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"Instruments of cruelty are in their habitation."—Gen. xlix. 5.


Published [1834]

The Project Gutenberg eBook, History of the Inquisition from Its Establishement Till the Present Time, by William Sime

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Title: History of the Inquisition from Its Establishement Till the Present Time

Author: William Sime

Release Date: February 6, 2017 [eBook #54115]

Language: English

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An Auto Da Fe.

[Pg iii]


Among the numerous and varied methods which the Popish Church has adopted, to maintain its usurped sway over the minds and bodies of men, none has been more effectual than the erection of the Inquisition. Established for the purpose of taking cognizance of what it styles heresy, many are the victims which this tribunal has doomed to the rack and the flames, for endeavouring to regulate their faith and worship agreeably to the unerring standard of revealed truth. For many ages, its procedure was comparatively unknown, the conduct of its ministers having been wrapt up in that mysterious secrecy by which all its transactions are characterized. What was long concealed is, however, now unfolded, by the productions of many unexceptionable writers, not a few of whom were themselves connected with the "holy office," and are consequently well fitted to give an impartial account of its iniquitous acts and deeds.

The design, accordingly, of this little volume, is to give a succinct and connected view of the rise, progress, and present state of that infamous tribunal, more especially in Spain. Such a work, the writer conceives, will not be without use, notwithstanding the many detailed accounts that have been given of an institution, which has been, and still is, an outrage on humanity. To those whose avocations allow only of an occasional perusal of books, the following sheets will afford information on this subject, to obtain which otherwise, the [Pg iv] reading of many large works would be necessary; and to the young student, it is hoped, they may pave the way for future research, excite an early abhorrence of tyranny and bigotry, and nurture the spirit of Christian philanthropy and liberality.

It has been the aim of the writer to condense as much information within a small compass as possible. Not a few cases of well-attested individual suffering have also been introduced, illustrative of the various topics brought forward in the course of the work.

It may also be mentioned, that the utmost care has been taken to insure the authenticity of the statements which are advanced; though it was deemed inexpedient to enlarge the volume by notes of reference to the writers whence it is compiled, these for the most part being embodied in the text. To enumerate all the authors whose writings have been consulted, is as unnecessary as it would be tedious. But it may be of importance to state, that among others whose names will be found in the work itself, materials have been collected from Limborch, Baker, Hurd, Montanus, Salgado, Father Paul, Gavin, Dellon, Buchanan, Puigblanch, Llorente, Blanco White, and Don Juan Van Halen.

Edinburgh, July, 1834.

[Pg v]


Persecution for religious opinions, opposed to the spirit of Christianity, and to the sentiments of the primitive fathers—it increases with the growth of the Papal authority—edicts of the synod of Tours and of the Roman Pontiff against the Waldenses—the foundation of the Inquisition laid by Regnier and Guy—Innocent III. institutes two new orders of regulars—birth and education of St. Dominic—his erection of the Inquisition, and thirst for human blood—procedure of the first Inquisitors—difficulties which had to be surmounted previous to the establishment of the Inquisition—edicts of Frederick II. against heresy—erection of Inquisitorial tribunals indifferent countries—letter of Pope Gregory IX. to the Inquisitors—successful resistance of several states against the erection of these Courts, 9
Rise and progress of the Inquisition in Spain—new privileges conferred on the Inquisitors—their proceedings—sketch of the government of the ancient Spanish Inquisition—dreadful persecution of the Jews and Moors at Seville in 1481—they are exposed to similar persecutions in the other provinces of Spain—Torquemada appointed Inquisitor-general—he frames laws for the government of the different tribunals—his audacity and cruelty—proceedings of his successors Deza and Ximenes—the Reformers' works proscribed—zeal of the Emperor Charles V. in behalf of the Inquisition—his son Philip II. is still more superstitious and intolerant—horrid cruelty of that infatuated monarch—his efforts to establish the [Pg vi] Inquisition in every part of his dominions—ignorance of the Inquisitors—ludicrous trial of the famous Galileo before the "Holy Tribunal," 25
Appointment of the Inquisitors in Spain—their extensive privileges—they pretend to have jurisdiction over the subjects of other states—imprisonment of Thomas Maynard—dignity and splendour of the Inquisitors—other officers belonging to the Inquisition—procedure of the tribunal of the "Holy Office"—eagerness of the Inquisitors to preserve secrecy in all their transactions—their manner of receiving and interrogating informers—their rigorous proceedings towards any of their servants who may dare to violate in the least their unjust orders—citing of the witnesses—apprehension of the person accused—his imprisonment—prisons of the Inquisition—examination of a culprit—artifice and injustice practised by the judges to induce a person to criminate himself—striking example of their duplicity and barbarity, 56
Examination of the accused by torture—its different degrees—Puigblanch's description of this inhuman practice—it is sometimes inflicted on those who are condemned to death—sufferings of William Lithgow—innocence no protection against Inquisitorial cruelty—barbarous usage of Johanna Bohorques—different punishments inflicted by the Inquisition—description of an auto-da-fé—procession which accompanies the celebration of that ceremony—burning of heretics—account of the splendid auto-da-fé which took place at Madrid in 1680—penitential habits which are worn by the criminals—hypocritical manner in which the Inquisitors deliver over a culprit to the civil power, 79
Auto-da-fé celebrated at Seville in 1560—the Inquisitor-general Valdes publishes a new code of laws for the government of the holy office—proceedings of the Inquisition [Pg vii] during the reigns of Philip III. Philip IV. and Charles II.—state of the nation at the accession of Philip V.—M. Legal, the French commander, levies a contribution on the Dominicans in Saragossa—their stratagem to elude payment—the Inquisitors excommunicate M. Legal—he throws open the doors of the Inquisition and liberates the prisoners—the freemasons become the objects of persecution by the holy office—state of the Inquisition during the reigns of Ferdinand VI. Charles III. and Charles IV.—the Inquisitors prohibit the reading of French works at the period of the revolution in that kingdom—the Inquisition suppressed by Bonaparte and completely abolished by the Cortes-General—it is re-established by Ferdinand VII.—persecuting spirit of the modern Inquisition—sufferings of Van Halen—sentence of death by the pendulum passed by the Inquisitors in 1820, 102
The horrid procedure of the Inquisition is never calculated to make converts—Case of Don Carlos de Sessa—of Isaac Orobio—the punishments inflicted by the holy tribunal encourage hypocrisy—examples—the Inquisition frequently condemns the innocent—trial of Melchior Hernandez—the Inquisitors proved to be actuated by avarice in their condemnation of prisoners—examples—Nicholas Burton—a child—other offences besides heresy taken cognizance of by the Holy Office—its flagrant injustice—its barbarous proceedings against the dead—Marc Antonio de Dominis, 128
Hostility of the Inquisition to the progress of literature and science—examples—Don Melchior de Macanaz—Luis de Leon—Aonius Palearius—freemasonry a peculiar object of persecution by the holy tribunal—interesting trial of M. Tournon—his sentence—cruelty of the Inquisition in the nineteenth century—affecting account of the sufferings of Don Miguel Juan Antonio Solano—his death while confined in the prisons [Pg viii] of the Inquisition—he is denied Christian burial—remarks by Puigblanch on the iniquitous procedure of the holy office, 152
Portuguese "holy tribunal"—imprisonment of Dellon in the Inquisition at Goa—he is thrice examined before the Inquisitors—despair impels him to attempt committing suicide—his fourth examination—sentence of death pronounced on him—preparations for celebrating an auto-da-fé—the various dresses which were worn by the criminals—order of the procession—Dellon's sentence mitigated, and publicly read—ceremonies which are observed towards those who are condemned to death—penances enjoined upon Dellon at his liberation, 172
The Inquisition at Goa has made little improvement since the time of Dellon—extracts from Dr. Buchanan's Christian Researches in Asia—he visits Goa—becomes acquainted with the Inquisitor Joseph a Doloribus—conversation between Dr. Buchanan and the Inquisitor respecting Dellon's account of the tribunal—attempt made by the Inquisitor to prove that the procedure of the holy office is ameliorated—the Doctor visits the Inquisition—he pleads, in vain, to see the dungeons and the captives—his remarks on the efforts which ought to be made by Britain to abolish so odious a tribunal—true picture of the Inquisition by several writers—conclusion, 191
No. I.—Articles of Torquemada, for regulating the proceedings of the Inquisition, drawn up in 1484, 218
No. II.—Articles drawn up by the Inquisitor-general Valdes, in 1561, for the better regulation of the holy office, 221




[Pg 9]


Persecution for religious opinions, opposed to the spirit of Christianity—its increase with the growth of the Papal authority—the foundation of the Inquisition laid by Regnier and Guy—Birth and education of St. Dominic—his erection of the Inquisition, and thirst for human blood—procedure of the first Inquisitors—erection of inquisitorial tribunals in different countries.

Nothing is more evident to every candid reader of the inspired volume, than that persecution in any form is utterly opposed to the spirit of genuine Christianity. "Learn of me," said the Saviour, when he proposed himself as a model for his followers, "for I am meek and lowly in heart;" and following up his principles of mildness, he reproved the indiscreet zeal of James and John, when they sought to call down fire from heaven to consume the Samaritans, because they refused to receive them into one of their villages. Nay, so far from giving his disciples a power to persecute, the Divine Founder of [Pg 10] the Christian religion foretold them that they must suffer persecution for his name. This they soon experienced; but, instead of rendering evil for evil, they "approved themselves as the ministers of God, by much patience, by afflictions, necessities, distresses, stripes, and imprisonments;" thus showing by example, as well as by precept, that "the weapons of their warfare were not carnal, but spiritual."

While the objects of persecution, the Christians acted agreeably to these principles, and for three centuries contended, that persecution for religious opinions is not only absurd, but unjust and cruel in the highest degree. "Every one," says Tertullian, "hath a natural right and power to worship according to his persuasion; for no man's religion can be hurtful or profitable to his neighbour." "There is no need of compulsion and violence," says Lactantius, "because religion cannot be forced, and men must be made willing, not by stripes, but by arguments." The maxims of mildness towards those who were called heretics, are also inculcated by Chrysostom, in the following among many similar passages of his works:—"We ought to fight against heretics, not to throw down those who are upright, but to raise up those who are fallen; for the war which is incumbent on us is not that which gives death to the living, but that which restores life to the dead, seeing that our arms are meekness and [Pg 11] benignity. In dealing with heretics, we ought not to injure them in person, but seek to remove the error of the understanding, and the evil of the heart. We ought always to be disposed to submit to persecution, and not to persecute; to suffer grievances, and not to cause them. It is in this manner Jesus Christ conquered, since he was nailed to a cross—he did not crucify others." Even so late as the fifth century, St. Martin, in France, excommunicated a bishop, for accusing certain heretics to the usurper Maximin, by whose means they were put to death; adding, in the spirit of genuine Christianity, that he looked upon that man as a murderer, who procured the destruction of a fellow-creature, chargeable, in strict justice, with nothing else than being mistaken in his opinions.

But in despite of the mild spirit of the gospel, exemplified in every page of the sacred writings, and of the opinions of the primitive fathers, who unanimously condemned persecution for conscience sake, it was not long before those who pretended to be the disciples of Jesus began to imitate the conduct which they had censured in the heathen emperors. When the Roman empire became Christian, it still appeared to the civil magistrate that he was bound to support the religion adopted by the state.—"Hence it was that laws were enacted against heretics, subjecting them to fines, imprisonment, and banishment; with this [Pg 12] limitation, however, in every case, that the ecclesiastical judge was to determine whether the opinions professed were heretical or not. The party accused, besides, was usually charged at the same time with the crime of sedition or rebellion; and whenever the punishment was capital, it was understood to be the result chiefly of a criminal opposition to the civil authorities." The law and practice respecting heresy continued in this situation till the commencement of the ninth century. The trial of the whole case was in the hands of the civil magistrate; and, with the exception of ecclesiastical censures, it belonged to councils merely to determine whether the doctrine libelled was or was not heretical.

In succeeding centuries, however, the power of the ecclesiastical tribunals, and of the papacy itself, increased in a most extraordinary degree. The zeal which animated the Church against heretics became fierce and ungovernable, and all who dared to advance sentiments opposed to those enjoined by the Romish hierarchy, were subjected to persecution in every form. "In the following ages," says Limborch, when speaking of the sixth and subsequent centuries, "the affairs of the Church were so managed under the government of the Popes, and all persons so strictly curbed by the severity of the laws, that they durst not even so much as whisper against the received opinions of the Church. Besides this, so [Pg 13] deep was the ignorance that had spread itself over the world, that men, without the least regard to knowledge and learning, received, with blind obedience, every thing that the ecclesiastics ordered them, however stupid and superstitious, without any examination; and if any one dared in the least to contradict them, he was sure immediately to be punished; whereby the most absurd opinions came to be established by the violence of the Popes."

The chief aim of the Roman Pontiffs, indeed, now was to crush in its infancy every doctrine which had the smallest tendency to oppose their exorbitant power. In the year 1163, the Synod of Tours commanded all the bishops and priests in the country of Toulouse, "to take care, and to forbid under pain of excommunication, every person from presuming to give reception, or the least assistance, to the followers of heresy, wherever they should be discovered." This decree had in view, more particularly, the Waldenses and Albigenses, an eminent Christian community who inhabited the valleys of Piedmont and the south of France, and who held doctrines different from those which were commanded by the Popes, on pain of death, to be implicitly believed. The Waldenses, whose religious sentiments were similar to those of the Protestants at the present day, had long continued to reject the absurdi [Pg 14]ties of Popery; [1] and though, for several ages, they had escaped the notice of the Holy See, yet having in the twelfth century become exceedingly numerous, they excited the utmost hatred of the Pope and his adherents. About the year 1200, accordingly, Pope Innocent III. wrote to several archbishops and bishops in Guienne, and other provinces in France, enjoining them to banish the "Waldenses, Puritans, and Paternines," from their territories, and commissioned Regnier and Guy, two zealous monks, to repair to France, for the purpose of discovering and subduing heresy. These two apostles of the Holy See may now be considered as having laid the foundation of the Inquisition, though the honour, or rather infamy, of erecting that horrid court, is due to another individual no less cruel. Regnier was subsequently appointed the Pope's legate in the four provinces of Narbonne, Aix, Arles, and Embrun: but having fallen sick, Innocent joined to him Peter of Castelnau—one, says Sismondi, "whose zeal, more furious than that of his predecessors, is worthy of those sentiments which the very name of the Inquisition inspires."

For many ages the method of proceeding [Pg 15] against heretics was committed to the bishops, with whom the government and care of the churches were entrusted, according to the received decrees of the Romish church. But imagining that they did not proceed with sufficient severity against the opponents of the Romish faith, and especially against the Waldenses, the Pope had recourse to other methods for the purpose of more effectually extirpating heresy. With this view, Innocent, in the year 1204, instituted two orders of regulars, namely, those of St. Dominic and St. Francis. Dominic and his followers were sent into the country of Toulouse, where they preached with great vehemence against all who held opinions different from those of Rome; in consequence of which, the order of Dominic received the name of Predicants. Francis and his disciples acted a similar part in Italy. Both saints, as they are impiously called, were commanded by the Pope, "to excite the Catholic princes and people to extirpate heretics; in all places to inquire into their number and quality; and to transmit a faithful account to Rome." Hence they were called Inquisitors.

The erection of that extraordinary court, "the Inquisition," is, indeed, uniformly ascribed to Dominic, a man of the most blood-thirsty disposition, and whose deeds of cruelty may not unjustly be compared with those of the infamous Nero. Dominic was born at the village of Cabaroga, in Spain, in the [Pg 16] year 1170. Previous to his birth, his mother, Joanna, is said to have dreamed that she was with child of a pup, carrying in its mouth a lighted torch; and after its birth, it put the world in an uproar by its fierce barkings, and at length set it on fire by the torch which it carried in its mouth. His followers have interpreted this dream, of his doctrine, by which he enlightened the world; while others, with far more reason, consider the torch to be an emblem of that fire and faggot by which an almost infinite multitude of persons were burnt to ashes. Dominic "was educated for the priesthood," says a modern writer, "and grew up the most fiery and the most bloody of mortals. Before his time, every bishop was a sort of Inquisitor in his own diocese; but Dominic contrived to incorporate a body of men, independent of every human being, except the Pope, for the express purpose of ensnaring and destroying Christians. He was well aware, that however loudly the priests declaimed against heresy, the lords of the soil would not suffer them to butcher their tenants under any such vain pretences. In Biscay, the priesthood was at a very low ebb in the eleventh century, and the clergy complained to the King of Navarre, that the nobility and gentry treated them very little better than their slaves, employing them chiefly only to breed up and feed their dogs. Nearly a century after that time in a neighbouring state, [Pg 17] when the renowned St. Bernard began, in a sermon to a crowded audience to inveigh against heresy, the nobility and gentry all rose up and left the church, and the people followed them. The preacher came down and proceeded to the market-place, where he attempted to harangue on the same subject; but the populace, wiser than the preacher, refused to hear him, and raised such a clamour as drowned his voice, and compelled him to desist. Only one expedient remained. Bernard recollected that Jesus had ordered his apostles, in certain cases, to shake off the dust of their feet, and, as though he were an apostle, and had received the same command, he affected to imitate the example. He left the city, shook his feet, and exclaimed, "May the Almighty punish this city with a drought." Thus far went the rage of Catholicism at the beginning of the twelfth century, and here its proud waves were stayed; but at the commencement of the thirteenth, about the year 1215, [2] Dominic broke down the dam, and covered Toulouse [Pg 18] with a tide of despotism stained with human blood. Posterity will scarcely believe that this enemy of mankind, after forming a race like himself, first called preaching, and then Dominican friars, died in his bed, was canonized as a saint, worshipped as a divinity, and proposed as a model of piety and virtue to succeeding generations."

The Inquisitors, at first, had no tribunals; they simply inquired after the number, strength, and riches of heretics, and gave information of all these particulars to the bishops, who at that time had the sole power of judging in ecclesiastical matters; urging them to anathematize, or otherwise to punish, such heretical persons as they brought before them. Sometimes they excited princes to arm their subjects against those whom they denounced as heretics, and at other times they inflamed the populace to take up arms and unite in extirpating them. Nay, in his zeal for the Popish faith, Dominic, amidst a vast concourse of people, in one of his sermons openly declared, "That he was raised to a new office by the Pope; that he was resolved to defend with all his power the doctrines of the faith; and that, if spiritual and ecclesiastical weapons were not sufficient for this purpose, it was his fixed determination to call on princes to take up arms against heretics, that their very memory might be entirely destroyed. Nor was this an empty threat. Instigated [Pg 19] by this inhuman monk, and by his adherents, armies were raised, styled cross-bearers, or crusaders, who massacred thousands of the Albigenses, laid their cities in ruins, and compelled the few who escaped to seek refuge in other parts of the world."

In course of time the Inquisitors took cognizance of other crimes, from their being supposed to have some affinity with, or to bear suspicion of, heresy: such as heretical blasphemy, witchcraft, belief in omens, confessional seduction, and even polygamy. "The original simplicity of the Inquisition," says Dr. M'Crie, "soon gave place to a system of the most complicated and iniquitous circumvention. Inflamed with a passion for extirpating heresy, and persuading themselves that the end sanctified the means, they, (the Inquisitors) not only acted upon, but formally laid down as a rule for their conduct, maxims founded on the grossest deceit and artifice, according to which they sought in every way to ensnare their victims, and by means of false statements, delusory promises, and a tortuous course of examination, to betray them into confessions which proved fatal to their lives and fortunes. To this mental torture was soon after added the use of bodily tortures, together with the concealment of the names of witnesses."

Innocent died in 1216, and was succeeded by Honorius III. who used every effort to give permanency to the Inquisition; which [Pg 20] was not, however, accomplished till 1227 under the pontificate of Gregory IX.

The growth of the Inquisition was very gradual, and not a few obstacles had to be surmounted previous to its complete establishment in the different popish countries of Europe. Two objections in particular were raised against its erection; the one, that it was an encroachment on the authority of the bishop of the place; the other, that it deprived the civil magistrate of the trial and punishment of heretics, a privilege which he formerly enjoyed. To remove the first of these difficulties, the Pope appointed the bishop of the place to act in concert with the Inquisitor: this, however, was but a name, the Inquisitor having the sole power lodged in his hands. To remedy the second, the civil magistrate was allowed to appoint the subordinate officers, and to inflict the legal punishment, after trial and condemnation by the Inquisitors. [3]

Notwithstanding the opposition of the people to this novel tribunal, therefore the Popes, aided by the sovereigns of Europe, not only obtained its erection, but additional authority to the Inquisitors. These hitherto unprecedented [Pg 21] judges were soon afterwards empowered, as the representatives of the Pope, to sit and pronounce sentence on those whom they stigmatized by the name of heretics. Their efforts were greatly assisted by Frederick II., King of the Romans, who, in 1224, issued no fewer than four edicts against heresy, addressed "to his beloved princes, the venerable archbishops, bishops, and other prelates of the Church; to the dukes, marquises, earls, barons, governors, judges, ministers, and all other his faithful subjects throughout the empire." In these edicts "he takes the Inquisitors under his protection, imposes on obstinate heretics the punishment of being burnt to death, and of perpetual imprisonment on the penitent, committing the cognizance of the crime to the ecclesiastical, and the condemnation of the criminals, as well as the infliction of the punishment, to the secular judges."

The "Holy Office" soon extended its authority, and enlarged the number of its tribunals, in almost every kingdom of Europe where any were suspected of heresy. It was established in Toulouse in 1229, where it was first given in charge to the monks of the Cistercian order, and afterwards in 1233 to the Dominicans. Innocent IV. extended it to all Italy, except Naples, where its introduction was always opposed. In 1231, several Waldenses being discovered in the city of Rome, they were all either consigned to [Pg 22] the flames, or imprisoned till they should retract their errors. It soon declined, however, in Italy, and even in Rome itself, till, in 1545, it was restored by Paul III. who created the Congregation of the Inquisition, composed of cardinals presided over by the Pope. From Toulouse the Inquisition was brought to Spain in the year 1233; but did not go out of the kingdom of Arragon, till after its union with that of Castile, when, in 1480, it was established in Seville by Ferdinand and Isabella, under the authority of Sixtus IV. It was afterwards extended to more distant provinces, and every where entrusted to the management of Dominican friars. Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, Poland, Dalmatia, Bosnia, and numerous other places, were soon compelled to receive these bloody tribunals. Portugal was subjected to its tyranny, in 1536; and, latterly, in 1571, Philip II. introduced it into America. "During the pontificate of Gregory," says the author of "Sketches of the Spanish Inquisition," "it was introduced into the Christian kingdoms of Spain, (meaning those parts of Spain where Christianity was professed, to distinguish them from those possessed by the Moors;) and the Dominicans of that country soon found an ample field for the exercise of their office among the Jewish and Moorish proselytes, whom interest or fear had drawn within the pale of the Catholic Church. From this period the institution went on increasing [Pg 23] in extent and activity, till Ferdinand and Isabella became the sovereigns of all Spain. During their reign, it became the subject of much controversy between the courts of Spain and Rome. Isabella, a woman of considerable talents, appears to have foreseen the encroachments which the Inquisition would make upon the royal prerogatives, but her resistance was overruled, and, in 1482, the famous Torquemada was appointed Inquisitor-general of Castile. In the succeeding year his commission was extended to Arragon; and following the successes of Ferdinand and Isabella, he successively planted the Inquisition in the Moorish kingdoms of Seville, Cordova, Jaen, and Villa Real."

The following letter from Pope Gregory IX. to the Inquisitors of Navarre, may serve as a specimen, both of the cruelty of the papal see, and of the horrid use which these designing men made of the Scriptures of truth. "Since, therefore," says his Holiness, "according to the office enjoined us, we are bound to root out all offences from the kingdom of God, and, as much as in us lies, to oppose such beasts, (the Waldenses and other heretics,) we deliver into your hands the sword of the word of God, which, according to the words of the prophet, Jer. xlviii. 10, ye ought not to keep back from blood! but, inspired with a zeal for the Catholic faith, like Phineas, make diligent inquisition concerning these pestilent wretches, their believers, re [Pg 24]ceivers, and abettors, and proceed against those who, by such inquisition, shall be found guilty, according to the canonical sanctions and our statutes, which we have lately published, to confound heretical pravity, calling in against them, if need be, the assistance of the secular arm!" Similar directions were given to the Inquisitors in other countries, all of whom, actuated by the same spirit, obeyed the barbarous orders of their master with the utmost alacrity. To regulate the procedure of these courts, the Pope framed thirty-one rules, defining their jurisdiction and powers; and all rulers and magistrates were commanded, by a Papal bull, issued for the purpose, to give, under the pain of excommunication, the most punctual obedience, and every possible assistance to these spiritual courts of judicature.

Notwithstanding all the efforts of the Sovereign Pontiff, however, many of the Roman Catholic states of Europe successfully resisted the introduction of the Inquisition. Though it was brought into France at a very early period, yet it was soon afterwards expelled, in a manner so effectual, as to preclude any renewal of the attempt. In several other countries, the inhabitants sometimes proceeded to open violence, and had they not been overawed by an armed force, they would have put the Inquisitors to death, and demolished their iniquitous tribunals. These commotions were excited partly by the conduct [Pg 25] of the Inquisitors themselves, whose severity, avarice, extortion, and cruelty, were quite unbearable, and partly by the great expenses which that extraordinary court entailed on the community.


[1] A History of the Waldenses having been already published, the author considers it unnecessary to give here any particular account either of the history or doctrines of that interesting people, more especially as that work contains a full account of the crusades against the Albigenses, and of the persecutions carried on by the Popish Church against their brethren in Piedmont.

[2] Although Dominic was both the projector of the Inquisition, and the first Inquisitor, historians differ as to the year when that iniquitous court was first erected; some fixing the date of its establishment so early as in 1208, others in 1212, and not a few in the year above mentioned. This, however, can be but of little moment. It was in the beginning of the thirteenth century, "in an evil hour," to use the words of a late eminent and lamented author, "and under some planet of malignant aspect and of disastrous influence," that St. Dominic, the father of the Inquisition, arose.

[3] On this privilege enjoyed by the civil magistrate, Dr. Jortin humorously remarks, that "the priest was the judge, and the king was the hangman!" A third part of the property of heretics, was, however, allowed to belong to the magistrate for the benefit of the community; but out of this again he had to defray the expenses of keeping up the prisons and supporting the prisoners.


Rise and progress of the Inquisition in Spain—sketch of the government of the ancient Spanish Inquisition—dreadful persecution of the Jews and Moors—Torquemada appointed Inquisitor-general—proceedings of his successors Deza and Ximenes—zeal of the Emperor Charles V. in behalf of the Inquisition—his son Philip II. is still more superstitious and intolerant—ludicrous trial of the famous Galileo before the "Holy Tribunal."

In no place in the world have the dreadful effects of the Inquisition been more severely felt than in Spain. Although, therefore, some account of its establishment in that kingdom has been already given, it is necessary to enter somewhat more particularly into its origin and progress in that superstitious and afflicted country, where this scourge and disgrace to humanity long existed.

As already noticed, the Inquisition was introduced into Spain in 1233. At that period Spain was divided into four kingdoms, namely, Castile, which comprehended Seville, Cordova, and Jaen; Arragon, comprehending [Pg 26] Valencia and Majorca; Navarre; and Portugal. The Dominicans were the chief order of monks in these kingdoms, and by them, under the authority of the Pope, the Inquisition was at first erected, and widely extended. In 1254, Innocent IV. conferred many additional privileges on the Dominicans, and at the same time extended the prerogatives of the inquisitors, permitting them to take the depositions of witnesses although their names were unknown. These prerogatives were subsequently enlarged by the kings of Arragon, who in 1292 published a decree, "commanding the tribunals of justice to assist the Dominicans, to imprison all who might be denounced, and to execute the judgments pronounced by the monks." From that period till 1474, when Isabella ascended the throne of Castile, a succession of inquisitors continued to burn and banish great numbers, not only of Moors and Jews, but of Christians, whom they suspected, or pretended to suspect, of holding heretical opinions.

Such procedure was sanctioned by the Sovereign Pontiff, even under the rules of the old Inquisition. Imagining that many crimes which came under the jurisdiction of the civil magistrates, could not be committed unless accompanied by the holding of heretical principles, the Popes enjoined the Inquisitors to proceed with vigour against all suspected persons. Numbers were accordingly dragged before the tribunal of the "Holy [Pg 27] Office," charged with blasphemy, sorcery, and schism. Nay, to remain excommunicated for a year, without seeking absolution, or performing the penance which had been imposed, was reputed heresy. The Inquisitors also proceeded against concealers, favourers, and adherents of heretics, as being suspected of holding the same opinions. Hence all nobles who refused to take an oath to banish the heretics from their states—lawyers who assisted heretics by their advice—persons who declined taking an oath in the trial of heretics, &c. &c., were liable to suspicion; and in order to render the crime of heresy still more odious, the bodies of such persons as had held opinions different from those of Rome, were disinterred and burnt, their property confiscated, and their memory pronounced infamous.

Before proceeding with the history of the modern Spanish Inquisition, we shall give here some account of the government of the old tribunal, and the proceedings of the ancient Inquisitors. "The first Inquisitors had no fixed salary," says Llorente; "the Holy Office was founded on devotion and zeal for the faith; its members were almost all monks, who had made a vow of poverty, and the priests who were associated in their labours were generally canons, or provided with benefices. But when the Inquisitors began to make journeys, accompanied by recorders, alguazils, and an armed force, the Pope de [Pg 28]creed that all their expenses should be defrayed by the bishops, on the pretence that the Inquisitors laboured for the destruction of heresy in their dioceses. The expenses of the Inquisition were afterwards defrayed by the fines and confiscation of the condemned heretics; these resources were the only funds of the Holy Office; it never possessed any fixed revenue."

