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Cornell University Library 
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History of the Inquisition of Spain, 

3 1924 026 125 116 

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Chapter V — Mysticism. 


Antiquity of Mystic Aspirations 1 

Dangers — Impeccability — Independence 2 

Illuminism and Quietism — Confusion with Protestantism — • 

Uncertainty as to Source of Visions — Contempt for 

Theology 4 

Development in Spain 6 

Commencement of Persecution — The Mystics of Guadalajara . 7 

Francisca Hernandez 9 

Maria Cazalla — ^The Group in Toledo — Ignatius Loyola ... 13 
Archbishop Carranza — San Francisco de Borja — Luis de Granada 

— the Jesuits 15 

Fray Alonso de la Fuente — his struggle with Jesuitism ... 19 

The Alumbrados of Llerena 23 

>^ostility of the Inquisition to Mysticism 24 

Padre Ger6nimo de la Madre de Dios 26 

Mistica Theologia of Fernando de Caldera 29 

Prosecution of the Mystics of Seville — Condemnation of Alum- 

brado Errors 29 

Illuminism becomes formal Heresy — Procedure 34 

Madre Luisa de Carrion 36 

Influence of Mystics — Sor Maria de Agreda 39 

Mysticism in Italy — Canon Pandolfo Ricasoli — ^The Impostor 

Giuseppe Borri — The Sequere me 42 

The Pelagini of Lombardy 46 

Miguel de Molinos — Condemnation of Mysticism .... 49 

The Beccarellisti 61 

Mysticism in France — Condemnation of Fenelon 62 

Molinism in Spain — Persecution 68 

Bishop Toro of Oviedo 71 

Madre Agueda de Luna 76 

Fray Eusebio de Villaroja — abusive Methods 77 




Mysticism regarded as delusion 79 

Prevalence of Imposture 81 

Magdalena de la Cruz 82 

Madre Maria de la Visitacion 83 

Variable Treatment of Imposture 86 

The Beata Dolores — ^The Beata de Cuenca — The Beata 

Clara 89 

Sor Patrocinio 92 

Chapter VI — Solicitation. 

Frequency of Seduction in the Confessional 95 

Invention of the Confessional Stall 96 

Leniency of Spiritual Courts 97 

The Inquisition indirectly seeks Jurisdiction 98 

Paul IV and Pius IV grant Jurisdiction 99 

The Regular Clergy endeavor to obtain Exemption .... 100 
Legislation of Gregory XV — Struggle with Bishops over Juris- 
diction 100 

Solicitation included in Edict of Faith 105 

Difficulty of inducing Women to denounce Culprits . . . 106 
Solicitation a technical Offence against the Sacrament, not 

against Morals 109 

Difficulty of practical Definition 110 

Passive Solicitation Ill 

Absolution of the Partner in Guilt 113 

Facility of evading Penalty 114 

Flagellation — Connection with lUuminism 116 

Procedure — ^Tenderness for Delinquents 119 

Two Denunciations required 123 

Registers kept of Soliciting Confessors 125 

Moderation of Penalties 126 

Self-Denunciation — It finally secures immunity 130 

Statistics of Cases — Predominance of the Regular Orders . . 134 

Chapter VII — Propositions. 

Growth of Jurisdiction over Utterances, pubHc and private . . 138 

Influence of habitual Delation 13g 

Danger incurred by trivial Remarks 140 

Severity of Penalties — Question of Behef and Intention ... 142 

Special Propositions — Marriage better than Celibacy .... 144 

Fornication between the Uimiarried no Sin 145 



Theological Propositions — Case of Fray liuis de Leon . . . 148 

Scholastic Disputation, its Dangers 150 

Fray Luis accused of Disrespect for the Vulgate .... 151 

Arrested and imprisoned March 27, 1572 153 

Endless Debates over multiplying Articles of Accusation . 154 

Vote in discordia, September 18, 1576 156 

Acquitted by the Suprema, December 7, 1576 .... 157 

Second trial in 1582 for Utterances in Debate — Acquittal . 159 

Francisco Sdnchez, his Contempt for Theology 162 

He is summoned and reprimanded, September 24, 1584 . 164 
Again summoned and imprisoned, September 25, 1600 — ^his 

Death 166 

Fray Joseph de Sigiienza — Plot against him in his Order . . 168 

Prefers Trial by the Inquisition — is acquitted .... 170 

Case of Padre Alonso Romero, S. J 171 

Prosecutions of incautious Preachers 172 

Increasing Proportion of Cases of Propositions, continuing to 

the last 176 

Chapter VIII — Sorcery and Occult Arts. 

Accumulation of Superstitious Beliefs in Spain 179 

Toleration in the early Middle Ages 180 

John XXII orders Persecution of Sorcery 181 

Persistent Toleration in Spain 182 

The Inquisition obtains Jurisdiction 183 

Question as to Heresy — Pact with the Demon 184 

The Demon omnipresent in Superstitious Practices — Hermaph- 
rodites 186 

Belief thus strengthened in Divination and Magic .... 189 
The Inquisition thus obtains exclusive Jurisdiction .... 190 
Astrology — Its Teaching suppressed in the University of Sala- 
manca 192 

Procedure — Directed to prove Pact with the Demon .... 195 

Penalties — Less severe than in secular Courts 197 

Rationalistic Treatment in Portuguese Inquisition .... 202 

Prosecuted as a Reality in Spain, to the last 203 

Increase in the Number of Cases 204 

Belief remains undiminished to the present time 205 

Chapter IX — Witchcraft. 

Distinctive Character of Witchcraft— The Sabbat .... 206 

Origin in the 14th Century — Rapid Development in the 15th . 207 



Genesis of Belief in the Sabbat — The Canon Episcopi . . . 208 

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

Congregation of 1526 deliberates on the Subject 212 

Witch Epidemics — ^Active Persecution 214 

The Suprema restrains the Zeal of the Tribunals 216 

Enlightened Instructions 219 

Auto-suggestive Hypnotism of confessed Witches 220 

Conflict with secular Courts over Jurisdiction 222 

Lenient Punishment 223 

Retrogression — ^The Logrono Auto of 1610 225 

Revulsion of Feeling — Pedro de Valencia 228 

Alonso de Salazar Frias commissioned to investigate .... 230 

His rationalistic Report 231 

Instructions of 1614 virtually put an end to Persecution . . . 235 

Persistent Belief — Torreblanca 239 

Witchcraft Epidemics disappear 240 

Witchcraft in the Roman Inquisition 242 

The Witchcraft Craze throughout Europe 246 

^ Chapter X — Political Activity. 

•Assertion that the Inquisition was a political Instrument . . . 248 

v'^No Trace of its Agency in the Development ©f Absolutism . . 249 

Rarely called upon for extraneous Service 251 

Case of Antonio P^rez 253 

Assassination of Juan de Escobedo 254 

P^rez replaced by Granvelle — is imprisoned — escapes to 

Saragossa — ^is condemned in Madrid 255 

Futile Attempts to prosecute him before the Justicia of 

Aragon 258 

The Inquisition called in and prosecutes him for Blasphemy . 258 
He is surrendered to the Tribunal — ^the City rises and rescues 

him 259 

Philip's Army occupies Saragossa — P6rez escapes to France 

— Execution of the Justicia Lanuza 263 

Prosecutions by the Inquisition in opposition to the policy 

of Philip II— Auto de fe of October 20, 1592 ... 267 

C6rtes of Tarazona in 1592 curtail the Liberties of Aragon 269 

Death of P6rez in 1611 — his memory absolved in 1615 . . 272 

•^Sporadic Cases of Intervention by the Inquisition .... 273 

-'^It is used in the War of Succession 275 

^ Gradually becomes subservient under the Bourbons .... 276 

"^s a political Instrument under the Restoration 277 

J Sometimes used to enforce secular Law — ^The Export of Horses . 278 


Chapter XI — Jansenism. 


Indefinable Character of Jansenism, except as opposed to Ultra- 

montanisfn 284 

Struggle in Spanish Flanders 286 

Quarrel with Rome over the Condemnation of Cardinal Noris in 

the Index of 1747 288 

Opposition to Ultramontanism and Jesuitism persecuted as 

Jansenism 292 

Expulsion of the Jesuits — Reaction under Godoy 294 

Chapter XII — Free-Masonry. 

Development of Masonry — Condemned by the Holy See . . . 298 

Persecuted by the Inquisition and the Crown 300 

It becomes revolutionary in Character 303 

Persecution under the Restoration 304 

Its pernicious Activity in the Constitutional Period .... 306 

Chapter XIII — Philosophism. 

Growth of Incredulity towards the End of the Eighteenth Century 307 

Olavide selected as a Victim 308 

Impression produced by his Trial 311 

Struggle between Conservatism and Progress 312 

Chapter XIV — Bigamy. 

Assumption of Jurisdiction over Bigamy 316 

Based on inferential Heresy 318 

The Civil and Spiritual Courts strive to preserve their Jurisdiction 319 

Penalties 321 

Contest over Jurisdiction revived— Carlos III subdivides it into 

three . . ' 323 

The Inquisition reasserts it under the Restoration 326 

Number of Cases 327 

Chapter XV — Blasphemy. 

Distinction between heretical and non-heretical Blasphemy . . 328 
Contests over Jurisdiction with the spiritual and secular Courts . 329 



Attempts at Definition of heretical Blasphemy 330 

Cumulative Jurisdiction 333 

Moderation of Penalties 334 

Number of Cases 335 

Chapter XVI — Miscellaneous Business. 

Marriage in Orders 336 

Personation of Priesthood 339 

Roman Severity and Spanish Leniency 340 

Hearing of Confessions by Laymen 344 

Personation of Officials 344 

Demoniacal Possession 348 

Insults to Images 352 

Uncanonized Saints 355 

The Plomos del Sacromonte 357 

The Immaculate Conception 359 

Unnatural Crime 361 

Jurisdiction conferred in the Kingdoms of Aragon . . . 363 

The Portuguese Inquisition obtains Jurisdiction . . . 365 

Trials conducted under secular Procedure 366 

Penalties .367 

Case of Don Pedro Luis Galceran de Borja 370 

Usury 371 

Jurisdiction abandoned 374 

Morals 375 

The Seal of Confession 377 

General Utility 378 



Chaptee I — Decadence and Extinction. 
Independence of the Inquisition in the XVII Century .... 385 

The Bourbons. 

Increased Control exercised by Philip V 386 

Gradual Diffusion of Enlightenment 387 

Progress under Carlos III — he limits Inquisitorial Privilege . . 389 



Influence of the French Revolution 390 

Diminished Respect — Increasing Moderation 392 

Projects of Reform — Jovellanos — Urquijo 394 

Growth of Opposition — Bishop Gr^goire and his Opponents . . 397 

The Coktes. 

The Napoleonic Invasion and the Uprising of Spain .... 399 

The Inquisition supports the Intrusive Government .... 400 

Its desultory Functions during the War of Liberation . . . 402 

The Extraordinary C6rtes assemble, September 24, 1810 . . . 403 

Freedom of the Press decreed — Controversy on the Inquisition . 404 

The Constitution adopted 406 

Prolonged Struggle over the Suppression of the Inquisition — 

Carried January 26, 1813 407 

Resistance of the Clergy 414 

Reaction preceding the Return of Fernando VII 418 

The Restoration. 

Character of Fernando VII 420 

Proscription of the Liberals 421 

The Inquisition re-established 424 

Its Reconstruction and financial Embarrassments .... 426 

Resumption of Functions 429 

Its diminished Authority— Its Moderation 430 

The Revolution of 1820. 

Growing Disaffection culminates in successful Revolution . . . 434 

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

Suicide of Liberahsm 438 

Quarrel with the Church — Increasing Anarchy 440 

The Congress of Verona orders Intervention 444 

The French Invasion — Ferdinand carried to Cddiz .... 446 

Proscription of the Liberals 448 

Fernando released and returns to Power 449 

Ten Years of Reaction. 

Absolutism revenges itself on Liberalism 450 

Fernando refuses to revive the Inquisition 453 

Discontent of the Extremists— Rising in Catalonia .... 456 

Dormant Condition of the Inquisition 458 

Episcopal /wntas de /e— Execution of Cayetano RipoU ... 460 




The Question of Succession causes Reversal of Policy . . . 462 
Death of Fernando VII — The Carlist War — Alliance of the Regent 

Cristina with the Liberals 466 

The Inquisition definitely abolished, July 15, 1834 .... 467 

Gradual Development of Toleration 469 

Chapter II — Retrospect. 

Vicissitudes in the History of Spain 472 

Causes of Decadence — Misgovernment of the Hapsburgs . . 473 

Industry crushed by Taxation 478 

Lack of Means of Intercommunication — The Mesta . 480 

Debasement of the Coinage . 482 

Aversion for Labor .... 483 

Multiplication of Offices — Empleomania 485 

Gradual Recuperation under the Bourbons . . 486 

I/Inordinate Growth of the Church in Numbers and Wealth . 488 

pd5emoralization of the Clergy ... 496 

Clerical Influence — Development of Intolerance 498 

Superficial Character of Religion 502 

Results of Intolerance 504 

J/Infiuence of the Inquisition on the People 507 

Contemporary opinion of its Services 508 

Indifference to Morals 509 

Disregard for Law — Aspirations to Domination 511 

(/Suppression of adverse Opinion 513 

Statistics of its Operations 516 

Conscientious Cruelty 525 

Persecution Profitable 527 

j/Influence on Intellectual Development 528 

w^esult of seeking to control the Human Conscience . . . .531 

Appendix op Documents 535 

Index 547 


BOOK VII I. (Continued). 



The belief that, by prolonged meditation and abstraction from 
the phenomenal world, the soul can elevate itself to the Creator, 
and can even attain union with the Godhead, has existed from 
the earliest times and among many races. Passing through ecstasy 
into trance, it was admitted to the secrets of God, it enjoyed 
revelations of the invisible universe, it acquired foreknowledge 
and wielded supernatural powers. St. Paul gave to these beliefs 
the sanction of his own experience f Tertullian describes the in- 
fluence of the Holy Spirit on the devotee in manifestations which '/ 
bear a curious similitude to those which we shall meet in Spain,' \ 
and the anchorites oTThe Nitrian desert were adepts of the same 
kind to whom all the secrets of God were laid bare.^ These super- 
nal joys continued to be the reward of those who earned them by 
disciplining the flesh, and the virtues of mental prayer, in which 
the soul lost consciousness of all earthly things, were taught by 
a long series of doctors — Richard of Saint Victor, Joachim of 

' I have considered this subject at greater length in "Chapters from the 
Religious History of Spain," but the views there expressed have been some- 
what modified by access to additional documents. 

2 II. Corinth, xii, 2-4. 

' Est hodie soror apud nos revelationum charismata sortita quas in ecclesia 
inter Dominica solemnia per ecstasin in spiritu patitur; conversatur cum angelis, 
ahquando etiam cum Domino, et vidit et audit sacramenta et quorumdam corda 
dignoscit et medicinas desiderantibus submittit. — De Anima, cap. ix. 

* Rufini Aquileiensia Historia Monachorum, passim. — Vitse Patrum, Lib. 
Ill, c. 141. 

VOL, IV 1 ( 1 ) 


Flora, St. Bonaventura, John Tauler, John of Rysbroek, Henry 
Suso, Henry Herp, John Gerson and many others. If Cardinal 
Jacques de Vitry is to be beheved, the nuns of Liege, in the thir- 
teenth century, were largely given to these mystic raptures; of 
one of them he relates that she often had twenty-five ecstasies a 
day, while others passed years in bed, dissolved in divine love;* 
and Richard Rolle, the Hermit of Hampole, who missed his 
deserved canonization, was fully acquainted with the superhuman 
delights of union with God.^" These spiritual marvels are reduced 
to the common-places of psychology by modern researches into 
hypnotism and auto-suggestion. The connection is well illus- 
trated by the Umbilicarii, the pious monks of Mount Athos who, 
by prolonged contemplation of their navels, found their souls 
illiuninated with light from above.' 

Yet there were dangers in the pursuit of the via purgativa and 
the via illuminativa. The followers of Amaury of B^ne, who 
came to be popularly known in Germany as Begghards and Begui- 
nes, invented the term Illuminism to describe the condition of the 
soul suffused with divine Ught and held that any one, thus filled 
with the Holy Ghost, was impeccable, irrespective of the sins 
which he might commit; he was simply following the impulses 
of the Spirit which can do no sin. Master Eckhart, the founder 
of German mysticism, was prosecuted for sharing in these venture- 
some speculations and, if the twenty-eight articles condemned^y 
John XXII were correctly drawn from his writings, he admitted 
the common divinity of man and God and that, in the sight of 
God, sin and virtue are the same.'' Zealots too there were who 
taught the pre-eminent holiness of nudity and, in imitation of 
the follies of early Christian ascetics, assumed to triumph over 
the lusts of the flesh by exposing themselves to the crucial temp- 
tation of sleeping with the other sex and indulging in lascivious 
acts.^ The condemnation, by the Council of Vienne in 1312, of 

* Chapeavilli Gestt. Pontiff. Leodiens., 11, 256-7. 

2 Treatises of Richard Rolle, viii, pp. 14-15 (Early English Text Society). 
' Basnage in Canisii Thes. Monum. Ecclesiss, TV, 366-7. 

* Johann. PP. XXII, Bull. In agro dominico (RipoU. Bullar. Ord. Prsedic. 
VII, 57). 

» S. Cypriani Epist. iv ad Pomponium.— Concil. Antioch. (Harduin Concil. 
I, 198). — Lactant. Divin. Institt. vi, xix. 

Tiiis test of continence was tried by St. Aldhelm (Girald. Cambrens. Gemm. 
Eccles., Dist. n, cap. xv) and was practised by the followers of Segarelli and 
Dolcino (Bern. Guidonis Practica, Ed. Douais, p. 260). 


the tenets of the so-called Begghards respecting impeccability' 
was carried into the body of canon law and thus was rendered 
familiar to jurists, when mysticism came to be regarded as danger- 
ous and was subjected to the Inquisition. 

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

' Clementin. Lib. v, Tit. iii, cap. 3. 

' Abecedario spiritual', P. iii, Trat. xiii, cap. 3, fol. 122 (Burgos, 1544). 
' Subida del Monte Carmelo, iii, 38. 
* De la Oracion y Meditacion, ii, ii. 

' De Oratione et Meditatione, cap. Iv. — Cf. S. Pedro de Alcantara, De la 
Oracion ii, iv. 


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

The distinction at first attempted between the mysticism that 
was praiseworthy and that which was dangerous was compli- 
cated by the recognized fact that, while visions and revelations 
and ecstasies might be special favors from God, they might also 
be the work of demons, and there was no test that could be applied 
to differentiate them. The Church was in the imfortunate posi- 
tion of being committed to the belief in special manifestations of 
supernatural power, while it was confessedly unable to determine 
whether they came from heaven or from hell. This had long been 
recognized as one of the most treacherous pitfalls in the perilous 
paths of illumination and union with God. As early as the twelfth 
century, Richard of St. Victor warns his disciples to beware of it, 
and Aquinas points out that trances may come from God, from 
the demon or from bodily affections.^ John Gerson wrote a special 

' Archive de Simancas, Sala 40, Lib. iv, fol. 231 (see Vol. Ill, p. 570). 
' R. S. Victor Benjaminis Minoris, c. Ixxxi. — S. Th. Aquin. Summae Sec, 
Sec. Q. clxxv, Art. 1. 


tractate in which he endeavored to frame diagnostic rules/ The 
Blessed Juan de Avila emphatically admonishes the devout to 
beware of such deceptions, but he fails to guide them in discrimi- 
nating between demonic illusions and the effects of divine grace.^ 
Arbiol describes the uncertainty as to the sources of these mani- 
festations as the greatest danger besetting the path of perfection, 
causing the ruin of innumerable souls.' When, in the eighteenth 
century, mysticism had become discredited, Dr. Amort argues 
that, even if a revelation is from God, there can be no certainty 
that it is not falsified by the operation of the fancy or the work 
of the demon.'' "When to this we add the facility of imposture, 
by which a livelihood could be gained from the contributions of 
the credulous, we can appreciate the difficulty of the task assumed 
by the Inquisition, in a land swarming with hysterics of both 
sexes, to restrain the extravagance of the devout and to punish 
the frauds of impostors, without interfering with the ways of God 
in guiding his saints. It is merely another instance of the failure 
of humanity in its efforts to interpret the Infinite. 

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

• Joh. Gersoni, Tract, de Distinct, verar. Visionum a falsis (0pp. Ed. 1494, 
T. I, xix L). 

' B. Juan de Avila, Audi Filia et vide, cap. li-lv. 

' Arbiol, Disengafios misticos. Lib. iii, cap. xv (1707). 

' Amort de Revelationibus etc. P. i, pp. 259-68 (Aug. Vindel. 1744). 

" Abecedario spiritual, P. iii, Trat. vi, cap. 2, fol. 52. — Cf. Molinos, Guida, Lib 
III, cap. xvii, n. 163-4. 

" Melgares Marin, Procedimientos de la Inquisicion, II, 88 (Madrid, 1886). 


and this is so general a pest that there is scarce one who is not 
infected with the contagion.^ 

Medieval Spain had been little troubled with mystic extrava- 
gance. Eymerich who, in his Directorium Inquisitorum, gives an 
exhaustive account of heresies existing towards the close of the 
fourteenth century, makes no allusion to such errors, except in 
his denunciation of his special object of hatred Raymond Lully, 
to whom he attributes some vagaries of mystic illuminism, and the 
Repertorium Inquisitorum of 1494 is equally silent.^ Spiritual 
exaltation, however, accompanied the development of the fanati- 
cism stimulated by the establishment of the Inquisition and its 
persecution of Jews and Moors. Osuna, in 1527, alludes to a holy 
man who for fifty years had devoted himself to recojimiento, or 
the abstraction of mental prayer, and already, in 1498, Francisco 
de Villalobos complains of the Aluminados or lUtuninati, derived 
from Italy, of whom there were many in Spain, and who should 
be reduced to reason by scourging, cold, hunger and prison.^ This 
indicates that mysticism was obtaining a foothold and its spread 
was facilitated by the beatas, women adopting a religious life with- 
out entering an Order, or at most simply as Tertiaries, living 
usually on alms and often regarded as possessing spiritual gifts 
and prophetic powers. The first of the class to obtain prominence 
was known as the Beata de Piedrahita. A career such as hers was 
common enough subsequently, as we shall see, and the discussion 
which she aroused shows that as yet she was a novel phenomenon. 
The daughter of a fanatic peasant, she had been carefully trained 
in mystic exercises and was wholly given up to contemplative 
abstraction, in which she enjoyed the most intimate relations with 
God, in whose arms she was dissolved in love. Sometimes she 
asserted that Christ was with her, sometimes that she was Christ 
himself or the bride of Christ; often she held conversations with the 
Virgin in which she spoke for both. As her reputation spread, her 
visions and revelations won for her the character of a prophetess. 
Many denounced them as superstitious and demanded her sup- 

' Proceso contra Hieron. de la M. de Dios (MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, 
Yo, 20, T. VII) 

2 Eymerici Director. P. ii, Q. ix, n. 5.— Repertor. Inquisit. s. YV Beatoe, 
Begardoe, Beguince, Hoeresis, Hoeretid, etc. 

' Abecedario spiritual, P. iii, Trat. xxi, cap. 4, fol. 204. — Menendez y Pelayo, 
Heterodoxos, II, 526. 


pression, but Ximenes who, as inquisitor-general, had jurisdiction 
in the matter, argued that she was inspired with divine wisdom 
and Ferdinand, who visited her, expressed his behef in her inspi- 
ration. In 1510 the matter was referred to the Holy See, and 
Julius II appointed his nuncio, Giovanni Ruffo, and the Bishops 
of Burgos and Vich, as commissioners to examine her and to sup- 
press the scandal if it proved to be only female levity. Peter 
Martyr, to whom we are indebted for the account, was unable to 
ascertain their decision but, as they discharged her without reproof, 
it may be assumed that their report was favorable, for it could 
scarce have been otherwise with such supporters as Ferdinand 
and Ximenes.^ Such success naturally stimulated imitation and 
was the foreshadowing of wide-spread delusion and imposture. 

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

Guadalajara and Pastrana were becoming centres of a group 
of mystics who attracted the attention of the Inquisition about 
1521, when it commenced gathering testimony about them. The 
earliest disseminator of the doctrine appears to have been a semp- 
stress named Isabel de la Cruz, noted for her ability in the expo- 
sition of Scripture, who commenced about 1512 and was a leader 
until superseded by Francisca Hernandez, of whom more here- 
after. The Seraphic Order of St. Francis naturally furnished 
many initiates, whose names are included among the fifty or sixty 
forming the group. The Franciscan Guardian of Escalona, Fray 
Juan de Olmillos, had ecstasies when receiving the sacrament and 
when preaching, in which he talked and acted extravagantly. 
When removed to Madrid, this attracted crowds to watch his con- 
tortions and he was generally regarded as a saint; he was promoted 
to the provincialate of Castile and died in 1529. The Marquis of 

' Pet. Mart. Angler. Epistt. 428, 431. 

' D. Manuel Serrano y Sans (Revista de Archives etc., Enero, 1903, p. 2). 


Villena, at Escalona, was inclined to mysticism, induced perhaps 
by Fray Francisco de Ocafia, who was stationed there and had 
prophetic visions of the reform of the Church. Villena, in 1523, 
employed as lay-preacher Pedro Ruiz de Alcaraz, one of the most 
prominent of the Guadalajara mystics, who seems to have con- 
verted all the members of the household. The name of Alcaraz 
appears frequently in the trials of the group; he was a married 
layman, uneducated but possessing remarkable familiarity with 
Scripture and skilled in its exposition, and he was an earnest 
missionary of mysticism. When sufficient evidence against him 
was accumulated, he was arrested February 26, 1524, and impris- 
oned by the Toledo tribunal. The formal accusation, presented 
October 31st, indicates that the mysticism, of at least some of 
the accused, embraced Quietism or Dejamiento to the full extent, 
with its consequent assumption of impeccability, no matter what 
might be the acts of the devotee , that mental prayer was the sole 
observance necessary, that all the prescriptions of the Church — 
confession, indulgences, works of charity and piety — were useless, 
and that the conjugal act was Union with God. There was also 
the denial of transubstantiation and of the existence of hell, which 
may probably be left out of account as foreign to the recognized 
tenets of mysticism. The latter, in fact, was presumably an exag- 
geration of an utterance of Alcaraz, who said that it was the 
ignorant and children who were afraid of hell, for the advanced 
served the Lord, not from servile fear but from fear of offending 
Him whom they loved, and moreover that God was not to be 
prayed to for anything— principles subsequently approved in S. 
Frangois de Sales and condemned in F^nelon. There was no spirit 
of martyrdom in Alcaraz, and the severe torture to which he was 
exposed would seem a superfluity. He confessed his errors, pro- 
fessed conversion and begged for mercy. His sentence, July 22, 
1529, recited that he had incurred relaxation but through clemency 
was admitted to reconciUation with confiscation, irremissible prison 
and scourging in Toledo, Guadalajara, Escalona and Pastrana, 
where he had disseminated his errors. This severity indicates 
the inquisitorial estimate of the magnitude of the evil to be sup- 
pressed but, after ten years, on February 20, 1539, the Suprema 
liberated him, with the restriction of not leaving Toledo and the 
imposition of certain spiritual exercises.' 

• See the trial of Alcaraz, epitomized by D. Manuel Serrano y Sans, in the 
Revista de Archivos, Enero, 1903, pp. 1-16; Febrero, pp, 127, 130 sqq. 


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

Of the trials which have seen the light several centre around 
the curious personality of Francisca Hernandez, who succeeded 
Isabel de la Cruz as the leader of the mystic disciples. She 
seems to have possessed powers of fascination, collecting around 
her devotees of the most diverse character. We have seen how 
she entangled Bernardino de Tovar and how his brother, Juan de 
Vergara, became involved with the Inquisition, after detaching 
him from her. Francisco de Osuna, the earliest Spanish writer 
on mysticism and the teacher of Santa Teresa, was one of her 
disciples and so was Francisco Ortiz, a Franciscan of the utmost 
purity of heart. A devotee of a different stamp was Antonio de 
Medrano, cura of Navarrete, who had made her acquaintance in 
1516 when a student at Salamanca. She was attractive and penni- 
less but, through a long career, she always managed to live in 
comfort at the expense of her admirers. Though she claimed to be 
a bride of Christ, she practised no austerities; she was fastidious in 
her diet and slept in a soft bed, which she had no scruple in scaring 
with her male devotees. This required funds and she and Med- 
rano persuaded an imlucky youth named Calero to sell his patri- 

S. Bonaventurse de Puritate Conscientiae, cap. 14. 


mony and devote the proceeds to support the circle of Alumbrados 
whom she gathered around her. The episcopal authorities com- 
menced investigations, ending with a sentence of banishment on 
Medrano, when the pair betook themselves to Valladolid, whither 
Tovar followed them, and where the Inquisition commencecTpro^ 
ceedings in 1519; it was as yet not aroused to dealing harshly with 
these eccentric forms of devotion, and it merely forbade him and 
Tovar from further converse with Francisca; this they eluded, 
the tribunal insisted and Medrano went to his cure at Navarrete. 
She was kept under surveillance, but her reputation for holiness 
was such that Cardinal Adrian, after his election to the papacy, 
in 1522, ordered his secretary Carmona to ask her prayers for 
him and for the whole Church. 

In 1525 the Inquisition again arrested her; she was accused 
of suspicious relations with men and, when discharged, was obliged 
to swear that she would permit no indecent familiarities. Mean- 
while Medrano, at Navarrete continued his career as an Alum- 
brado, holding conversations with the Holy Ghost and declaring 
himself to be impeccable. In 1526 the Logroiio tribunal arrested 
him and, after nearly eighteen months, he was discharged June 4, 
1527, with the lenient sentence of abjuration de levi and such spir- 
itual penance as might be assigned to him. This escape embold- 
ened him to greater extravagance and to renewed devotion to 
Francisca, leading to another prosecution, in 1530, by the Toledo 
tribunal. There was evidence of highly indecent character as to 
their relations, but he stoutly denied it, asserting that he was so 
favored by God that all the evil women in the world and all the 
devils in hell could not move him to carnal sin — a grace which 
came to him after he knew Francisca; he could lie in bed with a 
woman without feeling desire and it gave him grace to do so with 
Francisca and to fondle and embrace her, which she enjoyed; 
he believed her to be free from both mortal and venial sin, and 
he held her to be a greater saint than any in heaven except Our 
Lady. Under torture, however, he confessed whatever was 
wanted — that when he told people that she could not sin, because 
she was illuminated by the Holy Ghost, it was to spread her repu- 
tation and gain money for them both; that he was jealous of all 
her other disciples, among whom he named Valderrama, Diego 
de Villareal, Munoz, Cabrera, Gumiel, Ortiz and Sayavedra and 
his brother, showing that she had a numerous following. He 
admitted teaching that male and female devotees could embrace 


each other naked, for it was not clothes but intention that counted. 
By this time the Inquisition was deahng harshly with these aber- 
rations, and his sentence, April 21, 1532, excused him from relaxa- 
tion as an incorrigible heretic because he was only a hypocritical 
swindler whose object was to raise money for a life of pleasure; 
he was to retract his propositions in an auto de fe, to abjure de 
vehementi and to be recluded for life in a monastery, with two 
years' suspension from his sacerdotal functions, and was to hold 
no further communication with Francisca, under pain of impeni- 
tent relapse, but he was not deprived of his cure of Navarrete. 
In 1537 the Duke of Najera interceded for his release, with 
what result the records fail to inform us.^ 

Francisca's strange powers of fascination were manifested by 
the influence which she acquired over a man of infinitely higher 
character than Medrano. Fray Francisco Ortiz was the most 
promising member of the great Franciscan Order, who was rapidly 
acquiring the reputation of the foremost preacher in Spain. He 
was not fully a mystic, but his pulpit exhortations, stimulating the 
love of God, caused him to be regarded as wandering near to the 
dangerous border. In 1523 he made the acquaintance of Fran- 
cisca and his feelings towards her are emphatically expressed in 
a defiant declaration to the Inquisition during his trial. — "No 
word of love, however strong, is by a hundredth part adequate 
to describe the holy love, so pure and sweet and strong and great 
and full of God's blessing and melting of heart and soiil, which 
God in his goodness has given me through His holy betrothed, 
my true Mother and Lady, through whom I hope, at the awful 
Day of Judgement, to be numbered among the elect. I can call 
her my love for, in loving her, I love nothing but God." There 
can be no doubts as to the purity of his relations with her whom 
he thus reverenced, but they were displeasing to his superiors who 
viewed with growing disquiet the distraction of one whom they 
regarded as a valuable asset of the Order. It was in vain that he 
was ordered to break off all relations with her; he replied vehe- 
mently that God was to be obeyed rather than man and that if he 
was to be debarred from seeing that beloved one of God he would 
transfer himself to the Carthusians. To effect the separation the 
Franciscan prelates induced the Inquisition to arrest Francisca, 

' Don M. Serrano y Sans has published (Boletin, XLI, 105-37) the principal 
features and documents of this trial. He states that much of the testimony is 
utterly unfit for transcription. 


but the unexpected result of this was that Ortiz, in a sermon before 
all the assembled magnates of the city April 7, 1529, arraigned 
the Inquisition for the great sin committed in her arrest. Such 
revolt was unexampled and he was forthwith prosecuted, not so 
much to punish him as to procure his retractation and submission, 
but he was obstinate and defiant for nearly three years. It was 
in vain that the Empress Isabel twice, in 1530, urged his liberation 
or the expediting of his case, and equally vain was a brief of Clem- 
ent VII, July 1, 1531, to Cardinal Manrique, asking his discharge 
if his only offence was his public denvmciation of the arrest of that 
holy woman, Francisca Hernd,ndez.^ At length, in April 1532, 
Ortiz experienced a revulsion of feeling, and the same emotional 
impulsiveness that had led to his outbreak now prompted him to 
declare that God had given him the grace to recognize his errors 
and that he foimd great peace in retracting them. He escaped 
with public abjuration de vehementi, five years' suspension from 
priestly functions, two years' confinement in a cell of the convent 
of Torrelaguna, and absolute simdering of relations with Francisca. 
He betook himself to his place of reclusion and, although papal 
briefs released him from all restrictions and his prelates repeatedly 
urged him to leave his retreat, he seems never to have abandoned 
the solitude which he said had become sweet to him. Until his 
death, in 1546, he remained in the convent, the object of over- 
flowing honor on the part of his brethren.^ 

Francisca herself seems to have been treated with remarkable 
leniency, in spite of her previous trials and the evidence of Me- 
drano. Her arrest had been merely with the object of separating 
her from Ortiz, and her trial seems to have been scarce more than 
formal for, in September 1532, we find her merely detained in the 
house of Gutierre P^rez de Montalvo, at Medina del Campo, with 
her maid Maria Ramfrez in waiting on her.^ Possibly this favor 
may have been earned by her readiness to accuse her old friends 
and associates, among whom were two brothers and a sister, Juan 
Cazalla, Bishop of Troy in partibus, Pedro Cazalla and Maria 
Cazalla, wife of Lope de Ruida.' The trial of the latter is worth 

' Bulario de la Orden de Santiago, Lib. iii, fol. 133. 

' This account of Francisco Ortiz is derived from the skilful analysis of his 
trial by JEduard Bohmer in his " Pranzisca Hernandez und Frai Franzisco Ortiz" 
(Leipzig, 1865). 

•' Melgares Marin, Procedimientos de la Inquisicion, II, 94-5 

' Juan and Maria were uncle and aunt of the Cazallas who suffered for Protes- 


brief reference as it throws some light on the confusion existing 
at the time between Illuminism and Protestantism. 

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

An affiliated group comes before us in Toledo, centering around 
Petronila de Lucena, an unmarried woman of 25, living with her 
brother, Juan del Castillo. She had a high reputation for sanctity 
and was credited with thaumaturgic powers; when the Duke del 
Infantazgo was mortally ill, she was sent for, but too late. We 
hear of Maria Cazalla, Bernardino de Tovar and Francisca Her- 
nd,ndez ; there are allusions to Erasmus, and Diego Hernandez had 
included her in his denxmciations of Lutheranism. Letters to her 
from her brother, Gaspar de Lucena, are mere mystical maun- \ 
derings, showing the atmosphere in which they lived, but the ' 
other brother, Juan del Castillo, then on trial, admitted many 

' Melgares Marin, op. cit., II, 74- 
' Ibidem, pp. 147-53. 


Lutheran doctrines — works were not necessary, Church precepts 
were not binding, man had not free-will, indulgences were useless 
and a book by OEcolampadius had led him to disbelieve in tran- 
substantiation. Both Juan and Gaspar were on trial, and we 
hear of another prisoner, Catalina de Figueredo. Petronila was 
arrested, with sequestration, May 7, 1534, and her trial pursued the 
ordinary course imtil March 20, 1535, when, as we have seen 
(Vol. Ill, p. Ill), it was decided that, as the principal witness 
against her, Juan del Castillo, had revoked the evidence given 
^ under torture, she might be released on bail of a hundred 
thousand maravedis, which was promptly entered. In June 
she petitioned to be wholly discharged and that the seques- 
tration be lifted ; to this no attention was paid but a second appli- 
cation, October 20, 1536 procured the removal of the sequestration. 
Gaspar de Lucena was sentenced to reconciliation and this was 
presumably the fate of Juan del Castillo unless he was impenitent.' 
These cases show that the prevalence of the mingled heresies 
of Illuminism and Lutheranism was calling for repression, nor was 
this confined to Castile. In 1533, Miguel Galba, fiscal of the 
tribunal of L^rida, in a letter to Cardinal Manrique, declared that 
only the vigilance of the Inquisition prevented both kingdoms 
from being filled with the followers of the two heresies.^ There 
was of course exaggeration in this, but the fears of the authorities 
led them to see heresies everywhere. As Juan de Vald^s, himself 
inclined to mysticism, says, when any one endeavored to manifest 
the perfection of Christianity, his utterances were misinterpreted 
and he was condemned as a heretic, so that there was scarce any 
one who dared to live as a Christian/ Many suffered from the 
results of this hyper-sensitiveness. When Ignatius Loyola, after 
his conversion, came in 1526 to AlcaU to study, he was joined 
by four young men; they assumed a pecuhar gray gown and their 
fervor brought many to the H6pital de la Misericordia, where 
they lodged, to consult with them and join in their spiritual exer- 
cises. This excited suspicion and invited investigation. What 
was the exact authority of Doctor Miguel Carrasco, confessor of 
Fonseca Archbishop of Toledo, and of Alonso Mexia, who bore a 

^^^ Archive, hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. Ill, u. 46.— «. Schafer, II, 

^ MS. penes me. 

' Didlogo de Mercuric y Caron, cap. Ixv. 


commission as inqmsitor, does not appear, but they examined 
witnesses and the sentence rendered by the Vicar-general, Juan 
Rodriguez de Figueroa, was merely that the associates should lay 
aside their distinctive garments. After this the number who went 
to listen to Loyola continued to increase, and the women had a 
fashion of falling in convulsions, there was nothing of illuminism 
in his exhortations, but he was open to suspicion, and it was inad- 
missible that a yoimg layman should assume the function of a 
director of souls. This time it was Vicar-general Figueroa who 
took the matter in hand and threw Loyola into prison, in 1527, 
finally sentencing him and his companions not to appear in public 
until they had assumed the ordinary lay garments, nor for three 
years to hold assemblages public or private and then only with 
permission of the Ordinary.^ It was this experience that drove 
Loyola to complete his studies in Paris, where he was not siibject 
to the intrusion of excitable devotees. 

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

• So much has been said about this prosecution of Loyola that Padre Fidel 
Fita has performed a service in printing the documents of the case in the Boletin, 
XXXIII, 431-57. 

' Caballero, Vida de Melchor Cano, pp. 549-SO, 557-9, 568-9, 572-7, 582-3, 
592-3, 598, 601. 


salvation, and that the use of images and veneration of relics are 
of human precept/ 

In this inquisitorial temper it was a matter of chance whether 
a devotional writer should be canonized or condemned and mayhap 
both might befall him, as occurred to San Francisco de Borja, 
whose Obras del Cristiano was put on the Index of 1559, though it 
disappeared after that of Quiroga in 1583.^ Santa Teresa herself, 
the queen of Spanish mystics and, along with Santiago, the patron 
saint of Spain, was confined in a convent by the Nuncio Sega, who 
denounced her as a restless vagabond, plunged in dissipation under 
pretext of religion, and an effort was made to transport her to 
the Indies, which were a sort of penal settlement. But for the 
accident that Philip II became interested in her, she would prob- 
ably have come down to us as one of the beatas revelanderas 
whom it was the special mission of the Inqmsition to suppress. 
When, in 1575, she founded a convent of her Barefooted Carme- 
lites in Seville, they were denounced as Alumbradas; the inquis- 
itors created a terrible scandal by going to the house with the 
guards to investigate, but they could substantiate nothing to justify 
prosecution. So, when in 1574 her spiritual autobiography was 
denounced to the Inquisition, it was held for ten years in suspense, 
and the Duchess of Alva, who possessed a MS. copy, was obliged 
to procure a licence to read it in private until judgement should 
be rendered — although finally, in 1588, it was printed by Fray 
Luis de Leon at the special request of the empress. Even after 
canonization her Conceptos del Amor divino, when printed with 
the works of her disciple Jeronimo Gracian, were put on the Index 
and remained there.^ Her most illustrious disciple, San Juan de 

' Salazar de Mendoza, Vida de Carranza, cap. xxxiii. 

The first of these undoubtedly is found in the Comentarios (E iii, Obra iii, 
cap. 3), but it was perfectly admissible doctrine at the period. Azpilcueta, 
who was no mystic, tells us, in 1577, that prayer is worthless unless uttered in 
lively faith and ardent charity; innumerable priests are consigned to purgatory 
or to hell on account of their prayers, each one of which is at least a venial 
sin. — De Oratione, cap. viii. 

It illustrates the progress of the movement against mysticism that the Index 
of Zapata, in 1632 (p, 980) orders a passage in Don Quixote to be borrado in which 
this is expressed much less offensively — "Las obras de Charidad que se hazen 
tibia y floxamente no tienen merito ni valen nada." 

' Reusch, Die Indices^ pp. 237, 438. 

' V. de la Fuente, Escritos de S. Teresa, I, 3-4, 557; II, 439-40, 557, 568, 
571.— Index of Sotomayor, 1640, p. 529.— Indice Ultimo, p. 118. 


la Cruz, escaped prosecution, though repeatedly denounced to the 
Inquisition, and his writings were not forbidden, but he was most 
vindictively persecuted as an Alumbrado, first by his unreformed 
Carmelite brethren and then by the Barefooted Order, and he 
ended his days in disgrace, reduded in a convent in the Sierra 
Morena/ Yet Francisco de Osuna,'the preceptor of Santa Teresa, 
although his writings are of the highest mysticism, escaped perse- 
cution himself, and his Abecedario Spiritual incurred only a single 

The Venerable Luis de Granada was not canonized, for the pro- 
ceedings were never completed. He was one of the most moderate 
of those who taught the supreme virtues of recojimiento and his 
Guia de Pecadores ranks as one of the Spanish classics, yet his 
works were prohibited in the Index of 1559.^ Melchor Cano 
declared that his books contained doctrines of Alumbrados and 
matters contrary to the faith, while Fray Alonso de la Fuente, 
who was a vigorous persecutor of illuminism, endeavored to have 
him prosecuted and pronotmced his De la Oracion the worst of the 
books which presented these errors so subtly that only the initiated 
could discover them. It illustrates the difference between Spanish 
and Roman standards, at this period, that his writings v/ere trans- 
lated and freely current in many languages and that, in 1582, 
Gregory XIII wrote to him eulogizing them in the most exu- 
berant terms and urging him to continue his labbrs for the curing 
of the infirm, the strengthening of the weak, the comfort of the 
strong and the glory of both Churches, the militant and the trium- 
phant. When he died, in 1588, it was in the odor of sanctity, and 
he subsequently appeared to a devotee arrayed in a cloak of glory, 
glittering with innumerable stars, which were the souls of those 
saved by his writings.* 

Ignatius Loyola was inclined to mysticism, and the mental 
prayer which he taught^ — the Ejercicio de las tres Potencias or 
exercise of the memory, intellect and will — differed little from 

' Jos6 de Jesus Marfa, Vida de San Juan de la Cruz (Escritos de S. Teresa, 
II, 611-14). 

' Index of Sandoval, 1612, p. 379 (Ed. Genevse, 1620). 

' Reusch, Die Indices, p. 224. 

' Caballero, Vida de Melchor Cano, p. 597. — Barrantes, Aparato para la 
Historia de Extremadura, II, 346-7. —Giovanni da Capugnano, Vida del P. 
Luigi Granata.— Theiner, AnnaL Eccles., Ill, 861.— Palafox y Mendoza, Obras, 
VII, 65. 

VOL. IV 2 


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

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

' Alfonso Rodriguez, Ejercicio de la Perfeccion, P. I, Trat. v, cap. 7, 12. 

' Ribadeneira, Vit. S. Ig. Loyote, Lib. v, cap. 10. 

'" Alegambe, Bibl. Scriptt. Soc. Jesu, p. 136.— Nieremberg, Honor del Gran 
Patriarca San Ignacio, p. 513.— L. de la Puente, Guia Spirituale, P. ii, Trat. 1, 
cap. 15, n. 3; cap. 18, n. 2 (Roma, 1628).— De Backer, III, 639-53. 

* Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 76, fol. 343. 

' Caballero, op, cit, p. 526.— Cf, p. 359. 

Chap. V] THE JESUITS 19 

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

Thenceforth Fray Alonso devoted himself to the task of investi- 
gating and exterminating this dangerous heresy, but the work of 
investigation was complicated by the concealment of error under 
external piety. Before discovering a single false doctrine, we 
meet, he says, a thousand prayers and disciplines and commun- 
ions and pious sighs and devotions. It is like sifting gold out 
of sand; to reach one heresy you must winnow away a thousand 
pious works. So it is everywhere in Spain where there are Jesuits 
and thus we see what great labor is required to overcome it, since 
there are not in the kingdom three inqtiisitors who understand it 
or have the energy and requisite zeal. Yet he penetrated far 
enough into it, after sundry prosecutions, to draw up a list of 
thirty-nine errors, some of which, like those ascribed to witch- 
craft, suggest the influence of the torture-chamber in extracting 

' Fray Alonso's Memorial, from which the subsequent details are drawn, has 
been printed by Don Miguel Mir in the Revista de Archivos for Aug.-Sept., irC3; 
Jan., 1904; Aug.-Sept., 1904j June, 1905; July, 1905; and Aug.-Sept., 1905. 


confessions satisfactory to the prosecutor. Not only are the adepts 
guilty of all the heresies of the Begghards, condemned in the 
Clementines, and of teaching that mental prayer is the sole thing 
requisite to salvation, but the teachers are great sorcerers and 
magicians, who have pact with the demon, and thus they make 
themselves masters of men and women, their persons and property, 
as though they were slaves. They train many saints, who feel 
in themselves the Holy Ghost, who see the Divine Essence and 
learn the secrets of heaven; who have visions and revelations and 
a knowledge of Scripture, and all this is accomplished by means of 
the demon, and by magic arts. By magic, they gain possession 
of women, whom they teach that it is no sin, and sometimes the 
demon comes disguised as Christ and has commerce with the 

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

It is easy to conceive, therefore, the obstacles confronting Fray 

Chap. V] THE JESUITS 21 

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

It had been proposed to remove the tribunal from Llerena to 
Plasencia, where houses had been bought for it, but, early in 1574, 
Fray Alonso remonstrated with the inquisitor-general, pointing 
out that the land was full of Alumbrados, many of them powerful, 
and what preaching had been done against them, under the pro- 
tection of the Inquisition, would be silenced if it was removed. 
This brought a summons and in May he appeared before the 
Suprema, where his revelations astonished the members and they 
asked his advice. He urged a visitation of the district, to be made 
by the fiscal Montoya, who had studied the matter and imderstood 
it, while the inquisitors did not comprehend the subtile mysteries 
and distinctions involved. It was so ordered, and Montoya com- 
menced his visitation at Zafra, where, on July 25th he pubhshed 
the Edict of Faith, and a special one against Illuminism and Quiet- 
ism. At first he was much disconcerted in finding among the 
Alumbrados nothing but fasts and discipHnes, prayers, contem- 
plation, hair-shirts, confessions and communions or, if traces 


appeared of evil doctrines, so commingled with the words of God 
and the sacraments that evil was concealed in good. Fray Alonso 
however encouraged him to investigate the lives and conversation 
of those who enjoyed trances and visions and the stigmata, when 
it became evident that all was magic art, the work of Satan and 
of hell. For four months Montoya gathered information and 
sent the papers to the Suprema, which ordered the arrest with 
sequestration of five persons, four of the adepts and a female 
disciple. Towards the close of December he returned to Llerena, 
to resume the visitation in March, 1575. During the interval 
Fray Alonso was summoned to Madrid, where he was ordered 
to accompany Montoya, and the inquisitors were instructed to 
pay him a salary; this at first they refused to do and then assigned 
him four reales a day for each day on which he should preach, 
but the Suprema intervened with an order on the receiver to pay 
him a certain sum that would enable him to perform the duty. 
The visitation lasted from March till the beginning of November, 
and comprised sixteen places, in which Fray Alonso tells us that 
there were found great errors and sins. Unfortunately he omits 
to inform us what were the practical results or what was done 
with the culprits arrested the previous year, and he concludes his 
memorial by assuring us that the Jesuits and the Alumbrados 
are ahke in doctrine and are the same, which is so certain that 
to doubt it would be great sin and offence to God. 

Fray Alonso might safely thus attack the children of Loyola 
in Spain, but he made a fatal error when his zeal induced him to 
carry the war into Portugal. In the following year, 1576, he 
addressed memorials to the Portuguese ecclesiastical authorities, 
ascribing to the Jesuits all the Illuminism that afflicted Spain; 
they taught, he said, that their contemplation of the Passion of 
Christ was rewarded with the highest spiritual gifts, including 
impeccability, with the corollary that carnal indulgence was no 
sin in the Illuminated, while in reality their visions and revela- 
tions were the work of demons, whom they controlled by their 
skill in sorcery. The Jesuits, however, by this time were a domi- 
nant power in Portugal; Cardinal Henry, the inquisitor-general, 
transmitted the memorials to the Spanish Inquisition, with a 
request for the condign punishment of the audacious fraile. It 
was no more than he had openly preached and repeatedly urged 
on the Suprema, but the time was fast approaching for the absorp- 
tion of Portugal under the Castilian crown, and Cardinal Henry 


was to be propitiated. Fray Alonso was forced to retract, and 
was recluded in a convent, but this did not satisfy the Cardinal, 
who asked for his extradition, or that the matter he submitted to 
the Holy See, when the opportune death of the fraile put a happy 
end to the matter.^ 

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

The evidence elicited in the trials showed the errors ordinarily 
attributed to lUuminism, including trances and revelations and 
sexual abominations unfit for transcription. After three years 
spent in this work, an auto was held, June 14, 1579, in which, 
among other offenders, there appeared fifteen Alumbrados — ten 
men and five women. Of the men, all but the unlucky shoe- 
maker were priests, and among them we recognize Hernando 
Alvarez, against whom there appeared no less than a hundred 
and forty-six witnesses. Many were curas of various towns and 
naturally the illicit relations were principally between confessors 
and their spiritual daughters. From a doctrinal standpoint, their 

Barrantes, Aparato para la Historia de Extremadura, II, 332-47. 



olTcnce seems not to have been regarded as serious, for none of 
ilu'in were degraded, and the abjvirations were for light suspicion, 
but this leniency was accompanied by deprivation of fimctions, 
galley-service, reclusion and similar penalties, while the fines 
inflicted amounted to fifteen hundred ducats and eight thousand 
niaravedis. The unfortunate Mari Sanz, who had caused the 
explosion, expiated her imprudence by appearing with a gag and 
a sentence to perpetual prison, two himdred lashes in Llerena and 
two hundred more at la Fuente del Maestre, her place of residence.^ 
From the number of those inculpated it may be assumed that 
this auto did not empty the prisons, and that it was followed by 
others, but if so, we have no record of them. The impression 
produced by the affair was wide and profound. Pdramo, writing 
towards the end of the century, speaks of it as one in which the 
vigilance of the Inquisition preserved Spain from serious peril.^ 

In fact, it marks a turning-point in the relations of the Inquisi- 
tion to Spanish mysticism, of which the persecution became one of 
its regular and recognized duties. Even before the auto of 1579, 
the Suprema, in a carta acordada of January 4, 1578, ordered 
the tribunals to add to the Edict of Faith a section in which the 
errors developed in the trials were enumerated. These consisted 
in asserting that mental prayer is of divine precept and that it 
fulfils ever3d;hing, while vocal prayer is of trivial importance; that 
the servants of God are not required to labor; that the orders of 
superiors are to be disregarded, when conflicting with the hours 
devoted to mental prayer and contemplation ; decrying the sacra- 
ment of matrimony; asserting that the perfect have no need of 
performing virtuous actions; advising persons not to marry or to 
enter religious Orders; saying that the servants of God are to shine 
in secular life; obtaining promises of obedience and enforcing it 
in every detail; holding that, after reaching a certain degree of 

' BibUoteca nacional, MSS., S. 151, fol. 54-67.— Ban-antes, op. cit., II, 329, 
347-57.— Miscelanea de Zapata (Memorial hist, espanol, XI, 75).— Cipriano de 
Valera, Dos Tratados (Reformistas antig. espafioles, p. 272).— Dorado, Com- 
pendio historico de Salamanca, p. 423. 

In 1576 Alonso Gonzdlez Carmena was tried at Toledo forsajnng that the only 
object of the Inquisition was to get money, and instancing a wealthy damsel 
of Llereua recently arrested as an Alumbrado. He probably considered his 
assertions verified by having to pay a fine of 4000 maravedls, in addition to six 
months' e.xile.— MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Ye, 20, T. I. 

' Pdramo, p. 302. 


perfection, they cannot look upon holy images or listen to sermons, 
and teaching these errors under pledge of secrecy/ 

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

Simple mysticism, however, even without the advanced doc- 
trines of Illuminism and Quietism, was becoming to the Inqui- 
sition an object of pronounced hostility. The land was being 
filled with beatas revelanderas; mystic fervor was spreading and 
threatening to become a part of the national religion, stimulated 
doubtless by the increasing cult paid to its prominent exemplars, 
for Santa Teresa was beatified in 1614 and canonized in 1622, 
while San Pedro de Alcantara was beatified in the latter year. 
Apart from all moral questions, the mystic might at any moment 
assert independence; his theory was destructive to the intervention 
of the priest between man and God, and Illtmiinism was only a 

' Arcihvo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 939, fol. 108; Lib 979, fol. 30.— The details 
of the Edict are derived from a copy published in Mexico, July 17, 1579, which 
I owe to the kindness of the late General Don Riva Palacio. In the Edict pub- 
lished at the opening of the Mexican Inquisition, Nov. 3, 1571, there is no allusion 
to the subject. See Appendix to Vol. II, p. 587. 

» Pdramo, pp. 302, 681-2, 688-9, 854. 

' MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 20, T. I 


development of mysticism. The Inquisition was not wholly con- 
sistent, but its determination to stem the current which was setting 
so strongly was emphatically expressed in the trial of Padre 
Geronimo de la Madre de Dios by the Toledo tribimal in 1616. 

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

In all this there was nothing beyond the manifestations of devo- 
tional fervor customary to Spanish piety, but an accusation was 
brought against Padre Geronimo, September 20, 1615, for teaching 
that the soul could reach a state of perfection in which it would 
be an act of imperfection to ask God for anything. This, which 
was one of the refinements of mysticism, was subsequently proved 
by the calificadores to be subversive of existing observances, 
because the saints in heaven were in a state of perfection and, if 
they could ask nothing of God, what would become of their suffrage 
and intercession and what would be the use of the cult and obla- 
tions offered to them ? Still, at the time, the tribunal took no action 
beyond examining a few witnesses, and Geronimo would probably 


not have been disturbed in his useful career had he not written a 
book. In his mystic zeal he imagined himself inspired in the 
composition of a work entitled El Discipulo espiritual que trata 
de oracion mental y de espiritu, which he submitted to several 
learned theologians, whose emendations he adopted. This had 
considerable currency in MS. ; a demand arose for its printing, and 
he laid it before the Royal Council for a licence, when he was 
informed that the approbation of the episcopal provisor of Toledo 
was a condition precedent. After sending it to that official and 
receiving no answer for six months, he submitted a copy to the 
Suprema, October 20, 1615, explaining what he had done and 
asking for its examinationj if there was in it anything contrary to 
the faith, he desired its correction, for he wished the work to be 
unimpeachably orthodox and would die a thousand deaths in 
defence of the true reUgion. 

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

Despite the piteous supplications of his aged father, his trial 
lasted imtil September, 1618— some twenty-seven months of incar- 
ceration, during which his health suffered severely. Throughout 
it all he never varied from his attitude of abject submission; 
kneeling and weeping he begged for penance and punishment, as 
he would rather be plunged in hell than commit a sin or give utter- 
ance to aught offensive to pious ears. This availed him little. 
He was sentenced to appear in the auto of September 2, 1618, as 
a penitent, to abjure de vehementi and to retract pubHcly a fist of 
sixty-one errors. He was forbidden for life to preach or to hear 
confessions, or to write on religious subjects; he was recluded for 


a year in a designated convent and for five more was banished 
from Madrid and Toledo, and a public edict commanded the sur- 
render of all his writings. Thus he was not only publicly pro- 
claimed a heretic, but his career was blasted, he was virtually 
deprived of the means of subsistence, yet his first act on reaching 
his place of confinement was to write humbly thanking the 
inquisitors for their kindness. Seven months later he appealed 
to them, saying that he was sick and enfeebled, he had been bled 
four times and he begged for the love of God that he might be 
spared the rest of his reclusion and be allowed to comfort his 
aged father. To this no attention was paid and we hear nothing 
more of him. 

For us the interest of the case lies not so much in the cruelty 
with which the bruised reed was broken, as in the revelation of 
the silent revolution in the Spanish Church with regard to mysti- 
cism. In the sixty-one condemned propositions there were one or 
two properly liable to censure, the most dangerous being that 
ascribed to the Begghards — that the perfected soul enjoys the 
spirit of liberty, going at will without laws or rules, and that in 
this state God gives it the power of working miracles. Another 
which asserted that devotion to images, rosaries, blessed beads etc. 
was an error so great that souls so employed could have no hope 
of salvation was scarce more than an exaggeration of the precepts 
of Francisco de Osuna and Juan de la Cruz. For the most part, 
the condemned propositions were merely the common-places of 
the great mystics of the sixteenth century — that the perfected soul 
enjoys absolute peace, for the appetites and passions are at rest and 
the flesh in no way contradicts the spirit — that trances are the 
highest of God's gifts — that the supreme grade of contemplation 
becomes habitual, and that the soul at will can thus enter God's 
presence— that, in the trance, God can be seen— that the perfected 
soul should ask only that God's will be done. Other condemna- 
tions were directed against the claims of inspiration and revelation, 
against the suspension of the faculties in mental prayer, against 
the Union with God which had been the aim of all the mystics. 
In short, it was a condemnation of the doctrines and practices 
which, for centuries, had been recognized by the Church as mani- 
festations of the utmost holiness. Had Francisco de Osuna, Luis 
de Granada, San Pedro de Alcdntara, Santa Teresa, San Juan de 
la Cruz and their disciples been judged by the same standard, 
they would have shared the fate of Padre Geronimo unless, indeed, 


their convictions had led them to refuse submission, in which case 
they would have been burnt.' This was shown at ValladoUd 
when, in 1620, Juan de Gabana, priest of San Martin de Valverri 
and Ger6nima Gonzalez, a widow, were prosecuted for mysticism. 
He died in prison, pertinacious to the last and was duly burnt in 
effigy, in 1622. She was less firm and was voted to reconciha- 
tion, but the Suprema ordered her to be tortured ; this she escaped 
by dying, and her effigy was reconciled.^ 

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

During this time there was a storm gathering in Seville which 
enabled the Inquisition to impress its definite policy on the mys- 
tically inclined. We have seen how mysticism flourished there 
under the patronage of Archbishop Rojas, and the persecution 
in Extremadura seems not to have extended to Andalusia, so that 
it continued unrepressed. While Padre Geronimo was awaiting 
his doom in Toledo, a much more extravagant performer was 
enjoying the cult of the devout in Seville. A priest named Fer- 
nando Mendez had a special reputation for sanctity; when cele- 
brating mass he fell into trances and uttered terrible roars; he 
taught his disciples to invoke his intercession, as though he were 
already a saint in heaven ; fragments of his garments were treas- 

' MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 20, T. VII. 
' Archivo de Simanoas, Inq., Leg. 552, fol. 1. 
' Mfstica Teologia, Lib. ii, cap. 1, 4, 5, 6, 


ured as relics; he gathered a congregation of beatas and, after 
mass in his oratory, they would strip off their garments and dance 
with indecent vigor — drunk with the love of God — and, on some of 
his female penitents, he would impose the penance of lifting their 
skirts and exposing themselves before him. His disciples were 
not drawn merely from the lower classes, for we are told that as 
many as thirty coaches could be counted of a morning around the 
gate of the Franciscan convent to which he had retired/ 

This hysteric contagion spread through Seville, affecting a 
considerable portion of the population. There was no concealment 
and evidently no thought that it involved suspicion of heresy, or 
that it departed in any way from orthodoxy. A special group 
of mystics, known as la Granata, under successive spiritual direc- 
tors, had long held their meetings in the chapel of Nuestra Seiiora 
de la Granada, without exciting animadversion or calling for inter- 
ference from the Inquisition.^ When, however, the imperious 
Pacheco, in 1622, assumed the ofRce of inquisitor-general, he 
speedily ordered the Seville tribunal to investigate and report as 
to the mystic extravagances current in the city, and there could 
have been no difficulty in collecting ample material for condem- 
nation according to the new standard. This resulted in the publi- 
cation of a special Edict of Grace, May 9, 1523, granting the cus- 
tomary thirty days in which those feeling themselves inculpated 
could denoimce themselves and their accomplices and be admitted 
to absolution with salutary penance and without confiscation or 
disabilities affecting their descendants. That all might under- 
stand what these new heresies were, the edict embodied a list of 
seventy-six errors ascribed to the Alumbrados, which marks the 
advance made since 1578 in suppressing mysticism in general 
and in attributing to it additional evil practices. There was a 
fuller condemnation of the beliefs common to all mystics, which 
had so often earned canonization — that their trembling or burn- 
ing or fainting was a sign of grace and of the influence of the 
Holy Spirit— that a stage of perfection could be reached in which 
they could see the Divine Essence and the mysteries of the 
Trinity and that, in this state, grace drowned all the faculties— 
that they were governed directly by the Holy Spirit in what 
they did or left undone— that in contemplation they dismissed 

> Menfodez y Pelayo, II, 647-8.— MSS. of Bodleian Library, Arch S, 130. 
' Barrantes, Aparato, II, 363. 


all thought and concentrated theniselves in the presence of God 
—that, in the state of Union with God, the will is subordinated— 
that in trances God is clearly seen in his glory- that mental 
prayer renders other works superfluous— that other duties, both 
religious and worldly, can be neglected to devote oneself wholly 
to this supreme devotion. 

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

The audacious assumption of power in this pronouncement 
was forcibly pointed out by Juan Djonisio Portocarrero, in an 
opinion furnished to the Archbishop Pedro de Castro y Quinones. 
There was gross disrespect shown to him, who had been kept in 
ignorance, though it was known that an edict was in preparation, 
of which the nature was sedulously concealed until it was suddenly 
published in all the churches. Inquisitors could not decide cases 
without the participation of the Ordinary, while here the cases 
were tried and the parties admitted to reconciliation, without 
caUing in the episcopal authority. Similar usxirpation was mani- 

' Barrantes, op. cit., II, 364-70. This copy is somewhat imperfect; a better 
one is in the Bibliotheque nationale, fonds Dupuy, 673, fol. 181. 

Malvasia (Cathalogus omnium Hseresum et Conciliorum, Romse, 1661, p. 269) 
gives a list of fifty Uluminist errors from this edict of Pacheco. Cf. Bemino, 
Historia di tutte I'Heresie, IV, 613 (Venezia, 1717). 


fested in the definition of heresies, which was the attribute of the 
Holy See and of general councils, not of the Inquisition. No 
general council could do more than the inquisitor-general had done 
in defining the seventy-six errors, and to say that these errors 
were widely disseminated in Seville, not without fault of those 
permitting it, and to do so without calling upon the archbishop 
to explain the condition of his flock, was to condemn him without 
a hearing. These seventy-six propositions were all styled matters 
of faith, although many of them were rather matters of discipline, 
pertaining to the Ordinary, yet all were reserved to the Inquisition. 
Moreover, the inquisitor-general was not competent to decide the 
disputed question whether the power assured to bishops to absolve 
for secret heresy was annulled by the buU in Ccena Domini. Then 
Portocarrero proceeded to examine one by one a considerable 
portion of the condemned propositions and showed that some of 
them expressed the accepted teaching of the Church, while many 
were not cognizable by the Inquisition, because they had nothing 
to do with faith, and others again he omitted as being unintelligible. 
He urged the archbishop to vindicate his jurisdiction quietly, 
without causing scandal, and that the edict be examined and quali- 
fied by learned men, not Dominicans, for it had originated with 
them — the truth being that the inculpated mystics were mostly 
under the direction of Franciscans and Jesuits and that, in the 
bitter hatred between the Orders, the Dominicans had stirred 
up the matter to strike a blow at their rivals.^ 

The poor old archbishop, who died in December of the same year, 
of course did nothing. The edict was published on June 4th and 
again on the 11th, when the most pious circles in Seville suddenly 
found themselves arraigned for heresy. Mysticism had become 
fashionable, especially among the women, from the noblest to 
the lower classes, and they rushed at once to obtain the pardon 
promised within the thirty days. A Seville letter of June 15th 
says that an inquisitor with a secretary established himself in 
San Pablo (the Dominican church used in autos de fe), eating and 
sleeping there, and on duty from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m., with an 
hour's intermission for meals, but that he could not attend to a 
twentieth part of the applicants, and that another thirty days 

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 927, fol. 475. 

This bold protest seems to have called attention to Portocarrero's ability 
for, in 1624, we find him appointed Inquisitor of Majorca and writing a book in 
defence of the Inquisition against the royal jurisdiction. 


would have to be granted. In this there is doubtless exaggeration, 
but another authority states the number of those inculpated at 
695.' There had of course been no intentional heresy and there 
were no pertinacious heretics, although among them were impos- 
tors who had traded upon popular credulity and love for the 
marvellous. Still, an auto de fe was necessary to confirm the 
impression and it was held on November 30, 1624, in which eleven 
Alumbrados appeared, but eight of them were confessed impostors. 
Of the remaining three, one was the Padre Fernando M^ndez, who 
in dying had distributed his garments and his virtues among his 
disciples; no special punishment was decreed against his memory, 
but his effigy was displayed in the auto, his revelations, trances, 
visions and prophecies were declared to be fictitious, and his dis- 
ciples were required to surrender the articles which they had 
treasured as relics. Another was a mulatto slave named Antonio 
de la Cruz, who had united to his mysticism some unauthorized 
speculations respecting the power of Satan; he escaped with abju- 
ration de levi and deprivation of the sacrament except at Easter, 
Pentecost and Christmas. The third was Francisco del Castillo, 
a priest whose trances were so frequent and uncontrollable that 
they would seize him in the act of eating ; he was at the head of a 
congregation, the members of which he boasted were all saved, 
and through which the Church was to be reformed, he being 
possessed of the spirit of Jesiis Christ and his disciples of that of 
the Apostles— all of which had not prevented him from maintaining 
improper relations with his female penitents. He was sentenced 
only to abjuration de levi, perpetual deprivation of confessing 
and reclusion for four years in a convent, with exile from Seville— 
the usual penalty, as we shall see, for solicitation ad turpia in the 
confessional— with warning of severer punishment if he did not 
abandon his visions and revelations.^ 

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

Seville, however, was not yet cleansed of the infection. At an 
auto held some two years later, on February 28, 1627, there were 

' Barrantes, op. cit., II, 363, 371-2. 
' MSS. of Bodleian Library, Arch S, 130. 
VOL. IV 3 



two conspicuous mystics, Maestre Juan de Villalpando, a priest in 
charge of one of the city parishes, and Madre CataUna de Jesus, 
a Carmelite beata. Notwithstanding the Edict of 1623, Villal- 
pando had maintained a congregation of both sexes, who obeyed 
him implicitly in all things, temporal and spiritual. No less than 
two hundred and seventy-five erroneous propositions were charged 
against him, and he was required to retract twenty-two articles. 
He was deprived of his priestly functions, recluded for four years 
in a convent and confined subsequently to the city of Seville, with 
a fine of two hundred ducats. Madre Catalina, for thirty-eight 
years, had been sick with the love of God, and her continued exist- 
ence was regarded as a miracle by her numerous disciples, who 
treasm-ed as relics whatever had touched her person. She was 
accused of improper relations with a priest— probably Villal- 
pando— who reverenced her as his guide and teacher, and she was 
a dogmatizer, for her writings, both MS. and printed, were required 
to be surrendered. On the testimony of a hundred and forty- 
eight witnesses, she was sentenced to reclusion for six years in a 
hospital, where she was to earn her support by labor.^ 

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

Obstinacy, in fact, converts into formal heresy what may be 
otherwise regarded as light suspicion, as it infers disobedience to 
the decisions of the Church. This is seen in an interesting review 
of the whole subject by an inquisitor about 1640. He describes 
the evidence customarily brought against alumbrado confessors 
and preachers, of teaching sensuality under cover of mortification. 
Some hold that indecent handling and sleeping with a woman 

> MSS. of Bodleian Library, Arch Seld. A., Subt. 11; Arch Seld. 130. 

