the
account, was unable to ascertain their decision but, as they discharged
her without reproof, it may be assumed that their report was favorable,
for it could scarce have been otherwise with such supporters as
Ferdinand and Ximenes.[26] Such success naturally stimulated imitation
and was the foreshadowing of wide-spread delusion and imposture.

In this case there appears no trace of carnality, but it is the
distinguishing feature of another soon afterwards, reported in 1512 to
Ximenes by Fray Antonio de Pastrana, of a contemplative fraile of Ocaña
"illuminated with the darkness of Satan." To him God had revealed that
he should engender on a holy woman a prophet who should reform the
world. He was a spiritual man, not given to women and, in his
simplicity, he had written to Madre Juana de la Cruz, apparently
inviting her coöperation in the good work. Fray Antonio, who was
custodian of the Province of Castile, imprisoned the alumbrado and
subjected him to treatment so active that he speedily admitted his

Guadalajara and Pastrana were becoming centres of a group of mystics who
attracted the attention of the Inquisition about 1521, when it commenced
gathering testimony about them. The earliest disseminator of the
doctrine appears to have been a sempstress named Isabel de la Cruz,
noted for her ability in the exposition of Scripture, who commenced
about 1512 and was a leader until superseded by Francisca Hernández, of
whom more hereafter. The Seraphic Order of St. Francis naturally
furnished many initiates, whose names are included among the fifty or
sixty forming the group. The Franciscan Guardian of Escalona, Fray Juan
de Olmillos, had ecstasies when receiving the sacrament and when
preaching, in which he talked and acted extravagantly. When removed to
Madrid, this attracted crowds to watch his contortions and he was
generally regarded as a saint; he was promoted to the provincialate of
Castile and died in 1529. The Marquis of Villena, at Escalona, was
inclined to mysticism, induced perhaps by Fray Francisco de Ocaña, who
was stationed there and had prophetic visions of the reform of the
Church. Villena, in 1523, employed as lay-preacher Pedro Ruiz de
Alcaraz, one of the most prominent of the Guadalajara mystics, who seems
to have converted all the members of the household. The name of Alcaraz
appears frequently in the trials of the group; he was a married layman,
uneducated but possessing remarkable familiarity with Scripture and
skilled in its exposition, and he was an earnest missionary of
mysticism. When sufficient evidence against him was accumulated, he was
arrested February 26, 1524, and imprisoned by the Toledo tribunal. The
formal accusation, presented October 31st, indicates that the mysticism,
of at least some of the accused, embraced Quietism or _Dejamiento_ to
the full extent, with its consequent assumption of impeccability, no
matter what might be the acts of the devotee, that mental prayer was the
sole observance necessary, that all the prescriptions of the
Church--confession, indulgences, works of charity and piety--were
useless, and that the conjugal act was Union with God. There was also
the denial of transubstantiation and of the existence of hell, which may
probably be left out of account as foreign to the recognized tenets of
mysticism. The latter, in fact, was presumably an exaggeration of an
utterance of Alcaraz, who said that it was the ignorant and children who
were afraid of hell, for the advanced served the Lord, not from servile
fear but from fear of offending Him whom they loved, and moreover that
God was not to be prayed to for anything--principles subsequently
approved in S. François de Sales and condemned in Fénelon. There was no
spirit of martyrdom in Alcaraz, and the severe torture to which he was
exposed would seem a superfluity. He confessed his errors, professed
conversion and begged for mercy. His sentence, July 22, 1529, recited
that he had incurred relaxation but through clemency was admitted to
reconciliation with confiscation, irremissible prison and scourging in
Toledo, Guadalajara, Escalona and Pastrana, where he had disseminated
his errors. This severity indicates the inquisitorial estimate of the
magnitude of the evil to be suppressed but, after ten years, on February
20, 1539, the Suprema liberated him, with the restriction of not leaving
Toledo and the imposition of certain spiritual exercises.[28]


In the ensuing trials, pursued with customary inquisitorial
thoroughness, the question of sexual aberrations constantly obtrudes
itself and offers no little complexity. That the majority of the Spanish
mystics were thoroughly pure in heart there can be no doubt, but
spiritual exaltation, shared by the two sexes, had the ever-present risk
that it might insensibly become carnal, when those who fancied
themselves to be advancing in the path of perfection might suddenly find
that the flesh had deceived the spirit. This was an experience as old as
mysticism itself, and the eloquent warning which St. Bonaventura
addressed to his brethren shows, by the vividness of its details, that
he must have witnessed more than one such fall from grace.[29] The
danger was all the greater in the extreme mysticism known as Illuminism,
with its doctrines of internal light, of Dejamiento, or abandonment to
impulses assumed to come from God, and of the impeccability of the
advanced adept, combined with the test of continence. Unquestionably
there were cases in which these aberrations were honestly entertained;
there were numerous others in which they were assumed for purposes of
seduction, nor can we always, from the evidence before us, pronounce a
confident judgement.

Of the trials which have seen the light several centre around the
curious personality of Francisca Hernández, who succeeded Isabel de la
Cruz as the leader of the mystic disciples. She seems to have possessed
powers of fascination, collecting around her devotees of the most
diverse character. We have seen how she entangled Bernardino de Tovar
and how his brother, Juan de Vergara, became involved with the
Inquisition, after detaching him from her. Francisco de Osuna, the
earliest Spanish writer on mysticism and the teacher of Santa Teresa,
was one of her disciples and so was Francisco Ortiz, a Franciscan of the
utmost purity of heart. A devotee of a different stamp was Antonio de
Medrano, cura of Navarrete, who had made her acquaintance in 1516 when a
student at Salamanca. She was attractive and penniless but, through a
long career, she always managed to live in comfort at the expense of her
admirers. Though she claimed to be a bride of Christ, she practised no
austerities; she was fastidious in her diet and slept in a soft bed,
which she had no scruple in sharing with her male devotees. This
required funds and she and Medrano persuaded an unlucky youth named
Calero to sell his patrimony and devote the proceeds to support the
circle of Alumbrados whom she gathered around her. The episcopal
authorities commenced investigations, ending with a sentence of
banishment on Medrano, when the pair betook themselves to Valladolid,
whither Tovar followed them, and where the Inquisition commenced
proceedings in 1519; it was as yet not aroused to dealing harshly with
these eccentric forms of devotion, and it merely forbade him and Tovar
from further converse with Francisca; this they eluded, the tribunal
insisted and Medrano went to his cure at Navarrete. She was kept under
surveillance, but her reputation for holiness was such that Cardinal
Adrian, after his election to the papacy, in 1522, ordered his secretary
Carmona to ask her prayers for him and for the whole Church.


In 1525 the Inquisition again arrested her; she was accused of
suspicious relations with men and, when discharged, was obliged to swear
that she would permit no indecent familiarities. Meanwhile Medrano, at
Navarrete continued his career as an Alumbrado, holding conversations
with the Holy Ghost and declaring himself to be impeccable. In 1526 the
Logroño tribunal arrested him and, after nearly eighteen months, he was
discharged June 4, 1527, with the lenient sentence of abjuration _de
levi_ and such spiritual penance as might be assigned to him. This
escape emboldened him to greater extravagance and to renewed devotion to
Francisca, leading to another prosecution, in 1530, by the Toledo
tribunal. There was evidence of highly indecent character as to their
relations, but he stoutly denied it, asserting that he was so favored by
God that all the evil women in the world and all the devils in hell
could not move him to carnal sin--a grace which came to him after he
knew Francisca; he could lie in bed with a woman without feeling desire
and it gave him grace to do so with Francisca and to fondle and embrace
her, which she enjoyed; he believed her to be free from both mortal and
venial sin, and he held her to be a greater saint than any in heaven
except Our Lady. Under torture, however, he confessed whatever was
wanted--that when he told people that she could not sin, because she was
illuminated by the Holy Ghost, it was to spread her reputation and gain
money for them both; that he was jealous of all her other disciples,
among whom he named Valderrama, Diego de Villareal, Muñoz, Cabrera,
Gumiel, Ortiz and Sayavedra and his brother, showing that she had a
numerous following. He admitted teaching that male and female devotees
could embrace each other naked, for it was not clothes but intention
that counted. By this time the Inquisition was dealing harshly with
these aberrations, and his sentence, April 21, 1532, excused him from
relaxation as an incorrigible heretic because he was only a hypocritical
swindler whose object was to raise money for a life of pleasure; he was
to retract his propositions in an auto de fe, to abjure _de vehementi_
and to be recluded for life in a monastery, with two years' suspension
from his sacerdotal functions, and was to hold no further communication
with Francisca, under pain of impenitent relapse, but he was not
deprived of his cure of Navarrete. In 1537 the Duke of Nájera interceded
for his release, with what result the records fail to inform us.[30]

Francisca's strange powers of fascination were manifested by the
influence which she acquired over a man of infinitely higher character
than Medrano. Fray Francisco Ortiz was the most promising member of the
great Franciscan Order, who was rapidly acquiring the reputation of the
foremost preacher in Spain. He was not fully a mystic, but his pulpit
exhortations, stimulating the love of God, caused him to be regarded as
wandering near to the dangerous border. In 1523 he made the acquaintance
of Francisca and his feelings towards her are emphatically expressed in
a defiant declaration to the Inquisition during his trial.--"No word of
love, however strong, is by a hundredth part adequate to describe the
holy love, so pure and sweet and strong and great and full of God's
blessing and melting of heart and soul, which God in his goodness has
given me through His holy betrothed, my true Mother and Lady, through
whom I hope, at the awful Day of Judgement, to be numbered among the
elect. I can call her my love for, in loving her, I love nothing but
God." There can be no doubts as to the purity of his relations with her
whom he thus reverenced, but they were displeasing to his superiors who
viewed with growing disquiet the distraction of one whom they regarded
as a valuable asset of the Order. It was in vain that he was ordered to
break off all relations with her; he replied vehemently that God was to
be obeyed rather than man and that if he was to be debarred from seeing
that beloved one of God he would transfer himself to the Carthusians. To
effect the separation the Franciscan prelates induced the Inquisition to
arrest Francisca, but the unexpected result of this was that Ortiz, in
a sermon before all the assembled magnates of the city April 7, 1529,
arraigned the Inquisition for the great sin committed in her arrest.
Such revolt was unexampled and he was forthwith prosecuted, not so much
to punish him as to procure his retractation and submission, but he was
obstinate and defiant for nearly three years. It was in vain that the
Empress Isabel twice, in 1530, urged his liberation or the expediting of
his case, and equally vain was a brief of Clement VII, July 1, 1531, to
Cardinal Manrique, asking his discharge if his only offence was his
public denunciation of the arrest of that holy woman, Francisca
Hernández.[31] At length, in April 1532, Ortiz experienced a revulsion
of feeling, and the same emotional impulsiveness that had led to his
outbreak now prompted him to declare that God had given him the grace to
recognize his errors and that he found great peace in retracting them.
He escaped with public abjuration _de vehementi_, five years' suspension
from priestly functions, two years' confinement in a cell of the convent
of Torrelaguna, and absolute sundering of relations with Francisca. He
betook himself to his place of reclusion and, although papal briefs
released him from all restrictions and his prelates repeatedly urged him
to leave his retreat, he seems never to have abandoned the solitude
which he said had become sweet to him. Until his death, in 1546, he
remained in the convent, the object of overflowing honor on the part of
his brethren.[32]


Francisca herself seems to have been treated with remarkable leniency,
in spite of her previous trials and the evidence of Medrano. Her arrest
had been merely with the object of separating her from Ortiz, and her
trial seems to have been scarce more than formal for, in September 1532,
we find her merely detained in the house of Gutierre Pérez de Montalvo,
at Medina del Campo, with her maid María Ramírez in waiting on her.[33]
Possibly this favor may have been earned by her readiness to accuse her
old friends and associates, among whom were two brothers and a sister,
Juan Cazalla, Bishop of Troy _in partibus_, Pedro Cazalla and María
Cazalla, wife of Lope de Ruida.[34] The trial of the latter is worth
brief reference as it throws some light on the confusion existing at the
time between Illuminism and Protestantism.

María Cazalla was a resident of Guadalajara who visited Pastrana, where
women assembled to listen to her readings and expositions of Scripture.
When proceedings were commenced against the group, in 1524, she was
arrested and examined but was discharged. For six years she remained
undisturbed, when the testimony of Francisca Hernández caused a second
prosecution, in which the heterogeneous character of the fiscal's
accusation shows how little was understood as to the heresies under
discussion. She was a Lutheran who praised Luther, denied
transubstantiation and free-will, ridiculed confession, decried
scholastic theology and held indulgences as valueless; she was an
Alumbrada who regarded Isabel de la Cruz as superior to St. Paul, who
rated matrimony higher than virginity, who wrote letters full of
Illuminism and taught the Alumbrados their doctrines from Scripture,
decrying external works of adoration and prayer; she was an Erasmist who
pronounced Church observances to be Judaism, despised the religious
Orders and ridiculed the preachers of sermons.[35] She had been arrested
about May 1, 1532, and her trial dragged on as usual. As a solvent of
doubts she was tortured smartly and, on December 19, 1534, her sentence
pronounced that the fiscal had not proved her to be a heretic but that,
for the suspicions arising from the trial, she should abjure de levi and
undergo solemn public penance in her parish church, she should avoid all
intercourse with Alumbrados or other suspects and pay a fine of a
hundred ducats.[36]

An affiliated group comes before us in Toledo, centering around
Petronila de Lucena, an unmarried woman of 25, living with her brother,
Juan del Castillo. She had a high reputation for sanctity and was
credited with thaumaturgic powers; when the Duke del Infantazgo was
mortally ill, she was sent for, but too late. We hear of María Cazalla,
Bernardino de Tovar and Francisca Hernández; there are allusions to
Erasmus, and Diego Hernández had included her in his denunciations of
Lutheranism. Letters to her from her brother, Gaspar de Lucena, are mere
mystical maunderings, showing the atmosphere in which they lived, but
the other brother, Juan del Castillo, then on trial, admitted many
Lutheran doctrines--works were not necessary, Church precepts were not
binding, man had not free-will, indulgences were useless and a book by
OEcolampadius had led him to disbelieve in transubstantiation. Both
Juan and Gaspar were on trial, and we hear of another prisoner, Catalina
de Figueredo. Petronila was arrested, with sequestration, May 7, 1534,
and her trial pursued the ordinary course until March 20, 1535, when, as
we have seen (Vol. III, p. 111), it was decided that, as the principal
witness against her, Juan del Castillo, had revoked the evidence given
under torture, she might be released on bail of a hundred thousand
maravedís, which was promptly entered. In June she petitioned to be
wholly discharged and that the sequestration be lifted; to this no
attention was paid but a second application, October 20, 1536 procured
the removal of the sequestration. Gaspar de Lucena was sentenced to
reconciliation and this was presumably the fate of Juan del Castillo
unless he was impenitent.[37]


These cases show that the prevalence of the mingled heresies of
Illuminism and Lutheranism was calling for repression, nor was this
confined to Castile. In 1533, Miguel Galba, fiscal of the tribunal of
Lérida, in a letter to Cardinal Manrique, declared that only the
vigilance of the Inquisition prevented both kingdoms from being filled
with the followers of the two heresies.[38] There was of course
exaggeration in this, but the fears of the authorities led them to see
heresies everywhere. As Juan de Valdés, himself inclined to mysticism,
says, when any one endeavored to manifest the perfection of
Christianity, his utterances were misinterpreted and he was condemned as
a heretic, so that there was scarce any one who dared to live as a
Christian.[39] Many suffered from the results of this hyper-sensitiveness.
When Ignatius Loyola, after his conversion, came in 1526 to Alcalá to
study, he was joined by four young men; they assumed a peculiar gray
gown and their fervor brought many to the Hôpital de la Misericordia,
where they lodged, to consult with them and join in their spiritual
exercises. This excited suspicion and invited investigation. What was
the exact authority of Doctor Miguel Carrasco, confessor of Fonseca
Archbishop of Toledo, and of Alonso Mexia, who bore a commission
as inquisitor, does not appear, but they examined witnesses and the
sentence rendered by the Vicar-general, Juan Rodríguez de Figueroa,
was merely that the associates should lay aside their distinctive
garments. After this the number who went to listen to Loyola continued
to increase, and the women had a fashion of falling in convulsions,
there was nothing of illuminism in his exhortations, but he was open to
suspicion, and it was inadmissible that a young layman should assume
the function of a director of souls. This time it was Vicar-general
Figueroa who took the matter in hand and threw Loyola into prison, in
1527, finally sentencing him and his companions not to appear in public
until they had assumed the ordinary lay garments, nor for three years
to hold assemblages public or private and then only with permission of
the Ordinary.[40] It was this experience that drove Loyola to complete
his studies in Paris, where he was not subject to the intrusion of
excitable devotees.

Carranza offered a mark too vulnerable to be spared. He was inclined to
mysticism, and there were many passages in his unfortunate _Comentarios_
which, separated from their context, afforded material for reprehension.
The keen-sighted Melchor Cano was able to cite isolated texts to prove
that he held the alumbrado doctrines of impeccability, of interior
illumination, of the supreme merits of contemplation, of despising all
exterior works and observances--in short that he defended the errors of
the Begghards and Beguines, of Pedro Rúiz Alcaraz and of the Alumbrados
who figured in the autos of Toledo.[41] It is significant of the
advanced position of Spanish orthodoxy on the subject of mysticism that
these accusations had no weight with the Council of Trent, which
approved the Comentarios, nor with Pius V, when he permitted the
publication of the book in Rome. When, at last in 1576, Gregory XIII
yielded and condemned the book and its author, of the sixteen
propositions which he was required to abjure only three bore any
relation to mysticism, and these were on the border line between it and
Protestantism--that all works without charity are sins and offend God,
that faith without works suffices for salvation, and that the use of
images and veneration of relics are of human precept.[42]


In this inquisitorial temper it was a matter of chance whether a
devotional writer should be canonized or condemned and mayhap both might
befall him, as occurred to San Francisco de Borja, whose _Obras del
Cristiano_ was put on the Index of 1559, though it disappeared after
that of Quiroga in 1583.[43] Santa Teresa herself, the queen of Spanish
mystics and, along with Santiago, the patron saint of Spain, was
confined in a convent by the Nuncio Sega, who denounced her as a
restless vagabond, plunged in dissipation under pretext of religion, and
an effort was made to transport her to the Indies, which were a sort of
penal settlement. But for the accident that Philip II became interested
in her, she would probably have come down to us as one of the _beatas
revelanderas_ whom it was the special mission of the Inquisition to
suppress. When, in 1575, she founded a convent of her Barefooted
Carmelites in Seville, they were denounced as _Alumbradas_; the
inquisitors created a terrible scandal by going to the house with the
guards to investigate, but they could substantiate nothing to justify
prosecution. So, when in 1574 her spiritual autobiography was denounced
to the Inquisition, it was held for ten years in suspense, and the
Duchess of Alva, who possessed a MS. copy, was obliged to procure a
licence to read it in private until judgement should be
rendered--although finally, in 1588, it was printed by Fray Luis de Leon
at the special request of the empress. Even after canonization her
_Conceptos del Amor divino_, when printed with the works of her disciple
Jerónimo Gracian, were put on the Index and remained there.[44] Her most
illustrious disciple, San Juan de la Cruz, escaped prosecution, though
repeatedly denounced to the Inquisition, and his writings were not
forbidden, but he was most vindictively persecuted as an Alumbrado,
first by his unreformed Carmelite brethren and then by the Barefooted
Order, and he ended his days in disgrace, recluded in a convent in the
Sierra Morena.[45] Yet Francisco de Osuna, the preceptor of Santa
Teresa, although his writings are of the highest mysticism, escaped
persecution himself, and his _Abecedario Spiritual_ incurred only a
single expurgation.[46]

The Venerable Luis de Granada was not canonized, for the proceedings
were never completed. He was one of the most moderate of those who
taught the supreme virtues of _recojimiento_ and his _Guia de Pecadores_
ranks as one of the Spanish classics, yet his works were prohibited in
the Index of 1559.[47] Melchor Cano declared that his books contained
doctrines of Alumbrados and matters contrary to the faith, while Fray
Alonso de la Fuente, who was a vigorous persecutor of illuminism,
endeavored to have him prosecuted and pronounced his _De la Oracion_ the
worst of the books which presented these errors so subtly that only the
initiated could discover them. It illustrates the difference between
Spanish and Roman standards, at this period, that his writings were
translated and freely current in many languages and that, in 1582,
Gregory XIII wrote to him eulogizing them in the most exuberant terms
and urging him to continue his labors for the curing of the infirm, the
strengthening of the weak, the comfort of the strong and the glory of
both Churches, the militant and the triumphant. When he died, in 1588,
it was in the odor of sanctity, and he subsequently appeared to a
devotee arrayed in a cloak of glory, glittering with innumerable stars,
which were the souls of those saved by his writings.[48]

Ignatius Loyola was inclined to mysticism, and the mental prayer which
he taught--the _Ejercicio de las tres Potencias_ or exercise of the
memory, intellect and will--differed little from the meditation which,
with the mystics, was the prelude to contemplation.[49] Yet he was
sceptical as to special graces vouchsafed to mystic ardor; such things
were possible, he said, but they were very rare and the demon often thus
deludes human vanity.[50] His disciples were less cautious and indulged
in the extravagance of the more advanced school, producing many adepts
gifted with the highest spiritual graces. Luis de la Puente, who died in
1624, at the age of 69 may be mentioned as an example, for in him the
intensity of divine love was so strong that in his ecstasies he shone
with a light that filled his cell; he would be elevated from the floor
and the whole building would shake as though about to fall; during his
sickness, which lasted for thirty years, angels were often seen
ministering to him; he had the gift of prophecy and of reading the
thoughts of his penitents and, when he died, his garments were torn to
shreds and his hair cut off to be preserved as relics. He taught the
heretical doctrine that prayer is a satisfaction for sin, while his
views as to resignation to the will of God approach closely to the
Quietism which we shall hereafter see condemned by the Holy See. Yet he
escaped condemnation and his works have continued to the present time to
be multiplied in innumerable editions and translations.[51]

It was probably the impossibility of differentiation between heresy and
sanctity that explains the vacillation of the Inquisition. During the
active proceedings of the Toledo tribunal, the Suprema, in 1530, issued
general instructions that there should be appended to all edicts
requiring denunciation of prohibited books a clause including mystics
given to Illuminism and Quietism.[52] There seem to be no traces of any
result from this and the whole matter appears to have ceased to attract
attention for many years, until the animosity excited by the Jesuits led
to an investigation of the results of their teachings. Melchor Cano, who
hated them, denounced them as Alumbrados, such as the Devil has
constantly thrust into the Church, and he foretold that they would
complete what the Gnostics had commenced.[53]

[Sidenote: _THE JESUITS_]

The warning was unheeded and, some ten years later, another Dominican,
Fray Alonso de la Fuente, was led to devote himself to a mortal struggle
with Illuminism, and with the Society of Jesus as its source. In a long
and rambling memorial addressed, in 1575, to Philip II, he relates that,
in 1570, he chanced to visit his birth-place, la Fuente del Maestre,
near Cuidad Rodrigo, and found there a Jesuit, Gaspar Sánchez, highly
esteemed for holiness, but who was blamed for perpetually confessing
certain beatas and granting daily communion. Sánchez appealed to him for
support and he preached in his favor, which brought to him numerous
beatas, whose revelations of their ecstasies and other spiritual
experiences surprised him greatly. This led him to investigate, when he
found that the practice of contemplation was widely spread, but its
inner secrets were jealously guarded, until he persuaded a neice of his,
a girl of 17, to reveal them. She said that her director ordered her to
place herself in contemplation with the simple prayer, "Lord I am here,
Lord you have me here!" when there would come such a flood of evil
thoughts, of filthy imaginings, of carnal movements, of infidel
conceptions, of blasphemies against God and the saints and the purity of
the Mother of God, and against the whole faith, that the torment of them
rendered her crazy, but she bore it with fortitude, as her director told
her that this was a sign of perfection and of progress on the path.[54]

Thenceforth Fray Alonso devoted himself to the task of investigating and
exterminating this dangerous heresy, but the work of investigation was
complicated by the concealment of error under external piety. Before
discovering a single false doctrine, we meet, he says, a thousand
prayers and disciplines and communions and pious sighs and devotions. It
is like sifting gold out of sand; to reach one heresy you must winnow
away a thousand pious works. So it is everywhere in Spain where there
are Jesuits and thus we see what great labor is required to overcome it,
since there are not in the kingdom three inquisitors who understand it
or have the energy and requisite zeal. Yet he penetrated far enough into
it, after sundry prosecutions, to draw up a list of thirty-nine errors,
some of which, like those ascribed to witchcraft, suggest the influence
of the torture-chamber in extracting confessions satisfactory to the
prosecutor. Not only are the adepts guilty of all the heresies of the
Begghards, condemned in the Clementines, and of teaching that mental
prayer is the sole thing requisite to salvation, but the teachers are
great sorcerers and magicians, who have pact with the demon, and thus
they make themselves masters of men and women, their persons and
property, as though they were slaves. They train many saints, who feel
in themselves the Holy Ghost, who see the Divine Essence and learn the
secrets of heaven; who have visions and revelations and a knowledge of
Scripture, and all this is accomplished by means of the demon, and by
magic arts. By magic, they gain possession of women, whom they teach
that it is no sin, and sometimes the demon comes disguised as Christ and
has commerce with the women.

If Fray Alonso found it difficult to inspire belief in these horrors, it
is easily explicable by his account of the origin of the sect in
Extremadura, the region to which his labors were devoted. When Cristóbal
de Rojas was Bishop of Badajoz (1556-1562) there came there Padre
González, a Jesuit of high standing, who introduced the use of Loyola's
_Exercicios_; there were already there two priests, Hernando Alvarez and
the Licentiate Zapata, who were familiar with it, and the practice
spread rapidly, under the favor of the bishop and his provisor Meléndez,
and none who did not use it could be ordained, or obtain licence to
preach and hear confessions, for the bishop placed all this in the hands
of Alvarez; and when he was translated to Córdova (1562-1571) and
subsequently to Seville (1571-1580) he continued to favor the
Alumbrados. He was succeeded in Badajoz (1562-1568) by Juan de Ribera,
subsequently Archbishop of Valencia, who was at first adverse to the
Alumbrados, but they won him over, and he became as favorable to them as
Rojas had been, especially to the women, whose trances and stigmata he
investigated and approved and rewarded. If any preacher preached against
Illuminism, Ribera banished him and, under this protection, the sect
multiplied throughout Extremadura. It is true that Bishop Simancas, who
succeeded Ribera (1569-1579) was not so favorable, and his provisor,
Picado, at one time prosecuted a number of Alumbrados, who took refuge
in Seville under Rojas, among whom was Hernando Alvarez, but the Llerena
tribunal took no part in this and the great body of the sect was

[Sidenote: _THE JESUITS_]

It is easy to conceive, therefore, the obstacles confronting Fray
Alonso, when he commenced his crusade in 1570. He relates at much length
his labors, against great opposition, especially of the Jesuits, and he
found no little difficulty in arousing the Llerena inquisitors to
action, for they said that it was a new matter and obscure, which
required instructions from the Suprema. It is true that, in February
1572, they lent him some support and made a few arrests, but nothing
seems to have come of it. He wished to go to Madrid and lay the matter
before the Suprema, but his superiors, who apparently disapproved of his
zeal, sent him, in October 1572, to Avila, to purchase lumber, and then
to Usagre, to preach the Lenten sermons of 1573. After this his prior
despatched him to Arenas about the lumber, and it was a providence of
God that this business necessitated action by the Council of Military
Orders, so that he had an excuse for visiting Madrid. There he sought
Rodrigo de Castro--the captor of Carranza--to whom he complained of the
negligence and indifference of the Llerena inquisitors, and gave a
memorial reciting the errors of the Alumbrados. This resulted in the
Suprema sending for the papers, on seeing which it ordered the arrest of
the most guilty, when Hernando Alvarez, Francisco Zamora and Gaspar
Sánchez were seized in Seville, where they had taken refuge. This
produced only a momentary effect in Extremadura, where the Alumbrados
comforted themselves with the assurance that their leaders would be
dismissed with honor.

It had been proposed to remove the tribunal from Llerena to Plasencia,
where houses had been bought for it, but, early in 1574, Fray Alonso
remonstrated with the inquisitor-general, pointing out that the land was
full of Alumbrados, many of them powerful, and what preaching had been
done against them, under the protection of the Inquisition, would be
silenced if it was removed. This brought a summons and in May he
appeared before the Suprema, where his revelations astonished the
members and they asked his advice. He urged a visitation of the
district, to be made by the fiscal Montoya, who had studied the matter
and understood it, while the inquisitors did not comprehend the subtile
mysteries and distinctions involved. It was so ordered, and Montoya
commenced his visitation at Zafra, where, on July 25th he published the
Edict of Faith, and a special one against Illuminism and Quietism. At
first he was much disconcerted in finding among the Alumbrados nothing
but fasts and disciplines, prayers, contemplation, hair-shirts,
confessions and communions or, if traces appeared of evil doctrines, so
commingled with the words of God and the sacraments that evil was
concealed in good. Fray Alonso however encouraged him to investigate the
lives and conversation of those who enjoyed trances and visions and the
stigmata, when it became evident that all was magic art, the work of
Satan and of hell. For four months Montoya gathered information and sent
the papers to the Suprema, which ordered the arrest with sequestration
of five persons, four of the adepts and a female disciple. Towards the
close of December he returned to Llerena, to resume the visitation in
March, 1575. During the interval Fray Alonso was summoned to Madrid,
where he was ordered to accompany Montoya, and the inquisitors were
instructed to pay him a salary; this at first they refused to do and
then assigned him four reales a day for each day on which he should
preach, but the Suprema intervened with an order on the receiver to pay
him a certain sum that would enable him to perform the duty. The
visitation lasted from March till the beginning of November, and
comprised sixteen places, in which Fray Alonso tells us that there were
found great errors and sins. Unfortunately he omits to inform us what
were the practical results or what was done with the culprits arrested
the previous year, and he concludes his memorial by assuring us that the
Jesuits and the Alumbrados are alike in doctrine and are the same, which
is so certain that to doubt it would be great sin and offence to God.


Fray Alonso might safely thus attack the children of Loyola in Spain,
but he made a fatal error when his zeal induced him to carry the war
into Portugal. In the following year, 1576, he addressed memorials to
the Portuguese ecclesiastical authorities, ascribing to the Jesuits all
the Illuminism that afflicted Spain; they taught, he said, that their
contemplation of the Passion of Christ was rewarded with the highest
spiritual gifts, including impeccability, with the corollary that carnal
indulgence was no sin in the Illuminated, while in reality their visions
and revelations were the work of demons, whom they controlled by their
skill in sorcery. The Jesuits, however, by this time were a dominant
power in Portugal; Cardinal Henry, the inquisitor-general, transmitted
the memorials to the Spanish Inquisition, with a request for the condign
punishment of the audacious fraile. It was no more than he had openly
preached and repeatedly urged on the Suprema, but the time was fast
approaching for the absorption of Portugal under the Castilian crown,
and Cardinal Henry was to be propitiated. Fray Alonso was forced to
retract, and was recluded in a convent, but this did not satisfy the
Cardinal, who asked for his extradition, or that the matter be submitted
to the Holy See, when the opportune death of the fraile put a happy end
to the matter.[55]

Yet, in Spain, Fray Alonso exerted a decisive influence on the relations
of the Inquisition to mysticism and, before this unlucky outburst of
zeal, he had the satisfaction of seeing the indifference of the Llerena
tribunal excited to active work. In 1576, while preaching in that city,
he said that he had heard of persons who, under an exterior of special
sanctity, gave free rein to their appetites. On this, an imprudent
devotee, named Mari Sanz, interrupted him, exclaiming "Padre, the lives
of these people are better and their faith sounder than your own" and,
when he reproved her, she declared that the Holy Spirit had moved her.
This was a dangerous admission; she was arrested, and her confessions
led to the seizure of so many accomplices that the tribunal was obliged
to ask for assistance. An experienced inquisitor, Francisco de Soto,
Bishop of Salamanca, was sent, who vigorously pushed the trials until he
died, January 29, 1578, poisoned, as it was currently reported, by his
physician, who was long detained in prison under the accusation. How
little the sectaries imagined themselves to have erred is seen in the
fact that one of them, a shoemaker named Juan Bernal, obeyed a
revelation which directed him to appeal to Philip II, to tell him of the
injustice perpetrated at Llerena and to ask him why he did not intervene
and evoke the matter to himself--hardihood which earned for him six
years of galley-service and two hundred lashes.

The evidence elicited in the trials showed the errors ordinarily
attributed to Illuminism, including trances and revelations and sexual
abominations unfit for transcription. After three years spent in this
work, an auto was held, June 14, 1579, in which, among other offenders,
there appeared fifteen Alumbrados--ten men and five women. Of the men,
all but the unlucky shoemaker were priests, and among them we recognize
Hernando Alvarez, against whom there appeared no less than a hundred and
forty-six witnesses. Many were _curas_ of various towns and naturally
the illicit relations were principally between confessors and their
spiritual daughters. From a doctrinal standpoint, their offence seems
not to have been regarded as serious, for none of them were degraded,
and the abjurations were for light suspicion, but this leniency was
accompanied by deprivation of functions, galley-service, reclusion and
similar penalties, while the fines inflicted amounted to fifteen hundred
ducats and eight thousand maravedís. The unfortunate Mari Sanz, who had
caused the explosion, expiated her imprudence by appearing with a gag
and a sentence to perpetual prison, two hundred lashes in Llerena and
two hundred more at la Fuente del Maestre, her place of residence.[56]
From the number of those inculpated it may be assumed that this auto did
not empty the prisons, and that it was followed by others, but if so, we
have no record of them. The impression produced by the affair was wide
and profound. Páramo, writing towards the end of the century, speaks of
it as one in which the vigilance of the Inquisition preserved Spain from
serious peril.[57]


In fact, it marks a turning-point in the relations of the Inquisition to
Spanish mysticism, of which the persecution became one of its regular
and recognized duties. Even before the auto of 1579, the Suprema, in a
carta acordada of January 4, 1578, ordered the tribunals to add to the
Edict of Faith a section in which the errors developed in the trials
were enumerated. These consisted in asserting that mental prayer is of
divine precept and that it fulfils everything, while vocal prayer is of
trivial importance; that the servants of God are not required to labor;
that the orders of superiors are to be disregarded, when conflicting
with the hours devoted to mental prayer and contemplation; decrying the
sacrament of matrimony; asserting that the perfect have no need of
performing virtuous actions; advising persons not to marry or to enter
religious Orders; saying that the servants of God are to shine in
secular life; obtaining promises of obedience and enforcing it in every
detail; holding that, after reaching a certain degree of perfection,
they cannot look upon holy images or listen to sermons, and teaching
these errors under pledge of secrecy.[58]

It is noteworthy that here there is no allusion to ecstasies or trances
or to sexual aberrations, as in subsequent edicts, although Páramo, some
twenty years later, in his frequent allusions to the Alumbrados, dwells
especially on the latter and on the dangers to which they led in the
confessional.[59] That this danger was not imaginary is indicated by the
case of Fray Juan de la Cruz, a discalced Franciscan, so convinced of
the truth of alumbrado doctrine that, in 1605, he presented himself to
the Toledo tribunal with a memorial in which he argued that indecent
practices between spiritual persons were purifying and elevating to the
soul, and resulting in the greatest spiritual benefit when unaccompanied
with desire to sin. He was promptly placed on trial and six witnesses
testified to his teaching of this doctrine. Ordinary seduction in the
confessional, as will be seen hereafter, when the culprit admitted it to
be a sin, was treated with comparative leniency, but doctrinal error was
far more serious, and the unlucky fraile, who maintained throughout the
trial the truth of his theories, was visited with much greater severity.
Humiliations and disabilities were heaped upon him; he received a
circular scourging in a convent of his order and a monthly discipline
for a year, with six years of reclusion.[60]

Simple mysticism, however, even without the advanced doctrines of
Illuminism and Quietism, was becoming to the Inquisition an object of
pronounced hostility. The land was being filled with _beatas
revelanderas;_ mystic fervor was spreading and threatening to become a
part of the national religion, stimulated doubtless by the increasing
cult paid to its prominent exemplars, for Santa Teresa was beatified in
1614 and canonized in 1622, while San Pedro de Alcántara was beatified
in the latter year. Apart from all moral questions, the mystic might at
any moment assert independence; his theory was destructive to the
intervention of the priest between man and God, and Illuminism was only
a development of mysticism. The Inquisition was not wholly consistent,
but its determination to stem the current which was setting so strongly
was emphatically expressed in the trial of Padre Gerónimo de la Madre de
Dios by the Toledo tribunal in 1616.

The padre was a secular priest, the son of Don Sánchez de Molina, who
for forty-eight years had been corregidor of Malagon. He had entered the
Dominican Order, had led an irregular life and apparently had been
expelled but, in 1610, had been converted from his evil ways by a vision
and, in 1613, obeying a voice from God, he had come to Madrid and taken
service in a little hospital attached to the parish church of San
Martin. His sermons speedily attracted crowds, including the noblest
ladies of the court; his fervent devotion, the austerity of his life,
the rigor of his mortifications and the self-denial of his charities won
for him the reputation of a saint, which was enhanced by the trances
into which he habitually fell when celebrating mass, and popular
credulity credited him with elevation from the ground. There is
absolutely no evidence that in this there was hypocrisy or imposture,
and the most searching investigation failed to discover any imputation
on his virtue. All that he received he gave to the poor, even to clothes
from his back, and his sequestrated property consisted solely of pious
books, rosaries and objects of devotion. He speedily gathered around him
disciples, prominent among whom was Fray Bartolomé de Alcalá, vicar of
the Geronimite convent; the number of their penitents, all
_espirituales_ was large, and these usually partook of the sacrament
daily or oftener; many of them had revelations and were consulted by the
pious as being in direct relations with God, from whom they received
answers to petitions.


In all this there was nothing beyond the manifestations of devotional
fervor customary to Spanish piety, but an accusation was brought against
Padre Gerónimo, September 20, 1615, for teaching that the soul could
reach a state of perfection in which it would be an act of imperfection
to ask God for anything. This, which was one of the refinements of
mysticism, was subsequently proved by the calificadores to be subversive
of existing observances, because the saints in heaven were in a state of
perfection and, if they could ask nothing of God, what would become of
their suffrage and intercession and what would be the use of the cult
and oblations offered to them? Still, at the time, the tribunal took no
action beyond examining a few witnesses, and Gerónimo would probably
not have been disturbed in his useful career had he not written a book.
In his mystic zeal he imagined himself inspired in the composition of a
work entitled _El Discipulo espiritual que trata de oracion mental y de
espiritu_, which he submitted to several learned theologians, whose
emendations he adopted. This had considerable currency in MS.; a demand
arose for its printing, and he laid it before the Royal Council for a
licence, when he was informed that the approbation of the episcopal
provisor of Toledo was a condition precedent. After sending it to that
official and receiving no answer for six months, he submitted a copy to
the Suprema, October 20, 1615, explaining what he had done and asking
for its examination; if there was in it anything contrary to the faith,
he desired its correction, for he wished the work to be unimpeachably
orthodox and would die a thousand deaths in defence of the true

He waited some seven months and, on May 17, 1616, he ventured an inquiry
of the Suprema, but a month earlier three calificadores had reported on
it unfavorably, the Suprema had ordered the Toledo tribunal to act and,
on May 28th, the warrant for his arrest with sequestration was issued. A
mass of papers, MS. sermons, tracts and miscellaneous accumulations were
distributed among fifteen calificadores, who, as scholastic theologians,
were not propitiated by his contempt for schoolmen. They performed their
task with avidity and accumulated an imposing array of a hundred and
eighty-six erroneous propositions--many of them the veriest trifles,
significant only of their temper, but, after all his explanations, there
was a formidable residuum of twenty-five qualified as heretical,
twenty-nine as erroneous, three as sacrilegious, and numerous others as
scandalous, rash and savoring of heresy.

Despite the piteous supplications of his aged father, his trial lasted
until September, 1618--some twenty-seven months of incarceration, during
which his health suffered severely. Throughout it all he never varied
from his attitude of abject submission; kneeling and weeping he begged
for penance and punishment, as he would rather be plunged in hell than
commit a sin or give utterance to aught offensive to pious ears. This
availed him little. He was sentenced to appear in the auto of September
2, 1618, as a penitent, to abjure _de vehementi_ and to retract publicly
a list of sixty-one errors. He was forbidden for life to preach or to
hear confessions, or to write on religious subjects; he was recluded
for a year in a designated convent and for five more was banished from
Madrid and Toledo, and a public edict commanded the surrender of all his
writings. Thus he was not only publicly proclaimed a heretic, but his
career was blasted, he was virtually deprived of the means of
subsistence, yet his first act on reaching his place of confinement was
to write humbly thanking the inquisitors for their kindness. Seven
months later he appealed to them, saying that he was sick and enfeebled,
he had been bled four times and he begged for the love of God that he
might be spared the rest of his reclusion and be allowed to comfort his
aged father. To this no attention was paid and we hear nothing more of


For us the interest of the case lies not so much in the cruelty with
which the bruised reed was broken, as in the revelation of the silent
revolution in the Spanish Church with regard to mysticism. In the
sixty-one condemned propositions there were one or two properly liable
to censure, the most dangerous being that ascribed to the
Begghards--that the perfected soul enjoys the spirit of liberty, going
at will without laws or rules, and that in this state God gives it the
power of working miracles. Another which asserted that devotion to
images, rosaries, blessed beads etc. was an error so great that souls so
employed could have no hope of salvation was scarce more than an
exaggeration of the precepts of Francisco de Osuna and Juan de la Cruz.
For the most part, the condemned propositions were merely the
common-places of the great mystics of the sixteenth century--that the
perfected soul enjoys absolute peace, for the appetites and passions are
at rest and the flesh in no way contradicts the spirit--that trances are
the highest of God's gifts--that the supreme grade of contemplation
becomes habitual, and that the soul at will can thus enter God's
presence--that, in the trance, God can be seen--that the perfected soul
should ask only that God's will be done. Other condemnations were
directed against the claims of inspiration and revelation, against the
suspension of the faculties in mental prayer, against the Union with God
which had been the aim of all the mystics. In short, it was a
condemnation of the doctrines and practices which, for centuries, had
been recognized by the Church as manifestations of the utmost holiness.
Had Francisco de Osuna, Luis de Granada, San Pedro de Alcántara, Santa
Teresa, San Juan de la Cruz and their disciples been judged by the same
standard, they would have shared the fate of Padre Gerónimo unless,
indeed, their convictions had led them to refuse submission, in which
case they would have been burnt.[61] This was shown at Valladolid when,
in 1620, Juan de Gabana, priest of San Martin de Valverri and Gerónima
González, a widow, were prosecuted for mysticism. He died in prison,
pertinacious to the last and was duly burnt in effigy, in 1622. She was
less firm and was voted to reconciliation, but the Suprema ordered her
to be tortured; this she escaped by dying, and her effigy was

Yet the mystic cult was too firmly planted in the religious habits of
Spain to be readily eradicated, nor was the Inquisition prepared to be
wholly consistent. While Padre Gerónimo was thus harshly treated for
unpublished writings, the Minim Fray Fernando de Caldera was allowed
undisturbed to publish, in 1623, his _Mística Teología_, perhaps the
craziest of the mystic treatises. It is cast in the form of instructions
uttered by Christ, in the first person, and teaches Illuminism and
Quietism of the most exalted kind. The intellect is to be suspended and
the will abandoned to God, who does with it as he pleases, infusing it
with divine light and admitting it to a knowledge of the divine
mysteries. Lubricious temptations, if they come from the flesh are to be
overcome with austerities; if from pride, with humility; if they are
passive, they are to be met with patience and resignation, for God who
sends them will remove them at his own time and with great benefit to
the soul.[63] No teaching more dangerous is to be found in Molinos but,
although a translation of the work appeared in Rome in 1658, it escaped
condemnation both there and in Spain.

During this time there was a storm gathering in Seville which enabled
the Inquisition to impress its definite policy on the mystically
inclined. We have seen how mysticism flourished there under the
patronage of Archbishop Rojas, and the persecution in Extremadura seems
not to have extended to Andalusia, so that it continued unrepressed.
While Padre Gerónimo was awaiting his doom in Toledo, a much more
extravagant performer was enjoying the cult of the devout in Seville. A
priest named Fernando Méndez had a special reputation for sanctity; when
celebrating mass he fell into trances and uttered terrible roars; he
taught his disciples to invoke his intercession, as though he were
already a saint in heaven; fragments of his garments were treasured as
relics; he gathered a congregation of beatas and, after mass in his
oratory, they would strip off their garments and dance with indecent
vigor--drunk with the love of God--and, on some of his female penitents,
he would impose the penance of lifting their skirts and exposing
themselves before him. His disciples were not drawn merely from the
lower classes, for we are told that as many as thirty coaches could be
counted of a morning around the gate of the Franciscan convent to which
he had retired.[64]


This hysteric contagion spread through Seville, affecting a considerable
portion of the population. There was no concealment and evidently no
thought that it involved suspicion of heresy, or that it departed in any
way from orthodoxy. A special group of mystics, known as la Granata,
under successive spiritual directors, had long held their meetings in
the chapel of Nuestra Señora de la Granada, without exciting
animadversion or calling for interference from the Inquisition.[65]
When, however, the imperious Pacheco, in 1622, assumed the office of
inquisitor-general, he speedily ordered the Seville tribunal to
investigate and report as to the mystic extravagances current in the
city, and there could have been no difficulty in collecting ample
material for condemnation according to the new standard. This resulted
in the publication of a special Edict of Grace, May 9, 1523, granting
the customary thirty days in which those feeling themselves inculpated
could denounce themselves and their accomplices and be admitted to
absolution with salutary penance and without confiscation or
disabilities affecting their descendants. That all might understand what
these new heresies were, the edict embodied a list of seventy-six errors
ascribed to the Alumbrados, which marks the advance made since 1578 in
suppressing mysticism in general and in attributing to it additional
evil practices. There was a fuller condemnation of the beliefs common to
all mystics, which had so often earned canonization--that their
trembling or burning or fainting was a sign of grace and of the
influence of the Holy Spirit--that a stage of perfection could be
reached in which they could see the Divine Essence and the mysteries of
the Trinity and that, in this state, grace drowned all the
faculties--that they were governed directly by the Holy Spirit in what
they did or left undone--that in contemplation they dismissed all
thought and concentrated themselves in the presence of God--that, in the
state of Union with God, the will is subordinated--that in trances God
is clearly seen in his glory--that mental prayer renders other works
superfluous--that other duties, both religious and worldly, can be
neglected to devote oneself wholly to this supreme devotion.

Besides these, there was an enumeration of the errors commonly
attributed to the Alumbrados with more or less
justice--impeccability--the elevation of mental prayer to the dignity of
a sacrament--communion with more than one wafer--promiscuous intercourse
among the elect--indecent actions in the confessional regarded as
meritorious--teaching wives to refuse cohabitation--forcing girls to
take vows of chastity or to become nuns--requiring vows of absolute
obedience to the spiritual director--breathing on the mouths of female
penitents to communicate to them the love of God--violation of the seal
of the confessional--that the perfected have power of absolution even in
reserved cases--that those who follow this doctrine will escape
purgatory and that many who refused to do so have returned to beg
release, when they give them an _Evangelio_ and see them fly to heaven.
One article would indicate that among the devotees, as was usually the
case, there was at least one who boasted of bearing the stigmata, of
conversing with God and of living solely upon the sacrament, while a
clause requiring the surrender of all statutes and instructions for
their congregations and assemblies shows that they were organized into
more or less formal associations.[66]

The audacious assumption of power in this pronouncement was forcibly
pointed out by Juan Dionisio Portocarrero, in an opinion furnished to
the Archbishop Pedro de Castro y Quiñones. There was gross disrespect
shown to him, who had been kept in ignorance, though it was known that
an edict was in preparation, of which the nature was sedulously
concealed until it was suddenly published in all the churches.
Inquisitors could not decide cases without the participation of the
Ordinary, while here the cases were tried and the parties admitted to
reconciliation, without calling in the episcopal authority. Similar
usurpation was manifested in the definition of heresies, which was the
attribute of the Holy See and of general councils, not of the
Inquisition. No general council could do more than the inquisitor-general
had done in defining the seventy-six errors, and to say that these
errors were widely disseminated in Seville, not without fault of
those permitting it, and to do so without calling upon the archbishop
to explain the condition of his flock, was to condemn him without
a hearing. These seventy-six propositions were all styled matters
of faith, although many of them were rather matters of discipline,
pertaining to the Ordinary, yet all were reserved to the Inquisition.
Moreover, the inquisitor-general was not competent to decide the
disputed question whether the power assured to bishops to absolve
for secret heresy was annulled by the bull in _Coena Domini_. Then
Portocarrero proceeded to examine one by one a considerable portion
of the condemned propositions and showed that some of them expressed
the accepted teaching of the Church, while many were not cognizable by
the Inquisition, because they had nothing to do with faith, and others
again he omitted as being unintelligible. He urged the archbishop to
vindicate his jurisdiction quietly, without causing scandal, and that
the edict be examined and qualified by learned men, not Dominicans,
for it had originated with them--the truth being that the inculpated
mystics were mostly under the direction of Franciscans and Jesuits
and that, in the bitter hatred between the Orders, the Dominicans had
stirred up the matter to strike a blow at their rivals.[67]


The poor old archbishop, who died in December of the same year, of
course did nothing. The edict was published on June 4th and again on the
11th, when the most pious circles in Seville suddenly found themselves
arraigned for heresy. Mysticism had become fashionable, especially among
the women, from the noblest to the lower classes, and they rushed at
once to obtain the pardon promised within the thirty days. A Seville
letter of June 15th says that an inquisitor with a secretary established
himself in San Pablo (the Dominican church used in autos de fe), eating
and sleeping there, and on duty from 5 A.M. until 10 P.M., with an
hour's intermission for meals, but that he could not attend to a
twentieth part of the applicants, and that another thirty days would
have to be granted. In this there is doubtless exaggeration, but another
authority states the number of those inculpated at 695.[68] There had of
course been no intentional heresy and there were no pertinacious
heretics, although among them were impostors who had traded upon popular
credulity and love for the marvellous. Still, an auto de fe was
necessary to confirm the impression and it was held on November 30,
1624, in which eleven Alumbrados appeared, but eight of them were
confessed impostors. Of the remaining three, one was the Padre Fernando
Méndez, who in dying had distributed his garments and his virtues among
his disciples; no special punishment was decreed against his memory, but
his effigy was displayed in the auto, his revelations, trances, visions
and prophecies were declared to be fictitious, and his disciples were
required to surrender the articles which they had treasured as relics.
Another was a mulatto slave named Antonio de la Cruz, who had united to
his mysticism some unauthorized speculations respecting the power of
Satan; he escaped with abjuration _de levi_ and deprivation of the
sacrament except at Easter, Pentecost and Christmas. The third was
Francisco del Castillo, a priest whose trances were so frequent and
uncontrollable that they would seize him in the act of eating; he was at
the head of a congregation, the members of which he boasted were all
saved, and through which the Church was to be reformed, he being
possessed of the spirit of Jesus Christ and his disciples of that of the
Apostles--all of which had not prevented him from maintaining improper
relations with his female penitents. He was sentenced only to abjuration
_de levi_, perpetual deprivation of confessing and reclusion for four
years in a convent, with exile from Seville--the usual penalty, as we
shall see, for solicitation _ad turpia_ in the confessional--with
warning of severer punishment if he did not abandon his visions and

Evidently the object of the Edict had been to warn rather than to
punish; but few examples were deemed necessary, and in these the
mildness of the penalties indicates a recognition of the fact that these
so-called heresies had not previously been regarded as culpable. It
sufficed to set an impressive stamp of reprobation on mysticism without
unnecessary severity.

Seville, however, was not yet cleansed of the infection. At an auto held
some two years later, on February 28, 1627, there were two conspicuous
mystics, Maestre Juan de Villalpando, a priest in charge of one of the
city parishes, and Madre Catalina de Jesus, a Carmelite beata.
Notwithstanding the Edict of 1623, Villalpando had maintained a
congregation of both sexes, who obeyed him implicitly in all things,
temporal and spiritual. No less than two hundred and seventy-five
erroneous propositions were charged against him, and he was required to
retract twenty-two articles. He was deprived of his priestly functions,
recluded for four years in a convent and confined subsequently to the
city of Seville, with a fine of two hundred ducats. Madre Catalina, for
thirty-eight years, had been sick with the love of God, and her
continued existence was regarded as a miracle by her numerous disciples,
who treasured as relics whatever had touched her person. She was accused
of improper relations with a priest--probably Villalpando--who
reverenced her as his guide and teacher, and she was a dogmatizer, for
her writings, both MS. and printed, were required to be surrendered. On
the testimony of a hundred and forty-eight witnesses, she was sentenced
to reclusion for six years in a hospital, where she was to earn her
support by labor.[70]

This shows increasing severity, and a still more deterrent example was
furnished, in 1630, by an auto in which eight Alumbrados, as we are
told, were burned alive and six in effigy. There were also sixty
reconciliations, of which some were doubtless for the same heresy.[71]
We have no further details of this auto, save that Bernino characterizes
the victims as obstinate; possibly they may have been relapsed but, as
we have seen, the abjurations had been for light suspicion, which did
not entail relaxation for relapse. Be this as it may, the affair would
indicate that Illuminism was now regarded as formal heresy, not as
merely inferring suspicion, and that pertinacity incurred the stake.

[Sidenote: _TREATMENT_]

Obstinacy, in fact, converts into formal heresy what may be otherwise
regarded as light suspicion, as it infers disobedience to the decisions
of the Church. This is seen in an interesting review of the whole
subject by an inquisitor about 1640. He describes the evidence
customarily brought against alumbrado confessors and preachers, of
teaching sensuality under cover of mortification. Some hold that
indecent handling and sleeping with a woman are meritorious as
trampling on the devil and overcoming temptation; so it is with making
the penitent strip and stand against a wall with arms outstretched, and
other details that may well be spared. There is also teaching that
obedience is better than the sacrament and that it excuses what would
otherwise be evil, or that God has revealed to them that such things are
not sin, or that interior impulses are to be followed in doing or not
doing anything. Such persons, he tells us are confined in the secret
prison, without sequestration, although, if there is suspicion of
heresy, there is sequestration. If, as usually occurs, they confess to
these teachings, extenuating them as the result of thoughtlessness or
ignorance without errors of belief, and if they are priests or frailes,
the sentence is read in the audience-chamber and the punishment is the
same as for solicitation in the confessional--that is to say, reclusion
in a monastery for a term of years and deprivation of the faculty of
confessing. But, if this evil doctrine has caused much injury, as at
Llerena, they appear in a public auto with some years of galley-service
and, if they are priests owning property, they are fined at discretion.

If there should be obstinacy and rejection of the arguments of the
theologians deputed to reason with them, there is postponement for some
months to allow time for conversion, as happened in Logroño with a
certain priest, and in Valladolid with a fraile. The priest taught his
female penitents that there was no sin in kisses and in indecent
handling and in sleeping with a woman so long as the final act was
omitted. He revoked repeatedly and varied between submission and
persistence, but was convinced at last and appeared in a public auto,
abjured de vehementi, was verbally degraded with five years of galleys
and ten more of exile, besides perpetual deprivation of confessing. If
the culprit is impervious to argument and will not abandon errors of
belief, he must be treated as a heretic and be relaxed even if he denies
intention. There was one who abjured _de vehementi_ and relapsed. It was
alleged by his Order that he was insane, for he was a person of high
repute for virtue and learning; he was given secret penance, but so
severe that he was never heard of again.[72]

From this statement it would appear that the extreme position assumed by
Pacheco had not been maintained and that simple mysticism was tolerated
unless it was complicated with the follies of Illuminism, especially as
concerned the relations between the sexes. The policy of the
Inquisition, in fact, was by no means uniform; for a time many harmless
mystics were allowed to enjoy in peace the veneration of their disciples
while, if there was scandal or imposture or some ulterior motive,
prosecution was easy. One such case was that of Fray Francisco García
Calderon whom we have seen (Vol. II, p. 135) concerned with the case of
the nuns of San Placido and the Marquis of Villanueva, in 1630. A
contemporary was Doña Luisa de Colmenares, popularly known as Madre
Luisa de Carrion, a nun of the convent of Santa Clara, at Carrion de los
Condes, who, at the age of seventy, had passed fifty-three years in a
cloister. She was not strictly an Alumbrado but a mystic of the type of
Santa Teresa, and her case is instructive as showing how general was the
belief attributing supernatural powers to beings favored by God, how
profitably this belief could be exploited by shrewd management, and how
effectively the Inquisition could intervene, in the face of the most
intense popular opposition. There is no reason to suppose that Madre
Luisa was consciously an impostor; she was merely an ignorant old woman,
hypnotically habituated to trances and visions like so many others, and
the Franciscan Order, to which she belonged, saw in her a speculative
value of which they made the most. Philip IV venerated her and popes
were her correspondents; there was an immense demand for objects
sanctified by her--crosses, beads, images of the Christ-child and
similar trifles--the sales of which brought in large profits and,
between these and the offerings of pilgrims, the Order was said to have
realized two hundred thousand crowns and to look forward to much more if
it could secure her canonization after death.


Suddenly, in 1635, the Inquisition undertook to investigate her. There
had been nothing exceptional in her career, except its success and,
under Franciscan management she had been mostly kept clear of the errors
condemned in Pacheco's edict. The motive for action is obscure, and the
most probable suggestion is that the opponents of Count-Duke Olivares
had sought, after the fashion of the time, to make use, for political
ends, of the boundless popular veneration of which she was the object.
Yet there was significant caution in the preliminaries. Juan Santos,
senior Inquisitor of Valladolid, was ordered to examine her, when he
pretended a visit to the Bishop of Palencia and on the road stopped for
a fortnight at Carrion. It was not difficult to involve an untutored
nun in erroneous theological speculations, and a warrant for her arrest
followed; she was placed in a carriage with a female relative of one of
the inquisitors, when her journey to Valladolid was a triumphal
procession. A pillar of light, changing into a cross, was seen in the
sky; everywhere the population gathered in mass, and the precaution of
entering Valladolid at night was unavailing, for the crowds were so
great that she was with difficulty carried in safety, through the
surging mob striving to gather some fragment of her dress as a talisman.
She was housed in the Augustinian convent, where she was the object of
veneration to the nuns, who declared her destined to be the most
powerful saint in the annals of the Church; but it was observed that she
no longer had ecstasies, although at Carrion they had been of daily
occurrence and were celebrated by sounding the organ, when everyone
rushed to see them.

The Franciscans officially undertook her defence; the population of
Valladolid, with the bishop at their head, were so demonstrative in her
favor that the tribunal hesitated, and the Suprema had to send a special
commissioner, who was no other than our old acquaintance Juan Dionisio
Portocarrero, soon afterwards rewarded with the bishopric of Guadix. It
was easy to make her convict herself of heresy, for she was foolish and
ignorant, full of vain-glory, and merely a tool of the rapacious friars
who had exploited her. Papers signed by her were in circulation in which
she declared that she had seen the Divine Essence, that she was
confirmed in grace, that at six years of age Christ had removed her
heart of flesh and substituted his own, that he had given her an apple
of paradise by which she would remain immortal until the Day of
Judgement, when she would accompany Enoch and Elias in the war with
Antichrist; that God sustained her without food, and much more that
testifies to the incredible credulity of the people, and to the
unscrupulous audacity of the friars. Under examination, she declared
that she had seen the Divine Essence, but she proved herself wholly
ignorant of the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity and uttered a thousand
follies, including a revelation from God that all who possessed her
crosses, beads, rosaries or other objects of devotion would be saved
unconditionally and could rest secure of their predestination.

The fore-ordained condemnation was preceded by an edict of October 23,
1636, requiring the surrender of all letters, portraits, crosses, beads
etc., which were so numerous that in a few days the cura of the parish
of San Miguel had a room full of them. The poor old crone was blind,
toothless and exhausted with a life of hysteria; the shock of these
experiences was too great for her feeble vitality, and she died in
November. This was, of course, no impediment to her trial, and the
tribunal was justly incensed to learn that the bishop had buried her
without its permission. When summoned to answer for this he threatened a
popular uprising, but the tribunal held good, exhumed the body and
verified its identity, after which the Suprema ordered a second
exhumation and burial under its authority.

It seems that no formal sentence was ever rendered. The Franciscans
talked of appealing to the pope, but were only laughed at. Madre Luisa
had ceased to be of importance, but that her devotees had not lost all
veneration for her is shown by the Inquisition, in 1638, forbidding all
discussion of the case. In 1643 it was referred to Arce y Reynoso,
together with that of San Placido and, in 1644, he was said to be
pushing it with energy, but probably it was wisely allowed to be
forgotten, without reaching a conclusion. Yet, notwithstanding the
inquisitorial edict, her crosses were not all surrendered and continued
to be regarded as enriched with indulgences, for we find them condemned
by the Roman Congregation of Indulgences in 1668 and again in 1678.[73]


But for the presumably political motive prompting her prosecution it may
be assumed that Madre Luisa would have been enrolled in the calendar of
saints. Her career was no more extravagant than that of her
contemporary, the Blessed María Ana de Jesus, a _Madrileña_, who was
born in 1565 and died in 1624. She belonged to the Order of La Merced,
and her biography was written in 1673, by Fray Juan de la Presentacion,
official historiographer of Philip IV, who informs us that, when an
infant at the breast, she gave evidence of her future sanctity; at the
age of four she was constantly at prayer, and at six she had ecstasies,
visions and revelations. She says herself that her soul was ordinarily
illuminated by God, who manifested his will to her unmistakably. The
effort for her canonization began shortly after her death and was
renewed at intervals, until she was beatified in 1783.[74] Another
contemporary of María Ana de Jesus was she of Peru, known as _la Azucena
de Quito_. Born in 1618 and dying in 1645, her miracles commenced before
her birth, and she began to mortify the flesh by refusing to suckle
before noon-day. It was in vain that, in her humility, she prayed to be
denied the favor of visions and miracles. Efforts were commenced, in
1670, to procure her canonization, but it was not until 1850 that she
was beatified by Pius IX.[75]

These saintly mystics, with their direct communications from God,
wielded an influence which we can scarce realize. They had become so
numerous and their revelations were so unhesitatingly accepted, that
Spain was enveloped in an atmosphere of mysticism, in which the divine
guidance was sought, rather than the councils of human wisdom. Olivares
might well fear any adverse utterances of Madre Luisa, for his downfall,
in 1643, was accelerated by visions enjoyed by Don Francisco de
Chiribaga, although the Jesuit Padre Galindo, who was concerned in
making them known, was imprisoned by his superiors for acting without
their permission.[76] When the affairs of the Spanish monarchy were at
their lowest ebb at this time, it is a curious revelation of the
impulses under which it was governed to find Philip IV complaining of
the perplexities to which he was exposed by the visions brought to him
by the frailes; this matter of revelations, he says, is one which
requires much consideration, especially when he is told that God orders
him to punish those who have rendered him good service, and to elevate
those whose methods have not earned them a good reputation. All that is
lacking to complete this picture of unreasoning superstition is found in
the fact that this utterance is made to another mystic to whom he
appeals for guidance and for intercession with God to send him

María de Jesus, commonly known as Sor María de Agreda, to whom Philip
thus turned for counsel, was too strongly entrenched in the royal favor
to be in danger from the Inquisition yet, notwithstanding that favor,
her revelations were rejected by Rome, thus furnishing another example
of the difficulty of differentiating between sanctity and heresy. She
had practised mental prayer from the time when she was able to use her
reason, and she was in constant communication with God, the Virgin and
the angels.[78] Her fame filled the land, and her voluminous writings,
which claim to be inspired, still form part of the devotional literature
of the faithful. She so captured the confidence of Philip that he made
her his chief adviser; for twenty-two years, until her death in 1665,
four months before his own, he maintained constant correspondence with
her by every post. Her influence thus was almost unbounded, but she
seems never to have abused it; her advice was usually sound, and she
never sought the enrichment of the impoverished convent of Agreda, of
which she was the superior.


With all the power of the Franciscan Order and of the Spanish court to
sustain her claims to sanctity, the canonization of such a personage
would seem almost a matter of course, and it would doubtless have been
effected if she had not reduced her revelations to writing. However they
might suit the appetite of Spanish piety, nourished so long on mystic
extravagance, they did not appeal to the sober judgement of the rest of
the Catholic world. In spite of their divine inspiration, her _Letanía y
nombres misteriosos de la Reina del Cielo_ and her _Mística Ciudad de
Dios_ were condemned in Rome, and the decree as to the latter was posted
on the doors of St. Peter's, August 4, 1681. The _Mística Ciudad_ was
eminently popular in Spain and, at the instance of the Spanish court,
its prohibition was suspended. The Inquisition took advantage of this,
in 1686, to issue a decree permitting its circulation, at which the
Congregation of the Index was naturally offended and, in 1692, the papal
decree of condemnation appeared in the Appendix to the Index of Innocent
XI, in spite of which the book was formally permitted by the Spanish
Inquisition.[79] When, in 1695, a translation by Père Thomas Croset
appeared in France, the Sorbonne, by decree of September 27, 1696,
condemned it as containing propositions contrary to the rules of
ecclesiastical modesty, and many fables and dreams from the Apocrypha,
exposing Catholicism to the contempt of the heretics.[80] The Spanish
court labored earnestly to obtain a renewal of the suspension and
finally succeeded, so that the book was omitted from the 1716 Index of
Clement XI. Then in 1729, the subject was again taken up, when, after a
long debate, the book was permitted, though Dr. Eusebius Amort tells us
that in Rome, in 1735, he was shown a decree of Benedict XIII renewing
the prohibition and asserting that its withdrawal had been obtained
fraudulently; still, the book has never since reappeared in the
Index.[81] There was a similar struggle over the _Letanía_, which was
still included in the 1716 Index of Clement XI and the first Index of
Benedict XIV, in 1744, but has disappeared from all succeeding
issues.[82] Less successful thus far has been the persistent effort to
procure the canonization of Madre María, leading to a papal decree of
April 27, 1773, forbidding all future proceedings in the case.
Notwithstanding this, Leo XIII, on March 10, 1884, ordered the
Congregation of Rites to consider in secret whether this prohibition
could be removed. To suggest such a discussion is almost equivalent to
prejudging it affirmatively but, before the decision was reached, chance
led to the publication in the _Deutscher Merkur_ of December 29, 1889,
of the whole secret history of the case, which has probably put an end,
at least for the present, to the prospect of enrolling in the calendar
of saints one whose revelations have been so repeatedly condemned as
illusory or as emanating from Satan.

       *       *       *       *       *

While, as we shall see, the pest of _beatas revelanderas_ and more or
less conscious impostors continued to afflict the land, the cases
recognized as Alumbrados are comparatively few during the remainder of
the seventeenth century. In a Toledo record, commencing in 1648, the
first one occurs in 1679, when the Franciscan Fray Francisco de Toledo
was convicted. In this the offence is treated as formal heresy,
requiring reconciliation, and the punishment was extremely severe. He
was to receive a circular discipline in his convent; he was to be
confined in a cell for two years and for two years more was to be
recluded, during which time he was to be occupied in works of humility.
In addition, he was perpetually suspended from orders, deprived of
active and passive voice, and reduced to lay communion. It is possibly
to this, or to some movement in which Fray Francisco bore a part, that
Miguel Molinos refers, in a letter of February 16, 1680, to the Jesuit
General Oliva, saying that when, in 1679, Satan sought to revive the
sect of Illuminists in Spain, and they had applied to him, he had given
an opinion so contrary to their follies that it frightened them and
stopped the attempt.[83]

       *       *       *       *       *


While Spain had thus been combatting Mysticism, Rome had remained
comparatively indifferent, for in Italy it had not developed into a
popular mania to be suppressed irrespective of the immoral extravagances
to which it sometimes led. In the Edict of the Inquisition requiring
denunciation of all offences subject to its jurisdiction, there is no
mention of Mysticism or Illuminism.[84] The elaborate folios of the
writers on the Holy Office--Carena, Del Bene, Lupo, Dandino--are silent
as to its eccentricities. Yet these were by no means unknown to the
Roman Holy Office, which took cognizance of them when brought to its
notice. Occasionally some book too extravagant in its teachings was put
upon the Index.[85] Cardinal Scaglia ([dagger symbol] 1639), a member of the
Congregation of the Inquisition, in his little manual of practice, which
was circulated only in MS., when treating of the troubles customary in
nunneries, says that through giddiness of brain, or vain-glory, or
illusion, nuns often claim to have celestial visions and revelations and
intercourse with God and the saints when, if the confessor is
imprudently given to spirituality, he reduces their utterances to
writing and, if he is learned, he defends them, very often with
propositions punishable by the Inquisition. Sometimes, he adds,
sensuality is involved, leading to the assertion that carnal acts are
not sinful but meritorious, when, if the confessor desires to take
advantage of this, he seeks with revelations and false doctrines to
prove that they are lawful. Cases of this kind have occurred in the
Holy Office, when priests who so justify themselves become liable to the
penalties of heresy. Such cases also occur between women assuming to be
spiritual and their confessors, who so teach them, even without
revelations and visions, leading their spiritual daughters to believe
these to be works of merit and mortification.[86]

Bernino tells us that, early in the seventeenth century, Illuminism was
widely diffused throughout Italy, where abjurations enforced by the
Inquisition were frequent, but this is probably the exaggeration so
frequent with heresiologists.[87] A well-marked case, however, startled
Florence in 1640, when the Canon Pandolfo Ricasoli, a highly respected
member of the noble house of the Barons of Trappola and a man of wide
learning and handsome fortune, was arrested with his chief accomplice
Faustina Mainardi, her brother Girolamo, and the Maestro Serafino de'
Servi, Dottor Carlo Scalandrini, the priest Giacomo Fantoni, Andrea
Biliotti, Francesco Borgeschi and two others, Mozzetti and Cocchi. Some
nuns of Santa Anna sul Prato were also implicated, but if they were
prosecuted no knowledge of it was allowed to reach the public. They seem
to have formed a coterie of Illuminists to whom Ricasoli taught that all
manner of indecent acts conduced to purity, if performed with the mind
fixed on God; they claimed special relations with heaven and were free
from sin in whatever they did for the greater glory of God. This
continued for eight years; rumors spread abroad and were conveyed to the
Inquisition, when Ricasoli came forward and denounced himself with
expressions of contrition. A public _atto di fede_ was held, November
28, 1641, in the great refectory of the convent of Santa Croce, attended
by the Grand Duke, the Cardinal de' Medici, the nuncio and other
notabilities. One of the culprits, Serafino de' Servi, had died in
prison and appeared in effigy, the rest abjured de _vehementi_.
Ricasoli, Faustina and Fantoni were condemned to perpetual irremissible
prison, others to prison with the privilege of asking for pardon, while
two, Cocchi and Borgeschi, had a private atto di fede and were confined
in the Stinche prison at the pleasure of the Inquisition. Ricasoli, as
he was led away, declared that he had acted foolishly and ignorantly,
and he asked pardon of the people for the scandal which he had caused;
he lingered in his prison until July 1657, when he died at the age of
78, protesting to the end that he had erred through ignorance and not
through lust; there was some question as to his interment, but finally
he received Christian burial. The inquisitor, Fra Giovanni Muzzarelli,
was sternly rebuked for misplaced mercy by the Roman Congregation and
was speedily replaced by one of severer temper.[88]

Impostors likewise were not unknown, as appears in the career of
Francesco Giuseppe Borri, a brilliant but dissolute scion of a noble
Milanese house. A misadventure in Rome forced him to take asylum in a
church where, in recognition of the mercy of God, he changed his life.
He soon had visions and revelations, from which he constructed a new
theology, showing an intimate acquaintance with the mysteries of the
Trinity and of the universe. That St. Anne was conceived by the
operation of the Spirit and the Virgin consequently was Deity, was one
of the twenty errors set forth in his sentence. Moreover he had been
selected to found the Kingdom of the Highest, in which all mankind would
be brought under papal rule, and the world would live in peace for a
thousand years; the philosopher's stone, of which he had the secret,
would furnish the means of raising the papal armies, in the leadership
of which he would be guided by St. Michael. Rome soon became dangerous
for the new prophet and, in 1655, he transferred his propaganda to
Milan, where he founded a secret mystical Order, the members of which
were trained in meditation and mental prayer, pledged themselves to shed
their blood in the execution of the work and, what was more to the
purpose, contributed all their property to the common fund. The Milanese
inquisitor got wind of the new sect and arrested some of the members;
Borri thought of raising a tumult but decided in favor of the safer
alternative of flight. His case was transferred to the Roman
Congregation, which cited him, March 20, 1659, to appear within ninety
days and then tried him in _absentia_, with the result that his effigy,
with all his impious writings, was burnt on January 3, 1661. His dupes
were duly prosecuted, but seem not to have been severely punished.


Meanwhile he was starting on a fresh career in Northern Europe, as a man
possessed of all the secrets of alchemy and medicine, with a success
that even Cagliostro might have envied. Strassburg and Amsterdam had
reason to repent of his seductive arts. In Hamburg, Christina of Sweden
furnished him with means to prosecute the work of the Grand Arcanum.
Frederic III of Denmark lavished large sums on him and even made him
chief political adviser, which aroused the hatred of the heir-apparent,
Christian V, on whose accession, in 1670, he was obliged to save his
life by flight. He sought to find refuge in Turkey, but in Moravia, when
within a day's journey of the frontier, he was arrested by mistake, on
suspicion of complicity in a conspiracy in Vienna. There the papal
nuncio recognized and claimed him, but Leopold I, whose favor he had
speedily acquired by his chemical marvels, surrendered him only on
condition that his life should be spared. Before the Inquisition he
confessed his errors and attributed them to diabolical inspiration, and
his sentence, September 25, 1672, was merely to perpetual prison and
certain spiritual penances. Even here his good luck befriended him, for
Cardinal d'Estrées, the influential ambassador of Louis XIV, in
dangerous illness, asked to consult him and, on recovery, procured his
transfer to easier confinement in the castle of St. Angelo, where he was
allowed special privileges and sometimes to go out and visit the sick.
There he remained until his death, August 20, 1695--just a century
before Cagliostro came to the same end.[89]

Although the Roman Inquisition issued no general denunciations, there
was a surveillance kept over the votaries of mental prayer and
contemplation, in view of the extravagances to which they might be led
when, abandoning themselves wholly to God, they felt themselves
irresponsible for what God might cause them to do, in the rapture of
Quietism. There was a little community of this kind formed in Genoa,
where they were known as _Sequere me_, from the phrase used when
addressing those whom they elected to join them. Under the lead of a
Trinitarian friar, they bought a house in the suburbs, where they lived
in the utmost austerity, devoting themselves to contemplation. Thus came
visions and revelations that the Church was to be reformed through them
by a new pope, of whom they were to be the apostles. One of them
communicated this to a vicar of the Inquisition who promptly reported to
the tribunal. They were all summoned before it; some went into ecstasies
and, as a body, they threatened the inquisitor with the vengeance of God
and were thrown into prison. The Congregation of the Inquisition ordered
their prosecution, which resulted in their being adjudged to be crazy
rather than evil-minded. The friar was deprived of active and passive
voice in his Order and the rest were dismissed with threats of the
galleys if they reassembled and continued to wear the habit which they
had adopted.[90]

More persistent was the sect known as the Pelagini which, about 1650,
developed itself in the Valcamonica and spread throughout Lombardy.
Giacomo Filippo di Santa Pelagia was a layman of Milan, highly esteemed
for conspicuous piety. From Marco Morosini, Bishop of Brescia
(1645-1654) he obtained permission to found conventicles or oratories in
the Valcamonica, but it shows that mental prayer was regarded as a
dangerous exercise when Morosini imposed the condition that it should
not be practised in these little assemblies. The prohibition was
disregarded and the devotees largely gave themselves up to
contemplation, with the result that they had trances and revelations;
they threw off subjection to their priests and were accused of claiming
that mental prayer was essential to salvation, that none but Pelagini
could be saved, that those who practised it became impeccable, that
laymen could preach and hear confessions, that indulgences were
worthless and that God through them would reform the world. In 1654,
Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni (afterwards Alexander VIII) obtained the see of
Brescia and by accident discovered some colporteurs distributing the
Catechism of Calvin, along with the tracts of the Pelagini. In March,
1656, he sent to the Valcamonica three commissioners with verbal
instructions and armed with full powers, who temporarily suppressed the
oratories and made a number of arrests, but the Inquisition intervened,
taking the affair out of his hands and prosecuting the leaders.[91]

[Sidenote: _THE PELAGINI_]

We hear nothing more of Filippo, except that he never was condemned. He
probably died early in the history of the sect and his memory was
cherished as that of a saint with thaumaturgic power. In 1686, the
Archpriest of Morbegno, in the Valtelline, was found to be distributing
relics of him and collecting materials for his life and miracles, all of
which he was obliged to abandon, after obeying a summons from Calchi,
the Inquisitor of Como. There were also inquiries made of the Provost of
Talamona as to his motives in keeping a picture of Filippo and whether
it was prayed to.[92]

After Filippo's disappearance we hear of Francesco Catanei and of the
Archpriest Marc Antonio Ricaldini as leaders of the sect, but Agostino
Ricaldini, a brother of the latter and a married layman, was really the
centre around which it gathered. In Ottoboni's prosecution, he was
imprisoned in 1656 and thrice tortured, and, on September 19, 1660, he
was sentenced by the Brescia tribunal to exile from the Valcamonica and
was relegated to Treviso. Persisting in his errors, he was again tried
in Treviso, obliged to abjure _de vehementi_ and sentenced to perpetual
prison, while a book which he had written was publicly burnt. How long
his imprisonment lasted does not appear but, in 1680, we find him living
in Treviso, under surveillance of the episcopal vicar-general.[93]

If Ottoboni and the Inquisition fancied that they had crushed the sect,
they were mistaken. It maintained a secret existence for over twenty
years, which enabled it to spread far beyond its original seat and,
about 1680, it had associations and oratories for mental prayer
established in Brescia, Verona, Vicenza, Treviso, Padua, Pesaro, Lucca
and doubtless many other places, while its votaries expected it to
spread through the world. Ricaldini, at Treviso, was busy in
corresponding with the heads of the associations and receiving their
visits. In Brescia, Bartolommeo Bona, priest of S. Rocco, presided over
an oratory of sixty members and was even said to have six hundred souls
under his direction. They were called Pellegrini di S. Rocco, they
practised mental prayer assiduously and had even procured an episcopal
licence for the association. In Verona, Giovanni Battista Bonioli guided
a membership of thirty disciples, many of them persons of high
consideration. For the most part the devotees seem to have been quiet
and pious folk, humbly seeking salvation by the interior way, but there
were some who were given to extravagance. Margarita Rossi had visions
and revelations, strangely repeating portions of the fantastic theology
of Borri, and when written out by a believer, Don Giovanni Antonio, it
was not difficult to extract from them a hundred and thirty-four errors,
concerning which she was tortured as to intention as well as _in caput
alienum_. Two others, Cosimo Dolci and Francesco Nigra had visions and
prophetic insight, for which the latter was sentenced, in 1684, to five
years' incarceration.[94]

The sect could not continue spreading indefinitely without discovery. In
1682 the Inquisition suddenly awoke to the necessity of action and it
repeated an edict which it had issued in 1656, forbidding all oratories
and assemblages for mental prayer. Ricaldini felt his position critical,
for he had abjured _de vehementi_ and was liable to the stake for
relapse. He disappeared from Treviso and all that the Inquisition could
learn was that he was somewhere on the Swiss border. At length, in 1684,
his retreat was found to be Chiuro, in the Valtelline, and Antonio
Ceccotti, Inquisitor of Brescia, made fruitless attempts to induce the
authorities of the Valtelline and the Podestà of Brescia to unite in
procuring his extradition, but in March, 1685, Ceccotti had the
mortification to learn that he had died on the previous October 6th,
having received all the sacraments and with the repute of a most pious

[Sidenote: _MOLINOS_]

The prominent Pelagini were duly prosecuted, but there seems to have
been little vindictiveness aroused in regard to them and little heresy
attributable to them. The punishments inflicted were light, for we hear,
in 1685, of Bona, one of the leaders, having returned to his district
and living in retirement, and of Belleri, another, being in the
Valcamonica, where the bishop had appointed him missionary for the whole
district. Evidently the disciples must have escaped with a warning. What
the ecclesiastical authorities objected to was not Mysticism and its
long-accepted practices, but organization, more or less secret, under
leaders outside of the hierarchy and free from its supervision, when
heated brains, under divine inspiration, indulged in dreams of
regenerating the Church. It was not until the case of Molinos had called
attention to other dangers that there came from Rome strict orders for
the suppression of all oratories and of the practice of mental
prayer--that rapture of meditation which had been the distinguishing
habit of mystics through the ages.[96]

       *       *       *       *       *

Miguel de Molinos was a Spaniard, born probably about 1630 at Muniesa
(Teruel). After obtaining at Coimbra the degree of doctor of theology,
he came to Rome in 1665, in connection with a canonization--probably of
San Pedro Arbués, who was beatified in 1668. There he speedily acquired
distinction as a confessor and spiritual director. Innocent XI prized
him so highly as to give him apartments in the papal palace; the noblest
women placed themselves under his care; his reputation spread throughout
Italy and his correspondence became enormous. On the day of his arrest
it is said that the postage on the letters delivered that day at his
house amounted to twenty-three ducats; he made a small charge to cover
expenses and, in the sequestration of his property, there were found
four thousand gold crowns derived from this source. The letters seized
were reported variously as numbering twelve or twenty thousand, of which
two hundred were from Christina of Sweden and two thousand from the
Princess Borghese. The mysticism which proved so attractive, when set
forth by his winning personality, had in it--ostensibly at
least--nothing that had not long since received the approbation of the
Church in the writings of the great Spanish mystics and of St. François
de Sales. It is true that Molinos dropped the machinery of ecstasies and
visions, which loom so largely in the writings of Santa Teresa, and
confined his way of perfection to the Brahmanical ideal of the
annihilation of sense and intellect, the mystic silence or death, in
which speech and thought and desire are no more and in which God speaks
with the soul and teaches it the highest wisdom.[97] This spiritualized
hypnotism was in no way original with Molinos, but was the goal which
all the mystic saints sought to attain. To reach it he tells us the
soul must abandon itself wholly to God; it must make no resistance to
the thoughts or impulses which God might send or allow Satan to send; if
assailed by intruding or sensual thoughts, they should not be opposed
but be quietly contemned and the resultant suffering be offered as a
sacrifice to God.[98] This was the Quietism--the Spanish
_Dejamiento_--which was subsequently condemned so severely; there is no
question that it had its dangers if the senses were allowed to control
the spirit, and the adversaries of Molinos made the most of it, but he
taught that the soul must overcome temptation through patience and
resignation. When souls have acquired control of themselves, he says, if
a temptation attacks them they soon overcome it; passions cannot hold
out against the divine strength which fills them, even if the violence
is continued and is supported by suggestions of the enemy; the soul
gains the victory and enjoys the infinite resultant benefit.[99]

[Sidenote: _MOLINOS_]

All this Molinos was allowed to teach for years in the Holy City with
general applause, though it had been persecuted in the Pelagini. In
1675, at the height of his popularity, he embodied his doctrine in the
_Guida spirituale_, a little volume which came forth with the emphatic
approbation of five distinguished theologians--four of them consultors
or censors of the Inquisition and all of them men of high standing in
their respective Orders of Franciscans, Trinitarians, Jesuits,
Carmelites and Capuchins. The book had an immediate and wide circulation
and was translated into many languages. Even in Spain there was a Madrid
edition in 1676, one at Saragossa in 1677 and another at Seville as late
as 1685, without exciting animadversion. Yet such a career as that of
Molinos could not continue indefinitely without exciting hostility, none
the less dangerous because prudently concealed. His immense success was
provocative of envy and, if mystic contemplation was largely adopted as
the surest path to salvation, what was to be the result on the infinite
variety of exterior works to which the Church owed so much of its power
and wealth? It was found that in many nunneries in Rome, whose
confessors had adopted his views, the inmates had cast aside their
rosaries and chaplets and depended wholly on contemplation. It was
observed that at mass the mystic devotees did not raise their eyes at
the elevation of the Host or gaze on the holy images, but pursued
uninterruptedly their mental prayer. Molinos gave further occasion for
criticism by a tract on daily communion, in which he asserted that a
soul, secure that it was not in mortal sin, could safely partake of the
sacrament without previous confession--a doctrine which, however,
theologically defensible, threatened, if extensively practised, largely
to diminish the authority of the priesthood, while encouraging the
sinner to settle his account directly with God.

To attack as a heretic a man so universally respected and so firmly
entrenched as Molinos might well seem desperate, and it is not
surprising that the credit for the work was attributed to the Jesuits,
as the only body daring and powerful enough. The current story is that,
having resolved upon it, they procured Père La Chaise to induce Louis
XIV to order his ambassador, Cardinal d'Estrées to labor unceasingly for
the removal of the scandal caused by the teaching of Molinos. Whether
this was so is doubtful, but it is certain that the first attack came
from the Jesuits, and that d'Estrées, who had professed the warmest
admiration for Molinos, became his unrelenting persecutor. The campaign
was opened in 1678, when Gottardo Bell' Uomo, S. J., issued at Modena a
work on the comparative value of ordinary and mystic prayer, which was
duly denounced to the Inquisition. Molinos had been made to recognize in
various ways the coming storm, and he sought to conjure it in a fashion
which revealed his conscious weakness. February 16, 1680, he addressed
to the Jesuit General Oliva a long exculpatory letter. He had not
attacked the Society but had always held it in the highest honor, and
when, in Valencia, the University had forbidden the Jesuit College to
teach theology, he was the only one who had disobeyed the order and had
come to its aid. He had never decried the Spiritual Exercises of Loyola,
but had recognized the vast good accomplished by them, though he held
that, for those suited to it, contemplation was better than meditation.
He had for some years been persecuted and stigmatized as a heretic, in
writing and preaching, by the most distinguished members of the Society,
but he rejoiced in this and only prayed God for those who reviled him
nor, in his defence of the _Guida_, had he sought aught but the glory of
God and, so far from defending the Begghards and Illuminati, he had
always condemned them. Evidently the work of the Jesuits in discrediting
him had been active and better organized than the records show, and he
thought it wiser to disarm, if possible, rather than to struggle with
adversaries so powerful. Oliva's answer of February 28th was by no
means reassuring. He complimented Molinos on his Christian spirit in
returning good for evil and on the flattering terms bestowed on the
Society and its founder. He had never read the books of Molinos and
could not speak of them with knowledge but, if they corresponded with
his letter, his disciples were doing him great wrong in applying his
system of contemplation, of which only the rarest souls were capable,
indiscriminately to nuns and worldly young women. Finally, he could not
understand why so distinguished a member of the Society as Padre Bell'
Uomo should have been brought before the Congregation of the Index, and
he gave infinite thanks to God for defending him before it.

Promptly on the next day, February 29th, Molinos replied to this
discouraging epistle. At much length he disculpated himself for writings
and sayings falsely attributed to him. He held meditation in the highest
esteem as an exercise suited to all; the loftiest form of contemplation
was a gift of God bestowed on the rare souls fitted for it. He again
spoke of the persecution to which he was exposed and, as for Padre Bell'
Uomo, whom he did not know, if his doctrine was as sound as represented
by Oliva, God would enlighten his ministers to recognize it. Oliva's
rejoinder to this, on March 2d, would appear to be written in a style of
studied obscurity, saying much and meaning little, but one passage
reveals a source of Jesuit enmity, in alluding to the number of convents
which had passed out of the direction of the Society to practise the new

[Sidenote: _MOLINOS_]

The effort of Molinos to propitiate his enemies had only encouraged them
by its confession of weakness. Their next step was a dextrous one. Padre
Paolo Segneri was not only the most popular Jesuit preacher in Italy,
but his favor with Innocent XI was almost as great as that of Molinos.
He was selected as the next athlete and, in 1680, he issued a little
volume--"Concordia tra la fatica e la quiete nell' oratione," in which
he argued that the highest life is that which combines activity with
contemplation. He was promptly answered by Pietro Matteo Petrucci, an
ardent admirer of Molinos, who was rewarded by Innocent with the see of
Jesi. Segneri rejoined in a "Lettera di riposta al Sig. Ignacio
Bartalini" and the controversy was fairly joined. A more aggressive
antagonist was the Minorite Padre Alessandro Reggio whose "Clavis Aurea
qua aperiuntur errores Michaelis de Molinos" appeared in 1682 and boldly
argued that the _Guida_ revived the condemned errors of the Begghards,
that Quietism destroyed all conceptions of the Trinity, while the
practice of prayer without works was destructive of all the pious
observances prescribed by the Church, and the teaching that temptation
should be endured without resistance was dangerous and contrary to
Scripture and to the doctors. Petrucci responded vigorously, while
Molinos remained silent. He had, at least, the advantage of official
support, for Bell' Uomo's book was forbidden _donec corrigatur_;
Segneri's "Lettera" and the "Clavis Aurea" were condemned
unconditionally, and Segneri's "Concordia," while it escaped the Index,
was quietly forbidden and he was instructed to revise it.[101]

The Jesuits, however, were not the only body interested in the downfall
of Molinos. There is a curious anonymous tract devoted to explaining
what it calls the secret policy of the Quietists, assuming their main
object to be the destruction of all the religious Orders and especially
of the Dominicans and Franciscans. Apparently taking advantage of the
development of the Pelagini about this time, it asserts that the
Quietists had organized conventicles and oratories throughout Italy;
that they had a common treasury in which 14,000 ducats were found; that
they flattered the secular clergy and sought to unite them in opposition
to the regulars, whom they systematically decried, raking together all
the stories of their corruption and ignorance. In short, Quietism was a
deep-laid conspiracy, through which Molinos expected to revolutionize
the Church and reduce the religious Orders to impotence.[102] The only
importance of the tract is as a manifestation of the attitude of the
regulars towards Molinos and the hostility aroused by his success in
winning from them, for his disciples, the directorship of souls which
was their special province.

The enormous influence of the elements thus combining for his
destruction left little doubt of the result. The first open attack was
made in June, 1682, when Cardinal Caraccioli, Archbishop of Naples, a
pupil of the Jesuits, reported to the pope that he found his diocese
deeply infected with this new Quietism, subversive of the received
prescriptions of the Church, and he asked instructions for its
suppression, nor was he alone in this for similar appeals came from
other Italian bishops. Molinos was too firmly established in the papal
favor for this to dislodge him, but the hostile forces gradually
gathered strength and, in November, 1684, the Congregation of the
Inquisition formally assumed consideration of the matter. At its head
was Cardinal Ottoboni, a fanatic whose experience with the Pelagini,
when Bishop of Brescia, had sharpened his hatred of mysticism. The
spirit in which he conducted the inquest is revealed in a memorandum in
his handwriting of the points to be elaborated in the next day's meeting
of the Congregation--that this heresy is the worst of all and if left
alone will become inextinguishable; that it is spreading in Spain
through the Archbishop of Seville and in France with many books of the
most dangerous nature; that it destroys the Catholic faith and all the
religious Orders; that in Jesi the canons and the cura of the cathedral
keep a school for its propagation; that a rich and powerful citizen of
Jesi threatens the witnesses and that a vigorous commissioner must be
sent there; that the monasteries of Faenza and Ravenna are infected and
one in Ferrara has a Quietist confessor; that this pestilence calls for
fire and steel.[103] In a court presided over by so bitter a prosecutor,
the judgement was fore-ordained.

For awhile the contending forces seem to have been equally balanced and
eight months were spent in gathering testimony sufficient to justify
arrest. At last, on July 3, 1685, at a meeting of the Congregation,
Cardinal d'Estrées insisted that no one should leave the chamber until
the arrest was ordered and executed. This was agreed to; the sbirri were
despatched and Molinos was lodged in the prison of the Inquisition.[104]
Yet when, on November 9th the Spanish Holy Office condemned the _Guia
espirituale_ as containing propositions savoring of heresy and
Illuminism, the Congregation addressed to the pope a vigorous protest
against its action on a matter which was still under consideration at

[Sidenote: _MOLINOS_]

The influence of Queen Christina, we are told, was exerted to procure
for Molinos better treatment than was usual with prisoners. Of the
details of the trial we know little or nothing, but, as torture was
habitual in the Roman Inquisition, it is not probable that he was
spared. As his books had not been condemned, the evidence employed was
drawn exclusively from the immense mass of his correspondence and MSS.
which had been seized, the depositions of witnesses and his own
confessions, so that we are unable to judge how far it justified the
conclusions set forth in the sentence, though, from the manner in which
that discriminates between what he admitted and what he denied, it is
but fair to assume that it represents correctly the evidence before the
tribunal. The trial was necessarily prolonged. In his defence
interrogatories were forwarded to Saragossa and Valencia, in 1687, where
his witnesses were duly examined.[106] Two hundred and sixty-three
erroneous propositions were extracted by the censors from the mass of
matter before them, to which he of course was required to answer in
detail, and these seem to have been condensed into nineteen for the
consideration of the Congregation.[107]

Petrucci was threatened and his elevation to the cardinalate, September
2, 1686, was ascribed to the desire of Innocent to save him from
prosecution. Shortly afterwards, two of the principal assistants of
Molinos, the brothers Leoni of Como, of whom Simone was a priest and
Antonio Maria was a tailor, were arrested. Then, on February 9, 1687,
followed the arrest of the Count and Countess Vespiniani, of Paolo
Rocchi, confessor of the Princess Borghese, and of seventy others,
causing general consternation, not diminished by the subsequent
imprisonment of some two hundred more. The Congregation was doing its
work thoroughly and it was even said that, on February 13th, it
appointed a commission which examined the pope himself. A revolution in
the traditional standards of orthodoxy could not be effected without
compromising multitudes, and the victors were determined that their
victory should be complete. On February 15th, Cardinal Cibò, the
secretary of the Congregation, addressed to all the bishops of Italy a
circular stating that in many places there existed or were forming
associations called spiritual conferences, under ignorant directors,
who, with maxims of exquisite perfection, misled them into most
pernicious errors, resulting in manifest heresy and abominable
immorality. The bishops were therefore ordered to investigate and, if
such assemblies were found, to abolish them forthwith, taking moreover
especial care that this pestilence was not allowed to infect the

[Sidenote: _MOLINOS_]

There could be but one end to the trial. Every possible accusation was
brought against Molinos, even to a foolish self-laudatory speech made to
the sbirri who arrested him, and his admiring certain anagrams made of
his name. One charge, which he denied, was his giving to a certain
person the soiled shirt in which he had come from Spain, saying that,
after his death, it would be a great relic. He seems to have responded
with candor to the various articles, denying some and admitting others.
Of the articles the most important were his justifying the sacrilege of
breaking images and crucifixes; depreciating religious vows and
dissuading persons from entering religious Orders; saying that vows
destroyed perfection; that, by the prayer of Quiet, the soul is rendered
not only sinless but impeccable, for it is deprived of freedom and God
operates it, wishing us sometimes to sin and offend him, and the demon
moves the members to indecent acts; that the three ways of the spirit,
hitherto described by the doctors, are absurd and that there is but one,
the interior way; that he had formed conventicles of men and women and
permitted them to perform immoral acts and to eat flesh on fast days.
He admitted excusing the breaking of images and crucifixes; he denied
depreciation of solemn vows, but admitted it as respects private ones,
and he had only dissuaded from entering religion those whom he knew
would create scandal. He denied teaching that in Quietism the soul
becomes impeccable, but only that it did not consent to the act of sin
and he said that he knew many persons practising it who lived many years
without committing even venial sin. He denied also that Quietism
deprived the soul of freewill, but said that, in that perfect union with
God, it was God who worked and not the faculties, and when he said that
God sometimes wished sin, he meant material sin (as distinguished from
formal), and that the demon, as God's instrument to mortify the flesh
and purify the soul, causes sometimes the hand and other members to
perform lascivious acts. He denied condemning the three ways of the
spirit, having meant only that the interior way was so much more perfect
that the others were negligible by comparison. He denied forming
conventicles in which lascivious acts were permitted and he had excluded
some persons who would not refrain from them. He admitted eating flesh
on prohibited days, and that he had not perfectly observed a single Lent
since he came to Rome, but said that this was by licence of his
physician. He confessed that for many years he had practised the most
indecent acts with two women, the details of which need not be repeated;
he had not deemed this sinful, but a purification of the soul and that
in them he enjoyed a closer union with God; these were merely acts of
the senses, in which the higher faculties had no part, as they were
united with God. When he was told that these were propositions
heretical, bestial and scandalous, he replied that he submitted himself
in all things to the Holy Office, recognizing that its lights were
superior to his own.[108]

A sentence of condemnation was inevitable. It was drawn up, August 20,
1687; on the 28th an inquisitorial decree was signed embodying
sixty-eight propositions, drawn from the evidence and confessions, which
were condemned as heretical, suspect, erroneous, scandalous,
blasphemous, offensive to pious ears, subversive of Christian discipline
and seditious; they were not to be taught or practised under pain of
deprivation of office and benefice and perpetual disability, and of an
anathema reserved to the Holy See. All the writings of Molinos, in
whatever language, were forbidden to be printed, possessed or read, and
all copies were, under the same penalties, to be surrendered to the
inquisitors or bishops, who were to burn them.[109] This was posted in
the usual places on September 3d, the day fixed for the atto di fede in
which Molinos was to appear.

Under a heavy guard he was brought, on the previous evening, from the
inquisitorial prison to the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, in
which the atto was to be celebrated. In the morning, in a room next to
the sacristy, he was exhibited to some curious persons of distinction,
eliciting from him an expression of indignation, construed as indicating
how little he felt of real repentance. This was confirmed by what
followed, explicable possibly by Spanish imperturbability, but more
probably by the Quietism which led him to regard himself as the passive
instrument of God's will, and superbly indifferent to whatever might
befall him, so long as his soul was rapt in the joys of the mystic
death, which he had taught as the _summum bonum_. Called upon to order a
meal, he specified one which in quantity and quality might satisfy the
most voracious _gourmet_ and, after partaking of it, he lay down to a
refreshing siesta, until he was roused to take his place on the platform
where, in spite of his manacles, his bearing was that of a judge and not
of a convict.


