Philosophical Dictionary, by Voltaire


§ I.

The Inquisition is an ecclesiastical jurisdiction, established by the see of Rome in Italy, Spain, Portugal, and even in the Indies, for the purpose of searching out and extirpating infidels, Jews, and heretics.

That we may not be suspected of resorting to falsehood in order to render this tribunal odious, we shall in this present article give the abstract of a Latin work on the “Origin and Progress of the Office of the Holy Inquisition,” printed by the royal press at Madrid in 1589, by order of Louis de Paramo, inquisitor in the kingdom of Sicily.

Without going back to the origin of the Inquisition, which Paramo thinks he discovers in the manner in which God is related to have proceeded against Adam and Eve, let us abide by the new law of which Jesus Christ, according to him, was the chief inquisitor. He exercised the functions of that office on the thirteenth day after his birth, by announcing to the city of Jerusalem, through the three kings or Magi, his appearance in the world, and afterwards by causing Herod to be devoured alive by worms; by driving the buyers and sellers out of the temple; and finally, by delivering Judæa into the hands of tyrants, who pillaged it in punishment of its unbelief.

After Jesus Christ, St. Peter, St. Paul, and the rest of the apostles exercised the office of inquisitor, which they transmitted to the popes and bishops, and their successors. St. Dominic having arrived in France with the bishop of Osma, of which he was archdeacon, became animated with zeal against the Albigenses, and obtained the regard and favor of Simon, Count de Montfort. Having been appointed by the pope inquisitor in Languedoc, he there founded his order, which was approved of and ratified, in 1216, by Honorius III. Under the auspices of St. Madelaine, Count Montfort took the city of Gezer by assault, and put all the inhabitants to the sword; and at Laval, four hundred Albigenses were burned at once. “In all the histories of the Inquisition that I ever read,” says Paramo, “I never met with an act of faith so eminent, or a spectacle so solemn. At the village of Cazera, sixty were burned; and in another place a hundred and eighty.”

The Inquisition was adopted by the count of Toulouse in 1229, and confided to the Dominicans by Pope Gregory IX. in 1233; Innocent IV. in 1251 established it in the whole of Italy, with the exception of Naples. At the commencement, indeed, heretics were not subjected in the Milanese to the punishment of death, which they nevertheless so richly deserved, because the popes were not sufficiently respected by the emperor Frederick, to whom that state belonged; but a short time afterwards heretics were burned at Milan, as well as in the other parts of Italy; and our author remarks, that in 1315 some thousands of heretics having spread themselves through Cremasco, a small territory included in the jurisdiction of the Milanese, the Dominican brothers burned the greater part of them; and thus checked the ravages of the theological pestilence by the flames.

As the first canon of the Council of Toulouse enjoined the bishops to appoint in every parish a priest and two or three laymen of reputation, who should be bound by oath to search carefully and frequently for heretics, in houses, caves, and all places wherever they might be able to hide themselves, and to give the speediest information to the bishop, the seigneur of the place, or his bailiff, after having taken all necessary precautions against the escape of any heretics discovered, the inquisitors must have acted at this time in concert with the bishops. The prisons of the bishop and of the Inquisition were frequently the same; and, although in the course of the procedure the inquisitor might act in his own name, he could not, without the intervention of the bishop, apply the torture, pronounce any definitive sentence, or condemn to perpetual imprisonment, etc. The frequent disputes that occurred between the bishops and the inquisitors, on the limits of their authority, on the spoils of the condemned, etc., compelled Pope Sixtus IV., in 1473, to make the Inquisitions independent and separate from the tribunals of the bishops. He created for Spain an Inquisitor-general, with full powers to nominate particular inquisitors; and Ferdinand V., in 1478, founded and endowed the Inquisition.

At the solicitation of Turrecremata (or Torquemada), a brother of the Dominican order, and grand inquisitor of Spain, the same Ferdinand, surnamed the Catholic, banished from his kingdom all the Jews, allowing them three months from the publication of his edict, after the expiration of which period they were not to be found in any of the Spanish dominions under pain of death. They were permitted, on quitting the kingdom, to take with them the goods and merchandise which they had purchased, but forbidden to take out of it any description of gold or silver.

The brother Turrecremata followed up and strengthened this edict, in the diocese of Toledo, by prohibiting all Christians, under pain of excommunication, from giving anything whatever to the Jews, even that which might be necessary to preserve life itself.