No sooner was an Inquisitor appointed by the Roman Pontiff, than the magistrates of the place were commanded to arrest all persons suspected of heresy, to furnish the Inquisitor and his attendants with lodgings, and to protect them from every insult. One of the first acts of the Inquisitor, was to publish an order, requiring all heretics voluntarily to confess themselves to be such, and promising them absolution, accompanied by slight penance, provided their confession was made within a stated period. Those who were accused, and did not appear within the time prescribed, were shortly afterwards arrested and lodged in the Inquisition. The examination of the accused person soon followed, and his answers were compared with the testimonies of the informer and witnesses against him. If he confessed himself to be guilty of one heretical word, he was immediately asked to abjure all his errors, as the admission of one was considered an acknowledgment of all the crimes laid to his charge. If he consented, he was reconciled, after un [Pg 29]dergoing various penances; but if he refused, he was delivered over to the secular judge as an obstinate heretic. When an accused person denied all the charges, he was furnished with a copy of the process, but the names of the accuser and witnesses were carefully concealed. Many questions were asked at his examination; such as, if he had any enemies; if he knew their motives for hating him; if he suspected any particular person of wishing to ruin him, &c. In the event of his still denying the charges, notwithstanding he was convicted or strongly suspected, he was tortured to make him confess his heresies. If the crime imputed to the accused was not proved, he was acquitted, but still the name of the accuser was withheld. [4]

On the union of the several kingdoms of Spain, by Ferdinand and Isabella, the boundaries of the Inquisition were extended, and its privileges enlarged, in every corner of their dominions. At that period it was principally intended to prevent the relapse of the Jews and Moors who had been, or pretended to be, converted to the Romish faith. In Seville, especially, many of the Jews, not withstanding their profession of Christianity, still continued to practise in secret their ancient rites, which having come to the ears of the [Pg 30] archbishop, great numbers of that unhappy nation were arrested in 1481, and thrown into dungeons. [5] After a tedious examination, in some cases by torture, the Inquisitors condemned some of them to the stake, and [Pg 31] others to perpetual imprisonment. "By divers ways and means," says Bernaldez, "Inquisitors began to arrest men and women, the most guilty, as well as the most honourable, some from among the magistrates, jurists, bachelors, and lawyers, and also men of great reputation. These they sentenced to be burnt with fire, and brought for the first time, to be consumed on the platform, (a burning place which they had constructed in a field in the vicinity of the city,) six men and women, whom they cast into the flames. A few days afterwards they burnt three of the principal, that is, the richest, persons in the city, viz: Diego de Susan, a great rabbin, whose property was said to be worth ten millions; the others were Manuel Sauli, and Bartholomew Toralva. Pedro Fernandez Benedeba, steward of the church of the dean and chapter, was next arrested, who was one of the principal of them, and had in his house arms to equip a hundred men; also Juan Fernandez Abalasia, who had long been a chief justice, and was a great lawyer, as well as many other principal persons, and very rich, whom they also burnt. At this all the confessed heretics were alarmed, and cast into great consternation, and fled from the city and archbishopric; but an injunction was laid for no one to abscond from Seville under the penalty of death, and guards were placed at the gates of the city; in short, they arrested so many, that there was no [Pg 32] place to put them in, and many fled to the estates of lords, to Portugal, and to the country of the Moors." [6]

This persecution of the Jews and Moors at Seville, was followed in every other province of the kingdom of Spain. Encouraged by Ferdinand and Isabella, the Inquisitors daily dragged several miserable victims before their tribunal; and summarily consigned to the rack all whom they suspected, and to [Pg 33] the flames those whom they pretended to have convicted, of still adhering to the Jewish faith. But even this was not enough. In 1482, the Inquisitors appointed a particular time for all the Jews to appear before them, and make confession of their errors. Alarmed for their safety, seventeen thousand appeared on the day appointed, who having pretended to embrace the Christian religion, were pardoned. But many others refusing to act in the same hypocritical manner, were seized and lodged in prison. Having been put to the most excruciating tortures, numbers of these unhappy persons abjured Judaism, and were consigned to the flames, some of them acknowledging Christ, and others calling on the name of Moses! Such indeed was the satanic zeal which animated the Inquisitors, that in the short space of forty years after the Inquisition had been established in Seville, four thousand persons were burnt in that bishopric alone! A hundred thousand were reconciled and banished in Andalusia; [7] and the bones of multitudes, which were dug out of their graves, were burnt, their property confiscated, and their children disinherited.

In 1483 the famous, or rather infamous, Thomas de Torquemada was appointed Inquisitor-general of Arragon,—a man every [Pg 34] way fitted for increasing the prerogatives and revenues of the holy office. He first created four inferior tribunals—at Seville, Cordova, Jaen, and Villa Real; and then persuaded Ferdinand to create a royal council of Inquisition, at the head of which was placed Torquemada himself, who was assisted by two eminent counsellors. In order to arrange laws for the new council, Torquemada convoked a junta, composed of the Inquisitors of the four tribunals above mentioned, the two assistants, and the members of the royal council. This assembly was held at Seville in 1484, and published a code of laws consisting of twenty-eight articles, [8] which were the first laws of the Spanish Inquisition. The tyranny, extortion, and cruelty of the various tribunals, excited the indignation of the Jews, and plans were formed, in Arragon especially, to assassinate the Inquisitors, and free the country from their iniquitous yoke. These plans, however, being frustrated, still greater cruelties were inflicted on that unhappy people. From time to time additional laws were made, all tending to abridge the liberty of the people, and to advance the authority, and increase the revenues of the Inquisition. The severity of these laws obliged more than a hundred thousand families to emigrate to other kingdoms.

In order to avert the danger which threatened [Pg 35] them, the Jews in 1492, offered to supply Ferdinand with thirty thousand pieces of silver to assist him in his wars; they also promised to live peaceably, to comply with the regulations which had been formed for them, in retiring to their houses in the quarters assigned to them before night, and in renouncing all professions which were reserved for the Christians. Ferdinand and Isabella were willing to listen to these propositions; but Torquemada, being informed of their inclinations, had the audacity to appear before them with a crucifix in his hand, and to address them in these words:—"Judas sold his master for thirty pieces of silver, your highnesses are about to do the same for thirty thousand; behold him, take him, and hasten to sell him!" The fanaticism of Torquemada wrought so sudden a change in the minds of the sovereigns, that they immediately issued a decree, by which all the Jews were compelled to quit Spain before the end of the following July, on pain of death. In consequence of this decree, all the Jews and Moors either fled or were banished from Spain. [9] The greater part of them took refuge [Pg 36] in Portugal, where they suffered cruelties little short of those from which they had just escaped.

The jurisdiction of the Inquisition was not, however, confined to the Jews and Moors, but extended to all those who in their opinions or practice differed from the Church of Rome. The insolent Torquemada even subjected bishops to trial, and actually procured the condemnation of Don Pedro, bishop of Calahorra, under the usual pretence of being a heretic. This fanatic, who was the first Inquisitor-general of Spain, died in 1498.—"The miseries which were the consequences of the system which he adopted," says Llorente, "and recommended to his successors, justify the general hatred which followed him to the tomb, and compelled him to take precautions for his personal safety. It is not surprising that many should have conspired against his life, when his cruel administration is considered; the Pope himself was alarmed at his barbarity, and the complaints which were made against him; and Torquemada was obliged to send his colleague, Antonio Badoja, three times to Rome, to defend him against the accusations of his enemies."

Don Diego Deza, a Dominican, succeeded Torquemada as Inquisitor-general in December 1498. No less cruel than his predecessor, Deza, during the period of eight years, punished thirty-eight thousand four hundred and forty individuals; two thousand five hundred [Pg 37] and ninety-two of whom were burnt in person, eight hundred and ninety-six in effigy, and thirty-four thousand nine hundred and fifty-two were condemned to different penances. The audacity of this tyrant rose at length to such a height, that Philip I. who then filled the throne, ordered Deza, in 1506, to retire to his archbishopric of Seville, and to invest another in his room. But unhappily for Spain, the death of the king that same year, restored Deza to his office, which so terrified the inhabitants of Cordova, that they rose in a tumult, broke open the prisons of the Inquisition, and liberated an immense number of prisoners. These events alarmed the Inquisitor-general to such a degree, that he resigned his office, which immediately restored tranquility in Cordova.

Two new Inquisitors were now appointed, namely, Ximenes de Cisneros for Castile, and Don Juan Enguera for Arragon. The former of these prelates, considering it unnecessary to have as many Inquisitorial tribunals as there were bishoprics, "established the Inquisition at Seville, Cordova, Jaen, Toledo, in Estremadura, at Murcia, Valladolid, and Calahorra, and appointed the extent of territory for the jurisdiction of each tribunal; he also sent Inquisitors to the Canary isles. In 1513, the Inquisition was introduced at Cuença; in 1524, at Grenada; under Philip II. at Santiago de Galicia; and under Philip IV. at Madrid. Cisneros also judged it necessary, [Pg 38] in 1516, to have a tribunal at Oran, and soon after in America. The Inquisitor-general of Arragon adopted the same system, and sent Inquisitors to Saragossa, Barcelona, Valencia, Majorca, Sardinia, and Sicily." Ximenes was eleven years at the head of the Inquisition, during which period, fifty-two thousand eight hundred and fifty-five persons were condemned; three thousand five hundred and sixty-four of whom were burnt in person, one thousand two hundred and thirty-two in effigy, and forty-eight thousand and fifty-nine suffered various other kinds of punishment.

Numerous attempts were made both by the Cortes and the people, during the reign of the Emperor Charles V. to obtain a reform of the "holy office:" but all their efforts were of no avail. Adrian, the successor of Ximenes, who was Inquisitor-general only for five years, condemned no fewer than two hundred and forty thousand and twenty-five individuals; and the yoke of that monstrous institution, instead of being made lighter, was daily rendered more galling.

At the commencement of the Reformation, the most strenuous efforts were made by the Inquisitors to check its progress, and various methods were taken to prevent the circulation of the Reformer's works, and especially the Bible, among the people. In 1522 the Pope enjoined the governors of Castile to prevent the works of Luther from being introduced [Pg 39] into the kingdom; and orders were given to the Inquisitors to seize and burn all such obnoxious publications! The Emperor Charles V. commissioned the University of Louvain to form a list of dangerous books, a measure which was cordially approved of by the Pope, in a bull which he issued on this subject, in 1539. "The Index was published in 1546," says Llorente, "by the University in all the states of Flanders, six years after a decree had been issued to prohibit the writings of Luther from being read or bought, on pain of death. In 1549, the Inquisitor-general, with the approbation of the Supreme Council, added some new works to the list of those which had been prohibited, and addressed two ordinances to the Inquisitors, enjoining them in the first, not to allow any person to possess them, and in the second, commanding the consultors of the holy office neither to read nor keep them, though the execution of the decrees might throw them into their hands. In 1546, the Emperor commanded the University of Louvain to publish the Index, with additions. This work appeared in 1550, and the prince remitted it to the Inquisitor-general, and it was printed by the order of the Supreme Council, with a supplement composed of books prohibited in Spain, some time after the Council framed another Index, which was certified by the secretary. All the Inquisitions received copies, and a bull from Julius III. which renewed the prohibitions [Pg 40] and revoked the permissions contrary to the new bulls: he charged the Inquisitors to seize as many books as they could; to publish prohibiting edicts, accompanied by censures; to prosecute those who did not obey them, as suspected of heresy; and to give an account of the books which they had read and preserved. The Pope added, that he was informed that a great number were in the possession of librarians and private persons, particularly Spanish Bibles mentioned in the catalogue."

Nor were the Inquisitors dilatory in obeying the injunctions of his Holiness, and of their superstitious monarch. In 1558, the Inquisitor-general published a very severe edict against all who should retain a single volume of any of the works proscribed. Every Bible was ordered to be strictly examined; nay, the professors in the University were compelled, on pain of excommunication, to give up their Hebrew and Greek Bibles to the commissaries of the Inquisition; and even works on medicine were seized, although they were not mentioned in the Index.

In 1558, Philip II. issued a most sanguinary law against all "who should sell, buy, keep, or read, any of the books prohibited by the Holy Office"—a law which not only affected the property, but the lives of those who dared to infringe it. From that period till the present, the utmost vigilance has been [Pg 41] exercised by the Spanish Inquisition to prevent the people from seeing any work, which, in the plenitude of its usurped authority, it has declared to be heretical. The Index was from time to time either revised or renewed, and the utmost care was taken to prevent the circulation of the word of God, unless that word was disfigured and corrupted by the votaries of Rome.

But it was not the works of the Protestants only, which were obnoxious to the Inquisition. Their persons were equally hateful, and not long after the commencement of the Reformation, many of the followers of Zuinglius and Luther were committed to the flames by the lords of the "Holy Inquisition." The Emperor Charles V. so decidedly seconded all their endeavours to extirpate heresy, that, having with great difficulty introduced the Inquisition into the Netherlands, he bequeathed in his will the care of that infamous tribunal to his son Philip II., in the words following: "Out of regard to my duty to Almighty God, and from my great affection to the most serene prince, Philip II., my dearest son, and from the strong and earnest desire I have, that he may be safe under the protection of virtue, rather than the greatness of his riches, I charge him, with the greatest affection of soul, that he take especial care of all things relating to the honour and glory of God, as becomes the most Catholic king, and a prince zealous for the [Pg 42] divine commands; and that he be always obedient to the commands of our Holy Mother, the Church. And, amongst other things, this I principally and most ardently recommend to him, highly to honour and constantly to support the office of the holy Inquisition, as constituted by God against heretical pravity, with its ministers and officials, because by this single remedy the most grievous offences against God can be remedied. Also, I command him, that he would be careful to preserve to all churches, and ecclesiastical persons, their immunities." And again, "I ardently desire, and with the greatest possible earnestness beseech him, and command him by his regards to me, his most affectionate father, that in this matter, in which the welfare of all Spain is concerned, he be most zealously careful to punish all infected with heresy, with the severity due to their crimes, and that, to this intent, he confer the greatest honours on the office of the holy Inquisition, by the care of which the Catholic faith will be increased in his kingdoms, and the Christian religion preserved."

Philip was possessed of a temper haughty and cruel, and gave full proof of his zeal to obey his father's commands. He conferred new powers on the Inquisitors throughout the Netherlands, and published the most sanguinary edicts against all who maintained or even seemed to favour the Protestant doctrines. [Pg 43] In vain did the states of the Low Countries remonstrate against the Inquisition being established among them. Having taken an oath to devote the whole of his reign to the defence of Popery, that cruel and superstitious monarch haughtily replied, "that he would be rather no king at all, than have heretics for his subjects." Notwithstanding his obstinacy, however, he ultimately failed in his attempts to force the Low Countries to receive the Inquisition. The Flemings persisted in opposing every thing resembling that cruel tribunal, and their resistance was the cause of long and bloody wars, which exhausted the treasures and armies of Spain during half a century, and eventually ended in favour of the people.

But it was not in the Low Countries only that Philip showed himself the patron of the Inquisition. In Spain he not only supported, but urged on its "ministers and officials" to the commission of the most appalling deeds of cruelty. On the 18th of October, 1559, an auto-da-fé [10] was celebrated at Valladolid, at which Philip himself was present, and gave most unequivocal proofs of his zeal in defence of the prerogatives of that tribunal. The Inquisitor-general [Pg 44] having demanded of the king to continue to them his support, in these words, "Lord, continue to help us;" Philip grasped his sword, and unsheathed part of it, to intimate his readiness at all times to obey the mandates of these ghostly fathers,—a pledge, which, alas! he more than faithfully fulfilled. [11] The horrid ceremony of putting [Pg 45] to death twenty-eight faithful followers of the Redeemer, was conducted with great apparent solemnity, Philip, his son, and courtiers, sitting within sight of the prisoners. Among the Protestants condemned, there was a nobleman of the name of Don Carlos Sessa, who, when the executioners were conducting him to the stake, called to the king for mercy, saying, "And canst thou, O king! witness the torments of thy subjects? Save us from this cruel death; we do not deserve it." "No," replied Philip, sternly, "I would myself carry wood to burn my own son, were he such a wretch as thou!" [12] After which he beheld the bloody spectacle that followed, with a composure which showed that he possessed a heart destitute, not only of Christian feeling, but of the least spark of humanity.

No fewer than eighty individuals, professing the Protestant religion, having been discovered in Seville, were all committed to the flames, in companies of fifteen or twenty. In 1560, the same punishment was inflicted on many other eminent persons, who, at the [Pg 46] place of execution, justly upbraided their judges with their ignorance and hardness of heart, and "resisted even unto blood," all the efforts of their persecutors to bring them again under the yoke of antichristian bondage. Among the sufferers on this occasion were eight females, of irreproachable character, and some of them distinguished by their rank and education, who were condemned to the most cruel death by their unhallowed judges. The most distinguished of these martyrs was Maria Gomez, who appeared on the scaffold along with her three daughters and a niece. After the reading of the sentence which doomed them to the flames, one of the young women went up to her aunt, from whom she had imbibed the Protestant doctrine, and, on her knees, thanked her for all the religious instructions she had received from her, implored her forgiveness for any offence she might have given her, and begged her dying blessing. Raising her up, and assuring her that she had never given her a moment's uneasiness, the old woman proceeded to encourage her dutiful niece, by reminding her of that support which their Divine Redeemer had promised them in the hour of trial, and of those joys which awaited them at the termination of their momentary sufferings. The five friends then took leave of one another with tender embraces, and words of mutual comfort. The interview between these devoted females was beheld by [Pg 47] the members of the "holy tribunal" with a rigid composure of countenance, undisturbed even by a glance of displeasure; and so completely had superstition and habit subdued the strongest emotions of the human breast, that not a single expression of sympathy escaped from the multitude at witnessing a scene which in other circumstances would have harrowed up the feelings of the spectators, and driven them into mutiny. These, and numerous other sufferers, not only in Spain, but in every country of Europe where this tribunal had been erected, "counted not their lives dear unto them," but rejoiced, amidst torments the most agonizing, and in a death the most dreadful, that they were "considered worthy to suffer" for their Redeemer's sake.

The zeal of Philip was equally conspicuous in Portugal. Having ascended the throne of that kingdom in 1580, at a period when the office of Inquisitor-general was vacant, Philip wished to place the Inquisition of Portugal under the dominion of that of Spain. Though this attempt was unsuccessful, yet numerous acts of cruelty were committed during the reign of that monarch, on those who dissented, or were suspected to dissent, from the received doctrines of the Popish Church.

Under the protection of Philip, the Inquisition flourished also in Sicily and Malta. The audacity of the Inquisitors in Sicily had formerly [Pg 48] raised a rebellion, which was not quelled without the greatest difficulty. Depending, however, on the court of Madrid, and supposing that all fear of the rebellion had ceased, the Inquisitors of Sicily celebrated an auto-da-fé in 1546, in which four persons were burnt in effigy. Similar ceremonies took place in 1549 and 1551. The Inquisitors now became as insolent as formerly, and treated the Sicilians of all ranks with so much severity, that a new rebellion was raised in Palermo. The viceroy succeeded in restoring tranquillity, and the Inquisitors, while under the influence of fear, were for some time more moderate, celebrating their autos-da-fé privately in the hall of the tribunal.

In regard to Malta, again, when that island belonged to the Spanish monarchy, it was subject to the Inquisition of Sicily; "but when it was given to the knights of Jerusalem," says Llorente, "it would have been contrary to the dignity of the grand-master, to permit the exercise of foreign jurisdiction in it, after having received that of ecclesiastical power from the Pope. A man was arrested in the island as a heretic, and the Inquisition of Sicily took informations on the affair. The grand-master wrote to demand them; the Inquisitors consulted the council which directed them, in 1575, not only to refuse them, but to claim the prisoner. The grand-master resolved to defend his privi [Pg 49]leges, caused the man to be tried in the island, and he was acquitted. This act displeased the Inquisitors, who, to revenge themselves, took advantage of an occurrence which took place in the following year. Don Pedro de la Roca, a Spaniard, and a knight of Malta, killed the first alguazil of the Sicilian Inquisition, in the city of Messina. He was arrested and conducted to the secret prisons of the holy office. The grand-master claimed his knight, as he alone had a right to try him. The council being consulted, commanded the Inquisitors to condemn and punish the accused as a homicide. The Inquisitor-general communicated this resolution to Philip II., who wrote to the grand-master to terminate the dispute."

"The quarrels between the secular powers and the Inquisition," continues the same author, "were not less violent in Sicily. In 1580 and 1597, attempts were made to appease them, but without success; and in 1606, the Sicilians had the mortification of seeing their viceroy, the Duke de Frias, constable of Castile, prosecuted and subjected to their censures. In 1592, the Duke of Alva, who was then viceroy, endeavoured by indirect means to repress the insolence of the Inquisitors. Perceiving that the nobility of all classes were enrolled among the familiars of the holy office, in order to enjoy its privileges, and to keep the people in greater order, he represented to the king, that the [Pg 50] power of the sovereign and the authority of his lieutenant were almost null, and would be entirely so in time, if these different classes continued to enjoy privileges which had the effect of neutralizing the measures of government. Charles II. acknowledged that this state of things was contrary to the dignity of his crown, and he decreed that no person employed by the king should possess those prerogatives, even if he was a familiar or officer of the inquisition. The people then began to feel less respect for the tribunal, and this was the commencement of its decline. In 1713, Sicily no longer formed a part of the Spanish dominions, and Charles de Bourbon, in 1739, obtained a bull, which created an Inquisitor-general for that country, independent of Spain; and in 1782, Ferdinand IV. who succeeded Charles, suppressed this odious tribunal."

Not contented with exercising his cruelty in every corner of his dominions, "Philip established the Inquisition also in the ships. In 1571, a large fleet having been drawn together, under the command of John of Austria, and manned with soldiers of various nations, Philip, with consent of Pope Pius V., to prevent any corruption of the faith, deputed one of the Spanish Inquisitors of Spain, to discharge the duties of his office at sea; and gave him power to preside in all tribunals, and to celebrate "acts of faith," in all places and cities to which they sailed. This erection [Pg 51] of the Inquisition at sea, was confirmed by Pius, in a bull which he sent to the Inquisitor-general of Spain."

Instances of the conduct and cruelty of the Inquisitors will be afterwards given, in treating of their manner of proceeding towards all who are unhappily lodged within the walls of their "holy," or rather unholy edifice. In the meantime, we shall give here the following example of gross ignorance displayed by these spiritual guides, in their zeal to suppress not only true religion, but even philosophy and science, under the pretext of labouring to extinguish heresy. Galileo, the chief mathematician and astronomer of his age, was the first who applied the telescope to any valuable purpose in the science of astronomy. Having become a convert to the system of Copernicus, or what is now called the Newtonian system, that is, that the sun is the centre of motion to a number of planets, and among others the earth, which revolve round the sun at different periods, Galileo attracted the attention of the Inquisitors, was arraigned before their tribunal, and in danger of being put to death.

In order to give the reader a specimen of the manner of drawing up a criminal's indictment by the lords of the Inquisition, the following amusing extracts are taken from the libel against Galileo:—"Whereas you, Galileo, of Florence, aged 70, were informed against in the year 1615, in this holy office, [Pg 52] for maintaining as true, a certain false doctrine, held by many, namely, that the sun is the centre of the world, and immovable, and that the earth moves round it with a daily motion; likewise, that you have kept up a correspondence with certain German mathematicians concerning the same; likewise, that you have published some letters concerning the solar spots, in which you have explained the same doctrine as true, and that you have answered the objections which in several places were made against you, from the authority of the Holy Scriptures, by construing or glossing over the said Scriptures, according to your own opinions; and finally, whereas the copy of a writing under the form of a letter, reported to have been written by you to one who was formerly your scholar, has been shown to us, in which you have followed the hypothesis of Copernicus, which contains certain propositions contrary to the true sense and authority of the Holy Scriptures:—

"Now this holy tribunal, being desirous to provide against the inconveniences and dangers which this statement may occasion, to the detriment of the holy faith, by the command of the most eminent lords, &c. of the Supreme and Universal Inquisition, have caused the two following propositions concerning the immovability of the sun, and the motion of the earth, to be thus qualified by the divines, viz.

"'That the sun is the centre of the world, [Pg 53] and immovable, with a local motion, is an absurd proposition, false in philosophy, and absolutely heretical, because it is expressly contrary to the Holy Scriptures.

"'That the earth is neither the centre of the world nor immovable, but that it possesses a daily motion, is likewise an absurd proposition, false in philosophy, and, theologically considered, at least, erroneous in point of faith.'

"But as it pleased us in the first instance, to proceed kindly with you, it was decreed in the said Congregation, held before our Lord N. Feb. 25. anno. 1616, that the most eminent lord cardinal Bellarmine should command you, that you should entirely depart from the said false doctrine, and in case you should refuse to obey him, that you should be commanded by the commissary of the Holy Office to abandon the same, and that you should neither teach it to others, defend it, nor say any thing concerning it; and that if you should not submit to this order, you should be put in jail," &c.

"Thus, for merely entertaining and expressing an opinion with regard to the system of the universe," says an eminent modern writer, "was the greatest philosopher of his age subjected to be imprisoned in the jail of the Inquisition, which imprisonment almost necessarily inferred the forfeiture of life by means of burning; and if the Holy Inquisitors, in their great mercy, were pleased not [Pg 54] to burn him to death, the circumstance of being imprisoned by them, necessarily inferred the forfeiture of all his property, and the consigning of his name to infamy."

After a long account of the errors of Galileo's writings, their condemnation of the same, and their dealings with the author, in order to his recantation, the inquisitors proceed in the words following:—" Invoking, therefore, the most holy name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of his most glorious mother Mary, ever a virgin, we do, by this our definitive sentence, &c. &c. judge and declare, that you the said Galileo, have, upon account of those things, which are produced in the written process, and which you have confessed as above, subjected yourself to a strong suspicion of heresy in this holy office, by believing and holding to be true a doctrine which is false, and contrary to the sacred and divine Scripture; viz. that the sun is the centre of the orb of the earth, and does not move from the east to the west; and that the earth moves, and is not the centre of the world, and that these things may be considered and defended as probable opinions, although they have been declared and determined to be contrary to the sacred Scripture; and consequently that you have incurred all the censures and penalties appointed and promulgated by the sacred canons, and other general and particular acts against such offenders; from which it is our pleasure that [Pg 55] you should be absolved, provided that you do first, with a sincere heart, and a true faith, abjure, curse, and detest, before us, the afore-said errors, and heresies, and every other error and heresy contrary to the Catholic and apostolic Roman Church, in the form which shall be presented by us to you."

In consequence of these proceedings, Galileo, contrary to his conviction, made a formal abjuration of his opinions, swearing that, "by the aid of God, he would in future believe every thing which the holy Catholic Church held, preached, and taught. But whereas," he adds, "notwithstanding, after I had been legally enjoined and commanded by this holy office to abandon wholly that false opinion, which maintains that the sun is the centre of the universe, and immovable—I do, with a sincere heart, and a true faith, abjure, curse, and detest, not only this heresy, but every other error and opinion, which may be contrary to the holy Church; and I swear, that for the future, I will never more say or assert, either by word or writing, any thing that shall give occasion for a like suspicion, and that if I know any heretic, or person suspected of heresy, I will inform against him to this holy office, or to the Inquisitor, or ordinary of the place in which I shall then be. Sworn at Rome, in the convent of Minerva, this 22d day of July, anno 1633."

Though Galileo, by denying on oath what [Pg 56] he believed to be true, appears here in a very contemptible light, yet it is evident that he had no alternative between this and suffering death. Had he been actuated by Christian principle, he would rather have died than have sworn to a falsehood, though it had been a matter of no more importance than that two and three make five. But if the philosopher appears contemptible in this matter, what shall we say of the holy Church of Rome (and of the Inquisition,) that imposed such a hardship upon the wisest of her children! She appears not only as the enemy of truth and righteousness, but also as the enemy of science and literature.


[4] A more particular account of the government and proceedings of what is called the modern Inquisition, will be given afterwards.

[5] "No object can be presented to the imagination more gloomy," says Puigblanch, "than the period of the regeneration of this establishment in Seville. It seems as if at sight of it nature herself had shuddered, or that she wished to consummate the infelicity of Spain, so unseasonable and great was the hurricanes of the year 1481, when the Inquisition began to display its fury." "This year of 1481," says Andrew Bernaldez, an eye witness, "was a year of great rains and inundations commencing at Christmas, and continuing onwards in such manner, that the Guadalquiver bore away and destroyed the village of Copero, in which were eighty families, as well as many other places upon the banks, and the flood rose up through the battlements of Seville and the outlet of Coria, higher than it was ever known, where it remained stationary for three days, and the whole city was under the greatest apprehensions of being destroyed by water." According to this very author, a distemper also broke out in the same year, which desolated this southern part of the kingdom, till 1488. "This year," says he, "was quite out of the common order of nature in Andalusia, being, on the contrary, marked with a great and general pestilence, which occasioned an extreme mortality in all the cities, towns, and villages. In Seville, more than fifteen thousand persons died, and in Cordova the same number; and Xerez and Ecija lost each from eight to nine thousand, and the other towns and villages in the same proportion." He afterwards adds, "that a similar distemper returned with more or less activity, till at last it raged with great fury, causing the same destruction and ravages as in the first. Thus ominous were the auspices under which the re-organized Inquisition hoisted its bloody standard."

[6] "In this same burning place of Seville," says Puigblanch, "which the Inquisition used for the first time in 1481, on the persons of six men and women of the Jewish persuasion, the tribunal performed its last tragedy in 1782, by the execution of a woman for being a Molinist. Persons who were there present, relate, that the prisoner was placed on a raised platform, sustained by four beams, resting on the four pillars; that these, and the works which served as a base, were adorned with a lining painted black, on which were seen the usual fooleries, of dragons and devils in white, and on the tops of which were four figures in penitential garments; finally, that the prisoner, after being strangled, (she had been converted while going to the place of execution, and therefore met with this favour!) was burnt, together with the whole platform and frame, for which purpose, barrels of pitch, faggots of vine-cuttings, and a large quantity of wood, had been placed underneath. The above six followers of the Jewish rites, (who were put to death in 1481) were executed, according to Pedro de Torres, canon of Calahorra, and also a contemporary author, on the 10th of January, as well as seventeen others on the 26th of March, and a great many more on the 21st of April; those who died up to the 4th of November, amounting to two hundred and ninety-eight; and besides seventy-nine others were condemned to perpetual imprisonment."

[7] More than five thousand houses remained shut in Andalusia, whose inhabitants had been exterminated, in one way or another, by the Inquisition.

[8] See Appendix, No. I.

[9] A hundred and seventy thousand families are said to have left Spain at this period. Nay, some writers make the number of expatriated Jews to amount to eight hundred thousand persons, whose immense riches were distributed among their persecutors. If the Moors, who emigrated to Africa, are added to the number, Ferdinand and Isabella lost two millions of subjects by these cruel measures.

[10] An auto-da-fé, or "act of faith," of which a more particular account will be given afterwards, is the burning of those persons whom the Inquisitors are pleased to pronounce defective in their belief of any of the articles of faith commanded to be believed by the Popish Church.

[11] To give the reader some idea of the sermons, or rather blasphemous rhapsodies, which the friars deliver at an auto-da-fé, the following extracts are given from one which was preached on this occasion before Philip at Valladolid. "And thou, oh! most holy tribunal of the faith, for boundless ages mayest thou be preserved, so as to keep us firm and pure in the same faith, and promote the punishment of the enemies of God. Of thee can I say what the Holy Spirit said of the Church, 'Thou art fair, my love, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon!' But what parallels, similes, or comparisons are these? What praise, or what heightened contrast can that be which compares a delicate female, an unequalled beauty, to the tents of Kedar, and the spotted skins of Solomon? Saint Jerome discovered the mystery, and says, that the people of Kedar being fond of the chase, therein took great delight; and, for this purpose, had always their tents pitched in the field; on which, in order to prove the valour of their arms, they spread the skins of the animals killed in chase, and hung up the heads of the wild beasts they had slain. This was the greatest beauty of their tents; to this the Holy Spirit compares the beauty of the Church, and this is also to-day the glory of the holy tribunal of the faith. To have killed these horrid wild beasts and enemies of God, whom we now behold on this theatre, some by taking life from their errors, reconciling them to our holy faith, and inspiring them with contrition for their faults; others by condemning them through their obduracy to the flames, where losing their corporeal lives, their obstinate souls will immediately burn in hell; by this means God will be avenged of his greatest enemies, dread will follow these examples, and the holy tribunal will remain triumphant," &c.

[12] Philip was afterwards as good as his word. Under the plea of religion he caused the Inquisition to institute proceedings against his eldest son Charles; and in the most unnatural and cowardly manner procured his death in a secret manner by means of poison.


Appointment of the Inquisitors in Spain—their extensive privileges—procedure of the tribunal of the "Holy Office"—eagerness of the Inquisitors to preserve secrecy in all their transactions—prisons of the Inquisition—examination of a culprit—artifice and injustice practised by the judges to induce a person to criminate himself—striking example of their duplicity and barbarity.

Having thus seen the complete establishment of the Inquisition in Spain, before proceeding further in its history, we shall give an outline of the mode of procedure in the "Holy Office," together with some account of the officers belonging to that infamous tribunal. [Pg 57] At the head of the Inquisition in Spain, stands the Inquisitor-general. This high officer is appointed nominally by the king, but in reality by the Pope, for the Holy See enjoys the privilege of a veto on the election of the sovereign. The supreme Inquisitor cannot proceed one step in the discharge of his office, till he has received the confirmation of the Sovereign Pontiff. When thus elected and confirmed, the Inquisitor-general appoints the subordinate Inquisitors, but in this last instance, the nomination of the supreme Inquisitor is subject to the review of the king. So high in dignity is the Inquisitor-general esteemed by the Romish Church, that he enjoys the title of "most reverend," a title which places him on an equal footing with bishops.