The vast church was thronged to its farthest corner with all that was
notable in Rome, including twenty-three cardinals, and the spacious
piazza in front and all the neighboring streets were crowded. An
indulgence of fifteen days and fifteen quarantines had been proclaimed
for all in attendance, but in Rome, where plenary indulgences could be
had on almost every day in the year by merely visiting churches, this
could not account for the eagerness which brushed aside the Swiss guards
stationed at the portals, requiring a reinforcement of troops and
resulting in considerable bloodshed. As the long sentence was read,
with its details of Molinos's enormities, occupying two hours, it was
interrupted with the frequent roar of Burn him! Burn him! led by an
enthusiastic cardinal and echoed by the mob outside. Through all this,
we are told, his effrontery never failed him, which was reckoned as an
infallible sign of his persistent perversity. The sentence concluded by
declaring him convicted as a dogmatizing heretic but, as he had
professed himself repentant and had implored mercy and pardon, it
ordered him to abjure his heresies and to be rigidly imprisoned with the
sanbenito for life, without hope of release, and to perform certain
spiritual exercises. This was duly executed and he lingered, it was said
repentant, until his death, December 28, 1696. The day after the atto di
fede his disciples performed their abjuration. There was no desire to
deal harshly with them, and they were dismissed with trivial penances,
except the brothers Leoni. Simone the priest, who had been a popular
confessor, was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment; Antonio Maria, the
tailor, who had been a travelling missionary and organizer, was
incarcerated for life. There was still another victim, the secretary of
Molinos, Pedro Peña, arrested May 9, 1687, for defending his master. He
was fully convicted of Quietism and, on March 16, 1689, he was condemned
to life-long prison.[110]

There still remained the publication to Christendom of the new position
assumed by the Holy See towards Mysticism. The sixty-eight propositions,
condemned in the inquisitorial decree of August 28th, were printed in
the vernacular and placed on sale, but were speedily suppressed. There
must still have been opposition in the Sacred College, or on the part of
Innocent XI, for the bull _Coelestis Pastor_ was not drawn up and
signed until November 20th, and was not finally published to the world
until February 19, 1688. This recited the same series of propositions
and the condamnation of Molinos and confirmed the decree of August
28th. The propositions condemned consisted, for the most part, of the
untenable extravagances of Quietism, including impeccability and the
sinlessness of acts committed while the soul was absorbed with God, but
it was impossible to do this without condemning much that had been
taught and practised by the mystic saints, and there were no saving
clauses to differentiate lawful from unlawful converse of the soul with
its Creator. The Church broke definitely with Mysticism, and by
implication gave the faithful to understand that salvation was to be
sought in the beaten track, through the prescribed observances and under
the guidance of the hierarchical organization.[111]

This change of front was emphasized in various ways. Innocent's favor
saved Cardinal Petrucci from formal prosecution; to the vexation of the
Inquisition, his case was referred to four cardinals, Cibò, Ottoboni,
Casanate and Azzolini; he professed himself ready to retract whatever
the pope objected to and, though the Inquisition held an abjuration to
be necessary, he was not required to make it; he was relegated to Jesi
and then recalled to Rome, where he was kept under surveillance. He
could not, moreover, escape the mortification of seeing the books, which
had been so warmly approved, condemned by a decree of February 5, 1688.
Many other works, which had long passed current as recognized aids to
devotion, were similarly treated--those of Benedetto Biscia, Juan
Falconi, François Malaval and of numerous others--even the _Opera della
divina Gratia_ of the Dominican Tommaso Menghini, himself
Inquisitor-general of Ferrara and author of the _Regole del Tribunal del
Santo Officio_, which long remained a standard guide in the tribunals.
What had been accepted as the highest expression of religious devotion
had suddenly become heresy.[112] Apparently it was not until May, 1689,
that instructions were sent everywhere to demand the surrender of all
books of Molinos and to report any one suspected of Molinism.[113]


Persecution received a fresh impulse when Cardinal Ottoboni, as
Alexander VIII, succeeded Innocent XI, October 6, 1689. Bernino tells us
that he appeared to him an angel in looks and an apostle in utterance
when he declared that there was no creature in the world so devoid of
sense as a heretic for, as he was deprived of faith so also was he of
reason. His first care was to remove from office and throw into
irremissible prison every one who was in the slightest degree suspect of
Molinism; in this he did not even spare his Apostolic camera, for he
arrested an Apostolic Prothonotary and, although in the Congregation of
the Inquisition there were four kinsmen of the prisoner, zeal for the
faith preponderated over blood.[114] Fortunately his pontificate lasted
for only sixteen months, so that he had but limited opportunity for the
gratification of his ardent fanaticism and scandalous nepotism.

In spite of all this, there were still found those who indulged their
sensual instincts under cover of exalted spirituality. In 1698 there was
in Rome the case of a priest, named Pietro Paolo di San Giov.
Evangelista, who had already been tried by the tribunals of Naples and
Spoleto, so that his career must have been prolonged, while references
to a Padre Benigno and a Padre Filippo del Rio show that he was not
alone. He had ecstasies and a following of devotees; he taught that
communion could be taken without preliminary confession and that, when
the spirit was united with God, whatever acts the inferior part might
commit were not sins. He freely confessed to practices of indescribable
obscenity with his female penitents, whom he assured afterwards that
they were as pure as the Blessed Virgin. He was sentenced to perpetual
prison, without hope of release, and to a series of arduous spiritual
penances, while Fra Benigno escaped with seven years of

Another development of the same tendencies--probably a survival of the
Pelagini--was discovered in Brescia in 1708. The sectaries called
themselves disciples of St. Augustin, engaged in vindicating his
opinions on predestination and grace, but they were popularly known as
Beccarellisti, from two brothers, priests of the name of Beccarelli,
whom they regarded as their leaders. For twenty-five years--that is,
since the ostensible suppression of the Pelagini--the sect had been
secretly spreading itself throughout Lombardy, where it was said to
number some forty-two thousand members, including many nobles and
wealthy families and ecclesiastics of position. They had a common
treasury and a regular organization, headed by the elder Beccarelli as
pope, with cardinals, apostles and other dignitaries. The immediate
object of the movement, we are told, was to break the power of the
religious Orders and to restore to the secular priesthood the functions
of confession and the direction of souls which it had well-nigh lost,
but there was taught the Quietist doctrine of divine grace to which the
devotee surrendered all his faculties. This was allowed to operate
without resistance, and Beccarelli held that Molinos was the only true
teacher of Christian perfection, but we may safely reject as
exaggeration the statement that carnal indulgence was regarded as
earning a plenary indulgence, applicable to souls in purgatory. Cardinal
Badoaro, then Bishop of Brescia, took energetic measures to stamp out
this recrudescence of the condemned doctrines; the leaders scattered to
Switzerland, Germany and England, while Beccarelli was tried by the
Inquisition of Venice and was condemned to seven years of

Probably the latest victims who paid with their lives for their belief
in the efficacy of mental prayer and mystic death were a beguine named
Geltruda and a friar named Romualdo, who were burnt in a Palermitan atto
di fede, April 6, 1724, as impenitent Molinists after languishing in
gaol since 1699.[117]


If, in the condemnation of Molinos, Mysticism was not wholly condemned,
what was lacking was supplied when the duel between the two glories of
the Gallican Church--Bossuet and Fénelon--induced an appeal to the Holy
See. Beyond the Alps, mystic ardor was not widely diffused in the
seventeenth century, yet there were those who revelled in the agonies
and bliss of the interior way. St. François de Sales, who died in 1622,
was beatified in 1661 and canonized in 1665, taught Quietism as
pronounced as that of Molinos, although he avoided the application to
sensuality. The soul abandoned itself wholly to God; when divine love
took possession of it, God deprived it of all human desires, even for
spiritual consolations, exercises of piety and the perfection of virtue.
He said that he had scarce a desire and, if he were to live again, he
would have none; if God came to him, he would go to meet him but, if God
did not come, he would remain quiescent and would not seek God. Freedom
of the spirit consisted in detachment from everything to submit to the
will of God, caring neither for places, or persons, or the practice of
virtue.[118] It followed that the soul, absorbed in divine love, had
nothing to ask of God; it rested in the quiet of contemplation, while
vocal prayer and all the received observances of religion were cast
aside, as fitted only for those who had not attained these mystic
altitudes. Then there was Antoinette Bourignon (1616-1680) who, in her
voluminous writings, taught the supremacy of the interior light, the
abandonment of the faculties to the will of God, and the utter
renunciation of self in the ardor of divine love.[119] There was Jean de
Bernières-Louvigny (1602-1659) whose writings had an immense circulation
and whose views as to mystic death were virtually the same as those of
Molinos.[120] All these and others taught and wrote without
interference, save from polemics, such as those of Pére Archange Ripaut,
Guardian of the Capuchin convent of S. Jacques in Paris, who devoted a
volume of near a thousand pages to their refutation and reprobation. If
we are to believe him, these superhuman heights of spirituality were
accompanied in France, as elsewhere, with sensuality.[121]

The condemnation of Molinos and the sixty-eight propositions attributed
to him naturally attracted attention to the more or less quietistic
developments of Mysticism, but it is probable that no action on the
subject would have been taken in France had not personal motives
suggested the persecution of one who chanced at the moment to be the
most prominent representative of the interior way--that very curious
personality, Jeanne Marie Bouvières de la Mothe Guyon, whose
autobiography, written with a frank absence of reserve, affords a living
picture of the self-inflicted martyrdom endured in the struggle to
emancipate the soul from the ties of earth. When she reached the final
stage she tells us that formerly God was in her, now she was in him,
plunged in his immensity without sight or light or knowledge; she was
lost in him as a wave in the ocean; her soul was as a leaf or a feather
borne by the wind, abandoning itself to the operation of God in all that
it did, exteriorly or interiorly. She acquired the faculty of working
miraculous cures and her power over demons was such that, if she were in
hell, they would all abandon it. At times the plenitude of grace was so
superabundant and so oppressive that she could only lie speechless in
bed; it so swelled her that her clothes would be torn and she could find
relief only by discharging the surplus on others.[122]

It is beyond our province to enter into the miserable story of her
persecutions, commenced by some of her relatives and carried on by
Bossuet, leading to her reclusion in convents and imprisonment in
Vincennes and the Bastile. It suffices for us that her influence
stimulated Fénelon's tendency to Mysticism and converted into bitter
hostility the friendship between him and Bossuet. A commission,
appointed to examine her doctrine and headed by Bossuet, drew up, in
1694, a list of thirty-four errors of Mysticism, which Fénelon willingly
signed and which Bossuet and Noailles, then Bishop of Châlons-sur-Marne,
issued with instructions for their dioceses, including condemnations of
the _Guide_ of Molinos, the _Pratique facile_ of Malaval, the _Règle des
Associés de l'Enfant Jésus_, the _Analis_ of Lacombe and Madame Guyon's
_Moyen court_ and _Cantique des Cantiques_. By this time Madame Guyon
had been put out of the way, and the matter might have been allowed to
rest under the comprehensive definitions of the bull _Coelestis
pastor_, but Bossuet's combative spirit had been aroused and he was
determined to crush out all vestiges of Mysticism, heedless of what the
Church had accepted for centuries. He drew up an Instruction on the
various kinds of prayer, in which he pointed out, in vigorous terms, the
dangers attendant on contemplation. Noailles, now Archbishop of Paris,
signed it with him, and they invited Fénelon to join but he refused, in
spite of entreaties and remonstrances, for it attributed to Madame Guyon
all that was most objectionable in Illuminism.


The breach between the friends had commenced and it widened irrevocably
when Fénelon, in justification of himself, published, in February 1697,
his _Explication des Maximes des Saints sur la Vie intérieure_, with a
letter to Madame de Maintenon animadverting sharply on Bossuet's
injustice. The book was based chiefly on the utterances of St. François
de Sales, but it carefully guarded the practice of Quietism from all
objectionable deductions. There was no self-abandonment to temptations
and no claim of impeccability; souls of the highest altitude could
commit mortal sin; they were bound daily to ask God for forgiveness, to
detest their sins and seek remission, not for the mercenary motive of
their own salvation but in obedience to the wishes of God. It is true
that they were not tied down to formal observances, but vocal prayer was
not to be decried,--though its value depended upon its being animated by
internal prayer. The indifference, which was the point most objected to
in Quietism, was greatly limited by Fénelon. The senseless determination
to wish for nothing was an impious resistance to the known will of God,
and to all the impulses of his grace; it is true that the advanced soul
wishes nothing for itself but it wishes everything for God; it does not
wish perfection or happiness for itself, but it wishes all perfection
and happiness, so far as it pleases God to make us wish for these
things, by the impulsion of his grace. In this highest state the soul
does not wish salvation in its own interest, but wishes it for the glory
and good pleasure of God, as a thing which he wishes and wishes us to
wish for his sake.

It is difficult to see what objection could be raised to a Quietism thus
strictly limited and guarded, and no one who compares the _Maximes des
Saints_ with the extravagance of the great mystic saints can fail to
recognize that the violent quarrel which arose was a purely personal
matter. In this Fénelon defended himself with dignity and moderation,
while the violence of Bossuet's attack sometimes bordered on truculence.
He was secure in the support of the court. Louis XIV had been won over,
and it soon became to him a matter of personal pride to overcome all
resistance to his will. Fénelon was banished to his diocese of Cambrai
and deprived of his position of preceptor to the royal children, showing
that he was in complete disgrace and warning all time-servers to abandon

It was soon evident that the matter would have to be settled in Rome.
Bossuet sent an advance copy of his Instruction to Innocent XII,
pointing out that he was applying in France the principles affirmed in
the condemnation of Molinos. Fénelon followed his example and, on April
27th, sent the _Maximes_, stating that he submitted it to the judgement
of the Holy See. The curia gladly accepted the task, rejoiced at the
opportunity of intervening authoritatively in a quarrel within the
Gallican Church. Fénelon was refused permission to go to Rome and
defend himself, but he had a powerful protector in the person of the
Cardinal de Bouillon, then French ambassador and a member of the
Congregation of the Inquisition, who loyally stood by him even at the
expense of a rebuke from his royal master. He also secured the support
of the Jesuits, whose Collége de Clermont had approved of the _Maximes_,
and who promised to manifest as much energy in his defence as they had
shown in procuring the condemnation of Cornelis Jansen. These weighty
influences might secure delay and discussion, but they could not control
the result against the overmastering pressure of such a monarch as Louis
XIV who, on July 27, 1697, wrote to the pope that he had had the
_Maximes_ examined and that it was pronounced "très mauvais et très
dangéreux," wherefore he asked to have judgement pronounced on it
without delay. Then, on May 16, 1698, the nuncio at Paris reported that
the king complained of the delay; it was in contempt of his person and
crown, and if Rome did not act promptly he would take such measures as
he saw fit. Threats such as this were not to be lightly disregarded, and
still more ominous was an autograph letter to the pope, December 23d,
expressing his displeasure at the prolongation of the case and urging
its speedy conclusion.


To Bossuet's representative and grand-vicar, the Abbé Phelippeaux, we
owe a minute report of the long contest, which affords an interesting
inside view of the conduct of such affairs, showing how little regard
was paid to the principles involved and how completely the result
depended on intrigue and influence. The case passed through its regular
stages. A commission of seven consultors had been found, to whom, after
a struggle, three were added. These disputed at much length over
thirty-seven propositions extracted from the book and, when at length
they made their report to the Congregation of the Inquisition, they
stood five to five, showing that each side had succeeded in putting an
equal number of friends on the commission. In the Congregation, the
struggle was renewed and continued through thirty-eight sessions. Had
the fate of Europe been at stake, the matter could not have been more
warmly contested. At length the inevitable condemnation was voted, and
then came a fresh contest over the phraseology of the decree. Bossuet's
agents were not content with the simple condemnation of twenty-three
propositions and the prohibition of the book, and they struggled
vigorously for clauses condemning and humiliating Fénelon himself,
showing how purely personal was the controversy. In this they failed,
as well as in the endeavor to have the propositions characterized as
heretical; they were only pronounced to be respectively rash,
scandalous, ill-sounding, offensive to pious ears, pernicious in
practice and erroneous. The principal doctrine aimed at was that the
pure love of God should be wholly disinterested, and that its acts and
motives should be divested of all mercenary hope of reward. The brief
was finally agreed to, on March 12, 1699, and published on the 13th. It
was in the form of a _motu proprio_ which, under the rules in force in
France respecting papal decrees, precluded its acceptance and
registration by the Parlement, but Louis, ordinarily so tenacious about
papal intrusion, found indirect means of eluding the difficulty.

Fénelon, however, had not awaited this cumbrous procedure. In a
dignified letter of submission to the pope, April 4, 1699, he stated
that he had already prepared a _mandement_ for his diocese, condemning
the book with its twenty-three propositions, which he would publish as
soon as he should receive the royal permission. This was promptly given
and, on April 9th he issued it, forbidding the possession and reading of
the _Maximes_, and condemning the propositions "simply, absolutely and
without a shadow of restriction." Innocent XII, who had more than once
indicated sympathy with Fénelon, responded May 12th, in a brief
expressing his cordial satisfaction, bestowing on him his loving
benediction and invoking the aid of God for his pastoral labors.
Bossuet, with the royal assistance, had triumphed, at the cost of a
stain on his reputation; what the Church had gained, in condemning the
sublimated speculations of a rarefied and impracticable Mysticism, it
would be hard to say.[123]

Yet, as though to indicate that there is no finality in these matters,
Pius VI, in 1789, beatified the Blessed Giovanni Giuseppe della Croce
([dagger symbol] March 5, 1734), who was much given to contemplation and to
union with God, in which all his faculties were lost, as completely as
in the trances of his prototype, San Juan de la Cruz, or as in the
mystic death of Molinos. That his Mysticism did not forfeit the favor of
heaven was shown by his possessing the gift of bilocation--of being in
two places at one time--of which numerous instances were cited in the
beatification proceedings.[124]

       *       *       *       *       *

The Spanish Inquisition which had so long carried on single-handed the
struggle against Mysticism, watched with satisfaction the Roman
proceedings against Molinos. As we have seen, his arrest, on July 3,
1685, was promptly followed, November 9th with a condemnation of the
_Guida_ which, for nine years, had been allowed to circulate freely in
Spain. The edict pronounced it to contain propositions ill-sounding,
offensive to pious ears, rash, savoring of the heresy of the Alumbrados,
and some erroneous ones, and the title was denounced as misleading
because it spoke only of the interior way.[125] When the sentence of the
Roman Inquisition was published, September 3, 1687, although as a rule
the Spanish Holy Office paid no attention to its decrees, the
sixty-eight propositions were speedily translated into the vernacular
and widely distributed. On October 11th, sixty copies were sent to
Valencia to be posted, with orders to print more if they should be
required. These were accompanied with an edict, commanding obedience and
threatening the most rigorous prosecution for remissness, while all
persons were ordered to denounce, within ten days, contraventions of any
kind coming to their knowledge. This edict was to be published in all
churches of the capitals of _partidos_ and an authentic record of such
publication was to be affixed to the doors. In due time, when the bull
_Coelestis pastor_ was issued, it was circulated with the same
prescriptions.[126] There was evidently a determination to make the most
of this new ally in the struggle with Mysticism.

[Sidenote: _MOLINISM_]

The Seville tribunal, indeed, had not waited for this, as it had
already, April 24, 1687, arrested a canon of the church of San Salvador,
Joseph Luis Navarro de Luna y Medina, who was a correspondent of
Molinos and had sent him his autobiography, in order to obtain
instructions for his spiritual guidance. He had previously been deprived
of his licence as confessor, on charges of imprudent conduct as
spiritual director of a nunnery, but Jaime de Palafox, Archbishop of
Seville, who was a warm admirer of Molinos, had restored the licence,
introduced him in all the convents and adopted him as confessor of
himself and his family. For four years Navarro endured incarceration and
the torture which was not spared, but he succumbed at last, confessed
and sought reconciliation. His sentence declared him guilty of the
errors of the Lutherans, Calvinists, Arians, Nestorians, Trinitarians,
Waldenses, Agapetæ, Baianists and Alumbrados, besides being a dogmatizer
of those of Molinos, with the addition that evil thoughts arising in
prayer should be carried into execution, and also that, when his
disciples assembled in his house, the lights would be extinguished and
he would teach doctrines too foul for description. The tribunal itself
could scarce have believed all this, for he was only required to abjure,
to be deprived of benefice and functions, to be recluded for two years
and be exiled for six more. When the term had expired he returned to
Seville and then, until his death, in 1725, he passed his days in the
churches, where the Venerable Sacrament was exposed for adoration,
carrying with him a hinged stool on which he sat, gazing at the
Host.[127] He was not the only Molinist in Seville for in 1689, after
three years' trial, Fray Pedro de San José was condemned as a disciple
of Molinos, for committing obscenities with his penitents and
foretelling his election as pope and his suffering under Antichrist, who
was already in Jerusalem, twenty years old. He was sentenced to abjure
_de vehementi_, to undergo a circular discipline in his convent, to
perpetual deprivation of teaching and confessing, and to six years'
reclusion in a convent, with the customary disabilities.[128] Soon
afterwards there was penanced in an auto, May 18, 1692, a woman named
Ana Raguza, popularly known as _la pabeza_, as an Alumbrada and
Molinista. She had come from Palermo as a missionary to convert the
wicked, probably in the train of Palafox, who had been Archbishop of
Palermo. She called herself a bride of Christ, she had visions and
revelations, she denied the efficacy of masses and fasts, and she had
the faculty of determining the condition of consciences by the sense of
smell. She escaped with two years of reclusion and six more of

[Sidenote: _MOLINISM_]

The condemnation of Molinos seems to have stimulated the Inquisition to
greater activity in the suppression of mysticism, for cases begin to
appear more frequently in the records and henceforth the term Molinism,
to a great extent, takes the place of Illuminism. We hear of a Molinist
penanced in a Córdova auto of May 12, 1693,[130] and he cannot have been
the only one there for Fray Francisco de Possadas of that city tells us
that he was led to write his book against the carnal errors of Molinos
by his experience in the confessional, showing that some of his
penitents had been misled by them.[131] The report of the Valencia
tribunal, for 1695, contains three cases then on trial. The Franciscan,
Fray Vicente Selles, had been arrested in 1692. He had led a life
exteriorly austere, practising meditation and contemplation, and he
freely admitted that when Molinos was condemned he held that the pope
was wrongly informed. His overwrought brain gave way under the stress of
confinement; at times he was full of religious emotion and solicitous as
to his salvation, while at others he was violently insane, performing
various crazy freaks. On August 24th he attempted suicide by dashing his
head against a projecting piece of iron, causing a wound so serious that
several pieces of skull were discharged and, on February 6, 1693, the
surgeons reported his life to be still in danger. He remained
_melancolico_, variable in mood, confessing and retracting until, on
October 23d, he confessed fully to Molinism, naming eleven women with
whom he had had relations in the confessional and also admitting
unnatural crime and other offences. At the date of the report his trial
was still unfinished. Another phase of these eccentric methods of
salvation is presented in the case of Vicente Hernan, a hermit of San
Cristóbal of Concentayna, accused by three women of teaching them the
way of bruising the head of the serpent by sleeping with them and
resisting temptation, and of attempting indecencies, which they denied
permitting. He was arrested September 23, 1692, and in two audiences he
was a _negativo_. Then on December 17th he asked for an audience in
which he said that for eight days some little flies and black pigeons
had been biting him and reminding him of things forgotten, whereupon he
told of the women whom he had got to sleep with him, sometimes two or
three at a time, and he also mentioned numerous miraculous cures which
he had wrought. In January 1693, he said that the demons with the voice
of flies had been recalling his sins, and he told of three other women.
Doubts arose as to his sanity and, at the end of 1693 steps were taken
to investigate it, which were still in progress at the time of closing
the report. The third case was that of Mosen Antonio Serra, whose
doctrines the calificadores reported to be Molinistic. He was arrested
December 19, 1695, so that his trial had only begun.[132]

In 1708 the Toledo tribunal arrested Fray Manuel de Paredes, a
contemplative fraile, who encouraged mystic practices among his
penitents, leading to several trials, which illustrate the increased
severity visited upon these condemned forms of devotion.[133] The same
tendency is visible soon afterwards at Córdova, where a little
conventicle of _Molinistas alumbrados_ was discovered in the Dominican
convent of San Pablo, under the leadership of a beata named Isabel del
Castillo. Her disciples abandoned to her their free-will and all their
faculties; they had no need of fasts and penances but could transfer
their sins to her and the path of salvation lay through sensual
indulgence. In the auto of April 24, 1718, there were seven of them
penanced, Isabel being visited with two hundred lashes and perpetual
prison; the friars were reconciled, deprived of their functions and
imprisoned, some irremissibly and some perpetually, while the laymen had
penances of various degrees of severity.[134]

During this period there occurred a case deserving of consideration in
some detail, not only because of the prominence of the culprit but
because it affords a clearer view than others of the strange
intermixture of sensuality and spirituality, which was distinctly known
as Molinism, and of the self-deception which enabled men and women to
indulge their passions while believing themselves to be living in the
mystic altitude of Union with God. Perhaps this may partly be
explicable by the teachings of the laxer morality, current in the
sixteenth century and known under the general name of Probabilism, and
by the distinction between material and formal sin, whereby that alone
was mortal sin which the conscience recognized as such, the conscience
being still further eased by refinements as to advertence and consent.
In the skilful hands of the casuists, the boundaries between right and
wrong became dangerously nebulous, and arguments were plentiful through
which men could persuade themselves that whatever they chose to do was


Joseph Fernández de Toro was an inquisitor in Murcia, deeply imbued with
quietistic Mysticism. In 1686 he issued anonymously in Seville a little
tract with the significant title of "Remedio facilissimo para no pecar
en el uso y exercicio de la Oracion," which in time duly found its way
into the Index.[135] As inquisitor he had manifested his tendencies,
when a prelate of high repute and station in a religious Order was tried
before him for solicitation _ad turpia_ in the confessional. Guided by
the light within, Toro was satisfied that it was merely a case of
obsession by the demon; he persuaded the Suprema to accept this view,
and the culprit escaped with suspension from celebrating mass and
hearing confessions until the obsession should pass. In 1706, he was
promoted to the see of Oviedo, of which he took possession October 1st.
Unluckily for him there was at Oviedo the Jesuit college of San Mathias;
his reputation for Quietism seems to have preceded him, and the heads of
the college resolved themselves into a corps of detectives. Professing
the utmost friendship, they speedily acquired his confidence and he
talked with them freely. They were prompt in action for, in January
1707, Padre José del Campo drew up for the inquisitor-general an
elaborate secret denunciation, setting forth how Toro in conversation
had offered to explain to him the contemplation of Molinos; since coming
to Asturias, he had spoken to no one about these things, for he knew
that they had occasioned much murmuring against him, but he described
the mode in which the soul reached the summit of perfection in Union
with God, while the inferior sensual part might be abandoned to the
foulest temptation. These dangerous speculations were reported in full
detail and were accompanied by a long and skilful argument to prove that
Toro was in every sense a Molinist.

Other Jesuits drew up similar denunciations, or attested their truth,
and the case was fairly before the Holy Office. It was too serious for
hasty action and investigation was made in Murcia, where his female
accomplices were arrested, and ample confirmatory evidence was obtained
from their confessions and from eighteen of his letters. The Carranza
case had taught the lesson that bishops could be reached only through
papal authority and, on November 7, 1709, Inquisitor-general Ybáñez
forwarded to Clement XI the accumulated evidence, to which the pope
replied, March 8, 1710, that the matter would be thoroughly examined and
the necessary action be taken. Toro had at first been disposed to make a
contest, asserting that God would work miracles in defence of the women,
and that their imprisonment was a martyrdom; that the light infused in
him by God rendered him superior to the Inquisition, and that he was
illuminated above all other men. By this time, however, he realized his
position; on February 8, 1710, he made, through his confessor, a partial
confession, and he followed this with several letters to the pope,
begging permission to come to Rome for judgement. Then a papal brief of
June 7th ordered Ybáñez, within three years and under the advice of the
Suprema, to frame a prosecution, for which full powers were granted; if
the evidence sufficed, Toro was to be arrested and the case carried on
up to the point of sentence, when all the documents were to be
transmitted to Rome, where the pope would render the decision.

Toro was duly imprisoned and his trial proceeded. Ybáñez died, September
3, 1710 and was succeeded by Giudice, who was empowered, by a brief of
October 3, 1711, to carry on the process. Toro was found to be
_diminuto_ on a hundred and four of the articles of accusation; he was
reticent and refused to answer interrogations, begging earnestly to be
sent to Rome. His request was granted, by a brief of June 7, 1714, but
his departure was delayed, and it was not until June 11, 1716, that he
reached Rome and was lodged in the castle of Sant'Angelo. Andrés de
Cabrejas, fiscal of the Suprema, accompanied him, to represent the
Spanish Inquisition in the trial which proceeded slowly. Toro's
confessions and letters were a rich mine for the calificadores, who
extracted from them four hundred and fifty-five propositions of various
degrees of error--some of them being identical with those of Molinos.
Finally he abandoned all defence and acknowledged that he had been a
dogmatizing heretic, a soliciting seducer, a blasphemer against the
purity of God, Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin, a reviver of the
filthy sects of the Begghards, Illuminists and Molinists and subject to
the same penalties.

[Sidenote: _MOLINISM_]

In fact he seems to have recognized his errors and to have confessed
with a freedom indicative of sincere repentance. Much of his confessions
is unfit for transcription, but a brief extract will indicate the
self-deception that reconciled the grossest sensuality with aspirations
for perfection. Thus of one of his accomplices he says that, believing
himself to be illuminated in the sacrifice of the mass, he had written
that none of her directors could estimate her spiritual state as regards
her perfection and Union with God, in spite of the concussions of her
inferior part, excited by obsession, through which those could be
deceived who were unable to understand her interior virtues and perfect
state. Although in obscene acts the woman might seem externally to be a
sinner, yet, by asserting that she had not yielded consent, she might
internally be perfect and be in Union with God. That, as the Incarnate
Word did not contract original sin in his union with humanity, so with
persons annihilated, purged and perfected, God could direct them to
supernatural operations in such wise that the operations of the inferior
part worked no prejudice to their state of perfection, and that the
woman's obscene acts might proceed from obsession, and she be passive
without consent.... That he had believed this doctrine to be infused in
him by God, and thus to be true, like the doctrine of the Church, to be
held unhesitatingly, especially by those obsessed, and he had written
that he was ready to give his life in its defence.... That he had
believed the indecencies committed with this same woman might be an
exercise and martyrdom sent by God for the humiliation and purification
of both, but nevertheless he made confession of them, and took care that
she should do so. She was accustomed to say that, in the inferior part,
she was without sensuality and in the superior part was absorbed in
contemplation and love of God.... That in his oratory after mass and her
communion he had embraced her and told her that she received the light
and that this was the love of God for his creatures.... That Jesus was
in him and worked in him, because neither he nor the woman experienced
sensuality in what they did nor did it from corrupt intention.... That
he had had this belief for seven years prior to his episcopate, and had
maintained it subsequently up to July 1708, but then, in confessing his
sins, a worthy confessor enlightened his blindness, and since then he
had detested his errors and had followed the way of Catholic truth.

At length the pope designated July 27, 1719 for pronouncing sentence.
Cabrejas had the records of Carranza's condemnation looked up, and the
same ceremonial was observed. Toro was brought from the castle of
Sant'Angelo to one of the halls of the papal palace, and there the
sentence was read. It deposed him from his bishopric and all other
benefices, it incapacitated him from holding any preferment, and
suspended him perpetually from sacerdotal functions; it required him to
abjure his heresy and errors, it called upon him to pay for pious uses,
as far as he could, all revenues accrued since his lapse into heresy,
and it burdened his see with a pension for his support, to be determined
by the pope; it condemned him to reclusion, in some convent outside of
Spain, when he was to perform perpetual penance, on the bread of sorrow
and water of grief, and it prescribed certain spiritual observances.
After listening to his sentence, Toro made the required abjuration,
accepted the penance and disappeared from view.[136]

Another prominent culprit was the priest, Don Francisco de Leon y Luna,
a Knight of Santiago and member of the Council of Castile, who was tried
by the tribunal of Madrid for Molinism and formal solicitation. As a
_negativo_ he was liable to relaxation but, on November 24, 1721, it was
voted to give him nine audiences, in which the inquisitors, with some
calificadores, should exhort him to confession and conversion, under
threat of administering the full rigor of the law. He seems to have
yielded and, on August 11, 1722, his sentence _con méritos_ was read in
the presence of twelve members of the Councils of Castile, Indies,
Orders and Hacienda. He was required to abjure _de vehementi_, he was
deprived perpetually of confessing men and women, of guiding souls and
instructing them in prayer, and of the honors of the Order of Santiago;
half of his property was confiscated, and he was recluded for three
years with suspension of all sacerdotal functions, to be followed by
five years of exile.[137]

[Sidenote: _MOLINISM_]

Llorente gives, in great detail, an account of a Molinist movement
which, soon after this, afforded ample occupation to the tribunals of
Logroño and Valladolid. Juan de Causadas, a prebendary of Tudela, was an
ardent disciple of Molinos and propagator of his doctrines. He was burnt
at Logroño, but whether for pertinacity or denial we are not informed.
His nephew, Fray Juan de Longas, of the Barefooted Carmelites, was also
a dogmatizer and was sentenced, in 1729, to two hundred lashes and ten
years of galleys, followed by perpetual prison. This severity seems not
to have discouraged the proselytes who, apparently, were not betrayed by
Longas. The principal among them was Doña Agueda de Luna, who had
entered the Carmelite convent of Lerma in 1712, with the reputation of a
saint. Her ecstasies and miracles were spread abroad by Juan de Longas,
by the Prior of Lerma, by the Provincial of the Order, Juan de la Vega,
and by the leading frailes, who found their account in the crowds of
devotees seeking her intercession. Juan de la Vega himself acquired the
name of _el extático_ and was represented as the holiest mystic since
the days of Juan de la Cruz. A convent was founded at Corella for Madre
Agueda, of which she was made prioress, and the nuns were fully
indoctrinated in the principles and practice of Molinism. By Madre
Agueda, Juan de la Vega had five children who were strangled at birth
and, with other untimely fruits of the prevailing licence, were buried
in the vicinity. After a long course of iniquity and deception, Madre
Agueda was denounced to the Logroño tribunal; her accomplices and
disciples were arrested and their trials were pushed with unsparing
severity. She perished under torture and, in 1743, the frailes were
recluded in various houses and the nuns were distributed among convents
of their Order.[138] Madre Agueda's case had been decided some years
previously for, in the Supplement to the Index of 1707, published in
1739, the first entry relates to her, "of whom the apocryphal life has
been written, and of whom are circulated stones, cloths, medals and
papers as relics," all of which were to be surrendered as well as
relations of her prodigies and virtues. The stones here alluded to are
evidently those described by Llorente, made of brick-dust and stamped
with a cross on one side and a star on the other, which were said to be
voided by her with child-birth pains, and were universally treasured as
amulets. It may be assumed that this case led to the issue, in 1745, by
the Inquisition of an edict directed against five Molinist errors.[139]

Cases still continued to occur, but infrequently and of minor
importance. The inquisitors had begun to merge immoral mysticism with
solicitation in the confessional, of which more hereafter, while the
more harmless kinds were classified as _embusteros_ (impostors) or
_ilusos_ (deluded). There is a Mexican case, however, which is so
illustrative of the abuses to which inquisitorial methods were liable,
that it deserves mention. The Franciscan, Fray Eusebio de Villaroja, was
distinguished for learning, eloquence and blameless life. He was
inclined to mysticism and had written a work entitled _Oracion de Fe
interior_, which the Inquisition admitted to contain no reprobated
doctrine but yet to be dangerous for popular use. The convent at Pachuca
obtained his assignment there and in 1783, at the age of 38, he arrived
in Mexico, where his kindly earnestness speedily won universal regard.
After two or three years he happened to assume the spiritual direction
of two girls, Gertrudis and Josefa Palacios, who were adepts in the
mystic devices of ecstasies and revelations. Gertrudis died and
Villaroja became completely engrossed in Josefa. He reduced to writing
her visions and prophecies, until he had filled seventy-six books and,
in his ardor, he committed freaks attracting undesirable attention. The
convent physician suggested that undue austerity had engendered
hypochondriac humors, and the Guardian interposed by ordering him to
attend to other duties, to limit Josefa to an hour in the confessional,
and never to go to her house. His obedience was implicit and prompt; he
ceased to talk of her visions and prophecies, and she naturally ceased
to have them. A year later, when questioned by Fray Juan Sánchez, the
visitor of the Province, he said that, as soon as the Guardian reproved
him, he recognized his error and would not relapse into it--so the
affair seemed to have died a natural death.

Unluckily the Guardian, not anticipating such docility, had reported the
matter to the Inquisition, which commenced to gather testimony, but when
he was, some months later, in the city of Mexico and was summoned as a
witness, he stated that Villaroja's eccentricities had ceased, and he
evidently regarded the matter as closed. Still the tribunal persisted
and, in July 1789, it seized Villaroja's diaries, in which the latest
entry was one humbly submitting to the judgement of the Church both
himself and the authenticity of the visions.

After a formidable mass of testimony was accumulated, bearing witness to
Villaroja's eminent piety and virtue, he was summoned, in July 1790, to
present himself. He was not informed that he was on trial for, in his
profound humility, he would at once have submitted his opinions to the
judgement of the tribunal, but he was drawn into a discussion as to
whether God, for the greater perfection of the creature, would permit
the demon to incite to foul and obscene actions--a position which he had
taken to justify some filthy habits of Josefa. This was, as we have
seen, one of the dangerous tenets of Quietism, and over this there was a
prolonged and subtle disputation. He subsequently declared that he
supposed the inquisitor to be only seeking to learn his opinions when in
fact he was being cunningly led to pile up evidence against himself, at
the same time arousing the controversial pride of Inquisitor Prado y
Obejero, who pronounced futile his efforts to differentiate his doctrine
from that of Molinos.

He was thrown into the secret prison, October 13, 1791, and his trial
proceeded in regular form. Nothing could exceed his submissive humility.
On every fitting occasion he protested that he had been miserably led
into error by ignorance; he begged to be undeceived in whatever he had
erred and he submitted himself to the correction of the Holy Office, for
he desired above all things the discharge of his conscience and the
salvation of his soul. It required uncommon perversity in his judges to
make a pertinacious heretic out of so humble and contrite a spirit but,
when his sentence was pronounced, April 26, 1793, it represented him as
a hardened and obstinate Alumbrado and Molinist, condemning him to
abjure _de vehementi_, to be forever deprived of the faculty of
confessing, to be recluded for three years in the Franciscan convent of
Mexico, and to be sent to Spain whenever the inquisitors should see fit.
Had he been an habitual seducer of his spiritual daughters, the sentence
would have been less severe.

[Sidenote: _DELUSION_]

The treatment of a fraile recluded in a convent of his brethren was
usually harsh in the extreme, but Fray Eusebio's kindliness and
gentleness so won on his hosts that they declared his daily life to be
an edification, while those of Pachuca, who had to bear the expenses of
his trial, continued to regard him with undiminished affection. His
punishment, however, was far more severe than the mere provisions of
his sentence. Incarceration for eighteen months in a humid cell had
developed a former rheumatic tendency and he was crippled. His request
to be transferred to Pachuca was refused and, in March, 1795, he
appealed to Inquisitor-general Lorenzana. His sufferings, he said, were
on the increase and, if he were kept in the city of Mexico or sent to
Spain, he would surely die. The result of this was a command to transmit
him to Spain, which was notified to him, in June 1796, when he
protested, to no purpose, that it would kill him. His removal was
postponed until October, when he was carried by easy stages to Vera Cruz
and placed on board the good ship Aurora, November 9th, consigned to the
commissioner at Seville. The Aurora sailed the next day, but his
prophetic spirit proved true and, when nine days out, his gentle spirit
passed to a judge more merciful than his earthly ones.[140]

       *       *       *       *       *

Fray Eusebio would have fared better in Spain, where there was a growing
tendency to regard the accused as subject to delusion, when there was no
conscious imposture and no teaching of dangerous Mysticism. Delusion was
recognized at an early period, but the first case which I have met in
which it formed the basis of prosecution occurs in the Barcelona
tribunal which, in 1666, reported that it had found a process brought,
in 1659, against Sor María de la Cruz, nun of the convent of la
Concepcion of Tortosa, _por ilusa_, which had never been concluded.[141]
In 1694, Don Francisco de las Cuevas y Rojas, of Madrid, was sentenced
by the Toledo tribunal, as an _iluso pasivo_, to reprimand, absolution
_ad cautelam_, retractation of certain propositions, abstention from
spiritual matters, and a year's reclusion, during which a calificador
would teach him the safest method of prayer, while all his writings were
to be suppressed. The same year a beata named María de la Paz, _as
ilusa_, was required merely to abjure _de levi_, to be severely
reprimanded and to be handed over to a calificador for instruction. So,
in 1716, Don Eugenio Aguado de Lara, cura of Algete, was sentenced, by
the same tribunal, for suspicion of illusion in the direction of a
beata, to abjure _de levi_, with reprimand and prohibition of further
communication with her, while he was to abstain from the direction of
souls as far as was compatible with his priestly functions. The beata
his accomplice, Agustina Salgado, was regarded as more reprehensible
for, besides being _ilusa_, she was held guilty of false revelations;
she abjured _de levi_, with perpetual exile from Algete and reclusion in
a hospital for two years, for instruction.[142]

Even this moderation increased with time. In 1785, the Valencia tribunal
suspended the case, and sent to an insane hospital, Esperanza Bueno of
Puig, popularly known as _la Santa_, denounced for pretended revelations
and asserting that she could absolve from sin.[143] The same tendency
appears in the case of María Rivero, of Valladolid, in 1817, whom the
Suprema characterized as erroneously and presumptuously believing
herself to be adorned with revelations and special graces. She was
ordered to place herself unreservedly under the guidance of a spiritual
director, with the warning that otherwise she would be treated with
judicial rigor, while the director was instructed to disillusion her,
and to call in medical advice as to her sanity, which was doubtful.[144]

Although the Inquisition was thus growing rationalistic in its treatment
of these cases, it was impossible to eradicate popular credulity with
its accompanying temptation to exploitation. In the last case before the
Córdova tribunal, it ordered, July 9, 1818, the incarceration in the
secret prison, as an _ilusa_, of the beata Francisca de Paula Caballero
y Garrida of Lucena, while her sister María Dominga Caballero was
confined in the _carceles medias_, and the two curas of Lucena, Joaquin
de Burgos and Josef Barranco, were recluded in a convent without
communication with each other. The beata performed miracles and had
revelations, which seem to have found credence among a circle of
disciples for when, after full investigation, the Suprema, on July 5,
1819, ordered the prosecution of the four prisoners, it directed
proceedings to be commenced against seven other parties, including
clerics and laymen of both sexes. Fortunately for this group of ilusos,
the revolution of 1820 came to put an end to all proceedings, and when
the Córdova tribunal was suppressed, the only inmates found in its
prison were the two beatas of Lucena.[145]

[Sidenote: _IMPOSTORS_]

While the Inquisition was thus merciful towards those whom it
considered to be merely deluded in claiming spiritual graces, it grew to
be severe with those who traded on popular credulity. That credulity was
so universal and so boundless that the profession of _beata revelandera_
was an easy and a profitable one. The people were eager to be deceived;
no fiction was too gross to find ready credence, and the believers
invented miracles which they ascribed to the objects of their reverence.
The punishment of the impostor and the exposure of the fraud failed to
repress either belief or imposition, and the land in time was overrun by
a horde of these practitioners, mostly female. It was a spiritual
pestilence of the most degrading character, shared by all classes, with
the extenuating circumstances that some of the boldest cases of
imposture enjoyed the approbation of the Holy See. The Inquisition did
good work in its ceaseless efforts to repress this prostitution of
Mysticism--a work which no other tribunal could venture to attempt. If
it found suppression impossible, at least it checked the development
which at one time threatened to render the popular religion of Spain a
matter of hysterics.

In its inception, there was some hesitation as to the treatment of these
speculators on the credulity of the people. When the Beata of Piedrahita
was allowed to continue her career, she naturally had imitators. In
1525, Alonso de Mariana, a Toledan inquisitor, on a visitation of his
district, had his attention called to Doña Juana Maldonado of
Guadalajara, widow of the alcaide of la Vega de la Montaña. She was
arrested and presented written statements or confessions of her dreams
and visions of the Virgin and Christ, St. John the Evangelist and St.
Bernard. The proceedings were informal and, in an audience, March 27th,
at Alcalá de Henares, after publication of the evidence, she admitted
its truth, stating that she had talked about her visions in order to
obtain some aid in her poverty and she begged for mercy and penance.
There was evidently no desire to treat her harshly or to regard her as
an impostor, for she is spoken of as an _ilusa_ or _soñadera_ (dreamer)
and she was required only to fast on five Fridays and Saturdays, in
honor of Christ and the Virgin, with fifteen Paters and Aves each day,
to keep her house as a prison until released by the tribunal, after
which, on six Saturdays, she was to visit the church of the Virgin,
outside of the town.[146] A century later she would have fared much

The exposure, in 1543, of a more accomplished practitioner, Magdalena de
la Cruz, removed any further hesitation in dealing with such cases. She
had long been the wonder of Spain and even of Christendom.
Tempest-tossed mariners would invoke her intercession, when she would
appear to them and the storm would subside. The noblest ladies, when
nearing confinement, would send the _layette_ to be blessed by her, as
did the Empress Isabel before the birth of Philip II. When, in 1535,
Charles V was starting from Barcelona for the expedition to Tunis, he
sent his banner to Córdova that she might bestow on it her blessing.
Cardinal Manrique, the inquisitor-general, and Giovanni di Reggio, the
papal nuncio, made pilgrimages to her, and the pope sent to ask her
prayers for the Christian Republic. It is true that Ignatius Loyola was
incredulous and, in 1541, severely reproved Martin de la Santa Cruz, who
endeavored to win him over, for accepting exterior signs without seeking
for the true ones; the Venerable Juan de Avila was also sceptical and,
when he was in Córdova, he was discreetly denied access to her.

[Sidenote: _IMPOSTORS_]

When, in 1504, at the age of 17, she entered the Franciscan convent of
Santa Isabel de los Angeles of Córdova, she was already regarded as a
vessel overflowing with divine grace, a belief confirmed by a series of
ecstasies, trances, visions, revelations and miracles. Space is lacking
to recount the varied series of marvels, many of which do infinite
credit to her imaginative invention, while some of them required
confederates, who seem not to have been lacking, in view of the benefit
to the convent accruing from its containing so saintly a person. Elected
prioress in 1533, she retained the position until 1542, and during this
time she devoted to it the large stream of offerings which poured in on
her. Defeated for re-election in 1542, she no longer made this use of
her funds and the successful faction denounced her to the Guardian and
the Provincial as an impostor, but the credit of the Order was at stake
and they were silenced. She was not destined however to adorn the
calendar of mystic saints for, in 1543, she fell dangerously sick and
was warned to prepare for death. Under this pressure she made a full
confession, ascribing her deceits to demoniacal possession. She
recovered and the Inquisition seized her. The trial lasted until May 3,
1546, an immense body of testimony being taken, corroborative of her
confession, which was skilfully framed to throw the blame on her demons
Balban and Patorrio. In short, she had commenced as a mystic, had been
unable to resist the temptation of accepting the miracles thrust upon
her by popular superstition, she had stimulated this with her frauds,
and finally sought extenuation by alleging demonic influence. An immense
crowd attended the auto held May 3, 1546, when the reading of her
sentence _con méritos_ occupied from 6 A.M. to 4 P.M., while she sat on
the staging with a gag in her mouth, a halter around her neck and a
lighted candle in her hand. Her sentence was moderate--perpetual
reclusion in a convent, without active or passive voice, and occupying
the last place in choir, refectory and chapter, together with some
spiritual penances. She was relegated to the convent of Santa Clara, at
Andujar, where she lived an exemplary life and, at her death, in 1560,
it was piously hoped that her sins were expiated.[147]

Had human reason any share in these beliefs, such an exposure would have
put an end to the industry of the _beatas revelanderas_, but the popular
appetite for the marvellous was insatiable, and there were abundant
practitioners ready to dare the attendant risks for the accompanying
glory and profit. Everywhere there were women accomplished in these arts
and skilled in impressing their neighbors with their revelations and
prophecies; every town and almost every hamlet had its local saint, who
was regarded with intense veneration and assured of an abundant
livelihood.[148] All branches of the supernatural were exploited: some
could predict the future; others had prophetic dreams or could expound
those of their devotees; others could release souls from purgatory;
others could perform curative miracles; popular faith in these gifted
spirits was boundless and innumerable sharpers of both sexes fattened
upon it.

The people might well be credulous when they but followed the example of
those highest in Church and State. Magdalena de la Cruz had a worthy
imitator in the Dominican Madre María de la Visitacion, of the convent
of the Annunciada of Lisbon, whose intimate relations with Christ began
at the age of 16, in 1572. About 1580 Christ crucified appeared to her,
when a ray of fire from his breast pierced her left side, leaving a
wound which on Fridays distilled drops of blood with intense pain. In
1583 she was elected prioress and, in 1584, in another vision of Christ
crucified, rays of fire from his hands and feet pierced hers and thus
completed the Stigmata. No time was lost by the Dominican Provincial,
Antonio de la Cerda, in spreading the news of this, in a statement dated
March 14, 1584, and sent to Rome to be submitted to Gregory XIII. It was
corroborated by the signatures of several frailes, among which is the
honored name of the great mystic, Luis de Granada.[149] The Provincial
followed this, March 30th, with another letter to Rome stating that the
impression produced had been so great that many gentlemen had been
induced to abandon the world and enter the Order, and even that three
Moors had come to look upon Sor María, whose appearance had so impressed
them that they sought baptism on the spot--to which he added two
miraculous cures effected through articles touched by her.[150]

Sor María's fame penetrated through Christendom and even, we are told,
to the Indies. Gregory XIII was duly impressed and wrote to her urging
to persevere without faltering in the path which she had entered. She
might have continued to do so, with the reputation of a saint, if she
had abstained from politics. Unluckily she allowed herself to be drawn
into a movement to throw off the Spanish yoke, and the authorities, who
had been content to allow her to acquire influence, found it necessary
to expose her, when that influence threatened to be potent on the side
of rebellion.

[Sidenote: _IMPOSTORS_]

The Annunciada was not without internal jealousies which facilitated the
obtaining of information justifying investigation. A commission was
appointed consisting of the Archbishops of Lisbon and Braga, the Bishop
of Guarda, the Dominican Provincial, the Inquisitors of Lisbon and
Doctor Pablo Alfonso of the Royal Council. Assembling in the convent
they took the testimony of many of the nuns that Sor María's sanctity
was feigned and her stigmata were painted. She was then brought before
them and sworn, when she persisted, in spite of threats and adjurations,
in the story of the stigmata and of her communications with Christ. The
next day, hot water and soap were called for; she protested and
pretended to suffer extreme agony, but a vigorous application of the
detergents to the palms of her hands caused the wounds to disappear,
when she threw herself at the feet of her judges and begged for mercy.
At a subsequent audience she gave a detailed explanation of the devices
by which she had deceived the faithful--how she had managed the apparent
elevation from the ground and the divine light suffused around her and
the cloths stained with blood from her side. The severity of the
sentence, rendered December 6, 1588, shows how much greater than mere
sacrilegious imposture was the offence of her meddling with politics.
She was recluded for life in a convent of a different Order from her
own; for a year she was to be whipped every Monday and Friday for the
space of a Miserere; in the refectory she was to take her meals on the
floor, what she left was to be cast out and, at the end of the meal, she
was to lie in the door-way and be trampled on by the sisters in their
exit; she was to observe a perpetual fast; she was incapacitated from
holding office; she was always to be last and was to hold converse with
none without permission of the abbess; she was not to wear a veil; on
Wednesdays and Fridays she was to have only bread and water, and
whenever the nuns assembled in the refectory she was to recite her
crimes in an audible voice. In this living death she is said to have
performed her cruel penance with such patience and humility that she
became saintly in reality.[151] It is not improbable that she may have
been from the beginning a tool in designing hands. A contemporary
relates that, before the exposure, he wrote to Fray Alberto de Aguajo in
Lisbon, asking whether he should go thither to consult her on a case of
conscience, and was told in reply that there was nothing wonderful about
her except the goodness of God in granting her such graces, for she was
as simple as a child of six. She was, however, a rich source of income,
for the Portuguese in the Indies used to send her gold and diamonds and
pearls to purchase her intercession with God.[152] Even her condemnation
did not wholly disabuse her dupes. Four years later, a certain Martin de
Ayala, prosecuted in 1592 for revelations and impostures, claimed to
have spiritual communication with her and foretold direful things about
the conquest of Spain by foreigners, when a cave in Toledo would be the
only place where the few elect could find safety. He had a colleague,
Don Guillen de Casans, who was likewise prosecuted.[153]

One would have supposed that a case like that of Sor María, to which the
utmost publicity must have been given, would have discredited the
stigmata as a special mark of divine favor, but it seems rather to have
stimulated the ambitious to possess them by showing how easily they
could be imitated. They became a matter of almost daily occurrence. In
1634 a Jesuit casually alludes in a letter to two new cases just
reported--one of a nun of la Concepcion in Salamanca and the other in
Burgos--adding that they had become so common that no woman esteems
herself a servant of God unless she can exhibit them.[154]

[Sidenote: _IMPOSTORS_]

When uncomplicated with politics, imposture continued to be leniently
treated and it was an exception when, in 1591, the Toledo tribunal
visited with two hundred lashes María de Morales for trances and
revelations and other deceits to acquire the reputation of a saint.[155]
Thus at the Seville auto of 1624, when Pacheco was intent on suppressing
the errors of Mysticism, there were eight impostors guilty of every
device to exploit superstition, six of whom escaped with a year or two
of reclusion. Only two were more severely dealt with. Mariana de Jesus,
a barefooted Carmelite, was a _Maestra de Espiritu_, who taught
Illuminism and had a record of endless visions, prophetic inspiration
and conflicts with Satan. She maintained herself in luxury by selling
her spiritual gifts, and it was in evidence that poor people had pledged
their household gear to purchase her intercession for the souls of their
kindred, but she was only paraded in vergüenza with four year's
reclusion in a convent and perpetual exile from Seville. The heaviest
punishment was that visited on Juan de Jesus, known as _el Hermito_, who
professed to be insensible to carnal temptation, for God had deprived
him of all free-will and he was governed only by the spirit. Religious
observances for him were superfluous, for he was always in the presence
of God, and so fervent was his love for God that water hissed when he
drank it. He not only claimed that he healed the sick but that once he
had prayed eight thousand souls out of purgatory, thirty thousand at
another time, then twenty-two thousand and finally all that were left.
In general his relations with women are unfit for description, and he
shrewdly had a revelation that all who gave him alms would be saved. His
devotees were not confined to the ignorant, for he was received in the
houses of the principal ladies of Seville and men of high distinction
admitted him to their tables. He received less than his deserts when he
was sentenced to a hundred lashes and life confinement in a convent or
hospital, where he was to work for his board and to pray daily a third
of the rosary.[156]

In its persistent and fruitless efforts to stamp out this pestilence,
the Inquisition was beginning to adopt severer treatment, as in the case
of Sor Lorenza Murga of Simancas, a Franciscan tertiary, who for sixteen
years enjoyed great reputation in Valladolid. She had ecstasies and
revelations whenever wanted, and her little house was an object of
pilgrimage, when she would throw herself into a trance at the request of
any one. It was a profitable pursuit, for she rose from abject poverty
to comfortable affluence. Her arrest, April 29, 1634, caused no little
excitement, and it was whispered that she had been detected in keeping
two lovers besides her confessor. In her audiences she persistently
maintained the truth of her revelations, constantly adding fresh
marvels, till the inquisitors tortured her smartly, when she confessed
it to be all an imposture. Her career was cut short with two hundred
lashes and exile for six years from all the places where she had

The experienced inquisitor whom I have so often quoted tells us, about
this time, that these impostors were very common; that there were rules
for teaching them their trade and, as it was so prejudicial and so
discreditable, they must be punished with all rigor. He mentions a case
at Llerena, where the woman persisted in asserting the truth of her
revelations and miracles, until she was tortured, when she confessed the
fraud and was condemned to scourging and reclusion, at the discretion
of the tribunal, with fasting on bread and water.[158] Yet one cannot
help feeling sympathy for María Cotanilla, a poor blind crone, sentenced
in 1676, by the Toledo tribunal, to a hundred lashes and to pass four
years in a designated place, where she could support herself by beggary,
reporting herself monthly to the commissioner.[159]

Severity might check, but could not suppress, a profession which was the
inevitable outcome of popular demand. How it was stimulated is well
exemplified in the case of María Manuela de Tho--, a young woman of 23,
arrested by the Madrid tribunal, in April, 1673. She confessed
unreservedly a vast variety of impostures, pretended diabolical
possession, visits from the angels Gabriel and Raphael and numerous
others. She told how she was venerated as a saint; her signature written
on scraps of blank paper was distributed by her confessor and was
treasured as though it were that of Santa Teresa; he had crosses made of
olive wood which she blessed and they were valued as relics and amulets;
she cured the sick and performed many other miracles. The origin of all
this, as she related it, is highly illuminating. She chanced to tell
certain persons that in a dream she saw a soul in purgatory; they shook
their heads wisely and said it was more than a dream and contained great
mysteries. Then they began to admire her and she, finding that she was
esteemed and admired and regaled with presents, and that money came to
her without labor, went on from one step to another with her visions and
miracles. She knew that it was wrong but, as there were learned and
distinguished persons cognizant of it, who could have undeceived her and
did not and, as there was no pact with the demon, she continued for,
though she had been a miserable sinner, she had always been firm in the
faith of Christ as a true Catholic Christian.[160] When the appetite for
marvels was so universal and unreasoning, the supply could not be
lacking, no matter what might be the efforts of the Inquisition.

[Sidenote: _IMPOSTORS_]

These practitioners naturally continued to give occupation to the
tribunals, but their cases can teach us little except to note the
severity with which they were occasionally treated. In the Madrid auto
of 1680 there were four impostors, of whom a carpenter named Alfonso de
Arenas was visited with abjuration, two hundred lashes, and five years
of galleys followed by five more of exile.[161] In the little
conventicle arrested, in 1708, by the Toledo tribunal (p. 71), four
women and a man were punished, in 1711, as impostors, the man, Pablo
Díez, an apothecary of Yepes, with reconciliation, confiscation and
perpetual prison, while one of the women, María Fernández, had two
hundred lashes and exile.[162] In 1725, the Murcia tribunal inflicted
the same scourging and eight years of exile on Mariana Matozes, who
added to her other impostures a claim to the stigmata, and in 1726, in
Valencia, Juan Vives of Castillon de la Plana had the same allowance of
stripes, with a year's reclusion and eight years' exile from Valencia
and Catalonia.[163] It is therefore not easy to understand the clemency
shown by the Toledo tribunal, in 1729, to Ana Rodríguez of Madridejos,
who is described as a scandalous impostor, deluded and deluding,
audacious, sacrilegious, boasting of her exemption from the sixth
commandment, heretically blasphemous, vehemently suspect and formally
guilty of the heresy of Molinos and the Alumbrados, insulting to the
Blessed Virgin and St. Bernard and contumacious in all her errors. Her
contumacy gave way, thus saving her from relaxation and she escaped with
formal abjuration, reconciliation and confinement for instruction in the
Jesuit college of Navalcarnero, during such time as the tribunal might
deem necessary for her soul.[164]

Further enumeration of these obscure cases is scarce worth while and we
may pass to one which excited lively interest. María de los Dolores
López, known as the Beata Dolores, had a successful and scandalous
career for fifteen or twenty years, commencing at the age of twelve,
when she left her father's house to live as a concubine with her
confessor. Her fame spread far and wide and, for ten years, the
Inquisition received occasional denunciation of her misdeeds without
taking action until, in 1779, one of her confessors, to relieve his
conscience, denounced both himself and her to the Seville tribunal. On
her trial she resolutely maintained the truth of the special graces
which she had enjoyed since the age of four. She had continued and
familiar intercourse with the Virgin, she had been married in heaven to
the child Jesus, with St. Joseph and St. Augustin as witnesses, she had
liberated millions of souls from purgatory, with much more of the kind
so familiar to us, to which she added one of the errors of Molinism by
maintaining that evil actions cease to be sinful when God so wills it.
She was thus not merely an impostor but a formal and impenitent heretic,
for whom relaxation was the only penalty known to the Inquisition.
Burning, however, had well-nigh gone out of fashion, and the tribunal
honestly spared no effort to save her from the stake. Eminent
theologians wasted on her their learning and eloquence. Fray Diego de
Cádiz, the foremost preacher of his time, labored with her for two
months, and finally reported that there was nothing to do but to burn
her. It was all in vain. God, she said, had revealed to her that she
should die a martyr, after which, in three days, he would prove her
innocence. The law had to take its course and, on August 22, 1781, she
was formally sentenced to relaxation. As this left her unmoved the
execution was postponed for three days to try the effect of fresh
exhortations. This failed and, during the sermon and ceremonies of the
auto, she had to be gagged to suppress her blasphemy. As so frequently
happened however, her nerves gave way on the road to the brasero; she
burst into tears and asked for a confessor, thus gaining the privilege
of strangulation before the faggots were fired.[165]

[Sidenote: _IMPOSTORS_]

Imposture continued to flourish. In 1800 the Valladolid tribunal was
occupied with an extensive "complicidad," resulting in the prosecution
of Madre María Ignacia de la Presentacion, a Mercenarian of the convent
of Toro, for pretended miracles, along with nine frailes of the same
Order as accomplices.[166] Contemporary with this was a case at Cuenca,
which almost transcends belief. The wife of a peasant of Villar del
Aguila, Isabel María Herraiz, known as the Beata de Cuenca, who had a
reputation for sanctity, announced that Christ had revealed to her that,
in order to be more completely united to her in love, he had transfused
his body and blood into hers. The theology of the period is illustrated
by the learned disputation which arose, some doctors arguing this to be
impossible because it would render her more holy than the Blessed
Virgin and would deprive the sacrament of the exclusive distinction of
being the body and blood of the Lord; others held it to be possible but
that the proofs in the present case were insufficient; others, again,
accepted it and urged the virtues of the beata and the absence of motive
for deception. The people felt no scruple, and were encouraged in their
credulity by two Franciscan frailes, Joaquin de Alustante and Domingo de
Cañizares, and a Carmelite, Sebastian de los Dolores. Her believers
worshipped her, carrying her through the streets in procession, lighting
candles before her and prostrating themselves in adoration. The scandal
attained proportions calling for repression, and the Inquisition
arrested her, June 25, 1801, together with her accomplices. It is
possible that she was severely handled, for she died in the secret
prison without confession, and was consequently burnt in effigy. The
cura of Villar and two of the frailes were banished to the Philippines;
two laymen received two hundred lashes each, with service for life in a
presidio, and her hand-maid, Manuela Pérez, was consigned for ten years
to the _Recojidas_ or house of correction for women.[167]

While this comedy was in progress in Cuenca, a similar one was
performing in Madrid, in the highest social ranks. Sor María Clara Rosa
de Jesus, known as the Beata Clara, had acquired great reputation by her
visions and miracles. She was, or pretended to be, paralyzed and unable
to leave her bed and, when she announced that a special command of the
Holy Ghost required her to join the Capuchin Order, Pius VI granted her
a dispensation to take the vows without residence. Atanasio de Puyal,
subsequently Bishop of Calahorra, obtained licence to erect a private
altar in her chamber, where mass was celebrated daily, and she received
communion, pretending to take no other nourishment. All the great ladies
of the court were accustomed to implore her intercession in their
troubles and gave her large sums to be expended in charity. It is to the
credit of the Inquisition that it broke up this speculative imposture by
arresting her, in 1801, together with her mother and confessor as
accomplices. It was not difficult to prove their guilt and, in 1803,
they were mercifully sentenced to reclusion.[168]

For three hundred years, up to the time of its suppression, the
Inquisition, thus vainly labored to put an end to these speculations on
the credulity of the faithful. It did its best, but the popular craving
for the marvellous, for concrete evidence of divine interposition in
human affairs, was too universal and too strong to be controlled, even
by its supreme authority. After its downfall, the career of the
notorious Sor Patrocinio proves how ineradicable was this and serves to
bring medievalism down to our own time.

[Sidenote: _IMPOSTORS_]

María Rafaela Quiroga, known in religion as Sor María Cipriana del
Patrocinio de San José, in 1829 took the veil in the convent of San
José, and soon commenced to have visions and revelations, followed by
the development of the stigmata. Her reputation spread and cloths
stained with the blood of her wounds were in request as curative
amulets. When the death of Fernando VII, September 29, 1833 was followed
by the Carlist war, the clericals, who favored Don Carlos, saw in her a
useful instrument. She was made to prophesy the success of the Pretender
and to furnish proof of the illegitimacy of the young Queen Isabel. As
in the case of the Portuguese María de la Visitacion, this dangerous
factor in the political situation called for governmental intervention
and, after some resistance, in November 1835, the Sor was removed from
the convent to a private house, where she was kept under the care of her
mother and of a priest, while three physicians were summoned to examine
the stigmata. They pronounced them artificial and promised a speedy cure
if interference was prevented. This was verified and, in spite of a scab
being torn off from one of them, they were healed by December 17th. On
January 21, 1836, an official inspection by a number of dignitaries
confirmed the fact, which was assented to by the Sor and, on February
7th, she made a full confession, stating that a Capuchin, Padre Firmin
de Alcaraz, had given her a caustic with directions to use it on hands,
feet, side and head, telling her that the resultant pain would be a
salutary penance. Prosecution was duly commenced against her and the
Vicar, Prioress and Vicaress of the convent, Padre Firmin having
prudently disappeared. Sentence was rendered, November 25, 1836, from
which an appeal was taken, resulting in a slight increase of rigor. The
convent was suppressed; the vicar, Andrés Rivas, was banished from
Madrid for eight years, and the three women were sent to convents of
their Order, Sor Patrocinio being conveyed, on April 27, 1837, to the
nunnery at Talavera.[169]

Years passed away and she seemed to be forgotten when the reaction of
1844 suggested that she might again be utilized. In 1845 the convent of
Jesus was built for her; she returned with the stigmata freshened and
her saintly reputation enhanced. Imposing ceremonies rendered her
entrance impressive, and she was conveyed to her convent under a canopy,
like a royal personage. In conjunction with Padre Fulgencio, confessor
to Don Francisco de Asis the king-consort, and with her brother Manuel
Quiroga, whom she made gentleman of the royal bed-chamber, she became
the power behind the throne. Dr. Argumosa, who had cured her stigmata,
was persecuted and Fray Firmin Alcaraz, who had emerged from his
hiding-place, was made Bishop of Cuenca. In 1849 she was held to have
forced Isabel to dismiss the Duke of Valencia (Narvaez) and his cabinet.
This was followed by what was known as the _Ministerio Relámpago_, or
Lightning Ministry, which held office for three hours on October 19,
1849, and was forced to retire by the threatening aspect of the people.
Narvaez was recalled and forthwith relegated to a distance Sor
Patrocinio, her brother, Padre Fulgencio and some of their confederates.

She was soon recalled, however, and wielded an influence which Narvaez
could not resist. His successor, Bravo Murillo, sought to get a respite
by persuading the Nuncio Brunelli to send her to Rome, but this availed
little, for she soon returned, more powerful than ever, with the
blessing of Pius IX. Under her guidance, during the remainder of the
reign of Isabel II, the camarilla practically ruled the kingdom and
precipitated the revolution of 1868, which, for a time, supplanted the
monarchy with a republic. With the fall of Isabel she disappeared from
public view, in the retirement of the convent of Guadalajara, of which
she was the abbess. There she lingered in seclusion, until January 27,
1891, when she died serenely, comforted in her last moments with a
telegraphic blessing from Leo XIII.[170]

The Inquisition could suppress Judaism, it could destroy Protestantism,
it could render necessary the expulsion of the Moriscos, but it failed
when it sought to eradicate the abuses of Mysticism, which not only
signalized the ardor of Spanish faith, but were so difficult of
differentiation from beliefs long recognized and encouraged by the
Church. There seems to be, in the average human mind, an insatiable
craving for manifestations of the supernatural. Modern science, with its
materialism, may weaken or even eradicate this in the majority, and may
explain psychologically much of what seems to be marvellous, but the
success in our own land of the curious superstition known as Christian
Science shows us how superficial is latter-day enlightenment, and should
teach us sympathy rather than disdain for the fantastic exhibitions of
credulity which we have passed in review.



The seduction of female penitents by their confessors, euphemistically
known as _solicitatio ad turpia_ or "solicitation," has been a perennial
source of trouble to the Church since the introduction of confession,
more especially after the Lateran Council of 1216 rendered yearly
confession to the parish priest obligatory. It was admitted to be a
prevailing vice, and canonists sought some abatement of the evil by
arguing that the priest notoriously addicted to it lost his jurisdiction
over his female parishioners, who were thus at liberty to seek the
sacrament of penitence from others.[171] A Spanish authority, however,
holds that this requires the licence of the parish priest himself and,
when he refuses it, the woman must confess to him, after prayer to God
for strength to resist his importunities.[172]

It was an evil of which repression was impossible, notwithstanding
penalties freely threatened. A virtue of uncommon robustness was
required to resist the temptations arising from the confidences of the
confessional, and so well was this understood that an exception was made
to the rule requiring perfect confession, for reticence as to carnal
sins was counselled, when the reputation of the priest rendered it
advisable.[173] Few women thus approached, whether yielding or not,
could be expected to denounce their pastors to the bishop or provisor,
and for her who yielded the path to sin was made easy through the
universal abuse of absolution by her accomplice, and this, although
objected to on ethical grounds, was admitted to be valid.[174] On the
other hand, the peccant confessor could rely on obtaining absolution
from a sympathizing colleague, at the cost of penance which had become
habitually trivial.

The intercourse between priest and penitent was especially dangerous
because there had not yet been invented the device of the
confessional--a box or stall in which the confessor sits with his ear at
a grille, through which the tale of sins conceived or committed is
whispered. Seated by his side or kneeling at his feet, there was greater
risk of inflaming passion and much more opportunity for provocative
advances. It was not until the middle of the sixteenth century that the
confessional was devised, doubtless in consequence of the attacks of
heretics, who found in these scandals a fertile subject of
animadversion. The earliest allusion to it that I have met occurs in a
memorial from Siliceo of Toledo to Charles V, in 1547.[175] In 1565 a
Council of Valencia prescribed its use and contemporaneously S. Carlo
Borromeo introduced it in his Milanese province, while in 1614 the Roman
Ritual commanded its employment in all churches.[176] It was easier to
command than to secure obedience, for the priesthood offered a passive
resistance which even the Inquisition found it almost impossible to
overcome. As early as 1625 it forbade parish priests from hearing
confessions in their houses; between 1709 and 1720 we find it occupied
in endeavoring to enforce the use of confessionals and, to prevent
evasions, such as hearing confessions in cells and chapels, and not in
the body of the church.[177] How long-continued was the opposition, and
how transparent were the artifices to elude the regulations, are visible
in an edict of November 3, 1781, which led to considerable trouble.
After alluding to the repeated orders on the subject, and the deplorable
results of their disregard, it prescribed that women should be heard
only through the gratings of closed confessionals, or of open stalls in
the body of the churches, or in chapels open and well lighted. It
forbade the use of hand-gratings or handkerchiefs, sieves, bundle of
twigs, fans, or other derisive substitutes, and it prescribed minute and
highly suggestive regulations as to oratories and private chapels, while
a similar series concerning male penitents shows the dread of
contamination even with them.[178]


The crime of solicitation was subject to episcopal jurisdiction and,
throughout the middle ages, there was no general legislation prescribing
its penalties. Some apocryphal canons visited it with well-deserved
severity and, in 1217, Richard Poore, the reforming Bishop of Salisbury,
threatened it with fifteen years of penance followed by confinement in a
monastery.[179] The spiritual courts, however, were notoriously lenient,
and the prevalent sexual laxity tended to sympathy which disarmed
severity in the rare cases coming before them. When, during the
Reformation, this offence afforded a favorite topic for the heretics,
there arose a demand for sharper treatment. In 1587, Iñigo López de
Salcedo gives this as a reason for rigorous punishment, and he greatly
lauds Matteo Ghiberti, the reforming Bishop of Verona ([dagger symbol] 1543)
for decreeing a series of heavy penalties for attempts on the virtue of
female penitents, culminating in deprivation and perpetual imprisonment
when they were successful.[180]

This virtuous rigor, however, was purely exceptional. The usual tolerant
view adopted is manifested in a case which, in 1535 at Toledo, came
before the vicar-general, Blas Ortiz, a man so respected that he was
promoted to the inquisitorship of Valencia soon afterwards. Alonso de
Valdelamar, parish priest of Almodovar, was charged with a black
catalogue of offences--theft, blasphemy, cheating with Cruzada
indulgences, charging penitents for absolution, frequenting public
brothels and solicitation. It was in evidence that he refused absolution
to a girl unless she would surrender herself to him, that he seduced a
married penitent whose husband was obliged to leave Almodovar in order
to get her away from him, while Doña Leonor de Godoy admitted that he
repeatedly used violence on her in the church itself. His sentence,
rendered February 26, 1535, stated that the fiscal had fully proved his
charges, but for all these crimes he was punished only with thirty days'
penitential reclusion in his church, with a fine of ten ducats, besides
four reales to the fiscal, a ducat to the episcopal advocate, ten days'
wages to the notary who went to Almodovar to take testimony, and the
costs of the trial. From this the fiscal appealed to the archbishop but
the next day withdrew the appeal; Valdelamar accepted it and was sent
back to his parish to pursue his course of profligacy. Evidently the
episcopal tribunal was more concerned with the profits of its
jurisdiction than with the suppression of solicitation.[181]


It may be inferred from this that peccant confessors were not likely to
be prosecuted, unless there were other circumstances or offences to
stimulate action, and this is confirmed by another case, about the same
time, which also shows the readiness of the tribunal to claim
jurisdiction. Pedro Bermúdez, incumbent of Ciempozuelos, employed a
priest named Pareja as vicar, from 1525 to 1529. They quarrelled; Pareja
was dismissed, found employment at Valdemoro, and commenced suit against
Bermúdez. The latter retorted by instigating a certain Catalina Roldan,
who had borne a child to Pareja, and her mother, to complain to Romero,
a visiting inquisitor from Toledo, about the seduction, asking that he
be forced to provide a dower and find a husband for her. Romero took up
the case. Bermúdez busied himself in collecting testimony and was aided
by a priest named Solorzano, whose enmity had been excited by Pareja
having served as commissioner in taking evidence as to his seduction of
a married woman, for which he was prosecuted in Alcalá. The proof
collected against Pareja was conclusive. Two of his penitents admitted
to having yielded to him, and several others testified as to his
advances in the act of confession. When one of them was asked whether
she confessed to him their mutual sin, she said that he told her not to
do so, and afterwards admitted her to communion. There was also evidence
as to his violating the seal of confession, and to irreverence in
administering the sacrament. The trial pursued the usual course, the
main charges being his misdeeds with his female penitents, which he
admitted more or less explicitly. When the papers were sent to the
Suprema, it returned them, saying that the charges for the most part
were beyond the competence of the tribunal, and appertained to the
episcopal court, to which they should be transferred, while the tribunal
could proceed with the little that remained. The charges thus, after
omitting the solicitation, were reduced to four--that he persuaded his
accomplices that their mutual sin need not be confessed, that he told
them that they could take the sacrament without confessing, that he said
it was better to have masses celebrated than to pay debts, and that
almost all the witnesses held him to be a bad Christian, a heretic and
an evil man.

Pareja and his advocate argued that the case was outside of
inquisitorial jurisdiction, but the tribunal pushed it to the end on
these subsidiary points and, on May 23, 1532 sentenced him to perpetual
deprivation of hearing the confessions of women, to a fine of twenty
thousand maravedís, and to have Toledo as a prison for two years, during
which he was to fast and recite psalms on Fridays. As he was not
required to abjure, even for light suspicion, the charge of heresy was
abandoned, and as solicitation was not included in the sentence, he was
liable to further prosecution by the Ordinary. Yet the character of the
penalties shows that solicitation was the real gravamen, over which the
tribunal was seeking indirectly to acquire jurisdiction.[182]

Evidently, if there was to be any cure or mitigation of this corroding
cancer, some less sympathetic tribunal than the episcopal court was
requisite, and the Inquisition was eager to supply the want, yet matters
were allowed to drift for a quarter of a century longer. Possibly it may
have been the Lutheran alarm of 1558 that led Archbishop Guerrero of
Granada to seek the remedy and to call to the attention of the Holy See
the frequency of the crime and the need of its more energetic
repression.[183] His appeal was heard, and Paul IV, in a brief of
February 18, 1559, expressed his sorrow at learning that certain priests
of Granada misled their penitents and abused the sacraments, wherefore
he granted, to the inquisitors of Granada, jurisdiction over the heresy
implied in the crime and withdrew all exemptions of the religious
Orders.[184] What activity the Granada tribunal manifested in the
exercise of its new function is not recorded, but the field thus thrown
open was sufficiently inviting for Valdés, in 1561, to obtain from Pius
IV a brief granting to him and to his delegates throughout Spain the
same faculties.[185] It required some ingenuity to bring the crime
within the purview of the Inquisition, but it was alleged that no one
whose faith was correct could thus abuse the sacraments of the Church of
God. The point is not without importance, for it made the matter one of
faith and not of morals, leading, as we shall see, to a notable
limitation in the efficacy of the reform attempted.

The regular clergy sought to escape to the milder mercies of their own
superiors, and claimed that, in the constitution of Pius IV, in 1562,
which subjected them in general to the Inquisition, there was an
exception of cases in which the superiors had taken the earlier
action.[186] The application, however, of this exception to the crime of
solicitation was negatived, in 1592, by a decree of Clement VIII, which
declared that the jurisdiction of the Inquisition in this matter was
exclusive and not cumulative, and it ordered the members of all
privileged Orders to denounce to the Inquisition their guilty
brethren.[187] In 1608, Paul V granted the same powers to the
Inquisition of Portugal and, in 1612, he settled in favor of the faith a
question which had arisen, whether the briefs comprehended the
solicitation of men as well as of women.[188] Even before this,
solicitation in Italy had been subjected to the Roman Inquisition, for
it issued, December 15, 1613 a decree ordering confessors to instruct
their penitents that they must denounce to the tribunals all attempts to
solicit them to evil and, on July 5, 1614, it included, what it
described as a frequent offence, the discussion of indecent matters with
women in the confessional, even without confession.[189]


Thus the Church was gradually realizing the necessity of more stringent
measures to curb the evil propensities of those to whom it confided the
salvation of souls, but as yet it had made only local regulations.
Gregory XV recognized that a general law was required, to cover all the
lands of the Roman obedience, and not merely those possessed of an
Inquisition and, at the same time, to define more comprehensively the
nature of the offence. The briefs thus far had limited this to seduction
in the act of hearing confessions. Papal legislation was always
construed in the strictest manner, and confessors felt safe if they
confined their seductions to the time preceding and following the actual
utterance of the confession. Had the moral and spiritual welfare of
priest and penitent been the only matter involved, it would have been
easy to include in general terms any indecent or illicit passages
between them, no matter when or where committed, but solicitation had
been made to involve suspicion of heresy, in order to bring it under the
Inquisition, and it became regarded as a purely technical offence,
punishable only when it could be connected directly with the sacrament,
leading to the unfortunate corollary that otherwise it was a trivial
matter, undeserving of special consideration.

Accordingly Gregory, in his brief _Universi Dominici Gregis_, August 30,
1622, while enlarging the definition, confined it to what was said or
done in the place destined to hearing confessions, whether it was before
or after confession, or even if there was only a pretext of confession.
He extended the provisions of his predecessors to all lands, and
delegated all inquisitors and Ordinaries as special judges, with
exclusive jurisdiction to inquire into and diligently prosecute such
cases, according to the canons in matters of faith. He further decreed
the penalties of suspension of functions, deprivation of benefices and
dignities with perpetual disability for the same and, for regulars, of
active and passive voice; besides these there were the temporal
penalties of exile, galleys, perpetual and irremissible imprisonment
and, in cases of exceptional wickedness, of degradation and relaxation.
In view of the difficulty of proof, single witnesses should suffice for
condemnation, when circumstances afforded due presumption. Confessors,
who found that their penitents had been previously solicited, were
required to admonish them to denounce the offenders, and for neglect of
this they were to be duly punished. This latter provision was of
difficult enforcement, for Urban VIII, in 1626, felt obliged to address
all archbishops, instructing them to call the attention of confessors to
it, and to insert a corresponding clause in all licences. The regular
clergy seem to have been the subject of special anxiety for, in 1633,
the superiors of all religious houses were ordered to assemble the
inmates yearly and warn them as to the observance of these decrees, and
this was also to be done in all chapters, general, provincial and

The Holy See was in earnest, but the result did not correspond to its
efforts. France and Germany paid virtually no attention to the decrees,
and in Spain the Inquisition made no change in its procedure or in the
mildness of its penalties. The only effect of Gregory's brief was to
raise the question whether it did not confirm, at least cumulatively, to
the bishops the jurisdiction of which they had been practically
deprived. No distinction was expressed between lands with and those
without an Inquisition, and the original briefs of Paul IV and Pius IV
had not deprived the bishops of jurisdiction, although the latter had
made little effort to assert it against the exclusive claims of the
tribunals. We chance to hear of the case of Dr. Miguel Bueso, who was
surrendered by the Archbishop of Valencia, in 1608, for trial on this
charge and, after punishment, was returned to the archiepiscopal
court.[191] Soon after this de Sousa argues that, in spite of the papal
decrees, bishops have cumulative jurisdiction, although the
inquisitor-general can evoke cases.[192] In 1620, Inquisitor-general
Luis de Aliaga had a struggle with his brother Isidor de Aliaga,
Archbishop of Valencia, over the case of Gaspar Flori, rector of Urgel,
who was on trial by the vicar-general for various offences, including
solicitation. The tribunal demanded cognizance of this special charge;
the vicar-general asserted cumulative jurisdiction, adding that he had
already tried two cases of the kind. The inquisitor-general argued
strenuously that, as a matter of faith, it belonged to the Inquisition;
if it were not a matter of faith it would go unpunished, for there would
be no obligation to denounce, and without this women would never imperil
their honor, for experience showed how rarely they did so voluntarily,
and they had to be compelled by the refusal of absolution.
Notwithstanding all this the archbishop of Valencia held good; his
vicar-general tried the case and executed the sentence.[193] There were
few episcopal courts, however, so audacious as this, and the claim of
the Inquisition to exclusive jurisdiction was generally conceded.


The brief of Gregory XV was not published in Spain but, by some means,
the Ordinary of Seville obtained a copy and exhibited it to the
inquisitors. The Suprema promptly, on January 14, 1623 addressed a
consulta to Philip IV, stating that it had not learned that the brief
had reached any other bishop and dwelling eloquently on the frequency
and heinousness of the crime, the energy and rigor of the Inquisition in
its repression, and the disastrous consequences of concurrent episcopal
jurisdiction, where the leniency of punishment encouraged evildoers,
and the publicity of procedure conveyed knowledge to husbands and
kinsmen. The king was therefore asked to apply for the exemption of
Spain from the operation of the brief; this was speedily arranged and,
on April 10, Ambassador Alburquerque reported the forwarding of a decree
of the Congregation of the Inquisition, stating that it was not the
papal intention that the brief should apply to the Spanish dominions.
Cardinal Millino, at the same time, wrote that the pope had declared
that the Inquisition should continue to prosecute such cases in its
customary form and manner.[194]

This simply left the matter where it was before, but the Inquisition
boldly asserted that it had been given exclusive jurisdiction and, when
Urban VIII granted, to the Bishop of Astorga, cognizance of these cases
among the regular clergy, it had the effrontery to raise a competencia
with him.[195] On May 19, 1629, it sent to the tribunals copies of
Gregory's brief, with instructions to follow its prescriptions, as
punishment should be uniform in a crime of such frequent occurrence.
Although, it added, the brief appeared to confer only cumulative
jurisdiction, the pope had declared to the king that in his dominions it
was exclusive so that, if any Ordinary should undertake to hear such a
case, he was to be inhibited and a prompt report be made to the Suprema.
To make matters sure, this was followed by an order of August 9th, that
this exclusive cognizance should be asserted in the Edict of

It was not long before this produced another quarrel with Archbishop
Aliaga of Valencia. In 1631, Vicente Palmer, rector of Játiva, was
prosecuted in the archiepiscopal court for sundry offences, including a
charge of solicitation preferred by Ana Martínez. The notary employed
was a familiar who informed the tribunal. It promptly notified the
Ordinary to omit that specification, to which Aliaga replied that his
court had always possessed jurisdiction over the matter, and the brief
of Gregory XV had confirmed the cumulative jurisdiction of both
tribunals; if Urban VIII had rendered that of the Inquisition exclusive,
he had not seen the brief, but if shown to him he would of course obey
it. Then came a pause during which Palmer returned to Játiva and, from
the pulpit, denounced all who had testified against him, declaring that
all who accused ecclesiastics were excommunicated and he would not hear
them in confession, especially Ana Martínez; the town was in an uproar
and one man died without confession. After some months the tribunal, in
its customary arrogant fashion, with threats of excommunication,
summoned the archbishop to surrender the papers and admit that he was
inhibited. To this he replied at much length, pointing out that it was
unreasonable to ask him to strip himself of an established jurisdiction
on the simple assertion of the inquisitors that they held a brief of
Urban VIII, which they would not exhibit. He offered to submit the
question to the pope or to form a competencia in the regular way, but
both suggestions were rejected, although the tribunal adopted a more
moderate tone. The records are imperfect and we do not know the outcome,
but probably the Suprema quietly let the affair drop out of sight
through delay, in preference to provoking an investigation which would
have manifested the fraudulence of its claims.[197]


The audacity of the claim increased with time and, in the formula of the
Edict of Faith, in use in 1696, there was an absolute assertion that
Gregory XV had declared that, in the Spanish dominions, the offence was
subjected to the exclusive cognizance of the Inquisition and not to that
of the bishops, their vicars, provisors or ordinaries.[198]
Notwithstanding this, when bishops asserted their rights, the Suprema
shrank from a direct contest. Thus, in 1755, when the Bishop of Quito
undertook to try cases of the kind, the Suprema merely presented a long
and argumentative consulta to the king. So, in 1807, the Bishop of
Badajoz tried Joseph Méndez Rodríguez, priest of Llerena, for
solicitation, apparently without remonstrance on its part and when, in
1816, Rodríguez was prosecuted by the tribunal of Llerena for
propositions and _mala doctrina_, the Suprema ordered it to obtain from
the bishop the papers of the former trial and add them to the new

       *       *       *       *       *

While the Inquisition was thus aggressive in grasping exclusive
jurisdiction, it hesitated for some time as to the vigorous use of its
powers. It could evidently do little more than the inert episcopal
courts unless it included solicitation in the Edicts of Faith, which
specified offences and the obligation of denouncing them, but this
involved the ever-present dread of scandal, and the necessity of calling
attention to a matter so delicate. This explains the initial
fluctuations of policy. When jurisdiction was first conferred, the
Suprema ordered the omission of solicitation and then, by edict of July
17, 1562, that it should be included.[200] This speedily brought forth a
vigorous remonstrance, which earnestly urged the necessity of secrecy to
prevent scandal and the rendering of confession odious. It should never
be admitted that such wickedness was possible; it had, in fact, always
existed, but such a remedy had never been imagined, which would lead men
to keep their wives and daughters from the confessional, nobles to
refrain from putting their daughters into convents, religion to be
despised and Christianity itself to be abhorred. Good confessors would
be driven to abandon the confessional, and the clergy, seeing that their
weaknesses were to be punished by the Inquisition, would withdraw their
support from it, leading to serious results. At least the punishment
should be secret, so that the people, seeing no results, might be led to
believe that there were no wicked men administering the sacrament.[201]
This final suggestion was superfluous, for clerical offenders, short of
those incurring degradation and relaxation, were always punished in

The opposition to this public admission of clerical frailty grew so
strong that the Suprema, in a carta acordada of May 22, 1571, stated
that, after many discussions, it had been decided that the disadvantages
attendant on it required its omission, and inquisitors were told to find
some other means, including notice to the Ordinaries to instruct
confessors to admonish penitents to denounce offenders to the Holy
Office. The exception thus made in favor of soliciting confessors
evidently led to a marked diminution in the number of denunciations,
causing the Suprema to hesitate for, in a carta of September 20, 1574,
repeating the orders to omit, the Suprema spoke of it as possibly a
temporary regulation.[202] The conviction seems to have grown that in no
other way could the abuse be checked and, in a carta acordada of March
2, 1576, inquisitors were ordered to replace the clause in the Edict of


Notwithstanding the publicity of the Edict, which imposed
excommunication for failure to denounce, the trials show that the most
fertile source of denunciation was the refusal of confessors to absolve
penitents who had been solicited, unless they would accuse their guilty
partners to the Inquisition. In spite of the assurance of secrecy, women
were naturally reluctant, whether they had yielded or not, to expose
themselves to the necessity of reciting details more or less revolting,
and subjecting themselves at least to suspicion. One feature which
rendered this exposure peculiarly distressing was the necessity of
ratification, when all the foul or incriminating matter was rehearsed in
the presence of two more men and, as much of this testimony was taken on
the spot, by commissioners and notaries appointed _ad hoc_, in small
places where everything was known, such revelations would only be made
under the severest pressure. Again there was the enmity which was sure
to be excited for, in these cases, the device of suppressing the names
of witnesses was no protection against identification, which was a risk
not lightly to be encountered, especially when the culprit was a parish
priest, whose capacity for revenging himself was unlimited. The
Inquisition sorrowfully admitted that, even when it had one accusing
witness, corroborative evidence was almost impossible to obtain.[204]

Even where no direct enmity was excited, the incidental troubles to
which a denunciation might give rise are illustrated in the case of Sor
María de Santa Rita, a nun, 29 years of age, in the convent of La
Magdalena at Alcalá de Henares, in 1737. During the absence of the
regular confessor, she confessed thrice a week for five weeks to Maestro
Diego de Azumanes, pastor of Alcalá. On her alluding to certain carnal
temptations, he pushed his inquiries to the furthest extent and then,
day after day, he poured into her ears a flood of foul and indecent
talk, with personal applications to her and to himself in a manner most
provocative of lust--or disgust. The regular confessor, on his return,
instructed her to report Azumanes to the Inquisition. In doing so she
unluckily mentioned that the superior of the house, Sor Teresa de San
Bartolomé, a virgin with thirty-eight years of conventual experience,
observing her repugnance to confess to Azumanes, told her not to mind
him; it was true that he was too clear and explicit in discussing such
matters, leading to temporary excitement of the passions, but she would
soon overcome this. The tribunal ordered a commissioner to examine Sor
María and, on receiving his report, instructed him to interrogate Sor
Teresa, which he did with a directness that must have been excessively
unpleasant, and it is easy to conjecture how miserable must have been
Sor María's subsequent life in the convent. The tribunal, it may be
added, did nothing, except to ascertain that no other denunciations had
been made against Azumanes. He was allowed to go on infecting the minds
of his penitents with his obscenity, until his death a few years
afterwards, in happy ignorance that any complaint had been made against
him.[205] When there were so many reasons to deter women from
denunciation, it is easy to understand how small a proportion of the
cases of solicitation reached the Inquisition. In 1695, Fray Luis
Aritio, a Recollect, was accused to the tribunal of Valencia by two
women and, on his trial, he confessed to ten.[206]


The most available means of overcoming this repugnance was to render
denunciation a binding obligation on the woman. To effect this as far as
possible, when, in 1571, the clause in the Edict of Faith was suspended,
the Suprema issued an edict requiring confessors, under pain of
excommunication, not to absolve penitents confessing to having been
solicited, unless they would promise to denounce the offender.[207] It
was admitted, however, that there were degrees of danger which would
release the woman from the obligation, and casuists endeavored to define
this with their usual acuteness and lack of unanimity. One learned
writer, about 1620, even laid down the general principle that natural
law is superior to positive law, and the preservation of reputation
belongs to the former, while the obligation to denounce belongs to the
latter.[208] The Roman Inquisition, in 1623, made a concession to this
weakness, by providing that, when noble or modest women could not be
induced to denounce, there might be granted to their confessors
faculties to absolve them, on condition that, when the cause of fear was
removed, they would fulfil the duty, but this permission apparently was
abused for, in 1626, inquisitors and bishops were warned to grant such
faculties only when there were serious grounds.[209] That danger was
really sometimes incurred would appear from some fragmentary cases in
the Valencia records. In one of these, a baffled confessor threatens his
penitent with death if she betrays him; in another a priest, on finding
himself denounced, similarly threatens the confessor who had been the
medium of denunciation, unless he will write that the women had
withdrawn their statements.[210] The Spanish Inquisition, however, made
no allowances. It was apparently to put an end to the refinements of
casuistry that when, in 1629, it distributed to the tribunals the brief
of Gregory XV, it granted to all inquisitors a faculty to punish
confessors who taught that penitents were not obliged to denounce such
solicitors.[211] To render this more effective, in 1713, it ordered
that all women bringing charges of solicitation should be interrogated
whether any confessor had neglected to impose on them the obligation of
denunciation, and if so his name, residence and all the circumstances
were to be ascertained, so that he could be called to account.[212]

While the Spanish Inquisition was thus creditably rigid in exacting
denunciations, it was equally strict in construing the limits of the
technical offence as defined in the papal decrees. As stated above,
morals had nothing to do with the matter; the business of the tribunals
was not to prevent women from being ruined by their spiritual fathers,
but only to see that the sacrament of penitence was not profaned in such
wise as to justify suspicion of the orthodoxy of the confessor. In 1577,
inquisitors were warned that it did not suffice for prosecution that
confessors had illicit relations with their penitents, or that they
solicited in the confessional when there really was no confession and,
in 1580 it was expressly stated that they were not to be prosecuted if
they said that they did not intend to have their penitents confess.[213]
This covered assignations under pretext of confession, to deceive
onlookers, which we are told was a frequent custom and, as there were no
confessional stalls, and the churches were largely deserted, there was
little danger of interruption. It was argued that there was no
confession and no sacrament, so there could be no heresy, but the Roman
Inquisition, in 1614, decided it to be solicitation, and the brief of
Gregory XV, in 1622 settled the question, although it required another
brief of Urban VIII, in 1629, to render it authoritative in Spain.[214]
This involved the question as to the knowledge which either party might
have of the other's intention, opening the door to the endless
refinements of antecedent or consequent invincible ignorance, in which
the casuists disported themselves.[215]

Even more dubious and fruitful of discussion was the question as to what
constituted the solicitation itself. About torpezas or physical
indecencies, there could be no rational doubt, though even here the
laxity of Probabilism gave scope for arguing them away.[216] It is such
things that usually meet us in the trials, in a shape admitting of no
debate, but there was a wide range of less incriminating acts, such as
words of flattery and endearment, praising the penitent's beauty or
telling her that if he were a layman he would marry her. Theoretically,
what were known to the moralists as _parvitas materiæ_--trifles
insufficient for animadversion--were not admitted in solicitation.
Pressing the hand, touching the foot, foul expressions and the like were
admitted to be subjects for denunciation, but the gradations of such
advances are infinite, and the elaborate discussions in some of the
works on the subject are examples of perverted ingenuity, apparently
directed to teach libidinous priests how to gratify sensuality without
incurring risk.[217] The question of lewd and filthy talk was an
especially puzzling one, for the confidences of the confessional
presuppose a licence on subjects usually forbidden between the sexes,
which may readily be abused by a brutal or foul-minded priest, and it is
impossible to frame a definition which in practice shall rigidly
differentiate moral instruction from heedless pruriency or deliberate
corruption. How difficult it is to draw the line in such matters is
indicated by a case before the Valencia tribunal in 1786. A nun of the
convent of Santa Clara in Játiva complained of the indecent and
unnecessary questions repeatedly put to her in confession by the
Observantine Fray Vicente González. Under the advice of the definitor of
the Order she empowered him to denounce González to the Inquisition.
Then the regular confessor of the convent pronounced that the questions
were necessary and proper, and persuaded the definitor to write to the
tribunal to that effect.[218]


There were other intricate questions arising from human perversity. A
Cunha tells us that the more probable opinion affirms the guilt of a
confessor who acts as a pimp with his penitent for the benefit of
another, and also in the more frequent case in which he solicits the
penitent to serve as procuress for him with her daughter or a friend. De
Sousa, however draws a distinction and asserts positively that, in the
former case, he is liable under the papal briefs and, in the latter, he
is not, nor is he if he tries to seduce a woman who is confessing to
another priest.[219] Then there was a nice question as to priests
without faculties to hear confessions, or who were under suspension or
excommunication, on which the doctors were evenly divided.[220]
Distantly akin to this were cases in which laymen would secrete
themselves in confessionals and listen to confessions, whether from
prurient motives, or through jealousy, or to obtain opportunities for
seduction. If they carried deceit to the point of conferring absolution,
they incurred serious penalties, as we shall see hereafter; if they
merely solicited the penitent, the weight of authority is that there is
no sacrament and no liability to the papal briefs.[221]

There was another phase of the subject on which the doctors were
hopelessly divided--what was known as passive solicitation, where the
woman was the tempter. This case, we are told, was rare, and we can
readily believe it, although there are not wanting zealous defenders of
the cloth who assert that in the majority of cases the penitent is
really the guilty party. The earliest allusion to the matter is by
Páramo, in 1598, whose treatment of it shows that as yet there had been
no formal decision; if the confessor resists, he says, he should
denounce the woman; if he yields, he should denounce both her and
himself, though perhaps it would be best to consult the pope.[222] As
regards the confessor, the authorities differ irreconcileably, but they
are virtually unanimous in holding that, as the woman is not mentioned
in the papal briefs, she is not subject to the Inquisition.[223] Yet,
notwithstanding the absence of papal authority, we happen to find María
Izquierda prosecuted for this offence, in 1715, by the Valencia tribunal
and, in 1772 Antonia Coquis, wife of Bruno Vidal, by that of

It will be seen that solicitation subject to inquisitorial action was so
purely technical an offence, and one so difficult of precise definition,
that it offered many doubtful points affording ample opportunity of
evasion by the adroit. Gregory XV had sought to be precise and explicit,
but the ingenuity of casuists and evildoers continued to find exceptions
and, in 1661, the Roman Inquisition rendered sixteen decisions on
disputed points, but its ingenuity was baffled by so intricate a
subject, and it was obliged to leave some matters rather darkened than
illuminated.[225] Then it was pointed out that the papal briefs were
silent as to handing love-letters to penitents during confession and, as
everything not specifically prohibited was held to be licit, this was
assumed to be allowable, until Alexander VII stamped the proposition as
erroneous.[226] After this the perverted ingenuity of the casuists had
free scope until, in 1741, Benedict XIV, in the solemn bull _Sacramentum
Poenitentiæ_, deplored that human wickedness was perverting to the
destruction of souls that which God had instituted for their salvation.
He renewed and confirmed the brief of Gregory XV, and added to its
definitions all attempts in the confessional to lead penitents astray by
signs, nods, touching, indecent words and writings, whether to be read
there or subsequently. In eloquent words he warned all those in
authority to see that the wandering sheep, endeavoring to re-enter the
fold, should not be abandoned to the cruel beasts seeking their
destruction, and he branded the sacrilegious seducers as ministers of
Satan, rather than of Christ.[227] Still, it was only the technical
heresy and not morality that was considered, and illicit relations
between spiritual father and daughter, outside of the confessional, were
left unpunished as before.