In consequence of these decrees about a million Jews departed from Catalonia, the kingdom of Aragon, that of Valencia, and other countries subject to the dominion of Ferdinand; the greater part of whom perished miserably; so that they compare the calamities that they suffered during this period to those they experienced under Titus and Vespasian. This expulsion of the Jews gave incredible joy to all Catholic sovereigns.

Some divines blamed these edicts of the king of Spain; their principal reasons are that unbelievers ought not to be constrained to embrace the faith of Jesus Christ, and that these violences are a disgrace to our religion.

But these arguments are very weak, and I contend, says Paramo, that the edict is pious, just, and praiseworthy, as the violence with which the Jews are required to be converted is not an absolute but a conditional violence, since they might avoid it by quitting their country. Besides, they might corrupt those of the Jews who were newly converted, and even Christians themselves; but, as St. Paul says, what communion is there between justice and iniquity, light and darkness, Jesus Christ and Belial?

With respect to the confiscation of their goods, nothing could be more equitable, as they had acquired them only by usury towards Christians, who only received back, therefore, what was in fact their own.

In short, by the death of our Lord, the Jews became slaves, and everything that a slave possesses belongs to his master. We could not but suspend our narrative for a moment to make these remarks, in opposition to persons who have thus calumniated the piety, the spotless justice, and the sanctity of the Catholic king.

At Seville, where an example of severity to the Jews was ardently desired, it was the holy will of God, who knows how to draw good out of evil, that a young man who was in waiting in consequence of an assignation, should see through the chinks of a partition an assembly of Jews, and in consequence inform against them. A great number of the unhappy wretches were apprehended, and punished as they deserved. By virtue of different edicts of the kings of Spain, and of the inquisitors, general and particular, established in that kingdom, there were, in a very short time, about two thousand heretics burned at Seville, and more than four thousand from 1482 to 1520. A vast number of others were condemned to perpetual imprisonment, or exposed to inflictions of different descriptions. The emigration from it was so great that five hundred houses were supposed to be left in consequence quite empty, and in the whole diocese, three thousand; and altogether more than a hundred thousand heretics were put to death, or punished in some other manner, or went into banishment to avoid severer suffering. Such was the destruction of heretics accomplished by these pious brethren.

The establishment of the Inquisition at Toledo was a fruitful source of revenue to the Catholic Church. In the short space of two years it actually burned at the stake fifty-two obstinate heretics, and two hundred and twenty more were outlawed; whence we may easily conjecture of what utility the Inquisition has been from its original establishment, since in so short a period it performed such wonders.

From the beginning of the fifteenth century, Pope Boniface IX. attempted in vain to establish the Inquisition in Portugal, where he created the provincial of the Dominicans, Vincent de Lisbon, inquisitor-general. Innocent VII., some years after, having named as inquisitor the Minim Didacus de Sylva, King John I. wrote to that pope that the establishment of the Inquisition in his kingdom was contrary to the good of his subjects, to his own interests, and perhaps also to the interests of religion.

The pope, affected by the representations of a too mild and easy monarch, revoked all the powers granted to the inquisitors newly established, and authorized Mark, bishop of Senigaglia, to absolve the persons accused; which he accordingly did. Those who had been deprived of their dignities and offices were re-established in them, and many were delivered from the fear of the confiscation of their property.

But how admirable, continues Paramo, is the Lord in all his ways! That which the sovereign pontiffs had been unable effectually to obtain with all their urgency, King John granted spontaneously to a dexterous impostor, whom God made use of as an instrument for accomplishing the good work. In fact, the wicked are frequently useful instruments in God’s hands, and he does not reject the good they bring about. Thus, when John remarks to our Lord Jesus Christ, “Lord, we saw one who was not Thy disciple casting out demons in Thy name, and we prevented him from doing so,” Jesus answered him, “Prevent him not; for he who works miracles in My name will not speak ill of Me; and he who is not against Me is for Me.”

Paramo relates afterwards that he saw in the library of St. Laurence, at the Escorial, a manuscript in the handwriting of Saavedra, in which that knave details his fabrication of a false bull, and obtaining thereby his entrée into Seville as legate, with a train of a hundred and twenty domestics; his defrauding of thirteen thousand ducats the heirs of a rich nobleman in that neighborhood, during his twenty days’ residence in the palace of the archbishop, by producing a counterfeit bond for the same sum, which the nobleman acknowledged, in that instrument, to have borrowed of the legate when he visited Rome; and finally, after his arrival at Badajoz, the permission granted him by King John III., to whom he was presented by means of forged letters of the pope, to establish tribunals of the Inquisition in the principal cities of the kingdom.