The privileges of the Inquisitors are many and valuable. They are not subject to the bishops of the provinces where they reside, or to the superiors of the religious orders to which they belong. They alone can publish the edicts against heretics; they can excommunicate, interdict, and suspend; and, except in a few cases which are distinctly specified, they can prevent the ordinaries or resident bishops from absolving those whom they have subjected to the censure of the Church. They may apprehend heretics, though they take refuge in churches; make statutes, and increase the punishments on those who violate them; grant indulgences [Pg 58] of twenty or forty days; and give full pardon of sins to all their officers who die in their service. "Whoever, by himself or others, shall kill, beat, or strike any of the Inquisitors, or the officials of the holy office, or who shall injure or damage their effects, shall be delivered over to the secular power."

With a few exceptions, the Inquisitors may proceed against all persons whatsoever, both among the clergy and the laity. Bishops, priests, and friars, nay, princes and kings, must be subject to this extraordinary tribunal. Persons of every age and condition, and of both sexes, may be cited as witnesses, in the causes which it takes up. We have a striking example of this in the citation of Joan, daughter of the Emperor Charles V., before that tribunal, to give evidence in a case where a person was accused of holding doctrines contrary to the faith. So great was the awe with which this court inspired the superstitious emperor, that he commanded his daughter without delay to obey the summons, in order to avoid the sentence of excommunication. She accordingly appeared before the Inquisitor-general on the day appointed, and gave her evidence in the case under consideration.

The Inquisitors of Spain and Portugal, especially, pretend to have jurisdiction over the subjects of other kings. Of this we have a remarkable example in the case of Thomas Maynard, consul of the British nation in [Pg 59] Lisbon, under the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, who was imprisoned in the Inquisition under pretence of having spoken something against the Romish faith. M. Meadows, who at that period took care of the English affairs at Lisbon, informed Cromwell of the imprisonment of the consul, and having received instructions from the Protector, he obtained an audience of the king of Portugal, and, in the name of Cromwell, demanded the liberation of Maynard. The king, however, informed him, that this was not in his power—the consul being detained by the Inquisition, over which he had no authority. This answer was transmitted by Meadows to Cromwell; and, having shortly afterwards received new instructions, he informed the king, that, seeing his majesty had no power over the Inquisition, he was commanded by the Protector immediately to declare war against it. This unexpected declaration so alarmed both the king and the Inquisitors, that they immediately gave Maynard liberty to leave the Inquisition. But, scorning to accept of a private dismission, the consul compelled the Inquisitors, in order to repair the injury done to his character, to give him an honourable acquittal. Very few, however, are the individuals who thus escape out of the hands of these tyrants.

The Inquisitors can prevent cognizance being taken of any particular matter, may order any process to be stopped, and may [Pg 60] bring before themselves any cause, at what ever stage of the proceedings. They can further modify and alter all sentences of condemnation, in the terms they may think proper. Nay, they even possess the character of legislators, being authorized to interpret the canon law, in matters relating to the government of the court. They may also compel the governors of cities to swear that they will defend the Church against heretics, and to extirpate all who are denounced heretics by the Church. And for the better apprehending of heretics, as well as for their own safety, they may arm both themselves and their attendants. "Even in exterior pomp and parade," says Puigblanch, "the supreme chief of the Inquisition emulated kingly power and ostentation, both within and without his tribunal. It is well known that Torquemada, in his journeys, either because he was influenced by fear, or sought to infuse it, carried about with him fifty familiars on horseback, and two hundred on foot. A penitent by profession—for this is the real definition of a friar—bearing about with him arrogance and terror wherever he went! In the service also of the Inquisitor-general, and of his tribunal, the grandees of the most distinguished pedigree have been employed; indeed, they have not disdained to accept the title and duties of bailiff. Even the Cortes of the kingdom have had to yield to his predominant authority."

[Pg 61]

Besides the Inquisitor-general, there are five counsellors, who have the title of Apostolical Inquisitors. These counsellors deliberate upon all affairs with the Inquisitor-general, settle disputes among the particular Inquisitors, punish the familiars attached to the institution, and receive appeals. These officers, together with an advocate-fiscal, two secretaries, a treasurer, accountant, reporters, bailiffs, and qualificators, constitute the supreme council, or high court of the Inquisition in Spain. The provincial tribunals have three and sometimes four Inquisitors of the secular clergy, and a number of other officers bearing the same names, and occupying the same stations, as those attached to the supreme council.

In regard to the mode of procedure before the tribunal of the holy office, it must be kept in mind, that the Inquisitors not only encourage, but compel, by their threatenings and excommunications, every class of the community to become informers, or accusers of all whom they suspect of holding heretical tenets. Informations are consequently received, without any respect to the character of the persons by whom they are given. Thieves and cheats, prejudiced persons, the nearest relatives, and even children, are not only allowed, but invited to inform: while the names of the accusers and witnesses are uniformly kept hidden from the unhappy individual who is thus denounced to the holy [Pg 62] office. "Their form of proceeding," says Voltaire, "is an infallible way to destroy whomsoever the Inquisitors wish. The prisoners are not confronted with the accuser or informer. Nor is there any informer or witness who is not listened to. A public convict, a notorious malefactor, an infamous person, a common prostitute, a child, are in the holy office, though nowhere else, credible accusers and witnesses. Even the son may depose against his father, the wife against her husband. This procedure, unheard of till the institution of this court, makes the whole kingdom tremble. Suspicion reigns in every breast. Friendship and quietness are at an end. The brother dreads his brother, the father his son."

There are three ways in which the process may begin before the Inquisitorial courts. First, by investigation, where the Inquisitor summons certain individuals into his presence, and inquires into the state of the town or district where they reside. Secondly, by accusation, where a direct charge of heresy is brought before the court, against one or more persons distinctly named. Thirdly, by denunciation, where the Inquisitor is merely informed, that certain heretical persons, or persons suspected of heresy, who are likewise distinctly named, exist within the limits of his jurisdiction. The last is by far the most common mode, and it is that which the Inquisitors are most desirous to encourage [Pg 63] Nor is it difficult to perceive the reason, seeing the denunciator does not bind himself to prove the charge he prefers, and is under no apprehension of punishment.

When the information has been lodged, the following questions are usually proposed: Whether the informer knows the person suspected of heresy, and if so, how long he has known him? Whether he has said or done the things imputed to him oftener than once? and whether in jest or in earnest, and in whose company those things were said or done? The answers to these and similar questions, are written down by the notary, and read over to the informer, who either subscribes them, or puts under them the mark of the cross. He is then sworn to secrecy. "His name, his personal appearance, the place of his abode, and every other circumstance respecting him, are studiously concealed by the Inquisitors, lest the practice of informing should be discouraged; and having once put the court in possession of the requisite intelligence, he drops away entirely from the view, and is never again mentioned, and, if possible, is never again referred to, in the whole course of the process. Thus does this odious tribunal, called by an abuse of language the Holy Office, in the very first step of its judicial procedure, afford to the most infamous the pleasure of gratification with the certainty of concealment, and provide an opportunity for indulging [Pg 64] the worst feelings and passions of our nature—personal malice, envy, and revenge."

Nay, not only are informers and witnesses sworn to secrecy; every individual connected with the Inquisition, from the highest rank to the keeper of the jail, must take a similar oath; and strict watch is kept on all their movements. A striking example of the rigour with which all are treated who deviate in the smallest degree from this Inquisitorial injunction, is given by Gonsalvius Montanus, in the following narrative: "One Peter ab Herera," says he, "a man not altogether vile, but of some humanity, and not very old, was appointed keeper of the tower of Triana, which is the prison of the Inquisition. It happened, as it often doth, in such numerous and promiscuous imprisonments, that among other prisoners committed to his custody, there was a certain good matron, with her two daughters who were put in different cells, and earnestly desired the liberty of seeing one another, and comforting each other in so great a calamity. They therefore earnestly entreated the keeper, that he would suffer them to be together for one quarter of an hour, that they might have the satisfaction of embracing each other. He being moved with humanity and compassion, allowed them to be together, and talk with one another, for half an hour; and after they had indulged their mutual affections, he put them as they were before, in their separate [Pg 65] prisons. A few days after this they were put with great cruelty to the torture; and the keeper being afraid, that through the severity of their torments, they should discover to the lords, the fathers Inquisitors, his small humanity in suffering them to converse together for half an hour without the Inquisitor's leave; through terror went himself to the holy tribunal, and of his own accord confessed his sin, and prayed for pardon; foolishly believing, that by such his confession, he should prevent the punishment that threatened him for this action. But the lords Inquisitors judged this to be so heinous a crime, that they ordered him immediately to be thrown into jail, and such was the cruelty of his treatment, and disorder of mind that followed on it, that he soon grew distracted. His disorder and madness did not, however, save him from a more grievous punishment. For after he had lain a full year in that cursed prison, they brought him out in the public procession, clothed with the yellow garment, and a halter about his neck, as if he had been a common thief; and condemned him first to receive two hundred lashes through the streets of the city, and then to be banished to the galleys for six years. The day after the procession, as he was carried from the prison to be whipped, his madness, which usually seized him every hour, came on him, and throwing himself from the ass, on which, for the greater [Pg 66] shame, he was carried, he flew upon the Inquisitory alguazil, and snatching from him a sword, would certainly have killed himself, had he not been prevented by the mob who attended him, who set him again upon an ass, and guarded him till he had received the two hundred lashes according to his sentence. After this, the lords Inquisitors ordered, that as he had behaved himself indecently towards the alguazil, four years more should be added to the six for which he was at first condemned to the galleys."

When the tribunal judges that the words or actions which are denounced, are sufficient to warrant an inquiry, witnesses are cited, none of whom are informed of the subject on which they are to make depositions. They are only asked in general terms, "If they have ever heard or seen any thing which was, or appeared contrary to the Catholic faith, or the right of the Inquisition?" The consequence is, that sometimes circumstances foreign to the case in hand are recollected, and deposed to by the witnesses, which tend to criminate others, against whom new processes are immediately commenced! "When we speak of witnesses in Great Britain," says an eminent writer, "we almost unavoidably think of a charge regularly brought, the judges upon the bench, the jury sworn, the criminal apprehended, and in open court, the people admitted as auditors, and the whole judicial assembly feeling and [Pg 67] acting under the assurance that they are responsible to an intelligent and watchful public, for every part of their proceedings. But, in the Inquisitorial tribunal, when the witnesses are summoned, the party accused has not even been taken into custody. He remains in his own house, and in the bosom of his family, engaged in his ordinary occupations, and entering, it may be, into the amusements of the place where he lives; utterly ignorant of all that has been done against him, and utterly unprepared for all that is to follow. In truth, the depositions of the witnesses are viewed, rather in connection with the charge, than with the issue, and relate not so much to the guilt or the innocence of the party accused, as to the sufficiency or insufficiency of the information. Like the informer, the witnesses are sworn to secrecy; their names and personal history are most industriously concealed; and there are instances upon record, where brothers and sisters have given evidence against brothers and sisters, where the wife has deposed against the husband, and the husband against the wife."

The next step, is the apprehension of the person accused. This is given in charge to the high bailiff, who executes his commission by carrying with him a competent number of officers, taking the precaution to surprise the unhappy victim, which is generally done at night. Not the slightest hint of insecurity [Pg 68] is given, not a suspicion is breathed, till about midnight, a band of monsters calmly approach the residence of the accused and demand an entrance. [13] To the question, "In whose name is this required?" the answer is, "The Holy Office." "The thunderbolt, launched from the black and angry cloud," says Puigblanch, "strikes not with such alarm, as the sound of 'Deliver yourself up a prisoner to the Inquisition.' Astonished and trembling, the unwary citizen hears the dismal voice; a thousand different affections at once seize upon his panic-struck frame—he remains perplexed and motionless. His life, in danger, his deserted wife and orphan children, eternal infamy, the only patrimony that now awaits his bereft family, are all [Pg 69] ideas which rush upon his mind—he is at once agitated by an agony of dilemma and despair. The burning tear scarcely glistens on his livid cheek, the accents of woe die on his lips, and amidst the alarm and desolation of his family, and the confusion and pity of his neighbours, he is borne away to dungeons, whose damp and bare walls can alone witness the anguish of his mind. "Here," continues the same elegant writer, "was usually confined the father of a family, perhaps his amiable wife, or tender daughter, the exemplary priest, or peaceful scholar; and in the meantime his house was bathed in tears, and filled with desolation. Venerable matrons and timid damsels have been hurried from their homes, and, ignorant of the cause of their misfortune, have awakened from the frenzy of the brain, and found themselves here alone, and helpless in a solitary cell. Here the manly youth, torn from his bewailing kindred, and often wrested from ties still more endearing, pines amidst damp seclusion and chill despair, and vainly invokes the names of objects which so lately thrilled him with pleasure. The dripping vaults re-echo the sighs of the aged father, no longer encircled by the fond endearments of a numerous progeny; all, in short, are condemned to drag existence amidst a death-like silence, and, as it were, immured from the sight of their weeping relatives."

The prisoners are confined in separate [Pg 70] cells, which are not only small, but contain no other furniture except a wooden bed stead, a table, one chair, and sometimes none. There are usually two rows of cells, built over each other. The upper rows are lighted by means of a small iron grate, and the lower are perfectly dark. In each cell there are placed two pots of water, one to wash in, and the other to drink. The treatment of the prisoners varies according to their rank; their allowance sometimes amounting to no more than three half-pence or two pence a day. The under rows of cells are appropriated for heretics. There, in solitude and silence, they never see a human being except their keeper. Thus persons the most nearly related to each other, may be confined in contiguous cells without knowing it; and the merciless turnkeys are constantly on the watch, to prevent the utterance of any sound, lest it should occasion the discovery of some secret. If a person bemoans himself, or bewails his misfortune, or prays to God with an audible voice, he is instantly silenced. As persons may know one another by their cough, as well as by their articulate voice, no one is allowed even this expression of his misery, in the dungeons of the Inquisition. Limborch relates the following instance of such unheard of barbarity, which, he says, he had from several persons. "A prisoner in the Inquisition coughed; the jailers came to him, and admonished him to forbear coughing, [Pg 71] because it was unlawful to make any noise in that house. He answered that it was not in his power to forbear. They admonished him, however, a second time, to forbear it, and because he did not, they stripped him naked, and cruelly beat him; this increased his cough, for which they beat him so often, that at last he died through the pain and anguish of his stripes!"

Very soon after the accused is conducted to the Inquisition, he is brought forth from his cell and examined. The place where he appears before the Inquisitors is called the table of the holy office. At the further end of it there is placed a crucifix, raised up almost as high as the ceiling. In the middle of the room stands a table, at the end of which, nearest the crucifix, sits the secretary or notary of the Inquisition. The culprit is brought in by the beadle, with his head, arms, and feet naked, and is followed by one of the keepers. His attendants conduct him to the door of the chamber of audience, which he enters alone, and is ordered to sit down on a bench at the other end of the table, directly opposite the notary. The Inquisitor sits on his right hand. On the table near the culprit lies a missal, or book of the Gospels, on which he is ordered to lay his hand, and swear that he will declare truth, and keep secresy.

He is then asked if he knows where he is, whether he is aware that he is within the [Pg 72] walls of the Inquisition, and why it is that men are usually detained in the custody of the holy office. If he says that he cannot guess at the cause of his imprisonment, but knows that he is a prisoner in the holy office, where heretics or persons suspected of heresy are confined, he is informed, that seeing he knows that persons are confined there for their profanation of religion, he ought to conclude that he is confined for the same reason; and must therefore declare what he believes to be the cause of his apprehension and confinement in the prisons of the holy office. If he says he cannot imagine what it is, he is desired to recollect himself, to run over in his mind the events of his past life, and to search out and ascertain whether he may not, on some occasion, have said or done something contrary to the purity of the Catholic faith, and the authority of the Inquisition. If he still persists in maintaining his ignorance, he is informed that every degree of mercy is shown towards those who confess, while the obstinate are treated with the utmost severity.

The prisoner is next obliged to declare his whole genealogy and descent, and to make known whether any of his ancestors, or himself, his brothers, wife, or children, had at any time previous been arraigned before the tribunal. These questions are put for the purpose of implicating the accused in a stronger manner, and to obtain possession of the property [Pg 73] he may have inherited, by declaring the right of succession null and void, to the destruction, perhaps, of many families. Numerous other questions are asked, varied in every possible way, and every art of unrighteous investigation is tried; and if, after all, he still persists in declaring himself ignorant of any word or action that can be construed into heresy, he is informed, that he must be carried back to his dungeon, to aid his memory by reflection. This ceremony is performed three times, with some interval between each.

"The idea all this presents is," says Puigblanch, "that the court wishes the prisoner to confess, under the hope of being treated with greater kindness; but, without dreading the charge of temerity, and judging only from the strict nature of the process, I may venture to attribute to such a practice the highest refinement of the Inquisitorial test. At least it will not be denied that the prisoner is compelled to scrutinize every act and period of his life, till at last he hits on the cause of his impeachment. Scarcely recovered from the surprise caused by his arrest, and appalled by the contrast his imagination forms of the many and secret steps previously taken, compared with the state of security in which he lately lived, from that moment the prisoner begins to despair, and hopeless and dismayed, he already beholds the torment that awaits him. Bewildered, [Pg 74] as in the mazes of a labyrinth, wherever he turns his eyes, some fresh object increases his pain, and adds to his anguish. Under the undoubted supposition, that in this abode of wretchedness, the appearance of the most officious charity conceals acts of the most insidious cruelty, he beholds no one who is not an enemy, and hears nothing that is not directed to his ruin. Secluded from every species of intercourse, if his keeper says any thing unconnected with the service of his person, it is to assure him that it will be much in his favour to confess according to the pleasure of the Inquisitors. If an attorney is allowed him, it is after he has sworn to use every exertion to induce his client to confess, and that he will abandon his defence from the moment he discovers his guilt. Thus is it that the prisoner has more to fear from his advocate than from the proctor of his enemies."

If, on the other hand, the prisoner knows the reason why he is apprehended, and happens to confess every thing of which he has been accused to the Inquisitor, he is commended, and encouraged to hope for a speedy deliverance. If he confesses some things, but cannot guess at others, he is also commended for having resolved to accuse himself, and exhorted, "by the bowels of mercy of Jesus Christ," to proceed, and ingenuously to confess every thing else of which he is accused, that he may experience [Pg 75] that kindness and mercy which this tribunal uses towards those who manifest a real repentance of their crimes by a sincere and voluntary confession!

In these examinations, the Inquisitors have recourse to the meanest artifices, in order to draw from the prisoner a confession of those crimes of which he is accused, making great professions of sympathy, and numerous promises of favour, if he will but yield to their solicitations. By these flattering assurances, they sometimes impose on the unwary; and when they have gained their object, they forget their promises, and treat the unhappy objects of their deception with the utmost rigour. In proof of this, the following among other stratagems, drawn up by Nicholas Eymeric, Inquisitor-general of Arragon, about the middle of the fourteenth century, are submitted to the reader:—"When the prisoner has been impeached of the crime of heresy, but not convicted, and he obstinately persists in his denial, let the Inquisitor take the proceedings into his hands, or any other file of papers, and looking them over in his presence, let him feign to have discovered the offence fully established therein, and that he is desirous he should at once make his confession. The Inquisitor shall then say to the prisoner, as if in astonishment, 'And is it possible that you shall still deny what I have here before my own eyes?' He shall then seem as if he read, and to the end that the [Pg 76] prisoner may know no better, he shall fold down the leaf, and after reading some moments longer, he shall say to him, 'It is just as I have said, why, therefore, do you deny it, when you see I know the whole matter?' When the Inquisitor has an opportunity, he shall manage so as to introduce to the conversation of the prisoner some one of his accomplices, or any other converted heretic, who shall feign that he still persists in his heresy, telling him that he had abjured for the sole purpose of escaping punishment by deceiving the Inquisition. Having thus gained his confidence, he shall go into his cell some day after dinner, and keeping up the conversation till night, shall remain with him, under pretext of its being too late to return home. He shall then urge the prisoner to tell him all the particulars of his life, having first told him the whole of his own; and in the meantime spies shall be kept at the door, as well as a notary, in order to certify what may be said within!!" All this needs no comment, it speaks for itself; and were it not given on the most unexceptionable authority, we could not but reject it as a fiction. But, alas! what the fanatical Eymeric taught has been too implicitly followed; and thus the procedure of a court, impiously called HOLY, is sufficient to put the most barbarous nations, nay devils themselves, to the blush.

Gonsalvius, for example, mentions a striking instance of the duplicity and cruelty of [Pg 77] the lords of the Holy Office. "In the first fire that was blown up at Seville," says the author, "in 1558 or 1559, among many others who were taken up, were a certain pious matron, her two daughters, and her niece. Unable to effect his purpose by means of the torture, the Inquisitor ordered one of the daughters to be brought before him. Having discoursed with her for a considerable time, he pretended to feel the greatest affliction for her amidst her trials. All this, as the event showed, had only this tendency, that after he had persuaded the poor simple girl that he was really, and with a fatherly affection, concerned for her calamity, and would consult as a father, what might be for her benefit and salvation, and that of her relatives, she might throw herself upon his protection. After spending several days in such familiar discourses, during which he pretended to mourn with her over her sufferings, and to be affected with her miseries, adding innumerable promises of his desire to free her from them; when he perceived that he had deceived the girl, he proceeded to persuade her to discover all she knew, not only of herself, but of her mother, sisters, and aunts, protesting upon oath, that if she would faithfully reveal to him every particular, he would find out a method to relieve her from all her misfortunes, and to send them all back again to their homes. Possessed of no great penetration, the girl, allured by the promises and [Pg 78] persuasions of this father of the holy faith, proceeded to inform him of some things relative to the doctrines which she had been taught, and concerning which they had been accustomed to converse with each other. Having now got hold of the thread, the Inquisitor dexterously enough endeavoured to find his way through the whole labyrinth—often calling the girl to audience, that what she had deposed might be taken down in a legal manner; and always persuading her that this would be the only just means to put an end to all her evils. But when the poor girl expected the performance of his numerous promises, the Inquisitor, finding the success of his craftiness, by which he had in part drawn from her what before he could not extort by torments, determined again to put her to the torture, in order to force out of her what he imagined she had yet concealed. She was accordingly subjected to torture, both by the rack and water, till the Inquisitors had squeezed out of her, as with a press, both the heresies and accusations of the persons they had been hunting after; for, through the extremity of her torture, she accused her mother and sister, and several others, who were apprehended and tortured, and burnt alive in the same fire with the girl!"


[13] The following affords a view of the secrecy with which the affairs of the holy office are conducted: "When the familiar is sent for to apprehend any person," says Limborch, "he has the following order put into his hand: 'By the command of the reverend father N. an Inquisitor of heretical pravity, let B. be apprehended, and committed to the prisons of this holy office, and not to be released out of them, but by the express order of the said reverend Inquisitor.' And if several persons are to be taken up at the same time, the familiars are commanded so to order things, that they may know nothing of one another's being apprehended. And at this the familiars are so very expert, that a father and his three sons and three daughters, who lived together in the same house, were all carried prisoners to the Inquisition, without knowing any thing of one another's being there until seven years afterwards, when they that were alive came forth to an auto-da-fé."

[Pg 79]


Examination of the accused by torture—its different degrees—it is sometimes inflicted on those who are condemned to death—innocence no protection against Inquisitorial cruelty—different punishments inflicted by the Inquisition—description of an auto-da-fé—hypocritical manner in which the Inquisitors deliver over their victims to the civil power.

After undergoing the usual number of examinations before the Inquisitors, if the prisoner still persists in protesting his innocence, he is condemned to the torture. [14] Attempts are first made, however, to frighten him by a variety of Inquisitorial methods. The instruments of torture are shown him at a distance. Having been conducted into a large room, feebly lighted, the executioner is pointed out to him, dressed in a black gown which reaches down to his feet, and having a long cowl drawn over his head and face. This revolting figure has in his hand an iron collar, or some other instrument of torture, and [Pg 80] stares in solemn silence at the prisoner, through two holes which are cut for this purpose in his cowl. "All this," says Gonsalvius, "is intended to strike the miserable wretch with greater terror, when he sees himself about to be tortured by the hands of one who thus looks like the very devil."

The majority of the historians who have been consulted, agree in stating that the different degrees of torture formerly in use were five in number. First, The threatening of the torture. Secondly, The steps taken when conducting the prisoner to the place where the torture is inflicted. Thirdly, Stripping and binding the prisoner. Fourthly, Elevation on the pulley. And lastly, Squassation, or the sudden precipitation and suspension of the body. To these we may add, the wooden horse, the thumb screws, the iron slipper, &c. The measure of severity with which the prisoner is to be tortured, is pointed out by the Inquisitor in the terms in which he is pleased to pronounce sentence. If he says, "Let the prisoner be interrogated by torture," he is merely hoisted up on the rope, but does not undergo the squassation. If he says, "Let him be tortured," he must undergo the squassation once, being first interrogated while hanging in the air. If he orders him "to be well tortured," he must suffer two squassations. If he adds the expression, "severely tortured," he is subjected to undergo within an hour three different [Pg 81] squassations. If "very severely," it is done with twistings and additional weights suspended to his feet. And if "very severely, even unto death," the prisoner is in imminent danger of his life. "Should the prisoner, in consequence of the agony which he suffers, be forced to make any confession, that confession is immediately taken down by the notary; and if he adheres to it at his next examination, which commonly takes place in twenty-four hours after the infliction of the torture, and at the same time acknowledges his guilt, he is condemned, it is true, as a heretic upon his own confession, but is represented as penitent, and is restored to the bosom of the Church; though not without undergoing certain punishments, more or less severe, and certain painful varieties of penance. [15] But, should he either retract his confession, or persist in his heresy, he is delivered over to the secular power, and is burnt alive at the next auto-da-fé."

However unwilling we are to shock the [Pg 82] feelings of the reader by any further description of the various kinds of torture inflicted by the Inquisition, it is necessary, in a history like the present, to give some more particular account of this part of the procedure of that infamous court. The following particulars relative to the torture, which are given by Puigblanch, are stated in a manner as unrevolting as possible, although, on such a subject, no words which describe this barbarous mode of Inquisitorial punishment can be used, without giving pain to every mind not altogether destitute of humanity.

"Three kinds of torture have been generally used by the Inquisition, viz. the pulley, the rack, and fire. As sad and loud lamentations accompanied the sharpness of the pain, the victim was conducted to a retired apartment, called the hall of torture, and usually situated under ground, in order that his cries might not interrupt the silence which reigned throughout the other parts of the building. Here the court assembled, and the judges being seated, together with their secretary, again questioned the prisoner respecting his crime, which if he still persisted to deny, they proceeded to the execution of the sentence.

"The first torture was performed by fixing a pulley to the roof of the hall, with a strong hempen or grass rope passed through it. The executioners then seized the culprit, and leaving him naked to his drawers, put [Pg 83] shackles on his feet, and suspended weights of one hundred pounds to his ankles. His hands were then bound behind his back, and the rope from the pulley strongly fastened to his wrists. In this situation he was raised about the height of a man from the ground, and in the meantime the judges coolly admonished him to reveal the truth. In this position, as far as twelve stripes were sometimes inflicted on him, according to the inferences and weight of the offence. He was then suffered to fall suddenly, but in such manner that neither his feet nor the weights reached the ground, in order to render the shock of his body the greater.

"The torture of the rack, also called that of water and ropes, and the one most commonly used, was inflicted by stretching the victim, naked as before, on his back, along a wooden horse or hollow bench, with sticks across like a ladder, and prepared for the purpose. To this his feet, hands, and head were strongly bound in such manner as to leave him no room to move. In this attitude he experienced eight strong contortions in his limbs, viz. two on the fleshy parts of the arm above the elbow, and two below, one on each thigh, and also on the legs. He was besides obliged to swallow seven pints of water, slowly dropped into his mouth on a piece of silk or ribbon, which, by the pressure of the water, glided down his throat, so as to produce all the horrid sensations of a person [Pg 84] who is drowning. At other times his face was covered with a thin piece of linen, through which the water ran into his mouth and nostrils, and prevented him from breathing. Of such a form did the Inquisition of Valladolid make use, in 1528, towards the licentiate Juan Salas, physician of that city.

"For the torture by fire, the prisoner was placed with his legs naked in the stocks; the soles of his feet were then well greased with lard, and a blazing chafing-dish applied to them, by the heat of which they became perfectly fried. When his complaints of the pain were loudest, a board was placed between his feet and the fire, and he was again commanded to confess, but this was taken away if he persisted in his obstinacy. This species of torture was deemed the most cruel of all; but this, as well as the others, was indiscriminately applied to persons of both sexes, at the will of the judges, according to the circumstances of the crime, and the strength of the delinquents.

Tortures.—The Pulley and Fire.

"The torture by fire, however, does not appear to have been much in use except in Italy, and this when the culprit was lame, or through any other impediment prevented from being suspended by the pulley. In the latter country also, other minor tortures were used with persons unable to withstand those already described. Such were that of the dice, of the canes, and of the rods. For the first, the prisoner was extended on the [Pg 85] ground, and two pieces of iron shaped like a die, but concave on one side, were placed on the heel of his right foot, then bound fast on with a rope, which was pulled tight with a screw. That of the canes was performed by a hard piece being put between each finger, bound, and then screwed as above. That of the rods was inflicted on boys who had passed their ninth year, but had not yet reached the age of puberty, by binding them to a post, and then flogging them with rods.

"The duration of the torture, by a bull of Paul III. could not exceed an hour; and if in the Inquisition of Italy, it was not usual for it to last so long, in that of Spain, which has always boasted of surpassing all others in zeal for the faith, it was prolonged to an hour and a quarter. The sufferer, through the intensity of pain, was sometimes left senseless, for which case a physician was always in attendance, to inform the court whether the paroxysm was real or feigned; and according to his opinion, the torture was continued or suspended. When the victim remained firm in his denial, and overcame the pangs inflicted on him—or when, after confessing under them, he refused to ratify his confession within twenty-four hours afterwards—he has been forced to undergo as far as three tortures, with only one day's interval between each. Thus whilst his imagination was still filled with the dreadful idea of his past sufferings, which the 'Compilation [Pg 86] of Instructions' itself calls agony, his limbs stiff and sore, and his strength debilitated, he was called upon to give fresh proofs of his constancy, and again endure the horrid spectacle, as well as the repetition of excruciating pangs, tending to rend his whole frame to pieces."

But enough, and more than enough has been brought forward, on this inhuman and revolting practice of men, who nevertheless style themselves priests of the compassionate Redeemer!! Rather may we not call them and does not their horrid conduct entitle them to the appellation of ministers of darkness, and monsters of cruelty? "My soul come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united."

Such is a specimen of the tortures of the Inquisition, when there is not sufficient proof of the crimes of which their unhappy victims are accused. Instances, however, are on record, where the torture has been inflicted on persons who are condemned to death, as an additional punishment! One of these may be mentioned here. William Lithgow a British subject, informs us in his travels, that, in 1620, he was apprehended at Malaga, in Spain, as a spy, and exposed to the most cruel torments on what is called the wooden horse. But nothing having been extorted from him, he was delivered over to the Inquisition, as a heretic, under pretence that his journal contained blasphemies against [Pg 87] the Pope and the Virgin Mary. Having acknowledged, in presence of the Inquisitor, that he was a Protestant, he was admonished to return to the Popish faith, and allowed eight days in a dungeon to deliberate on his conversion. In the mean time the Inquisitor and his minions often visited him, in order to persuade him to renounce his opinions—sometimes promising, sometimes threatening, and sometimes disputing with him on the heretical nature of his tenets. All their efforts being in vain, Lithgow was condemned, first to suffer eleven of the cruelest tortures, and then to be carried privately to Grenada, and burnt at midnight. He was accordingly carried to the hall of torture, where the inhuman process of filling him with water till he was ready to burst, was first resorted to. They next tied a cord round his neck, and rolled him seven times along the floor, till he was nearly strangled, after which they hung him up by the feet till all the water in his bowels had disgorged itself at his mouth. These and other cruelties having been finished, during which, notwithstanding the agonies he endured, he made no confession, he was remanded to his dungeon, till the last part of his sentence could be executed. But, by a remarkable interposition of Divine Providence, he was shortly afterwards delivered out of their hands, and arrived safely in England.