At the same time he endeavored to suppress the most flagrant abuse
connected with solicitation--an abuse which, more than anything else,
smoothed the path for the seducer--the absolution of the woman by her
partner in guilt. Alexander VII, in 1665, had only gone so far as to
condemn the proposition that this absolution relieved her from the
obligation of denouncing her seducer--a proposition which proves how
audacious were the laxer moralists of the period who asserted it.[228]
Benedict now formally prohibited the guilty confessor from hearing the
confession of his accomplice, except on the death-bed when no other
confessor could be had; he deprived him of the power of granting
absolution, which consequently was invalid, and the attempt to do so
imposed _ipso facto_ excommunication, strictly reserved to the Holy
See.[229] As this excommunication suspended all the functions of the
priest until removal, its observance would have gone far to check any
abuse that was not incurable, but neither priest nor penitent paid to it
the slightest attention. It is impossible to trace, in the business of
the Spanish Inquisition, any result from Benedict's well-meant
legislation. Trials for solicitation continued as numerous as ever, and
the only difference observable is that, in the second half of the
eighteenth century, the sentences almost invariably assume that the
culprit has incurred excommunication for absolving his accomplice; that,
until he obtains absolution from this, he must abstain from using his
functions, that he must consult his conscience as to his ministrations
hitherto while under this irregularity, and that his penitents must be
discreetly warned to repeat their confessions which, having been made to
him, were invalid. This continued to the end and is a feature in the
case of Fray Josef Montero, the last one sentenced by the Córdova
tribunal, April 24, 1819.[230]


It is no wonder that confessors endeavored to evade the technical
definitions of the papal briefs for, if they could do so, no matter how
heinous was their guilt there was practically no penalty. Juan Sánchez
asserts that a priest who has commerce with his penitent is not obliged
to specify the fact when making confession, for it is not incest and
there is no papal prohibition of it.[231] All authorities, from that
time to this, tell us that he can obtain absolution from any confessor,
for it is not a reserved case, which shows the universal benignity of
the bishops and the popes, who have the power of reserving to themselves
the absolution of what sins they please.[232] It is easy to understand,
therefore, how, in the trials, the inquisitors bent their energies to
obtain definite evidence as to the exact location and time of the acts
of solicitation, and how the accused sought to prove, not his innocence,
but his dexterity in evading the definitions of the papal decrees. A
suggestive example is the case of Doctor Pedro Mendizabal, cura of the
parish of Santa Ana in the City of Mexico. He was denounced, June 21,
1809, by Doña María Guadalupe Rezeiro, by command of her confessor, when
she stated that, in January, 1807, she made to him a general confession,
too long to be finished in one day. On returning to his church to
complete it, she was told to go up to his room, when he said he was too
busy to listen to her. She retired but, on her way down stairs, his
servant recalled her and, on entering his apartment, he threw his arms
around her, professed ardent love and promised to support her if she
would become his mistress, which she refused. As he had thus eluded the
definitions of Benedict XIV, four calificadores out of six reported that
he was not technically guilty of solicitation. The denunciation was
filed away and, in 1817, there came another, of which he had warning in
order that he might spontaneously accuse himself, as he did. It was from
an attractive young girl of 17, and investigation developed four more
cases of girls of whom he was confessor. Abundant evidence showed
habitual indecent liberties--hugging, kissing, sitting in his lap, in
presence of their families or even in public resorts. He had been
ordered out of two houses and, on appeal to the archbishop, he had been
forbidden to confess one of the girls who was a boarder in a convent.
The distraction of the mother of the first accuser, endeavoring to save
her daughter from one whose authority as a priest overawed her, is very
touching and suggestive. Yet in all this there was no proof of anything
in the act of confession--as one of the calificadores piously remarked,
"God, in his goodness, preserved him from this." Two calificadores
argued at much length that he was not guilty of solicitation; then two
others proved that he was guilty, and finally two more laboriously
demonstrated that the first pair were correct. This is the last document
in the case. It is dated November 3, 1819, and, as the Inquisition was
suppressed in June, 1820, and as there is no endorsement on the record
showing that the case was concluded, Mendizabal undoubtedly escaped to
continue his corrupting career, especially as he had four out of six
calificadores in his favor.[233]

The technicalities, which eliminated morality from consideration,
resulted in curious contrasts. In November 1762, Fray Clemente de
Cartagena went to Toledo to assist in the profession of his neice
Gerónima, in the Bernardine convent, where he already had a sister. He
and his sister were in the confessional near the altar, when some duty
called her away and she told Gerónima to go to her uncle. She seated
herself in the confessional, while he occupied the penitent's place
outside and, in an affectionate talk, he asked her to kiss him. The next
day he said to her that he had forgotten at the moment that they were in
the confessional; this made no impression on her, until she heard the
nuns talking about the exceeding delicacy of such matters, and she
consulted Fray Fernando de San Josef, who ordered her to denounce her
uncle. This she did in writing, and Fray Fernando conveyed it to the
tribunal, which duly took up the case. We shall see that prosecutions
required two distinct and separate denunciations; inquiries, according
to custom, were made of all the other tribunals; fortunately for Fray
Clemente nothing was found against him and the case was suspended, but
if there had been, or if subsequently he chanced to draw upon himself a
denunciation, the innocent kiss to his neice would count as though he
had deliberately seduced a penitent.[234] It was the spot and not the
nature of the act that was decisive.

Against this may be set the case of Cristóbal Ximeno, parish priest of
Manzanera, a brute who was in the habit of violating the young girls of
his church, who came to his house for examination in the _Doctrina
Cristiana_, as a preparation for communion at marriage, until mothers
would not trust their daughters there alone. They were his penitents,
but the outrage was not in the confessional and he had nothing to fear
under the papal decrees. At length, however, he made himself liable to
the Inquisition by pretending to confess Pasquala Torres, at her
marriage, without absolving her and then, when administering communion
to her and her bridegroom, dropping the host into the ciborium--a
sacrilege for which he was duly punished by the Valencia tribunal.[235]
So complete, indeed, is the dissociation of morals and solicitation,
that some doctors hold that, when a priest is confessing a sick woman,
if she falls into delirium or stupor, he can violate her without
exposing himself to denunciation. It is satisfactory, however, to be
told that the weight of authority is opposed to this opinion.[236]

[Sidenote: _FLAGELLATION_]

Yet there was one species of abuse of the confessional, not contemplated
in the papal briefs, which the Spanish Inquisition, by a somewhat forced
construction, classed with solicitation. This, which was known as
flagellation, consisted in imposing penance of the discipline and
administering it on the spot, or letting the penitent administer it
herself, in either case requiring her to disrobe and expose herself to a
greater or less degree. Sometimes this was mingled with the debased
mystic ardor, of which we have seen examples above, leading both parties
to expose themselves and lash one another. The earliest case that I have
met of this occurred in 1606, at Nájera, when María Escudero, a widow
aged 40, testified that she had long confessed to the Franciscan Fray
Diego de Burgos. They exchanged vows of obedience to each other; he
would visit her in her house when they would discipline each other with
exposure almost complete, under agreement that their eyes should be kept
closed. Then he introduced a pious exercise still more indecent, but he
was always scrupulously correct in the confessional. She chanced to
make a general confession to another priest who refused absolution
unless she would denounce Fray Diego. The case was evidently novel and
dragged on until 1609, when it reached the Suprema, which submitted the
matter to two calificadores. One opined that the acts savored of the
heresy of the Adamites and Alumbrados; the other attributed it merely to
imprudent simplicity and ignorance. Apparently there was no precedent
for guidance and the case seems to have been suspended.[237] A parallel
case, with a different ending, was one in which there were a number of
women concerned and the practices were foul almost beyond belief. The
priest was an ignorant and simple man who, by the advice of another
confessor, came with the women to denounce themselves. He was sentenced
to rigid reclusion in a convent, where he died after giving a most
edifying example, and the women were not prosecuted, as they were mostly
barefooted Carmelites and Capuchins.[238]

The _flagelante_ soon came to be recognized as an offender akin to the
solicitor, and was held to be subject to the papal briefs. The old
inquisitor, who relates the last case, and writers like de Sousa and
Alberghini, all speak of stripping penitents and disciplining them as a
species of solicitation, to be visited with the same penalties.[239] As
a rule, in fact, it was regarded as rendering the offence more serious,
for it inferred more than the technical suspicion of heresy, especially
after Molinism had deepened the guilt of Illuminism, and we find
allusions to _hereges flagelantes_. Cases become frequent in the records
and we even, in 1730, find a Fray Domingo Calvo spontaneously denouncing
himself to the Madrid tribunal for having caused himself to be
flagellated, showing to what means perverted sexual instincts resorted
for gratification.[240]

The extent to which these practices were sometimes carried is indicated
in the trial, in 1795, of Padre Paulino Vicente Arevalo, priest of
Yepes, as "solicitante y flagelante." He confessed to the most flagrant
indecencies committed in this manner, with his female penitents, among
whom were nine pupils or sisters of the Bernardine convent. Sometimes he
made them discipline themselves in his presence and, as the scourge had
to be applied to the peccant parts, he had choice of such exposure as he
desired, an opportunity of which he admitted availing himself. The
record is discreetly mute as to worse excesses but, as six of his
penitents were required to repeat to another confessor all the
confessions specified in the evidence, it follows that sins must have
been committed for which he absolved them. For this perversion of so
many young lives he was only sentenced to a year's reclusion in a
monastery, thirty days' spiritual exercises, deprivation of the faculty
of confession, perpetual exile from Yepes and eight years' exile from
some other places--penalties which, although severe under the mild
inquisitorial standard, were wholly inadequate to his offences.[241]

A considerable portion of the cases in the later years of the
Inquisition are characterized as "solicitante y flagelante" and many of
them illustrate the easy transition from Illuminism to solicitation. As
early as 1651 we meet the case of the Dominican Fray Gerónimo de las
Herreras, condemned by the Toledo tribunal to deprivation of the faculty
of confession and three years' reclusion in a convent, as an "alumbrado
y solicitante," convicted of repeated practices of obscenity with many
women. When Molinism came to the front, those who taught it with its
debauching consequences were more severely dealt with, as in the case of
Buenaventura Frutos, cura of Mocejon, who, in 1722, was pronounced by
the Toledo tribunal to be a formal heretic and dogmatizer, a
contumacious solicitor and seducer. As such his sentence was read with
open doors, he appeared in a sanbenito _de dos aspas_, was reconciled,
verbally degraded and recluded irremissibly for life in a convent where,
for two years he was shut up in a cell, under instruction.[242] Similar
cases continued to occur occasionally, but more numerous in the later
period were those in which solicitation is conjoined with _mala
doctrina_, showing that the evil teaching was of a less dangerous
character than fully developed Molinism--a mere soothing of the
conscience of the penitent with assurances that what her confessor
desired was not mortal sin--but even this was regarded as increasing the
suspicion of heresy and requiring severer punishment.[243]

[Sidenote: _PROCEDURE_]

It is perhaps not without interest to note the advanced age to which
some of these soliciting confessors retained the ardor which impelled
them to the offence. Cases of septuagenarians are by no means rare. The
Dominican, Fray Antonio de Aragon, sentenced, July 24, 1734, at Toledo,
was 78 and the Observantine, Fray Miguel Granado, denounced, in 1786, to
the Cuenca tribunal, was 80. In the former case the punishment was
mitigated in consideration of his years, though a less sympathizing
court would have heightened its rigor, in view of the evil which such a
sinner must have wrought during so prolonged a career.[244]

       *       *       *       *       *

When, in 1561, the Inquisition obtained jurisdiction over solicitation,
it had no precedents on which to frame its procedure or to regulate the
penalties. The episcopal courts had been inert and merciful, and the
fact that the offence had been transferred from them inferred that the
new jurisdiction was expected to be vigorous and rigorous. Its first
care, however, was to preserve secrecy and avert scandal, so that no
layman should be admitted to knowledge of clerical delinquencies. The
earliest utterance is a carta acordada of 1562, prescribing that, when
the denunciation affords conclusive evidence, it shall be considered by
the inquisitors and Ordinary, without calling in the usual consultors,
and the arrest shall be made with the utmost circumspection; the accused
is to be admitted to bail; when the case is concluded, if he is a fraile
he is to be confined in his convent with orders not to preach or hear
confessions, or to have active and passive voice; if he is a secular
priest, he is to be confined somewhere else than where the offence was
committed, he is not to exercise his functions and the final disposition
of the case is to rest with the Suprema.[245] In 1572, consultors were
admitted to examine the evidence before arrest, but they were to be
exclusively clerics, and the result was to be submitted to the Suprema
before action. It made little difference that the heinousness of the
offence was emphasized, and the necessity of exemplary punishment, when
the culprit was treated with this exceptional tenderness.[246] In 1600,
even the Ordinary was excluded from the preliminary deliberations and
the Suprema was to be consulted before any action was taken.[247] The
same precautions as to publicity were to be observed with regard to the
sentences, which were to be read in the audience-chamber with closed
doors, the only witnesses present being a prescribed number of the
brethren of the culprit--members of his Order if he was a fraile, or
curas and rectors, if a secular priest.[248] The care taken to avert
attention from these delinquencies is illustrated in the case of Fray
Antonio de la Portería, in 1818; he was resident in the convent of
Mondonedo, and the guardian was ordered to send him on some pretext to
the house of the Order at Santiago, where he was duly tried.[249]

[Sidenote: _PROCEDURE_]

Even greater favoritism was manifested in the matter of evidence. We
have seen that, in ordinary trials, while two witnesses were required as
to each fact yet, in practice, a single witness sufficed, not only for
arrest but for torture and that the testimony of the vilest persons was
welcomed without discrimination. In solicitation, it was self-evident
that there could be but one witness to each specific act, so that
perforce the tribunals were instructed that they must be content with
"singular" witnesses. A single denunciation however, did not suffice for
arrest, but in 1571, and again in 1576, they were allowed to deliberate
on it and consult the Suprema. Even this was thought to be too harsh
and, in 1577, the rule was adopted that there must be two separate and
independent denunciations before arrest and trial--a rule fraught, as we
shall see, with far-reaching consequences for, when it was so difficult
to induce women to accuse their seducers, innumerable culprits escaped
because two of their victims did not happen to act independently.[250]
Similar exceptional consideration was shown with regard to the character
of the witnesses, repeated instructions being issued that this was to be
carefully investigated, and the results be noted upon the record and
reported to the Suprema, so that due weight be given to it, both in
ordering arrest and apportioning penalties--precautions eminently
commendable, but deplorably lacking in trials for other offences.[251]
Justification for this solicitude was sought in the customary monkish
abuse of women in general. It was a misfortune that their evidence was
to be received at all but, from the nature of the crime, this was
unavoidable, and Páramo tells us that by nature they are lying,
deceitful, perjurers, crafty, changeable, frail, mutable and
corruptible--a daily curse, the gate of the devil, the tail of the
scorpion, a whitened sepulchre, an incurable sore, but they are the only
witnesses to be had and two of them, if of good character, must suffice
for full proof.[252] Such tirades show the different temper in which
inquisitors approached the consideration of these cases and those of
Jews or Protestants.

After arrest the culprit could be committed to the secret prison, but
this was exceptional, the custom being to remand regulars to houses of
their Order, and to admit seculars to bail, with the city as prison, in
a manner to attract as little attention as possible. The trial took the
usual course, interrogation being made as to intention and belief in the
sacrament of penitence, on which inquisitorial jurisdiction was based.
Of course all heretical tendencies were disclaimed, but, in the possible
case of error and pertinacity, there was provision for confinement in
the secret prison with sequestration of property and seizure of

In the Spanish Inquisition, solicitation uncomplicated by Illuminism or
Molinism, inferred only light suspicion of heresy, requiring merely
abjuration _de levi_. Consequently the accused was not exposed to
torture. It is true that, academically speaking, though he could not be
tortured as to intention and belief, he might be subjected to it if he
denied facts, but in practice it was never employed, although the formal
accusation contained the _otrosi_ demanding it.[254] Yet, when there was
_mala doctrina_ or Illuminism torture was employed without scruple, as
in the case, in 1725, of Manuel Madrigal, in Toledo, accused as
"solicitante, Molinista y flagelante."[255] In the Roman Inquisition,
however, after the brief of Gregory XV, the suspicion of heresy was
vehement, the abjuration was _de vehementi_ and there was no exception
to the general rule of torturing on intention. The testimony of one
woman of good character, supported by indications such as the evil
repute of the confessor, or that of two women unsupported, sufficed. In
every way Rome treated the offence with less charity than did

The instructions as to the examination of accusers offer a strong
contrast to the negligence habitual in trials for formal heresy, of
which the penalties were so much more severe. Tribunals were warned that
it required special attention and the utmost exactitude; the woman must
declare precisely the spot and the time, whether confession was real or
simulated, and she must repeat in full detail the words and acts of the
confessor without omission. If any one was near enough to see or to
hear, she must state who it was; if she had spoken to any one, the name
must be given, and the inquisitor was urged to exercise his ingenuity
according to the circumstances of the case. If she had subsequently
confessed to the same priest, she must give her reasons and state
whether he had absolved her. Special inquiry was to be made as to any
cause of enmity on her part or that of her kindred; whether she had
heard of his doing the same with other women; what she thought or knew
as to his character, and whether any other confessor had told her that
she was not bound to denounce him.[257] All these were salutary
precautions which, if general and not exceptional, would have prevented
much injustice.


This instruction would appear to require that, in case of consent, the
witness should be forced to reveal her shame. Protection from this would
seem necessary to overcome reluctance to make denunciation, and the
Roman Inquisition, by decree of July 25, 1624, ruled that neither the
woman nor the accused was to be questioned as to this and, if the
information was volunteered, it was to be omitted from the record, while
confessors were ordered to assure penitents that no such inquiries would
be made.[258] If such a rule existed in Spain, it was not observed until
near the end, for the records of trials show that the examination was
pushed to the last point, and the results were fully set forth in the
proceedings. As late as the middle of the eighteenth century,
instructions to commissioners taking testimony in these cases require
them to obtain all details as to words and acts and to write them out
fully and distinctly, no matter how obscene they may be.[259] Soon
after this, however, occurs the first intimation as to reticence that I
have met, in instructions to a commissioner, January 27, 1759, as to
taking testimony from a nun, in which he is told to notify her that, if
she volunteers to relate her own ruin, this is not to be stated or
included in the testimony.[260] Subsequently this became the rule, as
appears by instructions in 1816 and 1819.[261]

The most important discrimination in favor of these delinquents was the
requirement of two independent denunciations to justify arrest and
trial. This was not reached without some hesitation. The earliest formal
instructions that we have on the subject are embodied in a letter to the
tribunal of Sardinia, in 1574, when forwarding to it the brief of Pius
IV. As the crime is understood to be very prevalent in the island, the
inquisitor is ordered to prosecute it with rigor, according to the
procedure in cases of heresy, no exception being alluded to as respects
single denunciations.[262] Instructions to the tribunal of Peru, about
the same time, specify that a single witness suffices for prosecution
and that Indian women can be admitted.[263] Then, as we have seen, there
is an inclination in favor of the accused, in a carta acordada of March
2, 1576, ordering single accusations to be received, but the Suprema is
to be consulted before taking action. This tendency increased, and
fuller instructions to Sardinia, in 1577, require two witnesses with
conclusive evidence as a condition precedent to arrest.[264] This was
repeated in general instructions issued in 1580 and, after some
variations, it remained an absolute rule until the end.[265] Even this
was regarded by churchmen as too harsh. A Cunha holds that, while two
witnesses may suffice for prosecution, there should be at least four for
conviction, and he grows eloquent in pointing out the dignity of the
priest, the scandal to the Church and the exultation of the heretic. De
Sousa likewise considers two witnesses insufficient for conviction,
though, if they are of exemplary character, their evidence may justify
some moderate penalty.[266]

It is probable that, for awhile, practice was not uniform in all
tribunals. In that of Valladolid, in 1621 and 1622, there are several
cases in which arrest was voted on the evidence of a single witness and
these votes were confirmed by the Suprema.[267] On the other hand, about
1640, an inquisitor tells us that, when the accused denies, conviction
requires the evidence of three witnesses whom he has been unable to
disable for enmity, low rank of life, or doubtful repute. Some authors,
he adds, insist that four are necessary, but he admits that, when there
are two whose characters stand thorough investigation and there are
supporting indications, conviction may follow.[268] It is impossible not
to recognize the charitable motives that prompted this reluctance to

The requirement thus established of two independent denunciations threw
serious impediments in the way of suppressing a crime in which it was so
notoriously difficult to find accusers. The routine gradually
established was, when a denunciation was received, to search the records
for a previous one. If none were found, letters were addressed to all
the other tribunals requesting a similar examination of their registers
and, if this was unsuccessful, the denunciation was filed away to await
the chances of another accuser presenting herself, thus giving the
accused, if guilty, the opportunity of continuing his profligate career,
and leading the woman to believe that the case was too trivial to
deserve the attention of the Inquisition. These long intervals of
impunity illustrate the difficulty of obtaining denunciations, and the
preponderant chances of escape, when prosecution was thus obstructed.


Numberless cases show how prolonged was often this period of immunity in
a career of crime, to say nothing of the yet more frequent instances
where the second denunciation never came. Thus at Valencia, on September
22, 1734, María Theresa Terrasa accused Fray Agustin Solves of having
taken her, after confession and communion, to a room back of the altar
and committed violence on her. This was laid aside for fourteen years
when, on November 12, 1748, Sor Vitoria Julian, of the convent of San
Julian, appeared and denounced him for having, some fifteen years
before, solicited her some twenty times in the confessional of the
convent of which he was the regular confessor, though she had not
understood until now the obligation of denunciation. He had meanwhile
been removed to the convent of Villajoiosa and had doubtless profited
fully by the interval thus afforded.[269] This is by no means an extreme
instance. In the list of soliciting confessors, kept by the Madrid
tribunal, there occurs, in 1772, the name of Fray Andrés Izquierdo as
accused in Valladolid, with a reference back to the years 1751 and 1752.
Fray Bartolomé de Montijo appears as denounced in 1740 and again in
1776. Fray Fernando López, ex-provincial of the _Escuelas pias_, was
denounced in 1780 for tampering with the children under his charge, and
again in 1795, when he was tried and exiled. The Jesuit Juan Francisco
Nieto, was denounced in Toledo in 1708 and again in 1731 in Madrid. Fray
Joseph de San Juan was accused in Toledo in 1732 and in Granada in 1772.
Fray Pedro de la Madre de Dios was denounced in Barcelona in 1722 and
again in 1744. Even two denunciations, in many cases, did not suffice to
put an end to these corrupting careers, and it required three or four.
Fray Alonso de Arroya was denounced in 1768, 1788 and 1803; Fray
Francisco de la Asuncion Torquemada in 1735, 1770 and 1776; Domingo
Galindo, rector of Nules, in 1790, 1792, and 1795; Fray Francisco
Escriva in 1769, 1775, 1786 and 1787; and Padre Feliciano Martínez, S.
J., in 1767, 1771, 1784 and 1800. It is scarce worth while to multiply
instances of which the records furnish an abundant supply.[270]

As the majority of offenders were frailes, who had no settled residence,
it became necessary, in order to meet the exceptional requirement of two
denunciations, to establish communication between the several tribunals.
This was felt as early as 1601, when each one was ordered to send to all
the rest, information as to _solicitantes_, whose cases had been
suspended without prosecution. This seems to have received scant
obedience, while cases of solicitation were constantly becoming a more
important portion of inquisitorial duty, leading to a more comprehensive
effort in 1647. The tribunals were required to search their records for
thirty years back and make out lists of those charged with solicitation
with all necessary details; copies of these lists were to be sent to the
Suprema and to all other tribunals, and every year the new cases were
to be similarly circulated. A complete alphabetical list of the whole
was to be compiled and copies were to be furnished to all tribunals
making application.[271] If this was obeyed at the time, it must soon
have fallen into desuetude, for the custom became universal, when a
denunciation was received, of addressing all the sister tribunals with
the inquiry as to whether the name of the accused appeared on their
records. To facilitate these frequent researches, in compiling the
_Libras Vocandorum_ and other registers, a separate volume was reserved
for solicitation.[272]

       *       *       *       *       *

When all impediments were overcome and conviction was reached, the
penalties inflicted were singularly disproportionate to the gravity of
the offence, especially when compared with the severity exercised on
those whose guilt consisted in putting on clean linen on Saturdays and
avoiding the use of pork. The earliest definition as to punishment
occurs in the Sardinia instructions of 1577, where the prescriptions
embody the general features of the policy pursued to the end, including
the secrecy preserved by reading the sentence in the audience-chamber.
The penalties, it is stated, are customarily arbitrary, varying with the
character, degree and frequency of the offence but, in all cases, there
must be abjuration _de levi_ and perpetual deprivation of the faculty of
administering the sacrament of penitence; as to the other sacraments and
preaching, or reclusion or exile, it is discretional. For religious
there may be discipline in the chapters of their convents, while a
notary reads the sentence or, in atrocious cases, a discipline in the
audience-chamber; there may also be other penances, such as reclusion
and suspension or deprivation of sacerdotal functions, deprivation of
active and passive voice, being last in choir and refectory, and penance
for heavy sin, discipline, prayers etc. For secular priests, besides the
general penalties, there may be reclusion, deprivation or suspension of
functions and benefice, fines, secret disciplines, fasts and

[Sidenote: _PUNISHMENT_]

How these general rules were reduced to practice, at this period, may be
gathered from a few examples in Toledo, all of whom had of course the
regular abjuration de levi and reprimand. In 1578 the Carmelite, Fray
Agustin de Cervera, against whom there were ten witnesses, was
sentenced to perpetual deprivation of confession, reclusion for a year
in a convent of his Order, where he was to receive a discipline, and
Friday fasting on bread and water. The Dominican Fray Domingo de
Revisto, against whom there were forty-nine witnesses, besides others
who came after the conclusion of the case, was perpetually deprived of
confessing and recluded in a desert convent for ten years, during which,
for a year, he was deprived of active and passive voice, of preaching
and of saying mass. In 1581, Pedro de Villalobos, acting cura of Halía,
had many witnesses as to his acts in the confessional and an infinite
number as to his general licentiousness, for he kept a concubine, had
debauched two sisters and their aunt, and committed much else of the
same kind. These latter sins were outside of inquisitorial jurisdiction;
for the solicitation he was exiled from Halía for three years, of which
the first was to be passed in a monastery with suspension from
celebrating, he was perpetually suspended from confessing, and was fined
in fifteen thousand maravedís. Fray Juan Romero was accused by five
women; he admitted using words of endearment, but innocently, as he
claimed to be impotent. Either the claim or the fact seems to have been
regarded as an aggravation, for he was deprived of confessing and was
recluded for ten years, without active and passive voice, to be last in
choir and refectory, with a monthly discipline during the first year, a
discipline in the audience-chamber and one in the convent of San Pablo
while his sentence was read.[274]

These examples will suffice to show the spirit in which aggravated cases
were treated. Those of less gravity had concessions in the variable
factors, but the deprivation of confessing was perpetual. About 1600,
Miguel Calvo summarizes the practice, with a distinct inclination
towards greater severity, and adds that, when the culprit has solicited
men, the penalties are to be increased.[275] On the other hand, in 1611,
a Cunha pleads for moderation, and warns the inquisitor not to drive the
culprit to despair, while de Sousa endeavors to argue away the stern
penalties prescribed by Gregory XV, and repeats the warning as to

It was wholly superfluous to plead for leniency. The Spanish Inquisition
paid no attention to Gregory's brief, although, in 1629, it ordered the
tribunals to follow its prescriptions, for it even began to show an
increased tendency towards benignity. The severest sentence I have met
at this period concerned a peculiarly scandalous case before the
tribunal of Valladolid where, in 1625, the Trinitarian Fray Juan de
Ramírez was accused by five youths and one woman, and besides he had
once celebrated mass without confessing. He was verbally degraded,
deprived perpetually of confessing and condemned to ten years of
reclusion, lifelong exile from Burgos and a circular discipline in his
convent. This was justice tempered with mercy, but there was much mercy
and little justice, in 1637, in the case of the Franciscan Fray Alonso
del Valle before the same tribunal. He was accused by two sisters of his
Order; there was a vote in discordia and the Suprema ordered suspension
of the case, but, before this could be done, there supervened two more
witnesses with evidence of the foulest character. The result was a
sentence April 14, 1638, of deprivation of confessing women, one year's
reclusion and four years of exile from Toro and Astorga. Equally
fortunate was the Dominican Fray Juan Gómez, accused by two women, with
one of whom, for fifteen years, he had illicit relations in the chapels
used for confession. Some sisters of his Order likewise denounced him
and, for all this he was sentenced, February 4, 1638, to be deprived of
confessing women and to Friday fasting for six months. Even greater was
the benignity shown, in 1642, to the Licenciate Morales, cura of
Robadillo, against whom there were two accusers. The vote of the
consulta de fe on the _sumaria_ was not unanimous, when the Suprema cut
the affair short by ordering suspension, with a private reprimand of the
accused in the apartments of the inquisitor.[277]

[Sidenote: _PUNISHMENT_]

Evidently the Inquisition was beginning to regard the offence with a
compassionate eye, and it would be superfluous to adduce more cases of
its tenderness. Still the regular scheme of punishments was nominally
held in force, and is duly recapitulated by an old inquisitor about
1640, who includes fines for secular priests and adds that the galleys
might be inflicted, and that those who relapsed deserved them.
Abjuration _de vehementi_ was never imposed and, although the papal
constitution permitted relaxation, this was never used, though it is
well that there is a faculty for it in extreme cases.[278] Even the
fines here alluded to were not heavy. Another authority of about the
same date says that, if the priest is rich, he may be mulcted in from
six to ten thousand maravedís.[279] The heaviest pecuniary penalty that
I have met was imposed, in 1744, on Fernández Puyalon, cura of
Ciempozuelos, who was fined in half his property, but here solicitation
was complicated with heretical propositions, which, as we have seen,
greatly enhanced guilt.[280]

As regards the galleys, I have met with but one case of their
employment--that of the Licentiate Lorenzo de Eldora, assistant cura in
Torre de Beleña, tried in Toledo in 1691. He had already been punished
for the same offence in Granada, and had relapsed, which explains the
severity of the sentence suspending him from orders and banishing him
from a number of places for ten years, of which the first five were to
be spent in the galleys.[281] That this punishment was reserved for
relapse may be inferred from a case which, about the same time, was
occupying the Barcelona tribunal and which certainly deserved it. The
Mercenarian Padre Estevan Ramoneda was accused in 1690, but it was not
until 1694 that a second denunciation enabled action to be taken. After
many evasions, in ignorance of the exact charge, he confessed to much
more than was required. Since entering a convent, in 1660, as a boy of
fifteen, his life had been one of sexual abominations, almost warranting
the belief that the monasteries of the time were outposts of Sodom. The
number of women whose testimony was obtained was only eight, but among
these were some with whom extraordinary obscenities were practised in
church. He had no defence to offer and, in his sentence, September 11,
1696, all reference to his unnatural crimes of all kinds was carefully
omitted. He was deprived of confession, had a circular discipline in his
convent, and was recluded for four years in the house of N. Señora del
Olivar, from which he was allowed to return in October 1700.[282] This
was considered sufficient punishment for a brute whose life had been
spent in corrupting men, women and beasts.

There is one feature in these cases which shows how great was the dread
of scandal. We frequently find details of the worst excesses committed
in the churches. According to the canon law (Cap. 5, Extra, v, xvi) a
church thus polluted required to be reconciled, but there is no trace in
any of the records of the observance of this rule. It was presumably for
the purpose of averting knowledge of such disgraceful occurrences that
casuists discovered that pollution occurred only when the act was public
and not occult.[283]

       *       *       *       *       *

It was a favorite device, when a confessor had reason to fear that a
denunciation was impending, for him to denounce himself, in the
expectation of merciful treatment. Roman practice encouraged this by
conferring virtual immunity in such cases, as was experienced by the
Minim Hilario Caone of Besançon, who fled from Spain, in 1653, and
presented himself before the Roman Inquisition, stating that for ten
years he had heard confessions in the church of San Francisco de Paula
in Seville, and that he had come in post to confess that he had
solicited in confession some forty women, mostly with success. When
questioned as to belief and intention, he answered satisfactorily and
was only sentenced to abjure _de vehementi_, to visit the seven
privileged altars of St. Peter's, and for three years to recite weekly
the chaplet of the Virgin. This was not exceptional mercy for, in the
same year, an equivalent sentence was pronounced on Vincenzo Barzi, who
similarly denounced himself, and the existing rule is to impose only
spiritual penance on the self-accuser, with advice to avoid in future
those whom he has solicited.[284]


The Spanish Inquisition, at least at first, was not so lenient and it
followed its rule with _espontaneados_ of examining for confirmation
those whom the delinquent named as the objects of his solicitations. In
the early cases there is little difference in the sentences between
those who denounced themselves and those who were accused. In 1582, the
Franciscan Fray Sebastian de Hontoria accused himself to the Toledo
tribunal for having, as vicar of a nunnery, corrupted several of the
nuns under peculiarly aggravating circumstances. On examination they
confirmed his confession, and he was sentenced to a circular discipline
in the convent of San Juan de los Reyes, to be deprived of confessing,
and reclusion in a convent for ten years, without active or passive
voice and being last in choir and refectory.[285] He had confessed fully
and freely. In another case, in 1589, before the same tribunal, the
Franciscan Fray Marcos de Latançon, in accusing himself, suppressed the
worst features of his offence. He confessed that, at Orche, he had
handled indecently some five or six unmarried and perhaps six or eight
married women, but averred that this was without any licentious feeling
or intention to induce them to sin. Five of the girls were examined,
whose concurrent testimony showed that the confessions were heard in a
chamber in which there was a bed. As each one entered he locked the
door; when the confession was half through he would interrupt it with
the foulest indecencies and violence, after which the confession was
resumed and absolution was granted. For this profanation of the
sacrament the sentence was the same as in the last case, except that the
reclusion was for only four years.[286]

So long as the practice of examining the woman was continued,
self-denunciation always had the advantage that they would very
frequently, in defence of their honor, deny everything. The result of
this, and the prevailing tendency towards leniency, are indicated in
rules expressed about 1640, which tell us that, if one witness has
already testified against the culprit, self-denunciation ensures a
lighter penalty; there is no imprisonment and it is customary to deprive
him of confessing women. If he accuses himself before there is any
evidence against him, and if the women are numerous and they confirm his
statements, the case proceeds to deprivation of confessing; if they
deny, the case is suspended, with a warning to him. If there is but one
and the case is not grave, he is merely reprimanded.[287]

The custom of examining the women compromised by the self-accuser
gradually grew obsolete, doubtless because they mostly protected
themselves from exposure by denial. Thus, in 1707, in the Madrid
tribunal, when Padre Pablo Delgado, provost of the Casa del Espiritu
Santo, accused himself, there seems to have been no examination of the
women and his case was promptly suspended, with a monition to abstain
for six months from confessing women.[288] So, in the case of the
Observantine Fray Gabriel Pantoja, who denounced himself, May 8, 1720,
to the Toledo tribunal, for offences committed during the previous ten
years, which show him to have lost no opportunity of seducing women, in
the confessional or out of it, and of promising absolution if they would
yield to his desires, the absence of his name from the record of _autos
particulares_ shows that none of the women were examined and that no
action was deemed necessary.[289] Indeed, what chiefly impresses one, in
a series of these cases, is the matter of fact way in which every
body--priests, penitents and inquisitors--seems to take it for granted
that such things were a matter of course and that the confessor should
be in pursuit of every woman who came before him. So, in a letter of the
Mexican tribunal, May 13, 1719, to its commissioner, in the case of Fray
Antonio Domínguez, who had denounced himself, the instructions are that
the culprit is to be exhorted to abstain in future and to sunder an
illicit connection with a daughter of confession; he is to be absolved
sacramentally which, as the rule in all cases of self-denunciation, is
to be made known to all confessors in the district "for the solace and
comfort of their souls"--thus assuming them to be all guilty of the same

[Sidenote: _INDIFFERENCE_]

Still, practice as yet was not uniform. In 1740, the Recollect Fray
Joseph Rives accused himself before the Valencia tribunal, when the
evidence of two women was taken, showing the beastliness to which such
men resorted to inflame the passions of their penitents. A formal trial
resulted, ending in his deprivation of confession and three years' exile
from Valencia and the scenes of his excesses.[291] This was probably
one of the latest cases in which an _espontaneado_ suffered. A writer
shortly afterwards complains of the uncertainty of practice, as the
Suprema constantly issued varying decisions under conditions precisely
similar, but he states the rule to be that, when a priest accuses
himself, the registers are searched and, if nothing is found of record
against him, he is discharged with a charitable warning, and a
recommendation to abstain from the confessional save when necessary to
avert scandal.[292] Complete immunity soon followed for self-accusation.
In 1780 the Suprema seems to have desired to introduce uniformity, and
enquired of the tribunals whether they were accustomed to make
_espontaneados_ abjure and then absolve them, or whether they suspended
the cases, to which Valencia replied that the custom was to suspend,
without abjuration or absolution, unless there was complication of _mala
doctrina_.[293] When self-denunciation thus secured immunity it
naturally was frequent. In a list of a hundred and eight cases in
Madrid, between 1670 and 1772, thirty-two, or thirty per cent., are

In fact, during the later period, the whole matter seems to have excited
but a languid interest, and to have been treated commonly with
indifference. We meet with instances in which accusations are
pigeon-holed without even making the prescribed inquiries of other
tribunals, or cases are suspended without examining the accuser.[295] So
relaxed was discipline that when, in 1806, the Franciscan Fray Francisco
de Paula Lozano had been deprived by Córdova of the faculty of
confessing, and not only disregarded the inhibition but complicated his
offence by opening a letter from the tribunal of Granada to the cura of
Salar, he was tried by Granada and merely reprimanded with a warning of
what would happen to him if he persisted in his evil courses.[296]

       *       *       *       *       *

It would be interesting sociologically if complete statistics could be
compiled, from the time when jurisdiction was conferred on the
Inquisition, but this is impossible, for there are only a few
fragmentary sources of the earlier period, although for the eighteenth
century there are satisfactory materials in the special registers kept
of this class of cases. In no case, however, do they furnish a standard
by which to estimate the frequency of the crime, for the difficulty of
inducing women to accuse left the great majority of cases buried in
secrecy, in addition to which a marked feature of the records is the
disproportion between the accusations and the trials, owing principally
to the impediment arising from the requirement of at least two
accusations, so that the trials and sentences are comparatively few in
number. The working of this is exhibited, as early as 1597, in a report
by Inquisitor Heredia of Barcelona of a visitation of part of his
district, in which ten cases of solicitation were brought before him. Of
these seven are noted as suspended in consequence of there being but one
witness, another is suspended because the offender had been already
tried and punished, leaving but two in which arrest and trial were
ordered. In the visitation the whole number of cases was eighty-eight
and the only offences more numerous than solicitation were unnatural
lusts, of which there were fifteen, propositions which furnished twelve,
the assertion that marriage is better than celibacy which furnished
eleven, while blasphemy was on an equality with ten. All, or nearly all,
of these latter classes doubtless led to prosecutions, while
solicitation resulted in only two trials.[297]

[Sidenote: _STATISTICS_]

Llorente explains the discrepancy between the accusations and the
convictions by misconstruction put on the interrogations of confessors,
leading simple-hearted nuns to imagine themselves solicited.[298] This
implies eagerness on the part of women to bring such accusations when,
as we have seen, the main difficulty was to induce them to denounce, by
threats of excommunication and refusal of absolution; in the majority of
cases it was done only by order of a subsequent confessor, and this
frequently five, ten, or more years after the occurrence. The fact is
that only a small portion of offenders were denounced, and of these but
a fraction were brought to trial. So far moreover from the evidence
being only the excited imaginations of young girls, it rarely happened
that a case reached trial without resulting in conviction--the
preliminaries were too carefully guarded, and the dread of scandal too
vivid, to permit the arrest of a priest against whom the evidence was
not conclusive.

The number of cases pushed to sentence was therefore not large. The
Toledo record, from 1575 to 1610, only furnishes fifty-two in a total of
eleven hundred and thirty-four of all kinds.[299] In the later period,
when the activity of the tribunals had greatly slackened, solicitation
formed a much larger proportion of their business.[300] We have a record
of all cases despatched in Toledo, from 1648 to 1794, in which those for
solicitation amount to only sixty-eight. This seems but few and yet,
when we compare this total with that of other offences, in which there
were no special impediments to prosecution, it becomes surprisingly
large, for there were but sixty-two cases of bigamy, thirty-seven of
blasphemy, seventy-four of propositions and one hundred of sorcery and
divination. Between 1705 and 1714, the whole number of sentences was but
twenty-six and of these eight were for solicitation, while between 1757
and 1763 it contributed six cases out of a total of eight.[301]

When we turn to the number of accusations we find them unexpectedly
large. The registers of solicitations, kept during the final century of
the Inquisition, afford trustworthy statistics showing that, from 1723
to the final suppression in 1820, the total number of cases entered
amounts to thirty-seven hundred and seventy-five. Of these, it is worthy
of note that the secular clergy only furnished nine hundred and
eighty-one, leaving for the regulars twenty-seven hundred and
ninety-four, or nearly three-quarters. Partly this is explicable by the
greater popularity of the regulars as confessors but, to a greater
extent, by the opportunities of the beneficed priests, who were usually
well off, to gratify their passions without incurring the dangers of
polluting the confessional.[302] One noteworthy fact is the large
proportion of those occupying prominent positions as Provincials,
Guardians, Ministers, Priors, Comendadores, Visitadores, Superiors,
Rectors, Lectors, and the like, whose titles appear in the registers
with a frequency greater than their mere numbers would seem to justify.

[Sidenote: _STATISTICS_]

In 1797, Tavira, then Bishop of Osma and subsequently of Salamanca,
assumed that the crime of solicitation had greatly increased and was
increasing, which he attributed partly to the influence of Illuminism
and Molinism, but still more to its cognizance having been taken from
the bishops and the requirement by the Inquisition of two denunciations
before prosecution.[303] That the latter provision conferred practical
immunity on many culprits is self-evident, but this was probably less
effective than would have been the habitual indifference and leniency of
the spiritual courts, their dread of scandal and the inevitable disgrace
which deterred women from appearing in their public proceedings. There
is practically no reason for supposing that the crime was either more
or less prevalent, at the close of the eighteenth century, than it had
been ever since, in the thirteenth, auricular confession was made
obligatory, or than it has been since the nineteenth century opened. The
strain of the confessional is too great for average human nature, and
the most that the Church can do, in its most recent regulations, is to
keep these lapses of the flesh from the knowledge of the faithful.[304]




Although the Spanish Inquisition was founded for the suppression of
crypto-Judaism, it promptly vindicated its jurisdiction over all
aberrations from the faith. There were, at the time, no other formal
heresies in Spain, but the people at large were not universally versed
in all the niceties of theology, and the supineness of the spiritual
courts permitted a licence of speech in which the trained theologian
could discern potentialities of error. All this the Inquisition
undertook to correct and ultimately, under the general denomination of
"Propositions," there developed an extensive field of action, which
towards the end became the principal function of the institution.
Reckless or thoughtless expressions, uttered in anger or in jest, or
through ignorance or carelessness, gave to pious zeal or to malice the
opportunity of secret denunciation, which in time impressed upon every
Spaniard the necessity of caution, and left its mark upon the national
character. As we have seen, the closest family ties did not release from
the obligation of accusation, and every individual lived in an
atmosphere of suspicion, surrounded by possible spies of his own
household.[305] Men of the highest standing for learning or piety,
moreover, were exposed to the torture of prolonged prosecution and
possible ruin, for words spoken or written to which an heretical intent
could be ascribed, in relation to the obscurest points of theology, and
thus the development of the Spanish intellect was arrested at the time
when it promised to become dominant in Europe. From every point of view,
therefore, the miscellaneous offences, grouped under the general term
of Propositions, was by no means the least noteworthy subject of
inquisitorial activity.[306]

How soon began the espionage, which eventually brought every man under
its baneful influence, is seen in the case of Juan de Zamora, condemned
in the Saragossa auto of February 10, 1488, to perpetual prison, because
at Medina, in chatting with some casual aquaintances, he was said to
have spoken disrespectfully of the Eucharist and to have denied the real
presence, while, in the auto of May 10, 1489, Juan de Enbun, a notary,
was penanced for saying that he cared more for ten florins than for
God.[307] Even more significant of the danger overhanging every man was
the case of Diego de Uceda, before the Toledo tribunal, in 1494, on the
very serious charges of having said that the Eucharist was only bread,
that so villanous a crew as the Jews could not have put Christ to death,
and that he ate meat on fast-days. He explained that, some six or eight
years before, at Fuensalida, a priest in celebrating found the wafer
broken and angrily cast it on the floor, ordering the sacristan to bring
him another; the people were scandalized and Diego sought to quiet them
by explaining that the wafer before consecration was only bread. The
next charge arose from a remark in a discussion on an exuberant sermon
on the Passion. As for the third, he proved that he was a devout
Catholic, punctual in all observance, with a special devotion to St.
Gregory, to whose intercession he attributed his relief from a chronic
trouble of stomach and liver, that had forced him at one time to eat
meat on fast-days. He lay in the secret prison for six months, with
sequestration of property, and was finally sentenced to compurgation,
which he performed with the Count of Fuensalida and two priests as his
compurgators, but had he not been a man of standing and influence he
might have been burnt as an impenitent heretic.[308] There was no
prescription of time for heresy, and trivial matters occurring years
before might thus at any moment be brought up, when they had faded from
the memory of all but those who had a grudge to satisfy.

The ever-present danger impending over every man is well illustrated by
the case of Alvaro de Montalvan, a septuagenarian, in 1525. Returning to
Madrid, after a day's pleasure excursion in the country, Alonso Rúiz, a
priest, who was of the party, took occasion to moralize on the troubles
of life, in comparison with the prospects of future bliss. Alvaro (who
subsequently pleaded that he was in his cups) remarked that we know what
we have here but know nothing of the future. Some six months later, one
of the party, in his Easter confession, chanced to mention this, and was
instructed to denounce Alvaro. He was arrested and, on searching the
records, it was found that, nearly forty years before, in 1486, during a
term of grace, he had confessed to some Jewish observances without
intention, and was discharged without reconciliation or penance. On this
new charge he was made to confess intention and was sentenced, October
18, 1525, to reconciliation, confiscation and perpetual prison, the
latter being commuted, November 27, 1527, to confinement in his own

[Sidenote: _TRIVIALITIES_]

There was scarce anything, however innocently spoken, that might not be
tortured into a censurable sense and as, in so wide and vague a region,
no formal rules could be enunciated to restrain inquisitorial zeal, it
afforded ample opportunity for oppression and cruelty, especially before
the tribunals were thoroughly subordinated to the Suprema. The
occasional visitations by an inspector might reveal abuses but could
not prevent them. That of de Soto Salazar at Barcelona affords ample
evidence of the recklessness with which inquisitors exercised their
power. In 1564 we hear of a physician, Maestre Pla, prosecuted for
saying that his wife was so exhausted that she looked like a crucifix
dead with hunger. Juan Garaver, a swineherd, was forced to appear in an
auto with a mitre, followed by scourging, for saying that if he had
money and enough to eat, the devil might take his soul--which the
Suprema decided to belong to episcopal and not to inquisitorial
cognizance. It rebuked the tribunal sharply for relaxing Guillen
Berberia Guacho for a single proposition, without calling in learned men
to persuade and advise him, especially as one of the witnesses stated
that he uttered the words in French. Clemensa Paresa was fined ten
ducats and penanced for saying "You see me well enough off in this world
and you will not see me punished in the other," and Juana Seralvis, for
the same utterance was condemned to public penance. Badia, priest of
Falset, was fined twenty ducats, with spiritual penances, for saying
that he would not forgive God. Juan Canalvero was fined six ducats and
penanced for saying that he would cheat his father or God in buying or
selling. There were many other similar cases, in some of which the
Suprema ordered the fines to be returned and the names to be stricken
from the registers.[310]

The very triviality of these cases illustrates the atmosphere of
suspense and distrust in which the Spanish population existed, nor can
their full import be realized unless we remember that, slight as the
penalties may seem, they were the least part of the punishment, for
penancing by the Inquisition was fatal to limpieza. How readily a man's
career could thus be ruined by rivals or enemies is seen in the case of
the Dominican Alonso de los Raelos in the Canaries. In 1568 some
assertions of his respecting purgatory attracted attention, but led to
no formal trial, because he did not deny its existence, and theologians
are not agreed as to its exact locality and character. Some years later,
there were feuds in the Order, due to an attempt to erect the Canaries
into a separate province, when the prior, Blas de Merino, who hoped to
become provincial, and who regarded Fray Alonso as a possible rival,
accused him to the tribunal for this proposition. He was thrown into
prison and, in 1572, was sentenced to penance and reclusion, thus
rendering him ineligible.[311]

We have seen in the previous chapter the penalties regarded as
sufficient for the crime of seduction in the confessional, and a
comparison between these and the punishments inflicted for utterances in
the heat of discussion and indicative of no settled tendency to heresy,
reveal the very curious standard of ethics prevalent at the period. In
1571, a priest named Miguel Lidueña de Osorio was accused in Valencia of
having said that the bishops at the Council of Trent deserved to be
burnt, because they assumed to be popes, and moreover that St. Anne was
deserving of higher honor than St. Joaquin. For this he was required to
abjure _de vehementi_, he was suspended from orders, recluded for six
years and banished perpetually from Valencia.[312] It was not often that
flagrant cases of solicitation were visited with such severity.


The infinite varieties and intangible nature of the offence rendered
impossible the formulation of hard and fast rules for the tribunals,
which were thus left to their discretion in a matter which was
constantly forming a larger portion of inquisitorial business. The space
devoted to it by Rojas, in his little book, indicates its growing
importance, and he tells us that he was led to treat it thus at length
because so many of the accused admit the facts, while denying belief and
intention, and he had seen such diametrically opposite modes of
treatment and punishment adopted in different tribunals. He is emphatic
in insisting on the allowance to be made for the ignorance and rusticity
of most of the culprits, and he points out that, in view of the
restrictions on the defence, the inquisitor should be especially careful
to give weight to whatever could be alleged in favor of the accused,
whether he were ignorant and rude, or learned and subtle. The manner and
occasion of the utterance ought to be carefully considered, as well as
the nativity of the speaker, if he comes from lands where heresy
flourishes. How much depended on the temper of the tribunal is exhibited
in a case in which a man, going to hear mass and finding that it was
over, said "faith alone suffices" and was prosecuted for the remark.
Rojas decided that he was not to be held as asserting that faith without
works suffices, which would be heretical, for doubtful words are to be
interpreted according to circumstances, but a more zealous or less
conscientious inquisitor could readily have convicted him. For ordinary
cases, he tells us, the accused should rarely be confined in the secret
prison; the abjuration may be _de levi_ or _de vehementi_ according to
circumstances, and the extraordinary punishment should be scourging or

As the Suprema gradually assumed control over the tribunals, there grew
up certain more or less recognized rules of procedure. Thus, if there
was evidence of heretical utterances, and the accused confessed them but
denied intention, he was to be tortured; if this brought confession of
intention, he was to be reconciled with confiscation in a public auto as
a formal heretic; if he overcame the torture he had to abjure _de
vehementi_ in an auto, with scourging, vergüenza, exile etc., according
to his station and the character of the propositions. This, we are told,
was merciful, for the common opinion of the doctors was that, if the
propositions were formally heretical, the offender should be relaxed, in
spite of his denying intention. Mercy was carried even further for, if
ignorance was alleged with probable justification, the accused was not
tortured nor condemned as a heretic, but abjured _de levi_, with
discretional penalties. There was moreover, as we have seen, a vast
range of propositions in which heresy was only inferential,
characterized as scandalous, offensive to pious ears etc., for which
abjuration _de levi_ was considered sufficient, with spiritual

In this enumeration of penalties there is no allusion to fines, which,
however, were by no means neglected. In 1579, for instance, the
Bachiller Montesinos, in defending an adultress, put in an argument of
cynical ingenuity to prove that she had committed no sin. This was
transmitted to the Toledo tribunal, whose calificadores found in it four
heretical propositions besides a citation from St. Paul amounting to
heretical blasphemy. Montesinos threw himself on the mercy of the
tribunal, wept and wrung his hands, protested that he must have been out
of his senses, owing to old age, and offered every excuse that he could
suggest. He escaped with abjuration _de levi_, six months' suspension
from his functions as an advocate, and a fine of eight thousand
maravedís. Many similar cases could be cited from the Toledo record, but
two more will suffice. In 1582, the Bachiller Pablo Hernández denounced
himself for having, in the heat of discussion, been led on to say that
in canonizations the pope had to rely upon witnesses who might be false
and therefore it was not necessary to believe that all so canonized were
saints. He was sentenced to abjure _de levi_, to pay six thousand
maravedís, and to have his sentence read in his parish church while he
heard mass. From this he appealed to the Suprema, which remitted the
humiliation in church, but thriftily increased the fine to twenty
thousand maravedís. In 1604 the tribunal had a richer prize, in an old
German named Giraldo Paris, a resident of Madrid who seems to have been
a dabbler in alchemy. He was accused of saying that the Old Testament
was a fable, that St. Job was an alchemist, the Christian faith was a
matter of opinion and much more of the same kind. The evidence must have
been flimsy for, serious as were these charges, there was _discordia_ on
the question of arresting him, and it required an order from the Suprema
before he was confined in the secret prison. He gradually confessed the
truth of the charges, but was not sentenced to reconciliation, escaping
with absolution _de vehementi_, a year's reclusion in a monastery, the
surrender of all books and papers dealing with alchemy and
quintessences, and a fine of three thousand ducats. The general
impression produced by a group of these cases is that scourging was
reserved for those too poor to pay a moderate fine, and that fines were
scaled rather upon the ability of the culprit than on the degree of his
guilt.[315] In determining penalties, however, it was advised that
considerable weight in extenuation should be allowed for drunkenness,
and for the readiness and frankness of the culprit in confessing, as
well as for his ignorance or simplicity.[316]

       *       *       *       *       *


There were two special propositions, which were so widely held and came
so repeatedly before the tribunals that they almost form a special
class. One of these was the assertion that the married state is as good
as or better than that of celibacy as prescribed for clerics and
religious. That this was plainly heretical could not be doubted after
the anathema of the Council of Trent in 1563, and its prevalence is a
noteworthy fact.[317] In the Toledo record, from 1575 to 1610, there
are thirty cases of this: in strictness, as the assertion of a doctrine
contrary to the teachings of the Church, and condemned as heretical, it
should have been visited with reconciliation, or at least with
abjuration _de vehementi_ and heavy penalties, but, as the heresy was
one of Tridentine definition and a novelty, it was mercifully treated
with abjuration _de levi_ and usually with a moderate fine or vergüenza,
or even with less. Extreme leniency was shown to Sebastian Vallejo, in
1581, who had declared that if he had a hundred daughters he would not
make nuns of them, in view of the licentiousness of the frailes, for
those in the convents were as lecherous as those outside; no parent
should put his children in religion until they were of full age and, as
to marriage, he advanced the customary argument that it was established
by God, while monachism was the work of the saints. He came to denounce
himself and pleaded drunkenness in extenuation, which probably explains
his escape with a reprimand. Soon after this María de Orduña was treated
with equal mercy, on denouncing herself for the same offence, the reason
alleged being that she was a very simple-minded woman.[318] As the
offence was thus lightly regarded, it follows that torture was not
permitted in the prosecution.[319] The error was difficult of
eradication. In 1623 a writer calls attention to the number of cases
still coming before the tribunals, and suggests for its repression that
the sentences be read in the churches of the offenders, so that a
knowledge of the erroneous character of the assertion should be
disseminated.[320] Some twenty years later it still was sufficiently
frequent to be treated as a separate class, though we are told that it
was visited with less severity than of old, as it presumably arose from
ignorance and was not to be considered as a heresy.[321] This is
remarkable in view of the ease with which it might have been regarded as

A still more frequent proposition, which gave much trouble to eradicate,
was that fornication between unmarried folk is not a mortal sin.
Although the theologians held that this assertion in itself was a mortal
sin,[322] there was really in it nothing that savored of heresy, and its
cognizance by the Inquisition was an arbitrary extension of
jurisdiction without justification. Perhaps there was some confused
conception that it was derived from the Moors whose sexual laxity was
well known, but the usual argument offered in its defence, by those who
entertained it, was the toleration by the State of public women and of
brothels, whence the inference was natural that it could not be a mortal


It seems to have been between 1550 and 1560 that the Inquisition
commenced its efforts to suppress this popular error. The earliest
record of its action that I have met occurs in the great Seville auto of
September 24, 1559, where there were no less than twelve cases, of whom
eight abjured _de levi_, one _de vehementi_, six were paraded in
vergüenza, four were scourged with a hundred lashes (of whom one was a
woman) and two heard mass as penitents.[323] The requirement of
abjuration shows that suspicion of heresy was already attributed to the
proposition, but this as yet was not universally accepted for, in 1561,
the Suprema wrote to the tribunal of Calahorra that Pedro Cestero, whom
it had penanced for this offence, ought to have been prosecuted as a
heretic, for it would seem to be heresy.[324] Thus heresy was injected
into it and we speedily find it to be a leading source of business in
the Castilian tribunals. Seville was notably active. In the auto of
October 28, 1562, there were nineteen cases.[325] In that of May 13,
1565, out of seventy-five penitents, twenty-five were for this
proposition. The punishments were severe. All abjured _de levi_ and
appeared in their shirts with halter and candle; all but one were
gagged; fourteen were scourged with an aggregate of nineteen hundred
lashes; five were paraded in vergüenza, two were fined in two hundred
ducats apiece, and two others in a thousand maravedís each; six were
exiled and one was forbidden to leave Seville without permission.
Besides these there was one man who had a hundred lashes for saying that
there was no sin in keeping a mistress, and three women were penanced
for saying the same of living in concubinage, of whom two had a hundred
lashes apiece and the third was paraded in vergüenza. Two men appeared
for saying that keeping a mistress was better than marriage, of whom one
had the infliction of the gag. To these we may add two who held that
marriage was better than the celibacy of the frailes, and we have a
total of thirty-three cases, or nearly one-half of all in the auto, for
errors concerning the relations of the sexes.[326]

Active as was this work it did not satisfy the Suprema which, in a carta
acordada of November 23, 1573, speaks of the prevalence of the offence
as indicated in the reports of autos, and the little progress thus far
made in its suppression; greater vigor was therefore ordered and, in
future, all delinquents were to be prosecuted as heretics. This was
followed by another, October 2, 1574, ordering the proposition to be
included in the Edict of Faith, and yet another December 2^{d}, of the
same year, repeating the complaint of its frequency and the little
improvement accomplished. It was apparently an error of ignorance and,
to remedy this, a special edict was ordered to be published everywhere,
declaring it to be a heresy condemned by the Church, and that all
uttering and believing it would be punished as heretics; all preachers
moreover were to be instructed to warn and admonish the people from the

All this was wholesome, and yet it is difficult to understand this
ardent zeal for the morals of the laity, when compared with the
slackness as to solicitation. Be this as it may, the activity of the
tribunals under this stimulus was rewarded with an abundant harvest of
culprits. We chance to hear of eight cases in the auto of 1579 at
Llerena and of five at Cuenca in 1585.[328] A more effective showing is
that of the Toledo record from 1575 to 1610, in which the number of
cases is two hundred and sixty-four--by far the largest aggregate of any
one offence, the Judaizers only amounting to a hundred and seventy-four
and the Moriscos to a hundred and ninety.[329] These statistics
comprehend only the tribunals of the crown of Castile; those at hand for
the kingdoms of Aragon are scanty but, from such as are accessible, it
would appear probable either that there was less energy or a much
smaller number of culprits. The only cases that I have happened to meet
are two in a Saragossa auto of June 6, 1585, while, in a Valencia list
for the five years 1598-1602, comprising in all three hundred and
ninety-two cases, there are but four of this offence and not a single
one in the reports for the three years 1604-6.[330]

Notwithstanding the characterization of the offence as heresy, torture
was not to be employed in the trial, although confinement in the secret
prison and sequestration were permitted.[331] The energy and severity
with which it was prosecuted virtually suppressed it in time. In 1623 a
writer speaks of it as less common than formerly and, in a list of the
cases tried at Toledo, commencing in 1648, the first one of this offence
occurs in 1650, the next in 1665 and the third in 1693. Thenceforth it
may be said practically to disappear from the tribunals, although as
late as 1792, Don Ambrosio Pérez, beneficed priest of Candamas was tried
for it in Saragossa and in 1818 there was a case in Valencia.[332] Thus
the Inquisition succeeded in suppressing the expression of the opinion
though, as it took no action against the sin, its influence on the side
of morality was inappreciable.

       *       *       *       *       *


A reference to the cases of propositions tried by the Toledo tribunal
between 1575 and 1610 (see Vol. II, p. 552) will indicate the very
miscellaneous character of the utterances for which its interposition
was invoked. These involved culprits of all classes of society and as,
for the most part, they concerned theological questions of more or less
obscurity, this method of enforcing purity of faith frequently brought
under animadversion the foremost intellects of Spain and rendered the
Inquisition the instrument through which rivals or enemies could mar the
careers of those in whom lay the only hope of intellectual progress and
development. What between its censorship and the minute supervision,
which exposed to prosecution every thought or expression in which
theological malevolence could detect lurking tendencies to error, the
Spanish thinker found his path beset with danger. Safety lay only in the
well-beaten track of accepted conventionality and, while Europe, in the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, was passing through a period of
evolution, Spanish intellect became atrophied. The splendid promise of
the sixteenth century was blasted by the steady repression of all
originality and progress, and Spain, from the foremost of the nations,
became the last.

The minuteness of the captious criticism which exposed the most eminent
men to the horrors of inquisitorial prosecution can best be understood
by two or three cases. Of these perhaps the most notable is that of the
Augustinian Fray Luis de Leon, who was not only one of the most eminent
theologians of his day, and who was unsurpassed as a preacher, but who
ranks as a Castilian classic in both prose and poetry.[333] It is so
suggestive of inquisitorial procedure in such matters that it is worthy
of examination in some detail.

To a brilliant intellect Luis de Leon united a personal activity which
led him to take a prominent part in the feverish life of the schools,
not only in disputations but in the frequent rivalries and competitions,
through which professorial vacancies were filled, for in Salamanca the
professors were elected for terms of four years by the students of the
faculty to which the chair belonged, after a disputation between the
candidates. In these he had abundant opportunities of making enemies
for, at the age of 34, he had been elected to the chair of Thomas
Aquinas, from which he passed to that of Durandus. These opportunities
he largely improved, if we may trust his characterizations of the
numerous opponents whom he sought to disable as witnesses in the course
of his trial. Even in his own Order he had enemies, owing to his active
and influential participation in its internal politics.

Theological disputes are rarely wanting in rancor, no matter how minute
may be the points at issue. In Salamanca, not only were there frequent
disputations but, as the leading school of theology, questions were
frequently submitted to it by the Suprema on which conferences and
congregations were held, leading to interminable wrangles. Azpilcueta
tells us that this disputatious mania led the participants to uphold
what was false, for the purpose of exhibiting their dexterity, not only
misleading their auditors but often blinding themselves to the truth,
and Luis de Leon himself says that the warmth of debate sometimes
carried them beyond the bounds of reason, and so confused them that they
could scarce recall what they themselves had said. One of his witnesses,
Fray Juan de Guevara, corroborates this with the remark that Maestro
Leon de Castro (Luis de Leon's chief accuser) sometimes might not
understand what was said, but this happened to all theologians when
heated in the disputations.[334]

A fairer field for inquisitorial intervention could scarce be devised
and, from one point of view, its restraint of this dialectic ardor might
not be amiss, but its influence on intellectual development was
deplorable, when it made every man feel that he stood on the brink of an
abyss into which, at any moment, he might be precipitated. Nor was such
dread uncalled for; while Luis de Leon was on trial, three other
Salamanca professors were in the same predicament--Antonio Gudiel,
Gaspar de Grajal and Martin Martínez, while yet another, Dr. Barrientos,
was released just prior to the arrest of Luis. Denunciation was an easy
recourse for a defeated disputant; an incautious utterance in heated
debate, imperfectly understood, or distorted in remembrance, furnished
the means. Even lectures in the ordinary courses contributed their
share, when zealous students disagreed with their teachers or made
mistakes in their hasty notes.

[Sidenote: _LUIS DE LEON_]

The two prime movers in the prosecution of Fray Luis were Leon de Castro
and Bartolomé de Medina. De Castro was an elderly man, a _jubilado_
professor of Grammar, who had frequent wordy encounters with Fray Luis,
usually to his discomfiture.

He had based great hopes on a Commentary on Isaiah, the publication of
which was delayed by the Suprema requiring him to submit it to
examination; he had to spend some months at the court before he could
obtain permission for its sale, and then it proved a failure, entailing
on him a loss of a thousand ducats--all of which he attributed to Fray
Luis, who happened at the time to be in Madrid. Bartolomé de Medina was
a younger man, ambitiously working his way upward, and meeting several
rebuffs from Fray Luis, which accentuated the traditional hostility
between the Dominicans and Augustinians, to which they respectively
belonged. They were habitually opposed in the disputations, but it seems
somewhat eccentric to find Medina accusing Luis and his friends Grajal
and Martínez of introducing novelties and innovations, seeing that his
own reputation is chiefly based on his invention of the greatest novelty
of the period--the Probabilism which revolutionized the ethical teaching
of the Church and gave rise to the new science of Moral Theology.[335]

It was not difficult for these enmities to find means of gratification.
Robert Stephen's edition of the Latin Bible, with the notes of François
Vatable, had involved that printer in endless disputes with the
Sorbonne, which accused him of having hereticated the comments of the
thoroughly orthodox editor. In 1555, the University of Salamanca
undertook its correction, but the result did not satisfy the
sensitiveness of Spanish theology, and the edition was forbidden in the
Index of 1559. Yet the work was wanted in Spain and, at command of the
Suprema, in 1569, the university undertook the task anew. Numerous
congregations were held, in which every point was hotly disputed.
Medina, who had not yet attained his master's degree, took no part in
the meetings, but Leon de Castro and Fray Luis had many passages at
arms. De Castro accused him of scant respect for the Vulgate text of the
Bible, and of preferring the authority of the Hebrew and Greek
originals. He stigmatized Luis, who was of converso descent, of being a
Jew and a Judaizer and, on one occasion, declared that he ought to be
burnt. In truth the question of the Vulgate was one of importance. The
new heresies were largely based on the assumption of its imperfection,
and sought to prove this by reference to the originals. Scholastic
theology rested on the Vulgate and, in self-defence, the Council of
Trent, in 1546, had declared that it was to be received as authentic in
all public lectures, disputations, preaching and expositions, and that
no one should dare to reject it under any pretext.[336] Yet it was
notorious that, in the course of ages, the text had become corrupt; the
Tridentine fathers included in their decree a demand for a perfected
edition, but the labor was great and was not concluded until 1592, when
the Clementine text was issued, with thousands of emendations. Meanwhile
to question its accuracy was to venture on dangerous ground and to
invite the interposition of the Inquisition. As one of the
calificadores, during Fray Luis's trial, asserted "Catholic doctors
affirm that now the Hebrew and Greek are to be emended by the Vulgate,
as the purer and more truthful text. To emend the Vulgate by the Hebrew
and Greek is exactly what the heretics seek to do. It is to destroy the
means of confuting them and to give them the opportunity of free
interpretation."[337] Fray Luis not only did this in debate but, in a
lecture on the subject four years before, he had maintained the accuracy
of the Hebrew text, contending that St. Jerome the translator was not
inspired, nor were the words dictated by the Holy Ghost, and moreover
that the Tridentine decree in no way affirmed such verbal

On another point he was also vulnerable. Ten or eleven years previously,
at the request of Doña Isabel de Osorio, a nun in the convent of Santo
Spirito, he had made a Castilian version of the Song of Solomon, with an
exposition. This he had reclaimed from her but, during an absence, Fray
Diego de Leon, who was in charge of his cell, found it and made a copy,
which was largely transcribed and circulated. At a time when vernacular
versions were so rigidly proscribed this was, at the least, a hazardous
proceeding and Bartolomé de Medina heightened the indiscretion by
charging that, in his exposition, he represented the work as an amatory
dialogue between the daughter of Pharaoh and Solomon.

[Sidenote: _LUIS DE LEON_]

In December 1571, de Castro and Medina presented formal denunciations of
Fray Luis, Grajal and Martínez, to the Salamanca commissioner of the
Valladolid tribunal, charging them with denying the authority of the
Vulgate and preferring the interpretations of the rabbis to those of the
fathers, while the circulation of Canticles in the vernacular was not
forgotten. Other accusers, including students, joined in the attack,
making thirteen in all, with a formidable body of denunciations. Grajal
was soon afterwards arrested and Fray Luis, warned of the impending
danger, presented himself, March 6, 1572, to Diego González, the former
inquisitor of Carranza, then on a visitation at Salamanca, with a copy
of his lecture on the Vulgate and the propositions drawn from it, and
also his work on Canticles. He asked to have them examined and professed
entire submission to the Church, with readiness to withdraw or revoke
anything that might be found in the slightest degree objectionable.[339]

In any other land, this would have sufficed. The inculpated works would
have been expurgated or forbidden, if necessary. Luis would have
retracted any expressions regarded as erroneous, and the matter would
have ended without damage to the faith. Under the Inquisition, however,
the utterance of objectionable propositions was a crime to be punished,
and the submission of the criminal only saved him from the penalties of
pertinacious heresy. On March 26th the warrant for the arrest of Fray
Luis was issued and, on the 27th he was receipted for by the alcaide of
the secret prison of Valladolid. He was treated with unusual
consideration, in view of his infirmities and delicate health for, on
his petition, he was allowed a scourge, a pointless knife to cut his
food, a candle and snuffers and some books.[340] The trial proceeded at
first with unusual speed. By May 15th the fiscal presented the formal
accusation, in which Fray Luis was charged with asserting that the
Vulgate contained many falsities and that a better version could be
made; with decrying the Septuagint and preferring Vatable and rabbis and
Jews to the saints as expositors of Scripture; with stating that the
Council of Trent had not made the Vulgate a matter of faith and that, in
the Old Testament, there was no promise of eternal life; with approving
a doctrine that inferred justification by faith, and that mere mortal
sin destroyed faith; with circulating an exposition of Canticles
explaining them as a love-poem from Solomon to his wife--all of which
was legitimately based on the miscellaneous evidence of the adverse
witnesses.[341] This, as required, Fray Luis answered on the spot,
article by article, attributing the charges to the malice of his
enemies, denying some and explaining others clearly and frankly.

It was a special favor that he was at once provided with counsel and
allowed to arrange his defence--a favor which brought upon the tribunal
a rebuke from the Suprema, January 13, 1573, as contrary to the
_estilo_, which must be followed, no matter what might be the
supplications of the accused. Fray Luis identified many of the
witnesses--out of nineteen he recognized eight--and he drew up six
series of interrogatories, mostly designed to prove his allegations of
mortal enmity. Of these the inquisitors threw out three as "impertinent"
and the answers to the others were, to a considerable extent,
unsatisfactory, as was almost inevitable under a system which made the
accused grope blindly in seeking evidence. As time wore on in this
necessarily dilatory business, Fray Luis grew impatient at the
stagnation which seemed to preclude all progress, not being aware that
in reality it had been expedited irregularly.[342]

It would be wearisome to follow in detail the proceedings which dragged
their slow length along. Additional witnesses came forward, whose
depositions had to go through the usual formalities; Fray Luis presented
numberless papers as points occurred to him; he defended himself
brilliantly and, through the course of the trial there were few of the
customary prolonged intervals, for his nervous impatience kept him
constantly plying the tribunal with arguments and appeals which it
received with its habitual impassiveness. At length, after two years,
early in March, 1574, it decided that there was no ground for suspicion
against him in the thirty articles drawn from the testimony of the
witnesses, while he could not be prosecuted criminally on the seventeen
propositions extracted from his lecture on the Vulgate, seeing that he
had spontaneously presented them and submitted himself to the Church.
The fiscal, however, appealed from this to the Suprema and his appeal
must have been successful, for the trial took a fresh start.[343]

[Sidenote: _LUIS DE LEON_]

After some intermediate proceedings, Fray Luis, on April 1st was told to
select _patrones theólogos_ to assist in his defence. He at once named
Dr. Sebastian Pérez, professor in the royal college which Philip II had
founded at Párraces, in connection with San Lorenzo del Escorial, and
two days later he added other names.

In place of accepting them the tribunal endeavored to compel him to take
men of whom he knew nothing and who, in reality, were the calificadores
who had already condemned his propositions. The struggle continued
until, on August 3d, the Suprema wrote that he could have Pérez, but his
limpieza must first be proved and Philip's consent to his absence be
obtained. We have seen how prolonged, costly and anxious were
investigations into limpieza and, as Fray Luis remarked, this was to
grant and to refuse in the same breath. At last, after endless
discussions, in October he despairingly accepted Dr. Mancio, a Dominican
and a leading professor of theology at Salamanca. Mancio came in
October, again towards the end of December, and finally on March 30,
1575, while Fray Luis meanwhile was eating his heart in despair. At
length, on April 7th Mancio approved of Fray Luis's defence, declaring
that he had satisfied all the articles, both the series of seventeen and
that of thirty, which had been proved against him or which he had
admitted having uttered.[344]

If Fray Luis imagined that this twelve months' work to which such
importance had been attributed, had improved his prospects, he was
speedily undeceived. We hear nothing more of Dr. Mancio or of his
approval. The propositions, with the defence, were submitted again to
three calificadores (men who had been urged upon him as patrones) and it
illustrates the uncertainties of theology and the hair-splitting
subtilties in which the doctors delighted, that not only were the
original seventeen articles declared to be heretical for the most part,
but five new ones, quite as bad, were discovered in the defence which
had elicited Dr. Mancio's approval, and these five thenceforth formed a
third category of errors figuring in the proceedings.[345] It is not
easy for us to comprehend the religious conceptions which placed men's
lives and liberties and reputation at the hazard of dialectics in which
the most orthodox theologians were at variance.

When Fray Luis was informed that five new heretical propositions had
sprouted from the hydra-heads of the old ones, he was dismayed. Sick and
exhausted, the prospects of ultimate release from his interminable trial
seemed to grow more and more remote. Arguments and discussions continued
and were protracted. New calificadores were called in, who debated and
opined and presented written conclusions on all three series of
propositions. It would be useless to follow in detail these scholastic
exercises, of which the chief interest is to show how, in these
infinitesimal points, one set of theologians could differ from another
and how completely the enmity of the two chief witnesses, Leon de Castro
and Bartolomé de Medina, was ignored. Thus wore away the rest of the
year 1575 and the first half of 1576. There was no reason why the case
might not be continued indefinitely on the same lines, but the
inquisitors seem to have felt at last that an end must be reached, and a
consulta de fe was finally held, in which Dr. Frechilla, one of the
calificadores who had condemned the propositions, represented the
episcopal Ordinary.[346]

The case illustrates one incident of these protracted trials. During its
course it had been heard by seven inquisitors, of whom Guijano de
Mercado was the only one who served from the commencement to the end,
and his colleague in the consulta, Andrés de Alava, had appeared in it
only in November, 1575, and had not been present in any audiences after
December. There was, moreover, an unusual feature in the presence of a
member of the Suprema, Francisco de Menchaca, indicating perhaps that
the case was regarded as one of more than ordinary importance. There
were five consultors, Luis Tello Maldonado, Pedro de Castro, Francisco
Albornoz, Juan de Ibarra and Hernando Niño, but the two latter fell
sick, when the examination of the voluminous testimony was half
completed, and took no further part in the proceedings.

[Sidenote: _LUIS DE LEON_]

On the final decision, September 18, 1576, Menchaca, Alava, Tello and
Albornoz voted for torture on the intention, including the propositions
which the theologians had declared that Fray Luis had satisfied, after
which another consulta should be held. They humanely added that it
should be moderate in view of the debility of the accused. Those better
acquainted with the case, Guijano and Frechilla, were more lenient. They
voted for a reprimand, after which, in a general assembly of professors
and students, Fray Luis should read a declaration, drawn up by the
calificadores, pronouncing the propositions to be ambiguous, suspicious
and likely to cause scandal. Moreover his Augustinian superior was to be
told, extra-judicially, to order him privately to employ his studies in
other directions and to abstain from teaching in the schools. The
vernacular version of Canticles was to be suppressed, if the
inquisitor-general and Suprema saw fit.[347] Comparatively mild as this
sentence might seem, it gratified to the full the vindictiveness of his
enemies--it humiliated him utterly and destroyed his career.

As there was discordia the case necessarily reverted to the Suprema,
which seems to have recognized that both votes assumed the nullity of
the laborious trifling, by which the calificadores had found dangerous
heresies in his acknowledged propositions. Discussion must have been
prolonged however, for the final sentence was not rendered until
December 7th. This fully acquitted Fray Luis of all the charges, but
ordered a reprimand in the audience-chamber and a warning to treat such
matters in future with great circumspection, so that no scandal or
errors should arise. The Suprema could scarce say less, if the whole
dismal farce, of nearly five years, was not to be admitted as wholly
unjustifiable, and it enclosed the sentence in a letter instructing the
tribunal to order Fray Luis to preserve profound silence and to avoid
dissension with those whom he suspected of testifying against him. It
was probably on December 15th that the sentence was read and the
reprimand administered. Fray Luis took the necessary oaths, he made the
promises required, and was discharged as innocent after an
incarceration, _incomunicado_, which had lasted for four years, eight
months and nineteen days. His requests were granted for a certificate
_de no obstancia_ and for an order on the paymaster of the schools to
pay him his professorial salary from the date of his arrest to the
expiration of his quadrennial term.[348]

During this prolonged imprisonment, Fray Luis seems to have been treated
with unusual consideration. He was allowed to send for all the books
needed for his defence and for study--even for recreation, for we find
him, July 6, 1575, asking for the prose works of Bembo, for a Pindar in
Greek and Latin and for a copy of Sophocles.[349] He relieved the
distractions of his defence and the anxieties of his position by the
composition of his _De los Nombres de Christo_, which has remained a
classic. Yet these were but slender alleviations of the hardships and
despairing tedium of his prison cell. On March 12, 1575, he is begging
for the sacraments; though he is no heretic, he says, he has been
deprived of them for three years. This petition was forwarded to the
Suprema, which replied by drily telling the tribunal to complete the
cases of Fray Luis, Grajal and Martínez as soon as opportunity would
permit.[350] At an audience of August 20th, of the same year, when
remanded to his cell, he paused to represent that, as the inquisitors
well knew, he was very sick with fever; there was no one in his cell to
take care of him, save a fellow-prisoner, a young boy who was simple;
one day he fainted through hunger, as there was no one to give him food,
and he asked whether a fraile of his Order could be admitted to assist
him and to aid him to die, unless they wished him to die alone in his
cell. This was not refused but, as the condition was imposed that the
companion should as usual share his imprisonment to the end, the request
was in vain. Then, on September 12th, in his reply to the five
propositions suddenly sprung upon him, he feelingly referred to the
years of prison and the sufferings caused by the absence of comforts in
his weakness and sickness, as a torture long and cruel enough to purge
all suspicions.[351] Even more pitiful was a petition to the Suprema in
November of the same year--"I supplicate your most illustrious body, by
Jesus Christ, on my giving ample security, to order me to be placed in
one of the convents of this city, even in that of San Pablo (Dominican),
in any way that it may please you, until sentence is rendered, so that
if, during this time, God should call me, which I greatly fear, in view
of my much trouble and feeble health, I may die as a Christian among
religious persons, aided by their prayers and receiving the sacraments,
and not as an infidel, alone in prison with a Moor at my bed-side. And
since the rancor of my enemies and my own sins have deprived me of all
that is desirable in life, may the Christian piety of your most
illustrious body give me this consolation in death, for I ask nothing
more."[352] It is perhaps needless to say that this touching appeal did
not even receive an answer.

[Sidenote: _LUIS DE LEON_]

After the term of his professorship had expired, about March 1, 1573,
his special enemy, Bartolomé de Medina, was elected in his place and was
promoted, in August 1576, to the leading chair in theology, while Fray
García del Castillo succeeded to that of Durandus. On Fray Luis's
return, he was warmly and honorably received in an assembly of the
Senate, convoked for the purpose, where the Commissioner of the
Inquisition declared that the Holy Office had ordered his restoration
to honor and to his professorship. Luis however refused to disturb
Castillo and, in January 1577, an extraordinary chair on the Scriptures
was created for him. The next year, on the chair of moral philosophy
falling vacant, he obtained it and subsequently he became regular
professor of Scripture--one of the highest positions in the University.
His colleague Grajal had been less fortunate, having perished in prison
before the termination of his trial.[353]

Fray Luis's mental vigor was unimpaired, although his delicate frame
never wholly recovered from the effects of his long imprisonment. Such
an experience of the dangers attendant on the discussions of the schools
might seem sufficient to dampen his disputatious ardor, but in a
theology, which sought to reduce to hard and fast lines all the secrets
of the unknown spiritual world, there was risk of heresy in every
speculation. In an _acto_ of the University, held January 20, 1582, the
debate widened into a discussion upon predestination and free-will, in
which Fray Luis and Fray Domingo de Guzman were bitterly opposed to each
other. It was continued in another theological Act the next week; the
students became excited and called upon Father Bañez to repress these
novelties, which he did in a lecture declaring that the views of Fray
Luis savored of Pelagianism. The latter was angered and the next day, in
an assembly of all the faculties, the question under debate was: If God
confers equal and sufficing grace on two men, nothing else interfering,
can one be converted and the other reject the aid? The discussion
between Fray Luis and Bañez was hot, and the excitement increased. Then
on January 27th there was another assembly which wrangled over the
intricate questions involved in prevenient aid and human

This was the commencement of the long debate _De Auxiliis_, between
Jesuits and Dominicans, which lasted for a century, until both sides
were silenced by the Holy See, without either being able to claim the
victory. Fray Luis had excited many enmities--though not as many as he
was in the habit of claiming--and the occasion was favorable for
striking at him and at those whom he supported. Fray Juan de Santa Cruz
drew up an account of the discussions, with a censure of the erroneous
and heretical propositions defended; it was not a personal denunciation
of any one, but he declared that the agitation and disquiet of the
schools demanded a settlement by the Inquisition. This he presented,
February 5th, at Valladolid, to the inquisitor, Juan de Arrese and, from
the marginal notes, it appears that, besides Fray Luis, two Jesuits and
a Benedictine were marked for prosecution. In March, Inquisitor Arrese
came to Salamanca on a mission to suppress astrology and took the
opportunity to gather testimony on the scholastic quarrel. Various
witnesses, some of them Augustinians, came forward spontaneously with
evidence, and the Mercenarian, Francisco Zumel presented a series of
propositions, purporting to be drawn from a lecture by Fray Luis on
predestination, of which the worst was that Christ on the cross was
destitute of God and was provoked to sin. Zumel was a bitter enemy of
Luis, who had defeated him, four years before, in competition for the
chair of moral philosophy; both had their partizans and their quarrels
were the cause of much trouble.[355]

[Sidenote: _LUIS DE LEON_]

Fray Luis's experience of the Inquisition naturally led him to seek
exculpation. Three times he appeared voluntarily before Arrese and made
verbal and written statements, in which he rendered an account of his
share in the debates. He admitted that he had defended a position
opposite to what he had previously taught, which was not without a
certain temerity, as differing from the ordinary language of the
schools, and not proper for public debate, as it was delicate, difficult
of comprehension and liable to lead the hearers into error. He protested
that he had not intended to offend Catholic doctrine and, if he had said
anything inconsiderately, he submitted it to the censure and correction
of the holy tribunal. He also laid much stress on the notorious hatred
of the Dominicans towards him, and the manner in which they lost no
opportunity of decrying his doctrine, his person and his morals.[356]

Inquisitor Arrese returned to Valladolid with the evidence, after which
there was pause before the case of Fray Luis was taken up. There would
seem to have been some hesitation concerning it, for the Suprema took
the unusual step of summoning him before it, from which he excused
himself on the plea of illness and forwarded a physician's certificate
in justification. The next document in the case is a letter of August
3d, from the Suprema to the tribunal, calling for the papers in the
cases of the Salamanca theologians, with its opinion concerning them. In
its reply the tribunal said that Fray Luis had confessed to everything
testified against him, submitting himself to correction, and conceding
that what he had said was not devoid of temerity; he had evidently
spoken with passion and after the debate had begged pardon of Domingo de
Guzman for telling him that what he advocated was Lutheran heresy. In
view of all this the tribunal proposed to call him before it and examine
him when, if nothing further resulted, he should be gravely reprimanded
and, as the school of Salamanca was gravely excited and, as some
Augustinians were boasting that his utterances had been accepted by the
tribunal as true, he should be required publicly to read in his chair a
declaration drawn up for him censuring the propositions, and also to
declare that he had spoken wrongly when he had characterized the
opposite as heresy.[357]

This would have been a profound humiliation for the proud and
domineering theologian, but again Quiroga seems to have interposed to
save him. There is a blank in the records for eighteen months,
explicable by the affair being in the hands of the Suprema. What
occurred during the interval is unknown, but the outcome appears in the
final act of the trial, February 3, 1584, at Toledo. There Fray Luis
stood before Inquisitor-general Quiroga who reprimanded and admonished
him charitably not in future to defend, publicly or privately, the
propositions which he had admitted were not devoid of temerity, adding a
warning that otherwise he would be prosecuted with all the rigor of the
law, to all of which Fray Luis promised obedience.[358] That he had in
no way lost the respect of his fellows is seen in his election to the
Provincialate of the Augustinian Order, in 1591, shortly before his

In addition to their exhibiting the attitude of the Inquisition towards
the most distinguished intellects of the period, these two trials of
Fray Luis illustrate its arbitrary methods, operating as it did in
secret. His fault, if fault there was, was the same in both cases--the
enunciation of opinions on which the most learned doctors differed. In
both cases he denounced himself, freely confessed what he had spoken or
written, and submitted himself unreservedly to the judgement of the
church. In the first case he was arrested; he endured nearly five years
of incarceration and only escaped torture or the ruin of his career
through the kindly interposition of Quiroga. In the second, there was no
arrest, the case was decided on the _sumaria_, or suspended, and
although Quiroga probably again intervened, it was only to save the
accused from a humiliation which would have gratified malevolence.
Judged by its own standard, the Inquisition abused its powers--either,
in one case, by unpardonable severity or in the other by excessive
moderation, but it was responsible to no one and had no public opinion
to dread.

       *       *       *       *       *


Just as the case of Fray Luis was ending, prosecution was commenced
against another Salamanca professor, of equal or even greater
distinction. As a man of pure letters, no one at the time was the peer
of Francisco Sánchez, known as el Brocense, from his birth-place, las
Brozas. Vainglorious, quarrelsome, caustic and reckless of speech, he
made numerous enemies, but probably he would have escaped the
Inquisition had he confined himself to his chair of grammar and
rhetoric. He delighted however in paradoxes, and he held himself so
immeasurably superior to the theologians, and was so confident in the
accuracy of his own varied learning, that he could not restrain himself
from ridiculing their pretensions, from exposing the errors of pious
legends and denouncing some of the grosser popular superstitions, thus
rendering himself liable to inquisitorial animadversion, whenever malice
or zeal might call the attention of the tribunal to his eccentricities.
He flattered himself that he did not meddle with articles of faith, but
he failed to realize how elastic were the boundaries of faith, and that,
in attacking vulgar errors, he might be regarded as undermining the
foundations of the Church. Scandal was a convenient word which bridged
over the line between the profane and the sacred.[359]

His habitual intemperance of speech was stimulated by a custom in the
Salamanca lecture-rooms of students handing up questions for the
lecturer to answer, and it would appear that malicious pleasure was felt
in thus provoking him to exhibit his well-known idiosyncrasies. It was
an occasion of this kind that prompted the first denunciation, January
7, 1584, by Juan Fernández, a priest attending the lectures. Others
followed, and the character of his utterances appears in the
propositions submitted to the calificadores:--That Christ was not
circumcised by St. Simeon but by his mother the Virgin.--That there
ought to be no images and, but for apparent imitation of the heretics,
they would have been abolished.--That those were fools who, at the
procession of Corpus Christi, knelt in the streets to adore the images,
for only Christ and his cross were to be adored.--Only saints in heaven
were to be adored and not images, which were but wood and
plaster.--Christ was not born in a stable, but in a house where the
Virgin was staying.--That the eleven thousand virgins were only
eleven.--Doubts whether the Three Kings were kings, as Scripture speaks
only of Magi.--That the Magian kings did not come at Christ's birth, but
two years after, and found him playing with a ball.--That theologians
know nothing.--That many Dominicans thought the faith was based on St.
Thomas Aquinas; this was not so and he did not care a ---- for St.
Thomas.--When asked why St. Lucia was painted without eyes, he said that
she had not torn them out, but she was reckoned the patron saint of eyes
from her name--Lucia _a lucere_.

That these free-spoken propositions should be duly characterized by the
calificadores as heretical, rash, erroneous, insulting and so forth was
a matter of course and, on May 18th, the consulta de fe voted for
imprisonment in the secret prison with sequestration, subject to
confirmation by the Suprema. The latter delayed action until August 29th
and then manifested unusual consideration for the eccentricities of
Sánchez, which were doubtless well known. He was merely to be summoned
before the tribunal, to be closely examined and to be severely
reprimanded, with a warning to give no further occasion for scandal, as
otherwise he would be treated with all rigor.[360]

His first audience was held on September 24th. There is a refreshing and
characteristic frankness in his reply to the customary question whether
he knew the cause of his summons. He supposed it was because, about
Christmas-time, in his lecture-room, he was asked why St. Lucia was
painted with her eyes on a dish and why she was patron saint of eyes,
when he replied that she was not such a fool as to tear out her eyes to
give them to others; the vulgar believed many things that had no
authority save that of painters, and it was on account of her name that
she was patron saint of eyes. Then, he added, some days later he was
asked why he talked against what the Church holds; this angered him and
he told them they were great fools who did not know what the Church is;
they must think that sacristans and painters are the Church; he would be
speaking against the Church if he spoke against the Fathers and
Councils. If they saw eleven thousand virgins painted in a picture, they
would think that there were eleven thousand, but in an ancient calendar
there was only _undecim M. virgines_--there were ten martyrs and Ursula
made the eleventh. Then, some three years ago, the Circumcision was
represented in the cathedral of Salamanca, where appeared the Virgin,
Simeon and the child Jesus. He said to many of those present that it was
a pity such impertinences were permitted in Salamanca; that the Virgin
did not go to the temple until the forty days were expired, and no
priest was required for the circumcision, for it is rather believed that
the Virgin performed it in her own house. He mentioned various other
criticisms which he had made on pictures, such as the Last Supper, where
Christ and the apostles should be represented on triclinia, and the
Sacrifice of Abraham where Isaac should be a man of 25. For this all he
was called in Salamanca a rash and audacious man, and he supposed this
was the cause of his summons; if there was more, let him know it and he
would obey the Church; if in what he had said he had caused scandal, he
was ready to retract and to submit to the Church.[361]


This fearless frankness was preserved in the examination that followed
on the charges not explained in his avowal. When asked whether he knew
these things to be heretical and if his intention was to oppose the
Church, he replied that in the form of the charges he held them to be
heretical, but he had uttered them only in the way he stated, with the
intention of a good Christian and for the instruction of others, but, if
he had erred, he begged mercy with penance, and was ready to make
whatever amends were required. His confessions were duly submitted to
calificadores who reported, reasonably enough, that he denied some,
explained others and left others as they were, but that as a whole he
deserved to be reprimanded and punished, because he exceeded his
functions without discretion and, if not restrained, he would come to
utter manifold errors and heresies. Under ordinary routine his
punishment would have been exemplary, but the tribunal was controlled by
the instructions of the Suprema and, on September 28th, he was duly
reprimanded and warned to abstain in future from such utterances, for
they would be visited with rigorous punishment. He promised to do this
and was dismissed.[362]

With any one else this narrow escape, which shows the strong
disinclination to deal harshly with him, would have ensured lasting
caution, and even on Sánchez it seems to have imposed restraint for some
years. The impression, however, wore away and the irrepressible desire
to manifest his contempt for theology and theologians, and to display
the superior accuracy of his wide learning, gradually overcame prudence.
In 1588, he printed a little volume entitled _De erroribus nonnullis
Porphyrii et aliorum_ which, when subsequently examined by
calificadores, was said to prove that the author was insolent, audacious
and bitter, as were all grammarians and Erasmists; that, if its
conclusions were true, we might burn all the theology and philosophy
taught by the schoolmen, from the Master of Sentences to Caietano, and
by all the universities, from Salamanca to Bologna. Another of his works
bore the expressive title of _Paradoxos de Theulugia_, which went to two
editions and was censured as requiring expurgation. Theology seems to
have had for him the fatal fascination of the candle for the moth and,
with his temperament, he could not touch it without involving himself in
trouble. He gradually resumed his free speech and repeated his old
assertions which he had promised to suppress, and to these he added new
ones, such as approving the remark of a canon of Salamanca that he who
spoke ill of Erasmus was a fraile or an ass, adding that, if there were
no frailes in the world, none of the works of Erasmus would have been
forbidden. From 1593 to 1595, Dr. Rosales, the commissioner at
Salamanca, repeatedly forwarded to the Valladolid tribunal reports and
evidence as to his relapse in these evil ways, and urged that he should
be summoned and corrected and told not to meddle with theology but to
confine himself to his grammar, for he knew nothing else.[363]

The tribunal had these various charges submitted to calificadores, who
duly characterized them in fitting terms, but it took no action until
May 18, 1596, when it commissioned Rosales to put in shape the
informations against Sánchez. Rosales was replaced by Francisco Gasca de
Salazar, who was instructed, September 17th, to finish the matter
without delay. He returned the papers as completed, September 29th,
adding that Sánchez was so frank that he said these things publicly, as
a man unconscious of error and, if examined, would tell the truth and
give his reasons; he did not seem to err with pertinacity but like the
grammarians, who usually deal in paradoxes, for which reason Gasca said
that he had taken no notice of them.[364]


Probably some restraint exercised by the Suprema explains why, after
these preparations, four years were allowed to pass without action. If
so, this restraint was suddenly removed, for there is no evidence that
any fresh imprudences on the part of Sánchez stimulated the tribunal
when, September 25, 1600, it took a vote that, in view of the previous
warning and continued repetition of the same propositions and additional
ones, and especially of the _De Erroribus Porphyrii_ and other books
suspect in doctrine, he should be summoned to the tribunal and a house
be assigned to him as a prison, while all his books and papers should be
seized. The Suprema confirmed this; on October 20th the summons was
issued and, on November 20th, the books and papers were forwarded. On
November 10th Sánchez appeared before the tribunal and, with kindly
consideration, the house of his son, Dr. Lorenzo Sánchez, a physician
residing in Valladolid, was assigned as his prison. Three audiences were
held, on November 13th, 16th, and 22d, in which he said that, if he had
uttered or done anything contrary to the faith, he was ready to confess
it and reduce himself to the unity of the Church. As the charges were
not as yet made known to him, he tried to explain various matters which
were not contained in them, such as denying free-will, as holding the
opinion that Magdalen was not the sister of Lazarus, and that Judas did
not hang himself.[365]

No more audiences were held. The next document is a petition, dated
November 30th, in which Sánchez set forth that he was mortally sick and
given over by the physicians; that he had through life been a good
Christian, believing all that the Holy Roman Church believes, and now,
at the hour of death, he protested that he died in and for that belief.
If, having labored for sixty years in teaching at Salamanca and
elsewhere, he had said or was accused of saying anything against the
holy Catholic faith, which he denied, if yet by error of the tongue it
was so, he repented and begged of the Inquisition pardon and penance in
the name of God. When taking pen in hand he had always recommended
himself to God and, if in his MSS. there should be found anything
ill-sounding, he desired it stricken out and, if there were useful
things, he asked the Inquisition to permit their printing, as he left no
other property to his children, and also that his enemies and rivals
might be confounded. Finally, as he was in prison, by order of the
Inquisition, he supplicated that he might have honorable burial,
suitable to his position, and that the University of Salamanca be
ordered to render him the customary honors.[366]

Thus closed, in sorrow and humiliation, the career of one of the most
illustrious men of letters that Spain has produced. Under the existing
system the Inquisition could do no otherwise than it had done, and its
treatment of him had been of unexampled forbearance. That forbearance,
however, seems to have ceased with his death. The records are imperfect,
and we have no knowledge of the course of his trial which, as usual, was
prosecuted to the end, but the outcome apparently was unfavorable. On
December 11th the calificadores who examined his papers made an
unexpectedly moderate report. There was a certain amount of minute and
captious verbal criticism, but the summing up was that he seemed
somewhat free in his expositions of Scripture, attaching himself too
much to human learning and departing too readily from received opinions,
but he was easily excusable as these were private studies and mostly
unfinished, so that his final opinions could not be assumed.[367]

Notwithstanding this, his dying requests were not granted. The interment
was private and without funeral honors. As regards the University of
Salamanca, Dr. Lorenzo Sánchez reported, on December 22d, that his
father had many enemies there, that there was much excitement and
scandal, and it was proposed not to render him the customary honors, to
the great injury of his children's honor, wherefore he petitioned for
orders to pay the honors and also the salary for the time of his
detention. To this supplication no attention was paid, and the same
indifference was shown when, long afterwards, on June 25, 1624, another
son, Juan Sánchez, a canon of Salamanca, represented that malicious
persons asserted that his father had died in the secret prison,
wherefore he petitioned for a certificate that his father had not been
imprisoned in either the secret or public prison, and that no sentence
had been rendered against him. The influence of all this on the fortunes
of his descendants can readily be estimated. As for the MSS. which had
occupied the dying man's thoughts, the final judgement passed upon them
left little to be delivered to the children.[368]

       *       *       *       *       *


Another contemporaneous case is worthy of mention if only because the
Geronimite Joseph de Sigüenza has customarily been included among the
victims of the Inquisition, in place of which he sought its jurisdiction
in order to protect himself against the machinations of his brethren. At
an early age he had entered the Order, where his talents and varied
learning gained him rapid advancement. When the Escorial was completed,
Philip II sent for him to preach the first sermon in the church of San
Lorenzo; since then he had preached oftener than any one else and many
of the gentlemen and ladies of the court had selected him as their
confessor. Philip placed him in charge of the royal archives and of the
_sagrarios_ and reliquaries of the two libraries, which brought him into
frequent communication with the king, and he had utilized this to cause
appointments and dismissals, and to institute reforms in the college of
Párraces. This caused jealousy and enmity, and Diego de Yepes, the prior
of his convent of San Lorenzo, endeavored to procure his removal. Then
he incurred the hostility of the prior of the college, Cristóbal de
Zafra, who was a florid preacher. In a sermon before the king on the
previous Nativity of the Virgin (September 8th) he had said that the
Minotaur was Christ and the Labyrinth was the Gospel and Ariadne was Our
Lady and the child she bore to Theseus was faith, and if any one desired
to enter the Labyrinth he must pray to the Virgin for her child. Such
sermons were the fashion, and Diego de Yepes eclipsed this, on January
1st, when he told his audience that when Delilah had exhausted Samson
she removed him from her and delivered him to the Philistines, so when
the Virgin had exhausted God she removed him and placed him in the
manger, with other equally filthy topics. Fray Joseph sought to repress
this style of preaching, insisting that it should be confined to
expositions of the Evangel and moral instruction, which gained him
enemies among those whose eccentricities and bad taste he reproved.
Another source of enmity was that he was entrusted with the selection of
students to attend the lectures on Hebrew of Arias Montano, when he came
to San Lorenzo, which angered those who were omitted. A formidable cabal
was formed for his ruin; careful watch was kept on his utterances in
unguarded moments and in the pulpit, and it was not difficult to collect
propositions which, when exaggerated or distorted, might furnish
material for prosecution.

It was safer to trust to a prejudiced court within the Order than to the
Inquisition. A visitation of the convent and college was ordered, with
instructions to withdraw the licence of any preacher or confessor found
to be insufficient. The visitors came on April 13, 1592 and reported on
the 17th. The frailes were examined separately and secretly and, of
twenty-two, all but one offered objections to opinions uttered by Fray
Joseph. From their testimony was extracted a series of nineteen
propositions, most of them utterly trivial. He was accused of decrying
scholastic theology, of holding that preaching should be based on the
bare Scriptures, of exaggerated praise of Arias Montano at the expense
of other expounders of Holy Writ, of advising a fraile to study
Scripture in place of books of devotion and much else of the same
nature. The frailes had learned the processes of the Inquisition; they
submitted these propositions for qualification to Gutiérrez Mantilla,
the chief professor of theology in the college, who rendered three
opinions, varying in tone, but the final one declared that some of the
propositions inclined to Lutheranism and Wickliffitism and others to
Judaism. Moreover, on May 18th he wrote to the king, announcing the
discovery of a dangerous heresy in the college of San Lorenzo which, if
not checked at the outset, might bring upon Spain the dangers developed
in other lands. It had spread among the students, some of whom, by the
vigilance of the prior, were already in the Inquisition of Toledo, and
he begged Philip to urge on the prior unrelaxing efforts to avert the

All this had been done in secret, but enough reached the ears of Fray
Joseph to convince him of the ruin impending at the hands of his
brethren. Such matters belonged exclusively to the jurisdiction of the
Inquisition and they could not prevent his appealing to that tribunal,
in which he lost no time. On April 23d he presented himself at Toledo,
with a letter from his prior, Diego de Yepes, stating that he was
learned, able and a prior of the Order, but that some of his expressions
in preaching and conversation had created scandal, in consequence of
which he had been tried by visitors; this trial Yepes was ready to
submit to the tribunal, and he asked that Fray Joseph be treated with
its customary benignity. With this Fray Joseph handed in a written
statement, containing what he had been able to gather as to the
accusations, and submitting himself to the judgement of the Inquisition,
both in correcting what was wrong and in accepting whatever punishment
might be imposed.