These tribunals began immediately to exercise their jurisdiction; and a vast number of condemnations and executions of relapsed heretics took place, as also of absolutions of recanting and penitent heretics. Six months had passed in this manner, when the truth was made apparent of that expression in the Gospel, “There is nothing hid which shall not be made known.” The Marquis de Villeneuve de Barcarotta, a Spanish nobleman, assisted by the governor of Mora, had the impostor apprehended and conducted to Madrid. He was there carried before John de Tavera, archbishop of Toledo. That prelate, perfectly astonished at all that now transpired of the knavery and address of the false legate, despatched all the depositions and documents relative to the case to Pope Paul III.; as he did also the acts of the inquisitions which Saavedra had established, and by which it appeared that a great number of heretics had already been judged and condemned, and that the impostor had extorted from his victims more than three hundred thousand ducats.

The pope could not help acknowledging in this the finger of God and a miracle of His providence; he accordingly formed the congregation of the tribunal of the Inquisition, under the denomination of “The Holy Office,” in 1545, and Sixtus V. confirmed it in 1588.

All writers but one agree with Paramo on the subject of the establishment of the Inquisition in Portugal. Antoine de Sousa alone, in his “Aphorisms of Inquisitors,” calls the history of Saavedra in question, under the pretence that he may very easily be conceived to have accused himself without being in fact guilty, in consideration of the glory which would redound to him from the event, and in the hope of living in the memory of mankind. But Sousa, in the very narrative which he substitutes for that of Paramo, exposes himself to the suspicion of bad faith, in citing two bulls of Paul III., and two others from the same pope to Cardinal Henry, the king’s brother; bulls which Sousa has not introduced into his printed work, and which are not to be found in any collection of apostolical bulls extant; two decisive reasons for rejecting his opinion, and adhering to that of Paramo, Hiescas, Salasar, Mendoça, Fernandez, and Placentinus.

When the Spaniards passed over to America they carried the Inquisition with them; the Portuguese introduced it in the Indies, immediately upon its being established at Lisbon, which led to the observation which Louis de Paramo makes in his preface, that this flourishing and verdant tree had extended its branches and its roots throughout the world, and produced the most pleasant fruits.

In order to form some correct idea of the jurisprudence of the Inquisition, and the forms of its proceedings, unknown to civil tribunals, let us take a cursory view of the “Directory of Inquisitors,” which Nicolas Eymeric, grand inquisitor of the kingdom of Aragon about the middle of the fourteenth century, composed in Latin, and addressed to his brother inquisitors, in virtue of the authority of his office.

A short time after the invention of printing, an edition of this work was printed at Barcelona, and soon conveyed to all the inquisitions in the Christian world. A second edition appeared at Rome in 1578, in folio, with scholia and commentaries by Francois Pegna, doctor in theology and canonist.

The following eulogium on the work is given by the editor in an epistle dedicatory to Gregory XIII.: “While Christian princes are everywhere engaged in combating with arms the enemies of the Catholic religion, and pouring out the blood of their soldiers to support the unity of the Church and the authority of the apostolic see, there are also zealous and devoted writers, who toil in obscurity, either to refute the opinions of innovators or to arm and direct the power of the laws against their persons, in order that the severity of punishments, and the solemnity and torture attending executions, keeping them within the bounds of duty, may produce that effect upon them which cannot be produced in them by the love of virtue.

“Although I fill only the lowest place among these defenders of religion, I am nevertheless animated with the same zeal for repressing the impious audacity and horrible depravity of the broachers of innovation. The labor which I here present to you on the ‘Directory of Inquisitions,’ will be a proof of my assertion. This work of Nicolas Eymeric, respectable for its antiquity, contains a summary of the principal articles of faith, and an elaborate and methodical code of instruction for the tribunals of the Holy Inquisition, on the means which they ought to employ for the repression and extirpation of heretics; on which account I felt it my duty to offer it in homage to your holiness, as the chief of the Christian republic.”

He declares, elsewhere, that he had it reprinted for the instruction of inquisitors; that the work is as much to be admired as respected, and teaches with equal piety and learning the proper means of repressing and exterminating heretics. He acknowledges, however, that he is in possession of other useful and judicious methods, for which he refers to practice, which will instruct much more effectually than any lessons, and that he more readily thus silently refers to practice, as there are certain matters relating to the subject which it is of importance not to divulge, and which, at the same time, are generally well known to inquisitors. He cites a vast number of writers, all of whom have followed the doctrines of the “Directory”; and he even complains that many have availed themselves of it without ascribing any honor to Eymeric for the good things they have in fact stolen from him.