Should the prisoner, as already stated [Pg 88] make confession while enduring the torture, that confession is immediately taken down by the notary; after which he is carried to another place, where his confession is read over to him, and he is required to subscribe it. But here Gonsalvius observes, "that when the prisoner is carried to audience, they make him pass by the door of the room where the torture was inflicted, where the executioner shows himself, in that shape of a devil described before, that, as he passes by, he may, by seeing him, be forced to feel, as it were, over again, his past torments."

If there be very strong evidence against the accused—if new proofs of his guilt be brought forward—or, if it be considered that he was not sufficiently tortured formerly, he may be subjected to this cruel ordeal again, "when his body and mind are able to endure it."

Ever ready to inflict punishment, the Inquisitors not unfrequently condemn the innocent to endure the most excruciating tortures; and, after subjecting them to agony or death, in solemn mockery pronounce them to be innocent. The following example, illustrative of such unheard of barbarity, occurred at Seville, in 1559. Maria de Bohorques, the natural daughter of a Spanish grandee of the first class, avowed her faith before the Inquisitors, defended it as the ancient truth of God, and was tortured to induce her to implicate her friends. First, two Jesuits, and [Pg 89] then two Dominicans, were sent to debate with or ensnare her; but she continued steadfast—her convictions acquired strength, and her views grew clearer during the discussions; and nothing remained for Maria, but to form her part in the bloody pageant of an auto-da-fé. She there tried to comfort her companions in tribulation, but was gagged. Her sentence was read, the gag removed, and she was asked to recant. "I neither can nor will," was the resolute reply; and she proceeded to the place of execution. After she was bound to the stake, the lighting of the pile was delayed for a little, that another attempt might be made to reclaim her. She was, by the grace of God, immovable still—was strangled, and burned, one of her last employments being to comment on the creed in the Protestant sense. In 1560, no fewer than eight females, of irreproachable character, and some of them distinguished by rank and learning, perished in a similar manner in another Auto at Seville. Maria Gomez, her three sisters, and her daughter, were of the number. After being sentenced to the flames, the young woman thanked one of her aunts, who had taught her the truth; and then, amid many affectionate expressions, accompanied with confidence in Him for whose truth they were dying, they prepared for their fiery doom. After describing the touching scene, Dr. M'Crie informs us, that "so completely had superstition and habit subdued [Pg 90] the strongest emotions of the human breast, that not a single expression of sympathy escaped from the multitude at witnessing a scene which, in other circumstances, would have harrowed up the feelings of the spectators, and driven them into mutiny."

We know that these details must lacerate the feelings of our readers; but it is needful fully to elucidate the spirit of Popery, wherever it appears full-grown. To complete our abstract, therefore, we must further narrate, that, at the same Auto, an event took place which gives the Inquisitors a full title to the epithet of Cannibals, which it caused to be applied to them. Dona Juana de Xeres y Borhorques had been apprehended, in consequence of a confession extorted from her sister Maria by the rack. Being six months gone in pregnancy, Dona Juana was imprisoned in the public jail till her delivery. Eight days thereafter her child was taken from her, and she was placed in a cell in the Inquisition. A young woman was imprisoned beside her, who exerted herself to the utmost to promote the afflicted lady's recovery; but the attendant was soon subjected to the torture herself, and remitted to her cell mangled by the process. As soon as Dona Juana could rise from her bed of rushes, she was in her turn tortured by the Inquisitors. She would not confess. She was placed on one of their instruments of cruelty. The cords penetrated through the [Pg 91] delicate flesh to the bone of her arms and legs. Some of the internal vessels burst. The blood flowed in streams from her mouth and nostrils. She was conveyed to her cell in a state of insensibility, and died in the course of a few days. The Inquisitors, for once, pronounced the lady whom they had murdered, innocent, on the day of the Auto. They feared the recoil which their atrocity might have occasioned; so that in this fiendish proceeding we see Popery in its twofold character—shedding the blood of God's saints, and then like a dastard or a sycophant, fawning upon those whom it has injured, when there is danger of retaliation.

"The punishments inflicted by the Inquisition," says a modern writer, "may be regarded as of two sorts,—punishments not issuing in death, and punishments which have that issue. Under the first of these heads are comprehended the ecclesiastical punishments, such as penances, excommunication, interdict, and the deprivation of clerical offices and dignities; and under this head too, are included the confiscation of goods, the disinheriting of children, for no child, though he be a Catholic, can inherit the property of a father dying in heresy; the loss of all right to obedience, on the part of kings and other feudal superiors, and a corresponding loss of right to the fulfilment of oaths and obligations on the part of subjects; imprisonment in monasteries or in jails, whipping, the galleys, [Pg 92] and the ban of the empire. Under the second head, or that of punishments issuing in death, there are only two instances, viz: strangling at the stake, and death by fire. These instances may easily be comprehended in a short account of the auto-da-fé."

"In the procession of the auto-da-fé," says Dr. Geddes, "the monks of the order of St. Dominic walk first. These carry the standard of the Inquisition, bearing on the one side the picture of St. Dominic himself, curiously wrought in needle-work, and on the other, the figure of the cross between those of an olive branch and a naked sword, with the motto 'justitia et misericordia.' Immediately after the Dominicans, come the penitents, dressed in black coats without sleeves, barefooted, and with wax candles in their hands. Among them, the principal offenders wear the infamous habit called the sanbenito. Next come the penitents, who have narrowly escaped the punishment of death; and these have flames painted upon their garments or benitoes, but with the points of the flames turned downwards, importing that they have been saved, 'yet so as by fire.' Next come the negative and the relapsed, the wretches who are doomed to the stake; these also have flames upon their habits, but pointing upwards. After the negative and the relapsed, come the guilty and the impenitent, or those who have been convicted of heresy, and who persist in it; and [Pg 93] these, besides the flames pointing upwards, have their picture (drawn for that purpose a few days before,) upon their breasts, with dogs, serpents, and devils, all with open mouths, painted about it. This part of the procession is closed by a number of individuals carrying the figures of those who have died in heresy, or large chests, painted black, and marked with serpents and devils, containing their bones dug out of their graves, in order that they may be reduced to ashes. A troop of familiars on horseback follow the prisoners; and after these come the subordinate Inquisitors, and other functionaries of the Holy Office, upon mules; and last of all comes the Inquisitor-general himself, in a rich dress, mounted upon a white horse, and attended by all the nobility who are not employed as familiars in the procession. The train moves slowly along, the great bell of the cathedral tolling at proper intervals.

"At the place of execution, stakes are set up according to the number of the sufferers. They are usually about twelve feet in height, and at the bottom of each there is placed a considerable quantity of dry furze. The negative and the relapsed are first strangled at the stake, and afterwards burnt. The convicted and the impenitent, or the professed, as they are otherwise called, are burnt alive. To these, certain Jesuits who are appointed to attend them, address many exhortations, [Pg 94] imploring them to be reconciled to the Church of Rome, but commonly without effect. The executioner therefore ascends, and turns the prisoners off from the ladder, upon a small board fastened to the stake, within half a yard of the top; and the Jesuits having declared, 'that they leave them to the devil who is standing at their elbow,' to receive their souls as soon as they have quitted their bodies, a great shout is raised, and the whole multitude unite in crying, 'let the dogs' beards be trimmed, let the dogs' beards be trimmed.' This is done by thrusting flaming furze, tied to the end of a long pole, against their faces; and the process is often continued till the features of the prisoners are all wasted away, and they can be no longer known by their looks. The furze at the bottom of the stake is then set on fire, but as the sufferers are raised to the height of ten feet above the ground, the flames seldom reach beyond their knees, so that they really are roasted, and not burnt to death.—Yet though, out of hell," as Dr. Geddes adds, "there cannot be a more lamentable spectacle than this, it is beheld by people of both sexes, and of all ages, with the utmost demonstrations of joy—a bull feast, or a farce, being dull entertainments compared with an auto-da-fé."

In order, however, to give the reader a still more distinct account of the parade and ceremony attending an auto-da-fé, we shall [Pg 95] select the celebrated one which took place at Madrid in 1680, in presence of Charles II. and the royal family. On the day appointed, the procession began to move from the Inquisition, in the following order, at seven o'clock in the morning.

"The soldiers of the faith came first, and cleared the way; next followed the cross of the parish of St. Martin, covered with black, and accompanied by twelve priests clothed in surplices, and a clergyman with a pluvial cope; then came the prisoners to the amount of one hundred and twenty, seventy-two of whom were women, and forty-eight men; some came forth in effigy, and the remainder in person. First in the order of procession were the effigies of those condemned persons who had died or made their escape, and amounting in all to thirty-four; their names were inscribed in large letters on the breast of their effigies; and those who had been condemned to be burned, besides the coroza or cap on their heads, had flames represented on their dress; and some bore boxes in their hands, containing the bones of their corresponding originals. Next came the fifty-four who had been reconciled, the most guilty wearing a sanbenito with only one branch, and carrying in their hands, as did also the above, a yellow candle unlighted. Lastly came twenty-one prisoners condemned to death, each with his coroza and sanbenito corresponding to the nature of his crime, and [Pg 96] the most of them with gags on their mouths: they were accompanied by numerous familiars of the Inquisition in the character of patrons, and were besides each attended by two friars, who comforted the penitent, and exhorted the obdurate. The whole of this part of the ceremony was closed by the high bailiff of Toledo and his attendants. Behind the effigy of each culprit were also conveyed boxes containing their books, when any had been seized with them, for the purpose of also being cast into the flames. The courts of the Inquisition followed immediately after, preceded by the secretaries of those of Toledo and Madrid, with a great number of commissaries and familiars; among whom walked the two stewards of the congregation of St. Peter Martyr, carrying the sentences of the criminals inclosed in two precious caskets. So far the procession on foot.

"Next, on horseback, paraded the sheriffs and other ministers of the city, together with the chief bailiffs of the Madrid Inquisition. Then came a long string of familiars on horses, richly and variously caparisoned, wearing the habit of the Inquisition over their own dress, the proper insignia on their breasts, and staffs raised in their hands. In succession followed a great number of ecclesiastical ministers; such as notaries, commissaries, and qualificators, all bearing the same insignia, and mounted on mules with black trappings. Behind them went the corporation [Pg 97] of Madrid, preceded by the mayor, and followed by the fiscal-proctor of the tribunal of Toledo, who carried the standard of the faith, of red damask, with the arms of the Inquisition and of the king, accompanied by the royal council and board of Castile. Lastly came the Inquisitor-general, placed on the right hand of the president of the council, an office at that time filled by the Bishop of Avila. He was accompanied by an escort of fifty halberdiers, dressed in satin. He was clothed in a suit of black silk, embroidered in silver, with diamond buttons, &c. and attended by eighteen livery servants. The whole of the procession was closed with the state sedan chair and coach, belonging to the Inquisitor-general, together with other coaches, in which were his chaplains and pages.

"On the arrival of the procession at the theatre, which had been fitted up for the occasion, the prisoners ascended by the stair-case nearest their destined seats; but, before occupying them, they were all paraded round the stage, in order that their majesties, who were already seated in their balcony, might have the satisfaction of viewing them near. The tribunals, and persons invited, then proceeded to take their respective seats, and the Inquisitor-general ascended his throne. Mass being commenced, and the gospel ended, the oldest secretary of the tribunal of Toledo, read from the pulpit the form of the oath taken by the mayor of the city of Madrid, as [Pg 98] well as by all the people. A bombastic sermon was then preached by a Dominican friar, qualificator of the supreme council of the Inquisition, and preacher to the king. After sermon they proceeded to the reading of the trials and sentences, beginning with those who had been condemned to die. This part of the ceremony lasted till four in the afternoon, when those who were condemned to death were delivered over to the civil magistrates, and whilst the latter proceeded on to the place of execution, and met their final end, the reading of the proceedings continued, as well as the abjurations of those who had been reconciled, which lasted till half-past nine at night, when those who had been absolved returned to the prisons of the Inquisition.

"The prisoners personally condemned to death, amounted to nineteen; thirteen men, and six women, principally of the Jewish persuasion. They were conducted to the gate of Fuencarrel, mounted on mules with pack-saddles, preceded by the effigies of those who had died or made their escape. Of those personally condemned for execution, eleven were impenitents; viz. eight obdurates, and three convicted, but refusing to confess. The burning place was sixty feet square, and seven high, and consequently sufficiently capacious, when twenty stakes with their corresponding rings were fastened thereon. Some were previously strangled, and the [Pg 99] others at once thrown into the fire. The ministers having cast the bodies of those who were strangled into the flames, together with the effigies and bones of the deceased, more fuel was added, till all was converted into ashes, which was not till nine in the morning. Two days afterwards, six of those who had been condemned to do penance were flogged, among whom were two women. Such was the form and solemnity of this auto-da-fé, the largest and most splendid ever known."

The penitential habits with which the Inquisitors array the culprits at an auto-da-fé, are truly ludicrous. A garment or tunic of yellow linen or cloth, reaching down to the knees, which is called the sanbenito, and a conical cap called the coroza, are the dress of the victims of the Holy Office. When the person is to be executed as impenitent, both the sanbenito and coroza are embellished with flames and pictures of devils, and a rude likeness of the individual who wears them, is also painted on the sanbenito, burning in flames, with several figures of dragons and devils in the act of fanning them. When the individual has repented after sentence has been pronounced, he wears the same dress, but the flames are reversed, to show that the culprit is not to be burnt until he has been strangled. Those who only do penance, wear the tunic either with or without a cross, [Pg 100] according to the different degrees of crime of which they have been convicted.

It only remains to mention here, the hypocritical manner in which the Inquisitors deliver over those who are sentenced to death, into the hands of the secular power. Having declared the condemned individual "an apostate heretic, a defaulter, and an abettor of heretics, and that he has thereby fallen into and incurred the sentence of grievous excommunication," &c. they, adding insult to cruelty, add, "Nevertheless we earnestly beseech and enjoin the said secular arm, to deal so tenderly and compassionately with him, as to prevent the effusion of blood, or danger of death!!" No words can do justice to such a masterpiece of hypocrisy; for let it be remembered that the Inquisition positively commands the civil magistrate to put the condemned to death. The gross falsehood of its professions, therefore—the aspect of meekness which it thus displays, while it thirsts for the blood of, and dooms to the flames, its wretched victim—literally prove that "there is no faithfulness in their mouth—that their inward part is very wickedness—and that their throat is an open sepulchre." "Is there in all history," says Dr. Geddes, "an instance of so gross and confident a mockery of God, and the world, as this of the Inquisition, beseeching the civil magistrate not to put the heretics they have condemned and delivered to them to death? For [Pg 101] were they in earnest when they made this solemn petition to the secular magistrates, why do they bring their prisoners out of the Inquisition, and deliver them to those magistrates with coats painted over with flames? Why do they teach that heretics, above all other malefactors, ought to be punished with death? And why do they never resent the secular magistrates having so little regard to their earnest and joint petition, as never to fail to burn all the heretics that are delivered to them by the Inquisition, within an hour or two after they have them in their hands? And why, in Rome, where the supreme, civil, and ecclesiastical authority are lodged in the same person, is this petition of the Inquisition, which is made there as well as in other places, never granted?" The truth is, as already noticed, the Inquisitors are commanded by the bulls of various Popes, to compel the civil magistrate, under penalty of excommunication, and other ecclesiastical censures, within six days, readily to execute the sentences pronounced by the Inquisitors against heretics, that is, to commit them to the flames!


[14] Not only are persons against whom something has been proved subjected to this monstrous engine of Inquisitorial cruelty, for the purpose of drawing from them some additional confessions; those also who cannot make their innocence plainly appear to the Inquisitor, (and who can in a court so iniquitous?) who in the smallest degree contradict themselves, who faulter, tremble, or even turn pale, are considered guilty, and as such are condemned to the rack!

[15] This does not, however, hold good in every case; individuals, as we have already seen, and shall afterwards have occasion to notice, who have been subjected to the torture, and made confession, having subsequently been condemned to the flames. No doubt the Inquisitors pretended to have had good grounds for thus acting; but where was there ever a deed of blood perpetrated, (and innumerable have been the number which have been committed by these demons in human form), that they could not colour over, in a manner sufficient to satisfy the consciences of at least Romish ecclesiastics?

[Pg 102]


Auto-da-fé celebrated at Seville in 1560—proceedings of the Inquisition during the reigns of Philip III. Philip IV. and Charles II.—M. Legal, the French commander, throws open the doors of the Inquisition, and liberates the prisoners—state of the Inquisition during the reigns of Ferdinand VI. Charles III. and Charles IV.—it is suppressed by Bonaparte—is re-established by Ferdinand VII.—persecuting spirit of the modern Inquisition.

Previous to giving any further account of individual persecutions by the Inquisition, we shall now resume the history of that tribunal in Spain. On the 22d of December 1560, a splendid auto-da-fé was celebrated at Seville, at which fourteen individuals were burnt in person, three in effigy, and thirty-four were subjected to various penances. [16] Several of the sufferers were Englishmen, whose only crime was that they possessed wealth. Under the pretext that they were guilty of heresy, their property [Pg 103] was seized by the hands of the avaricious Inquisitors, and not a few of them were condemned to the flames. [17]

In 1561, the Inquisitor-general, Valdes, [Pg 104] published a new code of laws, for the regulation of the different tribunals of the "Holy Office" throughout Spain. This code consisted of eighty-one articles, "which have been, till the present time, the laws by which the proceedings of the Inquisition have been regulated." [18]

From 1560 to 1570, one auto-da-fé, at least, was celebrated annually in every Inquisition throughout Spain, at which many adherents of the Reformation were consigned [Pg 105] to the flames. Thirty individuals were burnt at Murcia in 1560, twenty-three in 1562, seventeen in 1563, and thirty-five in the two years following, besides many in effigy; and great numbers were condemned to different other punishments. Similar tragedies were acted in Toledo, Saragossa, Grenada, &c., where not a few of the victims who were sacrificed to the cruelty of this barbarous tribunal were the disciples of Luther and Calvin.

During the remaining years of Philip II. the power and insolence of the Inquisitors daily increased, and the kingdom of Spain literally groaned under their oppressive yoke. Philip III. who succeeded his father in 1598, was no less bigoted and superstitious. Having assembled the Cortes of the kingdom at Madrid, in 1607, the members of that assembly represented to their new sovereign, that in 1579 and 1586, they had required a reform of the abuses committed in the tribunal of the Inquisition, to put an end to the right which the Inquisitors had usurped, of taking cognizance of crimes not relating to heresy; that Philip II. had promised to do this, but died before he could perform it, and that in consequence they renewed the request. Philip replied, that he would take proper measures to satisfy the Cortes. In 1611, when he convoked the new Cortes, they made the same request, and received the same answer; but nothing was attempted, and the Inquisitors [Pg 106] became daily more insolent, and filled their prisons with victims.

Philip IV. was equally averse to any reform in the court of Inquisition; on the contrary, he even permitted the Inquisitors to take cognizance of the offence of exporting copper money, and to dispose of a fourth of what fell into their hands. During the reign of this monarch, and that of Charles II. numerous autos-da-fé were annually celebrated throughout Spain; and many were the victims which were sacrificed to Inquisitorial cruelty in that blinded country, who, though "tried by fire," were found steadfast defenders of the truth, and eminent witnesses against the idolatries of Popery, and against that barbarous tribunal which for so many ages has shed the blood of the saints. [19]

[Pg 107]

On the death of Charles II. in 1700, and the accession of his uncle Philip V., a kind of civil war broke out in Spain, in consequence of the pretensions of the Archduke Charles of Austria. Among the troops employed by Philip, were about fourteen thousand auxiliaries provided by the King of France. This force was sent into Arragon, the inhabitants of which had declared for Charles. The people were soon overawed; and in their victorious career, the French came into possession of the city of Saragossa, in which there was a number of convents, and in particular one belonging to the Dominicans. M. de Legal, the French commander, found it necessary to levy a pretty heavy contribution, on the inhabitants, not excepting the convents. The Dominicans, all the friars of which were familiars of the Inquisition, excused themselves in a civil manner, saying that they had no money, and that if M. Legal insisted upon the demand of their part of the contribution, they could not pay him in any other way, than by sending him the silver images of the saints. These crafty friars [Pg 108] imagined that the French commander would not presume to insist upon such a sacrifice, or if he did, that they would, by raising the cry of heresy against him, expose him to the vengeance of a blind and superstitious people. But M. Legal was indifferent alike to the destruction of the images, and to the rage both of the priests and people. He therefore informed the Dominicans, that the silver saints would answer his purpose equally the same as money. Perceiving the dilemma in which they had now placed themselves, the friars endeavoured to raise a mob, by carrying their images in solemn procession, dressed in black, and accompanied by lighted candles. Aware of their intention, M. Legal ordered out four companies of soldiers well armed, to receive the procession, so that the design of raising the people completely failed.

M. Legal immediately sent the images to the mint, which threw the friars into the greatest consternation, and they lost no time in making application to the Inquisition, to interpose its supreme power in order to save their idols from the furnace. With this request the Inquisitors speedily complied, by framing an instrument, excommunicating M. Legal, as having been guilty of sacrilege. This paper was put into the hands of the secretary of the holy office, who was ordered to go and read it to the French commander. Instead of expressing either displeasure or [Pg 109] surprise, M. Legal took the paper from the secretary after hearing it read, and mildly said, "Pray tell your masters, the Inquisitors, that I will answer them to-morrow morning."

The Frenchman was as good as his word. Having caused his secretary to draw out a copy of the excommunication, with the simple alteration of inserting "the Holy Inquisitors," instead of his own name, he ordered him on the following morning to repair with it, accompanied by four regiments of soldiers, to the Inquisition, and having read it to the Inquisitors themselves, if they made the least noise, to turn them to the door, open all the prisons, and quarter two regiments in the sacred edifice. These orders were implicitly obeyed. Amazed and confounded to hear themselves excommunicated by a man who had no authority for it, the Inquisitors began to cry out against Legal as a heretic, and as having publicly insulted the Catholic faith. "Holy Inquisitors," replied the secretary, "the king wants this house to quarter his troops in; so walk out immediately." Having no alternative, the holy fathers were compelled to obey. The doors of all the prisons were thrown open, and four hundred prisoners set at liberty. Among these were sixty young women, who were found to be the private property of the three Inquisitors, whom they had unjustly taken from their [Pg 110] fathers' homes in the city and neighbourhood!

The next day the Inquisitors complained to Philip; but that monarch calmly replied, "I am very sorry; but I cannot help it; my crown is in danger, and my grandfather defends it, and this is done by his troops. If it had been done by my troops, I should have applied a speedy remedy; but you must have patience till things take another turn." They were accordingly obliged to exercise that patience for a period of eight months.

The archbishop, however, deeply concerned for the honour of the holy tribunal, requested M. Legal to send the women to his palace, promising that he would take care of them, and threatening with excommunication all who should dare to defame, by groundless reports, the tribunal of the Inquisition. M. Legal professed his willingness to comply with this request; but as to the young women, he informed his grace, that they had already been taken away by the French officers. This affair, which is related by Gavin, and other writers, shows at once the detestable nature of a tribunal where deeds of darkness, "of which it is a shame even to speak," were so unblushingly committed. For these young women "were chiefly ladies, beautiful and accomplished, who had been forcibly carried away, at the pleasure of the Inquisitors, from the most opulent families in the city, to enrich their [Pg 111] seraglio, and who probably would never have been seen without the walls of the holy office, but for such a deliverance as that which was effected by the French soldiers."

Philip was not so devoted to the court of the Inquisition as his predecessors had been. In the first year of his reign, a solemn auto-da-fé was celebrated in honour of his accession to the throne; but though Philip declared it to be his intention to protect the tribunal of the holy office, yet he decidedly refused to be present at a scene so barbarous. During the reign of this monarch, however, which lasted forty-six years, one auto-da-fé was annually celebrated by every Inquisition throughout the kingdom, at which, it has been calculated, upwards of fourteen thousand individuals suffered, who had been condemned by the holy tribunal to different punishments. It was in the reign of Philip, too, that the freemasons became the objects of persecution by the Inquisition. Pope Clement XII. had excommunicated them in a bull which he issued in 1738; and, copying the example of his holiness, Philip in 1740 enacted several severe laws against all who were, or should be connected with that order; in consequence of which many of the fraternity were arrested and condemned to the galleys. Never behind in any species of cruelty or oppression, the Inquisitors apprehended every freemason upon whom they could lay their hands; and in a short time [Pg 112] they seemed to be more intent upon their suppression than even upon that of heretics.

The same rigour against freemasonry existed under the reign of Ferdinand VI., which lasted from 1746 to 1759. Yet during these years, no general auto-da-fé, and only thirty-four private ones, were celebrated in Spain. At these private acts of faith, one hundred and eighty individuals were punished, ten of whom only were burnt alive. Historians differ in opinion as to the cause of this decrease in the number of autos-da-fé at that period in Spain, and the consequent diminution of the victims who were sacrificed by the tribunal of the holy office. The following account, given by Llorente, who was secretary to the Inquisition, seems to be the most probable: "The rise of good taste in literature in Spain," says that author, "the restoration of which was prepared under Philip V. was dated from the reign of Ferdinand VI. On this circumstance is founded the opinion, that the accession of the Bourbons caused a change in the system of the Inquisition; yet these princes never gave any new laws to the Inquisition, or suppressed any of the ancient code, and consequently did not prevent any of the numerous autos-da-fé which were celebrated in their reigns. But Philip established at Madrid two royal academies, for history and the Spanish language, on the model of that of Paris, and favoured a friendly intercourse [Pg 113] between the literati of the two nations. The establishment of weekly papers made the people acquainted with works they had never before heard of, and informed them of resolutions of the Catholic princes concerning the clergy, which a short time before they would have considered as an outrage against religion and its ministers. These circumstances, and some other causes, during the reign of Philip V., prepared the way for the interesting revolution in Spanish literature, under Ferdinand VI. This change was followed by a great benefit to mankind; the Inquisitors, and even their inferior officers, began to perceive that zeal for the purity of the Catholic religion is exposed to the admission of erroneous opinions."

The Inquisition remained in nearly a similar condition, during the reigns of Charles III. and Charles IV., the former supporting it because he hated freemasons, and the latter "because the French revolution seemed to justify a system of surveillance, and he found a firm support in the zeal of the Inquisitors-general, always attentive to the preservation and extension of their power, as if the sovereign authority could find no surer means of strengthening the throne than the terror inspired by the Inquisition."

A great number of the works which were published in France, at the period of the revolution in that country, having been conveyed to Spain, and eagerly read by the [Pg 114] people, the Inquisitors lost no time in prohibiting and seizing all books, pamphlets, and newspapers relating to French affairs, and gave peremptory orders to every person to denounce all who were friendly to the revolutionary principles. The consequence was, that informations were lodged against vast numbers, who were immediately apprehended, and thrown into prison. Among others, two booksellers in Valladolid were condemned in 1799 to two months' imprisonment, two years' suspension of their trade, and to banishment from the kingdom.

The invasion of Spain by Bonaparte in 1808, and abdication of the throne by Charles IV. in favour of his son Ferdinand VII., gave a tremendous blow to the Inquisition. In that year Napoleon Bonaparte suppressed the holy office at Chamastin near Madrid; and, with the approbation of Joseph Bonaparte, Llorente burnt all the criminal processes in the Inquisition, excepting those which belonged to history.

On the 22d of February, 1813, the Cortes-general of the kingdom assembled at Madrid, and having decreed that the existence of the Inquisition was incompatible with the political constitution which had been adopted by the nation, that assembly fully suppressed that odious tribunal, and restored to the bishops and secular judges, the jurisdiction which they had anciently enjoyed.

"Thus ended the existence of a tribunal," [Pg 115] to use the words of the translator of Puigblanch, "which in Spain had lorded it over the people for more than three hundred and twenty years, had been an outrage to humanity, and a powerful engine of internal police in the hands of despots. Thus perished a tremendous and inconsistent power, which even in Rome no longer held sway; and though the triumph was unfortunately short, the daring and enlightened measure of the Cortes will ever remain on record as part of that great attempt to rally round the sacred standard of civil and religious liberty, as far as was possible in a country so benighted as that over which they presided; and, as a meritorious act, the destruction of the Inquisition thence entitles them to the respect of their contemporaries, and the gratitude of posterity."

But, alas! notwithstanding the abolition of this most detestable tribunal, and the praiseworthy efforts of many Spanish patriots to prevent its ever again disgracing their country, it is most distressing to be compelled to add, that it was soon afterwards re-established by Ferdinand VII. No sooner did that monarch find himself again in possession of the throne, for his restoration to which he was indebted to the valour of the British nation, than he annulled the acts of the Cortes, and re-established the Inquisition in its full powers. The following [Pg 116] are the terms of the edict, which set up anew this unjust court.

"The past tumults, and the war, which have desolated all the provinces of the kingdom for the space of six years—the residence therein during this period of foreign troops consisting of many sects, almost all infected with abhorrence and hatred of the Catholic religion, and the disorders these evils always bring with them, together with the little care latterly taken to regulate religious concerns are circumstances which have afforded wicked persons full scope to live according to their free will, and also given rise to the introduction and adoption of many pernicious opinions, through the same means by which they have been propagated in other countries," viz. the press: "Wherefore I have resolved that the council of the Inquisition, together with the other tribunals of the holy office, shall be restored, and for the present continue in the exercise of their jurisdiction, as well ecclesiastical—a power granted them by the popes at the request of my august predecessors, united with that vested in local prelates by virtue of their ministry—as also royal, conferred upon them by successive monarchs; the said tribunals, in the use of both jurisdictions, complying with the statutes by which they were governed in 1808, as well as the laws and regulations it had been deemed expedient to enact at various times, [Pg 117] in order to prevent certain abuses." Dated Madrid, July 21, 1814.

No sooner accordingly were the Inquisitors re-invested with power, than they began to display a similar spirit to that of their persecuting predecessors. On the 12th of February, 1815, they issued the following injunction to all confessors throughout European and American Spain.

"1st, Each one is with the greatest efficacy to persuade the penitent to accuse himself before the said confessor, of all the errors or heresies into which he may have fallen, without promising him the benefit of absolution in any other form, assuring him of the inviolable secrecy he will keep, and which is kept in the holy office, and that the smallest injury shall not thence result to him; rather that this measure will serve as a means to prevent his being punished, in case he should be accused by any other person of the errors and heresies which it behoves him to manifest, and to which he otherwise stands liable.

"2dly, In case he should consent, the confessor shall take down his declaration under oath to speak the truth, and the act shall bear the following heading: 'In the town of N., on such a day, month, and year, spontaneously appeared before me the undersigned confessor——(expressing his name, country, and profession.') The document shall then relate, in the most specific manner, all his errors and their accompanying circumstances, [Pg 118] the time and place in which he may have committed them, seen, or heard them committed; and if any persons were present, they are to be named, and he is also to specify of them all he knows. He is then to sign his declaration, if he knows how; and, if not, he is to make a cross, but the confessor is always to sign it.

"3dly, He (the confessor) shall cause him to abjure his heresy, and absolve him by reconciling him to the church; he shall moreover enjoin him secretly to confess all his errors, and impose on him such penance as he may deem fit; which being done, the whole is to be forwarded to the Holy Office.

"Finally, if the most efficacious persuasions have not been able to prevail on the penitent, in case he should evince due signs of repentance and detestation of his offences, the confessor shall absolve him from excommunication in the internal form only," (that is, not exempt him from the future prosecutions of the Inquisition,) "explaining this to him for his government and information. As soon as the statement of all this has been drawn up by the confessor, he is also to forward it to the Holy Office."