' Llorente, Hist, crit., cap. xxxviii, n. 5. — Llorente's statement is confirmed 
by the account in Bemino's Historia di tulle VHeresie, IV, 613. See also Terzago, 
Theologia historico-mystica, p. 6 (Venetiis, 1764). 

Chap. V] TREATMENT 35 

are meritorious as trampling on the devil and overcoming temp- 
tation; so it is with making the penitent strip and stand against a 
wall with arms outstretched, and other details that may well be 
spared. There is also teaching that obedience is better than the 
sacrament and that it excuses what would otherwise be evil, or 
that God has revealed to them that such things are not sin, or that 
interior impulses are to be followed in doing or not doing an37thing. 
Such persons, he tells us are confined in the secret prison, without 
sequestration, although, if there is suspicion of heresy, there is 
sequestration. If, as usually occurs, they confess to these teach- 
ings, extenuating them as the result of thoughtlessness or ignorance 
without errors of belief, and if they are priests or frailes, the sen- 
tence is read in the audience-chamber and the punishment is the 
same as for solicitation in the confessional — that is to say, reclusion 
in a monastery for a term of years and deprivation of the faculty 
of confessing. But, if this evil doctrine has caused much injury, 
as at Llerena, they appear in a public auto with some years of 
galley-service and, if they are priests owning property, they are 
fined at discretion. 

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

From this statement it would appear that the extreme position 
assumed by Pacheco had not been maintained and that simple 
mysticism was tolerated unless it was complicated with the 

' Bibl. nacional, MSS., V, 377, cap. xxi. 


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

Suddenly, in 1635, the Inquisition imdertook to investigate her. 
There had been nothing exceptional in her career, except its suc- 
cess and, under Franciscan management she had been mostly 
kept clear of the errors condemned in Pacheco's edict. The 
motive for action is obscure, and the most probable suggestion is 
that the opponents of Count-Duke Olivares had sought, after the 
fashion of the time, to make use, for political ends, of the boundless 
popular veneration of which she was the object. Yet there was 
significant caution in the preliminaries. Juan Santos, senior 
Inquisitor of Valladolid, was ordered to examine her, when he 
pretended a visit to the Bishop of Palencia and on the road stopped 
for a fortnight at Carrion. It was not difficult to involve an untu- 


tored nun in erroneous theological speculations, and a warrant 
for her arrest followed ; she was placed in a carriage with a female 
relative of one of the inquisitors, when her journey to Valladohd 
was a triumphal procession. A pillar of light, changing into a 
cross, was seen in the sky; everywhere the population gathered 
in mass, and the precaution of entering Valladolid at night was 
unavailing, for the crowds were so great that she was with difficulty 
carried in safety, through the surging mob striving to gather some 
fragment of her dress as a talisman. She was housed in the 
Augustinian convent, where she was the object of veneration to 
the nuns, who declared her destined to be the most powerful saint 
in the annals of the Church ; but it was observed that she no longer 
had ecstasies, although at Carrion they had been of daily occurrence 
and were celebrated by sounding the organ, when everyone rushed 
to see them. 

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

The fore-ordained condemnation was preceded by an edict of 
October 23, 1636, requiring the surrender of all letters, portraits, 
crosses, beads etc., which were so numerous that in a few days the 


cura of the parish of San Miguel had a room full of them. The 
poor old crone was blind, toothless and exhausted with a life of 
hysteria; the shock of these experiences was too great for her 
feeble vitality, and she died in November. This was, of course, 
no impediment to her trial, and the tribimal was justly incensed 
to learn that the bishop had buried her without its permission. 
When summoned to answer for this he threatened a popular up- 
rising, but the tribunal held good, exhimied the body and verified 
its identity, after which the Suprema ordered a second exhumation 
and burial under its authority. 

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

But for the presumably political motive prompting her prose- 
cution it may be assumed that Madre Luisa would have been 
enrolled in the calendar of saints. Her career was no more extra- 
vagant than that of her contemporary, the Blessed Maria Ana de 
Jesus, a Madrilena, who was born in 1565 and died in 1624. She 
belonged to the Order of La Merced, and her biography was written 
in 1673, by Fray Juan de la Presentacion, official historiographer 
of Philip IV, who informs us that, when an infant at the breast, 
she gave evidence of her future sanctity ; at the age of four she was 
constantly at prayer, and at six she had ecstasies, visions and 
revelations. She says herself that her soul was ordinarily illu- 
minated by God, who manifested his will to her unmistakably. 
The effort for her canonization began shortly after her death and 

' Cartas de Jesuitas (Mem. hist, espafiol, XIII, 122, 150-62, 165, 173, 175, 
177-80, 184, 205-7, 214, 222, 245, 267, 324, 435, 528, 543, 547; XIV, 12, 21, 
47; XV, 80; XIX, 383).— Pellicer, Avisos historicos (Semanario enidito, XXXIII, 
99, 168).— Index of Vidal Marin, 1707, II, 19.— Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de 
Valencia, Leg. 1, n. 6, fol. 691.— Deeret. authent. Sacrse Congr. Indulgentt. 
n. 4, 14. 


was renewed at intervals, until she was beatified in 1783.' Another 
contemporary of Maria Ana de Jesus was she of Peru, known as la 
Azucena de Quito. Born in 1618 and dying in 1645, her miracles 
commenced before her birth, and she began to mortify the flesh 
by refusing to suckle before noon-day. It was in vain that, in 
her humility, she prayed to be denied the favor of visions and 
miracles. Efforts were commenced, in 1670, to procure her canoni- 
zation, but it was not until 1850 that she was beatified by Pius IX.^ 

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

Maria de Jesus, commonly known as Sor Maria de Agreda, to 
whom Philip thus turned for counsel, was too strongly entrenched 
in the royal favor to be in danger from the Inquisition yet, 
notwithstanding that favor, her revelations were rejected by 
Rome, thus furnishing another example of the difficulty of differen- 

' Vida, pp. 6, 10, 275 (Ed. 1784). 

' Various biographies of her have been written by Moran de Butron, Pietro 
del Spirito Santo, P. Gijon y Leon, P. Gius. Boero and Juan del Castillo, of 
some of which repeated editions have appeared. 

' Pellicer, Avisos historicos (Semanario erddito, XXXIII, 171). 

* Ochoa, Epistolario espanol, II, 81. 


tiating between sanctity and heresy. She had practised mental 
prayer from the time when she was able to use her reason, and 
she was in coastant communication with God, the Virgin and 
the angels.^ Her fame filled the land, and her voluminous writings, 
which claim to be inspired, still form part of the devotional litera- 
tiu-e of the faithful. She so captured the confidence of Philip 
that he made her his chief adviser; for twenty-two years, until 
her death in 1665, four months before his own, he maintained 
constant correspondence with her by every post. Her influence 
thus was almost unbounded, but she seems never to have abused 
it; her advice was usually sound, and she never sought the enrich- 
ment of the impoverished convent of Agreda, of which she was 
the superior. 

With all the power of the Franciscan Order and of the Spanish 
court to sustain her claims to sanctity, the canonization of such a 
personage would seem almost a matter of course, and it would 
doubtless have been effected if she had not reduced her revelations 
to writing. However they might suit the appetite of Spanish piety, 
nourished so long on mystic extravagance, they did not appeal to 
the sober judgement of the rest of the Catholic world. In spite of 
their divine inspiration, her Letarda y nombres misteriosos de la 
Reina del Cielo and her Mistica Oiudad de Dios were condemned 
in Rome, and the decree as to the latter was posted on the doors 
of St. Peter's, August 4, 1681. The Mistica Ciudad was eminently 
popular in Spain and, at the instance of the Spanish court, its 
prohibition was suspended. The Inquisition took advantage of 
this, in 1686, to issue a decree permitting its circulation, at which 
the Congregation of the Index was naturally offended and, in 1692, 
the papal decree of condemnation appeared in the Appendix to 
the Index of Innocent XI, in spite of which the book was formally 
permitted by the Spanish Inquisition.^ When, in 1695, a trans- 
lation by Pere Thomas Croset appeared in France, the Sorbonne, 
by decree of September 27, 1696, condemned it as containing 
propositions contrary to the rules of ecclesiastical modesty, and 
many fables and dreams from the Apocrypha, exposing Catholi- 

' Vita Ven. Maria de Agreda, §§ 4, 6, 8, 13, 38.— Prsefat. ad Lib. I, Vite B. 

^ Archive de Simancas, Inq. Leg. 1465, fol. 101.— Index Libb. prohib. Innoc. 
PP. XI, p. 167; Append, p. 41.— Reusch, Der Index, II, 253.— Mendham, Literary 
Policy of the Church of Rome, pp. 272-4 (London, 1830).— Phelippeaux, Rela- 
tion de I'Origine etc. du Quietisme, I, 178-83 (s. 1. 1732). 


cism to the contempt of the heretics/ The Spanish court labored 
earnestly to obtain a renewal of the suspension and finally suc- 
ceeded, so that the book was omitted from thfi 1716 Index of 
Clement XI. Then in 1729, the subject was again taken up, when, 
after a long debate, the book was permitted, though Dr. Eusebius 
Amort tells us that in Rome, in 1735, he was shown a decree of 
Benedict XIII renewing the prohibition and asserting that its with- 
drawal had been obtained fraudulently; still, the book has never 
since reappeared in the Index.^ There was a similar struggle 
over the Letania, which was still included in the 1716 Index of 
Clement XI and the first Index of Benedict XIV, in 1744, but has 
disappeared from all succeeding issues.' Less successful thus far 
has been the persistent effort to procure the canonization of Madre 
Marfa, leading to a papal decree of April 27, 1773, forbidding all 
future proceedings in the case. Notwithstanding this, Leo XIII, 
on March 10, 1884, ordered the Congregation of Rites to consider 
in secret whether this prohibition could be removed. To suggest 
such a discussion is almost equivalent to prejudging it affirmatively 
but, before the decision was reached, chance led to the publication 
in the Deutscher Merkur of December 29, 1889, of the whole secret 
history of the case, which has probably put an end, at least for 
the present, to the prospect of enrolling in the calendar of saints 
one whose revelations have been so repeatedly condemned as illu- 
sory or as emanating from Satan. 

While, as we shall see, the pest of beatas revelanderas and more 
or less conscious impostors continued to afflict the land, the cases 
recognized as Alumbrados are comparatively few during the 
remainder of the seventeenth century. In a Toledo record, com- 
mencing in 1648, the first one occurs in 1679, when the Franciscan 
Fray Francisco de Toledo was convicted. In this the offence is 
treated as formal heresy, requiring reconciUation, and the punish- 
ment was extremely severe. He was to receive a circular discipline 

' D'Argentrd, Collect. Judic. de novis Erroribus, III, I, 156. 

' Analecta Franciscana, I, 92. — Reusch, Der Index, II, 256. — Amort de Reve- 
lationibus, P. II, p. 226. 

' Index dementis PP. XI, p. 292.— Index Bened. PP. XIV, 1744, p. 313. 
It is significant of the resultant dubious position of the books that Caetano 
Marcecalea, in his Enchiridium mysticum (Veronse, 1766), while giving two lists 
of mystic works, one permitted and the other prohibited, whoUy omits the 
writings of Marfa de Agreda. 

42 MYSTICISM [Book Vin 

in his convent; he was to be confined in a cell for two years and for 
two years more was to be recluded, during which time he was to 
be occupied in works of humility. In addition, he was perpetually 
suspended from orders, deprived of active and passive voice, and 
reduced to lay communion. It is possibly to this, or to some 
movement in which Fray Francisco bore a part, that Miguel Mol- 
inos refers, in a letter of February 16, 1680, to the Jesuit General 
Oliva, saying that when, in 1679, Satan sought to revive the sect 
of Illuminists in Spain, and they had applied to him, he had given 
an opinion so contrary to their follies that it frightened them and 
stopped the attempt.^ 

While Spain had thus been combatting Mysticism, Rome 
had remained comparatively indifferent, for in Italy it had not 
developed into a popiilar mania to be suppressed irrespective of 
the immoral extravagances to which it sometimes led. In the 
Edict of the Inquisition requiring denunciation of all offences 
subject to its jurisdiction, there is no mention of Mysticism or 
lUuminism.^ The elaborate folios of the writers on the Holy 
Office — Carena, Del Bene, Lupo, Dandino — are silent as to its 
eccentricities. Yet these were by no means unknown to the Roman 
Holy Office, which took cognizance of them when brought to its 
notice. Occasionally some book too extravagant in its teachings 
was put upon the Index.^ Cardinal Scaglia (f 1639), a member of 
the Congregation of the Inquisition, in his little manual of practice, 
which was circulated only in MS., when treating of the troubles 
customary in nunneries, says that through giddiness of brain, 
or vain-glory, or illusion, nuns often claim to have celestial visions 
and revelations and intercourse with God and the saints when, if 
the confessor is imprudently given to spirituality, he reduces 
their utterances to writing and, if he is learned, he defends them, 
very often with propositions punishable by the Inquisition. Some- 
times, he adds, sensuality is involved, leading to the assertion that 
carnal acts are not sinful but meritorious, when, if the confessor 
desires to take advantage of this, he seeks with revelations and 
false doctrines to prove that they are lawful. Cases of this kind 

^ Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 1. — Biblioteca Casanatense, 
MS. X. V, 27, fol. 235. 

' Bordoni Sacrum Tribunal Judicum, p. 508 (Romae, 1648). — Ign. Lupi Ber- 
gomens. Nova Lux in Edictum S. Inquisit. (Bergomi, 1648). 

' Reusch, Der Index, II, 610-11. 


have occurred in the Holy Office, when priests who so justify 
themselves become liable to the penalties of heresy. Such cases 
also occur between women assuming to be spiritual and their con- 
fessors, who so teach them, even without revelations and visions, 
leading their spiritual daughters to believe these to be works of 
merit and mortification.^ 

Bernino tells us that, early in the seventeenth century, Illu- 
minism was widely diffused throughout Italy, where abjurations 
enforced by the Inquisition were frequent, but this is probably 
the exaggeration so frequent with heresiologists.^ A well-marked 
case, however, startled Florence in 1640, when the Canon Pandolfo 
Ricasoli, a highly respected member of the noble house of the 
Barons of Trappola and a man of wide learning and handsome 
fortune, was arrested with his chief accomplice Faustina Mainardi, 
her brother Girolamo, and the Maestro Serafino de' Servi, Dottor 
Carlo Scalandrini, the priest Giacomo Fantoni, Andrea Biliotti, 
Francesco Borgeschi and two others, Mozzetti and Cocchi. Some 
nuns of Santa Anna sul Prato were also implicated, but if they 
were prosecuted no knowledge of it was allowed to reach the 
public. They seem to have formed a coterie of Illuminists to 
whom Ricasoli taught that all manner of indecent acts conduced 
to purity, if performed with the mind fixed on God ; they claimed 
special relations with heaven and were free from sin in whatever 
they did for the greater glory of God. This continued for eight 
years; rumors spread abroad and were conveyed to the Inquisi- 
tion, when Ricasoli came forward and denounced himself with 
expressions of contrition. A public atto di fede was held, Novem- 
ber 28, 1641, in the great refectory of the convent of Santa Croce, 
attended by the Grand Duke, the Cardinal de' Medici, the nuncio 
and other notabilities. One of the culprits, Serafino de' Servi, 
had died in prison and appeared in effigy, the rest abjured de 
vehementi. Ricasoli, Faustina and Fantoni were condemned to 
perpetual irremissible prison, others to prison with the privilege 
of asking for pardon, while two, Cocchi and Borgeschi, had a 
private atto di fede and were confined in the Stinche prison at 
the pleasure of the Inquisition. Ricasoli, as he was led away, 
declared that he had acted foolishly and ignorantly, and he asked 

' Scaglia, Prattica per le cause del Sant' Officio, cap. 25 (MS. penes me). There 
are copies in the Bibliothfeque nationale, fonds itaJien, 139; in the Royal Library 
of Munich, Cod. Ital. 598, and in the Municipal Library of Piacenza. 

' Bemino, Historia di tutte I'Heresie, IV, 712 (Venezia, 1717.) 


pardon of the people for the scandal which he had caused; he 
lingered in his prison until July 1657, when he died at the age of 
78, protesting to the end that he had erred through ignorance and 
not through lust; there was some question as to his interment, 
but finally he received Christian burial. The inquisitor, Fra Gio- 
vanni MuzzareUi, was sternly rebuked for misplaced mercy by 
the Roman Congregation and was speedily replaced by one of 
severer temper.^ 

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

' Royal Library of Munich, Cod. Ital. 185, pp. 1-7. — Library of the Seminario 
della Curia arcivescovile di Firenze, Chiese, Spogli, Vol. I, pp. 407 sqq. — [Modesto 
Rastrelli] Fatti attinenti all' Inquisizione, pp. 173-77 (Venezia, 1782). — Cf. 
Cantil, Eretici d' Italia, III, 336. 


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

Although the Roman Inquisition issued no general denuncia- 
tions, there was a surveillance kept over the votaries of mental 
prayer and contemplation, in view of the extravagances to which 
they might be led when, abandoning themselves wholly to God, 
they felt themselves irresponsible for what God might cause them 
to do, in the rapture of Quietism. There was a little community 
of this kind formed in Genoa, where they were known as Sequere 
me, from the phrase used when addressing those whom they elected 
to join them. Under the lead of a Trinitarian friar, they bought 
a house in the suburbs, where they lived in the utmost austerity, 
devoting themselves to contemplation. Thus came visions and 
revelations that the Chiirch was to be reformed through them by 

' Biblioteca del R. Archivio di Stato in Roma, Miscellanea MS., pp. 577-630. — 
Royal Library of Munich, Cod. Itat. 185, pp. 13-26. — L'Ambasciata di Romolo 
a'Romani, p. 689 (Colon. 1676).— Collect. Decret. S. Congr. S. Officii, p. 7 (MS. 
penes me). — Cantil, op. cit., Ill, 330. 


a new pope, of whom they were to be the apostles. One of them 
communicated this to a vicar of the Inquisition who promptly 
reported to the tribunal. They were all summoned before it; 
some went into ecstasies and, as a body, they threatened the 
inquisitor with the vengeance of God and were thrown into prison. 
The Congregation of the Inquisition ordered their prosecution, 
which resulted in their being adjudged to be crazy rather than 
evil-minded. The friar was deprived of active and passive voice 
in his Order and the rest were dismissed with threats of the galleys 
if they reassembled and continued to wear the habit which they 
had adopted.^ 

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

We hear nothing more of Filippo, except that he never was 
condemned. He probably died early in the history of the sect 

' MSS. of Ambrosian Library of Milan, H, S, VI, 29, fol. 140. 

' Bemino, Historia di tutte I'Heresie, IV, 722-6. — MSS. of Ambrosian Library, 
H, S, VI, 29, fol. 14. This latter is a considerable body of documents from which 
are derived the facts that follow. 


and his memory was cherished as that of a saint with thaumaturgic 
power. In 1686, the Archpriest of Morbegno, in the Valtelhne, 
was found to be distributing reUcs of him and collecting materials 
for his life and miracles, all of which he was obliged to abandon, 
after obeying a summons from Calchi, the Inquisitor of Como. 
There were also inquiries made of the Provost of Talamona as to 
his motives in keeping a picture of Filippo and whether it was 
prayed to.* 

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

If Ottoboni and the Inquisition fancied that they had crushed 
the sect, they were mistaken. It maintained a secret existence 
for over twenty years, which enabled it to spread far beyond its 
original seat and, about 1680, it had associations and oratories for 
mental prayer established in Brescia, Verona, Vicenza, Treviso, 
Padua, Pesaro, Lucca and doubtless many other places, while its 
votaries expected it to spread through the world. Ricaldini, at 
Treviso, was busy in corresponding with the heads of the associa- 
tions and receiving their visits. In Brescia, Bartolommeo Bona, 
priest of S. Rocco, presided over an oratory of sixty members and 
was even said to have six hundred souls under his direction. 
They were called Pellegrini di S. Rocco, they practised mental 
prayer assiduously and had even procured an episcopal licence 
for the association. In Verona, Giovanni Battista Bonioli guided 
a membership of thirty disciples, many of them persons of high 
consideration. For the most part the devotees seem to have been 
quiet and pious folk, humbly seeking salvation by the interior way. 

> Ambrosian MSS. uU sup. fol. Ill, 113, 117, 119, 121, 135, 137, 138. 
' Ibidem, fol. 58, 61, 66, 80, 83, 86. 


but there were some who were given to extravagance. Margarita 
Rossi had visions and revelations, strangely repeating portions of 
the fantastic theology of Borri, and when written out by a believer, 
Don Giovanni Antonio, it was not difficult to extract from them 
a hundred and thirty-four errors, concerning which she was tor- 
tured as to intention as well as in caput alienum. Two others, 
Cosimo Dolci and Francesco Nigra had visions and prophetic 
insight, for which the latter was sentenced, in 1684, to five years' 

The sect could not continue spreading indefinitely without dis- 
covery. In 1682 the Inquisition suddenly awoke to the necessity 
of action and it repeated an edict which it had issued in 1656, 
forbidding all oratories and assemblages for mental prayer. Rical- 
dini felt his position critical, for he had abjured de vehementi 
and was liable to the stake for relapse. He disappeared from 
Treviso and all that the Inquisition could learn was that he was 
somewhere on the Swiss border. At length, in 1684, his retreat 
was found to be Chiuro, in the Valtelline, and Antonio Ceccotti, 
Inquisitor of Brescia, made fruitless attempts to induce the authori- 
ties of the Valtelline and the Podest^ of Brescia to unite in procur- 
ing his extradition, but in March, 1685, Ceccotti had the mortifi- 
cation to learn that he had died on the previous October 6th, 
having received all the sacraments and with the repute of a most 
pious Christian.^ 

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

' Ambrosian MSS. ubi sup., fol. 18, 22, 24, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 
49, 50, 51, 53, 54, 61, 81, 91. 
' Ibidem, fol. 44, 54, 66, 81. 

Chap. V] MOLINOS 49 

strict orders for the suppression of all oratories and of the practice 
of mental prayer — that rapture of meditation which had been the 
distinguisUng habit of mystics through the ages.' 

Miguel de Molinos was a Spaniard, born probably about 1630 
at Muniesa (Teruel). After obtaining at Coimbra the degree 
of doctor of theology, he came to Rome in 1665, in connection 
with a canonization — probably of San Pedro Arbu^s, who was 
beatified in 1668. There he speedily acquired distinction as a 
confessor and spiritual director. Innocent XI prized him so 
highly as to give him apartments in the papal palace; the noblest 
women placed themselves under his care; his reputation spread 
throughout Italy and his correspondence became enormous. On 
the day of his arrest it is said that the postage on the letters 
delivered that day at his house amounted to twenty-three ducats ; 
he made a small charge to cover expenses and, in the seques- 
tration of his property, there were found four thousand gold 
crowns derived from this source. The letters seized were reported 
variously as numbering twelve or twenty thousand, of which 
two hundred were from Christina of Sweden and two thousand 
from the Princess Borghese. The mysticism which proved so 
attractive, when set forth by his winning personality, had in it — 
ostensibly at least — nothing that had not long since received the 
approbation of the Church in the writings of the great Spanish 
mystics and of St. Frangois de Sales. It is true that Molinos 
dropped the machinery of ecstasies and visions, which loom so 
largely in the writings of Santa Teresa, and confined his way of 
perfection to the Brahmanical ideal of the annihilation of sense 
and intellect, the mystic silence or death, in which speech and 
thought and desire are no more and in which God speaks with 
the soul and teaches it the highest wisdom.^ This spiritualized 
hypnotism was in no way original with Molinos, but was the goal 
which all the mystic saints sought to attain. To reach it he tells 

' Ambrosian MSS. uU sup., fol. 65, 82, 113, 117, 119. 

' Guida spirituale, Lib. i, n. 128.—" Non parlando, non pensando, non desi- 
derando, si giunge al perfetto silenzio mistico, nel quale Iddio paria con Tanima 
e a lei si communica e le insegna nel pill intimo fondo la piil perfetta e alta 

Cf. Osuna, Abecedario spiritual, P. in, Trat. xxi, Cap. 3, fol. 203.— Santa 
Teresa, Libre de las Revelaciones. — San Juan de la Cruz, Subida del Monte 
Carmelo, ii, vii. 

VOL. IV 4 


US the soul must abandon itself wholly to God; it must make no 
resistance to the thoughts or impulses which God might send or 
allow Satan to send ; if assailed by intruding or sensual thoughts, 
they should not be opposed but be quietly contemned and the 
resultant suffering be offered as a sacrifice to GM:*' This was 
the Quietism — the Spanish Dejamiento — which was subsequently 
condemned so severely; there is no question that it had its 
dangers if the senses were allowed to control the spirit, and the 
adversaries of Molinos made the most of it, but he taught that the 
soul must overcome temptation through patience and resignation. 
When souls have acquired control of themselves, he says, if a temp- 
tation attacks them they soon overcome it; passions cannot hold 
out against the divine strength which fills them, even if the violence 
is continued and is supported by suggestions of the enemy; the 
soul gains the victory and enjoys the infinite resultant benefit.^ 

All this Molinos was allowed to teach for years in the Holy 
City with general applause, though it had been persecuted in the 
Pelagini. In 1675, at the height of his popularity, he embodied 
his doctrine in the Guida spirituale, a little volimae which came 
forth with the emphatic approbation of five distinguished theo- 
logians — four of them consiiltors or censors of the Inquisition and 
all of them men of high standing in their respective Orders of 
Franciscans, Trinitarians, Jesuits, Carmelites and Capuchms. The 
book had an immediate and wide circulation and was translated 
into many languages. Even in Spain there was a Madrid edition 
in 1676, one at Saragossa in 1677 and another at Seville as late 
as 1685, without exciting animadversion. Yet such a career as 
that of Molinos could not continue indefinitely without exciting 
hostility, none the less dangerous because prudently concealed. 
His immense success was provocative of envy and, if mystic con- 
templation was largely adopted as the surest path to salvation, 
what was to be the result on the infinite variety of exterior works 
to which the Church owed so much of its power and wealth? It 
was found that in many nunneries in Rome, whose confessors had 
adopted his views, the inmates had cast aside their rosaries and 
chaplets and depended wholly on contemplation. It was observed 
that at mass the mystic devotees did not raise their eyes at the 
elevation of the Host or gaze on the holy images, but pursued 
uninterruptedly their mental prayer. Molinos gave further occa- 

' Guida, Lib. i, n. 68-70. ' Guida, Lib. in, n. 3, 40. 

Chap. V] MOLINOS 51 

sion for criticism by a tract on daily communion, in which he 
asserted that a soul, secure that it was not in mortal sin, could 
safely partake of the sacrament without previous confession — a 
doctrine which, however, theologically defensible, threatened, if 
extensively practised, largely to diminish the authority of the 
priesthood, while encouraging the sinner to settle his account 
directly with God. 

To attack as a heretic a man so universally respected and so 
firmly entrenched as MoHnos might well seem desperate, and it 
is not surprising that the credit for the work was attributed to 
the Jesuits, as the only body daring and powerful enough. The 
current story is that, having resolved upon it, they procured Pere 
La Chaise to induce Louis XIV to order his ambassador. Cardinal 
d'Estrees to labor unceasingly for the removal of the scandal 
caused by the teaching of MoUnos. Whether this was so is doubt- 
ful, but it is certain that the first attack came from the Jesuits, 
and that d'Estrees, who had professed the warmest admiration 
for Molinos, became his unrelenting persecutor. The campaign 
was opened in 1678, when Gottardo Bell' Uomo, S. J., issued at 
Modena a work on the comparative value of ordinary and mystic 
prayer, which was duly denounced to the Inquisition. Molinos 
had been made to recognize in various ways the coming storm, 
and he sought to conjure it in a fashion which revealed his con- 
scious weakness. February 16, 1680, he addressed to the Jesuit 
General Oliva a long exculpatory letter. He had not attacked 
the Society but had always held it in the highest honor, and when, 
in Valencia, the University had forbidden the Jesuit College to 
teach theology, he was the only one who had disobeyed the order 
and had come to its aid. He had never decried the Spiritual 
Exercises of Loyola, but had recognized the vast good accom- 
plished by them, though he held that, for those suited to it, con- 
templation was better than meditation. He had for some years 
been persecuted and stigmatized as a heretic, in writing and preach- 
ing, by the most distinguished members of the Society, but he 
rejoiced in this and only prayed God for those who reviled him 
nor, in his defence of the Guida, had he sought aught but the glory 
of God and, so far from defending the Begghards and Illuminati, 
he had always condemned them. Evidently the work of the 
Jesuits in discrediting him had been active and better organized 
than the records show, and he thought it wiser to disarm, if possible, 
rather than to struggle with adversaries so powerful. Oliva's 


answer of February 28th was by no means reassuring. He com- 
plimented Molinos on his Christian spirit in returning good for 
evil and on the flattering terms bestowed on the Society and its 
founder. He had never read the books of Molinos and could not 
speak of them with knowledge but, if they corresponded with his 
letter, his disciples were doing him great wrong in applying his 
system of contemplation, of which only the rarest souls were 
capable, indiscriminately to nuns and worldly young women. 
Finally, he could not understand why so distinguished a member 
of the Society as Padre Bell' Uomo should have been brought 
before the Congregation of the Index, and he gave infinite thanks 
to God for defending him before it. 

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

The effort of Molinos to propitiate his enemies had only encour- 
aged them by its confession of weakness. Their next step was a 
dextrous one. Padre Paolo Segneri was not only the most popular 
Jesuit preacher in Italy, but his favor with Innocent XI was 
almost as great as that of Molinos. He was selected as the next 
athlete and, in 1680, he issued a little volume — "Concordia tra 
la fatica e la quiete nell' oratione," in which he argued that the 
highest life is that which combines activity with contemplation. 
He was promptly answered by Pietro Matteo Petrucci, an ardent 
admirer of Molinos, who was rewarded by Innocent with the see 
of Jesi. Segneri rejoined in a "Lettera di riposta al Sig. Ignacio 
Bartalini" and the controversy was fairly joined. A more aggres- 
sive antagonist was the Minorite Padre Alessandro Reggio whose 

' Biblioteca Casanatense, MS. X, v, 27, fol. 231 sqq. 

Chap. V] MOLINOS 53 

"Clavis Aiirea qua aperiuntur errores Michaelis de Molinos" 
appeared in 1682 and boldly argued that the Guida revived the 
condemned errors of the Begghards, that Quietism destroyed all 
conceptions of the Trinity, while the practice of prayer without 
works was destructive of all the pious observances prescribed by 
the Church, and the teaching that temptation should be endured 
without resistance was dangerous and contrary to Scripture and 
to the doctors. Petrucci responded vigorously, while Molinos 
remained silent. He had, at least, the advantage of official sup- 
port, for Beir Uomo's book was forbidden donee corrigatur; Seg- 
neri's "Lettera" and the "Clavis Aurea" were condemned uncon- 
ditionally, and Segneri's "Concordia," while it escaped the Index, 
was quietly forbidden and he was instructed to revise it.^ 

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

The enormous influence of the elements thus combining for his 
destruction left little doubt of the result. The first open attack 
was made in June, 1682, when Cardinal Caraccioli, Archbishop 
of Naples, a pupil of the Jesuits, reported to the pope that he 
found his diocese deeply infected with this new Quietism, subver- 

' Reusch, Der Index, II, 612-14. Of these controversial works I have been 
able to examine only Segneri's Lettera and the Clavis Aurea, The chief impres- 
sion made by these polemics is the elusiveness of these mystic dreams when 
an attempt is made at rigid definition and differentiation. 

^ Biblioteca Casanatense, MS. X, iv, 39, fol. 19 sqq. 


sive of the received prescriptions of the Church, and he asked 
instructions for its suppression, nor was he alone in this for similar 
appeals came from other Italian bishops. Molinos was too firmly 
established in the papal favor for this to dislodge him, but the 
hostile forces gradually gathered strength and, in November, 1684, 
the Congregation of the Inquisition formally assumed considera- 
tion of the matter. At its head was Cardinal Ottoboni, a fanatic 
whose experience with the Pelagini, when Bishop of Brescia, had 
sharpened his hatred of mysticism. The spirit in which he con- 
ducted the inquest is revealed in a memorandum in his handwrit- 
ing of the points to be elaborated in the next day's meeting of 
the Congregation — that this heresy is the worst of all and if left 
alone will become inextinguishable; that it is spreading in Spain 
through the Archbishop of Seville and in France with many books 
of the most dangerous nature; that it destroys the Catholic faith 
and all the religious Orders; that in Jesi the canons and the cura 
of the cathedral keep a school for its propagation ; that a rich and 
powerful citizen of Jesi threatens the witnesses and that a vigorous 
commissioner must be sent there; that the monasteries of Faenza 
and Ravenna are infected and one in Ferrara has a Quietist con- 
fessor; that this pestilence calls for fire and steel.' In a court 
presided over by so bitter a prosecutor, the judgement was fore- 

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

The influence of Queen Christina, we are told, was exerted to 

' Bemino, op. cit., IV, 726. 

' Biblioteca Casanatense, MSS. X, vii, 46, fol. 289 sqq. This is an account of 
the affair by one evidently in position to have accurate knowledge of details. 

' Archivo hist6rico nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Legajo 1, n. 4, fol. 164.— Archivo 
de Simancas, Inq., Legajo 1465, fol. 101. 

Chap. V] MOLINOS 56 

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

• Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Legajo 12, n. 1, fol. 106. 

' Trois lettres touchant I'Etat present d'ltahe, pp. 90-120 (Cologne, 1688) 

These nineteen errors are here printed with their confutations, but without 
indication of date or of the authority under which they were prepared. They 
are also contained, with a different series of confutations, in the mass of papers 
concerning the Pelagini, in the Ambrosian Library, H, S., vi, 29, fol. 28. 

This also contains (fol. 30) a series of instructions for detecting the Quietist 
heresy, consisting of a list of forty-three errors. Some of these set forth so con- 
cisely the leading tenets ascribed, with tolerable accuracy, to the Quietists, that 
they are worth presenting here. 

21. They seeli to annihilate the memory, the intellect and the will; to remember 
nothing, to understand nothing, to desire nothing, and they say that when 
they have thus emptied themselves they are refilled by God. 

22. They say that God operates in their souls without cooperation; that 
their spirit is identified with God, so that they are purely passive, surrendering 
their freewill to God who takes possession of it. 

23. Thus such souls are preserved from even venial sins of advertence and, 
if they commit some inadvertently they are not imputed. 

24. Also some proceed to claim impeccability, because they cannot sin when 
God operates in them without their participation. 

25. If these souls commit sinful acts, they say it is through the violence of 
the demon, with the permission of God, for their torment and purgation. 

28. Examination of conscience to ascertain if there has been consent to such 
acts is not expedient, for it distracts introversion and disturbs the quiet of the 


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

There could be but one end to the trial. Every possible accu- 
sation was brought against Molinos, even to a foolish self -laudatory 
speech made to the sbirri who arrested him, and his admiring 
certain anagrams made of his name. One charge, which he denied, 
was his giving to a certain person the soiled shirt in which he had 
come from Spain, saying that, after his death, it would be a great 
relic. He seems to have responded with candor to the various 
articles, denying some and admitting others. Of the articles the 
most important were his justifying the sacrilege of breaking images 
and crucifixes; depreciating religious vows and dissuading persons 
from entering religious Orders; saying that vows destroyed per- 
fection; that, by the prayer of Quiet, the soul is rendered not only 
sinless but impeccable, for it is deprived of freedom and God 
operates it, wishing us sometimes to sin and offend him, and the 
demon moves the members to indecent acts; that the three ways 
of the spirit, hitherto described by the doctors, are absurd and 
that there is but one, the interior way; that he had formed conven- 
ticles of men and women and permitted them to perform immoral 

Chap. V] MOLINOS 57 

acts and to eat flesh on fast days. He admitted excusing the 
breaking of images and crucifixes; he denied depreciation of solemn 
vows, but admitted it as respects private ones, and he had only 
dissuaded from entering religion those whom he knew would 
create scandal. He denied teaching that in Quietism the soul 
becomes impeccable, but only that it did not consent to the act of 
sin and he said that he knew many persons practising it who lived 
many years without committing even venial sin. He denied also 
that Quietism deprived the soul of freewill, but said that, in that 
perfect union with God, it was God who worked and not the facul- 
ties, and when he said that God sometimes wished sin, he meant 
material sin (as distinguished from formal), and that the demon, 
as God's instrument to mortify the flesh and purify the soul, causes 
sometimes the hand and other members to perform lascivious acts. 
He denied condemning the three ways of the spirit, having meant 
only that the interior way was so much more perfect that the others 
were negligible by comparison. He denied forming conventicles 
in which lascivious acts were permitted and he had excluded some 
persons who would not refrain from them. He admitted eating 
flesh on prohibited days, and that he had not perfectly observed 
a single Lent since he came to Rome, but said that this was by 
licence of his physician. He confessed that for many years he 
had practised the most indecent acts with two women, the details 
of which need not be repeated; he had not deemed this sinful, but 
a purification of the soul and that in them he enjoyed a closer 
union with God ; these were merely acts of the senses, in which the 
higher faculties had no part, as they were united with God. When 
he was told that these were propositions heretical, bestial and 
scandalous, he replied that he submitted himself in all things to 
the Holy Office, recognizing that its lights were superior to his 
A sentence of condemnation was inevitable. It was drawn up, 

• Bibl. Casanatense MSS., X, vii, 45, fol. 289. 

I cannot but regard this as a truthful report. It accords with the briefer 
abstract in the final sentence, which distinguishes between the articles proved 
by witnesses and denied by Molinos and those which he admitted. Reusch 
(Der Index, II, 617-18) states that the sentence has been printed in the Ana- 
lecta Juris Pontiflcii, 6, 1653, and in the Appendix to Francke's translation of 
the Guida Spiritvale, published in 1687. I have a copy from the Royal Library 
of Munich, Cod. Ital. 185, and there is one in the BibliothSque nationale, fonds 
italien, 138, which also contains the 263 articles drawn from his correspondence, 
with his answers. 


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

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

The vast church was thronged to its farthest corner with all 
that was notable in Rome, including twenty-three cardinals, and 
the spacious piazza in front and all the neighboring streets were 
crowded. An indulgence of fifteen days and fifteen quarantines 
had been proclaimed for all in attendance, but in Rome, where 
plenary indulgences could be had on almost every day in the year 
by merely visiting churches, this could not account for the eager- 
ness which brushed aside the Swiss guards stationed at the portals, 
requiring a reinforcement of troops and resulting in considerable 

' D'Argentre, Collect, judic. de novis Erroribus, III, ii, 357-62. 


bloodshed. As the long sentence was read, with its details of 
Molinos's enormities, occupying two hours, it was interrupted with 
the frequent roar of Burn him! Burn him! led by an enthusiastic 
cardinal and echoed by the mob outside. Through all this, we 
are told, his effrontery never failed him, which was reckoned as 
an infallible sign of his persistent perversity. The sentence con- 
cluded by declaring him convicted as a dogmatizing heretic but, 
as he had professed himself repentant and had implored mercy 
and pardon, it ordered him to abjure his heresies and to be rigidly 
imprisoned with the sanbenito for life, without hope of release, 
and to perform certain spiritual exercises. This was duly executed 
and he lingered, it was said repentant, until his death, December 
28, 1696. The day after the atto di fede his disciples performed 
their abjuration. There was no desire to deal harshly with them, 
and they were dismissed with trivial penances, except the brothers 
Leoni. Simone the priest, who had been a popular confessor, 
was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment; Antonio Maria, the 
tailor, who had been a travelling missionary and organizer, was 
incarcerated for life. There was still another victim, the secretary 
of Mohnos, Pedro Pefia, arrested May 9, 1687, for defending his 
master. He was fully convicted of Quietism and, on March 16, 
1689, he was condemned to life-long prison.^ 

There still remained the publication to Christendom of the new 
position assumed by the Holy See towards Mysticism. The sixty- 
eight propositions, condemned in the inquisitorial decree of August 
28th, were printed in the vernacular and placed on sale, but were 
speedily suppressed. There must still have been opposition in 
the Sacred College, or on the part of Innocent XI, for the btill 
Cmlestis Pastor was not drawn up and signed until November 20th, 
and was not finally pubUshed to the world until February 19, 
1688. This recited the same series of propositions and the con- 

» The account of the atto di fede is derived from the MS. Casanatense, X, vii, 
45 and a relation printed by Laemmer, Meletematum Romanorum Mantissa, 
pp. 407 sqq., who also prints (pp. 412-22) the sentence of Pedro Pena. 

The contemporary printed sources of the whole affair are Trois Lettres touchant 
I'Etat present d'ltalie, Cologne, 1688; Recveil de diverses pieces concemant le 
Quietisme et Us Quietistes, Amsterdam, 1688, and Bemino, Historia di tutte 
VHeresie, IV, 711 sqq. The concise account by Reusch (Der Index, II, 611 
sqq.) is written with his accustomed thoroughness and careful use of all accessible 
sources. John Bigelow's "Molinos the Quietist" (New York, 1882) is a popular 
narrative which rejects the charges of immorahty. See also Heppe, Geschichte 
der qmetistischm Mystik, pp. 110 sqq., 260 sqq. (Beriin, 1875). 


demnation of Molinos and confirmed the decree of August 28th. 
The propositions condemned consisted, for the most part, of the 
untenable extravagances of Quietism, including impeccability and 
the sinlessness of acts committed while the soul was absorbed with 
God, but it was impossible to do this without condemning much 
that had been taught and practised by the mystic saints, and there 
were no saving clauses to differentiate lawful from unlawful con- 
verse of the soul with its Creator. The Church broke definitely 
with Mysticism, and by implication gave the faithful to under- 
stand that salvation was to be sought in the beaten track, through 
the prescribed observances and under the guidance of the hierar- 
chical organization.' 

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

Persecution received a fresh impulse when Cardinal Ottoboni, 
as Alexander VIII, succeeded Innocent XI, October 6, 1689. 
Bernino tells us that he appeared to him an angel in looks and an 
apostle in utterance when he declared that there was no creature 

' Innocentii PP. XI, Bull. Caelestis Pastor (Bullar. X, 212). 
' Reusch, Der Index, II, 618.— Index Innoc. XI, Append, pp. 7, 28, 45, 47 
(Romae, 1702). 
' MSS. of Ambrosian Library, H. S. vi, 29, fol. 67 sqq. 


in the world so devoid of sense as a heretic for, as he was deprived 
of faith so also was he of reason. His first care was to remove 
from office and throw into irremissible prison every one who was 
in the slightest degree suspect of Molinism; in this he did not even 
spare his Apostolic camera, for he arrested an Apostolic Prothono- 
tary and, although in the Congregation of the Inquisition there 
were four kinsmen of the prisoner, zeal for the faith preponderated 
over blood/ Fortunately his pontificate lasted for only sixteen 
months, so that he had but limited opportunity for the gratifi- 
cation of his ardent fanaticism and scandalous nepotism. 

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

Another development of the same tendencies — probably a sur- 
vival of the Pelagini — was discovered in Brescia in 1708. The 
sectaries called themselves disciples of St. Augustin, engaged in 
vindicating his opinions on predestination and grace, but they 
were popularly known as Beccarellisti, from two brothers, priests 
of the name of Beccarelli, whom they regarded as their leaders. 
For twenty-five years— that is, since the ostensible suppression of 
the Pelagini— the sect had been secretly spreading itself through- 
out Lombardy, where it was said to number some forty-two 
thousand members, including many nobles and wealthy families 
and ecclesiastics of position. They had a common treasury and a 
regular organization, headed by the elder Beccarelli as pope, with 

• Bemino, op. cit, TV, 727-8. 

' Royal Library of Munich, Cod. Ital. 209, fol. 67 sqq.— Cf. Phelippeaux, 
Relation du Quietisme, II, 117, 154. 


cardinals, apostles and other dignitaries. The immediate object of 
the movement, we are told, was to break the power of the religious 
Orders and to restore to the secular priesthood the functions of 
confession and the direction of souls which it had well-nigh lost, 
but there was taught the Quietist doctrine of divine grace to which 
the devotee svirrendered all his faculties. This was allowed to 
operate without resistance, and BeccarelU held that Molinos was 
the only true teacher of Christian perfection, but we may safely 
reject as exaggeration the statement that carnal indulgence was 
regarded as earning a plenary indulgence, applicable to souls in 
purgatory. Cardinal Badoaro, then Bishop of Brescia, took ener- 
getic measures to stamp out this recrudescence of the condemned 
doctrines; the leaders scattered to Switzerland, Germany and 
England, while Beccarelli was tried by the Inquisition of Venice 
and was condemned to seven years of galley-service.^ 

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

If, in the condemnation of Molinos, Mysticism was not wholly 
condemned, what was lacking was supplied when the duel between 
the two glories of the Galilean Church — Bossuet and Fenelon — 
induced an appeal to the Holy See. Beyond the Alps, mystic 
ardor was not widely diffused in the seventeenth century, yet there 
were those who revelled in the agonies and bUss of the interior 
way. St. Frangois de Sales, who died in 1622, was beatified in 
1661 and canonized in 1665, taught Quietism as pronounced as 
that of Molinos, although he avoided the application to sensuality. 
The soul abandoned itself wholly to God; when divine love took 
possession of it, God deprived it of all human desires, even for 
spiritual consolations, exercises of piety and the perfection of 
virtue. He said that he had scarce a desire and, if he were to 
live again, he would have none; if God came to him, he would go 
to meet him but, if God did not come, he would remain quiescent 
and would not seek God. Freedom of the spirit consisted in 
detachment from everything to submit to the will of God, caring 

' Laemmer, op. cit., p. 427. — Heppe, Geschichte der quietistischen Mystik, 
p. 445. 

^ Mongitore, L'Atto pubblico di Fede celebrate k 6 Aprile, 1724 (Palermo 


neither for places, or persons, or the practice of virtue.' It followed 
that the soul, absorbed in divine love, had nothing to ask of God ; 
it rested in the quiet of contemplation, while vocal prayer and 
all the received observances of religion were cast aside, as fitted 
only for those who had not attained these mystic altitudes. Then 
there was Antoinette Bourignon (1616-1680) who, in her volumi- 
nous writings, taught the supremacy of the interior Ught, the 
abandonment of the faculties to the will of God, and the utter 
renunciation of self in the ardor of divine love.^ There was Jean 
de Bernieres-Louvigny (1602-1659) whose writings had an im- 
mense circulation and whose views as to mystic death were vir- 
tually the same as those of Molinos.' All these and others taught 
and wrote without interference, save from polemics, such as those 
of Pere Archange Ripaut, Guardian of the Capuchin convent of 
S. Jacques in Paris, who devoted a volume of near a thousand 
pages to their refutation and reprobation. If we are to believe 
him, these superhuman heights of spirituality were accompanied 
in France, as elsewhere, with sensuality.'' 

The condemnation of Molinos and the sixty-eight propositions 
attributed to him naturally attracted attention to the more or less 
quietistic developments of Mysticism, but it is probable that no 
action on the subject would have been taken in France had not 
personal motives suggested the persecution of one who chanced 
at the moment to be the most prominent representative of the 
interior way — that very curious personality, Jeanne Marie Bou- 
vieres de la Mothe Guyon, whose autobiography, written with 
a frank absence of reserve, affords a living picture of the self- 
inflicted martyrdom endured in the struggle to emancipate the 
soul from the ties of earth. When she reached the final stage she 
tells us that formerly God was in her, now she was in him, plunged 
in his immensity without sight or Hght or knowledge; she was lost 
in him as a wave in the ocean ; her soul was as a leaf or a feather 
borne by the wind, abandoning itself to the operation of God in all 
that it did, exteriorly or interiorly. She acquired the faculty of 

• See the extracts from S. Franpois de Sales collected by F&elon, in his 
Fifth Letter.— CEuvres, II, 95-98 (Paris, 1838). 

' Noack, Die christliche Mystic, II, 236 (Konigsberg, 1853). 
^ Heppe, op. cit., p. 88. 

* Abomination des Abominations des fausses Devotions de ce Terns divistes, 
en Trois, la premiere des lUuminez; la seconde des nouveaux Adamites; la 
troisieme des Spirituels k la mode, p. 88 (Paris, 1632). 


working miraculous cures and her power over demons was such 
that, if she were in hell, they would all abandon it. At times 
the plenitude of grace was so superabundant and so oppressive 
that she could only lie speechless in bed; it so swelled her that her 
clothes would be torn and she could find relief only by discharging 
the surplus on others.^ 

It is beyond our province to enter into the miserable story of 
her persecutions, commenced by some of her relatives and carried 
on by Bossuet, leading to her reclusion in convents and imprison- 
ment in Vincennes and the Bastile. It suffices for us that her 
influence stimulated F^nelon's tendency to Mysticism and con- 
verted into bitter hostility the friendship between him and Bossuet. 
A commission, appointed to examine her doctrine and headed by 
Bossuet, drew up, in 1694, a list of thirty-four errors of Mysticism, 
which F^nelon willingly signed and which Bossuet and Noailles, 
then Bishop of Chalons-sur-Marne, issued with instructions for 
their dioceses, including condemnations of the Guide of Molinos, 
the Pratique facile of Malaval, the R^gle des Associes de I'Enfant 
J6sus, the Analise of Lacombe and Madame Guyon's Moyen 
court and Cantique des Cantiques. By this time Madame Guyon 
had been put out of the way, and the matter might have been 
allowed to rest under the comprehensive definitions of the bull 
Ccelestis pastor, but Bossuet's combative spirit had been aroused 
and he was determined to crush out all vestiges of Mysticism, 
heedless of what the Church had accepted for centuries. He drew 
up an Instruction on the various kinds of prayer, in which he 
pointed out, in vigorous terms, the dangers attendant on contem- 
plation. Noailles, now Archbishop of Paris, signed it with him, 
and they invited Fenelon to join but he refused, in spite of entrea- 
ties and remonstrances, for it attributed to Madame Guyon all 
that was most objectionable in Illuminism. 

The breach between the friends had commenced and it widened 
irrevocably when Fenelon, in justification of himself, published, 
in February 1697, his Explication des Maximes des Saints sur la 
Vie int&rieure, with a letter to Madame de Maintenon animad- 
verting sharply on Bossuet's inj ustice. The book was based chiefly 
on the utterances of St. Frangois de Sales, but it carefully guarded 

' Bossuet, who read her autobiography in MS. tells us of this tympanitic con- 
dition and the splitting of her garments (De Quietismo, ap. Laemmer, op. cit, 
p. 423). In the printed life, this special feature is omitted, but the passage has 
every appearance of curtailment (II, 33, cf. 234; III, 9). 


the practice of Quietism from all objectionable deductions. There 
was no self-abandonment to temptations and no claim of impecca- 
bility; souls of the highest altitude could commit mortal sin; they 
were bound daily to ask God for forgiveness, to detest their sins 
and seek remission, not for the mercenary motive of their own 
salvation but in obedience to the wishes of God. It is true that 
they were not tied down to formal observances, but vocal prayer 
was not to be decried, — though its value depended upon its being 
animated by internal prayer. The indifference, which was the 
point most objected to in Quietism, was greatly limited by Fenelon. 
The senseless determination to wish for nothing was an impious 
resistance to the known will of God, and to all the impulses of his 
grace; it is true that the advanced soul wishes nothing for itself 
but it wishes everything for God; it does not wish perfection or 
happiness for itself, but it wishes all perfection and happiness, so 
far as it pleases God to make us wish for these things, by the 
impulsion of his grace. In this highest state the soul does not 
wish salvation in its own interest, but wishes it for the glory and 
good pleasure of God, as a thing which he wishes and Avishes us 
to wish for his sake. 

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

It was soon evident that the matter would have to be settled in 
Rome. Bossuet sent an advance copy of his Instruction to Inno- 
cent XII, pointing out that he was applying in France the principles 
affirmed in the condemnation of Molinos. Fenelon followed his 
example and, on April 27th, sent the Maximes, stating that he 
submitted it to the judgement of the Holy See. The curia gladly 
accepted the task, rejoiced at the opportunity of intervening 
authoritatively in a quarrel within the Gallican Chm'ch. Fenelon 

VOL. IV 5 


was refused permission to go to Rome and defend himself, but he 
had a powerful protector in the person of the Cardinal de Bouillon, 
then French ambassador and a member of the Congregation of 
the Inquisition, who loyally stood by him even at the expense of a 
rebuke from his royal master. He also secured the support of 
the Jesuits, whose College de Clermont had approved of the 
Maximes, and who promised to manifest as much energy in his 
defence as they had shown in procuring the condemnation of 
Cornells Jansen. These weighty influences might secure delay and 
discussion, but they could not control the result against the over- 
mastering pressure of such a monarch as Louis XIV who, on July 
27, 1697, wrote to the pope that he had had the Maximes examined 
and that it was pronoimced "tres mauvais et tres dangereux," 
wherefore he asked to have judgement pronounced on it without 
delay. Then, on May 16, 1698, the nuncio at Paris reported that 
the king complained of the delay; it was in contempt of his person 
and crown, and if Rome did not act promptly he would take such 
measures as he saw fit. Threats such as this were not to be lightly 
disregarded, and still more ominous was an autograph letter to 
the pope, December 23d, expressing his displeasure at the pro- 
longation of the case and urging its speedy conclusion. 

To Bossuet's representative and grand-vicar, the Abbe Phelip- 
peaux, we owe a minute report of the long contest, which affords 
an interesting inside view of the conduct of such affairs, showing 
how little regard was paid to the principles involved and how 
completely the result depended on intrigue and influence. The 
case passed through its regtilar stages. A commission of seven 
consultors had been found, to whom, after a struggle, three were 
added. These disputed at much length over thirty-seven proposi- 
tions extracted from the book and, when at length they made 
their report to the Congregation of the Inquisition, they stood five 
to five, showing that each side had succeeded in putting an equal 
number of friends on the commission. In the Congregation, the 
struggle was renewed and continued through thirty-eight sessions. 
Had the fate of Europe been at stake, the matter could not have 
been more warmly contested. At length the inevitable con- 
demnation was voted, and then came a fresh contest over the 
phraseology of the decree. Bossuet's agents were not content wii.h 
the simple condemnation of twenty-three propositions and the 
prohibition of the book, and they struggled vigorously for clauses 
condemning and humiliating F^nelon himself, showing how purely 

Chap. V] F^NELON AND B08SVET 67 

personal was the controversy. In this they failed, as well as in the 
endeavor to have the propositions characterized as heretical; they 
were only pronounced to be respectively rash, scandalous, ill- 
sounding, offensive to pious ears, pernicious in practice and erron- 
eous. The principal doctrine aimed at was that the pure love 
of God should be wholly disinterested, and that its acts and motives 
should be divested of all mercenary hope of reward. The brief 
was finally agreed to, on March 12, 1699, and published on the 
13th. It was in the form of a motu propria which, under the rules 
in force in France respecting papal decrees, precluded its accept- 
ance and registration by the Parlement, but Louis, ordinarily so 
tenacious about papal intrusion, found indirect means of eluding 
the diflficulty. 

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

Yet, as though to indicate that there is no finality in these 
matters, Pius VI, in 1789, beatified the Blessed Giovanni Giuseppe 

' Bossuet's side in this controversy is elaborately set forth in Phelippeaux's 
posthumous " Relation de I'Origine, du Progres et de la Condemnation du Qui^t- 
isme," 2 vols., 1732 (s. L). Also in Bossuet's "Relation sur le Qui(5tisme" and 
subsequent controversial writings, Paris, 1698. Madame Guyon's statements 
are contained in " La Vie de Madame J. M. B. de la Mothe Guion, ^crite por 
Elle-mtoe," 3 vols. Cologne, 1720. She is defended in the "Lettres de M. xxx 
(Abb6 de la Blatterie) ^ un Ami au sujet de la Relation du Qui^tisme," 1733 
(s. l). F^nelon's writings on the subject are in his (Euvres, T. II, Paris, 1838. 

Comprehensive accounts may be found in Matter, "Le Mysticisme en France 
au temps de Fenelon," Paris, 1865 and Heppe, " Geschichte der quietistischen 
Mystik in der katholischen Kirche," Berlin, 1865. 


della Croce (f March 5, 1734), who was much given to contem- 
plation and to union with God, in which all his faculties were 
lost, as completely as in the trances of his prototype, San Juan de 
la Cruz, or as in the mystic death of Molinos. That his Mysticism 
did not forfeit the favor of heaven was shown by his possessing 
the gift of bilocation — of being in two places at one time — of which 
numerous instances were cited in the beatification proceedings.' 

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

The Seville tribunal, indeed, had not waited for this, as it had 
already, April 24, 1687, arrested a canon of the church of San 
Salvador, Joseph Luis Navarro de Luna y Medina, who was a 

' Compendio de la asombrosa Vida del gran Siervo de Dies, Fr. Juan Joseph 
de la Cruz, pp. 276 sqq. (Madrid, 1790). 

' Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 1, n. 4, fol. 164. 

' Bulario de la Orden de Santiago, Lib. V, fol. 103; Lib. Ill de copias, fol. 
703, 704.— Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 12, n. 4, fol. 124. 

Chap. V] MOLINISM 69 

correspondent of Molinos and had sent him his autobiography, in 
order to obtain instructions for his spiritual guidance. He had 
previously been deprived of his licence as confessor, on charges 
of imprudent conduct as spiritual director of a nunnery, but 
Jaime de Palafox, Archbishop of Seville, who was a warm admirer 
of Molinos, had restored the licence, introduced him in all the 
convents and adopted him as confessor of himself and his family. 
For four years Navarro endured incarceration and the torture 
which was not spared, but he succumbed at last, confessed and 
sought reconciliation. His sentence declared him guilty of the 
errors of the Lutherans, Calvinists, Arians, Nestorians, Trini- 
tarians, Waldenses, Agapetse, Baianists and Alumbrados, besides 
being a dogmatizer of those of Molinos, with the addition that evil 
thoughts arising in prayer should be carried into execution, and 
also that, when his disciples assembled in his house, the lights 
would be extinguished and he would teach doctrines too foul for 
description. The tribunal itself could scarce have believed all 
this, for he was only required to abjure, to be deprived of benefice 
and functions, to be recluded for two years and be exiled for six 
more. When the term had expired he returned to Seville and then, 
imtil his death, in 1725, he passed his days in the churches, where 
the Venerable Sacrament was exposed for adoration, carrying with 
him a hinged stool on which he sat, gazing at the Host.* He was 
not the only Mohnist in Seville for in 1689, after three years' 
trial. Fray Pedro de San Jos6 was condemned as a disciple of 
MoUnos, for committing obscenities with his penitents and fore- 
teUing his election as pope and his suffering under Antichrist, who 
was already in Jerusalem, twenty years old. He was sentenced 
to abjure de vehementi,' to undergo a circular discipline in his 
convent, to perpetual deprivation of teaching and confessing, and 
to six years' reclusion in a convent, with the customary disabilities.^ 
Soon afterwards there was penanced in an auto. May 18, 1692, a 
woman named Ana Raguza, popularly known as la pabeza, as 
an Alumbrada and Molinista. She had come from Palermo as a 
missionary to convert the wicked, probably in the train of Palafox, 
who had been Archbishop of Palermo. She called herself a bride 
of Christ, she had visions and revelations, she denied the efScacy of 

' MSS. of Archivo municipal de Sevilla, Seccion especial, Siglo XVIII, Letra 
A, Tomo rV, n. 48-49. — These are relations of the auto, one of which I have 
printed in " Chapters from the Religious History of Spain." 

' Relacion hist, de la Juderfa de Sevilla, pp. 99-103. 


masses and fasts, and she had the faculty of determining the con- 
dition of consciences by the sense of smell. She escaped with 
two years of reclusion and six more of exile/ 

The condemnation of Molinos seems to have stimulated the 
Inqiiisition to greater activity in the suppression of mysticism, for 
cases begin to appear more frequently in the records and hence- 
forth the term Molinism, to a great extent, takes the place of lUu- 
minism. We hear of a Molinist penanced in a Cordova auto of 
May 12, 1693,^ and he cannot have been the only one there for 
Fray Francisco de Possadas of that city tells us that he was led to 
write his book against the carnal errors of Molinos by his experience 
in the confessional, showing that some of his penitents had been 
misled by them.^ The report of the Valencia tribunal, for 1695, 
contains three cases then on trial. The Franciscan, Fray Vicente 
Selles, had been arrested in 1692. He had led a life exteriorly 
austere, practising meditation and contemplation, and he freely 
admitted that when Molinos was condemned he held that the pope 
was wrongly informed. His overwrought brain gave way under 
the stress of confinement; at times he was full of religious emotion 
and solicitous as to his salvation, while at others he was violently 
insane, performing various crazy freaks. On August 24th he 
attempted suicide by dashing his head against a projecting piece 
of iron, causing a wound so serious that several pieces of skull 
were discharged and, on February 6, 1693, the surgeons reported 
his life to be still in danger. He remained melancolico, variable 
in mood, confessing and retracting until, on October 23d, he con- 
fessed fully to Molinism, naming eleven women with whom he had 
had relations in the confessional and also admitting • unnatural 
crime and other offences. At the date of the report his trial was 
still unfinished. Another phase of these eccentric methods of 
salvation is presented in the case of Vicente Hernan, a hermit of 
San Cristobal of Concentayna, accused by three women of teaching 
them the way of bruising the head of the serpent by sleeping with 
them and resisting temptation, and of attempting indecencies, 
which they denied permitting. He was arrested September 23, 

' Archive municipal de Sevilla, loc. cit., n. 52. 
' Matute y Luquin, p. 211. 

' Possadas, Triumphos de la Castidad contra la Luxuria diabolica de Molinos, 
C6rdova, 1698. 
This is a second edition; a third appeared in Madrid, in 1775. 

Chap. V] ' MOLINISM ■ 71 

1692, and in two audiences he was a negativo. Then on December 
17th he asked for an audience in which he said that for eight days 
some little flies and black pigeons had been biting him and remind- 
ing him of things forgotten, whereupon he told of the women whom 
he had got to sleep with him, sometimes two or three at a time, 
and he also mentioned numerous miraculous cures which he had 
wrought. In January 1693, he said that the demons with the 
voice of flies had been recalling his sins, and he told of three other 
women. Doubts arose as to his sanity and, at the end of 1693 
steps were taken to investigate it, which were still in progress at 
the time of closing the report. The third case was that of Mosen 
Antonio Serra, whose doctrines the cahficadores reported to be 
Molinistic. He was arrested December 19, 1695, so that his trial 
had only begun.' 

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

During this period there occurred a case deserving of consider- 
ation in some detail, not only because of the prominence of the 
culprit but because it affords a clearer view than others of the 
strange intermixture of sensuality and spirituality, which was 
distinctly known as Molinism, and of the self-deception which 
enabled men and women to indulge their passions while believing 
themselves to be living in the mystic altitude of Union with God. 

' Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 2, n. 15; Leg. 12, n. 2, fol. 126. 
' MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Ye, 20, T. XI. 
' Matute y Luquin, pp.. 216-23. 


Perhaps this may partly be explicable by the teachings of the 
laxer morality, current in the sixteenth century and known under 
the general name of Probabilism, and by the distinction between 
material and formal sin, whereby that alone was mortal sin which 
the conscience recognized as such, the conscience being still further 
eased by refinements as to advertence and consent. In the skilful 
hands of the casuists, the boundaries between right and wrong 
became dangerously nebulous, and arguments were plentiful 
through which men could persuade themselves that whatever they 
chose to do was lawful. 

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

Index of Vidal Marin, 1707, II, 195. 


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

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

74 MYSTICISM [Book Vm 

against the purity of God, Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin, 
a reviver of the filthy sects of the Begghards, lUuminists and Moli- 
nists and subject to the same penalties. 

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

Chap. V] MOLINISM 75 

his blindness, and since then he had detested his errors and had 
followed the way of Catholic truth. 

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

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

' Bulario de la Orden de Santiago, Lib. V, fol. 141, 144, 146, 150.— Archive 
de Simancas, Inq. Legajos 418, 419 (niimeros antiguos). — See Appendix for the 
abjuration, which summarizes the errors. 

' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 876, fol. 153.— Llorente (Hist. crft. Cap. 
XLii, n. 15) places this case under Carlos III. 


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

' Llorente, Hist, crit., cap. xl, art. ii, n. 1-14. 

Chap. V] MOLINISM 77 

this case led to the issue, in 1745, by the Inquisition of an edict 
directed against five MoUnist errors.' 

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

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

' There is an allusion to this edict in the Relacion de la Causa contra Don 
Pedro Fernandez Ybarraran (MSS. of David Fergusson Esq.). 


Villaroja's diaries, in which the latest entry was one humbly sub- 
mitting to the judgement of the Church both himself and the 
authenticity of the visions. 

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

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

The treatment of a fraile recluded in a convent of his brethren 
was usually harsh in the extreme, but Fray Eusebio's kindliness 
and gentleness so won on his hosts that they declared his daily 
life to be an edification, while those of Pachuca, who had to bear 
the expenses of his trial, continued to regard him with undimin- 
ished affection. His punishment, however, was far more severe 

Chap. V] DELUSION 79 

than the mere provisions of his sentence. Incarceration for 
eighteen months in a humid cell had developed a former rheu- 
matic tendency and he was crippled. His request to be transferred 
to Pachuca was refused and, in March, 1795, he appealed to 
Inquisitor-general Lorenzana. His sufferings, he said, were on the 
increase and, if he were kept in the city of Mexico or sent to Spain, 
he would surely die. The result of this was a command to trans- 
mit him to Spain, which was notified to him, in June 1796, when 
he protested, to no purpose, that it would kill him. His removal 
was postponed until October, when he was carried by easy stages 
to Vera Cruz and placed on board the good ship Aurora, November 
9th, consigned to the commissioner at Seville. The Aurora sailed 
the next day, but his prophetic spirit proved true and, when nine 
days out, his gentle spirit passed to a judge more merciful than 
his earthly ones.^ 

Fray Eusebio would have fared better in Spain, where there was 
a growing tendency to regard the accused as subject to delusion, 
when there was no conscious imposture and no teaching of danger- 
ous Mysticism. Delusion was recognized at an early period, but 
the first case which I have met in which it formed the basis of 
prosecution occurs in the Barcelona tribunal which, in 1666, 
reported that it had found a process brought, in 1659, against Sor 
Maria de la Cruz, mm of the convent of la Concepcion of Tortosa, 
for ilusa, which had never been concluded.^ In 1694, Don Fran- 
cisco de las Cuevas y Rojas, of Madrid, was sentenced by the Toledo 
tribunal, as an Huso pasivo, to reprimand, absolution ad cautelam, 
retractation of certain propositions, abstention from spiritual 
matters, and a year's reclusion, during which a calificador would 
teach him the safest method of prayer, while all his writings were 
to be suppressed. The same year a beata named Marfa de la 
Paz, as ilusa, was required merely to abjure de levi, to be severely 
reprimanded and to be handed over to a calificador for instruction. 
So, in 1716, Don Eugenio Aguado de Lara, cura of Algete, was 
sentenced, by the same tribunal, for suspicion of illusion in the 
direction of a beata, to abjure de levi, with reprimand and prohibi- 
tion of further communication with her, while he was to abstain 

• Proceso contra Fray Eusebio de Villaroja (MSS. of David Fergusson Esq.). 
' Lib. XIII de Cartas, fol. 192 (MSS. of Am. Philosophical Society). 


from the direction of souls as far as was compatible with his priestly 
functions. The beata his accomplice, Agustina Salgado, was 
regarded as more reprehensible for, besides being ilusa, she was 
held guilty of false revelations ; she ab j ured de levi, with perpetual 
exile from Algete and reclusion in a hospital for two years, for 

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

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

While the Inquisition was thus merciful towards those whom it 

' Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 1. 
' Ibidem, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 100. 
^ Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 890, fol. 82. 
' Ibidem, Lib. 890. — Matute y Luquin, p. 296. 