We will secure ourselves from any reproach of this description, by pointing out exactly what we mean to borrow both from the author and the editor. Eymeric says, in the fifty-eighth page, “Commiseration for the children of the criminal, who by the severity used towards him are reduced to beggary, should never be permitted to mitigate that severity, since both by divine and human laws children are punished for the faults of their fathers.”

Page 123. “If a charge entered for prosecution were destitute of every appearance of truth, the inquisitor should not on that account expunge it from his register, because what at one period has not been discovered, may be so at another.”

Page 291. “It is necessary for the inquisitor to oppose cunning and stratagem to those employed by heretics, that he may thus pay the offenders in their own coin, and be enabled to adopt the language of the apostle, ‘Being crafty, I caught you with guile.’ ”

Page 296. “The information and depositions (procés-verbal) may be read over to the accused, completely suppressing the names of the accusers; and then it is for him to conjecture who the persons are that have brought against him any particular charges, to challenge them as incompetent witnesses, or to weaken their testimony by contrary evidence. This is the method generally used. The accused must not be permitted to imagine that challenges of witnesses will be easily allowed in cases of heresy, for it is of no consequence whether witnesses are respectable or infamous, accomplices in the prisoner’s offence, excommunicated, heretical, or in any manner whatever guilty, or perjured, etc. This has been so ruled in favor of the faith.”

Page 202. “The appeal which a prisoner makes from the Inquisition does not preclude that tribunal from trial and sentence of him upon other heads of accusation.”

Page 313. “Although the form of the order for applying the torture may suppose variation in the answers of the accused, and also in addition sufficient presumptive evidence against him for putting him to the question; both these circumstances are not necessary, and either will be sufficient for the purpose without the other.”

Pegna informs us, in the hundred and eighteenth scholium on the third book, that inquisitors generally employ only five kinds of torture when putting to the question, although Marsilius mentions fifteen kinds, and adds, that he has imagined others still — such, for example, as precluding the possibility of sleep, in which he is approved by Grillandus and Locatus.

Eymeric continues, page 319: “Care should be taken never to state in the form of absolution, that the prisoner is innocent, but merely that there was not sufficient evidence against him; a precaution necessary to prevent the prisoner, absolved in one case, from pleading that absolution in defence against any future charge that may be brought against him.”

Page 324. “Sometimes abjuration and canonical purgation are prescribed together. This is done, when, to a bad reputation of an individual in point of doctrine are joined inconsiderable presumptions, which, were they a little stronger, would tend to convict him of having really said or done something injurious to the faith. The prisoner who stands in these circumstances is compelled to abjure all heresy in general; and after that, if he falls into any heresy of any description whatever, however different from those which may have constituted the matter of the present charge or suspicion against him, he is punished as a relapsed person, and delivered over to the secular arm.”

Page 331. “Relapsed persons, when the relapse is clearly proved, must be delivered up to secular justice, whatever protestation they may make as to their future conduct, and whatever contrition they may express. The inquisitor will, in such circumstances, inform the secular authorities, that on such a particular day and hour, and in such a particular place, a heretic will be delivered up to them and should provide that notice be given to the public that they will be expected to be present at the ceremony, as the inquisitor will deliver a sermon on the occasion in defence of the true faith, and those who attend will obtain the usual indulgences.”

These indulgences are accordingly detailed: after the form of sentence given against the penitent heretic, the inquisitor will grant forty days’ indulgence to all persons present; three years to those who contributed to the apprehension, abjuration, condemnation, etc., of the said heretic; and finally, three years also will be granted by our holy father, the pope, to all who will denounce any other heretic.

Page 332. “When the culprit has been delivered over to the secular authority, it shall pronounce its sentence, and the criminal shall be conveyed to the place of punishment; some pious persons shall accompany him, and associate him in their prayers, and even pray with him; and not leave him till he has rendered up his soul to his Creator. But it is their duty to take particular care neither to say or to do anything which may hasten the moment of his death, for fear of falling into some irregularity. Accordingly, they should not exhort the criminal to mount the scaffold, or present himself to the executioner, or advise the executioner to get ready and arrange his instruments of punishment, so that the death may take place more quickly, and the prisoner be prevented from lingering; all for the sake of avoiding irregularity.”