On the 5th of April, Don Francisco Xavier de Mier y Campillo, the Inquisitor-general, published an edict, offering a term of grace to those who had fallen into the crime of heresy, provided they denounced themselves before the end of the year; and declaring [Pg 119] that "Spain was infected by the new and dangerous doctrines which had ruined the greatest part of Europe." And on the 22d of July following, the Inquisitors issued an order for the suppression of almost every work which had been published in Spain during the revolution, subjecting every reader and retainer of any of the proscribed books to the most grievous punishments.

Thus, although both the king and the Inquisitors pretended that reformations had taken place in the holy tribunal, and the latter in particular boasted of the "sweetness and charity which are now used in the ecclesiastical procedure," yet it is evident that the re-established Inquisition differs little or nothing from that which was suppressed. It does not appear that a single public auto-da-fé has been celebrated since that period, [20] and it is to be hoped that a scene so barbarous will never again be exhibited in Spain; yet, [Pg 120] while that odious tribunal exists, who can be safe in that oppressed and degraded country? Its secret prisons, and its various modes of torture and other punishments, still remain. Spain, therefore, can never be happy, or its inhabitants one moment secure, while the falsely denominated "Holy Office" continues to enjoy the smallest footing in that kingdom.

Nor let these remarks be termed the effects of prejudice. On the contrary, it is proved by numerous living authors, who adduce facts, the best of all evidence, in support of their statements, that the procedure of the modern Inquisition is equally cruel with that of the ancient, excepting indeed the celebration of public autos-da-fé. Among these none give a more ample detail of the present state of the holy tribunal, than Lieut. Colonel Don Juan Van Halen, and Llorente. The former of these writers has published a narrative of his imprisonment in the dungeons of the Holy Office in 1817. He was confined first in the Inquisition of Murcia, and subsequently in that of Madrid, for the active part which he took in the exertions of the liberales to deliver their country from tyranny, both civil and ecclesiastical. He was arrested at Murcia, on the 21st of September, and all his papers were seized, among which were several that very nearly involved many eminent persons in the same persecution. Passing over the sufferings which he endured [Pg 121] while confined in the Inquisition of Murcia, we shall give here, in his own words, an account of part of those which were inflicted on him in Madrid.

"About eight o'clock at night, on the 20th of November," says he, "Don Juanita, (one of the Inquisitors,) entered my dungeon, with a lantern in his hand, followed by four other men, whose faces were concealed by a piece of black cloth, shaped above the head like a cowl, and falling over the shoulders and chest, in the middle of which were two holes for the eyes. I was half asleep when the noise of the doors opening awoke me, and, by the dim light of the lantern, I perceived those frightful apparitions. Imagining I was labouring under the effects of a dream, I earnestly gazed awhile on the group, till one of them approached, and, pulling me by the leather strap with which my arms were bound, gave me to understand by signs that I was to rise. Having obeyed his summons, my face was covered with a leather mask, and in this manner I was led out of the prison. After walking through various passages on a level with that of my dungeon, we entered a room, where I heard Zorilla (the other Inquisitor) order my attendants to untie the strap.

"'Listen, with great attention,' he then exclaimed, addressing me, 'since you have hitherto been deaf to the advice which this holy tribunal has repeatedly given you in [Pg 122] their spirit of peace, humanity, and religious charity. Propagator of secret and impious societies, established by the heresies of their members to destroy our holy religion and the august throne of our Catholic sovereign, you have maintained, for the space of a year, an uninterrupted correspondence with more than two hundred sectarians.... This holy tribunal has at last recourse to rigour. It will extort from you the truths, which neither the duty of a religious oath, demanded without violence, nor the mild admonitions which have been so often resorted to, in order to induce you to make the desired declarations, have been able to obtain. This evident pertinacity obliges us to use a salutary severity. We judge the cause of our Divine Redeemer and of our Catholic king, and we shall know to fulfil the high ministry with which the supreme spiritual and temporal authority has invested us. The most rigorous torments will be employed to obtain from you these truths, or you shall expire in the midst of them. All the charges I have just mentioned in a summary manner must be amply explained,—yes! amply explained! justice, God, and the king require that it should be so. This holy tribunal will fulfil their duties—yes!'

"The agitation of the moment permitted me to utter only a few words, which, however, were not listened to, and I was hurried away to the further end of the room, the jailer and his assistants exerting all their [Pg 123] strength to secure me. Having succeeded in raising me from the ground, they placed under my arm-pits two high crutches, from which I remained suspended; after which my right arm was tied to the corresponding crutch, whilst the left being kept in a horizontal position, they encased my hand open in a wooden glove extending to the wrist, which shut very tightly, and from which two large iron bars ran as far as the shoulder, keeping the whole in the same position in which it was placed. My waist and legs were similarly bound to the crutches by which I was supported; so that I shortly remained without any other action than that of breathing, though with difficulty.

"Having remained a short time in this painful position, that unmerciful tribunal returned to their former charges. Zorrilla, with a tremulous voice that seemed to evince his thirst for blood and vengeance, repeated the first of those he had just read, namely, whether I did not belong to a society whose object was to overthrow our holy religion, and the august throne of our Catholic sovereign? I replied that it was impossible I should plead guilty to an accusation of that nature. 'Without any subterfuge, say whether it is so,' he added, in an angry tone.

"'It is not, sir,' I replied. The glove which guided my arm, and which seemed to be resting on the edge of a wheel, began now to turn, and, with its movements, I felt [Pg 124] by degrees an acute pain, especially from the elbow to the shoulder, a general convulsion throughout my frame, and a cold sweat over-spreading my face. The interrogatory continued, but Zorrilla's question of 'Is it so? is it so?' were the only words that struck my ear amidst the excruciating pain I endured, which became so intense that I fainted away, and heard no more the voices of those cannibals.

"When I recovered my senses, I found myself stretched on the floor of my dungeon, my hands and feet secured with heavy fetters and manacles, fastened by a thick chain, the nails of which my tormentors were still riveting! Left by those wretches stretched in the same place, I could have wished that the doors, which closed after them, should never again open. Eternal sleep was all I desired, and all I asked of Heaven. It was after much difficulty that I dragged myself to my bed. It seemed to me that the noise of my chains would awaken the vigilance of my jailers, whose presence was to me the most fatal of my torments. I spent the whole of the night struggling with the intense pains which were the effects of the torture, and with the workings of my excited mind, which offered but a horrible perspective to my complicated misfortunes. This state of mental agitation, and the burning fever which was every moment increasing, soon threw me into a delirium, during which I scarcely noticed [Pg 125] the operation performed by my jailers, of opening the seams of my coat to examine the state of my arm."

Having undergone innumerable sufferings, his enemies being bent on his destruction, Van Halen at length succeeded, on the 30th of January, 1818, in making his escape from the prisons of the Inquisition; upon which he repaired successively to France, England, and Russia, returning to Spain in 1821.

Llorente again, records the following fact, which he says was given by one who was present when the Inquisition was thrown open in 1820, by orders of the Cortes of Madrid. Twenty-one prisoners were found in it, not one of whom knew the name of the city in which he was; some had been confined three years, some a longer period, and not one knew perfectly the nature of the crime of which he was accused. One of these prisoners had been condemned, and was to have suffered on the following day. His punishment was to be death by the pendulum. The method of thus destroying the victim is as follows:—The condemned is fastened in a groove upon a table, on his back; suspended above him is a pendulum, the edge of which is sharp, and it is so constructed as to become longer with every movement. The wretch sees this implement of destruction swinging to and fro above him, and every moment the keen edge approaching nearer and nearer: at length it cuts [Pg 126] the skin of his nose, and gradually cuts on, until life is extinct. It may be doubted if the Holy Office, in its mercy, ever invented a more humane and rapid method of exterminating heresy, or ensuring confiscation! This, let it be remembered, was a punishment of the secret tribunal, A. D., 1820!!

How, indeed, is it possible that any amelioration can have taken place in the Inquisition, that great bulwark of Rome, when Popery, and the measures of the Holy See, continue unaltered? Though not bearing directly on the point in hand, yet illustrative of the hatred which the Romish Church bears to Protestants and to their works, and of her determination still to persecute when in her power all who dare to call in question any of her dogmas, the following extracts from a speech delivered before the British Parliament, in May, 1825, by Sir Robert H. Inglis, are submitted to the reader;—"I will tell you," said the Honourable Baronet, "not what the literature of the Church of Rome is, but what it is not. Her tyranny over literature, her proscription at this day of all the great masters of the human mind, can be paralleled only by the tyranny and the proscription which she exercised five centuries ago over the minds and bodies alike. The volume which I hold in my hand—the Index Librorum Prohibitorum—contains a list of the books which are at this time proscribed in the Church of Rome under the penalties [Pg 127] of the Inquisition. It was printed at Rome, by authority, in 1819, and I bought it there in 1821. [21] The first book in this great catalogue of works, which are taken from the faithful every where, and are given up to the Inquisition, is 'Bacon de Augmentis Scientiarum.' 'Locke on the Human Understanding,' and 'Cudworth's Intellectual System,' follow in the train. Many other English works are proscribed. One only I will mention, the 'Paradise Lost' of Milton. The reading of the work was interdicted, indeed, nearly a hundred years ago; but the prohibition was renewed in 1819. Is not this enough to prove that the character of the Church of Rome is not so open to a beneficial change as some of my honourable friends are willing to hope and believe it to be? I pass over large classes of books, the very possession of which is forbidden, but I must notice the impartial prohibition of science. Will the House believe it possible, that the celebrated sentence, in 1633, against Galileo—a sentence immortalized by the execration of science in every country where the mind is free—should be renewed and published in 1819? Yet of this fact I hold the proof in my hand, in the volume of the 'Index,' which I have already quoted. The work of Algarotti, on the Newtonian system, shares the same fate: so that every modification [Pg 128] of science—in other words, every effort of free inquiry—every attempt to disengage the mind from the trammels of authority, is alike and universally consigned to the Inquisition. Am I not justified in saying that the Church of Rome remains unchanged, the unchangeable enemy to the progress of the human mind? Every other institution is advancing with sails set, and banners streaming, on the high, yet still rising tide of improvement: the Church of Rome alone remains fixed and bound to the bottom of the stream, by a chain which can neither be lengthened nor removed."


[16] Constantine Ponce de la Fuente, one of the victims, was persecuted with so great a degree of barbarity, that he exclaimed, "My God, were there no Scythians or cannibals into whose hands to deliver me, rather than to let me fall into the power of these barbarians!"—Olmedus, another sufferer at Seville, who died in prison from bad treatment, was once heard to exclaim, "Throw me any where, O my God, so that I may but escape the hands of these wretches."

[17] The unspeakable cruelty and inhumanity exhibited at an auto-da-fé, with its effects on the public mind are exhibited briefly in the following account:—"Amid this horrid exhibition scenes of atrocity occurred which it is appalling even to describe. Those about to be put to death were teased by Jesuits to recant. The executioners and these ghostly attendants united their endeavours to add to the misery of their victims; and when there was no hope of recantation, they were left in the hand of him who was supposed to be the fomenter of their heresy—Satan. When the priests abandoned them, a shout was raised by the people. This was like the death-knell, and, amid coarse and ribald expressions, blazing furze was first thrust into the faces of the sufferers. This inhumanity was commonly continued until the face was black as coal, and was accompanied with loud acclamations from the spectators. If the wind was moderate, the agony of the murdered men lasted perhaps for half an hour, but on other occasions an hour and a half or two hours were needed to terminate their sufferings.

"In the year 1706, Mr. Wilcox, afterwards bishop of Rochester, was chaplain to the English factory at Lisbon, and furnished Burnet, bishop of Salisbury, with the following account of an auto-da-fé, at which Wilcox attended as a spectator. 'Five condemned persons appeared,' he says, 'but only four were burnt—Antonio Travanes being reprieved after the procession. Heytor Dias and Maria Pinteyra were burned alive, and the other two were strangled. The woman,' says Wilcox, 'was alive in the flames for half an hour, and the man above an hour. The king and his brother were seated at a window so near as to be addressed for a considerable time, in very moving terms, by the man as he was burning; and though he asked only a few more faggots, he was not able to obtain them. Those who were burned alive,' Wilcox continues, 'are seated on a bench twelve feet high, fastened to a pole, and above six feet higher than the faggots. The wind being a little fresh, the man's hinder parts were perfectly roasted; and as he turned himself, his ribs opened before he ceased to speak, the fire being recruited only so far as to keep him in the same degree of heat. All his entreaties could not procure for him a larger allowance of wood to shorten his misery and despatch him.'

"'But, though out of hell,' says one who witnessed an auto-da-fé, 'there cannot possibly be a more lamentable spectacle than this, added to the sufferers (as long as they can speak) crying out, 'Misericordia por amor di Dios!' (Mercy, for the love of God!) yet it is beheld by people of both sexes, and all ages, with such transports of joy and satisfaction as are not, on any other occasion, to be met with.' He adds, at another place:

"'That the reader may not think that this inhuman joy is the effect of a natural cruelty that is in these people's dispositions, and not of the spirit of their religion, he may rest assured that all public malefactors, except heretics, have their violent deaths nowhere more tenderly lamented than amongst the same people, even when there is nothing in the manner of their deaths that appears inhuman or cruel.'"

[18] See Appendix, No. II.

[19] "The Inquisition," says Salgado, "is subject to no other laws, but arbitrarily racks souls, and murders bodies, of which there are clouds of witnesses,—men condemned, because the Inquisition would be cruel. What blasphemy in this tribunal ever to pretend to be actuated by a divine impulse, where every brick seems a conjuring spell, and every officer a tormenting fiend; for suppose a Jew, a Mahometan, or a Christian, in their hands, what do they pretend to do with such an one? Would they chastise him? What need have they then of so many officers? Why such scandalous methods, as a secret chamber, an unseen tribunal, invisible witnesses, a perfidious secretary, and merciless servants,—confiscation of goods through fraud and guile, keepers as hard hearted as the relentless walls, the fiscal mutes, the shameful sanbenitos, unrighteous racks, a theatre filled with horror to astonish the prisoner, a hypocritical sentence, a disguised executioner, and a peremptory judgment? In all the times of Paganism, no such Roman tribunal was ever erected. In their amphitheatres, men had not quite put off humanity; those condemned to die were exposed to wild beasts to be torn to pieces, they knew their executioner; but here the condemned are tormented by disguised ones;—men they should be by their shape, but devils by their fierceness and cruelty."

[20] "I myself," says the Rev. Joseph Blanco White, "saw the pile on which the last victim was sacrificed to Roman infallibility. It was an unhappy woman whom the Inquisition of Seville committed to the flames, under the charge of heresy, about forty years ago, (this was written in 1825.) She perished on a spot where thousands had met the same fate. I lament from my heart, that the structure which supported their melting limbs, was destroyed during the late convulsions. It should have been preserved, with the infallible and immutable canon of the Council of Trent over it, for the detestation of future ages."

[21] A copy of this work is to be found in the Franklin Library in Philadelphia.


The horrid procedure of the Inquisition is never calculated to make converts—the punishments inflicted by it encourage hypocrisy—it frequently condemns the innocent—the Inquisitors proved to be actuated by avarice in their condemnation of prisoners—other offences besides heresy taken cognizance of by the Holy Office—its flagrant injustice—its barbarous proceedings against the dead.

Having given a historical sketch of the "Holy Office," falsely so called, more particularly as it exists in Spain, we shall now select several instances, in addition to those which have been already noticed, of the sufferings of individuals, who have unhappily [Pg 129] fallen into the hands of the Inquisitors, those declared enemies of humanity.

Notwithstanding all the efforts of the Inquisitors to force their prisoners to accuse themselves, in order to escape a cruel and ignominious death, multitudes have continued steadfast in the truth, and submitted to be "tortured, not accepting deliverance," nay "gave their bodies to be burned," rather than, by a cowardly confession, to accuse themselves unjustly, and wound their own consciences. In proof of this we select the following interesting cases.

In the auto-da-fé which was celebrated at Valladolid in 1559, Don Carlos de Sessa, a nobleman of Verona, was among the number of those who were burnt for having espoused the doctrines of the Reformation. He was arrested at Logrogna, and confined in the secret prisons of the Inquisition at Valladolid. After undergoing the usual examinations, his sentence was read to him on the 7th of October, by which he was informed that he was to suffer death on the following day. Unmoved by the tidings, De Sessa requested pen and ink, and wrote his confession, which was not a recantation of his faith, but a firm adherence to the reformed principles. In these principles,—the very reverse of those which are taught by the apostate Church of Rome,—he declared that he was determined, to die, and would give himself to God through the merits of his Redeemer, [Pg 130] the Lord Jesus Christ. His persecutors vehemently exhorted him during the night, and on the following morning, to retract; but without success. He was accordingly gagged, that he might be prevented from stating his principles to the people. When he was fastened to the stake, the gag was taken from his mouth, and he was again exhorted to return to the Romish faith, in which case the Inquisitors would have extended their mercy so far, as to have strangled him first before he was burnt. But with a loud voice, and great firmness, De Sessa replied, "If I had sufficient time, I would convince you, that you are lost, by not following my example. Hasten to light the wood, which is to consume me." Fire was then set to the pile, and, after great suffering, his body was consumed to ashes.

Dr. Juan Gonzalez, who suffered at Seville in 1559, was descended of Moorish ancestors, and at twelve years of age had been imprisoned on suspicion of Mahometanism. He afterwards became one of the most celebrated preachers in Andalusia, and a protestant. In the midst of the torture, which he bore with unshrinking fortitude, he told the Inquisitors, that his sentiments, though opposite to those of the Church of Rome, rested on plain and express declarations of the word of God, and that nothing would induce him to inform against his brethren. When brought out on the morning of the auto, he appeared [Pg 131] with a cheerful and undaunted air, though he had left his mother and two brothers behind him in prison, and was accompanied by two sisters, who, like himself, were doomed to the flames. At the door of the Triana he began to sing the 109th Psalm, and on the scaffold he addressed a few words of consolation to one of his sisters, who seemed to him to wear a look of dejection, upon which the gag was instantly thrust into his mouth.—With unaltered mien he listened to the sentence adjudging him to the flames, and submitted to the humiliating ceremonies by which he was degraded from the priesthood. When they were brought to the place of execution, the friars urged the females, in repeating the creed, to insert the word Roman in the clause relating to the Catholic Church. Wishing to procure liberty to him to bear his dying testimony, they said they would do as their brother did. The gag being removed, Juan Gonzalez exhorted them to add nothing to the good confession which they had already made. Instantly the executioners were ordered to strangle them, and one of the friars turning to the crowd exclaimed, that they had died in the Roman faith,—a falsehood which the Inquisitors did not choose to repeat in their narrative of the proceedings.

The case of Isaac Orobio, who was accused of Judaism before the Inquisition at Seville, gives another striking example of [Pg 132] firmness amidst tortures the most excruciating. It would be exceedingly painful to recur to this diabolical practice—the anguish which Orobio endured during the torture by the rack, the pulley, and several other engines of cruelty equally horrid, being such as is sufficient to freeze the very blood in the veins. It is enough to state, that one torment after another, all of them the most agonizing, were inflicted on him, with a view to make him confess: but all to no purpose. He was accordingly carried back to his dungeon, where he was attended by the physician of the Inquisition, and nearly three months elapsed before he was able to walk about his cell. Having made no confession while undergoing the torture, he was condemned, not as being convicted, but as being suspected of Judaism, to wear the infamous sanbenito for two years, and afterwards to perpetual banishment.

On the other hand, many examples might be produced in order to prove, that even although the terrors of torture and of death may lead a prisoner to confess—the Inquisition, far from effecting any change of sentiment, is suited only to encourage hypocrisy. One of these was exhibited in the case of Benanat, a clergyman, in Catalonia, about the year 1334. Having been condemned to the flames for holding sentiments different from those of the Romish creed, he was placed on the pile, and the faggots kindled. [Pg 133] But when one of his sides was scorched, and the pain had become so great that he could not endure it, he cried out to be removed, for he was ready to abjure. He was accordingly taken down, and on abjuring, was reconciled to the Church; but fourteen years afterwards it was discovered that he had continued to adhere to his former opinions. Imprisoned a second time, and placed on the burning pile, he died persisting in his heresy, as most probably he would have done at his former condemnation, if the first sentence, like the second, had been irrevocable.

The author of the History of the Inquisition at Goa, the Sieur Dellon, gives us two other examples which occurred about the middle of the seventeenth century; the first in the case of a very rich new Christian, that is, a converted Jew, named Lewis Pezoa, who, with his whole family, had, by some of his enemies, been accused of secret Judaism. Himself, his wife, two sons, and one daughter, together with several other relatives who resided with him, were accordingly apprehended and confined in the secret prisons of the Inquisition at Coimbra. Pezoa, however, not only denied, but completely refuted the crime of which he was accused; and demanded that the names of his accusers might be given him, that he might convict them of falsehood. Yet all this availed him nothing. He was condemned to be delivered over to the secular power; and intimation of this [Pg 134] sentence was delivered to him fifteen days before it was pronounced. The Duke de Cadoval, who was very intimate with the Inquisitor-general, having ascertained the situation in which Pezoa was placed, and understanding that, unless he confessed previous to his appearing at the auto-da-fé, he could not escape the fire—remonstrated in so urgent a manner with the Inquisitor, that he at length obtained the promise that the sentence of death passed upon Pezoa should be commuted, provided he confessed either before or at the place of execution. The Duke in vain exerted all his ingenuity to prevail on Pezoa to confess. On the day appointed for the auto-da-fé, accordingly, Pezoa came forth, wearing the sanbenito and coroza, and proceeded with the other individuals who were condemned to the place of execution. His friends, now more anxious for his deliverance than ever, besought him with tears, in the name of the Duke de Cadoval, and by all that was dear to him, to preserve his life; intimating, that if he would confess, the Duke had obtained his pardon from the Inquisitor-general, and would make up for him the property which had been confiscated. All, however, still proved fruitless. Pezoa continued to protest his innocence, and constantly affirmed that the crime laid to his charge was a falsehood, invented by his enemies, who were anxious for his destruction. At the conclusion of the procession, the sentences of [Pg 135] those who were condemned to perform certain penances were first read; but previous to the ceremony of delivering the relapsed to the secular power, the friends of Pezoa again entreated him with so much importunity and earnestness, that his constancy was at length overcome; when, rising up, he exclaimed, "Come then, let us go and confess the crimes I am falsely accused of, and thereby gratify the desires of my friends." His confession having been received, he was remanded to prison. After two years further confinement, he was compelled again to appear at a public auto-da-fé, and sentenced to five years additional imprisonment, to banishment to the galleys for another five years, and confiscation of his property. While at the galleys, he learned for the first time that his wife and daughter had died in prison shortly after their confinement; and that his two sons, less firm than himself, had made a timely confession, and were sentenced to banishment for ten years.

The other case noticed by the same writer, is that of the major of a regiment, who was accused of Judaism, by persons who seemed to have no other means of saving their own lives than that of confessing themselves to be guilty of the same crime, and naming many innocent persons as their accomplices, in order to discover the witnesses who had deposed against them. On his apprehension, the poor officer was thrown into the secret prisons of [Pg 136] the holy office, and often examined for the purpose of drawing from his own lips an avowal of the cause of his imprisonment. Not being able, however, to declare what he was ignorant of, he was informed, at the end of two years, that he was accused and convicted in due form of being an apostate Jew. This he positively declared to be false, solemnly protesting that he had never deviated from the Christian faith. Every effort was now made by the Inquisitors to lead him to confess. Not only his life, but the restoration of his property, was promised; but all to no purpose. It was then attempted to intimidate him, by threatening him with a cruel death. Nothing, however, could shake his resolution; and he boldly told the judges that he would rather die innocent, than save his life by a meanness which would bring on him everlasting infamy. The Duke d'Aveira, who was then Inquisitor-general, was very desirous of saving the major's life. He accordingly one day privately paid him a visit, and urgently entreated him to seize the opportunity which he enjoyed of avoiding punishment, by making confession. The major, however, displayed a determined resolution not to wound his conscience, or injure his reputation, by acknowledging crimes which he never committed. Irritated at his constancy, the Inquisitor-general passionately addressed him in language to the following import:—"We will rather cause you to be burnt as guilty, [Pg 137] than allow it to be supposed that we have imprisoned you without cause!" At the approach of the auto-da-fé, the major was apprised of his sentence, which was to be burnt alive, and a confessor was sent to his dungeon in order to prepare him for his execution. Overcome by the fear of a death so horrid, the major at length resolved to play the hypocrite; and, on the evening previous to the bloody ceremony, he acknowledged every thing, however false, that had been laid to his charge. He was accordingly led out in the procession with a robe on which the flames were reversed, to intimate that by his confession, though late, he had escaped death, to which he had been condemned by the holy tribunal. All the other promises of the Inquisitor-general were forgotten. His property was confiscated, and himself sentenced to the galleys for five years.

It has been clearly shown, that the Inquisitors not unfrequently condemn the innocent to the flames, under the pretence of Judaism or heresy, while the chief motive of these unjust judges evidently is, to obtain possession of their property. This will still further appear from the proceedings which were instituted against Melchior Hernandez, a rich merchant of Murcia, who was imprisoned in the Inquisition of that place in 1564. At his first audience, he was accused of having frequented a clandestine synagogue in Murcia, and of having acted and discoursed in a manner [Pg 138] that proved his apostasy from the Christian faith. [22] There were nine witnesses produced against him; but Melchior not only denied all their averments, but showed that their evidence was contradictory, and that several of them were his avowed enemies.

After repeated audiences, in which this unhappy person was exceedingly harassed, he at length told his judges, that he remembered being in a house in 1553, where several persons, whom he named, were present, and discoursed on the law of Moses, but that he himself did not join in the conversation. Nothing more could be forced from him, though he was subjected to the torture; and accordingly, on the 18th of October, 1566, he was declared to be a Jewish heretic, and condemned to the flames. On the day of his execution, the 9th of December, the fear of death induced him to accuse fourteen or fifteen individuals as forming part of the assembly, and to confess that he himself believed for twelve months what was said in the Mosaic Law; but that he had not confessed, because he thought there was no proof of his heresy in the depositions of the witnesses. In consequence of this confession, Melchior was remanded to prison, instead of being conducted to the place of execution.

[Pg 139]

From this period till the 8th of June 1567, when it was again determined he should be burnt, Melchior was admitted to numerous audiences, and closely questioned, for the purpose of eliciting from him further evidence of his own heresy, and new accusations against others. In order to escape a second time, he denounced a great number of individuals, and added new accusations against himself. The execution of the sentence was accordingly for some time longer suspended, in the hope of his accusing more of his acquaintances. But after fifteen audiences, having made no more disclosures, he was sentenced for the third time to be committed to the flames. Still desirous to save his life, on the day appointed, Melchior had recourse to the same expedients as formerly, pretending that he remembered others who were guilty; and in five subsequent audiences he not only accused many individuals, but added greatly to the list of crimes alleged to have been committed by himself.

The Inquisitors then told him, "That he was still guilty of concealment, in not mentioning several persons not less distinguished and well known than those he had already denounced, and that he could not be supposed to have forgotten them." Confounded at the injustice and barbarity of his oppressors, Melchior exclaimed, "What can you do to me? burn me? well, then, be it so: I cannot confess what I do not know. Know, [Pg 140] however, that all those whom I have accused, are perfectly innocent. I have invented what I said, because I perceived that you wished me to denounce innocent persons; and, unacquainted with the names and quality of these unfortunate people, I named all whom I could think of, in the hope of finding an end of my misery. I now perceive that my situation admits of no relief, and I therefore retract all my depositions; and now I have fulfilled this duty, burn me as soon as you please." Hardened in their iniquity, the Inquisitors condemned Melchior for the last time to suffer death on the 7th of June. Previous to this, however, they again and again solicited him to retract his last declaration; but all they could obtain from him was, "That he knew nothing of the subject on which he was examined."

The Inquisitors then asked him how this declaration could be true, seeing he had several times declared that he had attended the Jewish assemblies, believed in their doctrines, and persevered in the belief for the space of one year, until he was undeceived by a priest. "I spoke falsely," replied Melchior, "when I made a declaration against myself." "But how is it," rejoined the Inquisitors, "that what you have confessed of yourself, and many other things which you now deny, are the result of the depositions of a great many witnesses?" "I do not know if that is true or false," answered Melchior, "for I have [Pg 141] not seen the writings of the trial; but if the witnesses have said that which is imputed to them, it is because they were placed in the same situation as I am. They do not love me better than I love myself; and I have certainly declared against myself both truth and falsehood." "What motive had you for declaring things injurious to yourself, if they were false?" said the Inquisitors. "I did not think it would be injurious to me," replied Melchior; "on the contrary, I expected to derive great advantages from it; because I saw that if I did not confess any thing, I should be considered as impenitent, and the truth would lead me to the scaffold. I thought that falsehood would be most useful to me, as I found it to be so in two autos-da-fé."

Before his execution, Melchior made the following declaration:—"That at the point of appearing before the tribunal of the Almighty, and without any hope of escaping from death by new delays, he thought himself bound to declare that he had never conversed on the Mosaic Law; that all he had said on the subject was founded on the wish to preserve life, and the belief that his confessions were pleasing to the Inquisitors; that he asked pardon of the persons implicated, that God might pardon him, and that no injury might be done to their honour and reputation." After making this declaration, Melchior was burnt, and all his property seized.

Throughout the whole of the proceedings [Pg 142] in this case we discover nothing but injustice, avarice, and cruelty; while, on the other hand, the effect of all the punishments inflicted on this unhappy victim of Inquisitorial vengeance, tended only to force him for some time to be guilty of hypocrisy.

That avarice, indeed, was one of the chief motives which influenced the Inquisitors to commit so many cruelties, is evident from numerous facts; one or two of which, in addition, we shall notice here. Nicolas Burton, an Englishman, was apprehended by the Inquisition at Seville, and after enduring many indignities and sufferings, was burnt for his attachment to the Protestant faith. At his commitment, all his property, a great part of which belonged to English merchants for whom he was factor, was seized. One of these merchants, on hearing of the imprisonment of Burton, and the sequestration of his effects, sent an attorney of the name of Frontom to Spain, for the purpose of recovering his property. But after daily solicitations, attended by no inconsiderable expense, during the period of four months, the Inquisitors informed him that more documents from England were required. Four months additional were thus consumed, and more money expended, in attending to all the forms of that wily court, all to no purpose. The importunity of Frontom at length tired out the patience of the Inquisitors, but determined to keep possession of the property so unjustly [Pg 143] acquired, they appointed a day when Frontom should appear before them, and on which they promised to put a period to the matter which had remained so long unsettled. Frontom appeared at the time appointed; but instead of restoring the effects of his employer, they threw him into the secret prisons of the Inquisition. After lying there for four days, he was admitted to an audience; but instead of entering on the business of the English merchant, the Inquisitors commanded him to recite the "Ave Mary." Not wishing to irritate them, Frontom repeated the words following: "Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is Jesus, the fruit of thy womb. Amen." This was enough. He had omitted these words: "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,"—an omission which implied that he did not believe in the intercession of saints. The consequence was, that after being confined in his dungeon till the next auto-da-fé, he was condemned to wear the sanbenito as suspected of heresy; all his employer's property was confiscated, and he himself doomed to suffer a further imprisonment for twelve months!

Another example of Inquisitorial avarice is given by Gonsalvius Montanus. About the middle of the seventeenth century, an English vessel having entered the port of Cadiz, was searched as usual by the familiars of the Inquisition. Several persons on [Pg 144] board were immediately seized, as being suspected of heresy, among whom was a child about twelve years of age, the son of the proprietor of the vessel. Their pretext for apprehending this boy was, that he had in his possession the Psalms of David in English—though the real cause of his imprisonment was evidently the knowledge which they had acquired of his father's wealth, and to serve as a screen for confiscating both the ship and her cargo. This accordingly took place; but the boy, instead of being liberated after this unjust seizure, was detained so long in prison, that he lost the use of both his legs. He was subsequently removed from one place of confinement to another: and his afflicted father, notwithstanding his efforts to procure his release, met only with the most heart-rending repulses. What became of the child never was known; though it appears that he resisted all their solicitations to embrace the Romish faith, and adhered so firmly to the truths which he had been taught in his father's house, that the jailer himself once exclaimed, that "he was already grown a great little heretic."