Chap. V] IMPOSTORS 81 

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

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

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 114, n. 18. 

VOL. IV 6 


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

When, in 1504, at the age of 17, she entered the Franciscan 
convent of Santa Isabel de los Angeles of Cordova, she was already 
regarded as a vessel overflowing with divine grace, a belief con- 
firmed by a series of ecstasies, trances, visions, revelations and 
miracles. Space is lacking to recount the varied series of marvels, 
many of which do infinite credit to her imaginative invention, while 
some of them required confederates, who seem not to have been 
lacking, in view of the benefit to the convent accruing from its 
containing so saintly a person. Elected prioress in 1533, she 
retained the position until 1542, and during this time she devoted 
to it the large stream of offerings which poured in on her. Defeated 
for re-election in 1542, she no longer made this use of her funds 
and the successful faction denounced her to the Guardian and 
the Provincial as an impostor, but the credit of the Order was at 
stake and they were silenced. She was not destined however to 
adorn the calendar of mystic saints for, in 1543, she fell danger- 
ously sick and was warned to prepare for death. Under this 
pressure she made a full confession, ascribing her deceits to 
demoniacal possession. She recovered and the Inquisition seized 
her. The trial lasted until May 3, 1546, an immense body of 
testimony being taken, corroborative of her confession, which 
was skilfully framed to throw the blame on her demons Balban 
and Patorrio, In short, she had commenced as a mystic, had been 

Chap. V] IMPOSTORS 83 

unable to resist the temptation of accepting the miracles thrust 
upon her by popular superstition, she had stimulated this with her 
frauds, and finally sought extenuation by alleging demonic influ- 
ence. An immense crowd attended the auto held May 3, 1546, 
when the reading of her sentence con meritos occupied from 6 a.m. 
to 4 P.M., while she sat on the staging with a gag in her mouth, a 
halter around her neck and a lighted candle in her hand. Her 
sentence was moderate— perpetual reclusion in a convent, without 
active or passive voice, and occupying the last place in choir, 
refectory and chapter, together with some spiritual penances. She 
was relegated to the convent of Santa Clara, at Andujar, where 
she lived an exemplary life and, at her death, in 1560, it was 
piously hoped that her sins were expiated.' 

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

The people might well be credulous when th^y but followed the 
example of those highest in Church and State. Magdalena de la 
Cruz had a worthy imitator in the Dominican Madre Maria de la 
Visitacion, of the convent of the Annvmciada of Lisbon, whose 

' Bibl. nationals de France, fonds espagnol 354, fol. 248-69. — Llorente, Hist, 
crit., cap. XVI, art. iv. — Miscelanea de Zapata (Mem. hist, espanol, XI, 70). — 
Cipriano de Valera, Dos Tratados, p. 480 (Reformistas antiguos espaiioles). — 
Ribadeneira, Vit. Ign. Loyolae, Lib. v, cap. 10. — Luigi de Granata, Vita di 
Giovanni d'AvUa, p. 143 (Rom£e, 1746). — Matuto y Luquin, p. 18. — Simancx 
de Cath. Institt. Tit. xxi, n. 24. 

A French translation of the sentence and confession has been printed by M. 
Campan, in the appendix to the Memoires de Francisco de Enzinas. 

'^ Godoy Alcantara, Historia de los falsos Cronicones, p. 2. — Cf . V. de la Fuente, 
Hist, ecles., Ill, 255. 


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

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

The Annimciada was not without internal jealousies which facili- 
tated the obtaining of information justifying investigation. A 
commission was appointed consisting of the Archbishops of Lisbon 
and Braga, the Bishop of Guarda, the Dominican Provincial, the 

' Relatione del Miracolo delle Stimmate, venate nuovamente ad una Monacha 
deir Ordine di S. Domenico, in Portogallo, nella Cittil di Lisbona. — Bologna, 
1584. — Printed also in Rome and in Verona. 

' Cipriano de Valera, Enjambre de falsos Milagros, pp. 564, sqq. TJsoz y 
Rio, in his notes to this reprint, in his Beformistas antiguos, says that Valera's 
versions are faithfully made from " Les grands Miracles et les Tressainctes Plaies 
advenuz h, la R. Mfire Prieure du Monasteire de I'Anonciade." A Paris par Jean 
Bressant, 1586. 



Inquisitors of Lisbon and Doctor Pablo Alfonso of the Royal 
Council. Assembling in the convent they took the testimony 
of many of the nuns that Sor Maria's sanctity was feigned and 
her stigmata were painted. She was then brought before them 
and sworn, when she persisted, in spite of threats and adjurations, 
in the story of the stigmata and of her communications with Christ. 
The next day, hot water and soap were called for; she protested 
and pretended to suffer extreme agony, but a vigorous application 
of the detergents to the palms of her hands caused the wounds to 
disappear, when she threw herself at the feet of her judges and 
begged for mercy. At a subsequent audience she gave a detailed 
explanation of the devices by which she had deceived the faithful- 
how she had managed the apparent elevation from the ground 
and the divine light suffused around her and the cloths stained 
with blood from her side. The severity of the sentence, rendered 
December 6, 1588, shows how much greater than mere sacrilegious 
imposture was the offence of her meddling with politics. She was 
recluded for life in a convent of a different Order from her own; 
for a year she was to be whipped every Monday and Friday for 
the space of a Miserere ; in the refectory she was to take her meals 
on the floor, what she left was to be cast out and, at the end of the 
meal, she was to lie in the door-way and be trampled on by the 
sisters in their exit; she was to observe a perpetual fast; she was 
incapacitated from holding office; she was always to be last and 
was to hold converse with none without permission of the abbess; 
she was not to wear a veil ; on Wednesdays and Fridays she was 
to have only bread and water, and whenever the nuns assembled 
in the refectory she was to recite her crimes in an audible voice. 
In this living death she is said to have performed her cruel penance 
with such patience and humility that she became saintly in reality.^ 
It is not improbable that she may have been from the beginning 
a tool in designing hands. A contemporary relates that, before 
the exposiu^e, he wrote to Fray Alberto de Aguajo in Lisbon, asking 
whether he should go thither to consult her on a case of conscience, 
and was told in reply that there was nothing wonderful about her 
except the goodness of God in granting her such graces, for she 
was as simple as a child of six. She was, however, a rich source 

' Cipriano de Valera, pp. 575— 80.— Pdramo, pp. 233^, 302-4. 

In 1650, Padre Diego Tello, S. J., in an opinion given to the Granada tribunal 
alludes to the political objects of Sor Maria's impostures, as though it was a 
well-known fact.— MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 17. 


of income, for the Portuguese in the Indies used to send her gold 
and diamonds and pearls to purchase her intercession with God.' 
Even her condemnation did not wholly disabuse her dupes. Four 
years later, a certain Martin de Ayala, prosecuted in 1592 for 
revelations and impostures, claimed to have spiritual communi- 
cation with her and foretold direful things about the conquest of 
Spain by foreigners, when a cave in Toledo would be the only 
place where the few elect could find safety. He had a colleague, 
Don Guillen de Casans, who was likewise prosecuted.' 

One would have supposed that a case like that of Sor Maria, 
to which the utmost pubHcity mxist have been given, would have 
discredited the stigmata as a special mark of divine favor, but it 
seems r£\,ther to have stimulated the ambitious to possess them by 
showing how easily they could be imitated. They became a matter 
of almost daily occurrence. In 1634 a Jesuit casually alludes in 
a letter to two new cases just reported— one of a ntin of la Concep- 
cion in Salamanca and the other in Burgos— adding that they had 
become so common that no woman esteems herself a servant of 
God unless she can exhibit them.' 

When uncomplicated with politics, imposture continued to be 
leniently treated and it was an exception when, in 1591, the Toledo 
tribunal visited with two hundred lashes Maria de Morales for 
trances and revelations and other deceits to acquire the reputation 
of a saint.^ Thus at the Seville auto of 1624, when Pacheco was 
intent on suppressing the errors of Mysticism, there were eight 
impostors guilty of every device to exploit superstition, six of 
whom escaped with a year or two of reclusion. Only two were 
more severely dealt with. Mariana de Jesus, a barefooted Car- 
melite, was a Maestra de Espiritu, who taught Illuminism and had 
a record of endless visions, prophetic inspiration and conflicts 
with Satan. She maintained herself in luxury by selling her 
spiritual gifts, and it was in evidence that poor people had pledged 
their household gear to purchase her intercession for the souls 
of their kindred, but she was only paraded in vergiienza with four 
year's reclusion in a convent and perpetual exile from Seville. 
The heaviest punishment was that visited on Juan de Jesus, known 
as el Hermito, who professed to be insensible to carnal temptation, 

' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 939, fol. 700. 

' Ibidem, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 113, n. 6. 

' Cartas de Jesuitas (Mem. hist, espanol, XIII, 49, 61). 

* Bibl. nacional, MSS., D, 111, fol. 127. 

Chap. V] IMPOSTORS 87 

for God had deprived him of all free-will and he was governed 
only by the spirit. Religious observances for him were super- 
fluous, for he was always in the presence of God, and so fervent 
was his love for God that water hissed when he drank it. He not 
only claimed that he healed the sick but that once he had prayed 
eight thousand souls out of purgatory, thirty thousand at another 
time, then twenty-two thousand and finally all that were left. 
In general his relations with women are unfit for description, and 
he shrewdly had a revelation that all who gave him alms would 
be saved. His devotees were not confined to the ignorant, for he 
was received in the houses of the principal ladies of Seville and 
men of high distinction admitted him to their tables. He received 
less than his deserts when he was sentenced to a hundred lashes 
and life confinement in a convent or hospital, where he was to 
work for his board and to pray daily a third of the rosary.' 

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

The experienced inquisitor whom I have so often quoted 
tells us, about this time, that these impostors were very common; 
that there were rules for teaching them their trade and, as it was 
so prejudicial and so discreditable, they must be punished with 
all rigor. He mentions a case at Llerena, where the woman 
persisted in asserting the truth of her revelations and miracles, 
until she was tortured, when she confessed the fraud and was con- 

> MSS. of Bodleian Library, Arch. S., 130.— Bibl. nacional, MSS., V, 377, 
cap. XXI, § 7. 
2 Cartas de Jesuitas (op. cit, XIII, 42, 51, 457).— Archive de Simancas, Inq., 

Leg. 552, fol. 17. 


demned to scourging and reclusion, at the discretion of the tribu- 
nal, with fasting on bread and water .^ Yet one cannot help f eeUng 
sympathy for Maria Cotanilla, a poor blind crone, sentenced in 
1676, by the Toledo tribunal, to a hundred lashes and to pass 
iow years in a designated place, where she could support herself 
by beggary, reporting herself monthly to the commissioner.^ 

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

These practitioners naturally continued to give occupation to 
the tribunals, but their cases can teach us little except to note the 
severity with which they were occasionally treated. In the Madrid 
auto of 1680 there were four impostors, of whom a carpenter named 

• Bibl. nacional, MSS., V, 377, cap. xxi, § 5. 

* Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 1. 
' Bibl. nacional, MSS., D, 118, fol. 405, n. 66. 

Chap. V] IMPOSTORS 89 

Alfonso de Arenas was visited with abjuration, two hundred lashes, 
and five years of galleys followed by five more of exile/ In the 
little conventicle arrested, in 1708, by the Toledo tribunal (p. 71), 
four women and a man were p\mished, in 1711, as impostors, the 
man, Pablo Dfez, an apothecary of Yepes, with reconcihation, con- 
fiscation and perpetual prison, while one of the women, Maria 
Ferndndez, had two hundred lashes and exile.^ In 1725, the 
Murci'a tribunal inflicted the same scourging and eight years of 
exile on Mariana Matozes, who added to her other impostures a 
claim to the stigmata, and in 1726, in Valencia, Juan Vives of 
Castillon de la Plana had the same allowance of stripes, with a 
year's reclusion and eight years' exile from Valencia and Cata- 
lonia.^ It is therefore not easy to understand the clemency shown 
by the Toledo tribunal, in 1729, to Ana Rodriguez of Madridejos, 
who is described as a scandalous impostor, deluded and deluding, 
audacious, sacrilegious, boasting of her exemption from the sixth 
commandment^ heretically blasphemous, vehemently suspect and 
formally guilty of the heresy of Molinos and the Alumbrados, 
insulting to the Blessed Virgin and St. Bernard and contumacious 
in all her errors. Her contumacy gave way, thus saving her from 
relaxation and she escaped with formal abjuration, reconciliation 
and confinement for instruction in the Jesuit college of Naval- 
carnero, during such time as the tribunal might deem necessary 
for her soul.* 

Further enumeration of these obscure cases is scarce worth while 
and we may pass to one which excited lively interest. Maria 
de los Dolores Lopez, known as the Beata Dolores, had a success- 
ful and scandalous career for fifteen or twenty years, commencing 
at the age of twelve, when she left her father's house to live as a 
concubine with her confessor. Her fame spread far and wide 
and, for ten years, the Inquisition received occasional denuncia- 
tion of her misdeeds without taking action until, in 1779, one of 
her confessors, to relieve his conscience, denounced both himself 
and her to the Seville tribunal. On her trial she resolutely main- 
tained the truth of the special graces which she had enjoyed since 
the age of four. She had continued and familiar intercoiu-se with 

> Olmo, Relacion, pp. 201-3, 240. 

' MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 20, T. XI.— Archive hist, nacional, 
Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 1. 
' Royal Library of Berlin, Qt. 9548. 
* Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 1. 


the Virgin, she had been married in heaven to the child Jesus, 
with St. Joseph and St. Augustin as witnesses, she had hberated 
milUons of souls from purgatory, with much more of the kind so 
famihar to us, to which she added one of the errors of Molinism 
by maintaining that evil actions cease to be sinful when God so 
wills it. She was thus not merely an impostor but a -formal and 
impenitent heretic, for whom relaxation was the only penalty 
known to the Inquisition. Burning, however, had well-nigh 
gone out of fashion, and the tribunal honestly spared no effort to 
save her from the stake. Eminent theologians wasted on her 
their learning and eloquence. Fray Diego de Cadiz, the foremost 
preacher of his time, labored with her for two months, and finally 
reported that there was nothing to do but to burn her. It was all 
in vain. God, she said, had revealed to her that she should die a 
martyr, after which, in three days, he would prove her innocence. 
The law had to take its course and, on Augiist 22, 1781, she was 
formally sentenced to relaxation. As this left her unmoved the 
execution was postponed for three days to try the effect of fresh 
exhortations. This failed and, during the sermon and ceremonies 
of the auto, she had to be gagged to suppress her blasphemy. 
As so frequently happened however, her nerves gave way on the 
road to the brasero ; she burst into tears and asked for a confessor, 
thus gaining the privilege of strangulation before the faggots were 

Imposture continued to flourish. In 1800 the Valladolid tri- 
bunal was occupied with an extensive " comphcidad," resulting 
in the prosecution of Madre Maria Ignacia de la Presentacion, 
a Mercenarian of the convent of Toro, for pretended miracles, 
along with nine frailes of the same Order as accomplices.^ Con- 
temporary with this was a case at Cuenca, which almost transcends 
belief. The wife of a peasant of Villar del Aguila, Isabel Marfa 
Herraiz, known as the Beata de Cuenca, who had a reputation 
for sanctity, announced that Christ had revealed to her that, in 
order to be more completely united to her in love, he had trans- 
fused his body and blood into hers. The theology of the period 
is illustrated by the learned disputation which arose, some doctors 
arguing this to be impossible because it would render her more 

' Men^ndez y Pelayo, III, 405. — MSS. of Archivo municipal de SeviUa, Sec- 
cion especial, Siglo XVIII, Letra A, T. 4, n. 56. — Cartas del Fil6sofo rancio, 
II, 495 (Madrid, 1824). 

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 100. 

Chap. V] IMPOSTOBS 91 

holy than the Blessed Virgin and would deprive the sacrament 
of the exclusive distinction of being the body and blood of the 
Lord ; others held it to be possible but that the proofs in the present 
case were insufficient; others, again, accepted it and urged the 
virtues of the beata and the absence of motive for deception. The 
people felt no scruple, and were encouraged in their credulity by 
two Franciscan frailes, Joaquin de Alustante and Domingo de 
Canizares, and a Carmelite, Sebastian de los Dolores. Her believers 
worshipped her, carrying her through the streets in procession, 
lighting candles before her and prostrating themselves in ado- 
ration. The scandal attained proportions calling for repression, 
and the Inquisition arrested her, June 25, 1801, together with her 
accomplices. It is possible that she was severely handled, for 
she died in the secret prison without confession, and was conse- 
quently burnt in efhgy. The cura of Villar and two of the frailes 
were banished to the Philippines; two laymen received two hundred 
lashes each, with service for life in a presidio, and her hand-maid, 
Manuela Perez, was consigned for ten years to the Recojidas or 
house of correction for women.* 

While this comedy was in progress in Cuenca, a similar one was 
performing in Madrid, in the highest social ranks. Sor Marfa 
Clara Rosa de Jesus, known as the Beata Clara, had acquired 
great reputation by her visions and miracles. She was, or pre- 
tended to be, paralyzed and unable to leave her bed and, when 
she annomaced that a special command of the Holy Ghost required 
her to join the Capuchin Order, Pius VI granted her a dispensation 
to take the vows without residence. Atanasio de Puyal, subse- 
quently Bishop of Calahorra, obtained licence to erect a private 
altar in her chamber, where mass was celebrated daily, and she 
received commtmion, pretending to take no other nourishment. 
All the great ladies of the court were accustomed to implore her 
intercession in their troubles and gave her large sums to be 
expended in charity. It is to the credit of the Inquisition that 
it broke up this speculative imposture by arresting her, in 1801, 
together with her mother and confessor as accomplices. It was 

1 Llorente, Hist, crit., cap. xliii, art. iv, n. 1.— Archive hist, nacional, Inq. 
de Toledo, Leg. 115, n. 25; Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 100. 

By edict of Jiine 23, 1805, all writings in which credit of any kind was given 
to the favors which the beata pretended to have received from heaven were 
absolutely prohibited.— Suplemento al Indice expurgatorio, p. 25 (Madrid, 1805). 


not difficult to prove their guilt and, in 1803, they were merci- 
fully sentenced to reclusion/ 

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

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

' Llorente, loc. cit., n. 2. — Archive, hist, naoional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 100. 

Chap. V] IMPOSTORS 93 

vicar, Andres Rivas, was banished from Madrid for eight years, 
and the three women were sent to convents of their Order, Sor 
Patrocinio being conveyed, on April 27, 1837, to the nunnery at 

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

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

• Extracto de la Causa seguida & Sor Patrocinio (Madrid, 1865). 

' Revista Cristiana, Marzo-Abril, 1891 (Madrid). 

Spain is by no means the only seat of these manifestations. In 1848 there 
was at Niederbronn, near Strassburg, a bride of Christ named Elizabeth Eppinger 
•who, though denied the supreme favor of the stigmata, had trances and visions 


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

and the gift of prophecy. She founded the Order of Filles du Redempteur, over 
which she presided as Soeur Alphonse. — Abb6 Busson, Lettres sur I'Extatique 
de Niederbronn (Besanpon, 1849-53). 

The grace of the stigmata is likewise not uncommon. About 1825 there 
flourished Katharine Emmerich, the nun of Diilmen, and contemporary with 
her were three girls in Tyrol, Maria von Mori, Domenica Lazzari and Crescenzia 
Nicklutsch, all of whom enjoyed also the customary visions and ecstasies. The 
learned Joseph Gorres was one of the beheving pilgrims who put on record his 
experiences. At the same time Provence boasted of a similar beata, Madame 
Miollis, known as the stigmatisee du Var, at Villecroze. — Die Tyrolen ekstasischen 
Jungfrauen (Regensburg, 1843). — Nicolas, L'extatique et les stigmatisfes du 
Tyrol (Paris, 1844).— Borg, Les stigmatis^es du Tyrol, 2e. Ed. (Paris, 1846). 

The more recent case of Louise Lateau, in Belgium, is well known. All this, 
however, is trivial in comparison with the development of stigmatisation among 
the followers of Pierre-Michel Vintras, in France. In 1850 it was reckoned 
that no less than three hundred were favored with this distinguishing mark of 
divine approval. — Andrd, Affaire Rose Tamisier, p. 5 (Carpentras, 1851). 



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

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

The intercourse between priest and penitent was especially 

• S. Th. Aquin. Summse Suppl. Q. viii, art. 4. — Astesani Siunmse, Lib. v, Tit. 
xiii, Q. 2. — Summa Sylvestrina s. v. Confessor, i, §§ 10-11. 

' Guidonis de Monte Rocherii Manip. Curator. P. ii, Tract, iii, cap. 9. 
' S. Antonini SummEE, P. in, Tit. xiv, cap. 19, § 8. 

* S. Th. Aquin. in IV Sentt., Dist. xix, Q. 1, art. 3. — Joh. Friburgens. Sum- 
mse Confessor., Lib. iii, Tit. xxxiv, Q. 65. 



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

' Burriel, Vidas de los Arzobispos de Toledo (Bibl. nacional, MSS. Ff, 194, 
fol. 9). 

' Concil. Valentin, ann. 1565, Tit. ii, cap. 17 (Aguirre, V, 417). — C. Mediola- 
nensis I, arm. 1565, cap. 6 (Harduin. X, 653). — C. Provin. Mediolanens. IV, ann. 
1576 (Acta Eccles. Mediolanens. I, 146). — Rituale Roman., Tit. iii, cap. 1. 

' MSS. of David Fergusson, Esq. — Archivo de Simancas, Inq., BaJa 39, Leg. 4, 
fol. 34, 55, 81. — Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 9, n. 2, fol. 236, 
237.— Bibl. nacional, MSS., PV, fol. C, 17, n. 38. 

* Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 16, n. 6, fol. 9, 


The crime of solicitation was subject to episcopal jurisdiction 
and, throughout the middle ages, there was no general legislation 
prescribing its penalties. Some apocryphal canons visited it with 
well-deserved severity and, in 1217, Richard Poore, the reforming 
Bishop of Sahsbury, threatened it with fifteen years of penance 
followed by confinement in a monastery/ The spiritual courts, 
however, were notoriously lenient, and the prevalent sexual laxity 
tended to sympathy which disarmed severity in the rare cases 
coming before them. When, during the Reformation, this offence 
afforded a favorite topic for the heretics, there arose a demand for 
sharper treatment. In 1587, liiigo L6pez de Salcedo gives this 
as a reason for rigorous pvmishment, and he greatly lauds Matteo 
Ghiberti, the reforming Bishop of Verona (f 1543) for decreeing 
a series of heavy penalties for attempts on the virtue of female 
penitents, culminating in deprivation and perpetual imprison- 
ment when they were successful.^ 

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

1 Gratiani Decret. Caus. xxx, q. i, can. 8, 9, 10.— Constitt. R. Poore, cap. 9 
(Harduin. VII, 91). 

^ Salcedo, Practica criminalis canonica, p. 276 (Compluti, 1587). 

For an instructive sketch of Ghiberti by Miss M. A. Tucker, see English Hist. 
Review, Jan.-July, 1903. 

VOL. IV 7 


drew the appeal; Valdelamar accepted it and was sent back to 
his parish to pursue his course of profligacy. Evidently the epis- 
copal tribunal was more concerned with the profits of its juris- 
diction than with the suppression of solicitation.^ 

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

' Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 2,33, n. 100. 


almost all the witnesses held him to be a bad Christian, a heretic 
and an evil man. 

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

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

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 231, n. 71. 

^ Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 939, fol. 374. 

' Pauli PP. IV Bull. Cum sicut nuper, 16 Apr., 1559 (Bullar. Roman. II, 48). 

' Paramo, p. 880. 


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

Thus the Church was gradually realizing the necessity of more 
stringent measures to curb the evil propensities of those to whom 
it confided the salvation of souls, but as yet it had made only 
local regulations. Gregory XV recognized that a general law 
was required, to cover all the lands of the Roman obedience, 
and not merely those possessed of an Inquisition and, at the same 
time, to define more comprehensively the nature of the offence. 
The briefs thus far had limited this to seduction in the act of hearing 
confessions. Papal legislation was always construed in the strict- 
est manner, and confessors felt safe if they confined their seductions 
to the time preceding and following the actual utterance of the 
confession. Had the moral and spiritual welfare of priest and 

' Pii pp. IV, Const. 51, Pasioris ccierni, 1 Apr. 1562. It is perhaps suggestive 
that in the Luxemburg Bullarium (III, 71) the omission of the word non com- 
pletely reverses the purport of the brief. It will be found correctly printed in 
Cherubini's edition. 

' Pdramo, p. 881. 

' Pauli PP. V, Const. Cum sicut nuper, 16 Sept. 1608 (Trimarchi de Confessario 
abutente etc. Tractat., pp. 7, 10. — Genuse, 1636). — Archive de Simancas, Inq., 
Leg. 1465, fol. 16. 

* Trimarchi, pp. 10, 11. 


penitent been the only matter involved, it would have been easy to 
include in general terms any indecent or illicit passages between 
them, no matter when or where committed, but sohcitation had 
been made to involve suspicion of heresy, in order to bring it under 
the Inquisition, and it became regarded as a purely technical 
offence, punishable only when it could be connected directly with 
the sacrament, leading to the unfortunate corollary that otherwise 
it was a trivial matter, undeserving of special consideration. 

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

The Holy See was in earnest, but the result did not correspond 
to its efforts. France and Germany paid virtually no attention to 
the decrees, and in Spain the Inquisition made no change in its 
procedure or in the mildness of its penalties. The only effect of 

Bullar. Roman. Ill, 4S4.— Trimarchi, pp. 14-18. 


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

The brief of Gregory XV was not published in Spain but, by 
some means, the Ordinary of Seville obtained a copy and exhibited 
it to the inquisitors. The Suprema promptly, on January 14, 1623 
addressed a consulta to PhiUp IV, stating that it had not learned 
that the brief had reached any other bishop and dwelling eloquently 
on the frequency and heinousness of the crime, the energy and 
rigor of the Inquisition in its repression, and the disastrous conse- 
quences of concurrent episcopal jurisdiction, where the leniency 

' Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Lib. viii de autos, Leg. 2, fol. 114. 
^ Ant. de Sousa, Opusc. circa Constit. Pauli V, Tract, i, cap. 20. 
' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 939, fel. 371. — Arcliive hist, nacional, 
vbi sup. 


of punishment encouraged evildoers, and the publicity of procedure 
conveyed knowledge to husbands and kinsmen. The king was 
therefore asked to apply for the exemption of Spain from the 
operation of the brief; this was speedily arranged and, on April 10, 
Ambassador Alburquerque reported the forwarding of a decree 
of the Congregation of the Inquisition, stating that it was not the 
papal intention that the brief should apply to the Spanish domin- 
ions. Cardinal Millino, at the same time, wrote that the pope had 
declared that the Inquisition should continue to prosecute such 
cases in its customary form and manner.* 

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

' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 940, fol. 212; Gracia y Justicia, Inq., Leg. 
631, fol. 27. 

2 MSS. of Bodleian Library, Arch, S, 130. 

^ Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 1, n. 6, fol. 274, 393. — Archivo 
de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 1465, fol. 16. 

The clause concerning solicitation in the Edict of Faith, published at Valencia, 
Feb. 24, 1630, shows this and also the devices used to elude the technical defini- 
tion of the offence. " Or, whether any confessor or confessors, clerics or religious 
of whatever station pre-eminence or condition, in the act of confession or imme- 
diately before or after it, or with occasion or appearance of confession, although 
there is no opportunity and no confession may have followed, but in the con- 
fessional or any place where confessions are made, or which is destined for that 
purpose, when the impression is produced that confession is being made or 
heard, have solicited or attempted to soUcit any one, inducing or provoking them 
to foul and indecent acts, whether between the penitent and confessor or others, 
or have held indecent and illicit conversation with them. And we exhort and 
order all confessors to admonish their penitents, whom they understand to have 
been solicited, of the obligation to denounce the solicitors to this Holy Office, 
which has exclusive cognizance of this crime."^Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. 
de Valencia, Lib. 7 de Autos, Leg. 2, fol. 114. 


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

The audacity of the claim increased with time and, in the for- 
mula of the Edict of Faith, in use in 1696, there was an absolute 
assertion that Gregory XV had declared that, in the Spanish 
dominions, the offence was subjected to the exclusive cognizance 
of the Inquisition and not to that of the bishops, their vicars, 
provisors or ordinaries.^ Notwithstanding this, when bishops 

' Arohivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Lib. 7 de Autos, I-eg. 2, fol. 114. 

^ " Cuyo conocimiento pertenece al Santo Oficio de la Inquisicion, sin embargo 
del Breve de la Santidad de Gregorio XV expedido en treinta de Agusto de 1622 
anos, por declaracion suj'a, para las Inquisiciones de los Reynos de su Magestad, 
toca privativamente el castigo de este delito al Santo Oficio y no d, los obispos 
ni d, sus vicarios, provisores ni ordinaries. "—Bibl. nacional, MSS., D, 118, p. 148. 


asserted their rights, the Suprema shrank from a direct contest. 
Thus, in 1755, when the Bishop of Quito undertook to try cases 
of the kind, the Suprema merely presented a long and argumen- 
tative consulta to the king. So, in 1807, the Bishop of Badajoz 
tried Joseph M^ndez Rodriguez, priest of Llerena, for solicitation, 
apparently without remonstrance on its part and when, in 1816, 
Rodrfguez was prosecuted by the tribunal of Llerena for proposi- 
tions and mala doctrina, the Suprema ordered it to obtain from 
the bishop the papers of the former trial and add them to the new 

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

' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 28, fol. 246; Lib. 890. 

' Ibidem, Lib. 939, foL 107; Lib. 942, fol. 23, 31; Leg. 1465, fol. 16.— It is scarce 
worth while to refer to the wild story of Gonzdles de Montes (Inquis. hist, artes 
detectte, p. 185) that in Seville this brought in so many denunciations that 
twenty secretaries and as many inquisitors were unable to take them down 
within the thirty days allowed and that four prolongations of the time were 


administering the sacrament.' This final suggestion was super- 
fluous, for clerical offenders, short of those incurring degradation 
and relaxation, were always punished in secret. 

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

Notwithstanding the publicity of the Edict, which imposed 
excommmiication for failure to denounce, the trials show that 
the most fertile source of denunciation was the refusal of confessors 
to absolve penitents who had been solicited, unless they would 
accuse their guilty partners to the Inquisition. In spite of the 
assurance of secrecy, women were naturally reluctant, whether 
they had yielded or not, to expose themselves to the necessity of 
reciting details more or less revolting, and subjecting themselves 
at least to suspicion. One feature which rendered this exposure 
peculiarly distressing was the necessity of ratification, when all the 
foul or incriminating matter was rehearsed in the presence of two 
more men and, as much of this testimony was taken on the spot, 
by commissioners and notaries appointed ad hoc, in small places 
where everything was known, such revelations would only be 
made under the severest pressure. Again there was the enmity 
which was sure to be excited for, in these cases, the device of sup- 
pressing the names of witnesses was no protection against identi- 

' Bibl. nacional, MSS., D, 118, fol. 216, n. 60. 

2 Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 1665, fol. 16; Lib. 939, fol. 107; Lib. 942, 
fol. 31. 

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 2, n. 16, fol. 254.— Archivo 
de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 83, fol. 25. 

The Roman Inquisition tardily followed the example of the Spanish in a 
decree of 1677. — Berardi de SoUicitatione et Absolutions Complicis, p. 6 (Fa- 
ventiffi, 1897). 


fication, which was a risk not lightly to be encountered, especially 
when the culprit was a parish priest, whose capacity for revenging 
himself was unlimited . The Inquisition sorrowfully admitted that, 
even when it had one accusing witness, corroborative evidence 
was almost impossible to obtain/ 

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

' "La experiencia acredita que muchos contestes, singularaiente mugeres y 
en causas de solicitaeion, nada declaraii, ya por miedo, ya por vergiienza, ya 
por una falsa caridad, de que tiene el Santo Oficio freqiientes y lastimosas ex- 
periencias." — Instrucion que han de guardar los Comisarios, n. 21. 

2 Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 227, n, 7. 


to the tribunal of Valencia by two women and, on his trial, he 
confessed to ten/ 

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

' Ibidem, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 2, n. 15. 

^ Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 939, fol. 371. 

' Bibl. nacional, MSS., B, 159, fol. 161-2. For various speculations on the 
subject see Rod. a Cunha pro PP. Pauli V Statute, Q. xix (Benavente, 1611).— 
Ant. de Sousa Opusc. circa Constit. Pauli V, Tract, ii, cap. 7-10. 

* Card. Cozza, Dubia selecta circa Solicitationem, Dub. xlii (Lovanii, 1750). 

' Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 365, n. 46. 
» Bibl. nacional, MSS., V, 377, cap. xx. 


in 1713, it ordered that all women bringing charges of solicitation 
, should be interrogated whether any confessor had neglected to 
impose on them the obhgation of denunciation, and if so his name, 
residence and all the circumstances were to be ascertained, so 
that he could be called to account/ 

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

Even more dubious and fruitful of discussion was the question 
as to what constituted the solicitation itself. About torpezas or 
physical indecencies, there could be no rational doubt, though 

' MSS. of Royal Library of Copenhagpn, 218b, p. 264. 

' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 1465, fol. 16. — MSS. of Bibl. naciocal de 
Lima, Protocolo 223, Expte 5270. 

' Rod. a Cunha, Q. xiv, xv. — Ant. de Sousa, Tit. i, cap, 19.— Matteucci 
Cautela Confessarii, Lib. i, cap. 5, n. 3 (Venetiis, 1710).— Cozza, Dub. xvii.— 
Bibl. nacional, MSS., V, 377, cap. xx. 

* Ant. de Sousa, Tract, i, cap. xv. 


even here the laxity of Probabilism gave scope for arguing them 
away/ It is such things that usually meet us in the trials, in a 
shape admitting of no debate, but there was a wide range of less 
incriminating acts, such as words of flattery and endearment, 
praising the penitent's beauty or telling her that if he were a lay- 
man he would marry her. Theoretically, what were known to 
the moralists as parvitas materioe — trifles insufficient for animad- 
version — were not admitted in solicitation. Pressing the hand, 
touching the foot, foul expressions and the like were admitted to 
be subjects for denunciation, but the gradations of such advances 
are infinite, and the elaborate discussions in som.e of the works 
on the subject are examples of perverted ingenuity, apparently 
directed to teach libidinous priests how to gratify sensuality with- 
out incurring risk.^ The question of lewd and filthy talk was an 
especially puzzling one, for the confidences of the confessional 
presuppose a licence on subjects usually forbidden between the 
sexes, which may readily be abused by a brutal or foul-minded 
priest, and it is impossible to frame a definition which in practice 
shall rigidly differentiate moral instruction from heedless pruriency 
or deliberate corruption. How difficult it is to draw the line in 
such matters is indicated by a case before the Valencia tribunal 
in 1786. A nim of the convent of Santa Clara in Jdtiva complained 
of the indecent and unnecessary questions repeatedly put to her 
in confession by the Observantine Fray Vicente Gonzdlez. Under 
the advice of the definitor of the Order she empowered him to 
denounce Gonzdlez to the Inquisition. Then the regular confessor 
of the convent pronounced that the questions were necessary and 
proper, and persuaded the definitor to write to the tribunal to 
that effect.^ 

' There were many probabilist authorities who held that the fact that such 
acts as kissing, pressing the hands, handling the breasts, etc., were committed 
in the confessional did not change them from venial to mortal sins. See 
Del Bene de Officio S. Inquis. P. ii, Dub. 237, Sect. 3, n. 3 (Lugduni, 1666). 
Cf. Cozza, Dub. iii, n. 18. 

In 1743 a hvely controversy arose between the rigorists and the Jesuits over 
the Taiti mammillari caused by a proposition of Father Benzi S. J. that stroking 
the cheeks of nuns and handling their breasts were venial, when unaccompanied 
with depraved intentions. — Concina, Explicazione di quattro Paradossi, cap. 
1 § 1 (Lucca, 1746). 

^ Cozza, Dub. m, iv, v.— Fran. Bordoni Sacrum Tribunal Judicum, cap. 
XXIII, n. 53-61 (Romae, 1648); Ejusd. Manuale Consultorum, Sect, xxv, n. 91 
(Romffi, 1693). 

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 365, n. 46, fol. 26. 


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

There was another phase of the subject on which the doctors 
were hopelessly divided — what was known as passive solicitation, 
where the woman was the tempter. This case, we are told, was 
rare, and we can readily believe it, although there are not wanting 
zealous defenders of the cloth who assert that in the majority of 
cases the penitent is really the guilty party. The earliest allusion 
to the matter is by Paramo, in 1598, whose treatment of it shows 
that as yet there had been no formal decision; if the confessor 
resists, he says, he should denounce the woman; if he yields, he 
should denounce both her and himself, though perhaps it would 
be best to consult the pope.^ As regards the confessor, the authori- 
ties differ irreconcileably, but they are virtually unanimous in 
holding that, as the woman is not mentioned in the papal briefs, 
she is not subject to the Inquisition.^ Yet, notwithstanding the 

' Rod. a Cunha, Q. xvii. — Ant. de Sousa, Tract, i, cap. xiv. — Jo. Sdnchez, 
Disputationes Select*, Disp. xi, n. 43, 44 (Ludguni, 1636). 

' Rod. a Cunha, Q. xiv. — Ant. de Sousa, Tract, i, cap. xi. — Cozza, Dub. 
xxxvii.— Trimarchi, p. 160.— Bibl. nacional, MSS., B, fol. 160. 

' Trimarchi, p. 145. — Cozza, Dub. xxxvin. * Pdramo, p. 886. 

° A Cunha, Q. ix, xi. — De Sousa, Tract, i, cap. vi, vii, xvii. — Alberghini 
Manuale Qualificatorum, cap. xxxi, § 1, n. 10, 11, 17. — Trimarchi, pp. 193, 
199, 201, 212.— Cozza, Dub. ix, x, xi. — Bodoni Manuale, Sect, xxv, n. 169. — 
Bibl. nacional, MSS., V, 377, cap. xx, §§ 5, 10. 


absence of papal authority, we happen to find Maria Izquierda 
prosecuted for this offence, in 1715, by the Valencia tribunal and, 
in 1772 Antonia Coquis, wife of Bruno Vidal, by that of Madrid.' 
It will be seen that solicitation subject to inquisitorial action 
was so purely technical an offence, and one so difficiilt of precise 
definition, that it offered many doubtful points affording ample 
opportunity of evasion by the adroit. Gregory XV had sought 
to be precise and expUcit, but the ingenuity of casuists and e\dl- 
doers continued to find exceptions and, in 1661, the Roman 
Inquisition rendered sixteen decisions on disputed points, but its 
ingenuity was baffled by so intricate a subject, and it was obhged 
to leave some matters rather darkened than illuminated.^ Then it 
was pointed out that the papal briefs were silent as to handing 
love-letters to penitents during confession and, as everything not 
specifically prohibited was held to be Hcit, this was assumed to 
be allowable, until Alexander VII stamped the proposition as erro- 
neous.' After this the perverted ingenuity of the casuists had free 
scope imtil, in 1741, Benedict XIV, in the solemn bull Sacramen- 
tum Panitenticc, deplored that human wickedness was perverting 
to the destruction of souls that which God had instituted for their 
salvation. He renewed and confirmed the brief of Gregory XV, 
and added to its definitions all attempts in the confessional to 
lead penitents astray by signs, nods, touching, indecent words and 
writings, whether to be read there or subsequently. In eloquent 
words he warned all those in authority to see that the wandering 
sheep, endeavoring to re-enter the fold, should not be abandoned 

' Archivo hist, naoional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 376. — Archive de Simancas, 
Inq., Registro de Solicitantes, A, 7, fol. 2 (Lib. 1002, fol. 2). 
'^ The more important of these decisions were — 
3 There is no parvitas malerice in solicitation. 

8 When the solicitation is mutual, the confessor is to be denounced. 

9 A confessor yielding to solicitation through fear is to be denounced. 

10 Solicitation in other sacraments does not fall within the papal bulls. 

11 Solicitation to other than carnal sins during confession does not require 

12 When a confessor praises the beauty of a penitent, if the praise is serious 
and without evil intention, he is not liable to denunciation; if otherwise, he is. 

13 If a confessor sitting in a confessional solicits a woman standing before 
him without pretext of confession he is probably not liable to denunciation. 

14 A confessor who makes during confession a present to the penitent, 
without evil intention is not liable to denunciation; otherwise he is. — Berardi 
de Sollicitatione, p. 5. 

^ Bullar. Roman. T. VI, Append, p. 1. 


to the cruel beasts seeking their destruction, and he branded 
the sacrilegious seducers as ministers of Satan, rather than of 
Christ/ Still, it was only the technical heresy and not morality 
that was considered, and iUicit relations between spiritual father 
and daughter, outside of the confessional, were left unpunished 
as before. 

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

» BuUar. Benedicti PP. XIV, T. I, p. 23-4. 
' Bullar. Roman, ubi sup. 
' Bullar. Benedicti PP. XIV, loc. cit. 

* Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 1 ; Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 365, 
n. 46. — Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 890. 
VOL. IV 8 


It is no wonder that confessors endeavored to evade the technical 
definitions of the papal briefs for, if they could do so, no matter 
how heinous was their guilt there was practically no penalty. Juan 
Sanchez asserts that a priest who has commerce with his penitent 
is not obliged to specify the fact when making confession, for it 
is not incest and there is no papal prohibition of it/ All authori- 
ties, from that time to this, tell us that he can obtain absolution 
from any confessor, for it is not a reserved case, which shows the 
universal benignity of the bishops and the popes, who have the 
power of reserving to themselves the absolution of what sins they 
please.^ It is easy to understand, therefore, how, in the trials, the 
inquisitors bent their energies to obtain definite evidence as to 
the exact location and time of the acts of sohcitation, and how the 
accused sought to prove, not his innocence, but his dexterity in 
evading the definitions of the papal decrees. A suggestive example 
is the case of Doctor Pedro Mendizabal, cura of the parish of Santa 
Ana in the City of Mexico. He was denounced, June 21, 1809, 
by Dona Maria Guadalupe Rezeiro, by command of her confessor, 
when she stated that, in January, 1807, she made to him a general 
confession, too long to be finished in one day. On returning to 
his church to complete it, she was told to go up to his room, when 
he said he was too busy to listen to her. She retired but, on her 
way down stairs, his servant recalled her and, on entering his 
apartment, he threw his arms aroimd her, professed ardent love and 
promised to support her if she would become his mistress, which 
she refused. As he had thus eluded the definitions of Benedict 
XIV, four calificadores out of six reported that he was not techni- 
cally guilty of solicitation. The demmciation was filed away and, 
in 1817, there came another, of which he had warning in order 
that he might spontaneously accuse himself, as he did. It was 
from an attractive young girl of 17, and investigation developed 
four more cases of girls of whom he was confessor. Abundant 

' Joh. Sdnchez Disputt. Select., Disp. xi, n. 3, 4. — Juan Sdnchez was one of the 
laxer moral theologians of the seventeenth century, some of whose propositions 
incurred papal censure, but this escaped. Hurter characterizes him as "in 
morum doctrina versatissimus." — Nomenclator Theol. Cathol. I, 414. 

^ Ant. de Sousa, Tract. II, cap. xx.— Berardi de Sollicitatione, p. 129.— H 
Consulente Ecclesiastieo, Vol. IV, p. 19 (1899).— S. Alph. de Ligorio Theol. 
Moral. Lib. vii, n. 519. Podestft, however, tells us that in his time, in the diocese 
of Naples, it was reserved to the bishop. — Examen ecclesiasticum, T. II, n. 601 
(Venetiis, 1728). 


evidence showed habitual indecent liberties— hugging, kissing, 
sitting in his lap, in presence of their families or even in public 
resorts. He had been ordered out of two houses and, on appeal to 
the archbishop, he had been forbidden to confess one of the girls 
who was a boarder in a convent. The distraction of the mother 
of the first accuser, endeavoring to save her daughter from one 
whose authority as a priest overawed her, is very touching and 
suggestive. Yet in all this there was no proof of anything in the 
act of confession— as one of the calificadores piously remarked, 
"God, in his goodness, preserved him from this." Two califi- 
cadores argued at much length that he was not guilty of solici- 
tation; then two others proved that he was guilty, and finally two 
more laboriously demonstrated that the first pair were correct. 
This is the last document in the case. It is dated November 3, 
1819, and, as the Inquisition was suppressed in June, 1820, and 
as there is no endorsement on the record showing that the case 
was concluded, Mendizabal undoubtedly escaped to continue his 
corrupting career, especially as he had four out of six calificadores 
in his favor." 

The technicalties, which eliminated morality from consideration, 
resulted in curious contrasts. In November 1762, Fray Clemente 
de Cartagena went to Toledo to assist in the profession of his 
neice Geronima, in the Bernardine convent, where he already had 
a sister. He and his sister were in the confessional near the altar, 
when some duty called her away and she told Geronima to go to 
her uncle. She seated herself in the confessional, while he occupied 
the penitent's place outside and, in an affectionate talk, he asked 
her to kiss him. The next day he said to her that he had forgotten 
at the moment that they were in the confessional ; this made no 
impression on her, until she heard the nuns talking about the 
exceeding delicacy of such matters, and she consulted Fray Fer- 
nando de San Josef, who ordered her to denounce her uncle. This 
she did in writing, and Fray Fernando conveyed it to the tribunal, 
which duly took up the case. We shall see that prosecutions 
required two distinct and separate denunciations ; inquiries, accord- 
ing to custom, were made of all the other tribunals; fortunately 
for Fray Clemente nothing was found against him and the case was 
suspended, but if there had been, or if subsequently he chanced 
to draw upon himself a denunciation, the innocent kiss to his neice 

' Proceso contra el Dr. Pedro Mendizabal (MS. penes me). 


would count as though he had deliberately seduced a penitent.' 
It was the spot and not the nature of the act that was decisive. 

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

Yet there was one species of abuse of the confessional, not 
contemplated in the papal briefs, which the Spanish Inquisition, by 
a somewhat forced construction, classed with solicitation. This, 
which was known as flagellation, consisted in imposing penance 
of the discipline and administering it on the spot, or letting the 
penitent administer it herself, in either case requiring her to dis- 
robe and expose herself to a greater or less degree. Sometimes 
this was mingled with the debased mystic ardor, of which we have 
seen examples above, leading both parties to expose themselves 
and lash one another. The earliest case that I have met of this 
occurred in 1606, at Ndjera, when Maria Escudero, a widow aged 
40, testified that she had long confessed to the Franciscan Fray 
Diego de Burgos. They exchanged vows of obedience to each 
other ; he would visit her in her house when they would discipline 
each other with exposure almost complete, under agreement that 
their eyes should be kept closed. Then he introduced a pious 
exercise still more indecent, but he was always scrupulously correct 

' Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 228, n. 18. 
' Ibidem, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 365, u. 46, fol. 32. 
' Berardi, op. cit., pp. 36-7. 


in the confessional. She chanced to make a general confession 
to another priest who refused absolution unless she would denounce 
Fray Diego. The case was evidently novel and dragged on until 
1609, when it reached the Suprema, which submitted the matter 
to two calificadores. One opined that the acts savored of the 
heresy of the Adamites and Alumbrados; the other attributed it 
merely to imprudent simplicity and ignorance. Apparent!}' there 
was no precedent for guidance and the case seems to have been 
suspended.' A parallel case, with a different ending, was one in 
which there were a number of women concerned and the practices 
were foul almost beyond- belief. The priest was an ignorant and 
simple man who, by the advice of another confessor, came with 
the women to denounce themselves. He was sentenced to rigid 
reclusion in a convent, where he died after giving a most edifying 
example, and the women were not prosecuted, as they were mostly 
barefooted Carmelites and Capuchins.^ 

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

The extent to which these practices were sometimes carried is 
indicated in the trial, in 1795, of Padre Paulino Vicente Arevalo, 
priest of Yepes, as "sohcitante y flagelante." He confessed to 
the most flagrant indecencies committed in this manner, with his 
female penitents, among whom were nine pupils or sisters of the 
Bernardine convent. Sometimes he made them discipline them- 

' Archive de Simancas, Inq. de Logroiio, Procesos de fe, Leg. 1. 
2 Bibl. nacional, MSS., V, 377, cap. xxi, § 6. 

' Ibidem, cap. xx, § 3.— De Sousa, Aphorism. Lib. i, cap. xxxiv, n. 40.— 
Alberghini, Man. Qualificator. cap. xxxi, § 1, n. 19. 
• Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 1006, fol. 2.5. 


selves in his presence and, as the scourge had to be appHed to 
the peccant parts, he had choice of such exposure as he desired, 
an opportunity of which he admitted avaihng himself. The record 
is discreetly mute as to worse excesses but, as six of his penitents 
were required to repeat to another confessor all the confessions 
specified in the evidence, it follows that sins must have been com- 
mitted for which he absolved them. For this perversion of so 
many young lives he was only sentenced to a year's reclusion in 
a monastery, thirty days' spiritual exercises, deprivation of the 
faculty of confession, perpetual exile from Yepes and eight years' 
exile from some other places — penalties which, although severe 
under the mild inquisitorial standard, were wholly inadequate to 
his offences.* 

A considerable portion of the cases in the later years of the Inqui- 
sition are characterized as "solicitante y fiagelante" and many 
of them illustrate the easy transition from lUuminism to soHci- 
tation. As early as 1651 we meet the case of the Dominican Fray 
Geronimo de las Herreras, condemned by the Toledo tribunal 
to deprivation of the faculty of confession and three years' reclu- 
sion in a convent, as an "alumbrado y solicitante," convicted of 
repeated practices of obscenity with many women. When Molin- 
ism came to the front, those who taught it with its debauching 
consequences were more severely dealt with, as in the case of 
Buenaventura Frutos, cura of Mocejon, who, in 1722, was pro- 
nounced by the Toledo tribunal to be a formal heretic and dog- 
matizer, a contumacious solicitor and seducer. As such his sen- 
tence was read with open doors, he appeared in a sanbenito de 
dos aspas, was reconciled, verbally degraded and recluded irre- 
missibly for life in a convent where, for two years he was shut up 
in a cell, under instruction.^ Similar cases continued to occur 
occasionally, but more numerous in the later period were those 
in which solicitation is conjoined with mala doctrina, showing that 
the evil teaching was of a less dangerous character than fully 
developed Molinism — a mere soothing of the conscience of the 
penitent with assurances that what her confessor desired was not 
mortal sin — but even this was regarded as increasing the sus- 
picion of heresy and requiring severer punishment.' 

It is perhaps not without interest to note the advanced age to 

' Archive hist, nacional, luq. de Toledo, Leg. 227, n. 4. 

' Ibidem, Leg. 1. 

° Ibidem, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 4, n. 2, fol. 79. 

Chap. VI] PROCEDURE 119 

which some of these soliciting confessors retained the ardor which 
impelled them to the offence. Cases of septuagenarians are by 
no means rare. The Dominican, Fray Antonio de Aragon, sen- 
tenced, July 24, 1734, at Toledo, was 78 and the Observantine, 
Fray Miguel Granado, denounced, in 1786, to the Cuenca tribunal, 
was 80. In the former case the punishment was mitigated in 
consideration of his years, though a less sympathizing court would 
have heightened its rigor, in view of the evil which such a sinner 
must have wrought during so prolonged a career.' 

When, in 1561, the Inquisition obtained jurisdiction over solici- 
tation, it had no precedents on which to frame its procedure or 
to regulate the penalties. The episcopal courts had been inert and 
merciful, and the fact that the offence had been transferred from 
them inferred that the new jurisdiction was expected to be vigor- 
ous and rigorous. Its first care, however, was to preserve secrecy 
and avert scandal, so that no layman should be admitted to knowl- 
edge of clerical delinquencies. The earliest utterance is a carta 
acordada of 1562, prescribing that, when the denunciation affords 
conclusive evidence, it shall be considered by the inquisitors and 
Ordinary, without calling in the usual consultors, and the arrest 
shall be made with the utmost circumspection; the accused is to 
be admitted to bail ; when the case is concluded, if he is a f raile he 
is to be confined in his convent with orders not to preach or hear 
confessions', or to have active and passive voice ; if he is a secular 
priest, he is to be confined somewhere else than where the offence 
was committed, he is not to exercise his functions and the final 
disposition of the case is to rest with the Suprema.^ In 1572, 
consultors were admitted to examine the evidence before arrest, 
but they were to be exclusively clerics, and the result was to be 
submitted to the Suprema before action. It made little difference 
that the heinousness of the offence was emphasized, and the neces- 
sity of exemplary punishment, when the culprit was treated with 
this exceptional tenderness.' In 1600, even the Ordinary was ex- 
cluded from the preliminary deliberations and the Suprema was to 
be consulted before any action was taken.* The same precautions 

1 Arcliivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 1; Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 66. 

2 Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 942, fol. 23; Leg. 1465, fol. 16. 
' Ibidem, Lib. 939, fol. 107; Lib. 942, fol. 38; Leg. 1465, fol. 16. 

* Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 2, n. 16, fol. 264. — Archive 
de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 942, fol. 52. 


as to publicity were to be observed with regard to the sentences, 
which were to be read in the audience-chamber with closed doors, 
the only witnesses present being a prescribed number of the breth- 
ren of the culprit — members of his Order if he was a f raile, or curas 
and rectors, if a secular priest/ The care taken to avert attention 
from these delinquencies is illustrated in the case of Fray Antonio 
de la Porteria, in 1818; he was resident in the convent of Mondo- 
nedo, and the guardian was ordered to send him on some pretext 
to the house of the Order at Santiago, where he was duly tried.^ 
Even greater favoritism was manifested in the matter of evi- 
dence. We have seen that, in ordinary trials, while two witnesses 
were required as to each fact yet, in practice, a single witness 
sufficed, not only for arrest but for torture and that the testimony 
of the vilest persons was welcomed without discrimination. In 
solicitation, it was self-evident that there could be but one witness 
to each specific act, so that perforce the tribunals were instructed 
that they must be content with "singular" witnesses. A single 
denunciation however, did not suffice for arrest, but in 1571, and 
again in 1576, they were allowed to deliberate on it and consult 
the Suprema. Even this was thought to be too harsh and, in 1577, 
the rule was adopted that there must be two separate and indepen- 
dent denunciations before arrest and trial — a rule fraught, as we 
shall see, with far-reaching consequences for, when it was so diffi- 
cult to induce women to accuse their seducers, innumerable culprits 
escaped because two of their victims did not happen to act inde- 
pendently.' Similar exceptional consideration was shown with 
regard to the character of the witnesses, repeated instructions being 
issued that this was to be carefully investigated, and the results 
be noted upon the record and reported to the Suprema, so that due 
weight be given to it, both in ordering arrest and apportioning 
penalties — precautions eminently commendable, but deplorably 
lacking in trials for other offences.^ Justification for this solicitude 
was sought in the customary monlcish abuse of women in general. 
It was a misfortune that their evidence was to be received at 
all but, from the nature of the crime, this was unavoidable, and 

• Archive de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 1465, fol. 16. 

2 Ibidem, Lib. 890. 

» Ibidem, Lib. 939, fol. 107; Lib. 941, fol. 2; Leg. 1465, fol. 16.— Archive hist, 
nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 2, n. 16, fol. 254. 

^ Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 939, fol. 107; Lib. 942, fol. 45; Leg. 1465, 
fol. 16. 

Chap. VI] PBOCEDUBE 121 

Pd,ramo tells us that by nature they are lying, deceitful, perjurers, 
crafty, changeable, frail, mutable and corruptible — a daily curse, 
the gate of the devil, the tail of the scorpion, a whitened sepulchre, 
an incurable sore, but they are the only witnesses to be had and 
two of them, if of good character, must suffice for full proof.' 
Such tirades show the different temper in which inquisitors ap- 
proached the consideration of these cases and those of Jews or 

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

In the Spanish Inquisition, solicitation uncomplicated by Illu- 
minism or Molinism, inferred only light suspicion of heresy, requir- 
ing merely abjuration de levi. Consequently the accused was 
not exposed to torture. It is true that, academically speaking, 
though he could not be tortured as to intention and belief, he might 
be subjected to it if he denied facts, but in practice it was never 
employed, although the formal accusation contained the otrosi 
demanding it.' Yet, when there was mala doctrina or lUuminism 
torture was employed without scruple, as in the case, in 1725, of 
Manuel Madrigal, in Toledo, accused as " solicitante, Molinista y 
flagelante."^ In the Roman Inquisition, however, after the brief 
of Gregory XV, the suspicion of heresy was vehement, the abjura- 
tion was de vehementi and there was no exception to the general rule 
of torturing on intention. The testimony of one woman of good 
character, supported by indications such as the evil repute of 

' Pdramo, p. 875. 

2 Archive de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 1465, fol. 16. 

' Ibidem, Lib. 939, fol. 342. — De Sousa, Opusc. circa Constit. Pauli V, Tract. 
II, cap. 13, 21; Ejusd. Aphor. Inquis. Lib. i, cap. xxxiv, n. 64, 65.— Alberghini, 
Man. Qualif. cap. xxxi, § 2, n. 3, 4.— Bibl. nacional MSS., V, 377, cap. xx, 9.— 
Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 61; Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 498.— 
MSS. of Royal Library of Copenhagen, 218b, p. 423. 

* Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 876, fol. 208. 


the confessor, or that of two women unsupported, sufficed. In 
every way Rome treated the offence with less charity than did 

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

This instruction would appear to require that, in case of consent, 
the witness should be forced to reveal her shame. Protection 
from this would seem necessary to overcome reluctance to make 
denunciation, and the Roman Inquisition, by decree of July 25, 
1624, ruled that neither the woman nor the accused was to be 
questioned as to this and, if the information was volunteered, it 
was to be omitted from the record, while confessors were ordered 
to assure penitents that no such inquiries would be made.' If 
such a rule existed in Spain, it was not observed until near the 
end, for the records of trials show that the examination was pushed 
to the last point, and the results were fully set forth in the proceed- 
ings. As late as the middle of the eighteenth century, instructions 
to commissioners taking testimony in these cases require them to 
obtain all details as to words and acts and to write them out fully 

' Bodoni Man. Consultorum, pp. 224, 232, 235. — Cf. Trimarchum pp. 288-92. 
2 MSS. of Royal Library of Copenhagen, 218b, pp. 386-7. 
' Cozza, op. ai., Dub. XIV. This is stillthe rule. See Concil. Plenar. Ameries 
Latinae, ann. 1899, Append, cxxxii, T. II, p. 761 (Romae, 1900). 


and distinctly, no matter how obscene they may be.' Soon after 
this, however, occurs the first intimation as to reticence that I 
have met, in instructions to a commissioner, January 27, 1759, 
as to taking testimony from a nun, in which he is told to notify 
her that, if she volunteers to relate her own ruin, this is not to be 
stated or included in the testimony.^ Subsequently this became 
the rule, as appears by instructions in 1816 and 1819.' 

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

'■ Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 299. 
' Ibidem, Leg. 228, n. 24. 

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 1473 (Cartilla de Comisarios, §§ ix, x). — 
Ibidem, Lib. 890, fol. 156. 
* Ibidem, Lib. 83, fol. 25. 

= MSS. of Bibl. nacional, de Lima, Protocolo 233, Expte 5270. 
= Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 1465, fol. 16. ' Pdramo, p. 879. 

' A Cunha, op. cit., Q. xxiii. — De Sousa, op. cit., Tract, ii, cap. 12. 


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

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

Numberless cases show how prolonged was often this period of 
immunity in a career of crime, to say nothing of the yet more 
frequent instances where the second denunciation never came. 
Thus at Valencia, on September 22, 1734, Maria Theresa Terrasa 
accused Fray Agustin Solves of having taken her, after confession 
and communion, to a room back of the altar and committed vio- 
lence on her. This was laid aside for fourteen years when, on 
November 12, 1748, Sor Vitoria Julian, of the convent of San 
Julian, appeared and denounced him for having, some fifteen years 
before, solicited her some twenty times in the confessional of the 

' Archive de Simanoas, Inq., Leg. 552, fol. 1. 

^ Bibl. nacional, MSS., V, 377, cap. xx. — In modem practice, under the regu- 
lations issued by the Roman Inquisitors, in 1867, a first and a second denuncia- 
tion only cause the accused to be watched and a third one is necessary to justify 
action. — Berardi, p 126. 


convent of which he was the regular confessor, though she had 
not understood until now the obligation of denunciation. He had 
meanwhile been removed to the convent of Villajoiosa and had 
doubtless profited fully by the interval thus afforded.^ This is by 
no means an extreme instance. In the Hst of soliciting confessors, 
kept by the Madrid tribunal, there occurs, in 1772, the name of 
Fray Andres Izquierdo as accused in Valladolid, with a reference 
back to the years 1751 and 1752. Fray Bartolom^ de Montijo 
appears as denounced in 1740 and again in 1776. Fray Fernando 
Lopez, ex-provincial of the Escuelas pias, was denounced in 1780 
for tampering with the children under his charge, and again in 
1795, when he was tried and exiled. The Jesuit Juan Francisco 
Nieto, was denounced in Toledo in 1708 and again in 1731 in 
Madrid. Fray Joseph de San Juan was accused in Toledo in 
1732 and in Granada in 1772. Fray Pedro de la Madre de Dios 
was denounced in Barcelona in 1722 and again in 1744. Even 
two denunciations, in many cases, did not suffice to put an end 
to these corrupting careers, and it required three or four. Fray 
Alonso de Arroya was denounced in 1768, 1788 and 1803; Fray 
Francisco de la Asuncion Torquemada in 1735, 1770 and 1776; 
Domingo Galindo, rector of Nules, in 1790, 1792, and 1795; Fray 
Francisco Escriva in 1769, 1775, 1786 and 1787; and Padre 
Feliciano Martinez, S. J., in 1767, 1771, 1784 and 1800. It is 
scarce worth while to multiply instances of which the records 
furnish an abundant supply.^ 

As the majority of offenders were frailes, who had no settled 
residence, it became necessary, in order to meet the exceptional 
requirement of two denunciations, ,to establish communication 
between the several tribunals. This was felt as early as 1601, 
when each one was ordered to send to all the rest, information as 
to solicitantes, whose cases had been suspended without prosecu- 
tion. This seems to have received scant obedience, while cases 
of solicitation were constantly becoming a more important portion 
of inquisitorial duty, leading to a more comprehensive effort in 
1647. The tribunals were required to search their records for 
thirty years back and make out lists of those charged with solici- 
tation with all necessary details; copies of these lists were to be 
sent to the Suprema and to all other tribunals, and every year the 

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 365. 

2 Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 1002, fol. 2-4. — Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. 
de Valencia, Leg. 66; Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 233, n. 108, fol. 90, 97, 140, 181. 


new cases were to be similarly circulated. A complete alpha- 
betical list of the whole was to be compiled and copies were 
to be furnished to all tribunals making application.^ If this was 
obeyed at the time, it must soon have fallen into desuetude, for 
the custom became universal, when a denunciation was received, 
of addressing all the sister tribunals with the inquiry as to 
whether the name of the accused appeared on their records. To 
facilitate these frequent researches, in compiling the Lihros Voean- 
dorum and other registers, a separate volume was reserved for 

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

How these general rules were reduced to practice, at this period, 
may be gathered from a few examples in Toledo, all of whom 
had of course the regular abjuration de levi and reprimand. In 
1578 the Carmelite, Fray Agustin de Cervera, against whom there 

'■ MSS. of Royal Library of Copenhagen 218b, p. 264. — Archive hist, naeional, 
Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 9, n. 2, fol. 38. 
' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 1002. 
' Ibidem, Leg. 1465, fol.16. 


were ten witnesses, was sentenced to perpetual deprivation of 
confession, reclusion for a year in a convent of his Order, where he 
was to receive a discipline, and Friday fasting on bread and water. 
The Dominican Fray Domingo de Revisto, against whom there 
were forty-nine witnesses, besides others who came after the con- 
clusion of the case, was perpetually deprived of confessing and 
recluded in a desert convent for ten years, during which, for a 
year, he was deprived of active and passive voice, of preaching 
and of saying mass. In 1581, Pedro de Villalobos, acting cura of 
Halia, had many witnesses as to his acts in the confessional and 
an infinite number as to his general licentiousness, for he kept a 
concubine, had debauched two sisters and their aunt, and com- 
mitted much else of the same kind. These latter sins were outside 
of inquisitorial jurisdiction; for the solicitation he was exiled from 
Haifa for three years, of which the first was to be passed in a 
monastery with suspension from celebrating, he was perpetually 
suspended from confessing, and was fined in fifteen thousand 
maravedis. Fray Juan Romero was accused by five women ; he 
admitted using words of endearment, but innocently, as he claimed 
to be impotent. Either the claim or the fact seems to have been 
regarded as an aggravation, for he was deprived of confessing and 
was recluded for ten years, without active and passive voice, to be 
last in choir and refectory, with a monthly discipline during the 
first year, a discipline in the audience-chamber and one in the 
convent of San Pablo while his sentence was read.^ 

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

It was wholly superfluous to plead for leniency. The Spanish 
Inquisition paid no attention to Gregory's brief, although, in 1629, 

» Archive de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 1465, tol. 16.— MSS. of Royal Library of 
Copenhagen, 218b p. 265. 
2 Archivo de Alcald, Hacienda, Leg. 544' (Lib. 4). 
' A Cunha, Q. xxiv. — De Sousa, Tract, ii, cap. 16, 18, 21. 


it ordered the tribunals to follow its prescriptions, for it even 
began to show an increased tendency towards benignity. The 
severest sentence I have met at this period concerned a peculiarly 
scandalous case before the tribunal of VaUadolid where, in 1625, 
the Trinitarian Fray Juan de Ramirez was accused by five youths 
and one woman, and besides he had once celebrated mass without 
confessing. He was verbally degraded, deprived perpetually of 
confessing and condemned to ten years of reclusion, hfelong exile 
from Burgos and a circular discipline in his convent. This was 
justice tempered with mercy, but there was much mercy and little 
justice, in 1637, in the case of the Franciscan Fray Alonso del 
Valle before the same tribunal. He was accused by two sisters 
of his Order; there was a vote in discordia and the Suprema 
ordered suspension of the case, but, before this could be done, there 
supervened two more witnesses with evidence of the foulest char- 
acter. The result was a sentence April 14, 1638, of deprivation 
of confessing women, one year's reclusion and four years of exile 
from Toro and Astorga. Equally fortunate was the Dominican 
Fray Juan Gomez, accused by two women, with one of whom, 
for fifteen years, he had illicit relations in the chapels used for 
confession. Some sisters of his Order likewise denounced him 
and, for all this he was sentenced, February 4, 1638, to be deprived 
of confessing women and to Friday fasting for six months. Even 
greater was the benignity shown, in 1642, to the Licenciate Morales, 
cura of Robadillo, against whom there were two accusers. The 
vote of the consulta de fe on the sumaria was not unanimous, 
when the Suprema cut the affair short by ordering suspension, 
with a private reprimand of the accused in the apartments of the 

> Archive de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 552, fol. 6, 22, 23, 29. 

There was more wholesome severity in Rome. In 1626 the Congregation of 
the Inquisition reserved to itself the designation of the penalty (Collect. Decret. 
Sac. Congr. S. Officii, p. 397 — MS. penes me). Some ten years later Trimarchus 
(op. at., pp. 302, 304) after enumerating the punishments decreed by Gregorj', 
adds that in practice, if the culprit has only once solicited an ordinary woman, 
deprivation of confessing suffices; if two, repeatedly, add suspension of priestly 
functions and, for a regular, especially if there has been scandal, perpetual 
reclusion in a convent or, for a secular, perpetual service in a hospital. If the 
penitent solicited is a nun or the wife of a magnate, or there are many women 
and much popular scandal, degradation or the galleys. 

Although Gregory included relaxation, Benedict XIV (De Synodo Dioecesana, 
Lib. IX, cap. vi, n. 7) says that in no case, however aggravated, can it be found 
that relaxation had been inflicted, and this is repeated by Fray Manuel de 
Ndjera in his Enchiridion canonico-morale de Confess, p. 161 (Mexico, 1764). 


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

As regards the galleys, I have met with but one case of their 
employment — that of the Licentiate Lorenzo de Eldora, assistant 
cura in Torre de Belena, tried in Toledo in 1691. He had already 
been punished for the same offence in Granada, and had relapsed, 
which explains the severity of the sentence suspending him from 
orders and banishing him from a number of places for ten years, 
of which the first five were to be spent in the galleys.^ That this 
punishment was reserved for relapse may be inferred from a case 
which, about the same time, was occupying the Barcelona tri- 
bunal and which certainly deserved it. The Mercenarian Padre 
Estevan Ramoneda was accused in 1690, but it was not until 1694 
that a second denunciation enabled action to be taken. After 
many evasions, in ignorance of the exact charge, he confessed to 
much more than was required. Since entering a convent, in 1660, 
as a boy of fifteen, his life had been one of sexual abominations, 
almost warranting the belief that the monasteries of the time 
were outposts of Sodom. The number of women whose testi- 
mony was obtained was only eight, but among these were some 
with whom extraordinary obscenities were practised in church. 
He had no defence to offer and, in his sentence, September 11, 

' Bibl. nacional, MSS., V, 377, cap. xx. 