Page 335. “Should it happen that the heretic, when just about to be fixed to the stake to be burned, were to give signs of conversion, he might, perhaps, out of singular lenity and favor, be allowed to be received and shut up, like penitent heretics, within four walls, although it would be weak to place much reliance on a confession of this nature, and the indulgence is not authorized by any express law; such lenity, however, is very dangerous. I was witness of an example in point at Barcelona: A priest who was condemned, with two other impenitent heretics, to be burned, and who was actually in the midst of the flames, called on the bystanders to pull him out instantly, for he was willing to be converted; he was accordingly extricated, dreadfully scorched on one side. I do not mean to decide whether this was well or ill done; but I know that, fourteen years afterwards, he was still dogmatizing, and had corrupted a considerable number of persons; he was therefore once more given up to justice, and was burned to death.”

“No person doubts,” says Pegna, scholium 47, “that heretics ought to be put to death; but the particular method of execution may well be a topic of discussion.” Alphonso de Castro, in the second book of his work, “On the Just Punishment of Heretics,” considers it a matter of great indifference whether they are destroyed by the sword, by fire, or any other method; but Hostiensis Godofredus, Covarruvias, Simancas, Roxas, etc., maintain that they ought decidedly to be burned. In fact, as Hostiensis very well expressed it, execution by fire is the punishment appropriate to heresy. We read in St. John, “If any one remain not in me, he shall be cast forth, as a branch, and wither, and men shall gather it and cast it into the fire and burn it.” “It may be added, continued Pegna, “that the universal custom of the Christian republic is in support of this opinion. Simancas and Roxas decide that heretics ought to be burned alive; but one precaution should always be taken in burning them, which is tearing out the tongue and keeping the mouth perfectly closed, in order to prevent their scandalizing the spectators by their impieties.”

Finally, page 369, Eymeric enjoins those whom he addresses to proceed in matters of heresy straight forward, without any wranglings of advocates, and without so many forms and solemnities as are generally employed in criminal cases; that is, to make the process as short as possible, by cutting off useless delays, by going on with the hearing and trial of such causes, even on days when the labors of the other judges are suspended; by disallowing every appeal which has for its apparent object merely a postponement of final judgment; and by not admitting an unnecessary multitude of witnesses, etc.

This revolting system of jurisprudence has simply been put under some restriction in Spain and Portugal; while at Milan the Inquisition itself has at length been entirely suppressed.

§ II.

The Inquisition is well known to be an admirable and truly Christian invention for increasing the power of the pope and monks, and rendering the population of a whole kingdom hypocrites.

St. Dominic is usually considered as the person to whom the world is principally indebted for this institution. In fact, we have still extant a patent granted by that great saint, expressed precisely in the following words: “I, brother Dominic, reconcile to the Church Roger, the bearer of these presents, on condition of his being scourged by a priest on three successive Sundays from the entrance of the city to the church doors; of his abstaining from meat all his life; of his fasting for the space of three Lents in a year; of his never drinking wine; of his carrying about him the ‘san benito’ with crosses; of his reciting the breviary every day, and ten paternosters in the course of the day, and twenty at midnight; of his preserving perfect chastity, and of his presenting himself every month before the parish priest, etc.; the whole under pain of being treated as heretical, perjured, and impenitent.”

Although Dominic was the real founder of the Inquisition, yet Louis de Paramo, one of the most respectable writers and most brilliant luminaries of the Holy Office, relates, in the second chapter of his second book, that God was the first institutor of the Holy Office, and that he exercised the power of the preaching brethren, that is of the Dominican Order, against Adam. In the first place Adam is cited before the tribunal: “Adam ubi es?” — Adam, where art thou? “And in fact,” adds Paramo, “the want of this citation would have rendered the whole procedure of God null.”

The dresses formed of skins, which God made for Adam and Eve, were the model of the “san benito,” which the Holy Office requires to be worn by heretics. It is true that, according to this argument, God was the first tailor; it is not, however, the less evident, on account of that ludicrous and profane inference, that he was the first inquisitor.

Adam was deprived of the immovable property he possessed in the terrestrial paradise, and hence the Holy Office confiscates the property of all whom it condemns.

Louis de Paramo remarks, that the inhabitants of Sodom were burned as heretics because their crime is a formal heresy. He thence passes to the history of the Jews: and in every part of it discovers the Holy Office.

Jesus Christ is the first inquisitor of the new law; the popes were inquisitors by divine right; and they afterwards communicated their power to St. Dominic.