The tribunal sent for the papers of the trial and assigned to him the
convent of la Sisla as a prison, which he was not to leave without
permission under the customary penalties. This confinement, however, was
scarce more than nominal for, on May 14th, he represented that the king
and court were at San Lorenzo, and his absence would be a great dishonor
to him, wherefore he asked to have, by return of his messenger,
permission to go there, which was immediately granted. Subsequently he
was allowed the unusual favor of consulting with his counsel at the
latter's house and, on October 21st, he asked licence to return to San
Lorenzo for a month, because he was suffering from fever and his
physician stated that his life was at risk at la Sisla--a request which
was doubtless granted. The contrast is marked between his treatment and
that of Luis de Leon.


Meanwhile the trial was in progress with all customary formalities. The
propositions were submitted to calificadores and, on July 30th, the
fiscal presented the accusation, denouncing him as an apostate heretic
and excommunicated perjurer, demanding his relaxation and asking that he
be tortured as often as necessary. He duly went through the
examinations on the accusation and publication of evidence, and
presented eight witnesses, who testified to his distinguished reputation
for learning, piety and orthodoxy, also that Fray Cristóbal de Zafra was
noted for bringing fables and poetry into his sermons, and that Fray
Justo de Soto, who had accused him of saying that Jews and Turks could
be saved, was an ignoramus, knowing little of grammar and nothing of

It was not until October 22d that was held the consulta de fe, which
voted unanimously for acquittal; the Suprema confirmed the sentence, on
January 25, 1593, when Fray Joseph was probably absent, for it was
nearly a month before he appeared, on February 19th to hear it read. At
his request a copy of it was given to him and thus ended a case in which
the Inquisition was the protector of innocence against fraternal

       *       *       *       *       *

The extent to which Spanish intellect wasted itself in interminable
controversies over the infinitely little, and the dangers to which all
men were exposed who exercised the slightest originality, are
illustrated in the case of Padre Alonso Romero, S. J., lector, of
theology in the Jesuit college of Valladolid. For a proposition
concerning the intricate question whether a man violates the law of
fasting by eating nothing on a fast-day, his fellow-Jesuit, Fernando de
la Bastida, with a number of students, denounced him to the Inquisition,
August 29, 1614. The main proposition, and a number of others, on which
it was based, or which were deduced from it, were pronounced by the
calificadores, or at least by some of them, to be false, scandalous,
rash and approximating to error. No less than seventeen witnesses were
examined against him and when, on January 9, 1615, he presented himself,
he admitted uttering the proposition, but said that he had consulted
many learned men and the principal universities and he offered in
defence the signatures of many Jesuits and of professors of Salamanca,
Alcalá and Valladolid, to the effect that it was not subject to
theological censure. The case proceeded to a vote _in discordia_,
October 15th, when the Suprema ordered his confinement in a Jesuit
house, that he should cease lecturing, and that the papers in his cell
should be examined. On October 29th, while he was detained in the
audience-chamber, his keys were taken and his papers were seized,
although during this audience he stated that, when he found that many
learned men condemned his proposition, he had retracted it publicly and
had defended the opposite, which he offered to do again. To the ordinary
mind this would appear to render further proceedings superfluous, but
the assumed injury inflicted on the faith demanded reparation, and the
case went on.

Thirty-three propositions, dependent on the first one, were submitted to
calificadores and condemned as before, while nineteen others, extracted
from his papers, were explained by him and dropped. Drearily and slowly
the proceedings dragged along. On March 3, 1616, the accusation was
presented, but it was not until June 6, 1619, that the publication of
evidence was reached. Yet the case seems still to have been in the
preliminary stage for on July 10th the Suprema ordered that the
propositions, which had now grown to fifty-seven in number, should be
submitted to calificadores and on their report the tribunal should
decide whether to transfer him to the secret prison. It waited more than
six months before it reached a decision, February 5, 1620, to make no
change but, when the Suprema learned this, it ordered him to the prison
of familiars, which was done on August 12th. Then, on the 18th, he
selected patrones to advise him and, on September 25th, he presented the
interrogatories for the witnesses in defence. On May 12, 1621, he was
informed that all that he had required had been done for him. On July
5th the consulta de fe voted that he should be warned and required to
retract the proposition respecting fasting and those derived from
it--which he had already done spontaneously six years before; as for the
others, he was acquitted. The Suprema took nearly a year to consider
this and did not confirm it until June 2, 1622, when the trial ended
with the reading of the sentence on June 30th.[370] All this reads like
a travesty and might well be the subject of ridicule were it not for the
serious import on a nation's destiny of a system under which eight years
of a man's life could be consumed on a matter which the outcome showed
to be so frivolous, to say nothing of the indefinite number of
calificadores and officials whose energies were wasted on this solemn

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _THE PULPIT_]

Preachers were as liable as professors to prosecution for their
utterances, and Spanish pulpit eloquence, as we have seen it
illustrated in the case of Fray Joseph de Sigüenza, afforded ample
field for censure. The auditor who took exception to anything heard in a
sermon had only to denounce the speaker and, if the proposition was
exceptionable, prosecution followed. Thus, in 1580, Fray Juan de Toledo,
a Geronimite of the convent of Madrid, was denounced to the Toledo
tribunal for having, in a sermon before Philip II, asserted that the
royal power was so absolute that the king could take his vassals'
property and their sons and daughters to use at his pleasure. Possibly
this exuberance of loyalty might have escaped animadversion, had not the
preacher called attention to the enormous revenues of the bishops,
squandered on their kindred, and urged that the king and pope should
unite to reduce them to apostolic poverty. On trial he admitted his
remarks in a somewhat less offensive form; he attempted to disable the
witnesses and presented evidence of good character without much success.
The consulta de fe voted in discordia, and the Suprema sentenced him to
abjure _de levi_, to recant, in the pulpit on a feast-day, the
propositions, in a formula drawn up for him, to be recluded in a convent
for two years, to be suspended from preaching for five years, and to
perform certain spiritual penances.[371]

The severity of this sentence shows how little ceremony there was in
restraining the eccentricities of the Spanish pulpit, even when it would
be difficult to discern where suspicion of heresy came in. The formula
of retraction prescribed rendered the humiliation of the ceremony most
bitter. There were forms suited for the different characters of
propositions, but all bore the essential feature that the culprit in the
pulpit admitted having uttered the condemned expression; that the
inquisitors had ordered him to retract it; that he recognized that it
ought to be retracted and, as an obedient son of the Church and in
fulfilment of the command, he declared, of his own free will, that he
had uttered a proposition heretical and contrary to express passages of
Holy Writ and, as such, he retracted and unsaid it and confessed that he
did not understand it when he said it nor, for lack of knowledge, did he
understand the evil contained in it, nor did he believe it in its
heretical sense, nor understand that it was heresy and, as he had spoken
evil and given occasion to be justly suspected that he said it in an
heretical sense, he was grieved and begged pardon of God and the holy
Roman Catholic Church, and begged pardon and mercy of the Holy Office. A
notary with a copy followed his words and, if the performance was
correct, made an official attestation of the fact.[372]

Instances of this sharp censorship of pulpit eloquence were by no means
rare. Thus in the single tribunal of Toledo, after Madrid had been
separated from it, Fray Juan de Navarrete, Franciscan Guardian of
Talavera, was sentenced, December 19, 1656, for an heretical proposition
in a sermon, to make a retraction. On April 21, 1657, Fray Diego Osorio,
regent of studies in the Augustinian convent of Toledo, was required to
retract, was suspended for two years from preaching and was banished for
the same period from Madrid and Mascaraque. On April 23, 1659, the
Mercenarian, Maestro Lucas de Lozoya, Definidor General of his Order and
synodal judge of the province, was condemned to retract, was suspended
from preaching for two years and was exiled from Madrid and Toledo.
Similar sentences were pronounced July 14, 1660, on the Trinitarian
Jacinto José Suchet, and August 31st on the Franciscan Juan de Teran.
The Trinitarian, Juan de Rojas Becerro, December 24, 1660, was allowed
to retract in the audience-chamber, but was suspended and banished for
one year. Juan Rodríguez Coronel, S. J., on June 28, 1664, was suspended
and banished for two years, but was not required to retract. These
instances will suffice to indicate the frequency of these prosecutions
and the manner in which such cases were treated. They offer a curious
contrast to the mercy shown, January 31, 1665, to Sebastian Bravo de
Buiza, assistant cura of Fresno la Fuente, who was only reprimanded and
required to explain in the pulpit the most offensive proposition that
the Virgin was a sinner and died in sin.[373]

This last case suggests that favoritism sometimes intervened to shield
culprits and this would seem to be confirmed by the leniency shown, in
1696, to Fray Francisco Esquerrer. He was the leading Observantine
preacher and theologian in Valencia and teacher of theology in the
convent of San Francisco in Játiva. It was an episode in the quarrel
between Dominicans and Franciscans over the Immaculate Conception, when,
November 13, 1695, the Dominican Fray Juan Gascon denounced him to the
Valencia tribunal for having defended at Játiva, October 9, 1693, the
proposition that Christ, in the three days of his death, was sacramented
alive in the heart of the Virgin; that he who should die in defence of
the Immaculate Conception would die a martyr, for it was a point of
faith settled by Scripture, by the Council of Trent, by the Apostolic
Council of Jerusalem and by the cult of the Church. Gascon had denounced
this at the time, but the tribunal had taken no notice of it, and he now
repeated the charge, adding that Esquerrer, preaching in 1693 at
Olleria, had held it to be a point of faith that the adoration of
_latria_ was due to St. Francis; in the same year at Játiva he preached
that Christ owed more to St. Antony of Padua than St. Antony owed to
Christ. Also, when preaching about an image known as the Virgin of
Salvation, he said that she was rather the Mother of Salvation than the
Mother of Christ. Then, on August 28, 1695, preaching to the
Augustinians of Játiva, he proved logically that the wisdom of St.
Augustin was greater than the wisdom of the Logos and, on November 6,
1695, to the Franciscans of Játiva, he declared that the Immaculate
Conception had been made a point of faith by Alexander VII and Innocent
XI. Then the tribunal at last was spurred to action; it gathered
evidence and procured from the calificadores a definition that some of
the propositions were blasphemous, others heretical and others
ill-sounding. Early in 1696 Esquerrer was thrown into the secret prison;
he endeavored to explain away the propositions; the trial proceeded with
unwonted celerity and, on September 9th, the case was suspended with
merely the usual reprimand and the suppression of the propositions of
October 9, 1693.[374] Apparently the Inquisition was content to have the
people fed upon such doctrines.

It was probably less to favoritism than to indolence that we may
attribute the outcome of the case of the Minim, Fray N. Serra, lector in
the Barcelona convent of S. Francesco de Paula. On St. Barbara's day,
December 4, 1721, he preached a sermon in which, among various other
ineptitudes, he said that St. Barbara was a virgin and yet pregnant, and
that Christ was the fourth person of the Trinity. An artillery regiment
in quarters had been taken to the church and, in the evening, some of
the officers, visiting Doña Bernarda Vueltaflores, amused themselves by
repeating his grotesque utterances. A week later she chanced to mention
the matter to Fray Antonio de la Concepcion and he, for the discharge
of his conscience, carried the tale to the tribunal. Doña Bernarda was
sent for, told what she remembered and furnished the names of the
witnesses. They were summoned and gave their evidence. The fiscal fussed
over it, said that he had only two concurrent witnesses, and wanted
others of the audience looked up and examined, which was not done. The
registers were searched, but no former complaints against Fray Serra
were found. Then the fiscal asked that all the other tribunals of Spain
be written to, which was postponed. On April 22, 1722 he had the
propositions submitted to calificadores, five of whom unanimously
pronounced that the one relating to Christ was formally heretical and
the others scandalous and irreverent, rendering the culprit vehemently
suspect and of little sense. Then ensued a pause until 1726, when in
July replies were received from all the tribunals that they had nothing
against Fray Serra. Then followed another pause, until June 27, 1728,
when the inquisitors resolved that the case should be suspended after
consulting the Suprema, which assented with the mild rebuke that, as the
sumaria had been formed in 1721, it should have been acted upon at once,
in place of waiting until 1728.[375]

       *       *       *       *       *

Cognizance of the more or less trivial utterances of individuals
continued to the last and formed an increasing portion of inquisitorial
business as Judaism gradually disappeared. How the people were still
taught to keep a watch over their fellows is exhibited in the case of
Manuel Ribes, of Valencia, in 1798. He was a boy only nine years of age,
attending a primary school, who was denounced by a fellow-pupil for an
heretical expression. That the case was seriously considered is
inferable from the fact that it was suspended, not dismissed, and
remained of record against the child in case of future offences. How
keen, moreover, was the inquisitorial eye to discern peril to the faith,
is visible in the prosecution at Murcia, in 1801, of Don Ramon Rubin de
Celis y Noriega, a dignitary of the cathedral of Cartagena and rector of
the conciliar seminary, for a proposition concealed in his printed plan
for instruction in Latin.[376]


Under such impulses it is not a matter for surprise that, in this later
period "propositions" furnished half the business of the tribunals. In
the register compiled in Valencia of all the cases tried in Spain, after
1780 until the suppression of the Inquisition in 1820, the aggregate is
6569 cases, out of which 3026, or not far from one-half, are designated
as for propositions. Of these latter 748 are noted as suspended or laid
aside in Valencia, leaving 2278 carried on through trial. Of the 3543
cases for other offences, 1469, as we have seen, were for solicitation,
leaving only 2074 as the total number for the miscellaneous business of
the tribunals. Those accused for propositions represent every sphere of
life, but a larger portion than of old belong to the educated
classes--clerics, professional men, officers of the army, municipal
officials, professors in colleges and the like.[377]

That this class of business should increase was natural in view of the
infiltration of the irreligious philosophy and liberal ideas of the
later eighteenth century, which escaped the censorship and watchfulness
at the ports. The Napoleonic war poured a flood of this upon the land,
traversed in almost every part by armies, whether hostile like the
French or heretic allies like the English. After the Restoration, the
duty of the Inquisition was largely the extirpation of these seeds of
evil in a political as well as a spiritual sense, and propositions
_antipoliticas_, as we shall see, were as freely subject to its
jurisdiction as the _irreligiosas_. The punishments inflicted were not
usually severe, but the trial itself was a sufficient penalty, for the
accused was thrown into the secret prison during the dilatory progress
of his case, his property was embargoed and his career was ruined, while
in most cases he was subsequently kept under strict surveillance, for
which the inquisitorial organization furnished special facilities.

As a typical case it will suffice to allude to that of two merchants of
Cádiz, Julian Borrego and Miguel Villaviciosa, sentenced in 1818 by the
Seville tribunal, for "propositions and blasphemies," to abjure _de
vehementi_ and to ten years' exile from Cádiz, Seville and Madrid,
including service in a presidio. In consideration, it is said, of the
extraordinarily long imprisonment which they had endured, the service of
the former was only to be four years in Ceuta and of the latter six
years in Melilla. As was so frequently the case at this time, the
Suprema interposed in favor of leniency and reduced the term to presidio
for both to two years. They were married men; the trial and sentence
virtually meant ruin, and probably influence was exerted in their
behalf for, after six months, the Suprema allowed them to return to
Spain to support their families.[378]

What was the precise nature of the propositions the record does not
inform us, but, had the offence been political, it is improbable that
this mercy would have been shown. If it were religious, it may have been
the deliberate expression of erroneous belief, or a hasty ejaculation
called forth by an ebullition of wrath for, as of old the Inquisition
took cognizance of everything and, in its awe-inspiring fashion,
undertook to discipline the manners as well as the faith of the people.
In 1819, the sentence of Bartolomé López of Córdova, for propositions,
warns him on the consequences of his unbridled passion for gambling and
lust, which had caused his offence, and, in another case, the culprit's
inconsiderate utterances are ascribed to his quarrels with his wife,
with whom he is urged to reconcile himself.[379]

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus to the last the Inquisition, in small things as in great, sought to
control the thoughts and the speech of all men and to make every
Spaniard feel that he was at the mercy of an invisible power which, at
any moment, might call him to account and might blast him for life.



Man's effort to supplement the limitations of his powers by the
assistance of spiritual agencies, and to obtain foreknowledge of the
future, dates from the earliest ages and is characteristic of all races.
When this is attempted through the formulas of an established religion
it is regarded as an act of piety; when through the invocation of fallen
gods, or of the ministers of the Evil Principle, or through a perverted
use of sacred rites, it is the subject of the severest animadversion of
the law-giver. When it assumes to use mysterious secrets of nature, it
has at times been regarded as harmless, and at others it has been
classed with sorcery, and the effort to suppress it has been based, not
on its being a deceit, but a crime.

When the Roman domination in Spain was overthrown by the Wisigoths, the
Barbarians brought with them their ancestral superstitions, to be
superadded to the ancient Ligurian beliefs and the more recent
Christianized paganism. The more current objectionable practices are
indicated by the repressive laws of successive Wisigothic monarchs, and
it illustrates the imperishable nature of superstitions that under their
generalizations can be classed most of the devices that have endured the
incessant warfare of the Church and the legislator for a thousand years.
The Wisigothic ordinances were carried, with little change, into the
Fuero Juzgo, or Romance version of the code, but their moderation was
displeasing to Ramiro I, who, in 943, prescribed burning for magicians
and sorcerers and is said to have inflicted the penalty in numerous
instances.[380] It is not probable that this severity was permanent for,
as a rule, medieval legislation was singularly lenient to these
offences, although, about the middle of the thirteenth century, Jacobo
de las Leyes, in a work addressed to Alfonso X, classes among the worst
offenders those who slay men by enchantment.[381]

Alfonso himself, in the Partidas, treated magic and divination as arts
not involving heresy, to be rewarded or punished as they were used for
good or for evil.[382] In no land were they more widely developed or
more firmly implanted in popular belief, for Spain not only preserved
the older errors of Wisigothic times but had superadded those brought by
the Moors and had acquired others from the large Jewish population. The
fatalism of Islam was a fruitful source of devices for winning
foreknowledge. The astrologer and the diviner, so far from being objects
of persecution, were held in high honor among the Moors, and their arts
were publicly taught as essential to the general welfare. In the great
school of Córdova there were two masters who taught astrology, three of
necromancy, pyromancy and geomancy, and one of the _ars notoria_. Seven
thousand seven hundred Arabic writers are enumerated on the
interpretation of dreams, and as many on goetic magic, while the use of
amulets as preservatives from evil was universal.[383] Spain was the
classic land of magic whither, during the middle ages, resorted for
instruction from all Europe those who sought knowledge of its mysteries,
and the works on the occult arts, which were circulated everywhere, bore
for the most part, whether truly or falsely, the names of Arabic


Long after these pursuits had fallen elsewhere under the ban of the
Church, the medieval spirit of toleration continued in Spain. Until the
fourteenth century was drawing to an end, astrology, we are told, was in
general vogue among the upper classes, while the lower placed full
confidence in the wandering mountebanks who overspread the land--mostly
Moorish or Jewish women--who plied their trade under the multifarious
names of _saludadores_, _ensalmadores_, _cantadores_, _entendederas_,
_adivinas_ and _ajodadores_, earning a livelihood by their various arts
of telling fortunes, preserving harvests and cattle, curing disease,
protecting from the evil eye, and exciting love or hatred.[384] So
little blame attached to these pursuits that Miguel de Urrea, Bishop of
Tarazona from 1309 to 1316, was popularly known as _el Nigromántico_,
and his portrait in the episcopal palace of Tarazona had an inscription
describing him as a most skilful necromancer, who even deluded the devil
with his own arts.[385]

The Church, however, did not share in this tolerant spirit and was
preparing to treat these practices with severity. There is comparative
mildness, in 1317, in the definition of its policy by Astesanus, the
leading canonist of his time who, after reciting the ferocious imperial
legislation, adds that the canons impose for these arts a penance of
forty days; if the offender refuses to perform this he should, if a
layman, be excommunicated and, if a cleric, be confined in a monastery.
If he persists in his evil ways, he should, if a slave be scourged and,
if a freeman, be imprisoned. Bishops should expel from their dioceses
all such persons and, in some places, this is laudably accompanied with
curtailing their garments and their hair. Yet the uncertainty still
prevailing is indicated by the differences among the doctors as to
whether priests incurred irregularity who misused in magic rites the
Eucharist, the chrism and holy water, or who baptized figurines to work
evil on the parties represented, and in this doubt Astesanus counsels
obtaining a dispensation as the safest plan.[386]

All doubts as to such questions were promptly settled. Pope John XXII
divided his restless activity between persecuting the Spiritual
Franciscans, warring with the Visconti, combating Ludwig of Bavaria and
creating a wholesome horror of sorcery in all its forms. Imagining that
conspirators were seeking his life through magic arts, he ordered
special inquisitors appointed for their extermination and urged the
regular appointees to active persecution. In various bulls, and
particularly one known as _Super illius specula_, issued about 1326, he
expressed his grief at the rapid increase of the invocation and
adoration of demons throughout Christendom, and ordered all who availed
themselves of such services to be publicly anathematized as heretics and
to be duly punished, while all books on the subject were to be burnt.
The faithful were warned not to enter into compacts with hell, or to
confine demons in mirrors and rings so as to foretell the future, and
all who disobeyed were threatened with the penalties of heresy.[387]
Thus the Church asserted authoritatively the truth of the powers claimed
by sorcerers--the first of a long series of similar utterances which did
more, perhaps, than aught else to stimulate belief and foster the
development of the evil. The prosperity of the sorcerer was based on
popular credulity, and the deterrent influence of prospective punishment
weighed little against the assurance that he could in reality perform
the service for which he was paid.

There was no Inquisition in Castile, and the repression of these
unhallowed arts rested with the secular power, which was irresponsive to
the papal commands. The Partidas, with their quasi approval of magic,
were formally confirmed, by the Córtes of 1348, as the law of the land,
and remained the basis of its jurisprudence. Yet the new impulse from
Rome commenced soon afterwards to make itself felt. About 1370 a law of
Enrique III declared guilty of heresy and subject to its penalties all
who consulted diviners.[388] In this the injection of heresy is
significant of the source of the new policy, reflected further in a law
of Juan I, in 1387, which asserts that all diviners and sorcerers and
astrologers, and those who believe in them, are heretics to be punished
as provided in the Partidas, laymen by the royal officials and clerics
by their prelates.[389] That these laws accomplished little is indicated
by the increasing severity of the pragmática of April 9, 1414, which
ordered all royal and local judges, under pain of loss of office and
one-third confiscation, to put to death all sorcerers, while those who
harbored them were to be banished and the pragmática itself was to be
read monthly in the market-places so that no one could pretend
ignorance.[390] Even the Mudéjares assimilated themselves in this to
their Christian conquerors, threatening the practice of sorcery with
death, and warning all to avoid divination and augury and astrology.
This accomplished little, however, and, after their enforced conversion,
the Moriscos continued to enjoy the reputation of masters of the black


In the kingdoms of Aragon the secular power seems to have been
negligent, and the duty reverted to the episcopate, which was for the
most part indifferent. It was not wholly so, however, for, in 1372,
Pedro Clasquerin, Archbishop of Tarragona, ordered an investigation of
his province by _testes synodales_, and among the matters to be inquired
into was whether there were sorcerers. Even Inquisitor Eymerich appears
to consider it as in no way the business of the Holy Office, when he
seeks to impress upon all bishops the duty of searching for such enemies
of Christ, and of punishing them with all severity.[392]

In Castile, while all the arts of sorcery were reckoned heretical,
jurisdiction over them remained secular, even after the establishment of
the Inquisition although, among Isabella's good qualities, is enumerated
her exceeding abhorrence of diviners and sorcerers and all practitioners
of similar arts.[393] There was evidently no thought of diverting the
Inquisition from its labors among the New Christians, when a royal
decree of 1500 ordered all corregidors and justicias to investigate as
to the existence in their districts of diviners and such persons, who
were to be arrested and punished if laymen, while if clerics they were
to be handed over to their prelates for due castigation.[394]

The question of jurisdiction, in fact, was a difficult one, which
required prolonged debate to settle. It is true that, in 1511, a case in
Saragossa shows the Inquisition exercising it, but a discussion to which
this gave rise indicates that as yet it was a novelty. Some necromancers
were condemned by the tribunal and the inquisitors asked whether
confiscation followed. Inquisitor-general Enguera decided in the
affirmative, but referred to Ferdinand for confirmation. The king
instructed the archbishop to assemble the inquisitors and some impartial
lawyers to discuss the question and report to him; their conclusion was
in favor of the crown and not till then did he order the receiver to
sequestrate and take possession of the property, which was considerable.
The fact that it had not been sequestrated indicates that there had been
no precedent to guide the tribunal.[395] Soon after this, in Catalonia,
there came a demand for the more effective jurisdiction of the
Inquisition, in order to repress sorcery. When the Concordia of 1512
was arranged, one of the petitions of the Córtes was that it should put
into execution the bull _Super illius specula_ of John XXII, and that
the king should procure from the pope the confirmation of the bull.
There was no objection to this, and Leo X accordingly revived the bull
and ordered its enforcement in Aragon.[396] It must have been
immediately after this that the Edict of Faith, in the Aragonese
kingdoms, required the denunciation of sorcery, for, in the Sicilian
instructions of 1515, issued to allay popular discontent, it was
provided that this clause should only be operative when the sorcery was
heretical.[397] Convictions, however, were few, at least in Aragon, for
after those of 1511 there were no relaxations for sorcery until February
28, 1528, when Fray Miguel Calvo was burnt; the next case was that of
Mossen Juan Omella, March 13, 1537, and no further relaxations occur in
the list which extends to 1574.[398]

Castile followed the example of Aragon, and Archbishop Manrique
(1523-1538) added to the Edict of Faith six clauses, giving in full
detail the practices of magic, sorcery and divination.[399] Yet, as late
as 1539, Ciruelo seems to regard the crime as subject wholly to secular
jurisdiction, for he warns sovereigns that, as they hold the place of
God on earth, they should have more zeal for the honor of God than for
their own, and should chastise these offenders accordingly, being
certain that they would be held to strict account for their


The question, in fact, was a somewhat intricate one, admitting of nice
discussion. In 1257, not long after the founding of the Old Inquisition,
Alexander IV was asked whether it ought to take cognizance of divination
and sorcery, when he replied that it must not be diverted from its
proper duties and must leave such offenders to their regular judges,
unless there was manifest heresy involved, a decision which was
repeated more than once and was finally embodied in the canon law by
Boniface VIII.[401] There was no definition, however, as to what
constituted heresy in these matters, until the sweeping declaration of
John XXII that all were heretical, but in this there was a clear
inference that his bulls were directed solely to malignant magic working
through the invocation and adoration of demons. This, however, comprised
but a small portion of the vast array of superstitious observances, on
which theological subtilty exhausted its dialectics. Many of these were
perfectly harmless, such as the simple charms of the wise-women for the
cure of disease. Others were pseudo-scientific, like the Cabala, the Ars
Notoria and the Ars Paulina, by which universal knowledge was attained
through certain formulas. Others again taught spells, innocent in
themselves, to protect harvests from insect plagues and cattle from
murrain. There were infinite gradations, leading up to the invocation
and adoration of demons, besides the multiplied resources of the diviner
in palmistry, hydromancy, crystallomancy and the rest--oneiroscopy, or
dream-expounding, being a special stumbling-block, in view of its
scriptural warrant. To define where heresy began and ended in these, to
decide between presumable knowledge of the secrets of nature and resort
to evil spirits, was no easy matter, and by common consent the decision
turned upon whether there was a pact, express or implied, with the
demon. This only created the necessity of a new definition as to what
constituted pact and, in 1398, the University of Paris sought to settle
this by declaring that there was an implied pact in all superstitious
observances, of which the result could not reasonably be expected from
God or from nature.[402] This marked a distinct advance in the
conception of heretical sorcery, but it still left open the question as
to what might or might not be reasonable expectation, and it was merely
an opinion, albeit of the most authoritative theological body in Europe.

Discussion continued as lively as ever. In 1492, Bernardo Basin, a
learned canon of Saragossa, considered it necessary to prove by logic
that all pact with the demon, implicit or explicit, if not heresy was
yet to be treated as heresy.[403] In 1494, the _Repertorium
Inquisitorum_ in quoting the canon law, that sorcery must savor of
heresy to give jurisdiction of the Inquisition, still admits that there
is no little difficulty in defining what is meant by savoring of heresy,
while even at the close of the sixteenth century Peña tells us that no
question excited more frequent debate.[404] It is true that, in 1451,
Nicholas V had conferred on Hugues le Noir, Inquisitor of France,
cognizance of divination, even when not heretical, but this had been a
special provision, long since forgotten.[405]

The tendency, however, was irresistible to extend the definition of
heretical sorcery, and to bring everything under the Inquisition. In
1552 Bishop Simancas argues that the demon introduces himself into all
superstitious practices and charms, even without the intention of the
man; he admits that many jurists argue that it is uncertain whether
divinations and sorceries savor of manifest heresy, and therefore
inquisitors have not cognizance of them, but the contrary is accepted by
law, reason and custom, for it is a well-known rule that, when there is
a doubt whether a judge has jurisdiction, the jurisdiction is his, and
this matter is not exceptional; inquisitors can proceed against all
guilty of these offences as suspect of heresy and this is received in
practice.[406] Yet in practice these conclusions were reached
tentatively. In 1537 Doctor Giron de Loaysa, reporting the results of a
visitation of the Toledo tribunal, says that he has examined many
processes for sorcery and desires instructions, for there are a number
which are more foul and filthy than heretical; and even as late as 1568
the Suprema, in acting on the Barcelona visitation of de Soto Salazar,
reproves Inquisitor Mexia for inflicting a fine of ten ducats and
spiritual penances on Perebona Nat, for having used charms and uttered
certain words over a sick woman; such cases, it says, do not pertain to
the Inquisition, and in future he must leave all such matters to the
Ordinary, to whom they belong.[407]


The tribunals evidently were less doubtful than the Suprema as to their
powers. Among the practitioners who speculated on popular credulity
there were some called _zahories_, who claimed a special gift of being
able to see beneath the surface when it was not covered with blue cloth,
and who were employed to discover springs of water, veins of metal,
buried treasure and corpses, as well as aposthumes and other internal
diseases. There was no pretence of magic in this but, in 1567, Juan de
Mateba, a boy of 14, who claimed among other gifts to be a zahori, was
sentenced by the Saragossa tribunal to fifty lashes in the prison, to
six years' reclusion in a convent under instruction, and subsequently to
a year's exile, together with prohibition, under pain of two hundred
lashes through the streets, to cure by conjurations, or to claim that he
has grace to effect cures, to divine the future, or to see corpses and
other things under the earth.[408]

Whatever doubts existed rapidly disappeared. It would be difficult to
see where the heresy lay which earned, from the Saragossa tribunal, in
1585, a public scourging for Gracia Melero, because she kept the finger
of a man who had been hanged, together with a piece of the halter,
thinking that they would bring her good luck.[409] In fact, by this time
the omnipresent demon was held accountable for everything. A case
exciting considerable attention in 1588 was that of Elvira de Cespedes,
tried by the tribunal of Toledo, who, as a slave-girl at the age of 16,
was married to Cristóval Lombardo of Jaen and bore to him a son, still
living at Seville. Subsequently at San Lucar she fell in love with her
mistress and seduced her, as well as many other women. Running away, she
assumed male attire and, during the rebellion of Granada served as a
soldier in the company of Don Luis Ponce. In Madrid she worked in a
hospital, obtained a certificate as a surgeon and practised the
profession. At Yepes she offered marriage to a girl, but the absence of
beard and her effeminate appearance caused her sex to be questioned; she
was medically examined, pronounced to be a man and the Vicar of Madrid
granted a licence under which the marriage was solemnized. Doubts,
however, still continued; she was denounced to the magistrates of Ocaña,
who arrested her and handed her over to the Inquisition. In the course
of her trial she was duly examined by physicians, who declared her to be
a woman and that her career could only be explained by the arts of the
demon. This explanation satisfied all doubts; she was sentenced to
appear in an auto, to abjure _de levi_, to receive two hundred lashes
and to serve in a hospital ten years without pay. In this the tribunal
was merciful, for hermaphrodites customarily had a harsher measure of


It is thus easy to understand how the definition of pact by the
University of Paris came to be so extended as to cover every possible
act that might be classed as superstitious--all the old women's cures
and all the traditional usages and beliefs that had accumulated through
credulous generations trained to place confidence in unintelligible
phrases and meaningless actions--for any result greater than could
naturally be produced, if not attributable to God was perforce ascribed
to pact with the demon. Torreblanca thus assures us that, in the cure of
disease, pact is to be inferred when nothing, either natural or
supernatural, is employed, but only words, secretly or openly uttered, a
touch, a breathing, or a simple cloth which has no virtue in itself. So
it is with prayers and verbal formulas approved by the Church, but used
for purposes other than those for which they were framed, or even
exorcisms or conjurations against disease and tempests and caterpillars
and drought, employed without the rites prescribed by the Church, or by
those who have not the Order of Exorcists. There is pact in the use of
idle prayers, as to stop bleeding with _In sanguine Adæ orta est mors_,
or _Sanguis mane in te ut sanguis Christi mansit in se_; or of false
ones, as for head-ache _Virgo Maria Jordanum transivit et tunc S.
Stephanus ei obviavit_; or of absurd ones as the old _Danatadaries_, or
the more modern _Abrach Haymon_ etc., or that inscribed on bread _Irivni
Teherioni_ etc.; or that against the bite of mad dogs, _Hax, Pax, Max_.
Suspect of pact are pious and holy prayers, in which some extraneous or
unknown sign is introduced, written and hung on the neck, or anything by
the wearing of which protection is expected from sudden death or
imprisonment or the gallows: also the use of natural objects which, by
their nature are not fitted for the expected results, or which are
inefficient of themselves and are supposed to derive virtue from words
employed, or are applied with prayers and observances not prescribed by
the Church and, finally, all cures of disease which physicians cannot
explain.[411] Moreover, theologians decided that in sorcery there was no
_parvitas materiæ_, or triviality, which redeemed it from being a mortal

Thus all wise-women and charlatans became subject to the jurisdiction of
the Inquisition, and no richer field for the folklorist can be found
than in their numerous trials, where all the details of their petty
devices and spells and charms are reported at length. There was the
corresponding duty imposed on it to exterminate all popular
superstitions throughout the land, and possibly it might have had a
measure of success in this if it could have treated these practitioners
as impostors. Unfortunately its jurisdiction over them was based on the
reality of their exercising demonic powers, and their persecution only
tended to confirm popular belief in the efficacy of their ministrations,
while the public reading of their sentences _con meritos_ spread abroad
the knowledge of their powers and formulas.

If aught was lacking to strengthen belief in sorcery and divination it
was furnished, in 1585, by Sixtus V, in his solemn bull _Coeli et
Terræ_. In this he denounced astrology and all other species of
divination, all magic incantations, the invocation and consultation of
demons, the abuse of the sacraments, the pretended imprisonment of
demons in rings, mirrors and vials, the obtaining of responses from
demoniacs or lymphatic or fanatic women; he commanded all prelates and
bishops and inquisitors diligently to prosecute and punish all who were
guilty of these illicit divinations, sorceries, superstitions, magic,
incantations and other detestable wickedness, even though hitherto they
had no faculty to do so, and the rules of the Tridentine Index,
prohibiting all works on divination and magic were to be strictly
enforced.[413] The Spanish Inquisition, as we have seen, had long before
exercised all the faculties conferred by the bull, and it is difficult
to understand why, in 1595, it obtained for the first time, in the
commission issued to Inquisitor-general Manrique de Lara, a clause
covering all who practised these diabolical arts, and all who believed
and employed them--a clause retained in all subsequent commissions.[414]
The Inquisition, in fact, had not welcomed the bull, possibly in fear
of claims based on it of cumulative episcopal jurisdiction. It did not
allow it to be published in Spain until 1612 when, for some reason, a
Romance version was printed and sent to all the tribunals with orders
for its publication and enforcement, leading subsequent writers to
attribute to it the cognizance of these matters by the Inquisition.[415]


Not only had the Inquisition, as we have seen, exercised jurisdiction
over sorcery, but as usual it claimed this to be exclusive and warned
off all trespassers. As a matter of form it conceded that non-heretical
sorcery was _mixti fori_--was subject to either the secular or spiritual
court which first commenced action[416]--but non-heretical sorcery had
become non-existent, and the Inquisition was as resolute in maintaining
its exclusive claims in this as in all else. It mattered little that, in
1598, the Córtes petitioned for the total abolition of all kinds of
sorcery, divination, auguries and enchantments, and that Philip II
responded by ordering the revival and enforcement of the ferocious law
of 1414 inflicting severe penalties on secular judges who did not put
sorcerers to death.[417] If this produced any effect, which is doubtful,
it was but temporary. Already, in 1594, we find the Toledo tribunal
compelling the corregidor to surrender Isabel de Soto, after he had
pronounced sentence. Her offences had been the giving of love-powders,
which she asserted were holy and need not be confessed; curing a child
with a parchment inscribed with crosses, and using certain divinations
to bring a man from the Indies--all harmless enough frauds, for which
she was sentenced to abjure _de levi_, to hear mass in the
audience-chamber and to undergo six years of exile. This severity,
however, was mercy itself in comparison with the corregidor's sentence,
which had been scourging and perpetual exile.[418]

This assertion of exclusive cognizance continued. In 1648, Ana Andrés
was undergoing prosecution in both the secular and episcopal courts,
when the Valladolid tribunal claimed her, took her and tried and
sentenced her.[419] In 1659, Pedro Martínez Ruvio, Archbishop of
Palermo, issued an edict in which he proposed to enforce a brief of
Gregory XV, in 1623, directed against sorcerers. The Suprema promptly
presented to Philip IV a consulta, representing that simple
superstitions were justiciable by bishops but, where there was even
light suspicion of heresy, the Inquisition had exclusive cognizance. It
could inhibit him with censures it said, but a royal order prohibiting
him from proceeding with so prejudicial an innovation was preferable as
less demonstrative, and there can be no doubt that Philip signed
whatever letters the Suprema laid before him.[420]

When dealing with the common run of officials, the Inquisition enforced
its claims with its customary peremptory aggressiveness. In 1701, the
Valencia tribunal learned that the _paheres_, or local officials of
Tortosa, were trying for sorcery Jusepa Zorita, Francisca Caset and a
girl. On November 30th they were ordered to cease proceedings under pain
of excommunication and five hundred ducats for each official concerned,
while Pedro Martin Aycart, archdeacon of the cathedral, was
commissioned, in case of disobedience, to post them on the church doors
as excommunicated, and to take possession of the accused in the royal
prison and hold them until further orders. There was some delay and, on
January 4, 1702, the authorities of Tortosa were served with a demand,
under the same penalties, to surrender the prisoners and the papers to
Aycart, with notification that prosecution would follow refusal. This
was effectual; the prisoners were surrendered and were duly tried by the

       *       *       *       *       *

Perhaps the most emphatic assertion of the authority of the Inquisition
is to be seen in its treatment of astrology. All divination which
pretended to reveal the future had long been regarded as heretical, on
account of its denial of human free-will and its assertion of fate. This
applied especially to astrology, with its array of horoscopes and its
assumption that the destinies of men were ruled by the stars. It was on
this ground that Pietro d'Abano, the greatest physician of his time, was
prosecuted and only escaped condemnation by opportunely dying, in 1316,
in Padua, and Cecco d'Ascoli, the foremost astrologer of the age, was
burnt alive in Florence, in 1327. In spite of these examples, the
profession of astrology continued to flourish unchecked, and astrologers
were indispensable officials in the courts of princes and prelates.
Theologians and canonists persevered in its condemnation. Ciruelo, while
admitting that the study of the influence of the stars on the weather
and on persons is lawful, like the practice of medicine, holds that
foretelling from them what they cannot foreshadow can only be done by
the aid of the demon, and all who practise this should be punished as
half-necromancers.[422] Simancas classes astrology with all other
methods of divination, which he attributes to the operation of the
demon, and those who make everything depend upon the stars are perfected
heretics.[423] These condemnations however were purely academical; the
old prohibitions had become obsolete; belief in the science was almost
universal; it was not only openly practised but openly taught, and there
is significance in the fact that, in the Index of 1559, while there are
general prohibitions of all books on necromancy and divination by lots,
there is none of those on astrology, which must have been numerous, and
only two obscure works on nativities are forbidden.[424] Indeed, one of
the petitions of the Córtes of 1570 represents that in consequence of
physicians not studying astrology many failed in their cures, wherefore
the king was asked to order that in the universities no one should be
graduated as a physician who was not a bachiller in astrology, to which
the royal reply was that the Council would consult the universities and
determine what was fitting.[425]

[Sidenote: _ASTROLOGY_]

It therefore manifests no little determination of purpose that, before
Sixtus V, in his bull of 1585, had ordered the suppression of astrology
by the Inquisition, the Suprema, in 1582, attacked it in its stronghold,
the University of Salamanca, sending thither in March the Valladolid
inquisitor, Juan de Arrese, with an edict condemning all the practices
of the so-called science. In a letter of the 10th, Arrese says that he
had been there for eight days, without having had an opportunity of
publishing the edict, but he expects to do so the next day. Then, on the
20th, he reports that he is obtaining the first results and is
overwhelmed with them; there are many who teach judicial astrology, both
genethliacal, in casting nativities, and in answering all questions put
to them, and they excuse themselves by saying that they only teach what
is in the books that are permitted. Those inculpated under the edict are
so numerous that it would be an infinite affair to punish them, and to
overlook them would be worse, for they expect to be allowed to continue.
Meanwhile he has taken testimony as to some and has suspended others
till he receives orders, to which the reply was to go on taking
testimony and report the results. Then, on March 31st he writes that he
is still gathering evidence against the teachers of astrology, among
whom are some who treat of invocation of demons and necromancy,
especially Diego Pérez de Messa, who had been banished for other
offences by the _maestre escuela_ and is in hiding, but Arrese had
ordered his arrest. Then, on April 24th, Arrese forwards a declaration
drawn up by Maestre Muñoz, professor of astrology, for such action as
the Suprema may please to take. At the same time he says that all those
occupied in making astrological predictions excuse themselves on the
ground that, under the statutes of the university, this is ordered to be
taught; he suggests that the Suprema shall prohibit teaching from such
books, and also judicial astrology, except as regards weather, but there
are also indications of magic, about which he promises further
information.[426] The documents before me fail to state what action the
Suprema took with the professors and teachers, but that this was the
condition in the foremost Spanish seat of learning indicates the
magnitude of the task of eradicating beliefs so widely spread and so
firmly established. That it forthwith suppressed the public teaching of
astrology is indicated by the Prohibitory Index, which appeared the
following year, 1583. This proscribed all books and writings that treat
of the science of predicting the future by the stars, and it forbade
all persons from forming forecasts as to matters dependent on free-will
or fortune. Yet it conceded the influence of the stars by permitting the
astrology which pertained to the weather and the general events of the
world, agriculture, navigation and medicine, and also that which
indicated at birth the inclinations and bodily qualities of the

This half-hearted condemnation was not calculated to overthrow the
belief of ages, and astrology maintained its hold on popular credulity.
It is said that, on the birth of Philip IV, in 1605, Philip III
consulted the celebrated Argoli, master of astrology in Padua, as to his
son's horoscope, and was told that the stars threatened the child with
so many disasters that he would certainly die in misery if he had not
for his inheritance the wide dominions of Spain--a prophecy which seems
to have been suggested by the event.[428] However this may be, the
Inquisition maintained its position and was active in prosecuting the
practitioners of the science as a means of divination. An experienced
writer, about 1640, states that, since 1612, astrologers had been
rigorously punished. Judicial astrology was permitted only in so far as
it related to commerce, agriculture and medicine. The casting of
horoscopes to predict the future, especially with regard to the death of
individuals--a frequent practice, productive of much evil--was
punishable by appearance in a public auto, abjuration de levi, exile and
fine proportioned to the means of the delinquent, while even further
severity was due to its employment for the detection of thieves and
finding things lost.[429] A clause was introduced, in the Edicts of
Faith, requiring the denunciation of all engaged in such practices, with
a careful accumulation of details that reveals how wide was the sphere
of influence ascribed to the stars.[430]

[Sidenote: _PROCEDURE_]

The severity visited upon astrologers shows the determination of the
Inquisition, and its estimate of the difficulty of the task.
Ecclesiastics, as we have seen, except when relaxed, were spared
appearance in public autos in order to avert scandal, but astrology was
made an exception and the penalties were extreme. Thus, in the Toledo
auto of October 7, 1663, there appeared Don Pedro Zacome Pramosellas,
arch-priest of Brimano (Cremona) sentenced to abjure _de levi_ and
perpetual banishment from Spain, after three years of galley-service,
besides prohibition to practice astrology or to read books on the
subject. So, in the Toledo auto of October 30, 1667, the Licentiate
Pedro López Camarena Montesinos, a beneficed priest of San Lorenzo of
Valencia, for judicial astrology and searching for treasures, was
condemned to abjure _de levi_, to four years in an African presidio,
followed by six years' exile from Madrid and Toledo, suspension from
Orders and deprivation of all ecclesiastical revenues.[431] This
severity, doubtless, did much to aid advancing intelligence in
outgrowing the ancient beliefs but, as late as 1796, we find Fray Miguel
Alberola, a lay-brother of San Pedro de Alcántara, prosecuted in
Valencia for using the "wheel of Beda"--evidently the _Petosiris_, a
device by which the motions of the moon were used in place of the
multitudinous and complex details of the stars and planets.[432]

       *       *       *       *       *

Procedure in cases of sorcery had little to distinguish it from that in
ordinary heresy, except that, as a rule, torture was not employed. One
authority, indeed, tells that, although in Italy torture was used in
cases of heretical sorcery, it was never used in Spain, but another
assumes that in certain cases it was at the discretion of the
tribunal.[433] That this discretion was used is seen in the Mexican case
of Isabel de Montoya, a wretched old woman, in 1652, who freely
confessed to numerous devices for procuring money--charms and philtres
and conjurations. In addition to this was the evidence of her dupes, as
to her stories of her relations with the demon, which required
elucidation. She was tortured without extracting further confessions and
then was sentenced to a hundred lashes, three years' service in a
hospital and perpetual exile from Puebla.[434]

As pact with the demon was the basis of inquisitorial jurisdiction over
sorcery, it was important to obtain from the accused admission of its
existence. To this end, in 1655, the Suprema issued special instructions
as to examination in all cases dependent on pact--instructions which
reveal implicit belief in the reality of the powers claimed for
sorcery. The accused was to be asked if the prayers, remedies and other
things employed produced the expected results wholly or partially, and
as they had not the natural virtues to effect this, what was the cause
of the result. When, in the prayers or conjurations, certain demons were
invoked, was it to make them appear and speak and in what mode or form.
Whether the invocation was in virtue of a pact, express or tacit, with
the demon and, if so, in what way had it been made. Whether the demon
sometimes appeared in consequence of the prayers or conjurations and, if
so, in what figure or guise, and what he said or did. With what faith or
belief they did these things and framed the remedies, and whether it was
with the intention and hope that the desired effect should be produced,
and with the belief that they would attain it, and whether they held
this for certain--with other similar interrogatories, suited for
particular cases.[435]

[Sidenote: _PUNISHMENT_]

Based on these instructions a curious series of formulas was drawn up,
adapted to all the different classes of offenders. As a sample of these
we may take the one used in the examination of Zahories, who assumed to
have a natural gift to see under the surface of the earth, involving no
heresy, so that they were subject to the Inquisition only through an
arbitrary assumption that their work must necessarily require the aid of
the demon, in which there was no _parvitas materioe_, and that it was
a mortal sin to employ them. The Zahori is to be asked whether it is
true that he can see clearly and distinctly what is hidden under the
earth and to what distance his vision penetrates; whether this power is
confined to buried treasure, or extends to other things; at what age and
on what occasion he first recognized the possession of this power;
whether it is continuous, or stronger at times than at others; whether
he has exerted this power and has found it effective; whether he has
thus obtained treasures and, if so, of what kind or amount; who assisted
him and whether the treasures were divided and what then happened;
whether to reach the treasure, either in preparation or at the time of
raising it, anything else was done, such as masses, prayers,
conjurations, fumigations, invocations of saints or of other unknown
names, or use was made of holy water, blessed palms, lights,
genuflections, reading from a book or paper or other similar means;
whether some treasures are more difficult to obtain than others and, if
so, from what cause, such as enchantment; whether Zahories have any
sign by which this power is recognized, and whether they recognize each
other; in what principally does this power consist; whether money has
been paid to him for pointing out a place where treasure was hidden and,
if so, where he received it and what was the spot designated.[436] We
can readily see how apt would be such an interrogatory, followed up by a
trained examiner, to lead to admissions justifying implied pact,
especially as there was a craze for finding buried treasure, and a
wide-spread belief that stores of it were hidden underground, awaiting
the coming of Antichrist, and guarded by demons, who must be placated or
subdued before the gold could be secured.

In all this it is evident that the inquisitor, if conscientious, must
himself have been firmly convinced of the truth that all the arts of
sorcery, simple as many of them were, were based on demonic aid. Yet the
occasional use of the term _embustero_ shows that it was sometimes
recognized that there was imposture as well as pact. Thus, in the
Córdova auto of December 21, 1627, three women appeared, Ana de Jodar,
sentenced to two hundred lashes in Córdova and one hundred in Villanueva
del Arzobispo, with six years of exile; María de San Leon, to a hundred
lashes and four years of exile and Francisca Méndez to vergüenza and
exile. Now all these were declared to be sorceresses, invokers of demons
with whom they had pacts, and their feats, as detailed in the sentences,
showed them to be adepts and yet they were all stigmatized in addition
as _embusteras_.[437] So, in the Saragossa auto of June 6, 1723,
Sebastian Gómez is described as _supersticioso y embustero_, though his
sentence of two hundred lashes and perpetual service in a hospital with
shackles on his feet shows that his offence was not regarded as mere

       *       *       *       *       *

Severe as may seem some of the sentences alluded to, there is no
question that, in most cases, the delinquents were fortunate in having
the Inquisition as a judge rather than the secular courts, which
everywhere showed themselves merciless where sorcery was concerned. We
have seen the demand, in 1598, for the revival of the savage law of
1414, and this rigor had the support not only of popular opinion but of
the learned. Ciruelo taught that all vain superstitions and sorcery were
inventions of the devil, wherefore those who learned and practised them
were disciples of the devil and enemies of God. There was no distinction
between classes of offenders; all were to be persecuted with unsparing
rigor. Thieves, he argued were properly hanged or beheaded, because
every thief is presumed to be a homicide, and much more should it thus
be with every sorcerer, as his efforts were directed rather against
persons than property.[439] Torreblanca tells us that Huss and Wickliffe
and Luther and almost all heretics contend against the punishment of
sorcerers, but this is heretical, detestable and scandalous, and all
orthodox authorities teach that they should be unsparingly put to death
and be persecuted by both the spiritual and temporal swords.[440] It is
well to bear in mind this consensus of opinion when considering the
practice of the Inquisition. In the tribunals there was nothing to
control the discretion of the judges save the Suprema, and that
discretion showed itself in a leniency difficult to understand, more
often than in undue harshness, and even their harshness was less to be
dreaded than the mercy of the secular law. The systematic writers lay
down the rule that, if the culprit confesses to pact with the demon, he
is presumably an apostate; if he begs mercy he is to be admitted to
reconciliation in an auto, with confiscation and a hundred lashes or
vergüenza; if he is not an apostate, the reconciliation is modified to
abjuration _de levi_ and the scourging to vergüenza.[441] These rules,
however, were not observed; reconciliation was exceedingly rare,
abjuration _de vehementi_ was unusual, abjuration _de levi_ almost
universal, and the tribunals exercised wide discretion in the infliction
of the most diverse penalties.

[Sidenote: _PUNISHMENT_]

A few cases will illustrate how completely the temper of the tribunal
influenced the sentences. In 1604, Valencia seems to have had
exceptionally lenient inquisitors. Alonso Verlango, desiring to
compromise a suit, hired a woman to perform the conjuration of the
_ampolletas_ or vials, placing in them wine, sulphur and other things,
and throwing them into the fire, with the adjuration that as they burnt
so might the hearts of men come to an agreement. There was also the
conjuration of the oranges, cutting nine of them and placing in them
oil, soap, salt and other things, with the formula that, as oil gives
flavor, so might it be with the men; also driving a nail into each and
saying that the nails were driven into their hearts. In both of these
conjurations were invoked Bersabu, Satanas and other demons, the great
and the crippled, along with St. Peter, St. Paul and other saints. There
was also a long conjuration with a virgin child by which one could learn
whatever was desired. Verlango himself, moreover, used conjurations to
discover treasures and possessed the Dream-book of Solomon, "Vaquerio"
and Cardan _de Proprietatibus Rerum_. For all this he escaped with a
reprimand and hearing mass in the audience chamber, abjuration _de levi_
and two years of exile. Another case was that of Fray Miguel Rexaque, a
priest of the Order of Montesa, who denounced himself for going with an
Italian fraile, a virgin girl and some others, to discover treasure.
They dug a hole; the Italian with an olive wand made a circle, in which
was lighted a blessed candle; incense was burnt and the angels were
summoned to drive away the demons guarding the treasure for the coming
of Antichrist, and there was also a response from a demon obtained by
the girl looking into a mirror. When the papers were submitted to the
Suprema it ordered Rexaque to be reprimanded and the case to be
suspended, while the girls who officiated had only a year's exile and
some spiritual penances. More serious was the ease of Francois Difor, a
French priest, and Francisco Juseria, a student, for it involved
sacrilege. They sought the advice of an adept, who told them to baptize
three coins with certain names and the coins when paid out would return
to their purses. Difor solemnly baptized three pesos; Juseria spent them
for fritters and pastry, but they did not come back. Under instructions
of a confessor, they denounced themselves; they were duly tried and
sentenced to abjure _de levi_, to be severely reprimanded and to perform
some slight spiritual penances.[442]

Valladolid furnishes similar examples of leniency. In 1629, Isabel
García, a married woman, under trial confessed that to regain a lover
she had invoked the demon, who appeared in human shape, when she entered
into explicit pact with him and performed various other sorceries, yet
she was sentenced only to abjure _de levi_ and to four years' exile from
Valladolid and Astudilla. The next year Gabriel de Arroya, under
pressure from a confessor, denounced himself and stated that, carried
away by the passion of gambling, he had, during the last seven years,
gone five times into the open fields, and invoked the demon to give him
money for stakes, promising in return to devote his first child to the
demon and offering to sign with his blood a pact to that effect. It is
true that the demon never appeared, nor did he get money that seemed to
come from such a source. In the consulta de fe, some of the members
pronounced him to be vehemently suspect, others lightly, but it was
finally voted to suspend the case without sentence and to reprimand him
in the audience-chamber.[443]

[Sidenote: _PUNISHMENT_]

There is contrast between these and some cases, in 1641, gathered in by
a Valladolid inquisitor during a visitation in Astorga. Eight old men
and women _curanderos_, whose offences consisted in superstitious cures
of the most harmless character, were arrested and brought to Valladolid,
where they were confined for months in the secret prison, to be finally
sentenced to more or less prolonged exile, their simple ministrations
being characterized as implicit pact with the demon. On the other hand,
the Licentiate Pelayo de Ravanal, cura of Anicio, who charged
twenty-three reales for blessing and ineffectually sprinkling with holy
water a herd of sick cattle, and who failed in a superstitious cure of a
husband and wife, was not arrested but was privately summoned and
reprimanded in the apartments of the senior inquisitor. There were also
two cases of _loberos_--practitioners whose speciality consisted in
preserving sheep from wolves. One was Macias Pérez, a shepherd of Medina
del Campo, accused by ten witnesses of having the wolves at his command,
and using them to injure whom he pleased; five testified that he had
threatened them with the wolves and that consequently many of their
sheep had been destroyed. The other, Juan Gutiérrez of Baradilla,
speculated on his neighbors, who gave him grain, kids, sheep etc., to
preserve their flocks. The calificadores held this to be implicit pact
but, although both were arrested, both escaped with reprimands.[444] The
same moderation was exhibited by the tribunal of Toledo, in a curious
case, in 1659. Juan Severino de San Pablo, of Wilna in Lithuania, was
living as a hermit in the Sierra Morena. He had a skull which he had
laboriously inlaid with silver images; this he exhibited and gave
certificates as cures for tertian fevers. After his trial had been
carried to the accusation, it was suspended; he was severely reprimanded
and threatened with a hundred lashes for relapse; the skull was buried
in consecrated ground, but not until the silver had been carefully
removed and given to the receiver in part settlement for the culprit's
maintenance in prison.[445]

There are two colonial cases which illustrate the capricious character
of these judgements. In 1760, at Lima, a Guinea negro slave named Manuel
Galiano, aged 70, was tried as a _curandero_. Several cases were in
evidence in which he had cured swellings that had baffled the faculty,
by making a small incision, inserting a hollow cane and sucking out
blood, which would be accompanied with maggots, scorpions, lizards,
snakes and the like, after which he would apply certain crushed herbs.
It was decided that this inferred pact with the demon; he was arrested
and freely admitted the cures, explaining that he hid the animals in the
cane and blew them forth as though they had been drawn from the
swelling; he had pronounced the patients to be bewitched and received
four or five pesos for the cure; he had also pretended to give a charm
to another slave. The case was simple enough but the trial was prolonged
for three years, during which he lay in prison, to be finally sentenced
to appear in an auto, with the insignia of sorcery and a halter, to
vergüenza and to five years (counted from the time of his arrest) of
service in a hospital.[446]

In wholesome contrast to this was a similar case in Mexico, in 1794.
Juana Martínez was an Indian aged 40, married to a mulatto. She made her
livelihood as a _curandera_, using a decoction of the root of a plant
known as _palo de Texer_ or _Peyote_, which she gathered with invocation
of the Trinity and three signs of the cross--ceremonies which she
repeated when administering the remedy--and she said that her patients
ejected, from mouth and nose, insects, flies etc., which was a sign that
they had been bewitched. She also had an image of the Virgin, which she
kept in a little reliquary and declared that it performed miracles. In
short, she was an accomplished _embustera_, and she richly earned the
designation in the accusation of a simulator of miracles. Mariano de la
Piedra Palacio, cura and ecclesiastical judge of their village,
Temasunchale, arrested the pair and sequestrated their little property.
By active threats of scourging he elicited a confession that she had
invoked the devil who appeared and taught her the art, and that she
operated by his power. It was a clear case of sorcery and he handed
them over to the Inquisition. The long journey to Mexico was performed
handcuffed and they were consigned to the secret prison, July 22. A
little skilful pressure brought Juana to admit that both the miracles of
the Virgin and the insects voided by her patients were impostures. The
fiscal chanced to be somewhat of a rationalist and, on August 4th he
presented a report of a character not usual in the Inquisition.

He pointed out that the consummate ignorance of Cura Mariano had already
caused these poor creatures sufficient suffering in tearing them from
their home, defaming them, arresting them obstreperously and sending
them to the prison of the tribunal without reason or justice. It was he
who was to blame, for their ignorance was attributable to him, whose
duty it was to instruct them. Assuming then that there was no legal
basis for prosecution and that their lies were sufficiently punished by
what they had endured, the fiscal suggested their discharge, with orders
to abstain in future from cures and miracles, under pain of rigorous
punishment, while the cura was to be warned to avoid future meddling
with what pertained to the Inquisition. He should also be told to
restore to them the mare and colt which he had unlawfully embargoed, to
send at his own cost proper persons to conduct the prisoners comfortably
home, and moreover that he and his vicars must see to the proper
instruction of his flock. The tribunal was not prepared to rise to this
height of justice, but it discharged the prisoners and notified Mariano
to return to them the mare and colt and whatever else he had seized,
without charging for their keep, and further to present himself to the
tribunal on his first visit to the capital.[447]


Yet, notwithstanding the sanity of the conclusions reached in this case,
there was no surrender of belief in the reality of sorcery and of
demonic influence. Far more effective for the suppression of sorcerers
was the position assumed, in 1774, by the Inquisition of Portugal under
the guidance of Pombal. In its reformed regulations it takes the ground
that malignant spirits cannot, through pacts with sorcerers and
magicians, change the immutable laws of Nature established by God for
the preservation of the world; that the theological argument of cases in
which God permits such spirits to torment men has no application to
legislature or law. Those who believe that there are arts which teach
how, by invocations of demons, or imprecations, or signs, to work the
wonders ascribed to sorcerers, fall into the absurdity of ascribing to
the demon attributes belonging solely to God. Thus the two pacts,
implicit and explicit, are equally incredible and there is no proof of
them in the trials which for two centuries have been conducted by the
Inquisition, save the unsupported confessions of the accused. From this
it is deduced that all sorceries, divinations and witchcraft are
manifest impostures, and the practical instructions, based on these
premises, are that offenders are not to be convicted of heresy but of
imposture, deceit and superstition, all of which is to be pointed out in
the sentence, without giving the details as formerly. The penalties
imposed are severe--scourging, the galleys and presidio, while if any
one defends himself by asserting that these practices are legitimate,
that a pact can be made with the demon, and that his operations are
effective, he is to be confined, without more ado, in the Hospital Real
de Todo os Santos--the insane hospital.[448]

The Spanish Inquisition was too orthodox to accept so rationalistic a
view of sorcery, and continued to prosecute it as a reality. In 1787,
Madrid was excited by an auto in which an impostor named Coxo was
sentenced to two hundred lashes and ten years of presidio. He had
thrived by selling philtres to provoke love, formed indecently of the
bones and skin of a man and a woman, for which he had numerous
customers, including ladies of quality. The affair abounded in
lascivious details, which, when inscribed on the insignia hung in the
church caused no little scandal.[449] In 1800, Diego Garrigo, a boy of
13, was prosecuted by the Seville tribunal for superstitious cures when,
probably on account of his tender years, he escaped with a warning.[450]
In 1807 the trial in Valencia of Rosa Conejos shows how the insatiable
credulity of the vulgar was fed by the inexhaustible ingenuity of the
impostor. She had been giving instructions as to charms by which
supernatural powers could be gained, for the character of which a single
example will suffice. After 11 o'clock at night, place on the fire a
vessel full of oil; when it boils, throw in a living cat and put on the
lid; at the stroke of midnight remove it and inside the skull of the cat
will be found a little bone, which will render the person carrying it
invisible and enable him to do whatever he pleases; the bone will ask
"What do you want?" but if carried across running water it will lose its

Under the Restoration, cases become less numerous than of old, but there
is no change in the attitude of the Inquisition. In 1818, for instance,
the Suprema on February 12th, ordered the arrest and imprisonment, by
the Seville tribunal, of Ana Barbero, for superstition, blasphemy and
pact with the demon and, for these offences, she was sentenced, October
15th, to abjuration _de levi_, spiritual exercises, six years of exile
and two hundred lashes--the latter being humanely commuted by the
Suprema to eight years' reclusion in a reformatory for loose women. The
same tribunal ordered, June 17th, Francisca Romero to be thrown in the
secret prison, with embargo of property, as a superstitious _curandera_
and a year later, June 18, 1819, we find her sentenced to the ordinary
penalties of exile and two hundred lashes, the latter of which were
mercifully omitted by the Suprema.[452] Belief in the virtues of the
consecrated wafer was as lively as ever and prosecutions were frequent
for retaining it, as that of Doña Antonia de la Torre, in 1815, by the
Granada tribunal, for taking repeated communions in a day, retaining the
forms and converting them to an evil use.[453] Treasure-seeking was not
forgotten. In 1816 the Santiago tribunal discovered a book of
conjurations for the purpose, which was promptly prohibited by edict,
all copies were to be seized, investigation was ordered into popular
beliefs and Fray Juan Cuntin y Duran was prosecuted for using the
conjurations. This probably led to the discovery, in 1817, at Tudela of
a similar MS. work which the Suprema ordered to be suppressed.[454]

       *       *       *       *       *


It is easy to understand that the prosecution of sorcery constituted a
not inconsiderable portion of the duties of the Inquisition, at least
during the later stages of its career. Cases were comparatively few as
long as only serious matters were held to fall within its jurisdiction
but, with the extended definition of pact, they increased considerably
and, as the business of prosecuting Moriscos and Judaizers declined, its
energies were more largely directed to the wise-women and the sharpers
who found a precarious livelihood in the vulgar superstitions pervading
the community. Thus, in the Toledo record, from 1575 to 1610, out of a
total of 1172 cases, there are only eighteen of sorcery, or a trifle
over one and a half per cent., while, in the same tribunal from 1648 to
1794 there are a hundred out of a total of 1205, or about eight and
one-third per cent.[455] Occasionally they furnish the chief part of the
business of a tribunal. In the Valencia auto of July 1, 1725, fifteen of
the eighteen penitents were sorcerers and, in that of Córdova, December
5, 1745, there were five out of eight.[456] A record of the business of
all the tribunals, from 1780 to the suppression in 1820, furnishes a
total of four hundred and sixty-nine cases of which a hundred and
sixteen may be classed as maleficent and three hundred and fifty-three
as merely superstitious.[457]

Belief in the powers of sorcery had been too strongly inculcated to
disappear with the cessation of persecution. A modern writer assures us
that all the old superstitions flourish as vigorously as
ever--conjurations and formulas to cure or to kill, to foretell the
future, to create love or hatred, to render men impotent and women
barren, to destroy the flocks and herds and harvests, to bring tempests
and hail-storms. The wise-woman is as potent as of yore in her control
of the forces of nature and the passions of man, and the profession is
as well filled and as well paid as in the sixteenth century.[458] We can
readily believe this when Padre Cappa, S. J., in his defence of the
Inquisition, gravely assures us that communications and compacts with
the demon are incontestable and are as frequent as formerly.[459]

       *       *       *       *       *

We have still to consider a further development of the belief in the
malignant power of the demon working through human instruments, in which
the Inquisition of Spain rendered a service of no little magnitude.



The culmination of sorcery was witchcraft and yet it was not the same.
In it there is no longer talk of pact with the demon, express or tacit,
to obtain certain results, with the expectation of washing out the sin
in the confessional and thus cheating the devil. The witch has abandoned
Christianity, has renounced her baptism, has worshipped Satan as her
God, has surrendered herself to him, body and soul, and exists only to
be his instrument in working the evil to her fellow-creatures, which he
cannot accomplish without a human agent. That such a being should excite
universal detestation was inevitable, and that no effort should be
spared for her extermination was the plainest duty of legislator and
judge. There are no pages of European history more filled with horror
than those which record the witch-madness of three centuries, from the
fifteenth to the eighteenth. No land was more exposed to the contagion
of this insanity than Spain where, for more than a hundred years, it was
constantly threatening to break forth. That it was repressed and
rendered comparatively harmless was due to the wisdom and firmness of
the Inquisition.

[Sidenote: _THE SABBAT_]

This witch-madness was essentially a disease of the imagination, created
and stimulated by the persecution of witchcraft. Whereever the
inquisitor or civil magistrate went to destroy it by fire, a harvest of
witches sprang up around his footsteps. If some old crone repaid
ill-treatment with a curse, and the cow of the offender chanced to die
or his child to fall sick, she was marked as a witch; the judge had no
difficulty in compelling such confession as he desired and in obtaining
a goodly list of accomplices; everyone who had met with ill-luck hurried
forward with his suspicions and accusations. Every prosecution widened
the circle, until nearly the whole population might become involved, to
be followed by executions numbered, not by the score but by the hundred,
in blind obedience to the scriptural injunction "Thou shalt not suffer a
witch to live." All destructive elemental disturbances--droughts or
flood, tempests or hail-storms, famine or pestilence--were ascribed to
witchcraft, and victims were sought, as though to offer propitiatory
holocausts to the infernal gods or expiatory sacrifices to the Creator.

Belief in witchcraft was of comparatively recent origin, dating from the
middle of the fourteenth century. Malignant sorcery had been known
before, but the distinctive feature of the Sabbat first makes its
appearance at this period--the midnight gathering to which the devotees
of Satan were carried through the air, where they renounced Christ and
worshipped their master, in the shape usually of a goat, but sometimes
in that of a handsome or hideous man; where they feasted and danced and
indulged in promiscuous intercourse, accommodating demons serving as
incubi or succubi, and were conveyed back home, where other demons,
assuming their shape, had protected their absence from observation.[460]

The development of this myth would seem ascribable to the increasing
rigor of persecution towards the end of the fourteenth century, when, as
we have seen, the University of Paris formulated the theory that pact
with Satan was inherent in all magic, leading judges, in their eager
exploration of cases brought before them, to connect this assumed pact
with an old belief of night-riders through the air, who swept along in
gathering hosts. With the methods in use, the judge or the inquisitor
would have little difficulty in finding what he sought. When once such a
belief was disseminated by trials and executions, the accused would seek
to escape endless torture by framing confessions in accordance with
leading questions and thus a tolerably coherent, though sometimes
discordant, formula was developed, to which witches in every land were
expected to conform. That this was a new development is shown by the
demonologists of the fifteenth century--Nider and Jaquerius, Sprenger
and Bernardo da Como--treating witches as a new sect, unknown before
that age, and to this Innocent VIII impliedly gave the sanction of the
Holy See in his well-known bull, _Summis desiderantes_, in 1484. This
rapidly growing belief in the power of witchcraft and the duty of its
extermination were stimulated by nearly every pope for almost a hundred
years--by Eugenius IV in 1437 and 1445, by Calixtus III in 1457, by Pius
II in 1459, and, after the special utterance of Innocent VIII, by
Alexander VI in 1494, by Julius II, by Leo X in 1521, by Adrian VI, in
1523 and by Clement VII in 1524.[461]

While, for the most part, the so-called confessions of witches under
trial were the result of the torture so unsparingly employed, there can
be little doubt that at least a portion were truthful accounts of
illusions really entertained. Even as the trances and visions of the
mystics, such as Santa Teresa and the Venerable María de Agreda, are
attributable to auto-hypnotism and auto-suggestion so, when the details
of the Sabbat were thoroughly established and became as much a part of
popular belief as the glories seen in mystic ecstasy, it is easy to
understand how certain temperaments, seeking escape from the sordid
miseries of laborious poverty, might acquire the power of inducing
trances in which the transport to the meeting-place, the devil-worship
and the sensual delights that followed, were impressed upon the
imagination as realities. The demonographers give us ample accounts of
experiments in which the suspected witch was thrown into a trance by the
inunction of her ointment and, on awaking, gave a detailed account of
her attendance on the Sabbat and of what she did and saw there. This
should be borne in mind when following the long debate between those who
upheld the reality of the Sabbat and those who argued that it was
generally or always a delusion.

[Sidenote: _THE SABBAT_]

To appreciate the attitude of the Spanish Inquisition in this debate the
origin of the myth must be understood. The flying by night of female
sorcerers to places of assemblage was an ancient belief, entertained by
Hindus, Jews and the classical nations. This was handed down through the
middle ages, but was regarded by the Church as a relic of paganism to be
suppressed. There was an utterance, not later than the ninth century,
which denounced as an error, induced by the devil, the popular belief
that wicked women ride through the air at night under the leadership of
Diana and Herodias, wherefore priests everywhere were commanded to
disabuse the faithful and to teach that those who professed to take part
in these nocturnal excursions were deluded by dreams inspired by the
demon, so that he who believed in their reality entertained the faith of
the devil and not that of God. This utterance was ascribed to an
otherwise unknown Council of Anquira; it passed through all the
collections of canons--Regino, Burchard and Ivo--found a place finally
in the authoritative Decretum of Gratian, where it became known to
canonists as the _canon Episcopi_.[462]

When, therefore, in the fifteenth century, there was formulated the
perfected theory of the witches' Sabbat, it had to struggle for
existence. No theologian stood higher than St. Antonino, Archbishop of
Florence, yet in his instructions to confessors, he requires them to
ascertain from penitents whether they believe that women can be
transformed into cats, can fly by night and suck the blood of children,
all of which he says is impossible, and to believe it is folly. Nor was
he alone in this, for similar instructions are given by Angelo da
Chivasso and Bartolommeo de Chaimis in their authoritative manuals.[463]
The new school could only meet the definitions of the can. Episcopi by
asserting that witchcraft was the product of a new sect, more pernicious
than all former inventions of the demon. This brought on a warm
discussion between lawyers like Ponzinibio on the one side and papal
theologians on the other, such as Silvester Prierias, Master of the
Sacred Palace and his successor Bartolommeo Spina, and the authority of
the Holy See triumphed over scepticism.

Spain, in the fifteenth century, lay somewhat out of the currents of
European thought, and the new doctrine as to the Sabbat found only
gradual acceptance there. Alfonso Tostado, Bishop of Avila, the most
learned Spanish theologian of the time, in 1436, treats the Sabbat as a
delusion caused by the inunction of drugs, but subsequently he argues
away the can. Episcopi and says that the truth is proved by innumerable
cases and by the judicial penalties inflicted.[464] Even so bigoted and
credulous a writer as Alonso de Espina treats it as a delusion wrought
by the demon to whom the witch has given herself and so does Cardinal
Torquemada, in his Commentary on the Decretum.[465] Martin de Arles,
Canon of Pampeluna, speaks of the _Broxæ_ who flourished principally in
the Basque provinces, north of the Pyrenees; the belief in them he
treats as a false opinion and quotes the can. Episcopi as
authoritatively proving it to be a delusion. At the same time he admits
that sorcerers can ligature married folk, can injure men and devastate
their fields and harvests, which are works of the demon operating
through them.[466] Bernardo Basin, of Saragossa, who had studied in
Paris, took a middle ground; the Council of Anquira is not
authoritative, in some cases there may be illusions sent by the demon,
in others the Sabbat is a reality.[467] In 1494, the Repertorium
Inquisitorum recognizes the existence of witches, who were popularly
known as _Xorguinas_; it quotes the essential portion of the can.
Episcopi in answer to the question whether they are justiciable by the
Inquisition, adding that such a belief is an illusion wrought by the
demon but, although it is folly, it is infidelity worse than paganism,
and can be prosecuted as heresy.[468] The Inquisition itself could have
no doubt as to its powers; if the Sabbat was true, the witch was an
apostate; if a delusion, she was a heretic and in either case subject to
its jurisdiction.


This reference to Xorguinas shows that witches were already well known
in Spain, and we can assume from subsequent developments that their
principal seat was in the mountainous districts along the Pyrenees,
penetrating perhaps from France and favored by the ignorance of the
population, its sparseness and poverty.[469] The earliest case, however,
that I have met of prosecution by the Inquisition was in 1498, when
Gracia la Valle was burnt in Saragossa. This was followed in 1499 by the
burning of María, wife of García Biesa and, in January 1500, by that of
three women, Nanavina, Estefabrita and Marieta, wife of Aznar Pérez.
There was an interval then until 1512, when there were two victims,
Martina Gen and María de Arbués. There was no other in Saragossa until
1522, when Sancha de Arbués suffered, and the last one in the record is
Catalina de Joan Díez, in 1535.[470] Persecution would seem to be more
active in Biscay, for Llorente quotes from a contemporary MS. a
statement that in 1507 there were burnt there more than thirty witches,
leading Martin de Arles y Andosilla to write a learned treatise on the
subject, printed in Paris in 1517.[471] It would seem that, in 1517,
there was a persecution on foot in Catalonia, for the Barcelona
inquisitors were ordered to visit the mountainous districts, especially
in the diocese of Urgel, to publish edicts against the witches and to
prosecute them with all rigor.[472] Doubtless there were other
developments of which no trace has reached us, and there was every
prospect that Spain would be the seat of an epidemic of witchcraft
which, if fostered by persecution, would rival the devastation
commencing throughout the rest of Europe.

The time had scarce come for a change of policy, but there is a
manifestation of a spirit of doubt and inquiry, very different from the
unreasoning ferocity prevalent elsewhere. Arnaldo Albertino tells that,
in 1521, at Saragossa, by command of Cardinal Adrian, he was called in
consultation by the Suprema, over two cases, when he pronounced the
Sabbat to be a delusion.[473] Possibly one of these cases may have been
the woman who, we have seen, was burnt at Saragossa in 1522, but the
effect of such a discussion is visible, in this same year 1522, in an
Edict of Grace addressed to the witches of Jaca and Ribagorza, granting
them six months in which to come forward and confess their
offences.[474] Considering that, about this time, Leo X and Adrian VI
were vigorously promoting the massacre by wholesale of witches in the
Lombardo-Venitian valleys, and resenting any interference with the
operation of the inquisitors, such action on the part of the Suprema is
of marked significance.

It evidently felt the matter to be one requiring the most careful
consideration and, on the outbreak of a witch-craze in Navarre,
stimulated by the secular authorities, it assembled, in 1526, a
"congregation" in Granada, laid the papers before it and asked its
examination of the whole subject, which was condensed into six
questions, going to the root of the matter: 1. Whether witches really
commit the crimes confessed, or whether they are deluded. 2. Whether, if
these crimes are really committed, the culprits are to be reconciled and
imprisoned, or to be delivered to the secular arm. 3. Whether, if they
deceive and do not commit these things, they are to be similarly
punished, or otherwise. 4. Whether the cognizance of these crimes
pertains to the Inquisition and if so, whether this is fitting. 5.
Whether the accused are to be judged on their confessions without
further evidence and to be condemned to the ordinary punishment. 6. What
will be a wholesome remedy to extirpate the pest of these witches.[475]
The mere submission to rational discussion of such a series of questions
shows a desire to reach a just method of treatment, wholly at variance
with practice elsewhere, when legislators and judges were solely
occupied with devising schemes to fight the devil with his own weapons
and to convict, _per fas et nefas_, the unfortunates who chanced to
incur suspicion.[476]


The ten members of the congregation were all men of consideration and
included the Licentiate Valdés, in whom we may recognize the future
inquisitor-general. On the first question, as to reality or delusion,
the vote stood six to four in favor of reality, Valdés being one of the
minority and explaining that he regarded the proofs of the accusations
as insufficient, and desired inquisitors to be instructed to make
greater efforts at verification. The second question was of the highest
importance. For ordinary heresy, confession and repentance ensured
exemption from the stake but, in the eagerness to punish witchcraft,
when a witch confessed it was customary to abandon her, either formally
or informally, to be punished by the secular authorities for the crimes
assumed to be proved against her--usually sucking the blood of children
or encompassing the death of adults. Obedience to the Scriptural
injunction of not suffering a witch to live was general.[477] On this
point there was wide variety of opinion, but the majority decided that,
when culprits were admitted to reconciliation, they were not to be
remitted to the secular judges, to be punished for homicides, for such
homicides might be illusory, and there was no proof beyond their
confessions; after they had completed the penance assigned to them, if
the secular judges chose to try them for homicide, the Inquisition could
not interfere. This decision was adopted in practice and, some years
later, was cited in justification of protecting convicted witches from
the secular courts.


On the third question, votes were too much divided for any definite
result. On the fourth there was substantial affirmative agreement. On
the fifth, five voted that confession sufficed, but Valdés limited its
sufficiency to the minor inflictions of exile, vergüenza and scourging.
With regard to the final question, as to remedial measures, it is worthy
of remark that only three suggested greater activity and severity of the
Inquisition; nearly all favored sending preachers to instruct and
enlighten the ignorant population; two proposed reforming the regular
clergy, and one the secular beneficed clergy; several thought well of
building churches or monasteries on the spots where the Sabbats were
held; one recommended an edict promising release from confiscation for
those who would come forward within a specified time, and two voted that
the Inquisition should give material aid to the poorer suspects, in
order to relieve them from temptation. Valdés further presented detailed
instructions for inquisitors, the most important of which were that the
statements of witches implicating other parties were not to be accepted
as satisfactory evidence, and that, when accused to the Inquisition, it
should be ascertained whether they had already been tortured by the
secular judges.[478] Halting as these deliberations may seem, they
manifest gleams of wholesome scepticism and an honest desire to reach
the truth, when elsewhere throughout Christendom such questions were
regarded as beyond discussion. Yet for awhile the Suprema was not
prepared to allow these opinions to influence action. In 1527 there was
an outbreak of witchcraft in Navarre, the treatment of which by
Inquisitor Avellaneda he reports in a letter written, in response to an
inquiry from Iñigo de Velasco, Constable of Castile. Witchcraft, he
declared, was the worst evil of the time; he had written to the king and
twice to the Suprema urging a remedy, but neither at court nor on the
spot was there any one who understood its cure. For six months he had
been laboring in the mountains, where, by the help of God, he had
discovered many witches. In a raid on the valley of Salazar he had
captured a number and brought them to Pampeluna where, with the regent
and members of the Royal Council and other doctors and lawyers, the
whole subject was discussed; it was agreed that witches could be carried
through the air to the Sabbat, and that they committed the crimes
ascribed to them--principally, it would seem, on the strength of an
experiment which he had tried with one of his prisoners. On a Friday at
midnight he allowed her to anoint herself with the magic unguent which
they used; she opened a window overhanging a precipice, where a cat
would be dashed to pieces, and invoked the demon who came and deposited
her safely on the ground--to be recaptured on Monday with seven others,
three leagues away. These were all executed, after which he prosecuted
his researches and discovered three places of assemblage--one in the
valley of Salazar, with two hundred and fifty members, of whom he had
captured sixty, another with eighty members in another valley and a
third near Roncesvalles with over two hundred. Fifty had been executed
and he hoped, with the favor of God to despatch twenty more. He had
discovered that which, if proper assistance were given to him, would
redound to the great service of God and benefit to the Republic for,
without God's mercy, the evil would grow and the life of no one would be
safe. To gratify the curiosity of the constable, Avellaneda proceeded to
give a detailed account of the wonders and wickedness of the Sabbat and
the evils wrought by witches. In spite of all his efforts the demon
urged them on to still greater crimes by showing them phantoms of those
who had been executed, pretending that he had resuscitated them and
would resuscitate all who might be put to death. This evil, he
concludes, is general throughout the world. If the constable wishes to
ascertain whether there are witches in his district, he has only to
observe whether the grain is withered while in bloom, or the acorns fail
in the mountains, or there are children smothered, for wherever these
things occur, there are witches.[479] Altogether, Avellaneda affords a
typical illustration of the manner in which witchcraft was created and
spread by the witch-finders.

There is no reason to suppose that Avellaneda was reproved for the
exuberance of his zeal, for his policy was continued in 1528, when the
witch epidemic was extending to Biscay, and the civil authorities were
arresting and trying offenders. More eager to assert the jurisdiction of
the Inquisition than to adopt the conclusions of the congregation, on
February 22, 1528, Inquisitor-general Manrique ordered Sancho de
Carranza de Miranda, Inquisitor of Calahorra, to go thither with full
powers to investigate, try and sentence, even to relaxation, the witches
who are reported to have abandoned the faith, offered themselves to the
devil and wrought much evil in killing infants and ruining the harvests.
He is to demand from the civil authorities all who have been arrested
and the papers concerning their cases, for this is a matter pertaining
to the Inquisition. A thorough inquest is to be made in all infected
places, and edicts are to be published summoning within a given time and
under such penalties as he sees fit, all culprits to come forward and
all cognizant of such offences to denounce them.[480] There is in this
no injunction of prudence and caution, no requirement that the cases are
to be submitted for confirmation to the Calahorra tribunal; Carranza is
provided with a fiscal and a notary, so that he can execute speedy
justice and the Edict of Grace is replaced by an Edict of Faith.

It is not until 1530 that we find evidence that the discussion of 1526
was producing a change in the view taken of witchcraft and of the
methods of its repression. A carta acordada, addressed to all the
tribunals, enjoined special caution in all witchcraft cases, as it was a
very delicate matter to handle, and this was followed by another
manifesting a healthy scepticism and desire to repress popular
superstition, for it stated that the _ensalmadores_, who cured diseases
by charms, asserted that all sickness was caused by witches, wherefore
they were to be asked what they meant and why they said so.[481]


The practical position assumed by this time may be gathered from a
letter of December 11, 1530, from the Suprema to the Royal Council of
Navarre, when a fresh outbreak of the witch-craze had, as usual, brought
dissension between the tribunal and the secular courts, for the latter
refused to acknowledge the exclusive jurisdiction of the Inquisition,
and complained of its delays and the leniency of its sentences, in
comparison with the speedy and unsparing action demanded by popular
clamor. The Suprema now, in reply to the complaints of the Royal Council
against the Calahorra tribunal, replied that this matter of the witches
was not new; on a previous occasion there had been the same altercation;
some of the cases which had caused the most complaint had been brought
to the court and had, by order of the emperor, been examined by learned
men when, after much debate, it was ordered that the prisoners should be
delivered to the inquisitors who, after examining them, should try those
pertaining to their jurisdiction and surrender the others. There was
much doubt felt as to the verification of the crimes alleged, and the
Suprema deplored the executions by the secular courts, for the cases
were not so clear as had been supposed. In view of all this, inquisitors
were enjoined to use caution and moderation, for there is so much
ambiguity in these cases that it seems impossible for human reason to
reach the truth. When the same questions had arisen elsewhere, the
Suprema had ordered the inquisitors to act with the greatest
circumspection, for these matters were most delicate and perilous, and
some inexperienced judges had been deceived in treating them. The
Suprema therefore deprecated a competencia; it entreated the Royal
Council to hand all cases over to the tribunal, which would return those
not subject to its jurisdiction, and the inquisitors would be ordered to
remove the censures and fines--which shows that the quarrel had been
pushed to extremes.[482] There was equal determination in resisting the
claims of the episcopal courts to jurisdiction. In 1531 the Saragossa
tribunal complains of the intrusion of the Bishop of San Angelo, who had
refused to surrender a prisoner and had invited the tribunal to join him
in prosecuting witches in places under his jurisdiction. To him the
Suprema accordingly wrote, asserting the exclusive cognizance of the
Inquisition and requiring him to deliver to the tribunal any prisoners
whom he had arrested.[483]

The cautious and sceptical attitude assumed by the Suprema was all the
more creditable because the leading authorities of the period were firm
in their conviction of the reality of witchcraft. Arnaldo Albertino,
himself an inquisitor who, in 1521, had deemed the Sabbat an illusion,
writing about 1535, says that since then, on mature consideration, he
had reached the opposite opinion; he now accepts all the horrors and
crimes ascribed to witches and argues away the can. Episcopi. Alfonso de
Castro, another writer of the highest distinction at this time, gives
full credence to the most extravagant stories of the Sabbat, and he
disposes of the can. Episcopi by asserting that it referred to an
entirely different sect.[484]

Notwithstanding all this, the Suprema pursued its course in restraining
the cruel zeal of the tribunals. The craze was spreading in Catalonia,
where it required the Barcelona tribunal to submit to it for
confirmation all sentences in these cases. In 1537, it returned, July
11th, a number of sentences, with its decisions as to each, and
instructions as to the future. The tribunal was chafing under the
unaccustomed restriction, and the fiscal was scandalized at the
solicitude displayed for the friendless wretches who, everywhere but in
Spain, were deprived of the most ordinary safeguards against injustice,
but the imperturbable Suprema maintained its temperate wisdom. The
utmost care, it said, was to be exercised to verify all testimony and to
avoid conviction when this was insufficient. Arrests had been made on
the mere reputation of being witches, for which the inquisitors were
reproved and told that they must arrest no one on such grounds, nor on
the testimony of accomplices, nor must those who denied their guilt be
condemned as _negativos_. When any one confessed to being present at the
killing of children or damage to harvests, verification must be sought
as to the death of the children at that time, and of what disease, and
whether the crops had been injured. When such verification was made,
arrests could follow and, if the character of the case and of the
accused required it, torture could be employed.[485] It will be noted
how much more scrupulous was the care enjoined in these cases than in
those of Moriscos and Judaizers, and the limitation on the use of
torture is especially observable, as that was the universal resort in
witchcraft throughout Europe.


It was difficult to enforce these rules in Barcelona. The result of the
visitation of Francisco Vaca was a long series of rebukes, in 1550,
largely concerning the procedure in witch cases and eventually leading
to the dismissal of Inquisitor Sarmiento, although his offences were
simply what was regarded, everywhere but in Spain, as the plain duty of
those engaged in a direct contest with Satan, represented by his
instrument the witch. Sarmiento is told that he made arrests without
sufficient proofs and accepted the evidence taken by secular officials
without verifying it, as required by the practice of the Inquisition,
and, whereas the Suprema ordered certain precautions taken before
concluding cases, he concluded them without doing so, and subjected
parties to reconciliation and scourging that were not included in the
sentence. Although the Suprema had ordered all sentences of relaxation
to be submitted to it, he had relaxed seven persons as witches, in
disregard of this, and when repeatedly commanded to present himself, he
had never done so. Then the fiscal was taken to task because he had been
present at the examination of witches, conducting the interrogation
himself, putting leading questions, telling them what to confess and
assuring them that this was not like a secular court, where those who
confessed were executed. In the case of Juana, daughter of Benedita de
Burgosera, he told her that she was a witch, that her mother had made
her a witch and had taken her to the Bach de Viterna, and he detailed
to her the murders committed by her mother. In witch cases he caused
arrests without presenting _clamosas_ or submitting evidence, but when
he learned that a visitor was coming he fabricated and inserted them in
the papers. In this the notary del secreto was his accomplice besides
taking part in the examinations, bullying the accused and making them
confess what was wanted by threats and suggestions. The alcaide of the
prison had allowed one of the prisoners, who endeavored to save himself
by accusing others, to enter the cells and persuade the prisoners to
confess and not to revoke; the alcaide had also urged the women to
confess, telling them that they were guilty and promising them release
if they would confess and, when taking back to his cell a man who had
revoked his confession, he so threatened the poor wretch that he
returned and withdrew his revocation.[486] Elsewhere than in Spain such
methods of securing confession were the veriest commonplaces in witch

Meanwhile the chronic witchcraft troubles in Navarre had called forth,
in 1538, a series of enlightened instructions to Inquisitor Valdeolitas,
who was sent with a special commission. He was told to pay no attention
to the popular demand that all witches should be burnt, but to exercise
the utmost discretion, for it was a most delicate matter, in which
deception was easy. He was not to confiscate but could impose fines to
pay salaries. He was to explain to the more intelligent of the people
that the destruction of harvests was due to the weather or to a
visitation of God, for it happened where there were no witches, while
the accusations of homicide required the most careful verification. The
_Malleus Maleficarum_--that Bible of the witch-finder--was not to be
believed in everything, for the writer was liable to be deceived like
every one else. The demands of the corregidores for the surrender of
penitents, to be subsequently punished for their crimes, were not to be
granted, under the decision of the congregation of 1526. Then, a year
later, October 27, 1539, the Calahorra tribunal was notified that the
Royal Council of Navarre had agreed to surrender thirty-four prisoners;
one of the inquisitors was to go to Pampeluna to examine the cases;
those pertaining to the Inquisition were to be tried in strict
conformity with the instructions and the rest were to be left with the
civil authorities.[487]

In the instructions to Valdeolitas there is a phrase of peculiar
interest, prescribing special caution with regard to the dreams of the
witches when they sally forth to the Sabbat, as these are very
deceitful. This, so far as I have observed, is the earliest official
admission of the view taken in the can. Episcopi that the midnight
flights were illusions. We have seen how this was denied by Albertino
and de Castro. Ciruelo admits that there are two ways in which the
Xorguina attends the Sabbat, one by personally flying, and the other by
anointing herself and falling into a stupor, when she is spiritually
conveyed, but both are the work of the demon and he admits of no
distinction in the punishment.[488] Bishop Simancas, also an inquisitor,
has no doubt as to the bodily transportation of the witch to the Sabbat;
he admits that most jurists hold to the theory of illusion, as expressed
in the can. Episcopi, but theologians, he says, are unanimous in
maintaining the reality; he argues that the can. Episcopi does not refer
to witches, and that stupor with illusions is much more difficult to
comprehend than the truth of the Sabbat.[489]


With such a consensus of opinion as to the truth of the Sabbat, or
_Aquelarre_ as it came to be called (from a Biscayan word signifying
"field of the goat") it is not surprising that the Suprema advanced
slowly in designating it as an illusion, although practically its
instructions assumed that no reliance was to be placed on the
multitudinous testimony of its existence, of the foul horrors enacted
there and of the presence there of other votaries of Satan. A curious
case, occurring at a somewhat later period, may be alluded to here as
showing the conclusion reached on the subject, and as throwing light on
the auto-suggestion and hypnotic state which lay at the bottom of the
Sabbat, although its connection is merely with the carnal indulgence
that formed a prominent feature of the nocturnal assemblies. In 1584
Anastasia Soriana, aged 28, wife of a peasant, denounced herself to the
Murcia tribunal for having long maintained carnal relations with a
demon. The tribunal wisely regarded the matter as an illusion and
dismissed the case without action. Twelve years later, in 1596, she
presented herself to the tribunal of Toledo, with the same
self-accusation and again, after due deliberation, she was discharged,
although in any other land it would have gone hard with her.[490]

Meanwhile the Suprema continued the good work of protecting so-called
witches from the cruelty of the secular courts and of restraining the
intemperate zeal of its own tribunals. The craze, in 1551, had extended
to Galicia, where at the time there was no Inquisition. Many arrests had
been made and trials were in progress by the magistrates, when a cédula
of August 27th, evidently drawn up by the Suprema for the signature of
Prince Philip, addressed to all officials, informed them that the matter
of witchcraft was a very delicate one in which many judges had been
deceived, wherefore, by the advice of the inquisitor-general, he ordered
that all the testimony should be sent to the Suprema for its action,
pending which the accused were to be kept under guard without proceeding
further with their cases or with others of the same nature.[491] Then,
in September, 1555, the Suprema forwarded to the Logroño tribunal two
memorials from some towns in Guipúzcoa, with an expression of its sorrow
that so many persons should have been so suddenly arrested, for, from
the testimony at hand and former experience, it thought that there was
little basis for such action, and that wrong might be inflicted on many
innocent persons. The evidence must be rigidly examined and, if it
proved false, the prisoners must be discharged and the witnesses
punished; if there was ground for prosecution, the trials might proceed,
but the sentences must be submitted for confirmation and no more arrests
be made without forwarding the testimony and awaiting orders. Six months
later, in March, 1556, the Suprema concluded that the cases had not been
substantiated; more careful preliminary investigations were essential
for, in so doubtful a matter, greater caution was needed than in other

The secular authorities were restive under the deprivation of their
jurisdiction over the crimes imputed to the witches; they continued to
assert their claims, and the question came up for formal decision in
1575. The high court of Navarre had caused the arrest of a number of
women and was trying them, when the Logroño tribunal, in the customary
dictatorial fashion with threats of penalties, issued a summons to
deliver all the prisoners and papers. This was duly read, November 24th,
to the alcaldes, while sitting in court, to which they replied that the
parties had been arrested under information that they had killed
children and infants, that the women had had carnal intercourse with
goats, and had killed cattle and injured harvests and vineyards with
poisons and powders, and had carried off many children at night from
their beds, while stupefying the adults with powders, of all of which as
alcaldes they were the lawful judges. Therefore they appealed to the
inquisitor-general against the penalties threatened and promised that,
if the prisoners had committed heresy, they would be remitted to the
inquisitors after undergoing punishment according to law. Finally they
complained of the disrespect shown them and asked for a competencia.

[Sidenote: _MODERATION_]

The alcaldes further sent a memorial to the king, setting forth their
claims to jurisdiction for crimes other than heresy, protesting against
the assumption of the inquisitors to be sole judges of what pertained to
them, to inhibit proceedings in the interim, and to interfere with the
death-penalty which the alcaldes might decree. The royal court also
petitioned the king in the same sense, adding that the prisoners spoke
a dialect unintelligible to the inquisitors and that, if the cases were
transferred, the king would lose the confiscations, which promised to be
large. All this proved vain. A letter of the Suprema to the tribunal, in
1576, informs it that the alcaldes had been ordered to surrender all the
prisoners and the papers in the cases.[493] While this matter was in
progress, a similar controversy arose about numerous witches in
Santander, for a letter of January 10, 1576, instructs the Logroño
tribunal that it can proceed against them for anything savoring of
heresy, requiring the secular judges meanwhile to suspend proceedings;
the facts are to be carefully verified and everything is to be submitted
to the Suprema.[494]

The use made by the tribunals of the jurisdiction thus secured for them,
under the cautions so sedulously inculcated, may be gathered from a case
in the Toledo tribunal, in 1591, which further shows that witchcraft was
not wholly confined to the mountainous districts of the east and north.
The vicar of Alcalá had arrested three women of Cazar, Catalina Matheo,
Joana Izquierda, and Olalla Sobrina. During the previous four years
there had been four or five deaths of children; among the villagers, the
three women had the reputation of witches, and sixteen witnesses
testified to that effect. The vicar tortured them and obtained from
Catalina a confession that, some four or five years before, Olalla asked
her whether she would like to become a witch and have carnal intercourse
with the demon. Then Joana one night invited her to her house where she
found Olalla; the demon came in the shape of a goat, they danced
together and after some details unnecessary to repeat, Olalla anointed
the joints of her fingers and toes, they stripped themselves and flew
through the air to a house which they entered by a window; placing
somniferous herbs under the pillows of the parents, they choked to death
a female infant, burning its back and breaking its arms. The noise
aroused the parents and they flew with the goat back to Olalla's house.
All this she ratified after due interval and repeated when confronted
with Olalla, who had been tortured without confessing and who denied
Catalina's story. As for Joana, she had likewise overcome the torture,
but she had told the wife of the gaoler that one night some fifteen
witches, male and female, had forcibly anointed her and carried her to a
field where they danced, Catalina being one of the leaders and Olalla a
follower. This she repeated to the vicar, adding stories of being
present when the children were killed, but taking no part in it, after
which she duly ratified the whole. At this stage the vicar transferred
his prisoners to the tribunal. Catalina, at her first audience, begged
mercy for the false witness which, through torture, she had borne
against herself and the others. Sixteen witnesses testified to the
deaths of the children, and she was sentenced to torture, when, before
being stripped, her resolution gave way and she repeated and ratified
the confession made to the vicar. Joana asserted that her confession to
the vicar had been made through fear of torture and she overcame torture
without confessing, as likewise did Olalla. The outcome was that
Catalina was sentenced to appear in an auto with the insignia of a
witch, to abjure _de levi_, to be scourged with two hundred lashes, and
to be recluded at the discretion of the tribunal. The other two were
merely to appear in the auto and to abjure _de levi_, without further
penance. This was not strictly logical, but anywhere else than in Spain,
all three would have been tortured until they satisfied their judges,
and would then have been burnt after denouncing numerous accomplices and
starting a witchcraft panic. As it was, the Toledo tribunal had no more
witchcraft cases up to the end of the record in 1610.[495]

[Sidenote: _THE LOGROÑO AUTO OF 1610_]

The tribunal of Barcelona was more rational in 1597. In a report to the
Suprema of a visitation made by Inquisitor Diego Fernández de Heredia,
there occur the entries of Ana Ferrera, widow and Gilaberta, widow, both
of Villafranca, accused by many witnesses of being reputed as witches
and of killing many animals and infants, in revenge for little
annoyances. Also, Francisco Cicar, of Bellney, near Villafranca,
numerously accused as a wizard using incantations, telling where lost
animals could be found, enchanting them so that wolves could not harm
them, and killing the cattle of those who offended him. Here was the
nucleus of a whole aquelarre for Villafranca, but all these cases are
marked on the margin of the report as suspended, and nothing came of
them.[496] The Logroño tribunal also showed its good sense, in 1602,
when a young woman of 25, named Francisca Buytran, of Alegria, accused
herself in much detail, before Don Juan Ramírez, of witchcraft,
including attendance at the aquelarre. She was brought before the
tribunal, which dropped the whole matter as being destitute of truth;
again the magistrates sent it back, asking that it be revived and
prosecuted and, when this was refused, they scourged her in Alegria as
an impostor who defamed her neighbors.[497]

Yet it was reserved for this same tribunal to give occasion to an
agitation resulting in a clearer understanding than had hitherto been
reached of the nature of the witch-craze, and rendering it impossible
for the future that Spain should be disgraced by the judicial murders,
or rather massacres, which elsewhere blacken the annals of the
seventeenth century. One of the customary panics arose in Navarre. The
secular authorities were prompt and zealous; they made many arrests,
they extorted confessions and hastily executed their victims, apparently
to forestall the Inquisition. The tribunal reported to the Suprema,
which ordered one of the inquisitors to make a visitation of the
infected district. Juan Valle de Alvarado accordingly spent several
months in Cigarramundi and its vicinity, where he gathered evidence
inculpating more than two hundred and eighty persons of having
apostatized to the demon, besides multitudes of children, who were
becoming witches, but who were yet too young for prosecution. The
leaders and those who had wrought the most evil, to the number of forty,
were seized and brought before the tribunal. By June 8, 1610, it was
ready to hold the consulta de fe, consisting of the three inquisitors,
Alonso Becerra, Juan Valle de Alvarado and Alonso de Salazar Frias, with
the episcopal Ordinary and four consultors. In his vote, Salazar
analyzed the testimony and showed its flimsy and inconclusive character;
he seems to have had no scruples as to the reality of witchcraft, but he
desired more competent proof, while his colleagues apparently had no

This was not the only retrograde step. For seventy-five years the
Suprema had consistently repressed the ardor of persecution and had
favored, without absolutely asserting, the theory of illusion, but its
membership was constantly changing and it now seems to have had a
majority of blind believers. On August 3d it presented to Philip III a
consulta relating, with profound grief, the conditions in the mountains
of Navarre and the steps already taken. Since then further reports
showed that the demon was busier than ever in misleading these poor
ignorant folk, and the evil had increased so that there now were more
than twenty aquelarres to which they gather, and the evil was still
spreading; the people were greatly afflicted with the damages endured,
and parents who saw their children misled were so desperate that they
wanted to put them to death. An Edict of Grace was published, but the
demon so blinded them that few took advantage of it, and these speedily
relapsed. The progress of the infection was such that the powerful hand
of the king was absolutely required for its rigorous repression, and the
popular ignorance was so dense that orders should be issued to the
Archbishop of Burgos and the Bishops of Calahorra, Pampeluna and
Tarazona, whose dioceses were concerned, and to the Provincials of the
Religious Orders, to send pious and learned men to instruct the people,
while the vigilance would not be lacking of the inquisitors, who would
shrink from no labor.[499] The Suprema evidently regarded the emergency
as most serious, calling for united effort to withstand the victorious
onslaught of the demon. It had wholly forgotten the wholesome caution
which it had inculcated so sedulously since 1530 and there was imminent
danger that Spain would be swept into the European current of

Whether the pleasure-loving king organized the projected preaching
crusade we do not know, but he was sufficiently impressed to promise
that he would honor with his presence the coming auto de fe, which was
fixed for November 7th. Something distracted his attention and, at the
last moment, it was announced that important affairs would prevent his
attendence. The disappointed inquisitors, on November 1st, wrote to the
Suprema expressing their regret and reporting that there would be
thirty-one persons in the auto, besides a large number of prisoners
whose trials were under way.