2 Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 299, fol. 80. 

3 Ibidem, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 229, n. 32. 
* Ibidem, Leg. 1. 

VOL. IV 9 


1696, all reference to his unnatural crimes of all kinds was care- 
fully omitted. He was deprived of confession, had a circular 
discipline in his convent, and was recluded for four years in the 
house of N. Senora del Olivar, from which he was allowed to return 
in October 1700.* This was considered sufficient punishment for 
a brute whose life had been spent in corrupting men, women and 

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

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

* Proceso contra Fray Estevan Ramoneda (MSS. of Am. Phil. Society). 

^ Quia ex sola publica effusione seminis aut sanguinis humani ecclesia pol- 
luitur. — Clericati de Virtute PiBnitentice Decisiones, p. 214 (Vinetiis, 1706). 

' MSS. of Trinity College, Dublin. Class ii, Vol. IV, pp. 63, 294.— Berardi, 
op. cit., p. 129. — Cf. Benedicti PP. XIV de Synodo Dioecesana, Lib. vi, cap. 
xi, n. 8. 


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

So long as the practice of examining the woman was continued, 
self-denunciation always had the advantage that they would very 
frequently, in defence of their honor, deny everything. The 
result of this, and the prevaihng tendency towards leniency, are 
indicated in rules expressed about 1640, which tell us that, if one 
witness has already testified against the culprit, self-denunciation 
ensures a lighter penalty; there is no imprisonment and it is cus- 
tomary to deprive him of confessing women. If he accuses him- 
self before there is any evidence against him, and if the women are 
numerous and they confirm his statements, the case proceeds to 
deprivation of confessing; if they deny, the case is suspended. 

• MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 20, T. I. 
' Ibidem, T. XI. 


with a warning to him. If there is but one and the case is not 
grave, he is merely reprimanded/ 

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

Still, practice as yet was not uniform. In 1740, the Recollect 
Fray Joseph Rives accused himself before the Valencia tribunal, 
when the evidence of two women was taken, showing the beast- 
liness to which such men resorted to inflame the passions of their 
penitents. A formal trial resulted, ending in his deprivation of 
confession and three years' exile from Valencia and the scenes of 

' Bibl. nacional, MSS., V, 377, cap. xx, § 8. 

" Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 876, fol. 32. 

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 231, n. 70. 

* MSS. of David Fergusson Esq. 


his excesses.* This was probably one of the latest cases in which 
an espontaneado suffered. A writer shortly afterwards complains 
of the uncertainty of practice, as the Suprema constantly issued 
varying decisions under conditions precisely similar, but he states 
the rule to be that, when a priest accuses himself, the registers 
are searched and, if nothing is found of record against him, he is 
discharged with a charitable warning, and a recommendation to 
abstain from the confessional save when necessary to avert scan- 
dal.^ Complete immunity soon followed for self-accusation. In 
1780 the Suprema seems to have desired to introduce uniformity, 
and enquired of the tribunals whether they were accustomed to 
make espontaneados abjure and then absolve them, or whether 
they suspended the cases, to which Valencia replied that the cus- 
tom was to suspend, without abjuration or absolution, unless there 
was complication of mala doctrinal When self-denunciation thus 
secured immunity it naturally was frequent. In a list of a hun- 
dred and eight cases in Madrid, between 1670 and 1772, thirty- 
two, or thirty per cent., are espontaneados." 

In fact, during the later period, the whole matter seems to have 
excited but a languid interest, and to have been treated commonly 
with indifference. We meet with instances in which accusations 
are pigeon-holed without even making the prescribed inquiries 
of other tribunals, or cases are suspended without examining the 
accuser.^ So relaxed was discipline that when, in 1806, the 
Franciscan Fray Francisco de Paula Lozano had been deprived 
by C6rdova of the faculty of confessing, and not only disregarded 
the inhibition but complicated his offence by opening a letter 
from the tribunal of Granada to the cura of Salar, he was tried by 
Granada and merely reprimanded with a warning of what would 
happen to him if he persisted in his evil courses." 

It would be interesting sociologically if complete statistics could 
be compiled, from the time when jurisdiction was conferred on 
the Inquisition, but this is impossible, for there are only a few 

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, lieg. 365, n. 45, fol. 4-12. 

^ MSS. of Royal Library of Copenhagen, 218b, p. 387. 

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 4, n. 2, fol. 79. 

* Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 1006. 

= Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 227, n. 10; Leg. 228, n. 28. 

° Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 890. 


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

Llorente explains the discrepancy between the accusations and 
the convictions by misconstruction put on the interrogations of 
confessors, leading simple-hearted nuns to imagine themselves 
solicited.^ This implies eagerness on the part of women to bring 
such accusations when, as we have seen, the main difficulty was 
to induce them to denounce, by threats of excommunication and 
refusal of absolution; in the majority of cases it was done only 
by order of a subsequent confessor, and this frequently five, ten, 
or more years after the occurrence. The fact is that only a small 
portion of offenders were denounced, and of these but a fraction 
were brought to trial. So far moreover from the evidence being 
only the excited imaginations of young girls, it rarely happened 
that a case reached trial without resulting in conviction — the pre- 
liminaries were too carefully guarded, and the dread of scandal 

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Visitas de Barcelona, Leg. 15, fol. 5. 
' Llorente, Hist, crft., cap. xxviii, art. 1, n. 17. 


too vivid, to permit the arrest of a priest against whom the evidence 
was not conclusive. 

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

When we turn to the number of accusations we find them unex- 
pectedly large. The registers of solicitations, kept during the final 
century of the Inquisition, afford trustworthy statistics showing 
that, from 1723 to the final suppression in 1820, the total number 
of cases entered amounts to thirty-seven hundred and seventy- 
five. Of these, it is worthy of note that the secular clergy only 
furnished nine hundred and eighty-one, leaving for the regulars 
twenty-seven hundred and ninety-four, or nearly three-quarters. 
Partly this is explicable by the greater popularity of the regulars 
as confessors but, to a greater extent, by the opportunities of the 
beneficed priests, who were usually well off, to gratify their passions 
without incurring the dangers of polluting the confessional.^ One 

' MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 20, T. I. 

' The Dominican Maestro Alvarado, in his heated defence of the Inquisition, 
in 1811, calls attention to the fact that, in its later period, its penitents were 
largely ecclesiastics, because firstly their theology exposed them to uttering 
compromising propositions; secondly, "porque solos los cMrigos y frailes son los 
que confiesan y todos saben muy bien lo peligroso de este materia y los muchos 
que en 61 han naufragado." — Cartas del Filosofo Rancio, I, 316 (Madrid, 1824). 

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 1. 

* These statistics are compiled from various registers, covering respectively 
portions of the period. There are some minor breaks, which would increase 
the aggregate somewhat, but not materially, See Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. 



[Book VIII 

noteworthy fact is the large proportion of those occupying promi- 
nent positions as Provincials, Guardians, Ministers, Priors, Comen- 
dadores, Visitadores, Superiors, Rectors, Lectors, and the hke, 
whose titles appear in the registers with a frequency greater than 
their mere numbers would seem to justify. 

In 1797, Tavira, then Bishop of Osma and subsequently of 
Salamanca, assumed that the crime of solicitation had greatly 
increased and was increasing, which he attributed partly to the 
influence of lUuminism and Molinism, but still more to its cogni- 
zance having been taken from the bishops and the requirement by 
the Inquisition of two denunciations before prosecution.' That 
the latter provision conferred practical immunity on many culprits 
is self-evident, but this was probably less effective than would 
have been the habitual indifference and leniency of the spiritual 
courts, their dread of scandal and the inevitable disgrace which 
deterred women from appearing in their public proceedings. 
There is practically no reason for supposing that the crime was 

de Toledo, Leg. 233, n. 108; Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 66. — Archivo de Simancas, 
Libros 1002, 1003, 1004. 

There is perhaps some interest in recording the respective responsibilities of 
the various classes and orders of the clergy for these delinquents, as follows: 

Secular priests, canons etc 
Franciscans, Conventual 
Barefooted . 

Observantines . 

Capuchins . 

Recollects .... 
Carmelites .... 
Dominicans .... 
Augustinians . 
Trinitarians .... 
Mercenarians . 
Jesuits .... 

Benedictines .... 
Geronimites . 
San Pedro de Alcantara . 
Cl^rigos Menores . 
Congr. of San Filippo Neri 
Bernardines (Cistercians) 




















Escuelas Pias . 
BasiUans . 
S. Francisco de Asis 
N. Senora de la Vitoria 
Order of Santiago 
Order of Calatrava 
Theatins . 
Servites . . 
Agonizantes . 
Hermits of St. Paul 
San Juan . 
Ex-Jesuits . 
St. Ursula 
San Diego . 
Not specified . 


The comparatively small number of Jesuits, who devoted themselves so greatly 
to the confessional, is partly explicable by the expulsion of the Society in 1767. 
' Puigblanch, La Inquisicion sin Mascara, pp. 422-5 (Cidiz, 1811). 


either more or less prevalent, at the close of the eighteenth century, 
than it had been ever since, in the thirteenth, auricular confession 
was made obligatory, or than it has been since the nineteenth 
century opened. The strain of the confessional is too great for 
average human nature, and the most that the Church can do, in 
its most recent regulations, is to keep these lapses of the flesh 
from the knowledge of the faithful.^ 

' Instruct. S. Inquis. Roman. 20 Feb. 1867 (Collect. Concil. Lacens. Ill, 353).- 
Berardi, oj). cit. 



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

' A priest, who could speak from experience, concisely described, in 1820, the 
conditions produced by the system " En donde la doctrina infernal de la delacion 
tenia en una habitual constemacion & las familias y d, los individuos que se corre- 
spondian con la mutua desconfianza que inspiraba el continuo recelo de encon- 
trar en amigo, en el padre, en el hijo, en la esposa, un verdugo que armado con 
el punal del fanatismo reUgioso contribuyese i, los asesinatos naturales que 
solo Dios conosce y a los civiles que no son tan desconocidos." — P. Antonio 
Bemabeu, Espana venturosa, p. xvi (Madrid, 1820). 


the general term of Propositions, was by no means the least note- 
worthy subject of inquisitorial activity/ 

How soon began the espionage, which eventually brought every 
man under its baneful influence, is seen in the case of Juan de 
Zamora, condemned in the Saragossa auto of February 10, 1488, 
to perpetual prison, because at Medina, in chatting with some 
casual aquaintances, he was said to have spoken disrespectfully 
of the Eucharist and to have denied the real presence, while, in 
the auto of May 10, 1489, Juan de Enbun, a notary, was penanced 
for saying that he cared more for ten florins than for God.^ Even 
more significant of the danger overhanging every man was the 
case of Diego de Uceda, before the Toledo tribunal, in 1494, on 
the very serious charges of having said that the Eucharist was 
only bread, that so villanous a crew as the Jews could not have 
put Christ to death, and that he ate meat on fast-days. He 
explained that, some six or eight years before, at Fuensalida, a 
priest in celebrating found the wafer broken and angrily cast it 
on the floor, ordering the sacristan to bring him another; the people 
were scandalized and Diego sought to quiet them by explaining 
that the wafer before consecration was only bread. The next 

' Theologians had a storehouse of epithets with which to characterize the various 
classes of propositions. A few of the more usual, with their significance, are 
given by Alberghini (Man. Quahficator. cap. xii, n. 1-18) as follows: — 

Heretical — one which is contrary to CathoHo truth. 

Erroneous — that which does not directly contradict the faith, but some con- 
clusion evidently deducible from the faith. 

Savoring of heresy — not contradicting the faith by evident consequence, but 
by very probable and morally certain consequence. 

Ill-sounding — that which has a double sense, one Catholic and the other 
heretic, but usually accepted in the latter. 

Bash — that which is not governed by reason and lacks all authority. 

Scandalous or offensive to pious ears — that which gives occasion to another 
to err, such as " heretics are to be tolerated and not to be slain." 

Schismatic or seditimts — tending to disrupt the unity of the Church. 

Impious — contrary to CathoUc piety. 

Insulting — defamatory of some Christian profession or illustrious person. 

Blasphemous — insulting to God. 

Simancas (Enchirid., Tit. xxiv) gives a similar list. Dandino (De Suspectis 
de Hseresi, pp. 477-512) a more elaborate exposition. There was no limit, 
however, to the vituperative vocabulary of the Church. A choice collection 
of additional ones will be found in the bull Auctorem fidei of Pius VI (1794), 
condemning the Jansenist Council of Pistoja. 

2 MS. Memoria de diversos Autos, Auto 27, n. 10; Auto 37, n. 5 (See Appendix 
to Vol. I). 


charge arose from a remark in a discussion on an exuberant 
sermon on the Passion. As for the third, he proved that he was 
a devout CathoUc, punctual in all observance, with a special 
devotion to St. Gregory, to whose intercession he attributed his 
relief from a chronic trouble of stomach and liver, that had forced 
him at one time to eat meat on fast-days. He lay in the secret 
prison for six months, with sequestration of property, and was 
finally sentenced to compurgation, which he performed with the 
Count of Fuensalida and two priests as his compurgators, but had 
he not been a man of standing and influence he might have been 
burnt as an impenitent heretic.^ There was no prescription of 
time for heresy, and trivial matters occurring years before might 
thus at any moment be brought up, when they had faded from 
the memory of all but those who had a grudge to satisfy. 

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

There was scarce anything, however innocently spoken, that 
might not be tortured into a censurable sense and as, in so wide 
and vague a region, no formal rules could be enunciated to re- 
strain inquisitorial zeal, it afforded ample opportunity for oppres- 
sion and cruelty, especially before the tribunals were thoroughly 
subordinated to the Suprema. The occasional visitations by an 

' Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 112, n. 73. 

^ B. Manuel Serrano y Sanz (Revista de Archivos, Abril, 1902, pp. 260-80). 
This Alvaro de Montalvan was father-in-law of Francisco de Rojas, author of 
La Celestina, who was also a Converso. 


inspector might reveal abuses but could not prevent them. That 
of de Soto Salazar at Barcelona affords ample evidence of the 
recklessness with which inquisitors exercised their power. In 
1564 we hear of a physician, Maestre Pla, prosecuted for saying 
that his wife was so exhausted that she looked like a crucifix 
dead with hunger. Juan Garaver, a swineherd, was forced to 
appear in an auto with a mitre, followed by scourging, for saying 
that if he had money and enough to eat, the devil might take his 
soul — which the Suprema decided to belong to episcopal and not 
to inquisitorial cognizance. It rebuked the tribunal sharply for 
relaxing Guillen Berberia Guacho for a single proposition, without 
calling in learned men to persuade and advise him, especially 
as one of the witnesses stated that he uttered the words in French. 
Clemensa Paresa was fined ten ducats and penanced for saying 
"You see me well enough off in this world and you will not see 
me punished in the other," and Juana Seralvis, for the same 
utterance was condemned to public penance. Badia, priest of 
Falset, was fined twenty ducats, with spiritual penances, for saying 
that he would not forgive God. Juan Canalvero was fined six 
ducats and penanced for saying that he would cheat his father 
or God in buying or selling. There were many other similar 
cases, in some of which the Suprema ordered the fines to be 
returned and the names to be stricken from the registers.^ 

The very triviality of these cases illustrates the atmosphere of 
suspense and distrust in which the Spanish population existed, 
nor can their full import be realized unless we remember that, 
slight as the penalties may seem, they were the least part of the 
punishment, for penancing by the Inquisition was fatal to Um- 
pieza. How readily a man's career could thus be ruined by 
rivals or enemies is seen in the case of the Dominican Alonso de 
los Raelos in the Canaries. In 1568 some assertions of his respect- 
ing purgatory attracted attention, but led to no formal trial, 
because he did not deny its existence, and theologians are not 
agreed as to its exact locality and character. Some years later, 
there were feuds in the Order, due to an attempt to erect the 
Canaries into a separate province, when the prior. Bias de Merino, 

' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Visitas de Barcelona, Leg. 15, fol. 9, 20. 

The utterance of Clemenza Paresa seems to have been a popular saying. In 
1572 Rodriguez Rdiz was penanced for it in the Canaries. — Ibidem, Canarias, 
Exptes de Visitas, Leg. 250, Lib. 3, fol. 8. 


who hoped to become provincial, and who regarded Fray Alonso 
as a possible rival, accused him to the tribunal for this proposition. 
He was thrown into prison and, in 1572, was sentenced to penance 
and reclusion, thus rendering him ineligible.' 

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

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

1 Archive de Simancas, Inq., Canar:as, Exptes de Visitas, Lib. 3, fol. 16-17. 
' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 30. 


doubtful words are to be interpreted according to circumstances, 
but a more zealous or less conscientious inquisitor could readily 
have convicted him. For ordinary cases, he tells us, the accused 
should rarely be confined in the secret prison; the abjuration may 
be de levi or de vehementi according to circumstances, and the 
extraordinary punishment should be scourging or fines/ 

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

In this enumeration of penalties there is no allusion to fines, 
which, however, were by no means neglected. In 1579, for in- 
stance, the Bachiller Montesinos, in defending an adultress, put in 
an argument of cynical ingenuity to prove that she had committed 
no sin. This was transmitted to the Toledo tribunal, whose cali- 
ficadores found in it four heretical propositions besides a citation 
from St. Paul amounting to heretical blasphemy. Montesinos 
threw himself on the mercy of the tribunal, wept and wrung his 
hands, protested that he must have been out of his senses, owing 
to old age, and offered every excuse that he could suggest. He 
escaped with abjuration de levi, six months' suspension from his 
functions as an advocate, and a fine of eight thousand maravedis. 
Many similar cases could be cited from the Toledo record, but 
two more will suffice. In 1582, the Bachiller Pablo Hernandez 
denounced himself for having, in the heat of discussion, been led on 

' Rojas de Haeret. P. i, n. 2, 67, 96; P. ii, n. 310-13. 

' Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 299, fol. 80. 


to say that in canonizations the pope had to rely upon witnesses 
who might be false and therefore it was not necessary to believe 
that all so canonized were saints. He was sentenced to abjure 
de levi, to pay six thousand maravedis, and to have his sentence 
read in his parish church while he heard mass. From this he 
appealed to the Suprema, which remitted the humiliation in church, 
but thriftily increased the fine to twenty thousand maravedis. In 
1604 the tribunal had a richer prize, in an old German named 
Giraldo Paris, a resident of Madrid who seems to have been a 
dabbler in alchemy. He was accused of saying that the Old 
Testament was a fable, that St. Job was an alchemist, the Christian 
faith was a matter of opinion and much more of the same kind. 
The evidence must have been flimsy for, serious as were these 
charges, there was discordia on the question of arresting him, and 
it required an order from the Suprema before he was confined in 
the secret prison. He gradually confessed the truth of the charges, 
but was not sentenced to reconciliation, escaping with absolution 
de vehementi, a year's reclusion in a monastery, the surrender of 
all books and papers dealing with alchemy and quintessences, and 
a fine of three thousand ducats. The general impression produced 
by a group of these cases is that scourging was reserved for those 
too poor to pay a moderate fine, and that fines were scaled rather 
upon the ability of the culprit than on the degree of his guilt.' 
In determining penalties, however, it was advised that considerable 
weight in extenuation should be allowed for drunkenness, and for 
the readiness and frankness of the culprit in confessing, as well 
as for his ignorance or simplicity.^ 

There were two special propositions, which were so widely held 
and came so repeatedly before the tribunals that they almost form 
a special class. One of these was the assertion that the married 
state is as good as or better than that of celibacy as prescribed for 
clerics and religious. That this was plainly heretical could not be 
doubted after the anathema of the Council of Trent in 1563, and 
its prevalence is a noteworthy fact.^ In the Toledo record, from 

' MSS. of the Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 20, T. I. 

2 Elucidationes S. Officii, § 36 (Archivo de Alcald, Hacienda, Leg. 544', Uh. 4). 

' C. Trident Sess. xxiv, De Statu Matrimonii, can. 10. — " Si quis dixerit statum 
conjugalem anteponendum esse statui virginitatis vel coelibatus et non esse 
melius ac beatius manere in virginitate aut ccelibatu quam jungi matrimonio: 
anathema sit." 


1575 to 1610, there are thirty cases of this: in strictness, as the 
assertion of a doctrine contrary to the teachings of the Church, 
and condemned as heretical, it should have been visited with 
reconciliation, or at least with abjuration de vehementi and heavy 
penalties, but, as the heresy was one of Tridentine definition and 
a novelty, it was mercifully treated with abjuration de levi and 
usually with a moderate fine or vergiienza, or even with less. 
Extreme leniency was shown to Sebastian Vallejo, in 1581, who 
had declared that if he had a hundred daughters he would not 
make nuns of them, in view of the licentiousness of the frailes, for 
those in the convents were as lecherous as those outside ; no parent 
should put his children in religion until they were of full age and, 
as to marriage, he advanced the customary argument that it was 
established by God, while monachism was the work of the saints. 
He came to denounce himself and pleaded drunkenness in extenua- 
tion, which probably explains his escape with a reprimand. Soon 
after this Maria de Orduiia was treated with equal mercy, on 
denouncing herself for the same offence, the reason alleged being 
that she was a very simple-minded woman.^ As the offence was 
thus Hghtly regarded, it follows that torture was not permitted 
in the prosecution.^ The error was difficult of eradication. In 
1623 a writer calls attention to the number of cases still coming 
before the tribunals, and suggests for its repression that the sen- 
tences be read in the churches of the offenders, so that a knowl- 
edge of the erroneous character of the assertion should be dissemi- 
nated.' Some twenty years later it still was sufficiently frequent 
to be treated as a separate class, though we are told that it was 
visited with less severity than of old, as it presumably arose from 
ignorance and was not to be considered as a heresy.' This is 
remarkable in view of the ease with which it might have been 
regarded as Lutheran. 

A still more frequent proposition, which gave much trouble to 
eradicate, was that fornication between unmarried folk is not a 
mortal sin. Although the theologians held that this assertion in 
itself was a mortal sin,^ there was really in it nothing that savored 
of heresy, and its cognizance by the Inquisition was an arbitrary 

' MSS. of liibrary of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 20, T. I. 

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 299, fol. 80. 

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 926, fol. 25. 

* Bibl. nacional, MSS., V, 377, cap. 2. 

* S. Antonini Confessionale. 

VOL. IV 10 


extension of jurisdiction without justification. Perhaps there was 
some confused conception that it was derived from the Moors 
whose sexual laxity was well known, but the usual argument offered 
in its defence, by those who entertained it, was the toleration by 
the State of public women and of brothels, whence the inference 
was natural that it could not be a mortal sin. 

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

' Archive de Simancas, Hacienda, Leg. 25, fol. 3. 
' Ibidem, Inq., Sala 40, Lib. 4, fol. 264. 
' Schafer, Beitrage, II, 324. 


have a total of thirty-three cases, or nearly one-half of all in the 
auto, for errors concerning the relations of the sexes.' 

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

All this was wholesome, and yet it is difficult to understand 
this ardent zeal for the morals of the laity, when compared with 
the slackness as to solicitation. Be this as it may, the activity of 
the tribunals under this stimulus was rewarded with an abundant 
harvest of culprits. We chance to hear of eight cases in the auto 
of 1579 at Llerena and of five at Cuenca in 1585.' A more effec- 
tive showing is that of the Toledo record from 1575 to 1610, in 
which the number of cases is two hundred and sixty-four— by far 
the largest aggregate of any one offence, the Judaizers only amount- 
ing to a hundred and seventy-four and the Moriscos to a hundred 
and ninety.' These statistics comprehend only the tribunals of 
the crown of Castile; those at hand for the kingdoms of Aragon 
are scanty but, from such as are accessible, it would appear prob- 
able either that there was less energy or a much smaller number 
of culprits. The only cases that I have happened to meet are two 
in a Saragossa auto of June 6, 1585, while, in a Valencia list for 
the five years 1598-1602, comprising in all three hundred and 

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 787. 

' Ibidem, Lib. 82, fol. 228; Lib. 939, fol. 108; Lib. 942, fol. 38.— MSS. of Royal 
Library of Copenhagen, 218b, p. 168. 

' Bibl. nacionaJ, MSS., S, 121, fol. 54. — Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 1157, 
fol. 155. 

* MSS. of Library of Univ. of HaUe, Yc, 20, T. I. 


ninety-two cases, there are but four of this offence and not a single 
one in the reports for the three years 1604-6.^ 

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

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

' Bibl. nacional, MSS., PV, 3, n. 20. — Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, 
Leg. 99; Leg. 2, n. 10. 

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 939, fol. 342; Leg. 552, fol. 1.— MSS. of Royal 
Library of Copenhagen, 21Sb, p. 260. 

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 926, fol. 25; Lib. 1002. — Archivo hist, nacional, 
Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 1. — MS. penes me. 


sixteenth century was blasted by the steady repression of all 
originality and progress, and Spain, from the foremost of the 
nations, became the last. 

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

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

' Hurter, Nomenclator Theologis Catholicse, I, 158. — Nic. Antonii Bibl nova, 
s.v. Lvdovicus de Leon. — Greg. Mayans y Siscar, Vida del M. Luis de Leon, u. 
37.— Ticknor, History of Spanish Literature, II, 87, 89 (Ed 1864). 

There is considerable literature on the subject of Fray Luis's troubles with 
the Inquisition. The records of his first trial, omitting superfluities, occupy 
925 pages in Vols. X and XI of the Coleccion de Documenios ineditos. His second 
trial has more recently seen the light, with an introduction by Padre Francisco 
Blanco Garcia, Madrid, 1896. Fray Luis de Leon. Fine Biographie aus der 
Geschichte der spanischen Inquisition u. Kirche (Halle, 1866) by Dr. C. A. Wilkens 
is an eloquent and sympathetic account of his career, while Dr. Fr. Heinrich 
Reusch's Luis de Leon u. der spanische Inquisition (Bonn, 1873) is a scholarly 
investigation of the case, in so far as documents accessible at the time would 
permit. The Lie. Arango y Escandon has contributed the Proceso del P. M. Luis 
de Leon (Mexico, 1856, revised and enlarged in 1866), in which he justifies both 
the Inquisition and the sufferer. The latest contribution to the subject, based 
on additional documents, is by the Dominican Fray Luis G. Alonso Getino, in 
the Revista de Archives (1903-4) in justification of the Inquisition. Padre 
Blanco has also written an Estudio biogrdfico-critico de Fr. Luis de Leon, which 
I have not had an opportunity of consulting. The old rivalry between Domini- 
cans and Augustinians seems to be still alive. 


whom he sought to disable as witnesses in the course of his trial. 
Even in his own Order he had enemies, owing to his active and 
influential participation in its internal politics. 

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

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

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

' Azpilcueta Comment. Cap. Si quis auiem, n. ii-AI. — Coleccion de Docu- 
mentos, X, 193; XI, 276. 

Chap. VII] LUIS DE LEON 151 

He had based great hopes on a Commentary on Isaiah, the publi- 
cation of which was delayed by the Suprema requiring him to 
submit it to examination; he had to spend some months at the 
court before he could obtain permission for its sale, and then it 
proved a failure, entailing on him a loss of a thousand ducats — 
all of which he attributed to Fray Luis, who happened at the time 
to be in Madrid. Bartolom6 de Medina was a younger man, 
ambitiously working his way upward, and meeting several rebuffs 
from Fray Luis, which accentuated the traditional hostility between 
the Dominicans and Augustinians, to which they respectively 
belonged. They were habitually opposed in the disputations, but 
it seems somewhat eccentric to find Medina accusing Luis and his 
friends Grajal and Martinez of introducing novelties and innova- 
tions, seeing that his own reputation is chiefly based on his inven- 
tion of the greatest novelty of the period — the Probabilism which 
revolutionized the ethical teaching of the Church and gave rise to 
the new science of Moral Theology.^ 

It was not difficult for these enmities to find means of gratifi- 
cation. Robert Stephen's edition of the Latin Bible, with the 
notes of Frangois Vatable, had involved that printer in endless 
disputes with the Sorbonne, which accused him of having hereti- 
cated the comments of the thoroughly orthodox editor. In 1555, 
the University of Salamanca undertook its correction, but the 
result did not satisfy the sensitiveness of Spanish theology, and 
the edition was forbidden in the Index of 1559. Yet the work 
was wanted in Spain and, at command of the Suprema, in 1569, 
the university undertook the task anew. Numerous congregations 
were held, in which every point was hotly disputed. Medina, 
who had not yet attained his master's degree, took no part in the 
meetings, but Leon de Castro and Fray Luis had many passages 
at arms. De Castro accused him of scant respect for the Vulgate 
text of the Bible, and of preferring the authority of the Hebrew 
and Greek originals. He stigmatized Luis, who was of converso 
descent, of being a Jew and a Judaizer and, on one occasion, 
declared that he ought to be burnt. In truth the question of the 
Vulgate was one of importance. The new heresies were largely 
based on the assumption of its imperfection, and sought to prove 
this by reference to the originals. Scholastic theology rested on 
the Vulgate and, in self-defence, the Council of Trent, in 1546, 

> Coleccion, X, 261; XI, 256, 259. 


had declared that it was to be received as authentic in all public 
lectures, disputations, preaching and expositions, and that no 
one should dare to reject it under any pretext.^ Yet it was notori- 
ous that, in the course of ages, the text had become corrupt; the 
Tridentine fathers included in their decree a demand for a perfected 
edition, but the labor was great and was not concluded until 
1592, when the Clementine text was issued, with thousands of 
emendations. Meanwhile to question its accuracy was to venture 
on dangerous ground and to invite the interposition of the Inquisi- 
tion. As one of the calificadores, during Fray Luis's trial, asserted 
"Catholic doctors affirm that now the Hebrew and Greek are 
to be emended by the Vulgate, as the purer and more truthful 
text. To emend the Vulgate by the Hebrew and Greek is exactly 
what the heretics seek to do. It is to destroy the means of confu- 
ting them and to give them the opportunity of free interpretation."^ 
Fray Luis not only did this in debate but, in a lecture on the 
subject four years before, he had maintained the accuracy of the 
Hebrew text, contending that St. Jerome the translator was not 
inspired, nor were the words dictated by the Holy Ghost, and 
moreover that the Tridentine decree in no way affirmed such 
verbal inspiration.' 

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

In December 1571, de Castro and Medina presented formal 
denunciations of Fray Luis, Grajal and Martinez, to the Salamanca 
commissioner of the Valladolid tribunal, charging them with 
denying the authority of the Vulgate and preferring the interpre- 
tations of the rabbis to those of the fathers, while the circulation 
of Canticles in the vernacular was not forgotten. Other accusers. 

' C. Trident. Sess. iv, De Edit, et Usu SS. Libb. 

' Coleccion, X, 115, 129. » Ibidem, X, 102, sqq. 

Chap. VII] LUIS DE LEON 153 

including students, joined in the attack, making thirteen in all, 
with a formidable body of denunciations. Grajal was soon after- 
wards arrested and Fray Luis, warned of the impending danger, 
presented himself, March 6, 1572, to Diego Gonzdlez, the former 
inquisitor of Carranza, then on a visitation at Salamanca, with 
a copy of his lecture on the Vulgate and the propositions drawn 
from it, and also his work on Canticles. He asked to have them 
examined and professed entire submission to the Church, with 
readiness to withdraw or revoke anything that might be found in 
the slightest degree objectionable.' 

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

It was a special favor that he was at once provided with counsel 

' Coleccion, X, 96-110. ' Ibidem, X, 179. ^ Ibidem, X, 206-8. 


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

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

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

' Coleccion, X, 249; XI, 255-84. 

^ There is no record of this in the process, but Fray Luis refers to it repeatedly 
both to the tribunal and to the Suprema, and there is no disclaimer. — Coleccion, 
XI, 48, 190, 196. 

Chap. VII] LUIS DE LEON 155 

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

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

When Fray Luis was informed that five new heretical proposi- 
tions had sprouted from the hydra-heads of the old ones, he was 
dismayed. Sick and exhausted, the prospects of ultimate release 
from his interminable trial seemed to grow more and more remote. 
Arguments and discussions continued and were protracted. New 
calificadores were called in, who debated and opined and pre- 
sented written conclusions on all three series of propositions. It 

• Coleccion, X, 562-7j XI, 7-18, 21-128. * Ibidem, XI, 154-86. 


would be useless to follow in detail these scholastic exercises, of 
which the chief interest is to show how, in these infinitesimal 
points, one set of theologians could differ from another and how 
completely the enmity of the two chief witnesses, Leon de Castro 
and Bartolome de Medina, was ignored. Thus wore away the 
rest of the year 1575 and the first half of 1576. There was no 
reason why the case might not be continued indefinitely on the 
same lines, but the inquisitors seem to have felt at last that an end 
must be reached, and a consulta de fe was finally held, in which 
Dr. Frechilla, one of the calificadores who had condemned the 
propositions, represented the episcopal Ordinary.^ 

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

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

' Coleccion, XI, 187-253. ' Ibidem, XI, 351-3. 


paratively mild as this sentence might seem, it gratified to the full 
the vindictiveness of his enemies— it humiliated him utterly and 
destroyed his career. 

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

During this prolonged imprisonment, Fray Luis seems to have 
been treated with unusual consideration. He was allowed to send 
for all the books needed for his defence and for study — even for 
recreation, for we find him, July 6, 1575, asking for the prose works 
of Bembo, for a Pindar in Greek and Latin and for a copy of Soph- 
ocles.^ He relieved the distractions of his defence and the anxie- 
ties of his position by the composition of his^De los Nonibres de 
Christo, which has remained a classic. Yet these were but slender 
alleviations of the hardships and despairing tedium of his prison 
cell. On March 12, 1575, he is begging for the sacraments ; though 
he is no heretic, he says, he has been deprived of them for three 

' Coleccion, XI, 353-8. — Fray Luis attributed this unexpected mercy to the 
influence of Inquisitor-general Quiroga, to whom, in 1580, he dedicated his 
Exposition of the XXVI Psalm, with warm expressions of gratitude. — Garcia, 
Segundo Proceso, p. 17. 

2 Coleccion, XI, 147. 


years. This petition was forwarded to the Suprema, which rephed 
by drily telling the tribunal to complete the cases of Fray Luis, 
Grajal and Martinez as soon as opportunity would permit/ At 
an audience of August 20th, of the same year, when remanded 
to his cell, he paused to represent that, as the inquisitors well 
knew, he was very sick with fever; there was no one in his cell to 
take care of him, save a fellow-prisoner, a young boy who was 
simple; one day he fainted through hunger, as there was no one 
to give him food, and he asked whether a fraile of his Order could 
be admitted to assist him and to aid him to die, unless they wished 
him to die alone in his cell. This was not refused but, as the con- 
dition was imposed that the companion should as usual share his 
imprisonment to the end, the request was in vain. Then, on 
September 12th, in his reply to the five propositions suddenly 
sprung upon him, he feelingly referred to the years of prison and 
the sufferings caused by the absence of comforts in his weakness 
and sickness, as a torture long and cruel enough to purge all sus- 
picions.^ Even more pitiful was a petition to the Suprema in 
November of the same year — "I supplicate your most illustrious 
body, by Jesus Christ, on my giving ample security, to order me 
to be placed in one of the convents of this city, even in that of 
San Pablo (Dominican), in any way that it may please you, until 
sentence is rendered, so that if, during this time, God should call 
me, which I greatly fear, in view of my much trouble and feeble 
health, I may die as a Christian among religious persons, aided by 
their prayers and receiving the sacraments, and not as an infidel, 
alone in prison with a Moor at my bed-side. And since the rancor 
of my enemies and my own sins have deprived me of all that is 
desirable in life, may the Christian piety of your most illustrious 
body give me this consolation in death, for I ask nothing more.'" 
It is perhaps needless to say that this touching appeal did not even 
receive an answer. 

After the term of'his professorship had expired, about March 1, 
1573, his special enemy, Bartolom6 de Medina, was elected in his 
place and was promoted, in August 1576, to the leading chair in 
theology, while Fray Garcia del Castillo succeeded to that of 
Durandus. On Fray Luis's return, he was warmly and honorably 
received in an assembly of the Senate, convoked for the purpose, 
where the Commissioner of the Inquisition declared that the Holy 

' Coleccion, XI, 50, 52. ' Ibidem, XI, 188, 193-4. ' Ibidem, XI, 196-8. 

Chap. VII] LUIS DE LEON 159 

Office had ordered his restoration to honor and to his professorship. 
Luis however refused to disturb Castillo and, in January 1577, an 
extraordinary chair on the Scriptures was created for him. The 
next^ year, on the chair of moral philosophy falling vacant, he 
obtained it and subsequently he became regular professor of 
Scripture— one of the highest positions in the University. His 
colleague Grajal had been less fortunate, having perished in prison 
before the termination of his trial .^ 

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

' Reusch, 113-14. — Arango y Escandon, p. 91. — Padre Alonso Getino (Re- 
vista de Archivos, Agosto-Sept., 1903) promises to give us an account of the 
trial of Martfnez who was obliged to abjure de levi (Mentedez y Pelayo, II, 693). 

Leon de Castro varied his persecution of Luis de Leon, Grajal and Martinez, 
by attacking the great Biblia Regia, which Arias Montano, the most learned 
Spaniard of the age, edited at the instance and with the support of Philip II. 
After its appearance with the approbation of the Holy See, de Castro, in 1575, 
in his zeal for the Vulgate, filled Spain, Flanders and Italy with denunciations 
of it and its editor. Montano, who was in Flanders, hastened to Spain by way 
of Italy to defend himself, but, finding much agitation on the subject in Rome, 
tarried there and wrote to Quiroga to protect him — an appeal which he repeated 
in 1579. He was not prosecuted, but the Inquisition fell foul of his biblical 
commentaries and placed on the Index a long list of expurgations, besides con- 
demning some of his propositions — fortunately for him long after his death. — 
Coleccion de Documentos, XLI, 316, 321, 328, 387,— Index of Zapata, 1632, 
pp. 86-89. 


excitement increased. Then on January 27th there was another 
assembly which wrangled over the intricate questions involved in 
prevenient aid and human cooperation/ 

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

Fray Luis's experience of the Inquisition naturally led him to 
seek exculpation. Three times he appeared voluntarily before 
Arrese and made verbal and written statements, in which he ren- 
dered an account of his share in the debates. He admitted that 
he had defended a position opposite to what he had previously 
taught, which was not without a certain temerity, as differing from 
the ordinary language of the schools, and not proper for public 
debate, as it was delicate, difficult of comprehension and liable to 
lead the hearers into error. He protested that he had not intended 
to offend Catholic doctrine and, if he had said anything incon- 

' Garcfa, Segundo Proceso, pp. 20-23, 29-30. 
' Ibidem, pp. 20-1, 26-7, 44. 

Chap. VII] LUIS DE LEON 161 

siderately, he submitted it to the censure and correction of the 
holy tribunal. He also laid much stress on the notorious hatred 
of the Dominicans towards him, and the manner in which they 
lost no opportunity of decrying his doctrine, his person and his 

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

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

' Garcia, pp. 28-35. ' Ibidem, pp. 52-4. ' Ibidem, p. 53. 

VOL. IV 11 


way lost the respect of his fellows is seen in his election to the 
Provincialate of the Augustinian Order, in 1591, shortly before 
his death. 

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

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


convenient word which bridged over the line between the profane 
and the sacred/ 

His habitual intemperance of speech was stimulated by a custom 
in the Salamanca lecture-rooms of students handing up questions 
for the lecturer to answer, and it would appear that malicious 
pleasure was felt in thus provoking him to exhibit his well-known 
idiosyncrasies. It was an occasion of this kind that prompted 
the first denunciation, January 7, 1584, by Juan Fernandez, a 
priest attending the lectures. Others followed, and the character 
of his utterances appears in the propositions submitted to the 
calificadores : — That Christ was not circumcised by St. Simeon 
but by his mother the Virgin. — That there ought to be no images 
and, but for apparent imitation of the heretics, they would have 
been abolished. — That those were fools who, at the procession 
of Corpus Christi, knelt in the streets to adore the images, for only 
Christ and his cross were to be adored. — Only saints in heaven were 
to be adored and not images, which were but wood and plaster. — 
Christ was not born in a stable, but in a house where the Virgin 
was staying. — That the eleven thousand virgins were only eleven. — 
Doubts whether the Three Kings were kings, as Scripture speaks 
only of Magi. — That the Magian kings did not come at Christ's 
birth, but two years after, and found him playing with a ball. — 
That theologians know nothing. — That many Dominicans thought 
the faith was based on St. Thomas Aquinas; this was not so and 

he did not care a for St. Thomas. — When asked why St. Lucia 

was painted without eyes, he said that she had not torn them out, 
but she was reckoned the patron saint of eyes from her name — 
Lucia a lucere. 

That these free-spoken propositions should be duly characterized 
by the calificadores as heretical, rash, erroneous, insulting and 
so forth was a matter of course and, on May 18th, the consulta de 
fe voted for imprisonment in the secret prison with sequestration, 
subject to confirmation by the Suprema. The latter delayed 
action until August 29th and then manifested unusual considera- 
tion for the eccentricities of Sdnchez, which were doubtless well 

' The existing records of the trials of Sdnchez are printed in Vol. II of the 
" Coleccion de Documentos in^ditos." 

The only one of his works which I have had an opportunity of examining is 
his "Minerva" (Salmanticse, 1587), which sufficiently Ulustrates his capacity of 
enlivening the details of etymology and syntax with his caustic assertion of 
superior knowledge. 


known. He was merely to be summoned before the tribunal, to 
be closely examined and to be severely reprimanded, with a warn- 
ing to give no further occasion for scandal, as otherwise he would 
be treated with all rigor/ 

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

This fearless frankness was preserved in the examination that 
followed on the charges not explained in his avowal. When asked 

' Coleccion, II, 1-37. ' Ibidem, II, 40-45. 


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

With any one else this narrow escape, which shows the strong 
disinclination to deal harshly with him, would have ensured lasting 
caution, and even on Sd,nchez it seems to have imposed restraint 
for some years. The impression, however, wore away and the 
irrepressible desire to manifest his contempt for theology and 
theologians, and to display the superior accuracy of his wide 
learning, gradually overcame prudence. In 1588, he printed a 
little volume entitled De erroribus nonnuUis Porphyrii et aliorum 
which, when subsequently examined by calificadores, was said 
to prove that the author was insolent, audacious and bitter, as 
were all grammarians and Erasmists ; that, if its conclusions were 
true, we might burn all the theology and philosophy taught by 
the schoolmen, from the Master of Sentences to Caietano, and by 
all the universities, from Salamanca to Bologna. Another of his 
works bore the expressive title of Paradoxes de Theulugia, which 
went to two editions and was censured as requiring expurgation. 
Theology seems to have had for him the fatal fascination of the 
candle for the moth and, with his temperament, he could not 
touch it without involving himself in trouble. He gradually 
resumed his free speech and repeated his old assertions which he 
had promised to suppress, and to these he added new ones, such as 
approving the remark of a canon of Salamanca that he who spoke 

Coleccion, II, 40-58. 


ill of Erasmus was a f raile or an ass, adding that, if there were no 
frailes in the world, none of the works of Erasmus would have 
been forbidden. From 1593 to 1595, Dr. Rosales, the commis- 
sioner at Salamanca, repeatedly forwarded to the Valladolid tri- 
bunal reports and evidence as to his relapse in these evil ways, and 
urged that he should be summoned and corrected and told not to 
meddle with theology but to confine himself to his grammar, for 
he knew nothing else.^ 

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

Probably some restraint exercised by the Suprema explains 
why, after these preparations, four years were allowed to pass 
without action. If so, this restraint was suddenly removed, for 
there is no evidence that any fresh imprudences on the part of 
Sanchez stimulated the tribunal when, September 25, 1600, it took 
a vote that, in view of the previous warning and continued repe- 
tition of the same propositions and additional ones, and especially 
of the De Erroribus Porphyrii and other books suspect in doctrine, 
he should be summoned to the tribunal and a house be assigned 
to him as a prison, while all his books and papers should be seized. 
The Suprema confirmed this; on October 20th the summons was 
issued and, on November 20th, the books and papers were for- 
warded. On November 10th SAnchez appeared before the tribunal 
and, with kindly consideration, the house of his son, Dr. Lorenzo 
Sanchez, a physician residing in Valladolid, was assigned as his 
prison. Three audiences were held, on November 13th, 16th, and 
22d, in which he said that, if he had uttered or done anything 
contrary to the faith, he was ready to confess it and reduce himself 
to the unity of the Church. As the charges were not as yet made 

» Coleccion, II, 57-88. 2 Ibidem, II, 89-109. 


known to him, he tried to explain various matters which were not 
contained in them, such as denying free-will, as holding the opinion 
that Magdalen was not the sister of Lazarus, and that Judas did 
not hang himself/ 

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

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

' Coleccion, II, 109-26. ^ Ibidem, II, 127-8. ' Ibidem, II 130-5. 


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

Another contemporaneous case is worthy of mention if only 
because the Geronimite Joseph de Sigiienza has customarily been 
included among the victims of the Inquisition, in place of which 
he sought its jurisdiction in order to protect himself against the 
machinations of his brethren. At an early age he had entered 
the Order, where his talents and varied learning gained him rapid 
advancement. When the Escorial was completed, Philip II sent 
for him to preach the first sermon in the church of San Lorenzo; 
since then he had preached oftener than any one else and many of 
the gentlemen and ladies of the court had selected him as their con- 
fessor. Philip placed him in charge of the royal archives and of 
the sagrarios and reliquaries of the two libraries, which brought 
him into frequent communication with the king, and he had utilized 
this to cause appointments and dismissals, and to institute reforms 
in the college of Pdrraces. This caused jealousy and enmity, and 
Diego de Yepes, the prior of his convent of San Lorenzo, endeav- 
ored to procure his removal. Then he incurred the hostility of 
the prior of the college, Crist6bal de Zafra, who was a florid 
preacher. In a sermon before the king on the previous Nativity 

Coleccion, II, 136-65. 


of the Virgin (September 8th) he had said that the Minotaur was 
Christ and the Labyrinth was the Gospel and Ariadne was Our 
Lady and the child she bore to Theseus was faith, and if any one 
desired to enter the Labyrinth he must pray to the Virgin for her 
child. Such sermons were the fashion, and Diego de Yepes 
eclipsed this, on January 1st, when he told his audience that when 
Delilah had exhausted Samson she removed him from her and 
delivered him to the Philistines, so when the Virgin had exhausted 
God she removed him and placed him in the manger, with other 
equally filthy topics. Fray Joseph sought to repress this style 
of preaching, insisting that it should be confined to expositions of 
the Evangel and moral instruction, which gained him enemies 
among those whose eccentricities and bad taste he reproved. 
Another source of enmity was that he was entrusted with the 
selection of students to attend the lectures on Hebrew of Arias 
Montano, when he came to San Lorenzo, which angered those 
who were omitted. A formidable cabal was formed for his ruin ; 
careful watch was kept on his utterances in unguarded moments 
and in the pulpit, and it was not difficult to collect propositions 
which, when exaggerated or distorted, might furnish material for 

It was safer to trust to a prejudiced court within the Order 
than to the Inquisition. A visitation of the convent and col- 
lege was ordered, with instructions to withdraw the licence of 
any preacher or confessor found to be insufl&cient. The visitors 
came on April 13, 1592 and reported on the 17th. The frailes 
were examined separately and secretly and, of twenty-two, all 
but one offered objections to opinions uttered by Fray Joseph. 
From their testimony was extracted a series of nineteen proposi- 
tions, most of them utterly trivial. He was accused of decrying 
scholastic theology, of holding that preaching should be based on 
the bare Scriptures, of exaggerated praise of Arias Montano at the 
expense of other expounders of Holy Writ, of advising a fraile to 
study Scripture in place of books of devotion and much else of 
the same nature. The frailes had learned the processes of the 
Inquisition; they submitted these propositions for qualification to 
Gutierrez Mantilla, the chief professor of theology in the college, 
who rendered three opinions, varying in tone, but the final one 
declared that some of the propositions inclined to Lutheranism 
and Wickliffitism and others to Judaism. Moreover, on May 18th 
he wrote to the king, announcing the discovery of a dangerous 


heresy in the college of San Lorenzo which, if not checked at the 
outset, might bring upon Spain the dangers developed in other 
lands. It had spread among the students, some of whom, by the 
vigilance of the prior, were already in the Inquisition of Toledo, 
and he begged Philip to urge on the prior unrelaxing efforts to 
avert the evil. 

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

The tribunal sent for the papers of the trial and assigned to him 
the convent of la Sisla as a prison, which he was not to leave with- 
out permission under the customary penalties. This confinement, 
however, was scarce more than nominal for, on May 14th, he repre- 
sented that the king and court were at San Lorenzo, and his absence 
would be a great dishonor to him, wherefore he asked to have, 
by return of his messenger, permission to go there, which was 
immediately granted. Subsequently he was allowed the unusual 
favor of consulting with his counsel at the latter's house and, on 
October 21st, he asked licence to return to San Lorenzo for a 
month, because he was suffering from fever and his physician 
stated that his life was at risk at la Sisla — a request which was 
doubtless granted. The contrast is marked between his treat- 
ment and that of Luis de Leon. 

Meanwhile the trial was in progress with all customary formaUties. 
The propositions were submitted to calificadores and, on July 30th, 
the fiscal presented the accusation, denouncing him as an apostate 
heretic and excommunicated perjurer, demanding his relaxation 
and asking that he be tortured as often as necessary. He duly 


went through the examinations on the accusation and publication 
of evidence, and presented eight witnesses, who testified to his 
distinguished reputation for learning, piety and orthodoxy, also 
that Fray Cristobal de Zafra was noted for bringing fables and 
poetry into his sermons, and that Fray Justo de Soto, who had 
accused him of saying that Jews and Turks could be saved, was 
an ignoramus, knowing little of grammar and nothing of theology. 
It was not until October 22d that was held the consulta de fe, 
which voted unanimously for acquittal; the Suprema confirmed 
the sentence, on January 25, 1593, when Fray Joseph was probably 
absent, for it was nearly a month before he appeared, on February 
19th to hear it read. At his request a copy of it was given to him 
and thus ended a case in which the Inquisition was the protector 
of innocence against fraternal malignity.' 

The extent to which Spanish intellect wasted itself in inter- 
minable controversies over the infinitely little, and the dangers to 
which all men were exposed who exercised the slightest originality, 
are illustrated in the case of Padre Alonso Romero, S. J., lector, 
of theology in the Jesuit college of Valladolid. For a proposition 
concerning the intricate question whether a man violates the law of 
fasting by eating nothing on a fast-day, his fellow-Jesuit, Fernando 
de la Bastida, with a number of students, denounced him to the 
Inquisition, August 29, 1614. The main proposition, and a num- 
ber of others, on which it was based, or which were deduced from 
it, were pronounced by the calificadores, or at least by some of 
them, to be false, scandalous, rash and approximating to error. 
No less than seventeen witnesses were examined against him and 
when, on January 9, 1615, he presented himself, he admitted 
uttering the proposition, but said that he had consulted many 
learned men and the principal universities and he offered in 
defence the signatures of many Jesuits and of professors of Sala- 
manca, Alcald and Valladolid, to the effect that it was not subject 
to theological censure. The case proceeded to a vote in discordia, 
October 15th, when the Suprema ordered his confinement in a 
Jesuit house, that he should cease lecturing, and that the papers 
in his cell should be examined. On October 29th, while he was 
detained in the audience-chamber, his keys were taken and his 

' Proceso contra Fray Joseph de Sigiienza (MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, 
Yc, 20, T. IV). 


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

Preachers were as liable as professors to prosecution for their 
utterances, and Spanish pulpit eloquence, as we have seen it illus- 

' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 552, fol. 1. 


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

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

' MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 20, T. I. 


God and the holy Roman Catholic Church, and begged pardon and 
mercy of the Holy Office. A notary with a copy followed his words 
and, if the performance was correct, made an official attestation 
of the fact.' 

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

This last case suggests that favoritism sometimes intervened to 
shield culprits and this would seem to be confirmed by the leniency 
shown, in 1696, to Fray Francisco Esquerrer. He was the leading 
Observantine preacher and theologian in Valencia and teacher of 
theology in the convent of San Francisco in Jativa. It was an 
episode in the quarrel between Dominicans and Franciscans over 
the Immaculate Conception, when, November 13, 1695, the Domin- 
ican Fray Juan Gascon denounced him to the Valencia tribunal 

1 Modo de Proceder, fol. 67 (Bibl. nacional, MSS., D, 122). 
' Archive hist, nacional, Inq., Leg. 1. 

Chap. VII] THE PULPIT 175 

for having defended at Jdtiva, October 9, 1693, the proposition 
that Christ, in the three days of his death, was sacramented ahve 
in the heart of the Virgin; that he who should die in defence of the 
Immaculate Conception would die a martyr, for it was a point of 
faith settled by Scripture, by the Council of Trent, by the ApostoHc 
Council of Jerusalem and by the cult of the Church. Gascon had 
denounced this at the time, but the tribunal had taken no notice 
of it, and he now repeated the charge, adding that Esquerrer, 
preaching in 1693 at Olleria, had held it to be a point of faith that 
the adoration of latria was due to St. Francis; in the same year at 
Jdtiva he preached that Christ owed more to St. Antony of Padua 
than St. Antony owed to Christ. Also, when preaching about an 
image known as the Virgin of Salvation, he said that she was rather 
the Mother of Salvation than the Mother of Christ. Then, on 
August 28, 1695, preaching to the Augustinians of Jdtiva, he proved 
logically that the wisdom of St. Augustin was greater than the 
wisdom of the Logos and, on November 6, 1695, to the Franciscans 
of J^tiva, he declared that the Immaculate Conception had been 
made a point of faith by Alexander VII and Innocent XI. Then 
the tribunal at last was spurred to action; it gathered evidence 
and procured from the calificadores a definition that some of the 
propositions were blasphemous, others heretical and others ill- 
sounding. Early in 1696 Esquerrer was thrown into the secret 
prison; he endeavored to explain away the propositions; the trial 
proceeded with unwonted celerity and, on September 9th, the case 
was suspended with merely the usual reprimand and the suppres- 
sion of the propositions of October 9, 1693.' Apparently the 
Inquisition was content to have the people fed upon such doctrines. 
It was probably less to favoritism than to indolence that we 
may attribute the outcome of the case of the Minim, Fray N. 
Serra, lector in the Barcelona convent of S. Francesco de Paula. 
On St. Barbara's day, December 4, 1721, he preached a sermon 
in which, among various other ineptitudes, he said that St. Barbara 
was a virgin and yet pregnant, and that Christ was the fourth 
person of the Trinity. An artillery regiment in quarters had been 
taken to the church and, in the evening, some of the officers, visit- 
ing Dona Bemarda Vueltaflores, amused themselves by repeating 
his grotesque utterances. A week later she chanced to mention 
the matter to Fray Antonio de la Concepcion and he, for the dis- 

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 45, fol. 13-33. 


charge of his conscience, carried the tale to the tribunal. Dona 
Bernarda was sent for, told what she remembered and furnished 
the names of the witnesses. They were summoned and gave their 
evidence. The fiscal fussed over it, said that he had only two 
concurrent witnesses, and wanted others of the audience looked up 
and examined, which was not done. The registers were searched, 
but no former complaints against Fray Serra were found. Then 
the fiscal asked that all the other tribunals of Spain be written 
to, which was postponed. On April 22, 1722 he had the proposi- 
tions submitted to calificadores, five of whom unanimously pro- 
nounced that the one relating to Christ was formally heretical and 
the others scandalous and irreverent, rendering the culprit vehe- 
mently suspect and of little sense. Then ensued a pause until 
1726, when in July replies were received from all the tribunals 
that they had nothing against Fray Serra. Then followed another 
pause, until June 27, 1728, when the inquisitors resolved that the 
case should be suspended after consulting the Suprema, which 
assented with the mild rebuke that, as the sumaria had been formed 
in 1721, it should have been acted upon at once, in place of waiting 
until 1728.' 

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

Under such impulses it is not a matter for surprise that, in this 
later period "propositions" furnished half the business of the 

' MSS. of Am. Philosophical Society. 

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 100. 


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

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

As a typical case it will suffice to allude to that of two merchants 
of Cadiz, Julian Borrego and Miguel Villaviciosa, sentenced in 
1818 by the Seville tribunal, for "propositions and blasphemies," 
to abjure de vehementi and to ten years' exile from Cadiz, Seville 
and Madrid, including service in a presidio. In consideration, it 
is said, of the extraordinarily long imprisonment which they had 
endured, the service of the former was only to be four years in 
Ceuta and of the latter six years in Melilla. As was so frequently 
the case at this time, the Suprema interposed in favor of leniency 
and reduced the term to presidio for both to two years. They 
were married men; the trial and sentence virtually meant ruin. 

' Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 100. 

VOL. IV 12 


and probably influence was exerted in their behalf for, after six 
months, the Suprema allowed them to return to Spain to support 
their families/ 

What was the precise nature of the propositions the record does 
not inform us, but, had the offence been political, it is improbable 
that this mercy would have been shown. It if were religious, it 
may have been the deliberate expression of erroneous belief, or 
a hasty ejaculation called forth by an ebullition of wrath for, as 
of old the Inquisition took cognizance of ever3i;hing and, in its 
awe-inspiring fashion, undertook to discipline the manners as well 
as the faith of the people. In 1819, the sentence of Bartolom^ 
Lopez of Cordova, for propositions, warns him on the conse- 
quences of his unbridled passion for gambling and lust, which had 
caused his offence, and, in another case, the culprit's inconsid- 
erate utterances are ascribed to his quarrels with his wife, with 
whom he is urged to reconcile himself.^ 

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

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 890; Lib. 435^ 
2 Ibidem, Lib. 890. 



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

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

' Mariana, Hist, de Espafia, Lib. vi, u. 75. — JosS Amador de log Rios (Revista 
de Espafia, XVII, 388). 



Alfonso X, classes among the worst offenders those who slay- 
men by enchantment/ 

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

Long after these pursuits had fallen elsewhere under the ban of 
the Church, the medieval spirit of toleration continued in Spain. 
Until the fourteenth century was drawing to an end, astrology, 
we are told, was in general vogue among the upper classes, while 
the lower placed full confidence in the wandering mountebanks 
who overspread the land — mostly Moorish or Jewish women — 
who plied their trade under the multifarious names of saludadores, 
ensalmadores, cantadores, entendederas, adivinas and ajodadores, 
earning a hvelihood by their various arts of telling fortunes, pre- 
serving harvests and cattle, curing disease, protecting from the 
evil eye, and exciting love or hatred.* So little blame attached 
to these pursuits that Miguel de Urrea, Bishop of Tarazona from 
1309 to 1316, was popularly known as el Nigromdntico, and his 

' Flores de las Leyes (Memorial hist, espanol, II, 243). 
' Partidas, P. vii. Tit. ix, ley 17; Tit. xxiii, leyes 1, 2, 3. 
' Amador de los Rios, op. cit., XVII, 382, 384-5. 
* Ibidem, XVIII, 14. 


portrait in the episcopal palace of Tarazona had an inscription 
describing him as a most skilful necromancer, who even deluded 
the devil with his own arts/ 

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

All doubts as to such questions were promptly settled. Pope 
John XXII divided his restless activity between persecuting 
the Spiritual Franciscans, warring with the Visconti, combating 
Ludwig of Bavaria and creating a wholesome horror of sorcery in 
all its forms. Imagining that conspirators were seeking his life 
through magic arts, he ordered special inquisitors appointed for 
their extermination and urged the regular appointees to active 
persecution. In various bulls, and particularly one known as 
Super illius specula, issued about 1326, he expressed his grief 
at the rapid increase of the invocation and adoration of demons 
throughout Christendom, and ordered all who availed themselves 
of such services to be publicly anathematized as heretics and to 
be duly punished, while all books on the subject were to be burnt. 
The faithful were warned not to enter into compacts with hell, or 
to confine demons in mirrors and rings so as to foretell the future, 
and all who disobeyed were threatened with the penalties of heresy.^ 

' Plorez, Espana Sagrada, XLIX, 188, 604. 

' Astesani de Ast Summa de Casibus Conscientia;, P. i, Lib. i, Tit. 14. 
' Raynald. Annal, ann. 1317, n. 52-4; arm. 1318, n. 57; ann. 1320, n. 51; ann. 
1327, n. 43.— BuUar. Roman. I, 204.— RipoU, Bullar. Ord. Pradic. II, 192. 


Thus the Church asserted authoritatively the truth of the powers 
claimed by sorcerers — the first of a long series of similar utterances 
which did more, perhaps, than aught else to stimulate belief and 
foster the development of the evil. The prosperity of the sorcerer 
was based on popular credulity, and the deterrent influence of pros- 
pective punishment weighed little against the assurance that he 
could in reality perform the service for which he was paid. 

There was no Inquisition in Castile, and the repression of these 
unhallowed arts rested with the secular power, which was irre- 
sponsive to the papal commands. The Partidas, with their quasi 
approval of magic, were formally confirmed, by the Cortes of 1348, 
as the law of the land, and remained the basis of its jurisprudence. 
Yet the new impulse from Rome commenced soon afterwards 
to make itself felt. About 1370 a law of Enrique III declared 
guilty of heresy and subject to its penalties all who consulted 
diviners.^ In this the injection of heresy is significant of the 
source of the new policy, reflected further in a law of Juan I, 
in 1387, which asserts that all diviners and sorcerers and astrol- 
ogers, and those who believe in them, are heretics to be punished 
as provided in the Partidas, laymen by the royal officials and 
clerics by their prelates.^ That these laws accomplished little is 
indicated by the increasing severity of the pragm^tica of April 
9, 1414, which ordered all royal and local judges, under pain of 
loss of office and one-third confiscation, to put to death all sorcerers, 
while those who harbored them were to be banished and the prag- 
matica itself was to be read monthly in the market-places so that 
no one could pretend ignorance.' Even the Mud6jares assimi- 
lated themselves in this to their Christian conquerors, threatening 
the practice of sorcery with death, and warning all to avoid 
divination and augury and astrology. This accomplished little, 
however, and, after their enforced conversion, the Moriscos con- 
tinued to enjoy the reputation of masters of the black arts.* 

In the kingdoms of Aragon the secular power seems to have been 
negligent, and the duty reverted to the episcopate, which was for 
the most part indifferent. It was not wholly so, however, for, 
in 1372, Pedro Clasquerin, Archbishop of Tarragona, ordered an 

' Ordenanzas Reales, viii, iv, 2. ' Ibidem, viii, i, 9. 

' Novis. Recop. Lib. xii, Tit. iv, ley 2. 

* Tratados de Legislacion Muhamedana, pp. 143, 251 (Mem. hist, espanol, 
Tom. V).— Bleda, Coronica, p. 1025. 


investigation of his province by testes synodales, and among the 
matters to be inquired into was whether there were sorcerers. 
Even Inquisitor Eymerich appears to consider it as in no way 
the business of the Holy Office, when he seeks to impress upon all 
bishops the duty of searching for such enemies of Christ, and of 
punishing them with all severity.' 

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

The question of jurisdiction, in fact, was a difficult one, which 
required prolonged debate to settle. It is true that, in 1511, a 
case in Saragossa shows the Inquisition exercising it, but a discus- 
sion to which this gave rise indicates that as yet it was a novelty. 
Some necromancers were condemned by the tribunal and the 
inquisitors asked whether confiscation followed. Inquisitor-gen- 
eral Enguera decided in the affirmative, but referred to Ferdinand 
for confirmation. The king instructed the archbishop to assemble 
the inquisitors and some impartial lawyers to discuss the question 
and report to him ; their conclusion was in favor of the crown and 
not till then did he order the receiver to sequestrate and take posses- 
sion of the property, which was considerable. The fact that it 
had not been sequestrated indicates that there had been no pre- 
cedent to guide the tribunal.^ Soon after this, in Catalonia, there 
came a demand for the more effective jurisdiction of the Inquisi- 

' ViUanueva, Viage Literario, XX, 190. — Eymerici Director, p. 202 (Ed. Venet. 

^ Pulgar, Cronica, P. ii, cap. iv. 

' Nueva Recop., Lib. viii, Tit. iii, ley 7. 

* Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 3, fol. 156, 158, 170, 186; Lib. 927, fol. 446. 

The parties in this case were doubtless Garcia de Gorualan and Martin de 
S6ria relaxed in person, and Miguel Sdnchez de Romeral in effigy, as herejes 
sortilegos, Jime 16, 1511, at Saragossa. — Libro Verde (Revista de Espafia, CVI, 
576, 581, 582). Prior to this several women had been burnt as witches, as we 
shall see hereafter. 


tion, in order to repress sorcery. When the Concordia of 1512 
was arranged, one of the petitions of the Cortes was that it should 
put into execution the bull Super illius specula of John XXII, 
and that the king should procure from the pope the confirmation 
of the bull. There was no objection to this, and Leo X accordingly- 
revived the bull and ordered its enforcement in Aragon.* It 
must have been immediately after this that the Edict of Faith, 
in the Aragonese kingdoms, required the denunciation of sorcery, 
for, in the Sicilian instructions of 1515, issued to allay popular 
discontent, it was provided that this clause should only be operative 
when the sorcery was heretical.^ Convictions, however, were few, 
at least in Aragon, for after those of 1511 there were no relaxations 
for sorcery until February 28, 1528, when Fray Miguel Calvo was 
burnt ; the next case was that of Mossen Juan Omella, March 13, 
1537, and no further relaxations occur in the list which extends 
to 1574.^ 

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

The question, in fact, was a somewhat intricate one, admittiag 
of nice discussion. In 1257, not long after the founding of the 
Old Inquisition, Alexander IV was asked whether it ought to 
take cognizance of divination and sorcery, when he replied that it 
must not be diverted from its proper duties and must leave such 
offenders to their regular judges, unless there was manifest heresy 

' PragmAticas y altres Drets de Cathalunya, Lib. i, Tit. viii, cap. i, § 34; 
cap. 2. 

2 Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 918, fol. 382. 

" Libro Verde de Aragon (Revista de Espana, CVI, pp. 675, 582). 

"* Llorente, Hist. crft. cap. xv, Art. 1, n. 21. 

^ Reprovacion de las Supersticiones, P. i, cap. i, n. 14. 

This book is the Spanish classic on the subject. Maestro Pedro Ciruelo served 
as inquisitor in Saragossa for thirty years and was professor at Alcald,. His 
work appeared in Salamanca, in 1539, where it was reprinted in 1540 and 1556 
and again in Barcelona in 1628, with notes by the learned Doctor Pedro Antonio 
Jofreu, at the instance of Miguel Santos, Bishop of Solsona. 


involved, a decision which was repeated more than once and was 
finally embodied in the canon law by Boniface VIIL' There 
was no definition, however, as to what constituted heresy in these 
matters, until the sweeping declaration of John XXTI that all were 
heretical, but in this there was a clear inference that his bulls were 
directed solely to mahgnant magic working through the invocation 
and adoration of demons. This, however, comprised but a small 
portion of the vast array of superstitious observances, on which 
theological subtilty exhausted its dialectics. Many of these were 
perfectly harmless, such as the simple charms of the wise-women 
for the cure of disease. Others were pseudo-scientific, like the 
Cabala, the Ars Notoria and the Ars Paulina, by which universal 
knowledge was attained through certain formulas. Others again 
taught spells, innocent in themselves, to protect harvests from 
insect plagues and cattle from murrain. There were infinite 
gradations, leading up to the invocation and adoration of demons, 
besides the multiplied resources of the diviner in palmistry, 
hydromancy, crystallomancy and the rest — oneiroscopy, or dream- 
expounding, being a special stumbling-block, in view of its scrip- 
tural warrant. To define where heresy began and ended in these, 
to decide between presumable knowledge of the secrets of nature 
and resort to evil spirits, was no easy matter, and by common 
consent the decision turned upon whether there was a pact, express 
or implied, with the demon. This only created the necessity of a 
new definition as to what constituted pact and, in 1398, the Uni- 
versity of Paris sought to settle this by declaring that there was 
an implied pact in all superstitious observances, of which the 
result could not reasonably be expected from God or from nature.^ 
This marked a distinct advance in the conception of heretical 
sorcery, but it still left open the question as to what might or might 
not be reasonable expectation, and it was merely an opinion, 
albeit of the most authoritative theological body in Europe. 

Discussion continued as lively as ever. In 1492, Bernardo 
Basin, a learned canon of Saragossa, considered it necessary to 
prove by logic that all pact with the demon, implicit or explicit, 
if not heresy was yet to be treated as heresy.^ In 1494, the 
Bepertorium Inquisitorum in quoting the canon law, that sorcery 

' Raynald. Annal., ann. 1258, n. 23.— Potthast, Regesta, n. 17,745, 18,396.— 
Lib. V in Sexto, Tit. ii, c. 8 § 4. 