But the Inquisitors do not confine their prosecutions to those who are accused of the crime of heresy. An offence, however trivial, committed against any of the fraternity of the holy office, is summarily visited with the utmost severity. For example, [Pg 145] what can be more disgusting than the following puerile yet tyrannical conduct of the Inquisitors of Seville, as related by Gonsalvius? "The bishop of Terragone," says that author, "chief Inquisitor at Seville, went one summer for his diversion to some gardens, situate by the sea side, with all his Inquisitorial family, and walked out, according to custom, with his episcopal attendants. A child of the gardener, two or three years old, accidently sat playing upon the side of a pond in the garden, where the bishop was taking his pleasure. One of the boys who attended his lordship snatched out of the hand of the gardener's child a reed with which he was playing, and made him cry. Hearing his child crying, the gardener came to the place, and ascertaining the cause, he desired the boy to restore the reed to the child. But this having been refused, accompanied by the most offensive and insolent expressions, the gardener took it from him, in effecting which, he slightly scratched the boy's hand. Like all who are connected with the holy tribunal, the boy resolved to be revenged, and complained to the Inquisitor of the treatment which he had received. The gardener was immediately apprehended, thrown into the prisons of the Inquisition, and loaded with irons; and his wife and children were reduced to absolute beggary. After suffering nine months' confinement, the holy office thought fit to release him, with the [Pg 146] consolatory intimation, that they had dealt with him much more mercifully than his crime deserved."

The following case, related by the same writer, will show still further the flagrant injustice of Inquisitorial tribunals. "There was, at Seville, a certain poor man," says that author, in his own homely style, "who daily maintained himself and his family by the sweat of his brow. A certain parson detained his wife from him by violence, neither the Inquisition nor any other tribunal punishing this heinous injury. As the poor man was one day talking about purgatory with some other persons of his own circumstances, he happened to say, rather out of rustic simplicity than any certain design, that he truly had enough of purgatory already, by the rascally parson's violently detaining from him his wife. This speech was reported to the good parson, and gave him a handle to double the poor man's injury, by accusing him to the Inquisitors as having a false opinion concerning purgatory; and this the holy tribunal thought more worthy of punishment than the parson's wickedness. The poor wretch was taken up for this trifling speech, kept in the prisons of the Inquisition for two years, and at length compelled to walk in procession at an auto-da-fé, wearing the infamous sanbenito. After suffering another three years' imprisonment, he was dismissed. Neither did they spare the poor creature any [Pg 147] thing of his little substance, though they did his wife to the parson, but adjudged all the remains of what he had after his long imprisonment, to the exchequer of the Inquisition."

Large promises of pardon and favour are usually held out by the Inquisitors to all who voluntarily accuse themselves of crimes which are hidden from the eye of man. But whoever thus puts himself in their power, finds to his sad experience, that the promises of Inquisitors are no more than wind, and intended only for a snare to catch the unwary. Of this we shall select only one example, from many which might be given. In 1644, Antonius de Vega, allured by the professions of sympathy and kindness which the Inquisitors pretended to show to all who voluntarily made confession of their crimes before the holy tribunal, accused himself of having, at a former period of his life, entertained the opinion that a man might be saved by the law of Moses. This error, however, he had long since renounced, and he therefore begged the promised absolution from the judges of the holy office. But, alas! what must have been his astonishment and horror, to hear the mild and merciful lords of the Inquisition order him to be confined in the dungeons appropriated for heretics! After three years' imprisonment, the miserable confessor was condemned to appear at an auto da-fé, [Pg 148] wearing the sanbenito, his property was confiscated, and himself banished. [23]

"Not lions crouching in their dens
Surprise their heedless prey
With greater cunning, or express
More savage rage than they."

Even the death of a prisoner is no barrier against the fury of the Inquisition, or the grave an asylum against its persecutions. His bones, in the event of being buried, are dug out of the grave and burnt, his memory is declared infamous, and his children are disinherited. Many are the instances of this barbarous practice on record, the chief motives of the holy tribunal in thus waging war with the dead, being to gain possession of their property. In proof of this, we shall notice the two following examples only.

In the first auto-da-fé at Valladolid in 1559, Donna Leonora de Vibero, the mother of five children, who appeared as criminals on this occasion, had died some years before, and was buried in a sepulchral chapel of which she was the proprietress. No suspicion of heresy was attached to her at the time of her death; but, on the imprisonment of her children, the fiscal of the Inquisition [Pg 149] at Valladolid commenced a process against her; and certain witnesses under the torture having deponed that her house was used as a temple for the Lutherans, sentence was passed, declaring her to have died in a state of heresy, her memory to be infamous, and her property confiscated; and ordering her bones to be dug up, and, together with her effigy, publicly committed to the flames; her house to be razed, the ground on which it stood to be sown with salt, and a pillar, with an inscription stating the cause of its demolition, to be erected on the spot. All this was done, and the last mentioned monument of fanaticism and ferocity against the dead was to be seen until the year 1809, when it was removed during the occupation of Spain by the French.

The other case referred to is of a later date. In the beginning of the seventeenth century, Marc Antonio de Dominis, archbishop of Spalatro, was considered one of the most learned men of his age, particularly in divinity and history, both sacred and profane. His learning made him inquisitive, and it was at length discovered that he had embraced the doctrines of the Reformation. Having written a large work on the Christian Church, he was exceedingly desirous of having it published during his lifetime; but this he was aware could not be accomplished in Italy. Sir Henry Wotton, who was at that time the English ambassador at Venice, [Pg 150] gave Dominis a letter from James I. King of Britain, inviting him to come to England. This invitation was accepted by Dominis, and enjoying the patronage of James, who settled a pension on him suitable to his dignity, he published the work which he had so much at heart. Happy would it have been for him had he remained in England; but the pope, the Inquisition, and the Spanish ambassador, made such vast offers both of pardon and remuneration, as first shook his resolution, and finally induced him to accept of them. The unhappy prelate forgot, on this occasion, what he had often repeated in his works, namely, that the court of Rome never forgets or forgives an affront.

He accordingly set out for Rome, in spite of all the arguments of his friends in England to the contrary, who represented to him the danger to which he exposed himself, and how difficult, if not impossible, it would be for him to escape. The result was such as might have been expected; for no sooner did he arrive in Italy, than he was arrested and confined in the prisons of the Inquisition at Rome. His trial went on very slowly, and he at length died in prison, according to some authors, "through the effects of poison administered to him by his own relations, in order to spare him and themselves the shame of his being brought out in an auto-da-fé."

Disappointed in their expectation of putting Dominis to death by the hand of the executioner, [Pg 151] the Inquisitors determined to inflict the punishment proposed on his dead body. On the 21st of December, 1624, accordingly, in the church of St. Mary, and amidst a large concourse of spectators, his sentence was read as follows:—"That Marc Antonio de Dominis, having been convicted of heresy, was found to have incurred all the censures and penalties appointed to heretics by the sacred canons and papal constitutions; they accordingly declared him to be deprived of honours, prerogatives, and ecclesiastical dignities, condemned his memory, excommunicated him from the ecclesiastical court, and delivered over his dead body and effigy into the power of the governor of the city, that he might inflict on it the punishment due, according to the rule and practice of the Church. And finally, they commanded his impious and heretical writings to be publicly burnt, and declared all his effects to be forfeited to the exchequer of the Holy Inquisition." This sentence was carried into effect the same day, amidst a vast concourse of spectators, with all the mock solemnity which characterizes the proceedings of that infamous tribunal.


[22] It ought to be noticed here, that Melchior was of Jewish extraction, though himself a Christian, and his enemies pretended that he was secretly attached to the religion of his forefathers.

[23] The homely and ludicrous remark of Salgado, who relates this story, is far from being inapplicable: "Though this action," says he, "was voluntary, and deserved forgiveness, yet, as in the English proverb, it is, confess and be hanged."

[Pg 152]


Hostility of the Inquisition to the progress of literature and science—examples—freemasonry a peculiar object of persecution by the holy tribunal—interesting trial of M. Tournon—cruelty of the Inquisition in the nineteenth century—affecting account of the sufferings of Don Miguel Juan Antonio Solano—remarks by Puigblanch on the iniquitous procedure of the holy office.

We have already seen, in the case of the famous Galileo, the determined opposition of the Inquisition to the progress of science. Many other examples of a similar kind might be added. Not content with exerting a rigid censorship over the press, the Inquisitors intruded into private houses, ransacked the libraries of the learned and curious, and carried off and retained at their pleasure, such books as they in their ignorance suspected to be of a dangerous character, besides inflicting punishment on their owners. So late as the beginning of the eighteenth century, we find Manuel Martini, dean of Alicant, and one of the most enlightened of his countrymen in that age, complaining bitterly in his confidential correspondence of what he suffered from such proceedings.

Under the reign of the fanatical Philip V., Don Melchior de Macanez, one of the most learned statesmen in Spain, having drawn up [Pg 153] a report by order of the king, at a time when it was in agitation to suspend the remittances of money with which Spain then supplied Rome, was compelled to take refuge in France, in order to avoid being immured in the dungeons of the Inquisition. His property was in the meantime seized, and himself excommunicated. After an exile of ten years, during which he made numerous supplications to his faithless sovereign, he was at length recalled with the promise of pardon. But on his arrival in Spain he was arrested and confined in the Inquisition of Segovia, till the reign of Charles III.

Luis de Leon, Professor of Scripture in the University of Salamanca, was apprehended and imprisoned in the Inquisition, for making a version of the Song of Solomon for his private use. For this heinous crime, he was condemned to solitary confinement for no less than five years. The professors of the Hebrew and Chaldean languages, and of Rhetoric and Greek, in the same University, were likewise arrested and imprisoned by the holy tribunal, for publishing works eminently calculated to improve the mind, and advance the literature of their country.

The Inquisition, indeed, "has at all times evinced towards learned men the greatest enmity, and has driven many to the brink of the precipice through its absurd and violent conduct, or caused them to separate from the [Pg 154] Roman Catholic Church, particularly when they have been animated by more than ordinary zeal. Aonius Palearius, whose singular merit, and disastrous end wrest from historians the most lively sentiments of compassion, may serve as an example of this fatal truth. His merit was universally acknowledged, not only on the score of philosophy, of which he was a professor in Milan, when he was arrested, and where he had besides published an estimable Latin poem, on the immortality of the soul, as well as several orations in the same language, but also as far as regards theology, which, notwithstanding he was a secular, and married, he possessed in an eminent degree. Many cardinals, and even Pope Paul IV., honoured him with their friendship; and Philip II. granted him certain privileges, and ordered a large salary to be assigned him for his subsistence. His zeal was particularly displayed in drawing up a charge, or, as he calls it, a declaration against the Roman Pontiffs, as corrupters of discipline, which he addressed to Charles V. and the three other Christian princes, in order to excite attention to this subject on the convocation of a general council, at that time agitated, and which ended in that of Trent. This paper was in the meantime deposited in the hands of his friends, in case he should previously die, or the Inquisition, which had already threatened [Pg 155] him, should sacrifice him, as it afterwards did. [24]

"Without entering into a long enumeration of all the sciences, as well as of the persons who have been eminent therein, it would not be possible to give a complete idea of the individuals who have suffered by the proceedings of the Inquisition; John Reuchlin, in Germany—Picus, Prince of Mirandula, in Italy—Peter Ramus in France—and [Pg 156] Desiderius Erasmus, every where—had to endure the lash of this infernal fury; yet no nation has thereby suffered so much as Spain. In the seventeenth century, father Pedro de Soto, a wise and pious writer—father Juan de Villagarcia, professor of theology at Oxford—and in general all the learned men who at that time visited England, became its victims. Father José de Sigüenza, a diligent and polished historian—and in more recent times, many distinguished individuals, by their acquirements in history, theology, mathematics, politics, philology, &c., became objects of Inquisitorial vengeance. Finally, within late years, not a few enlightened persons of literary pursuits and known probity, have had to drag a miserable existence within the walls of the Inquisition, on account of denunciations ridiculous and chimerical, or have been admonished or threatened by it. Even in the way of artists of any pre-eminence, this tribunal has placed obstacles. A navigator, who, by discovering a new route, had performed a voyage in less than the customary time—a master of the first rudiments, who, by his genius and constancy, had brought forward and improved his scholars quicker than his competitors—and even the handicraftsman who has enjoyed more credit than others of his own class—have incurred the displeasure of the Inquisition, and been entangled in its toils."

[Pg 157]

"The Inquisition," says Dr. M'Crie, "was not satisfied with preventing heretical men and books from coming into Spain, it exerted itself with equal zeal in preventing orthodox horses from being exported out of the kingdom. Incredible or ludicrous as this may appear to the reader, nothing can be more unquestionable than the fact, and nothing demonstrates more decidedly the unprincipled character of the Inquisitors, as well as those who had recourse to its agency to promote their political schemes. As early as the fourteenth century it had been declared illegal to transport horses from Spain to France. This prohibition originated entirely in views of political economy, and it was the business of the officers of the customs to prevent the contraband trade. But on occasion of the wars which arose between the Papists and Protestants of France, and the increase of the latter on the Spanish borders, it occurred to Philip as an excellent expedient for putting down the prohibited commerce, to commit the task to the Inquisition, whose services would be more effectual than those of a hundred thousand frontier guards. With this view he procured a bull from the Pope, which, with a special reference to the Protestants of France, and the inhabitants of Bearn in particular, declared all to be suspected of heresy who should furnish arms, ammunition, or other instruments of war to heretics. In consequence [Pg 158] of this, the council of the supreme, in 1569, added to the annual edict of denunciation a clause obliging all, under the pain of excommunication, to inform against any who had bought or transported horses for the use of the French Protestants, which was afterwards extended to all who sent them across the Pyrenees. For this offence numbers were fined, whipped, and condemned to the galleys, by the Inquisitorial tribunals on the frontiers. Always bent on extending their jurisdiction, the Inquisitors sought to bring under their cognizance all questions respecting the contraband trade in saltpetre, sulphur, and powder."

Freemasonry, as has been already stated, was a very heinous crime in the eye of the Inquisition. The following trial which took place at Madrid, in 1757, will sufficiently prove the hatred of the "Holy Office," to all who were connected with that order. A Frenchman of the name of M. Tournon, had been invited to Spain to instruct the Spaniards in the art of making brass or copper buckles; but in the year above mentioned, he was denounced to the Inquisition, by one of his pupils, as a favourer of heresy. His heresy consisted in having asked some of his pupils to become freemasons, and obtained their consent. At his first audience, the following conversation took place between the Inquisitors and M. Tournon, which, after the cruelties that have been [Pg 159] detailed, will both relieve and amuse the reader. [25]

Quest. Do you know or suppose why you have been arrested by the holy office?

Ans. I suppose it is for having said that I was a freemason.

Q. Why do you suppose so?

A. Because I have informed my pupils that I was of that order, and I fear they have denounced me; for I have perceived lately, that they speak to me with an air of mystery, and their questions lead me to believe that they think me a heretic.

Q. Did you tell them the truth?

A. Yes.

Q. You are, then, a freemason?

A. Yes.

Q. How long have you been so?

A. For twenty years.

Q. Have you attended the assemblies of freemasons?

A. Yes, at Paris.

Q. Have you attended them in Spain?

A. No: I do not know if there are any lodges in Spain.

Q. If there were, would you attend them?

A. Yes.

Q. Are you a Christian, a Roman Catholic?

A. Yes; I was baptized in the parish of St. Paul, at Paris.

[Pg 160]

Q. How, as a Christian, can you dare to attend masonic assemblies, when you know, or ought to know, that they are contrary to religion?

A. I did not know that; I am ignorant of it at present, because I never saw nor heard any thing there which was contrary to religion.

Q. How can you say that, when you know that freemasons profess indifference in matters of religion, which is contrary to the articles of faith, which teach us that no man can be saved who does not profess the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman religion?

A. The freemasons do not profess that indifference. But it is indifferent if the person received into the order be a Catholic or not.

Q. Then the freemasons are an anti-religious body?

A. That cannot be; for the object of the institution is not to combat or deny the necessity or utility of any religion, but for the exercise of charity towards the unfortunate of any sect, particularly if he is a member of the society.

Q. One proof that indifference is the religious character of freemasons, is, that they do not acknowledge the Holy Trinity, since they only confess one God, whom they call the "Great Architect of the Universe," which agrees with the doctrine of the heretical philosophers, who say there is no true religion [Pg 161] but natural religion, in which the existence of God the Creator only is allowed, and the rest considered as a human invention. And as M. Tournon has professed himself to be of the Roman Catholic religion, he is required, by the respect he owes to our Saviour Jesus Christ, true God and man, and to his blessed mother, the Virgin Mary, our Lady, to declare the truth according to his oath, because in that case he will acquit his conscience, and it will be allowable to treat him with that mercy and compassion, which the Holy Office always shows towards sinners who confess; and if, on the contrary, he conceals any thing, he will be punished with all the severity of justice, according to the holy canons, and the laws of the kingdom.

A. The mystery of the Holy Trinity is neither maintained nor combated in the masonic lodges; neither is the religious system of the natural philosophers approved or rejected. God is designated as the Great Architect of the Universe, according to the allegories of the freemasons, which relate to architecture. In order to fulfil my promise of speaking truth, I must repeat, that in masonic lodges, nothing takes place which concerns any religious system, and that the subjects treated of are foreign to religion, under the allegories of architectural works.

Q. Do you believe as a Catholic, that it is a sin of superstition to mingle holy and religious things with profane things?

[Pg 162]

A. I am not sufficiently acquainted with the particular things which are prohibited as contrary to the purity of the Christian religion. But I have believed till now, that those who confound the one with the other, either by mistake, or a vain belief, are guilty of the sin of superstition.

Q. Is it true, that in the ceremonies which accompany the reception of a mason, the crucified image of our Saviour, the corpse of a man, and a skull, and other objects of a profane nature, are made use of?

A. The general statutes of freemasonry do not ordain these things; if they are made use of, it must arise from a particular custom, or from the arbitrary regulations of the members of the body, who are commissioned to prepare for the reception of candidates; for each lodge has particular customs and ceremonies.

Q. That is not the question; say if it is true, that these ceremonies are observed in masonic lodges?

A. Yes, or no, according to the regulations of those who are charged with the ceremonies of the institution.

Q. Were they observed when you were initiated?

A. No.

Q. What oath is it necessary to take, on being received a freemason?

A. We swear to observe secresy.

Q. On what?

[Pg 163]

A. On things which it may be inconvenient to publish.

Q. Is this oath accompanied by execrations?

A. Yes.

Q. What are they?

A. We consent to suffer all the evils which can afflict the body and soul, if we violate the oath.

Q. Of what importance is this oath, since it is believed that such formidable execrations may be used without indecency?

A. That of good order in the society.

Q. What passes in these lodges which it might be inconvenient to publish?

A. Nothing, if it is looked upon without prejudice; but, as people are generally mistaken in this matter, it is necessary to avoid giving cause of malicious interpretations; and this would take place, if what passes when the brethren assemble, were made public.

Q. Of what use is the crucifix, if the reception of a freemason is not considered as a religious act?

A. It is present, to penetrate the soul with the most profound respect, at the moment that the novice takes the oath. It is not used in every lodge, and only when particular grades are conferred.

Q. Why is the skull used?

A. That the idea of death may inspire a horror of perjury.

[Pg 164]

Q. Of what use is the corpse?

A. To complete the allegory of Hiram, architect of the temple of Jerusalem, who, it is said, was assassinated by traitors, and to induce a greater detestation of assassination, and other offences against our neighbours, to whom we ought to be as benevolent brothers.

Q. Is it true, that the festival of St. John is celebrated in lodges, and that the masons have chosen him for their patron?

A. Yes.

Q. What worship is rendered him in celebrating his festival?

A. None; that it may not be mingled with profane things. This celebration is confined to a fraternal repast, after which a discourse is read, exhorting the guests to beneficence toward their fellow-creatures, in honour of God, the great Architect, Creator, and Preserver of the universe.

Q. Is it true, that the sun, moon, and stars are honoured in the lodges?

A. No.

Q. Is it true, that their images or symbols are exposed?

A. Yes.

Q. Why are they so?

A. In order to elucidate the allegories of the great, continual, and true light, which the lodges receive from the great Architect of the world; and these representations belong [Pg 165] to the brethren, and engage them to be charitable.

Q. M. Tournon will observe, that all the explanations he has given of the facts and ceremonies which take place in the lodges, are false, and different from those which he voluntarily communicated to other persons, worthy of belief; he is therefore again invited, by the respect he owes to God, and the Holy Virgin, to declare and confess the heresies of indifferentism, the errors of superstition, which mingle holy and profane things and the errors of idolatry, which led him to worship the stars. This confession is necessary for the acquittal of his conscience, and the good of his soul, because, if he confesses with sorrow for having committed these crimes, detesting them, and humbly soliciting pardon, (before the fiscal accuses him of these heinous sins,) the holy tribunal will be permitted to exercise towards him that compassion and mercy, which it always displays to repentant sinners; and because, if he be judicially accused, he must be treated with all the severity prescribed against heretics by the holy canons, apostolical bulls, and the laws of the kingdom.

A. I have declared the truth, and if any witnesses have deposed to the contrary, they have mistaken my words; for I have never spoken on this subject to any but the workmen in my manufactory, and then only in the same sense conveyed by my replies.

[Pg 166]

Q. Not content with being a freemason, you have persuaded other persons to be received into the order, and to embrace the heretical, superstitious, and pagan errors, into which you have fallen?

A. It is true, that I have requested these persons to become freemasons, because I thought it would be useful to them, if they travelled into foreign countries, where they might meet brothers of their order, who could assist them in any difficulty; but it is not true that I engaged them to adopt any errors contrary to the Catholic faith, since no such errors are to be found in freemasonry, which does not concern any points of doctrine.

Q. It has been already proved, that these errors are not chimerical; therefore, let M. Tournon consider that he has been a dogmatizing heretic, and that it is necessary that he should acknowledge it with humility, and ask pardon and absolution for the censures which he has incurred; since, if he persists in his obstinacy, he will destroy both his body and soul: and as this is the first audience of monition, he is advised to reflect on his condition, and prepare for the two other audiences which are granted by the compassion and mercy which the holy tribunal always feels for the accused.

After undergoing this examination, M. Tournon was remanded to prison. In two subsequent audiences he persisted in giving the same answers; but perceiving at length, [Pg 167] that the only method by which he might escape punishment, was to acknowledge that he was wrong, he pretended that he might have been deceived, from being ignorant of particular doctrines, and requested absolution. He was accordingly sentenced to one year's imprisonment, and to be afterwards banished for ever from Spain, and obliged at the same time to promise that he would never again attend the assemblies of the freemasons.

The following account of the persecution of a Spanish Protestant priest, who was imprisoned in the Inquisition of Saragossa in 1802, is particularly deserving of notice, showing, as it does, the cruelty of the holy office, even in the nineteenth century.—"Don Miguel Juan Antonio Solano, a native of Verdun, in Arragon, was vicar of Esco, in the diocess of Jaca. His benevolence and exemplary conduct endeared him to his parishioners. The goodness of his heart combined with his inventive talent in the work of fertilizing a dale, or rather a mere ravine, belonging to the inhabitants of his parish, which lay waste for the want of irrigation. Without any help from the government, and with no mechanical means but the spades of the peasants, he succeeded in diverting the waters of a mountain streamlet upon the slip of vegetable soil which had been deposited in the glen.

"A long and severe illness, which made him a cripple for life, withdrew the good [Pg 168] vicar of Esco, from these active pursuits, and limited his employment to the perusal of the few books which his little library afforded. Providentially the Bible was one of them. Solano read the records of revelation, with a sincere desire to embrace religious truth as he found it there, and having gradually cleared and arranged his views, drew up a little system of divinity, which agreed in the main points with the fundamental tenets of the Protestant churches. His conviction of the Roman Catholic errors became so strong, that he determined to lay his book before the bishop of the diocess, asking his pastoral help and advice upon that most important subject. An answer to his arguments was promised; but despairing, after a lapse of time, to obtain it, Solano applied to the faculty of divinity of the University of Saragossa. The reverend doctors sent the book to the Inquisition, and the infirm vicar of Esco was lodged in the prisons of the holy tribunal of Saragossa in 1802. It seems that some humane persons contrived his escape soon after, and conveyed him to Oleron, the nearest French town. But Solano, having taken time to consider his case, came to the heroic resolution of asserting the truth in the very face of death; and returned of his own accord to the Inquisitorial prisons."

The Inquisitor-general at that time was Arce, archbishop of Santiago, an intimate friend of the Prince of Peace, and one [Pg 169] strongly suspected of secret infidelity. When the sentence of the Arragonese tribunal, condemning Solano to die by fire, was presented to the supreme court for confirmation, Arce, shocked at the idea of an auto-da-fé, contrived every method to delay the execution. A fresh examination of witnesses was ordered, during which time the Inquisitors entreated Solano to avert his now imminent danger. Nothing, however, could move him. He said, he well knew the death that awaited him, but no human fear would ever make him swerve from the truth. The first sentence being confirmed, nothing remained but the exequatur of the supreme council. Arce, however, suspended it, and ordered an inquiry into the mental sanity of the prisoner. As nothing appeared to support this plea, Solano would have died at the stake, had not Providence snatched him from the hands of the papal defenders of the faith. A dangerous illness seized him in the prison, where he had lingered three years. The efforts to convert him were on this occasion renewed with increased ardour.

"The Inquisitors," says Llorente, "gave it in charge to the most able divines of Saragossa to reclaim Solano, and even requested Don Miguel Suarez de Santander, auxiliary bishop of that town, and apostolic missionary, (now, like myself, a refugee in France,) to exhort him, with all the tenderness and goodness of a Christian minister, which are so [Pg 170] natural to that worthy prelate. The vicar showed a grateful sense of all that was done for him; but declared that he could not renounce his religious persuasion without offending God, by acting treacherously against the truth. On the twenty-first day of his illness, the physician warned him of approaching death, urging him to improve the short time which he had to live. 'I am in the hands of God,' answered Solano, 'and have nothing else to do.' Thus died, in 1805, the vicar of Esco. He was denied Christian burial, and his body privately interred within the inclosure of the Inquisition, near the back gate of the building, towards the Ebro. The Inquisitors reported all that had taken place to the supreme tribunal, whose members approved their conduct, and stopt all further proceedings, in order to avoid the necessity of burning the deceased in effigy."

We shall close this chapter with the following able and just remarks of Puigblanch, on the iniquitous procedure of the holy office. "The Inquisition," says that elegant writer, "in its relations as a tribunal, as well as in the laws by which it is governed, tramples to the ground the rights of the citizen, by violating in substance and in manner, the common rules and principles of justice. A code suggested and framed by fanaticism and error—a want of learning almost general, among the individuals of whom it is composed, accompanied by an omnigenous faculty of [Pg 171] committing irregularities—together with the tyrannical oppression with which the innocent man is therein treated, when merely indicted for heresy, are all deducible from the premises established, and come in as incontrovertible arguments to prove the truth of my assertion. Busied rather in forming unhappy victims, than in extirpating crimes, this institution has spared no pains, however contrary to reason, and even to religion, as long as it was able to flatter its pride, and feed its ferocity. Secret accusation and calumny encouraged without any regard to friendship or domestic piety; the name of the Supreme Being invoked with the greatest rashness, in order to wring from the culprit a confession, which must necessarily carry him to the scaffold; mean cavils, perfidious incitements, and even gross falsehood, employed for the same purpose, and with the same iniquity—have all entered into the complicated system of the Inquisition, and constituted its chief essence and delight. Impervious prisons, secured with double bolts, and secluded from all communication; refined and overwhelming torments authorized, and even administered with unheard of cruelty, by judges, who call themselves the ministers of the God of peace: citizens, who had already paid the debt of nature, insulted in their memory, and their mouldering remnants of mortality dug out to public scorn; whole generations condemned to mendicity and infamy, even before [Pg 172] they had commenced their existence; blazing piles of faggots, enkindled by the breath of implacable vengeance, hidden under the parade of charity—such have been the component parts which have formed the plan, and such the deeds of this formidable and bloody tribunal. And can that government be called just and beneficent, which suffers the Inquisition to rankle in its bosom?"


[24] The following is an extract from this interesting paper.

"What is it that princes wait for, in order to prove that the religion of Jesus Christ is not indifferent to them, by promoting a salutary reform? We have been forbidden to speak the truth; the edifice raised by the apostles has been destroyed; the word of God is belied; the majesty of his precepts is diminished; the fruit of the cross, as far as regards the popes, rendered useless; great and unimaginable abuses have been introduced; and, in short, all the divine and human rights have been confounded. Who therefore can be so great an enemy to the name of Christ, as to behold all this, and still remain silent? Or who would not wish, since he is unable to remedy it, rather to die, than be held as an accomplice in so much iniquity? With regard to myself, I can assert, that I shall never regret having undertaken the defence of the gospel, whatever may be the danger to which I am thereby exposed. Here thou hast me: oh! executioner, tie my hands, cover my head, discharge thy axe on my neck, since I voluntarily offer myself to the anger of the popes, as well as to the torments they may seek to inflict upon me. And if with my death they are not satiated, and should wish to see my entrails torn to pieces, and converted into ashes, here thou hast me; oh! executioner, approach I will endure all."

[25] The trial is given in full by Llorente, from which the above is taken.


Portuguese "holy tribunal"—imprisonment of Dellon in the Inquisition at Goa—preparations for celebrating an auto-da-fé—order of the procession—Dellon's sentence mitigated, and publicly read—penances enjoined upon him at his liberation.

There are some shades of difference between the procedure of the Inquisitors in Spain, and that of those in Portugal. To enumerate these, however, would afford little gratification to the reader. We shall therefore now proceed to give some account of the sufferings of Dellon, a French gentleman, who was imprisoned in 1673, in the Inquisition at Goa, a city in the East Indies, which will throw sufficient light on the Portuguese holy tribunal.

After giving a detailed account of his sufferings, from the period of his arrest, on the 24th August, 1673, at Damaun, till he arrived [Pg 173] at the Inquisition in Goa, he informs us, that immediately upon entering the audience chamber, he cast himself at the feet of the Inquisitor, with a view of affecting the feelings of his judge by his suppliant attitude. He was, however, commanded to rise; and after being asked his name and profession, he was interrogated if he knew the cause of his arrest, which he was exhorted freely to confess, as the only means of obtaining a speedy discharge. Dellon informed the Inquisitor, that he believed he did know the cause of his imprisonment, and promised with tears, that if his judge would give him a patient hearing, he was ready to become his own accuser. The Inquisitor calmly replied, that there was no haste, that he had other matters more important to attend to and that he would let him know when he should have leisure to attend to his case. This finished the first audience, on which Dellon was remanded to his cell, where he was searched, and every article of value taken from him. It is true, that an exact inventory, as usual, was taken of his property; but this was merely a form, nothing of any consequence being ever restored, though faithfully promised by the secretary of the Inquisition.

"Immediately after I was shut up in the prisons of the holy office," he says, "I was informed that when I wanted any thing, I had only to knock gently at the door, and the [Pg 174] guards would attend, or to ask for it when my meals were served; and that if I wished for an audience, I was to address the alcalde, who, as well as the guards, never speaks to the prisoners without a witness. I was also taught to believe that my liberation would be the consequence of confession, which caused me to importune those officers to take me before my judges."