[Sidenote: _THE LOGROÑO AUTO OF 1610_]

Thus far twenty-two aquelarres had been discovered, and the accused were
so numerous that the special favor of heaven would be necessary to
overcome the evil. Accompanying this was a letter to the king, enclosing
two of the sentences con méritos, to enlighten him as to the ravages of
the devil among his subjects. This sect of witches, they said, was of
old date in the Pyrenees, and had of late spread over the whole region;
the inquisitors were devoting their lives to its suppression; they were
fighting the devil at close quarters, and they hoped to excite the royal
zeal to lend the Inquisition efficient support. These letters bore the
signature of Salazar as well as those of his colleagues.[500]

Great preparations had been made to render the auto impressive. Crowds
assembled from a distance, and it was reckoned that in the processions
there were a thousand familiars and officials. Two days were required
for the solemnities and on the second day, to finish the work between
dawn and sunset, many of the sentences had to be curtailed for, as
usual, they were con meritos, with full details of the abominations of
the aquelarres and the crimes of the culprits. All the grotesque
obscenities, which the foul imaginations of the accused could invent to
satisfy their prosecutors, were given at length, and doubtless impressed
the gaping multitudes with the horror and detestation desired. One
novelty in the sensual delights of the aquelarre was that the feast was
usually composed of decaying corpses, which the witches dug up and
conveyed there--especially those of their kindred, so that the father
sometimes ate the son and the son the father--and it was stated that
male flesh had a higher flavor than female. There were also the usual
stories of the destruction of harvests by means of powders, of sucking
the blood of infants, of bringing sickness and death by poisons so
subtile that a single touch, in a pretended caress, would work its end.
When the demon reproached them with slackness in evil-doing, two
sisters, María Presona and María Joanto, agreed to kill the son and the
daughter of the other, aged 8 and 9, and they did so with the powders.
It was natural that a population, placing full credence in the existence
of malignity armed with these powers, should be merciless in the resolve
for its extermination. Yet the auto, in its absolute outcome, could
scarce be classed with the murderous exhibitions to which the Spaniard
had grown accustomed. In all there were fifty-three culprits, of whom
but twenty-nine were witches of either sex. Of these there were eleven
relaxed--five, who had died in prison, in effigy with their bones, and
five _negativos_ who had not been induced to confess. There was but one
relaxation of a buen confitente, María Zozaya, whose terrible
confession overshot the mark, as it showed her to be a dogmatizer. Even
under this excitement the Inquisition maintained its rule not to execute
those who confessed and repented; under any other jurisdiction the
eighteen who were reconciled would have been burnt, and of these
apparently only five were scourged.[501]

Merciful as was this, the effect of the auto was to cause a revulsion of
feeling among the more intelligent. When the local magistrates were
proceeding as usual to arrest suspects, the alcaldes of the Royal Court
of Navarre, early in 1611, interposed by arresting them in turn for
exceeding their powers and prosecuted them to punishment. This incensed
the Logroño tribunal which, on May 17th, addressed an energetic protest
to the viceroy; the action of the local authorities had been of the
utmost service, not only in sending culprits to the Inquisition, but in
leading to many spontaneous self-accusations; this had now all ceased,
and those who had confessed were beginning to retract; the tribunal had
relied upon the court for aid in exterminating this accursed race and
now it was protecting them. Possibly the tribunal may also have invoked
the authority of the Suprema but, if so, it can have found no sympathy,
for there also had there been a change of heart and a return to the old
policy. On March 26th it had ordered the publication of an Edict of
Grace, which Salazar was deputed to carry with him on a visitation to
the infected districts and, after some delay, he started with it, May
22d, on a mission destined to open his eyes and put a permanent end to
the danger of witchcraft epidemics in Spain.[502]


To this a contribution of some weight, though by no means so influential
as has been reckoned, was made by Pedro de Valencia, a disciple of Arias
Montano, and one of the most learned men of his time. At the request of
Inquisitor-general Sandoval y Rojas, he composed an elaborate
"discourse" on witchcraft, addressed to Sandoval under date of April
20th. In this, after premising the great grief and compassion with which
he had read the relations of the auto of the previous November, he
proceeds to discuss three hypotheses. The first is rationalistic; there
is no demon, the aquelarres are assemblages for sensual indulgence, to
which the members go on foot, and the presiding demon is a man
disguised. The second is illusion, produced by a pact with the demon,
who gives to the witch an ointment throwing her into a stupor during
which she imagines all that is related of the aquelarres, whence it
follows that the evidence of the witch as to those whom she has seen
there is not to be accepted. The destruction of cattle and harvests is
the work of the demon, or may be accomplished by poisons. The third
supposition, believed by the vulgar, in conformity with the evidence and
confessions, is the most prodigious and horrible of all, and against
this he brings his strongest arguments in full detail. Pedro does not
express any positive conclusion of his own, but his reasoning all tends
to support the second hypothesis--of stupor and illusion produced by the
demonic ointment, and from this he deduces the result that witches are
by no means innocent. They delight in the crimes which they believe
themselves to commit, and desire to persevere in their apostasy from God
and their servitude to the devil. Men sometimes become heretics through
ignorance and mistaken zeal, but these seek the devil in all his
hideousness for the purpose of partaking in foul and unhallowed
pleasures. They merit any punishment that can be inflicted on them, for
such rotten limbs should be lopped off, and the cancer be extirpated
with fire and blood. Their conspiracies to kill and the crimes which
they commit and the injuries inflicted on their neighbors, before and
after these dreams deserve all this and greater rigor.

This virtual equalization of criminality in illusive and actual
witchcraft was not likely to be of benefit to so-called witches, but
there was wisdom in the caution which Pedro urged on judges, to assure
themselves of the reality of alleged crimes and not, through
preconceived views, to so direct their interrogatories as to lead
ignorant, foolish, crazy or demoniac persons, like the witnesses and
the accused in these cases, to testify or to confess to extravagances,
because they see that it is expected and hope to gain the favor of those
holding the power of life or death. Similar stories were told of the
early Christians and, in view of all this, and the utter legal
insufficiency of the witnesses, the whole tissue of evidence and
confessions vanishes into smoke. Amid all these deceits, the prudence of
the judge should seek the true and the probable, rather than monstrous
fictions for, if he desires to find the latter, he will be fully
satisfied by the miserable lying women before him--disciples, by their
own confession, of the father of lies.[503]

The inconsistencies in this discourse suggest that probably Pedro had
stronger convictions than he deemed it wise to express. It is possible
that Inquisitor Salazar may have read the paper and have been somewhat
influenced by it, when he started in May on the visitation which proved
to be the turning-point in the history of Spanish witchcraft, but we
have seen that, in the consulta de fe of the previous June 10th, his
attention had already been aroused by the contradictions and
unsatisfactory character of the evidence on which the tribunal was
accustomed to act and, when once his mind was directed to investigating
the problems thus suggested, the close acquaintance with facts afforded
by the visitation enabled him to reach conclusions vastly more definite
than any which his predecessors ventured to form.


He started, as we have seen, on May 22, 1611, with the Edict of Grace;
his work was thoroughly conscientious and he did not return until
January 10, 1612, after which he employed himself, until March 24th, in
drawing up his report to the Suprema, which was accompanied with the
original papers, amounting to more than five thousand folios. It will be
remembered that an Edict of Grace was published in 1610 with little or
no result. In contrast with this, showing the effect of a different
spirit in its administration, Salazar received eighteen hundred and two
applicants, of whom thirteen hundred and eighty-four were children of
from twelve to fourteen years of age and, besides these, there were
eighty-one who revoked confessions previously made. All applicants for
reconciliation made full confessions of misdeeds, after kindly warning
of the obligation to tell the truth and the danger of committing
perjury, and were promised secrecy to relieve them of fear. The enormous
mass of evidence thus collected Salazar carefully analyzed and presented
under four heads--I, the manner in which witches go to the aquelarre,
remain and return; II, the things they do and endure; III, the external
proofs of these things; IV, the evidence resulting for the punishment of
the guilty. The first two of these present a curious medley of marvels,
such as holding aquelarres in the sea without being wet, and the
testimony of three women that, after intercourse with the demon, in a
few hours they gave birth to large toads; but we need not dwell on these
feats of imaginative invention. The importance of the report lies in the
last two sections.

Many instances are given to prove the illusory character of cases in
which the penitent truthfully believed what she confessed. María de
Echaverria, aged 80, one of the relapsed, made copious confessions, with
abundant tears and heart-felt grief, seeking to save her soul through
the Inquisition. Without her consent, she said, she was every
night--even the preceding one--carried to the aquelarre, awaking during
the transit and returning awake. No one saw her in going and coming,
even her daughter, a witch of the same aquelarre, sleeping in the same
bed. All the frailes present at her confession had a long discussion
with her and the conviction was unanimous that what this good woman said
of her witchcraft was a dream. Catalina de Sastrearena declared that,
while she was waiting to be reconciled, she was suddenly carried to the
aquelarre, but her companions said that they were talking to her during
the time when she claimed to be absent. The mother of María de Tamborin
testified to the girl telling her of going to the aquelarre, so she
maintained close watch on her and kept a hand on her but was unaware of
her absence. Physical examination, in several instances, showed that
girls were virgins who had confessed to intercourse with demons. Many
boys testified that, when Salazar went to San Esteban, there was a great
aquelarre held, but his two secretaries happened that night to be on the
spot indicated and they saw nothing. Thirty-six persons were examined as
to the localities of nine aquelarres, but some said they did not know
and others contradicted what they had confessed, so that none of the
nine could be identified. As for the broths and unguents and powders so
often described as used for flying to the aquelarres and working evil,
nothing whatever could be learned. Twenty _ollas_ had been brought
forward during the visitation, but investigation showed them all to be
frauds, for physicians and apothecaries used the materials on animals
without producing the slightest injury. From all this Salazar concludes
that the matters confessed were delusions of the demon, and the
accusations against accomplices were likewise induced by the demon. No
testimony could be had from those not accomplices and he holds it a
great marvel that, in a thing reputed to be of so wide an extent, there
should be no external evidence accessible.[504]

Equally destructive to credibility, he says, were the threats and
violence employed to extort confessions. One stated that he was burned
with blazing coals and it inspires horror even to imagine how they were
thus forced to pervert the truth. Sometimes the father or husband or
brother would combine with the magistrate or the commissioner of the
Inquisition. Thus all were forced to confess and to bear witness against
their neighbors, so that it seems marvellous that any one escaped. The
groundlessness of the whole was further exemplified by the fact that
many who applied importunately to be admitted as witches to
reconciliation were unable to confess anything requiring it. The belief
was general that no one was safe who did not come forward and take the
benefit of the edict, so that some invented confessions, while others
admitted that they had nothing to confess, but all wanted certificates,
for one of the violences committed had been to deny the sacraments to
all reputed to be witches or testified against, and when they applied to
Salazar their greatest anxiety was to obtain certificates entitling them
to the sacraments.


As for the eighty-one who revoked their confessions, Salazar is sure
that they did so to relieve their consciences. At first he refused to
receive their revocations in compliance with the views of his
colleagues, but he had subsequently orders from the Suprema to admit
them. There would have been many more had it been generally understood
that they could do so with safety; it was individual action on the part
of each, for every care was taken not to let it be known who revoked,
and some of them said that they must revoke if they had to burn for it,
as they had wrongfully accused others. One especially distressing case
was that of Marquita de Jaurri, an old woman who had been reconciled at
Logroño. She returned home with her conscience heavily burthened about
those whom she had unjustly inculpated and, at her daughter's instance,
she applied to her confessor. He ordered her to revoke her confession
before Phelipe Díaz, the commissioner of Maeztu, but he rejected her
with insult, telling her that she would have to be burnt for maliciously
revoking what she had truthfully confessed, whereupon in a few days she
drowned herself. It will be remembered (Vol. II, p. 582) that revocation
of confession was held to prove impenitence, punishable by relaxation.

Salazar adds that the value of the evidence was still further diminished
by the command of the demon to accuse the innocent and exonerate the
guilty, and by the fact that bribes were given in order to have enemies
prosecuted. In Vera, each of several boys accused about two hundred
accomplices and, in Fuenterrabia a beggar boy of 12 accused a hundred
and forty-seven. Besides those who revoked there were many who asked to
have stricken out the names of those whom they had falsely accused so
that, in all, there were sixteen hundred and seventy-two persons known
as having had false witness borne against them, so that, when there were
this many acknowledged perjuries, there could be little faith placed in
the other accusations. The cause of the wide-extended and profound
popular belief in the reality of witchcraft he ascribes solely to the
auto de fe of Logroño, the Edict of Faith and the sending of an
inquisitor through the district, which had caused such apprehension that
there was no fainting-fit, no death and no accident that was not
attributed to witchcraft. Fray Domingo de Velasco of San Sebastian,
after preaching the Edict, told Salazar that for four months there had
not been a natural tempest or hailstorm, but all had been the work of
witches, yet when questioned he had no evidence save the gossip of the
streets. Sailors exaggerated these reports and they were fomented by the
knaves known as _santigueadores_, who professed to know the witches and
sold charms and spells to counteract them.

In summing up the results of his experience Salazar declares that
"Considering the above with all the Christian attention in my power, I
have not found even indications from which to infer that a single act of
witchcraft has really occurred, whether as to going to aquelarres, being
present at them, inflicting injuries, or other of the asserted facts.
This enlightenment has greatly strengthened my former suspicions that
the evidence of accomplices, without external proof from other parties,
is insufficient to justify even arrest. Moreover, my experience leads to
the conviction that, of those availing themselves of the Edict of Grace,
three-quarters and more have accused themselves and their accomplices
falsely. I further believe that they would freely come to the
Inquisition to revoke their confessions, if they thought that they would
be received kindly without punishment, for I fear that my efforts to
induce this have not been properly made known, and I further fear that,
in my absence, the commissioners whom, by your command, I have ordered
to do the same, do not act with due fidelity, but, with increasing zeal
are discovering every hour more witches and aquelarres, in the same way
as before.

"I also feel certain that, under present conditions, there is no need of
fresh edicts or the prolongation of those existing, but rather that, in
the diseased state of the public mind, every agitation of the matter is
harmful and increases the evil. I deduce the importance of silence and
reserve from the experience that there were neither witches nor
bewitched until they were talked and written about. This impressed me
recently at Olague, near Pampeluna, where those who confessed stated
that the matter started there after Fray Domingo de Sardo came there to
preach about these things. So, when I went to Valderro, near
Roncesvalles, to reconcile some who had confessed, when about to return
the alcaldes begged me to go to the Valle de Ahescoa, two leagues
distant, not that any witchcraft had been discovered there, but only
that it might be honored equally with the other. I only sent there the
Edict of Grace and, eight days after its publication, I learned that
already there were boys confessing. After receiving the report of a
commissioner whom I deputed, I sent from Azpeitia to the Prior of San
Sebastian of Urdax to absolve them with Secretary Peralta. This quieted
them but, since my return to Logroño the tribunal has been asked to
remedy the affliction of new evils and witchcrafts, all originating from
the above."


Salazar's colleagues did not agree with him and attempted to answer his
reasoning, but the Suprema was convinced. It followed his advice in
imposing silence on the past, while the Court of Navarre continued to
prosecute and punish the local officials whose superserviceable zeal had
occasioned so much misery. A second visitation was made in 1613 and we
find Salazar urging a third one to cover the remaining portion of the
infected region, and pointing out the peace which reigned in the
district that he had visited. His next step was to draw up a series of
suggestions covering the policy of the Inquisition with regard to
witchcraft, covering both amends for the past and future action. It
would scarce seem that he would venture to do this without orders, but
the paper purports to be volunteered in view of the urgent necessity of
the matter. Be this as it may, the suggestions were the basis of an
elaborate instruction, issued by the Suprema August 31, 1614, which
remained the permanent policy of the Inquisition. It adopted nearly
every suggestion of Salazar's, often in his very words, and is an
enduring monument to his calm good sense, which saved his country from
the devastation of the witch-madness then ravaging the rest of Europe.

These instructions consist of thirty-two articles and commence by
stating that the Suprema, after careful consideration of all the
documents, fully recognized the grave wrong committed in obscuring the
truth in a matter so difficult of proof, and it sent the following
articles, both for the verification of future cases and in reparation of
the past.

This is followed by a series of regulations pointing out in detail the
external evidence which must be sought in every case, both as to
attendance on the aquelarres and the murder of children, the killing of
cattle, and the damage of harvests, and no one was to be arrested
without strict observance of these precautions. There is careful
abstention from denial of the powers attributed to witches, but the
whole tenor is that of scepticism, and preachers were ordered to make
the people understand that the destruction of harvests is sent for our
sins, or is caused by the weather, and that it is a grievous error to
imagine that such things and sickness, which are customary throughout
the world, are caused by witches. The powers of commissioners were
strictly limited to taking depositions and ascertaining whether these
could be verified by external evidence. When witnesses or accused came
to make revocations, whether before or after sentence, they were to be
kindly received and permitted to discharge their consciences, free from
the fear so commonly entertained, that they would be punished for
revoking [as we have seen was the case in other crimes], and this was to
be communicated to the commissioners, who were to forward all
revocations received. Those who spontaneously denounced themselves were
to be asked whether, in the day-time, they had persevered in the
renunciation of God and adoration of the demon; if they admitted having
done so, they were to be reconciled but, in view of the doubt and deceit
surrounding the matter, this reconciliation was not to entail
confiscation or liability to the penalties of relapse, the latter being
discretional with the tribunal after consulting the Suprema, and further
the Suprema was to be consulted before action taken against those
confessing to relapse. Those who denied perseverance in apostasy were to
be absolved _ad cautelam_ and reconciled by commissioners, in the same
way as foreign heretics applying for conversion. In view of the doubts
and difficulties concerning witchcraft, no action was to be taken save
by unanimous vote of all the inquisitors, followed by consultation with
the Suprema. All pending cases were to be suspended, without
disqualification for office. On all evidence, the violence or torture
used in procuring it was to be noted, so that its credibility could be
estimated; when a vote was taken, unless it was for suspension, the case
was to be submitted to the Suprema. All cases were to be dropped of
those dying during their pendency, without disability of their
descendants. As regarded the auto de fe of 1610, the sanbenitos of those
relaxed or reconciled were never to be hung in the churches, their
property was not to be confiscated; an itemized statement of it and of
the fines levied, with an account of the expenses, was to be submitted
to the Suprema, and this was to be noted in the records of their cases,
so that they should not be liable in case of relapse, nor should their
descendants be disabled for office, nor should those be disqualified who
had since then been penanced with abjuration.


Having thus provided reparation for the past and caution for the future,
the Suprema sought to protect reputed witches from the inordinate zeal
of the local authorities and to vindicate its exclusive jurisdiction.
The commissioners were to be summoned, one by one, and made to
understand the grief and just resentment of the Holy Office at the
violence of the alcaldes and others towards those reported to be
witches. They were to publish this and let it be known that, as the High
Court of Navarre had undertaken to punish these intermeddlers, it would
be permitted to do so, but that in future the Inquisition would adopt
rigorous measures to chastise all who intruded on its jurisdiction, as
perturbers and impeders of the Holy Office. Confessors were instructed
to require all who were guilty of defaming others to denounce
themselves to the tribunal, for the discharge of their conscience and
the restoration to honor of the injured, and priests were notified not
to refuse the sacraments to those reputed as witches, while
commissioners were warned to confine themselves to their instructions
and to act with all moderation.[505]

In this admirable paper we cannot help applauding especially the moral
courage evinced in making reparation for the Logroño auto, which must
have had the sanction of the Suprema. The whole witch epidemic of
Navarre and the Provinces of Biscay was evidently regarded as a delusion
but, in view of the attitude of the Church for the last two centuries,
this could not be openly proclaimed and the wisest course was adopted to
repress, as far as possible, popular fanaticism, and to protect its
victims for the future. The superstition was too inveterate to be easily
eradicated, but the effort to protect its victims was not abandoned.
There is the formula of an edict, dated 162-(the year left blank to be
filled in) issued by Salazar, now senior inquisitor, and his colleagues,
reciting that the prosecutions for many years had given them ample
experience of the grave evils and obscuration of the truth, resulting
from the threats and violence offered to those who confessed or were
suspected of witchcraft, as many persons, under pretext of kinship to
the suspect, or to the persons said to be injured, endeavor to force
them to confess publicly as to themselves and others, wherefore all
persons were ordered to abstain from threats or inducements, so that
every one might have free access to the tribunal and its commissioners,
under penalty of rigorous punishment according to the circumstances of
the offence.[506] It is inferable from this, that the people,
distrusting the leniency of the Inquisition, discouraged application to
it, and sought rather to obtain satisfaction extra-judicially.


The virtual supervision assumed by the Suprema over all cases of
witchcraft was exercised with a moderation which must have been greatly
discouraging to believers. Under this impulsion, the tribunals became
exceedingly lenient, frequently exercising the power left to them of
suspending cases. One that is exceedingly significant occurred at
Valladolid, in 1622. At the instance of her confessor, Casilda de
Pabanes, a girl of 19, from Villamiel, near Burgos, presented herself
and confessed that, at Christmas 1615 (when she was 12 or 13 years old)
she was sick in bed with a fever, and her parents had gone to mass,
leaving the house locked up. Suddenly a neighbor, a widow named Marina
Vela, appeared at her bed-side and, with threats of killing her, forced
her to rise and dress and accompany her to a hermitage in the vicinage,
where they found a tall, naked man, dark and with horns like a bull, who
welcomed them and made them strip to their shifts, with an exchange of
indecent kisses. Then they dressed and returned; although the house
doors were locked they entered, and she was again in bed before her
parents came back. Then followed long details of other similar
adventures, in which the presiding demon usually wore the form of a
goat. He made her renounce God and wrote with her blood her name on a
paper; she was provided with an incubus demon whom she could summon by
breaking a stick; with Marina she entered houses at night, killing
children with powders or by sucking their fingers. There is no allusion
to the aquelarre, but all other features of witchcraft are minutely
detailed. By Marina's advice, she pretended to be possessed, and was
taken to San Toribio de Liebara to be exorcised by Fray Gonzalo de San
Millan, to whom she confessed. The inquisitors examined and
cross-examined her closely, without her varying in her story; they
sought, without success, for evidence of illusion or fantasy, but, on
investigation it was found that she was really sick of a fever at
Christmas, 1615, and that subsequently she seemed to tremble and be as
one possessed. Confirmatory statements were procured from the frailes,
and evidently in accordance with the instructions, all means were
exhausted of testing her confession. In any other land this victim of
hysteric auto-suggestion would have been, if not burnt, at least made an
exhibition that would have spread the craze, but the tribunal, after
carrying the case through the preliminary stages, voted to suspend it
without rendering sentence and to reconcile and absolve her in the
audience chamber without confiscation.[507] The same policy was followed
in the few other cases brought before the tribunal. María de Melgar of
Osorno, who died during trial, was given Christian burial in 1637; in
1640, it suspended the case of María Sanz of Trigueros, against whom
there was testimony of witchcraft and, in 1641, it discharged with a
reprimand María Alfonsa de la Torre, accused of killing cattle, although
a witness swore to seeing her at midnight riding on a stick over a
rye-field, with a noise as though accompanied by a multitude of

When we compare these cases with the penalties inflicted at the period
on vulgar sorceresses and poor old curanderas, for implied pact, it is
evident that the Inquisition had reached the conclusion that witchcraft
was virtually a delusion, or that incriminating testimony was perjured.
This could not be openly published; the belief was of too long standing
and too firmly asserted by the Church to be pronounced false; witchcraft
was still a crime to be punished when proved but, under the regulations,
proof was becoming impossible and confessions were regarded as

It was difficult for the conservatives to abandon their cherished
beliefs, and the can. Episcopi remained a bone of contention.
Torreblanca has no inklings of doubt; to him the aquelarre and all its
obscene horrors are a reality; the witch is to be burnt, not for
illusions but for acts, as the Church has decreed in so many
constitutions.[509] His book was duly licensed by the Council of Castile
in 1613, but some censor presented a learned criticism of it, calling
especial attention to this point, citing the can. Episcopi and the
experience of the Inquisition, and arguing that the feats attributed to
witches transcended the powers of the demon. This was so effective that
the licence was withdrawn. Then Torreblanca produced a verbose and
discursive "Defensa," in which he argued that the can. Episcopi was
apocryphal; he showed that the Church had always punished such
malefactors with death, so that either his critic or the Church must
err, and the Church cannot, for it is illuminated by God.[510] This was
successful, his licence was restored in 1615 and his work saw the light
in 1618. Jofreu in his notes on Ciruelo's "Reprovacion," defends the
can. Episcopi, but finds in it three kinds of witches--those who
renounce God and seek the aid of the devil, those who are superstitious
and know that their illusions are the work of the evil spirit, and those
who are deceived by them--and the witches of today are the same, whence
he argues in favor of caution and a policy of clemency.[511] Alberghini,
about 1640, admits that the aquelarre is a phantasm, but he holds that
none the less are witches apostates from God and devil-worshippers, and
he seems to think it still an open question whether those who kill by
sorcery are to be relaxed, even if they truly repent and are
converted.[512] About the same time, all that an old inquisitor will
grant is that, even if there is illusion in the aquelarre, the witch
ratifies all that is done there, when awake, dwelling on it with
pleasure and anointing herself for the purpose, but he concedes that the
deceits of the devil render necessary stronger evidence than in other
crimes and that, as he represents in the aquelarre phantoms of innocent
persons, the testimony of accomplices must be fortified with other
proofs.[513] Nearly the same ground was taken, in 1650, by Padre Diego
Tello, S. J., as calificador in the case of an unlucky monomaniac on
trial by the Granada tribunal, whom he sought to prove responsible by
showing that the witches who fly with Diana and Herodias, as in the can.
Episcopi, had free-will, rendering them culpable for their commerce with
the demon.[514] Even as late as towards the close of the seventeenth
century, a systematic writer holds it as certain that witches renounce
the faith, adore the demon and enter into a pact with him and, if this
can be proved by confession or witnesses, they are to be punished as
heretics with the regular penalties.[515]


Yet the Inquisition imperturbably pursued its way. It did not deny the
existence of witchcraft, or modify the penalties of the crime but, as we
have seen, it practically rendered proof impossible, thus discouraging
formal accusations, while its prohibition of preliminary proceedings by
its commissioners and by the local officials, secular and
ecclesiastical, was effectual in preventing the outbreak of witchcraft
epidemics. So far as the records before me show, cases became very few
after the Logroño experience of 1610. Scattering ones occur
occasionally, such as those alluded to above but, in the Valladolid
record from which they are derived, embracing in all six hundred and
sixty-seven cases between 1622 and 1662, there are but five of
witchcraft, of which the latest is in 1641.[516] In Toledo, from 1648 to
1794, there is not a single one, nor is there one among the nine hundred
and sixty-two cases in the sixty-four autos celebrated by all the
tribunals of Spain between 1721 and 1727.[517] It was not that popular
belief was eradicated, for this is ineradicable and still exists among
all nations, but its deadly effects were prevented. Some fragmentary
papers show that, from 1728 to 1735, there was a tolerably active
investigation, in Valencia and Castellon de la Plana, into cases of
mingled sorcery and witchcraft. There was evidence as to the use of
ointments by which persons could transport themselves through the air
and pass through walls, and as to people being bewitched and rendered
sick, showing that the superstition had as firm a hold as ever on the
lower classes.[518] In 1765, at Callosa de Ensarria (Alicante) when some
young children disappeared, it was attributed to Angela Piera who had
the reputation of a witch, able to fly to Tortosa and back, and who was
supposed to have killed them for her incantations.[519] These scattering
cases become rarer with time. In a record of all the operations of the
Spanish tribunals, from 1780 to 1820, there are but four. In 1781,
Isabel Cascar of Malpica was accused as a witch to the tribunal of
Saragossa. In 1791, at Barcelona, María Vidal y Decardó of Tamarit, a
widow aged 45, accused herself of express pact with the demon, of carnal
intercourse with him, of presence four times a week at the aquelarres,
where she adored him as a God, and of having trampled on a consecrated
host and flung it on a dung-hill--a case which forcibly recalls that of
Casilda de Pabanes, in 1622, as an illustration of the hypnotic
illusions which aided so greatly in the dissemination of the belief. The
latest cases are two, occurring in 1815, of which details are lacking
except that they were not brought to trial.[520]

Thus the belief, so persistently affirmed by the Church, continued to
exist among theologians. Even one so learned as Fray Maestro Alvarado,
in 1813, when defending the Inquisition against the Córtes of Cádiz,
told the deputies that Cervantes was better authority in favor of the
belief than they were against it, and he instanced a recent case in
Llerena, where two women in a church, and in sight of all the people,
were carried through the air by demons.[521] Still, so long as the
belief was academical and did not lead to the stake, it was
comparatively harmless, and the Inquisition deserves full credit for
depriving it of its power for evil.


In this, there is a remarkable coincidence between the Holy Offices of
Spain and of Rome, although the latter was somewhat tardy in the good
work. After the organization of the Congregation, in 1542, by Paul III.,
there was a considerable interval before it asserted exclusive
jurisdiction over witchcraft. It is true that, in 1582, in the papal
city of Avignon, it relaxed to the secular arm eighteen witches in a
single sentence,[522] but the next year, 1583, when the people of the
Val Mesolcina found themselves ruined by the numerous witches among
them, they applied for relief not to the Inquisition but to their
archbishop, San Carlo Borromeo. After a preliminary investigation he
came with a group of learned theologians and so worked on the
consciences of the culprits that he won nearly all to repentance--more
than a hundred and fifty are said to have confessed and abjured at one
time. There were, however, twelve pertinacious ones, including the
Provost of Roveredo; he was degraded from Orders and all were duly
burnt--they of course being negativos who refused to admit their
guilt.[523] The Inquisition, in fact, was willing to share its
jurisdiction with the bishops, but not with the secular courts, with
which, in 1588 and 1589 we find it in controversy. It contended that, as
witchcraft infers apostasy, its cognizance is ecclesiastical, residing
either in the bishop or the Inquisition, and further that, when a civil
court has commenced a prosecution, the inquisitor has the right to
inspect the proceedings and decide as to whether or not the case belongs
to him. Various decisions and instructions from this time until 1603
indicate the line of action. The jurisdiction is only spiritual, for the
heresy and apostasy, and takes no count of alleged murders or other
crimes; the penalty is therefore merely penance, usually scourging, and
inquisitors are told not to exile witches to places where they were not
known, but to settle them where they could be kept under watch. That
this leniency did not satisfy the people was shown at Gubbio, in 1633,
where a woman undergoing the scourge was set upon by the populace and
stoned to death. Nor was the Inquisition itself always consistent for,
in 1641, the tribunal of Milan relaxed Anna María Pamolea to the secular
arm for witchcraft and homicide.[524]

When murders were charged, the rule was that, if a secular court had
commenced prosecution, the culprit was returned to it for due
punishment, after the spiritual offence had been penanced but, if the
Inquisition had been the first to act, it was not to abandon its
penitent to the secular arm, except in case of relapse. The practical
working of this is seen in a case at Padua, in 1629, where three
witches, imprisoned in the public gaol, were handed over to the
tribunal, which made them abjure formally, and then returned them, when
the magistrates burnt them. That there was considerable scepticism as to
the truth of the Sabbat may be assumed from the rule that the evidence
of witches about persons seen in these assemblies was not to be received
to the prejudice of such persons, as it is all held to be an

This scepticism increased and there was a desire to train the people to
disbelief, as appears from a highly creditable act in 1631. The
Inquisitor of Novara reported that his vicar in "Vallis Vigelli" had
commenced proceedings for witchcraft against a woman, when she hanged
herself in prison, and he asked instructions whether to continue the
prosecution against the corpse or whether she had been strangled by the
demon or other witches; also whether he should proceed against a girl
and her accomplices who had confessed extra-judicially to have been at
the Sabbat. In reply the Congregation ordered him to send the
proceedings in the case of the suicide and also the deposition of the
girl; meanwhile he was to remove the vicar and replace him with a proper
person and take pains himself, by means of the parish priests, to
instruct the people as to the fallacies of witchcraft. The same spirit
was manifested, in 1641, when an affirmative answer was given to the
Inquisitor of Mantua, who asked whether he should prosecute those who
beat and insulted witches on the pretext of their being witches.[526]
The Congregation, however, did not place on the Index the _Compendium
Maleficarum_ of Fray Francesco María Guaccio (2^{d} Edition, Milan,
1626) which taught all the beliefs concerning witches and was adorned
with wood cuts representing them as riding on demons through the air and
worshipping Satan in the Sabbat.


What renders the leniency of the Congregation especially remarkable is
that it was in contravention of a decree of Gregory XV, in 1623,
sharpening the penalties of those entering into compacts with the demon;
if they caused death by sorcery they were to be relaxed to the secular
arm, even for a first offence, while, for causing impotence, or
infirmity, or injury to harvests or cattle, they were to be imprisoned
for life.[527] Without, of course, venturing formally to mitigate the
harshness of these penalties, the Congregation could at least elude them
practically, by interposing difficulties in the way of conviction, and
this it did, in 1657, in a series of instructions to inquisitors. Full
belief in the reality of witchcraft was assumed, but there was a hideous
enumeration of the abuses through which so many innocent women were
condemned. The mode of procedure prescribed was based largely on the
Spanish instructions of 1614, and special stress was laid upon
moderation in the use of torture, which was never to be employed until
all the papers in the case had been submitted to the Congregation and
its assent had been obtained, while common fame was not to be considered
an indication justifying arrest. The injunction of 1593, which
prohibited accepting testimony as to those seen in the Sabbat, was
renewed for the reason that these assemblages were mostly an illusion
and justice did not demand prosecution of those recognized through

While thus there was no concession in principle, in practice the
persecution of witchcraft became much less deadly. A manual, dating
about 1700, states that in these cases the Inquisition is accustomed to
move slowly and with the greatest circumspection, for the indications
are generally indirect and the _corpus delicti_ most difficult to prove.
If the evidence is strong, torture is employed both for the fact and the
intention; if apostasy is confessed, formal abjuration is required; if
it or evil belief is denied, the abjuration is _de vehementi_; the
accomplices are prosecuted, but not those named as seen in the Sabbat,
on account of the illusions of the demon. Relaxation is the penalty for
heretical sorcery causing death, but the difficulty of proving this is
very great.[529]

Thus gradually the worst features of witch persecution disappeared in
Italy, while yet belief in the reality of witchcraft was untouched. As
late as 1743, Benedict XIV manifests complete acceptance of it, when
discussing the nice question whether a witch, terrified by threats and
blows, commits a fresh sin by transferring to an ox the deadly spell
which she has cast upon the son of the man who beat her. He concludes
that she is guilty of a fresh sin, while the father is excusable, for he
presumably does not know that she has to have recourse to the demon to
effect the transfer, and his only object is to save his son. Moreover
Benedict, in his great work on canonization, not only admits the common
opinion as to incubi and succubi, but he does not deny that in some way
such unions may result in offspring.[530] In fact, the supreme authority
of the modern Catholic Church, St. Alphonso Liguori, repeats without
disapproval the common opinion of the doctors, that witches are
transported through the air and that the theory of illusion is very
pernicious to the Church, as it relieves them from the punishment
prescribed for them.[531]

       *       *       *       *       *


Thus the two lands in Christendom, in which the Inquisition was
thoroughly organized, escaped the worst horrors of the witch-craze. The
service rendered, especially by the Spanish Holy Office, in arresting
the development of the epidemics so constantly reappearing, can only be
estimated by considering the ravages in other lands where Protestants,
who had not the excuse of obedience to papal authority, were as ruthless
as Catholics in the deadly work. Did space permit, it would be
interesting to trace the development and decline of the madness
throughout Europe, but it must suffice to allude to Nicholas Remy, a
witch-judge in Lorraine, who boasts that his work on the subject is
based on about nine hundred cases executed within fifteen years,[532]
and to the estimate that the total number in Germany, during the
seventeenth century, was a hundred thousand.[533] In these, burning
alive was often considered an insufficient penalty, and the victims were
torn with hot pincers or roasted over slow fires. France was less a prey
to the delusion than Germany, but, in 1609, Henry IV sent a commission
to cleanse the Pays de Labour of witches, which, in the hurried work of
four months, burnt nearly a hundred, including several priests, and was
obliged to leave its task uncompleted, for the land was full of them;
two thousand children were transported to the aquellares almost every
night and the assemblages consisted of a hundred thousand, though some
of these were phantoms.[534] For Great Britain the total estimate of
victims is thirty thousand, of whom about a fourth may be credited to
Scotland.[535] When, in 1775, Sir William Blackstone could deliberately
write "To deny the possibility, nay, actual existence, of witchcraft and
sorcery is at once flatly to contradict the revealed word of God.... and
the thing itself is a truth to which every nation in the world hath in
its turn borne testimony,"[536] we cannot judge the Inquisition harshly
for maintaining to the last its existence in theory, while refusing to
reduce that theory to practice.

     NOTE.--Since this chapter was in type, the indefatigable Don Manuel
     Serrano y Sanz has printed in the _Revista de Archivos_ (Nov.-Dic.
     de 1906) the second discourse by Pedro de Valencia on the Auto de
     fe of Logroño. In this he states that in the previous one he had
     only had opportunity for a cursory glance at the proceedings of the
     auto, and had taken into consideration exceptional cases which God
     may have permitted of old. Now that he had thoroughly examined the
     confessions of the culprits he proceeds to give in much detail the
     monstrosities which they relate and concludes with a brief
     expression of the convictions resulting therefrom. This is that the
     aquelarre has nothing supernatural about it, such as flying through
     the air and the presidency of the demon in the shape of a goat. It
     is merely a nocturnal assemblage on foot of men and women to
     gratify disorderly appetites, inflamed perhaps by the instigation
     of the devil, and that their confessions are fictions invented to
     cover their wickedness. From this he concludes that they should be
     held not as confessing but as denying--which, under the
     inquisitorial code, would expose them to the fiery death of the
     _negativo impenitente_. He is careful, moreover, not to discredit
     the poisonings and the inunctions to cause sleep and dreams.
     Unfortunately the paper is not dated; it may have been seen by
     Salazar Frias, but if so it exercised no influence on him, as
     appears from the different conclusion reached in his report.

     Señor Serrano y Sanz states that in 1900 he printed the first
     discourse of Pedro de Valencia in the _Revista de Extremadura_.




Joseph de Maistre, in his profound ignorance of the Inquisition, started
the theory that it was a mere political agency.[537] Apologists, like
Hefele, Gams, Hergenrother and others, have eagerly elaborated this idea
in order to relieve the Church from responsibility for its misdeeds,
wholly overlooking the deeper disgrace involved in the assumption that
for three centuries the Holy See assented to such misuse of delegated
papal authority, and stimulated it with appropriations from
ecclesiastical revenues.[538] They base their arguments on the
difference between the Old and the New Inquisition--the former
consisting of inquisitors selected by Dominican or Franciscan
Provincials, and the latter organized with its inquisitor-general and
supreme council, appointed by or with consent of the sovereign, so that
its whole corps was virtually composed of state officials[539]--forgetting
that their authority consisted of apostolical faculties, delegated by
the popes and exercised without restraint through their recognition by
the State. Ranke falls into the same error and so do Maurenbrecher and
some other Protestant historians, apparently in an overstrained effort
at impartiality and without investigation of the facts.[540] In the
Catholic reaction since the time of Hefele, the most advanced writers
of that faith no longer seek to apologize for the Inquisition, and to
put forward royal predominance to relieve it from responsibility. They
rightly represent it as an ecclesiastical tribunal which discharged the
duty of preserving the religious purity for which it was created.[541]

The synchronism of the development of the Inquisition and of absolutism
in Spain renders seductive the theory that the one was the product of
the other, but this is wholly fallacious. Nowhere in the transformation
of the State does the Inquisition appear as a factor. Isabella, as we
have seen, laid the foundations of monarchism when she subdued the
anarchy pervading Castile by the vigorous assertion and extension of the
royal jurisdiction. Ferdinand eliminated some of the most troublesome
elements of feudal power when he incorporated in the crown the
masterships of the great Military Orders. The restiveness of the nobles
under the unaccustomed restraint manifested itself when, in 1506, they
flocked to Philip and Juana, had the Inquisition been a political force,
Ferdinand would have used it, for Inquisitor-general Deza was devoted to
him, in place of which he suspended it. After the death of Philip I,
during the retirement of Juana and the absence of Ferdinand, the nobles
attempted to reassert themselves but, when he returned, the severe
punishment of the Marquis of Priego, the great Duke of Medina Sidonia,
Don Pedro Giron and others, was a severe blow to feudalism, redoubled,
after Ferdinand's death, when Ximenes as governor raised a standing army
and crushed the rebellion of the Girons and their allies, punishing them
with the destruction of the town of Villadefrades. What remained of
feudalism disappeared under the steady policy of Charles V and Philip
II, in keeping the great nobles aloof from the higher offices of state,
and employing them in military service abroad or in vice-royalties,
until they became mere courtiers, wasting their substance in adding to
the splendor of the throne. In all this there is no trace of the
Inquisition, nor is there in the rise and suppression of the
Comunidades, which destroyed the privileges of the communes, and left
the crown supreme. The comuneros had no grievance against the
Inquisition, nor had it any share in their defeat and punishment,
although Charles V applied to Leo X for special briefs empowering it to
act and one was granted, commissioning Cardinal Adrian to try and punish
ecclesiastics concerned in the movement.[542] Even when Acuña, Bishop of
Zamora, was prosecuted, as we have seen, the Inquisition was not charged
with the work, as Ranke mistakenly asserts. The revolt arose from the
coercive measures applied by Charles to the Córtes of 1518 and 1520, by
which he reduced to impotence the only representative and deliberative
body of the nation. Thus the last obstacle to autocracy was swept away,
and thenceforth royalty was supreme. The process was a normal
development, such as accompanied the downfall of feudalism throughout
Europe and, from first to last, it accomplished itself without aid or
opposition on the part of the Inquisition.

Much has been made of the saying attributed to Philip II, that he kept
his dominions in peace with four old ecclesiastics, and the Suprema was
fond of referring to this, when putting forth claims for its services,
but it meant nothing except that the Inquisition maintained religious
unity, which, in that age and in view of the troubles in France, the
Netherlands and Germany, was not unnaturally regarded as the sole
guarantee of internal quiet--in fact, the Suprema, when quoting the
remark, in 1704, says expressly that Philip uttered it in reference to
the turbulence of the Huguenots.[543] That Philip himself did not regard
the Inquisition as a political instrument sufficiently appears in his
private and confidential instructions of May 7, 1595, to Gerónimo
Manrique de Lara, when appointing him inquisitor-general; his anxiety is
solely for the faith and there is not the slightest intimation that
political service would be expected.[544]


Yet the average statesman has few scruples in employing any agency at
hand to effect his purposes, and to this the Spanish monarchs were no
exception. When it suited them to use the Inquisition they did so but,
in view of their control over it, their employment of it was singularly
infrequent, prior to the advent of the Bourbon dynasty. In the Old
Inquisition, with which writers like Hefele endeavor to establish a
contrast in this matter, Philip the Fair used it to destroy the
Templars, the Regent Bedford to burn Joan of Arc, and Alexander VI to
rid himself of Savonarola--three cases to which no parallels exist in
the annals of the Spanish Holy Office. The nearest approach to them is
to be found in the trials of Carranza, Antonio Pérez and Villanueva. In
the first and last of these, as we have seen, inquisitors-general
instituted action for their own purposes and the monarchs were brought
in to their support. The case of Antonio Pérez will be discussed
presently and need not be further referred to here.

Still, a tribunal, whose undefined powers and secrecy of action fitted
it so perfectly for use as a political agent, could scarce exist for
centuries without occasionally being called upon, and the only
legitimate source of surprise is that it was so rarely employed and that
the objects for its intervention were usually so trivial. Ferdinand
occasionally found it a convenience in settling questions outside of its
regular functions, as when Marco Pellegrin appealed to him in a dispute
with the authorities of his city and Ferdinand wrote, August 31, 1501,
to the inquisitor of the place, charging him to examine the question and
do justice, for which he gave him full royal power. So when, in 1500,
complaints reached him from Valencia of injustice in the assessments for
a servicio, he ordered the papers to be submitted to the inquisitor who
was to report to him, and, in 1501, he called for a report from the
inquisitor of Lérida as to the necessity of certain repairs to the
castle.[545] When, in 1498, he was endeavoring to carry out in Aragon
the reform of the Conventual Franciscans, which Ximenes had undertaken
in Castile, and they had obtained papal briefs restraining him, he
applied to the pope to revoke the letters and meanwhile obtained others
from the nuncio, which he transmitted to the tribunal of Saragossa with
instructions to act promptly. The inquisitors carried on the reform much
to his satisfaction and, when the frailes got the public authorities to
protect them, he instructed the inquisitors to represent that they were
acting under apostolic authority, that there was no violation of the
liberties of the kingdom, that they were salaried by the king, not only
for the Inquisition but for whatever duties he might assign to them;
they were therefore public officers and, if the Saragossa authorities
should endeavor to create scandal, they would be duly punished. This
distinction between inquisitorial and non-inquisitorial functions,
however did not prevent him, when occasion required, from enforcing
outside operations with inquisitorial authority. In 1502, when
prosecuting, in the same way, the Franciscan reform in Sardinia and the
Bishop of Ocaña, in virtue of a surreptitious papal letter, released
from the castle of Fasar the Franciscan vicar, Ferdinand wrote with much
indignation to him and to the governor of Cabo de Lugador; it was great
audacity to intervene, in a matter concerning the Inquisition, without
consulting him or the inquisitor-general; the prisoner must be
recaptured forthwith and be held until the inquisitor and _reformador
apostolico comes_.[546]

This indicates the dangerous tendency to extend inquisitorial activity
beyond its original limits, and it is remarkable that a monarch
entertaining these conceptions and engaged in the struggle with
feudalism should not have frequently sought the assistance of the Holy
Office. The only definite case that I have met with of its political use
occurred in 1507, when Cæsar Borgia escaped from the castle of Medina
del Campo to Navarre, and was made commander of his army by Jean
d'Albret, whose sister Charlotte he had married. Ferdinand vainly
endeavored to obtain his surrender and then caused a prosecution to be
brought against him in the Inquisition for heretical blasphemy and
suspicion of atheism and materialism. As Cæsar came to his death, March
12, 1507, while besieging the castle of Viana, which held out for Luis
de Beaumont, and the prosecution was abandoned, we can only conjecture
what the outcome might have been.[547] Navarre was also the scene of a
trivial political use of the Inquisition in 1516, when, as we have seen
(Vol. I, p. 227) it was instructed to ascertain the names of those
friendly to Jean d'Albret.

[Sidenote: _ANTONIO PEREZ_]

There was evidently a purpose to use the Inquisition against the revolt
of the Germanía of Valencia, when a brief of October 11, 1520, was
obtained from Leo X, granting to Cardinal Adrian faculties to proceed
against all persons conspiring against public peace. No use seems to
have been made of this, but the Valencia tribunal had an opportunity of
making itself felt towards the end of the disturbances. After Vicente
Peris, the leader of the _Agermanados_ was killed in a tumult, March 3,
1522, a mysterious individual, known as _el Encubierto_, and variously
described as a hermit from Castile and as a Jew from Gibraltar,
presented himself as the avenger of Peris and became the spiritual chief
of those who kept up the revolt in Játiva and Alcira. He assumed to be a
prophet and the envoy of God, which brought him under the ordinary
jurisdiction of the Holy Office, and it made record of the heresies
uttered by him in a sermon preached at Játiva, March 23d. He organized a
conspiracy in Valencia, but one of the accomplices, named Juan Martin,
was betrayed and was seized, by the Inquisition. El Encubierto was
assassinated, May 18th, at Burjasot, and his head was cut off; the
corpse was brought to Valencia, where the inquisitors had it dragged
through the streets on the way to the tribunal. He was condemned as a
heretic, the headless body was relaxed and burnt and the head was set
over one of the gateways.[548] The action of the Inquisition had no
influence on the course of affairs, but it manifests the readiness of
the tribunal to assert itself as a political force.

The fable that the Inquisition was invoked to accomplish the death of
Don Carlos, in 1568, has been sufficiently disproved to call for no
attention here. There is probably, however, more truth in the statement
that, about the same time, Philip II, in promotion of his designs on the
remnants of Navarre, caused Inquisitor-general Espinosa to collect
testimony as to the notorious heresy of Jeanne d'Albret and her
children, and formed with the Guises a plot to abduct and deliver her to
the tribunal of Saragossa, but the secret was not kept and the attempt
was abandoned.[549] Perhaps, also, we may class with political service
the utilization by Philip of the Inquisition to supply him with

The most prominent instance of the employment of the Inquisition in a
matter of State was in the case of Antonio Pérez. Its dramatic character
attracted the attention of all Europe; the mystery underlying it has
never been completely dispelled, and its resultant effect upon the
institutions of Aragon invests it with an importance justifying
examination in some detail.

Antonio Pérez was the brilliant and able favorite of Philip II, who in
1571 succeeded his patron, Ruy Gómez, Prince of Eboli, in acquiring his
master's fullest confidence and becoming the most powerful subject in
Spain. In 1573, the Venitian envoy Badoero describes him as a most
accomplished man, whose courtesy and attractive manners soothed the
sensibilities of those provoked by the delays and penuriousness of the
king, while his dexterity and ability promised soon to make him the
principal minister. At the same time, he was a man of pleasure and the
magnificence of his daily life was the admiration of his
countrymen.[550] He found his fate in the widow of his patron, the
Princess of Eboli. Sprung from the noble house of Mendoza, she was
proud, vindictive and passionate, unflinching in the gratification of
her desires and reckless as to the means. Whether Philip II had been her
lover, and if so whether he was favored or rejected, is a disputed
question, which we need not discuss; it suffices that Pérez, who had a
devoted wife in Juana Coello, became enamoured of her mature charms and
a slave to her imperious will.

[Sidenote: _ANTONIO PEREZ_]

Don John of Austria had been sent to the Netherlands on the desperate
task of pacifying them, and had been left without resources. Much to the
king's displeasure, he sent, in July, 1577, his secretary, Juan de
Escobedo, to Madrid to urge the necessity of supplying funds. Escobedo
was thoroughly honest, but rugged and uncourtly, and the vigor of his
representations increased the royal ill-humor. Pérez had for some time
been secretly fanning the king's suspicions of his half-brother's
designs, even to the point, it is said, of mistranslating cypher
despatches. He represented Escobedo as an emissary sent to perfect Don
Juan's plans, including a descent upon Santander and raising Castile in
revolt. Convinced that Escobedo must be put out of the way, Philip
ordered Pérez to procure his death. If Pérez felt any scruple as to
this, it was removed by the fact that Escobedo, who was a retainer of
the house of Mendoza, discovered the relations between the princess and
the favorite; he remonstrated with freedom and threatened to inform the
king. His doom was sealed and, after two ineffectual attempts at poison,
bravos were hired who assassinated him in the street on the night of
March 31, 1578, and were rewarded with commissions in the army of Italy.

Suspicion fell on Pérez, whose fellow-secretary and bitter enemy, Mateo
Vázquez, reported the rumors to the king. The princess in her wrath
threatened that Vázquez should share the fate of Escobedo; the court was
divided into factions which Philip vainly sought to pacify. He was bound
in honor to protect his instrument, and repeatedly assured him that he
was in no danger, but, whether he was beginning to realize that he had
been unpardonably deceived, or was prompted by jealousy of the relations
between Pérez and the princess, he at length was willing to sacrifice
his secretary as an escape from a situation that was becoming
impossible. Some one to replace him was required; Cardinal Granvelle,
then living in retirement in Rome, was sent for; he arrived at the
Escorial, July 29, 1579, and, on the preceding night Pérez and the
princess were arrested in Madrid. She was carried to the castle of Pinto
and was kept in strict confinement until February 1581, when she was
allowed to return to her palace at Pastrana, when her extravagant freaks
caused her affairs to be placed in charge of a commission, leading to
her virtual imprisonment until her death, February 2, 1592.

Pérez, meanwhile, had undergone various vicissitudes of imprisonment,
more or less harsh. In May, 1582, Philip ordered an investigation into
the different branches of administration, directed principally against
Pérez. This resulted in showing that he had habitually sold the royal
favor and, in January, 1585, he was condemned to two years' imprisonment
in the castle of Turruegano, to ten years' exile from the court, and to
refund 12,224,739 maravedís, of which 7,371,098 went to the fisc and the
balance to the heirs of Ruy Gómez, in restitution of presents given to
him by the princess. The family of the murdered Escobedo had been vainly
clamoring for justice. Philip had shrunk from being compromised in the
affair, but now that Pérez was thoroughly disgraced, if the documents
proving his own complicity could be secured, Pérez could safely be
sacrificed to justice. His wife, Juana Coello, was imprisoned and
threatened with starvation unless she would surrender his papers; she
resisted heroically until a note from Pérez, which he says was written
with his blood, permitted her to do so, but he had, with his usual
foresight, abstracted from them in advance and placed in safety what he
deemed necessary for his justification.

In the summer of 1585, Philip permitted the Escobedo kindred to commence
the prosecution. Antonio Enríquez, the page of Pérez, who had arranged
the assassination, gave full testimony, but the _conteste_, or
corroboration by another witness was lacking. The affair dragged on,
until, September 28, 1589, Pedro Escobedo, son of the victim, abandoned
it for the sum of twenty thousand ducats and pardoned his father's
murderers. Philip's rancor, however, had deepened with time, and the
prosecution was continued. Pérez was tortured, February 22, 1590, when,
at the eighth turn of the _cordeles_, his resolution gave way; he
confessed the crime at the royal command and stated the reasons which
had moved the king to order the murder. Soon after this he took to his
bed and was reported to be dangerously sick; his wife, early in April,
was admitted to attend him and, on the 20th, by a side-door, of which he
had procured a false key and from which the bolts had been removed, he
escaped at night. Friends with horses were in waiting and he took the
road to Aragon. He was of Aragonese descent, so that he could claim the
fueros and the court of the Justicia, which, as we have seen, sat in
judgement between the sovereign and his subjects.

Aragon, at the moment, was especially excited in defence of its
privileges, among which was the claim that none but an Aragonese could
serve as viceroy. Philip was contesting this and had sent the Count of
Almenara to conduct a suit on the question before the court of the
Justicia. Almenara earned general ill-will by assuming superiority over
all the local officials; the Count of Sástago, then viceroy, resisted
his pretensions and was removed and replaced by Andrés Ximeno, Bishop of
Teruel, a timid and irresolute man; so great became Almenara's
unpopularity that a nearly successful attempt was made to burn at night
the house which he occupied; there was a spirit of turbulence abroad,
peculiarly favorable to Pérez, who came to claim the protection of the
fueros as a faithful servant, whom his king was endeavoring to destroy,
in reward of his fidelity.

[Sidenote: _ANTONIO PEREZ_]

Philip's wrath was boundless. His first impulse was to wreak vengeance
on the helpless wife and children, who were thrown into prison, where
they lay for nine years until after their persecutor had gone to his
last account. Orders were at once despatched to seize the fugitive, dead
or alive, before he should cross the Ebro, and so swift were the
pursuers that they reached Calatayud, where he made his first halt, only
ten hours after him. He threw himself into the Dominican convent for
asylum, while his faithful friend, Gil de Mesa, who had accompanied him,
hurried forward to Saragossa and claimed for him the _manifestacion_
which secured for him the jurisdiction of the Justicia. Alonso Celdran,
lieutenant of the governor, rushed to Calatayud and, after some
difficulty, forcibly removed Pérez from the convent, but the veguero of
the Justicia came with letters of manifestacion and obliged him to
surrender his prey. Nobles and gentlemen flocked to Calatayud, and Pérez
was conducted to Saragossa in a veritable triumphal procession, where he
was received by the populace as though he were a king and was safely
lodged in the _cárcel de los manifestados_. Then commenced the curious
spectacle of a duel to the death between the disgraced fugitive and the
whole power of the greatest monarch of Christendom, giving us an
enlarged respect for the fueros of Aragon to see that the monarch was
helpless until he invoked the overriding powers of the Inquisition,
under the pretext that his thirst for vengeance was a matter of faith.

Had the political utility of the Inquisition been the customary
expedient that has been asserted, recourse would have been had to it at
once. As soon as the flight of Pérez became known, a special junta had
been formed in Madrid to manage the affair, and there Juan de Gurrea,
Governor of Aragon, familiar with the institutions of his native land,
advised that the Inquisition be at once invoked, but there was
repugnance to do this and it was resolved to rely on the regular process
of law. Philip presented a formal accusation to the court of the
Justicia alleging that Pérez had had Escobedo killed, falsely using the
king's name; that he had betrayed the king by divulging state secrets
and altering despatches, and that he had fled. The documents were sent
to Almenara, who pushed the prosecution, while Pérez endeavored to
convince the king that it would be better to allow the matter to drop
and permit him to live in obscurity rather than to bring the
compromising documents to light, as there was no secrecy in Aragonese
procedure. He wrote in this sense to Fray Diego de Chaves, the royal
confessor, and he sent, by the Prior of Gotor, copies of the papers to
Philip, who gave the prior two or three audiences, read the papers and
then, on July 1st, published a sentence condemning Pérez to be hanged
and beheaded, with confiscation. At the same time instructions were sent
to Almenara to push the prosecution and to find some means to seize
Pérez and convey him to Castile.

Pérez had already drawn up a memorial replying to the charges, in which
he observed considerable reticence. Now he threw off all reserve and
prepared another, fortified with documents exposing Philip's share in
the tragedy, and representing himself as undergoing ten years of
persecution in reward for faithful service. Philip asked Batista de
Lanuza, a lieutenant of the Justicia, to send him a copy of the memorial
with his opinion as to the result. Lanuza in reply said he expected an
acquittal, whereupon Philip withdrew the prosecution on the grounds that
it would reveal matters not proper for publication, declaring at the
same time that Pérez had committed crimes as great as any subject could
and he reserved the right to prosecute him elsewhere. The Justicia,
however, continued the case which resulted in acquittal. Then an
accusation was brought that Pérez had poisoned his astrologer, Pedro de
la Hera, and his servant Rodrigo de Morgado, but these charges were
easily refuted and again he was acquitted. Then an attempt was made
under an Aragonese law permitting _inquisitio_ or inquest, in
accusations of officials by the king, and he was prosecuted for
misfeasance in office, but he proved that he had served Philip as King
of Castile, not of Aragon, and that he had already been tried and
punished for the alleged offences, so this also failed. The principal
object of these successive actions was to prevent his discharge from
prison, but they had the effect of heightening the popular enthusiasm
for Pérez, whose cause became identified with the preservation of the

As a last resort, when all legal processes were exhausted, recourse was
had to the Inquisition. For this some charge involving the faith was
necessary and the first suggestion was an assumed attempted flight to
the heretics of Béarn. A safer base of operations, however, was devised
by Almenara, who won over by bribery an old servant, Diego Bustamente
and a teacher named Juan de Basante in whom Pérez had the fullest
confidence. In explosions of despairing wrath, they said, he had uttered
expressions indicating disbelief in God and blasphemous rebellion
against His will. We have seen how much of inquisitorial activity was
directed against more or less trivial ejaculations of the kind, and it
was strictly in rule to act upon such denunciations. It mattered little
on what grounds the Holy Office might obtain possession of him; once in
its hands, he would be conveyed, openly or secretly, to Castile, where
his fate was certain and, before the dreaded words "a matter of faith"
all barriers were vain.

[Sidenote: _ANTONIO PEREZ_]

Inquisitor Medrano put the testimony in proper shape and forwarded it
to the Suprema. Philip ordered that Fray Diego de Chaves should be the
sole calificador and he, within twenty-four hours, pronounced the
expressions to be heretical. On the strength of this, Inquisitor-general
Quiroga and the Suprema, on May 21, 1591, issued orders for the arrest
of Pérez and his confinement in the secret prison for trial.

This was hurried to Saragossa, where it was received on the 23d, and on
the 24th, the three inquisitors, Medrano, Mendoza and Morejon, issued a
warrant of arrest, which was presented at the prison of Manifestacion
and was refused obedience. The tribunal then sent, between 9 and 10
A.M., to the lieutenants of the Justicia a mandate, under the customary
penalties, requiring the surrender in spite of the pretended right of
manifestacion, which was abolished in matters of faith. This could not
be evaded and the officials of the Justicia were sent to the prison with
orders to deliver Pérez to the alguazil of the tribunal. He was put in a
coach and driven to the Aljafería, a short distance beyond the gates,
where the Inquisition had its seat.

Two servants of Pérez carried the news to Diego de Heredia and Gil de
Mesa, who assembled their friends and sallied into the streets, with the
cry, _Contrafuero! Viva la libertad y ayuda a la libertad!_--the cry
which, under the law, could only be raised by order of the Justicia and
which, as we have seen, summoned every citizen to come in arms and
defend the liberty of the land. The tocsin of the cathedral was tolled
and the city rose. Under the leadership of nobles and gentlemen, a part
of the mob rushed to the dwelling of the hated Almenara. The Justicia,
Juan de Lanuza, with his two sons and his officials, endeavored to
protect him, but the door was battered in; he refused to fly, but
allowed himself to be conducted to prison, on the promise of the mob to
spare his life, but he was attacked on the way and, when the prison was
reached, it was with injuries of which he died within a fortnight.

The other section of the populace hastened to the Aljafería and demanded
the restoration of Pérez and of his friend Francisco Majorini, who had
been included in the prosecution and surrender. Don Pedro de Sesé is
said to have brought four hundred loads of wood with which to burn the
castle in case of refusal, and the situation was menacing in the
extreme. The Viceroy Bishop of Teruel came and urged the inquisitors to
compliance. The Archbishop Bobadilla wrote three notes, in increasing
desperation--his palace and that of the Justicia would be burnt that
night if Pérez were not given up. For five hours the inquisitors
resisted this pressure, but finally they yielded, though even then they
safeguarded their authority with an order that Pérez's place of
confinement should be changed from the secret prison to that of the
manifestados. At 5 P.M. the prisoners were delivered to the Counts of
Aranda and Morata, with a protest that the trial would be continued.
Pérez was conveyed back in a coach to his former prison; the people
could not see him and were not satisfied until the viceroy made him
stand up and show himself, when they shouted that he must appear at a
window thrice daily to prove that no wrong was done him in violation of
their liberties and fueros.

There was a tradition that Queen Isabella had once expressed a wish that
Aragon would revolt, so that an end could be put to the fueros which
limited the royal power. Such an opportunity had now come and Philip was
not a sovereign to neglect it. Cabrera relates that, when he lay sick at
Ateca and the Count of Chinchon brought him the news, he rose at once
from bed, had himself dressed and commenced sending despatches in all
directions, ordering the levy of troops. He also wrote to the towns of
Aragon and to the nobles, protesting that he meant no violation of their
privileges, and the answers encouraged him greatly, for they condemned
the troubles at Saragossa and proffered their services. The Inquisition,
moreover had opened to it an enlarged field of operations, for which it
had abundant justification. Already, on June 4th, the Council of Aragon
presented a consulta, calling attention to the impeding of its action,
in the threatening of the inquisitors and the killing of a servant of
one of them; they should therefore commence to take testimony and arrest
the culprits, one by one, who should be relaxed; in such a matter of
faith the nobles could not plead privilege and there could be no
manifestaciones and firmas.

[Sidenote: _ANTONIO PEREZ_]

Work to this end was commenced at once in Madrid. Anton de Almunia, who
had testified against Pérez, had fled thither with a tale of the threats
uttered against him to force him to revoke his evidence. This was a
crime against the Inquisition and Pedro Pacheco, Inquisitor of Aragon,
was deputed to take his deposition; the investigation widened; all the
refugees from Aragon and enemies of Pérez were heard and it was shown
that the instigators of the troubles aimed at transferring Aragon to
France or to found a republic, and in this were implicated the Diputados
of the kingdom, the jurados of Saragossa and the gentlemen who favored
Pérez, including the Duke of Villahermosa, who was the head of Aragonese
nobility and the Count of Aranda, the richest and most powerful noble.
Even Inquisitor Morejon, who had not been as zealous as his colleagues,
was laid under suspicion. As a preparation for the impending struggle,
the Saragossa tribunal, under orders from Madrid, published, on June
29th, in all the churches, an edict embodying the savage bull _Si de
Protegendis_ of Pius V, concerning impeders of the Inquisition, in
virtue of which all persons were called upon to aid it, not only in the
matter of Pérez but of all others. This created intense excitement; an
armed mob assembled in the plaza of the cathedral and discussed whether
they were included in the papal censures and if so what remedies should
be tried to preserve their liberties, while multitudes sought their
confessors and asked to be absolved from the _ipso facto_
excommunication incurred. The Diputados complained to the king and to
Quiroga of this stirring up of trouble, when every effort was required
to maintain quiet, but they only received from the king a reply thanking
them for their zeal for peace.

Pérez and his friends meanwhile were busy in provoking excitement by
addresses and pasquinades in prose and verse, stigmatizing their
opponents and urging vigilance in defence of the fueros. He also
petitioned the Zalmedina to investigate the methods by which Almenara
and Medrano had gathered evidence against him, and the testimony thus
obtained as to bribes, promises and threats had large influence on
public opinion. When the results, however, were sent to Philip by the
Diputados, he merely replied that he had not read them, for the whole
was invalid because witnesses before the Inquisition could only be
impugned in it; Pérez must be returned to the tribunal before anything
else could have attention. The papers however were carefully preserved,
for the mere investigation was a grave offence against the Inquisition,
which was subsequently charged against its authors. The Inquisition
judged all men and was to be judged by none and, in the sacredness which
shielded it, any attempt to examine its methods was a crime.

As the summer drew to a close, the cooler-headed citizens became anxious
for an accommodation. Conferences were held with jurists and it was
recognized that the position was untenable, that Pérez must be
surrendered and an understanding was reached with the inquisitors as to
certain unimportant conditions which avoided the appearance of complete
abandonment. The aspect of the populace, however, was threatening, and
the nobles brought their retainers to the city to enforce order. Philip
had no objection to the delays which enabled him to collect his forces
at Agreda, on the Castilian border, and September 24th was named for the
delivery of Pérez as a solemn public act. He was fully alive to the
danger and resolved on escape; a file was furnished to him with which
during three nights he worked at his window bars. A few hours more would
have set him free when he was betrayed by his false friend Juan Basante,
who still retained his confidence and was to share his flight. He was
transferred to a stronger cell, where he was kept incomunicado, with a
guard of thirty arquebusiers, watching him day and night.

On September 22d died the Justicia, Juan de Lanuza, an old and
experienced man, succeeded by his son of the same name, who was but 27
years of age, universally beloved on account of his many good qualities,
but untried and lacking in influence. Great preparations were made for
the surrender on the 24th. The gates were closed, troops were posted,
the streets from the prison to the Aljafería were patrolled by cavalry,
and death was threatened for the slightest disturbance. Complicated
formalities were observed when the mandate for the delivery of Pérez and
Majorini was presented to the court of the Justicia by Lanceman de Sola,
secretary of the tribunal. Under guard of arquebusiers a procession was
formed of officials and dignitaries, who on reaching the market-place
bestowed themselves in the overlooking windows. The prison was entered,
Pérez and Majorini were produced, shackles were placed on them and they
were formally surrendered to Lanceman de Sola. The coaches to convey
them were brought up and they were descending the stairs when the roar
of a multitude outside brought a pause.

[Sidenote: _ANTONIO PEREZ_]

The friends of Pérez had not been idle. The gentlemen who still adhered
to him had brought their retainers to the city; propagandism had been
active and a majority of the arquebusiers declared themselves ready to
die in defence of the fueros. The streets were filled with clamorous
crowds; already during the march of the procession, stones had been
thrown and now, under the leadership of Diego de Heredia and Gil de
Mesa, the market-place was attacked on several sides. Some of the guards
were slain, others fled and others joined the assailants. The plaza was
strewn with some thirty dead and numerous wounded; the governor's horse
was shot and he escaped to a house which was promptly set on fire; the
notables at the windows broke out a way to escape by the rear and
hurried off amid the insults of the people. Inside the prison the
officials saved themselves by flight over the roof, except a lieutenant
of the Justicia who made Pérez show himself at a window to calm the mob,
which sent up shouts of joy and commenced to break in the doors, when he
was delivered to them through a postern. He was carried in triumph to
the house of Diego de Heredia and then Majorini was remembered. He was
sent for; the prison was found abandoned and he was set free.

Pérez mounted a horse and, accompanied by Gil de Mesa and Francisco de
Ayerbe, with a couple of servitors, fled to the mountains, reaching
Alagon that night and Tauste the next day, where he rested five days in
the house of Francisco de Ayerbe. The agents of the Inquisition tracked
him and came near seizing him; when, finding escape to France blocked,
he returned secretly to Saragossa, by the advice of Martin de Lanuza, in
whose house he was secreted, while directing the course of affairs. The
city had been in a state of chaos, the magistrates not daring to show
themselves, but through his counsels comparative tranquility was
restored under Diego de Heredia. He set to work to organize Aragon,
Catalonia and Valencia in opposition to Castile, with a view of forming
a republic under the protection of France, but his efforts met with no
practical response.

Aragon itself was lukewarm. The assembling of an army at Agreda under
Alonso Vargas, a distinguished captain, with the pretext of an
expedition to France, gave warning that revolt would be crushed with a
heavy hand and both sides sought the support of the kingdom at large. In
Saragossa the fuero prohibiting the introduction of foreign troops was
invoked, and the new Justicia, Juan de Lanuza, was summoned by the
Diputados to call the kingdom to arms to resist the _contrafuero_. He
did so with a proclamation, October 31st, ordering the towns and nobles
to send their quotas to Saragossa on November 5th, but the course of
affairs at Saragossa had been watched with disfavor. Jaca responded with
protestations and not with men; Daroca sent thirty musketeers; Bielsa,
Puertolas and Gistain furnished two hundred men who turned back after
reaching Barbastro. There were disturbances at Teruel which only
resulted in the punishment subsequently inflicted on the leaders. The
other towns united in a letter to the Justicia, declaring Philip to be
the defender of the fueros and those who resisted him to be the
violators, and the same ground was taken by the nobles and gentry
outside of Saragossa. Villahermosa and Aranda had remained in the city
by Philip's orders, and were forced to serve on the council of war which
was formed, but they were regarded with suspicion and were insulted and

This practical abandonment produced profound discouragement and the
gates were locked to prevent desertions, but all who could left the
city. The leaders, however were too deeply compromised to withdraw and,
in their irritation, they provoked quarrels and discord. To give an air
of legality to resistance the leadership of the Justicia was essential,
and they summoned Juan de Lanuza to take the field with the municipal
forces. He and the Diputado Juan de Luna established relations with
Villahermosa and Aranda and all four agreed to escape on the occasion of
a review to be held on November 7th, but when Lanuza ordered a gate to
be opened and the review to be held outside the walls, there was a cry
of treason. Villahermosa and Aranda succeeded in escaping and took
refuge in Epila, a fortified town belonging to Aranda, but Lanuza and
Luna were pulled from their horses and were with difficulty rescued

Bruised as he was, however, Lanuza was forced, the next day, to take the
field at the head of four hundred men, the rest of the forces following
the next day, and with a so-called army of two thousand he advanced to
Utebo, to contest the advance of Vargas, who had crossed the border
November 7th with a well-equipped force of twelve thousand foot and two
thousand horse, supported by sufficient artillery. A messenger from
Vargas offering terms gave him an opportunity of escape and, accompanied
by Luna, he sought the refuge of Epila. When the news of this spread
through the camp the little army disbanded and Vargas, on November 12th,
presented himself before the Aljafería, to the great joy of the
inquisitors. The viceroy and officials came forth to welcome him, and he
made a triumphal entry into the city. The plaza of the cathedral was
made a _place d'armes_, heavy guards were posted, cannon commanded the
streets and the soldiers were billeted on the citizens. The working
classes had abandoned the town and there were more than fifteen hundred
vacant houses.

[Sidenote: _ANTONIO PEREZ_]

Pérez had been watching the wreck of his schemes of vengeance, and, not
caring to share in the ruin that he had wrought, he sought to save
himself. Martin de Lanuza escorted him to a gate and had it opened for
him and, on the 10th, two days before the arrival of Vargas, he took
the road to Sallent, on the French frontier. The next day Don Martin
offered to the Diputados to die for the city if they proposed to defend
it, but, as they did not, he suggested that the gates be opened and that
all who desired be allowed to depart. This was done and, in the exodus
that followed, he betook himself to the mountains in order to save

Resistance had ceased, but there was still some apprehension as to what
was known as the Junta of Epila, where Lanuza had invited a conference
to consult as to the best means of preserving the fueros. Such fears
were superfluous. Villahermosa and Aranda, at the earnest request of
Vargas, returned to Saragossa; Luna went into hiding and Lanuza retired
to his lands at Badallur, subsequently coming to Saragossa and resuming
his functions as Justicia. Vargas conducted himself with great
adroitness, receiving most graciously deputations from the towns,
inviting absentees to return and assuring every one that the fueros
would be respected. Then, on November 28th came the Marquis of Lombay,
as special royal commissioner, with letters assuring the preservation of
the fueros and clemency for culprits. He was received with great
distinction and was hailed as an _Angel de Paz_; all was thought to be
settled peacefully and the refugees returned. Vargas and Lombay urged
Philip to issue a general pardon with specified exceptions, to limit the
Inquisition to matters absolutely its own, to assemble the Córtes under
his own presidency and they even suggested Aranda as the new viceroy.

Suddenly this dream of pacification was dispelled. Without communicating
his resolve to any one, Philip sent, by a secret messenger, an order
written in his own hand and not countersigned, to arrest the Justicia at
once "and let me know of his death as soon as of his arrest." He was to
be beheaded, his estates confiscated and his castles and houses razed to
the ground. Villahermosa and Aranda were likewise to be arrested and to
be sent to Castile.

Vargas felt acutely his position in being thus forced to belie his
promises of clemency, but he was a soldier, trained to obey orders.
Lombay was indignant at the use made of him and asked to be relieved, a
request promptly granted for the court had no further need of him.
Vargas lost no time in executing the royal commands. The next morning,
December 19th, at 11 o'clock, Lanuza was arrested as he and his
lieutenant were on their way to mass, prior to opening their court.
Villahermosa and Aranda were enticed to Vargas's quarters on a pretext;
he detained them in friendly conversation until word was brought of
Lanuza's arrest, when he dismissed them and they were arrested as they
left him. In three hours they were placed in coaches, each with two
captains charged not to lose sight of them. Four companies of horse and
a thousand infantry guarded them to the border, after which two
companies of foot conducted them, Villahermosa to the castle of Burgos
and Aranda to the Mota of Medina del Campo. Both died in prison.

The early light of the next dawn showed a black scaffold erected in the
market-place; the troops were under arms and cannon guarded the
approaches. The citizens shut themselves up in their houses and there
were none present but the soldiery who, we are told, although
Castilians, shed tears over the fate of Lanuza, whose brief three months
of office had brought him to such end. The executioner struck off his
head while he was reciting a hymn to the Virgin and he was honorably
buried, in the tomb of his ancestors in the church of San Felipe, the
bier being borne on the shoulders of high officers of the Castilian

This unexpected blow aroused indescribable terror throughout Aragon, and
the impression caused by the revelation of the hidden purposes of the
king was intensified by his granting to the Governor a commission
authorizing him to punish the notoriously guilty without regard to the
fueros. Under this there followed arrests and executions of those
compromised in the troubles, especially of those concerned in the death
of Almenara, including many men of rank, who were generally regarded as
innocent, or at most as lightly culpable. No one felt himself safe, and
the sense of insecurity was heightened by the razing of the houses of
the victims--the palace of the Lanuzas, one of the most conspicuous in
Saragossa, and those of Diego de Heredia, Martin de Lanuza, Pedro de
Bolea, Manuel Don Lope and others--the ruins made in the principal
streets symbolizing to the people the destruction of their liberties.
Nor was the Inquisition remiss in vindicating its insulted dignity. The
inquisitors had been changed and the tribunal now consisted of Pedro
Zamora, Velarde de la Concha and Juan Moriz de Salazar, who fully
realized the work expected of them. They filled the prisons of the
Aljafería with men of all classes, who had taken part in obstructing the
action of the Holy Office, though they subsequently, under orders from
Philip, delivered to Vargas certain of their prisoners who were marked
for execution for offences outside of inquisitorial jurisdiction.

[Sidenote: _ANTONIO PEREZ_]

Satisfied with the impression thus made, Philip now took measures to
calm the agitation. He withdrew the special commission of the Governor
of Aragon and promised to the accused a regular trial by an impartial
Aragonese judge. Then, on January 17, 1592, there was solemnly
proclaimed in Saragossa a general pardon, in which the king dwelt on his
love for Aragon and on his clemency, but also on his duty to enforce
justice and uphold the Inquisition. There were certain classes excepted
from the benefit of the amnesty, which, when subsequently applied to
individuals, amounted to 196, whom every one was ordered by proclamation
to capture wherever found. The promised impartial judge was appointed in
the person of Doctor Miguel Lanz, whose ignorance and cruelty were the
cause of bitter complaints.

It was part of Philip's tranquilizing policy that the Inquisition should
issue simultaneously an edict of pardon, with exceptions like his own.
The two classes of culprits were largely distinct, and the tension of
the public mind could not be relieved until the extent of both should be
known. With this view, when drawing up his own proclamation, he ordered
the Suprema to do the same, but he encountered resistance. The
Inquisition was playing for its own hand. It had not only to avenge
insults endured but it was resolved to make the most of the opportunity
to break down the obstinate resistance in Aragon to its arbitrary
proceedings. The Suprema was therefore indisposed to accede to Philip's
wishes and, in a consulta of January 2d, it asked for delay. To this
Philip replied, in his own handwriting, that the postponement would
prevent the desired restoration of confidence and, where there were so
many involved, it sufficed to punish those most guilty. He was about to
publish his own pardon and he charged the Suprema to do the same on its
part with all despatch.

Considerations such as these had no weight with the Suprema, which
calmly disregarded the king's wishes. The silence of the Inquisition
kept alive popular anxiety and, on March 3d, Philip renewed his urgency.
The pardon should be such as to give satisfaction to the people,
relieving from infamy those comprehended in it who should come and
confess spontaneously. Proceedings could be taken against those arrested
and fugitives, who could be summoned by edicts, and the pardon could be
general, excepting the prisoners and those cited and to be cited in
contumacy, without giving names, but all this he left to the Suprema to
do what it deemed best for the authority of the Holy Office.

Philip evidently shrank from too positive insistence, and the Suprema on
various pretexts continued to postpone the pardon. In answer to renewed
urgency, it presented a consulta, April 29th, reporting its operations,
according to which the tribunal of Saragossa had recently voted the
arrest of a hundred and seventy-six persons; it had already seventy-four
in its prisons, and it contemplated the prosecution of three
hundred--which explains the reluctance to issue a general pardon. This
was so contrary to the policy of the king that he replied by suggesting
the liberation on bail of those whose offences admitted of it, and
suspending arrest in cases that might reasonably be condoned. He made no
allusion, this time, to a general pardon and the Inquisition carried its
point. Without issuing a pardon, on October 20th it celebrated an auto
de fe with more than eighty culprits, of whom all were impeders of its
free action, except a few Moriscos and a bigamist. Six were relaxed,
ostensibly as guilty of homicide in the disturbances of September 24,
1591, and the rest were penanced, mostly by exile from Aragon, although
some were sent to the galleys, among whom was Manuel Don Lope. The
procession at the auto was closed with the effigy of Pérez, condemned to
the flames in a sentence which, we are told, recited a million of
arrogant and ill-sounding propositions against God and the king, his
affection for Vandoma (Henry IV), treasons committed in his office of
Secretary, strong indications of sodomy, his flight to France, his
listening to preachers and taking communion with Huguenots, sufficient
to prove him a Huguenot, with presumption that all his actions had been
directed to that end and to destroy the Inquisition, as he was a
descendant of Jews and great-grandson of Aubon Pérez, a Jew who relapsed
after conversion, was burnt and his sanbenito was hanging in the church
of Calatayud. The sentence was relaxation, with disabilities of

[Sidenote: _ANTONIO PEREZ_]

On the day of the auto Philip was at Rioja, on his way to Tarazona,
where the Córtes which had been called had been sitting and had nearly
finished its labors. As the Inquisition had still withheld its general
pardon, he again insisted that it be put into shape and sent to him, in
order that everything might be concluded before he reached Tarazona.
Still unsatiated and procrastinating, the Suprema replied with the names
of eleven persons, whom it characterized as principal leaders of the
tumults and asked him to give such instructions as he pleased. He
responded that he would delay answering till he reached Tarazona and
could survey the aspect of matters there. Some days later he wrote
asking that the propriety of issuing the pardon should be discussed, as
also the form which it should have. Thereupon the Suprema sent him a
form, with a letter to the inquisitors which he could forward, at the
same time stating that there were objections. The royal pardon was
unconditional and took effect of itself, but the Inquisition was not so
easily satisfied and required that all who availed themselves of its
mercy should make personal application and submission. The papal decree
_Si de protegendis_ inflicted an _ipso facto_ anathema on all who
obstructed in any way the action of the Holy Office, and this censure
had to be removed, wherefore the proposed formula required that all
applicants for pardon should seek relief from the censures, those
present within two months, and the absent within four, but the Suprema
added that publication should be preceded by edicts against seven
specified persons and others notoriously guilty who could not be named
without violating the secrecy of the Inquisition. Even this the Suprema
felt to be too great a concession, and the next day it forwarded another
consulta, saying that it had received from the Saragossa tribunal the
names of some parties notoriously and deeply inculpated; there was
evidence of their guilt in the tribunal and it had commenced action
against them with edicts. This was submitted to the king so that he
could order the inquisitors to commence before publishing the pardon, in
order that the parties might be excepted. Philip disregarded this last
effort of the Inquisition to maintain its hold on those who had offended
it. Without further correspondence he sent the pardon to Saragossa with
orders for its publication, which was done with great solemnity,
November 23d, when more than five hundred penitents presented

Meanwhile the Córtes had been employed in modifying the institutions of
Aragon to meet the wishes of the king. While resolved thus to take full
advantage of the opportunity, he was shrewd enough to see that such a
settlement to be enduring must be in conformity with the fueros. While
his army still overawed the land he therefore convoked the Córtes, which
met at Tarazona, June 15, 1592. According to rule, he should have
presided over it, but he desired not to enter Aragon until the trials
and executions under Dr. Miguel Lanz should be completed, and, though he
left Madrid May 30th, he took the circuitous route by way of Valladolid,
and his leisurely journey was interrupted by attacks of gout. After some
difficulty, the Córtes accepted the presidency of Archbishop Bobadilla,
and modified the immemorial rule requiring unanimity in each of the
four _brazos_ or chambers. The way being thus cleared, and still further
smoothed by a lavish distribution of "graces," it was merely a work of
time to obtain the adoption of a carefully devised series of fueros
which, without changing the form of Aragonese institutions, removed the
limitations on the royal power which had so long been the peculiar boast
of the kingdom. The changes were too numerous for recapitulation here in
full; some of them were beneficial in facilitating the punishment of
crime, but the most important from the monarch's stand-point were those
which established his right to appoint viceroys who were not Aragonese;
which placed in his hands the nomination and dismissal of the Justicia
and the nomination of his lieutenants, with preponderance in the
machinery for hearing complaints against the latter; which took from the
Diputados the power of convoking the cities and citizens, which limited
the amount that they could spend, and which transferred from them to the
crown control over the rural police; which prohibited raising the cry of
"libertad" under penalties extending even to death; which provided
punishment for offences against royal officials; which established
extradition for crime between Castile and Aragon; which required the
royal licence for the printing of books, and which deprived the lands of
the nobles, secular and ecclesiastical, of the right of asylum for
criminals. Thus the Justicia and his court, which had been the pride of
the land, became in fact, if not in name a royal court; the Diputados,
who had been the executive of the popular will, were deprived of all
dangerous exercise of authority, the barriers against the encroachments
of arbitrary power were removed, and all this had been accomplished
through the representatives of the people, apparently of their own

[Sidenote: _ANTONIO PEREZ_]

When, early in December, Philip at Tarazona held the solio in which he
confirmed the acts of the Córtes, he followed it with a general pardon,
liberating all those prosecuted by Dr. Lanz, except the jurists and
lieutenants of the Justicia, who had counselled resistance and who were
punished with exile. Cosme Pariente, an unlucky poet, was sent to the
galleys as the author of the pasquinades which had stimulated revolt,
and there was another significant exception. Philip's inextinguishable
hatred of his favorite still kept in prison Juana Coello and her seven
children, the youngest of whom was born in captivity. Thus they
languished for nine years until their gaoler had passed away. Philip III
signalized the first year of his reign with pardoning those excepted in
his father's edicts and, in April 1599, Juana was set free. She
hesitated to leave her children, the eldest of whom was in her twentieth
year, but she finally did so to labor for their release, which she
accomplished in the following August. The friends of Pérez sought to
have him included in the royal mercy, but were told that his offence was
a matter of the Inquisition with which the king could not interfere.

Before relieving Aragon of his army, Philip caused the Aljafería to be
fortified and lodged there a garrison of two hundred men to keep the
turbulent city in check. To this the inquisitors objected strongly, and
asked to be transferred to some other habitation, but he refused, as
their protection served as an excuse for the garrison. They never grew
reconciled to their unwelcome guests and, in 1617 and again in 1618, we
find them complaining that the soldiers exercised control over the
castle and that their audacious pretensions diminished greatly the
popular respect due to the Holy Office.[551] Their remonstrances were
unheeded until, in 1626, Philip IV, as a special favor transferred the
garrison to Jaca.

Pérez and his friends had succeeded in reaching Béarn, where they were
welcomed by the governess, Catherine, sister of Henry IV. Imagining that
a small force would raise the Aragonese in defence of their liberties,
they persuaded Henry to try the experiment, to be followed, in case of
success, by an army of fifteen or twenty thousand men, to wrench from
Spain Aragon, Catalonia and Valencia, and form a republic under French
protection. In February, 1592, therefore, some fifteen hundred or two
thousand Béarnese, under the leadership of Martin Lanuza, Gil de Mesa,
Manuel Don Lope, and Diego de Heredia attempted an invasion, but the
Aragonese rose against them. Embarrassed by the deep snows in the
mountains, they attempted to retreat but were vigorously attacked and
most of them were taken prisoners, including Dionisio Pérez, Francisco
de Ayerbe and Diego de Heredia. Vargas liberated the Béarnese, but the
refugees were sent to Saragossa, where they expiated their treason on
the scaffold.

In spite of this misadventure, Pérez was warmly welcomed and was
pensioned by Henry IV, as a personage of importance, a statesman versed
in all the arts of Spanish diplomacy. The peace of Vervins, however, in
1598 reduced him to insignificance. Age and infirmities overtook him and
his adventurous existence terminated in misery, November 3, 1611, when
he manifested every sign of fervent Catholicism. After his death, Juana
Coello and his children undertook the vindication of his memory and
solicited to be heard in his defence. It was not, however, until January
22, 1613 that the Suprema presented to Philip III a consulta
recommending that the widow and children should be heard by the
Saragossa tribunal. Sentences rendered _in absentia_, as we have seen,
were never regarded as conclusive, but the tribunal was unforgiving. It
interposed delays and then, on March 16, 1615, it rendered an adverse
judgement. This the Suprema refused to confirm and, after an obstinate
resistance, the tribunal, on June 19th was forced to utter a sentence
absolving the memory and fame of Antonio Pérez, declaring the limpieza
of his blood and pronouncing that his descendants were under no
disabilities. Nothing, however, was said about removing the confiscation
of his property, probably because this had been decreed both by the
secular sentence of July 17, 1590 and by the inquisitorial one of
October 20, 1592.[552]


Thus in this, the most prominent instance of inquisitorial political
intervention, the Holy Office was invoked only as a last resort, when
all other methods had failed, and, when it was called in, so far from
being the obsequious instrument of the royal will, it resolutely sought
to advance its own interests with little regard for the policy of the

Yet the impression made at the time is reflected in the report of the
Venetian envoy, Agostino Nano, in 1598, when he says that the king can
be termed the head of the Inquisition, for he appoints the inquisitors
and officials. He uses it to hold in check his subjects and to punish
them with the secrecy and severity of its procedure, when he cannot do
so with the ordinary secular authority of the Royal Council. The
Inquisition and the Royal Council mutually help each other in matters of
state for the king's service.[553] This was a not unnatural conclusion
to draw from a case of this nature, but the royal power, by this time,
was too securely intrenched to require such aid. It was only the
peculiar features of the Aragonese fueros that called for the invention
of a charge of heresy in a political matter. The Inquisition, as a rule,
considered it no part of its duties to uphold the royal power for, in
1604, we find it sentencing Bartolomé Pérez to a severe reprimand, a
fine of ten thousand maravedís and a year's exile for saying that
obedience to the king came before that due to the pope and to the
Church.[554] Thus the mere denial of the superiority of the spiritual
power over the temporal was a crime.

Sporadic cases occurred in which special considerations called for the
aid of the Inquisition, but they were not numerous and were apt to be
directed against ecclesiastics, whose privilege exempted them from the
secular courts. Such was that of the Jesuit, Juan de Mariana,
distinguished in many ways, but especially by his classical History of
Spain. He had served the Inquisition well as a censor of books, but in
his _Tractatus septem_, published anonymously at Cologne, in 1609, in an
essay on the debased Spanish coinage, the freedom with which he
reprobated its evils and spoke of the malfeasance of officials gave
great offence to the royal favorite Lerma and his creatures. Had Mariana
been a layman there would have been no trouble in punishing him
severely, but to reach the Jesuit Philip invoked the papal nuncio
Caraffa and the Toledo tribunal took a hand. The whole proceeding was
irregular and the pope was asked to render sentence, but, after a year's
imprisonment, Mariana was liberated, without an imputation on his
character, and he died, in 1624, full of years and honor, at the age of

It is true that, when the Barcelona tribunal was battling to maintain
its pretensions against the Córtes of Catalonia, it represented, in
1632, in a memorial of Philip IV, among its other claims to
consideration, the secret services often rendered in obtaining
information and in the arrest of powerful persons, which could not
otherwise be so well accomplished. Its thorough organization, no doubt,
occasionally enabled it to be of use in this manner, and there was no
scruple in calling upon it for such work, as in 1666, when Don Pedro de
Sossa, the farmer of the tax of millones, in Seville, absconded with a
large sum of money and was understood to be making his way to France,
the Suprema wrote to Barcelona and doubtless to other tribunals at the
ports and frontier districts, with a description of his person and an
order to arrest him and embargo his property.[556]

The prosecutions of the two fallen favorites, Rodrigo Calderon, in 1621
and Olivares, in 1645, were not state affairs but intrigues, to prevent
their return to favor and were rendered unnecessary, in the one case by
the decapitation of Calderon and in the other by the death of
Olivares.[557] The secrecy of the Inquisition and its methods of
procedure rendered it a peculiarly favorable instrumentality for such
manoeuvres, as was seen in the Villanueva case, as well as for the
gratification of private malice, and it was doubtless frequently so
abused, but this has no bearing on its use as a political agency.


With the advent of the Bourbon dynasty there was a change. In the
governmental theory of Louis XIV the Church was part of the State and
subject to the dictation of the monarch. In the desperate struggle of
the War of Succession, the advisers of the young Philip V had no
hesitation in employing all the resources within reach and the
Inquisition was expected to play its part. At an early period of the
conflict, the Suprema sent orders to the tribunals to enjoin earnestly,
on all their officials, fidelity to the king, who thus had the benefit
of a well-distributed army of missionaries in every quarter of the
land.[558] It was easy, as we have seen, for inquisitorial logic to
stretch the elastic definition of heresy in any desired direction, and
lack of loyalty to Philip was made to come within its boundaries. In an
edict of October 9, 1706, the Suprema pointed out that Clement XI had
threatened punishment for all priests who faltered in their devotion to
the king, yet notwithstanding this there were some who in the
confessional urged penitents to disobedience and relieved them from the
obligation of their oath of allegiance. This was a manifest abuse of the
sacrament and, as it was the duty of the Inquisition to maintain the
purity of the faith and prevent the evil resulting from a doctrine so
pernicious, all penitents so solicited were ordered, within nine days,
to denounce their confessors, under pain of excommunication and other
discretional penalties.[559]

The Inquisition, during the war, was especially serviceable in dealing
with ecclesiastics, who were beyond the reach of secular and military
courts, and this in cases where there was no pretence of heresy. The
events of 1706--the capture and loss of Madrid by the Allies and the
revolutions in Valencia and Catalonia--occasioned a number of trials for
high treason. The Suprema was still in Burgos when Philip V informed
Inquisitor-general Vidal Marin that he had ordered the arrest of Juan
Fernando Frias, a cleric, who was to be delivered to the Inquisition at
Burgos, to be tried for high treason, with all speed. The Suprema
replied, August 13th, that it had placed Frias in safe custody,
incomunicado; the inquisitor-general had commissioned the Prior of Santa
María de Palacio of Logroño to serve on the tribunal, and there should
be the least possible delay in the verification and punishment of the
offence. It assured the king that he could rely on the promptest
fulfilment of his wishes and of the _vindicta publica_, for the
Apostolic jurisdiction of the Suprema extended to the infliction of the
death-penalty.[560] In its loyal zeal it took no thought of
irregularity. Indeed, the Suprema seems to have issued commissions to
tribunals to act in such cases. In 1707, Isidro de Balmaseda, Inquisitor
of Valencia, signs himself as "Inquisidor y Juez Apostólico contra los
eclesiasticos difidentes," in the case of Fray Peregrin Gueralt,
lay-brother of the Servite convent of Quarto, whom the testimony showed
to be an adherent of the Archduke Charles, industriously carrying
intelligence to the Allies and, on his return, spreading false reports,
to the disturbance of men's minds. In this trial the formality of a
_clamosa_ by the fiscal was omitted; the inquisitors had the testimony
taken and on receiving it ordered the arrest of Gueralt without
submitting it to calificadores.[561]

From this time forward the Inquisition was at the service of the State
whenever it was required to suppress opinions that were regarded as
dangerous though, when its interests clashed with those of the crown,
the cases of Macanaz and Belando show that it could still assert its
aggressive independence. As the century wore on, however, it became more
and more subservient. A writer about 1750, while regretting that it did
not repress the Probabilism of the fashionable Moral Theology, gives it
hearty praise for its political utility; it is not only, he says,
engaged in preserving the purity of the faith, but, in an ingenious way,
it maintains the peace of the State and the subordination due to the
king and the magistracy. In his wars Philip V made use occasionally of
its tribunals in difficult conjunctures with happy results and therefore
he honored and distinguished it throughout his reign.[562]


Thus, as its original functions declined, a new career was opened. We
have seen how its censorship was utilized to prevent the incursion of
modern liberalism, and its procedure was similarly employed against
individuals. With the outbreak of the French Revolution, its vigilance
was directed especially against the propagation of the dangerous
doctrines of popular liberty, and any expression of sympathy with events
beyond the Pyrenees was sufficient to justify prosecution. As early as
1790, Jacques Jorda, a Frenchman, was tried by the Barcelona tribunal
for propositions antagonistic to the spiritual and temporal authorities,
and prosecutions for such offences continued to be frequent. In 1794,
during the war with the French Republic, even so important a personage
as Don Antonio Ricardo, general-in-chief of the army in Roussillon, was
on trial by the tribunal of Madrid for utterances in sympathy with
occurrences in France and, at the same time, his secretary, Don Josef
del Borque, was undergoing a similar experience in the Logroño
tribunal.[563] War carried on in such fashion could not fail to be

This prostitution of an ecclesiastical tribunal to temporal purposes was
one of the reasons given by the Córtes of Cádiz for its abolition. Even
its chief defender, Fray Maestro Alvarado, could not deny the
accusation, but, he turned the tables by ascribing the fault to the
Jansenists, to whom the orthodox attributed all the evils of the time.
It was they, he argued who mingled religion and politics, and set the
State above the Church.[564] He did not live to see the refutation of
his dialectics, when Ultramontanism triumphed in the Restoration, and
the political functions of the Inquisition became still more prominent.
In 1814, a copy of the treaty of July 30th with Louis XVIII was sent to
the tribunals in order that they might enforce the clauses appertaining
to them, and when, in 1815, the news of Napoleon's return from Elba was
received, King Fernando, by an order of April 8th, included the
tribunals of the Inquisition in the instructions given to the military
and ecclesiastical authorities to keep watch on the frontier against
surprises, and to guard in the interior against the artifices and
seductions of the disaffected.[565] In fact, we may say, the chief work
expected of the Inquisition was that of the _haute police_, for which
its organization rendered it especially fitted. April 8, 1817 we find it
notified that the refugees, General Renovales and Colonel Peon,
accomplices in the attempted rising of Juan Diaz Porlier in Galicia,
were hovering on the Portuguese border. The tribunal of Santiago
(Galicia) was therefore to put itself in communication with that of
Coimbra, it was to devise means for their capture and, through its
commissioners and familiars, find out what was on foot, for the security
of the throne and of the altar required of the Holy Office extreme
vigilance under existing circumstances. The inquisitor-general forwarded
this to Galicia with orders to execute it "at once, at once, at once"
and, not content with this, instructions were sent to the tribunals of
Murcia, Córdova, Saragossa and Barcelona, all of which responded with
promises of the utmost activity and of watchfulness over
reactionaries.[566] So, in 1818 the Logroño tribunal reported that its
commissioner at Hernani (Guipúzcoa) reported that he had heard a person
utter the proposition _"La nacion es soberana."_ To this the Suprema
replied that this was a matter of high importance and might lead to
great results. Llano must make a formal denunciation with all details;
also he must declare why he suspected Don Joseph Joaquin de Mariategui,
and how he knows of his journey to France and England and his relations
with the refugees there--all of which must be done with the utmost
caution and speed and the results be reported.[567]

It is scarce worth while to multiply trivial details like these to
indicate how efficient a political agency the Inquisition had become
under the Restoration. Its activity in this direction continued until
the end and when, in the Revolution of 1820 at Seville, on March 10th,
the doors of the secret prison were thrown open, the three prisoners
liberated were political.[568]

       *       *       *       *       *

Besides these direct political services, the Inquisition was sometimes
called upon by the State to aid in enforcing secular laws, when the
civil organization found itself unequal to the duty. The most
conspicuous instance of this is found in the somewhat incongruous matter
of preventing the export of horses.