' D'Argentr^, Collect, judio. de novis Erroribus, I, ii, 154. 
" Bemardi Basin Tract, de Artibus magicis, Concl. i-x. 


must savor of heresy to give jurisdiction of the Inquisition, still 
admits that there is no little difficulty in defining what is meant 
by savoring of heresy, while even at the close of the sixteenth cen- 
tury Pena tells us that no question excited more frequent debate.' 
It is true that, in 1451, Nicholas V had conferred on Hugues le 
Noir, Inquisitor of France, cognizance of divination, even when 
not heretical, but this had been a special provision, long since 

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

The tribunals evidently were less doubtful than the Suprema 
as to their powers. Among the practitioners who speculated on 

' Repertor. Inquisit. s. v. Sapere hceresim post v. Hasresiarcha — Pegnse Com- 
ment. LXVil in Eymerici Director. P. ii. 

' RipoU, Bullar. Ord. Pradic, III, 301.— Cf. Alph. de Castro de justa Hsreticor. 
Punitione, Lib. i, cap. 13. 

' Simancae de Cath. Institt., Tit. xxx, n. 20, 21 ; Tit. LXiii, n. 12.— Cf. Alphons. 
de Castro, loc. cit., cap. 14, 15. 

■" Bibl. pviblica de Toledo, Sala 5, Estante 11, Tab. 3. — Archivo de Simancas, 
Inq., Visitas de Barcelona, Leg. 15, fol. 20. 


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

Whatever doubts existed rapidly disappeared. It would be 
difficult to see where the heresy lay which earned, from the Sara- 
gossa tribunal, in 1585, a public scourging for Gracia Melero, 
because she kept the finger of a man who had been hanged, together 
with a piece of the halter, thinking that they would bring her 
good luck.^ In fact, by this time the omnipresent demon was 
held accountable for everything. A case exciting considerable 
attention in 1588 was that of Elvira de Cespedes, tried by the tri- 
bunal of Toledo, who, as a slave-girl at the age of 16, was married 
to Cristoval Lombardo of Jaen and bore to him a son, still living 
at Seville. Subsequently at San Lucar she fell in love with her 
mistress and seduced her, as well as many other women. Run- 
ning away, she assumed male attire and, during the rebellion of 
Granada served as a soldier in the company of Don Luis Ponce. 
In Madrid she worked in a hospital, obtained a certificate as a 
surgeon and practised the profession. At Yepes she offered 
marriage to a girl, but the absence of beard and her effeminate 
appearance caused her sex to be questioned; she was medically 
examined, pronounced to be a man and the Vicar of Madrid 
granted a licence under which the marriage was solemnized. 
Doubts, however, still continued ; she was denounced to the magis- 
trates of Ocana, who arrested her and handed her over to the Inqui- 
sition. In the course of her trial she was duly examined by physi- 
cians, who declared her to be a woman and that her career could 
only be explained by the arts of the demon. This explanation 

' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 726. 
» Bibl. nacional, MSS., PV, 3, n. 20. 


satisfied all doubts; she was sentenced to appear in an auto, to 
abjure de levi, to receive two hundred lashes and to serve in a 
hospital ten years without pay. In this the tribunal was mer- 
ciful, for hermaphrodites customarily had a harsher measure of 

It is thus easy to understand how the definition of pact by the 
University of Paris came to be so extended as to cover every 
possible act that might be classed as superstitious — all the old 
women's cures and all the traditional usages and beliefs that had 
accumulated through credulous generations trained to place con- 
fidence in unintelligible phrases and meaningless actions — for any 
result greater than could naturally be produced, if not attributable 
to God was perforce ascribed to pact with the demon. Torre- 
blanca thus assures us that, in the cure of disease, pact is to be 
inferred when nothing, either natural or supernatural, is employed, 
but only words, secretly or openly uttered, a touch, a breathing, 
or a simple cloth which has no virtue in itself. So it is with prayers 
and verbal formulas approved by the Church, but used for pur- 
poses other than those for which they were framed, or even 
exorcisms or conjurations against disease and tempests and cater- 
pillars and drought, employed without the rites prescribed by the 
Church, or by those who have not the Order of Exorcists. There 
is pact in the use of idle prayers, as to stop bleeding with In san- 
guine Adm orta est mors, or Sanguis mane in te ut sanguis Christi 
mansit in se; or of false ones, as for head-ache Virgo Maria Jor- 
danum transivit et tunc S. Stephanus ei ohviavit; or of absurd ones 
as the old Danatadaries, or the more modern Abrach Haymon etc., 
or that inscribed on bread Irivni Teherioni etc.; or that against 
the bite of mad dogs, Hax, Pax, Max. Suspect of pact are pious 
and holy prayers, in which some extraneous or unknown sign is 
introduced, written and hung on the neck, or anything by the 
wearing of which protection is expected from sudden death or 
imprisonment or the gallows; also the use of natural objects which, 
by their nature are not fitted for the expected results, or which 
are inefficient of themselves and are supposed to derive virtue 
from words employed, or are applied with prayers and observances 

' MSS. of Library of Univ of Halle, Yc, 20, T. I. — Catdlogo de las causas segui- 
das ante el tribunal de Toledo, pp. 84, 326 (Madrid, 1903). 

Mendo tells us (Epitome Opinionum Moralium, Append, de Matrimonio, n. 4) 
of similar cases in which the unfortunates were burnt. 


not prescribed by the Church and, finally, all cures of disease 
which physicians cannot explain.' Moreover, theologians decided 
that in sorcery there was no parvitas materice, or triviality, which 
redeemed it from being a mortal sin.^ 

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

If aught was lacking to strengthen belief in sorcery and divina- 
tion it was furnished, in 1585, by Sixtus V, in his solemn bull 
Cmli et Terrce. In this he denounced astrology and all other species 
of divination, all magic incantations, the invocation and consul- 
tation of demons, the abuse of the sacraments, the pretended 
imprisonment of demons in rings, mirrors and vials, the obtaining 
of responses from demoniacs or lymphatic or fanatic women; 
he commanded all prelates and bishops and inquisitors diligently 
to prosecute and punish all who were guilty of these illicit divi- 
nations, sorceries, superstitions, magic, incantations and other 
detestable wickedness, even though hitherto they had no faculty 
to do so, and the rules of the Tridentine Index, prohibiting all 
works on divination and magic were to be strictly enforced.^ The 
Spanish Inquisition, as we have seen, had long before exercised 
all the faculties conferred by the bull, and it is difficult to under- 
stand why, in 1595, it obtained for the first time, in the commission 
issued to Inquisitor-general Manrique de Lara, a clause covering 
all who practised these diabolical arts, and all who believed and 

' Torreblanca, Epitome Delictorum sive de Magia, Lib. ii, cap. ix. 
The first edition of this work appeared in Seville, in 1618. My copy is of 
Lyons, 1678. 
' Th. Sanchez in Prsecepta Decalogi Lib. ii, cap. xl, n. 13. 
' Pegnae Append, in Eymerici Director., p. 142. 


employed them — a clause retained in all subsequent commissions.' 
The Inquisition, in fact, had not welcomed the bull, possibly in 
fear of claims based on it of cumulative episcopal jurisdiction. 
It did not allow it to be published in Spain imtil 1612 when, for 
some reason, a Romance version was printed and sent to all the 
tribunals with orders for its publication and enforcement, leading 
subsequent writers to attribute to it the cognizance of these mat- 
ters by the Inquisition.^ 

Not only had the Inquisition, as we have seen, exercised juris- 
diction over sorcery, but as usual it claimed this to be exclusive 
and warned off all trespassers. As a matter of form it conceded 
that non-heretical sorcery was mixti fori — was subject to either 
the secular or spiritual court which first commenced action' — but 
non-heretical sorcery had become non-existent, and the Inquisi- 
tion was as resolute in maintaining its exclusive claims in this as 
in all else. It mattered little that, in 1598, the Cortes petitioned 
for the total abolition of all kinds of sorcery, divination, auguries 
and enchantments, and that Philip II responded by ordering the 
revival and enforcement of the ferocious law of 1414 inflicting 
severe penalties on secular judges who did not put sorcerers to 
death.* If this produced any effect, which is doubtful, it was but 
temporary. Already, in 1594, we find the Toledo tribunal com- 
pelling the corregidor to surrender Isabel de Soto, after he had 
pronounced sentence. Her offences had been the giving of love- 
powders, which she asserted were holy and need not be confessed; 
curing a child with a parchment inscribed with crosses, and using 
certain divinations to bring a man from the Indies — aU harmless 
enough frauds, for which she was sentenced to abjure de led, 

' Bulario de la Orden de Santiago, Lib. IV, fol. 118, 124, 137; Lib. V, passim.— 
Archivo de Simancas, Gracia y Justicia, Leg. 629. 

The clause reads — " necnon de hseresi seu apostasia de fide suspectos, sortilegia 
manifestam hjeresim sapientia, divinationes et incantationes aliaque diabolica 
maleficia et prestigia committentes, aut magicas et necromanticas artes exer- 
centes, illorumque credentes, sequaces, defensores, fautores et receptatores. . . . 
per te vel alium seu alios prout juris fuerit inquirendi, procedendi et exequi 
seu inquiri, proeedi et exequi faciendi." 

' Torreblanca, Lib. iii, cap. ix, Append.; Defensa, cap. ii, p. 536. — Archivo 
hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 299, fol. 80. 

The buU, however, was not received in Valencia until 1616. — Ibidem, Leg. 6, 
n. 2, fol. 56. 

' Torreblanca, cap. ix, n. 25-26. 

* Nueva Recop., Lib. viii, Tit. iii, ley 8.— Novfs. Recop., Lib. xii. Tit. v, ley 2. 


to hear mass in the audience-chamber and to undergo six years 
of exile. This severity, however, was mercy itself in comparison 
with the corregidor's sentence, which had been scourging and per- 
petual exile.' 

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

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

Perhaps the most emphatic assertion of the authority of the 
Inquisition is to be seen in its treatment of astrology. All divi- 

' MSS. of Library of Univ. of HaUe, Yc, 20, T. I. 

' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 552, fol. 37. 

» Ibidem, Lib. 52, fol. 48. 

* Arohivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 1, n. 3, fol. 14-15. 


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

It therefore manifests no little determination of purpose that, 

' Reprovacion de las Supersticiones, P. ii, Cap. iii. 

2 De Cath. Institt. Tit. xxi, n. 9; Tit. Lxni, n. 7. 

' Reusch, Die Indices, pp. 217, 225, 227, 236, 239.— The two prohibited books 
are Arcandam de nativitatihus seu fatalis dies and Johannes Schonerus de nativi- 

* Cortes de Cordova del ano de setenta, Peticion 71 (Alcald, 1575). 


before Sixtus V, in his bull of 1585, had ordered the suppression 
of astrology by the Inquisition, the Suprema, in 1582, attacked it 
in its stronghold, the University of Salamanca, sending thither 
in March the Valladolid inquisitor, Juan de Arrese, with an edict 
condemning all the practices of the so-called science. In a letter 
of the 10th, Arrese says that he had been there for eight days, 
without having had an opportunity of pubhshing the edict, but he 
expects to do so the next day. Then, on the 20th, he reports that 
he is obtaining the first results and is overwhelmed with them; 
there are many who teach judicial astrology, both genethliacal, in 
casting nativities, and in answering all questions put to them, 
and they excuse themselves by saying that they only teach what 
is in the books that are permitted. Those inculpated under the 
edict are so numerous that it would be an infinite affair to punish 
them, and to overlook them would be worse, for they expect to 
be allowed to continue. Meanwhile he has taken testimony as to 
some and has suspended others till he receives orders, to which the 
reply was to go on taking testimony and report the results. Then, 
on March 31st he writes that he is still gathering evidence against 
the teachers of astrology, among whom are some who treat of 
invocation of demons and necromancy, especially Diego P^rez 
de Messa, who had been banished for other offences by the maesire 
escuela and is in hiding, but Arrese had ordered his arrest. Then, 
on April 24th, Arrese forwards a declaration drawn up by Maestre 
Munoz, professor of astrology, for such action as the Suprema 
may please to take. At the same time he says that all those occu- 
pied in making astrological predictions excuse themselves on the 
ground that, under the statutes of the university, this is ordered 
to be taught ; he suggests that the Suprema shall prohibit teaching 
from such books, and also judicial astrology, except as regards 
weather, but there are also indications of magic, about which he 
promises further information.^ The documents before me fail 
to state what action the Suprema took with the professors and 
teachers, but that this was the condition in the foremost Spanish 
seat of learning indicates the magnitude of the task of eradicating 
beliefs so widely spread and so firmly established. That it forth- 
with suppressed the public teaching of astrology is indicated by 
the Prohibitory Index, which appeared the following year, 1583. 
This proscribed all books and writings that treat of the science of 

' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 1157, fol. 17-20. 

VOL. IV 13 


predicting the future by the stars, and it forbade all persons from 
forming forecasts as to matters dependent on free-will or fortune. 
Yet it conceded the influence of the stars by permitting the astrol- 
ogy which pertained to the weather and the general events of the 
world, agriculture, navigation and medicine, and also that which 
indicated at birth the inclinations and bodily qualities of the 

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

The severity visited upon astrologers shows the determination 
of the Inquisition, and its estimate of the difficulty of the task. 
Ecclesiastics, as we have seen, except when relaxed, were spared 
appearance in public autos in order to avert scandal, but astrology 
was made an exception and the penalties were extreme. Thus, 
in the Toledo auto of October 7, 1663, there appeared Don Pedro 

' Index of Quiroga, Rule IX (Madriti, 1583, fol. 4). 

' Zanctornato, Relatione della Corte di Spagna, pp. 6, 7 (CosmopoH, 1678). 

' Bibl. nacional, MSS., V, 377, cap. xiv, § 1. 

* Ibidem, D, 118, p. 148, 


Zacome Pramosellas, arch-priest of Brimano (Cremona) sentenced 
to abjure de levi and perpetual banishment from Spain, after three 
years of galley-service, besides prohibition to practice astrology 
or to read books on the subject. So, in the Toledo auto of October 
30, 1667, the Licentiate Pedro Lopez Camarena Montesinos, a 
beneficed priest of San Lorenzo of Valencia, for judicial astrology 
and searching for treasures, was condemned to abjure de levi, to 
four years in an African presidio, followed by six years' exile from 
Madrid and Toledo, suspension from Orders and deprivation of 
all ecclesiastical revenues.^ This severity, doubtless, did much 
to aid advancing intelligence in outgrowing the ancient behefs 
but, as late as 1796, we find Fray Miguel Alberola, a lay-brother 
of San Pedro de Alcdntara, prosecuted in Valencia for using the 
"wheel of Beda" — evidently the Petosiris, a device by which the 
motions of the moon were used in place of the multitudinous and 
complex details of the stars and planets.^ 

Procedure in cases of sorcery had little to distinguish it from 
that in ordinary heresy, except that, as a rule, torture was net 
employed. One authority, indeed, tells that, although in Italy 
torture was used in cases of heretical sorcery, it was never used in 
Spain, but another assumes that in certain cases it was at the 
discretion of the tribunal.' That this discretion was used is seen 
in the Mexican case of Isabel de Montoya, a wretched old woman, 
in 1652, who freely confessed to niunerous devices for procuring 
money — charms and philtres and conjurations. In addition to 
this was the evidence of her dupes, as to her stories of her relations 
with the demon, which required elucidation. She was tortured 
without extracting further confessions and then was sentenced to 
a hundred lashes, three years' service in a hospital and perpetual 
exile from Puebla.* 

As pact with the demon was the basis of inquisitorial jurisdiction 
over sorcery, it was important to obtain from the accused admission 
of its existence. To this end, in 1655, the Suprema issued special 
instructions as to examination in all cases dependent on pact — 
instructions which reveal impUcit belief in the reahty of the powers 

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 1. 

' Ibidem, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 100.— Ct. Beda; Opera, Ed. Migne, I, 063-66. 
' Praxis procedendi, cap. xviii, n. 3 (Archivo hist nacional, Inq. de Valencia).— 
Bibl. nacional, MSS., S, 294, fol. 116. 
* Proceso contra Isabel de Montoya (MS. penes me). 


claimed for sorcery. The accused was to be asked if the prayers, 
remedies and other things employed produced the expected results, 
wholly or partially, and as they had not the natural virtues to 
effect this, what was the cause of the result. When, in the prayers 
or conjurations, certain demons were invoked, was it to make 
them appear and speak and in what mode or form. Whether 
the invocation was in virtue of a pact, express or tacit, with the 
demon and, if so, in what way had it been made. Whether the 
demon sometimes appeared in consequence of the prayers or con- 
jurations and, if so, in what figure or guise, and what he said or 
did. With what faith or belief they did these things and framed 
the remedies, and whether it was with the intention and hope that 
the desired effect should be produced, and with the belief that they 
would attain it, and whether they held this for certain — with other 
similar interrogatories, suited for particular cases.^ 

Based on these instructions a curious series of formulas was 
drawn up, adapted to all the different classes of offenders. As 
a sample of these we may take the one used in the examination 
of Zahories, who assumed to have a natural gift to see under the 
surface of the earth, involving no heresy, so that they were subject 
to the Inquisition only through an arbitrary assumption that their 
work must necessarily require the aid of the demon, in which there 
was no parvitas materice, and that it was a mortal sin to employ 
them. The Zahori is to be asked whether it is true that he can 
see clearly and distinctly what is hidden under the earth and to 
what distance his vision penetrates ; whether this power is confined 
to buried treasure, or extends to other things ; at what age and on 
what occasion he first recognized the possession of this power; 
whether it is continuous, or stronger at times than at others; 
whether he has exerted this power and has found it effective; 
whether he has thus obtained treasures and, if so, of what kind 
or amount; who assisted him and whether the treasures were 
divided and what then happened ; whether to reach the treasure, 
either in preparation or at the time of raising it, anything else was 
done, such as masses, prayers, conjurations, fumigations, invoca- 
tions of saints or of other unknown names, or use was made of holy 
water, blessed palms, lights, genuflections, reading from a book . 
or paper or other similar means ; whether some treasures are more 
difficult to obtain than others and, if so, from what cause, such as 

Praxis procedendi, cap. viii, n. 5 (Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia). 


enchantment; whether Zahories have any sign by which this power 
is recognized, and whether they recognize each other; in what 
principally does this power consist; whether money has been paid 
to him for pointing out a place where treasure was hidden and, 
if so, where he received it and what was the spot designated.^ We 
can readily see how apt would be such an interrogatory, followed 
up by a trained examiner, to lead to admissions justifying implied 
pact, especially as there was a craze for finding buried treasure, 
and a wide-spread belief that stores of it were hidden underground, 
awaiting the coming of Antichrist, and guarded by demons, who 
must be placated or subdued before the gold could be secured. 

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

Severe as may seem some of the sentences alluded to, there is 
no question that, in most cases, the delinquents were fortunate in 
having the Inquisition as a judge rather than the secular courts, 
which everywhere showed themselves merciless where sorcery was 
concerned. We have seen the demand, in 1598, for the revival 
of the savage law of 1414, and this rigor had the support not only 
of popular opinion but of the learned. Ciruelo taught that all 
vain superstitions and sorcery were inventions of the devil, where- 

' MSS. of Royal Library of Copenhagen, 218b, p. 382. 

' Matute y Luquin, pp. 84-105. ^ Royal Library of Berlin, Qt. 9548. 


fore those who learned and practised them were disciples of the 
devil and enemies of God. There was no distinction between 
classes of offenders ; all were to be persecuted with unsparing rigor. 
Thieves, he argued were properly hanged or beheaded, because 
every thief is presumed to be a homicide, and much more should 
it thus be with every sorcerer, as his efforts were directed rather 
against persons than property.' Torreblanca tells us that Huss 
and Wickliffe and Luther and almost all heretics contend against 
the punishment of sorcerers, but this is heretical, detestable and 
scandalous, and all orthodox authorities teach that they should 
be unsparingly put to death and be persecuted by both the spir- 
itual and temporal swords.^ It is well to bear in mind this con- 
sensus of opinion when considering the practice of the Inquisition. 
In the tribunals there was nothing to control the discretion of the 
judges save the Suprema, and that discretion showed itself in a 
leniency difficult to understand, more often than in undue harsh- 
ness, and even their harshness was less to be dreaded than the 
mercy of the secular law. The systematic writers lay down the 
rule that, if the culprit confesses to pact with the demon, he is 
presumably an apostate; if he begs mercy he is to be admitted 
to reconciliation in an auto, with confiscation and a hundred 
lashes or vergiienza; if he is not an apostate, the reconciliation is 
modified to abjuration de levi and the scourging to vergiienza.' 
These rules, however, were not observed ; reconciliation was exceed- 
ingly rare, abjuration de vehementi was unusual, abjuration de 
levi almost universal, and the tribunals exercised wide discretion 
in the infliction of the most diverse penalties. 

A few cases will illustrate how completely the temper of the tri- 
bunal influenced the sentences. In 1604, Valencia seems to have 
had exceptionally lenient inquisitors. Alonso Verlango, desirmg 
to compromise a suit, hired a woman to perform the conjuration of 
the ampolletas or vials, placing in them wine, sulphur and other 
things, and throwing them into the fire, with the adjuration that 
as they burnt so might the hearts of men come to an agreement. 
There was also the conjuration of the oranges, cutting nine of 
them and placing in them oil, soap, salt and other things, with 
the formula that, as oil gives flavor, so might it be with the men; 

' Reprovacion de las Supersticiones, P. i, cap. ii; P. ii, cap. i; P. iii, cap. v. 
' Epitome Delictorum, Lib. iii, cap. i, n. 1-6 

^ Miguel Calvo (Archive de Alcald, Hacienda, Leg. 544^, Lib. 4). — Elucidationes 
Sancti Officii, §§ 40, 43 (Ibidem). 


also driving a nail into each and saying that the nails were driven 
into their hearts. In both of these conjurations were invoked 
Bersabu, Satanas and other demons, the great and the crippled, 
along with St. Peter, St. Paul and other saints. There was also a 
long conjuration with a virgin child by which one could learn what- 
ever was desired. Verlango himself, moreover, used conjurations 
to discover treasures and possessed the Dream-book of Solomon, 
"Vaquerio" and Cardan de Proprietatibus Rerum. For all this 
he escaped with a reprimand and hearing mass in the audience 
chamber, abjuration de levi and two years of exile. Another case 
was that of Fray Miguel Rexaque, a priest of the Order of Montesa, 
who denounced himself for going with an Italian fraile, a virgin 
girl and some others, to discover treasure. They dug a hole; 
the Italian with an olive wand made a circle, in which was lighted 
a blessed candle ; incense was burnt and the angels were summoned 
to drive away the demons guarding the treasure for the coming of 
Antichrist, and there was also a response from a demon obtained 
by the girl looking into a mirror. When the papers were sub- 
mitted to the Suprema it ordered Rexaque to be reprimanded and 
the case to be suspended, while the girls who officiated had only 
a year's exile and some spiritual penances. More serious was the 
case of Frangois Difor, a French priest, and Francisco Juseria, a 
student, for it involved sacrilege. They sought the advice of an 
adept, who told them to baptize three coins with certain names 
and the coins when paid out would return to their purses. Difor 
solemnly baptized three pesos; Juseria spent them for fritters and 
pastry, but they did not come back. Under instructions of a 
confessor, they denounced themselves; they were duly tried and 
sentenced to abjure de levi, to be severely reprimanded and to 
perform some slight spiritual penances.' 

Valladolid furnishes similar examples of leniency. In 1629, 
Isabel Garcia, a married woman, under trial confessed that to 
regain a lover she had invoked the demon, who appeared in human 
shape, when she entered into explicit pact with him and performed 
various other sorceries, yet she was sentenced only to abjure de 
levi and to four years' exile from Valladolid and Astudilla. The 
next year Gabriel de Arroya, under pressure from a confessor, 
denounced himself and stated that, carried away by the passion 
of gambling, he had, during the last seven years, gone five times 

' Archive hist, nacional., Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 2, n. 7, fol. 4, 7; n. 10, fol. 10-13. 


into the open fields, and invoked the demon to give him money 
for stakes, promising in return to devote his first child to the 
demon and offering to sign with his blood a pact to that effect. 
It is true that the demon never appeared, nor did he get money 
that seemed to come from such a source. In the consulta de fe, 
some of the members pronounced him to be vehemently suspect, 
others lightly, but it was finally voted to suspend the case without 
sentence and to reprimand him in the audience-chamber.* 

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

' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 552, fol. 11, 13. 
' Ibidem, fol. 26, 28, 29. 


skull was buried in consecrated ground, but not until the silver 
had been carefully removed and given to the receiver in part 
settlement for the culprit's maintenance in prison.^ 

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

In wholesome contrast to this was a similar case in Mexico, in 
1794. Juana Martinez was an Indian aged 40, married to a 
mulatto. She made her livelihood as a curandera, using a decoc- 
tion of the root of a plant known as palo de Texer or Peyote, which 
she gathered with invocation of the Trinity and three signs of the 
cross — ceremonies which she repeated when administering the 
remedy — and she said that her patients ejected, from mouth and 
nose, insects, flies etc., which was a sign that they had been be- 
witched. She also had an image of the Virgin, which she kept in 
a little reliquary and declared that it performed miracles. In 
short, she was an accomplished embustera, and she richly earned 
the designation in the accusation of a simulator of miracles. 
Mariano de la Piedra Palacio, cura and ecclesiastical judge of 
their village, Temasunchale, arrested the pair and sequestrated 
their little property. By active threats of scourging he elicited 
a confession that she had invoked the devil who appeared and 
taught her the art, and that she operated by his power. It was 

' Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 2. 
' MSS. of Bibl. nacional de Lima. 


a clear case of sorcery and he handed them over to the Inquisition. 
The long journey to Mexico was performed handcuffed and they 
were consigned to the secret prison, July 22. A little skilful 
pressure brought Juana to admit that both the miracles of the 
Virgin and the insects voided by her patients were impostures. 
The fiscal chanced to be somewhat of a rationalist and, on August 
4th he presented a report of a character not usual in the Inquisition. 

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

Yet, notwithstanding the sanity of the conclusions reached in 
this case, there was no surrender of belief in the reality of sorcery 
and of demonic influence. Far more effective for the suppression 
of sorcerers was the position assumed, in 1774, by the Inquisition 
of Portugal under the guidance of Pombal. In its reformed regu- 
lations it takes the ground that malignant spirits cannot, through 
pacts with sorcerers and magicians, change the immutable laws 
of Nature established by God for the preservation of the world; 
that the theological argument of cases in which God permits such 
spirits to torment men has no application to legislature or law. 
Those who believe that there are arts which teach how, by invo- 

' MSS. of David Fergusson Esq. 


cations of demons, or imprecations, or signs, to work the wonders 
ascribed to sorcerers, fall into the absurdity of ascribing to the 
demon attributes belonging solely to God. Thus the two pacts, 
implicit and explicit, are equally incredible and there is no proof 
of them in the trials which for two centuries have been conducted 
by the Inquisition, save the unsupported confessions of the accused. 
From this it is deduced that all sorceries, divinations and witch- 
craft are manifest impostures, and the practical instructions, based 
on these premises, are that offenders are not to be convicted of 
heresy but of imposture, deceit and superstition, all of which is 
to be pointed out in the sentence, without giving the details as 
formerly. The penalties imposed are severe — scourging, the 
galleys and presidio, while if any one defends himself by asserting 
that these practices are legitimate, that a pact can be made with 
the demon, and that his operations are effective, he is to be con- 
fined, without more ado, in the Hospital Real de Todo os Santos — 
the insane hospital.' 

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

'■ Regimento do Santo OiEcio da Inquisijao pelo Cardeal da Cunha, pp. 118-20, 

123-7. Cll'^^,m^.\ 
' Llorente, Anales, II, 270. 
' Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 100. 


carrying it invisible and enable him to do whatever he pleases; 
the bone will ask "What do you want?" but if carried across 
running water it will lose its virtue/ 

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

It is easy to understand that the prosecution of sorcery consti- 
tuted a not inconsiderable portion of the duties of the Inquisition, 
at least during the later stages of its career. Cases were compara- 
tively few as long as only serious matters were held to fall within 
its jurisdiction but, with the extended definition of pact, they 
increased considerably and, as the business of prosecuting Moriscos 
and Judaizers declined, its energies were more largely directed to 
the wise-women and the sharpers who found a precarious liveli- 

' Proceso contra Rosa Conejos (MS. penes me). 
' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 890. 
' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq., de Valencia, Leg. 100. 
* Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 890; Lib. 559. 


hood in the vulgar superstitions pervading the community. Thus, 
in the Toledo record, from 1575 to 1610, out of a total of 1172 
cases, there are only eighteen of sorcery, or a trifle over one and 
a half per cent., while, in the same tribunal from 1648 to 1794 
there are a hundred out of a total of 1205, or about eight and one- 
third per cent.^ Occasionally they furnish the chief part of the 
business of a tribunal. In the Valencia auto of July 1, 1725, 
fifteen of the eighteen penitents were sorcerers and, in that of 
C6rdova, December 5, 1745, there were five out of eight.^ A 
record of the business of all the tribunals, from 1780 to the suppres- 
sion in 1820, furnishes a total of four hundred and sixty-nine 
cases of which a hundred and sixteen may be classed as maleficent 
and three hundred and fifty-three as merely superstitious.' 

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

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

' MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 20, T. I. — Archive hist, nacional, 
Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 1. 

2 Royal Library of Berlin, Qt. 9548.— Matute y Luquin, pp. 278-92. 

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 100. 

• Amador de los Rios (Revista de Espana, XVIII, 338-40). See also Men&dez 
y Pelayo, Heterodoxos Espanoles, I, 237. 

' P. Ricardo Cappa, La Inquisicion espafiola, p. 242 (Madrid, 1888). 

Father Cappa only enunciates the belief stiU taught by the Church. See S. 
Alph. Liguori, Theol. Moralis, Lib. iii, Dub. v, and Marc, Institutiones Morales 
Alphonsiams, I, 396-7 (Romse, 1893). 



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

This witch-madness was essentially a disease of the imagination, 
created and stimulated by the persecution of witchcraft. Where- 
ever the inquisitor or civil magistrate went to destroy it by fire, 
a harvest of witches sprang up around his footsteps. If some 
old crone repaid ill-treatment with a curse, and the cow of the 
offender chanced to die or his child to fall sick, she was marked 
as a witch; the judge had no difficulty in compelUng such confes- 
sion as he desired and in obtaining a goodly list of accomphces; 
everyone who had met with ill-luck hurried forward with his sus- 
picions and accusations. Every prosecution widened the circle, 
until nearly the whole population might become involved, to be 
followed by executions numbered, not by the score but by the 
hundred, in blind obedience to the scriptural injunction "Thou 
shalt not suffer a witch to live." All destructive elemental dis- 

( 206) 

Chap. IX] THE SABBAT 207 

turbances— droughts*or flood, tempests or hail-storms, famine or 
pestilence— were ascribed to witchcraft, and victims were sought, 
as though to offer propitiatory holocausts to the infernal gods or 
expiatory sacrifices to the Creator. 

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

The development of this myth would seem ascribable to the 
increasing rigor of persecution towards the end of the fourteenth 
century, when, as we have seen, the University of Paris formu- 
lated the theory that pact with Satan was inherent in all magic, 
leading judges, in their eager exploration of cases brought before 
them, to connect this assumed pact with an old belief of night- 
riders through the air, who swept along in gathering hosts. With 
the methods in use, the judge or the inquisitor would have little 
difficulty in finding what he sought. When once such a belief 
was disseminated by trials and executions, the accused would 
seek to escape endless torture by framing confessions in accordance 
with leading questions and thus a tolerably coherent, though some- 
times discordant, formula was developed, to which witches in every 
land were expected to conform. That this was a new develop- 
ment is shown by the demonologists of the fifteenth century — 
Nider and Jaquerius, Sprenger and Bernardo da Como — treating 
witches as a new sect, unknown before that age, and to this Inno- 
cent VIII impliedly gave the sanction of the Holy See in his well- 
known bull, Summis desider antes, in 1484. This rapidly growing 

' The earliest appearance of the Sabbat in inquisitorial records would seem to 
be in some trials, between 1330 and 1340 in Carcassonne and Toulouse, where it 
connects itself curiously with remnants of the Dualism of the Cathari. — Hansen, 
Zauberwahn, Inquisition und Hexenprozess im Mittelalter, p. 315 (Miinchen, 


belief in the power of witchcraft and the duty of its extermination 
were stimulated by nearly every pope for almost a hundred years — 
by Eugenius IV in 1437 and 1445, by CaUxtus III in 1457, by 
Pius II in 1459, and, after the special utterance of Innocent VIII, 
by Alexander VI in 1494, by Julius II, by Leo X in 1521, by 
Adrian VI, in 1523 and by Clement VII in 1524.' 

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

To appreciate the attitude of the Spanish Inquisition in this 
debate the origin of the myth must be understood. The flying 
by night of female sorcerers to places of assemblage was an ancient 
belief, entertained by Hindus, Jews and the classical nations. This 
was handed down through the middle ages, but was regarded by 
the Church as a relic of paganism to be suppressed. There was 
an utterance, not later than the ninth century, which denounced 
as an error, induced by the devil, the popular belief that wicked 
women ride through the air at night under the leadership of Diana 
and Herodias, wherefore priests everywhere were commanded to 

' Raynald. Annal., ann. 1437, n. 27; ann. 1457, n. 90; ann. 1459, n. 30.— RipoU, 
BuUar. Ord. Praedic. Ill, 193.— BuUar. Roman. I, 429.— Septimi Decretal, Lib. 
V, Tit. xii, cap. 1, 3, 6. — Bart. Spinaei de Strigibus, p. 14 (Romaj, 1576). 

Chap. IX] THE SABBAT 209 

disabuse the faithful and to teach that those who professed to take 
part in these nocturnal excursions were deluded by dreams inspired 
by the demon, so that he who believed in their reality entertained 
the faith of the devil and not that of God. This utterance was 
ascribed to an otherwise unknown Council of Anquira; it passed 
through all the collections of canons — Regino, Burchard and Ivo — 
found a place finally in the authoritative Decretum of Gratian, 
where it became known to canonists as the canon Episcopi.^ 

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

Spain, in the fifteenth century, lay somewhat out of the currents 
of European thought, and the new doctrine as to the Sabbat found 
only gradual acceptance there. Alfonso Tostado, Bishop of Avila, 
the most learned Spanish theologian of the time, in 1436, treats 
the Sabbat as a delusion caused by the inunction of drugs, but 
subsequently he argues away the can. Episcopi and says that the 
truth is proved by innumerable cases and by the judicial penalties 
inflicted.' Even so bigoted and credulous a writer as Alonso 
de Espina treats it as a delusion wrought by the demon to whom 

' Frag. Capitular, cap. 13 (Baluze, II, 365). — Reginon. de Eccles. Discip. ii, 
364. — Burchard. Decret. xi, i; xix, 5. — I von. Deoret., xi, 30. — Gratian. Decret. 
II, XXVI, V, 12. 

' S. Antonini Confessionale. — Angeli de Clavasio Summa Angelica, s. v. Inter- 
rogationes. — Bart, de Chaimis Interrogatorium, fol. 22 (Venetiis, 1480). 

' Hansen, Quellen und Untersuchungen, zur Geschichte des Hexenwahns und 
der Hexenverfolgung im Mittelalter, pp. 105-9 (Bonn, 1901). 
VOL. IV 14 


the witch has given herself and so does Cardinal Torquemada, in 
his Commentary on the Decretum.^ Martin de Aries, Canon of 
Pampeluna, speaks of the Broxce who flourished principally in 
the Basque provinces, north of the Pyrenees; the belief in them 
he treats as a false opinion and quotes the can. Episcopi as authori- 
tatively proving it to be a delusion. At the same time he admits 
that sorcerers can ligature married folk, can injure men and 
devastate their fields and harvests, which are works of the demon 
operating through them.^ Bernardo Basin, of Saragossa, who had 
studied in Paris, took a middle ground; the Council of Anquira 
is not authoritative, in some cases there may be illusions sent by 
the demon, in others the Sabbat is a reality.^ In 1494, the Reper- 
torium Inquisitorum recognizes the existence of witches, who were 
popularly known as Xorguinas; it quotes the essential portion 
of the can. Episcopi in answer to the question whether they are 
justiciable by the Inquisition, adding that such a belief is an illusion 
wrought by the demon but, although it-is folly, it is infidelity worse 
than paganism, and can be prosecuted as heresy.* The Inquisi- 
tion itself could have no doubt as to its powers; if the Sabbat was 
true, the witch was an apostate; if a delusion, she was a heretic 
and in either case subject to its jurisdiction. 

This reference to Xorguinas shows that witches were already 
well known in Spain, and we can assume from subsequent develop- 
ments that their principal seat was in the mountainous districts 
along the Pyrenees, penetrating perhaps from France and favored 
by the ignorance of the population, its sparseness and poverty.* 
The earliest case, however, that I have met of prosecution by the 
Inquisition was in 1498, when Gracia la Valle was burnt in Sara- 
gossa. This was followed in 1499 by the burning of Maria, wife 

' Fortalicium Fidei, Lib. v, Consid. x. — Hansen, op. cit., pp. 113-17. 

^ Martini de Aries, Tractatus de Superstitionibus, pp. 362-5, 413-15 (Franco- 
furti ad Moenam, 1581). 

Hansen (op. cU., p. 308) says that Martin of Aries is known only through this 
tract, of which the first edition is of 1517. Martin cites no authority later than 
John Nider, who died in 1438, and makes no allusion to the Inquisition, which 
he could scarce have failed to do had it been in existence when he wrote. His 
work may probably be assigned to the third quarter of the fifteenth century. 

' Bernardi Basin, Tract, de Magicis Artibus, Prop. ix. 

* Repert. Inquisitor, s. v. Xorguince. 

' Alonso de Spina, however (Joe. ai.), knows of no gatherings at the Sabbat 
nearer than Dauphiny and Gascony, and these he learned from paintings of them 
in the Inquisition at Toulouse, which had burnt many of those concerned. 



of Garcia Biesa and, in January 1500, by that of three women, 

Nanavina, Estefabrita and Marieta, wife of Aznar Perez. There 

was an interval then until 1512, when there were two victims, 

Martina Gen and Maria de Arbues. There was no other in Sara- 

gossa until 1522, when Sancha de Arbues suffered, and the last 

one in the record is Catahna de Joan Dfez, in 1535.' Persecution / /•- ' 

would seem to be more active in Biscay, for Llorente quotes from ftu-/^ y' 

a contemporary MS. a statement that in 1507 there were burnt ji^ ';,'•■ , <>■ 

there more than thirty witches, leading Martin de Aries y Andosilla '^ '">.'" ' ■" 

to write a learned treatise on the subject, printed in Paris in 1517.^ ^.i ^'"5 

It would seem that, in 1517, there was a persecution on foot in ;6'- ' ' 

Catalonia, for the Barcelona inquisitors were ordered to visit the 

mountainous districts, especially in the diocese of Urgel, to publish 

edicts against the witches and to prosecute them with all rigor.^ 

Doubtless there were other developments of which no trace has 

reached us, and there was every prospect that Spain would be the 

seat of an epidemic of witchcraft which, if fostered by persecution, 

would rival the devastation commencing throughout the rest of 


The time had scarce come for a change of policy, but there is 
a manifestation of a spirit of doubt and inquiry, very different 
from the unreasoning ferocity prevalent elsewhere. Arnaldo ' 

Albertino tells that, in 1521, at Saragossa, by command of Cardinal 
Adrian, he was called in consultation by the Suprema, over two 
cases, when he pronounced the Sabbat to be a delusion.^ Possibly 
one of these cases may have been the woman who, we have seen, 
was burnt at Saragossa in 1522, but the effect of such a discussion 
is visible, in this same year 1522, in an Edict of Grace addressed 
to the witches of Jaca and Ribagorza, granting them six months 
in which to come forward and confess their offences.^ Consider- 
ing that, about this time, Leo X and Adrian VI were vigorously 
promoting the massacre by wholesale of witches in the Lombardo- 
Venitian valleys, and resenting any interference with the operation 
of the inquisitors, such action on the part of the Suprema is of 
marked significance. 

' Libro Verde deAragon (RevistadeEspana, CVI, 573-6, 581-3). „ ,,^'. ,)^' ',*'■-■ 

2 Llorente, Afiales, I, 340; Hist, crit., cap. xxxvii, art. ii, n. 41. -(^ ^ "-^' ''J^,^,,^^'-' ''' '"'j,^^ i. 
' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 72, P. i, foL 120; P. 11, fol. 50. " /'l--^ lll^"* 

' Am. Albertini de agnoscendis Assertionibus, Q. xxiv, n. 13 (Romse, 1572, 
fol. 114). 
' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 73, fol. 215, 


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

The ten members of the congregation were all men of consider- 
ation and included the Licentiate Vald^s, in whom we may recog- 
nize the future inquisitor-general. On the first question, as to 
reality or delusion, the vote stood six to four in favor of reality, 
Vald^s being one of the minority and explaining that he regarded 
the proofs of the accusations as insufficient, and desired inquisitors 
to be instructed to make greater efforts at verification. The 
second question was of the highest importance. For ordinary- 
heresy, confession and repentance ensured exemption from the 
stake but, in the eagerness to punish witchcraft, when a witch 
confessed it was customary to abandon her, either formally or 
informally, to be punished by the secular authorities' for the crimes 
assumed to be proved against her — usually sucking the blood of 

1 MSS. of Bodleian Library, Arch Seld. 130. 

' For the inhuman methods employed to secure confession and conviction, on 
the flimsiest evidence, see the very instructive essay " The Fate of Dietrich Flade" 
by Professor George Burr (New York, 1891), reprinted from the Transactions of 
the American Historical Association, 


children or encompassing the death of adults. Obedience to the 
Scriptural injunction of not suffering a witch to live was general.' 
On this point there was wide variety of opinion, but the majority 
decided that, when culprits were admitted to reconciliation, they 
were not to be remitted to the secular judges, to be punished for 
homicides, for such homicides might be illusory, and there was no 
proof beyond their confessions; after they had completed the 
penance assigned to them, if the secular judges chose to try them 
for homicide, the Inquisition could not interfere. This decision 
was adopted in practice and, some years later, was cited in justi- 
fication of protecting convicted witches from the secular courts. 

On the third question, votes were too much divided for any 
definite result. On the fourth there was substantial affirmative 
agreement. On the fifth, five voted that confession sufficed, but 
Vald^s hmited its sufficiency to the minor inflictions of exile, 
vergiienza and scourging. With regard to the final question, as 
to remedial measures, it is worthy of remark that only three sug- 
gested greater activity and severity of the Inquisition; nearly all 
favored sending preachers to instruct and enhghten the ignorant 
population; two proposed reforming the regular clergy, and one 
the secular beneficed clergy; several thought well of building 
churches or monasteries on the spots where the Sabbats were 
held; one recommended an edict promising release from confisca- 
tion for those who would come forward within a specified time, and 
two voted that the Inquisition should give material aid to the 
poorer suspects, in order to relieve them from temptation. Valdes 
further presented detailed instructions for inquisitors, the most 
important of which were that the statements of witches implicating 
other parties were not to be accepted as satisfactory evidence, and 
that, when accused to the Inquisition, it should be ascertained 

' Mallei Malificar. P. i, Q. xiv; P. ii, Q. i, C. 3, 16. — Prieriat. de Strigimagarum 
Lib. Ill, cap. 3. 

The rule that the heretic or apostate who confessed and recanted was to be 
admitted to reconciliation was at the bottom of the anxiety of the secular magis- 
trates to maintain their jurisdiction over witchcraft, and the relations between 
them and the Inquisition were the subject of much debate. Am. Albertino argues 
that the Inquisition can make no distinction between witches who have and who 
have not committed murder; they must all be reconciled, but can again be accused 
of homicide before a competent judge; yet the inquisitor, to escape irregularity, 
must not transmit to the secular court the confessions and evidence, nor must he, 
in the sentences, mention these crimes, as that would be setting the judge on the 
track.— De agnosc. Assertionibus, Q. xxiv, n. 28, 66, 67, 68, 70, 72, 75. 


whether they had already been tortured by the secular judges.^ 
Halting as these deliberations may seem, they manifest gleams 
of wholesome scepticism and an honest desire to reach the truth, 
when elsewhere throughout Christendom such questions were 
regarded as beyond discussion. Yet for awhile the Suprema 
was not prepared to allow these opinions to influence action. In 
1527 there was an outbreak of witchcraft in Navarre, the treatment 
of which by Inquisitor Avellaneda he reports in a letter written, in 
response to an inquiry from Inigo de Velasco, Constable of Castile. 
Witchcraft, he declared, was the worst evil of the time; he had 
written to the king and twice to the Suprema urging a remedy, 
but neither at court nor on the spot was there any one who under- 
stood its cure. For six months he had been laboring in the moun- 
tains, where, by the help of God, he had discovered many witches. 
In a raid on the valley of Salazar he had captured a number and 
brought them to Pampeluna where, with the regent and members 
of the Royal Council and other doctors and lawyers, the whole 
subject was discussed; it was agreed that witches could be carried 
through the air to the Sabbat, and that they committed the crimes 
ascribed to them — principally, it would seem, on the strength of 
an experiment which he had tried with one of his prisoners. On 
a Friday at midnight he allowed her to anoint herself with the 
magic unguent which they used; she opened a window over- 
hanging a precipice, where a cat would be dashed to pieces, and 
invoked the demon who came and deposited her safely on the 
ground — to be recaptured on Monday with seven others, three 
leagues away. These were all executed, after which he prosecuted 
his researches and discovered three places of assemblage — one 
in the valley of Salazar, with two hundred and fifty members, of 
whom he had captured sixty, another with eighty members in 
another valley and a third near Roncesvalles with over two 
hundred. Fifty had been executed and he hoped, with the favor 
of God to despatch twenty more. He had discovered that which, 
if proper assistance were given to him, would redound to the great 
service of God and benefit to the Republic for, without God's 
mercy, the evil would grow and the life of no one would be safe. 
To gratify the curiosity of the constable, Avellaneda proceeded to 
give a detailed account of the wonders and wickedness of the 
Sabbat and the evils wrought by witches. In spite of all his 

' MSS. of Bodleian Library, Arch Seld. 130. — Archivo de Simancas, Inq.,Lib. 
78, fol. 216. 


efforts the demon urged them on to still greater crimes by showing 
them phantoms of those who had been executed, pretending that 
he had resuscitated them and would resuscitate all who might be 
put to death. This evil, he concludes, is general throughout the 
World. If the constable wishes to ascertain whether there are 
witches in his district, he has only to observe whether the grain 
is withered while in bloom, or the acorns fail in the mountains, or 
there are children smothered, for wherever these things occur, 
there are witches.^ Altogether, Avellaneda affords a typical illus- 
tration of the manner in which witchcraft was created and spread 
by the witch-finders. 

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

' Bibl. nacional, MSS., II, 88.— MSS. of Bodleian Library, Arch Seld. 130. 

This document may safely be assumed as the source from which Prudencio de 
Sandoval, himself Bishop of Pampeluna and historiographer of Charles V, drew 
his account of the persecution of 1527 (Hist, del Emp. Carlos V, Lib. xvi, § 15) 
copied by Llorente (Hist, crft., cap. xv, art. 1, n. 6-9). 

^ Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 76, fol. 51, 53. 

There seems to have been a somewhat earlier persecution of the witches of 
Biscay by Fray Juan de Zumarraga, a native of Durango. At the suggestion of 
Charles V, who greatly admired him, he was sent there for that purpose as com- 
missioner of the Inquisition, being specially qualified by his knowledge of the 
language. After discharging this duty with much ability, Charles, in 1528, sent 
him to Mexico as its first bishop. He took with him Fray Andres de Ohnos, 
who had been his assistant in Biscay. In 1548, at the age of 80 he died in the 
odor of sanctity and his death was miraculously known the same day over all 
Mexico.— Mendieta, Hist, ecles. Indiana, pp. 629, 636, 644 (Mexico, 1870) 


There is in this no injunction of prudence and caution, no require- 
ment that the cases are to be submitted for confirmation to the 
Calahorra tribunal; Carranza is provided with a fiscal and a 
notary, so that he can execute speedy justice and the Edict of 
Grace is replaced by an Edict of Faith. 

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

The practical position assumed by this time may be gathered 
from a letter of December 11, 1530, from the Suprema to the 
Royal Council of Navarre, when a fresh outbreak of the witch- 
craze had, as usual, brought dissension between the tribunal and 
the secular courts, for the latter refused to acknowledge the exclu- 
sive jurisdiction of the Inquisition, and complained of its delays 
and the leniency of its sentences, in comparison with the speedy 
and unsparing action demanded by popular clamor. The Suprema 
now, in reply to the complaints of the Royal Council against the 
Calahorra tribunal, replied that this matter of the witches was not 
new; on a previous occasion there had been the same altercation; 
some of the cases which had caused the most complaint had been 
brought to the court and had, by order of the emperor, been 
examined by learned men when, after much debate, it was ordered 
that the prisoners should be delivered to the inquisitors who, after 
examining them, should try those pertaining to their jurisdiction 
and surrender the others. There was much doubt felt as to the 
verification of the crimes alleged, and the Suprema deplored the 
executions by the secular courts, for the cases were not so clear 
as had been supposed. In view of all this, inquisitors were enjoined 
to use caution and moderation, for there is so much ambiguity 
in these cases that it seems impossible for human reason to reach 
the truth. When the same questions had arisen elsewhere, the 
Suprema had ordered the inquisitors to act with the greatest cir- 

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 939, fol. 108. 


cumspection, for these matters were most delicate and perilous, 
and some inexperienced judges had been deceived in treating them. 
The Suprema therefore deprecated a competencia; it entreated 
the Royal Council to hand all cases over to the tribunal, which 
would return those not subject to its jurisdiction, and the inquis- 
itors would be ordered to remove the censures and fines — which 
shows that the quarrel had been pushed to extremes.' There 
was equal determination in resisting the claims of the episcopal 
courts to jurisdiction. In 1531 the Saragossa tribunal complains 
of the intrusion of the Bishop of San Angelo, who had refused to 
surrender a prisoner and had invited the tribunal to join him in 
prosecuting witches in places under his jurisdiction. To him the 
Suprema accordingly wrote, asserting the exclusive cognizance 
of the Inquisition and requiring him to deliver to the tribunal any 
prisoners whom he had arrested.^ 

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

Notwithstanding all this, the Suprema pursued its course in 
restraining the cruel zeal of the tribunals. The craze was spreading 
in Catalonia, where it required the Barcelona tribunal to submit 
to it for confirmation all sentences in these cases. In 1537, it 
returned, July 11th, a number of sentences, with its decisions as to 
each, and instructions as to the future. The tribunal was chafing 
under the unaccustomed restriction, and the fiscal was scandalized 
at the solicitude displayed for the friendless wretches who, every- 
where but in Spain, were deprived of the most ordinary safeguards 
against injustice, but the imperturbable Suprema maintained its 

' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 76, fol. 369. 
' Ibidem, fol. 388. 

' Am. Albertini de agnosc. Assertionibus, Q. xxiv. — Alph. de Castro de justa 
hsereticor. Punitione, Lib. i, cap. xvi. 


temperate wisdom. The utmost care, it said, was to be exercised 
to verify all testimony and to avoid conviction when this was 
insufficient. Arrests had been made on the mere reputation of 
being witches, for which the inquisitors were reproved and told 
that they must arrest no one on such grounds, nor on the testimony 
of accomplices, nor must those who denied their guilt be condemned 
as negativos. When any one confessed to being present at the 
killing of children or damage to harvests, verification must be 
sought as to the death of the children at that time, and of what 
disease, and whether the crops had been injured. When such 
verification was made, arrests could follow and, if the character 
of the case and of the accused required it, torture could be 
employed.^ It will be noted how much more scrupulous was the 
care enjoined in these cases than in those of Moriscos and Judaizers, 
and the limitation on the use of torture is especially observable, 
as that was the universal resort in witchcraft throughout Europe. 
It was difficult to enforce these rules in Barcelona. The result 
of the visitation of Francisco Vaca was a long series of rebukes, 
in 1550, largely concerning the procedure in witch cases and event- 
ually leading to the dismissal of Inquisitor Sarmiento, although 
his offences were simply what was regarded, everywhere but in 
Spain, as the plain duty of those engaged in a direct contest with 
Satan, represented by his instrument the witch. Sarmiento is 
told that he made arrests without sufficient proofs and accepted 
the evidence taken by secular officials without verifying it, as 
required by the practice of the Inquisition, and, whereas the 
Suprema ordered certain precautions taken before concluding cases, 
he concluded them without doing so, and subjected parties to rec- 
onciliation and scourging that were not included in the sentence. 
Although the Suprema had ordered all sentences of relaxation to 
be submitted to it, he had relaxed seven persons as witches, in 
disregard of this, and when repeatedly commanded to present 
himself, he had never done so. Then the fiscal was taken to task 
because he had been present at the examination of witches, con- 
ducting the interrogation himself, putting leading questions, telling 
them what to confess and assuring them that this was not hke a 
secular court, where those who confessed were executed. In the 
case of Juana, daughter of Benedita de Burgosera, he told her that 
she was a witch, that her mother had made her a witch and had 

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 78, fol. 144. 


taken her to the Bach de Viterna, and he detailed to her the mur- 
ders committed by her mother. In witch cases he caused arrests 
without presenting clamosas or submitting evidence, but when he 
learned that a visitor was coming he fabricated and inserted them 
in the papers. In this the notary del secreto was his accomplice 
besides taking part in the examinations, bullying the accused and 
making them confess what was wanted by threats and suggestions. 
The alcaide of the prison had allowed one of the prisoners, who 
endeavored to save himself by accusing others, to enter the cells 
and persuade the prisoners to confess and not to revoke ; the alcaide 
had also urged the women to confess, telling them that they were 
guilty and promising them release if they would confess and, 
when taking back to his cell a man who had revoked his confes- 
sion, he so threatened the poor wretch that he returned and with- 
drew his revocation.^ Elsewhere than in Spain such methods of 
securing confession were the veriest commonplaces in witch trials. 
Meanwhile the chronic witchcraft troubles in Navarre had called 
forth, in 1538, a series of enlightened instructions to Inquisitor 
Valdeolitas, who was sent with a special commission. He was 
told to pay no attention to the popular demand that all witches 
should be burnt, but to exercise the utmost discretion, for it was 
a most delicate matter, in which deception was easy. He was not 
to confiscate but could impose fines to pay salaries. He was to 
explain to the more intelligent of the people that the destruction 
of harvests was due to the weather or to a visitation of God, for 
it happened where there were no witches, while the accusations 
of homicide required the most careful verification. The Malleus 
Maleficarum — ^that Bible of the witch-finder — was not to be be- 
lieved in everything, for the writer was liable to be deceived like 
every one else. The demands of the corregidores for the surrender 
of penitents, to be subsequently punished for their crimes, were 
not to be granted, under the decision of the congregation of 1526. 
Then, a year later, October 27, 1539, the Calahorra tribunal was 
notified that the Royal Council of Navarre had agreed to surrender 
thirty-four prisoners ; one of the inquisitors was to go to Pampeluna 
to examine the cases; those pertaining to the Inquisition were to 
be tried in strict conformity with the instructions and the rest were 
to be left with the civil authorities.'' 

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Sala 40, Lib. 4, fol. 191-5. 
' Ibidem, Lib. 78, fol. 215-17, 226, 258. 


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

With such a consensus of opinion as to the truth of the Sabbat, or 
Aquelarre as it came to be called (from a Biscayan word signifying 
"field of the goat") it is not surprising that the Suprema advanced 
slowly in designating it as an illusion, although practically its 
instructions assumed that no reliance was to be placed on the 
multitudinous testimony of its existence, of the foul horrors enacted 
there and of the presence there of other votaries of Satan. A 
curious case, occurring at a somewhat later period, may be alluded 
to here as showing the conclusion reached on the subject, and as 
throwing light on the auto-suggestion and hypnotic state which 
lay at the bottom of the Sabbat, although its connection is merely 
with the carnal indulgence that formed a prominent feature of the 
nocturnal assemblies. In 1584 Anastasia Soriana, aged 28, wife 
of a peasant, denounced herself to the Murcia tribunal for having 
long maintained carnal relations with a demon. The tribunal 

' Reprovacion de las Supersticiones, P. i, cap. ii, n. 6; P. ii, cap. i, n. 5-7. 

' De Cath. Institt., Tit. xxxvii, n. 6-12. 

On the other hand Azpilcueta adheres to the theory of illusion and asserts it 
to be a mortal sin to believe that witches are transported to the Sabbat. — Manuale 
Confessariorum, cap. xi, n. 38. 

Cardinal Toletus asserts the bodily transport ot witches and all the horrors 
of the Sabbat, but adds that sometimes it is imaginary. Demons have power 
to introduce witches into houses through closed doors, where they slay infants. — 
Summae Casuum Conscientiae, Lib. iv, cap. xv. 


wisely regarded the matter as an illusion and dismissed the case 
without action. Twelve years later, in 1596, she presented herself 
to the tribunal of Toledo, with the same self-accusation and again, 
after due deliberation, she was discharged, although in any other 
land it would have gone hard with her.' 

Meanwhile the Suprema continued the good work of protecting 
so-called witches from the cruelty of the secular courts and of 
restraining the intemperate zeal of its own tribunals. The craze, 
in 1551, had extended to Galicia, where at the time there was no 
Inquisition. Many arrests had been made and trials were in 
progress by the magistrates, when a c^dula of August 27th, evi- 
dently drawn up by the Suprema for the signature of Prince 
Philip, addressed to all officials, informed them that the matter of 
witchcraft was a very delicate one in which many judges had been 
deceived, wherefore, by the advice of the inquisitor-general, he 
ordered that all the testimony should be sent to the Suprema for 
its action, pending which the accused were to be kept under guard 
without proceeding further with their cases or with others of the 
same nature.^ Then, in September, 1555, the Suprema forwarded 
to the Logrono tribunal two memorials from some towns in Guipiiz- 
coa, with an expression of its sorrow that so many persons should 

' MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 20, T. I. — This case is not unexampled. 
In 1686, Sor Teresa G|,briel de Vargas, a Bernardine Recollect, charged herself 
with the same crime before the Madrid tribunal, but, as she added the denial of 
the power of God, she was reconciled for the heresy. — Archivo de Simancas, 
Inq., Lib. 1024, fol. 31. 

Even more significant is the case of Sor Rosa de San Joseph Barrios, a Clare 
of the convent of San Diego, Garachico, Canaries, a woman of 25 who, in July 
1773, in sacramental confession to Fray NiooUs Peraza, related how, through 
desire to gratify her lust, she had given herself to Satan, in a writing which dis- 
appeared from her hand, and at his command had renounced God and the Virgin 
and had treated the consecrated host and a crucifix with the foulest indignities. 
In reward for this during four years he had served her as an incubus, coming at 
her call about twice a month. Fray Peraza applied to the tribunal for a com- 
mission to absolve her which was granted and, on August 15t,h, he reported having 
done so, with fuller details as to her apostasy. The tribunal then decided that 
he had exceeded his powers; it evidently did not regard the case as hallucination 
for it required her to be formally reconciled and prescribed a course of Hfe-long 
spiritual penance, which she gratefully accepted. An incident not readily ex- 
plicable is that the bishop deprived Fray Peraza of the faculty of hearing con- 
fessions. — Birch, Catalogue of MSS. of the Inquisition in the Canary Islands, I, 
p. 21; II, pp. 922-30. 

^ Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 927, fol. 462. 


have been so suddenly arrested, for, from the testimony at hand 
and former experience, it thought that there was little basis for 
such action, and that wrong might be inflicted on many innocent 
persons. The evidence must be rigidly examined and, if it proved 
false, the prisoners must be discharged and the witnesses punished; 
if there was ground for prosecution, the trials might proceed, but 
the sentences must be submitted for confirmation and no more 
arrests be made without forwarding the testimony and awaiting 
orders. Six months later, in March, 1556, the Suprema concluded 
that the cases had not been substantiated ; more careful preHminary 
investigations were essential for, in so doubtful a matter, greater 
caution was needed than in other cases.' 

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

The alcaldes further sent a memorial to the king, setting forth 
their claims to jurisdiction for crimes other than heresy, protesting 
against the assumption of the inquisitors to be sole judges of what 
pertained to them, to inhibit proceedings in the interim, and to 
interfere with the death-penalty which the alcaldes might decree. 
The royal court also petitioned the king in the same sense, adding 

' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 79, fol. 226; Tnq. de Logroflo, Procesos de fe, 
Leg. 1, n. 8; Sala 40, Lib. 4, fol, 221. 


that the prisoners spoke a dialect unintelligible to the inquisitors 
and that, if the cases were transferred, the king would lose the 
confiscations, which promised to be large. All this proved vain. 
A letter of the Suprema to the tribunal, in 1576, informs it that 
the alcaldes had been ordered to surrender all the prisoners and 
the papers in the cases.* While this matter was in progress, a 
similar controversy arose about numerous witches in Santander, 
for a letter of January 10, 1576, instructs the Logrofio tribunal 
that it can proceed against them for anything savoring of heresy, 
requiring the secular judges meanwhile to suspend proceedings; 
the facts are to be carefully verified and everything is to be sub- 
mitted to the Suprema.^ 

The use made by the tribunals of the jurisdiction thus secured 
for them, under the cautions so sedulously inculcated, may be 
gathered from a case in the Toledo tribunal, in 1591, which further 
shows that witchcraft was not wholly confined to the mountainous 
districts of the east and north. The vicar of Alcald had arrested 
three women of Cazar, Catalina Matheo, Joana Izquierda, and 
Olalla Sobrina. During the previous four years there had been 
four or five deaths of children; among the villagers, the three 
women had the reputation of witches, and sixteen witnesses testi- 
fied to that effect. The vicar tortured them and obtained from 
Catalina a confession that, some four or five years before, Olalla 
asked her whether she would like to become a witch and have 
carnal intercourse with the demon. Then Joana one night invited 
her to her house where she found Olalla; the demon came in the 
shape of a goat, they danced together and after some details un- 
necessary to repeat, Olalla anointed the joints of her fingers and 
toes, they stripped themselves and flew through the air to a house 
which they entered by a window; placing somniferous herbs 
under the pillows of the parents, they choked to death a female 
infant, burning its back and breaking its arms. The noise aroused 
the parents and they flew with the goat back to Olalla's house. All 
this she ratified after due interval and repeated when confronted 
with Olalla, who had been tortured without confessing and who 
denied Catalina's story. As for Joana, she had likewise overcome 
the torture, but she had told the wife of the gaoler that one night 

' Archive de Simancas, Patronato Real, Leg. linico, fol. 86, 87; Inq., Lib. 83, 
fol. 7. 
' Ibidem, Lib, 83, fol, 1. 


some fifteen witches, male and female, had forcibly anointed her 
and carried her to a field where they danced, CataUna being one 
of the leaders and Olalla a follower. This she repeated to the 
vicar, adding stories of being present when the children were 
killed, but taking no part in it, after which she duly ratified the 
whole. At this stage the vicar transferred his prisoners to the 
tribunal. Catalina, at her first audience, begged mercy for the 
false witness which, through torture, she had borne against herself 
and the others. Sixteen witnesses testified to the deaths of the 
children, and she was sentenced to torture, when, before being 
stripped, her resolution gave way and she repeated. and ratified 
the confession made to the vicar. Joana asserted that her con- 
fession to the vicar had been made through fear of torture and she 
overcame torture without confessing, as Hkewise did Olalla. The 
outcome was that Catalina was sentenced to appear in an auto 
with the insignia of a witch, to abjure de levi, to be scourged with 
two hundred lashes, and to be recluded at the discretion of the 
tribunal. The other two were merely to appear in the auto and 
to abjure de levi, without further penance. This was not strictly 
logical, but anywhere else than in Spain, all three would have 
been tortured until they satisfied their judges, and would then have 
been burnt after denouncing numerous accomplices and starting 
a witchcraft panic. As it was, the Toledo tribunal had no more 
witchcraft cases up to the end of the record in 1610.' 

The tribunal of Barcelona was more rational in 1597. In a 
report to the Suprema of a visitation made by Inquisitor Diego 
Fernandez de Heredia, there occur the entries of Ana Ferrera, 
widow and Gilaberta, widow, both of Villafranca, accused by 
many witnesses of being reputed as witches and of killing many 
animals and infants, in revenge for little annoyances. Also, 
Francisco Cicar, of Bellney, near Villafranca, numerously accused 
as a wizard using incantations, telling where lost animals could 
be found, enchanting them so that wolves could not harm them, 
and killing the cattle of those who offended him. Here was the 
nucleus of a whole aquelarre for Villafranca, but all these cases are 
marked on the margin of the report as suspended, and nothing 
came of them.^ The Logrono tribunal also showed its good sense, 

MSS. of Library of University of Halle, Yc, 20, T. I.— Bibl. nacional, MSS., 
D, 111, fol. 127— See Appendix. 
^ Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Visitaa de Barcelona, Leg. 15, fol. 5. 

Chap. IX] THE LOGBOSO AUTO OF 1610 225 

in 1602, when a young woman of 25, named Francisca Buytran, 
of Alegria, accused herself in much detail, before Don Juan 
Ramirez, of witchcraft, including attendance at the aquelarre. 
She was brought before the tribunal, which dropped the whole 
matter as being destitute of truth; again the magistrates sent it 
back, asking that it be revived and prosecuted and, when this 
was refused, they scourged her in Alegria as an impostor who 
defamed her neighbors.' 

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

This was not the only retrograde step. For seventy-five years 
the Suprema had consistently repressed the ardor of persecution 
and had favored, without absolutely asserting, the theory of illu- 
sion, but its membership was constantly changing and it now 

^ Archivo de Simancas, Inq. de Logrofio, Leg. 1, Procesos de fe, n. 8. 
' Ibidem, Leg. 1, Procesos de fe, n. 8; Lib. 19, fol. 85. 

VOL. IV 15 


seems to have had a majority of blind believers. On August 3d 
it presented to PhiHp III a consulta relating, with profound grief, 
the conditions in the mountains of Navarre and the steps already- 
taken. Since then further reports showed that the demon was 
busier than ever in misleading these poor ignorant folk, and the 
evil had increased so that there now were more than twenty 
aquelarres to which they gather, and the evil was still spreading; 
the people were greatly afflicted with the damages endured, and 
parents who saw their children misled were so desperate that 
they wanted to put them to death. An Edict of Grace was pub- 
lished, but the demon so blinded them that few took advantage of 
it, and these speedily relapsed. The progress of the infection was 
such that the powerful hand of the king was absolutely required 
for its rigorous repression, and the popular ignorance was so 
dense that orders should be issued to the Archbishop of Burgos 
and the Bishops of Calahorra, Pampeluna and Tarazona, whose 
dioceses were concerned, and to the Provincials of the Religious 
Orders, to send pious and learned men to instruct the people, 
while the vigilance would not be lacking of the inquisitors, who 
would shrink from no labor.' The Suprema evidently regarded 
the emergency as most serious, calling for united effort to withstand 
the victorious onslaught of the demon. It had wholly forgotten 
the wholesome caution which it had inculcated so sedulously since 
1530 and there was imminent danger that Spain would be swept 
into the European current of witch-extermination. 

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

Thus far twenty-two aquelarres had been discovered, and 
the accused were so numerous that the special favor of heaven 
would be necessary to overcome the evil. Accompanying this 
was a letter to the king, enclosing two of the sentences con meritos, 

' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 19, fol. 85. 

Chap. IX] THE LOGBOSO AUTO OF 1610 227 

to enlighten him as to the ravages of the devil among his subjects. 
This sect of witches, they said, was of old date in the Pyrenees, 
and had of late spread over the whole region; the inquisitors were 
devoting their Hves to its suppression ; they were fighting the devil 
at close quarters, and they hoped to excite the royal zeal to lend 
the Inquisition efficient support. These letters bore the signature 
of Salazar as well as those of his colleagues.' 

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

Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 564, fol. 341 , 343. 


Maria Zozaya, whose terrible confession overshot the mark, as it 
showed her to be a dogmatizer. Even under this excitement the 
Inquisition maintained its rule not to execute those who confessed 
and repented; under any other jurisdiction the eighteen who were 
reconciled would have been burnt, and of these apparently only 
five were scourged/ 

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

' A narrative, not an official report, of this auto was printed in Logrono in 1611, 
a copy of which is in the Bibl. nacional, D, 118, p. 271. It was reprinted in 
Cddiz in 1812 and again in Madrid, in 1820, with notes by Moratin el hijo under 
the pseudonym of the Bachiller Gines de Posadilla (Menfindez y Pelayo, III, 281). 
There is another abstract of the auto, compiled from various relations by Pedro 
of Valencia, in the MSS. of the Bodleian Library, Arch Seld. A, Subt. 10. 