This favour, however, notwithstanding all his entreaties, was not granted till the 31st of January, 1674. On that day, he was desired by the alcalde to follow him to the chamber of audience. He immediately obeyed, and having entered the presence of his judge, he fell on his knees, with the view of touching him with compassion. But without deigning to take the smallest notice of his grief, he was ordered to sit down on a bench at the end of the table next the Inquisitor. Here he was first ordered to swear to declare the truth, and preserve secrecy, and then asked if he knew the cause of his imprisonment, and had resolved to confess the truth. Having intimated that he was ready to do so, he minutely detailed the particulars of several conversations in which he had engaged respecting baptism and the worship of images, but concealing that he had advanced something concerning the Inquisition, which at that moment, he says, he did not recollect. The Inquisitor then asked him, if he had any thing further to say; and being answered in [Pg 175] the negative, he terminated the audience by addressing Dellon in the following words "You have very properly resolved to become your own accuser; and I conjure you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, fully to confess all that you know; that you may experience the goodness and mercy extended by this tribunal towards those who appear to be truly sorry for their offences, by making a sincere and voluntary acknowledgment."

Dellon's next audience took place on the 15th of February, when he was interrogated anew, if he had any thing further to say, and exhorted to conceal nothing, but candidly to confess all his crimes. He replied, that after the closest consideration, he could recollect nothing more than what he had already declared. The Inquisitor then asked the names of his relatives; whether he was baptized the eighth day after his birth; by whom he was baptized; and finally, if he had been confirmed, and by what bishop. Having returned answers to all these inquiries, he was ordered to kneel down, to make the sign of the cross, to repeat the Lord's Prayer, the Ave Maria, the Creed, the commandments, &c., when the audience concluded, as formerly, with a conjuration, "by the bowels of the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ," to make immediate confession.

"From the beginning of my confinement," says he, "I had been greatly distressed, and had wept incessantly; but on returning from [Pg 176] this audience, I entirely abandoned myself to grief, being convinced that what was required of me was impossible, as my memory did not furnish what I was solicited to avow. I attempted to put an end to my existence, by fasting. I received, indeed, the food which was brought to me, because I could not refuse it, without being liable to be beaten by the guards, who carefully notice, when the dishes are returned, whether sufficient nourishment has been taken; but my despair enabled me to deceive all their caution, and I passed several days without tasting any thing. This extreme fasting deprived me of rest, and my sole employment was to weep. At length, having made a more particular, or rather more happy recollection of what I had said or done, during my residence at Damaun, I remembered that I had used several expressions respecting the integrity of the Inquisition. I immediately demanded audience, which, however, I did not obtain until the 16th of March.

"When summoned, I had no doubt that my business would be dismissed the same day, and that after the confession I was prepared to make, I should be discharged but at the very moment that I fancied I was on the accomplishment of all my wishes, I suddenly found these delightful hopes destroyed; for having detailed every thing I had said about the Inquisition, I was coolly informed, that that was not what was expected; and [Pg 177] having nothing more to communicate, I was instantly remanded, without even taking my confession in writing."

Dellon now regarded liberty as a blessing which he could never hope to enjoy; and abandoning himself to despair, he twice attempted to put an end to his sufferings by committing suicide. In his endeavours to effect his purpose, he was, however, providentially frustrated by the appearance of his keepers while he lay in his cell weltering in his blood. But, instead of exciting the sympathy of the Inquisitors, these guardians of the faith ordered him to be loaded with irons. This tended still further to increase his irritation; and throwing himself on the ground, and dashing his head against the pavement, he would soon have destroyed himself, had he not been watched by his keepers.

Perceiving that in the present case all measures of severity were unavailable, the Inquisitors changed their mode of procedure. They ordered his irons to be taken off; made large promises of a speedy deliverance from confinement, changed his cell, and gave him a companion, who was made responsible for his safety.

After lying eighteen months in the prisons of the holy office, the Inquisitors, being informed that Dellon was able to appear, again brought him before their tribunal. Having asked him if he had resolved to [Pg 178] declare what was required; and on his replying that he could not recollect any thing further than what he had already confessed, the proctor of the Inquisition presented himself with the informations laid against him. He had formerly been called to accuse himself; but, on this occasion, he was formally impeached, and a time was allotted for making his defence; his own confessions being included in the depositions.

On reading the informations, the proctor stated, that, in addition to what he had admitted, he was accused and fully convicted of having spoken contemptuously of the Inquisition and its officers, and even with disrespect of the Sovereign Pontiff, and against his authority; and concluded, "that the contumacy which he had hitherto displayed, by neglecting so many delays and benignant warnings which had been given to him, was a convincing proof that he had entertained the most pernicious intentions, and that his design was to teach and inculcate heretical opinions; that he had consequently incurred the penalty of the greater excommunication: that his property was confiscated to the crown, and himself delivered over to the secular power, to be punished for his crimes according to law;" that is, to be burnt.

Dellon was confounded at these denunciations: but, conscious of his innocence, he made a spirited reply to the fresh charges which were brought against him. He acknowledged [Pg 179] that he had expressed himself too freely respecting the Inquisition, but was surprised to find that what had been so slightly treated when he acknowledged it a year and a half before, should now be attributed to him as a grievous crime. As to what related to the Pope, Dellon declared that he did not recollect of ever having mentioned his name in the manner stated in the accusation; but, he added, if the Inquisitors would detail the particulars, he would speak honestly and truly to the charge. To all this the Inquisitor coolly replied, that he should have full time allowed him for considering the article which related to the Roman Pontiff.

In less than a month afterwards, Dellon was summoned to three or four audiences, with the view of inducing him to confess what he had been accused of respecting the Pope; but all proved of no avail. As he now heard every morning the cries of those who were subjected to the torture, he began to fear that he should soon be treated with the same severity. But in this he was happily disappointed, by the celebration of an auto-da-fé, at which he was condemned to undergo various penances, and to banishment from the Indies. The following account of the Act of Faith, at which Dellon was an actor, is given in nearly his own words.

"I remembered," says he, "that I had [Pg 180] heard it mentioned before I entered the prisons of the Holy Office, that the auto-da-fé was usually celebrated on the first Sunday in Advent, because, in the service for that day is read a portion of the gospel which describes the day of judgment; and the Inquisitors affect that this ceremony is its lively and natural prototype. I was also confident that there were several prisoners; the dead silence which reigns in this mansion having afforded me opportunity to ascertain, with tolerable exactness, how many doors were opened at the hours of repast. In addition to this, I was almost certain that an archbishop had arrived in the month of October, (the see having been vacant nearly thirty years,) from the extraordinary ringing of the bells of the cathedral for nine days successively; to which period, it is neither the custom of the churches in general, nor of that of Goa in particular, to extend the solemnization of any remarkable feast; and I knew that this prelate had been expected before my imprisonment. From all these reasons I inferred that I should be released in the beginning of December; but when I saw the first and the second Sundays in Advent pass, I began to fear that my liberation or punishment was postponed for another year.—Nevertheless I found, at a time when I least expected it, that I was likely to be set at liberty.

"I remarked, that on Saturday, the 11th [Pg 181] of January, 1676, as I gave my linen as usual to be washed, the officers declined taking it till the next day. On reflecting upon this unusual circumstance, and not being able satisfactorily to account for it, I concluded that the celebration of the auto-da-fé might take place on the morrow; and my opinion was the more confirmed, or rather converted into certainty, when immediately after vespers had chimed at the cathedral, the bell rang for matins, which had never happened before during my imprisonment, except on the eve of the feast of the holy sacrament. It may be supposed that joy would have begun to resume its place in my heart, when I believed that I was on the point of leaving the tomb in which I had been buried alive for two years; but the terror which was occasioned by the dreadful denunciations of the proctor, and the uncertainty of my fate, augmented my anxiety and grief to such a degree, that I passed the remainder of the day and part of the night under feelings which would have excited compassion in any but those into whose hands I had fallen.

"About midnight I was awoke by a noise occasioned by the guards in drawing back the bolts of my cell. I was surprised by the approach of persons bearing lights, to which I was unaccustomed, and the hour contributed to increase my alarm. The alcalde gave me a garment, which he ordered me to [Pg 182] put on, and to be ready to follow him when he should call for me; and then retired, leaving me a lighted lamp. I had neither power to rise nor to reply; and when left alone, I was seized with so general and violent a trepidation, that, for more than a quarter of an hour, I could not summon resolution even to look upon the dress which had been brought. At last I arose, and prostrating myself before a cross which I had scrawled upon the wall, I recommended myself to God, and resigned my lot into his hands: I then put on the dress, which consisted of a jacket with sleeves down to the wrists, and trowsers hanging over the heels; both being of black stuff with white stripes.

"I had not long to wait after I had dressed myself. The gentleman whose first visit was made a little before midnight, returned about two in the morning, and conducted me into a long gallery, where a great number of my companions in misery were already assembled, and arranged against the wall. I took my place in the rank, and many others arrived after me. Although there were nearly two hundred men in the gallery, every one preserved profound silence; as in this great number, there were only about a dozen whites, who were scarcely to be distinguished amongst the others; and as all were habited in black, these persons might have been mistaken for so many statues placed upon the wall, if the motion of their eyes, the use of [Pg 183] which alone was allowed them, had not shown that they were alive. The place in which we were was lighted by a few lamps, whose gloomy rays displaying so many black, sad, and devoted objects, seemed an appropriate prelude to death.

"The women, who were apparelled in the same stuff as the men, were in an adjoining gallery, where we could not see them; but I observed that, in a dormitory, at a little distance from that in which we stood, there were also several prisoners, and some persons clothed in black dresses, who occasionally walked about the apartment. I did not then know what this meant, but a few hours after I learnt that the persons in that apartment were condemned to be burnt, and that those who walked were their confessors.

"Being unacquainted with the forms of the Holy Office, although I had before so anxiously wished to die, I imagined that I was amongst the number of the condemned; but was somewhat encouraged by the observation, that there was nothing in my habiliments different from the rest, and that it was improbable that so many persons as were dressed like myself would be put to death.

"When we were all arranged against the wall of the gallery, a yellow wax-light was given to each; and some bundles of robes made like dalmatics or large scapularies, were brought in. These were made of yellow stuff, with crosses of St. Andrew painted [Pg 184] in red both in front and behind. It is thus that those are distinguished who have committed, or are judged to have committed offences against the Christian faith, whether Jews, Mahometans, sorcerers, or heretic apostates. These vestments are called sanbenito.

"Such as are considered as convicted, and persist in denying the charges against them, and those who have relapsed, wear another kind of scapulary called samarra, the ground of which is of a grey colour. A portrait of the wearer is depicted on both sides, placed on burning firebrands, with ascending flames, and surrounded by demons. Their names and crimes are inscribed beneath the picture. Those who have confessed after sentence has been pronounced, and before leaving the prison, have the flames on their samarras reversed, which is called fogo revolto. The sanbenitos were distributed to twenty blacks accused of magic, to one Portuguese who was charged with the same crime, and was moreover a new Christian; and, as half measures would not satisfy the revenge of my persecutors, who were resolved to degrade me as much as possible, I was compelled to wear a garb similar to those of the sorcerers and heretics, although I had uniformly professed the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman faith, as my judges might have been easily informed by many persons, both foreigners and my own countrymen, to whom I had been known in various parts of India. My apprehension [Pg 185] now redoubled; conceiving that if, amongst so great a number of prisoners, twenty-two only received these disgraceful sanbenitos, they must be those to whom no mercy was intended.

"When this distribution was made, I noticed five pasteboard caps, tapering to a point like a sugar loaf, and entirely covered with devils and flames of fire, with the word "Feiticero," (sorcerer) written round the fillet. These caps are called carochas, and are placed upon the heads of the most guilty of those accused of magic: and as they happened to be near me, I expected to be presented with one. This, however, was not the case. From that moment I had no doubt that these wretches would indeed be burnt; and as they were as ignorant as myself of the forms of the holy office, they assured me afterwards, that they themselves had also thought their destruction inevitable.

"At length the day dawned about five o'clock; and the various emotions of shame, grief, and terror with which all were agitated, might be traced in our countenance; for though each was joyful at the prospect of deliverance from a captivity so severe and insupportable, the sentiment was much alloyed by the uncertainty of his fate.

"The great bell of the cathedral tolled a little before sunrise, as a signal to the multitude to assemble for the august solemnity of the auto-da-fé, which is the triumph of the [Pg 186] holy office; and we were then commanded to go forth one by one. When I got into the street, I saw that the procession was headed by the community of the Dominicans, who have this privilege, because St. Dominic, their patron, was also the founder of the Inquisition. They were preceded by the banner of the holy office, in which the image of the founder was represented in very rich embroidery, with a sword in one hand and an olive branch in the other, with the inscription, 'Justitia et Misericordia.'

"These Religious were followed by the prisoners singly, each holding a taper, and having his godfather by his side. The least guilty marched first, and, as I was not reckoned as one of the most innocent, more than a hundred went before me. Like the rest, my head and feet were bare, and I was greatly annoyed during the procession, which continued upwards of an hour, by the small flints with which the streets of Goa are covered, causing the blood to stream from my feet.

"We were led through the principal streets, and every where regarded by an immense crowd, which came from all parts of India, and lined all the roads by which we passed; notice having been given from the pulpit in the most distant parishes, long before the act of faith was to be celebrated.

"At length, overwhelmed with shame and confusion, and fatigued by the walk, we arrived [Pg 187] at the church of St. Francis, which had been previously fitted up for the celebration of the auto-da-fé. So soon as I was seated, I attended to the procedure observed as to those who followed me. I remarked that those to whom the horrible carochas had been given, marched the last of our party, and immediately after them a large crucifix was carried, with the face towards those who preceded it, and was followed by two persons and the statues of four others, as large as life, accurately executed, and which were placed upon long poles, accompanied by the same number of chests filled with the bones of those represented by the statues, and each carried by a man. The front of the crucifix being turned upon those who walked before, signified that mercy had been extended to them, by their deliverance from the death they had justly merited; and, on the contrary, that those behind had no favour to hope for. Such is the mystery which pervades every thing in the holy office.

"The manner in which these wretches were clothed, was equally calculated to excite horror and pity. Not only the living persons, but the statues also, had each a samarra of grey stuff, painted all over with devils, flames, and burning firebrands; upon which the portrait of the wearer was naturally represented on both sides, with his sentence underwritten in large characters, briefly [Pg 188] stating his name and country, and the nature of the crime for which he was condemned. With this strange garment, they also wore those frightful carochas, covered, like the robe, with demons and fire.

"The little chests which inclosed the bones of the deceased, the proceedings against whom had been conducted either before or after their deaths, or prior to, or pending their imprisonment, for the purpose of giving colour to the confiscation of their property, were also painted black, and covered with flames and devils.

"As the publication of the proceedings against each party commenced, he was conducted by the alcalde into the middle of the aisle, where he continued standing with a lighted taper in his hand, until his sentence was delivered. I was summoned, in my turn, and was declared excommunicate; my goods were forfeited to the king, and myself banished from the Indies, and condemned to serve in the galleys of Portugal for five years; and moreover to perform such other penances, as might be expressly enjoined by the Inquisitors.

"The ceremony being concluded, and the Inquisitor re-seated, the wretched victims to be sacrificed by the holy Inquisition were ordered to advance separately. There were a man and a woman, and the images of four men deceased, with the chests in which their bones were deposited. The man and woman [Pg 189] were black native Christians accused of magic, and condemned as apostates; but, in truth, as little sorcerers as those by whom they were condemned.

"The proceedings against these unfortunates were then read, all of which concluded in these terms: 'That the mercy of the holy office being prevented by their relapse or contumacy, and being indispensably obliged to punish them according to the rigour of the law, it gave them up to the secular power and civil justice, which it nevertheless entreated to regard with mercy and clemency these miserable creatures, and if they were liable to capital punishment, that it should be inflicted without the effusion of blood.'

"At the conclusion of these words, a tipstaff of the lay court approached, and seized his victims, each previously receiving a slight blow on the breast from the alcalde of the holy office, to testify that they were abandoned.

"How benevolent is the Inquisition thus to intercede for the guilty! What extreme condescension in the magistrates, to be satisfied, from complaisance to the Inquisition, with burning the culprits to the very marrow of their bones, rather than shed their blood!

"Thus terminated the act of faith; and whilst these wretches were conveyed to the banks of the river, where the viceroy and his court were assembled, and where the faggots [Pg 190] on which they were to be immolated had been piled the preceding day, we were re-conducted to the holy office.

"After remaining in the Inquisition until the 23d of January, we were then conveyed to the hall of the court, and thence separately summoned to the board of the holy office, to receive from the Inquisitor a paper containing the penances to which he was pleased to sentence us. I went in my turn, and was directed to kneel down, after laying my hands upon the gospels, and in that posture to promise to preserve the most inviolable secrecy concerning all that had passed, and had come to my knowledge during my detention. My judge then gave me a writing signed by his hand, in the words following: 1st. In the three ensuing years he shall confess and communicate—during the first year, once a month—and the two following, at the feasts of Easter, Whitsuntide, Christmas, and the Assumption of our Lady. 2d. He shall, if practicable, hear mass and a sermon every Sunday and holiday. 3d. During the first three years he shall repeat, five times every day, the Lord's Prayer and Ave Maria, in honour of the five wounds of our Saviour. 4th. He shall not form any friendship nor particular intimacy with heretics or persons holding suspicious doctrines, which may prejudice his salvation. 5th. And lastly, he shall be inflexibly reserved as to every thing which he has seen, said, or heard, or the [Pg 191] treatment which has been observed to him, as well at the board as in the other places of the holy office."

Such is a specimen of the practice of the Portuguese Inquisition, of which some further account will be given in the following chapter, from the late visit of Dr. Buchanan to Goa. The celebration of an act of faith in India, thus described by Dellon, is, as must have been observed by the reader, in some respects different from that in Spain; but though the procedure of the holy office in these countries may vary in some points of little moment, yet all the Inquisitorial tribunals uniformly agree in this, to sacrifice innocence, piety, and truth, to avarice, tyranny, and superstition.


The Inquisition at Goa has made little improvement since the time of Dellon—extracts from Dr. Buchanan's Christian Researches in Asia—he visits Goa—becomes acquainted with the Inquisitor—visits the Inquisition—he pleads, in vain, to see the dungeons and the captives—his remarks on the efforts which ought to be made by Britain to abolish so odious a tribunal—true picture of the Inquisition by several writers—conclusion.

Little alteration has taken place in the Inquisition at Goa, since the period of Dellon's imprisonment. Thus will appear from the [Pg 192] following account of that tribunal which is given by the Rev. Dr. Buchanan, so lately as 1808, in his "Christian Researches in Asia." The objects of the Rev. Doctor in visiting Goa were, "1st. To ascertain whether the Inquisition actually refused to recognize the Bible among the Romish churches in British India. 2dly. To inquire into the state and jurisdiction of the Inquisition, particularly as it affected British subjects. 3dly. To learn what was the system of education for the priesthood; and, 4thly. To examine the ancient church libraries in Goa, which were said to contain all the books of the first printing."

"On my arrival at Goa, (says he, under date January 23, 1808,) I was received into the house of Captain Schuyler, the British resident. The British force here is commanded by Colonel Adams, of the 78th Regiment, with whom I was formerly well acquainted in Bengal. [26] Next day I was introduced by these gentlemen to the viceroy of Goa, the Count de Cabral. I intimated to his excellency my wish to sail up the river to Old Goa, [27] where the Inquisition is, [Pg 193] to which he politely acceded. Major Pareira, of the Portuguese establishment, who was present, and to whom I had letters of introduction from Bengal, offered to accompany me to the city, and to introduce me to the archbishop of Goa, the primate of the Orient.

I had communicated to Colonel Adams, and to the British resident, my purpose of inquiring into the state of the Inquisition. These gentlemen informed me, that I should not be able to accomplish my design without difficulty; seeing every thing relating to the Inquisition was conducted in a very secret manner, the most respectable of the lay Portuguese themselves being ignorant of its proceedings; and that, if the priests were to discover my object, their excessive jealousy and alarm would prevent their communicating with me, or satisfying my inquiries on any subject. On receiving this intelligence, I perceived that it would be necessary to proceed with caution. I was, in fact, about to visit a republic of priests, whose dominion had existed for nearly three centuries,—whose province it was to prosecute heretics, [Pg 194] and particularly the teachers of heresy,—and from whose authority and sentence there was no appeal in India. [28]

It happened that Lieutenant Kempthorne, commander of his Majesty's Brig Diana, a distant connection of my own, was at that time in the harbour. On his learning that I meant to visit Old Goa, he offered to accompany me; as did Captain Sterling, of his Majesty's 8th Regiment.

We proceeded up the river in the British resident's barge, accompanied by Major Pareira, who was well qualified, by a thirty years' residence, to give information concerning local circumstances. From him I learned that there were upwards of two hundred churches and chapels in the province of Goa, and upwards of two thousand priests.

On our arrival at the city, it was past twelve o'clock: all the churches were shut, and we were told that they would not be opened again until two o'clock. I mentioned to Major Pareira, that I intended to stay at Old Goa some days; and that I should be obliged to him to find me a place to sleep in. He seemed surprised at this intimation, and [Pg 195] observed that it would be difficult for me to obtain reception in any of the churches or convents, and that there were no private houses into which I could be admitted. I said I could sleep any where; I had two servants with me and a travelling bed. When he perceived that I was serious in my purpose, he gave directions to a civil officer in that place, to clear out a room in a building which had been long uninhabited, and which was then used as a warehouse for goods. Matters at this time presented a very gloomy appearance; and I had thoughts of returning with my companions from this inhospitable place. In the meantime we sat down in the room I have just mentioned, to take some refreshment, while Major Pareira went to call on some of his friends. During this interval I communicated to Lieutenant Kempthorne the object of my visit. I had in my pocket Dellon's account of the Inquisition at Goa; and I mentioned some particulars. While we were conversing on the subject, the great bell began to toll; the same which Dellon observes always tolls, before daylight on the morning of the auto-da-fé. I did not myself ask any questions of the people concerning the Inquisition; but Mr. Kempthorne made inquiries for me; and he soon found out that the Sancta Casa, or holy office, was close to the house where we were then sitting. The gentlemen went to the window to view the horrid mansion; and I could see [Pg 196] the indignation of free and enlightened men arise in the countenance of the two British officers, while they contemplated a place where formerly their own countrymen were condemned to the flames, and into which they themselves might now suddenly be thrown, without the possibility of rescue.

The day being now far spent, and my companions about to leave me, I was considering whether I should return with them, when Major Pareira said he would first introduce me to a priest high in office, and one of the most learned men in the place. We accordingly walked to the convent of the Augustinians, where I was presented to Josephus a Doloribus, a man well advanced in life, of pale visage, and penetrating eye, rather of a reverend appearance, and possessing great fluency of speech, and urbanity of manners. After half an hour's conversation in the Latin language, during which he adverted rapidly to a variety of subjects, and inquired concerning some learned men of his own church, whom I had visited in my tour, he politely invited me to take up my residence with him, during my stay at Old Goa. I was highly gratified by this unexpected invitation; but Lieut. Kempthorne did not approve of leaving me in the hands of the Inquisitor; for, judge of our surprise, when we discovered that my learned host was one of the Inquisitors of the Holy Office, the second member of that tribunal in rank, but [Pg 197] first and most active agent in the business of the department. Apartments were assigned to me in the college adjoining the convent, next to the rooms of the Inquisitor himself, and here I have been four days at the very fountain-head of information, in regard to those subjects which I wished to investigate. I breakfast and dine with the Inquisitor almost every day, and he generally passes his evenings in my apartment. As he considers my inquiries to be chiefly of a literary nature, he is perfectly candid and communicative on all subjects.

Next day after my arrival, I was introduced by my learned conductor to the Archbishop of Goa. We found him reading the Latin letters of St. Francis Xavier. On my adverting to the long duration of the city of Goa, while other cities of Europeans in India had suffered from war or revolution, the Archbishop observed, that the preservation of Goa was owing to the prayers of St. Francis Xavier. The Inquisitor looked at me to see what I thought of this sentiment. I acknowledged that Xavier was considered by the learned among the English to have been a great man: what he wrote himself, bespeaks him a man of learning, of original genius, and great fortitude of mind; but what others have written for him, and of him, tarnished his fame, by making him the inventor of fables. The Archbishop signified his assent. He afterwards conducted me into his [Pg 198] private chapel, which is decorated with images of silver, and then into the Archiepiscopal library, which possesses a valuable collection of books. As I passed through our convent, in returning from the Archbishop's, I observed among the paintings in the cloisters, a portrait of the famous Alexis de Menezes, Archbishop of Goa, who held the synod of Diamper, near Cochin, in 1599, and burned the books of the Syrian Christians. From the inscription underneath, I learned that he was the founder of the magnificent church and convent in which I am now residing.

On the same day I received an invitation to dine with the chief Inquisitor, at his house in the country. The second Inquisitor accompanied me, and we found a respectable company of priests, and a sumptuous entertainment. In the library of the chief Inquisitor, I saw a register, containing the names of the present establishment of the Inquisition at Goa, and the names of all the officers. On asking the chief Inquisitor, whether the establishment was as extensive as formerly, he said it was nearly the same. I had hitherto said little to any person concerning the Inquisition, but I had indirectly gleaned much information concerning it, not only from the Inquisitors themselves, but from certain priests whom I visited in their respective convents; particularly from a father in [Pg 199] the Franciscan convent, who had himself repeatedly witnessed an auto-da-fé.

On the second morning after my arrival, I was surprised by my host, the Inquisitor, coming into my apartment clothed in black robes from head to foot; for the usual dress of his order is white. He said he was going to sit on the tribunal of the Holy Office. "I presume, father, your august office does not occupy much of your time?" "Yes," answered he, "much; I sit on the tribunal three or four days every week."

I had thought for some days of putting Dellon's book into the Inquisitor's hand; for if I could get him to advert to the facts stated in that book, I should be able to learn, by comparison, the exact state of the Inquisition at the present time. In the evening he came in, as usual, to pass an hour in my apartment. After some conversation, I took the pen in my hand to write a few notes in my journal; and, as if to amuse him while I was writing, I took up Dellon's book, which was lying with some others on the table, and handing it across to him, asked him whether he had ever seen it. It was in the French language, which he understood well. "Relation de l'Inquisition de Goa," pronounced he, with a slow articulate voice. He had never seen it before, and began to read with eagerness. He had not proceeded far, before he betrayed evident symptoms of uneasiness. He turned hastily to the middle of the book, [Pg 200] and then to the end, and then ran over the table of contents at the beginning, as if to ascertain the full extent of the evil. He then composed himself to read, while I continued to write. He turned over the pages with rapidity, and when he came to a certain place, he exclaimed in the broad Italian accent, "Mendacium, mendacium." I requested he would mark those passages which were untrue, and we should discuss them afterwards, for that I had other books on the subject. "Other books!" said he, and he looked with an inquiring eye on those on the table. He continued reading till it was time to retire to rest, and then begged to take the book with him.

Next morning we resumed the subject of the Inquisition. The Inquisitor admitted that Dellon's description of the dungeons, of the torture, of the mode of trial, and of the auto-da-fé, were in general just; but he said the writer judged untruly of the motives of the Inquisitors, and very uncharitably of the character of the holy Church. He was now anxious to know to what extent Dellon's book had been circulated in Europe. I told him Picart had published to the world extracts from it, in his celebrated work entitled "Religious Ceremonies," together with plates of the system of torture and burnings at the auto-da-fé. I added, that it was now generally believed in Europe that these enormities no longer existed, and that the Inquisition [Pg 201] itself had been totally suppressed; but that I was concerned to find that it was not the case. He now began a grave narration to show that the Inquisition had undergone a change in some respects, and that its terrors were mitigated.

I had already discovered, from written or printed documents, that the Inquisition of Goa was suppressed by royal edict, in 1775, and established again, in 1779, subject to certain restrictions, the chief of which are the two following: That a greater number of witnesses should be required to convict criminals than were before necessary; and that the auto-da-fé should not be held publicly as before, but that the sentences of the tribunal should be executed privately, within the walls of the Inquisition.

In this particular, the constitution of the new Inquisition is more reprehensible than that of the old one. Formerly the friends of those unfortunate persons who were thrown into its prison, had the melancholy satisfaction of seeing them once a year walking in the procession of the auto-da-fé; or, if they were condemned to die, they witnessed their death, and mourned for the dead. But now they have no means of learning for years whether they be dead or alive. The policy of this new mode of concealment appears to be this, to preserve the power of the Inquisition, and, at the same time, to lessen the public odium of its proceedings, [Pg 202] in the presence of British dominion and civilization. I asked the father his opinion concerning the nature and frequency of the punishments within the walls. He said he possessed no certain means of giving a satisfactory answer; that every thing transacted there was declared to be "sacrum et secretum." But this he knew to be true, that there were constantly captives in the dungeons; that some of them are liberated after long confinement, but that they never speak afterwards of what passed within the place. He added, that of all the persons he had known who had been liberated, he never knew one who did not carry about with him what might be called the "mark of the Inquisition;" that is to say, who did not show in the solemnity of his countenance, or in his peculiar demeanour, or his terror of the priests, that he had been in that dreadful place.

The chief argument of the Inquisitor to prove the melioration of the Inquisition, was the superior humanity of the Inquisitors. I remarked that I did not doubt the humanity of the existing officers; but what availed humanity in an Inquisitor? He must pronounce sentence according to the laws of the tribunal, which are notorious enough; and a relapsed heretic must be burned in the flames, or confined for life in a dungeon, whether the Inquisitor be humane or not. "But if," said I, "you would satisfy my [Pg 203] mind completely on this subject, show me the Inquisition." He said it was not permitted to any person to see the Inquisition. I observed that mine might be considered as a peculiar case; that the character of the Inquisition, and the expediency of its longer continuance, had been called in question; that I had myself written on the civilization of India, and might possibly publish something more upon that subject, and that it could not be expected that I should pass over the Inquisition without notice, knowing what I did of its proceedings; at the same time I should not wish to state a single fact without his authority, or at least his admission of its truth. I added that he himself had been pleased to communicate with me very fully on the subject, and that in all our discussions we had both been actuated, I hoped, by a good purpose. The countenance of the Inquisitor evidently altered on receiving this intimation, nor did it ever after wholly regain its wonted frankness and placidity. After some hesitation, however, he said he would take me with him to the Inquisition the next day. I was a good deal surprised at this acquiescence of the Inquisitor, but I did not know what was in his mind.

Next morning after breakfast my host went to dress for the holy office, and soon returned in his Inquisitorial robes. He said he would go half an hour before the usual [Pg 204] time for the purpose of showing me the Inquisition. The buildings are about a quarter of a mile distant from the convent, and we proceeded thither. On our arrival at the place, the Inquisitor said to me, as we were ascending the steps of the outer stair, that he hoped I should be satisfied with a transient view of the Inquisition, and that I would retire whenever he should desire it. I took this as a good omen, and followed my conductor with tolerable confidence.