From a very early period this was regarded with great jealousy. From the
twelfth century onward, the Córtes of Leon and Castile, in their
petitions, constantly asked that the prohibition should be enforced and,
at those of Burgos in 1338, Alfonso XI decreed death and confiscation
for it, even if the offenders were hidalgos, a ferocious provision which
was renewed by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1499.[569] Aragon, which lay
between Castile and France, suffered from this embargo. The Córtes of
Monzon, in 1528, petitioned Charles V for the pardon of certain citizens
who had drawn horses from Castile and were condemned to death and other
penalties, to which Charles replied that he would not pardon those who
had carried horses to France; as for those who had merely taken them to
Aragon, if they could be pointed out, he would grant them pardon.
Another complaint of the Córtes indicates the rigid methods adopted to
prevent evasions. If an Aragonese went to Castile on business, he was
allowed to remain ninety days; if he exceeded the limit, on his return
his horse was seized at the frontier, even though at the same place by
which he had entered.[570] Severe as were these measures, they were
ineffective. Contraband trade of all kinds flourished in the wild
mountain districts along the French frontier, and the prohibition
respecting a beast of burden, which transported itself, was notoriously
difficult of enforcement.

In 1552, we find the Suprema ordering the Saragossa tribunal to
prosecute and punish one of its commissioners in the mountains of Jaca,
accused of passing horses to France, but this was evidently due to the
fact that the offender was entitled to the fuero of the
Inquisition.[571] There was as yet no ingenious attribution of suspicion
of heresy to this contraband trade and, when in 1564, the Córtes of
Monzon prohibited the exportation of horses and mares from Aragon, the
only reason alleged was their scarcity in the kingdom.[572] The third
Lateran Council, however, in 1179, had denounced excommunication and
severe penalties on all who furnished the infidel with warlike material,
and this had been carried into the Corpus Juris; Nicholas IV had
specifically included horses and had sharpened the penalties; Boniface
VIII, in 1299, had placed the offence under the jurisdiction of the Holy
Office, and had ordered all inquisitors to make vigilant inquest in
their districts, and the prohibition was repeated in the annual bulls
_In coena Domini_.[573] The south of France, and especially the
contiguous territory of Béarn, had become interpenetrated with heresy
and a colorable pretext was afforded of invoking the aid of the
Inquisition to suppress the contraband traffic.


This was first confided, in 1573, to the tribunal of Saragossa, by a
commission empowering it to act in the premises. It accordingly inserted
in the Edict of Faith a clause requiring the denunciation of all who
sold arms or horses to infidels, heretics, or Lutherans, or who passed,
or assisted to pass, them to Lutheran lands. This brought in numerous
denunciations but, as there were no means of knowing what became of the
horses after they passed the border, the tribunal was powerless to
prosecute and so reported to the Suprema. It replied, August 25, 1573,
that further provision was necessary; assuming that Béarn was inhabited
by heretics under heretic rulers, the tribunal could proceed against and
punish, as fautors of heretics, those who bought or sold or passed
horses to Béarn, even when it did not appear that they had been sold to
heretics, and it was urged to be active in the matter. The edict was
therefore modified to include, as fautors of heretics, all concerned in
passing horses to Béarn; it was sent, with a secretary, to all the
principal fairs where horses were sold, to be published in the church,
with notice that the commissioner would receive any one who desired to
unburden his conscience. Exportation was forbidden, unless the owner was
known and would give security that the horses were not to be taken to
Béarn, or else would present himself with his horses before the
inquisitors within a designated time, so that note could be taken of the
animals and an account be required as to their destination. Another
device, which proved effective, was to register all the horses at the
fairs, with descriptions and the names of the owners, who were required
to keep an account of all sales and purchasers. This however, applied
only to natives; as for Frenchmen and Béarnais, any horses that they had
were seized without ceremony; if the owner was a Frenchman, the horses
would be kept, awaiting instructions from the Suprema; if a Béarnais, he
was seized with his horses and prosecuted, as being included in the
Edict. Spaniards found with horses going towards France or Béarn, were
treated like Frenchmen--the horses were sold to pay expenses and, if any
balance was left, it was handed to the receiver. Pains, moreover were
taken to find who made a trade of passing horses to France; they were
arrested on some pretext and thrown into prison; if evidence were found
against them, they were prosecuted; if not, after detention they were
released under bail, because, as the inquisitors said, there was no
penalty expressed in the Edict or in the laws of the kingdom. In view of
the risk that the parties might apply for a firma or manifestacion, the
Suprema was asked for further instructions, when it replied, July 1,
1574, that the prosecutions were to be conducted as in cases of heresy,
the accused be required to give their genealogies and then, if recourse
was had to manifestacion, it was to be met with an assertion that the
case was a matter of faith. Yet the fraudulent character of this
assumption is revealed in the admission that the secular magistrates
could prosecute for the offence.[574]

Thus the zeal and activity of the Inquisition, working through its
disregard of all laws, and its methods of procedure, virtually placed
under its control the whole trade of the kingdom in horse-flesh.
Encouraged by this, the Saragossa tribunal sought a still further
extension of jurisdiction and, in 1576, it reported to the Suprema great
activity in the exportation to France, Béarn and Gascony of arquebuses,
powder, sheet iron for cuirasses and other warlike material, and it
suggested an edict concerning that trade similar to that respecting
horses. To this the Suprema assented, with the caution that it must be
understood that these arms and munitions were intended for
heretics.[575] The difficulty inherent in this probably prevented
action, for I have met with no case of its enforcement.

It will be observed that the Saragossa tribunal pointed out that there
was no penalty defined by law for the offence. This omission was
rectified in the Córtes of Tarazona, in 1592, which deprived of what was
known as the _via privilegiata_ a long list of crimes, including that of
passing horses and munitions of war to Béarn and France, with the
addition that it could be punished with the death-penalty.[576]

A decision of the Suprema, rendered to the Barcelona tribunal in 1582,
was to the effect that, if horses were taken to France, it must be
ascertained whether they were for heretics in order to justify
prosecution by the Inquisition, but, if to Béarn, that alone
sufficed.[577] In time this nice distinction was abandoned, although the
fiction was maintained that it was a matter of faith. About 1640, an
inquisitor informs us that it was customary to punish those who exported
horses or warlike material to France, even though there were no evidence
that they were for heretics, for the act was very prejudicial. The
accused was generally confined in the secret prison, the trial was
conducted as one of faith, and was voted upon in a regular consulta de
fe, including the episcopal Ordinary. Unless the case was light, the
culprit appeared in a public auto. If he belonged to the lower classes,
he was sometimes scourged; if of higher estate, he suffered exile and a
fine, together with forfeiture of the horse or, if it had been passed
successfully, he paid double its value. In the case of a Benedictine
abbot, who had passed one or two horses to France, the Suprema fined him
in six hundred ducats and suspended him from his functions for a year.
Sometimes the sentence included disability for public office for both
the culprit and his descendants.[578]

Oddly enough, in the case of Antonio Pérez this matter emerges for a
moment in a manner significant of the uses to which it could be put. In
the Spring of 1591, when it was desirable to suppress Diego de Heredia,
Inquisitor-general Quiroga wrote, March 20th to the Saragossa tribunal,
that he was suspected of passing horses to France. By April 4th, the
tribunal was taking testimony to show that, a year or two before, he had
sold two horses to a Frenchman for three hundred and sixty libras and
that they were to be taken to France. There had been no secrecy in the
transaction and further evidence was obtained that Heredia brought
horses from Castile to Saragossa, whence they were taken to the
mountains and were seen no more.[579] The events of May 24th, however,
rendered further researches in this direction superfluous.

When this peculiar inquisitorial function was abandoned, does not
clearly appear. In 1667 the Barcelona tribunal prosecuted Eudaldo
Penstevan Bonguero for exporting horses to France. Already it would seem
that the cognizance of the offence had become obsolete for, in 1664 the
Suprema had called in question the competence of the tribunal to deal
with it, when it replied, July 23d, that it held a papal brief
conferring the faculty. The Suprema asked for an authentic copy of this
or of the instructions empowering it to act, but neither was forthcoming
and, on November 11, 1667, the Suprema again asked for them in order to
decide the case of Bonguero.[580] We should probably not err in
considering this to mark the last attempt to enforce a jurisdiction so
foreign to the real objects of the Holy Office.

[Sidenote: _COINAGE_]

A still more eccentric invocation of the terror felt for the
Inquisition, when the secular machinery failed to accomplish its
purpose, occurred when the debasement of the coinage threw Spanish
finance into inextricable confusion. The miserable vellon tokens were
forced into circulation at rates enormously beyond their intrinsic
value, and statesmen exhausted their ingenuity in devising clumsy
expedients to arrest their inevitable depreciation--punishments of all
kinds to keep down the premium on silver, and laws of maximum to
regulate prices, from shirts to house-rent. The rude coinage, mostly
battered and worn, was easily counterfeited, and there was large profit
in manufacturing it abroad and flooding Spain with it at its fictitious
valuation. Sanguinary laws were enacted to counteract this temptation,
and the offence was punishable, like heresy, with burning, confiscation
and the disabilities of descendants. To render this more effective, it
was declared to be a case for the Inquisition and, like the exportation
of horses, there was an attempt to disguise it as a matter of faith. A
carta acordada of February 6, 1627, informed the tribunals that it fell
within their jurisdiction if any heretic or fautor of heretics imported
vellon money for the purpose of exporting gold or silver or other
munitions of war, thus weakening the forces of the king, and all such
offences belonged exclusively to the Inquisition. But when this was done
by Catholics, for the sake of gain, the jurisdiction belonged
exclusively to the king and as such he granted it cumulatively to the
Inquisition, with the caution that, in competencias, censures were not
to be employed. A papal brief confirming this was expected and meanwhile
such prosecutions were to be conducted as matters of faith. It is not
likely that Urban VIII condescended to authorize such misuse of the
power delegated to the Inquisition for, in little more than a year,
Philip IV revoked this action and confined the cognizance of the offence
to the secular courts.[581]

       *       *       *       *       *

If, as we have seen, the Inquisition was not a political machine of the
importance that has been imagined, this was not through any lack of
willingness on its part to be so employed. When its services were
wanted, they were at the command of the State and if this rarely
occurred under the Hapsburg princes, it was because they were not



Jansenism is a convenient term wherewith to stigmatize as heresy
whatever is displeasing to Ultramontanism, whether in Church or State,
and it served as a pretext for the continued existence of the
Inquisition, after the older aberrations were exterminated. As a
concrete heresy, however, it defies accurate theological definition. It
took its rise in the interminable disputes over the insoluble questions
of predestination, grace and free will, as settled by St. Augustin and
the Second Council of Orange, and accepted by the Church, till the use
made of predestination by Calvin forced a modification by the Council of
Trent, and the daring Jesuit, Luis de Molina, revived the problem. Then
the discussion became a trial of strength between the rising Company of
Jesus and its elder rivals, the Augustinians and Dominicans, when
Clement VIII vainly imposed silence on the disputants. Cornelis Jansen,
Bishop of Ypres, sought to vindicate St. Augustin in his work entitled
"Augustinus," around which the controversy raged, until the Jesuits won
a victory, in 1653, by procuring the condemnation of the famous Five
Propositions, drawn from the work--a condemnation to which the followers
of Jansen assented, while denying that he had taught them.[582]


Another contest, of which we shall see the results, was waged over the
writings of Cardinal Henry Noris, in which the Jesuits suffered defeat.
He was also an Augustinian and professor of ecclesiastical history at
Pisa, who busied himself in vindicating the doctrines of St. Augustin.
Two of his works, the _Historia Pelagiana_ and the _Dissertatio de
Quinta Synodo OEcumenica_, were accused, before publication, of
Baianism and Jansenism; the MSS. were ordered to Rome and were
carefully examined by revisers, who pronounced them orthodox and licence
to print was granted. When published, interpolations in the press were
charged and disproved. Noris was called to Rome as chief of the Vatican
Library by Innocent XI and, as this was regarded as a step to the
cardinalate, fresh accusations of Jansenism were brought against him.
His promotion was deferred; eight theologians were set to work upon his
books; their favorable report was confirmed by the Congregation of the
Inquisition, and Innocent appointed him one of its consultors. Attacks
on him continued, which he answered in five dissertations, printed in
1685, when Innocent gave him a cardinal's hat and made him member of
several important congregations, including that of the Inquisition, in
which he served with distinction, until his death in 1704.[583]

France, however, was the principal seat of Jansenism, where the
impalpable doctrinal points involved, after the decision of 1653, were
obscured by more living issues. The Jansenists represented the more
austere and puritanical portion of the clergy, as opposed to the
supporters of the relaxed morality of Probabilism, of which the Jesuits
were the foremost advocates--an aspect of the controversy which has been
immortalized by Pascal. Besides, as Rome had decided against Jansen,
those who had defended him were naturally led to minimize the authority
of the Holy See, to disregard its condemnatory utterances as
subreptitious, to assert the supremacy of general councils, and to exalt
the independence and privileges of the Gallican Church, which, since the
time of St. Louis, in the thirteenth century, had steadily resisted the
encroachments of the papacy. There was a reinfusion of theology in the
quarrel, when the Jesuits procured the condemnation, in the Bull
_Unigenitus_, of Quesnel's views on sufficing contrition and inchoate
charity, but this was only another incident in the struggle between
rigorism and laxism.

While Jansenism thus was denounced as a heresy, it really was concerned
much less with faith than with discipline and morals, and every one
hostile to Probabilism, Jesuitism and Ultramontanism was stigmatized as
a Jansenist. Louis XIV and Madame de Maintenon, who had persecuted the
original Jansenists, were of the sect, because of their enforcement of
the royal prerogative; Bossuet was suspected of Jansenism for his
defence of the Declaration of the Gallican clergy, in 1682, against the
Ultramontane doctrines of the papal power; Cardinal Aguirre was a
Jansenist, because he opposed the laxity of Probabilism, and so was even
the Jesuit General, Tirso González, because he wrote a book to prove
that the Jesuits were not all laxists. When, under the protection of
Leopold, Grand-duke of Tuscany, Bishop Scipione de'Ricci, in his Council
of Pistoja, in 1786, sought, without papal authority, to effect an
internal reformation of his Church, he was a Jansenist and, after his
protector had been transferred to the imperial throne, Pius VI, in 1794,
had the satisfaction of condemning, in the bull _Auctorem fidei_, no
less than eighty-five errors of the Council, mostly Jansenistic. In
France the clergy were, for the most part, attached to Gallicanism and
were largely rigorist, so practically Jansenism flourished and made
itself felt in such measures as the expulsion of the Jesuits. The
ex-Jesuit Bolgeni took his revenge by writing a book to prove that the
Jacobinism of the Revolution was merely Jansenism in action. In fact,
the Civil Constitution of the Clergy of 1790 was clearly Jansenistic
because, without meddling with dogma, it embodied the democratic
development of Gallicanism.


Spain paid little attention to the theological controversy over Jansen,
though his works and those of his followers were duly condemned by the
Inquisition.[584] It is a curious illustration of this indifference that
when the great bibliographer, Nicolás Antonio, in defending Prudentius
against the attack of Hincmar of Reims, pronounced as good Catholic
doctrine the assertion of Prudentius that the blood of Christ was shed
only for believers and not for unbelievers, this, which is virtually the
same as the fifth of the condemned propositions of Jansen, escaped
attention. The book was printed in Rome at the expense of Cardinal
Aguirre; the Spanish Inquisition took no note of it in the Indexes of
1707 and 1747 and the passage is retained in the edition of 1788,
produced under the auspices of Carlos III.[585] Yet Spain could not keep
wholly out of the quarrel, for its Flemish provinces were a hot-bed of
Jansenism which could not be eradicated from the University of Louvain.
In 1649 Doctor Rescht, as the representative of the University and of
its great protector Engelbert Dubois, Archbishop of Malines, came to
Madrid, where he printed and circulated a memorial against the bull of
Urban VIII and the Archduke Leopold so insulting to both that the
Inquisition suppressed it, by a decree of September 13, 1650.[586] This
did not cool the ardor of the Flemish followers of Jansen and, in 1656,
Alexander VII felt obliged to address Don John of Austria, then Governor
of the Low Countries, with an urgent exhortation to suppress the
propagation of the condemned errors.[587]

The struggle continued and, soon after 1690, Carlos II was induced to
issue an order that all Jansenists and Rigorists and other innovators
should be dismissed and excluded from all offices and preferment,
secular and ecclesiastical. Under this decree some of the prominent
Jansenists were deprived and exiled, among them five doctors of
Louvain--Gummare Huygens, E. van Geet, G. Baerts, R. Backz and Willem
van den Enden. The persecuted sect appealed to Rome and procured from
Innocent XII a brief of February 6, 1694, addressed to the bishops,
forbidding that any one should be defamed for Jansenism on vague
charges, or be excluded from any spiritual function or office unless
convicted, in the regular order of justice, of having merited a
punishment so severe. This trammelled episcopal action, for it was
represented that the bishops could not be expected to undergo the
expense and the labor of regular trials requiring absolute proof and
subject to legal cavils, but it did not affect the secular arm and the
Elector of Bavaria, then Governor of Flanders, reiterated in October and
November 1695, to the Councils of the Provinces and the University, the
repeated royal orders to exclude from all ecclesiastical dignities and
secular employment those suspected of Jansenism and Rigorism. Then, on
March 1, 1696, Carlos modified his decrees in a manner to embolden the
schismatics, who seem to have had abundant popular and official support.
We hear of a writing in defence of the Catholic party being publicly
burnt by the executioner in Brussels, in front of the palace and, on
January 29, 1698, the people of Brussels went tumultuously to the
Archbishop of Malines, Ferdinand de Berlo de Brus, demanding that he
should withdraw his opposition to N. van Eesbeke, who had been appointed
by the chapter of the church of Sainte Gudule as their parish priest.
This condition of affairs led the Jesuit General González to address a
memorial to Carlos warning him that this spirit unless suppressed would
lead to the ruin of religion and the destruction of his dominions, and
supplicating, in terms much less respectful than Spanish custom
required, that he should represent to the pope the dangerous
consequences of the papal brief, that he should punish those who
procured it as well as the authors of a memorial presented to Carlos in
1696 and that he should order the Flemish bishops to disregard the
pretexts put forward as to vague accusations. The Jesuits overshot the
mark in this insolent interference, and the memorial was suppressed by
the Spanish Inquisition, in a decree of September 28, 1698, as insulting
to the authorities, secular and ecclesiastical, of Flanders.[588]

       *       *       *       *       *


Spain, though with less success than France, had long been struggling to
emancipate itself from papal control, and it is a curious paradox that
its most resolute assertion of political Jansenism arose from an attempt
to discredit doctrinal Jansenism. Jesuit influence had gradually
dominated the Inquisition and, as we have seen, Cardinal Noris was the
special object of Jesuit hatred. When, in 1721, the Augustinian Manso
published at Valladolid his "S. Augustinus de Virtutibus Infidelium,"
the work was condemned and suppressed in 1723, while virulent attacks on
him by Jesuits, in both Latin and the vernacular, were allowed free
circulation.[589] The culmination came when the Jesuit Padre Rábago,
confessor of Fernando VI, controlled the weak and irresolute
inquisitor-general Pérez de Prado y Cuesta, bringing about an anomalous
condition in which the Inquisition defied the Holy See, the so-called
Jansenists became the warmest defenders of papal authority, and the
Jesuits asserted the supremacy of the regalías.

When Prado y Cuesta assumed his office, in September, 1747, it was
announced that the Suprema had a new Index Expurgatorius in an advanced
state of preparation by the Jesuits Casani and Carrasco. The printing
was nearly finished, when the 1744 edition of the _Bibliothèque
Janseniste_ of the Jesuit Dominique de Colonia reached Madrid. This was
substantially a polemical work, a catalogue of writers and books opposed
to Jesuitism, and the Jesuits conceived the brilliant idea of printing
it as an appendix to the Index, and thus suppressing at one blow all
antagonistic literature. Some trifling omissions were made but, when the
Index appeared, it contained Noris's _Historia Pelagiana_ and
_Dissertatio_. There were many other equally orthodox books, but these
became the storm-centre as they had been repeatedly and formally
approved by the Holy See, after special examination. Appeal was made to
Benedict XIV, who addressed, July 31, 1748, to Prado y Cuesta a brief in
which he recited the investigations into Noris's books and pointed out
that all questions concerning them had been finally settled by the
solemn judgement of Rome, so that it was not lawful for the Spanish
Inquisition to reopen the question, and much less to condemn the books.
He could not patiently endure the injury thus without reason inflicted
on Noris and he admonished Prado y Cuesta to find means to avert discord
between Spain and Rome.[590]

The inquisitor-general adopted the favorite inquisitorial device of
evasion. He replied that he had found the Index nearly printed when he
assumed office; he had endeavored to have it issued without his name,
but this was impossible; he had not known that Noris's name was in it
until the Augustinians complained, and he dwelt on the difficulty of
making a change, especially in view of the grave reasons for which the
books had been included. This correspondence was strictly secret, but
the brief had been shown in Rome to the Augustinian procurador-general,
who sent a copy to Madrid, where it was busily transcribed and
circulated throughout the land, creating a tremendous sensation. Prado
y Cuesta, addressed, September 16, 1748, a bitter complaint to Benedict,
dwelling on the indiscretion of allowing such matters to be gossiped on
the streets, and of affording such comfort to the heretics. The Jesuit
party openly proclaimed the independence of the Spanish Inquisition in
such matters, and asserted that its honor was at stake. Padre Rábago
undertook to manage the king and induced him to inform the pope that he
would not permit any invasion of the privileges of the Inquisition.

The affair dragged on. Portocarrero, the ambassador to Rome, hurried to
Spain and came to a compromise with Prado y Cuesta, but Rábago, who
would agree to nothing but the submission of the Holy See, persuaded
Fernando to hold firm and the affair became a struggle between the
regalías and the papal supremacy, in which Noris was merely an incident.
Fernando wrote, July 1, 1749, to Benedict, stating plainly that he would
not permit his rights and those of the Inquisition to be impaired. It
was of no importance whether the faithful in Spain could or could not
read the works of Noris, but it was of supreme importance to him to
remove the discord excited among his subjects. Benedict replied
moderately and the king relented in so far as to offer a compromise,
which would have closed the matter had it not become doubly embroiled by
a papal decree of September 24th condemning Colonia's _Bibliothèque
Janseniste_, thus putting on the Roman Index a considerable section of
the Spanish. In a letter to the Spanish agent in Rome, Rábago threatened
in retaliation that the king would not only prohibit the works of Noris
but the Roman Index itself. Still more audacious were the instructions
which he sent to Portocarrero. Of these there were two sets, one long
and argumentative, the other briefer, to be used only in case of
necessity. It insolently asserted that the papal eagerness in defence of
Noris was a new argument against infallibility; that Popes Liberius and
Honorius, for suspicions no graver, had been anathematized by a synod,
and it would be humiliating to his Holiness if the same should happen to
him. Portocarrero was a trained diplomatist but, in an audience of
November 26, 1749, he handed to Benedict a copy of this portentous
document, translated into choice Italian, and the next day he wrote
cheerfully to Rábago that he thought it would end the affair; the pope
was displeased but, knowing his character, this need cause no alarm.


Benedict seems to have passed over in dignified silence this indecent
threat that he might be anathematized for heresy, but the breach was
wider than ever. In the Spring of 1750 the affair was taken out of the
hands of Portocarrero and was confided to Manuel Ventura Figueroa, an
auditor of the Rota, who skilfully induced Benedict to drop the matter,
while with equal skill and unlimited bribery he negotiated the Concordat
of 1753, which virtually gave to the crown the patronage of the Spanish
Church. Then, in 1755, came the dismissal of Rábago, for his share in
exciting the resistance of the Jesuits of Paraguay to the treaty of 1750
transferring that colony to Portugal. He was succeeded as confessor by
Manuel Quintano Bonifaz who, in that same year, had become
inquisitor-general on the death of Prado y Cuesta. Benedict had never
ceased to claim the fulfilment of an offer once made by Fernando to
remove Noris's name from the Index and, in 1757 he urged the king to
afford him that satisfaction, before his death, in return for the many
favors bestowed.

Jesuit influence was no longer supreme, and Fernando ordered an
investigation. The documents were collected and were submitted to
Bonifaz who, in December, presented a consulta, dwelling upon the care
habitually bestowed by the Inquisition before condemning the most
insignificant book while, in this case, Casani and Carrasco had included
in the Index the works of Noris, without any preliminary examination and
without the knowledge of the inquisitor-general, which was a foul abuse
of the confidence reposed in them. Noris's book had been printed in
Spain in 1698, dedicated to Inquisitor-general Rocaberti, and had
undisputed circulation until these two padres discovered in it traces of
Jansenism. Bonifaz therefore concluded that the pope had just cause of
complaint and that the royal promise should be fulfilled. Accordingly,
on January 28, 1758, an edict was issued, reciting the prohibition and
ending with "But, having since considered the matter with the mature and
serious reflection befitting its importance, we order the removal of the
said work from the Index, and declare that both it and its most eminent
author remain in the same repute and honor as before." For this the good
old pope expressed his gratification in warm terms to Fernando.[591]

This may be assumed as the last struggle over what were conceived to be
the doctrinal errors of Jansenism, and subsequent persecution was
directed against it as the opponent of Ultramontanism and Jesuitism, and
as the supporter of the royal prerogative. There had been, under Philip
II, a strong tendency in the Spanish Church to the Gallicanism which
became known as Jansenism. In 1598 Agostino Zani, the Venetian envoy,
says that the Spanish clergy depend on the king first and then on the
pope; there was talk of separation from the Holy See and forming under
Toledo a national Church in imitation of the Gallican.[592] The
Concordat of 1753, which concentrated patronage in the crown, could only
strengthen this dependence of the clergy, while the second half of the
eighteenth century witnessed an ominous tendency throughout Europe to
throw off subjection to Rome. The celebrated work of "Febronius,"[593]
in 1763, boldly attacked the papal autocracy, and encouraged the
assertion of the regalías; the claims of the Holy See, in both spiritual
and temporal matters, were called in question with a freedom unknown
since the great councils of the fifteenth century, while the reforms of
Joseph II and of his brother Leopold of Tuscany and the "Punctation" of
the Congress of Ems were disquieting manifestations of the spirit of
revolt. It was convenient to stigmatize this spirit as heresy under the
name of Jansenism, which thenceforth became the object of the bitterest
papal animadversion.


Fray Miguélez informs us that Bonifaz, for his share in the vindication
of Noris, was reproached with Jansenism, and that thenceforth the
Inquisition became a mere instrument in the hands of a court bitterly
hostile to Rome; that instead of being a terrible repressor of heresy,
it was the defender of the regalías and persecutor of Ultramontanism--in
other words, that it was Jansenist--and that it was used in an attempt
to lay the foundations in Spain of a schismatic Church like that of
Utrecht.[594] This was not the case, but as Jansenism was now merely a
doctrinal misnomer for a principle, partly political and partly
disciplinary, the Inquisition had a narrow and difficult path to tread.
Carlos III was fully convinced of the extent of the regalías; he was
involved in constant struggles with the Roman court, and had little
hesitation in dictating to the Inquisition. It did not dare to interfere
with the royal prerogatives but, in so far as it could, it favored
Ultramontanism by persecuting those against whom it could formulate
charges under the guise of Jansenism.

The ministers of Carlos III, who survived into the earlier years of
Carlos IV, were animated with this spirit of revolt and there was an
active propaganda. The book of Febronius was secretly printed in Madrid
and was largely circulated for, although condemned, the Inquisition was
compelled prudently to close its eyes.[595] The acts of the Synod of
Pistoja were translated into Spanish and persistent efforts were made to
obtain licence for their publication, until Pius VI intervened with a
letter to the king and frustrated the attempt.[596] When the bull
_Auctorem fidei_, condemning, in 1794, the errors of the synod, reached
Spain the Council of Castile reported against its admission.[597] The
University of Salamanca was regarded as a Jansenist hot-bed. Jovellanos
tells us that all who were trained there were Port-Royalists of the
Pistoja sect; the works of Opstraet, Zuola and Tamburini were in
everybody's hands; more than three thousand copies were in circulation
before the edict of prohibition appeared, and then only a single volume
was surrendered.[598] We hear of the Marquis of Roda, one of the most
influential ministers of Carlos III, uttering warm praises of Port-Royal
and of the great men connected with it.[599] Naturally episcopal
vacancies were filled with bishops of the same persuasion and one of
them, Joseph Clíment of Barcelona, had trouble with the Inquisition for
lauding the schismatic Church of Utrecht. In 1792, Agustin Abad y la
Sierra, Bishop of Barbastro, was denounced to the Saragossa tribunal as
a Jansenist who favored the French Revolution, but soon afterwards his
brother Manuel was appointed inquisitor-general and the prosecution was
suspended, but, when the latter, in 1794, was ordered by Carlos IV to
resign, he was immediately denounced in his turn.[600]

The Inquisition, in fact, could not but be opposed to Jansenism, for one
of the objects of the Jansenistic movement was the restoration of
episcopal rights and privileges, so seriously curtailed by the Holy
Office, and the remodelling of its organization was regarded as
essential to the overthrow of Ultramontanism.[601] The Jesuits were
therefore inevitably the allies of the Inquisition; they had conceived a
strong hostility to Carlos III who, since his accession in 1759, had
diminished their influence by dismissing from office those who were
devoted to them. Their disaffection culminated in the tumults and
disturbances of April 1766, which spread through the kingdom from
Guipúzcoa to Andalusia, and humiliated Carlos to the last degree. These
were evidently the result of concerted action, intelligently directed
and supported by ample funds, working on popular discontent caused by
scarcity and high prices. Prolonged investigation convinced the king
that the Company of Jesus was responsible for the troubles, thus
explaining the rigor with which the expulsion was executed in 1767, and
the implacable determination of Carlos in demanding of Clement XIII and
Clement XIV the suppression of the Order.[602]

[Sidenote: _REACTION_]

The elimination of the Jesuits was a triumph for so-called Jansenism. It
left the educational system of Spain in confusion, and advantage was
taken of this to reconstruct it on lines which should train the rising
generation in Gallican ideas as to the relations of Church and State,
and should replace medievalism by modern science.[603] Yet the
Inquisition continued the struggle, and its jealous watchfulness is
indicated when, in 1773, some chance expressions of a student led to the
denunciation, to the Barcelona tribunal, of the teaching of the great
Catalan University of Cervera, as infected with Baianism and Jansenism,
in conformity to the _Théologie de Lyon_, a book condemned in Rome for
its Gallican principles--a denunciation which was duly followed by the
prosecution of one of the professors, a Dominican named Pier.[604]

A reaction in the policy of the court came with the rise to power of the
infamous royal favorite Godoy. By a decree of October 19, 1797, Carlos
IV permitted the repatriation of the survivors among the Jesuits
expelled in 1767. The occupation of the papal states by Napoleon had
deprived them of their Bolognese refuge, and they found themselves ill
at ease in the Ligurian Republic to which they had gone. They were
therefore compassionately allowed to return, under precautions that
should scatter them where they should not trouble the public peace, but
they speedily made their influence felt, and were busy in denouncing to
the Inquisition as Jansenists all who did not share their blind devotion
to the Holy See.[605] Still more threatening was the reception, in 1800,
of the bull _Auctorem fidei_, brought about by the influence of Godoy,
and enforced by a royal decree of December 10th, charging the bishops to
punish all opinions contrary to the definitions of the bull, while the
Inquisition was ordered to suppress all writings in support of the
condemned propositions, and the king promised to employ all the power
given to him by God to enforce these commands. The triumph of
Ultramontanism was complete, and Godoy richly earned the grotesquely
incongruous title bestowed on him, by Pius VI, of Pillar of the

The charge was one easy to bring, and the intelligent classes in Spain
were kept in a state of unrest and apprehension. An illustrative case
was that of two brothers, Gerónimo and Antonio de la Cuesta, one
penitentiary and the other archdeacon in the church of Avila. They
incurred the enmity of their bishop, Rafael de Muzquiz, confessor of
Queen María Luisa de Parma: he organized a formidable conspiracy against
them and they were denounced as Jansenists, in 1801, to the tribunal of
Valladolid. Muzquiz was promoted to the archiepiscopal see of
Compostela, but there was no slackening in the energy of the
prosecution. Antonio escaped to Paris but Gerónimo was thrown into the
secret prison, where he lay for five years. In spite of the mass of
testimony accumulated against him, he was acquitted by the tribunal, but
the Suprema refused to accept the decision and removed the inquisitors.
The brothers had powerful friends at court, who prevailed on Carlos to
intervene, when he had all the papers submitted to him and decided the
case himself--an assumption of royal jurisdiction for which it would be
difficult to find a precedent. By royal decrees of May 7, 1806, he
ordered that the Valladolid inquisitors should be in no way prejudiced
by their removal but should be capable of promotion. Gerónimo was
restored to his dignity in the church of Avila, with ceremonies galling
to his adversaries; he was to receive all the arrears of his prebend;
his trial and imprisonment were not to inflict any disability on him or
his kindred, and his name was to be erased from the record so that no
trace of it should remain. The papers in the case against the fugitive
brother Antonio were to be sealed up and delivered to the Secretaria de
Gracia y Justicia. Heavy fines moreover were levied on all concerned in
the prosecution, to defray the expenses of the trial, and any excess was
to be paid to Gerónimo. They amounted in all to 11,455 ducats, assessed
upon twenty-one persons, all clerics except one or two officials and, in
addition to these, there were nine regulars--Carmelites, Benedictines,
Franciscans and Dominicans--who were banished for thirty leagues around
Madrid and royal residences. Two of them were calificadores and one a
notary of a commissioner, who were incapacitated for their


Archbishop Muzquiz did not wholly escape. Gerónimo's defence placed him
in the position of a calumniator and, in his efforts at extrication, he
accused the inquisitors of Valladolid and the Inquisitor-general Arce y
Reynoso of partiality. This exposed him to prosecution under the bull
_Si de protegendis_; his episcopal dignity protected him from arrest,
but he was fined in eight thousand ducats and the Bishop of Valladolid
who, when canon of Avila, had joined in the conspiracy, was fined in
four thousand. They would not have escaped so easily but for the
influence with Godoy of a lady who was popularly reputed to have
received a million of reales for her services.[608]

       *       *       *       *       *

As we have seen, in Jansenism the doctrinal points involved were of
interest only to the sublimated theologian and they were virtually lost
to view at an early period. Being thus incapable of precise theological
definition, it was a favorite weapon for the gratification of enmity, as
it could be charged against all opponents of whatever character. Even as
the French Jacobins were stigmatized as Jansenists, so those Spaniards
who submitted to the "intrusive" government of Joseph Bonapart were
classed as Jansenists, and so were their most active antagonists, the
liberal members of the Córtes of Cadiz.[609] The fact is that the French
Revolution, which orthodox writers represent as the triumph of
Jansenism, was, in reality, its death-blow, for in that cataclysm
disappeared the powerful and well-organized hierarchy which alone could
struggle within the Church against the advance of Ultramontanism and its
attendant Probabilism.

We hear little of Jansenism under the Restoration, though it is
sometimes included subordinately in the charges of anti-political
opinions. The bitterness still felt towards it, however, is well
expressed by Vélez, Archbishop of Santiago, as late as 1825, when he
ignorantly declares that Jansen caused the rebellion of the Low
Countries against Spain in the Assembly of 1633, while his disciples,
uniting in Bourg-Fontaine and Portugal, conspired against the lives of
all princes. Jansen supported the doctrines of the Calvinists and
Lutherans against the faith and his followers promulgated the greatest
errors against the Church and its discipline.[610]



Few subjects have been so fertile as Free-Masonry in the growth of
legend and myth. If we may believe some of its over-enthusiastic
members, the Archangel Michael was the Grand Master of the earliest
Masonic lodge; the builders of the Tower of Babel were wicked Masons and
those who held aloof from the impious work were Free-Masons. Others
trace its origin to Lamech and others again tell us that the first Grand
Lodge in England was founded by St. Alban in 287. Its adversaries are
equally extravagant; if we may trust them it is the precursor of
Antichrist and a survival of Manicheism; it is supreme in European
cabinets and directs the policy of the civilized world in opposition to
the Church. Every pope in the nineteenth century fulminated his anathema
against it. The Abbé Davin assures us that Jansenism is the masterpiece
of the powers of evil and that it has become, in the form of Masonry,
the most formidable of secret societies, organized for the destruction
of the Christian Monarchy.[611] There are zealous Spanish Masons who
assure us that the Comunidades of Castile and the Germanía of Valencia
were the work of Masons; that Agustin and Pedro Cazalla and the other
victims of the auto of May 21, 1559 were Masons, and that the
unfortunate Don Carlos was a victim to Masonry.[612]


Descending to the sobriety of fact, Masonry emerges into the light of
history in 1717, when Dr. Desaguliers, Anthony Sayer, George Payne and a
few others formed, in London, an organization based on toleration,
benevolence and good-fellowship. Its growth was slow and its first
appearance in Spain was in 1726, when the London lodge granted a charter
for one in Gibraltar. Lord Wharton is said to have founded one in
Madrid, in 1727, and soon afterwards another was organized in Cádiz.
These were primarily for the benefit of English residents, although
doubtless natives were eligible to membership. As yet it was not under
the ban of the Church, but its introduction in Tuscany led the
Grand-duke Gian Gastone to prohibit it. His speedy death (July 9, 1737),
caused his edict to be neglected; the clergy represented the matter to
Clement XII, who sent to Florence an inquisitor; he made a number of
arrests, but the parties were set at liberty by the new Grand-duke,
Francis of Lorraine, who declared himself the patron of the Order and
participated in the organization of several lodges.[613] Clement
sustained his inquisitor and issued, April 28, 1738, his bull _In
eminenti_, calling attention to the oath-bound secrecy of the lodges,
which was just cause for suspicion, as their object would not be
concealed if it were not evil, leading to their prohibition in many
states. Wherefore, in view of the grave consequences threatened to
public tranquility and the salvation of souls, he forbade the faithful
to favor them or to join them under pain of _ipso facto_
excommunication, removable only by the Holy See. Prelates, superiors,
Ordinaries and inquisitors were ordered to inquire against and prosecute
all transgressors and to punish them condignly as vehemently suspect of
heresy, for all of which he granted full powers.[614] Thus the only
accusation brought against Masonry was its secrecy, but this sufficed
for the creation of a new heresy, furnishing to the Inquisition a fresh
subject for its activity.

The nature of the condign punishment thus threatened was left to the
discretion of the local tribunals, but a standard was furnished by an
edict of the Cardinal Secretary of State, January 14, 1739, pronouncing
irremissible pain of death, not only on all members but on all who
should tempt others to join the Order, or should rent a house to it or
favor it in any other way. The only victim of this savage decree is said
to have been a Frenchman who wrote a book on Masonry; it is true that,
in this same year, 1739, the Inquisition in Florence tortured a Mason
named Crudeli, and kept him in prison for a considerable time, but the
death-penalty was a matter for the secular authorities and in Florence
these were not under control. Indeed, when the Inquisition offered
pardon for self-denunciation, and a hundred crowns for information, and
made several arrests, the Grand-duke interposed and liberated the
prisoners.[615] Even when the arch-impostor Cagliostro, in 1789,
ventured to found a lodge in Rome and was tried by the Inquisition, the
sentence, rendered April 7, 1791, recited that, although he had incurred
the death-penalty, it was mercifully commuted to imprisonment for
life.[616] He was accordingly imprisoned in the castle of San Leone
where he is supposed to have died in 1795.

The Parlement of Paris refused to register the bull of 1738 and when, in
1750, the jubilee attracted crowds of pilgrims to Rome, so many had to
seek relief from the excommunication incurred under it that Benedict XIV
was led to revive it, May 18, 1751, in his constitution _Providas_,
pointing out moreover the injury to the purity of the faith arising from
the association of men of different beliefs, and invoking the aid of all
Catholic princes to enforce the decrees of the Holy See.[617] When thus,
without provocation, Rome declared war to the knife against the new
organization, it naturally became hostile to Rome, and when its
membership was forbidden to the faithful, it was necessarily confined to
those who were either indifferent or antagonistic to the Roman faith.

[Sidenote: _PERSECUTION_]

While the papal commands were ignored in France, they had been eagerly
welcomed in Spain. The bull _In eminenti_ received the royal exequatur
and the Inquisitor-general Orbe y Larreategui published it in an edict,
October 11, 1738, pointing out that the Inquisition had exclusive
jurisdiction in the matter. He promised to prosecute with the utmost
severity all disobedience to the bull, and called for denunciations,
within six days, of all infractions, under pain of excommunication and
of two hundred ducats. The edict was to be read in the churches and to
be affixed to their portals, thus giving an effective advertisement to
the new institution by conveying a knowledge of its existence to a
population thus far happily ignorant.[618]

The Inquisition, however, was not allowed long to enjoy the exclusive
jurisdiction claimed, for Philip V, in 1740, issued an edict under
which, we are told, a number of Masons were sent to the galleys, while
the Inquisition vindicated its rights by breaking up a lodge in Madrid
and punishing its members.[619] There was thus established a cumulative
jurisdiction which continued, for State autocracy and Church autocracy
were alike jealous of a secret organization of unknown strength which,
in troublous times, might become dangerous. Fernando VI manifested this
by a pragmática of July 2, 1751, in which he forbade the formation of
lodges under pain of the royal indignation and punishment at the royal
discretion; all judges were required to report delinquents, and all
commanders of armies and fleets to dismiss with dishonor any culprits
discovered in the service. That, in spite of these repressive measures,
Free-Masonry was spreading, may be assumed from the publication, about
this time, of two editions of a little book against it, in which this
decree is embodied.[620] Padre Feyjoo assisted in advertising the Order
by devoting to it a letter in which, with gentle satire, he treated it
as a hobgoblin, imposing on public credulity with false pretences,
although there might be evil spirits among the harmless ones.[621]

The Inquisition meanwhile was not idle, though it did not imitate the
severity of the papal government or of the royal edicts. In 1744 the
Madrid tribunal sentenced, to abjuration _de levi_ and banishment from
Spain, Don Francisco Aurion de Roscobel, canon of Quintanar, for
Free-Masonry; in 1756 the same tribunal prescribed reconciliation for
Domingo de Otas and, in 1757, a Frenchman named Tournon escaped with a
year's detention and banishment from Spain, although, by endeavoring to
induce his employees to join the Order, he was reckoned as a
dogmatizer.[622] Another case about the same time reveals a strange
indifference, possibly attributable to hesitation in attacking a
dependent of a powerful minister. A priest named Joachin Pareja
presented himself, April 19, 1746, to the Toledo tribunal and related
that when, in 1742, he accompanied the Infante Phelipe to Italy, he lay
for some months in Antibes, where he made the acquaintance of Antonio de
Rosellon, gentleman of the chamber to the Marquis of la Ensenada, who
talked freely to him about Free-Masonry, of which he was a member. He
had but recently learned that Free-Masons were an infernal sect,
condemned by a papal bull, and he had made haste to denounce Rosellon.
No action was taken for eighteen months when, on October 13, 1747, the
tribunal asked the Madrid inquisitors to examine Rosellon, after
consulting the Suprema. The Suprema promptly scolded it for its
remissness and ordered it to make inquiry of other tribunals; the
customary interrogations were sent around with negative results and, on
January 8, 1748, the fiscal reported accordingly; there was but one
witness and therefore he recommended suspension, which was duly voted.
Some twenty months passed away when suddenly, September 7, 1751, the
Suprema recurred to the matter and wrote to Toledo demanding a report.
Toledo waited for more than a month and then, on October 16th, replied
that it referred the whole affair to the Madrid tribunal as Pareja and
Rosellon were both in that city.[623] This probably ended the case.


Free-Masonry was growing and extending itself throughout influential
circles. In 1760 the _Gran Logia española_ was organized and
independence of London was established; in 1780 this was changed to a
Grand Orient, symbolical Masonry being subordinated to the Scottish
Rite. In this we are told that such men as Aranda, Campomanes,
Rodríguez, Nava del Rio, Salazar y Valle, Jovellanos, the Duke of Alva,
the Marquis of Valdelirias, the Count of Montijo and others were active;
that the ministers of Carlos III were mostly Masons and that to them
was attributable the energetic action against Jesuitism and
Ultramontanism.[624] To what extent this is true, it would be impossible
to speak positively, but unquestionably Masonry afforded a refuge for
the modern spirit in which to develop itself against the oppressive
Obscurantism of the Inquisition.

A disturbing element was furnished by Cagliostro who, in his two visits
to Spain, founded the lodge España, in competition with the Grand
Orient. This attracted the more adventurous spirits and grew to be
revolutionary in character. It was the centre of the foolish republican
conspiracy of 1796, known as the conspiracy of San Blas, from the day
selected for the outbreak. Arms were collected in the lodge, but the
plot was betrayed to the police; three of the leaders were condemned to
death but, at the intercession of the French ambassador, the sentence
was commuted to imprisonment for life. The chiefs were deported to
Laguayra where they captured the sympathies of their guards and were
enabled to escape. In 1797 they organized a fresh conspiracy in
Caraccas, but it was discovered and six of those implicated were

In the troubled times that followed, the revolutionary section of
Masonry naturally developed, at the expense of the conservative. There
is probably truth in the assertion that the French occupation was
assisted by the organization of the independent lodges under Miguel de
Azanza, one of the ministers of Carlos IV, who was grand master. The
ensuing war was favorable to the growth of the Order. The French armies
sought to establish lodges in order to popularize the "intrusive"
government, while the English forces on their side did the same, and the
Spanish troops were honeycombed with the _trincheras_, or intrenchments,
as these military lodges were called.

With the downfall of Napoleon and liberation of the papacy, Pius VII
made haste to repeat the denunciation of Masonry. He issued, August 15,
1814, a decree against its infernal conventicles, subversive of thrones
and religion. He lamented that, in the disturbances of recent years, the
salutary edicts of his predecessors had been forgotten and that Masonry
had spread everywhere. To their spiritual penalties he added temporal
punishments--sharp corporal affliction, with heavy fines and
confiscation, and he offered rewards for informers. This decree was
approved by Fernando VII and was embodied in an edict of the
Inquisition, January 2, 1815, offering a Term of Grace of fifteen days,
during which penitents would be received and after which the full rigor
of the laws, secular and canonical, would be enforced. Apparently the
result was inconsiderable for, on February 10th, the term was extended
until Pentecost (May 14th) and inviolable secrecy was promised.[626]
Fernando had not waited for this but had already prohibited Masonry
under the penalties attaching to crimes of the first order against the
State and, in pursuance of this, on September 14, 1814, twenty-five
arrests had been made for suspicion of membership.[627]


Thus, as before, there was cumulative jurisdiction over Masonry. The
time had passed for competencias between the Inquisition and the royal
courts; it was too closely identified with the State to indulge in
quarrels, but still there was jealous susceptibility and self-assertion.
As early as 1815 this showed itself in the prosecution of Diego
Dilicado, parish priest of San Jorje in Coruña, because he had reported
the existence there of a lodge to the public authorities and not to the
Inquisition.[628] Several cases, in 1817, show that when a culprit was
tried and sentenced by the royal courts, the Inquisition insisted on
superadding a prosecution and punishment of its own. Thus when Jean
Rost, a Frenchman, was sent to the presidio of Ceuta by the chancellery
of Granada, the Seville tribunal also tried him and ordered his
confinement in the prison of the presidio, at the same time demanding
from the chancellery the Masonic title and insignia of the prisoner and
whatever else appertained to the jurisdiction of the Inquisition.[629]
The Madrid tribunal, May 8, 1817, sentenced Albert Leclerc, a Frenchman,
for Free-Masonry; he had already been tried and convicted by the royal
court and a courteous note was addressed, as in other similar cases, to
the Alcalde de Casa y Corte, to have him brought to the secret prison,
for the performance of spiritual exercises under a confessor
commissioned to instruct him in the errors of Masonry, and to absolve
him from the censures incurred, after which he would be returned to the
alcalde for the execution of his sentence of banishment. So, in July
1817, the Santiago tribunal collected evidence against Manuel Llorente,
sergeant of Grenadiers, and the Suprema directed that, as soon as the
secular trial was finished, he was to be imprisoned again and tried by
the tribunal.[630]

For this punctiliousness there was the excuse that the papal decrees
rendered Masonry an ecclesiastical crime involving excommunication, of
which the temporal courts could take no cognizance. This duplication of
punishment may possibly explain the extreme variation in the severity of
the penalties inflicted. In 1818 the Madrid tribunal sentenced Antonio
Catalá, captain in the volunteer regiment of Barbastro, to a very
moderate punishment, alleging as a reason his prolonged imprisonment and
ill-health. The Suprema sent back the sentence for revision, when the
abjuration was changed from _de levi_ to _de vehementi_. Then the
Suprema took the matter into its own hands and condemned him to be
reduced to the ranks for four years' service in the regiment of Ceuta,
which was nearly equivalent to four years of presidio. On the other
hand, in 1819, the sentence was confirmed of Martin de Bernardo, which
was merely to abjuration _de levi_, absolution ad cautelam, a month's
reclusion and spiritual penances. Greater severity might surely have
been shown in the case of the priest, Vicente Perdiguera, commissioner
of the Toledo tribunal, when, in 1817, the Madrid tribunal suggested
that, in view of his notorious Free-Masonry and irregular conduct, he
should be deprived of his office and insignia and of the fuero of the
Inquisition. To this the Suprema assented and with this he escaped.[631]

It casts doubt upon the reported extent of Free-Masonry that, in spite
of the vigilance of the Inquisition, the number of cases was so small.
From 1780 to 1815 they amount in all only to nineteen. Then, in 1816,
there is a sudden increase to twenty-five; in 1817 there are fourteen,
in 1818 nine and in 1819 seven.[632] Possibly there may have been
others tried by the civil or military courts, which escaped
inquisitorial action, but, in view of its jealous care of its
jurisdiction, these cannot have been numerous.

Yet all authorities of the period agree that, under the Restoration,
Masonry flourished and spread, especially in the army; that it was the
efficient source of the many plots which disturbed Fernando's
equanimity, and that the revolution of 1820 was its work, backed by the
widespread popular discontent aroused by the oppression and inefficiency
of his rule. When, in January, 1820, the movement was started by the
troops destined for America, in their cantonments near Cádiz, there was
a lodge in every regiment. Riego, who led the revolt, was a Mason, and
so was the Count of la Bisbal who ensured its success when, at Ocaña,
whither he had been sent to command the troops gathered for its
suppression, he caused them to proclaim the Constitution. At Santiago,
the first act of the revolutionaries was to sack the Inquisition and to
liberate the Count of Montijo, grand master of the Masonic
organizations, who lay in the secret prison.[633]

We shall have occasion hereafter to see the ruinous part played by
Free-Masonry, and its offshoot the Comuneros, during the brief
constitutional epoch from 1820 to 1823. With the restoration of
absolutism the Comuneros disappeared and Masons became the object of
persecution far severer than that of the Inquisition. They were
subjected to the military commissions set up everywhere throughout
Spain, and those who would not come forward and denounce themselves were
declared, by an order of October 9, 1824, to be punishable with death
and confiscation.[634]



In the earlier period, Spanish orthodoxy seems to have been little
troubled with free-thinking, nor, when this was encountered, does it
seem to have been visited with the same vindictiveness as Protestantism.
From a temporal point of view, it was less dangerous, and the denial of
God was an offence less than the denial of papal supremacy. In an auto
at Toledo, November 8, 1654, there appeared Don Francisco de Vega
Vinero, characterized as "herege apostata, ateista," who escaped with
reconciliation, confiscation, ten years of prison and three years of
exile from Toledo, Madrid and Renedo.[635] The intellectual movement of
the eighteenth century in France, however, could not but awake an echo
in Spain, despite the severity of censorship, and the quarantine at the
ports. There was a steady infiltration of liberalism, political and
spiritual; Spaniards of culture who travelled, or who were sent abroad
on missions, returned with enlarged horizons of thought, and could not
but compare the backwardness of their native land with the activity, for
good or for evil, of the other European nations. The more the writings
of the fashionable philosophers of France were denounced, the greater
became the curiosity to examine them. A reactionary writer tells us that
the works of Filangieri, Rousseau, Mably, Condillac, Pereira, Febronius
(Hontheim) and Scipione de'Ricci had full circulation in the
universities and colleges. Some professors taught many of their
principles, the students were infected and this moral pestilence
extended rapidly without attracting due attention.[636] The Abbé Clément
found, in 1768, that one of the obstacles to the success of his
Jansenizing mission was the secret tolerance and indifferentism; it was
difficult to believe how great were the evidences of incredulity, united
with all the externals of devotion, even under the oppression of
habitual dread of the severity of the Inquisition.[637] Thus, in the
latter half of the eighteenth century, the decadent activity of the Holy
Office found a new heresy to combat, which it styled Philosophism or

The leading ministers of Carlos III, such as Aranda, Campomanes, Roda
and Floridablanca, were shrewdly suspected of sympathy with these
dangerous speculations, but the time had passed when the Marquis of
Villanueva could be arrested and prosecuted without the assent of the
king. It was safer to make examples of men not thus protected but yet
sufficiently conspicuous to serve as warnings. Such a case was that of
Dr. Luis Castellanos, health-officer of the port of Cádiz--a
free-thinker calling himself a philosopher, an agnostic who professed to
know nothing of God and who probably was indiscreet in airing his
opinions. On his trial by the Seville tribunal he at first denied, but
subsequently he confessed and begged for mercy. On June 30, 1776, an
auto with open doors was held in the chapel of the castle of Triana, at
which were present, doubtless by invitation that could not be declined,
the Duke of Medina Celi, the Count of Torrejon and innumerable other
distinguished personages, at which Castellanos was sentenced to
abjuration and confiscation, to wear a _sanbenito de dos aspas_ and to
serve for ten years in the hospital of the presidio of Oran--a severity
which emphasizes the dread inspired by this negation of opinion.[638]

[Sidenote: _PABLO OLAVIDE_]

Contemporary with this was a case of more far-reaching influence. Pablo
Olavide, a young lawyer of Lima and judge in the Audiencia,
distinguished himself in the terrible earthquake of 1746 and was made
custodian of the treasures dug from the ruins. After satisfying those
who could prove their claims, he employed the remainder in building a
church and a theatre. There were disappointed claimants who carried
their complaints to Madrid. Olavide was summoned thither, disbarred,
condemned to pay various sums and imprisoned. His health failing, he was
allowed to go to Leganes, where he contracted marriage with Isabel de
los Rios, whose two successive husbands had left her large fortunes. He
was remarkably intelligent, brilliant in society, and, with the aid of
his wife's money, he speedily acquired prominent social position. He
travelled and in France he formed relations with Voltaire and Rousseau,
with whom he maintained correspondence. Aranda, who secretly
sympathized with him in this, was then at the height of his power and
became his warm friend, seeking to use his abilities in the projects on
foot to elevate Spain from its condition of poverty and misery.

Practical statesmen had long recognized as a serious evil the baldios,
or extensive and numerous tracts of uncultivated land, useless for all
purposes except as pasturage for the migratory flocks of the _Mesta_,
that powerful combination of sheep-owners who had secured legislation
restricting all cultivation that interfered with their privileges. As
early as 1749 the Marquis of la Ensenada had entertained projects of
introducing colonies of foreigners to occupy these idle lands; in 1766
the idea was revived and _Nuevas Poblaciones_, as they were called, were
established in various places. A contract was made to bring six thousand
German and Swiss Catholics and establish them on the southern slope of
the Sierra Morena, along the main road from Madrid to Cádiz--a wild and
rugged country, the haunt of highway robbers. Campomanes drew up the
plan, under which establishments of the religious Orders were absolutely
prohibited; the settlers were to have pastors of their own race; all
spiritual affairs were to be in the hands of the parish priests, subject
to episcopal jurisdiction, and the dreaded Mesta was not allowed to
intrude. Olavide was appointed superintendent of the colony, and was
also made _assistente_, or governor of Seville.

He threw himself into the project with enthusiasm, labored with
intelligent activity, overcame the initial difficulties and for some
years success seemed assured. Gradually however trouble arose with the
Capuchin friars who had accompanied the colonists as their priests.
Friar Romuald of Freiburg, the prefect of the group, was a disturbing
element, involved in quarrels with the episcopal officials; friction
sprang up between him and Olavide, which developed into hatred, and the
Inquisition furnished ready means for gratifying malevolence. In
September, 1775, Romuald presented a formal denunciation of the
Superintendent as an atheist and materialist, who was in correspondence
with Voltaire and Rousseau, who read prohibited books, denied the
miracles, and held that non-Catholics could be saved. Ample details were
furnished of his irreligious walk and conversation, some of which
indicate the points on which quarrels had arisen--not resorting to
prayer and good works to avert calamities, forbidding the ringing of
bells in tempests, wanting corpses buried in cemeteries rather than in
churches, and defending the Copernican system condemned by the Church.
Olavide's protector, Aranda, had fallen from power in 1773 and the
opportunity was not to be lost by the Inquisition of striking at a man,
conspicuous enough to serve as a terrifying example, and yet who, as a
"kinless loon," had no influential family behind him. Besides, the whole
scheme of the Poblaciones had aroused the hostility of two influential
classes--the friars whose establishments were excluded and the Mesta
whose flocks were not allowed to ravage the fields.

[Sidenote: _PABLO OLAVIDE_]

It shows the decadence of the Inquisition that the royal permission to
prosecute was sought and obtained. Olavide was summoned to court,
towards the end of 1775, on a pretext; after some delay he realized the
situation and sought the protection of Manuel de Roda, then minister of
Gracia y Justicia, who was too vulnerable himself to compromise his own
safety, and who merely wrote to Inquisitor-general Beltran a note
speaking favorably of Olavide. The Madrid tribunal moved with
deliberation, for it was not until November 14, 1776, that Olavide was
arrested. For two years he disappeared from human sight. Seventy-two
witnesses were examined, and the fiscal accumulated a formidable array
of a hundred and sixty-six heretical propositions. He admitted imprudent
talk, while denying all lapse from the faith, but he confessed enough
for the inquisitors to assume that he secretly cherished the opinions of
the fashionable philosophy, and his condemnation was inevitable. We are
told that a public auto was desired, in order to emphasize the warning,
but it was felt that the occasion scarce justified such a solemnity, and
the Roman Inquisition was consulted which suggested that the purpose
would be answered by a private auto with a huge number of spectators. It
was held, November 24, 1778, in the audience-chamber, after
inviting--invitations equivalent to commands--Campomanes and numerous
prominent nobles, statesmen and others who had been connected with
Olavide, or were suspected of philosophism, so that when he was brought
in he found himself surrounded by his friends assembled to witness his
humiliation. For three hours he listened to the long-drawn recital of
all the heretical propositions proved against him by the witnesses, to
which he responded by ejaculating "I never have lost the faith although
the fiscal says so." Then followed the sentence, pronouncing him a
convicted heretic, a rotten member of the Church, and condemning him to
reconciliation, confiscation, and banishment for ever for forty leagues
from Madrid and all royal residences, the kingdoms of Lima, Andalusia
and the colonies of the Sierra Morena, to reclusion for eight years in a
convent and to the customary disabilities for himself and his
descendants to the fifth generation. This tremendous severity so
overcame him that he fell senseless to the floor. A distant convent at
Gerona was selected for his confinement; in 1780, on the plea of
ill-health, he was allowed to visit a watering-place, from which he
escaped to France, not without, it is said, the secret connivance of the
court, although, when his extradition was demanded, he sought safety in
Geneva. With the outbreak of the Revolution he returned to France, where
he narrowly escaped the guillotine; adversity brought a change of heart
and, in 1798, he published anonymously at Valencia his "El Evangelio en
Triunfo, ó Historía de un Filósofo disengañado," which had an enormous
circulation and so impressed Inquisitor-general Lorenzana that he was
allowed to return to Spain. He was offered restoration to his positions,
but he was disillusioned with the world; he retired to Baeza, devoting
himself to good works and dying in 1804.[639]

The Inquisition had not miscalculated the salutary influence of the
example. Don Felipe Samaniego, Archdeacon of Pampeluna, Knight of
Santiago and member of the Royal Council, was one of those constrained
to be present, and was so frightened that the next day he denounced
himself to the tribunal as a reader of prohibited books, of which he
presented a long list. This, he said, had led him to religious doubt
but, on serious reflection, he had resolved to adhere firmly to the
Catholic faith and he asked to be absolved _ad cautelam_. He was turned
to account by being required to submit a sworn statement as to where and
how he had procured the books, how long he had held these views, who had
taught him, with whom had he discussed these matters, and who had
refuted or accepted his opinions. This brought out a detailed confession
compromising almost all the learned and enlightened men of the
court--Aranda, Floridablanca, Campomanes, O'Reilly, Lacy, the Duke of
Almodovar and many others of high position. Prosecutions were instituted
against them all, but the testimony of a single witness was insufficient
and the power of those implicated was so great that the tribunal was
content to let the cases remain in suspense.[640]

Offenders less conspicuous were less fortunate, and numerous cases
attested the resolve of the Inquisition to crush out the new ideas. It
was merciful to Benito Bails, a professor of mathematics and author of a
series of text-books long in use, for a niece was allowed to enter with
him the secret prison and take care of him, as he was aged and crippled
in all his limbs. Before the publication of evidence he confessed to
having entertained doubts as to the existence of God and as to
immortality, but that solitude and reflection had removed them, and that
he was ready to abjure and accept penance. As reclusion in a convent
would have deprived him of the care of his neice, his house was
charitably assigned to him as a prison, with various spiritual
penances.[641] A more suggestive case was that of Doctor Gregorio de
Vicente, professor of philosophy in the University of Valladolid, for
certain theses in which were discovered twenty propositions savoring of
"naturalism," and for a sermon in which he argued that true religion
consisted in the practice of virtue and not in external observance. For
eight years he lay in the secret prison, but it chanced that he had an
uncle who was an inquisitor of Santiago, whose influence induced the
Valladolid tribunal at length, in 1801, to pronounce him insane, while
condemning his propositions. On his release, however, he gave such
evidence of sanity that the tribunal felt obliged to arrest him again
and repeat his trial. This time a year of incarceration sufficed; he
abjured his errors publicly and accepted certain penances.[642]


A case which excited much attention was that of D. Ramon de Salas, a
prominent man of letters and professor in Salamanca, imprisoned in 1796,
on the charge of entertaining the errors of Voltaire, Rousseau and other
exponents of the new philosophy. He admitted that he had read their
works, but only for the purpose of confuting them, which he had done
publicly and in writing. The accounts which have reached us of his trial
differ irreconcileably, but it appears that the prosecution was the
result of private enmity on the part of men high in office, and that
Salas had powerful protectors who induced Carlos IV to evoke the case,
after he had been condemned. This invasion of inquisitorial jurisdiction
led to resistance on the part of Inquisitor-general Lorenzana, which
caused Queen María Luisa to exclaim to him "It is you, hypocrite, and
the like of you who cause the revolutions of Europe." Not only was the
sentence annulled and Salas was liberated, but a royal order was
obtained that in future no arrest should be made without previously
consulting the king. This was duly drawn up, but Vallejo, Archbishop of
Santiago and President of the Council of Castile, one of the enemies of
Salas, had sufficient influence with Godoy to procure its

This case illustrates the struggle on foot between the forces of
conservatism and progress, in which the Inquisition, as the protagonist
of the former, was not always successful. The propagators of the new
ideas were difficult to silence. Even under Carlos III, we are told that
in 1785-6 there appeared in Saragossa essays scandalizing to the
faithful, for they sought to establish that celibacy is prejudicial to
the State, that vows of religion should be postponed to the age of 24,
that the Church had customs detrimental to the State and that its abuses
and superstitions should be suppressed. Apparently the Inquisition took
no steps to vindicate the faith, and when Fray Diego de Cádiz, at the
request of many ecclesiastics, preached against these subversive
propositions, he was obliged to fly and even then he was pursued by the
wrath of the innovators.[644] Under the anomalous government of Carlos
IV, constant changes in the ministry and the fluctuating whims of his
favorite Godoy, who liked to pose as the patron of letters and
enlightenment, in turns repressed the Inquisition and gave it free rein.
A prominent personage of the time was the Count Francisco Cabarrús, a
French adventurer who founded the Bank of San Carlos and alternated,
like other statesmen of the period, between guiding the destinies of the
nation and a dungeon. After his imprisonment in the castle of Batres, he
relieved his mind in 1792 and 1793 of the thoughts which had accumulated
there, in three letters to Jovellanos, developing in verbose rhetoric
the ideas of Rousseau and the _contrat social_. Education, he argued,
should be universal, but it should be purely secular, and the clergy
should not be allowed to meddle with it, religious training being left
to parents and parish priests. In colleges the studies should be
directed to fitting youth for actual life; the existing universities
were sewers of humanity, whose scholastic theology and teaching of
jurisprudence were equally destructive to the human race. The numbers of
the clergy were enormously excessive, constituting a running sore and a
body subversive of all the principles of morals and statesmanship. There
should be stimulated a holy and virtuous indignation against all the
absurd and apocryphal devotions which pervert reason, destroy virtue and
cause heathendom to ridicule Christianity.[645] For much less than this
many a man, like Olavide, had suffered bitterly but, in 1795, Cabarrús
prefaced these letters with one addressed to Godoy himself as "mi amigo"
and, secure in the protection of the all-powerful favorite, he was
beyond the reach of the Inquisition, showing how uncertain were its
functions during the disastrous period when absolutism was in the hands
of a frivolous courtier.


The feelings of the orthodox towards these innovators are
comprehensively expressed by Fray Francisco Alvarado, the leading
champion of conservatism against the Córtes of 1810. "These
philosophers" he says, "have come to disrupt our union, to disturb our
peace, to embarrass our defence, to distract our attention, to corrupt
our fidelity, to overturn our State, to seize our fortunes, to degrade
our reason, to abolish our religion, to--what shall I say?--to make our
free cities a hell where nothing but blasphemies are heard and where
there is little lacking to replace order with sempiternal horror."[646]
Virulent as is this objurgation, it is but the natural expression of the
passions excited by the struggle in progress, which each side felt to
be a combat to the death. A moderated philosophism, as we shall see,
triumphed in the Córtes of 1810-13 and, although there has followed
nearly a century of vicissitudes, some of them sanguinary, it has, at
least established its right to existence. The Inquisition was not
mistaken in recognizing it, from the first, as its most dangerous
enemy--the embodiment of the modern spirit, destined, for better or
worse, finally to supplant medievalism.



From an early period the Church assumed jurisdiction over marriage,
derived from the function of the priest for its due celebration, and
when, in the twelfth century, matrimony was erected into a sacrament,
its control became absolute. Monogamy was a distinguishing feature of
Christianity, and marriage was declared to be insoluble. The sacrament
could be enjoyed but once during the life of both spouses, and its
repetition was invalid, all of which naturally came within the province
of the episcopal courts. The infraction of the ecclesiastical law,
however, considered as an offence against society, was subject to
secular penal statutes and, under the Partidas, it was punishable with
relegation to an island for five years and confiscation for the benefit
of children, to which penalties Juan I, in the Córtes of Briviesca, in
1387, added branding in the face.[647] In 1532, the Córtes of Segovia
petitioned to have it made a capital offence, which Charles V refused,
but added half confiscation and, in 1548, the Córtes of Valladolid
substituted the galleys, the term for which Philip II, in 1566, defined
as ten years, with public vergüenza.[648]


Thus there was ample provision for the trial and punishment of the
offence by the spiritual and secular authorities, and there was no
necessity for the assumption of jurisdiction by the Inquisition.
Presumably it obtained a foothold through the laxity of the marriage tie
among Moors and Jews, so that bigamy, like abstinence from pork and wine
and change of linen on Saturday, created suspicion of heresy. This
showed itself first in Aragon. As early as 1486, the Saragossa tribunal
burnt in effigy the fugitive Dionis Ginot, a notary, for marrying a
second wife during the lifetime of the first, and a number of other
cases followed in which bigamy is conjoined with Judaic practices. For
simple bigamy the penalty seems to have been perpetual prison, the
punishment indicated for two culprits in the auto of February 10,
1488.[649] It also involved confiscation, for a letter of Ferdinand,
October 22, 1502, to his receiver at Saragossa, orders him to deliver to
certain parties ninety-four head of cattle confiscated on the bigamist
Dornan Morrell.[650] In some way bigamy was construed as heresy for, in
the Barcelona auto of February 3, 1503, Pere de Sentillana was required
to abjure for marrying two wives, and in that of July 2, of the same
year, Pere Ubach abjured for marrying in Rhodes and in Barcelona.[651]

This was one of the grievances of the Catalans, which they thought to
remove in the Concordia of 1512, where it was agreed that bigamists,
male and female, should be tried by the Ordinaries and not by the
Inquisition, but they unwarily allowed the insertion of a provision
"unless they believe erroneously as to the sacrament of matrimony or are
suspect in the faith."[652] As this practically left it to the
discretion of the inquisitors, Inquisitor-general Mercader, in his
Instructions of 1514, was safe in telling the tribunals that they were
not to try cases of bigamy unless there was presumption of erroneous
belief as to the sacrament, and this was the answer sent, in 1515, to
the Sicilians, when they made complaint of inquisitorial abuses.[653]
Leo X, when, in 1516, confirming the Concordia of 1512, in the bull
_Pastoralis officii_, was careful to make the same reservation,[654] but
in this, as in everything else ostensibly gained by the Concordia, the
subjects of the crown of Aragon found themselves deceived and when the
Córtes, about 1530, complained that the inquisitors assumed jurisdiction
over bigamy, the curt answer was that they observed the provisions of
the law.[655]

A case occurring in 1513 suggests ample justification for this struggle
to prevent the Inquisition from acquiring cognizance of bigamy. In 1477,
Don Jorje de Bardaxí betrothed himself by words _de præsenti_ to Leonor
Olzina but, learning that she was pregnant or had borne a child, he
never married her in the face of the Church or consummated the marriage.
He remained single, but she, in 1497, married Antonio Ferrer. In some
way the Saragossa tribunal got wind of the betrothal twenty years
previous and prosecuted her in 1513. In her defence she alleged that
Bardaxí had previously been married to Doña Juana de Luna, whereupon the
tribunal commenced proceedings against him for the betrothal in 1477 and
would have thrown him into the secret prison had he not been too infirm.
He was a man of consideration and appealed for protection to Ferdinand,
who ordered that he should not be arrested, that every care be taken to
eliminate perjured testimony and that, on conclusion of the case, the
papers be sent to Inquisitor-general Mercader.[656] The result is
unknown, but Bardaxí was at least exposed to the terrors of an
inquisitorial trial on a vague assertion of an indiscretion committed
thirty-six years before.


Whether there was any formal opposition in Castile it would be
impossible to say. There was a decided assertion of episcopal
jurisdiction in the Council of Seville, held in 1512 by Archbishop Deza,
the former inquisitor-general, which imposed a fine of two thousand
maravedís on bigamists, in addition to the penalties provided by law;
long absence of a missing spouse was not to be accepted as an excuse,
and the death must be notorious or be duly proved before the Ordinary,
before he could permit a second marriage.[657] Still, there was no
special reclamation on the subject by the Córtes of Valladolid in 1518,
nor any provision in the reform attempted through the Chancellor Jean le
Sauvage. As in Aragon, the question turned theoretically upon the
presumable heresy of the bigamist. About 1534, Arnaldo Albertino devoted
an elaborate discussion to the matter,[658] but all this was academical
rather than practical. In 1537, Dr. Giron de Loaysa, in his inspection
of Toledo, reported that he had found everywhere many bigamists; they
were so numerous that the inquisitors prosecuted them without
distinction as to belief, and he suggested that special orders should
be accordingly issued as the offence was so evil and so frequent.[659]
This would have been superfluous. Simancas admits that, if the culprit
says that he knew that he could not have two wives and thus did not err
in the faith, it would seem that the Inquisition was estopped from
proceeding, but custom has prevailed, though it would appear wiser to
leave them to the episcopal courts. In a later work, however, he says
that the Inquisition prosecutes them as thinking wrongly of the
sacrament and impiously abusing it.[660] Thus it became settled, and
otherwise the Inquisition would have been obliged to abandon its
jurisdiction, for about 1640 an experienced inquisitor tells us that the
accused never admitted heresy, but always professed consciousness of
guilt. He was always asked whether he regarded a bigamous marriage as
lawful and, if he answered in the affirmative, he was to be punished as
a heretic.[661]

To keep up this fiction, the formal accusation by the fiscal asserted
heresy or at least suspicion, at first in a simple form but subsequently
with much amplification, stigmatizing the accused as an apostate
heretic, or at least gravely suspect in the faith, for "thinking ill of
the holy sacrament of matrimony and its institution and adopting the
error of the heretics against the prohibition of polygamy."[662] With
the same view he was always required to abjure for suspicion of heresy,
in the earlier time _de vehementi_, but later _de levi_.[663] The
flimsiness of the pretext, however, is exposed by the fact that, in the
Suprema, bigamy cases were always considered in the afternoon sessions,
at which assisted the two lay members of the Council of Castile, and
where public pleas and other secular matters were discussed.[664] Still,
when the jurisdiction once was acquired, it was asserted to be exclusive
and was defended with customary aggressiveness. The civil magistrates
were unwilling to surrender their immemorial cognizance of the crime,
and assumed that it was _mixti fori_, leading to frequent collisions.
The tenacity with which these contests were conducted is illustrated in
a Sardinia case, in 1658, where the royal court arrested Miquel Fiori
for bigamy. When the inquisitors heard of this, they demanded the
accused and the papers but, three hours after the demand was made, Fiori
was paraded through the streets of Cagliari, receiving two hundred
lashes, and was sent to the galleys. The indignant tribunal refused
conference and competencia, and promptly excommunicated the veguer and
his assessor. Then the quarrel was transferred to Madrid, where the
Suprema and the Council of Aragon alternately for two years pelted the
king with consultas, the former assuming that the crime was purely one
of faith and that the jurisdiction of the Inquisition was exclusive;
there could be no competencia, because the inquisitor-general was the
sole judge of what constituted cases of faith. In October, 1659, the
king ordered the excommunication of his judges to be lifted; the Suprema
replied that it had commanded this in the previous February, but the
inquisitors had given reasons for not obeying; it had repeated the order
in August and presumed that it had been complied with, but it had not
been and, in November the king reiterated his commands. He decided,
however, as usual, in favor of the Inquisition, and the judges were
summoned to surrender the prisoner and the papers, but they replied that
Fiori had escaped from the galleys and that the papers had been sent to
Spain. The Suprema regarded this as an evasion and the utmost it would
do was to suspend the excommunications for six months at a time,
especially as the offending judges refused to present themselves before
the tribunal and beg for absolution.[665]

[Sidenote: _PENALTIES_]

The time-honored episcopal jurisdiction over bigamy was treated with
similar imperiousness. In 1650 the Suprema ordered the Valencia tribunal
to demand from the Ordinary the case of Joana Arais, charged with
bigamy, because it was a matter of faith, pertaining exclusively to the
Inquisition. So, in 1658, when the Bishop of Salamanca arrested Domingo
Moreno on the same charge, as soon as the Valladolid inquisitors heard
of it, they claimed and obtained and tried him.[666] Yet,
notwithstanding this, the episcopal authority over the sacrament of
matrimony was acknowledged and, in all sentences, there was a clause
referring to the Ordinary the question as to the validity of the

The Roman Inquisition was less aggressive than the Spanish for, while it
claimed jurisdiction, it was willing that bigamy should be regarded as
_mixti fori_ between the secular, the spiritual and the inquisitorial
tribunals. If the civil magistrate was the first to take action he could
carry a case to its conclusion, and punish the delinquent according to
the municipal law, but the episcopal Ordinary, or the inquisitor, ought
to demand the culprit for examination as to his belief in the sacrament
and then, after making him abjure and imposing appropriate penance,
return him to the secular court.[667] Offenders were treated with
somewhat greater severity than in Spain. The abjuration was always _de
vehementi_ and torture was freely employed for intention. The penalty
was the galleys--five years in ordinary cases and seven or more when
justified by circumstances.[668]

In Spain, as we have seen, the secular laws provided penalties, but
these were disregarded by the Inquisition, when it secured exclusive
jurisdiction, and in practice the tribunals exercised a wide discretion.
Ordinarily men were punished with one or two hundred lashes and from
three to five years of galleys at the oar, though those of gentle blood
were exempt from scourging and were sent to presidios or to military
service in the galleys.[669] The Seville auto of May 13, 1565, may be
taken as an example, where there were fourteen bigamists. Ten of them
were scourged with an aggregate of seventeen hundred lashes, and five,
in addition, were sent to the galleys, with an aggregate of twenty-nine
years. A woman had two hundred lashes, with prohibition to leave Seville
for ten years, and two others were paraded in vergüenza. The heaviest
punishment was that of the Bachiller Cristóbal de Ordaz, a physician,
who was fined in two hundred ducats, provided that this did not exceed
half his property, he suffered two hundred lashes and was sent to the
galleys for six years irremissibly, after which he was banished for
life, with a threat of perpetual galleys in case of infraction.[670]

Full allowance was made for extenuating circumstances. If husband or
wife had been absent for years and reasonable effort had been made to
ascertain their fate, or false news of death had been received, the
accused was acquitted or the penalty reduced.[671] This is illustrated
in the case of Anton de Cueba, a peasant of Cienpozuelos, before the
Toledo tribunal in 1606. Both his wives were of his native place. He
left it for awhile and on his return found his first wife absent. Then
news came of her death in the hospital of Anton Martin in Madrid. He
went there and verified it, returning with a certificate, on the
strength of which and of public notoriety, four years afterwards, a
licence for a second marriage was granted. Then the first wife returned
and he was placed on trial. All this was carefully verified and the case
was suspended.[672] There can, indeed, be little doubt that honestly
misguided bigamists fared better at the hands of the Inquisition than
they would have done in the secular courts, while the thorough
organization of the tribunals enabled it to collect evidence throughout
the land, whether for severity or mercy, in a manner impossible to
either the civil or episcopal authorities. Its unwearied perseverance
was sometimes severely taxed in the case of soldiers, removed from post
to post, and is fairly illustrated in that of Joseph Antonio Ferro, a
private in the regiment of Castile, accused, in 1763, to the Barcelona
tribunal. His corps shifted its quarters and he was transferred to the
regiment del Rey; his movements were followed up for years, the
tribunals of Barcelona, Seville and Valladolid were successively
employed on the case and, in 1769, that of Madrid was charged with its


Discretion could be used to sharpen as well as to mitigate penalties, as
may be seen in the case of the most accomplished bigamist in the
records, Antonio ----, who appeared in the Valladolid auto of October 4,
1579. He confessed promptly and freely that within ten years he had
married fifteen wives. It was the profession by which he earned a
livelihood, for he wandered through the land marrying and running away
with whatever he could secure. He must have been a most plausible
scamp, for his favorite device was to personate some one who had
disappeared, after gathering information sufficient to enable him to
maintain the deception. This plan he repeated eleven times, in some
cases establishing claims to considerable property. His sentence was to
appear in the auto with a mitre bearing the insignia of all the fifteen
marriages (usually the figure of a woman for each), two hundred lashes
and the galleys for life. In view of the latter clause it seemed
slightly superfluous to remit to the Ordinary, as usual, the question as
to which of the women he should live with.[674]

       *       *       *       *       *

As the eighteenth century advanced, the inquisitorial claim to exclusive
jurisdiction was called in question. In the New Granadan case of Alberto
Maldonado, of Santafé de Bogotá, the alcalde resisted the interference
of the Inquisition with his prosecution of the culprit; the matter was
brought before the royal Audiencia, which decided in favor of the
tribunal, on grounds of expediency. Appeal was made to the home
government, resulting in a decree, February 18, 1754, to the effect that
bigamy was _mixti fori_ and that cognizance belonged to the jurisdiction
taking first action. Against this the Suprema presented a consulta,
March 18th, but to no purpose. The decree was enclosed to all viceroys
in a royal cédula, commanding that, in no case, should a competencia be
admitted, for no custom could prevail against the regalías, without the
royal consent. If the Inquisition desired to take action for the
suspicion of heresy involved, it could do so after the culprit had
served out the punishment imposed by the royal courts.[675]

The Inquisition was irrepressible and, in spite of these positive
commands, a competencia arose in New Granada, which induced Carlos III
to reconsider the questions. Consultas were called for and were
presented, by the Suprema in April, 1765, and by the Council of Indies
in April, 1766, resulting in a decree of July 21, 1766, by which Carlos
restored the exclusive jurisdiction of the Inquisition. This was sent to
the viceroys, September 8th and we find it ordered to be duly obeyed in
Mexico by the Marquis de Croix, February 26, 1767.[676] Carlos soon saw
reason to change his views. The Auditor de la Guerra had tried and
sentenced an invalid soldier, when the Inquisition interposed and
demanded the papers. This aroused him to a sense of the incongruity of
the position, and he ordered the Royal Council to consider the matter.
It presented a unanimous report, January 10, 1770, in conformity with
which he decreed, February 5th, that the case belonged exclusively to
the Auditoria de la Guerra. He utilized the occasion, moreover, by
adding that he had ordered the inquisitor-general to instruct
inquisitors that, in cases of this kind, they must observe the laws of
the kingdom and not embarrass the royal judges in matters appertaining
to them, but must limit the use of their faculties strictly to heresy
and apostasy and not dishonor the royal vassals by arrests without
manifest preliminary proof. All the royal tribunals were ordered to try
and punish bigamists, according to the laws and to be zealous in
preventing any contravention of the decree.[677]

This was a bitter rebuke, sullenly resented by the Inquisition. There
were many pending cases in the tribunals and they forthwith suspended
proceedings. This led to a royal letter of September 30, 1771, in which
authority was granted to proceed with all cases not on trial in the
royal courts, and all that might be denounced to the Inquisition, but
subject to the condition that, when the culprit was not _reo de fe_,
through belief that bigamy is lawful, sentence should not be rendered or
punishment be inflicted but that the case should then be handed over to
the courts having jurisdiction.[678]


Although this conceded only the power of trying without convicting, it
was an entering wedge, which the Suprema lost no time in turning to
advantage, by stimulating denunciations and making the people believe
that it still held jurisdiction. In the Edict of Faith for 1772,
therefore, bigamy was included, with the cautious formula "so that the
Holy Office may prevent the offences against God committed in this
crime."[679] The royal decree was sent around to the tribunals, with
instructions that, when denunciations were received, care was to be
taken to see that the accused was not on trial elsewhere. In that case
he was to be regularly tried and convicted and made to appear in an
_auto particular_, with the insignia of bigamy and double-knotted halter
indicating scourging; he was to be made to abjure and be remanded to
prison for two or three weeks of penance and then be handed over to the
secular court, so that his subsequent punishment might have the
appearance of being merely the execution of a sentence by the

While these devices doubtless had the effect designed, the offensive
decree of 1770 remained in force and was a standing humiliation which
the Suprema strove earnestly to remove. In 1777 it presented a memorial
representing that the decree was printed and sold and published in the
journals, causing infinite prejudice to religion and giving immense
impulse to profligacy and infidelity. It debarred the Inquisition from
acting in any cases save those of heresy and apostasy, and even in these
it could make no arrests unless guilt was conclusively proved. Since
that year, it says, how many have abandoned themselves to solicitation,
sorcery and other crimes, believing themselves secure from the
Inquisition! How many have allowed themselves to utter propositions
impious or heretical, believing that, even when denounced, they could
not be arrested until their offences were fully proved--a thing which
could rarely or never happen! It is in vain that the Inquisition
publishes its yearly Edict of Faith; the impression produced by the
cédula is uneffaced and it ought to be called in and suppressed.[681]

This appeal led to a royal declaration of September 6, 1777, to the
effect that the cédula of 1770 did not impede the jurisdiction of the
Inquisition in cases of which cognizance was reserved to it. As to
bigamy, the offence was partitioned between three jurisdictions; the
deceit of the woman and the injury of offspring were subjected to the
secular courts; the validity or invalidity of the marriage, to the
episcopal courts; and heresy as to the sacrament, when it existed, to
the Inquisition. The three jurisdictions should coöperate, by each
imposing the penalties belonging to it and delivering the culprit from
one to another in order that his offences might be verified.[682] This
subdivision of a crime into three was too clumsily scientific to be
reduced to practice. In appearance it only defined the existing method,
but in a shape which enabled the Inquisition to encroach on the secular
jurisdiction. As early as 1781, we find that the bigamist, after trial,
was handed over to the royal court with a certificate designating him
not merely as a convict but expressing the punishment of exile and
presidio, thus showing that the tribunal presumed to sentence him to
temporal as well as to spiritual penance. In 1791 a case indicates that
it even went further, for the Toledo tribunal held an auto particular
for Gabriel Delgado, in which his sentence was read, prescribing not
only abjuration de levi and spiritual penance, but exile for eight years
from Toledo, Madrid and royal residences. The only difference between
this and the practice of a century earlier, was a clause that his person
was to be delivered to the secular justice.[683]

[Sidenote: _NUMBER OF CASES_]

Under the Restoration the Inquisition assumed full jurisdiction over
bigamy; the tribunal sentenced the culprit as of old, usually to
scourging and presidio or exile, and the Suprema, in confirming the
sentence, ordered the scourging omitted on some pretext. Nothing was
said about handing the culprit over to the secular courts. They might,
if they saw fit, exercise cumulative jurisdiction, and entertain cases
that came to them, but, after they rendered judgement, the Inquisition
tried the culprits over again and modified the sentence at its pleasure,
either to increase or diminish the penalties. Thus, in 1818, the Granada
criminal court sentenced Eusebio Reulin to six years of presidio of
which one was to be in Africa. Then the tribunal took hold of him,
adding spiritual penances and perpetual exile from certain places, and
increasing the presidio to ten years, but, when this went for
confirmation to the Suprema, it cut down the exile to eight years and
the presidio to two. The sentence of the criminal court was treated with
the utmost contempt. An exception to this seems to have been made when
the army was concerned. In 1817, Eladio de Aragon was tried by the
Madrid tribunal and convicted of having three wives; his sentence
comprised only abjuration and spiritual penances, after the performance
of which he was to be handed over to the captain-general with a copy of
his sentence and a recommendation to mercy, in view of his long
imprisonment, his confession and the hopes entertained of his
amendment.[684] Evidently, in dealing with the army, the Inquisition
felt constrained to obey the laws.

       *       *       *       *       *

Bigamy formed a portion by no means inconsiderable of the current
business of the Inquisition. In the Toledo record, from 1575 to 1610,
the number of cases is fifty-four, ranking next to those of Moriscos. In
the same tribunal, from 1648 to 1794, there were sixty-two cases, being
next in number to solicitation. In the sixty-four autos held in Spain
from 1721 to 1727, there were thirty-four cases, the only crimes
exceeding this being Judaism and sorcery. In the later period, owing
doubtless to the interference of the secular jurisdiction and the
decadence of the Inquisition, the number falls off, the total in all
tribunals from 1780 to 1820 being one hundred and five.[685]



Blasphemy is a somewhat elastic term but, for our purpose, it may, in a
general way, be defined as imprecation derogatory or insulting to the
Divinity. Punished with lapidation under the Levitical law, it was,
during the Middle Ages, the subject of infinite legislation, both on the
part of secular and ecclesiastical lawgivers, and savage punishments,
such as boring the tongue with a hot wire, were frequently imposed.
Enrique IV, in 1462, prescribed cutting out the tongue, together with
scourging or banishment and, in 1476, Ferdinand and Isabella confirmed
this.[686] Jurisdiction over blasphemy was cumulative, belonging both to
the secular and spiritual courts, and was also within the cognizance of
the Old Inquisition, provided it was heretical, but the distinction
between non-heretical and heretical was not easy. Eymerich tells us that
imprecations reviling God or the Virgin, or expressing ingratitude to
him, are simple blasphemy with which the Inquisition has no concern; to
give it cognizance there must be a denial of some article of faith, and
the repetition of this definition by the Repertorium in 1494 shows that
this continued to be accepted as the rule in practice.[687]


The Spanish Inquisition, at its inception, thus found itself possessed
of jurisdiction and, in Aragon at least, where the institution had the
tradition of centuries, there was no hesitation in exercising it,
immediately after the reorganization. In the Saragossa auto of December
17, 1486, there appeared a Christian punished for blasphemy, his tongue
being pierced with a stick, and a Jew with a bridle in his mouth, a
mitre and a straw _espuerta_. In this field, as in so many others,
inquisitorial zeal outran discretion; there was little attention paid to
the distinction between heretical and non-heretical and, in the
Instructions of 1500, inquisitors were told that they made arrests for
trifling matters, not directly heretical, as for words uttered in anger
that were blasphemy and not heresy; in future, no one was to be arrested
for such things and, if there was doubt, the inquisitor-general was to
be consulted.[688] This warning was all the more needed, as the secular
courts were not ready to abandon their jurisdiction, for a pragmática of
Ferdinand and Isabella, in 1502, provides lashes, prison and other
penalties for blasphemies so evidently heretical as _descreo de Dios_ (I
disbelieve in God).[689] The bishops likewise continued to assert
control, for the Council of Seville, in 1512, under ex-Inquisitor-general
Deza, imposed a fine of three gold florins and imprisonment at
discretion on clerics, while for laymen, in addition to the legal
penalties, the ecclesiastical judge was directed to prosecute for
swearing, blasphemy, or insults to God, the Virgin and the saints.[690]

The caution enjoined in the Instructions of 1500 was lost on the
inquisitors and their abuse of power, in this respect, suggested one of
the complaints of the Córtes of Monzon, in 1510. In the Concordia of
1512 it was provided that they should not have cognizance of blasphemy,
unless it manifestly savored of heresy, such as denying the existence of
God or his omnipotence. Inquisitor-general Mercader embodied this in his
Instructions of 1514, and Leo X confirmed it, in 1516, in his bull
_Pastoralis officii_.[691] The Aragonese Suprema accepted this and, in
the Edict of Faith of 1515, it was specially stated that denunciation of
blasphemy was not required, except when it was contrary to articles of
faith.[692] As we have seen in bigamy, however, no attention was paid to
this and, among the grievances of the Córtes about 1530, there is
complaint that the Inquisition threw into prison orthodox persons for
blasphemy and for words merely uttered in the heat of passion, to which
the imperturbable inquisitor-general replied that the inquisitors acted
only in accordance with the law and, if parties had been aggrieved, let
their names be given, when due provision would be made.[693]

These troubles were by no means confined to Aragon. In Castile a royal
pragmática of 1515 recites a supplication to the king asking that
inquisitors should not have cognizance of blasphemy, wherefore it was
ordered that they should only hear cases which they could and ought to
hear, and a special charge was given to the inquisitor-general not to
permit them to do otherwise, and to provide that abuses, if such there
were, should cease.[694] This ambiguous utterance naturally produced no
effect and, in 1534, the Córtes of Madrid represented forcibly the
hardship that a blasphemy, uttered in the excitement of gambling or in
the passion of a quarrel, should expose a man, noble and of pure blood,
to arrest by the Inquisition, when, as the cause was not known, the
whole lineage suffered infamy. They asked, therefore, that the offence
should be remanded exclusively to the secular courts, which should
punish it rigorously. To this Charles evasively replied that the judges
would execute the laws and the inquisitors would not exceed their
powers, and he contented himself with reissuing the pragmática of

It is easy to appreciate the feelings underlying these remonstrances,
for there was no function of the Inquisition which brought it more fully
in contact with the mass of the Old Christian population, thoroughly
orthodox at heart, strict in observance, proud of purity of blood, and
dreading nothing so much as the nota incurred by the slightest suspicion
of heresy. The Spaniard was choleric, and not especially nice in his
choice of words when moved by wrath; gambling was an almost universal
passion and, in all lands and ages, nothing has been more provocative of
ejaculations and expletives than the vicissitudes of cards and dice.
What, to women in the humbler walks of life, were the prosecutions for
sorcery, those for blasphemy were to men of all ranks. Trivial as this
portion of inquisitorial activity may seem to us, we may feel sure that
in no other way was the influence of the Holy Office more keenly felt or
more dreaded by that great body of the nation which zealously welcomed
its persecution of the Jewish and Moorish New Christians.


It is true that, in theory, the jurisdiction of the Inquisition was
confined to heretical blasphemy and, if the older definitions were
observed, only a moderate self-restraint was required for the most
inveterate gambler or hot-headed ruffler to keep on the safe side, but
definitions were malleable and could be moulded to suit the temper or
the aggressiveness of a tribunal anxious for business and for fines. The
doctors found it no easier to agree upon the delimitation of heretical
blasphemy than upon the thousand other questions suggested by Moral
Theology. It was easy to say in general terms that heretical blasphemy
consisted in affirming or denying of God that which the faith requires
to be denied or affirmed, or in attributing to the creature that which
pertains solely to the Creator, but when it came to applying these
abstract principles in the concrete, there was apt to be discordance,
and it is easy to imagine how ample a field for casuistry was afforded
by the variety, vigor and picturesqueness of the blasphemy of the
southern races.

As a rule, the Suprema was inclined to check the readiness of the
tribunals to discover heresy in expletives which were, it is true,
blasphemous, irreverent and indecent, but not indicative of lack of
faith. There was a class of these, which seem to have been in the mouth
of every one, ineradicable by the most severe legislation, such as "Mal
grado aya Dios" (May it spite God), "Pese á Dios" (May God regret)
"Reniego á Dios" (I renounce God), "Descreo de Dios" (I disbelieve in
God) etc., for which Ferdinand and Isabella, in their laws of 1492 and
1502, provided penalties ranging from a month's imprisonment for a first
offence, to piercing the tongue for a third and, in 1525, Charles V
added "Por vida de Dios" (By God's life) to the list. In 1566, Philip II
in his desire for naval recruits, added ten years of galleys to the
penalties for blasphemy and six years of galleys to the tongue-piercing
for the third offence, as provided by his predecessors.[696] When these
offences were so fully covered by secular law, the Suprema deemed it
unnecessary that the tribunals should be diverted from their legitimate
functions to take cognizance of them. In 1537, Dr. Giron de Loaysa, in
his visitation of Toledo, writes for instructions concerning these
expletives. He regards them as heretical, but he understands that the
Suprema does not wish the tribunals to take action on them, as they are
so common and there are already judges enough for them.[697] It was
probably in response to this that, in the same year 1537, the Suprema
decided that utterances such as these were not within its jurisdiction,
because they were conditional, being merely explosions of wrath or
disappointment, a decision which it repeated in 1547; it had already, in
1535, construed the Instructions of 1500 as implying that sudden
ejaculations of anger were to be handed over to the episcopal courts
and, in 1560, it included "por vida de Dios" among non-heretical
blasphemies. In 1567, however, among the charges against Estevan Pueyo,
in Valencia, is included his exclaiming "pese á Dios" and the tendency
of inquisitors to widen the definition is seen in the rebuke by the
Suprema of Inquisitor Moral because, in San Sebastian, he had punished
for sayings such as "God cannot do me more harm" and "in this world you
will not see me suffer," unless, indeed, it sagely observes, the last
expression is used with disbelief in the final Judgement.[698]

This latter remark illustrates the ingenious casuistry with which heresy
could be discovered whenever desirable, of which we have already seen an
example in the case of Antonio Pérez, for one of the charges against him
was his swearing that, if God the Father interfered with his defence, he
would cut off his nose, in which Fray Diego de Chaves found savor of the
heresy of the Vaudois who attributed human members to God. It is
possible that the successful employment against Pérez of the
jurisdiction over blasphemy may have led to a more liberal definition of
heresy for, in the seventeenth century, we find a consensus of opinion
that such expletives as "reniego de Dios" or "de la fee" or "de la
crisma" or "de Nuestra Señora" or "descreo de Dios" were heretical.
Whether this applied to renouncing St. Peter, St. Paul and other saints
was a more doubtful question on which the doctors differed. There were
even strict constructionists who held that to call God all-wise or
all-beautiful, as a lover might address his mistress, was blasphemy. In
Sicily, the exclamation "Sanctus Diabolus" was usually admitted to be
heretical, but it was not prosecuted because it was so universally used
that it was more convenient to class it as simple blasphemy.[699] It
will readily be seen how elusive were the questions arising from the
variegated ingenuity of blasphemers, and what scope there was for the
indulgence of temperamental idiosyncracies among inquisitors.