Pierre de Lancre of Bordeaux, in his contemporary book on witchcraft, assumes 
that the outbreak in Navarre was caused by the flight of witches from the Pays 
de Labour, which he and his colleague had purified with merciless severity. 
He comments on the difference shown, in the auto of Logrono, between inquisi- 
torial practice in Spain, where the offence was treated as spiritual and those who 
confessed and professed repentance were admitted to reconciliation, and that 
of France where it was a crime and those who confessed were burnt by the secular 
authorities. — Pierre de Lancre, Tableau de I'lnconstance des mauvais Angels 
et Demons, pp. 391, 561-2 (Paris, 1613). 

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq. de Logrofio, Leg. 1, Procesos de fe, u. 8. 


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

This virtual equalization of criminality in illusive and actual 
witchcraft was not hkely to be of benefit to so-called witches, 
but there was wisdom in the caution which Pedro urged on judges, 
to assure themselves of the reality of alleged crimes and not, 
through preconceived views, to so direct their interrogatories as 
to lead ignorant, foolish, crazy or demoniac persons, like the 


witnesses and the accused in these cases, to testify or to confess 
to extravagances, because they see that it is expected and hope to 
gain the favor of those holding the power of hfe or death. Similar 
stories were told of the early Christians and, in view of all this, 
and the utter legal insufficiency of the witnesses, the whole tissue 
of evidence and confessions vanishes into smoke. Amid all these 
deceits, the prudence of the judge should seek the true and the 
probable, rather than monstrous fictions for, if he desires to find 
the latter, he will be fully satisfied by the miserable lying women 
before him — disciples, by their own confession, of the father of 

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

He started, as we have seen, on May 22, 1611, with the Edict 
of Grace; his work was thoroughly conscientious and he did not 
return until January 10, 1612, after which he employed himseK, 
until March 24th, in drawing up his report to the Suprema, which 
was accompanied with the original papers, amounting to more 
than five thousand folios. It will be remembered that an Edict 
of Grace was published in 1610 with little or no result. In con- 
trast with this, showing the effect of a different spirit in its adminis- 
tration, Salazar received eighteen hundred and two apphcants, 
of whom thirteen hundred and eighty-four were children of from 
twelve to fourteen years of age and, besides these, there were 
eighty-one who revoked confessions previously made. All appli- 
cants for reconciliation made full confessions of misdeeds, after 
kindly warning of the obligation to tell the truth and the danger 

' This discourse was not printed but was circulated in MS. Nicholas Antonio 
had two copies (Bib. nova, II, 244). There is one in the Simancas archives, 
Lib. 939, fol. 608, and another in the Bodleian Library, Arch Seld. A, Subt. 10. 


of committing perjury, and were promised secrecy to relieve them 
of fear. The enormous mass of evidence thus collected Salazar 
carefully analyzed and presented under four heads— I, the manner 
in which witches go to the aquelarre, remain and return; II, the 
things they do and endure; III, the external proofs of these things; 
IV, the evidence resulting for the punishment of the guilty. The 
first two of these present a curious medley of marvels, such as 
holding aquelarres in the sea without being wet, and the testimony 
of three women that, after intercourse with the demon, in a few 
hours they gave birth to large toads; but we need not dwell on 
these feats of imaginative invention. The importance of the report 
lies in the last two sections. 

Many instances are given to prove the illusory character of 
cases in which the penitent truthfully believed what she confessed. 
Maria de Echaverria, aged 80, one of the relapsed, made copious 
confessions, with abundant tears and heart-felt grief, seeking to 
save her soul through the Inquisition. Without her consent, she 
said, she was every night — even the preceding one — carried to 
the aquelarre, awaking during the transit and returning awake. 
No one saw her in going and coming, even her daughter, a witch 
of the same aquelarre, sleeping in the same bed. All the frailes 
present at her confession had a long discussion with her and the 
conviction was unanimous that what this good woman said of her 
witchcraft was a dream. Catalina de Sastrearena declared that, 
while she was waiting to be reconciled, she was suddenly carried 
to the aquelarre, but her companions said that they were talking 
to her during the time when she claimed to be absent. The mother 
of Maria de Tamborin testified to the girl telling her of going to 
the aquelarre, so she maintained close watch on her and kept a 
hand on her but was unaware of her absence. Physical exami- 
nation, in several instances, showed that girls were virgins who 
had confessed to intercourse with demons. Many boys testified 
that, when Salazar went to San Esteban, there was a great aque- 
larre held, but his two secretaries happened that night to be on 
the spot indicated and they saw nothing. Thirty-six persons were 
examined as to the localities of nine aquelarres, but some said 
they did not know and others contradicted what they had con- 
fessed, so that none of the nine could be identified. As for the 
broths and unguents and powders so often described as used for 
flying to the aquelarres and working evil, nothing whatever could 
be learned. Twenty ollas had been brought forward during the 


visitation, but investigation showed them all to be frauds, for 
physicians and apothecaries used the materials on animals without 
producing the slightest injury. From all this Salazar concludes 
that the matters confessed were delusions of the demon, and the 
accusations against accomplices were likewise induced by the 
demon. No testimony could be had from those not accomplices 
and he holds it a great marvel that, in a thing reputed to be of so 
wide an extent, there should be no external evidence accessible.' 

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

As for the eighty-one who revoked their confessions, Salazar 
is sure that they did so to relieve their consciences. At first he 
refused to receive their revocations in compliance with the views 
of his colleagues, but he had subsequently orders from the Suprema 
to admit them. There would have been many more had it been 
generally understood ^that they could do so with safety; it was 
individual action on the part of each, for every care was taken 
not to let it be known who revoked, and some of them said that 
they must revoke if they had to burn for it, as they had wrong- 

' The most prolific source of evidence against individuals was that obtained by 
requiring those who confessed to enumerate the persons whom they had seen in 
the aquelarres. This explains the enormous numbers of the accused during 
epidemics of the witchcraft craze. The value of such evidence was a disputed 
question, as it was argued that the demon frequently caused deception by 
making spectres appear in the guise of absent persons. 


fully accused others. One especially distressing case was that 
of Marquita de Jaurri, an old woman who had been reconciled 
at Logroiio. She returned home with her conscience heavily 
burthened about those whom she had unjustly inculpated and, 
at her daughter's instance, she applied to her confessor. He 
ordered her to revoke her confession before Phelipe Diaz, the 
commissioner of Maeztu, but he rejected her with insult, telling 
her that she would have to be burnt for maliciously revoking 
what she had truthfully confessed, whereupon in a few days 
she drowned herself. It will be remembered (Vol. II, p. 582) 
that revocation of confession was held to prove impenitence, 
punishable by relaxation. 

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

In summing up the results of his experience Salazar declares 
that "Considering the above with all the Christian attention in 
my power, I have not found even indications from which to infer 
that a single act of witchcraft has really occurred, whether as to 
going to aquelarres, "being present at them, inflicting injuries. 


or other of the asserted facts. This enlightenment has greatly 
strengthened my former suspicions that the evidence of accom- 
plices, without external proof from other parties, is insufficient to 
justify even arrest. Moreover, my experience leads to the con- 
viction that, of those availing themselves of the Edict of Grace, 
three-quarters and more have accused themselves and their 
accomplices falsely. I further believe that they would freely 
come to the Inquisition to revoke their confessions, if they thought 
that they would be received kindly without punishment, for I 
fear that my efforts to induce this have not been properly made 
known, and I further fear that, in my absence, the commissioners 
whom, by your command, I have ordered to do the same, do not 
act with due fidelity, but, with increasing zeal are discovering 
every hour more witches and aquelarres, in the same way as 

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

Salazar's colleagues did not agree with him and attempted to 
answer his reasoning, but the Suprema was convinced. It followed 
his advice in imposing silence on the past, while the Court of 
Navarre continued to prosecute and punish the local officials whose 
superserviceable zeal had occasioned so much misery. A second 


visitation was made in 1613 and we find Salazar urging a third 
one to cover the remaining portion of the infected region, and 
pointing out the peace which reigned in the district that he had 
visited. His next step was to draw up a series of suggestions 
covering the policy of the Inquisition with regard to witchcraft, 
covering both amends for the past and future action. It would 
scarce seem that he would venture to do this without orders, but 
the paper purports to be volunteered in view of the urgent necessity 
of the matter. Be this as it may, the suggestions were the basis 
of an elaborate instruction, issued by the Suprema August 31, 
1614, which remained the permanent policy of the Inquisition. 
It adopted nearly every suggestion of Salazar's, often in his very 
words, and is an enduring monument to his calm good sense, 
which saved his country from the devastation of the witch-mad- 
ness then ravaging the rest of Europe. 

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

This is followed by a series of regulations pointing out in detail 
the external evidence which must be sought in every case, both 
as to attendance on the aquelarres and the murder of children, the 
kiUing of cattle, and the damage of harvests, and no one was to 
be arrested without strict observance of these precautions. There 
is careful abstention from denial of the powers attributed to witches, 
but the whole tenor is that of scepticism, and preachers were 
ordered to make the people understand that the destruction of 
harvests is sent for our sins, or is caused by the weather, and that 
it is a grievous error to imagine that such things and sickness, 
which are customary throughout the world, are caused by witches. 
The powers of commissioners were strictly limited to taking depo- 
sitions and ascertaining whether these could be verified by external 
evidence. When witnesses or accused came to make revoca- 
tions, whether before or after sentence, they were to be kindly 
received and permitted to discharge their consciences, free from 
the fear so commonly entertained, that they would be punished 
for revoking [as we have seen was the case in other crimes], and 
this was to be communicated to the commissioners, who were to 
forward all revocations received. Those who spontaneously de- 


nounced themselves were to be asked whether, in the day-time, 
they had persevered in the renunciation of God and adoration of 
the demon; if they admitted having done so, they were to be recon- 
ciled but, in view of the doubt and deceit surrounding the matter, 
this reconciliation was not to entail confiscation or liability to 
the penalties of relapse, the latter being discretional with the tribu- 
nal after consulting the Suprema, and further the Suprema was to 
be consulted before action taken against those confessing to relapse. 
Those who denied perseverance in apostasy were to be absolved 
ad cautelam and reconciled by commissioners, in the same way 
as foreign heretics applying for conversion. In view of the doubts 
and difficulties concerning witchcraft, no action was to be taken 
save by unanimous vote of all the inquisitors, followed by con- 
sultation with the Suprema. All pending cases were to be sus- 
pended, without disqualification for office. On all evidence, the 
violence or torture used in procuring it was to be noted, so that its 
credibility could be estimated; when a vote was taken, unless it 
was for suspension, the case was to be submitted to the Suprema. 
All cases were to be dropped of those dying during their pendency, 
without disability of their descendants. As regarded the auto de 
fe of 1610, the sanbenitos of those relaxed or reconciled were never 
to be hung in the churches, their property was not to be confiscated; 
an itemized statement of it and of the fines levied, with an account 
of the expenses, was to be submitted to the Suprema, and this 
was to be noted in the records of their cases, so that they should 
not be liable in case of relapse, nor should their descendants be 
disabled for office, nor should those be disqualified who had since 
then been penanced with abjuration. 

Having thus provided reparation for the past and caution for 
the future, the Suprema sought to protect reputed witches from 
the inordinate zeal of the local authorities and to vindicate its 
exclusive jurisdiction. The commissioners were to be summoned, 
one by one, and made to understand the grief and just resentment 
of the Holy OflSce at the violence of the alcaldes and others towards 
those reported to be witches. They were to publish this and let 
it be known that, as the High Court of Navarre had undertaken 
to punish these intermeddlers, it would be permitted to do so, but 
that in future the Inquisition would adopt rigorous measures to 
chastise all who intruded on its jurisdiction, as perturbers and 
impeders of the Holy Office. Confessors were instructed to require 
all who were guilty of defaming others to denounce themselves 


to the tribunal, for the discharge of their conscience and the resto- 
ration to honor of the injured, and priests were notified not to refuse 
the sacraments to those reputed as witches, while commissioners 
were warned to confine themselves to their instructions and to 
act with all moderation.' 

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

The virtual supervision assumed by the Suprema over all cases 
of witchcraft was exercised with a moderation which must have 

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq. de Logrono, Leg. 1, Procesos de fe, n. 8. 

In the Royal Library of Copenhagen (MS. 218b, p. 3791 there is a printed 
four-page set of instructions to commissioners on receiving confession and testi- 
mony as to witchcraft. It is in conformity with the above, but goes into much 
detail as to the interrogatories to be put, after carefully writing down the con- 
fession or deposition — a kind of cross-examination evideiitly suggestive of com- 
plete increduhty. It is without date, but the typography seems to be that of 
the seventeenth century. 

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 30, fol. 1. 


been greatly discouraging to believers. Under this impulsion, 
the tribunals became exceedingly lenient, frequently exercising 
the power left to them of suspending cases. One that is exceed- 
ingly significant occurred at Valladolid, in 1622. At the instance 
of her confessor, Casilda de Pabanes, a girl of 19, from Villamiel, 
near Burgos, presented herself and confessed that, at Christmas 
1615 (when she was 12 or 13 years old) she was sick in bed with 
a fever, and her parents had gone to mass, leaving the house locked 
up. Suddenly a neighbor, a widow named Marina Vela, appeared 
at her bed-side and, with threats of killing her, forced her to rise 
and dress and accompany her to a hermitage in the vicinage, 
where they found a tall, naked man, dark and with horns like a 
bull, who welcomed them and made them strip to their shifts, 
with an exchange of indecent kisses. Then they dressed and 
returned ; although the house doors were locked they entered, and 
she was again in bed before her parents came back. Then followed 
long details of other similar adventures, in which the presiding 
demon usually wore the form of a goat. He made her renounce 
God and wrote with her blood her name on a paper; she was pro- 
vided with an incubus demon whom she could summon by break- 
ing a stick ; with Marina she entered houses at night, killing children 
with powders or by sucking their fingers. There is no allusion 
to the aquelarre, but all other features of witchcraft are minutely 
detailed. By Marina's advice, she pretended to be possessed, and 
was taken to San Toribio de Liebara to be exorcised by Fray 
Gonzalo de San Millan, to whom she confessed. The inquisitors 
examined and cross-examined her closely, without her varying 
in her story; they sought, without success, for evidence of illusion 
or fantasy, but, on investigation it was found that she was really 
sick of a fever at Christmas, 1615, and that subsequently she 
seemed to tremble and be as one possessed. Confirmatory state- 
ments were procured from the f railes, and evidently in accordance 
with the instructions, all means were exhausted of testing her 
confession. In any other land this victim of hysteric auto-sug- 
gestion would have been, if not burnt, at least made an exhibition 
that would have spread the craze, but the tribunal, after carrying 
the case through the preliminary stages, voted to suspend it without 
rendering sentence and to reconcile and absolve her in the audience 
chamber without confiscation.^ The same policy was followed in 

' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 552, fol 1. 


the few other cases brought before the tribunal. Maria de Melgar 
of Osorno, who died during trial, was given Christian burial in 
1637; in 1640, it suspended the case of Maria Sanz of Trigueros, 
against whom there was testimony of witchcraft and, in 1641, it 
discharged with a reprimand Maria Alfonsa de la Torre, accused 
of killing cattle, although a witness swore to seeing her at midnight 
riding on a stick over a rye-field, with a noise as though accom- 
panied by a multitude of demons.^ 

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

It was difficult for the conservatives to abandon their cherished 
beliefs, and the can. Episcopi remained a bone of contention. 
Torreblanca has no inklings of doubt; to him the aquelarre and 
all its obscene horrors are a reality; the witch is to be burnt, not 
for illusions but for acts, as the Church has decreed in so many 
constitutions.^ His book was duly licensed by the Council of 
Castile in 1613, but some censor presented a learned criticism of 
it, calling especial attention to this point, citing the can. Episcopi 
and the experience of the Inquisition, and arguing that the feats 
attributed to witches transcended the powers of the demon. This 
was so effective that the licence was withdrawn. Then Torre- 
blanca produced a verbose and discursive "Defensa," in which 
he argued that the can. Episcopi was apocryphal; he showed 
that the Church had always punished such malefactors with death, 
so that either his critic or the Church must err, and the Church 
cannot, for it is illuminated by God.^ This was successful, his 
Hcence was restored in 1615 and his work saw the light in 1618. 
Jofreu in his notes on Ciruelo's " Reprovacion," defends the 
can. Episcopi, but finds in it three kinds of witches — those who 

* Archive de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 552, fol. 26, 28. 

' Epitome Delictorum, Lib. ii, cap. xxviii, xxxix, xl; Lib. iii, cap. xiii. 

' Ibidem, Defensa, p. 517; cap. ii, n. 4, 7. 


renounce God and seek the aid of the devil, those who are super- 
stitious and know that their illusions are the work of the evil 
spirit, and those who are deceived by them — and the witches of 
today are the same, whence he argues in favor of caution and 
a policy of clemency.^ Alberghini, about 1640, admits that the 
aquelarre is a phantasm, but he holds that none the less are witches 
apostates from God and devil-worshippers, and he seems to think 
it still an open question whether those who kill by sorcery are to 
be relaxed, even if they truly repent and are converted.^ About 
the same time, all that an old inquisitor will grant is that, even if 
there is illusion in the aquelarre, the witch ratifies all that is done 
there, when awake, dwelling on it with pleasure and anointing 
herself for the purpose, but he concedes that the deceits of the 
devil render necessary stronger evidence than in other crimes 
and that, as he represents in the aquelarre phantoms of innocent 
persons, the testimony of accomplices must be fortified with other 
proofs.^ Nearly the same ground was taken, in 1650, by Padre 
Diego Tello, S. J., as calificador in the case of an unlucky mono- 
maniac on trial by the Granada tribunal, whom he sought to prove 
responsible by showing that the witches who fly with Diana and 
Herodias, as in the can. Episcopi, had free-will, rendering them 
culpable for their commerce with the demon.^ Even as late as 
towards the close of the seventeenth century, a systematic writer 
holds it as certain that witches renounce the faith, adore the 
demon and enter into a pact with him and, if this can be proved 
by confession or witnesses, they are to be punished as heretics 
with the regular penalties.^ 

Yet the Inquisition imperturbably pursued its way. It did not 
deny the existence of witchcraft, or modify the penalties of the 
crime but, as we have seen, it practically rendered proof impossi- 
ble, thus discouraging formal accusations, while its prohibition of 
preliminary proceedings by its commissioners and by the local 
officials, secular and ecclesiastical, was effectual in preventing 
the outbreak of witchcraft epidemics. So far as the records before 
me show, cases became very few after the Logrono experience of 
1610. Scattering ones occur occasionally, such as those alluded 

'■ Reprovacion de las Superstioiones, pp. 251-63 (Ed. 1628). 
' Manuale Qualificatorum, cap. xviii, Sect 3, § 9. 
= Bibl. nacional, MSS., V, 377, cap. xiii, §§ 1, 2. 

* MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 17. 

* Elucidationes S. Officii, § 42 (Archivo de Alcald, Hacienda, Leg. 644', Lib. 4). 


to above but, in the Valladolid record from which they are derived, 
embracing in all six hundred and sixty-seven cases between 1622 
and 1662, there are but five of witchcraft, of which the latest is in 
1641.^ In Toledo, from 1648 to 1794, there is not a single one, 
nor is there one among the nine hundred and sixty-two cases in 
the sixty-four autos celebrated by allthe tribunals of Spain between 
1721 and 1727.^ It was not that popular belief was eradicated, for 
this is ineradicable and still exists among all nations, but its deadly 
effects were prevented. Some fragmentary papers show that, 
from 1728 to 1735, there was a tolerably active investigation, in 
Valencia and Castellon de la Plana, into cases of mingled sorcery 
and witchcraft. There was evidence as to the use of ointments 
by which persons could transport themselves through the air and 
pass through walls, and as to people being bewitched and rendered 
sick, showing that the superstition had as firm a hold as ever on 
the lower classes.' In 1765, at Callosa de Ensarria (Alicante) 
when some young children disappeared, it was attributed to Angela 
Piera who had the reputation of a witch, able to fly to Tortosa and 
back, and who was supposed to have killed them for her incan- 
tations.'' These scattering cases become rarer with time. In a 
r^^ord of all the operations of the Spanish tribunals, from 1780 
to 1820, there are but four. In 1781, Isabel Cascar of Malpica 
was accused as a witch to the tribunal of Saragossa. In 1791, 
at Barcelona, Maria Vidal y Decardo of Tamarit, a widow aged 45, 
accused herself of express pact with the demon, of carnal inter- 
course with him, of presence four times a week at the aquelarres, 
where she adored him as a God, and of having trampled on a 
consecrated host and flung it on a dung-hill — a case which forcibly 
recalls that of Casilda de Pabanes, in 1622, as an illustration of 
the hypnotic illusions which aided so greatly in the dissemination 
of the belief. The latest cases are two, occurring in 1815, of which 
details are lacking except that they were not brought to trial.^ 

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 552. 

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 1. — Royal Library of Berlin, 
Qt. 9548. 
'' Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 390. 

* Ibidem, Leg. 365, n. 45, fol. 34. 

* Ibidem, Leg. 100. 

It is asserted by some writers that a woman was burnt as a witch at Seville 
in 1780, but this is an erroneous reference to Maria de Dolores, relaxed there in 
1780 for Molinism (.supra, p. 89). 

VOL. IV 16 


Thus the belief, so persistently affirmed by the Church, con- 
tinued to exist among theologians. Even one so learned as Fray 
Maestro Alvarado, in 1813, when defending the Inquisition against 
the C6rtes of C^diz, told the deputies that Cervantes was better 
authority in favor of the belief than they were against it, and he 
instanced a recent case in Llerena, where two women in a church, 
and in sight of all the people, were carried through the air by 
demons.' Still, so long as the belief was academical and did not 
lead to the stake, it was comparatively harmless, and the Inquisi- 
tion deserves full credit for depriving it of its power for evil. 

In this, there is a remarkable coincidence between the Holy 
Offices of Spain and of Rome, although the latter was somewhat 
tardy in the good work. After the organization of the Congre- 
gation, in 1542, by Paul III., there was a considerable interval 
before it asserted exclusive jurisdiction over witchcraft. It is 
true that, in 1582, in the papal city of Avignon, it relaxed to the 
secular arm eighteen witches in a single sentence,^ but the next 
year, 1583, when the people of the Val Mesolcina found themselves 
ruined by the numerous witches among them, they applied for 
relief not to the Inquisition but to their archbishop, San Carlo 
Borromeo. After a preliminary investigation he came with a 
group of learned theologians and so worked on the consciences of 
the culprits that he won nearly all to repentance — more than a 
hundred and fifty are said to have confessed and abjured at one 
time. There were, however, twelve pertinacious ones, including 
the Provost of Roveredo; he was degraded from Orders and all 
were duly burnt — they of course being negativos who refused to 
admit their guilt.' The Inquisition, in fact, was willing to share 
its jurisdiction with the bishops, but not with the secular courts, 
with which, in 1588 and 1589 we find it in controversy. It con- 
tended that, as witchcraft infers apostasy, its cognizance is eccle- 
siastical, residing either in the bishop or the Inquisition, and further 
that, when a civil court has commenced a prosecution, the inquisi- 
tor has the right to inspect the proceedings and decide as to whether 
or not the case belongs to him. Various decisions and instructions 
from this time until 1603 indicate the line of action. The juris- 
diction is only spiritual, for the heresy and apostasy, and takes no 

' Cartas del Fil6sofo rancio, II, 493. 

' The sentence is printed by Frere Michaelis, at the end of his Pneumatologie 
(Paris, 1587). 
' Ragguaglio su la Sentenza di Morte in Salesburgo, p. 173 (Venezia, 1751). 


count of alleged murders or other crimes; the penalty is therefore 
merely penance, usually scourging, and inquisitors are told not 
to exile witches to places where they were not known, but to settle 
them where they could be kept under watch. That this leniency 
did not satisfy the people was shown at Gubbio, in 1633, where a 
woman undergoing the scourge was set upon by the populace and 
stoned to death. Nor was the Inquisition itself always consistent 
for, in 1641, the tribunal of Milan relaxed Anna Marfa Pamolea 
to the secular arm for witchcraft and homicide.' 

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

This scepticism increased and there was a desire to train the 
people to disbelief, as appears from a highly creditable act in 1631. 
The Inquisitor of Novara reported that his vicar in " Vallis Vigelli" 
had commenced proceedings for witchcraft against a woman, when 
she hanged herself in prison, and he asked instructions whether 
to continue the prosecution against the corpse or whether she had 
been strangled by the demon or other witches; also whether he 

' Collect. Decret. S. Congr. S'i Inquisit., p 333 (MS. -penes me). — Decret. S. 
Congr. S. Inquisit. pp. 385-88 (Bibl. del R. Archivio di Stato in Roma, Fondo 
Camerale, Congr. del S. Officio, Vol. 3). 

The inquisitor of Milan took no part in the trials of those accused of causing 
and spreading the terrible pestilence of 1630, by the use of unguents and powders 
furnished by the demon. His only act was to return a negative answer to the 
question whether it was licit to employ diabolic arts to save the city. The 
reckless prosecutions and savage punishments were wholly the work of the civil 
magistracy. — Processo originale degli Untori (Milaho, 1839). 

The pestilence did not extend to Spain, but the panic did, leading to the most 
extravagant precautions against all foreigners. — MSS. of Bodleian Library, Arch 
Seld. A, Subt. 11. 

' Decret. S. Congr. S. Inquis., uhi sup. 


should proceed against a girl and her accomplices who had con- 
fessed extra- judicially to have been at the Sabbat. In reply the 
Congregation ordered him to send the proceedings in the case of 
the suicide and also the deposition of the girl; meanwhile he was 
to remove the vicar and replace him with a proper person and 
take pains himself, by means of the parish priests, to instruct 
the people as to the fallacies of witchcraft. The same spirit was 
manifested, in 1641, when an affirmative answer was given to 
the Inquisitor of Mantua, who asked whether he should prosecute 
those who beat and insulted witches on the pretext of their being 
witches.^ The Congregation, however, did not place on the Index 
the Compendium Maleficarum of Fray Francesco Marfa Guaccio 
(2*^ Edition, Milan, 1626) which taught all the beliefs concerning 
witches and was adorned with wood cuts representing them as 
riding on demons through the air and worshipping Satan in the 

What renders the leniency of the Congregation especially remark- 
able is that it was in contravention of a decree of Gregory XV, in 
1623, sharpening the penalties of those entering into compacts 
with the demon ; if they caused death by sorcery they were to be 
relaxed to the secular arm, even for a first offence, while, for causing 
impotence, or infirmity, or injury to harvests or cattle, they were 
to be imprisoned for life.^ Without, of course, venturing formally 
to mitigate the harshness of these penalties, the Congregation 
could at least elude them practically, by interposing difficulties 
in the way of conviction, and this it did, in 1657, in a series of 
instructions to inquisitors. Full belief in the reality of witchcraft 
was assumed, but there was a hideous enumeration of the abuses 

' Decret. S. Congr. S. Inquis., ubi sup. 

' Gregor. PP. XV, Const. Omnipotentis Dei, 20 Mart. 1623 (Bullar. Roman., 
Ill, 498). 

Urban VIII was equally savage in 1631, in ordering relaxation for any one who 
should consult diviners or astrologers about the state of the Christian Republic, 
or the life of the pope or of any of his kindred to the third degree (Bullar. IV, 184). 

It was probably under this that the Inquisition, in 1634, relaxed Giacinto 
Centini and two of his accomplices and condemned four others to the galleys. 
He was nephew of the Cardinal of Ascoli, and procured from a diviner a forecast 
that Urban would die in a few years and would be succeeded by his uncle. To 
hasten accomplishment, figurines of wax were made representing Urban and were 
melted. Centini, as a noble, was beheaded and his two most guilty accomplices 
were hanged, before being burnt. — Royal Library of Munich, Cod. Ital. 29, fol, 


through which so many innocent women were condemned. The 
mode of procedure prescribed was based largely on the Spanish 
instructions of 1614, and special stress was laid upon moderation 
in the use of torture, which was never to be employed until all 
the papers in the case had been submitted to the Congregation 
and its assent had been obtained, while common fame was not to 
be considered an indication justifying arrest. The injunction 
of 1593, which prohibited accepting testimony as to those seen in 
the Sabbat, was renewed for the reason that these assemblages were 
mostly an illusion and justice did not demand prosecution of 
those recognized through illusion.^ 

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

Thus gradually the worst features of witch persecution dis- 
appeared in Italy, while yet belief in the reality of witchcraft was 
untouched. As late as 1743, Benedict XIV manifests complete 
acceptance of it, when discussing the nice question whether a witch, 
terrified by threats and blows, commits a fresh sin. by transferring 
to an ox the deadly spell which she has cast upon the son of the 
man who beat her. He concludes that she is guilty of a fresh sin, 
while the father is excusable, for he presumably does not know 
that she has to have recourse to the demon to effect the transfer, 
and his only object is to save his son. Moreover Benedict, in his 
great work on canonization, not only admits the common opinion 

• Instnictio pro formandis processibus in causis Strygum, cum Carenae Annota- 
tionibus (Carenas Tract, de Off. SS. Inquisit., Lugduni, 1669, pp. 487 sqq). 
Carena's comments show how differently these cases were treated in Italy from 
the practice beyond the Alps. 

See also Masini's rule forbidding action on the denunciation of those seen in 
the Sabbat. — Sacro Arsenale, Decima Parte, n. 141. 

^ Ristretto circa li Delitti piil frequenti nel S. Offizio, pp. 57-9 (MS. penes me). 


as to incubi and succubi, but he does not deny that in some way- 
such unions may result in offspring.^ In fact, the supreme 
authority of the modern CathoHc Church, St. Alphonso Liguori, 
repeats without disapproval the common opinion of the doctors, 
that witches are transported through the air and that the theory 
of illusion is very pernicious to the Church, as it relieves them 
from the punishment prescribed for them.^ 

Thus the two lands in Christendom, in which the Inquisition 
was thoroughly organized, escaped the worst horrors of the witch- 
craze. The service rendered, especially by the Spanish Holy 
Office, in arresting the development of the epidemics so constantly 
reappearing, can only be estimated by considering the ravages in 
other lands where Protestants, who had not the excuse of obedience 
to papal authority, were as ruthless as Catholics in the deadly 
work. Did space permit, it would be interesting to trace the 
development and decline of the madness throughout Europe, but 
it must suffice to allude to Nicholas Remy, a witch-judge in Lor- 
raine, who boasts that his work on the subject is based on about 
nine hundred cases executed within fifteen years,' and to the esti- 
mate that the total number in Germany, during the seventeenth 
century, was a hundred thousand.'' In these, burning alive was 
often considered an insufficient penalty, and the victims were 
torn with hot pincers or roasted over slow fires. France was less 
a prey to the delusion than Germany, but, in 1609, Henry IV 
sent a commission to cleanse the Pays de Labour of witches, which, 
in the hurried work of four months, burnt nearly a hundred, 
including several priests, and was obliged to leave its task uncom- 
pleted, for the land was full of them; two thousand children 
were transported to the aquellares almost every night and the 
assemblages consisted of a hundred thousand, though some of 
these were phantoms.^ For Great Britain the total estimate 

' Casus ConscientiEB Benedicti XIV, Dec. 1743, Cas. iii (Ferrariae, 1764, p. 155). 
— De Servorum Dei Beatificatione, Lib. iv, P. i, cap. 3, n. 3. 

' S. Alphonsi Liguori Theol. Moralis, Lib. in, n. 26. 

' Nic. Remigii DemonolatreiEE Libri Tres. Colon. Agrip. 1596. 

' G. Plitt Henke in Realencyclopadie, VI, 97, 

' Pierre de Lancre, Tableau de I'inconstance des mauvais Anges, pp. 114, 119 
(Paris, 1613). 

De Lancre was a learned conseiller of the Parlement of Bordeaux and his col- 
league on the commission was the President d' Espaignet. It is instructive to 


of victims is thirty thousand, of whom about a fourth may be 
credited to Scotland.^ When, in 1775, Sir AA'illiam Blackstone 
could deliberately write "To deny the possibility, nay, actual 
existence, of witchcraft and sorcery is at once flatly to contradict 
the revealed word of God .... and the thing itself is a truth to 
which every nation in the world hath in its turn borne testimony,"^ 
we cannot judge the Inquisition harshly for maintaining to the 
last its existence in theory, while refusing to reduce that theory to 

observe that while he was drawing up his terrific relation of the manner in which 
they had intensified the witchcraft craze, until the churches at night would be 
filled with children brought there by their mothers to prevent their being carried 
off to the aquellares (p. 193), Inquisitor Salazar, on the other side of the 
Pyrenees, was extinguishing it by simple rational treatment. 

' Rogers, Scotland, Social and Domestic, p. 302. (London, 1869). 

' Commentaries, IV, 60 (Oxford, 1775). 

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

Sefior Serrano y Sanz states that in 1900 he printed the first discourse of 
Pedro de Valencia in the Revista de Extremadura. 



Joseph de Maistre, in his profound ignorance of the Inqui- 
sition, started the theory that it was a mere political agency.' 
Apologists, like Hefele, Gams, Hergenrother and others, have 
eagerly elaborated this idea in order to relieve the Church from 
responsibility for its misdeeds, wholly overlooking the deeper dis- 
grace involved in the assumption that for three centuries the 
Holy See assented to such misuse of delegated papal authority, 
and stimulated it with appropriations from ecclesiastical revenues.^ 
They base their arguments on the difference between the Old and 
the New Inquisition — the former consisting of inquisitors selected 
by Dominican or Franciscan Provincials, and the latter organized 
with its inquisitor-general and supreme council, appointed by or 
with consent of the sovereign, so that its whole coi^s was virtually 
composed of state officials^ — forgetting that their authority con- 
sisted of apostolical faculties, delegated by the popes and exer- 
cised without restraint through their recognition by the State. 
Ranke falls into the same error and so do Maurenbrecher and 
some other Protestant historians, apparently in an overstrained 

' Lettres S, un Gentilhomme Russe, Let. i. — "L'Inquisition est un instrument 
purement royal; it est tout entier en la main du roi, et jamais il ne pent nuire que 
par la faute des ministres du prince." 

^ "Sie ist kein kirchliches, sondem ein Staats institut, theilweise mit kirch- 
hchen Formen." (Gams, Die Kirchengeschichte von Spanien, Buch xiii, Kap. 1, 
§ 3.) "Das neue Herrscherpaar. . . .gestaltete die Inquisition zu einem wichti- 
gen Staatsinstitut." (Hergenrother, Handbuch der Kirchengeschichte, II, 765. 
Freiburg, 1885). 

' Hefele, Der Cardinal Ximenes, xviir, p. 265 (Tiibingen, 1851). 

The most recent apologist, who assures us that the Church never used other 
than moral force, displays his accuracy by telling us that, in 1521, Leo X excom- 
municated Torquemada on account of his cruelty, against the protests of Charles 
V, and also that in England Henry VIII executed 70,000 victims and Queen 
Elizabeth 43,000. — G. Romain, L'Inquisition, son r61e rehgieux, politique et 
social, pp. 10, 11, 2e Edition, Paris, 1900. 
( 248) 


effort at impartiality and witliout investigation of the facts.^ In 
the Catholic reaction since the time of Hefele, the most advanced 
writers of that faith no longer seek to apologize for the Inquisition, 
and to put forward royal predominance to relieve it from respon- 
sibility. They rightly represent it as an ecclesiastical tribunal 
which discharged the duty of preserving the religious purity for 
which it was created.^ 

The synchronism of the development of the Inquisition and of 
absolutism in Spain renders seductive the theory that the one was 
the product of the other, but this is wholly fallacious. Nowhere 
in the transformation of the State does the Inquisition appear as 
a factor. Isabella, as we have seen, laid the foundations of mon- 
archism when she subdued the anarchy pervading Castile by 
the vigorous assertion and extension of the royal jurisdiction. 
Ferdinand eliminated some of the most troublesome elements 
of feudal power when he incorporated in the crown the masterships 
of the great Military Orders. The restiveness of the nobles under 
the unaccustomed restraint manifested itself when, in 1506, they 
flocked to Philip and Juana, had the Inquisition been a political 
force, Ferdinand would have used it, for Inquisitor-general Deza 
was devoted to him, in place of which he suspended it. After 
the death of Philip I, during the retirement of Juana and the 
absence of Ferdinand, the nobles attempted to reassert themselves 
but, when he returned, the severe punishment of the Marquis of 
Priego, the great Duke of Medina Sidonia, Don Pedro Giron and 
others, was a severe blow to feudalism, redoubled, after Ferdi- 
nand's death, when Ximenes as governor raised a standing army 
and crushed the rebellion of the Girons and their allies, punishing 
them with the destruction of the town of Villadefrades. What 
remained of feudalism disappeared under the steady policy of 
Charles V and Philip II, in keeping the great nobles aloof from 
the higher offices of state, and employing them in military service 
abroad or in vice-royalties, until they became mere courtiers, 
wasting their substance in adding to the splendor of the throne. 
In all this there is no trace of the Inquisition, nor is there in the 

' Ranke, Die Osmanen und die Spanische Monarchie, pp. 195-8 (Leipzig, 
1877). — Maurenbrecher, Geschichte der Katholischen Reformation, I, 45 (Nord- 
lingen, 1880). 

^ Rodrigo, Historia verdadera, I, 264; II, 87; III, 363.— Ortf y Lara, La Inqui- 
sicion, p. 2 (Madrid, 1877). — Cappa, S. J., La Inquisicion espanola, p. 28 (Madrid, 
1888).— Pastor, Geschichte der Papste, II, 684. 


rise and suppression of the Comunidades, which destroyed the 
privileges of the communes, and left the crown supreme. The 
comuneros had no grievance against the Inquisition, nor had it 
any share in their defeat and punishment, although Charles V 
applied to Leo X for special briefs empowering it to act and one 
was granted, commissioning Cardinal Adrian to try and punish 
ecclesiastics concerned in the movement.' Even when Acuna, 
Bishop of Zamora, was prosecuted, as we have seen, the Inqui- 
sition was not charged with the work, as Ranke mistakenly asserts. 
The revolt arose from the coercive measures applied by Charles 
to the Cortes of 1518 and 1520, by which he reduced to impotence 
the only representative and deliberative body of the nation. Thus 
the last obstacle to autocracy was swept away, and thenceforth 
royalty was supreme. The process was a normal development, 
such as accompanied the downfall of feudalism throughout Europe 
and, from first to last, it accomplished itself without aid or oppo- 
sition on the part of the Inquisition. 

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

' Llorente, Afiales, II, 209, 229. — Dormer, AiSales de Aragon, Lib. I, cap. 27 

' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 43, fol. 297. — Criticos Documentos que 
sirven como de segunda Parte al Proceso de Fr. Froilan Diaz, pp. 7-8 (Madrid, 

' Arcliivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 939, fol. 270. 

At the same time there is no doubt that contemporary statesmen, disposed 
to regard with cynical increduHty the fervor of Philip's fanaticism, were apt to 
look upon the Inquisition as an artful instrumentality to keep the people in sub- 
jection. See the remarks of Giovanni Sorauzo in Vol. I, p. 442. 


Yet the average statesman has few scruples in employing any 
agency at hand to effect his purposes, and to this the Spanish 
monarchs were no exception. When it suited them to use the 
Inquisition they did so but, in view of their control over it, their 
employment of it was singularly infrequent, prior to the advent 
of the Bourbon dynasty. In the Old Inquisition, with which 
writers like Hefele endeavor to establish a contrast in this 
matter, Philip the Fair used it to destroy the Templars, the 
Regent Bedford to burn Joan of Arc, and Alexander VI to rid 
himself of Savonarola — three cases to which no parallels exist in 
the annals of the Spanish Holy Office. The nearest approach to 
them is to be found in the trials of Carranza, Antonio Perez and 
Villanueva. In the first and last of these, as we have seen, 
inquisitors-general instituted action for their own purposes and the 
monarchs were brought in to their support. The case of Antonio 
P6rez will be discussed presently and need not be further referred 
to here. 

Still, a tribunal, whose undefined powers and secrecy of action 
fitted it so perfectly for use as a political agent, could scarce exist 
for centuries without occasionally being called upon, and the only 
legitimate source of surprise is that it was so rarely employed 
and that the objects for its intervention were usually so trivial. 
Ferdinand occasionally found it a convenience in settling questions 
outside of its regular functions, as when Marco Pellegrin appealed 
to him in a dispute with the authorities of his city and Ferdinand 
wrote, August 31, 1501, to the inquisitor of the place, charging 
him to examine the question and do justice, for which he gave him 
full royal power. So when, in 1500, complaints reached him from 
Valencia of injustice in the assessments for a servicio, he ordered 
the papers to be submitted to the inquisitor who was to report to 
him, and, in 1501, he called for a report from the inquisitor of 
L^rida as to the necessity of certain repairs to the castle.' When, 
in 1498, he was endeavoring to carry out in Aragon the reform of 
the Conventual Franciscans, which Ximenes had undertaken in 
Castile, and they had obtained papal briefs restraining him, he 
applied to the pope to revoke the letters and meanwhile obtained 
others from the nuncio, which he transmitted to the tribunal of 
Saragossa with instructions to act promptly. The inquisitors 
carried on the reform much to his satisfaction and, when the frailes 

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 1. 


got the public authorities to protect them, he instructed the inquisi- 
tors to represent that they were acting under apostolic authority, 
that there was no violation of the liberties of the kingdom, that 
they were salaried by the king, not only for the Inquisition but 
for whatever duties he might assign to them; they were therefore 
public officers and, if the Saragossa authorities should endeavor 
to create scandal, they would be duly punished. This distinction 
between inquisitorial and non-inquisitorial functions, however 
did not prevent him, when occasion required, from enforcing 
outside operations with inquisitorial authority. In 1502, when 
prosecuting, in the same way, the Franciscan reform in Sardinia 
and the Bishop of Ocafia, in virtue of a surreptitious papal letter, 
released from the castle of Fasar the Franciscan vicar, Ferdinand 
wrote with much indignation to him and to the governor of Cabo 
de Lugador; it was great audacity to intervene, in a matter con- 
cerning the Inquisition, without consulting him or the inquisitor- 
general; the prisoner must be recaptured forthwith and be held 
until the inquisitor and reformador apostolico comes.' 

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

There was evidently a purpose to use the Inquisition against 
the revolt of the Germania of Valencia, when a brief of October 11, 

' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 1; Lib. 2, fol. 4. 
^ Llorente, Hist, crit., cap. xxvii, art. iii. 


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

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

The most prominent instance of the employment of the Inquisi- 
tion in a matter of State was in the case of Antonio Perez. Its 
dramatic character attracted the attention of all Europe; the 
mystery underlying it has never been completely dispelled, and 

Danvila y Collado, La Germanfa de Valencia, pp. 178, 492. 
Llorente, Hist, crit., cap. xxvii, art. iv, n. 5-10. 


its resultant effect upon the institutions of Aragon invests it with 
an importance justifying examination in some detail. 

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

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

' Relazioni Venete, Serie I, T. V, p. 279. — Miscelanea de Zapata (Mem. hist, 
espafiol, XI, 244), 


nated him in the street on the night of March 31, 1578, and were 
rewarded with commissions in the army of Italy. 

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

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


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

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

Philip's wrath was boundless. His first impulse was to wreak 
vengeance on the helpless wife and children, who were thrown into 
prison, where they lay for nine years until after their persecutor 
had gone to his last account. Orders were at once despatched to 
seize the fugitive, dead or alive, before he should cross the Ebro, 
and so swift were the pursuers that they reached Calatayud, where 
he made his first halt, only ten hours after him. He threw him- 


self into the Dominican convent for asylum, while his faithful 
friend, Gil de Mesa, who had accompanied him, hurried forward 
to Saragossa and claimed for him the manifesiacion which secured 
for him the jurisdiction of the Justicia. Alonso Celdran, lieu- 
tenant of the governor, rushed to Calatayud and, after some diffi- 
culty, forcibly removed P^rez from the convent, but the veguero 
of the Justicia came with letters of manifestacion and obliged him 
to surrender his prey. Nobles and gentlemen flocked to Calatayud, 
and P^rez was conducted to Saragossa in a veritable triumphal 
procession, where he was received by the populace as though he 
were a king and was safely lodged in the cdrcel de los manifestados. 
Then commenced the curious spectacle of a duel to the death 
between the disgraced fugitive and the whole power of the greatest 
monarch of Christendom, giving us an enlarged respect for the 
fueros of Aragon to see that the monarch was helpless until he 
invoked the overriding powers of the Inquisition, under the pretext 
that his thirst for vengeance was a matter of faith. 

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

Perez had already drawn up a memorial replying to the charges, 

VOL. IV 17 


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

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

Inquisitor Medrano put the testimony in proper shape and for- 


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

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

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

The other section of the populace hastened to the Aljaferia 
and demanded the restoration of Perez and of his friend Francisco 
Majorini, who had been included in the prosecution and surrender. 
Don Pedro de Sese is said to have brought four hundred loads of 
wood with which to burn the castle in case of refusal, and the 
situation was menacing in the extreme. The Viceroy Bishop of 
Teruel came and urged the inquisitors to compliance. The Arch- 
bishop Bobadilla wrote three notes, in increasing desperation — 
his palace and that of the Justicia would be burnt that night if 


P6rez were not given up. For five hours the inquisitors resisted 
this pressure, but finally they yielded, though even then they 
safeguarded their authority with an order that Perez's place of 
confinement should be changed from the secret prison to that of 
the manifestados. At 5 p.m. the prisoners were delivered to the 
Counts of Aranda and Morata, with a protest that the trial would 
be continued. Perez was conveyed back in a coach to his former 
prison; the people could not see him and were not satisfied until 
the viceroy made him stand up and show himself, when they 
shouted that he must appear at a window thrice daily to prove 
that no wrong was done him in violation of their liberties and 

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

Work to this end was commenced at once in Madrid. Anton de 
Almunia, who had testified against P^rez, had fled thither with a 
tale of the threats uttered against him to force him to revoke his 
evidence. This was a crime against the Inquisition and Pedro 
Pacheco, Inquisitor of Aragon, was deputed to take his deposi- 
tion ; the investigation widened ; all the refugees from Aragon and 
enemies of P^rez were heard and it was shown that the instigators 
of the troubles aimed at transferring Aragon to France or to found 
a republic, and in this were implicated the Diputados of the king- 


dom, the jurados of Saragossa and the gentlemen who favored 
Perez, including the Duke of Villahermosa, who was the head of 
Aragonese nobility and the Count of Aranda, the richest and most 
powerful noble. Even Inquisitor Morejon, who had not been as 
zealous as his colleagues, was laid under suspicion. As a prepara- 
tion for the impending struggle, the Saragossa tribunal, under 
orders from Madrid, published, on June 29th, in all the churches, 
an edict embodying the savage bull Si de Protegendis of Pius V, 
concerning impeders of the Inquisition, in virtue of which all per- 
sons were called upon to aid it, not only in the matter of P(5rez 
but of all others. This created intense excitement; an armed mob 
assembled in the plaza of the cathedral and discussed whether they 
were included in the papal censures and if so what remedies should 
be tried to preserve their liberties, while multitudes sought their 
confessors and asked to be absolved from the ipso facto excom- 
munication incurred. The Diputados complained to the king and 
to Quiroga of this stirring up of trouble, when every effort was 
required to maintain quiet, but they only received from the king 
a reply thanking them for their zeal for peace. 

P6rez and his friends meanwhile were busy in provoking excite- 
ment by addresses and pasquinades in prose and verse, stigmatiz- 
ing their opponents and urging vigilance in defence of the fueros. 
He also petitioned the Zalmedina to investigate the methods by 
which Almenara and Medrano had gathered evidence against him, 
and the testimony thus obtained as to bribes, promises and threats 
had large influence on public opinion. When the results, however, 
were sent to Philip by the Diputados, he merely replied that he 
had not read them, for the whole was invalid because witnesses 
before the Inquisition could only be impugned in it; P^rez must 
be returned to the tribunal before anything else could have atten- 
tion. The papers however were carefully preserved, for the mere 
investigation was a grave offence against the Inquisition, which 
was subsequently charged against its authors. The Inquisition 
judged all men and was to be judged by none and, in the sacredness 
which shielded it, any attempt to examine its methods was a crime. 

As the summer drew to a close, the cooler-headed citizens 
became anxious for an accommodation. Conferences were held 
with jurists and it was recognized that the position was untenable, 
that P^rez must be surrendered and an understanding was reached 
with the inquisitors as to certain unimportant conditions which 
avoided the appearance of complete abandonment. The aspect 


of the populace, however, was threatening, and the nobles brought 
their retainers to the city to enforce order. Philip had no objection 
to the delays which enabled him to collect his forces at Agreda, 
on the Castilian border, and September 24th was named for the 
delivery of Perez as a solemn public act. He was fully alive to 
the danger and resolved on escape ; a file was furnished to him with 
which during three nights he worked at his window bars. A few 
hours more would have set him free when he was betrayed by 
his false friend Juan Basante, who still retained his confidence 
and was to share his flight. He was transferred to a stronger 
cell, where he was kept incomunicado, with a guard of thirty arque- 
busiers, watching him day and night. 

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

The friends of Perez had not been idle. The gentlemen who 
still adhered to him had brought their retainers to the city ; prop- 
agandism had been active and a majority of the arquebusiers 
declared themselves ready to die in defence of the fueros. The 
streets were filled with clamorous crowds; already during the 
march of the procession, stones had been thrown and now, under 
the leadership of Diego de Heredia and Gil de Mesa, the market- 
place was attacked on several sides. Some of the guards were 
slain, others fled and others joined the assailants. The plaza was 
strewn with some thirty dead and numerous wounded ; the gover- 
nor's horse was shot and he escaped to a house which was promptly 


set on fire ; the notables at the windows broke out a way to escape 
by the rear and hurried off amid the insults of the people. Inside 
the prison the officials saved themselves by flight over the roof, 
except a lieutenant of the Justicia who made Perez show himself 
at a window to calm the mob, which sent up shouts of joy and 
commenced to break in the doors, when he was delivered to them 
through a postern. He was carried in triumph to the house of 
Diego de Heredia and then Majorini was remembered. He was 
sent for ; the prison was found abandoned and he was set free. 

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

Aragon itself was lukewarm. The assembling of an army at 
Agreda under Alonso Vargas, a distinguished captain, with the 
pretext of an expedition to France, gave warning that revolt would 
be crushed with a heavy hand and both sides sought the support 
of the kingdom at large. In Saragossa the fuero prohibiting the 
introduction of foreign troops was invoked, and the new Justicia, 
Juan de Lanuza, was summoned by the Diputados to call the king- 
dom to arms to resist the contrafuero. He did so with a procla- 
mation, October 31st, ordering the towns and nobles to send their 
quotas to Saragossa on November 5th, but the course of affairs 
at Saragossa had been watched with disfavor. Jaca responded 
with protestations and not with men; Daroca sent thirty muske- 
teers; Bielsa, Puertolas and Gistain furnished two hundred men 
who turned back after reaching Barbastro. There were dis- 
turbances at Teruel which only resulted in the punishment sub- 
sequently inflicted on the leaders. The other towns united in a 
letter to the Justicia, declaring Philip to be the defender of the 
f ueros and those who resisted him to be the violators, and the same 


ground was taken by the nobles and gentry outside of Saragossa. 
Villahermosa and Aranda had remained in the city by Philip's 
orders, and were forced to serve on the council of war which was 
formed, but they were regarded with suspicion and were insulted 
and menaced. 

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

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

P^rez had been watching the wreck of his schemes of vengeance, 
and, not caring to share in the ruin that he had wrought,_he sought 
to save himself. Martin de Lanuza escorted him to a gate and 
had it opened for him and, on the 10th, two days before the arrival 


of Vargas, he took the road to Salient, on the French frontier. 
The next day Don Martin offered to the Diputados to die for the 
city if they proposed to defend it, but, as they did not, he suggested 
that the gates be opened and that all who desired be allowed to 
depart. This was done and, in the exodus that followed, he betook 
himself to the mountains in order to save P^rez. 

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

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

Vargas felt acutely his position in being thus forced to belie his 
promises of clemency, but he was a soldier, trained to obey orders. 
Lombay was indignant at the use made of him and asked to be 
relieved, a request promptly granted for the court had no further 
need of him. Vargas lost no time in executing the royal com- 
mands. The next morning, December 19th, at 11 o'clock, Lanuza 
was arrested as he and his lieutenant were on their way to mass, 
prior to opening their court. Villahermosa and Aranda were 
enticed to Vargas's quarters on a pretext; he detained them in 


friendly conversation until word was brought of Lanuza's arrest, 
when he dismissed them and they were arrested as they left him. 
In three hours they were placed in coaches, each with two captains 
charged not to lose sight of them. Four companies of horse and 
a thousand infantry guarded them to the border, after which two 
companies of foot conducted them, Villahermosa to the castle of 
Burgos and Aranda to the Mota of Medina del Campo. Both 
died in prison. 

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

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


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

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

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


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

On the day of the auto Philip was at Rioja, on his way to Tara- 
zona, where the Cortes which had been called had been sitting and 
had nearly finished its labors. As the Inquisition had still with- 
held its general pardon, he again insisted that it be put into shape 
and sent to him, in order that everything might be concluded 
before he reached Tarazona. Still unsatiated and procrasti- 
nating, the Suprema replied with the names of eleven persons, 
whom it characterized as principal leaders of the tumults and 
asked him to give such instructions as he pleased. He responded 
that he would delay answering till he reached Tarazona and could 
survey the aspect of matters there. Some days later he wrote 


asking that the propriety of issuing the pardon should be dis- 
cussed, as also the form which it should have. Thereupon the 
Suprema sent him a form, with a letter to the inquisitors which he 
could forward, at the same time stating that there were objections. 
The royal pardon was unconditional and took effect of itself, but 
the Inquisition was not so easily satisfied and required that all 
who availed themselves of its mercy should make personal appli- 
cation and submission. The papal decree Si de protegendis 
inflicted an ipso facto anathema on all who obstructed in any way 
the action of the Holy Office, and this censure had to be removed, 
wherefore the proposed formula required that all applicants for 
pardon should seek relief from the censures, those present within 
two months, and the absent within four, but the Suprema added 
that publication should be preceded by edicts against seven speci- 
fied persons and others notoriously guilty who could not be named 
without violating the secrecy of the Inquisition. Even this the 
Suprema felt to be too great a concession, and the next day it 
forwarded another consulta, saying that it had received from the 
Saragossa tribunal the names of some parties notoriously and 
deeply inculpated ; there was evidence of their guilt in the tribunal 
and it had commenced action against them with edicts. This 
was submitted to the king so that he could order the inquisitors 
to commence before publishing the pardon, in order that the 
parties might be excepted. Philip disregarded this last effort of 
the Inquisition to maintain its hold on those who had offended 
it. Without further correspondence he sent the pardon to Sara- 
gossa with orders for its publication, which was done with great 
solemnity, November 23d, when more than five hundred penitents 
presented themselves. 

Meanwhile the Cortes had been employed in modifying the 
institutions of Aragon to meet the wishes of the king. While 
resolved thus to take full advantage of the opportunity, he was 
shrewd enough to see that such a settlement to be enduring must 
be in conformity with the fueros. While his army still overawed 
the land he therefore convoked the C6rtes, which met at Tarazona, 
June 15, 1592. According to rule, he should have presided over 
it, but he desired not to enter Aragon until the trials and exe- 
cutions under Dr. Miguel Lanz should be completed, and, though 
he left Madrid May 30th, he took the circuitous route by way of 
Valladolid, and his leisurely journey was interrupted by attacks 
of gout. After some difficulty, the Cortes accepted the presidency 
of Archbishop Bobadilla, and modified the immemorial rule requir- 


ing unanimity in each of the four hrazos or chambers. The way 
being thus cleared, and still further smoothed by a lavish distri- 
bution of "graces," it was merely a work of time to obtain the 
adoption of a carefully devised series of fueros which, without 
changing the form of Aragonese institutions, removed the limita- 
tions on the royal power which had so long been the peculiar boast 
of the kingdom. The changes were too numerous for recapitu- 
lation here in full; some of them were beneficial in facilitating the 
punishment of crime, but the most important from the monarch's 
stand-point were those which established his right to appoint 
viceroys who were not Aragonese ; which placed in his hands the 
nomination and dismissal of the Justicia and the nomination of 
his lieutenants, with preponderance in the machinery for hearing 
complaints against the latter; which took from the Diputados the 
power of convoking the cities and citizens, which limited the amount 
that they could spend, and which transferred from them to the 
crown control over the rural police ; which prohibited raising the 
cry of "libertad" under penalties extending even to death; which 
provided punishment for offences against royal officials; which 
established extradition for crime between Castile and Aragon; 
which required the royal licence for the printing of books, and 
which deprived the lands of the nobles, secular and ecclesiastical, 
of the right of asylum for criminals. Thus the Justicia and his 
court, which had been the pride of the land, became in fact, if not 
in name a royal court; the Diputados, who had been the executive 
of the popular will, were deprived of all dangerous exercise of 
authority, the barriers against the encroachments of arbitrary 
power were removed, and all this had been accomplished through 
the representatives of the people, apparently of their own volition. 
When, early in December, Philip at Tarazona held the solio in 
which he confirmed the acts of the Cortes, he followed it with a 
general pardon, liberating all those prosecuted by Dr. Lanz, except 
the jurists and lieutenants of the Justicia, who had counselled 
resistance and who were punished with exile. Cosme Pariente, 
an unlucky poet, was sent to the galleys as the author of the pas- 
quinades which had stimulated revolt, and there was another 
significant exception. Philip's inextinguishable hatred of his 
favorite still kept in prison Juana Coello and her seven children, 
the youngest of whom was born in captivity. Thus they lan- 
guished for nine years until their gaoler had passed away. Philip 
III signalized the first year of his reign with pardoning those 
excepted in his father's edicts and, in April 1599, Juana was set 


free. She hesitated to leave her children, the eldest of whom was in 
her twentieth year, but she finally did so to labor for their release, 
which she accomplished in the following August. The friends of 
Perez sought to have him included in the royal mercy, but were told 
that his offence was a matter of the Inquisition with which the 
king could not interfere. 

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

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

In spite of this misadventure, Perez was warmly welcomed and 
was pensioned by Henry IV, as a personage of importance, a states- 
man versed in all the arts of Spanish diplomacy. The peace of 
Vervins, however, in 1598 reduced him to insignificance. Age 
and infirmities overtook him and his adventurous existence ter- 

' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 19, fol. 48. 


minated in misery, November 3, 1611, when he manifested every 
sign of fervent CathoUcism. After his death, Juana Coello- and 
his children undertook the vindication of his memory and solicited 
to be heard in his defence. It was not, however, until January 22, 
1613 that the Suprema presented to Philip III a consulta recom- 
mending that the widow and children should be heard by the 
Saragossa tribunal. Sentences rendered in absentia, as we have 
seen, were never regarded as conclusive, but the tribunal was 
unforgiving. It interposed delays and then, on March 16, 1615, 
it rendered an adverse judgement. This the Suprema refused to 
confirm and, after an obstinate resistance, the tribunal, on June 
19th was forced to utter a sentence absolving the memory and 
fame of Antonio P^rez, declaring the limpieza of his blood and 
pronouncing that his descendants were under no disabilities. 
Nothing, however, was said about removing the confiscation of 
his property, probably because this had been decreed both by 
the secular sentence of July 17, 1590 and by the inquisitorial one 
of October 20, 1592.' 

' Few episodes in Spanish history have been more exhaustively investigated 
than the career of Antonio P6rez and its consequences. Ample materials for 
its elucidation exist in the Spanish archives, in the Llorente collections preserved 
in the Bibliothfeque nationale of France, at The Hague and in the British Museum, 
and these have been industriously utilized by modem writers. The contemporary 
sources are — 

Las Obras y Relaciones de Antonio P^rez, Paris, 1654. 

Proceso criminel que se fulmin6 contra Antonio P6rez, Madrid, 1788. 

Argensola, Informacion de los sucesos del Reino de Aragon en los anos de 1590 
y 1591. Madrid, 1808. 

Coleccion de Documentos iniSditos, Vols. XII, XV, LVI. 

Giambattista Confalonieri, in Spicilegio Vaticano, Vol. I, P. ii, pp. 226 sqq. 

Tommaso Contarini, in Relazioni Venete, Serie I, T. V, p. 401. 

Cabrera, Historia de Felipe II, T. II, pp. 448, 540; T. Ill, pp. 529 sqq (Ed. 

Lanuza, Historias eclesiasticas y seculares de Aragon, T. II, Lib. ii, iii. (Zara- 
goza, 1622). 

The principal modern authorities are — 

Llorente, Historia crltica, cap. xxxv, xxxvi. 

Mignet, Antonio P^rez et Philippe II, Paris, 1854. 

Pidal, Historia de las Alteraciones de Aragon en el Reinado de Fehpe II, 
3 vols, Madrid, 1862-3. 

Muro, Vida de la Princesa de Eboli, Madrid, 1877. 

Philippson (Ein Ministerium unter PhiUpp II, Berlin, 1895) and Major Hume 
(Espanoles 6 Ingleses, Madrid, 1903) give interesting details as to the earlier 


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

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

Sporadic cases occurred in which special considerations called 
for the aid of the Inquisition, but they were not numerous and 
were apt to be directed against ecclesiastics, whose privilege 
exempted them from the secular courts. Such was that of the 
Jesuit, Juan de Mariana, distinguished in many ways, but es- 
pecially by his classical History of Spain. He had served the 
Inquisition well as a censor of books, but in his Tractatus septem, 
published anonymously at Cologne, in 1609, in an essay on the 
debased Spanish coinage, the freedom with which he reprobated 
its evils and spoke of the malfeasance of officials gave great offence 
to the royal favorite Lerma and his creatures. Had Mariana been 

' Relazioni Venete, Serie I, T. V, p. 485. 

The assertion of the co-operation of the Inquisition and the Royal Council, 
which were habitually antagonistic, shows how little the envoy knew of the inner 
working of Spanish administration. 

' MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 20, T. I. 

VOL. IV 18 


a layman there would have been no trouble in punishing him 
severely, but to reach the Jesuit Philip invoked the papal nuncio 
Caraffa and the Toledo tribunal took a hand. The whole pro- 
ceeding was irregular and the pope was asked to render sentence, 
but, after a year's imprisonment, Mariana was liberated, without 
an imputation on his character, and he died, in 1624, full of years 
and honor, at the age of 87." 

It is true that, when the Barcelona tribunal was battling to 
maintain its pretensions against the C6rtes of Catalonia, it repre- 
sented, in 1632, in a memorial of Philip IV, among its other claims 
to consideration, the secret services often rendered in obtaining 
information and in the arrest of powerful persons, which could 
not otherwise be so well accomplished. Its thorough organization, 
no doubt, occasionally enabled it to be of use in this manner, and 
there was no scruple in calling upon it for such work, as in 1666, 
when Don Pedro de Sossa, the farmer of the tax of millones, in 
Seville, absconded with a large sum of money and was understood 
to be making his way to France, the Suprema wrote to Barcelona 
and doubtless to other tribunals at the ports and frontier districts, 
with a description of his person and an order to arrest him and 
embargo his property.^ 

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

' Vida y Escritos del P. Juan de Mariana, pp. Ixix-lxxviii (Historia de Espafla, 
Valencia, 1783, T. I). — Alegambe, Scriptt. See. Jesu, p. 258. — De Backer, V, 

The " Tratado y Discurso sobre la Moneda de Vellon" of course was suppressed 
and became scarce. My copy is in MS., transcribed in 1799. 

Mariana did not conceal from himself the danger to be incurred. In his address 
to the Reader he says — " Bien veo que algunos me tendrian por atrevido, otros 
por inconsiderado, pues no advierto el riesgo que corro." 

' Archive de Simancas, Inq, de Barcelona, C6rtes, Leg. 17, fol. 9. — Libro XIII 
de Cartas, fol. 195 (MSS. of Am. Philos. Society). 

■'' Llorente, Hist, critica, cap. xxxviii, n. 17, 19. 


With the advent of the Bourbon dynasty there was a change. 
In the governmental theory of Louis XIV the Church was part of 
the State and subject to the dictation of the monarch. In the 
desperate struggle of the War of Succession, the advisers of the 
young PhiUp V had no hesitation in employing all the resources 
within reach and the Inquisition was expected to play its part. 
At an early period of the conflict, the Suprema sent orders to the 
tribunals to enjoin earnestly, on all their officials, fidehty to the 
king, who thus had the benefit of a well-distributed army of mis- 
sionaries in every quarter of the land.^ It was easy, as we have 
seen, for inquisitorial logic to stretch the elastic definition of heresy 
in any desired direction, and lack of loyalty to Philip was made to 
come within its boundaries. In an edict of October 9, 1706, the 
Suprema pointed out that Clement XI had threatened punishment 
for all priests who faltered in their devotion to the king, yet not- 
withstanding this there were some who in the confessional urged 
penitents to disobedience and relieved them from the obligation of 
their oath of allegiance. This was a manifest abuse of the sacra- 
ment and, as it was the duty of the Inquisition to maintain the 
purity of the faith and prevent the evil resulting from a doctrine so 
pernicious, all penitents so solicited were ordered, within nine 
days, to denounce their confessors, under pain of excommunica- 
tion and other discretional penalties.^ 

The Inquisition, during the war, was especially serviceable in 
dealing with ecclesiastics, who were beyond the reach of secular 
and military courts, and this in cases where there was no pretence 
of heresy. The events of 1706 — the capture and loss of Madrid 
by the Allies and the revolutions in Valencia and Catalonia- 
occasioned a number of trials for high treason. The Suprema 
was still in Burgos when Philip V informed Inquisitor-general 
Vidal Marin that he had ordered the arrest of Juan Fernando 
Frias, a cleric, who was to be delivered to the Inquisition at Bur- 
gos, to be tried for high treason, with all speed. The Suprema 
replied, August 13th, that it had placed Frias in safe custody, 
incomunicado; the inquisitor-general had commissioned the Prior 
of Santa Maria de Palacio of Logrono to serve on the tribunal, 
and there should be the least possible delay in the verification and 
punishment of the offence. It assured the king that he could 

' Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 10, n. 2, fol. 153. 
' Bibl. nacional, MSS., H, 177, fol. 251. 


rely on the promptest fulfilment of his wishes and of the vindicta 
publica, for the Apostolic jurisdiction of the Suprema extended to 
the infliction of the death-penalty/ In its loyal zeal it took no 
thought of irregularity. Indeed, the Suprema seems to have 
issued commissions to tribunals to act in such cases. In 1707, 
Isidro de Balmaseda, Inquisitor of Valencia, signs himself as 
"Inquisidor y Juez Apostdlico contra los eclesiasticos difidentes," 
in the case of Fray Peregrin Gueralt, lay-brother of the Servite 
convent of Quarto, whom the testimony showed to be an adherent 
of the Archduke Charles, industriously carrying intelligence to 
the Allies and, on his return, spreading false reports, to the dis- 
turbance of men's minds. In this trial the formality of a clamosa 
by the fiscal was omitted ; the inquisitors had the testimony taken 
and on receiving it ordered the arrest of Gueralt without submitting 
it to calificadores.^ 

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

Thus, as its original functions declined, a new career was opened. 
We have seen how its censorship was utilized to prevent the in- 
cursion of modern liberalism, and its procedure was similarly 
employed against individuals. With the outbreak of the French 
Revolution, its vigilance was directed especially against the prop- 
agation of the dangerous doctrines of popular Hberty, and any 
expression of sympathy with events beyond the Pyrenees was 
sufficient to justify prosecution. As early as 1790, Jacques 

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 56, fol. 605. 
' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 383. 
' Bibl. nacional, MSS., Mm, 130. 


Jorda, a Frenchman, was tried by the Barcelona tribunal for 
propositions antagonistic to the spiritual and temporal authorities, 
and prosecutions for such offences continued to be frequent. In 
1794, during the war with the French Republic, even so important 
a personage as Don Antonio Ricardo, general-in-chief of the army 
in Roussillon, was on trial by the tribunal of Madrid for utter- 
ances in sympathy with occurrences in France and, at the same 
time, his secretary, Don Josef del Borque, was undergoing a simi- 
lar experience in the Logrono tribunal.^ War carried on in such 
fashion could not fail to be disastrous. 