He afterwards estimates the number of all those whom the Inquisition has put to death; he states it to be considerably above a hundred thousand.

His book was printed in 1589, at Madrid, with the approbation of doctors, the eulogiums of bishops, and the privilege of the king. We can, at the present day, scarcely form any idea of horrors at once so extravagant and abominable; but at that period nothing appeared more natural and edifying. All men resemble Louis de Paramo when they are fanatics.

Paramo was a plain, direct man, very exact in dates, omitting no interesting fact, and calculating with precision the number of human victims immolated by the Holy Office throughout the world.

He relates, with great naïveté, the establishment of the Inquisition in Portugal, and coincides perfectly with four other historians who have treated of that subject. The following account they unanimously agree in:

Singular Establishment of the Inquisition in Portugal.

Pope Boniface had long before, at the beginning of the fifteenth century, delegated some Dominican friars to go to Portugal, from one city to another, to burn heretics, Mussulmans, and Jews; but these were itinerant and not stationary; and even the kings sometimes complained of the vexations caused by them. Pope Clement VII. was desirous of giving them a fixed residence in Portugal, as they had in Aragon and Castile. Difficulties, however, arose between the court of Rome and that of Lisbon; tempers became irritated, the Inquisition suffered by it, and was far from being perfectly established.

In 1539, there appeared at Lisbon a legate of the pope, who came, he said, to establish the holy Inquisition on immovable foundations. He delivered his letters to King John III. from Pope Paul III. He had other letters from Rome for the chief officers of the court; his patents as legate were duly sealed and signed; and he exhibited the most ample powers for creating a grand inquisitor and all the judges of the Holy Office. He was, however, in fact an impostor of the name of Saavedra, who had the talent of counterfeiting hand-writings, seals, and coats-of-arms. He had acquired the art at Rome, and was perfected in it at Seville, at which place he arrived in company with two other sharpers. His train was magnificent, consisting of more than a hundred and twenty domestics. To defray, at least in part, the enormous expense with which all this splendor was attended, he and his associates borrowed at Seville large sums in the name of the apostolic chamber of Rome; everything was concerted with the most consummate art.

The king of Portugal was at first perfectly astonished at the pope’s despatching a legate to him without any previous announcement to him of his intention. The legate hastily observed that in a concern so urgent as that of establishing the Inquisition on a firm foundation, his holiness could admit of no delays, and that the king might consider himself honored by the holy father’s having appointed a legate to be the first person to announce his intention. The king did not venture to reply. The legate on the same day constituted a grand inquisitor, and sent about collectors to receive the tenths; and before the court could obtain answers from Rome to its representations on the subject, the legate had brought two hundred victims to the stake, and collected more than two hundred thousand crowns.

However, the marquis of Villanova, a Spanish nobleman, of whom the legate had borrowed at Seville a very considerable sum upon forged bills, determined, if possible, to repay himself the money with his own hands, instead of going to Lisbon and exposing himself to the intrigues and influence of the swindler there. The legate was at this time making his circuit through the country, and happened very conveniently to be on the borders of Spain. The marquis unexpectedly advanced upon him with fifty men well armed, carried him off prisoner, and conducted him to Madrid.

The whole imposture was speedily discovered at Lisbon; the Council of Madrid condemned the legate Saavedra to be flogged and sent to the galleys for ten years; but the most admirable circumstance was, that Pope Paul IV. confirmed subsequently all that the impostor had established; out of the plenitude of his divine power he rectified all the little irregularities of the various procedures, and rendered sacred what before was merely human. Of what importance the arm which God employs in His sacred service? —“Qu’ importe de quel bras Dieu daigne se servir?”

Such was the manner in which the Inquisition became established at Lisbon; and the whole kingdom extolled the wisdom and providence of God on the occasion.

To conclude, the methods of procedure adopted by this tribunal are generally known; it is well known how strongly they are opposed to the false equity and blind reason of all other tribunals in the world. Men are imprisoned on the mere accusation of persons the most infamous; a son may denounce his father, and the wife her husband; the accused is never confronted with the accusers; and the property of the person convicted is confiscated for the benefit of the judges: such at least was the manner of its proceeding down to our own times. Surely in this we must perceive something decidedly divine; for it is absolutely incomprehensible that men should have patiently submitted to this yoke.

At length Count Aranda has obtained the blessings of all Europe by paring the nails and filing the teeth of the monster in Spain; it breathes, however, still.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:01