In the region so full of doubt, where there were three claimants of
jurisdiction--the secular, the spiritual and the inquisitorial--much
clashing might naturally be expected, but I have not met with any
competencias with the royal courts arising from this source.[700] In his
anxiety to suppress blasphemy, Philip IV in 1639 assembled a junta to
consider whether the jurisdiction of the Inquisition could not be
enlarged, so that it could punish the utterance of a single "por vida,"
when the outcome of its deliberations was a comprehensive decree
punishing all swearing, save in judicial procedures, with a graduated
scale of penalties, and those addicted to the habit were incapacitated
for holding office under the State. Of course this was ineffective and,
in 1655 and 1656 he ordered the rigid infliction of the punishment in
order to disarm the divine indignation manifested in the public

Neither did the episcopal courts surrender their jurisdiction, and it
proves the ineradicable character of the offence that it continued to
flourish in spite of persecution by all three. A case illustrative of
their cumulative action, and of the susceptibility of Spanish piety, was
that of Diego Cabeza, of Manzanal de la Puente who, about 1620, in
quarrelling with a man, said that he did not know what God was about
when he made him. The local magistrate, Francisco Prieto, exacted of him
a fine of forty ducats, by threatening to denounce him to the
Inquisition, but the episcopal court heard of the matter, arrested,
tried and punished him. Then, some ten years later, in 1630, he was
denounced to the Valladolid tribunal; the calificadores duly pondered
over his utterance and pronounced it to be an heretical blasphemy, but,
when the inquisitors learned that it was ten years old, and that he had
already been punished by the episcopal Ordinary, they wisely suspended
the case.[702]

Presumably it was the worst cases of blasphemy that came before the
Inquisition and, as a rule, its moderation offers a favorable contrast
to the savage ferocity of secular legislation. It is true that, as
suspicion of heresy was inferred, the accused was thrown in the secret
prison which, in itself, was a severe infliction, but torture was not
employed. The penalties prescribed were abjuration de levi, appearance
in an auto, gagging, scourging and galleys, according to the gravity of
the offence, while frailes were recluded in convents of their own
Orders.[703] These, however, were reserved for aggravated cases of
habitual blasphemy by offenders of low degree; nobles and gentlemen had
their sentences read in the audience-chamber, were excused from
abjuration, and were recluded in a monastery for some months. Outbreaks
of passion, in quarrels or gambling and even drunkenness, were held to
entitle the accused to acquittal, or to merely nominal penalties. A
writer of about 1640, indeed, assumes as a rule that the culprit was
only reprimanded in the audience-chamber, without abjuration, except in
very scandalous cases, deserving of scourging and the galleys, but even
in these such punishments were no longer inflicted. There was no
sequestration of property, and repetition of the offence was not
regarded as relapse.[704] A later writer, however, holds that such
heretical blasphemies as "reniego de Dios," "descreo de Dios" and the
like are punishable with vergüenza or a hundred lashes.[705]


It may be assumed, in fact, that there was a wide discretion in these
matters. We have seen the severity with which the wild outbursts of rage
of Antonio Pérez were treated, yet, in 1624, a young soldier who, when
put in the stocks, exclaimed "I renounce God and the saints; devils why
don't you come and carry me off?" when duly tried with all formality by
the Valladolid tribunal, was discharged with a reprimand and without a
sentence. So, in 1630, two girls in the Dominican convent of Valladolid,
on being confined in a room by the prioress, in a burst of rage
repeatedly renounced God and the saints. Naturally on trial they
expressed extreme repentance and were discharged with a reprimand.[706]
This wise moderation did not exclude severity, when the case seemed to
demand it. In 1669, Antonio del Hero, for heretical blasphemy "en grado
superlativo" was sentenced in Toledo to appear in the auto of April 7th,
to abjure de levi, to hear mass as a penitent, to receive a hundred
lashes and to serve three years in the galleys.[707]

       *       *       *       *       *

Considering the prevalence of the vice and the energetic efforts for its
suppression, the number of cases in the Inquisition is less than might
be expected. In the Toledo record, from 1575 to 1610, there are only
forty-six. In that of the same tribunal from 1648 to 1794, the number is
but thirty-seven. In all the tribunals, from 1780 to 1820 the total is
one hundred and forty-seven. It is evident that, in this matter, the
activity of the Inquisition diminished greatly as time wore on, whether
from an increase in popular reverence or from a growing disinclination
to denounce the offence.



In the undefined and widely extending jurisdiction of the Inquisition
there were a number of matters, more or less connected with the faith,
of which it assumed cognizance. Their cursory consideration is
indispensable and they can more conveniently be grouped together.


The celibacy enjoined on the Catholic clergy includes the seculars, from
the subdiaconate upwards, and the regulars who are bound by the three
vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. Even degradation from orders
does not remove the disability, as the indelible _character_ impressed
in ordination remains.[708] Strict as has been the enforcement of the
canons, since the twelfth century, the weakness of the flesh has, at all
times, led to occasional infractions of the rule, punishable with
degradation, reclusion in a monastery and other penalties. Whether the
offence was justiciable by the Inquisition was, in the earlier period,
the subject of debate, some authors holding that, if the marriage was
public, it implied heretical error, bringing it under inquisitorial
jurisdiction, but that, if it was secret, this showed that there was no
intellectual misbelief, making the offender guilty only of violating the
law and subjecting him, if secular, to the spiritual courts, and if
regular, to the prelates of his Order.[709]


The Reformation, which sanctioned clerical marriage, introduced a new
and controlling factor that in time altered the situation. Yet, for a
considerable period there was a powerful movement, especially among
German Catholics, to relax the prohibition in the hope of effecting a
reunion. The question was regarded as open for discussion, as a matter
merely of discipline; Arnaldo Albertino argues that the pope can
dispense for marriage in orders, and instances the dispensation granted
by Alexander VI to his son Cæsar Borgia, then a cardinal-deacon, to
marry the heiress of Valentinois.[710] The reactionary influences which
controlled the Council of Trent changed all this when, in 1563, it made
clerical celibacy a matter of faith, rendering priestly marriage
unquestionably thenceforth heretical.[711]

The Inquisition, however, did not wait for this to assume jurisdiction,
though it seems not to have acted until after the outbreak of the
Reformation had rendered clerical celibacy a subject of discussion. The
earliest case that I have met is that of Miguel Gómez, a priest of
Saragossa, sentenced, for marrying in orders, by the Toledo tribunal in
1529, when the peculiar punishment would seem to show that it was a
novelty for which no precedent existed. He was exhibited for three days
on a ladder at the portal of the cathedral, in his shirt and drawers,
with his hands tied, his feet chained and a mitre on his head, after
which he was deprived for life of sacerdotal functions and banished
forever from the province. Toledo had no other case until 1562, when it
had to deal with the somewhat complicated offence of Fray Juan Ramírez,
who entered a religious order while married, but twice left it and
returned again, during which performances he married two wives.[712]
That jurisdiction depended wholly on the sacrament is seen in the case
of Juan Carrillo, alias Fray Juan Ortiz, a Franciscan denounced, in
1596, to the Toledo tribunal by his prelate, Fray Juan de Ovando, for
apostasy and living with a woman reputed to be his wife. Investigation
showed that she was merely his concubine, so the case was suspended, and
he was remanded to Ovando to be dealt with under the rules of the


After the offence had clearly been made heresy by the Council of Trent,
the terrifying formula of accusation by the fiscal describes the
offender as unworthy of mercy, to be deprived of all ecclesiastical
privilege, to be degraded from his orders and to be relaxed to the
secular arm, to which was added the _otrosi_ demanding the free use of
torture.[714] In practice, however, there was the widest discretion. It
is true that writers speak of appearance in public auto or degradation
and reclusion in a monastery for a few years, or a similar term of
galley service, but there seems to have been no rule.[715] Indeed, it is
not easy to understand how an offence so uniform in its nature should
have been visited with penalties so diverse. In 1597, Francisco Agustin,
an Augustinian of Barcelona, married in Toledo, sought to defend himself
on the plea that he had entered the Order under compulsion in order to
escape his debts; his sentence was appearance in an auto, abjuration _de
levi_ and imprisonment for life in the convent where he had made
profession.[716] In 1629, Fray Lorenzo de Avalle, a Benedictine priest,
accused himself to the Valladolid tribunal of having married and lived
for eight years as a musician in Aragon. Notwithstanding his
self-denunciation, he was sentenced to verbal degradation and to four
years' detention in a monastery, where he was to undergo a circular
discipline, while the woman was notified that she was free to marry
again.[717] In strong contrast with this was the case of Juan Alonso
Palacios, a married Jesuit, before the Toledo tribunal in 1659, who,
though not an _esponianeado_, escaped with a reprimand and four years of
reclusion. Then, in 1664, Fray Juan de Ayala, a Mercenarian priest, was,
by the same tribunal, suspended perpetually from his functions and
recluded for three years in a convent with one year's Friday fasting and
some spiritual penance. Again, in 1675, the same tribunal condemned
Gerónimo de Morales, a married subdeacon, to five years in the galleys,
three more of exile and disqualification for orders.[718] Five years of
galleys, with three more of exile and deprivation of functions and
benefices, was the portion of Don Cristóval de Zabiati, alias Don Juan
Baptista de Verganza, priest of Talavera de la Reina, who appeared in
the great Madrid auto of 1680.[719] In 1700 the Toledo tribunal had to
deal with a case characterized as "con circonstancias gravísimas," so
that we may regard the sentence as representing the extremity of
punishment for the offence. The culprit was not required to appear in an
auto, but his sentence was read in the audience-chamber, in the presence
of twenty-four ecclesiastics. It prescribed abjuration _de levi_,
perpetual deprivation of functions, perpetual confinement in a convent
cell, to be left only for choir and refectory, in which he was to have
the last place, to fasting for four years, on bread and water on Fridays
and vigils, and to a circular discipline when taken to the convent. The
details of his career are not given, but there is a suggestion of
material for a picaresque novel, as the culprit was a Dominican, Fray
Tomas Juster, who had been a calificador of the Inquisition and a
preacher of the king, and who enjoyed the multifarious aliases of Don
Juan de San Feliú Cisneros, Don Vicente de Ochaita and Don Juan de
Ibarrola.[720] It is somewhat remarkable that degradation appears so
rarely to be resorted to.

The offence seems to have been by no means frequent. In the Toledo
reports from 1575 to 1610, there are only the two cases referred to
above, and, in the record of the same tribunal from 1648 to 1794 the
number is only ten. From 1780 to 1820 the combined records of all the
tribunals show only six cases.[721]


The veneration with which the sacraments are regarded, and the supreme
importance ascribed to them as a means of salvation, render it
indispensable that they should be guarded with the utmost solicitude.
Not only is their validity essential to those who seek them, but any
fraud in their dispensation is sacrilege, which, in the case of the
mass, may plunge all worshippers present into the sin of idolatry. With
the exception of baptism, they can be administered only by those in full
priest's orders, and the pretence to do so by men unqualified is a
wrong, not only to the faithful who are deceived, but to the Creator
who has established them for the solace and salvation of His

The fees attaching to the confection and bestowal of the sacraments are
a valuable privilege of the priesthood, and the temptation was great for
graceless laymen or clerics in the lower orders to simulate the
possession of the requisite faculties, and to betray the unsuspecting
into accepting from their hands the worthless simulacra. In the venality
of the fourteenth century this would seem not to have been regarded as
an especially grave offence for, in the tax-roll of Benedict XII, the
official fee for absolution for pretending to be a priest, hearing
confessions and granting absolution, is only six _grossi_ or about
three-quarters of a florin.[723] After the outbreak of the Reformation
it was regarded as a more serious matter. Paul IV, in briefs of May 20,
1557, and February 17, 1559, defined the offence as subject to the
Inquisition, and to be punished by relaxation, even when there was not
relapse.[724] Sixtus V felt compelled to reissue the brief of Paul, and
Clement VIII, in 1601, confirmed the acts of his predecessors,
authorizing prosecution by either the Inquisition or the episcopal
Ordinary. This was applicable only to culprits who had reached the age
of 25, but Urban VIII, in 1627, reduced the limit to 20.[725]


This repetition of legislation shows the stubbornness of the evil and
the papal determination to suppress it. Even complicity was sternly
punished for, in 1619, a layman assisting a celebrant, whom he knew to
be unqualified, was tortured for intention, made to abjure _de
vehementi_, to serve five years in the galleys, and was perpetually
suspended from assisting at mass.[726] Cardinal Scaglia, however, states
that when the offence was committed through thoughtlessness, relaxation
was commuted to ten years of galleys,[727] but there was no hesitation
in inflicting the full penalty in appropriate cases. As late as July 18,
1711, Domenico Spallacino, a hardened offender, who had lived for five
years by celebrating mass in Rome, Loreto and other places, was relaxed
and condemned to be hanged and burned; he was duly hanged in the Piazza
di Campo de'Fiori, the body was fastened to an iron stake on a pile of
wood and was reduced to ashes, which were gathered up and buried.[728]

In Spain the matter was treated less seriously. The Inquisition at first
did not regard itself as having jurisdiction unless there were misbelief
as to the sacraments. A carta acordada of January 31, 1533, instructs
the tribunals that, in these cases, the culprit is to be asked whether
he thought himself possessed of the power, or whether he had anywhere
heard it so asserted as an opinion, and what was his intention; if he
acknowledges no erroneous belief, the matter does not concern the
Inquisition and, he is to be handed over to the magistrate. The briefs
of Paul IV were not admitted in Spain, and the matter slumbered until
1574 when, on January 13th, the Suprema addressed to the tribunals a
circular inquiry, asking whether there had been any prosecutions for
this offence; if so, on what grounds was the jurisdiction based, what
form of procedure was followed, and what penalty was inflicted; also
opinions were asked as to how such cases should be treated.[729]
Evidently no attention had as yet been paid to the question; the replies
showed that there was no general policy, and a brief of August 17th, of
the same year, was obtained from Gregory XIII reciting that in Spain
there were conflicting opinions whether the Inquisition had or had not
jurisdiction, wherefore he granted to it exclusive cognizance, and
forbade the episcopal courts from entertaining such cases.[730] This the
Suprema sent, November 26th, to all the tribunals with orders to
prosecute in such cases, and to introduce a corresponding clause in the
Edict of Faith.[731]

It is evident that the Spanish Inquisition did not share the horror felt
in Rome for such offences, and this is manifested in the comparative
moderation of the penalties inflicted. About 1650, a Spaniard in Rome,
writing to a friend at home, and comparing the severity of the Italian
Inquisition with the mildness of the Spanish, instances the Roman
torture of bigamists and soliciting confessors, the longer terms of
galleys for the former, and the implacable relaxation of those who
celebrate mass without ordination.[732] There was no such ferocity in
Spain. No time had been lost in assuming the jurisdiction and already,
in 1575, there was a culprit in a Toledo auto--Fray Alonso García, a
Franciscan--who had celebrated mass and heard confessions, and whose
sentence was merely abjuration _de levi_ and four years' galley service.
The most complete discretion was exercised and the penalties varied in
the same tribunal according to the circumstances of the case and the
temper of the inquisitors. Thus in Toledo, in 1578, Pero Joan Queito, a
student, who carried forged certificates and had confessed many persons,
absolving them and imposing penance, appeared in an auto, with halter
and candle, abjured _de levi_, and had two hundred lashes and three
years of galleys. In the same year a Frenchman named Pierre Saletas,
accused of having for twenty years heard confessions and celebrated mass
on forged certificates, was tortured without confessing and was banished
the kingdom for four years and forbidden to administer sacraments
without genuine certificates. In 1600, Balthasar Rodríguez, a deacon,
appeared in an auto, abjured _de levi_, was suspended for ten years from
the exercise of his orders, with perpetual disability for promotion, and
had six years of galleys. In the same year the Mercenarian, Fray
Gregorio de Palacios, was spared appearance in an auto, but abjured _de
levi_, had fifty lashes and was recluded for three years in a monastery
of his Order.[733] In 1622, at Valladolid, the Franciscan deacon, Fray
Juan Tapia, for celebrating mass, was merely ordered to keep his convent
as a prison and to present himself when summoned. Somewhat greater
severity was shown to Fray Antonio Frechado, a Trinitarian subdeacon,
who for publicly hearing confessions was required to abjure _de levi_,
was suspended from his functions for two years, during which he was
recluded in his convent, was disabled for promotion and had some
spiritual penance.[734]


It would be useless to multiply examples of this diversified moderation.
I have met with but one case in which the papal prescription of
relaxation was obeyed and this occurred in Mexico, in 1606, when
Fernando Rodríguez de Castro, a mulatto, was relaxed for administering
sacraments without ordination, but this was no precedent for, in the
great auto of 1648, Gaspar de los Reyes was sentenced to two hundred
lashes and the galleys for life and Martin de Villavicencio Salazar to
the same scourging and five years of galleys.[735]

The systematic writers assure us that the papal decrees were not
received in Spain, and that the punishment varied with the nature of the
case, consisting usually of scourging, unless the offender was a fraile,
the galleys, exile, reclusion, degradation, suspension of functions,
etc., varied at the discretion of the tribunal and that, in cases of
minor culpability, it could be commuted for money. Relaxation was kept
in view only for some error in faith persistently held--a purely
academical supposition, although the culprit was exhaustively examined
as to his belief in the necessity of priestly orders to the validity of
sacraments.[736] That ecclesiastics between themselves in reality
attached but little importance to the offence may be inferred from the
case of the Mercenarian Fray Pedro de la Presentacion, who celebrated
mass when only in subdeacon's orders. The Toledo tribunal condemned him,
June 16, 1662, to three years of galleys. The superior of his Order at
once interceded for him and, in September, the Suprema commuted the
penalty to three years' reclusion in a convent, with three years'
subsequent exile from Daimiel, Toledo and Madrid. When only ten months
of the term had expired the Provincial of Castile applied for the
remission of the remainder, but in vain and, when two years had passed
the effort was renewed.[737] Evidently the good frailes recked little of
the idolatry into which he had plunged all who were present at his

As the eighteenth century advanced a still more lenient view seems to
have obtained. In 1749 the case of Fray Juan de Santa Rosa, a Franciscan
deacon, was an aggravated one, for he had administered the sacraments of
baptism, the Eucharist, penitence and matrimony, but the Toledo tribunal
only declared him "irregular" for promotion, suspended him from the
diaconate for two years and imposed fifteen days of spiritual penance.
No special expectation of amendment earned this benignity, for his
Provincial was instructed to send him to a convent, from which he was
not to go out alone, so as not to expose him to relapse.[738]

Under the Restoration there was leniency difficult to understand. The
sentence of the Dominican Fray Tomas García by the Cuenca tribunal,
November 14, 1816, for celebrating mass without priests' orders, was
that the commissioner of Villaescusa was to reprimand him in presence of
the superior of his convent, pointing out the severe penalties provided
by the papal decrees and prescribing spiritual penances for a year,
besides informing the prelate that he could not ascend to full orders.
This was confirmed by the Suprema, with the addition that he be
transferred to a house of stricter observance. December 11th of the same
year, Angel Sampayo, a married layman of Campo Ramiro (Lugo) was
convicted of celebrating mass. The Suprema alludes to his _atentato
horrible_, but merely orders him to be reprimanded and sent back to his
home, where the parish priest and his father are to keep watch over

       *       *       *       *       *

In connection with this subject it may be mentioned that the Inquisition
also took cognizance of a class of cases, alluded to above under
Solicitation, in which laymen managed to hear confessions of women, not
with a view to administer the sacrament of penitence, but through
jealousy, or for the opportunity of asking indecent questions, or in the
hope of listening to prurient details. These cases were by no means
infrequent. In 1785, there were three before the tribunal of Valencia;
in 1793, one in Murcia; in 1796, Joseph Herranz was prosecuted in Madrid
for doing this in order to hear his wife's confession. The same year
there was a case in Seville; in 1797, one in Barcelona and, in 1807,
Miguel Domínguez, sacristan of San Miguel de Niebla, pretended to be a
Capuchin with the object to listening to the confession of a woman.[740]
With what severity such cases were treated, I have not been able to



In the universal dread inspired by the Holy Office, the temptation was
great to personate its agents, and to extort money as the price of
forbearance, for no one ventured to question the authority or acts of
any stranger who presented himself as an official.

The opportunities thus afforded were speedily recognized and utilized.
As early as 1487, at Saragossa, a special auto was held, April 1st, at
which appeared a cleric who had pretended to be an inquisitor and as
such had made an arrest. The penalty inflicted is not recorded, but
evidently the opportunity was taken to make an impressive warning[741].

The systematic writers assume that in these cases there should be
careful consideration of the injury inflicted, for the pretender may
deserve exemplary punishment. The usual offence is asserting that there
are accusations and that he will save the accused from prosecution; for
this he must refund the money received, appear in an auto and suffer two
hundred lashes and five years of galley service. If the imposture is
assumed only to escape from some trouble and causing no damage, there is
some penalty of fine or exile; if there has been only an assertion of
official position, the penalty is very light and secret.[742] Other
authorities tell us that, if the culprit is of a low class, he has two
hundred lashes and four years of galleys, more or less according to the
gravity of the offence; if he is a noble or rich, he is fined one or two
thousand ducats and serves for two or three years, without pay, as a
gentleman in the galleys, or against the Moors or heretics[743].
Evidently in an offence which varied so much in motive and result, much
was necessarily left to the discretion of the tribunal and a few cases
will serve to indicate the different methods of operating and the
deterrent penalties inflicted.


In the Seville auto of September 24, 1559, there were three cases of
personation. Alonso de Hontiveros, for pretending to be a familiar and
endeavoring to make arrests for the purpose of extortion, appeared with
halter and gag and was sent to Xeres his place of residence to receive
a hundred lashes; Juan de Aragon, of Málaga, for the same offence, was
spared the gag, but wore a mitre and had a scourging at Málaga and
another where his offence was committed, besides two years of exile,
while his accomplice, Francisco Prieto, received the same sentence, with
the substitution of vergüenza for scourging[744]. On the other hand, at
Toledo, in 1581, Francisco de la Bastida was visited with the utmost
rigor. He represented himself as an alguazil, carrying a _vara de
justicia_ and using the name of the inquisitor-general. He would summon
the alcades and other officials to render assistance, which was freely
given without question; he would make arrests, carry his prisoners to
some distance, take their money, leave them in charge of some local
familiar and disappear. In this way he moved from Fuente de Enzina to
Almaden and Madrid, and thence to Saragossa where he was arrested. He
confessed freely at once and was condemned to relaxation, by virtue of a
special brief obtained from Gregory XIII, but the Suprema, with doubtful
mercy, commuted this to six hundred lashes--two hundred each in Toledo,
Almaden and Fuente de Enzina--and the galleys irremissibly for
life[745]. Zapata relates what is evidently the exploit which brought to
a close the promising career of this enterprising knave. At Almagro, he
says, the agent of the Fuggers of Augsburg was Juan Xelder, a man highly
esteemed and reputed to be of great wealth. Suddenly a stranger
appeared, with the vara of an alguazil of the Inquisition, who sought
out two familiars and commanded them to assist him in making an arrest.
Proceeding to Xelder's house he made the arrest, locked him up in a room
and consoled the frightened family by assuring them of the customary
mercy of the Inquisition. He then summoned a notary and placed all the
property of the prisoner under sequestration, except two thousand ducats
which he said he had orders to take for the expenses of the trial. The
whole town was thrown into commotion, but no one dared to ask for
papers, or authority, or identification. Xelder was placed in a
carriage, with strict orders that no one should exchange a word with
him; the familiars were required to accompany it to the next halting
place, where they and the carriage were dismissed with handsome
gratuities and the stranger confided Xelder to the care of a familiar of
high standing, with orders to guard him carefully, _incomunicado_, while
he would proceed to Toledo and send instructions. Ten days passed when
the familiar, growing tired of the expense, made inquiries and
ascertaining the facts released the prisoner. Meanwhile the impostor,
fearing to carry the gold, deposited it with a banker and took a bill of
exchange on Saragossa, so that he was readily tracked and arrested when
he presented the bill for payment. The secular court claimed him, but
the Inquisition asserted its jurisdiction--fortunately, Zapata says, for
the culprit, for the offence was capital and he escaped with scourging
and the galleys[746].

Another method of speculation on the fears and hopes of the defenceless
appears in the case of Gerónimo Roche, son of the secretary of the
University of Lérida. He pretended to be an official, to have much
influence with the tribunal, and to hold faculties to remit four
sanbenitos and to appoint four familiars. He approached a Morisca who,
with her three daughters, had been reconciled, and offered to relieve
her of her sanbenito for two hundred ducats, and those of her three
daughters if one of them would abandon herself to him. He was forbidden
the house but he persisted in writing letters of mingled threats and
love. For this he appeared in the Saragossa auto of June 6, 1585, where
he was sentenced to vergüenza and eight years in the galleys, being
spared the scourging in consideration of his father[747].

There appears to have been a very lenient view taken, in 1582, by the
Toledo tribunal, of the case of Pedro Moreno, a sacristan, who pretended
to be a familiar and as such visited the hospital and asked the inmates
whether they had confessed, when he arrested and carried off those who
had not. It was in evidence also that, on seeing two men quarrelling in
a church, he arrested one in the name of the Inquisition. There does not
seem to have been a pecuniary motive in these eccentricities, and he
escaped with a reprimand and banishment for a year[748]. Another motive,
which was regarded with a lenient eye, was assuming official position in
order to enjoy the exemptions and privileges of the Inquisition. Thus
when Jayme Corvellana of Barcelona in this manner bluffed off the
officers of justice who came to his house to seize some salt, Inquisitor
Padilla imposed on him a fine of fifty ducats and some spiritual
penance, and was rebuked by the Suprema for inflicting so heavy a
penalty for so trifling a cause--"en causas tan livianas."[749]

Personation was by no means uncommon, but I am convinced that Llorente
is mistaken when he says that there rarely was an auto in which some one
was not punished for this offence. In the Toledo record from 1575 to
1610, the number of cases is only thirteen and, in the same tribunal,
from 1648 to 1794, they amount only to four.[750]

The principal interest in these cases is the evidence which they afford
of the terror inspired by the Inquisition, the very name of which seemed
to paralyze, so that no one, whether magistrate or individual, dared to
question the authority of any impostor who assumed to represent it, and
this same terror doubtless is the reason why this apparently facile
method of trading on popular fear was not more frequently exploited. It
required more than common nerve to incur the risk of inquisitorial

Somewhat akin to this was the levying of blackmail by threats of
denunciation. No doubt there was a good deal of this, in which the
victims prudently suffered in silence, rather than to draw upon
themselves the attention of the dreaded tribunal. It was a matter of
which the Inquisition took cognizance, but the only case which I have
happened to meet is that of Pedro Jacome Pramoseltes, who was sentenced
by the Toledo tribunal, in 1666, to three years of galley-service for
astrology and had his term extended to five for attempts at extortion in
this manner.[751]



That evil spirits can take possession of a human being, deprive him of
his free-will and subject him to extreme bodily and mental suffering, is
a belief handed down from ancient times and still largely held as a
matter of faith. That relief can be had by the ministrations of an
exorcist, duly authorized by admission into one of the lower orders of
the priesthood, is a corresponding belief, and formulas without number
have been prepared to enable him to exercise his power over the demon.
There is no heresy involved in either the possession or the exorcism
and, under normal conditions, there was no call for interference by the
Inquisition, but when, for any reason, such interference was desired,
there was little trouble in finding pretext for its jurisdiction. We
have seen (Vol. II, p. 135) the active measures taken, in 1628, with the
nuns of San Placido, whose demoniacally inspired revelations were
somewhat revolutionary. Greater self-denial was exhibited by the
Valladolid tribunal in a contemporaneous case, when a Jesuit confessor
reported to it that Doña Felippa and Doña Aña de Mercado, Bernardino
nuns in Santo Espíritu of Olmeda, made gestures and other irreverent
acts in confession and communion, which caused scandal, and he thought
proceeded from demoniacal possession. The tribunal felt doubts as to its
jurisdiction and consulted the Suprema, which submitted the matter to a
calificador of high attainments. Prolonged investigations were made,
other nuns were examined, and it was in evidence that the two inculpated
were women of exceptional virtue and piety who had prayed to God to test
them with afflictions. The case dragged on for more than ten years,
resulting in the conviction that it was undoubtedly one of possession,
for which the nuns were free from blame, and finally, April 16, 1630,
the Suprema ordered its suspension[752]. Wherever there was the faintest
suspicion of heresy, the Inquisition could assert jurisdiction.

This involved the question of the responsibility of the demoniac for his
utterances, which was somewhat intricate. In the case of one under trial
by the Granada tribunal, in 1650, the learned Jesuit, Padre Diego Tello,
who was called in as a calificador, reported, with an immense array of
authorities, and after three visits to the accused in the secret prison,
that there could be no doubt as to the possession, for he was able to
discuss points of theology and other matters far beyond his capacity; he
could also speak Latin intelligibly and he quoted Scripture while, as he
uttered many heresies, it was evident that the spirit was evil. At the
same time he was rational on so many points that he could not be
regarded as irresponsible for his heresies. Luther and Zwingli, he
added, were notoriously possessed by demons, but they were none the less
held responsible for their teachings and it was the uniform practice of
the Inquisition so to decide in these cases.[753]

In the hysterical epidemics which form so notable a feature of
possession, the Inquisition was apt to be called in and was ready to
act, although it would be difficult to determine on what grounds. In
1638 there was such an epidemic in one of the Pyrenean valleys and, on
September 24th, Jacinto de Robles, secretary of the Governor of Aragon,
reported to the Saragossa tribunal that, on a recent visit to Jaca, he
had found, in the Valle de Tena, that there were about sixty
_endemoniadas_ and that the malady was spreading. It was attributed to
Pedro de Arrecibo and his friend Miguel Guillen, who had been seized by
the secular authorities; Guillen had been executed, while Arrecibo's
trial was nearly concluded. He had confessed that a Frenchman had given
him a paper and some conjurations through which to win women, but it
only rendered them possessed--a statement evidently fabricated to
satisfy his torturers. It was the demons who had accused these two men,
adding that their death would not stay the infection, for there were
other accomplices. The women affected were of the best families, their
ages ranging from 7 to 18--some were pregnant and others were suckling
their infants, for demons were able to produce these results in the
virtuous. The Bishop of Jaca and some Jesuits were exhausting their
exorcisms, and an inquisitor was badly needed. What function was
expected of an inquisitor is not stated, but the Suprema was consulted
and, after some delay it appealed to the king. It was ready to send an
inquisitor and four frailes, but it had no funds for the expenses of the
latter, which would have to be defrayed from some other source. The king
gave orders accordingly, but they were not obeyed, and the last we hear
of the matter is another consulta of March 28, 1640, in which he was
urged to speedy action in view of the great importance of the


The intervention of the Inquisition might well be welcomed if it was
always as rational and as effective as in an epidemic of the kind which
troubled Querétaro (Mexico) in 1691. Two young girls who had suffered
themselves to be seduced pretended to be possessed. The Franciscans and
_Padres Apostólicos_ took them in hand, exorcising them at night in the
churches with the most impressive ceremonies, which spread the
contagion, until there were fourteen patients, and the community was
thoroughly excited. It would doubtless have extended much further, but
fortunately the Dominicans, the Jesuits and the Carmelites, jealous of
the rival Orders, pronounced the whole to be an imposture. The two
factions denounced each other from the pulpits, the people took sides,
and passions grew so hot that severe disturbances were impending. Both
factions appealed to the Inquisition, which submitted the matter to
calificadores. These decided that the demoniacal possession was
fraudulent, and that the blasphemies and sacrilegious acts of the
energumens and the violent sermons of the frailes were justiciable by
the Inquisition. With great good sense the tribunal issued a decree,
January 9, 1692, ordering the cessation of all exorcism and of all
discussion, whether in the pulpit or in private. The excitement
forthwith died away and the energumens, left to themselves, for the most
part recovered their senses. Prosecutions were commenced against four of
them and against the Franciscan Fray Mateo de Bonilla, which seem to
have been suspended after a few years. One of the girls, however, who
had caught the infection, had her nervous system too profoundly
impressed for recovery; she continued under the inspection of the
Inquisition, gradually sinking into a condition of confirmed
hypochondria, until we lose sight of her in 1704.[755]

Cases of imposture were not infrequent. Whether this in itself rendered
the impostor liable to prosecution by the Inquisition may be doubted
but, in the deception, she was very apt to commit acts or to utter
blasphemies which brought her under its jurisdiction. Thus, in 1796, we
find the Valencia tribunal prosecuting Benita Gargori, a pretended
demoniac, and Francisca Signes, an accomplice, for irreligious actions
and utterances.[756]

The exorciser also occasionally laid himself open to inquisitorial
animadversion. Thus, in 1749, Fray Jaime Sans, a lay-brother of the
Order of San Francisco de Assis, used to visit the sick and pronounce
them to be possessed, when he would make the sign of the cross and
sprinkle them with holy water. He was denounced to the Barcelona
tribunal, which warned him to desist, for he had no power to exorcise,
and threatened to proceed against him, whereupon he promised to
obey[757]. Exorcists also sometimes abused their opportunities by
committing indecencies upon their patients. I have not met with such
cases in the Spanish Inquisition, but in this it would doubtless follow
the example of the Roman Congregation, which, in 1639, ordered the
prosecution of a most flagrant one, reported by the Inquisitor of

Considered as a whole, the influence of the Inquisition must have been
decidedly beneficial in restraining the development of this disease, for
experienced inquisitors recognized that the methods usually adopted only
aggravated it. Cardinal Scaglia ([dagger symbol] 1639), in treating of these
epidemics among nuns, remarks that the superiors, not content with
exorcisms, commence prosecutions, examine witnesses and interrogate the
pretended criminals suggestively and absurdly and threaten them with
torture, thus extracting whatever confessions they desire and creating
still greater disturbance in the convent and the city[759].


Allusion has already been made to the invasion of episcopal jurisdiction
by the assumption of the Inquisition that outrages or insults offered to
sacred images fell under its cognizance. For this there was more
justification than for some other inferential heresies, for wilful
irreverence to the objects of universal cult was reasonably regarded as
causing suspicion of erroneous belief, and during the period of active
persecution of crypto-Judaism and of Protestantism such offences were
readily ascribable to heretical fanaticism.


In one instance, at least, the secular magistrates exercised
jurisdiction. In December, 1643, Madrid was much excited by a robbery
committed on a miracle-working image of Nuestra Señora de la Gracia,
when all its jewels, ornaments and vestments were taken, and worst of
all, the image was left lying face downwards on the ground. Great
efforts were made to detect the perpetrators of the sacrilege, and it
was accounted miraculous when they were identified while investigating
another robbery. They must have been tried by the criminal judges, for
no mention is made of the Inquisition and all three were hanged in
March, 1644, in presence of an immense crowd[760].

This was exceptional, and the jurisdiction of the Inquisition was
generally admitted. We are told, by a writer of the period, that, when
images of the saints are outraged by word or act, if the accused belongs
to a nation infected with iconoclastic heresy, and the evidence is
sufficient and he denies intention, he must be tortured. Overcoming the
torture, without having sufficiently purged the evidence, he can be
sentenced to an extraordinary penalty and to abjuration, either _de
levi_ or _de vehementi_: if he confesses both fact and intention and
begs for mercy, he is to be reconciled, but if pertinacious he must be
relaxed[761]. This however applies to cases of absolute heretics, in
which the sacrilege was apt to be merely an aggravating incident, while
the great majority of cases consisted of more or less reckless
Catholics, whose punishment varied with the circumstances and was rarely
vindictive. In the Toledo tribunal, from 1575 to 1610, there were but
four cases, which illustrate the general principles of treatment and the
extreme susceptibility felt with regard to any irreverence towards
sacred objects. The first of these occurs in 1579, when Francisco del
Espinar, a boy of 13, was tried for pulling up a way-side cross, playing
with it until he broke it and cast the fragments into a vineyard, and
then alleging that it was no sin because the cross was not a blessed
one. He confessed freely and pleaded that it was not through
irreverence, because he was drunk, but he was punished with sixty lashes
and two years of exile. The second was in 1595, when Fernando Rodríguez
was accused by three witnesses of throwing a stick at a paper image of
the Virgin on an altar, tearing it and uttering a filthy jest, but he
proved an alibi and the case was suspended. The next was in 1600, when
Anton Ruiznieto was punished with abjuration de levi and three years'
exile, for maltreating a crucifix and using offensive words to it. The
fourth, in 1606, illustrates the circumspection requisite to avoid even
the appearance of irreverence, and the danger of denunciation which
constantly impended over every one. Isabel de Espinosa was denounced by
three witnesses because she had placed on a close-stool, which she kept
in her living-room, a painted board on which were representations of
Christ and some saints. A neighbor removed it and she replaced it, when
the neighbor spoke to her and she changed its place. She was brought
from Ocaña to Toledo and a house was assigned to her as a prison. In
defence she explained that her mother-in-law had left her some old
furniture, which her husband had just brought to the house; among it was
this board, black and indistinguishable with age and, without
examination, she had put it on the objectionable article, but when this
was pointed out to her she had removed it. As she was a simple woman and
there was no apparent malice, the case was suspended[762].

In contrast with the severity of the secular courts, as manifested by
the Madrid case of 1644 above referred to, and the French case of the
Chevalier de La Barre, the Inquisition was singularly merciful. In 1661,
Francisco de Abiles, chief auditor of the Priors of St. John, for
insults to an image of Christ, was only exiled for two years by the
Toledo tribunal, which likewise, in 1689 merely exiled for one year Juan
Martin Salvador for stabbing a cross[763]. Perhaps the instance of
greatest rigor that I have met was that visited, in 1720, by the Madrid
tribunal on a youth named Joseph de la Sarria. While confined in the
royal prison he became enraged in gambling and, in his wrath, he threw
in the dirt a picture of the Virgin and tore up another, for which he
was sentenced to two hundred lashes, five years in the galleys and eight
years of exile from Madrid and his native province of Galicia[764].


During the active period of the Inquisition, cases of this offence are
singularly few. In all the sixty-four autos held in Spain, from 1721 to
1727, there is not a single specific instance serious enough to require
appearance in an auto, indicating how universal and deep-seated was the
popular reverence for sacred symbols. It is therefore significant of the
spiritual and intellectual unrest characterizing the close of the
century, that outrages on images became comparatively frequent. In the
decade, 1780-1789 inclusive, there were sixteen cases; in that of
1790-1799, thirty-three and, from 1800 to 1810, nineteen, some of them,
such as trampling on the cross, indicative of iconoclastic zeal. Under
the Restoration, there are but three cases on record.[765]

During this period the spirit of revolt manifested itself in other
kindred ways. In 1797, 1798, 1799, 1800 and 1802 there were trials for
throwing down and trampling on consecrated wafers. In 1797, in Valencia,
Bernardo Amengayl, Ignacio Sánchez, Miguel Escribá and Valentin Duza
were prosecuted for exhibitions burlesquing the saints and sacred
objects. In 1799, at Seville, Manuel Mirasol was tried for a
sacrilegious assault on a priest carrying the sacrament to a sick man.
In 1807, Dr. Vicente Peña, priest of Cifuentes was prosecuted in Cuenca
for celebrating a burlesque mass and Don Eusebio de la Mota for
assisting him.[766] These were surface indications of the hidden
currents which were bearing Spain to new destinies, and it is worthy of
note that they almost ceased during the brief years of the Inquisition
under the Restoration.

       *       *       *       *       *

Akin to the function of preserving images from insult, was the reverent
care with which the Inquisition sought to protect the cross from
accidental pollution. A carta acordada of September 20, 1629, instructs
the tribunals to suppress the custom of painting or placing crosses in
recesses of streets or where two walls form an angle, or other unclean
places, where they are exposed to filth, while all existing ones are to
be removed or erased under discretional penalties. Another carta of
April 19, 1689, recites that not only has this not been done, but that
the custom of placing crosses in these objectionable places is
extending, wherefore the previous orders are reissued, with notice that
six days after publication will be allowed, subsequently to which the
penalties will be enforced.[767]


In the exuberant cult offered to saints, there must be some central and
absolute authority to determine claims to sainthood and to preserve the
faithful from the superstition of wasting devotion on those who have no
power of suffrage. St. Ulric of Augsburg is said to be the first saint
whose sanctity was deliberately passed upon by Rome, in 993, and
Alexander III, in 1181 definitely forbade the adoration of those who had
not been canonized by the Holy See.[768] The assumption of such
authority was essential, for the cult of a local saint was profitable to
a shrine fortunate enough to possess his remains, and popular enthusiasm
was ready at any moment to ascribe sainthood to any devotee who had
earned the reputation of especial holiness.

How difficult it was for even the Inquisition to crush this eagerness
for new intercessors between God and man, is seen in the disturbances
which troubled Valencia for seven years, between 1612 and 1619. After
the death of Mosen Francisco Simon, a priest of holy life, there
developed a fixed belief that he was a saint in heaven. Chapels and
altars were dedicated to him, books were printed filled with the
miracles wrought by his intercession, his images were adorned with the
nimbus of sanctity, processions and illuminations were organized in his
honor, and the question of his right to a place in the calendar became a
political as well as a religious one. It was in vain that the Holy See
asserted its unquestioned right of decision and ordered the Inquisition
to suppress the superstition. Popular excitement reached such height
that an attempt was made to murder in the pulpit a secretary of the
tribunal, when he endeavored to read the edict; a priest named Ozar was
slain for opposing the popular frenzy, and Archbishop Aliaga, for six
years after his election in 1612, was unable to perform the visitation
of his see, because he would everywhere have met with the unauthorized
cult which he could not sanction by partaking. The Suprema did its best
by continual consultas to Philip III, asking the aid of the secular arm
in suppressing this schismatic devotion, and enable it to publish its
condemnatory edicts. Its efforts were neutralized by the Council of
Aragon, backed by the all-powerful favorite Lerma, whose marquisate of
Denia led him to favor the Valencians. It was doubtless his disgrace, in
1618, which enabled the Suprema to attain its purpose, when an energetic
consulta of January 10, 1619, was returned with a decree in the royal
autograph to the effect that, if certain five points that had been
agreed upon were not executed within a month, the tribunal could be
ordered to publish the edicts without further delay.[769]


In this case the Inquisition acted under special papal commands, but the
growing abuse of the unauthorized cult of supposititious saints led
Urban VIII, in 1634, to issue a general decree empowering bishops and
inquisitors to repress, with penalties proportioned to the offence, all
worship of saints and martyrs not pronounced as such by the Holy See, or
relating their miracles in books, or representing them with the
nimbus.[770] Under this the Index of Sotomayor, in 1640, and the
subsequent ones, ordered the suppression of all images or portraits
adorned with the insignia of sanctity, unless the persons represented
had been duly beatified or canonized by Rome.[771]

Yet they did not condemn a work issued, in 1636, by a pious priest of
Salamanca and Toledo, Francisco Miranda y Paz, urging the cult as a
saint of Adam, the father of the human race, and audaciously asking
whether this could not be done without the licence of the Roman
pontiff.[772] In fact, what the Inquisition did in discharge of this
duty is less significant than what it left undone. We have seen (Vol. I,
p. 134) that the assumed martyrdom of _El Santo Niño de la Guardia_ was
followed by a popular cult of the unknown victim. That cult proved
exceedingly lucrative to those who exploited it and has continued to the
present day, although Rome could never be induced to sanction it, yet
the Inquisition prudently forbore to interfere with it in any way.[773]
Similar abstention was observed in the celebrated case of the forgeries
known as the _Plomos del Sacromonte_--inscribed leaden plates,
accompanied by bones assumed to be those of the earliest Christian
martyrs, exhumed in 1595, on a mountain near Granada. The forgeries were
clumsy enough, but they favored the two points dearest to the Spanish
heart--the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin and the Spanish
apostolate of St. James. They were welcomed with the intensest fervor, a
house of secular canons was erected on the spot, which grew wealthy
through the offerings of pilgrims, and innumerable miracles attested the
sanctity of the relics. Rome refused to admit the authenticity of the
_plomos_ without examining them; after a long struggle they were sent
there in 1641, and after another protracted contest they were condemned
as fabrications, May 6, 1682, by Innocent XI in a special brief. The
bones of the so-called martyrs were not specifically condemned as
spurious, but they were not accepted as genuine, yet the Index of Vidal
Marin, while printing the condemnation of the plomos and of the books
written in their defence, was careful to assert that the prohibition did
not include the relics or the veneration paid to them; the Sacromonte is
still a place of pilgrimage and, in the Plaza del Triunfo of Granada,
there stands a pillar bearing the names and martyrdoms of the saints as
recorded in the plomos.[774] Yet, so long as the claims of the martyrs
were not allowed by Rome and the only evidence in their favor was
condemned as fabricated, this was superstition, and its suppression was
the duty of the Inquisition.

While it was empowered to do this by the decree of Urban VIII, it is not
easy to see whence Inquisitor-general Arce y Reynoso obtained faculties
to authorize the cult of supposititious saints not accepted by the Holy
See. The success of the plomos led a learned Jesuit, Roman de la
Higuera, and his imitators, to fabricate chronicles of early Christian
times, principally designed to stimulate Mariolatry and belief in the
Christianization of Spain by St. James. They were long accepted as
genuine and, in 1650, Arce y Reynoso ordered the fictitious saints and
martyrs who figure in them to be included in litanies as objects of
veneration and worship.[775]

Still, the Inquisition asserted to the last its authority under the
decree of Urban VIII. So recently as 1818, when Josef de Herrera, an
apothecary of Xeres de la Frontera, desired to establish the cult of an
engraving of the Trinity, copied from a picture venerated in the
cathedral of Mexico, the tribunal of Seville prohibited the



The dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin had a struggle for
recognition through six centuries, before it was defined as an article
of faith by Pius IX in 1854.[777] In Spain, where popular devotion to
the Virgin was especially ardent, it had, in the seventeenth century,
become almost universally accepted, except by the Dominicans, whose
reverence for their great doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas, bound them to
follow him in its denial. In this they had long been fighting a losing
battle with their great rivals, the Franciscans, and of late with their
still more bitter foes, the Jesuits. Successive popes--Sixtus IV, Paul
IV, Paul V and Gregory XV--in vain sought to suppress the disputatious
scandals by forbidding public discussion of the subject under severe
penalties, and the two latter extended these penalties to those who
should publicly assert the Virgin to have been conceived in original
sin--but still the Holy See cautiously abstained from declaring the
conception to have been immaculate. The enforcement of these penalties
was confided to all bishops and inquisitors.

From 1617 to 1656, Philip III and Philip IV made the Immaculate
Conception a matter of state policy, by long and earnest efforts with
the papacy to decide it affirmatively, and negotiations for combined
action were carried on with France, but the Gallican court responded
only with pious phrases.[778] That in this the crown was but voicing the
wishes of the people was manifested when, in 1636, a man who ventured,
in Madrid, to assert that the Virgin was conceived in original sin, was
promptly cut down by some passing soldiers, was arrested by the
Inquisition, and as soon as his wounds were healed, was thrown into the
secret prison for due prosecution under the papal decrees.[779]

The Dominicans and their followers found it hard to observe the discreet
silence prescribed by the popes and, in 1661, the Spanish bishops united
in earnest request to Alexander VII, representing that persons were
still found who publicly denied the Immaculate Conception. Philip IV
sent the Bishop of Plasencia to Rome, as a special envoy, to convey this
memorial, resulting in the brief _Sollicitudo_, of December 8, 1661, in
which Alexander expressly abstained from defining it as a dogma, but
forbade the teaching of the opposite, as well as stigmatizing the
opposite as heresy, thus continuing the non-committal policy of his
predecessors, to prevent discussions and quarrels without deciding the
question. To this end he empowered all prelates and inquisitors to
prosecute and punish transgressors severely, no matter what exemptions
they might claim, and including even Jesuits. He also placed on the
Index all books impugning the Immaculate Conception and likewise those
which should tax unbelievers with heresy.[780]

This brief was received with great rejoicings by the upholders of the
doctrine, who regarded it as a triumph. In Valencia it was made the
occasion of a splendid festival, in which pasquinades on the opponents
were plentiful. One, which was greatly applauded, represented a
Dominican stretched on a sick-bed and watched by a Jesuit. A Franciscan
opening the door enquires "How is the good brother?" to which the Jesuit
replies "He is speechless, but he still lives." It was doubtless to the
temper thus evinced that we may attribute the suppression by the Suprema
of the city's official report of the celebration, the prohibition of one
paper and the correction of another.[781]


The brief was promptly transmitted to the tribunals by the Suprema, with
orders for its enforcement which show how delicately such explosive
material had to be handled. They were cautioned that, when they or their
commissioners were present at sermons preached by Dominicans, they must
be careful that any action taken was such as not to create scandal. They
were not trusted with prosecuting transgressors, but were ordered,
beforehand, to transmit to the Suprema the sumarias with the opinions of
the calificadores, and to await instructions. Apparently the customary
jealousy arose between the episcopal and inquisitorial jurisdictions,
for a carta acordada of 1667 calls for information as to whether the
Ordinaries concurred in hearing cases, or whether they were treated as
belonging exclusively to the Inquisition.[782]

It was impossible to make the angry disputants keep the peace, and the
Suprema was busy in condemning and suppressing writings on both sides.
In 1663 we find it ordering the seizure at the ports of two books
printed in Italy. An edict of January 4, 1664, suppressed fifteen books
and tracts, issued in 1662 and 1663, as indecent and irreverent to the
Holy See, the Religion of St. Dominic and the Angelic Doctor Aquinas.
Another decree, of December 7, 1671, suppressed two books indecently
attacking the Dominicans and another of prayers and exercises for the
devotion of the Immaculate Conception by the Franciscan Provincial
Bonaqua. Books of devotion thus assumed a controversial character, and
we can safely assume this to be the cause of an order, in 1679, to seize
at Alicante and transmit to the Suprema a box of Dominican

I have chanced to meet with but few cases of prosecutions for impugning
the Immaculate Conception, but they occurred occasionally. Thus, in
1782, Don Antonio Fornes, a pilot's mate of a naval vessel, was tried in
Seville for obstinately denying it and, in 1785, Don Isidro Moreno, a
physician, and his son Joaquin, were brought before the Saragossa
tribunal for the same offence.[784]


Inherited from classical antiquity, unnatural crime was persistent
throughout the Middle Ages, in spite of the combined efforts of Church
and State. It is true that, with the leniency shown to clerical
offenders, the Council of Lateran, in 1179, prescribed for them only
degradation or penitential confinement in a monastery, which was carried
into the canon law, but secular legislation was more severe and the
usual penalty was burning alive.[785] In Spain, in the thirteenth
century, the punishment prescribed was castration and lapidation, but,
in 1497, Ferdinand and Isabella decreed burning alive and confiscation,
irrespective of the station of the culprit. The crime was _mixti
fori_--the law treated it as subject to the secular courts, but it was
also ecclesiastical and, in 1451, Nicholas V empowered the Inquisition
to deal with it.[786] When the institution was founded in Spain it seems
to have assumed cognizance, for we are told that, in 1506, the Seville
tribunal made it the subject of a special inquest; there were many
arrests and many fugitives, and twelve convicts were duly burnt.[787]
Possibly this may have called attention to the incongruity of diverting
the Inquisition from its legitimate duties with the New Christians, for
a decree of the Suprema, October 18, 1509, assumes that this had already
been recognized, and it informs the tribunals that they are not to deal
with the crime, as it was not within their jurisdiction.[788] This
apparently settled the matter as far as the Castilian kingdoms were


In Aragon it does not appear that the early Inquisition took cognizance
of the matter, as is shown by the curious connection of the crime with
the rising of the Germanía. In 1519, the city of Valencia was suffering
from a pestilence which had driven away most of the nobles and higher
officials when, on St. Magdalen's day (June 14th), Fray Luis Castelloli
preached an eloquent sermon in which he attributed the pest to the wrath
of God excited by the prevalence of the offence. The populace were
excited and hunted up four culprits, who confessed and were duly burnt
by the justiciary, Hieronimo Farragud, on July 29th. There was a fifth,
a baker who wore the tonsure and was delivered to the episcopal court,
which sentenced him to vergüenza. This dissatisfied the people who tore
him from the spiritual authorities, garroted and burnt him. The governor
was summoned, and the leaders of the mob feared punishment. There had
been a scare concerning a rumored attack by the Moors, which had led
the trades to form military companies; these were further organized,
elected a chief and swore confraternity, when, recognizing their
strength, they utilized the opportunity of gratifying their hatred of
the nobles and the rebellion broke out.[789]

In all this the Inquisition was evidently not thought of as having
jurisdiction, but possibly it may have drawn attention to the crime and
led to an application to Clement VII for a special brief placing it
under inquisitorial jurisdiction. Bleda, however, tells us that, when
the Duke of Sessa, ambassador at Rome, made request for such a brief, he
gave as a reason that it had been introduced into Spain by the
Moors.[790] Be this as it may, the brief of Clement, February 24, 1524,
recites that Sessa had represented the increasing prevalence of the
crime and had asked for an appropriate remedy, which the pope proceeded
to grant. The form in which it is drawn shows that the matter was
regarded as wholly foreign to the regular duties of the Holy Office, for
it is addressed, not to the inquisitor-general as usual, but to the
individual inquisitors of Aragon, Catalonia and Valencia, and it
authorizes them to sub-delegate their powers to whom they please. They
are empowered to proceed against all persons, lay or clerical, of
whatever rank, either by accusation, denunciation, inquisition, or of
their own motion, and to compel the testimony of unwilling witnesses.
That the offence was not ecclesiastical or heretical was admitted by the
limitation that the trial was to be conducted in accordance with local
municipal law, but yet, with singular inconsistency, the episcopal
Ordinary was to be called in when rendering sentence.[791] The Barcelona
tribunal seems to have questioned, in 1537, whether the brief continued
in force, for the Suprema wrote to it July 11th, that there had not been
time to decide this positively, but that it might continue to act.[792]
Whatever doubts existed were settled in favor of the Inquisition, and
the Aragonese tribunals enjoyed the jurisdiction to the end. The
Archbishop of Saragossa had complained of being thus deprived of
cognizance of these cases, and it was restored to him by a brief of
January 16, 1525, but, at the request of Charles V, Pope Clement, July
15, 1530, evoked all pending cases to himself and committed them to the
inquisitors, with full power to decide them, in conjunction with the

Castile was never included within the special grant. In answer to some
inquiring tribunal, the Suprema replied, November 6, 1534, that the
matter did not pertain to the Inquisition, nor was it deemed advisable
to procure a brief conferring such power. This was adhered to. In 1575,
the Logroño tribunal was informed that it could not prosecute such cases
as it had no faculty and, about 1580, the tribunal of Peru was told not
to meddle with it in any way, except in cases of solicitation.[794] The
Consulta Magna of 1696 states that Philip II, towards the close of his
reign, applied to Clement VIII for a brief conferring the power on the
Castilian Inquisition, but the pope declined for the reason that the
whole attention of the inquisitors should be concentrated on matters of

Majorca, although belonging to the crown of Aragon, was not specifically
included in the brief of Clement VII, and never assumed the power. When,
in 1644, the commissioner in Iviza reported to Inquisitor Francisco
Gregorio about Jaime Gallestria, a cleric denounced for this offence,
Gregorio replied that he had no jurisdiction; still the tribunal was
accustomed to arrest offenders and hand them over for trial to the
secular judges, so he sent a warrant for the arrest of Gallestria, even
though he had taken asylum in a church.[796] It is symptomatic that
arrest by the Inquisition, for a crime over which it had no
jurisdiction, was considered a matter of course.


Sicily also belonged to Aragon, but was not included. In 1569 Philip II
ordered the death-penalty to be rigidly enforced, without exceptions,
and that the informer should receive twenty ounces from the estate of
the convict, but this was slackly obeyed by the secular courts and, in
the Concordia of 1597, he reserved the crime exclusively to the
Inquisition, with the understanding that a papal brief should be applied
for, relieving inquisitors from irregularity for relaxing culprits.
Application was accordingly made to Clement VIII, but, after Philip's
death, the Viceroy Duke of Maqueda and the ambassador, the Duke of
Sessa, at the instance of influential Sicilians, urged Clement to
refuse, which he not only did but forbade the Inquisition to take
cognizance of such cases. The tribunal complained that this deprived it
of its jurisdiction over its own officials, to which the reply was that
it was not the pope's intention to exonerate them from it. The tribunal
therefore continued to punish its own guilty ministers, and the number
of cases cited would seem to indicate that the crime was by no means
uncommon. The punishments inflicted were comparatively moderate--occasionally
imprisonment for life or banishment, perpetual or temporary, from the
place of offending, or deprivation of office with heavy fines.[797]

Dr. Martin Real, who tells us this, writing in 1638, further informs us
that, throughout Italy, the crime was everywhere treated with a leniency
wholly inadequate to its atrocity. The Roman Inquisition, moreover, took
no cognizance of it. When, in 1644, some Conventual Franciscans rendered
themselves conspicuous by sounding the praises of the practice, the
Congregation contented itself with ordering their superiors to proceed
against them with severity.[798]

In Portugal, João III had no sooner got his Inquisition into working
order than he was seized with the desire to obtain for it jurisdiction
over the _pecado maao_. This he pursued with characteristic obstinacy,
while the papacy manifested its customary repugnance. It was not until
after his death that Pius IV, in a brief of February 20, 1562, committed
the decision to the conscience of Cardinal Henrique, confirming in
advance what he might do--but trials were to be conducted according to
municipal law. Henrique had no scruples, but, in 1574, he applied to
Gregory XIII for confirmation and for using the process for heresy in
these cases, when again the pope committed to him the decision and
ratified it in advance.[799] In 1640, the Regulations prescribe that the
offence is to be tried like heresy, and the punishment is to be either
relaxation or scourging and the galleys. In a case occurring in the
Lisbon auto of 1723, the sentence was scourging and ten years of

       *       *       *       *       *

In their general hostility to the Inquisition, the Aragonese kingdoms
objected to this extension of its jurisdiction. There were complaints by
the Córtes and, in the various Concordias and settlements, there were
concessions secured which gave to the secular judges some participation
in the trials. Into the details of these more or less temporary
arrangements it is scarce worth while to enter, except to mention that,
in the struggle which resulted in the Concordia of 1646, Aragon gained
the point that the crime was recognized as _mixti fori_, to be tried by
either the secular court or the Inquisition, according to priority in
commencing action, and that familiars were included in this.[801]

The current practice may be gathered from the answers of Valencia and
Saragossa, in response to inquiries by the Suprema, in 1573. In Valencia
arrest was accompanied by sequestration, but not in Aragon, where the
crime did not entail confiscation. In Aragon, when a new inquisitor was
inducted, the papal briefs were presented to him and he accepted them,
and all sentences commenced by qualifying the inquisitors as _juezes
comisarios apostolicos para conocer en el crimen de sodomia_, showing
that this was a special jurisdiction. The routine of procedure in the
two tribunals did not vary much; the process was somewhat simpler than
in heresy trials, the accused was allowed ample means of defence in
counsel, advocates and procurators, witnesses' names were not
suppressed, except in Valencia when the accused was of high rank, in
which case the Suprema was consulted. After the publication of evidence,
the procurator had the right to examine the witnesses. The Concordia of
1568 had provided that convicts should not appear in autos, but in
Aragon this was left to the discretion of the tribunal, which generally
exhibited them there.[802]


These reports make no allusion to the concurrence of secular judges, but
the practice may be gathered from a letter of Philip II, March 17, 1575,
to the Captain-general of Catalonia, where it appears that, when a
convict was relaxed, the royal court demanded to see the papers of the
case before pronouncing sentence. This the king pronounced to be wholly
wrong and ordered the custom of Valencia and Aragon to be
followed--that, when a case was ready for decision, the inquisitors
notified the captain-general, who delegated judges to take part in the
consulta, after which the sentence was to be executed without further

Torture was freely employed, even on the testimony of a single
accomplice. This raised a question in Aragon, where the use of torture
was forbidden, as the trials were to be conducted in accordance with
municipal law, but the Inquisition replied that the brief of Clement VII
had been applied for at the request of the secular judges, who had found
themselves unable to convict for lack of torture, and desired, for that
reason, the Inquisition to have jurisdiction--the truth of which
assertion may well be doubted. In 1636 there was raised a question as to
torturing witnesses who revoked, but it was decided in the

Punishment varied with time and place. In Aragon, spontaneous confession
was encouraged by simply reprimanding the culprit, warning him and
ordering him to confess sacramentally, and this was confirmed by the
Suprema, in a decree of August 6, 1600. In Valencia, however,
self-denunciation was visited with scourging and galleys and, if
testimony of accomplices supervened, with relaxation.[805] For those
accused and regularly convicted, the statutory and ordinary punishment
was burning. When, in 1577, the Captain-general of Valencia had some
hesitation as to his duty, in the case of two culprits relaxed to him by
the Inquisition, Philip II ordered him to execute them promptly and, as
late as 1647, in an auto at Barcelona, one was garroted and burnt.[806]
Yet, on the whole, there seems to have been a disinclination to relax
these offenders, who could not escape, as heretics could, by confession
and conversion. In 1616 we find the Suprema asking the Valencia tribunal
why it had not confiscated the estate of Dr. Pérez, convicted of this
crime and, in 1634, it enquires whether there is any fuero prohibiting
the _pena ordinaria_, when guilt has been fully proved and the offender
is of full age.[807] About 1640, an experienced inquisitor informs us
that, in Saragossa, the penalty for those over 25 was relaxation; for
minors, scourging and the galleys, but he adds that this is not
observed; he had seen many thus convicted and condemned to relaxation,
but the Suprema always commuted the penalty.[808]

Ecclesiastics seem to have been regarded as entitled to especial
leniency. In 1684, the Suprema called to account the Valencia tribunal
for its benignity, in a case of this kind, when it replied in much
detail. Two decrees of Pius V in 1568, it said, had prescribed
relaxation, with preliminary degradation, in the case of priests and, in
1574, the tribunal had so treated the case of a subdeacon. Many
authorities, however, held that clerics were not to be subjected to the
rigor of the law for this offence, and it was the common opinion that
incorrigibility was required to justify the ordinary penalty. This had
been the practice in Valencia, especially since 1615, when a priest was
convicted of a single act and, by order of the Suprema, was sentenced to
an extraordinary penalty. This had since been followed in various cases,
so that clerics were not relaxed unless incorrigible, and this was
defined to be when repeated punishment showed that the Church could not
reform them. This argument, moreover, precluded the use of torture
which, as the tribunal pointed out, could be used only when the penalty
was worse than torture.[809]


The case which called forth this explanation affords a very instructive
example of the advantage to justice of an open trial, with opportunity
of cross-examination. The accused was Fray Manuel Sánchez del Castellar
y Arbustan, a distinguished member of the Order of La Merced. The trial
had lasted for nearly three years, when the papers were submitted to the
Suprema, in August, 1684. There were two accomplice witnesses to
consummated acts, others to solicitation, others to lascivious and
filthy actions, and others to general foul reputation. Under the
ordinary inquisitorial process, condemnation would have been inevitable,
but repeated examinations and cross-examinations revealed discrepancies
and contradictions and variations, and a knowledge of the witnesses
enabled the accused to present evidence of enmities. The conclusion
reached by the tribunal was that nearly the whole mass of evidence was
the result of a conspiracy, embracing a number of frailes of the
convent, incited by jealousy of the honors and position obtained by
Sánchez. Still, there was some testimony as to indiscretions, which was
not rebutted and, as there had been a great scandal requiring a victim,
with customary inquisitorial logic, he was sentenced to four years'
exile from Valencia, Orihuela and Madrid, for the first two of which he
was deprived of active and passive voice, of confessing and preaching
and of all honors in his Order. In this, consideration was given to
three years spent in prison, so that, if innocent, he had suffered
severely and was sent forth branded with an ineffaceable stigma while,
if guilty, he had a penalty far less than his deserts. When the Suprema
asked why the two witnesses to complicity were not prosecuted, the
tribunal replied that they were regarded as spontaneously confessing,
and it was not customary to prosecute in such cases; besides, although
their enmity and contradictions invalidated their testimony, these were
insufficient to justify prosecution for false-witness.[810] Altogether
it was an unpleasant business, which the tribunal evidently desired to
despatch with as little damage as possible to the Church.

The tendency towards leniency increased with time, and was shown to
laymen as well as to ecclesiastics. In 1717, the Barcelona tribunal
sentenced Guillaume Amiel, a Frenchman, to four years of presidio and
perpetual banishment from Spain. The Suprema commuted the presidio to a
hundred lashes but, when the sentence was read, Amiel protested that his
father was a gentleman and that he held a patent as "teniente del Rey
Christianisimo," thus claiming exemption from degrading corporal
punishment. The proceedings were suspended, and the Suprema was
consulted, which omitted the lashes and, on the same account, the boy
Ramon Gils, who was the accomplice, was spared the vergüenza to which he
had been condemned.[811]

[Sidenote: _USURY_]

The most conspicuous case of this nature in the annals of the
Inquisition was that of Don Pedro Luis Galceran de Borja, Grand-master
of the Order of Montesa. He was not only a grandee of Spain, but was
allied to the royal house, he was half-brother to Francisco de Borja,
Duke of Grandía and subsequently General of the Jesuits, and was of kin
to nearly all the noblest lineages of the land. For his arrest, in 1571,
the assent of Philip II was necessary; he was not confined in the secret
prison, but had commodious apartments from which, during his trial, he
conducted the affairs of the Order. He claimed exemption on the ground
of the privileges of the Order, and more than two years were spent in
debating the question, though it was pointed out that, while the
Trinitarians had even greater privileges, two members professed of that
Order had recently been relaxed for the same crime, and Borja was not
even a cleric, but a married man with children. The claim was finally
disallowed and the trial went slowly on. The evidence reduced itself to
two "singular" witnesses, who testified to solicitation and attempt, and
to one, Martin de Castro, who testified to consummation and then
revoked. Powerful influence from all quarters was brought to bear to
save the accused, and in the final consulta de fe there was discordia.
Two inquisitors and the Ordinary voted for acquittal. The other
inquisitor, who was Juan de Rojas, in a written opinion, called for four
years of exile and a heavy fine. The Suprema, after prolonged
correspondence with the tribunal, accepted this, but changed the exile
to six years of reclusion in his convent of Montesa. Llorente intimates
that the inquisitors expected to gain bishoprics, or at least places in
the Suprema, and that a bargain was made through which, on Borja's
death, the Order of Montesa was incorporated with the crown, as the
military Orders of Castile had been under Ferdinand; to this latter some
color was lent by Philip's appointment of Borja's natural son to the
grand commandership of the Order, from which he rose to the cardinalate.
There is an evident allusion to this case in the remark of an Italian
traveller in 1593, who, when speaking of the severity of the
Inquisition in these matters, illustrates it by the story of a grandee
who, for merely throwing his arm around the neck of a page, spent ten
years in prison and fifty thousand ducats.[812]

Cases were sufficiently frequent to give the Aragonese tribunals
considerable occupation, especially after it was included in the Edict
of Faith in 1574, as a crime to be denounced.[813] I have but a few
scattering data, but they are suggestive. Thus, in Saragossa, at the
auto of June 6, 1585, there were four culprits relaxed.[814] In
Catalonia, in 1597, the report, by Inquisitor Heredia, of a visitation
through the see of Tarragona and parts of those of Barcelona, Vich and
Urgel, contains sixty-eight cases of all kinds and of these fifteen were
for this class of offences, though most of them were subsequently
suspended.[815] In Valencia, there appeared in the autos from January
1598 to December 1602, twenty-seven of these culprits, of whom seven
were frailes.[816] As it was customary to read the sentences _con
meritos_, the populace had an edifying education. From 1780 to 1820, the
total number of cases coming before the three tribunals was exactly one


The ecclesiastical definition of usury is not, as we understand the
term, an exorbitant charge for the use of money, beyond the legal rate,
but any interest or other advantage, however small or indirect, derived
from a loan of money or other article. Forbidden by the Old Law, between
the Chosen People, and extended under the New to the brotherhood of man,
it has been the subject of denunciation continuously from the primitive
Church to the most recent times. Ingenuity has been exhausted in
devising methods of repression and punishment, only to show how
impossible has been the task of warring against human nature and human

From an early period, usury was regarded as an ecclesiastical sin and
crime, subject to spiritual jurisdiction in both the _forum internum_
and _forum externum_. In 1258 Alexander IV rendered it justiciable by
the Inquisition and, at the Council of Vienne, in 1312, the assertion
that the taking of interest is not a sin was defined to be a heresy,
which the Inquisition was in duty required to prosecute.[818] During the
later Middle Ages, when the greater heresies had been largely
suppressed, the prosecution of usurers formed a considerable, and the
most profitable, portion of inquisitorial activity. It is true that the
heresy consisted in denying that usury is a sin, but, as the Repertorium
of 1494 explains, the usurer or simonist, who does not affirm or deny
but is silent and tacitly believes it not to be a sin to commit usury or
simony, is a pertinacious heretic mentally.[819]

[Sidenote: _USURY_]

In Spain, the usurious practices of Jews and Conversos were the
principal source of popular hostility, but Jews were not subject to the
Inquisition and, in its earlier years, it appears not to have recognized
its jurisdiction in this matter over the Conversos, for I have met with
no trace, at this period, of action by it against usury, whether in
Castile or in Aragon. As regards the latter, indeed, it was impeded by a
fuero of the Córtes of Calatayud, in 1461, prohibiting the prosecution
of usurers, by both the secular and spiritual courts, and the procuring
of faculties for the purpose by the Inquisition. To ensure the
observance of this, Juan II was required to swear that he would not
obtain any papal rescript or commission authorizing inquisition into
usury and that, if such rescript were had, it should not be used but be
delivered within a month to the Diputados.[820] It may be assumed that
the Inquisition sought relief from this restriction, for Julius II
issued a _motu proprio_, January 14, 1504, reciting the fuero of
Calatayud and stating that the _usuraria pravitas_ had so increased that
a measure of wheat would be multiplied to twenty-five within three
years, chiefly because the Inquisition, in consequence of this fuero,
was precluded from the exercise of its lawful jurisdiction. He therefore
ordered Inquisitor-general Deza to prosecute all Christian usurers and
compel them to desist, by inflicting the penalties prescribed by the
general council, while Ferdinand was summoned to aid the inquisitors,
and he and his successors were released from any oaths to observe the

As all commercial and financial transactions at the time were based on
interest payment and, as the agriculturist habitually borrowed seed-corn
before sowing, to be repaid with increase after harvest, the Inquisition
thus had an ample field opened for its operations. That it did not
neglect the opportunity is fairly inferable from the opposition excited.
It was the subject of one of the most energetic remonstrances of the
Córtes of Monzon in 1510, and the Concordia of 1512 bore an article in
which Ferdinand promised to obtain from the pope the revocation of the
faculties granted to the inquisitors; that he would allow no other grant
to be obtained, and that meanwhile he would arrange that no prosecutions
should be brought except for open assertion that usury was no sin. For
this, as for the other articles, he swore to procure the papal
confirmation. Inquisitors were likewise sworn to obey the Concordia and,
when Ferdinand was released from his oath by Leo X, in the brief of
April 30, 1513, a _motu proprio_ followed, September 2d, to the effect
that, as heresy and usury are the most heinous of crimes, to be
prosecuted with the sharpest rigor, the inquisitors were released from
their oaths and directed to employ the faculties granted by Julius II
for the suppression of usury.[822] This serves to explain why, in the
compromise embodied in Inquisitor-general Mercader's Instructions of
1514, there is no allusion to usury--the inquisitors were not to be
disturbed in the exercise of their functions in this respect.[823] When,
however, Leo, in 1516, confirmed the Concordia of 1512, he removed
usury from inquisitorial jurisdiction and prohibited its prosecution
unless the culprit should hold it not to be a sin.[824]

It has already been seen how completely the Inquisition ignored all
these agreements, in spite of royal and papal confirmations. So, when
Charles V was obliged, in 1518, at the Córtes of Saragossa, to take the
specific and elaborate oath imposed on Juan II, it proved equally
futile.[825] Inquisitors continued to exercise jurisdiction, but, in
Aragon proper, they were impeded for a time by a brief of Clement VII,
January 16, 1525, ordering them to confine themselves in future to
heresy--a brief procured by Juan of Austria, Archbishop of Saragossa,
who claimed jurisdiction over usury for his own court.[826] This
afforded slender relief, for he employed the inquisitorial process and
the Córtes of Saragossa, in 1528, adopted a fuero, confirmed by Charles
V, reciting that the laws provide for the punishment of usurers by the
secular courts, but that the ecclesiastical judges were prosecuting
them, wherefore, at the desire of the four brazos, his majesty ordered
the ancient laws of the kingdom to be enforced without exception.[827]

So long as the Inquisition was not involved, Charles was indifferent as
to how usurers were treated, but, when the Catalans, at the Córtes of
Monzon, in the same year, complained of the prosecution of usury by
inquisitors and petitioned that it be prevented, he drily answered that
the laws should be observed and justice should be done.[828] No greater
satisfaction than this could be had when, a few years later, the Córtes
of the three kingdoms reiterated the complaint of the prosecutions for
usury by the Inquisition, inflicting an ineffaceable stain upon parties
and their descendants, even though they were discharged without penance.
The reply of the inquisitor-general to this was a simple denial, coupled
with the demand that the names of injured parties should be

[Sidenote: _MORALS_]

In the absence of documents, it is not easy to understand why the
Inquisition suddenly abandoned a jurisdiction for which it had contended
so strenuously, but so it was. In 1552, Simancas asserts that
inquisitors have no cognizance of questions arising from usury, but must
leave them to the Ordinaries, for usurers are not moved by erroneous
belief, but by the desire for sordid gains.[830] In this Simancas
evidently spoke by authority, for the Suprema, in a carta acordada of
March 17, 1554, forbade the tribunals to take cognizance of usury, and
the subject disappears from inquisitorial records.[831] The secular and
spiritual courts were left to fight the losing battle with industrial
and commercial progress, which eventually compelled the recognition of
the fact that payment for the usance of money is customarily profitable
to both parties.


The object of the Inquisition was the preservation of the purity of
faith and not the improvement of morals. The view taken of its duties as
to the latter is set forth in the comments of the Suprema on the report
by de Soto Salazar of his visitation, in 1566, of the Barcelona
tribunal. Clement, Abbot of Ripoll, was prosecuted for saying that so
great was the mercy of God that he would pardon a sinner who confessed,
even though he had not a firm intention to abstain in future, and also
for keeping a nun as a mistress. He was fined in four hundred ducats,
and was ordered to break off relations with the nun under pain of a
thousand ducats. The Suprema sharply reprimanded Inquisitor Padilla for
inflicting so heavy a penalty and for exceeding his jurisdiction in
prohibiting the unlawful connection. So, when the inquisitors fined
Jaime Bocca, an unmarried familiar, in twelve ducats for keeping a
married woman as mistress, the Suprema told them that it was none of
their business. It is true that in two other cases of familiars, fined
in twenty ducats each for keeping mistresses, the comment is simply that
the rigor was excessive.[832]

The same principle, as we have seen, was observed in the treatment of
solicitation. The question of morals was studiously excluded, as a
matter entirely beyond the purview of the Inquisition, and the only
point considered was the technical one whether cases came within papal
definitions drawn up to safeguard the sacrament of penitence. The same
remark applies to the vigorous prosecution of those who held simple
fornication to be no sin. There was no attempt to repress the sin
itself, for this was beyond the faculties conferred on the Inquisition,
but merely to ascertain and punish the mental attitude of the accused.

As time passed on, however, and as the heretics who were the legitimate
objects of the Holy Office grew scarce, there arose a tendency to
enlarge its sphere of action and to assume the position of acustos
morum. This has been seen in the censorship, which, during the later
period, came to be applied not only to obscene books but to all manner
of works of art that did not accord with the censor's standard of

From this it was an easy step to intervene in the private lives of
individuals, in matters wholly apart from its legitimate jurisdiction,
of which we find occasional examples in the later period of decadence.
Thus, in 1784, Josef Mas was prosecuted in Valencia for singing an
improper song at a dance, and in 1791, there is a prosecution of Manuel
de Pino for "indecent and irreligious acts." In 1792 the Barcelona
tribunal takes the testimony of Ramon Seroles of Lloc, with respect to
the scandalous life of the parish priest of that place and his abuse of
the holy oils. In 1810 the Valencia tribunal is investigating Rosa
Avinent, keeper of a tobacco-shop, for suspicion of maltreating some
children in her house. In 1816 the Santiago tribunal sentences Don
Miguel Quereyzaeta, a post-office official, to leave the city where he
has led a disorderly and scandalous life, and charges him to reconcile
himself to his wife and to live with her. In 1819, Don Antonio Clemente
de Polar is prosecuted by the Madrid tribunal for propositions and for
dressing in such wise as to satisfy the passions and for other


In these and similar cases, it may be assumed that the parties
inculpated richly deserved correction, but this sporadic defence of
virtue and punishment of vice was much more likely to encourage the
gratification of malice than to elevate the standard of public morals,
and the employment of the tremendous machinery of the Inquisition in
such matters marks the depth of its fall from its former height. Had its
object from the beginning been the purification of morals as well as of
religion, possibly the awe which it inspired in all classes might have
resulted in some ethical improvement but, during the time of its power,
the impression that it produced was that morals were of slender account
in comparison with faith and, in the day of its decline, these
occasional attempts to extend its jurisdiction could only produce
exasperation without amendment.


When, in 1216, the fourth Council of Lateran rendered auricular
confession imperative, it was essential that the father confessor should
be bound to preserve absolute silence as to the sins revealed to him.
For a time there were some exceptions admitted, as heresy for instance,
but eventually the obligation became universal and the schoolmen
exhausted their ingenuity in devising the most extreme cases by which to
illustrate the inviolability of what has become known as the seal of
confession. Human nature being what it is, and priestly nature being
subject to human infirmities, the violation of the seal has, at all
times, been a source of anxiety and the object of rigorous punishment,
administered to the secular clergy by the spiritual courts, and to the
regulars by their superiors. The Roman Inquisition, in the first
half-century of its existence, assumed exclusive cognizance of the
offence, and demanded that all offenders, whether secular or regular,
should be tried by its tribunals, but, in 1609, it abandoned its
jurisdiction and left them to their bishops and prelates.[834]

As the heresy involved in betraying the confidence of the penitent was
only an inferential error as to the sacrament--an artificial pretext
like that devised with regard to solicitation--the Spanish Inquisition
did not hold it to be comprised in the general delegation of faculties,
but that a special papal commission was requisite. No attempt seems to
have been made to obtain this until 1639, when, on October 11th, the
Suprema addressed Philip IV a consulta setting forth that numerous
denunciations were received by the tribunals against confessors who
revealed confessions, and that inquisitors were asking urgently for
permission to prosecute such cases as violations of divine, natural and
political law, rendering culprits suspect in the faith, this being even
more derisory of the sacrament than solicitation. It was notorious that
the Ordinaries did not check it among the secular clergy, nor their
prelates among the regulars, nor could, in such hands, any remedy be
efficacious, because in public trials the witnesses would be bought off
or frightened off, and there were no secret prisons to assure the
necessary segregation of the accused. The king was therefore asked to
procure from the pope, for the Inquisition, exclusive jurisdiction over
the offence.[835] The Suprema probably did not exaggerate as to the
denunciations received by the tribunals, for, in the minor one of the
Canaries, we find it, in 1637, receiving testimony against Diego
Artiaga, priest of Hierro, for this offence, in 1643, against Diego
Salgado, priest of la Palma and, in 1644 against Fray Matías Pinto of

There can be no doubt that Philip, as usual, acceded to the request of
the Suprema, but Urban VIII seems not to have been responsive. He had a
plausible reason for declining, in the fact that the Roman Inquisition
had abandoned its jurisdiction over the matter and, at the moment, he
was at odds with the Spanish over the question of censorship and of the
Plomos del Sacromonte. The offence was never included in the Edict of
Faith, but occasionally it is enumerated among the charges against
confessors on trial for solicitation, as in the cases of the Franciscan
Fray Juan Pachon de Salas, in Mexico in 1712, of the Carmelite Ventura
de San Joaquin in 1794, and of Fray Antonio Ortuño in 1807.[837] It was
difficult to eradicate belief in the competence of the Inquisition and,
as lately as 1808, José Antonio Alvárez, priest of Horcajo de los
Montes, was denounced for this offence to the Toledo tribunal, but the
trial was suspended, probably through doubt as to jurisdiction.[838]
When the question was brought up squarely, in the case of Doctor Don
Francisco Torneo, before the Valencia tribunal, after due discussion it
decided, March 28, 1816, that it had no jurisdiction, and the case was
accordingly dismissed.[839]



The efficient organization of the Inquisition and the dread which it
inspired caused it to be invoked in numberless contingencies, most
diverse in character and wholly foreign to the objects of its
institution. A brief enumeration of a few of these will serve to
complete our survey of its activity and, trivial as they may seem, to
illustrate how powerful was the influence which it exercised over the
social life of Spain.

The value of its services, arising from the indefinite extent of its
powers, was recognized early. In 1499, a Benedictine monastery
complained to Ferdinand that it had pledged a cross to a certain Pedro
de Santa Cruz and could not recover it, as he had placed himself under
protection of Dominicans, who claimed exemption from legal processes.
Ferdinand thereupon ordered the inquisitors of the city to settle the
matter; they neglected it and he wrote again peremptorily, instructing
them to seize the cross and do justice between the parties. In April,
1500, the king instructs the Valencia tribunal to recover for Don Ramon
López, of the royal guard, two runaway slaves and some plate which they
had stolen.[840] Evidently there was no little variety of duties
expected of the Holy Office.

In 1518 a nunnery of Clares, in Calatayud, complained that, within ten
paces of their house, there had been built a Mercenarian convent of
which the inmates were disorderly; the nuns could not walk in their
garden without being seen and great scandals were apprehended. Charles V
applied to Leo X to have the Mercenarians replaced by Benedictines or
Gerónimites and the Inquisition was invoked to assist.[841] Parties
sometimes obtained papal briefs to have their suits transferred to the
tribunals. In 1548 Doña Aldonza Cerdan did this in a litigation with Don
Hernando de la Caballería and, in 1561, Doña Isabel de Francia in a suit
with Don Juan de Heredia. In both cases the inquisitors of Saragossa
refused to act until Inquisitor-general Valdés ordered them to do
so.[842] All inquisitors were not thus self-restrained, for when, about
this time, a general command was issued forbidding them to prosecute for
perjury committed in other courts, it shows that they had been asked to
do so and that some of them, at least, were ready to undertake such
business.[843] In 1647, when the prevalence of duelling called for some
effective means of repression, among the remedies proposed was that
sending a challenge should be made a matter for the Inquisition, on the
ground that the infamy accruing to the offender and his descendants
would be the most effective discouragement to punctilious
gentlemen.[844] The suggestion apparently was not adopted, but it
illustrates the readiness to have recourse to the elastic jurisdiction
of the Holy Office.

The Jesuits found the Inquisition of much service when, through the
favor of Olivares, they were enabled to invoke its intervention in one
of their quarrels with the Dominicans. In 1634, Fray Francisco Roales
issued a pamphlet against the Society and Dr. Espino, an ex-Carmelite,
published two others. They were answered by Padre Salazar and there the
matter might have ended, but the Jesuits appealed to Philip IV and to
Olivares, who promised satisfaction and ordered the Inquisitor-general
Sotomayor (himself a Dominican) to take action, with the significant
hint that he would be watched. A royal decree of January 29, 1635,
rebuked the Suprema for lack of zeal, and ordered it to act with all
diligence and to inflict severe punishment. It responded promptly on
February 1st with an edict suppressing the pamphlet of Roales under
heavy penalties, but this did not suffice and, on June 30th, it
prohibited every one, layman or ecclesiastic, from saying anything in
private or in public, derogatory to any religious Order or the members
thereof, under exemplary penalties, to be rigorously executed--a decree
which had to be repeated in 1643.

On June 27, 1635 the three obnoxious pamphlets were burned with
unprecedented ceremony. There was a solemn procession of the officials
and familiars, with the standards of the Inquisition, while a mule with
carmine velvet trappings bore a chest painted with flames in which were
the condemned writings. It traversed the principal streets to the plaza,
where a fire was lighted; a herald, with sound of trumpet, proclaimed
that the Company of Jesus was relieved of all that had been said against
it and that these papers were false, calumnious, impious and scandalous;
they were cast by the executioner into the flames and then the box and
the procession wended their way solemnly back to the Dominican College
of San Tomas. The effect of the demonstration, however, was somewhat
marred by the populace believing that the box contained the bones of a
misbelieving Jew, and accompanying the procession with shouts of "Death
to the dogs!" and other pious ejaculations.

[Sidenote: _General Utility_]

Espino was arrested and incarcerated--not for the last time for, in
1643, he boasted that he had been imprisoned fifteen times for his
attacks on the Jesuits. Roales was more fortunate; he was a chaplain of
Philibert of Savoy; his pamphlet had been printed in Milan and he was
safe in Rome, but a printer who had issued an edition in Saragossa was
arrested and presumably sent to the galleys, and a Dominican Fray
Cañamero, who had circulated the three pamphlets, was ordered to be
arrested but seems to have saved himself by flight. Still the
irrepressible conflict continued and the Inquisition was kept busy in
prosecuting offenders and suppressing obnoxious utterances. It even
construed its duty so rigidly that it condemned a memorial of the
unfortunate creditors who suffered by the bankruptcy, in 1645, of the
Jesuit College of San Hermengildo in Seville, when some three hundred
depositors lost four hundred and fifty thousand ducats, and were
struggling to rescue the remaining assets from the hands of the

The Granada tribunal did not pause to enquire as to its jurisdiction
when, in May 1646, owing to the scarcity of wheat, there were
bread-riots and the mob had control of the city. It summoned all the
grain-measurers and porters, under pain of excommunication, to appear
before it on a matter of importance. By examining them, considerable
stores of hidden corn were revealed; the corregidores registered it and
the price was fixed at forty-two reales.[846] This was volunteer action
but, in 1648, when a pestilence was raging in Valencia, the tribunal was
called upon to maintain the quarantine at one of the city gates. The
king, on February 1, 1649, notified the Suprema that the pest had ceased
in Valencia, but that it was violent at Cádiz, San Lucar and other
places, and urged continued vigilance, to which the Suprema replied that
it had, since April, done its full duty, but that the municipal
officials were very negligent, and it asked him to order them to do
their share.[847] Apparently the Inquisition was relied upon for
quarantine work. As lately as July 2, 1818, the Suprema wrote to all the
tribunals that the plague had appeared at Tangier and threatened Spain
with the most terrible of calamities. The king had ordered energetic
precautions, in which all branches of the Government must coöperate,
and it was no time for hesitation or scruples. The tribunals were
therefore instructed to keep watch on the officials of all departments
and see that they did their duty and, if they could devise more
effective measures, they were invited to make suggestions.[848]

The unlimited interference of the Inquisition with matters pertaining to
episcopal supervision is seen in two or three cases tried by the Madrid
tribunal. May 5, 1656, it sentenced the priest, Francisco Pérez Lozano,
to exile for a year from various places for his share in founding a
confraternity with what were called "statutos execrables." February 6,
1688, Juan Moreno de Piedrola, a priest of the Congregation of San
Salvador, who proposed to establish a congregation, in the rules of
which the tribunal discovered censurable propositions, was ordered to
surrender all the papers and not to discuss it in word or writing and
was exiled until he should have permission to return, with warning that
otherwise he would be prosecuted with the full rigor of the law. As he
was not required to abjure even _de levi_, it shows that there was no
suspicion of heresy involved. Then, in 1697, Fray Juan Maldonado, of the
Order of San Juan de Dios, had three years of exile for preaching, in
the church of his convent at Ciudad Real, a sermon characterized as
burlesque and scandalous, though there is no hint of its being in any
way heretical.[849]

[Sidenote: _General Utility_]

This perpetual intrusion into all manner of affairs, irrespective of
heresy rather increased towards the last. In 1788, Antonio López was
prosecuted in Valencia for selling rosaries with bones made of clay as
relics. In 1789, Andrés Joáñez, a coachman, for a conversation on a
superstitious subject. In 1791, the Carmelite Fray Bonifacio de San
Pablo, for attempting to print a satirical paper; Josef de la Rosa, in
Cordova, for carrying a consecrated wafer in a relic-bag; Vicente
Felerit, in Valencia, for a "vain observance." In 1795, Don Miguel
Catalá, fiscal in Buñol and Josef Sánchez Masquifa, a scrivener, were
prosecuted for using, in drafting testaments, the words "diversos
atributos," when alluding to the Trinity. In 1799, Juan Rodríguez, a
priest in Santiago, for assisting and performing ceremonies in a
mock-marriage. In 1808, Josef Várquez de la Torre, a scrivener of
Valencia, for drawing a deed of separation between spouses. In 1818, in
Valencia, Vicente Maicas, priest of Cedrillos, for not wanting his
parishioners to die in the Franciscan habit.[850] As all these cases
presuppose denunciation, they illustrate the popular estimate of the
all-embracing powers of the Inquisition and the espionage under which
every Spaniard lived.

In fact, there was scarce anything in which the Inquisition did not feel
itself authorized to intervene. The latitude with which inquisitors
construed their own powers is manifest in their assuming to issue
licences to hunt in prohibited places, sometimes for their own benefit
and sometimes for that of others. This was an abuse which the Suprema
strove to correct by forbidding it in 1527, but it was so persistent
that the prohibition had to be repeated in 1530 and again in 1566.[851]

As the Inquisition was supreme within its jurisdiction and claimed the
right to define the extent of its powers, there was no one to call it to
account for their arbitrary exercise. If any other body in the State
felt that its rights were invaded, the only recourse was to the
sovereign and we have seen how, under the Hapsburgs, the crown, with
scarce an exception, decided in its favor.





The Inquisition may be said to have reached its apogee under Philip IV.
We have had ample opportunity to see how that pious monarch yielded to
its aggressiveness, until it became a virtually independent organization
within the State, obeying the royal mandates or not, as best suited its
convenience, and engaged in almost perpetual controversies with the
other branches of the government, while the king, with rare exceptions,
submitted to its exigencies. It is true that, in his financial distress,
he compelled the restitution of a small part of the confiscations and
that he asserted the royal prerogative of making and unmaking
inquisitors-general and of appointing members of the Suprema but, when
once he had exercised the power, his appointees acted in independence.
It would not be easy to imagine a more complete assertion of
irresponsible authority than the sudden arrest of Villanueva--of a
leading minister in the absence of the sovereign, at a time of the
utmost confusion, when nothing would have been risked by delay, save
perhaps that the sovereign might have refused assent. Yet not only did
Philip condone this but he threw himself into the persecution of his
favorite with such ardor that he could scarce restrain himself from
risking a rupture with the Holy See in defence of the Holy Office. Under
the disastrous regency of Maria Ana of Austria and the reign of Carlos
II, the royal authority almost disappeared and, although this gave such
men as Nithard and Valladares opportunity to assert still further the
independence of the Inquisition, it also enabled Don John of Austria to
banish Nithard and the other governmental departments to emulate its
disregard of the royal authority. There was an omen of the future when
they united, in 1696, in the Junta Magna, to protest against the
encroachments of the Inquisition and to demand its withdrawal into its
proper limits, although by dextrous management the attempt was baffled.


With the advent of the Bourbon dynasty a new element entered into the
political organization of Spain. The absolutism of Louis XIV had
embraced the Church as well as the State, and the Gallican theories as
to the power of the Holy See were encouraged in order to assure the
headship of the crown. It was inevitable that Philip V and his French
advisers should entertain very different views as to the relations
between the king and the Inquisition from those which had been current
for a century. Even at the height of the War of Succession, we have seen
how Philip, in the affair of Froilan Díaz, intervened as master and
regulated the relations between the inquisitor-general and the Suprema,
how he undertook to reform the Inquisition and how, in many ways he
curbed its audacity. But for a court intrigue, working through Philip's
uxoriousness, Macanaz might have succeeded in his project of rendering
the Inquisition wholly subordinate to the crown, and though the
vindictiveness of the Holy Office inflicted on him life-long punishment
for the attempt, this did not prevent the continued assertion of the
royal supremacy, as we have had occasion to see in repeated instances
and in many different directions.

[Sidenote: _PHILIP V_]

Philip's assertion of the royal prerogative, however, by no means
implied any lack of zeal for the faith and, as long as the Inquisition
confined itself to its duties of exterminating heresy, it had his
cordial support. Frequent allusions have been made above to its renewed
activity during the period following the close of the War of Succession.
Full statistics are lacking, but in sixty-four autos, between 1721 and
1728, there appeared nine hundred and sixty-two culprits and effigies,
of whom one hundred and fifty-one were relaxed.[852] That this met his
hearty approbation is manifested by the letter which he addressed,
January 14, 1724, to his son Luis, when abdicating in his favor. In this
the exhortations breathing a lofty morality are accompanied with earnest
injunctions to maintain and protect the Inquisition, as the bulwark of
the faith, for to it is attributable the preservation of religion in all
its purity in the states of Spain, so that the heresies which have
afflicted the other lands of Christendom, causing in them ravages so
deplorable and horrible, have never gained a foothold there.[853]
Small-pox cut short the reign of Luis to seven months, after which
Philip was obliged to resume the weary burden, till death released him,
July 9, 1746, and if, during this later portion of his government, the
Inquisition was less busy, this may safely be attributed to flagging
energies and lack of material and not to any restraint on the part of
the sovereign. The punishment which he allowed it to inflict on Belando,
for the history of his reign of which he and his queen, after careful
scrutiny, had accepted the dedication, shows how untrammelled was its
exercise of its recognized functions.

Yet Philip unwittingly started the movement that was ultimately to
undermine the foundations on which the Inquisition rested. He brought
with him from France the conviction that the king should be the patron
of letters and learning, and he had the ambition to rule over a people
of culture. He aroused the slumbering intellect of Spain by founding the
Academies of Language and of History and of Medicine, the Seminary of
the Nobles, and the National Library, and he replaced for Catalonia the
University of Lérida by that of Cervera. Notwithstanding the vigilance
of the censorship, it was impossible that the awakening intelligence of
the nation, thus stimulated, should not eagerly grasp at the forbidden
fruit of modern philosophism, all the more attractive in that it had to
be enjoyed in secret. Fernando VI, from 1746 to 1759, followed his
father's example, in encouraging the spread of culture. Carlos III was
even more energetic in urging the enlightenment of his subjects, and
thus there was gradually formed a public, few in numbers, it is true,
but including the statesmen in power, which had lost the old Spanish
conception that purity of faith was the first essential, and regarded
the Inquisition as an incumbrance, save in so far as it might be used
for political ends. The Inquisition still inspired fear, and the case of
Olavide shows that these opinions had to be cherished in secret, but
the number who entertained them was indicated when the bonds of society
were loosened and the national institutions crumbled in the earthquake
of the Napoleonic invasion.

Possibly the diffusion of this modern rationalistic spirit, insensibly
affecting even those opposed to it, may partly explain the rapidly
diminishing activity of the Inquisition. The great tribunal of Toledo,
in the fifty-five years, from 1740 to 1794 inclusive, despatched but
fifty-seven cases, or an average of but one a year.[854] This cannot be
attributed to a lack of culprits, for bigamy, blasphemy, solicitation,
sorcery and similar offences, which furnished so large a portion of the
penitents of old, were as rife as ever. The fact is, that the officials
were becoming indifferent and careless, except in the matter of drawing
their salaries. When, on May 22, 1753, the priest Miguel de Alonso
García was to be sentenced in the audience-chamber with closed doors and
in the presence of the officials, it happened that there were no
witnesses of the solemnity because none of the officials were to be
found in the secreto.[855]

[Sidenote: _CARLOS III_]

The _personnel_ of the Inquisition was visibly deteriorating and
consequently forfeiting the respect of the community. There had long
been complaint of the insufficiency of the salaries, which had remained
stationary while the purchasing power of money had greatly diminished,
and there had been no reduction in the official staffs to correspond
with the dwindling business. Thus, in spite of the _empleomanía_
characteristic of the nation, and of the privileges and exemptions
attached to official position, it became increasingly difficult to fill
the offices properly. As early as 1719, the inquisitors of Barcelona
complained to the Suprema of the trouble they experienced getting people
to serve, on account of lack of desire for the offices and the absence
of advantage accruing from them.[856] In 1737 we find that the Toledo
tribunal had neither a commissioner nor a notary in Guadalajara, the
capital of a province which, in 1787, numbered 112,750 souls.[857] In
1750, a writer deplores that the stipend of eight hundred ducats is
insufficient to support the dignity of an inquisitor, so that the
inquisitor-general is not always able to make fitting nominations. This
necessitates the appointment of calificadores to examine the doctrines
brought under review, resulting in the indefinite prolongation of cases,
and also in lack of vigilance to suppress the errors perpetually
propagated in books; when the calificadores are not paid, they are slow
in their work and, to escape paying them, many things which ought to be
referred to them are passed over.[858] That the respect felt for the
Inquisition should diminish under these circumstances was inevitable and
altogether, at this period, it presents the aspect of an institution
which had survived the causes of its creation and was hastening to its
end. Yet it had exercised too powerful an influence in moulding the
Spanish character for it to disappear when its mission was accomplished,
and we shall see how violent were the struggles attendant upon its

Meanwhile it dragged on its existence under constantly increasing
limitations. Fernando VI, it is true, gave it obstinate support in its
quarrel with Benedict XIV over the works of Cardinal Noris, but he dealt
a severe blow when, in 1751, he deprived of the _fuero_ the officials of
the tribunal of Lima. Carlos III, who succeeded in 1759, came from
Naples with the highest ideals of royal supremacy, coupled with less
respect for ecclesiastical claims than was current in Spain; he
surrounded himself with advisers such as Roda, Campomanes, Aranda and
Floridablanca, who were more than suspected of leanings to modern
philosophism, and his reign of benevolent despotism was marked with a
series of measures designed to diminish or abolish the privileges of
inquisitorial officials, to repress abuses and to tame arrogance. The
complete control which he assumed over its functions is exhibited in the
rules imposed, in 1768, on its censorship and, in 1770 and 1777, on its
jurisdiction over bigamy, when he ordered it in future to limit its
operations to the suppression of heresy and not to embarrass the royal
courts. The theory thus developed of the relations between the crown and
the Holy Office is formulated in a consulta of the Council of Castile,
November 30, 1768: "The king as patron, founder and endower of the
Inquisition, possesses over it the rights inherent in all royal
patronage.... As father and protector of his vassals, he can and ought
to prevent the commission of violence and extortion on their persons,
property and reputation, indicating to ecclesiastical judges, even in
their exercise of spiritual jurisdiction, the path pointed out by the
canons, so that these may be observed. The regalías of protection and of
this indubitable patronage have established solidly the authority of the
prince, in issuing the instructions which he has deigned to give to the
Holy Office acting as an ecclesiastical tribunal."[859] Under such
conditions, he was quite content with its existence and, when Roda
suggested its suppression and presented various documents to show that
this had been discussed under Charles V, Philip II and Philip V, he
merely replied "The Spaniards want it and it gives me no trouble."[860]
In fact, the time had not arrived for such drastic measures. The Abbé
Clément reports a conversation with Aranda, October 29, 1768, in which
the count warned him that it was necessary to speak of the Inquisition
with great reserve, for people imagined that all religion depended on
it; it was, in truth, an obstacle to all improvement, but time would be
required to deal with it, and he advised Clément to allude to it only to
Roda and Campomanes.[861]

       *       *       *       *       *

With the accession, in 1788, of Carlos IV, there opened for Spain a new
and disastrous epoch. Timid, irresolute, indolent, he had fallen
completely under the influence of his wife María Luisa, an energetic and
self-willed woman. Until 1792 he kept in office Floridablanca, who was
succeeded for a short time by Aranda, and then power was grasped by
Manuel Godoy, subsequently known as Prince of Peace. Cadet of an obscure
family of Badajoz, he had entered the royal body-guard, where he
attracted the attention of the queen, whose favored lover he was
universally believed to be, as well as the favorite of her husband. He
speedily rose to the highest dignities and became omnipotent; although a
court intrigue occasioned his dismissal in 1798, he was restored in
1800, remaining arbiter of the destinies of Spain, until the "Tumult of
Lackeys," at Aranjuez, in 1808, directed against him, caused the
abdication of Carlos in favor of his son Fernando VII. Light-headed,
selfish, vain and unscrupulous, he was mainly responsible for the
misfortunes which overwhelmed his country and from which it may be said
not to have as yet recovered.


The outbreak of the French Revolution gave a new importance to the
Inquisition. When the seductive theories of the French philosophers
were preached as the foundation of practical politics, overturning
thrones and threatening monarchical institutions with the doctrines of
the social compact, the sovereignty of the people and the universal
brotherhood of man, the Holy Office might claim that, as the foundations
of social order were based on religion, its labors were essential for
the safety of the State, while the State recognized that it was the most
available instrumentality for the suppression and exclusion of the
heresies of liberty and equality.