This prostitution of an ecclesiastical tribunal to temporal pur- 
poses was one of the reasons given by the Cortes of Cadiz for its 
abolition. Even its chief defender. Fray Maestro Alvarado, could 
not deny the accusation, but, he turned the tables by ascribing 
the fault to the Jansenists, to whom the orthodox attributed all 
the evils of the time. It was they, he argued who mingled religion 
and politics, and set the State above the Church.^ He did not live 
to see the refutation of his dialectics, when Ultramontanism 
triumphed in the Restoration, and the political functions of the 
Inquisition became still more prominent. In 1814, a copy of 
the treaty of July 30th with Louis XVIII was sent to the tribunals 
in order that they might enforce the clauses appertaining to them, 
and when, in 1815, the news of Napoleon's return from Elba was 
received. King Fernando, by an order of April 8th, included the 
tribunals of the Inquisition in the instructions given to the military 
and ecclesiastical authorities to keep watch on the frontier against 
surprises, and to guard in the interior against the artifices and 
seductions of the disaffected.' In fact, we may say, the chief 
work expected of the Inquisition was that of the haute police, for 
which its organization rendered it especially fitted. April 8, 1817 
we find it notified that the refugees, General Renovales and Colonel 
Peon, accomplices in the attempted rising of Juan Diaz Porlier in 
Galicia, were hovering on the Portuguese border. The tribunal 
of Santiago (Galicia) was therefore to put itself in communication 
with that of Coimbra, it was to devise means for their capture and, 
through its commissioners and familiars, find out what was on 
foot, for the security of the throne and of the altar required of the 

' Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 100. 
' Cartas del Filosofo rancio, II, 496. 
' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 559. 


Holy OfRce extreme vigilance under existing circumstances. The 
inquisitor-general forwarded this to Galicia with orders to execute 
it "at once, at once, at once" and, not content with this, instruc- 
tions were sent to the tribunals of Murcia, Cordova, Saragossa and 
Barcelona, all of which responded with promises of the utmost 
activity and of watchfulness over reactionaries/ So, in 1818 the 
Logrono tribunal reported that its commissioner at Hemani 
(Guipiizcoa) reported that he had heard a person utter the prop- 
osition "La nacion es soberana." To this the Suprema replied 
that this was a matter of high importance and might lead to great 
results. Llano must make a formal denunciation with all details; 
also he must declare why he suspected Don Joseph Joaquin de 
Mariategui, and how he knows of his journey to France and Eng- 
land and his relations with the refugees there — all of which must 
be done with the utmost caution and speed and the results be 

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

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

From a very early period this was regarded with great jealousy. 
From the twelfth century onward, the Cortes of Leon and Castile, 
in their petitions, constantly asked that the prohibition should 
be enforced and, at those of Burgos in 1338, Alfonso XI decreed 
death and confiscation for it, even if the offenders were hidalgos, 
a ferocious provision which was renewed by Ferdinand and Isa- 
bella in 1499.^ Aragon, which lay between Castile and France, 
suffered from this embargo. The Cortes of Monzon, in 1528, 
petitioned Charles V for the pardon of certain citizens who had 

' MS. penes me. ' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 559. 

' Relacion historica de la Juderia de SeviUa, p. 49 (Sevilla, 1849). 

' Cortes de Leon y de Castilla, I, 450. — Nueva Recop., Lib. vi, Tit. xviii, ley 12. 


drawn horses from Castile and were condemned to death and 
other penalties, to which Charles replied that he would not pardon 
those who had carried horses to France; as for those who had 
merely taken them to Aragon, if they could be pointed out, he 
would grant them pardon. Another complaint of the Cortes 
indicates the rigid methods adopted to prevent evasions. If an 
Aragonese went to Castile on business, he was allowed to remain 
ninety days; if he exceeded the limit, on his return his horse was 
seized at the frontier, even though at the same place by which 
he had entered.* Severe as were these measures, they were 
ineffective. Contraband trade of all kinds flourished in the wild 
mountain districts along the French frontier, and the prohibition 
respecting a beast of burden, which transported itself, was notori- 
ously difficult of enforcement. 

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

This was first confided, in 1573, to the tribunal of Saragossa, 

' Donner, Anales de Aragon, Lib. ii, cap. xli. 

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 79, fol. 75. 

' Fueros y Observancias del Reyno de Aragon, fol. 215. Cf. fol. 194 (Zara- 
goza, 1624). 

* Lib. V in Sexto, Tit. vi, cap. 6. — Digard, Registres de Boniface VIII, n. 
3354.— Bullar. Roman. I, 507, 718; II, 496. 


by a commission empowering it to act in the premises. It accord- 
ingly inserted in the Edict of Faith a clause requiring the denun- 
ciation of all who sold arms or horses to infidels, heretics, or 
Lutherans, or who passed, or assisted to pass, them to Lutheran 
lands. This brought in numerous denunciations but, as there 
were no means of knowing what became of the horses after they 
passed the border, the tribunal was powerless to prosecute and 
so reported to the Suprema. It replied, August 25, 1573, that 
further provision was necessary; assuming that B4arn was inhab- 
ited by heretics under heretic rulers, the tribunal could proceed 
against and punish, as fautors of heretics, those who bought or 
sold or passed horses to Beam, even when it did not appear that 
they had been sold to heretics, and it was urged to be active in the 
matter. The edict was therefore modified to include, as fautors 
of heretics, all concerned in passing horses to Beam; it was sent, 
with a secretary, to all the principal fairs where horses were sold, 
to be published in the chm'ch, with notice that the commissioner 
would receive any one who desired to unburden his conscience. 
Exportation was forbidden, unless the owner was known and 
would give security that the horses were not to be taken to Beam, 
or else would present himself with his horses before the inquisi- 
tors within a designated time, so that note could be taken of the 
animals and an account be required as to their destination. 
Another device, which proved effective, was to register all the 
horses at the fairs, with descriptions and the names of the owners, 
who were required to keep an account of all sales and purchasers. 
This however, applied only to natives; as for Frenchmen and 
Bearnais, any horses that they had were seized without ceremony; 
if the owner was a Frenchman, the horses would be kept, awaiting 
instructions from the Suprema; if a Bearnais, he was seized with 
his horses and prosecuted, as being included in the Edict. Span- 
iards found with horses going towards France or Beam, were 
treated like Frenchmen — the horses were sold to pay expenses and, 
if any balance was left, it was handed to the receiver. Pains, 
moreover were taken to find who made a trade of passing horses 
to France; they were arrested on some pretext and thrown into 
prison; if evidence were found against them, they were prose- 
cuted ; if not, after detention they were released under bail, because, 
as the inquisitors said, there was no penalty expressed in the 
Edict or in the laws of the kingdom. In view of the risk that the 
parties might apply for a firma or manifestacion, the Suprema 


was asked for further instructions, when it replied, July 1, 1574, 
that the prosecutions were to be conducted as in cases of heresy, 
the accused be required to give their genealogies and then, if 
recourse was had to manifestacion, it was to be met with an asser- 
tion that the case was a matter of faith. Yet the fraudulent 
character of this assumption is revealed in the admission that the 
secular magistrates could prosecute for the offence.' 

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

It will be observed that the Saragossa tribunal pointed out that 
there was no penalty defined by law for the offence. This omission 
was rectified in the Cortes of Tarazona, in 1592, which deprived 
of what was known as the via privilegiata a long list of crimes, 
including that of passing horses and munitions of war to Beam 
and France, with the addition that it could be punished with the 

A decision of the Suprema, rendered to the Barcelona tribunal 
in 1582, was to the effect that, if horses were taken to France, it 
must be ascertained whether they were for heretics in order to 
justify prosecution by the Inquisition, but, if to Beam, that alone 
sufficed.* In time this nice distinction was abandoned, although 
the fiction was maintained that it was a matter of faith. About 
1640, an inquisitor informs us that it was customary to punish 
those who exported horses or warlike material to France, even 
though there were no evidence that they were for heretics, for the 

' ArcHvo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 2, n. 16, fol. 272.— Archive de 
Simancas, Inq., Lib. 82, foL 130; Lib. 939, fol. 115. 
' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 83, fol. 26. 
' Argensola, op. cit., p. 199. , - , o 

* Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Visitas de Barcelona, Leg. 15, fol. 8. 


act was very prejudicial. The accused was generally confined 
in the secret prison, the trial was conducted as one of faith, and 
was voted upon in a regular consulta de f e, including the episcopal 
Ordinary. Unless the case was light, the culprit appeared in a 
public auto. If he belonged to the lower classes, he was sometimes 
scourged ; if of higher estate, he suffered exile and a fine, together 
with forfeiture of the horse or, if it had been passed successfully, 
he paid double its value. In the case of a Benedictine abbot, who 
had passed one or two horses to France, the Suprema fined him in 
six hundred ducats and suspended him from his functions for a 
year. Sometimes the sentence included disability for pubhc 
office for both the culprit and his descendants.' 

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

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

' Bibl. nacional, MSS., V, 377, cap. xxv, xxvi. 

' Bibl. nationals de Prance, fends espagnol, T. 85, fol. 7. 

" Libro XIII de Cartas (MSS. of Am. Philos. Society). 

Chap. X] COINAGE 283 

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

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

' MSS. of the Royal Library of Copenhagen, 218b, p. 259.— Novfs. Recop., 
Lib. IX, Tit. xii, ley 11. 



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

Another contest, of which we shall see the results, was waged 
over the writings of Cardinal Henry Noris, in which the Jesuits 
suffered defeat. He was also an Augustinian and professor of 
ecclesiastical history at Pisa, who busied himself in vindicating 
the doctrines of St. Augustin. Two of his works, the Historia 
Pelagiana and the Dissertatio de Quinta Synodo (Ecumenica, were 
accused, before publication, of Baianism and Jansenism; the MSS. 

' Urbani PP. VIII Bull. In eminenti, 6 Mart. 1641.— Innocent PP. X. BuU. 
Cum occasione, 31 Mali, 1653 (Bullar. V, 369, 486). 

A precursor of Jansen was Michel de Bay or Baius, a theologian of Louvain, 
whose seventy-nine propositions were condemned by Pius V and Gregory XIII 
and were publicly abjured by him before the University, May 24, 1580. His 
name does not occur in the Spanish Indexes before that of 1632, (p. 761) where 
he is spoken of as a man of high reputation who abandoned his errors. 


were ordered to Rome and were carefully examined by revisers, 
who pronounced them orthodox and licence to print was granted. 
When published, interpolations in the press were charged and 
disproved. Noris was called to Rome as chief of the Vatican 
Library by Innocent XI and, as this was regarded as a step to the 
cardinalate, fresh accusations of Jansenism were brought against 
him. His promotion was deferred; eight theologians were set 
to work upon his books; their favorable report was confirmed 
by the Congregation of the Inquisition, and Innocent appointed 
him one of its consultors. Attacks on him continued, which he 
answered in five dissertations, printed in 1685, when Innocent 
gave him a cardinal's hat and made him member of several im- 
portant congregations, including that of the Inquisition, in which 
he served with distinction, until his death in 1704.* 

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

While Jansenism thus was denounced as a heresy, it really 
was concerned much less with faith than with discipline and 
morals, and every one hostile to ProbabiHsm, Jesuitism and 
Ultramontanism was stigmatized as a Jansenist. Louis XIV 
and Madame de Maintenon, who had persecuted the original 
JanseiGsts, were of the sect, because of their enforcement of the 

* Letter of Benedict XIV to Inquisitor-general Prado y Cuesta (Semandrio 
erudito, XXX, 53). 

286 JANSENISM [Book Vm 

royal prerogative; Bossuet was suspected of Jansenism for his 
defence of the Declaration of the Galilean clergy, in 1682, against 
the Ultramontane doctrines of the papal power; Cardinal Aguirre 
was a Jansenist, because he opposed the laxity of Probabilism, 
and so was even the Jesuit General, Tirso Gonzdlez, because he 
wrote a book to prove that the Jesuits were not all laxists. When, 
under the protection of Leopold, Grand-duke of Tuscany, Bishop 
Scipione de'Ricci, in his Council of Pistoja, in 1786, sought, 
without papal authority, to effect an internal reformation of his 
Church, he was a Jansenist and, after his protector had been 
transferred to the imperial throne, Pius VI, in 1794, had the 
satisfaction of condemning, in the bull Auctorem fidd, no less than 
eighty-five errors of the Council, mostly Jansenistic. In France 
the clergy were, for the most part, attached to Gallicanism and 
were largely rigorist, so practically Jansenism flourished and made 
itself felt in such measures as the expulsion of the Jesuits. The 
ex-Jesuit Bolgeni took his revenge by writing a book to prove 
that the Jacobinism of the Revolution was merely Jansenism in 
action. In fact, the Civil Constitution of the Clergy of 1790 was 
clearly Jansenistic because, without meddling with dogma, it 
embodied the democratic development of Gallicanism. 

Spain paid little attention to the theological controversy over 
Jansen, though his works and those of his followers were duly 
condemned by the Inquisition.* It is a curious illustration of this 
indifference that when the great bibliographer, Nicolds Antonio, 
in defending Prudentius against the attack of Hincmar of Reims, 
pronounced as good Catholic doctrine the assertion of Prudentius 
that the blood of Christ was shed only for believers and not for 
imbelievers, this, which is virtually the same as the fifth of the 
condemned propositions of Jansen, escaped attention. The book 
was printed in Rome at the expense of Cardinal Aguirre; the 
Spanish Inquisition took no note of it in the Indexes of 1707 and 
1747 and the passage is retained in the edition of 1788, produced 
under the auspices of Carlos III.^ Yet Spain could not keep 
wholly out of the quarrel, for its Flemish provinces were a hot-bed 
of Jansenism which could not be eradicated from the University 
of Louvain. In 1649 Doctor Rescht, as the representative of 
the University and of its great protector Engelbert Dubois, 

' Indice de 1707, I, 19, 28, 231-2, 478. 

' Nic. Anton. Biblioth. Vet. Lib. vi, cap. xi, n. 268. 


Archbishop of Malines, came to Madrid, where he printed and 
circulated a memorial against the bull of Urban VIII and the 
Archduke Leopold so insulting to both that the Inquisition sup- 
pressed it, by a decree of September 13, 1650.' This did not cool 
the ardor of the Flemish followers of Jansen and, in 1656, Alex- 
ander VII felt obliged to address Don John of Austria, then 
Governor of the Low Countries, with an urgent exhortation to 
suppress the propagation of the condemned errors.^ 

The struggle continued and, soon after 1690, Carlos II was 
induced to issue an order that all Jansenists and Rigorists and 
other innovators should be dismissed and excluded from all offices 
and preferment, secular and ecclesiastical. Under this decree 
some of the prominent Jansenists were deprived and exiled, among 
them five doctors of Louvain — Gummare Huygens, E. van Geet, 
G. Baerts, R. Backz and Willem van den Enden. The persecuted 
sect appealed to Rome and procured from Innocent XII a brief 
of February 6, 1694, addressed to the bishops, forbidding that 
any one should be defamed for Jansenism on vague charges, or be 
excluded from any spiritual function or office unless convicted, 
in the regular order of justice, of having merited a punishment 
so severe. This trammelled episcopal action, for it was represented 
that the bishops could not be expected to undergo the expense 
and the labor of regular trials requiring absolute proof and sub- 
ject to legal cavils, but it did not affect the secular arm and the 
Elector of Bavaria, then Governor of Flanders, reiterated in 
October and November 1695, to the Councils of the Provinces 
and the University, the repeated royal orders to exclude from all 

' Memorial espagnol presents & sa Majesty Catholique centre les pretendus 
Jansenistes du Pays-Bas, p. 45 ( s. 1. 1699). 

This is a memorial drawn up by Juan de Palazol, S. J., in the name and by 
order of Tirso Gonzdlez, the Jesuit General. To it I am indebted for the details 
that foUow. 

In January 1691 a congregation of the Flemish bishops addressed to the 
Roman Inquisition an urgent appeal for help in their struggle with the Jansenists, 
whose missionary and controversial efforts were incessant and successful. It 
illustrates the elusory character of the theological subtilties involved that the 
bishops sent, as a specially successful exposure of Jansenist devices, a little book 
\mder the name of Comelis van Cranebergh, but Rome thought differently of 
it and condemned it by decree of March 19, 1692. Its real author was the Jesuit 
Jacques de la Fontaine, who was one of the most zealous champions against 
Jansenism. — Collectio Synodorum Archiep. Mechliniensis, I, 575. — Reusch, Der 
Index, II, 645.— De Backer, IV, 230. 

^ Le Tellier, Recueil des BuUes et Constitutions etc. p. 125 (Mons, 1697). 


ecclesiastical dignities and secular employment those suspected 
of Jansenism and Rigorism. Then, on March 1, 1696, Carlos 
modified his decrees in a manner to embolden the schismatics, 
who seem to have had abundant popular and official support. 
We hear of a writing in defence of the Catholic party being publicly 
burnt by the executioner in Brussels, in front of the palace and, 
on January 29, 1698, the people of Brussels went tumultuously 
to the Archbishop of Malines, Ferdinand de Berlo de Brus, 
demanding that he should withdraw his opposition to N. van 
Eesbeke, who had been appointed by the chapter of the church of 
Sainte Gudule as their parish priest. This condition of affairs 
led the Jesuit General Gonzalez to address a memorial to Carlos 
warning him that this spirit unless suppressed would lead to the 
ruin of religion and the destruction of his dominions, and suppli- 
cating, in terms much less respectful than Spanish custom required, 
that he should represent to the pope the dangerous consequences 
of the papal brief, that he should punish those who procured it as 
well as the authors of a memorial presented to Carlos in 1696 and 
that he should order the Flemish bishops to disregard the pretexts 
put forward as to vague accusations. The Jesuits overshot the 
mark in this insolent interference, and the memorial was sup- 
pressed by the Spanish Inquisition, in a decree of September 28, 
1698, as insulting to the authorities, secular and ecclesiastical, 
of Flanders.' 

Spain, though with less success than France, had long been 
struggling to emancipate itself from papal control, and it is 
a curious paradox that its most resolute assertion of political 
Jansenism arose from an attempt to discredit doctrinal Jansenism. 
Jesuit influence had gradually dominated the Inquisition and, as 
we have seen. Cardinal Noris was the special object of Jesuit 
hatred. When, in 1721, the Augustinian Manso published at 
Valladolid his "S. Augustinus de Virtutibus Infidelium," the work 
was condemned and suppressed in 1723, whUe virulent attacks 
on him by Jesuits, in both Latin and the vernacular, were allowed 
free circulation.^ The culmination came when the Jesuit Padre 

' These details are not without interest as indicating the causes which led to 
the estabUshment of the still existing schismatic see of Utrecht. 

' Suplemento 6, el Indice, 1739, p. 36. — Manuel F. Migu^lez, Jansenismo y 
Regalismo en Espafia, pp. 98 sqq. (Valladolid, 1895). Fray Migu^Iez is an 
Augustinian, seeking to vindicate St. Augustin and his Order from Jesuit attacks. 
His work is based on inedited documentary material. 


Rdbago, confessor of Fernando VI, controlled the weak and irreso- 
lute inquisitor-general PIrez de Prado y Cuesta, bringing about 
an anomalous condition in which the Inquisition defied the Holy 
See, the so-called Jansenists became the warmest defenders of 
papal authority, and the Jesuits asserted the supremacy of the 

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

The inquisitor-general adopted the favorite inquisitorial device 
of evasion. He replied that he had found the Index nearly printed 
when he assumed office; he had endeavored to have it issued with- 
out his name, but this was impossible; he had not known that 
Noris's name was in it until the Augustinians complained, and he 
dwelt on the difficulty of making a change, especially in view of 
the grave reasons for which the books had been included. This 
correspondence was strictly secret, but the brief had been shown 
in Rome to the Augustinian procurador-general, who sent a copy 
to Madrid, where it was busily transcribed and circulated through- 

' Migu^lez, op. cit., pp. 90-5. — Semandrio enidito, XXX, 53. 
VOL. IV 19 


out the land, creating a tremendous sensation. Prado y Cuesta, 
addressed, September 16, 1748, a bitter complaint to Benedict, 
dwelling on the indiscretion of allowing such matters to be gossiped 
on the streets, and of affording such comfort to the heretics. The 
Jesuit party openly proclaimed the independence of the Spanish 
Inquisition in such matters, and asserted that its honor was at 
stake. Padre R^bago undertook to manage the king and induced 
him to inform the pope that he would not permit any invasion of 
the privileges of the Inquisition. 

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


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

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

' Migu^lez, op. cit. — In connection with Padre Rdbago it may be mentioned 
that, in 1747, when already royal confessor, he was denounced to the Santiago 
tribunal for solicitation, but escaped trial under the rule requiring two denun- 
ciations. Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 233, n. 108, fol. 60. 

The Indice Ultimo of 1790 (p. 192) records the removal of Noris's books and 
prohibits all writings on both sides of the affair. 


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

Fray Migu^lez informs us that Bonifaz, for his share in the 
vindication of Noris, was reproached with Jansenism, and that 
thenceforth the Inquisition became a mere instrument in the hands 
of a court bitterly hostile to Rome; that instead of being a terrible 
repressor of heresy, it was the defender of the regalias and perse- 
cutor of Ultramontanism — in other words, that it was Jansenist — 
and that it was used in an attempt to lay the foundations in Spam 
of a schismatic Church Hke that of Utrecht.' This was not the 
case, but as Jansenism was now merely a doctrinal misnomer 
for a principle, partly political and partly disciplinary, the Inqui- 
sition had a narrow and difficult path to tread. Carlos III was 
fully convinced of the extent of the regalias; he was involved in 

' Relazioni Venete, Serie I, T. V, p. 484. 

' Jo. Nic. von Hontheim, De Statu Ecclesiae et legitima Potestate Romani 
Pontificis. Bullioni, 1763. 
' Migu61ez, op. ciu, pp. 274, 364, 366, 3S0. 


constant struggles with the Roman court, and had little hesitation 
in dictating to the Inquisition. It did not dare to interfere with 
the royal prerogatives but, in so far as it could, it favored Ultra- 
montanism by persecuting those against whom it could formulate 
charges under the guise of Jansenism. 

The ministers of Carlos III, who survived into the earlier years 
of Carlos IV, were animated with this spirit of revolt and there 
was an active propaganda. The book of Febronius was secretly 
printed in Madrid and was largely circulated for, although con- 
demned, the Inquisition was compelled prudently to close its 
eyes.' The acts of the Synod of Pistoja were translated into 
Spanish and persistent efforts were made to obtain licence for 
their publication, until Pius VI intervened with a letter to the 
king and frustrated the attempt.^ When the bull Auctorem fidei, 
condemning, in 1794, the errors of the synod, reached Spain the 
Council of Castile reported against its admission.' The Univer- 
sity of Salamanca was regarded as a Jansenist hot-bed. Jove- 
llanos tells us that all who were trained there were Port-Royalists 
of the Pistoja sect; the works of Opstraet, Zuola and Tamburini 
were in everybody's hands; more than three thousand copies 
were in circulation before the edict of prohibition appeared, and 
then only a single volume was surrendered.'' We hear of the 
Marquis of Roda, one of the most influential ministers of Carlos 
III, uttering warm praises of Port-Royal and of the great men 
connected with it.^ Naturally episcopal vacancies were filled 
with bishops of the same persuasion and one of them, Joseph 
Climent of Barcelona, had trouble with the Inquisition for lauding 
the schismatic Church of Utrecht. In 1792, Agustin Abad y la 
Sierra, Bishop of Barbastro, was denounced to the Saragossa 

1 Rafael de Vflez, Apologia del Altar y del Trono, I, 442 (Madrid, 1825) .-Cle- 
ment, Journal de Correspondances et de Voyages pour la Paix de I'Eglise, II, 31 
(Paris, 1802). 

Clement, then canon and treasurer of Auxerre, and subsequently Bishop of 
Versailles, was a self-appointed negotiator in 1768 to prevent the schism, which 
he thought was impending, and to unite all the courts in opposition to IJltra- 
montanism. His candid self-complacency and beUef in his own importance 
give a certain life to his otherwise formless account of his mission, while his dread 
lest the Inquisition should obtain knowledge of what he was doing shows how 
thoroughly it was on the Ultramontane side. 

' Cartas del Filosofo rancio, II, 32. 

» Muriel, Historia de Carlos IV (Mem. hist, espafiol, XXXIV, 119). 

• Men&dez y Pelayo, III, 245. " C16meut, II, 102. 


tribunal as a Jansenist who favored the French Revolution, but 
soon afterwards his brother Manuel was appointed inquisitor- 
general and the prosecution was suspended, but, when the latter, 
in 1794, was ordered by Carlos IV to resign, he was immediately 
denounced in his turn.' 

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

The elimination of the Jesuits was a triumph for so-caUed Jan- 
senism. It left the educational system of Spain in confusion, and 
advantage was taken of this to reconstruct it on lines which should 
train the rising generation in Gallican ideas as to the relations of 
Church and State, and should replace medievalism by modem 

' Llorente, Hist, crit., cap. xxix, art. iii, n. 1, 2; cap. xliii, art. iii, n. 1. 

2 Clement, op. cit, II, 44, 83-5, 296-7. 

' Ferrer del Rio, Historia de Carlos III, Lib. ii, cap. ii, iv. 

The trial of Dr. Benito Navarro, a Jesuit Tertiary, was printed at the time and 
indicates the participation of the Jesuits in the troiibles, with the object of forcing 
the restoration to power of the Marquis of la Ensenada. Incidentally the evidence 
shows the enormous influence wielded by the Jesuits through having their creatures 
in governmental positions, where they could mislead and betray their superiors. 
To statesmen like Aranda, Campomanes, Roda and Floridablanca, the continued 
existence of the Jesuits in Spain was a manifest impossibility. 

The documents connected with the expulsion are printed by Miraflores in his 
" Documentos & los qu6 se hace referenda en los apuntes historico-criticos sobre 
la Revolucion de Espafia," II, 38-71 (Londres, 1834). 

Chap. XI] REACTION 295 

science/ Yet the Inquisition continued the struggle, and its 
jealous watchfulness is indicated when, in 1773, some chance 
expressions of a student led to the denunciation, to the Barcelona 
tribunal, of the teaching of the great Catalan University of Cervera, 
as infected with Baianism and Jansenism, in conformity to the 
TUologie de Lyon, a book condemned in Rome for its GalUcan 
principles— a denunciation which was duly followed by the prose- 
cution of one of the professors, a Dominican named Pier.^ 

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

' Novls. Recop., Lib. viii, Tit. i-ix. — Carta de Josef Climent, Obispo de Bar- 
celona, 26 de Junio, 1767. 

' MSS of Am. Philos. Society. 

' Art de Verifier les Dates depuis I'annde 1770, III, 358. A subsequent decree 
of March 11, 1798, permitted the ex-Jesuits to live with their kindred or in 
convents, provided that this was not in any royal residence (Original penes me). 

* Muriel, Hist, de Carlos IV, loc. cit. — Cartas del Fil6sofo rancio, II, 34. — Vflez, 
Apologia, I, 44-6. 

Yet the Acta et Decreta Synodi Dicecesance Pisforiensis anni 1786, against which 
the bull Auctorem fdei was directed, were not prohibited until March 18, 1801. — 
Suplemento al Indice Expurgatorio, p. 1 (Madrid, 1805). 

On May 18, 1801, the Commissioners of the Canaiy tribunal at Orotava report 
to it that the edict has been duly read and affixed to the doors of the parish 
churches. — Birch, Catalogue of the MSS. of the Inq. in the Canary Islands, II, 


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

Archbishop Muzquiz did not wholly escape. Ger6nimo's de- 
fence placed him in the position of a calunmiator and, in his 

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 17, n. 3, fol. 16. 


efforts at extrication, he accused the inquisitors of ValladoUd and 
the Inquisitor-general Arce y Reynoso of partiality. This exposed 
him to prosecution under the bull Si de protegendis; his episcopal 
dignity protected him from arrest, but he was fined in eight thous- 
and ducats and the Bishop of Valladolid who, when canon of 
Avila, had joined in the conspiracy, was fined in four thousand. 
They would not have escaped so easily but for the influence with 
Godoy of a lady who was popularly reputed to have received a 
million of reales for her services.' 

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

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

• Llorente, Hist, crit., cap. xxv, n. 33, 34; cap. xxix, art. iii, n. 5; cap. xliii, 
art. iii, n. 5. 

' Se vi6 & todos los jansenistas, impios y hombres desmoralizados ponerse del 
lado de los invasores. — Vic. de la Fuente, Hist, eclesiastica, III, 463. — Cf. Cartas 
del Fil6sofo rancio, passim. 

' V61ez, Apologia del Altar y del Trono, I, 391-2. 



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

Descending to the sobriety of fact. Masonry emerges into the 
light of history in 1717, when Dr. Desaguliers, Anthony Sayer, 
George Payne and a few others formed, in London, an organiza- 
tion based on toleration, benevolence and good-fellowship. Its 

• G. de Castro, II Monde Segreto, IV, 59 (Milano, 1864). — Precis historique 
de I'Ordre de la Franc-Maponnerie, par J. C. B. . . . (Paris, 1829). — Luigi 
Parascandalo, La Franunassoneria figlia e erede del Manicheismo, 4 vols, Svo 
(Napoli, 1865). — Ch. Van Dusen, S. J., Rome et la Franc-Maponnerie (1896).— 
L'Abb6 V. Davin, Les Jansdnistes politiques et la Franc-Ma^onnerie, p. 5 (Paris, 
s. d.). 

' Mariano Tirado y Rojas, La Masoneria en Espana, I, 241-3, 252, 255-6 
(Madrid, 1893). 


growth was slow and its first appearance in Spain was in 1726, 
when the London lodge granted a charter for one in Gibraltar. 
Lord Wharton is said to have founded one in Madrid, in 1727, 
and soon afterwards another was organized in Cddiz. These 
were primarily for the benefit of English residents, although doubt- 
less natives were eligible to membership. As yet it was not 
under the ban of the Church, but its introduction in Tuscany led 
the Grand-duke Gian Gastone to prohibit it. His speedy death 
(July 9, 1737), caused his edict to be neglected; the clergy repre- 
sented the matter to Clement XII, who sent to Florence an inquisi- 
tor; he made a number of arrests, but the parties were set at liberty 
by the new Grand-duke, Francis of Lorraine, who declared him- 
seK the patron of the Order and participated in the organization 
of several lodges.^ Clement sustained his inquisitor and issued, 
April 28, 1738, his bull In eminenti, calling attention to the oath- 
bound secrecy of the lodges, which was just cause for suspicion, 
as their object would not be concealed if it were not evil, leading 
to their prohibition in many states. Wherefore, in view of the 
grave consequences threatened to public tranquility and the 
salvation of souls, he forbade the faithful to favor them or to join 
them under pain of ipso facto excommunication, removable only 
by the Holy See. Prelates, superiors, Ordinaries and inquisitors 
were ordered to inquire against and prosecute all transgressors 
and to punish them condignly as vehemently suspect of heresy, 
for all of which he granted full powers.^ Thus the only accusation 
brought against Masonry was its secrecy, but this sufficed for the 
creation of a new heresy, furnishing to the Inquisition a fresh 
subject for its activity. 

The nature of the condign punishment thus threatened was left 
to the discretion of the local tribunals, but a standard was furnished 
by an edict of the Cardinal Secretary of State, January 14, 1739, 
pronouncing irremissible pain of death, not only on all members 
but on all who should tempt others to join the Order, or should 
rent a house to it or favor it in any other way. The only victim 
of this savage decree is said to have been a Frenchman who 
wrote a book on Masonry; it is true that, in this same year, 1739, 
the Inquisition in Florence tortured a Mason named Crudeli, 
and kept him in prison for a considerable time, but the death- 

• [Thory] Acta Latomomm, I, 35 (Paris, 1815). 
» BuUar. Roman., XV, 184. 


penalty was a matter for the secular authorities and in Florence 
these were not under control. Indeed, when the Inqiiisition offered 
pardon for self-denunciation, and a hundred crowns for infor- 
mation, and made several arrests, the Grand-duke interposed and 
liberated the prisoners.' Even when the arch-impostor Cagliostro, 
in 1789, ventured to found a lodge in Rome and was tried by 
the Inquisition, the sentence, rendered April 7, 1791, recited that, 
although he had incurred the death-penalty, it was mercifully 
commuted to imprisonment for life.^ He was accordingly impris- 
oned in the castle of San Leone where he is supposed to have died 
in 1795. 

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

While the papal commands were ignored in France, they had 
been eagerly welcomed in Spain. The bull In eminenti received 
the royal exequatur and the Inquisitor-general Orbe y Larreategui 
published it in an edict, October 11, 1738, pointing out that the 
Inquisition had exclusive jurisdiction in the matter. He promised 
to prosecute with the utmost severity all disobedience to the bull, 
and called for demmciations, within six days, of all infractions, 
under pain of excommunication and of two hundred ducats. The 
edict was to be read in the churches and to be affixed to their 

• Acta Latomorum, I, 43-44. 

' Compendio della vita di Giuseppe Balsamo, denominate il Conte Cagliostro, 
che si 6 estratto dal Processo contra di lui formato in Roma I'amio 1790 (Roma, 

The importance attached to the case is indicated by the formal removal of 
the seal of secrecy and the semi-official pubhcation of the volume. The edict 
imposing the death-penalty is quoted on p. 80. 

' Bullar. Bened. PP. XIV, III, 167 (Romse, 1761). 


portals, thus giving an effective advertisement to the new institu- 
tion by conveying a knowledge of its existence to a population thus 
far happily ignorant/ 

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

The Inquisition meanwhile was not idle, though it did not 
imitate the severity of the papal government or of the royal edicts. 
In 1744 the Madrid tribunal sentenced, to abjuration de levi and 
banishment from Spain, Don Francisco Aurion de Roscobel, 
canon of Quintanar, for Free-Masonry; in 1756 the same tribunal 
prescribed reconciliation for Domingo de Otas and, in 1757, a 
Frenchman named Tournon escaped with a year's detention and 
banishment from Spain, although, by endeavoring to induce his 

' Bulario de la Orden de Santiago, Lib. V, fol. 280. 

' Acta Latomorum, I, 47. 

' Fray Joseph Torrubia, Centinela contra Francs Massones, Segunda Edicion, 
Madrid, 1754. From the dates of the approbations it would appear that the first 
edition was issued in 1751 or 1752. 

* Feyjoo, Cartas, T. IV, Cart. xvi. This letter must have been written between 
1751 and 1754, as it alludes to the Centinela, while the second edition of the latter 
alludes to the letter. Feyjoo refers to another recent book on the subject by 
Fray Juan de la Madre de Dios, which I have not seen. 


employees to join the Order, he was reckoned as a dogmatizer.' 
Another case about the same time reveals a strange indifference, 
possibly attributable to hesitation in attacking a dependent of 
a powerful minister. A priest named Joachin Pareja presented 
himself, April 19, 1746, to the Toledo tribxmal and related that 
when, in 1742, he accompanied the Infante Phelipe to Italy, he 
lay for some months in Antibes, where he made the acquaintance 
of Antonio de Rosellon, gentleman of the chamber to the Marquis 
of la Ensenada, who talked freely to him about Free-Masonry, of 
which he was a member. He had but recently learned that Free- 
Masons were an infernal sect, condenaned by a papal bull, and he 
had made haste to denounce Rosellon. No action was taken for 
eighteen months when, on October 13, 1747, the tribunal asked 
the Madrid inquisitors to examine Rosellon, after consulting the 
Suprema. The Suprema promptly scolded it for its remissness 
and ordered it to make inquiry of other tribunals; the customary 
interrogations were sent around with negative results and, on 
January 8, 1748, the fiscal reported accordingly; there was but 
one witness and therefore he recommended suspension, which 
was duly voted. Some twenty months passed away when sud- 
denly, September 7, 1751, the Suprema recurred to the matter and 
wrote to Toledo demanding a report. Toledo waited for more 
than a month and then, on October 16th, replied that it referred 
the whole affair to the Madrid tribunal as Pareja and Rosellon 
were both in that city.^ This probably ended the case. 

Free-Masonry was growing and extending itself th'-oughout 
influential circles. In 1760 the Gran Logia espanola was organized 
and independence of London was established; in 1780 this was 
changed to a Grand Orient, symbolical Masonry being subordi- 
nated to the Scottish Rite. In this we are told that such men as 
Aranda, Campomanes, Rodriguez, Nava del Rio, Salazar y Valle, 
Jovellanos, the Duke of Alva, the Marquis of Valdelirias, the 
Count of Montijo and others were active; that the ministers of 

• Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 879, fol. 301 B; Lib. 1024, fol 10.— Llorente, 
Hist, crit., cap. xli, art ii, n. 10-16. 

^ Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 108, n. 1. 

The Portuguese Inquisition was as prompt as the Spanish. See " The Suffer- 
ings of Jolin Coustos for Free-masonry,'' London, 1746, and it continued after 
the reforms of Pombal, as appears from "A Narrative of tlie Persecution of 
Hippolyto Joseph da Costa Pereira Furtado de Mendoza. . . .for the pretended 
crime of Free-masonry," 2 vols., London, 1811. 


Carlos III were mostly Masons and that to them was attributable 
the energetic action against Jesuitism and Ultramontanism.' To 
what extent this is true, it would be impossible to speak positively, 
but unquestionably Masonry afforded a refuge for the modern 
spirit in which to develop itself against the oppressive Obscu- 
rantism of the Inquisition. 

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

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

With the downfall of Napoleon and liberation of the papacy, 
Pius VII made haste to repeat the denunciation of Masonry. He 
issued, August 15, 1814, a decree against its infernal conventicles, 
subversive of thrones and religion. He lamented that, in the dis- 
turbances of recent years, the salutary edicts of his predecessors 
had been forgotten and that Masonry had spread everywhere. 
To their spiritual penalties he added temporal punishments — 
sharp corporal affliction, with heavy fines and confiscation, and 

' Tirado y Rojas, I, 269-73, 354. ' Ibidem, I, 274-8, 289-99, 355. 


he offered rewards for informers. This decree was approved by- 
Fernando VII and was embodied in an edict of the Inquisition, 
January 2, 1815, offering a Term of Grace of fifteen days, during 
which penitents would be received and after which the full rigor 
of the laws, secular and canonical, would be enforced. Appar- 
ently the result was inconsiderable for, on February 10th, the term 
was extended imtil Pentecost (May 14th) and inviolable secrecy 
was promised.^ Fernando had not waited for this but had already 
prohibited Masonry under the penalties attaching to crimes of 
the first order against the State and, in pursuance of this, on Sep- 
tember 14, 1814, twenty-five arrests had been made for suspicion 
of membership.^ 

Thus, as before, there was cumulative jurisdiction over Masonry. 
. The time had passed for competencias between the Inquisition 
and the royal courts; it was too closely identified with the State 
to indulge ui quarrels, but still there was jealous susceptibility and 
self-assertion. As early as 1815 this showed itself in the prose- 
cution of Diego Dilicado, parish priest of San Jorje in Coruiia, 
because he had reported the existence there of a lodge to the pubHc 
authorities and not to the Inquisition.^ Several cases, in 1817, 
show that when a culprit was tried and sentenced by the royal 
courts, the Inquisition insisted on superadding a prosecution and 
punishment of its own. Thus when Jean Rost, a Frenchman, 
was sent to the presidio of Ceuta by the chancellery of Granada, 
the Seville tribunal also tried him and ordered his confinement 
in the prison of the presidio, at the same time demanding from the 
chancellery the Masonic title and insignia of the prisoner and 
whatever else appertained to the jurisdiction of the Inquisition.^ 
The Madrid tribunal, May 8, 1817, sentenced Albert Leclerc, a 
Frenchman, for Free-Masonry; he had already been tried and con- 
victed by the royal court and a courteous note was addressed, as 
in other similar cases, to the Alcalde de Casa y Corte, to have him 
brought to the secret prison, for the performance of spiritual exer- 
cises under a confessor commissioned to instruct him in the errors 
of Masonry, and to absolve him from the censures incurred, after 
which he would be returned to the alcalde for the execution of his 

' Archive de Simancas, luq., Leg. 1473; Lib. 559. 

^ Acta Latomonim, I, 265. 

' Archvio de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 890. 

' Ibidem, Lib. 435^; Lib. 890. 


sentence of banishment. So, in July 1817, the Santiago tribunal 
collected evidence against Manuel Llorente, sergeant of Grena- 
diers, and the Suprema directed that, as soon as the secular trial 
was finished, he was to be imprisoned again and tried by the 

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

It casts doubt upon the reported extent of Free-Masonry that, 
in spite of the vigilance of the Inquisition, the number of cases 
was so small. From 1780 to 1815 they amount in all only to 
nineteen. Then, in 1816, there is a sudden increase to twenty- 
five; in 1817 there are fourteen, in 1818 nine and in 1819 seven.^ 

^ Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 890. ' Ibidem. 

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 100. 

In this list is not included the curious case of the Bishop of Havana, Juan Jos^ 
Diaz de la Espada y Landa, accused of Free-Masonry in Cuba by the zealous 
inquisitor Elosua in 1815. The matter was transferred to Spain and was sus- 
pended November 11, 1819 (J. T. Medina, La Inquisicion de Cartagena de las 
Indias, p. 416). It does not seem to have interfered with the position of the 
good bishop, who retained his see until his death, Sept. 12, 1832 (Gams, Series 
Episcopp., p. 152). 

VOL. IV 20 


Possibly there may have been others tried by the civil or military 
courts, which escaped inquisitorial action, but, in view of its jealous 
care of its jurisdiction, these cannot have been numerous. 

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

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

' Tirado y Rojas, II, 46, 72-3, 81-88. — Miraflores, Apuntes historico-criticos, 
p. 28.— Modesto Lafuente, Hist, de Espana, XXIX, 213-15, 333-4. 

The "Memoirs of Don Juan van Halen'' (London, 1830) which had an exten- 
sive circulation in many languages, are of no historical value He was a real 
personage however, whose dextrous treachery in deserting the French, in 1814, 
is described by Toreno (Historfa del Llevamiento etc., Ill, 323). In 1822 he 
was on the staff of Gen. Mina in Catalonia (Memorias del Gen. Espoz y Mina, 
III, 7) and, ia 1838, was in high command in Valencia (Manifestacion del Gen. 
C6rdova, p. 13). 

In 1818 his name occurs as on trial in Toledo (not in Madrid, as he represents) 
and the charge was impeding the Inquisition, not Masonry and conspiracy — 
Catalogo de las causas etc., p. 131 (Madrid, 1903). 

^ [Martinez de la Rosa] Examen critico de las Revoluciones de Espana, 1, 417-18 
(Paris, 1837). 



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

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 1. 
' V6Iez, Apologia del Altar y del Trono, I, 41. 
' Clement, Journal, II, 89. 



Thus, in the latter half of the eighteenth century, the decadent 
activity of the Holy Office found a new heresy to combat, which 
it styled Philosophism or Naturalism. 

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

Contemporary with this was a case of more far-reaching influ- 
ence. Pablo Olavide, a young lawyer of Lima and judge in the 
Audiencia, distinguished himself in the terrible earthquake of 
1746 and was made custodian of the treasures dug from the ruias. 
After satisfying those who could prove their claims, he employed 
the remainder in building a church and a theatre. There were 
disappointed claimants who carried their complaints to Madrid. 
Olavide was summoned thither, disbarred, condemned to pay 
various sums and imprisoned. His health failing, he was allowed 
to go to Leganes, where he contracted marriage with Isabel de 
los Rios, whose two successive husbands had left her large for- 
tunes. He was remarkably inteUigent, brilliant in society, and, 
with the aid of his wife's money, he speedily acquired prominent 
social position. He travelled and in France he formed relations 
with Voltaire and Rousseau, with whom he maintained corre- 

' Archive municipal de Sevilla, Seccion especial, Siglo XVIH, Letra A, Tomo 
4, n. 55. 


spondence. Aranda, who secretly sympatliized with him in this, 
was then at the height of his power and became his warm friend, 
seeking to use his abilities in the projects on foot to elevate Spain 
from its condition of poverty and misery. 

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

He threw himself into the project with enthusiasm, labored with 
intelligent activity, overcame the initial difficulties and for some 
years success seemed assured. Gradually however trouble arose 
with the Capuchin friars who had accompanied the colonists as 
their priests. Friar Romuald of Freiburg, the prefect of the group, 
was a disturbing element, involved in quarrels with the episcopal 
officials; friction sprang up between him and Olavide, which 
developed into hatred, and the Inquisition furnished ready means 
for gratifying malevolence. In September, 1775, Romuald pre- 
sented a formal denunciation of the Superintendent as an atheist 
and materialist, who was in correspondence with Voltaire and 
Rousseau, who read prohibited books, denied the miracles, and 
held that non-Catholics could be saved. Ample details were 
furnished of his irreligious walk and conversation, some of which 
indicate the points on which quarrels had arisen — not resorting 
to prayer an^ good works to avert calamities, forbidding the 
ringing of bells in tempests, wanting corpses buried in cemeteries 


rather than in churches, and defending the Copernican system 
condemned by the Church. Olavide's protector, Aranda, had 
fallen from power in 1773 and the opportunity was not to be lost 
by the Inquisition of striking at a man, conspicuous enough to 
serve as a terrifying example, and yet who, as a "kinless loon," 
had no influential family behind him. Besides, the whole scheme 
of the Poblaciones had aroused the hostility of two influential 
classes — the friars whose establishments were excluded and the 
Mesta whose flocks were not allowed to ravage the fields. 

It shows the decadence of the Inquisition that the royal permis- 
sion to prosecute was sought and obtained. Olavide was sum- 
moned to court, towards the end of 1775, on a pretext; after some 
delay he realized the situation and sought the protection of Manuel 
de Roda, then minister of Gracia y Justicia, who was too vulnerable 
himself to compromise his own safety, and who merely wrote to 
Inquisitor-general Beltran a note speaking favorably of Olavide. 
The Madrid tribunal moved with deliberation, for it was not 
until November 14, 1776, that Olavide was arrested. For two 
years he disappeared from human sight. Seventy-two witnesses 
were examined, and the fiscal accumulated a formidable array of 
a hundred and sixty-six heretical propositions. He admitted 
imprudent talk, while denying all lapse from the faith, but he con- 
fessed enough for the inquisitors to assume that he secretly cherished 
the opinions of the fashionable philosophy, and his condemnation 
was inevitable. We are told that a public auto was desired, in 
order to emphasize the warning, but it was felt that the occasion 
scarce justified such a solemnity, and the Roman Inquisition 
was consulted which suggested that the purpose would be answered 
by a private auto with a large number of spectators. It was held, 
November 24, 1778, in the audience-chamber, after inviting- 
invitations equivalent to commands — Campomanes and numer- 
ous prominent nobles, statesmen and others who had been con- 
nected with Olavide, or were suspected of philosophism, so that 
when he was brought in he found himself surrounded by his 
friends assembled to witness his humiliation. For three hours 
he listened to the long-drawn recital of all the heretical propositions 
proved against him by the witnesses, to which he responded by 
ejaculating "I never have lost the faith although the fiscal says 
so." Then followed the sentence, pronouncing him a convicted 
heretic, a rotten member of the Church, and condemning him to 
reconciliation, confiscation, and banishment for ever for forty 


leagues from Madrid and all royal residences, the kingdoms of 
Lima, Andalusia and the colonies of the Sierra Morena, to reclusion 
for eight years in a convent and to the customary disabilities for 
himself and his descendants to the fifth generation. This tre- 
mendous severity so overcame him that he fell senseless to the 
floor. A distant convent at Gerona was selected for his confine- 
ment; in 1780, on the plea of ill-health, he was allowed to visit 
a watering-place, from which he escaped to France, not without, 
it is said, the secret connivance of the court, although, when his 
extradition was demanded, he sought safety in Geneva. With 
the outbreak of the Revolution he returned to France, where he 
narrowly escaped the guillotine; adversity brought a change of 
heart and, in 1798, he published anonymously at Valencia his 
" El Evangelio en Triunfo, 6 Historia de un Filosofo disenganado," 
which had an enormous circulation and so impressed Inquisitor- 
general Lorenzana that he was allowed to return to Spain. He 
was offered restoration to his positions, but he was disillusioned 
with the world; he retired to Baeza, devoting himself to good 
works and dying in 1804.^ 

The Inquisition had not miscalculated the salutary influence 
of the example. Don Felipe Samaniego, Archdeacon of Pam- 
peluna. Knight of Santiago and member of the Royal Council, 
was one of those constrained to be present, and was so frightened 
that the next day he denounced himself to the tribunal as a reader 
of prohibited books, of which he presented a long list. This, he 
said, had led him to religious doubt but, on serious reflection, he 

' In this celebrated case I have relied chiefly on Ferrer del Rio, Hist, del 
Reinado de Carlos III, Lib. iv, cap. i, and on Men^ndez y Pelayo, Heterodoxos, 
III, 205 sqq. See also Llorente, Hist, cnt., cap. xxvi, art. iii, n. 13, 35, and 
Puigblanch, La Inquisicion sin Mascara, p. 295. 

Frequent reference was made to Olavide in the debates of the Cortes of Cddiz 
on the suppression of the Inquisition. Sefior Mexia stated that he had visited 
him at Baeza; that the Triunfo was merely a translation of the Abb6 Lamour- 
ettes Delices de la Religion (Paris, 1788) somewhat enlarged, with the addition 
of a pohtico-economical portion, derived from the Ami des Hommes of the Mar- 
quis of Mirabeau, — Discusion del Proyecto sobre la Inquisicion, pp. 254-5. 
(Cddiz, 1813). 

In 1831 De Custine says that there was little remaining of the prosperous 
colony founded by Olavide (L'Espagne sous Ferdinand VII, II, 93-107), but 
La Carolina, the principal town, had, in 1877, 6474 inhabitants. The district 
has historical interest as the scene of the victory of Las Navas de Tolosa, in 
1212, and of the surrender of Bailen in 1808. 


had resolved to adhere firmly to the Catholic faith and he asked 
to be absolved ad cautelam. He was turned to account by being 
required to submit a sworn statement as to where and how he had 
procured the books, how long he had held these views, who had 
taught him, with whom had he discussed these matters, and who 
had refuted or accepted his opinions. This brought out a detailed 
confession compromising almost all the learned and enlightened 
men of the court — Aranda, Floridablanca, Campomanes, O'Reilly, 
Lacy, the Duke of Almodovar and many others of high position. 
Prosecutions were instituted against them all, but the testimony 
of a single witness was insufficient and the power of those impli- 
cated was so great that the tribunal was content to let the cases 
remain in suspense.^ 

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

' Llorente, Hist, crit., cap. xxvi, art. iii, n. 42. ' Ibidem, n. 10. 

' Ibidem, cap. xxv, art. i, n. 112. — Mendndez y Pelayo, III, 255. 


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

This case illustrates the struggle on foot between the forces of 
conservatism and progress, in which the Inquisition, as the pro- 
tagonist of the former, was not always successful. The propaga- 
tors of the new ideas were difficult to silence. Even imder Carlos 

III, we are told that in 1785-6 there appeared in Saragossa essays 
scandalizing to the faithful, for they sought to establish that celi- 
bacy is prejudicial to the State, that vows of religion should be 
postponed to the age of 24, that the Church had customs detri- 
mental to the State and that its abuses and superstitions should 
be suppressed. Apparently the Inquisition took no steps to vin- 
dicate the faith, and when Fray Diego de Cadiz, at the request of 
many ecclesiastics, preached against these subversive propositions, 
he was obliged to fly and even then he was pursued by the wrath 
of the innovators.^ Under the anomalous government of Carlos 

IV, constant changes in the ministry and the fluctuating whims 
of his favorite Godoy, who liked to pose as the patron of letters 

' Llorente, cap. xxv, art. i, n. 89. — Art. de verifier les Dates depuis I'annte 
1770, III, 355.— Modesto Lafuente, Hist. Gen. XXII, 127.— Cf. Rodrigo, Hist, 
verdadera, III, 365. — Discusion del Proyecto, p. 464 (Cadiz, 1813). 

' V^lez, Apologia, I, 40.— Cf. Men^ndez y Pelayo, III, 227. 


and enlightenment, ill turns repressed the Inquisition and gave it 
free rein. A prominent personage of the time was the Count 
Francisco Cabarrus, a French adventurer who founded the Bank 
of San Carlos and alternated, like other statesmen of the period, 
between guiding the destinies of the nation and a dungeon. After 
his imprisonment in the castle of Batres, he relieved his mind in 
-1792 and 1793 of the thoughts which had accumulated there, in 
three letters to Jovellanos, developing in verbose rhetoric the 
ideas of Rousseau and the contrat social. Education, he argued, 
should be universal, but it should be purely secular, and the clergy 
should not be allowed to meddle with it, religious training being 
left to parents and parish priests. In colleges the studies should 
be directed to fitting youth for actual life ; the existing universities 
were sewers of humanity, whose scholastic theology and teaching 
of jurisprudence were equally destructive to the human race. The 
numbers of the clergy were enormously excessive, constituting a 
running sore and a body subversive of all the principles of morals 
and statesmanship. There should be stimulated a holy and 
virtuous indignation against all the absurd and apocryphal devo- 
tions which pervert reason, destroy virtue and cause heathendom 
to ridicule Christianity.' For much less than this many a man, like 
Olavide, had suffered bitterly but, in 1795, Cabarrus prefaced 
these letters with one addressed to Godoy himself as "mi amigo" 
and, secure in the protection of the all-powerful favorite, he was 
beyond the reach of the Inquisition, showing how uncertain were 
its functions during the disastrous period when absolutism was 
in the hands of a frivolous courtier. 

The feelings of the orthodox towards these innovators are com- 
prehensively expressed by Fray Francisco Alvarado, the leading 
champion of conservatism against the Cortes of 1810. "These 
philosophers" he says, "have come to disrupt our union, to dis- 
turb our peace, to embarrass our defence, to distract our attention, 
to corrupt our fidelity, to overturn our State, to seize our fortunes, 
to degrade our reason, to abolish our religion, to — what shall I 
say? — ^to make our free cities a hell where nothing but blasphemies 
are heard and where there is little lacking to replace order with 
sempiternal horror."^ Virulent as is this objurgation, it is but 
the natural expression of the passions excited by the struggle in 

' Cartas escritas por el Conde de Cabarriis, pp. 81, 83, 87-9 (Vitoria, 1808). 
' Cartas del Fil6sofo rancio, I, 299. 


progress, which each side felt to be a combat to the death. A 
moderated philosophism, as we shall see, triumphed in the Cortes 
of 1810-13 and, although there has followed nearly a century of 
vicissitudes, some of them sanguinary, it has, at least established 
its right to existence. The Inquisition was not mistaken in rec- 
ognizing it, from the first, as its most dangerous enemy — the 
embodiment of the modern spirit, destined, for better or worse, 
finally to supplant medievalism. 



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

Thus there was ample provision for the trial and pimishment of 
the offence by the spiritual and secular authorities, and there was 
no necessity for the assumption of jurisdiction by the Inquisition. 
Presumably it obtained a foothold through the laxity of the mar- 
riage tie among Moors and Jews, so that bigamy, like abstinence 
from pork and wine and change of linen on Saturday, created 
suspicion of heresy. This showed itself first in Aragoii. As early 
as 1486, the Saragossa tribunal burnt in effigy the fugitive Dionis 
Ginot, a notary, for marrying a second wife during the lifetime of 

' Partidas, P. vii, Tit. xvii, ley 16. — Cortes de Leon y de Castilla, II, 378. 

In the middle of the sixteenth century, branding with the letter " q" was still 
in force in Castile. — Rojas de Hseret., P. i, n. 544. 

' Colmeiro, Cortes de Leon y de Castilla, II, 160, 219. — Nueva Recop., Lib. v, 
Tit. i, leyes 6, 7. — Novls. Recop., Lib. xii, Tit. xxviii, leyes 8, 9. 


the first, and a number of other cases followed in which bigamy 
is conjoined with Judaic practices. For simple bigamy the 
penalty seems to have been perpetual prison, the punishment 
indicated for two culprits in the auto of February 10, 1488.^ It 
also involved confiscation, for a letter of Ferdinand, October 22, 
1502, to his receiver at Saragossa, orders him to deliver to certain 
parties ninety-four head of cattle confiscated on the bigamist 
Dornan Morrell.^ In some way bigamy was construed as heresy 
for, in the Barcelona auto of February 3, 1503, Pere de Sentillana 
was required to abjure for marrying two wives, and in that of July 
2, of the same year, Pere Ubach abjured for marrying in Rhodes 
and in Barcelona.' 

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

A case occurring in 1513 suggests ample justification for this 
struggle to prevent the Inquisition from acquiring cognizance of 
bigamy. In 1477, Don Jorje de Bardaxf betrothed himself by 

' Memoria de diversos Autos (See Appendix to Vol. I). 

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 2, fol. 21. 

' Carbonell de Gestis Hjeret. (Doc. de la C. de Aragon, XXVIII, 154). 

* Pragmaticas y altres Drets de Cathalunya, Lib. i, Tit. viii, cap. 1, § 4. 

« Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 933; Lib. 918, fol. 381. 

" Pragmaticas etc. de Cathalunya, Lib. i. Tit. viii, cap. 2. 

' Archivo de Simancas, Patronato Real, Inq., leg. unico, fol. 38. 

318 BIGAMY [Book VIII 

words de frcesenti to Leonor Olzina but, learning that she was 
pregnant or had borne a child, he never married her in the face 
of the Church or consummated the marriage. He remained single, 
but she, in 1497, married Antonio Ferrer. In some way the 
Saragossa tribunal got wind of the betrothal twenty years previous 
and prosecuted her in 1513. In her defence she alleged that 
Bardaxi had previously been married to Dona Juana de Luna, 
whereupon the tribunal commenced proceedings against him for 
the betrothal in 1477 and would have thrown him into the secret 
prison had he not been too infirm. He was a man of consideration 
and appealed for protection to Ferdinand, who ordered that he 
should not be arrested, that every care be taken to eliminate 
perjured testimony and that, on conclusion of the case, the papers 
be sent to Inquisitor-general Mercader.' The result is unknown, 
but Bardaxi was at least exposed to the terrors of an inquisitorial 
trial on a vague assertion of an indiscretion committed thirty-six 
years before. 

Whether there was any formal opposition in Castile it would be 
impossible to say. There was a decided assertion of episcopal 
jurisdiction in the Council of Seville, held in 1512 by Archbishop 
Deza, the former inquisitor-general, which imposed a fine of two 
thousand maravedis on bigamists, in addition to the penalties 
provided by law; long absence of a missing spouse was not to be 
accepted as an excuse, and the death must be notorious or be duly 
proved before the Ordinary, before he could permit a second 
marriage.^ Still, there was no special reclamation on the subject 
by the Cortes of Valladolid in 1518, nor any provision in the 
reform attempted through the Chancellor Jean le Sauvage. As 
in Aragon, the question turned theoretically upon the presumable 
heresy of the bigamist. About 1534, Arnaldo Albertino devoted 
an elaborate discussion to the matter,^ but all this was academical 
rather than practical. In 1537, Dr. Giron de Loaysa, in his 
inspection of Toledo, reported that he had foxmd everywhere 
many bigamists; they were so numerous that the inquisitors 
prosecuted them without distinction as to belief, and he suggested 

' Archive de Sirnancas, Inq., Lib. 3, fol. 241. 

^ Concil. Hispalens., ann. 1512, cap. xxxvii (Aguirre, V, 374). 

' In the 1534 edition "of his Repetitionem novam (Col. 363) Albertino says that 
he has treated the question extensively in his "Speculum Inquisitorum" — sub- 
sequently embodied in his "Tractatus de agnoscendis Assertionibus" as Q. 
XXIII (Romae, 1572). 


that special orders should be accordingly issued as the offence 
was so evil and so frequent." This would have been superfluous. 
Simancas admits that, if the culprit says that he knew that he 
could not have two wives and thus did not err in the faith, it would 
seem that the Inquisition was estopped from proceeding, but cus- 
tom has prevailed, though it would appear wiser to leave them to 
the episcopal courts. In a later work, however, he says that the 
Inquisition prosecutes them as thinking wrongly of the sacrament 
and impiously abusing it.^ Thus it became settled, and otherwise 
the Inquisition would have been obliged to abandon its jurisdic- 
tion, for about 1640 an experienced inquisitor tells us that the 
accused never admitted heresy, but always professed consciousness 
of guilt. He was always asked whether he regarded a bigamous 
marriage as lawful and, if he answered in the affirmative, he was 
to be punished as a heretic.^ 

To keep up this fiction, the formal accusation by the fiscal 
asserted heresy or at least suspicion, at first in a simple form but 
subsequently with much amplification, stigmatizing the accused 
as an apostate heretic, or at least gravely suspect in the faith, for 
"thinking ill of the holy sacrament of matrimony and its institu- 
tion and adopting the error of the heretics against the prohibition 
of polygamy."* With the same view he was always required to 
abjure for suspicion of heresy, in the earlier time de vehementi, 
but later de levi? The flimsiness of the pretext, however, is 
exposed by the fact that, in the Suprema, bigamy cases were 
always considered in the afternoon sessions, at which assisted 
the two lay members of the Council of Castile, and where public 
pleas and other secular matters were discussed." Still, when the 
jurisdiction once was acquired, it was asserted to be exclusive and 
was defended with customary aggressiveness. The civil magis- 
trates were unwilling to surrender their immemorial cognizance 
of the crime, and assumed that it was mixti fori, leading to fre- 

' Bibl. p^iblica de Toledo, Sala v, Est. 11, Tab. 3. 

' Simanc£c de Cath. Instt., Tit. xl, n. 3; Enchirid., Tit. xii, n. 4-6. 

' Bibl. nacional, MSS., V, 377, cap. xvii.— Elucidationes S. Officii, § 33 (Archivo 
de Alcald, Hacienda, Leg. 544'', Lib. 4). 

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 361, fol. 7.— MSS. of Royal 
Library of Copenhagen, 218b, p. 418. 

' Pena, Comment, lxxxi in Eymerici Direct., P. ii.— Bibl. nacional, vhi svp — 
Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 921, fol. 231. 

' Archivo de Alcald, Hacienda, Leg. 544^; Lib. 10. 

320 BIGAMY [Book VIII 

quent collisions. The tenacity with which these contests were 
conducted is illustrated in a Sardinia case, in 1658, where the 
royal court arrested Miquel Fiori for bigamy. When the inquisi- 
tors heard of this, they demanded the accused and the papers but, 
three hours after the demand was made, Fiori was paraded through 
the streets of Cagliari, receiving two hundred lashes, and was 
sent to the galleys. The indignant tribunal refused conference 
and competencia, and promptly excommunicated the veguer and 
his assessor. Then the quarrel was transferred to Madrid, where 
the Suprema and the Council of Aragon alternately for two years 
pelted the king with consultas, the former assuming that the 
crime was purely one of faith and that the jurisdiction of the 
Inquisition was exclusive ; there could be no competencia, because 
the inquisitor-general was the sole judge of what constituted cases 
of faith. In October, 1659, the king ordered the excommunication 
of his judges to be hfted; the Suprema replied that it had com- 
manded this in the previous February, but the inquisitors had 
given reasons for not obeying ; it had repeated the order in August 
and presumed that it had been complied with, but it had not been 
and, in November the king reiterated his commands. He decided, 
however, as usual, in favor of the Inquisition, and the judges were 
summoned to surrender the prisoner and the papers, but they 
replied that Fiori had escaped from the galleys and that the papers 
had been sent to Spain. The Suprema regarded this as an evasion 
and the utmost it would do was to suspend the excommunications 
for six months at a time, especially as the offending judges refused 
to present themselves before the tribunal and beg for absolution.' 
The time-honored episcopal jurisdiction over bigamy was treated 
with similar imperiousness. In 1650 the Suprema ordered the 
A^alencia tribunal to demand from the Ordinary the case of Joana 
Arais, charged with bigamy, because it was a matter of faith, 
pertaining exclusively to the Inquisition. So, in 1658, when the 
Bishop of Salamanca arrested Domingo Moreno on the same 
charge, as soon as the Valladolid inquisitors heard of- it, they 
claimed and obtained and tried him.^ Yet, notwithstanding this, 

' Bibl. nacional, MSS., Mm, X, 157, p. 190. 

^ Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 9, n. 3, fol. 313. — Archivo de 
Simancas, Inq., Leg. 552, fol. 42. 

It was the same in Portugal, where the bishops had to yield. The question 
was carried to Rome and, in 1612, the Archbishop of Lisbon was commanded to 
hand bigamists over to the Inquisition. — Collect. Decret. S. Congr. S. Inquis., 
p. 361 (MS. penes me). 


the episcopal authority over the sacrament of matrimony was 
acknowledged and, in all sentences, there was a clause referring 
to the Ordinary the question as to the validity of the marriages. 

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

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

'Decreta S.Congr. S. Officii, pp. 461, 466 (Bibl. del R. Archivio di Stato in 
Roma, Fondo Camerale, Congr. del. S. Officio, Vol. 3). 

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 54, fol. 117. — Ristretto cerca li Delitti piil 
frequenti, pp. 113-141 (MS. penes me). 

' Miguel Calvo (Archivo de Alcald, Hacienda, Leg. 544,' Lib. 4). — Archivo hist. 
naoional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 299, fol. 80; Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 1. 
VOL. IV 21 

322 BIO AMY [Book VIII 

which he was banished for hfe, with a threat of perpetual galleys 
in case of infraction.' 

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

Discretion could be used to sharpen as well as to mitigate 
penalties, as may be seen in the case of the most accomplished 
bigamist in the records, Antonio , who appeared in the Valla- 
dolid auto of October 4, 1579. He confessed promptly and freely 
that within ten years he had married fifteen wives. It was the 
profession by which he earned a livelihood, for he wandered 
through the land marrying and running away with whatever he 

' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 787. 

' Elucidationes S. Officii, § 33 (Archive de Alcald, Hacienda, Leg. 544', Lib. 4) — 
Bibl. nacional, MSS., V, 377, cap. xvii, § 1. 
' MSS. of Library of Univ. of HaUe, Ye, 20, T. 1. 
* Proceso contra Jos. Ant. Ferro (MSS. of Am. Phil. Society). 


could secure. He must have been a most plausible scamp, for 
his favorite device was to personate some one who had disappeared, 
after gathering information sufficient to enable him to maintain 
the deception. This plan he repeated eleven times, in some cases 
estabUshing claims to considerable property. His sentence was 
to appear in the auto with a mitre bearing the insignia of all the 
fifteen marriages (usually the figure of a woman for each), two 
hundred lashes and the galleys for life. In view of the latter 
clause it seemed slightly superfluous to remit to the Ordinary, 
as usual, the question as to which of the women he should live 

As the eighteenth century advanced, the inquisitorial claim 
to exclusive jurisdiction was called in question. In the New 
Granadan case of Alberto Maldonado, of Santaf6 de Bogotd, the 
alcalde resisted the interference of the Inquisition with his prose- 
cution of the culprit; the matter was brought before the royal 
Audiencia, which decided in favor of the tribunal, on grounds 
of expediency. Appeal was made to the home government, 
resulting in a decree, February 18, 1754, to the effect that bigamy 
was mixti fori and that cognizance belonged to the jurisdiction 
taking first action. Against this the Suprema presented a con- 
sulta, March 18th, but to no purpose. The decree was enclosed 
to all viceroys in a royal c^dula, commanding that, in no case, 
should a competencia be admitted, for no custom could prevail 
against the regalias, without the royal consent. If the Inquisition 
desired to take action for the suspicion of heresy involved, it could 
do so after the culprit had served out the punishment imposed 
by the royal courts.^ 

The Inquisition was irrepressible and, in spite of these positive 
commands, a competencia arose in New Granada, which induced 
Carlos III to reconsider the questions. Consultas were called for 
and were presented, by the Suprema in April, 1765, and by the 
Council of Indies in April, 1766, resulting in a decree of July 21, 
1766, by which Carlos restored the exclusive jurisdiction of the 
Inquisition. This was sent to the viceroys, September 8th and 
we find it ordered to be duly obeyed in Mexico by the Marquis de 

• BibliothSque nationale, fonds espagnol, No. 354, fol. 242. 
' Memorias de los Vireyes del Peni, III, 38. — Archivo de Simancas, Inq., 
Lib. 28, fol. 115. 

324 BIGAMY [Book VIII 

Croix, February 26, 1767.' Carlos soon saw reason to change 
his views. The Auditor de la Guerra had tried and sentenced 
an invalid soldier, when the Inquisition interposed and demanded 
the papers. This aroused him to a sense of the incongruity of the 
position, and he ordered the Royal Council to consider the matter. 
It presented a unanimous report, January 10, 1770, in conformity 
with which he decreed, February 5th, that the case belonged exclu- 
sively to the Auditoria de la Guerra. He utilized the occasion, 
moreover, by adding that he had ordered the inquisitor-general 
to instruct inquisitors that, in cases of this kind, they must observe 
the laws of the kingdom and not embarrass the royal judges in 
matters appertaining to them, but must limit the use of their 
faculties strictly to heresy and apostasy and not dishonor the 
royal vassals by arrests without manifest preliminary proof. All 
the royal tribunals were ordered to try and punish bigamists, 
according to the laws and to be zealous in preventing any contra- 
vention of the decree.^ 

This was a bitter rebuke, sullenly resented by the Inquisition. 
There were many pending cases in the tribunals an4..they forth- 
with suspended proceedings. This led to a royal letter of September 
30, 1771, in which authority was granted to proceed with all cases 
not on trial in the royal courts, and all that might be denounced 
to the Inquisition, but subject to the condition that, when the 
culprit was not reo de Je, through belief that bigamy is lawful, 
sentence should not be rendered or punishment be inflicted but 
that the case should then be handed over to the courts having 

Although this conceded only the power of trying without con- 
victing, it was an entering wedge, which the Suprema lost no time 
in turning to advantage, by stimulating denimciations and making 
the people believe that it still held jurisdiction. In the Edict of 
Faith for 1772, therefore, bigamy was included, with the cautious 
formula " so that the Holy Office may prevent the offences against 
God committed in this crime."'' The royal decree was sent around 
to the tribunals, with instructions that, when denunciations were 
received, care was to be taken to see that the accused was not on 
trial elsewhere. In that case he was to be regularly tried and 

' MS. penes me. ' Novfs. Recop., Lib. xii, Tit. xxviii, ley 10. 