He led me first to the great hall of the Inquisition. We were met at the door by a number of well dressed persons, who, I afterwards understood, were the familiars and the attendants of the holy office. They bowed very low to the Inquisitor, and looked with surprise at me. The great hall is the place in which the prisoners are marshalled for the procession of the auto-da-fé. At the procession described by Dellon, in which he himself walked barefoot, clothed with the painted garment, there were upwards of one hundred and fifty prisoners. I traversed this hall for some time, with a slow step, reflecting on its former scenes, the Inquisitor walking by my side in silence. I thought of the fate of the multitudes of my fellow creatures who had passed through this place, condemned by a tribunal of their fellow sinners, their bodies devoted to the flames, and their souls to perdition. And I could not help saying to him, "Would not the holy Church wish, [Pg 205] in her mercy, to have those souls back again, that she might allow them a little farther probation?" The Inquisitor answered nothing, but beckoned me to go with him to a door at one end of the hall. By this door he conducted me to some small rooms, and thence to the spacious apartments of the chief Inquisitor. Having surveyed these, he brought me back again to the great hall; and I thought he seemed now desirous that I should depart. "Now, father," said I, "lead me to the dungeons below; I want to see the captives." "No," said he, "that cannot be." I now began to suspect that it had been in the mind of the Inquisitor, from the beginning, to show me only a certain part of the Inquisition, in the hope of satisfying my inquiries in a general way. I urged him with earnestness, but he steadily resisted, and seemed to be offended, or rather agitated by my importunity. I intimated to him plainly, that the only way to do justice to his assertions and arguments regarding the present state of the Inquisition, was to show me the prisons and the captives. I should then describe only what I saw; but now the subject was left in awful obscurity. "Lead me down," said I, "to the inner building, and let me pass through the two hundred dungeons, ten feet square, described by your former captives. Let me count the number of your present captives, and converse with them. I want to see if there be any subjects [Pg 206] of the British government, to whom we owe protection. I want to ask how long they have been here; how long it is since they beheld the light of the sun, and whether they ever expect to see it again. Show me the chamber of torture; and declare what modes of execution, or of punishment, are now practised within the walls of the Inquisition, in lieu of the public auto-da-fé. If, after all that has passed, father, you resist this reasonable request, I shall be justified in believing that you are afraid of exposing the real state of the Inquisition in India." To these observations the Inquisitor made no reply; but seemed impatient that I should withdraw "My good father," said I, "I am about to take my leave of you, (it had been before understood that I should take my final leave at the door of the Inquisition, after having seen the interior,) and to thank you for your hospitable attentions, and I wish always to preserve on my mind a favourable sentiment of your kindness and candour. You cannot, you say, show me the captives and dungeons; be pleased, then, merely to answer this question, for I shall believe your word:—How many prisoners are there now below in the cells of the Inquisition?" The Inquisitor replied, "That is a question which I cannot answer!" On his pronouncing these words, I retired hastily towards the door, and wished him farewell. We shook hands with as much cordiality as we could at the moment [Pg 207] assume; and both of us, I believe, were sorry that our parting took place with a clouded countenance.

From the Inquisition I went to the place of burning in the Campo Santo-Lazaro, on the river side, where the victims were brought to the stake at the auto-da-fé. It is close to the palace, that the viceroy and his court may witness the execution; for it has ever been the policy of the Inquisition to make these spiritual executions appear to be the executions of the state. An old priest accompanied me, who pointed out the place and described the scene. As I passed over this melancholy plain, I thought on the difference between the pure and benign doctrine, which was first preached to India in the apostolic age, and that bloody code, which, after a long night of darkness, was announced to it under the same name? And I pondered on the mysterious dispensation, which permitted the ministers of the Inquisition, with their racks and flames, to visit these lands before the heralds of the gospel of peace. But the most painful reflection was, that this tribunal should yet exist, unawed by the vicinity of British humanity and dominion. I was not satisfied with what I had seen or said at the Inquisition, and I determined to go back again. The Inquisitors were now sitting on the tribunal, and I had some excuse for returning; for I was to receive from the chief Inquisitor a letter which he said he [Pg 208] would give me, before I left the place, for the British resident at Travancore, being an answer to a letter from that officer.

When I arrived at the Inquisition, and had ascended the outer stairs, the door-keepers surveyed me doubtingly, but suffered me to pass, supposing that I had returned by permission and appointment of the Inquisitor. I entered the great hall, and went up directly towards the tribunal of the Inquisition, described by Dellon, in which is the lofty crucifix. I sat down on a form, and wrote some notes; and then desired one of the attendants to carry in my name to the Inquisitor. As I walked up the hall, I saw a poor woman sitting by herself, on a bench by the wall, apparently in a disconsolate state of mind. She clasped her hands as I passed, and gave me a look expressive of her distress. This sight chilled my spirits. The familiars told me she was waiting there to be called up before the tribunal of the Inquisition. While I was asking questions concerning her crime, the second Inquisitor came out in evident trepidation, and was about to complain of the intrusion; when I informed him I had come back for the letter from the chief Inquisitor. He said it should be sent after me to Goa; and he conducted me with a quick step towards the door. As we passed the poor woman I pointed to her, and said to him with some emphasis, 'Behold, father, another victim of the Holy Inquisition!' [Pg 209] He answered nothing. When we arrived at the head of the great stair, he bowed, and I took my last leave of Josephus a Doloribus, without uttering a word." [29]

Having thus given a sketch of the Inquisition, the reader must have perceived in every circumstance connected with this singular tribunal, its injustice, tyranny, hypocrisy, and cruelty. Its dungeons, torments, and executions are not only opposed to the spirit of Christianity, but outdo the most ferocious deeds recorded in history, of the greatest tyrant among heathen nations. It has carried terror throughout every land in which it has been established, robbed both the wealthy and the poor of their property, and what is infinitely worse, glutted its vengeance with the blood of the innocent.

Above all, the cruelty of the "holy office" to those whom it pronounces penitent, is most detestable. Instead of embracing them with open arms, it inflicts the most grievous punishments on those whom, in the plenitude of its power, it permits to live; whilst others, also believed to be converted to the faith of the Romish Church, are nevertheless [Pg 210] doomed to suffer an ignominious death. To these unhappy persons, the sacraments are given, if desired; thus acknowledging that they are "put in a state of salvation, received into the bosom of the Church, and assured of a heavenly crown!" What greater cruelty, then, can be conceived, and what more abhorrent to the mild spirit of the gospel of peace, than to punish with death a person who repents, and is reconciled to the Church? Yet, such are the iniquitous doings of the Inquisition! such the laws by which that blood-thirsty tribunal is governed—laws which must be carried into effect, in despite of the precepts of Jehovah, and the injunctions of the Great Head of the Church, every one of which are trampled under foot!

"The Inquisition, model most complete,
Of perfect wickedness, where deeds were done,
Deeds! let them ne'er be named—and sat and planned
Deliberately, and with most musing pains,
How, to extremest thrill of agony,
The flesh, the blood, and souls of holy men,
Her victims, might be wrought; and when she saw
New tortures of her labouring fancy born,
She leaped for joy, and made great haste to try
Their force—well pleased to hear a deeper groan.
The supplicating hand of innocence,
That made the tiger mild, and, in its wrath,
The lion pause, the groans of suffering most
Severe, were nought to her; she laughed at groans,
No music pleased her more, and no repast
So sweet to her, as blood of men redeemed
By blood of Christ. Ambition's self, though mad,
And nursed on human gore, with her compared,
Was merciful."

[Pg 211]

Nay, the Inquisitors themselves though they impiously assume the title of "holy," have almost uniformly been the most worthless and abandoned of characters. Crimes of the blackest hue have been perpetrated by these guardians of the faith, without a blush; and as they feared not God, so neither did they regard man—the laws of magistrates and kings being trampled on by them with impunity. These are indeed weighty charges, but the following testimonies by Roman Catholics themselves, given at different periods, will prove them to be no less weighty than just.

"With regard to the Inquisition," says M. P. de Almazan, when speaking of the Inquisitors of Cordova, at the end of the fifteenth century, "the measure adopted, was to place so much confidence in the archbishop of Seville, that they filled all these kingdoms with infamy, and in violation of the laws of God, as well as in contradiction to all justice, they destroyed the greatest part of them, by killing, robbing, and forcing maidens and married women, to the great shame and discredit of the Christian religion."

"Of other excesses on the part of particular judges," says Antonio Perez, a century afterwards, "of proceedings falsified, curtailed, handled in such a manner as to gain favour with the superiors, and besides stimulated by personal inventives so loose, disorderly, and notorious, that nothing else is to be seen in the proceedings agitated in the supreme court [Pg 212] of Inquisition, and fraught with the piteous complaints of sufferers, injured maidens, and newly married women, overcome and possessed through the stratagems practised in these trials, so revolting and disgraceful, that no one would fail to prefer public shame to such secret dishonour."

"O! Inquisitors," exclaims an ancient Spanish historian, "oh! Inquisitors, savage beasts, how long will God endure your tyrannic and cruel acts! Oh! Spaniards, who are so fondly attached to your wives and children, and watch over them with such jealous care, how long will you endure that these old libertines should treat them in a manner so shameful, and thus gratify their beastly propensities?"

"In the very title they assume," says Salgado, which "is the holy office of Inquisition," the first part is, it is holy, it is then divine and their work must be divine also. Were this tribunal divine, it would omit nothing of what it could do to inform men in the way of salvation, and to open to them the secret mysteries of God's grace and mercy; but all their business really is to discover men's secrets, for ruining their estates, and disseizing the owners, that (Ahab-like) they may seize all. Further, were this tribunal holy, it would approve, choose, and promote holiness, as God doth; he communicateth holiness to the righteous, he approves it in them, and exerciseth them thereunto. Now where is aught [Pg 213] of this to be found, either in the cruel disposition, or injurious proceedings of this court, and its officers? Where you find the greatest inhumanity, and most of the devil's malice, there is nothing divine, or of God; their holiness is condemned, and the holy are burnt; though sometimes they condemn a vile offender, yet they never absolve a known saint, a lover of Christ and truth; and were it holy, it would resemble the holiness of him in his created state under the law of nature. But here is nothing of that where all the laws of natural equity and compassion are violated, by forgery against the innocent, by forcing them to shorten their present torments by owning faults they never committed; in short, using all, so as none of them would be used by others. Here is nothing divine, natural; nor is there in this tribunal any conformity to the holiness which shines forth in Moses' law, which directed to the best methods of government, and best provided for the safety of innocents. This Inquisition is the most pernicious to innocents, wearing out with long imprisonment, those that retain their innocency, and burning those that forego it to please the Inquisitors. Moses' law was holy, which commanded, to love mercy, do justice, and walk humbly with God: The Inquisitors, for pride, like Lucifer, for injustice unparalleled, are notorious abhorrers of mercy. Say, leader, whether their tribunal can be holy and divine? There is one more holy tribunal [Pg 214] namely that of grace, which is to save life, not to destroy it. And well doth the tribunal of Inquisition correspond to this, doth it not? which is set up to destroy life, not to save it. On Christ's throne is written life and salvation, but on the Inquisitor's, death and destruction; but yet it is a judgment seat, and hath a great authority, and therefore divine! Indeed, were it of God, it were divine, but it is of the Pope, an usurper, a tyrant, a bloody cruel one; and these Inquisitors commissioned by him, are to execute his bloody designs on all innocent ones accused, and brought within their snare. God permits, and abhors it now; and as he hath punished many, so he will punish all the rest of this bloody crew which profane the venerable names of faith, justice, and holiness, with their robberies, murders, and perjuries."—"They inquire not diligently after crimes to amend the criminal, but earnestly hunt after temporal estates, to seize them. Of old the estates of anathematized ones were not adjudged to the exchequer, but to the fires; now the goods of such are adjudged neither to the exchequer, nor to the fires, but to robbing Inquisitors. Instead of producing the truth before men, this tribunal brings lies openly to open view, and by false witness and cheats condemns innocents; they transubstantiate falsehoods, and then proclaim them truths; they contrive greatest injustices with greatest secrecy; they condemn innocents [Pg 215] by wiles, and smother their righteous cause, which they never suffer to be pleaded; this their Inquisition it suppresseth truth, and murders innocents, and inquires what gain from the execution, never what righteousness in the judgment. By all this it appears the tribunal is neither holy, nor an office, nor an Inquisition."

"Thus the Inquisition," to use the words of Puigblanch, "surpassing the greatest tyrants in pride and fierceness, has not yielded to them in its arbitrary and despotic conduct. Every thing odious to be met with in the iniquitous Enquesta of Arragon, the Bastille of Paris, or any other of the monstrous establishments erected by despots to oppress their people, is found united, and even exceeded in the monstrous tribunal to which we allude.... Implacable with the unfortunate who fell beneath its claws, it has stained its hands in their blood, in the most inhuman manner, whenever they had sufficient heroism to brave its terrors; whilst at the same time it assumed the garb of insolence towards the weak, covering them with scoffs in their humiliation. Perfidious in its words, and base in its conduct, it only conceived itself happy while it had culprits to condemn. Borne away by its avarice, it devoured the loaf wrested from the widow and orphan, to whom it rendered even the means of begging difficult, by the stigmas of infamy which it imposed.

"As the masterpiece of error, it obstinately [Pg 216] persecuted letters and learned men, always fearing to meet its own destruction in the broad light. It boasted of being unerring in its measures, whilst from its tripod the most absurd and injurious oracles have issued. Possessing in the most eminent degree the passions of despots, pride has constituted its very soul, and falsehood the air it has constantly breathed. It was adopted by kings, in order to enslave nations, after it had been founded by the popes, for the very purpose of making kings their vassals; and thus aiming at sovereignty, and spurning at mankind at large, the ambition and impunity of the clergy have alone prospered under its shade. It not only trampled on the property, honour, and lives of the citizens, but also on their shame. Not content with disturbing and depressing the civil authority, it contemned the dignity of bishops, although it had proclaimed itself their chief support. In short, to form the history of its dominion, crimes of every kind rush upon the mind. And after this, how can I call thee, the Holy Tribunal? Thou hast been a den of thieves, the bulwark of superstition and of ignorance; the insatiable sphinx of human flesh, a tyrant among despotic establishments, a monument of the barbarism of the middle ages, the scum of tribunals; finally, thou hast constituted an invention that has stood alone, and without a parallel in ancient or modern times!"

[Pg 217]

Spain, unhappy Spain, still groans under the dominion of a tribunal so horribly, yet justly portrayed. It may stand for a little while longer, but it cannot exist long. The blood of the innocents whom it has murdered cries for vengeance. The souls of the martyrs, whose bodies it has tortured and consumed to ashes, exclaim, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge, and avenge our blood on them who thus persecute the saints!"

The vengeance thus sought, may be for a short time deferred, but it will be at length executed to the full. "With what judgment" that unrighteous tribunal "has judged, shall she be judged;" and because she has not only shed, but made herself drunk with, the blood of saints and of prophets, the Spirit of inspiration testifies, that she is to get blood to drink, "for she is worthy."

How very grateful ought we to be, for our deliverance from an institution so inimical to liberty, both civil and religious? We are acquainted with it only by name, and read of its cruelty without being afraid of being subjected to its barbarous punishments. While therefore we value our privileges, let us acknowledge the kindness of God, in preventing us from being subjected to a yoke which other nations are unable to bear; and let us show our gratitude, by holding fast the truth, "not in unrighteousness," but "unblamably in holiness before God, even our Father."

[Pg 218]


[26] The forts in the harbour of Goa were then occupied by British troops, to prevent its falling into the hands of the French.

[27] There is Old and New Goa. The old city is about eight miles up the river. The viceroy and the Chief Portuguese inhabitants reside at New Goa, which is at the mouth of the river, within the forts of the harbour. The old city, where the Inquisition and the churches are, is now almost entirely deserted by the secular Portuguese, and is inhabited by the priests alone. The unhealthiness of the place, and the ascendency of the priests, are the causes assigned for abandoning the ancient city.

[28] Even the viceroy of Goa himself has no authority over the Inquisition, nay, is liable to its censures. Were the British government, for instance, to prefer a complaint against the Inquisition to the Portuguese government at Goa, it could obtain no redress. By the very constitution of the Inquisition, there is no power in India which can invade its jurisdiction, or even put a question to it on any subject.

[29] When the Portuguese possessions in India, several years ago, came under British sway, the Inquisition at Goa was abolished, and the very building, which was the scene of such horrid cruelties, has fallen into decay.

In Spain, too, this monstrous institution no longer exists.—[Editor of the Presbyterian.]


No. I.

Articles of Torquemada, for regulating the proceedings of the Inquisition, drawn up in 1484.

1. The first article regulates the manner in which the establishment of the Inquisition shall be announced in the country where it is to be introduced.

2. An edict shall be published, accompanied by censures against those who do not accuse themselves voluntarily during the term of grace.

3. A delay of thirty days shall be appointed for heretics to declare themselves.

4. All voluntary confessions shall be written in the presence of the Inquisitors and a clerk.

5. Absolution shall not be given secretly to any person voluntarily confessing, unless no individual is acquainted with his crime.

6. A part of the penance imposed on a reconciled heretic, shall consist in his being deprived of all honourable employments, and of the use of gold, silver, silk, &c.

7. Pecuniary penalties to be imposed on all who make a voluntary confession.

8. The person who accuses himself after [Pg 219] the term of grace, cannot be exempted from the punishment of confiscation.

9. If persons under twenty years of age accuse themselves, after the term of grace, and it is proved that they were drawn into error by their parents, a light punishment shall be inflicted.

10. The Inquisitors shall declare in their act of reconciliation, the exact time when the offender fell into heresy, that the portion of property to be confiscated may be ascertained.

11. If a heretic, while in prison, demands absolution, and appears to feel true repentance, it may be granted, imposing at the same time perpetual imprisonment.

12. But if the Inquisitors are suspicious of a prisoner's repentance, they may refuse absolution, and declare him to be a false penitent, and condemn him to be burnt.

13. If a person who has been absolved, should boast of having concealed several crimes, or if information should be obtained that he had committed more than he had confessed, he shall be arrested, and treated as a false penitent.

14. If the accused persist in denying his crimes, even after the publication of his testimony, he is to be condemned as impenitent.

15. If a semi-proof exist against a person who denies the charge brought against him, he is to be put to the torture; if he confesses during the torture and afterwards confirms [Pg 220] his confession, he is to be punished as convicted; if he retracts, he is to be tortured again, or condemned to an extraordinary punishment.

16. The entire deposition of the witnesses shall not be communicated to the accused.

17. The Inquisitors shall, if possible, interrogate the witnesses themselves.

18. One or more Inquisitors shall be present when a prisoner is tortured, or appoint a commissioner in their place.

19. If the accused does not appear when summoned, he shall be condemned as a heretic.

20. When it is proved that a person by his writings or conduct dies a heretic, he shall be judged and condemned as such, his body disinterred and burnt, and his property confiscated.

21. Vassals of nobles shall be subject to the Inquisitors.

22. In the event of a man burnt for heresy leaving children under age, the Inquisitors shall grant them a portion of their father's property, under the title of alms, and confide their education to proper persons.

23. If a person who has been reconciled without confiscation, possesses property belonging to a condemned person, this property not to be included in the pardon.

24. Those who are reconciled, and whose property is not confiscated, shall give liberty to their Christian slaves.

[Pg 221]

25. The Inquisitors, and officers of the Inquisition, shall not receive any present, on pain of excommunication, &c.

26-28. Enjoin the Inquisitors to live at peace with each other, and to watch the conduct of their inferiors.

No. II.

Articles drawn up by the Inquisitor-general Valdes, in 1561, for the better regulation of the Holy Office.

1. That when the Inquisitors admit an information they must consult theologians of integrity; and—

2. That if it appears from the opinion of these theologians, that the object of their examination is a matter of faith, or if the Inquisitors conceive, without consulting them, that the denounced fact is sufficiently proved, the procurator-fiscal shall cause the persons implicated to be arrested.

3. That the Inquisitors shall be assembled to decide if imprisonment should be decreed; in doubtful cases, they shall summon consulters. [This is never found necessary.]

4. That when the proof is not sufficient to cause the arrest of the denounced person, the Inquisitor shall not cite him to appear, or subject him to any examination.

5. If the Inquisitors are not unanimous in [Pg 222] decreeing an arrest, the writings of the trial must be sent to the council.

6. The Inquisitors shall sign the decree of arrest, and address it to the grand alguazil of the holy office. When it relates to a formal heresy, this measure shall be immediately followed by the sequestration of the denounced person's property. If several persons are to be imprisoned, a decree shall be expedited for each individual, to be separately executed, and a note shall be entered in the trial, stating the day on which the decree of arrest was delivered, and the person who received it.

7-9. Refer to the manner of arresting a prisoner, &c.

10. The alguazil shall require the prisoner to give up his money, papers, arms, and every thing which it might be dangerous for him to be in possession of; he shall not allow him to have any communication with the other prisoners, without receiving permission from the Inquisitors. He shall remit all the effects found on the person of the prisoner, to the jailer, who shall inform the Inquisitors of the prisoner's arrival.

11. The jailer shall not lodge several prisoners together, nor permit them to communicate with each other.

12. Refers to the treatment of the prisoner by the jailer, in regard to food and clothing.

13. When the Inquisitors think proper, they shall order the prisoner to be brought [Pg 223] to the chamber of audience—cause him to sit on a small seat, and take an oath to speak the truth at this, and all succeeding audiences—ask him his name, surname, age, country, &c.

14. The accused shall be afterwards examined on his genealogy. The recorder shall write down these details, in order to discover whether the accused is descended from Jews, Moors, heretics, or other individuals punished by the holy office.

15. The accused shall next be required to give an abridged history of his life; asked if he is instructed in the truths of the Christian religion, if he has confessed himself, &c.; and when he has given an account of all these things, he shall be asked, if he knows or suspects the cause of his arrest, and his reply shall regulate the questions put to him afterwards.

16-18. Enjoin, first, the Inquisitors to be on their guard, to be deceived neither by the witnesses nor the culprit; secondly, the recorder to write down every question and answer; and lastly, the fiscal to accuse the prisoner, first of being a heretic in general terms, and afterwards mention in particular the crimes laid to his charge.

19. Although the accused may confess all the charges brought against him in the first audiences of admonition, yet the fiscal shall draw up and present his act of accusation; because experience has shown, that it is better [Pg 224] that a trial caused by the denunciation of a person, who is a party in the cause should be continued and judged at the prosecution of the denunciator, that the Inquisitors may be at liberty to deliberate on the application of punishments and penances, which would not be the case if they proceeded officially.

20. Whenever the accused is admitted to an audience, he shall be reminded of the oath he has taken to speak the truth.

21. At the end of his requisition, the fiscal shall introduce a clause, importing, that if the Inquisitors do not think his accusation sufficiently proved, they are requested to decree torture for the accused.

22-26. Refer chiefly to the appointment and duties of an advocate to the accused which in the Inquisition, is little more than a burlesque on justice, and never proves of the least benefit to the unhappy victim of inquisitorial persecution.

27. If the accused confesses himself guilty of another crime, after the proof is admitted, the fiscal shall accuse him of it, and he shall be prosecuted according to the ordinary forms. If the proof of the first crime is increased, it will be sufficient to inform the prisoner of the circumstances.

28. In the interval between the proof and the publication, the prisoner may demand audiences, through the jailer, which the Inquisitors must grant without delay, in order [Pg 225] to profit by the inclination of the accused, which may change from day to day.

29-32. Order the Inquisitor to cause the ratification of the witnesses; the manner in which this is to take place, and the publication of their depositions.

33. If the accused, who has made declarations, reveals crimes committed by persons whom he names—the Inquisitors will cause him to name them one after the other, and afterwards to state the facts or words which he imputes to them.

34. Although the accused has denied the charges, the publication of the depositions must be read to him, &c.

35. When the accused has replied to the publication of the depositions, he shall be permitted to consult with his advocate, in the presence of an Inquisitor and the recorder, that he may prepare his defence. The recorder shall write down the particulars of the conference; but neither the Inquisitor nor recorder, still less the advocate, shall remain alone with the accused.

36. If the accused wishes to write, to fix the points of his defence, he shall be furnished with paper, but the sheets shall be counted, and numbered by the recorder, that the accused may give them back again, either written upon or blank. When there is an examination in the defence of the prisoner, he shall be required to name on the margin of each article, the witnesses he wishes to call, that [Pg 226] those who are most worthy of credit may be examined; but he must name none but Christians of an ancient race, who are neither his servants nor relations.

37. Whenever the prisoner is admitted to an audience, the fiscal shall examine the state of the trial, to ascertain if he has declared any thing new of himself or others, &c.

38 and 39. Relate to the reception of informations in behalf of the accused; but with their accustomed injustice it is ordered, that if the accused demands the publication of the depositions in his defence, it must be refused, as it may tend to discover the persons who have deposed against him.

40. When the trial is so far advanced, that the sentence may be passed, the Inquisitors shall convoke the ordinary, and the consulters. The consulters shall give their votes first; then the ordinary, the Inquisitors after him, and the Dean the last.

41. When the accused confesses himself guilty, and his confessions have the required conditions, if he is not relapsed, he shall be admitted to reconciliation; his property shall be seized; he shall be clothed in the habit of a penitent or a sanbenito, and be confined in the prison for those who are condemned to perpetual imprisonment. If it is proper that he should remain in prison for an unlimited time, it shall be said in his sentence that his punishment shall last as long as the Inquisitor thinks proper. If the accused has [Pg 227] relapsed after abjuring a formal heresy, or is a false penitent when he has abjured as violently suspected, and is convicted in the present trial of the same heresy, he shall be given up to the common judge according to the civil law, and his punishment shall not be remitted, although he may protest that his repentance is sincere, and his confession true in this case.

42. The abjuration must be written after the sentence, and signed by the accused,—or if he cannot write, by an Inquisitor and the recorder.

43. If the accused is convicted of heresy, bad faith, and obstinacy, he shall be relaxed, [i. e. burnt,] but the Inquisitors must not neglect to endeavour to convert him, that he may die in the faith of the Church.

44. If a condemned person repents and confesses his sins before the night of the auto-da-fé, in a manner that shows a true repentance, his execution shall be suspended; but if he is converted on the scaffold, the Inquisitors must suppose that the fear of death has more influence in this conversion, than true repentance; yet if they think proper, they may suspend the execution.

45. When the Inquisitors have resolved to have recourse to the torture, they must state the motive, declaring whether the accused is subjected to it in consequence of persisting in his denials, or suffers as a witness who denies, in the trial of another accused. If he [Pg 228] is convicted of bad faith in his own cause, and is consequently liable to be relaxed, or if he is equally so in any other affair, he may be tortured, though he must be given up to the secular judge, for what concerns him personally.

46. If only a semi-proof of the truth exists, or if appearances will not admit of the acquittal of the prisoner, he shall make an abjuration, as either being violently or slightly suspected.

47. In cases where only the semi-proof of the truth exists, the accused has been sometimes allowed to clear himself canonically before the number of persons in the ancient instructions, (viz. a jury of twelve persons;) but though the Inquisitors may allow it if they think proper, they must observe that this proceeding is very dangerous.

48. The third manner of proceeding in this case is to employ the question, (that is, the torture.) The remainder of this article, and the four articles which follow, refer chiefly to the regulations to be observed in appointing the torture to be inflicted.

53. Twenty-four hours after the accused has been put to the question, he shall be asked if he persist in his declarations, and if he will ratify them. If at this moment he confesses his crimes, and ratifies his declarations, in such a manner as to prove his conversion, he may be admitted to a reconciliation; [Pg 229] but if he retracts his declaration, the Inquisitors shall proceed according to rule.

54. If the accused resist the torture, the judges shall deliberate on the nature, form, and quality of the torture which he has suffered, or the degree of intensity with which it was inflicted; on the age, strength, health, and vigour of the patient, &c. and they shall declare if he is already cleared by what he has suffered.

55. The judges, notary, and the executioners, shall be present at the torture; and when it is over, the Inquisitors shall cause an individual who has been wounded, to be properly attended.

56. The Inquisitor shall take care that the jailer shall not insinuate any thing to the accused relating to his defence.

57. The affair being for the second time, in a state for passing sentence, there shall be a new audience of the Inquisitors, the ordinary, &c.

58. When the Inquisitors release an accused person from the secret prisons, he shall be conducted to the chamber of audience; and after being interrogated with regard to the conduct of the jailer, he shall be ordered to keep these details, and all that has passed since his detention, secret, and sign a promise to this effect.

59. If a prisoner dies before his trial is terminated, and his declarations have not extenuated the charges of the witnesses, so as [Pg 230] to give a sufficient cause for reconciliation, the Inquisitors shall give notice of his death to his children, or other persons who have the right of defending his memory and property, in case they see cause to pursue the trial of the deceased.

60-63. Specify chiefly the manner in which the children or heirs of the deceased who wish to defend his memory or property are to proceed. But few individuals dare enter the lists with such a powerful, tyrannical, unjust, and avaricious tribunal, though perfect truth and equity be clearly on their side.

64. When absent individuals are to be tried, they shall be thrice summoned to appear at proper intervals; the fiscal denouncing them contumacious at the end of each citation.

65. The Inquisitors may take cognizance of several crimes which may occasion heresy, such as bigamy, blasphemy, and suspicious propositions; the degree of punishment to depend on the prudence of the judges.

66 and 67.—Refer to the manner of the Inquisitors giving their votes, and of the duty of the secret notaries.

68. When the Inquisitors are informed that any of the prisoners have communicated with other detained persons, they shall ascertain the fact; in which case little credit can be given to any subsequent declarations made [Pg 231] by these persons, either in their own cause, or in the trial of another.

69. When a trial has been suspended, if another commences, though for a different crime, the charges of the first shall be added to those of the second, and the fiscal shall maintain them in his act of accusation, because they aggravate the new crime of which the prisoner is accused.

70 and 71. Specify the necessity of keeping the prisoners separate, and point out the treatment of those who fall sick.

72. The witnesses in a trial shall not be confronted, because experience has shown that this measure is useless and inconvenient, independently of the infringement of the law of secrecy which is the result.

73. When an Inquisitor visits the towns of the district of his tribunal, he shall not undertake any trial for heresy, or arrest any denounced person, but he shall receive the declarations, and send them to the tribunal; yet, if it is the case of a person whose flight may be apprehended, he may be arrested and sent to the prisons of the holy office.

74. In the definitive sentence pronounced against an individual guilty of heresy, and condemned to be deprived of his property, the period when he first fell into heresy shall be indicated, because this knowledge may be useful to the steward of the confiscations, &c.

75. The jailer shall give an account of the [Pg 232] common and daily nourishment of each prisoner, according to the price of the eatables.

76. If the prisoner has a wife or children, and they require to be maintained from his sequestrated property, a certain sum for each day shall be allowed them, proportioned to their number, age, quality, and state of their health, as well as to the extent and value of these possessions. If any of the children exercise any profession, and can thus provide for themselves, they shall not receive any part of the allowance.

77. When any trials are terminated and sentences passed, the Inquisitors shall fix the day for the celebration of an auto-da-fé, giving proper notice of it to the ecclesiastical chapter and municipality of the town, &c.

78. The Inquisitors shall not permit any person to enter the prisons on the day before the auto-da-fé, except the confessors and the familiars of the Holy Office, when their employments make it necessary. The familiars shall receive the prisoner, and be responsible for him after the notary has taken evidence if it in writing, and shall be required to take him back to the prisons after the ceremony of the auto-da-fé, if he is not given over to the secular judge; they shall not allow any person to speak to him on the road, or inform him of any thing that is passing.

79. On the day after the auto-da-fé, the Inquisitors shall cause all the reconciled persons to be brought before them; explain to [Pg 233] each the sentence which had been read the day before, and tell him to what punishment he would have been condemned if he had not confessed his crime. They shall examine them all, particularly on what passes in the prisons, and give them into the custody of the jailer of the perpetual prisons, who shall be commissioned to observe that they accomplish their penances, and to inform them when they fail, &c.

80. The Inquisitor shall visit the perpetual prisons, from time to time, to observe the conduct of the prisoners, and if they are well treated.

81. The sanbenitos of all those persons who have been condemned to death shall be exposed in their respective parishes, after they have been burnt in person or in effigy; but the same shall be done with the sanbenitos of the reconciled persons, after they have left them off. The inscription of the sanbenito shall consist of the names of the condemned persons, a notice of the heresies for which they were punished, and of the time when they suffered their penance, in order to perpetuate the disgrace of heretics and their descendants.

Transcriber's Note:

  • Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note. One unpaired double quotation mark could not be corrected with confidence.
  • Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant form was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.
  • Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained.
  • Footnotes were moved to the end of chapters and numbered in one continuous sequence.
  • The illustration between pages 84 and 85 was moved to page 84.
  • Other corrections:
    • p. 133: other two changed to two other (... gives us two other examples....)
    • p. 135: other changed to another (... for another five years....)




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