In this tumultuous breaking down of the standards of thought and belief,
in this emergence of a new order on the ruins of the old, the functions
of the Inquisition adapted themselves to the exigencies of the times, in
other ways besides the increased sharpness and vigilance of its
censorship. I have frequently had occasion above to refer to an
alphabetical list of all the persons denounced to the various tribunals,
from 1780 to 1820, some five thousand in all, and this, taken as a
whole, affords us an insight into the change in the objects of
inquisitorial activity. Judaism and Islam and Protestantism no more
claim its attention. The Church is no longer threatened by enemies from
without; what it has to dread is revolt among its own children.
Three-fifths of the denunciations are for "propositions," largely among
the cultured classes, including a fair proportion of ecclesiastics.
Their precise errors are not stated, but doubtless many were Jansenistic
and more were hostile to the claims of the Church Militant and to the
absolutism of the monarchy. There is also a large class of cases,
virtually unknown a century earlier, significant of a vital change in
the intellectual tendencies of the nation, calling for the special
vigilance of the Inquisition. Popular indifferentism is revealed in the
numerous prosecutions for inobservance or contempt of church
observances. Even more noteworthy are those for outrages on images of
Christ, the Virgin and the saints, and even for sacrilegious treatment
of the Venerable Sacrament. In many other ways was manifested the
weakening of the profound and unquestioning veneration which, for three
centuries, had been the peculiar boast of the Spanish race. On the other
hand it is not a little remarkable that there are very few cases of
offences against the Inquisition, for, in all these forty years, there
are but nine that can in any way be included in this class.[862]

At the same time, when we recall the old-time punctilious enforcement of
profound respect, it argues no little decline in popular awe when, in
1791, a simple parish priest, Dr. Joseph Gines of Polop (Alicante) dared
to address the Valencia tribunal in terms of violent indignation at the
conduct of its secretary, Dr. Pasqual Pérez, when on a mission to
collect testimony. He tells the tribunal that, if it does not dismiss
Pérez it will sink greatly in his estimation, and his whole epistle
breathes a spirit of independence and equality wholly impossible at an
earlier time.[863] It was not without reason that, in 1793, the
tribunal, in appealing for increase of salaries, complained of the
decline in popular respect for its officials, which it attributed to
their meagre pay and the curtailment of their privileges.[864] How
completely the tribunals had lost their former energy is indicated by
the abandonment, about this time, as we have seen (Vol. II, p. 98) of
the publication of the Edict of Faith, which of old had been so
impressively solemnized and had proved at once so fruitful a source of
denunciations and so powerful a means of maintaining popular awe.


Coincident with this, and as though the Inquisition felt that it was on
trial before the people, there was a marked tendency towards
amelioration of procedure, coupled with benignity in treatment of
culprits. Allusion has been made above to the introduction of the
_audiencia de cargos_, through which the accused was afforded an
opportunity of knowing what was alleged against him, and frequently of
clearing himself without the disgrace of arrest and trial. There is a
very suggestive instance of merciful consideration, in 1791, in the case
of Josef Casals, a weaver, charged before the Barcelona tribunal with
the utterance of shocking blasphemies in the church of Santa Catalina. A
century earlier he would have been arrested and, on proof of the
offence, he would have been sentenced to scourging or the galleys. In
place of this Padre Miguel Alberch was instructed to report secretly as
to the character of the accused, which he did to the effect that Casals
had regular certificates of confession, but was of quick temper and
occasionally broke out in curses. Then a commission was issued to
Alberch to summon Casals and to represent to him the gravity of his
offence and of the punishment incurred, and the mercy shown by the
tribunal, which would keep a watch on him.

In pursuance of this the good priest reported that Casals was deeply
repentant and desired to be heard in confession, which he had
permitted.[865] The case is trivial, but of such was the bulk of
inquisitorial business, and the temper in which it was conducted was of
no little import to the people at large.

Partly this may be attributable to the modern softening of manners,
partly to a growing sense of insecurity, and partly to the inertia which
led the officials to shun all avoidable labor. It was becoming more and
more a political machine and neglectful of the objects of its creation.
During the inquisitor-generalship of Manuel Abad y la Sierra, from 1792
to 1794, we are told that, in all Spain, there were but sixteen
condemnations to public penance. Abad was an enlightened man; he thought
of assimilating the inquisitorial procedure to that of other courts of
justice, and consulted with Llorente as to the formula for such a
reform, but conservatism, however relaxed in practice, was not ready for
total abandonment of the old methods. His design became known: he was
forced to resign and was relegated to the Benedictine monastery of
Sopetran, under a charge, as we have seen of Jansenism.[866]

In fact, an absolute renunciation of the old procedure would have
largely deprived the Inquisition of its usefulness in its new political
functions, to which its established methods were peculiarly adapted.
When, in 1796, a powerful intrigue was formed for the overthrow of
Godoy, the Inquisition was naturally selected as the only weapon with
which to strike at the favorite. Three friars were found to denounce
him, because for eight years he had avoided confession and communion,
and because of his scandalous relations with women. Had
Inquisitor-general Lorenzana been resolute, Godoy's fate might have been
that of Olavide, but he was timid. Archbishop Despuig of Seville and
Bishop Muzquiz, then of Avila, who were the leaders of the plot, vainly
assured him that Godoy's arrest would insure success; he refused to act
except under orders from Pius VI. Despuig then prevailed upon his
friend Cardinal Vincenti to induce the pope to write to Lorenzana
reproaching him with his indifference to a scandal so hurtful to
religion. It chanced that Vincenti's letter, inclosing that of Pius, was
intercepted at Genoa by Napoleon who, to ingratiate himself with Godoy,
forwarded to him the correspondence. Godoy assured his position and took
a mild revenge, which does credit to his sense of humor, by sending
Lorenzana, Despuig and Muzquiz into honorable exile as special envoys to
condole with the pope on the occupation of his territories by the
French.[867] In fact, Capmany describes the Inquisition of the period as
devoted to the unholy work of an Inquisition of State, in order to
preserve its imperilled existence, and its ministers as trembling at the
sight of the infamous favorite, when they had the honor of joining the
crowd of his flatterers.[868]

Inquisitors might reasonably feel anxious as to their position, for
projects of reform were in the air. Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, the
most conspicuous Spaniard of his time for intellectual ability and
rectitude, had been exiled from the court, in 1790, and had betaken
himself to his native Gijon, where for years he labored in founding the
Instituto Asturiense. Desiring to endow it with a library of scientific
works, he applied, in 1795, to Lorenzana for licence to import them, but
Lorenzana refused on the ground that there were good Spanish writers,
rendering recourse to foreigners unnecessary, especially as foreign
books had corrupted the professors and students in various
universities--a process of reasoning applied to works on physics and
mineralogy, which Jovellanos characterized as a _monumento de barbarie_.
The attention thus drawn to his library aroused the suspicions of the
commissioner of the Inquisition, Francisco López Gil, priest of Somió,
who secretly entered it one day while the owner was taking his siesta.
Word was brought to him and he hastened thither, finding Gil examining a
volume of Locke. Jovellanos turned him out, telling him that his office
rendered him an object of suspicion and forbidding him to enter the
building without permission. Gil became a spy and was probably the
author of a denunciation which cost Jovellanos years of captivity.[869]

[Sidenote: _JOVELLANOS_]

He was suddenly recalled from his exile, November 23, 1797, to assume
the position of minister of Gracia y Justicia, where he speedily gave
the Inquisition abundant cause to dread him. A competencia had arisen
between the Seville tribunal and the episcopal authorities over a
confessional which it had ordered to be closed. The matter came before
Carlos, who instructed Jovellanos to obtain the opinion of Tavira,
Bishop of Osma, which he duly transmitted to the king, February 15,
1798, with a Representation arguing that the time had come to restore to
the bishops their old jurisdiction in matters of faith; the object for
which the Inquisition was established had been attained; its processes
were cumbrous and inefficient, and its members were ignorant. The
jurisdiction of the bishops could alone furnish an effective remedy for
existing evils--a jurisdiction more natural, more authoritative, more
grateful to the people, and fuller of humanity and gentleness, as
emanating from the power granted to them by the Holy Ghost, wherefore
the authority that had been usurped from them should be restored.
Moreover he took into consideration the condition of the Holy See,
deprived of its temporalities by the French Republic. Everything, he
said, pointed to a fearful schism at the death of Pius VI, in which case
each nation must gather itself under its own pastors. The papacy would
endeavor to retain the cumbrous and costly organization of the curia, by
increasing its exactions, and it would have to be reduced to the
functions exercised during the first eight centuries.[870]

Jovellanos was a sincere Catholic, but after utterances so hardy it was
not difficult for his enemies to convince the king that he was inclined
to heresy and atheism. Godoy had grown alarmed at the ascendancy which
he was acquiring over Carlos; his fellow-minister Caballero conspired
with the Inquisition, and on August 15th the king signed the dismissal
of his minister, whose official life had endured but eight months. A
fortnight later a royal _carta orden_ declared it to be his unalterable
will that the Holy Office should permanently enjoy its jurisdiction and
prerogatives without modification.[871] Jovellanos returned to Gijon
where he lived in dignified retirement for two years and a half. His
offence however had been too great for pardon and his influence was
still dreaded. An anonymous denunciation of the flimsiest character was
laid before Carlos, describing him as having abandoned all religion and
as being at the head of a highly dangerous party, engaged in schemes for
the overthrow of Catholicism and the monarchy. The pusillanimous king
adopted the course suggested to him by the secret accuser. Before
day-break of March 13, 1801, the house of Jovellanos was surrounded by a
troop of horse; he was aroused from sleep, his papers were seized and
transmitted to the ministry of State; he was kept in his house
_incomunicado_ for twenty-four hours, then thrust into a coach and
carried, still incomunicado, across Spain to Barcelona and thence to
Majorca, where he lay in prison until the abdication of Carlos, in 1808,
and the consequent troubles effected his release.[872]


A case nearly parallel was that of Mariano Luis de Urquijo, who followed
Jovellanos in the ministry of Gracia y Justicia. He had no cause to love
the Inquisition. Among his youthful indiscretions was a translation of
Voltaire's _Mort de César_, which led the Inquisition to make secret
investigations, resulting in the conviction that he was dangerously
infected with philosophism. He was about to be arrested when Aranda, who
recognized his merit, recommended him to the king and, in 1792, he was
appointed to a position in Aranda's office. The Inquisition had learned
respect for royal officials and substituted for a decree of arrest a
summons to an _audiencia de cargos_, ending in a sentence of light
suspicion of sharing philosophic errors, absolution _ad cautelam_, some
secret penances and the suppression of his book, though his name was
considerately omitted in the edict of prohibition. His official
promotion was rapid and, at the age of thirty, he found himself a
minister, employing his power, possibly with more zeal than discretion,
in encouraging enlightenment and all humanizing influences. On the death
of Pius VI he incurred Ultramontane hostility by inducing the king to
sign the decree of September 5, 1799, restoring to the bishops the right
of issuing dispensations--a measure which provoked long and bitter
discussion. This was followed, as we have seen above (Vol. III, p. 504)
October 11th by a sharp rebuke to the Inquisition, ordering it to
confine itself to its proper duties and, soon afterwards, he presented
to Carlos for signature, a decree suppressing the institution and
applying its property to purposes of charity and public utility. This
was too bold a measure; the king shrank from the responsibility and
Urquijo only succeeded in concentrating upon himself clerical hostility,
which was reinforced by the enmity of First Consul Bonaparte, whose
policy he had opposed. Godoy, who commenced to fear him as a rival, and
who was irritated by some imprudent jests, withdrew his support. A
triple prosecution was commenced against him by three inquisitors and he
fell in December, 1801. He was sent to Pampeluna, to the cell which had
been occupied by Floridablanca, and there he lay for a year or two,
deprived of fire, lights, books and writing materials. He was liberated
under surveillance; in 1808 he refused to accompany Carlos and Fernando
to Bayonne, but he attended the so-called Junta of Notables there,
accepted the French domination, served as secretary of State and, with
the other _Afrancesados_, sought refuge in France in 1813, dying in
Paris in 1817.[873]

It is evident from all this that the opposition to the Inquisition was
gathering strength and boldness, but that its foundations were too deep
and solid to be overthrown without an upheaval that should shatter the
social fabric. A well-intentioned, but somewhat absurd, attempt was made
by Grégoire, Constitutional Bishop of Blois, whose fervent Catholicism,
combined with equally fervent liberalism, was of service so essential in
piloting the Church of France through the storms of the Revolution. In
1798, he addressed a letter to the Spanish inquisitor-general, urging
the suppression of the Inquisition and universal toleration, as a
preliminary to the redemption of Spain from despotism, and to enabling
it to take its place among the nations which had recovered their rights.
This was translated into Spanish and some thousands of copies were
circulated; it may have made some secret converts but the only visible
result was to elicit several replies. One of these, by Pedro Luis
Blanco, told Grégoire, with more or less courtesy, to mind his own
business; assured him that, if the Inquisition was suppressed, Spain
would remain as intolerant as ever, and asserted that no Spaniard had
ever imagined that coercion could be employed to obtain conversion. It
was probably this, mingled with some skilful adulation of the king and
his ministers, that procured for the author, in 1800, the episcopate of
Leon.[874] There was also an anonymous "_Discurso historico-legal_,"
evidently by a well-informed inquisitor, probably Riesco of Llerena. It
was the most rational history of the Inquisition that had as yet
appeared, although it assures us that experience showed that penitents
were most grateful for the benevolence shown to them, and that it was a
tribunal full of gentleness, the centre of benignity, compassion and
mercy, but also of justice.[875]

A third was by Lorenzo Villanueva, a calificador of the Valencia
tribunal, whose defence of the reading of Scripture has been alluded to
above. It was published under the transparent pseudonym of Lorenzo
Astengo, his maternal name. In view of his subsequent career it is not
without interest to see his indignation at the advocacy of toleration
and his dithyrambic denunciation of the horrors to which philosophism
has led in the assertion of human liberty. The first portion of his work
is an impassioned and rhetorical defence of persecution, supported by
ample learning. Vigorous is his denunciation of the modern theories of
philosophism and the rights of man--since original sin, he asks, what
rights has man save to slavery, to punishment, to ruin? So he combats at
length the doctrine of the sovereignty of the people, which he
stigmatizes as a delirium, a dream and a deception. Yet he admits that
the Inquisition is not perfect--that it has committed errors through
imprudence, through ignorance, through excessive zeal, and through human
frailty, and that it has prevented the development of some things which
would aid the prosperity of the nation.[876] If, as has been asserted,
he expected a bishopric in reward for this, he was disappointed.


Thus, at this period the Inquisition was inert and its very existence
seemed to be threatened, but its potentiality of evil was undiminished.
It was still an object of terror to all inclined to liberal opinions,
and it was regarded by the Conservatives as the bulwark protecting the
land from the deluge of modern thought.

Feeble though it might be in appearance we shall see how prolonged and
stubborn was the contest required for its final suppression.


The treaty of Fontainebleau, October 27, 1807, dismembered Portugal, of
which Godoy was to have the southern portion, as an independent kingdom,
and the King of Etruria (Ferdinand of Parma) the northern portion.
Napoleon sent Junot with an army which, accompanied by Spanish troops,
speedily overran the land, when Junot issued a decree declaring Portugal
annexed to the empire. Simultaneously French armies, under Dupont and
Moncey, entered Spain and occupied the strongholds of Pampeluna,
Barcelona, Figueras and other places. Murat was sent as commander in
chief and took possession of Madrid. The Tumult of Aranjuez drove Godoy
from power and, on March 19, 1808, Carlos abdicated in favor of his son,
Fernando VII, whose accession was received with enthusiasm by the
nation. Beauharnais, the French ambassador at Madrid, and Murat,
however, refused to recognize him; Carlos protested to Napoleon that his
abdication had been coerced; by various devices, Carlos and his queen,
Fernando and his younger brother Don Carlos, were induced to go to
Bayonne to lay their respective pretensions before the emperor. There,
on May 5, Fernando was obliged to renounce the crown to his father and
the latter to transfer it to Napoleon. Carlos and María Luisa were sent
to Compiègne and Fernando to Valençay, where he remained until 1814.
Meanwhile in Madrid, Murat, under instructions, ordered the Infantes
Antonio and Francisco, the remaining members of the royal family, to
depart for Bayonne on May 2d. The indignant populace rose, with the aid
of a few officers and soldiers and, after a gallant struggle against the
veterans of Napoleon, the insurrection was repressed with heavy
slaughter, followed by numerous executions. The heroic "Dos de Mayo" was
the signal of resistance to the invader and, in a few weeks, Spain was
aflame; the desperate six years' War of Liberation was commenced, and
the nation showed what a people could do when abandoned by its incapable
and cowardly rulers. With a soldier's contempt for an unorganized
militia, Napoleon pursued his plans. Joseph was called from Naples to
occupy the vacant throne and was acknowledged as king by an Assembly of
Notables, convoked at Bayonne in June, which transformed itself into
Córtes and adopted a Constitution.

This summary of the situation is necessary to an understanding of the
position of the Inquisition. Whatever may have been the views of some of
the local tribunals, the central body accepted the intrusive domination
and was _afrancesado_--a term which, to the patriots, became one of the
bitterest contempt. The Constitution of Bayonne provided that, in
Spanish territories, no religion save Roman Catholicism should be
tolerated. Raimundo Ethenard, Dean of the Suprema, was a member of the
Córtes and, when he took the oath of allegiance to Joseph, the latter
assured him that Spain was fortunate in that the true faith alone was
there honored. When the Constitution was under consideration, two
members, Pablo Arribas and José Gómez Hermosilla, advocated the
suppression of the Inquisition, but Ethenard and his colleagues of the
Inquisition, Galarza, Hevia Noriega and Amarillas, successfully opposed
it, although they admitted that, in conformity with public opinion, its
procedure should be made to conform to that of the spiritual courts in
criminal cases.[877]


The Inquisition thus deemed itself safe and earnestly supported the
Napoleonic government. After the sanguinary suppression of the Madrid
rising on May 2d, it made haste to counteract the impression produced
and, on the 6th, the Suprema addressed a circular letter to the
tribunals, describing the affair as a scandalous attack by the lowest
mob on the troops of a friendly nation, who had given no offence and had
observed the strictest order and discipline. Such demonstrations, it
said, could only result in turbulence and in destroying the confidence
due to the government, which was the only one that could advantageously
direct patriotic energies. The tribunals were therefore instructed to
impress on their subordinates, and the commissioners and familiars in
their districts, the urgent necessity of unanimously contributing to the
preservation of public tranquillity. This communication was received by
the Valencia tribunal on May 9th and, on the 11th, it was read to the
assembled officials, calificadores, notaries and familiars of the city,
with exhortations to comply strictly with its commands--action which
was doubtless taken by the other tribunals.[878]

The Inquisition thus remained in Madrid under the protection of the
French arms, but its freedom of action was curtailed. The Abate
Marchena, a fine classical scholar, but revolutionary and tinctured with
atheism, had abandoned Spain early in the French Revolution and had
barely escaped the guillotine during the Terror. He returned, in 1808,
as Murat's secretary, when the Inquisition thought fit to arrest him,
but Murat sent a file of grenadiers and forcibly released him.[879] When
Napoleon reached Madrid, December 4, 1808, the capitulation granted to
the city provided that no religion but Catholicism should be tolerated
but, on the same day, he issued a decree which suppressed the
Inquisition, as contrary to sovereignty and to civil authority, and
confiscated its property to the crown.[880] The Inquisitor Francisco
Riesco stated, during the debate in the Córtes of Cádiz, that this
sudden decree was motived by the refusal of the members of the Suprema
to take the oath of allegiance to the new dynasty, but this is evidently
incorrect, as most of them had already done so at Bayonne, and Arce y
Reynoso, who resigned his inquisitor-generalship, adhered to the French
and accompanied them on the final evacuation. Riesco further asserts
that Napoleon ordered them to be imprisoned, but they escaped and
scattered to places of safety.[881] The Inquisition was thus left in an
anomalous position and without a head, for correspondence with Pius VII
was cut off, and neither his acceptance of Arce's resignation nor his
delegation of powers to a successor could be had. The Junta Central,
which was striving to govern the country, attempted to fill the vacancy
with Pedro de Quevedo y Quintano, Bishop of Orense, but he could obtain
no papal authorization and made no attempt to act. It was argued that
during a vacancy the jurisdiction continued with the Suprema, but this
was denied and it remained an open question.[882]

During the period which followed, the tribunals maintained their
organization and exercised their functions after a fashion, when not
prevented by the French occupation. Thus when the invaders reached
Seville, February 1, 1810, the Inquisition was suppressed, but its
members took refuge in Ceuta. Valencia remained in operation until the
city was captured by Suchet, in 1811, while Barcelona at one time
transferred itself to Tarragona. Activity was intermittent and, in the
excitement of that stirring time, there was little energy for the
prosecution of heresy while, even when the enemy had withdrawn, in many
cases the buildings had been ruined. The Valencia record shows that the
total number of cases brought before all the tribunals in 1808 was 67;
in 1809, 22; in 1810, 17; in 1811, 25; in 1812, 1; in 1813, 6. Probably
few of these cases were regularly heard, if we may judge from that of
Don Vicente Valdés, captain of volunteers who, in 1810, was denounced to
the Valencia tribunal for blasphemous propositions. October 27th it was
ordered that, in view of the circumstances, a fitting occasion should be
awaited for the _audiencia de cargos_ demanded by the fiscal--a
postponement which proved to be protracted for it was not until 1816
that he was tried.[883] Still, where the Inquisition itself was
concerned it could act swiftly and effectively. In 1809 the French took
possession of Santiago. Felipe Sobrino Taboada, professor of civil law
in the university, was acting as police-magistrate and, by order of the
director-general of police, he issued a proclamation exhorting the
people to lay down their arms and praising the suppression of the
Inquisition. When the French retired, the university refused to readmit
him to his chair. He obtained a decision of the tribunal of Public
Safety of Coruña re-establishing him and then the Inquisition arrested
him, without the prescribed preliminary formalities, and kept him for
five months in the secret prison. Afterwards he was allowed to keep his
house as a prison and, when finally the bounds were enlarged to the
province of Galicia, it was with the condition that he would accept no
public office.[884]

       *       *       *       *       *


The Junta Central, which had endeavored to govern, amid much opposition
from the particularist tendencies of the provincial juntas, retired to
Cádiz when the French occupied Andalusia.

On January 1, 1810, it issued a convocation for the assembling of
Córtes, and on the 31st it dissolved, after appointing a Regency and
imposing on it the duty of convoking the Córtes by March 1st. The
Regency delayed until, forced by the pressure of public opinion, on June
18th it published a decree ordering elections where they had not been
held, and summoning the deputies to meet in August in Isla de Leon, now
San Fernando, near Cádiz. Suffrage was virtually universal and, in the
letters of convocation, the nation was called upon to assemble in
general Córtes "to establish and improve the fundamental constitution of
the monarchy," while the commissions of the delegates empowered them to
decide all points contained in the letters and all others, without
exception or limitation.[885] The Córtes accordingly assumed the title
of Majesty, as embodying the will of the people and occupying the throne
of the absent sovereign. When they were opened, September 24th, about a
hundred deputies were present, two-thirds of whom were elected by the
provinces not occupied by the French armies, and the rest selected in
Cádiz from among natives of the unrepresented districts, including the
colonies, then more or less in open revolt, while, as the vicissitudes
of the war permitted, deputies came straggling in from districts
unrepresented at first. As a whole, the body fairly reflected existing
public opinion. The Liberals numbered forty-five, and the majority
consisted of ecclesiastics, men of the privileged classes and government
employees.[886] It was an unavoidably hazardous experiment, this sudden
wrenching of Spain from the old moorings and launching it on the
tempestuous waters of modern ideas, under the conduct of men without
training or experience in self-government. Grave mistakes were
inevitable and their constructive work was idealistic and doomed to
failure--a failure bound to result in blood and misery. At the moment,
however, there were no misgivings and the Córtes were regarded as the
salvation of the nation.[887]

The oath administered to the members bound them to maintain Catholicism
as the exclusive religion of Spain and to preserve for their beloved
monarch Fernando VII all his dominions. Their first act was to adopt a
series of five resolutions, offered by an ecclesiastic, Diego Muñoz
Torrero, rector of the University of Salamanca, of which one provided
that the Regency should be continued as the executive power, on taking
an oath recognizing the sovereignty of the nation as embodied in the
Córtes and promising obedience to their enactments. Rather than do this,
the Regency proposed to break up the Córtes, but the threatening aspect
of the people and the army caused a change of heart, and that same night
they took the oath, except the implacable conservative Quevedo Bishop of
Orense, who resigned both from the Regency and the Córtes. His
resignations were accepted but he was forced to take the oath required
of all prelates and officials before he was allowed to retire to his
diocese. It was evident that the Córtes and the Regency could not pull
together; on October 28th, the latter was dismissed, its membership was
reduced from five to three and a new Regency was installed with which
the Córtes could work in harmony.[888]


After settling relations with the other departments of the State, the
first attention of the Córtes was given to the freedom of the press. Two
days after the opening session the subject was introduced and referred
to a committee; no time was lost, a decree was reported October 8th, and
on the 18th, in spite of the reclamations of the opposition, it was
passed by a vote of 68 to 32. This was regarded as a preliminary attack
on the Inquisition, which was thus deprived by implication of the
function of censorship. Some members desired this to be explicitly
stated, giving rise to a hot debate in which Inquisitor Riesco, a member
of the Córtes, pleaded in vain for some honorable mention of the Holy
Office. There was also indignation excited by the provision subjecting
prohibition by the bishops to revision by the secular power, which was
subversive of the imprescriptible rights of the Church, whose judgements
are final.[889] If this was really the first move in a campaign against
the Inquisition, it was not unskilful, for it set at liberty the pens
which had hitherto been restrained. At once there arose a crowd of
pamphleteers and journalists, not only in Cádiz but throughout Spain,
who attacked the institution unsparingly, raising a clamor which showed
how severe had been the repression. Sturdy defenders were not lacking
and the wordy war was vigorously waged. The two most prominent champions
on either side were Antonio Puigblanch, who, under the pseudonym of
Natanael Jomtob, issued a series of pamphlets, collected under the title
of "La Inquisicion sin Máscara" or "The Inquisition unmasked," and Padre
Maestro Fray Francisco Alvarado, a Dominican of high repute for learning
and eloquence, whose letters under the name of _El Filósofo Rancio_ or
Antiquated Philosopher, continued for two years to keep up the struggle
against all the innovations of the Liberals.[890]

Puigblanch was no exception to the general rule that those who attacked
the Inquisition were careful to profess the highest veneration for the
faith and in no way to advocate toleration. His work commences with an
eloquent description of religion as the foundation of all civil
constitutions and Catholicism as the noblest adornment of enlightenment
and liberty, the only question being whether the Inquisition is the
fitting institution for its protection. He is careful to maintain to the
last his abhorrence of heresy and his desire for its suppression, which
he proposes to effect by reviving episcopal jurisdiction under certain
limitations.[891] With all this his denunciation of the Inquisition was
unsparing, and he had ample store of atrocities with which to justify
his attacks, although there was unfairness in attributing to it, in the
nineteenth century, the cruelties which had stained its previous career.

Alvarado was a man of extensive learning, but of little claim to the
title of philosopher, whether antiquated or modern. Though his methods
were not such as to make converts, they were well adapted to stimulate
those of his own side, for he was an effective partizan writer, fluent,
sarcastic, often coarse, vulgar and vituperative, using assertion for
argument and indifferent as to truth. The chief value of his letters is
the flood of light which they shed on the conservative attitude of the
time, which explains much in the subsequent vicissitudes of Spain.
Philosophers, he says, are wolves, robbers and devils, monsters who
cannot be regarded without horror, enlighteners who are nothing but
ignoramuses and cheats and emissaries sent by hell. To seek to undermine
popular confidence in the priesthood he holds to be a crime greater than
the crucifixion of Christ. The ferocity of his intolerance shows how
little Spanish churchmen had changed since the days of Torquemada. As to
the relations of religion and the State, he assumes that the only
function of the civil power is to punish him who offends the faith; the
Catholic religion is as intolerant as light is of darkness, or as truth
is of falsehood, and this intolerance distinguishes it from all
religions invented by man. Repeatedly and savagely he proclaims that
burning is the proper remedy for unbelief, and he tells his adversaries
that, if they wish free thought, they may go to England or to the United
States, but in Spain what they had to expect was the _quemadero_.[892]
Such advocacy could only render the Liberals more eager to accomplish
their work.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _THE CONSTITUTION OF 1812_]

While this controversy was contributing to the greater enlightenment or
obscuration of public opinion, the Córtes were engaged in framing a
Constitution. The committee entrusted with this task had a majority of
conservatives, including several ecclesiastics, but these were quite
willing to circumscribe the royal power, while seeking to extend the
privileges of the Church, and all the members signed the project as
presented.[893] It commenced by asserting the sovereignty of the nation,
which had the exclusive right to establish its fundamental laws, and
could never be the patrimony of any person or family, and it affirmed
that the religion of the nation was, and always forever would be the
Catholic, Apostolic, Roman, the only true one, which the nation protects
by wise and just laws, and prohibits the exercise of any other.[894]
This apparent concession to intolerance was denounced, when too late, as
a trap, for it placed in the hands of the representatives of the nation
the power of deciding what the wise and just laws should be for the
protection of religion. Be this as it may, the Córtes were resolved that
there should be no refusal to accept the new framework of government.
In secret session of March 16, 1812, it was decreed that whosoever
should refuse to swear to it should be declared an unworthy Spaniard and
be driven from Spain, and measures were taken to have it read in every
parish church, where the assembled people should swear to obey it and to
be faithful to the king. As the French armies were driven back, the
Spanish commanders made it their first duty to see this ceremony
performed, and where there was opposition, chiefly arising from the
priests, force was employed. A priest of the Cádiz cathedral who alluded
to it slightingly as a _libelo_, or little book, was prosecuted, and the
irreconcileable Bishop of Orense, who refused to take the oath, was
exiled and declared to be an unworthy Spaniard. As a whole, however, it
was enthusiastically accepted as the dawn of a new era, though we may
well question how many of those who took the oath comprehended the
purport of its three hundred and eighty-four articles, covering all the
complicated minutiæ of institutions based on an entirely new conception
of the relations between the Government and the governed.[895]

It was inevitable that, in the effort to create a new Spain, the fate of
the Inquisition should be involved, especially as its disabled condition
invited attack. That a struggle was impending had long been evident to
all parties, and that this was felt to be decisive as to the character
of the future institutions of Spain is seen in the tenacity with which
it was fought. The Inquisition was the conservative stronghold, to be
defended to the last, after all the outer defences had been abandoned,
and the deep roots which it had established are manifested by the
tactics required for its overthrow, and by the fact that the contest was
the bitterest and the most prolonged in the career of the Córtes, which
had so unceremoniously converted Spain from absolutism to liberal

Some preparation had been made for the struggle by the conservatives.
The first Regency had endeavored to reconstitute all the old Councils of
the monarchy and, on June 10, 1810, Ethenard, the Dean of the Suprema,
addressed to it a memorial requesting it to order the reassembling of
the Suprema, to which it responded, August 1st, by issuing such an
order. The scattering of the members precluded this, but, when the early
acts of the Córtes foreshadowed what was to come, on December 18th,
Ethenard and Amarillas asked the new Regency to appoint as a member the
fiscal Ibar Navarro and as fiscal the Madrid inquisitor, Galarza, thus
enabling the body to resume its functions. As no attention was paid to
this, an old member, Alejo Jimenez de Castro, who had been exiled to
Murcia by Godoy, was brought from his retreat to Cádiz, so as to have
material for a quorum present. The occasion to utilize this offered
itself in January, 1811. The freedom of the press enabled Don Manuel
Alzaibar to start "La Triple Alianza," a frankly irreligious journal, in
the second number of which there appeared an article ridiculing the
immortality of the soul and suffrages for the dead. On January 28th
advantage was taken of this to ask the Córtes to refer it to the
Inquisition for censure, which was carried in spite of opposition. The
next day the editors asked that the action be rescinded, leading to a
three days' debate in which the Inquisition was denounced as a
mysterious, cruel and antichristian tribunal and, for the first time,
its suppression was openly advocated. President Dou ruled that the
inculpated journal must be passed to the Junta de Censura, for he
understood that the Inquisition was not organized, when he was told that
there were three members of the Suprema in Cádiz, and that the Seville
tribunal was in Ceuta. This raised larger questions and the whole matter
was referred to a committee so composed that it was expected to report
against re-establishment, but it withheld its report for a long time and
meanwhile there were other moves in the game.[896]


On May 16th, the members of the Suprema notified the Regency that they
were prepared to act, in response to which the minister of Gracia y
Justicia expressed his surprise that they should meet as a tribunal,
without awaiting the decision of the questions submitted to the Córtes,
and forbade them from forming a Council until they should have express
authorization.[897] The matter was brought before the Córtes and
Inquisitor Riesco vainly argued in favor of the Inquisition; his motion
was referred to the committee, where it lay buried in spite of repeated
calls for a report. The Liberals insisted that a National Council would
be a more suitable body for the mature consideration of such questions;
their object was solely to gain time, which was fighting on their side,
but the idea was seriously entertained, even by the clericals. The
committee on the external discipline of the clergy reported, August 22d,
in favor of the project, with a list of matters to be submitted to the
Council; on August 28th the Córtes ordered it to be convoked, but
postponed consideration of the details. Other matters supervened and no
further action was taken, which Archbishop Vélez assures us saved Spain
from a schism, or at least from a scandal for, under the proposed
program, it would have proved a second Synod of Pistoja. In fact, the
journals naturally took a lively interest in the matter; thousands of
pamphlets, we are told, appeared everywhere, pointing out the abuses and
relaxed morals of the clergy and demanding a reform that was assumed to
be necessary. It is easy to imagine that the ecclesiastical authorities
were willing to let the project drop.[898]

The position of the Liberals was greatly strengthened by the adoption of
the Constitution, in March 1812, as was abundantly shown in the next
debate on the Inquisition. This was provoked by the publication, in
April 1812, of the "Diccionario crítico-burlesco" of Gallardo, librarian
of the Córtes, in which all that the mass of the population held sacred
was treated with ridicule, neither refined nor witty. It created an
immense sensation and was brought before the Córtes, which enabled
Riesco, on April 22d, to call for the immediate presentation of the
report of the committee on the Inquisition, for which the Córtes had
been waiting for more than a year. The committee, in fact, had reached a
decision, in July 1811, in favor of the Inquisition, and we are not told
why it had been held back, for four members had concurred in it and only
Muñoz Torrero had dissented. The report was accordingly presented,
re-establishing the Suprema in its functions, with certain limitations
as to political action; the debate was hot, but the Liberals had taken
precautions to avoid a direct vote on the question. In a decree of March
25th, creating a supreme court of justice, they had introduced an
article suppressing the tribunals known by the name of councils, and
they pointed out that this embraced the Suprema, which gave abundant
opportunity for discussion. Even more important was a decision of the
Córtes, adroitly planned for this especial purpose, December 13, 1811,
during the discussion on the Constitution, that no propositions bearing
on the fundamental law should be admitted to debate without previous
examination by the committee on the Constitution, to see that it was not
in opposition to the articles thereof. It was notorious that
inquisitorial procedure was in direct contravention of the
constitutional provisions to secure justice in criminal prosecutions
and, after an exciting struggle and a postponement, the report was
referred to the committee on the Constitution. The Conservatives were so
exasperated that they proposed to dissolve the Córtes, and have a new
election under the Constitution, to which the Liberals agreed, except
that the new body should meet October 1, 1813, and the existing one
should remain in session until then. Archbishop Vélez tells us that the
policy of the Liberals was to gain time, for their personal safety was
at stake if the Inquisition was re-established, nor does he recognize
how monstrous was the admission involved in this, for an institution
that could prosecute and punish legislators for their official acts was
virtually the despot of the land. Doubtless the deputies felt this, and
that the struggle was one for life or death.[899]

The flank of the enemy was thus skilfully turned. The committee on the
Constitution was in no haste to report and occupied itself with
collecting documentary material from the archives wherever accessible.
Its conclusion was that the Inquisition was incompatible with the
fundamental law and, on November 13th, it voted on a project for
establishing "Tribunales protectores de la fe" in compliance with the
constitutional requirements. Finally, on December 8th two reports were
presented. That of the minority by Antonio Joaquin Pérez, who had been
an inquisitor in Mexico, argued that the abuses of the Inquisition were
not inherent; that its procedure conflicted with the Constitution and
should therefore be modified accordingly.[900]


The majority report was a very elaborate document, tracing the treatment
of heresy from the earliest times, and pointing out the irreconcileable
incompatibility of the Inquisition with the constitutional provisions
securing to the citizen the right of open trial and opportunities for
defence. It concluded with the draft of a decree "Sobre Tribunales
protectores de la fe," in which such caution was deemed necessary that
the Inquisition was nowhere mentioned. It appealed to the national
pride, by simply reviving a law of the Partidas concerning the
prosecution of heretics by bishops, it prescribed the form and procedure
of the episcopal tribunals, the punishment by lay judges of those
pronounced guilty, and it provided for appeals as well as for the
suppression of writings contrary to religion. The reports were duly
received and January 4, 1813, was appointed for the opening of

Probably no measure before the Córtes provoked so bitter and prolonged a
debate. The Liberals had secured the advantage of position, and the
Conservatives felt that the issue involved the whole future relations of
Church and State. There was a preliminary skirmish on December 29th,
when Sánchez de Ocaña asked for a postponement until the bishops and
chapters could be consulted, on the ground that the Church was an
independent body.[902] This was voted down and the debate was opened on
the designated day, January 4, 1813. The friends of the Inquisition had
not been idle; the Church organization was in good working order, and
the Córtes were bombarded with memorials from bishops, chapters,
ayuntamientos, military officers, towns and provinces, showing how
active the canvass had been during the two years in which the subject
had been mooted. Yet the Conservatives could only procure, out of the
fifty-nine sees existing in Spain, protests from two archbishops and
twenty-four bishops, the authorities of three vacant sees, and four
chapters of those occupied by the French; while the number from officers
of the army was not large, those from towns were but a small fraction of
the municipalities, and only two provinces--Alava and Galicia--spoke
through their authorities. Muñoz Torrero declared, January 10th, that
every mail brought him mountains of letters in favor of the Inquisition
and Toreno spoke of the reclamations that came in, showing how the
signers of protests had been coerced.[903]

The debate was vigorous and eloquent on both sides but, while it took
the widest range, embracing the history of the Church from apostolic
times and the career of the Inquisition from the thirteenth century, the
parliamentary question in reality turned upon the power of the Córtes to
intrude in the sphere of ecclesiastical jurisdiction. After discussion
lasting until January 22d on the preliminary propositions, the decree
itself was taken up, article by article and strenuously fought over;
amendments were presented and accepted or rejected, as they strengthened
or weakened the measure, and hot resistance was offered to the clauses
allowing appeals from the judgements of the bishops, which the Liberals
supported on the ground that all the members who opposed the Inquisition
had been denounced throughout Spain as heretics, and the safety of the
citizen demanded that episcopal definition of heresy should not be
final. The debate was prolonged until February 5th, when the last
article was agreed to, and the decree in its final shape did not differ
essentially from that proposed by the Committee. There was no formal
suppression of the Inquisition; it was simply declared to be
incompatible with the Constitution and the law of the Partidas was
revived. This latter had been agreed to on January 26th by a vote of 92
to 30, and that date was assumed as determining the extinction of the
Inquisition, regulating the disposition of its property. It is not worth
while to recapitulate the details of the episcopal tribunals and the
provisions for censorship, as the bishops took little interest in the
exercise of their restored jurisdiction, though there are traces of
their action in one or two cases--that of Joaquin Ramírez, priest of
Moscardon and of Doña Antonia de la Torre of Seville.[904] During the
seventeen months that elapsed until the re-establishment of the
Inquisition, we are told that, although the land was full of Freemasons
and other anticatholics, the bishops had no occasion to arrest any one,
for no informers or accusers came forward--doubtless because they
realized that their names would be known.[905]


In the debate several ecclesiastics distinguished themselves by their
able advocacy of the measure, among whom were pre-eminent Muñoz Torrero,
who had borne a leading part in drafting the decree; Lorenzo Villanueva,
who had defended the Inquisition against Bishop Grégoire, and Ruyz
Padron, parish priest of Valdeorras in Galicia and formerly of the
Canaries. How they fared in consequence we shall see hereafter. On the
other side one of the most vehement was Pedro Inguanzo, who was rewarded
with the see of Zamora, and ultimately with the archbishopric of Toledo.

The Liberals had won their victory by unexpectedly large majorities,
indicating how great had been the advance in public opinion. No measure
had created such intensity of feeling on either side; the rejoicing of
the Liberals was extravagant, and the anger of the clerical party may be
gauged by the declamation of Archbishop Vélez, who is as vehement as
though the whole fate of Christianity was at stake--the abomination of
desolation, he declares, seemed to have established its throne in the
very house of God.[906] The clergy had already been alienated by various
measures adverse to their interests--the appropriation of a portion of
the tithes to the support of the armies, the escheating of the property
of convents destroyed by the invaders, or having less than twelve
inmates, and the abrogation of the Voto de Santiago, a tax on the
agriculturists of some provinces based on a fraudulent tradition of a
vow made by Ramiro I, when, by the aid of St. James, he won the
suppositious victory of Clavijo.[907] The debate on the Inquisition had
heightened the reputation of the Córtes as an irreligious body, and it
was not wise to inflame still further the hostility of a class wielding
such preponderating influence, but the Liberals, intoxicated by their
victory, proceeded to render the measure as offensive as possible to the
defeated clericals.

On February 5th, after the final vote, the committee on the Constitution
was instructed to prepare a manifesto setting forth the reasons for the
suppression of the Inquisition which, together with the decree, should
be read in all parish churches for three consecutive Sundays, before the
offertory of the mass; that in all churches the insignia of those
condemned and penanced should be removed, and that a report should be
made as to the disposition of the archives of the tribunals. The
preparation of the manifesto delayed the publication of the decree until
February 22d, for it was a long and wordy document, in which the
decadence of Spain was attributed to the abuses of the Inquisition; the
ancient laws had therefore been revived, restoring their jurisdiction to
the bishops, in whose hands the Catholic faith and its sublime morals
would be secure; Religion would flourish, prosperity would return, and
perchance this change might some day lead to the religious brotherhood
of all the nations.[908]

It was not long before the imprudence of this step manifested itself,
for it gave the Church a battle-ground on which to contest, not only the
reading of the manifesto but the execution of the decree itself and, if
defeated, of occupying the advantageous position of martyrdom.
Opposition had for some time been in preparation. As early as December
12, 1812, the six bishops of Lérida, Tortosa, Barcelona, Urgel, Teruel
and Pampeluna, in the safe refuge of Majorca, had prepared a manifesto
widely circulated in private, representing the Church as outraged in its
ministers, oppressed in its immunities, and combated in its doctrines,
while the Jansenist members of the Córtes were described as adherents of
the Council of Pistoja.[909] No sooner was the decisive vote of February
5th taken than the chapter of the vacant see of Cádiz prepared for a
contest over the reading of the decree and manifesto. It had already
appointed a committee of three with full powers, and it now instructed
the committee to communicate secretly with refugee bishops in Cádiz, and
with chapters elsewhere, with a view to common action. Letters were sent
to the chapters of Seville, Málaga, Jaen and Córdova, representing that
the Cádiz chapter was ready to be the victim, but would be strengthened
by the union of others. Seville replied with promises to do the same;
the rest more cautiously, for they felt that they were treading on
dangerous ground.


This dampened somewhat the ardor of the fiery Cádiz chapter and it
sought for other support. On February 23d the parish priests and army
chaplains of Cádiz were assembled and addressed the chapter at great
length. To read the decree and manifesto would be a profanation and a
degrading servility. The papal constitutions creating the Inquisition
were binding on the consciences of the faithful, until revoked by the
same authority, and from this obligation the secular power could not
relieve them. To obey would be to incur the risk of a dreadful
sacrilege, and the penalties for impeding the Inquisition imposed by
Julius III and Sixtus V; it was better to fall into the hands of man
than into those of God, and they were ready to endure whatever fate
might befall them. This was rank rebellion, slightly moderated by the
expression of a desire to learn the opinions of the holy prelates who
were in Cádiz. The chapter duly transmitted this address to the
prelates--the Bishops of Calahorra, Plasencia, San Marcos de Leon,
Sigüenza and Albarracin (Calahorra and San Marcos were deputies in the
Córtes and had signed the Constitution)--stating that it entertained the
same sentiments and repeated the request for their opinion. The bishops
replied cautiously, and in substance advised that representations be
made to the Government, which might be induced to modify its

Time was growing short, for March 7th had been designated as the first
Sunday for reading the decree and manifesto. On March 3d a capitular
meeting was assembled, in which it was unanimously resolved to obey, but
to make use of the provisions which authorize citizens to obey without
executing and to represent reverentially the reasons for suspending
action until further determination.[911] This was the first step in the
development of a somewhat formidable plot which was organizing. On March
5th the papal nuncio, Pedro Gravina, Archbishop of Nicæa, addressed to
the Regency a very significant protest against the decree itself. The
abolition of the Inquisition, he said, was contrary to the primacy of
the Holy See; he protested against this and he asked the Regency to
induce the Córtes to suspend its publication and execution until happier
times might secure the consent of the pope or of the National Council.
On the same day he was guilty of the indiscretion of writing to the
Bishop of Jaen and to the chapters of Málaga and Granada, under strict
injunctions of secrecy, advising them of the proposed resistance of the
Cádiz chapter and inviting their coöperation.[912] The next day, March
6th, the chapter sent to the Regency the address of the priests and
chaplains of Cádiz, with a communication setting forth the reasons which
not only prevented the execution of the mandate of the Córtes, but
imperiously required the secular power to protect the Church and relieve
it from an act in contravention of its honor and sanctity. The Chapter,
it argued, could not be accused of disobedience for insisting on the
spiritual law which was more binding than the temporal.[913]

The Regency evidently was participating in the plot to overthrow the
Córtes for the purpose of saving the Inquisition. The legislative and
executive branches of the Government had become estranged. There had
been dissension in the matter of the suppression of the convents, and an
investigation made by the Córtes into the affairs of the Regency had led
to a damaging report on February 7th. The Liberals were convinced that
it was planning a _coup d'état_ when, on the night of Saturday, March
6th the rumor spread that it had dismissed the Governor of Cádiz, D.
Cayetano Valdés, and had replaced him with D. José María Alós. Sunday
passed without the reading of the decree and manifesto in the churches
and, on Monday, the minister of Gracia y Justicia sent to the Córtes the
communications of the chapter to the Regency. A permanent session was at
once declared; the Córtes dismissed the regents and replaced them with
the three senior members of the Council of State, Cardinal Luis de
Bourbon, Archbishop of Toledo, D. Pedro Agar and D. Gabriel Ciscar, who
forthwith took the oaths and at 9 P.M. assumed possession of their
office, the dismissed regents offering no resistance.[914]


Harmony between the legislature and the executive being thus restored,
on March 9th the Córtes ordered the Regency to compel obedience. Under
threats of measures to be taken, the chapter yielded at 10 P.M. and
promised that the next morning, and on the two following Sundays, the
decree and manifesto should be duly read. It was obliged to furnish
authentic copies of all papers and correspondence, on the basis of which
a sharp reprimand was addressed to the Seville chapter and, on April
24th, prosecution was commenced against the Cádiz capitular vicar and
the three members of the committee, for treasonable conspiracy. Their
temporalities were seized and for six weeks they were imprisoned,
incomunicado. The trial dragged on until the restoration of Fernando VII
rendered acquittal a matter of course and enabled them, in their
defence, to declare that to destroy the Inquisition or to impede its
action in matters of faith was the same as prohibiting the jurisdiction
of the Roman Pontiff, thus trampling under foot a dogma established by
Jesus Christ.[915]

The documents thus obtained showed that Nuncio Gravina had been active
in furthering the plot of resistance. Now that it had been crushed,
policy would have dictated dropping the matter but, on April 22d, the
minister of Gracia y Justicia addressed him a sharp letter, expressing
the confidence of the Regency that he would in future observe the limits
of his office, as otherwise it would be obliged to exercise all its
authority. To this he of course replied defiantly; whenever
ecclesiastical matters were concerned he might find himself obliged to
follow the same course, and the Regency could do as it pleased. Some
further correspondence followed in the same vein and then, after an
interval, his passports were sent to him, his temporalities were seized,
and he was informed that the frigate Sabina was at his disposal to
transport him whither he desired.[916] He declined the proffered frigate
and established himself in Portugal, near the border, whence he
continued busily to stir up disaffection, assuming that he still
retained his functions as nuncio. On July 24th he addressed a protest to
the Government and sent a circular to the bishops inviting them to apply
to him in cases requiring his aid. This led to a lively controversy, in
which the Government charged him with deceit and he retorted by accusing
it of falsehood and challenging it to publish the documents.[917]

This was by no means the only trouble excited by the enforced reading of
the decree and manifesto. Recalcitrant priests were found in many
places, whose cases caused infinite annoyance and bad blood and the
Bishop of Oviedo was recluded in a convent for refusing obedience.[918]
The Government triumphed, but it was a Pyrrhic victory, multiplying its
enemies, heightening its reputation for irreligion, and weakening its

The result was seen in the elections for the new _Córtes ordinarias_,
when the deputies returned were largely reactionary, owing to clerical
influence. There were many vacancies, however, which were filled by the
old members for the corresponding places, and thus the parties were
evenly balanced. The new Córtes met, September 26th and, on November
29th adjourned to meet in Madrid, January 15, 1814; the Regency
transferred itself to Madrid, January 5th.[920] By that time the French
were virtually expelled from Spain; Wellington was following Soult into
France, and Suchet was barely holding his own against Copons in

The return of Fernando el Deseado was evidently at hand and was eagerly
expected. The reaction following the prolonged excitement of the war was
beginning to be felt. There was widespread misery in the devastated
provinces, the relief of which was slow and difficult and was aggravated
by a decree of the Córtes requiring those which had been subjugated to
pay the arrears of the war contributions. Dissatisfaction with the
Córtes was aroused by what were regarded as their sins both of
commission and omission--the lowering of the value of French money
caused great suffering and trouble; all who had served under the intruso
were ejected from office; the parish priests were reinstated in their
old cures, which turned into the streets the new incumbents; people
began to grumble at the preponderance of the Liberals in the Córtes--in
short, there was no lack of subjects of complaint.[921] Exhaustion and
poverty, the inevitable consequences of so prolonged and desperate a
struggle, produced discontent, and it was natural that those who had
guided the nation through its tribulations should be held responsible,
while their services should be forgotten. The military also were
dissatisfied at finding that, at the close of a successful war, they had
not the importance that they considered to be their due, while the
clergy were outspoken in opposition and, through two widely circulated
journals, "El Procurador de la Nacion y del Rey" and " La Atalaya de la
Mancha," attacked the Government furiously.[922]


During all this period, Fernando's existence at Valençay had been as
agreeable as was consistent with his safe-keeping. The only restriction
on his movements was a prohibition to ride on horseback; Napoleon is
said to have kept him supplied with women to satisfy his strongly
developed sensuality, and he manifested his characteristic baseness in
letters to his captor congratulating him on his victories and soliciting
the honor of a matrimonial alliance with his family. After the battle of
Leipzig, Napoleon, striving to save what he could from the wreck,
represented to Fernando that the English were seeking to convert Spain
into a Jacobin republic; Fernando was ready to agree to any terms and,
on December 11, 1813, there was signed what was known as the Treaty of
Valençay, under which peace was declared between France and Spain, the
English and French troops were to be withdrawn, the Afrancesados, who
had taken refuge in France, were to be restored to their property and
functions, and Fernando was to make a yearly allowance of 30,000,000
reales to his father and mother.[923]

Fernando sent the Duke of San Carlos with the treaty to Madrid for
ratification, instructing him that, if he found the Córtes and Regency
infected with Jacobinism, he was to insist on ratification pure and
simple; if he found them loyal, he was to say that the king desired
ratification, with the understanding that he would subsequently declare
it invalid. The treaty excited general indignation. As early as January
1, 1811, the Córtes had decreed that they would recognize no treaty made
by the king in captivity, and that he should not be considered free
until he was surrounded by his faithful subjects in Córtes. Now the
Córtes responded to Fernando's message with a decree of February 2,
1814, reissuing the former one and adding that obedience should not be
rendered to him until he should, in the Córtes, take an oath to the
Constitution; on his arrival at the frontier this decree was to be
handed to him, with a copy of the Constitution that he might read and
understand it; he was to follow a route prescribed by the Regency and,
on reaching the capital, he was to come directly to the Córtes, take the
oath, and the government would then be solemnly made over to him. All
this was agreed to with virtual unanimity; it was signed by all the
deputies and was published with a manifesto denouncing the treaty and
expressing the warmest devotion to the king. The publication aroused
general indignation at the treaty and the manifesto elicited universal

To Fernando, trained in the traditions of absolutism, the Treaty of
Valençay was vastly preferable to the reception prepared for him, but he
uttered no word of dissent when, after Napoleon had liberated him
without conditions on March 7th, he was transferred by Suchet, on the
banks of the Fluviá, March 24th, to Copons, the Captain-general of
Catalonia. He exercised volition however in deviating from the route
laid down by the Regency, and made a detour to Saragossa on the road to
Valencia, but he preserved absolute silence as to his intentions.
Everywhere he was received with delirious enthusiasm; the people
idealized him as the symbol of the nationality for which they had
struggled through five years of pitiless war, and there were no bounds
to their exuberance of loyalty.


To few men has it been given, as to Fernando, to exercise so profound
and so lasting an influence on the destinies of a nation. His ancestor,
Henry IV, had a harder task when he undertook to impose harmony on
compatriots who, for a generation had been savagely cutting each others'
throats. Fernando came to a nation which had been unitedly waging war
against a foreign enemy. Differences of opinion had grown up, as to the
reception or rejection of modern ideas, and parties had been formed
representing the principles of conservatism and innovation; mistakes had
been made on both sides and bitterness of temper was rising, but a wise
and prudent ruler, coming uncommitted to either side and
enthusiastically greeted by both, could have exorcised the demon of
faction, could have brought about compromise and conciliation, and could
have gradually so trained the nation that it could have traversed in
peace the inevitable revolution awaiting it. This was not to be.
Unfortunately Fernando was one of the basest and most despicable beings
that ever disgraced a throne. Cowardly, treacherous, deceitful, selfish,
abandoned to low debauchery, controlled by a camarilla of foul and
immoral favorites, his sole object was to secure for himself the
untrammelled exercise of arbitrary power and to abuse it for sensual
gratification. Cruel he was not, in the sense of wanton shedding of
blood, but he was callously indifferent to human suffering, and he
earned the name of Tigrekan, by which the Liberals came to designate

[Sidenote: _REACTION_]

When Fernando entered Spain he was naturally undecided as to the
immediate attitude to be assumed towards the changes made during his
absence, but the enthusiasm of his reception and the influence of the
reactionaries who surrounded him emboldened him in the determination to
assert his autocracy. Several secret conferences were held during the
journey to decide whether he should swear to the Constitution, and the
negative opinion prevailed. In fact, to a man of Fernando's character,
voluntary obedience to the Constitution was an impossibility. Not only
did it declare that sovereignty resided in the nation, with the
corresponding right to determine its fundamental laws, but the powers of
the crown were limited in many ways; the Córtes reserved the right to
exclude unworthy aspirants to the succession, and to set aside the
incumbent for any cause rendering him incapable--clauses susceptible of
most dangerous interpretation. At this very time, indeed, the Córtes
were deliberating on the appropriation to be made to the king for the
maintenance of his court, which implied the right to subject him to the
most galling conditions.[926]

If anything was needed to induce him to assert the full powers enjoyed
by his predecessors it was afforded by a manifesto known as the
Representation of the Persians, from an absurd allusion to the ancient
Persians in the opening sentence. This was signed by sixty-nine deputies
to the Córtes; at much length and with turgid rhetoric it set forth the
sufferings inflicted on Spain by the Liberals; it argued that all the
acts of the Córtes of Cádiz were null and invalid; it pointed out the
limitations on the royal power prescribed by the Constitution, and it
asserted that absolute monarchy was recognized as the perfection of
government. It did not omit to declare that the Inquisition was
indispensable to the maintenance of religion, without which no
government could exist; it dwelt on the disorders consequent upon its
suppression and it reminded Fernando that, from the time of the Gothic
kingdom, intolerance of heresy was the permanent law of the nation. Even
if the king should think best to swear to the Constitution, the
manifesto protested that it was invalid and that its destructive
principles must be submitted to the action of Córtes assembled according
to the ancient fashion. This paper, dated April 12th, was drawn up and
secretly circulated by Bernardo Moza Reales, who carried it to Valencia
and presented it to Fernando, receiving as reward the title of Marquis
of Mataflorida.[927]

Fernando reached Valencia April 16th and paused there until May 4th,
while secret preparations were made to overthrow the government. The
Córtes, unaware of the contemplated treachery, were amusing themselves
in arranging the hall for the solemnity of the king's oath and his
acknowledgement as sovereign, and took no measures for self-protection.
Troops were secretly collected in the vicinity of Madrid, under General
Eguia, a violent reactionary, who was made Captain-general of New
Castile. On the night of May 10th, when Fernando was nearing the
capital, Eguia notified Joaquin Pérez, President of the Córtes, that
they were closed; troops took possession of the hall and the archives
were sealed, while police-agents were busy making arrests from a list of
thirty-eight marked for proscription, including two of the regents, two
ministers and all the more prominent liberal deputies.[928] No
resistance was encountered and the precedent was established which has
proved so disastrous to Spain.


In the early dawn of the 11th, there was found posted everywhere a royal
manifesto dated at Valencia on the 4th. In this, after a rambling
summary of antecedent events, Fernando promised to assemble as soon as
possible Córtes of the old fashion and, in conjunction with them, to
establish solidly whatever was necessary for the good of the kingdom. He
hated despotism; the enlightenment and culture of Europe would never
permit it, and his predecessors had never been despots. But the Córtes
of Cádiz and the existing body were illegal and all their acts were
invalid; he did not intend to swear to the Constitution or to the
decrees of the Córtes, but he pronounced them all void and of no effect,
and any one supporting them in any manner or endeavoring to impede the
execution of this manifesto was declared to be guilty of high treason
and subject to the death-penalty.[929] It is perhaps needless to say
that the promised convocation of Córtes and the salutary legislation
never took place. All the modernized institutions framed since 1810 were
swept away at a word, the old organization of Government was restored,
and Fernando was an absolute despot, disposing at his pleasure of the
lives and property of his subjects who had fought so desperately for his

How he used this power was manifested in the case of the fifty-two
prisoners who were arrested at the time of the coup d'état. Nineteen
months were spent in endeavoring to have them condemned by tribunals and
commissions formed for the purpose, but no crime could be proved that
would not equally affect all who had voted with them, many of whom stood
in high favor at court. The last tribunal convened for their trial
advised Fernando to sentence them in the exercise of his royal
omnipotence, and he did so, December 17, 1815, sending them to distant
fortresses, African presidios and convents, with strict orders to allow
them to see no one and to send or receive no letters.[930] As regards
the three specially obnoxious clerical deputies, Villanueva was recluded
for six years in the convent of la Salceda, from which we shall see him
emerge and again play a brief part on the political stage. Muñoz Torrero
was sent to the convent of Erbon, in Galicia. He finally fell into the
savage hands of Dom Miguel of Portugal and perished, after severe
torture, in 1829.[931] Ruiz de Padron was not on the list of the
proscribed; he had not been elected to the new Córtes but was detained
by sickness in Cádiz. On his return in May to his parish of Valdeorras,
his bishop, Manuel Vicente of Astorga, made a crime of his absence from
his cure without episcopal licence and prosecuted him for this and for
sustaining in the Córtes projects adverse to religion and the throne. On
November 2, 1815, he was sentenced to perpetual reclusion in the desert
convent of Cabeza de Alba and, to prevent appeal, the bishop sent the
process to the Inquisition of Valladolid. Ruiz appealed to the
metropolitan, but the bishop refused to allow the appeal. Then a
_recurso de fuerza_ to the Chancellery of Valladolid was tried, which
thrice demanded the process before the bishop, to escape exposure in a
secular court, allowed the appeal. Finally the metropolitan annulled the
proceedings and Ruiz was set at liberty, after four years' imprisonment,
broken in health and ruined in fortune. This action probably superseded
a prosecution against him for printing his speech in the Córtes against
the Inquisition, a prosecution commenced by the Madrid tribunal and
transferred to Valladolid.[932]

       *       *       *       *       *


It was at first thought that the manifesto of May 4th, by invalidating
all the acts of the Córtes, in itself re-established the Inquisition. In
fact, Seville, its birth-place, had not waited for this and, on May 6th,
a popular tumult restored it. The next day its banner, piously preserved
by Don Juan García de Negra, a familiar, was solemnly conducted to the
castle of Triana by a procession, at the head of which marched Juan
Acisla de Vera, coadministrator of the diocese; the Te Deum was sung in
the cathedral, the houses were illuminated and splendidly adorned with
tapestries.[933] All this was premature, as likewise were the attempts
made by some tribunals to reorganize, for the absence of an
inquisitor-general and Suprema rendered irregular the transaction of
business. Representations were made to the king by Seville and other
towns, by the chapter of Valencia, and by bishops, praying him to take
action, and the scruples as to the intervention of the civil power in
spiritual affairs vanished.[934] Fernando accordingly, by decree of July
21, 1814, recited the appeals made to him and announced that he deemed
it fitting that the Holy Office should resume the exercise of its
powers, both the ecclesiastical granted by the popes and the royal,
bestowed by his predecessors. In both of these the rules in force in
1808 were to be followed, together with the laws issued at sundry times
to restrain abuses and curtail privileges.

But, as other reforms might be necessary, he ordered that, as soon as
the Suprema should assemble, two of its members, selected by him, and
two of the Royal Council should form a junta to investigate the
procedure and the methods of censorship and, if they should find
anything requiring reform, they should report to him that he might do
what was requisite.[935] Even the Córtes could not assert more
authoritative domination.

The inquisitor-generalship was filled by the appointment of Francisco
Xavier de Mier y Campillo, Bishop of Almería, and the vacancies in the
Suprema were supplied. The junta of reform was organized and met and
consulted. In 1816 we hear of their being still in session, but we are
told that they found nothing requiring amendment.[936]

The Suprema lost no time in getting to work. A circular of August 8th,
to the tribunals, enclosed the royal decree and announced that, in
virtue of it, the council was that day restored to its authority and
functions, which had been interrupted only by the invasion and the
so-called Córtes. The tribunals were ordered to proceed, as in former
times, with all business that might offer, and the officials were to
discharge their accustomed duties, until the Bishop of Almería should
receive his bulls. Lists of all officials were to be sent, with
statements of their dates of service, and of popular report as to their
conduct during the troubles, and whether they had publicly attacked the
rights of the sovereign and of the Holy Office. A process of
"purification" ensued, investigating the records of all officials, many
of whom had bowed to the tempest during the short-lived triumph of
Liberalism. April 7, 1815, a circular letter directed that any one who
had petitioned the Córtes for the abolition of the Inquisition, or had
congratulated them on their action, was no longer to be regarded as in
office or entitled to wear the insignia, but considerable tenderness was
shown to the erring. Thus Don Manuel Palomino y Lozano, supernumerary
secretary of the Madrid tribunal, had signed an address of
congratulation to the Córtes, but on his pleading coercion and fear he
was allowed to retain office.[937]

Allusion has already been made (Vol. II, p. 445) to the difficulties
experienced in re-constituting an institution which, during five years
of war, had been exposed to spoliation and destruction, resulting, in
some places, in the wrecking of its buildings, the purloining of its
movables and the scattering of its papers. Thus, for instance, in
September and October 1815, the Logroño tribunal, which had lost its
habitation, was negotiating with the Marquis of Monasterio for his
house, which he offered rent-free, if it would keep the premises in
repair and make the necessary alterations; the Suprema instructed it to
secure better terms if it could, and to be very economical with the
alterations.[938] As late as 1817 we chance to learn that Santiago and
Valladolid had no prisons and, in 1819, that Llerena was in the same

The financial question was even more serious. We have seen how, under
Godoy, the tribunals had been obliged to convert all their available
securities into Government funds, which of course had become worthless,
and how the Córtes, by decree of December 1, 1810, had applied the
suppressed prebends to the conduct of the war. It must therefore have
been well-nigh starved when suppressed by the Córtes, but there was no
disposition to expose individuals to suffering and, when its property
was declared to belong to the nation, elaborate provision was made for
the payment of salaries and the customary gratifications, though we may
safely assume that in the majority of cases, these kindly intentions
failed of effect.[940]


When re-establishment came the task of gathering the salvage from the
wreck of the past six years was most disheartening. The royal decree
simply called on the Inquisition to resume its functions and said
nothing about its property, the restoration of which was evidently taken
for granted, under the manifesto invalidating the acts of the Córtes.
There was no disposition, however, on the part of the treasury officials
to do this and, in response to a consulta of August 11th, the king, on
the 18th, issued an order on them to make over to the tribunals all real
estate of every kind that had been absorbed by the treasury, the account
of rents to be made up to July 21st and apportioned on that basis. This
left personal property out of consideration and a further decree was
procured, September 3d, ordering the restoration of everything that had
passed into the Caja de Consolidacion, as well as the fruits of the
suppressed prebends, balancing the accounts up to July 21st.[941] This
was slackly obeyed; the necessities of the tribunals were pressing, and
the Suprema presented consultas of October 1st and 23d asking that they
should be allowed to collect the revenues, and that restitution should
be made of all past collections or, in default of this, that a monthly
allowance of eighty thousand reales be made to the Inquisition. To this
Fernando replied that the needs of the royal treasury did not permit the
repayment of back collections, nor could it meet the proposed monthly
allowance, but it was his will that such payments as the General
Treasury and the Junta del Crédito Público could spare should be made as
a payment on account for the most necessary expenses of the Inquisition.
This last was doubtless an empty promise; the royal financiers were
determined not to go back of July 21st, and it appears, by a letter of
December 16th, that the royal officials were still making collections.
The most that the Suprema could accomplish was to procure from the Junta
del Crédito Público an order of January 9, 1815, and from the chief of
the Treasury one of January 30th, to their subordinates to cease
collecting from the property of the Inquisition, under the rigid
condition that an account should be kept by the tribunals of their
collections, so that whatever they might obtain of arrears due prior to
July 21st should enure to the benefit of the Government.[942] In this,
however, there was recognized the justice of a claim for the unpaid back
salaries of the officials, and elaborate arrangements were made to
ascertain and put these in shape, but it was labor lost. The treasury
was at too low an ebb, and the claimants for services rendered during
the troubled years of war and revolution were too numerous, for the
Inquisition to obtain what it demanded.

The Suprema was also diligent in seeking to recover the amounts which
the tribunals had been obliged to invest in Government securities, but
this was as fruitless as other attempts to save fragments of the wreck.
The last we hear of it is in 1819, when the Suprema was still
endeavoring to meet the exigencies of the Treasury in framing lists of
the dates and numbers of the bonds.[943]

It was difficult to evolve order out of the chaos of destruction,
especially where the papers had been scattered, so that evidences of
indebtedness and accounts were lost, interfering greatly with efforts to
reclaim property. In November, 1814, we find the Valencia tribunal
issuing an edict requiring the return of all books and papers and
records within fifteen days, under pain of excommunication and two
hundred ducats; as to the furniture and other effects, they were to be
restored under threat of legal proceedings. Although Valencia had been
for two years under French occupation, it seems to have been more prompt
than some others in getting its finances into intelligible condition. In
November the Suprema calls upon it for a detailed schedule of resources
and expenses and, in the latter it is not to omit the contribution
required by the Suprema, amounting to 130,896 reales, and meanwhile it
is not to pay out anything for salaries or other purposes without
awaiting permission. Under this it was allowed, January 21, 1815, to pay
salaries up to the end of 1814, and in May to make further payments. Yet
in 1816 we find it reduced to seeking a loan wherewith to meet the
salaries and a sum of thirteen thousand reales demanded by the

The Suprema itself, despite the contributions which it sought to levy
from the tribunals, was in a condition of penury so absolute that, on
July 3, 1815, it announced that it had no funds wherewith to pay the
salaries of its officials or the postage on the official communications
from the tribunals, which must therefore in future arrange with the
Post-Office to prepay the postage and settle monthly or quarterly. This,
however, as it explained August 19th, applied only to what was addressed
to it as, under a decree of May 19, 1799, letters to the
inquisitor-general and other heads of councils were carried free.[945]


There was gradual improvement, but it was slow. A carta acordada of
September 3, 1818, says that the Suprema cannot view with indifference
the deplorable financial condition of nearly all the tribunals, whose
diminished revenues force them to allow the meagre salaries of their
officials to fall into arrears, nor can it close its ears to the clamors
of these unfortunates, reduced as they are to the deepest indigence.
Seeking for partial remedies, it must insist on the avoidance of all
expenses not absolutely indispensable, and the suppression of all
superfluous offices. One of these is the notariate of the court of
confiscations; when it falls vacant it is not to be filled, and its
duties are to be performed by the secretary of sequestrations, whose
salary will consequently be raised by fifty ducats. This was a somewhat
exiguous conclusion of so solemn an exordium, seeing that the actual
work of the tribunals could readily have been performed by less than
half the officials who swelled their pay-rolls, but it is not without
interest as showing how persistently the old inflated organization was
maintained, and was struggling to support itself on the remnants of its
once prosperous fortunes. Under such a system, poverty naturally
continued to the last. When the Revolution of 1820 broke out, and the
Seville tribunal contributed six thousand reales to the committee
organized to resist the rising, it had no funds and was obliged to
borrow the money on interest. As almost the first act of the successful
revolutionists was to suppress the Inquisition, the lenders in this case
doubtless found themselves to be involuntary contributors.[946] At this
time the Seville tribunal had a force of twenty-eight officials, with a
pay-roll of 92,300 reales, while the amount of its work may be gathered
from the fact that the revolutionists found only three prisoners to

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus amid difficulties and tribulations the tribunals one by one resumed
their functions. In October, 1814, Seville was prosecuting Lt. Colonel
Lorenzo del Castillo for propositions; Saragossa was receiving the
self-denunciation of Mathias Pintado, priest of Bujanuelo, for heregia
mista, and Valencia was suspending the sumaria of the Capuchin Fray
Pablo de Altea for _mala doctrina_, while in December Murcia was
prosecuting Don Josef de Zayas, a prominent lieutenant-general of the
royal army, for Free-Masonry.[948] Business, however, at the first was
scanty. In the book of secret votes of the Suprema, there is an interval
from December 22, 1814, until February 16, 1815. As the months of 1815
passed on, the breaks grow shorter and, by the summer of 1815, the
decrees follow each other closely. Valladolid seems to have been
dilatory in getting to work for, although it had three inquisitors
drawing salary, no case came up from it until January, 1817, and, from
this one it would seem that it had not been in operation until October,

The prosecution of such a man as Zayas shows that the reorganized
Inquisition did not hesitate to grapple with those in high place, and
another early case illustrates this still more forcibly. During the
French occupation the Duke and Duchess of Sotomayor and the Countess of
Mora had obtained possession of the books and indecent pictures
accumulated in the Madrid tribunal. Apparently they refused to surrender
them; the tribunal prosecuted them and rendered a sentence, subject to
the royal permission, that these objects should be seized, but in such a
manner as not to attract attention or to provoke resentment. The Suprema
confirmed the sentence, ordering its execution by a single inquisitor,
accompanied by a secretary, so as to reconcile the respect due to the
parties with the secrecy that was essential.[950]

A politic act was the issue of a general pardon for all that had
"impiously and scandalously" been uttered and done against the
Inquisition under the fatal circumstances of the recent troubles.[951]
It could afford to assume this attitude of magnanimity, seeing that the
Government was pitilessly avenging it on its most prominent adversaries.
When the Government failed in this duty, the Inquisition had no
hesitation in nullifying its edict of pardon. We have seen its
prosecution of Ruiz de Padron, until it found that the Bishop of Astorga
was rendering this superfluous, nor was this by any means an isolated
case. In August, 1815, we find the Suprema acting on sumarias from
Canaries, in the cases of Mariano Romero, a priest, for a sonnet against
the Inquisition, and of Francisco Guerra for a sonnet and an epitaph of
the same character. So, in November, 1815, there is a prosecution of the
Duke of Parque Castrillo for congratulating the Córtes on the abolition
of the Inquisition and for a general order to the troops, December 2,
1812. His case dragged on until June 10, 1817, when its suspension was

[Sidenote: _FERNANDO'S FAVOR_]

Yet it was not easy to revive the old-time veneration for an institution
that had been so buffeted and roughly handled by the press and the
Córtes. A couple of cases in Madrid, in 1814, of women in whose shops
scandalous pictures and objects were exhibited, would seem to indicate
that its commands were not obeyed with alacrity.[953] It was doubtless
with a view of overcoming this indifference that Fernando himself
assumed the office of an inquisitor, February 3, 1815, when he visited
the Suprema, presided over its deliberations and participated in its
decisions, examined all the offices and expressed his royal satisfaction
with the methods of procedure. By royal permission the Suprema sent its
president and three members to return the visit and express its
gratitude for a mark of royal favor such as Ferdinand the Catholic nor
any of his successors had ever made. A full report was printed in the
Gaceta of February 16th, copies of which the Suprema sent to the
tribunals with orders to read it to the officials and place it in the
archives.[954] With the same purpose, he erected, as we have seen, the
Congregation of San Pedro Martir to a knightly Order, with a habit and
badge and, on April 6th, the feast of St. Peter Martyr, he presided over
the Congregation, with his brothers Carlos and Antonio, wearing the
insignia. In communicating this to the tribunals, the Suprema rendered
it especially impressive by ordering them to commence the payment of
salaries earned since July 21st and to continue it monthly.[955] Noble
courtiers doubtless found that assuming office in the Inquisition was an
avenue to royal favor, and we speedily see many of them submitting their
genealogies for this purpose. The great Duke of Berwick and Alva,
Fitzjames Stuart Silva Stolberg y Palafox, thus seeks the office of
alguazil mayor of the tribunal of Córdova; the Marquis of Altamira does
the same for the position of honorary secretary in that of Madrid, and
we happen to hear of the Count of Mazeda, a grandee of the first class,
serving as alguazil mayor of the tribunal of Santiago, and the Marquis
of Iscar as honorary secretary to the Suprema.[956]

In spite of all this, the Inquisition could not regain its former
position. Not only was it not respected but it dared not to enforce
respect. Two Edicts of Grace for Free-Masons were issued, January 2d and
February 12, 1815, when the Valladolid tribunal sent those for Medina
del Campo and its district to its commissioner Victor González to be
posted. The vicar-general and Ordinary, Doctor Josef Suárez Talavera, as
ecclesiastical judge, demanded that they should pass through his hands,
and when they were posted they bore the MS. subscription "Fixese, Doctor
Suárez," thus assuming that it was by his permission, and arrogating to
himself a jurisdiction superior to that of the Inquisition. When this
was reported to the tribunal it ordered González to take them down and
replace them with unsullied ones, which he did. Thereupon Suárez sent
him word that, but for starting on a journey, he would make him repent
and that, had he known of his being in Medina he would have cast him in
prison and seen who could get him out. The tribunal meekly swallowed
this flagrant insult; it was under instructions to perform no act
indicating jurisdiction superior to that of the Ordinaries, so it
quietly gathered evidence verifying the facts and sent the papers,
September 15th, to the Suprema.[957]

The Inquisition recognized and felt acutely its altered position. In a
report to the king on the subject of _visitos de navios_, made by the
Suprema, in 1819, there are repeated confessions of powerlessness; the
times are so unfortunate that its regulations fail to effect their
object.[958] The same consciousness of weakness is manifest in the
conduct of the occasional competencias which still occurred. In such of
these as I have had an opportunity of examining there are a studied
courtesy and evident desire to avoid giving offence, without wholly
abandoning the claims of the Holy Office.


To the same cause we may, at least partially, ascribe the marked
tendency to mitigation of punishment--except in the case of political
offenders--and to avoid all unnecessary hardship and humiliation of
culprits. When, in March, 1819, the Madrid tribunal pronounced a severe
sentence on Teodoro Bachiller, for propositions, the Suprema moderated
it greatly in every way, in order, it said, to make him understand its
benignity in taking care of his honor and of the comfort of his family.
In January, 1817, Lorenzo Ayllon was tried in Seville for abusing a
priest while celebrating mass and endeavoring to snatch away the
host--offences for which, of old, he could scarce have escaped the
stake, but now he had only absolution _ad cautelam_, a reprimand, two
years of presidio followed by six years of exile, and the Suprema
relieved him of the vergüenza which had been included. Even more marked
was the case of Diego Blásquez, postmaster of Villanueba de la Serena,
who with some others committed the sacrilege of burying a dog with
funeral rites. The Llerena tribunal commenced a prosecution and sent the
sumaria to the Suprema, which contented itself with ordering a
courteous note to be addressed to the secular and ecclesiastical judges,
expressing a hope that they would not permit a repetition of such
scandals.[959] It would be easy to multiply similar instances, but these
will suffice to show how completely, in dealing with offences against
the faith, the spirit of the Inquisition had been tamed, and how
factitious was the claim that its existence was essential for the
preservation of religion, when there were over half a hundred episcopal
tribunals perfectly competent to try such offences and perfectly ready
to treat them with greater severity.

       *       *       *       *       *

Meanwhile Fernando's reign had continued as it commenced. Under the
influence of a camarilla of low-caste and ignoble favorites, who
pandered to his vices and enriched themselves by trafficking in offices
and in contracts and in justice, his government was a compound of
brutality and imbecility, and the affairs of the nation fell into
complete disorder. All the abuses that had flourished under Godoy were
intensified and coupled with persistent cruel persecution of those
designated as Liberals, who filled the gaols through constantly
recurring lists of proscriptions. De Martignac, who, as royal
commissioner, accompanied the Duke of Angoulême in the invasion of 1823,
was a thoroughly well-informed and unprejudiced observer, who after a
vigorous description of the misgovernment of Fernando sums up by saying
"We can conceive the influence of such a régime on the prosperity of the
land, and yet it is difficult to realize the extent of disorder,
wretchedness and weakness to which it fell. It was necessary to resort
to arbitrary taxes, to exorbitant duties which destroyed commerce, to
loans raised without credit. It was impossible to provide for the most
pressing necessities of the State; everything was neglected or
abandoned; the army was unpaid; the navy, destroyed at Trafalgar,
remained in ruins; the administration, destitute of all means of action,
did nothing and could do nothing to improve conditions, or even to
preserve what there was. From this arose the discontent of the
people."[960] It can scarce excite surprise that the crazy enthusiasm of
Fernando's welcome in 1814 had evaporated.


During this disastrous period, every year saw an attempt at revolution.
In 1814 it was tried at Pampeluna by General Mina, who escaped; in 1815
in Galicia by Porlier, who was executed; in 1816 in Madrid by Richard,
who shared the same fate; in 1817 in Catalonia by Lacy, who was shot; in
1818 in Valencia by Vidal, who was put to death. Again in Valencia a
plot was formed to break out January 1, 1819, but it was betrayed and
thirteen of the conspirators were hanged. O'Donnell, Count of la Bisbal,
an able soldier and unscrupulous intriguer, was privy to this, but
averted suspicion and was appointed to command an expeditionary force
collecting at Cádiz for Buenos Ayres, against the revolted colony. With
customary negligence, transports were not provided; the troops lay idle
for months, discontent spread and a formidable conspiracy was organized,
which counted on la Bisbal's support; he concluded that loyalty was
safest and seized the leading plotters, for which he was rewarded with
the grand cross of Carlos III., but suspicion arose; he was removed and
replaced by the incapable Count of Calderon.

The situation, however, was growing impossible, and revolution was in
the air. A portion of the troops were cantoned at las Cabezas de San
Juan, a town not far from Cádiz. There, on January 1, 1820, Rafael de
Riego, commander of the battalion of Asturias, assembled his men, made
an inflammatory harangue, and they all declared for the Constitution. He
made a dash for Arcos, where he captured Calderon and three of his
generals, effected a junction with the battalions España and Corona,
under Colonel Antonio Quiroga, and failed in an attack on Cádiz. Delay
and irresolution followed, until January 27th, when Riego, at the head
of fifteen hundred men, marched to Algeciras, where he remained until
February 7th. Defeated in an attempt on Málaga, he reached Córdova on
March 7th, with some five hundred despairing followers. No effort was
made to capture them; the garrison and citizens looked on placidly,
while Riego refreshed his men and headed for the Sierra Morena; they
dropped off during the march and he was left with fifty followers; so
far as he was concerned, the movement was a failure.


Still, its preliminary success had aroused the slumbering elements of
discontent. On February 21st revolution broke out at Coruña and spread
to Ferrol and Vigo, when the Count of San Roman abandoned Galicia
without a struggle. Saragossa followed on March 2d, the captain-general
and garrison joining the magistrates and people. When the news reached
Barcelona, on March 10th the people rose and sacked the Inquisition, but
did no injury to the officials.[961] Within a few days Tarragona, Gerona
and Mataró followed the example, the garrisons participating in the
movement. In Navarre, Mina's account of the rising shows that there was
prearrangement, and that the municipal authorities and military
officials were fully in accord. When he reached Pampeluna with a large
force, gathered on his way from the border, he found that the revolution
had already been peacefully accomplished on March 11th. Meanwhile la
Bisbal, seeing that the movement promised success, spared no promises to
obtain command of the forces concentrating in la Mancha to put down
Riego's rising. He received the appointment and, on reaching Ocaña, he
induced the regiment Alejandro to cry "Viva la Constitucion." The
revolution was accomplished and was bloodless, save a hideous massacre
at Cádiz of the unarmed multitude, perpetrated in cold blood by Don
Manuel Freyre.[962]

During the two months of this desultory movement, which prompt action
could so readily have suppressed, the court was nerveless and incapable.
When the news came of the rising in Galicia, Fernando issued, February
28th, a plaintive appeal, promising amendment. His terror increased as
evil tidings came pouring in, and on March 3d he published a decree
bewailing the state of the kingdom, and announcing that he had ordered
the Council of State to prepare a comprehensive scheme of reform. This
was followed, March 6th, by another calling an immediate convocation of
Córtes. It was too late; he found himself abandoned by all, even by his
Royal Guard, which General Ballesteros reported was planning to retire
to Buen Retiro and send a deputation asking him to swear to the
Constitution. This was decisive and, on the night of the 7th, he issued
another decree announcing his intention to do so. This was received, on
the 8th, with popular rejoicings, but, as no further action was taken,
an impatient mob, on the 9th, surrounded the palace with seditious cries
and threats. The guard was impassive; Fernando was deserted and was
absolutely alone when the crowd began to mount the stairs to demand that
he should swear to the Constitution, but they were restrained on
learning that he had ordered the reassembling of the Ayuntamiento of
Madrid as it had existed under the Constitution. Its members were got
together and proceeded immediately to the palace, where Fernando
received them with warm expressions of affection; he took the required
oath of his own free will, and ordered Ballesteros to make the army do
the same. A general illumination and bell-ringing for three nights were
ordered, and the people dispersed, not, however, without first visiting
the Inquisition, releasing the prisoners and scattering the archives.
Only two or three prisoners were found and these were political. Rodrigo
tells us that the mob wanted them to pose as victims of persecution, but
they prudently refused, and a neighboring cobbler was persuaded to
exhibit himself as the presiding figure of the celebration.[963]


On the same day, March 9th, Fernando issued a decree abolishing the
Inquisition. This bore that, as its existence was incompatible with the
Constitution of 1812, for which reason it had, after mature
deliberation, been suppressed by the Córtes, and in conformity with the
opinion of the Junta this day established, he ordered that, from this
day, the Suprema and the Inquisition be suppressed throughout the
monarchy, setting at liberty all prisoners confined for political or
religious opinions, and transferring, to the bishops in their respective
dioceses, their cases to be determined in accordance with the decree of
the Córtes.[964] This was followed, March 20th, by a royal order
providing for inventories of all property pertaining to the Inquisition,
and reviving the decree of February 22, 1813; the Bureau of Public
Credit was to take possession of and administer the property, until its
destination should be determined by the Córtes shortly to be assembled,
while the salaries of officials were to be continued. When the Córtes
met, a decree of August 9th included this with other escheated property,
to be sold at auction by the Junta nacional de Crédito.[965]

During the slow progress of the Revolution, the Inquisition seems to
have been watching events with full consciousness of the fate in store
for it if the movement should prove successful. A letter of January
19th, from the Seville tribunal to the Suprema, states that it had
delayed the arrests of the Trinitarian, Fray Juan Montes, and of Don
Tomás Díaz in consequence, at first of the epidemic, and then of the
insurrection, to which the Suprema replied, January 24th, that it left
future action to the prudence of the tribunal.[966] Considering how
feeble at the time was the demonstration of Riego, this shows that its
ultimate consequences were fully apprehended. Still the Inquisition
continued at work, but the last case acted upon by the Suprema was its
confirmation, February 10th, of a sentence rendered January 28th, by the
Toledo tribunal, on Manuel de la Peña Palacios, priest of Ontoba. As the
last act of the dreaded Holy Office, after a career of three centuries
and a half, it has an interest beyond its inherent trivial character,
and it will be found in the Appendix.

At least one liberated prisoner gave expression to his delight at his
release. Don Antonio Bernabeu, a priest, had been a member of the Córtes
of Cádiz and had been arrested with the others in May, 1814, but seems
to have been released in about six months. He was a Jansenist of an
extreme type and, in 1813, had printed a pamphlet to prove that the
State could seize all ecclesiastical property and reduce the overgrown
numbers of the clergy, putting those who were left on moderate salaries.
The tract was a terrible indictment of the Church for its greed of
accumulation, its neglect of duty and its departure from the old
standards in concentrating all power in the pope, which he attributed to
the Isidorian Decretals. On his release from prison, December 14, 1814,
he hastened to denounce himself for this to the Inquisition and was
placed in reclusion. In 1816 he denounced himself a second time for
matters at first omitted. The fiscal presented the accusation, April 20,
1817, rather cleverly drawn, for it demanded precise definition of his
opinions on the wide range of subjects, in which he charged the Church
with deviation from primitive times, and specific proofs of his somewhat
vague declamation as to abuses. To satisfy this would require the
resources of a large library and years of research, while Bernabeu was
confined in a convent and was denied even a copy of his offending
pamphlet, besides being exposed to all manner of persecutions by his
fellow inmates. His trial was still pending when the decree of March 9th
liberated him; he was promptly returned as a deputy to the Córtes of
1820, and he celebrated his release by reprinting his pamphlet, with an
account of his sufferings and his answers to the charges of the

       *       *       *       *       *


It would carry us too far from our subject to recount in detail the
extravagancies and follies with which the triumphant Liberals invited
the cruel reaction that awaited them. Moderation, perhaps, was scarce to
be expected of men, smarting under the persecution of the last six
years, and suddenly brought from fortresses and presidios, or from
exile, to take charge of the Government, and to frame laws for the
nation. That they should in turn persecute their persecutors was natural
but impolitic; mutual hatreds were inflamed, and the land was divided
into factions between which harmony and forbearance became impossible.
The long centuries of despotism and the repression of independent
thought and action had rendered the people incapable of the large
measure of self-government provided by the Constitution. So-called
patriotic societies were rapidly formed--de Lorencini, de San Fernando,
la Fontana de Oro, la Cruz de Malta, la Landaburana and others--which in
reality were Jacobinical clubs, where the most radical measures were
advocated, and the most violent means of effecting them were urged. An
unbridled press was busy in adding fuel to the flames and in stimulating
the ardor which sought to realize anarchical dreams. Masonry had been
busy in preparing the revolution, and with its success Masonry became
the avenue to power and place; its lodges multiplied and were rapidly
filled. Then, with the progress of advanced ideas, Masonry became too
conservative for the _exaltados_, who left it and established the
Comuneros, whose statutes formed a state of revolutionary character
within the State. They rivalled the Masons in numbers and influence, and
the virulent struggle for supremacy between the two bodies at times
paralyzed the Government and neutralized the forces of order. The
disorderly element existing in all communities was utilized whenever
there was an object to be gained, and mob rule became of frequent
occurrence, not only in Madrid but in nearly all the cities. The orders
of the Government were obeyed or disregarded as suited the temper of the
populace or of its instigators. Officials commissioned as
captains-general or governors or magistrates were admitted or rejected;
orderly administration was becoming impossible, and everywhere
turbulence reigned supreme. Liberalism was committing suicide.

Yet Liberalism had need of its undivided strength to maintain itself
against the opposing forces. Fernando, while playing the part of a
constitutional king, was constantly plotting to throw off the yoke, and
was entertaining secret relations with those who were striving to
overthrow the Government. Successive Córtes seemed to take pleasure in
exacerbating the hostility of the clergy, whose influence over the mass
of the people was unbounded. Much of this legislation was no doubt
salutary in itself but, at the moment, it was dangerous, and the blows
succeeded each other so rapidly that the sufferers might well regard it
as systematic persecution. August 31, 1820, a law organizing the
national army exempted from service only such clerics as were actually
in holy Orders. One of September 26th subjected all clerics, secular and
regular, to secular jurisdiction for offences incurring corporal
punishment. Within a week, another decree suppressed a large portion of
the monastic Orders, and the Mendicants who were left were subjected to
the bishops and consolidated into houses of not less than twelve
inmates, and this was followed by other special decrees of suppression.
The property of the suppressed houses was applied to the _Crédito
público_ and, when Fernando refused his signature, a popular tumult was
organized which frightened him into acquiescence. October 26th it was
ordered that dispensations for marriage within prohibited degrees should
be issued without charge to those applying _in forma pauperis_, thus
cutting off a large source of income. When bands of insurgent royalists
began to make their appearance, and were joined or led by priests, the
bishops were ordered, April 20, 1821, to report what steps they had
taken to punish them and, within eight days, to issue edicts requiring
their flocks to obey the law. Then, on June 29th, without papal
authority, a contribution of thirty million reales was levied on the
clergy and, on the same day, the tithes were reduced one-half, while
allowing some compensation in the removal of certain imposts. The
clergy, not unnaturally, promoted disaffection, and to check this,
decrees of November 1, 1822, authorized the Government, at discretion,
to transfer from one place to another all parish priests and
ecclesiastics, the cost of maintenance of those thus deported being
thrown upon the bishops.[968]


In fact, the irreconcileable claims of State and Church rendered
hostility inevitable. It was impossible for the latter to understand
that, when it entered politics and became a political factor, it had to
be treated like other political bodies. The theocracy of the middle ages
had so long enjoyed power without responsibility that its immunity
became part of Latin doctrine. Elsewhere the impracticability of this
had been demonstrated, but in Spain the Church has never ceased to
struggle for the maintenance of medievalism, or has understood that
sedition in the pulpit should not be treated differently from sedition
in the tribune. It refused to recognize that self-preservation is the
first law of governments as of individuals, and that they cannot allow
artificial privileges to work their destruction. The theory of the
Liberals was that external ecclesiastical discipline was subject to the
civil authority, while internal discipline was reserved to the Church.
The Church asserted that in all things it ruled itself, and that any
secular interference was a laying of profane hands on the Ark. The gage
of battle was virtually thrown by Veremundo Arías, Archbishop of
Valencia, who, on October 20, 1820, addressed to the Córtes a long
manifesto, upholding all the extreme claims of the Church, and denying
the distinction between external and internal discipline. On November
10th he was arrested and, on the 24th, was put on board ship and sent to
France. This was the commencement of a persecution in which many bishops
suffered. Alvárez de Palma of Granada was set aside and replaced by the
liberal Archpriest Vinegas. Uriz y Lafaga of Pampeluna was summoned to
Madrid but, on the road, was rescued by royalists and conveyed to
France. Blas Beltran of Coria was banished. The Bishop-elect of Santa
Marta (Colombia) received his sentence of exile on his death-bed in
Plasencia. Cienfuegos of Cádiz had to fly to save his life. Pablo de
Sichar of Barcelona fled and remained absent until 1823. Rentería y
Reyes of Lérida was carried under guard to Barcelona, narrowly escaped
execution, and was detained in Málaga until 1823. Ramon Strauch y Vidal
of Vich was imprisoned in Barcelona, then sent to Tarragona and on the
road, under a pretext, was made to descend and was shot with his
attendant. Others who were exiled were Jaime Creus of Tarragona, Ceruelo
de la Fuente of Oviedo, Rafael de Velez of Ceuta and Castillon y Salas
of Tarazona.[969] It is true that the worst of these acts were committed
by mobs or irresponsible parties in the growing disorders of the times,
but they remained unrebuked and unpunished.

A government which thus treated its clergy was not likely to maintain
friendly relations with the Holy See. One of the earliest measures of
the new government was an act of August 17, 1820, suppressing the
Jesuits.[970] Pius VII met this with a letter of September 16th to
Fernando, deploring the perils that threatened religion and the Church
and reciting the obnoxious measures taken, for which he had ordered his
nuncio to make reclamation, but without effect.[971] Relations were not
improved when, April 21, 1821, a decree suppressed all payments, whether
in money or other equivalent, for papal bulls for archbishops, bishops,
matrimonial dispensations and other rescripts, in lieu of which the
paltry annual sum of 9000 silver dollars was offered.[972] This was
unwise but still more so was the sending to Rome as ambassador of
Joaquin Lorenzo Villanueva, towards the close of 1822, when the
intervention of the Holy Alliance was impending. At Turin he was met by
a papal order forbidding him to come further and asking the ministry to
appoint some one else. Evaristo San Miguel, the Secretary of State,
insisted; the papal foreign secretary replied that the opinions
expressed by Villanueva in the "Cartas de Don Roque Leal" and in the
Córtes were such that the Holy See could never receive him. To this the
answer was to send to the nuncio his passports with orders to leave
Spain. The rupture with Rome was complete and, in the eyes of pious
Spaniards, the government had justified the clerical definition of the
Constitution as heresy.[973]

The clerical temper thus stimulated is fairly exhibited in a little
pamphlet by Padre Miguel Canto, parish priest of Callosa de Segura,
celebrating the downfall of Constitutionalism. He is fairly drunk with
joy and consigns the Liberals to the bottomless pit for eternity with
vigorous delight. That the civil power should dare to assume any control
over the externals of the Church fills him with astonishment and rage,
all the greater in view of the suffering which it inflicted, especially
on the regulars. Canto tells us that the fabric of his church had
enjoyed a revenue of four thousand pesos, and that it was reduced to
such poverty that he had not wherewith to provide wafers and wine for
the sacrament, or oil for the lamps.[974] Yet the resources of the
Spanish Church were such that it still had ample funds for political
uses. When, in October, 1823, after his release by the French, Fernando
travelled from Cádiz to Madrid, he received in voluntary offerings from
the chapters of Toledo, Seville, Granada, Jaen and Cuenca, 11,970,000
reales in silver, although the land was in a condition of complete


It is not difficult to believe that the pulpit and the confessional were
energetically used to inflame and organize the disaffection that rapidly
succeeded to the enthusiasm for the Constitution. The new administration
was no more efficient than the old. Ministries, hampered with the
underhand intrigues of the king, perpetually guarding against eager
rivals, and speedily engrossed with suppressing the armed resistance
springing up on every hand, had little opportunity of rectifying the
abuses which had made Fernando unpopular. To the people at large the
only visible result of the revolution was that the Liberals in turn
were persecuting the Serviles. The nobles, moreover were alienated by
the suppression of _Mayorazgos_ and _Vinculaciones_, or entails and
perpetual charges on lands, a reform which had long been urged by
statesmen such as Jovellanos.[976] Willing and receptive listeners to
clerical invective were abundant, and movements to overthrow the
Government speedily began taking shape. Before the year 1820 was out, in
Galicia there was organized a Junta Apostólica and in Burgos there was a
crazy conspiracy of some frailes and a general.[977] Soon wandering
bands of insurgents sprang up, among whom members of the clergy were
conspicuous, as though it was a holy war. Suppressed in one place, they
appeared in another, waging a guerrilla warfare like that against
Napoleon. The land was torn with faction, and Liberals and Royalists
seemed to emulate each other in contributing to its ruin. Early in July,
1822, the royal guards, with the secret connivance of the king,
endeavored to gain possession of Madrid; after a sanguinary conflict in
the streets they were defeated, when Fernando, from a balcony of his
palace, stimulated the nationals in pursuit of the flying wretches.
Civil broils are apt to be pitiless, but in Spain they assumed a
ferocity not often witnessed elsewhere. If the Royalists in Catalonia
massacred in cold blood the garrison of the Seo de Urgel, a Liberal
noyade in Coruña despatched fifty-one political prisoners, many of them
ecclesiastics and persons of distinction.[978]

The revolt was constantly assuming proportions more alarming, especially
in Catalonia, where it had the almost unanimous support of the
peasantry. The insurrectionary bands coalesced into a force of five
thousand men styling itself the Army of the Faith which, on June 21,
1822, captured the Seo de Urgel and made it their stronghold. There, on
August 15th, was organized a royalist Regency, composed of Creus, the
exiled Archbishop of Tarragona, the Baron of Eroles, a soldier of some
reputation, and the Marquis of Mataflorida. The Counter-revolution thus
adopted a public and official character; the Regency assumed to speak
for the king, held in durance by the Jacobins--in fact, as early as June
1st he had authorized Mataflorida to organize it, and was in constant
communication with it, through one of the officials of the court. It
obtained quasi-recognition abroad; it negotiated a loan of 8,000,000
with the Parisian capitalist Ouvrard and, with the support of Pius VII,
it opened negotiations with Austria and Russia, offering surrenders of
territory in exchange for aid.[979]

Spain was rapidly drifting into anarchy. The Government was too weak to
suppress disorder, whether committed by friends or foes. Compromise
between the factions was not to be hoped for, and even patriots could
see that the only path to order lay through intervention from abroad.
That this was impending became more and more evident. The example of
Spain had been followed by Naples and Portugal, and then by Piedmont, in
forcing on their sovereigns constitutions like that of 1812; the Holy
Alliance took the alarm; the Congresses of Troppau in 1820 and of
Laybach in 1821 ordered armed intervention, and the new institutions of
Naples and Piedmont were readily overthrown. In May, 1821,
communications from Russia to Spain, and a Russian circular to the
courts of Europe, openly expressed dissatisfaction at the success of
armed rebellion, with scarcely veiled threats of action in case the
Córtes should prove disobedient to the monarch; and the conflict with
the royal guard, in July 1822, gave the foreign ministers in Madrid a
pretext for warnings which were diplomatically veiled threats of
intervention.[980] Preparations for it were already on foot in France.
An epidemic of yellow fever in Barcelona served as an excuse for
establishing a _cordon sanitaire_ on the border, gradually strengthened
until it became an army of observation and in reality a support for the
Catalan insurgents, as Mina found when he conducted a successful
campaign which in the beginning of 1823 forced the Regency to take
refuge in France.[981]


The Congress of Verona met in the autumn of 1822. The Urgel Regency sent
there the Count de España as its representative to urge that Spain
should be restored to the condition prior to March 9, 1820; the
Government sent no envoy, relying on the friendly aid of England,
represented by the Duke of Wellington. Without his knowledge the Allied
Powers signed, on November 22d, a secret treaty, in which they declared
against the sovereignty of the people, representative government and the
freedom of the press, and in favor of the clergy as an instrument for
enforcing the passive obedience of the subject; and each signatory
pledged itself to a subsidy of twenty millions of francs annually to
France, to which was assigned the duty of suppressing these destructive
principles in Spain and Portugal, and of restoring the Peninsula to the
conditions prior to 1820.[982] Even yet intervention was not certain,
for France was not eager for the task, and there were some negotiations
looking to modifications of the Constitution, but the Liberals would not
listen to such suggestions. Châteaubriand, however, that curious
compound of idealism, bombast and vanity, who, as French foreign
minister and representative at Verona, takes to himself all the credit
for the enterprise, is especially careful to point out that its real
object was the restoration of France to the hegemony of the Continent,
after the abasement of the Restoration by foreign bayonets--an object
which he assumes was fully accomplished.[983]

Early in January, 1823, four notes from the Allies were presented
collectively, offering, in more or less offensive fashion, the
alternative of a return to absolutism or invasion.[984] These portentous
communications were received