' Bibl. nacional, MSS., Mm, 93. 

* Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 15, n. 11 fol. 7; n. 10, fol. 92 


convicted and made to appear in an auto 'particular, with the insig- 
nia of bigamy and double-knotted halter indicating scourging; 
he was to be made to abjure and be remanded to prison for two 
or three weeks of penance and then be handed over to the secular 
court, so that his subsequent punishment might have the appear- 
ance of being merely the execution of a sentence by the tribunal.^ 

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

This appeal led to a royal declaration of September 6, 1777, to 
the effect that the cedula of 1770 did not impede the jurisdiction 
of the Inquisition in cases of which cognizance was reserved to it. 
As to bigamy, the offence was partitioned between three juris- 
dictions; the deceit of the woman and the injury of offspring were 
subjected to the secular courts; the validity or invalidity of the 
marriage, to the episcopal courts; and heresy as to the sacrament, 
when it existed, to the Inquisition. The three jurisdictions should 
cooperate, by each imposing the penalties belonging to it and 
delivering the culprit from one to another in order that his offences 
might be verified.' This subdivision of a crime into three was too 
clumsily scientific to be reduced to practice. In appearance it 

' Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 15, n. 11, fol. 1-6; Inq. de Toledo, 
Leg. 1. 

= Ibidem, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 15, n. 11, fol. 5. — Archivo de Alcald, Estado, 
Leg. 2843. 

' Alcubilla, C6digos antiguos, II, 1908. 

326 BIGAMY [Book VIII 

only defined the existing method, but in a shape which enabled 
the Inquisition to encroach on the secular jurisdiction. As early 
as 1781, we find that the bigamist, after trial, was handed over to 
the royal court with a certificate designating him not merely as 
a convict but expressing the punishment of exile and presidio, 
thus showing that the tribunal presumed to sentence him to tem- 
poral as well as to spiritual penance. In 1791 a case indicates 
that it even went further, for the Toledo tribunal held an auto 
particular for Gabriel Delgado, in which his sentence was read, 
prescribing not only abjuration de levi and spiritual penance, but 
exile for eight years from Toledo, Madrid and royal residences. 
The only difference between this and the practice of a century 
earlier, was a clause that his person was to be delivered to the 
secular justice.^ 

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

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 16, n. 5, fol. 50; Inq. de Toledo, 
Leg. 1, fol. 286. 


ment.' Evidently, in dealing with the army, the Inquisition felt 
constrained to obey the laws. 

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

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 890. 

' MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 20, T. I. — Archivo hist, nacional, Tnq. 
de Toledo, Leg. 1 ; Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 100. — Royal Library of Berlin, Qt. 9548. 



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

The Spanish Inquisition, at its inception, thus found itself 
possessed of jurisdiction and, in Aragon at least, where the insti- 
tution had the tradition of centuries, there was no hesitation in 
exercising it, immediately after the reorganization. In the Sara- 
gossa auto of December 17, 1486, there appeared a Christian 
punished for blasphemy, his tongue being pierced with a stick, 
and a Jew with a bridle in his mouth, a mitre and a straw 
espuerta. In this field, as in so many others, inquisitorial zeal 
outran discretion ; there was little attention paid to the distinction 
between heretical and non-heretical and, in the Instructions of 
1500, inquisitors were told that they made arrests for trifling 

' Nueva Recop., Lib. viii, Tit. iv. 

^ Eymerici Director, P. II, Q. xli. — Repertor. Inquisit. s.v. Blasphemus. 


matters, not directly heretical, as for words uttered in anger that 
were blasphemy and not heresy; in future, no one was to be arrested 
for such things and, if there was doubt, the inquisitor-general was 
to be consulted.' This warning was all the more needed, as the 
secular courts were not ready to abandon their jurisdiction, for 
a pragmd,tica of Ferdinand and Isabella, in 1502, provides lashes, 
prison and other penalties for blasphemies so evidently heretical 
as descreo de Dios (I disbeUeve in God).' The bishops likewise 
continued to assert control, for the Council of Seville, in 1512, 
under ex-Inquisitor-general Deza, imposed a fine of three gold 
florins and imprisonment at discretion on clerics, while for laymen, 
in addition to the legal penalties, the ecclesiastical judge was 
directed to prosecute for swearing, blasphemy, or insults to God, 
the Virgin and the saints.* 

The caution enjoined in the Instructions of 1500 was lost on 
the inquisitors and their abuse of power, in this respect, suggested 
one of the complaints of the Cortes of Monzon, in 1510. In the 
Concordia of 1512 it was provided that they should not have cog- 
nizance of blasphemy, unless it manifestly savored of heresy, such 
as denying the existence of God or his omnipotence. Inquisitor- 
general Mercader embodied this in his Instructions of 1514, and 
Leo X confirmed it, in 1516, in his bull Pastoralis officii.* The 
Aragonese Suprema accepted this and, in the Edict of Faith of 
1515, it was specially stated that denunciation of blasphemy was 
not required, except when it was contrary to articles of faith.^ 
As we have seen in bigamy, however, no attention was paid to 
this and, among the grievances of the C6rtes about 1530, there is 
complaint that the Inquisition threw into prison orthodox persons for 
blasphemy and for words merely uttered in the heat of passion, 
to which the imperturbable inquisitor-general replied that the 
inquisitors acted only in accordance with the law and, if parties 
had been aggrieved, let their names be given, when due provision 
would be made." 

These troubles were by no means confined to Aragon. In 
Castile a royal pragmatica of 1515 recites a suppUcation to the 

' Arguello, fol. 14. ' Llorente, Afiales, I, 278. 

' C. Hispalens. ann. 1512, cap. xxxviii (Aguirre, V, 374). 

* Pragmkticas y altres Drets de Cathalunya, Lib. i, Tit. viii, cap. 1, 2.— Archive 
de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 933. 
^ Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 918, fol. 382. 
' Ibidem, Patronato Real, Inq., Leg. linico, fol. 37. 


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

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

It is true that, in theory, the jurisdiction of the Inquisition was 
confined to heretical blasphemy and, if the older definitions were 
observed, only a moderate self-restraint was required for the most 
inveterate gambler or hot-headed ruffler to keep on the safe side. 

' Andres de Burgos, Reportorio de todas las Prematicas, fol. xxxix (Medina 
del Campo, 1551). 
^ C6rtes de los Reinos de Leon y de Castilla, IV, 589. 


but definitions were malleable and could be moulded to suit the 
temper or the aggressiveness of a tribunal anxious for business 
and for fines. The doctors found it no, easier to agree upon the 
deUmitation of heretical blasphemy than upon the thousand other 
questions suggested by Moral Theology. It was easy to say in 
general terms that heretical blasphemy consisted in affirming or 
denying of God that which the faith requires to be denied or 
affirmed, or in attributing to the creature that which pertains 
solely to the Creator, but when it came to applying these abstract 
principles in the concrete, there was apt to be discordance, and it 
is easy to imagine how ample a field for casuistry was afforded by 
the variety, vigor and picturesqueness of the blasphemy of the 
southern races. 

As a rule, the Suprema was inchned to check the readiness of 
the tribunals to discover heresy in expletives which were, it is 
true, blasphemous, irreverent and indecent, but not indicative of 
lack of faith. There was a class of these, which seem to have been 
in the mouth of every one, ineradicable by the most severe legis- 
lation, such as "Mai grado aya Dios" (May it spite God), "Pese 
a Dios" (May God regret) "Reniego d, Dios" (I renounce God), 
"Descreo de Dios" (I disbelieve in God) etc., for which Ferdinand 
and Isabella, in their laws of 1492 and 1502, provided penalties 
ranging from a month's imprisonment for a first offence, to piercing 
the tongue for a third and, in 1525, Charles V added " Por vida de 
Dios" (By God's life) to the list. In 1566, Philip II in his desire 
for naval recruits, added ten years of galleys to the penalties for 
blasphemy and six years of galleys to the tongue-piercing for the 
third offence, as provided by his predecessors.' When these 
offences were so fully covered by secular law, the Suprema deemed 
it unnecessary that the tribunals should be diverted from their 
legitimate functions to take cognizance of them. In 1537, Dr. 
Giron de Loaysa, in his visitation of Toledo, writes for instructions 
concerning these expletives. He regards them as heretical, but 
he understands that the Suprema does not wish the tribunals to 
take action on them, as they are so common and there are already 
judges enough for them.^ It was probably in response to this 
that, in the same year 1537, the Suprema decided that utterances 
such as these were not within its jurisdiction, because they were 

' Nueva Recop., Lib. viii, Tit. iv. 

2 Bibl. pdblica de Toledo, Sala v, Est. xi, Tab. 3. 


conditional, being merely explosions of wrath or disappointment, 
a decision which it repeated in 1547 ; it had already, in 1535, con- 
strued the Instructions pf 1500 as implying that sudden ejacula- 
tions of anger were to be handed over to the episcopal courts and, 
in 1560, it included "por vida de Dios" among non-heretical 
blasphemies. In 1567, however, among the charges against 
Estevan Pueyo, in Valencia, is included his exclaiming "pese A 
Dios" and the tendency of inquisitors to widen the definition is 
seen in the rebuke by the Suprema of Inquisitor Moral because, in 
San Sebastian, he had punished for sayings such as " God cannot 
do me more harm" and "in this world you will not see me suffer," 
unless, indeed, it sagely observes, the last expression is used with 
disbelief in the final Judgement/ 

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

In the region so full of doubt, where there were three claimants 

• Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 939, fol. 106; Lib. 81, fol. 27. — Arohivo hist, 
nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 31. 

' Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 299, fol. 80. — Alberghini, Man. 
Qualificat., cap. xvi. 


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

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

* This was not the case in Italy where, in 1555, the Inquisition assumed juris- 
diction over blasphemy. There were occasional conflicts with the secular author- 
ities, especially in the Venetian territories, as when, in 1595, the podesti of Brescia 
refused to allow a blasphemer to be imprisoned by the inquisitor. The Roman 
Congregation protested, but the podestS, prevailed and punished the offender, 
probably with greater severity than the Inquisition would have done. There 
was the same difficulty of distinction between heretical and non-heretical blas- 
phemy. In 1606 the Congregation decided that puttana de Dio was not heretical 
although outside of Rome it was held to be so. — Decret. S. Cong. S. Officii, p. 
29 (MSS. of Bibl. del Reale Archivio di Stato in Roma, Fondo Camerale, 
Congr. del. S. Officii, Vol. 3). 

' Cartas de Jesuitas (Mem. hist, espanol, XV, 191).— Nueva Recop., Lib. i, 
Tit. i, ley 10. — Autos Acordados, Lib. viii, Tit. ii, Auto 1. 

' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 552, fol. 13. 


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

It may be assumed, in fact, that there was a wide discretion 
in these matters. We have seen the severity with which the wild 
outbursts of rage of Antonio P4rez were treated, yet, in 1624, a 
young soldier who, when put in the stocks, exclaimed "I renounce 
God and the saints; devils why don't you come and carry me off?" 
when duly tried with- all formality by the Valladolid tribunal, 
was discharged with a reprimand and without a sentence. So, 
in 1630, two girls in the Dominican convent of Valladolid, on being 
confined in a room by the prioress, in a burst of rage repeatedly 
renounced God and the saints. Naturally on trial they expressed 
extreme repentance and were discharged with a reprimand.^ This 
wise moderation did not exclude severity, when the case seemed 

' Archive de AlcaM, Hacienda, Leg. 544,^ Lib. 4. 

' Ibidem. — Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 299, fol. 80. — Bibl. 
nacional, MSS., V, 377, cap. 1. 
' Elucidationes S. Officii, § 37 (Archive de Alcald, vbi sup). 
* Archive de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 552, fol. 3, 13, 


to demand it. In 1669, Antonio del Hero, for heretical blasphemy 
"en grado superlative" was sentenced in Toledo to appear in the 
auto of April 7th, to abjure de levi, to hear mass as a penitent, 
to receive a hundred lashes and to serve three years in the galleys.* 

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

' Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 1. 



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

Marriage in Orders. 

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

The Reformation, which sanctioned clerical marriage, introduced 
a new and controlling factor that in time altered the situation. 

' Reportorium Inquisit. s.v. Degradatio, § an clericus. 

' Simancae de Cath. Instt., Tit. xl, n. 8-13; Ejusd. Enchirid., Tit. xii, n. 1-3.— 
Amaldi Albertin. Ilepetitionem novam, Q. xiii, n. 47 (Ed. 1534, coL 331). 

It is perhaps worth noting that the Repertorium of 1494 has no allusion to the 
subject imder the titles Castitas, Clericus, and Matrimonium. At that time 
it was evidently considered to be outside of the sphere of the Inquisition. 


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

The Inquisition, however, did not wait for this to assume juris- 
diction, though it seems not to have acted until after the outbreak 
of the Reformation had rendered clerical celibacy a subject of 
discussion. The earliest case that I have met is that of Miguel 
G6mez, a priest of Saragossa, sentenced, for marrying in orders, 
by the Toledo tribunal in 1529, when the peculiar punishment 
would seem to show that it was a novelty for which no precedent 
existed. He was exhibited for three days on a ladder at the 
portal of the cathedral, in his shirt and drawers, with his hands 
tied, his feet chained and a mitre on his head, after which he was 
deprived for life of sacerdotal functions and banished forever from 
the province. Toledo had no other case until 1562, wheii it had 
to deal with the somewhat complicated offence of Fray Juan 
Ramirez, who entered a religious order while married, but twice 
left it and returned again, during which performances he married 
two wives.' That jurisdiction depended wholly on the sacrament 
is seen in the case of Juan Carrillo, alias Fray Juan Ortiz, a Fran- 
ciscan denounced, in 1596, to the Toledo tribunal by his prelate. 
Fray Juan de Ovando, for apostasy and living with a woman 
reputed to be his wife. Investigation showed that she was merely 
his concubine, so the case was suspended, and he was remanded 
to Ovando to be dealt with under the rules of the Order.* 

' Amaldi Albertini de agnoscendis Assertionibus, Q. xxiii, n. 41. 

In Germany, many Catholic priests took wives. By the Interim of Charies V, 
in 1548, they were allowed to remain undisturbed until the Council of Trent 
should decide the question. — Interim, cap. xxvi, § 17. 

' C. Trident. Sess. xxiv, De Sacr. Matrimonii, can. ix. Yet the council recog- 
nized the papal power of dispensation. 

' Catdlogo de las causas seguidas ante el tribunal de Toledo, pp. 306, 307. 

* MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 20, T. I. 
VOL. IV 22 


After the offence had clearly been made heresy by the Council 
of Trent, the terrifying formula of accusation by the fiscal describes 
the offender as unworthy of mercy, to be deprived of all ecclesias- 
tical privilege, to be degraded from his orders and to be relaxed 
to the secular arm, to which was added the otrosi demanding the 
free use of torture/ In practice, however, there was the widest 
discretion. It is true that writers speak of appearance in public 
auto or degradation and reclusion in a monastery for a few years, 
or a similar term of galley service, but there seems to have been 
no rule.^ Indeed, it is not easy to understand how an offence so 
uniform in its nature should have been visited with penalties so 
diverse. In 1597, Francisco Agustin, an Augustinian of Barce- 
lona, married in Toledo, sought to defend himself on the plea that 
he had entered the Order under compulsion in order to escape his 
debts: his sentence was appearance in an auto, abjuration de levi 
and imprisonment for life in the convent where he had made 
profession.' In 1629, Fray Lorenzo de Avalle, a Benedictine 
priest, accused himself to the Valladolid tribunal of having mar- 
ried and Uved for eight years as a musician in Aragon. Notwith- 
standing his self-denunciation, he was sentenced to verbal degra- 
dation and to four years' detention in a monastery, where he was 
to undergo a circular discipline, while the woman was notified 
that she was free to marry again.* In strong contrast with this 
was the case of Juan Alonso Palacios, a married Jesuit, before the 
Toledo tribunal in 1659, who, though not an espontaneado, escaped 
with a reprimand and four years of reclusion. Then, in 1664, 
Fray Juan de Ayala, a Mercenarian priest, was, by the same tri- 
bunal, suspended perpetually from his functions and recluded for 
three years in a convent with one year's Friday fasting and some 
spiritual penance. Again, in 1675, the same tribunal condemned 
Ger6nimo de Morales, a married subdeacon, to five years in the 
galleys, three more of exile and disqualification for orders.^ Five 
years of galleys, with three more of exile and deprivation of func- 
tions and benefices, was the portion of Don Cristoval de Zabiati, 

• MSS. of Royal Library of Copenhagen, 218b, p. 420. 

^ Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 299, fol. 80. — Elucidationes S. 
Officii, § 34 (Archivo de Alcald, Hacienda, Leg. 544,' Lib. 4). 
= MSS. of Library of Univ. of HaUe, Yc, 20, T. I. 

* Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 552, fol. 11. 

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 1. 


alias Don Juan Baptista de Verganza, priest of Talavera de la 
Reina, who appeared in the great Madrid auto of 1680/ In 1700 
the Toledo tribunal had to deal with a case characterized as "con 
circonstancias gravfeimas," so that we may regard the sentence 
as representing the extremity of punishment for the offence. The 
culprit was not required to appear in an auto, but his sentence 
was read in the audience-chamber, in the presence of twenty-four 
ecclesiastics. It prescribed abjuration de levi, perpetual depri- 
vation of functions, perpetual confinement in a convent cell, to 
be left only for choir and refectory, in which he was to have the 
last place, to fasting for four years, on bread and water on Fridays 
and vigils, and to a circular disciphne when taken to the con- 
vent. The details of his career are not given, but there is a sug- 
gestion of material for a picaresque novel, as the culprit was a 
Dominican, Fray Tomas Juster, who had been a calificador of 
the Inquisition and a preacher of the king, and who enjoyed the 
multifarious aliases of Don Juan de San Feliii Cisneros, Don 
Vicente de Ochaita and Don Juan de Ibarrola.^ It is somewhat 
remarkable that degradation appears so rarely to be resorted to. 
The offence seems to have been by no means frequent. In the 
Toledo reports from 1575 to 1610, there are only the two cases 
referred to above, and, in the record of the same tribunal from 
1648 to 1794 the number is only ten. From 1780 to 1820 the 
combined records of all the tribunals show only six cases.^ 

Peesonation of Priesthood. 

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

' Olmo, Relacion del Auto, p. 204. 

' Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 1. 

° Ibidem, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 100. 


faithful who are deceived, but to the Creator who has established 
them for the solace and salvation of His creatures.' 

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

This repetition of legislation shows the stubbornness of the evil 
and the papal determination to suppress it. Even complicity 
was sternly punished for, in 1619, a layman assisting a celebrant, 
whom he knew to be unqualified, was tortured for intention, made 
to abjure de vehementi, to serve five years in the galleys, and was 
perpetually suspended from assisting at mass.° Cardinal Scaglia, 
however, states that when the offence was committed through 
thoughtlessness, relaxation was commuted to ten years of galleys," 
but there was no hesitation in inflicting the full penalty in appro- 
priate cases. As late as July 18, 1711, Domenico Spallacino, 

' " Consentaneum visum est de sanctissimis ecclesise sacramentis agere, per 
quaj omnis vera justitia vel incipit, vel coepta augetur, vel amissa reparatur." — 
C. Trident. Sess. vii, De Sacramentis, Procem. 

^ P. Denifle, Die alteste Tax-rolle der Apost. Ponitentiarie (Archiv f. Litt. u. 
K.-Geschichte, TV, 224-5). 

' Locati Opus judiciale Inquisitor., pp. 475, 476 (Romae, 1570). — Farinacii de 
Hseresi, Q. cxciii, § 1, n. 39. 

' BuUar. Roman. Ill, 142; IV, 144. 

' Collect. Deer. S. Congr. S. Officii, p. 50 (MS. penes me). 

° Ristretto circa li Delitti piil frequenti nel S. Offizio, p. 104-5 (MS. penes me). 


a hardened offender, who had lived for five years by celebrating 
mass in Rome, Loreto and other places, was relaxed and con- 
demned to be hanged and burned; he was duly hanged in the 
Piazza di Campo de'Fiori, the body was fastened to an iron 
stake on a pile of wood and was reduced to ashes, which were 
gathered up and buried/ 

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

It is evident that the Spanish Inquisition did not share the 
horror felt in Rome for such offences, and this is manifested in the 
comparative moderation of the penalties inflicted. About 1650, a 
Spaniard in Rome, writing to a friend at home, and comparing 
the severity of the Italian Inquisition with the mildness of the 

' Royal Library of Munich, Cod. Ital. 185. — Bibl. del R. Archivio di Stato in 
Roma, Miscellanea MS., p. 729. 

2 Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 939, fol. 107. — Ant. de Sousa. Opusc. circa 
Constit. Pauli V, p. 57. — Rod. a Cunha pro PP. Pauli V Statute, p. 65. 

' BuUar. Roman. II, 415. 

* Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 939, fol. 108; Lib. 942, fol. 39. 


Spanish, instances the Roman torture of bigamists and soliciting 
confessors, the longer terms of galleys for the former, and the 
implacable relaxation of those who celebrate mass without ordi- 
nation/ There was no such ferocity in Spain. No time had been 
lost in assuming the jurisdiction and already, in 1575, there was 
a culprit in a Toledo auto — Fray Alonso Garcfa, a Franciscan — 
who had celebrated mass and heard confessions, and whose sen- 
tence was merely abjuration de levi and four years' galley service. 
The most complete discretion was exercised and the penalties 
varied in the same tribunal according to the circumstances of the 
case and the temper of the inquisitors. Thus in Toledo, in 1578, 
Pero Joan Queito, a student, who carried forged certificates and 
had confessed many persons, absolving them and imposing 
penance, appeared in an auto, with halter and candle, abjured 
de levi, and had two hundred lashes and three years of galleys. In 
the same year a Frenchman named Pierre Saletas, accused of 
having for twenty years heard confessions and celebrated mass 
on forged certificates, was tortured without confessing and was 
banished the kingdom for four years and forbidden to administer 
sacraments without genuine certificates. In 1600, Balthasar 
Rodriguez, a deacon, appeared in an auto, abjured de levi, was 
suspended for ten years from the exercise of his orders, with per- 
petual disability for promotion, and had six years of galleys. In 
the same year the Mercenarian, Fray Gregorio de Palacios, was 
spared appearance in an auto, but abjured de levi, had fifty lashes 
and was recluded for three years in a monastery of his Order.^ 
In 1622, at Valladolid, the Franciscan deacon. Fray Juan Tapia, 
for celebrating mass, was merely ordered to keep his convent as 
a prison and to present himself when summoned. Somewhat 
greater severity was shown to Fray Antonio Frechado, a Trini- 
tarian subdeacon, who for publicly hearing confessions was re- 
quired to abjure de levi, was suspended from his functions for 
two years, during which he was recluded in his convent, was 
disabled for promotion and had some spiritual penance.' 

It would be useless to multiply examples of this diversified 
moderation. I have met with but one case in which the papal 
prescription of relaxation was obeyed and this occurred in Mexico, 
in 1606, when Fernando Rodriguez de Castro, a mulatto, was 

' Bibl. nacional, MSS., D, 118, fol. 114. 

2 MSS. of Library of Univ. of HaUe, Yc, 20, T. I. 

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 552, fol. 1, 11. 


relaxed for administering sacraments without ordination, but this 
was no precedent for, in the great auto of 1648, Gaspar de los 
Reyes was sentenced to two hundred lashes and the galleys for 
life and Martin de Villavicencio Salazar to the same scourging 
and five years of galleys/ 

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

As the eighteenth century advanced a still more lenient view 
seems to have obtained. In 1749 the case of Fray Juan de Santa 
Rosa, a Franciscan deacon, was an aggravated one, for he had 
administered the sacraments of baptism, the Eucharist, penitence 
and matrimony, but the Toledo tribunal only declared him ' 'irregu- 
lar" for promotion, suspended him from the diaconate for two 
years and imposed fifteen days of spiritual penance. No special 

' Obregon, Mexico Viejo, II, 353, 383.— Museo Mexicano, T. I, pp. 338^0 
(Mexico, 1843). 

' Bibl. nacional, MSS., V, 377, cap. xix. — Miguel Calvo (Archivo de Alcald 
Hacienda, Leg. 544,^ Lib. 4).— Elucidationes S. Officii, § 38 (Ibidem).— MSS. of 
Royal Library of Copenhagen, 218t>, p. 385. 

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 1183, fol. 13. 


expectation of amendment earned this benignity, for his Provincial 
was instructed to send him to a convent, from which he was not 
to go out alone, so as not to expose him to relapse.' 

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

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

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 1. 

^ Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 890. 

' Archivo hist, nacional, Liq. de Valencia, Leg. 100. 


Personation op Officials. 

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

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

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

In the Seville auto of September 24, 1559, there were three 
cases of personation. Alonso de Hontiveros, for pretending to 
be a familiar and endeavoring to make arrests for the purpose of 
extortion, appeared with halter and gag and was sent to Xeres his 

' MS. Memoria de diversos Autos (see Appendix to Vol. I). 
' Bibl. nacional, MSS., V, 377, cap. xvi. 

' Elucidationes S. Officii, § 47 (Archive de AlcaU, Hacienda, Leg. 544', Lib. 4). 
—MSS. of Royal Library of Copenhagen, 218b, p. 332. 


place of residence to receive a hundred lashes; Juan de Aragon, 
of Malaga, for the same offence, was spared the gag, but wore a 
mitre and had a scourging at Mdlaga and another where his offence 
was committed, besides two years of exile, while his accomphce, 
Francisco Prieto, received the same sentence, with the substitution 
of vergiienza for scourging.^ On the other hand, at Toledo, in 
1581, Francisco de la Bastida was visited with the utmost rigor. 
He represented himself as an alguazil, carrying a vara de justicia 
and using the name of the inquisitor-general. He would summon 
the alcades and other officials to render assistance, which was 
freely given without question; he would make arrests, carry his 
prisoners to some distance, take their money, leave them in charge 
of some local familiar and disappear. In this way he moved from 
Fuente de Enzina to Almaden and Madrid, and thence to Sara- 
gossa where he was arrested. He confessed freely at once and 
was condemned to relaxation, by virtue of a special brief obtained 
from Gregory XIII, but the Suprema, with doubtful mercy, com- 
muted this to six hundred lashes — two hundred each in Toledo, 
Almaden and Fuente de Enzina — and the galleys irremissibly for 
life.^ Zapata relates what is evidently the exploit which brought 
to a close the promising career of this enterprising knave. At 
Almagro, he says, the agent of the Fuggers of Augsburg was Juan 
Xelder, a man highly esteemed and reputed to be of great wealth. 
Suddenly a stranger appeared, with the vara of an alguazil of 
the Inquisition, who sought out two familiars and commanded 
them to assist him in making an arrest. Proceeding to Xelder's 
house he made the arrest, locked him up in a room and consoled 
the frightened family by assuring them of the customary mercy 
of the Inquisition. He then summoned a notary and placed all 
the property of the prisoner under sequestration, except two 
thousand ducats which he said he had orders to take for the 
expenses of the trial. The whole town was thrown into commotion, 
but no one dared to ask for papers, or authority, or identification. 
Xelder was placed in a carriage, with strict orders that no one 
should exchange a word with him ; the familiars were required to 
accompany it to the next halting place, where they and the carriage 

' Archive de Simancas, Hacienda, Leg. 25, fol. 3. 

2 MSS. of Library of Univ. of HaUe, Yc, 20, T. I.— See above, Vol. Ill, p. 189. 

Simancas (De Cath. Instt., Tit. xlvi, n. 92, 93) says that the Inquisition cannot 
relax for personation, however grave the case may be, which explains the neces- 
sity of the special papal brief. 


were dismissed with handsome gratuities and the stranger confided 
Xelder to the care of a familiar of high standing, with orders to 
guard him carefully, incomunicado, while he would proceed to 
Toledo and send instructions. Ten days passed when the familiar, 
growing tired of the expense, made inquiries and ascertaining 
the facts released the prisoner. Meanwhile the impostor, fearing 
to carry the gold, deposited it with a banker and took a bill of 
exchange on Saragossa, so that he was readily tracked and arrested 
when he presented the bill for payment. The secular court 
claimed him, but the Inquisition asserted its jurisdiction — for- 
tunately, Zapata says, for the culprit, for the offence was capital 
and he escaped with scourging and the galleys.' 

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

There appears to have been a very lenient view taken, in 1582, 
by the Toledo tribunal, of the case of Pedro Moreno, a sacristan, 
who pretended to be a familiar and as such visited the hospital 
and asked the inmates whether they had confessed, when he 
arrested and carried off those who had not. It was in evidence 
also that, on seeing two men quarrelling in a church, he arrested 
one in the name of the Inquisition. There does not seem to have 
been a pecuniary motive in these eccentricities, and he escaped 
with a reprimand and banishment for a year.' Another motive, 
which was regarded with a lenient eye, was assuming official 
position in order to enjoy the exemptions and privileges of the 

' Miscelanea de Zapata (Mem. hist, espafiol, XI, 60). 
There is here evidently confusion between Almagro and Almaden. 
^ Danvila y CoUado, Expulsion de los Moriscos, p. 208. — Bibl. nacional, MSS., 
PV, 3, n. 20. 
8 MHS, of Library of Univ. of Halle, Ye, 20, T. I. 


Inquisition. Thus when Jayme Corvellana of Barcelona in this 
manner bluffed off the officers of justice who came to his house to 
seize some salt, Inquisitor Padilla imposed on him a fine of fifty 
ducats and some spiritual penance, and was rebuked by the 
Suprema for inflicting so heavy a penalty for so trifling a cause — 
"en causas tan livianas.'" 

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

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

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

Demoniacal Possession. 

That evil spirits can take possession of a human being, deprive 
him of his free-will and subject him to extreme bodily and mental 
suffering, is a belief handed down from ancient times and still 
largely held as a matter of faith. That relief can be had by the 

* Archive de Simancas, Inq., Visitas de Barcelona, Leg. 15, fol. 20. 
' Llorente, Hist, crit., cap. xxiv, art. 1, n. 11. — MSS. of Library of Univ. of 
Halle, Yc, 20, T. I. — Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 1. 
' Archivo hist, nacional, he cit. 


ministrations of an exorcist, duly authorized by admission into 
one of the lower orders of the priesthood, is a corresponding belief, 
and formulas without number have been prepared to enable him 
to exercise his power over the demon. There is no heresy involved 
in either the possession or the exorcism and, under normal con- 
ditions, there was no call for interference by the Inquisition, but 
when, for any reason, such interference was desired, there was little 
trouble in finding pretext for its jurisdiction. We have seen 
(Vol. II, p. 135) the active measures taken, in 1628, with the nuns 
of San Placido, whose demoniacally inspired revelations were 
somewhat revolutionary. Greater self-denial was exhibited by 
the Valladolid tribunal in a contemporaneous case, when a Jesuit 
confessor reported to it that Dona Felippa and Doiia Ana de Mer- 
cado, Bernardine nuns in Santo Espiritu of Olmeda, made gestures 
and other irreverent acts in confession and communion, which 
caused scandal, and he thought proceeded from demoniacal posses- 
sion. The tribunal felt doubts as to its jurisdiction and consulted 
the Suprema, which submitted the matter to a calificador of high 
attainments. Prolonged investigations were made, other nvms 
were examined, and it was in evidence that the two inculpated 
were women of exceptional virtue and piety who had prayed to 
God to test them with afflictions. The case dragged on for more 
than ten years, resulting in the conviction that it was undoubtedly 
one of possession, for which the nuns were free from blame, and 
finally, April 16, 1630, the Suprema ordered its suspension.' 
Wherever there was the faintest suspicion of heresy, the Inquisi- 
tion could assert jurisdiction. 

This involved the question of the responsibility of the demoniac 
for his' utterances, which was somewhat intricate. In the case of 
one under trial by the Granada tribunal, in 1650, the learned 
Jesuit, Padre Diego Tello, who was called in as a calificador, 
reported, with an immense array of authorities, and after three 
visits to the accused in the secret prison, that thei-e could be no 
doubt as to the possession, for he was able to discuss points of 
theology and other matters far beyond his capacity; he could also 
speak Latin intelUgibly and he quoted Scripture while, as he uttered 
many heresies, it was evident that the spirit was evil. At the 
same time he was rational on so many points that he could not be 
regarded as irresponsible for his heresies. Luther and Zwingli, 

' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 552, fol. 13. 


he added, were notoriously possessed by demons, but they were 
none the less held responsible for their teachings and it was the 
uniform practice of the Inquisition so to decide in these cases.' 

In the hysterical epidemics which form so notable a feature of 
possession, the Inquisition was apt to be called in and was ready 
to act, although it would be diflficult to determine on what grounds. 
In 1638 there was such an epidemic in one of the Pyrenean valleys 
and, on September 24th, Jacintade Robles, secretary of the Gover- 
nor of Aragon, reported to the Saragossa tribunal that, on a recent 
visit to Jaca, he had found, in the Valle de Tena, that there were 
about sixty endemoniadas and that the malady was spreading. 
It was attributed to Pedro de Arrecibo and his friend Miguel 
Guillen, who had been seized by the secular authorities; Guillen 
had been executed, while Arrecibo's trial was nearly concluded. 
He had confessed that a Frenchman had given him a paper and 
some conjurations through which to win women, but it only 
rendered them possessed — a statement evidently fabricated to 
satisfy his torturers. It was the demons who had accused these 
two men, adding that their death would not stay the infection, for 
there were other accomplices. The women affected were of the 
best families, their ages ranging from 7 to 18 — some were pregnant 
and others were suckling their infants, for demons were able to 
produce these results in the virtuous. The Bishop of Jaca and 
' some Jesuits were exhausting their exorcisms, and an inquisitor 
was badly needed. What function was expected of an inquisitor 
is not stated, but the Suprema was consulted and, after some delay 
it appealed to the king. It was ready to send an inquisitor and 
four frailes, but it had no funds for the expenses of the latter, 
which would have to be defrayed from some other source. The 
king gave orders accordingly, but they were not obeyed, and the 
last we hear of the matter is another consulta of March 28, 1640, 
in which he was urged to speedy action in view of the great impor- 
tance of the affair.^ 

The intervention of the Inquisition might well be welcomed if 
it was always as rational and as effective as in an epidemic of the 
kind which troubled Quer^taro (Mexico) in 1691. Two young 
girls who had suffered themselves to be seduced pretended to be 
possessed. The Franciscans and Padres Apostdlicos took them in 

• MSS. of Library of Univ. of HaUe, Yc, 20, T. XVII. 
' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 34, fol. 394. 


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

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

The exorciser also occasionally laid himself open to inquisitorial 
animadversion. Thus, in 1749, Fray Jaime Sans, a lay-brother 
of the Order of San Francisco de Assis, used to visit the sick and 
pronounce them to be possessed, when he would make the sign 
of the cross and sprinkle them with holy water. He was de- 

' Procesos contra Francisca Mexia y Francisca de la Sema (MSS. of David 
Fergusson Esq.). 

Fuller details of this instructive case will be found in my " Chapters from the 
Religious History of Spain," pp. 428-35. 

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 100. 


nounced to the Barcelona tribunal, which warned him to desist, 
for he had no power to exorcise, and threatened to proceed against 
him, whereupon he promised to obey/ Exorcists also sometimes 
abused their opportunities by committing indecencies upon their 
patients. I have not met with such cases in the Spanish Inquisi- 
tion, but in this it would doubtless follow the example of the Roman 
Congregation, which, in 1639, ordered the prosecution of a most 
flagrant one, reported by the Inquisitor of Bergamo.^ 

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

Insults to Images. 

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

In one instance, at least, the secular magistrates exercised 
jurisdiction. In December, 1643, Madrid was much excited by 
a robbery committed on a miracle-working image of Nuestra 
Seiiora de la Gracia, when all its jewels, ornaments and vestments 
were taken, and worst of all, the image was left lying face down- 

' MSS. of Am. Philos. Society. 

^ Decret. S. Congr. S. Officii, p. 388 (Bibl. del R. Archivio di Stato in Roma, 
Fondo Camerale, Congr. del S. Officio, Vol. 3). 

' Prattica per le cause del Sant' Officio, cap. 25 (MS. perees me). 


wards on the ground. Great efforts were made to detect the per- 
petrators of the sacrilege, and it was accounted miraculous when 
they were identified while investigating another robbery. They 
must have been tried by the criminal judges, for no mention is 
made of the Inquisition and all three were hanged in March, 1644, 
in presence of an immense crowd.^ 

This was exceptional, and the jurisdiction of the Inquisition was 
generally admitted. We are told, by a writer of the period, that, 
when images of the saints are outraged by word or act, if the 
accused belongs to a nation infected with iconoclastic heresy, and 
the evidence is sufl&cient and he denies intention, he must be tor- 
tured. Overcoming the torture, without having sufficiently purged 
the evidence, he can be sentenced to an extraordinary penalty and 
to abjuration, either de levi or de vehemenii: if he confesses both fact 
and intention and begs for mercy, he is to be reconciled, but if 
pertinacious he must be relaxed.^ This however applies to cases 
of absolute heretics, in which the sacrilege was apt to be merely 
an aggravating incident, while the great majority of cases consisted 
of more or less reckless Catholics, whose punishment varied with 
the circumstances and was rarely vindictive. In the Toledo tri- 
bunal, from 1575 to 1610, there were but four cases, which illus- 
trate the general principles of treatment and the extreme suscepti- 
bility felt with regard to any irreverence towards sacred objects. 
The first of these occurs in 1579, when Francisco del Espinar, 
a boy of 13, was tried for pulling up a way-side cross, playing with 
it until he broke it and cast the fragments into a vineyard, and 
then alleging that it was no sin because the cross was not a blessed 
one. He confessed freely and pleaded that it was not through 
irreverence, because he was drunk, but he was punished with 
sixty lashes and two years of exile. The second was in 1595, 
when Fernando Rodriguez was accused by three witnesses of 
throwing a stick at a paper image of the Virgin on an altar, tearing 
it and uttering a filthy jest, but he proved an alibi and the case was 
suspended. The next was in 1600, when Anton Ruiznieto was 
punished with abjuration de levi and three years' exile, for mal- 
treating a crucifix and using offensive words to it. The fourth, 
in 1606, illustrates the circumspection requisite to avoid even the 
appearance of irreverence, and the danger of denunciation which 

Pellicer, Avisos hist6ricos (SemanMo enidito, XXXIII, 116, 124, 149). 
' Bibl. nacional, MSS., V, 377, cap. vii, § 1. 
VOL. IV „ 23 


constantly impended over every one. Isabel de Espinosa was 
denounced by three witnesses because she had placed on a close- 
stool, which she kept in her living-room, a painted board on which 
were representations of Christ and some saints. A neighbor 
removed it and she replaced it, when the neighbor spoke to her 
and she changed its place. She was brought from Ocana to 
Toledo and a house was assigned to her as a prison. In defence 
she explained that her mother-in-law had left her some old furni- 
ture, which her husband had just brought to the house; among 
it was this board, black and indistinguishable with age and, 
without examination, she had put it on the objectionable article, 
but when this was pointed out to her she had removed it. As she 
was a simple woman and there was no apparent malice, the case 
was suspended.* 

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

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

' MSS. of Library of Univ. of HaUe, Yc, 20, T. I. 
' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 1. 
' Bibl. nacional, MSS., Bb, 122. 


on the cross, indicative of iconoclastic zeal. Under the Restora- 
tion, there are but three cases on record.^ 

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

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

Uncanonizbd Saints, 

In the exuberant cult offered to saints, there must be some cen- 
tral and absolute authority to determine claims to sainthood and 
to preserve the faithful from the superstition of wasting devotion 
on those who have no power of suffrage. St. Ulric of Augsburg 
is said to be the first saint whose sanctity was deliberately passed 

' Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 100. ' Ibidem. 

' Ibidem, Leg. 1, n. 4, fol. 179.— MSS. of Royal Library of Copenhagen, 218b, 
p. 167. 


upon by Rome, in 993, and Alexander III, in 1181 definitely 
forbade the adoration of those who had not been canonized by 
the Holy See.^ The assumption of such authority was essential, 
for the cult of a local saint was profitable to a shrine fortunate 
enough to possess his remains, and popular enthusiasm was ready 
at any moment to ascribe sainthood to any devotee who had 
earned the reputation of especial holiness. 

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

' Cap. 1, Extra, Lib. iii, Tit. xlv. 

' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 19, fol. 70-76, 108-116.— Arohivo hist, na- 
donal, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 6, n. 2, fol. 158 sqq. 


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

Yet they did not condemn a work issued, in 1636, by a pious 
priest of Salamanca and Toledo, Francisco Miranda y Paz, urging 
the cult as a saint of Adam, the father of the human race, and 
audaciously asking whether this could not be done without the 
licence of the Roman pontiff.^ In fact, what the Inquisition did 
in discharge of this duty is less significant than what it left undone. 
We have seen (Vol. I, p. 134) that the assumed martyrdom of 
El Santo Nino de la Guardia was followed by a popular cult of 
the unknown victim. That cult proved exceedingly lucrative to 
those who exploited it and has continued to the present day, 
although Rome could never be induced to sanction it, yet the 
Inquisition prudently forbore to interfere with it in any way.* 
Similar abstention was observed in the celebrated case of the for- 
geries known as the Plomos del Sacromonte — inscribed leaden 
plates, accompanied by bones assumed to be those of the earliest 
Christian martyrs, exhumed in 1595, on a mountain near Granada. 
The forgeries were clumsy enough, but they favored the two points 
dearest to the Spanish heart — the Immaculate Conception of the 
Virgin and the Spanish apostolate of St. James. They were wel- 
comed with the intensest fervor, a house of secular canons was 
erected on the spot, which grew wealthy through the offerings of 
pilgrims, and innumerable miracles attested the sanctity of the 

' Urbani PP. VIII Const. Ccelestis (Bullar. Roman. IV, 85, Append, p. 33). 

' Index of 1640, Regula xvi. — Indice Ultimo, p. xxvi. 

' Discurso sobre si se le puede hacer fiesta al Premier Padre del Genero Humano 
Adan y darle culto y veneracion publica como d Santo, sin licencia del Romano 
Pontifice. Per D. Francisco Miranda y Paz. Madrid, 1636. The book was 
thought worthy of a refutation, which appeared in 1639 (Nic. Anton. Bibl. nova 
s. V. Franciscus de Miranda). 

* Padre Fidel Fita, in Boletin, 1887.— Martinez Moreno Historia del Martirio 
del Santo Nino de la Guardia (Madrid, 1866). 


relics. Rome refused to admit the authenticity of the plomos 
without examining them; after a long struggle they were sent there 
in 1641, and after another protracted contest they were condemned 
as fabrications, May 6, 1682, by Innocent XI in a special brief. 
The bones of the so-called martyrs were not specifically condemned 
as spurious, but they were not accepted as genuine, yet the Index 
of Vidal Marin, while printing the condemnation of the plomos 
and of the books written in their defence, was careful to assert 
that the prohibition did not include the relics or the veneration 
paid to them ; the Sacromonte is still a place of pilgrimage and, in 
the Plaza del Triunfo of Granada, there stands a pillar bearing 
the names and martyrdoms of the saints as recorded in the plomos.' 
Yet, so long as the claims of the martyrs were not allowed by Rome 
and the only evidence in their favor was condemned as fabricated, 
this was superstition, and its suppression was the duty of the 

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

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

' The best account of these and kindred forgeries is by Jos6 Godoy Alcantara, 
in his Historia critica de los falsos Cronicones (Madrid, 1868). The modem 
President of the Canons of Sacromonte has given the other side in his El Sacro 
Monte de Granada (Madrid, 1883). 

The influence of the Inquisition at first was adverse to the plomos. See Archive 
de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 20, fol. 127, 188, 236, 319. A whole volume of the archives 
(Lib. 44") is occupied with papers connected with the affair from 1604 to 1636. 

' Barrantes, Aparato para la Historia de Extremadura, II, 392. 

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 435^. 


The Immaculate Conception. 

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

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

The Dominicans and their followers found it hard to observe 
the discreet silence prescribed by the popes and, in 1661, the 
Spanish bishops united in earnest request to Alexander VII, 
representing that persons were still found who publicly denied the 

' I have considered in some detail the development of this behef, in the " His- 
tory of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages," III, 596 sqq. 

^ Collect. Decretor. S. Congr. S. Officii, s.v. Conceptio (MS. penes me). — Collect. 
Decret. S. Congr. S. Inquisit. (Bibl. del R. Archivio di Stato in Roma, Fondo 
camerale, Congr. del S. Officio, Vol. 3). 

' Cartas de Jesuitas (Mem. hist, espanol, XIII, 450). 


Immaculate Conception.* PhilipiIV sent the Bishop of Plasencia 
to Rome, as a special envoy, to convey this memorial, resulting 
in the brief Sollicitudo, of December 8, 1661, in which Alexander 
expressly abstained from defining it as a dogma, but forbade the 
teaching "of the opposite, as well as stigmatizing the opposite as 
heresy, thus continuing the non-committal policy of his prede- 
cessors, to prevent discussions and quarrels without deciding the 
question. To this end he empowered all prelates and inquisitors 
to prosecute and punish transgressors severely, no matter what 
exemptions they might claim, and including even Jesuits. He 
also placed on the Index all books impugning the Immaculate 
Conception and likewise those which should tax imbelievers with 

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

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

' Le Tellier, Recueil des BuUes concemans les erreurs etc., p. 296 (Mons [Rouen] 

" Bibl. nacional, MSS., Co, 99, fol.230.— Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, 
Leg, 11, n. 1, fol. 111-16. 


cases, or whether they were treated as belonging exclusively to 
the Inquisition/ 

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

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

Unnatural Crime. 

Inherited from classical antiquity, unnatural crime was persist- 
ent throughout the Middle Ages, in spite of the combined efforts 
of Church and State. It is true that, with the leniency shown to 
clerical offenders, the Council of Lateran, in 1179, prescribed 
for them only degradation or penitential confinement in a monas- 
tery, which was carried into the canon law, but secular legislation 
was more severe and the usual penalty was burning alive.* In 

• Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 10, n. 2, fol. 58, 90; Leg. 11, n. 2, 
fol. 217. 

' Ibidem, Leg. 1, n. 4, fol. 114; Leg. 11, n. 3, fol. 62. 
' Ibidem, Leg. 100. 

* C. Lateran., ann. 1179, cap. xi (Cap. 4, Extra, Lib. v. Tit. xxxi). — Tr&s ancien 
Contume de Bretagne, Art. 112, 142. — Statuta criminalia Mediolani, cap. 51 
(Bergomi, 1594). — Home, Myrror of Justice, cap. iv, § 14. 


Spain, in the thirteenth century, the punishment prescribed was 
castration and lapidation, but, in 1497, Ferdinand and Isabella 
decreed burning alive and confiscation, irrespective of the station 
of the culprit. The crime was mixti fori — ^the law treated it as 
subject to the secular courts, but it was also ecclesiastical and, in 
1451, Nicholas V empowered the Inquisition to deal with it.' 
When the institution was founded in Spain it seems to have 
assumed cognizance, for we are told that, in 1506, the Seville 
tribunal made it the subject of a special inquest; there were many 
arrests and many fugitives, and twelve convicts were duly burnt.^ 
Possibly this may have called attention to the incongruity of 
diverting the Inquisition from its legitimate duties with the New 
Christians, for a decree of the Suprema, October 18, 1509, assumes 
that this had already been recognized, and it informs the tribunals 
that they are not to deal with the crime, as it was not within their 
jurisdiction.^ This apparently settled the matter as far as the 
Castilian kingdoms were concerned. 

In Aragon it does not appear that the early Inquisition took 
cognizance of the matter, as is shown by the curious connection 
of the crime with the rising of the Germanfa. In 1519, the city 
of Valencia was suffering from a pestilence which had driven away 
most of the nobles and higher officials when, on St. Magdalen's 
day (June 14th), Fray Luis Castelloli preached an eloquent ser- 
mon in which he attributed the pest to the wrath of God excited 
by the prevalence of the offence. The populace were excited and 
hunted up four culprits, who confessed and were duly burnt by 
the justiciary, Hieronimo Farragud, on July 29th. There was 
a fifth, a baker who wore the tonsure and was deHvered to the 
episcopal court, which sentenced him to vergiienza. This dis- 
satisfied the people who tore him from the spiritual authorities, 
garroted and burnt him. The governor was summoned, and the 
leaders of the mob feared punishment. There had been a scare 
concerning a rumored attack by the Moors, which had led the 

' Fuero Real de Espafia, Lib. iv, Tit. ix, leg. 2. — Nueva Recop., Lib. viii, Tit. 
xxxi, ley 1.— Ripoll, BuUar. Ord. Pradic, III, 301.— Innocent. PP. TV, Gloss in 
Cap. C«od nuper his, Extra, Lib. iii, Tit. xxxiv. 

^ Llorente, Anales, I, 327. 

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 933. — " En lo que toca al crimen nefando, 
si otras cosas no hay con ello que abiertamente sepan heregia, contra las tales 
personas ya sabeis que por esto no debeis vosotros proceder, ni es de vuestra 


trades to form military companies; these were further organized, 
elected a chief and swore confraternity, when, recognizing their 
strength, they utilized the opportunity of gratifying their hatred 
of the nobles and the rebellion broke out/ 

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

' Escolano, Hist, de Valencia, II, 1449-70. — Boix, Hist, de la Ciudad y Reino 
de Valencia, I, 347. 

' Bledffi Defensio Fidei, pp. 423-4. Cf. Pdramo, p. 184. 

' Bulario de la Orden de Santiago, Lib. IV, fol. 6. — Archivo de Simancas, Inq., 
Lib. 927, fol. 408. — Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 2, n. 16, fol. 259. 

* Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 78, fol. 145. 


evoked all pending cases to himself and committed them to the 
inquisitors, with full power to decide them, in conjunction with 
the Ordinary.' 

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

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

Sicily also belonged to Aragon, but was not included. In 1569 
Philip II ordered the death-penalty to be rigidly enforced, without 
exceptions, and that the informer should receive twenty oxmces 
from the estate of the convict, but this was slackly obeyed by 
the secular courts and, in the Concordia of 1597, he reserved 
the crime exclusively to the Inquisition, with the understanding 
that a papal brief should be applied for, reheving inquisitors from 
irregularity for relaxing culprits. Application was accordingly 
made to Clement VIII, but, after Phihp's death, the Viceroy 

' Archivo de Siraancas, Inq., Lib. 927, fol. 429. — Llorente, Afiales, II, 373. 
' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 939, fol. 107; Lib. 82, fol. 163.— MSS. of Bibl. 
nacional de Lima, Protocolo 223, Expediente, 5270. 
= Bibl. nacional, MSS., Q, 4. 
* Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 2, n. 16, fol. 259. 


Duke of Maqueda and the ambassador, the Duke of Sessa, at the 
instance of influential Sicilians, urged Clement to refuse, which 
he not only did but forbade the Inquisition to take cognizance 
of such cases. The tribunal complained that this deprived it of 
its jurisdiction over its own officials, to which the reply was that 
it was not the pope's intention to exonerate them from it. The 
tribunal therefore continued to punish its own guilty ministers, 
and the number of cases cited would seem to indicate that the 
crime was by no means uncommon. The punishments inflicted 
were comparatively moderate — occasionally imprisonment for life 
or banishment, perpetual or temporary, from the place of offend- 
ing, or deprivation of office with heavy fines.' 

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

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

' Argument of Dr. Martin Real (MSS. of Bodleian Library, Arch. Seld. 130). 

2 Collect. Deer. S. Congr. S. Officii, p. 396 (MS. -penes me).— Deer. S. Congr. S. 
Inquisit., pp. 503, 539 (Bib. del R. Archivio di Stato in Roma, Fondo camerale, 
Congr. del S. Officio, Vol. 3). 

' Corpo Diplomatico Portugues, VI, 379; VII, 211, 235, 439; VIII, 227, 296; 
IX, 477; XI, 600, 656. 


in the Lisbon auto of 1723, the sentence was scourging and ten 
years of galley-service.' 

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

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

These reports make no allusion to the concurrence of secular 
judges, but the practice may be gathered from a letter of Philip 
II, March 17, 1575, to the Captain-general of Catalonia, where it 

' Regimiento do Santo Officio da Inquisi9ao, Li v. Ill, Tit. xxv, §§1, 12. — 
Royal Library of Berlin, Qt. 9548. 
^ Fueros y Actos de Corte, p. 10 (Zaragoza, 1647). 
' Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 2, n. 16, fol. 270. 


appears that, when a convict was relaxed, the royal court de- 
manded to see the papers of the case before pronouncing sentence. 
This the king pronouncd to be wholly wrong and ordered the 
custom of Valencia and Aragon to be followed— that, when a case 
was ready for decision, the inquisitors notified the captain-general, 
who delegated judges to take part in the consulta, after which 
the sentence was to be executed without further examination.' 

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

Punishment varied with time and place. In Aragon, sponta- 
neous confession was encouraged by simply reprimanding the 
culprit, warning him and ordering him to confess sacramentally, 
and this was confirmed by the Suprema, in a decree of August 6, 
1600. In Valencia, however, self-denunciation was visited with 
scourging and galleys and, if testimony of accomplices supervened, 
with relaxation.' For those accused and regularly convicted, the 
statutory and ordinary punishment was burning. When, in 1577, 
the Captain-general of Valencia had some hesitation as to his duty, 
in the case of two culprits relaxed to him by the Inquisition, 
PhiUp II ordered him to execute them promptly and, as late as 
1647, in an auto at Barcelona, one was garroted and burnt.* Yet, 
on the whole, there seems to have been a disinclination to relax 
these offenders, who could not escape, as heretics could, by con- 
fession and conversion. In 1616 we find the Suprema asking the 
Valencia tribunal why it had not confiscated the estate of Dr. 

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 927, fol. 414. 

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 299, fol. 80; Leg. 61. — Elucida- 
tiones S. Officii, § 55 (Archivo de AlcaW, Hacienda, Leg. 544^ Lib. 4).— Bibl. 
nacional, MSS., V, 377, cap. xxiv, § 1. 

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 299, fol. 80.— Bibl. nacional, 
MSS., V, 377, cap. xxiv, § 6. 

* Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 2, n. 16, fol. 259. — Parets, 
Sucesos de Cataluna (Mem. hist, espafiol, XXIV, 297). 


Perez, convicted of this crime and, in 1634, it enquires whether 
there is any fuero prohibiting the pena ordinaria, when guilt has 
been fully proved and the offender is of full age.^ About 1640, 
an experienced inquisitor informs us that, in Saragossa, the penalty 
for those over 25 was relaxation; for minors, scourging and the 
galleys, but he adds that this is not observed; he had seen many 
thus convicted and condemned to relaxation, but the Suprema 
always commuted the penalty.^ 

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

The case which called forth this explanation affords a very 
instructive example of the advantage to justice of an open trial, 
with opportunity of cross-examination. The accused was Fray 

' Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 6, n. 2, foL 52 ; Leg. 8, n. 2, fol. 

' Bibl. nacional, MSS., V, 377, cap. xxiv, § 2. 

The Inquisition was more humane than the Castilian courts. Jan. 27, 1637, 
two culprits were burnt in Madrid. Oct. 14, 1639, two more were burnt and a 
third was brought out to share the same fate, when the episcopal vicar claimed 
him, as he had been decoyed from the asylum of a church. Nine more were in 
prison at the time. Oct. 10, 1640, a man and a boy were burnt. — Cartas de Jesuitas 
(Mem. hist, espanol, XIV, 26; XV, 343). — Pellicer, Avisos histdricos (Semandrio 
enidito, XXXI, 87, 228). 

In Mexico there was a special quemadero for such cases, distinct from that of 
the Inquisition. — Obregon, Mexico viejo, II, 391. 

' Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 61. 


Manuel Sdnchez del Castellar y Arbustan, a distinguished mem- 
ber of the Order of La Merced. The trial had lasted for nearly 
three years, when the papers were submitted to the Suprema, in 
August, 1684. There were two accomphce witnesses to consum- 
mated acts, others to solicitation, others to lascivious and filthy 
actions, and others to general foul reputation. Under the ordi- 
nary inquisitorial process, condemnation would have been inevi- 
table, but repeated examinations and cross-examinations revealed 
discrepancies and contradictions and variations, and a knowledge 
of the witnesses enabled the accused to present evidence of en- 
mities. The conclusion reached by the tribunal was that nearly 
the whole mass of evidence was the result of a conspiracy, em- 
bracing a number of frailes of the convent, incited by jealousy 
of the honors and position obtained by Sdnchez. Still, there was 
some testimony as to indiscretions, which was not rebutted and, 
as there had been a great scandal requiring a victim, with custo- 
mary inquisitorial logic, he was sentenced to four years' exile 
from Valencia, Orihuela and Madrid, for the first two of which he 
was deprived of active and passive voice, of confessing and preach- 
ing and of all honors in his Order. In this, consideration was 
given to three years spent in prison, so that, if innocent, he had 
suffered severely and was sent forth branded with an ineffaceable 
stigma while, if guilty, he had a penalty far less than his deserts. 
When the Suprema asked why the two witnesses to com- 
phcity were not prosecuted, the tribunal replied that they were 
regarded as spontaneously confessing, and it was not customary 
to prosecute in such cases; besides, although their enmity and 
contradictions invalidated their testimony, these were insufficient 
to justify prosecution for false-witness.^ Altogether it was an 
impleasant business, which the tribunal evidently desired to 
despatch with as little damage as possible to the Church. 

The tendency towards leniency increased with time, and was 
shown to laymen as well as to ecclesiastics. In 1717, the Barcelona 
tribunal sentenced Guillaume Amiel, a Frenchman, to four years 
of presidio and perpetual banishment from Spain. The Suprema 
commuted the presidio to a hundred lashes but, when the sentence 
was read, Amiel protested that his father was a gentleman and 
that he held a patent as "teniente del Rey Christianisimo," 
thus claiming exemption from degrading corporal punishment. 

' Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 61. 
VOL. IV 24 


The proceedings were suspended, and the Suprema was consulted, 
which omitted the lashes and, on the same account, the boy 
Ramon Gils, who was the accomplice, was spared the verguenza 
to which he had been condemned.' 

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

' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Sala 39, Leg. 4, fol. 71. 

Chap. XVI] USUBY 371 

sition in these matters, illustrates it by the story of a grandee who, 
for merely throwing his arm around the neck of a page, spent 
ten years in prison and fifty thousand ducats.^ 

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


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

' Bulario de la Orden de Santiago, Lib. iv,. fol. 6. — Archive hist, nacional, Inq. 
de Valencia, Leg. 61 ; Cartas del Consejo, Leg. 5, n. 1, fol. 5.— Llorente, Hist, 
crit., cap. XXIV, art. 4, u. 2. — Giambattista Confalonieri (Spicilegio Vaticano, 
I, 461). 

^ Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 82, fol. 91. 

' Bibl. nacional, MSS., PV, 3, n. 20. 

' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Visitas de Barcelona, Leg. 15, fol. 5. 

' Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 99. ' Ibidem, Leg. 100. 


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

In Spain, the usurious practices of Jews and Converses were 
the principal source of popular hostility, but Jews were not sub- 
ject to the Inquisition and, in its earlier years, it appears not to 
have recognized its jurisdiction in this matter over the Converses, 
for I have met with no trace, at this period, of action by it against 
usury, whether in Castile or in Aragon. As regards the latter, 
indeed, it was impeded by a fuero of the Cortes of Calatayud, in 
1461, prohibiting the prosecution of usurers, by both the secular 
and spiritual courts, and the procuring of faculties for the purpose 
by the Inquisition. To ensure the observance of this, Juan II 
was required to swear that he would not obtain any papal rescript 
or commission authorizing inquisition into usury and that, if 
such rescript were had, it should not be used but be delivered 
within a month to the Diputados.^ It may be assumed that the 
Inquisition sought relief from this restriction, for Julius II issued 

' Raynald. Annal., aim. 1258, n, 23.— Potthast, Regesta, n. 17745, 18396.— 
Cap. 1, Clement., Lib. v, Tit. v. 

^ Repertor. Inquisit. s. v. Hcsreticus, § Pertinax. 

Although simony was the miiversally corroding vice of the Church, and although 
it was reckoned as a heresy, it was too profitable to the hierarchy ever to be 
subjected to the Inquisition. In a project of instructions for the Spanish dele- 
gates to the Lateran Council in 1512, simoniacal heresy is denounced as the 
universal destruction of the Church, owing to the openness with which it is prac- 
tised in Rome and throughout Christendom, and they are told to labor to have 
it prosecuted as heresy by the Inquisition — DoUinger, Beitrage zur politischen 
kirchlichen und Cultur-Geschichte, III, 204). 

^ Fueros de Aragon, fol. 110. For earlier legislation of similar import see fol, 
49 (Zaragoza, 1624), 

Chap. XVI] VSUJiT 373 

a motu propria, January 14, 1504, reciting the fuero of Calatayud 
and stating that the usuraria pravitas had so increased that a 
measure of wheat would be multiphed to twenty-five within three 
years, chiefly because the Inquisition, in consequence of this 
fuero, was precluded from the exercise of its lawful jurisdiction. 
He therefore ordered Inquisitor-general Deza to prosecute all 
Christian usurers and compel them to desist, by inflicting the 
penalties prescribed by the general council, while Ferdinand was 
summoned to aid the inquisitors, and he and his successors were 
released from any oaths to observe the fuero.* 

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

' Bulario de la Orden de Santiago, Lib. i, fol. 109. The general council here 
alluded to was that of Lyons, in 1273. See cap. 1, 2, in Sexto, Lib. v, Tit. v. 
This refers back to Concil. Lateranens. Ill, ann. 1179, cap. xxv. 

' Pragmaticas y altres Drets de Cathalunya, Lib. i, Tit. viii, cap. 1, § 20. — 
Archivo de Simancas, Inq. de Barcelona, Cortes, Leg. 17, fol. 32. — Pdramo, p. 

' Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 933. 


confirmed the Concordia of 1512, he removed usury from inquisi- 
torial jurisdiction and prohibited its prosecution unless the culprit 
should hold it not to be a sin.' 

It has already been seen how completely the Inquisition ignored 
all these agreements, in spite of royal and papal confirmations. 
So, when Charles Vwas obliged, in 1518, at the C6rtes of Saragossa, 
to take the specific and elaborate oath imposed on Juan II, it 
proved equally futile.^ Inquisitors continued to exercise juris- 
diction, but, in Aragon proper, they were impeded for a time by 
a brief of Clement VII, January 16, 1525, ordering them to con- 
fine themselves in future to heresy — a brief procured by Juan of 
Austria, Archbishop of Saragossa, who claimed jurisdiction over 
usury for his own court.^ This afforded slender relief, for he 
employed the inquisitorial process and the Cortes of Saragossa, 
in 1528, adopted a fuero, confirmed by Charles V, reciting that 
the laws provide for the punishment of usurers by the secular 
courts, but that the ecclesiastical judges were prosecuting them, 
wherefore, at the desire of the four brazos, his majesty ordered 
the ancient laws of the kingdom to be enforced without exception.^ 

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

In the absence of documents, it is not easy to understand why 
the Inquisition suddenly abandoned a jurisdiction for which it 
had contended so strenuously, but so it was. In 1552, Simancas 
asserts that inquisitors have no cognizance of questions arising 
from usury, but must leave them to the Ordinaries, for usurers 

' Pragmaticas etc. de Cathalunya, Lib. i, Tit. viii, cap. 2, §§ 20, 35. 

' Argensola, Afiales de Aragon, Lib. i, cap. liv. 

' Llorente, Afiales, II, 298. * Fueros de Aragon, fol. 110. 

° Dormer, Afiales de Aragon, Lib. ii, cap. xli, p. 384. 

° Archive de Simancas, Patronato Real, Inq., Leg. linico, fol. 37, 38. 

Chap. XVI] MORALS 376 

are not moved by erroneous belief, but by the desire for sordid 
gains.^ In this Simancas evidently spoke by authority, for the 
Suprema, in a carta acordada of March 17, 1554, forbade the 
tribunals to take cognizance of usury, and the subject disappears 
from inquisitorial records.^ The secular and spiritual courts were 
left to fight the losing battle with industrial and commercial pro- 
gress, which eventually compelled the recognition of the fact that 
payment for the usance of money is customarily profitable to 
both parties. 


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

The same principle, as we have seen, was observed in the treat- 
ment of solicitation. The question of morals was studiously 
excluded, as a matter entirely beyond the purview of the Inquisi- 
tion, and the only point considered was the technical one whether 
cases came within papal definitions drawn up to safeguard the 
sacrament of penitence. The same remark apphes to the vigorous 
prosecution of those who held simple fornication to be no sin. 

' Simancae de Cath. Instt., Tit. lxvi, n. 3. 

' Archive de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 939, fol. 106. 

' Ibidem, Visitas de Barcelona, Leg. 15, fol. 20. 


There was no attempt to repress the sin itself, for this was beyond 
the faculties conferred on the Inquisition, but merely to ascertain 
and punish the mental attitude of the accused. 

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

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

In these and similar cases, it may be assumed that the parties 
inculpated richly deserved correction, but this sporadic defence 
of virtue and punishment of vice was much more likely to en- 
courage the gratification of malice than to elevate the standard 
of public morals, and the employment of the tremendous machin- 
ery of the Inquisition in such matters marks the depth of its fall 
from its former height. Had its object from the beginning been 
the purification of morals as well as of refigion, possibly the awe 
which it inspired in all classes might have resulted in some ethical 
improvement but, during the time of its power, the impression 
that it produced was that morals were of slender account in com- 

' Archive hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 100. — MSS. of Am. Phil. Society. 


parison with faith and, in the day of its decline, these occasional 
attempts to extend its jurisdiction could only produce exaspera- 
tion without amendment. 

The Seal of Confession. 

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

As the heresy involved in betraying the confidence of the 
penitent was only an inferential error as to the sacrament — an 
artificial pretext like that devised with regard to solicitation — the 
Spanish Inquisition did not hold it to be comprised in the general 
delegation of faculties, but that a special papal commission was 
requisite. No attempt seems to have been made to obtain this 
until 1639, when, on October 11th, the Suprema addressed Philip 
IV a consulta setting forth that numerous demmciations were 
received by the tribunals against confessors who revealed con- 
fessions, and that inquisitors were asking urgently for permission 
to prosecute such cases as violations of divine, natural and political 
law, rendering culprits suspect in the faith, this being even more 
derisory of the sacrament than solicitation. It was notorious that 
the Ordinaries did not check it among the secular clergy, nor 

' Collect. Decret. 8. Congr. S. Officii, p. 125 (MS. penes me). — Decreta S. Congr. 
S. Inquisit., pp. 66, 515 (Bibl. del R Archivio di Stato in Romse, Fondo camerale, 
Congr. del S. Officio, Vol. 3). 


their prelates among the regulars, nor could, in such hands, any 
remedy be efBcacious, because in pubUc trials the witnesses would 
be bought off or frightened off, and there were no secret prisons 
to assure the necessary segregation of the accused. The king 
was therefore asked to procure from the pope, for the Inquisition, 
exclusive jurisdiction over the offence.^ The Suprema probably 
did not exaggerate as to the denunciations received by the tribu- 
nals, for, in the minor one of the Canaries, we find it, in 1637, 
receiving testimony against Diego Artiaga, priest of Hierro, for 
this offence, in 1643, against Diego Salgado, priest of la Palma and, 
in 1644 against Fray Matias Pinto of Teneriffe.^ 

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

Geneeal Utility. 

The efficient organization of the Inquisition and the dread which 
it inspired caused it to be invoked in numberless contingencies, 
most diverse in character and wholly foreign to the objects of its 

' Archive de Simancas Inq., Lib. 21, fol. 198. 

' Birch, Catalogue of MSS. of Inq. of Canaries, II, 541, 542, 559, 560. 

' MSS. of David Fergusson Esq. — Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 1002. 

* CatAlogo de las causas seguidas ante el Tribunal de Toledo, p. 325. 

* Archivo hist, nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 100. 


institution. A brief enumeration of a few of these will serve to 
complete our survey of its activity and, trivial as they may seem, 
to illustrate how powerful was the influence which it exercised 
over the social life of Spain. 

The value of its services, arising from the indefinite extent of 
its powers, was recognized early. In 1499, a Benedictine monas- 
tery complained to Ferdinand