A History of the Inquisition In The Middle Ages.
By Henry Charles Lea - 1888
Chapter XIII. Confiscation
Although, for the most part, as we shall see, confiscation was technically not the work of the Inquisition, the distinction was rather nominal than real. Even in times and places in which the inquisitor did not pronounce the sentence of confiscation, it was the accompaniment of the sentence which he did pronounce. It was, therefore, one of the most serious of the penalties at his disposal, and the largeness of the results effected by it give it an importance worthy a somewhat minute examination.
For the source of this, as of so much else, we must look to the Roman law. It is true that, cruel as were the imperial edicts against heresy, they did not go to the length of thus indirectly punishing the innocent. Even when the detested Manichãans were mercilessly condemned to death, their property was confiscated only when their heirs were likewise heretics. If the children were orthodox they succeeded to the estate of the heretic parent, who could not execute a will and disinherit them. It was otherwise with crime. Any conviction involving deportation or the mines carried with it confiscation, though the wife could reclaim her dower and any gifts made to her before the commission of the offence, and so could children emancipated from the patria potestas. All else inured to the fisc. In majestas or treason, the offender was liable to condemnation after death, involving the confiscation of his estate, which was held to have lapsed to the fisc at the time when he first conceived the crime. These provisions furnished the armory whence pope and king drew the weapons which rendered the pursuit of heresy attractive and profitable.
King Roger, who occupied the throne of the Two Sicilies during the first half of the twelfth century, seems to have been the first to apply the Roman practice by decreeing confiscation for all who apostatized from the Catholic faith--whether to the Greek Church, to Islam, or to Judaism does not appear. Yet the Church cannot escape the responsibility of naturalizing this penalty in European law as a punishment for spiritual transgressions. The great Council of Tours, held by Alexander III., in 1163, commanded all secular princes to imprison heretics and confiscate their property. Lucius III., in his Verona decretal of 1184, sought to obtain for the Church the benefit of the confiscation which he again declared to be incurred by heresy. One of the earliest acts of Innocent III., in his double capacity of temporal prince and head of Christianity, was to address a decretal to his subjects of Viterbo, in which he says,
"In the lands subject to our temporal jurisdiction we order the property of heretics to be confiscated; in other lands we command this to be done by the temporal princes and powers, who, if they show themselves negligent therein, shall be compelled to do it by ecclesiastical censures. Nor shall the property of heretics who withdraw from heresy revert to them, unless some one pleases to take pity on them. For as, according to the legal sanctions, in addition to capital punishment, the property of those guilty of majestas is confiscated, and life simply is allowed to their children through mercy alone, so much the more should those who wander from the faith and offend the Son of God be cut off from Christ and be despoiled of their temporal goods, since it is a far greater crime to assail spiritual than temporal majesty."
This decretal, which was adopted into the canon law, is important as embodying the whole theory of the subject. In imitation of the Roman law of majestas, the property of the heretic was forfeited from the moment he became a heretic or committed an act of heresy. If he recanted, it might be restored to him purely in mercy. When the ecclesiastical tribunals declared him to be, or to have been, a heretic, confiscation operated itself; the act of seizing the property was a matter for the secular power to whom it inured, and the mercy which might spare it could only be shown by that power. All this it is requisite to keep in mind if we would correctly appreciate some points which have frequently been misunderstood.
Innocent's decretal further illustrates the fact that at the commencement of the struggle with heresy the chief difficulty encountered by the Church in relation to confiscation was to persuade or coerce the temporal rulers to do what it held to be their duty in taking possession of heretical property. This was one of the principal offences which Raymond VI. of Toulouse expiated so bitterly, as explained to him by Innocent in 1210. His son proclaimed it as the law in his statutes of 1234, and included in its provisions, in accordance with the Ordonnance of Louis VIII., in 1226, and that of Louis IX., in 1229, all who favored heretics in any way or refused to aid in their capture; but his policy did not always comport with its enforcement, and he sometimes had to be sternly rebuked for non-feasance.
After all danger of armed resistance had disappeared, however, sovereigns, as a rule, eagerly welcomed the opportunity of recruiting their slender revenues, and the confiscation of the property of heretics and of fautors of heresy was generally recognized in European law, although the Church was occasionally obliged to repeat its injunctions and threats, and though there were some regions in which they were slackly obeyed.
Confiscation was an ordinary resource of mediÃ¦val law. In England, from the time of Alfred, property, as well as life, was forfeited for treason (Alfred's Dooms 4--Thorpe I. 63), a penalty which, remained until 1870 (Low and Pulling's Dictionary of English History, p. 469). In France murder, false-witness, treachery, homicide, and rape were all punished with death and confiscation (Beaumanoir, Coutumes du Beauvoisis xxx. 2-5). By the German feudal law the fief might be forfeited for a vast number of offences, but the distinction was drawn that, if the offence was against the lord, the fief reverted to him; if simply a Roman law was generallyr ecognized, that the title to property devolved to the fisc as soon as the crime had been committed.
The relation of the Inquisition to confiscation varied essentially with time and place. In France the principle derived from the Roman law was generally recognized, that the title to property devolved to the fisc as soon as the crime had been committed. There was therefore nothing for the inquisitor to do with regard to it. He simply ascertained and announced the guilt of the accused and left the State to take action.
Thus Gui Foucoix treats the subject as one wholly outside of the functions of the inquisitor, who at most can only advise the secular ruler or intercede for mercy; while he holds that those only are legally exempt from forfeiture who come forward spontaneously and confess before any evidence has been taken against them.
In accordance with this, there is, as a rule, no allusion to confiscation in the sentences of the French Inquisition, though in one or two instances chance has preserved for us, in the accounts of the procureurs des encours, or royal stewards of the confiscations, evidence that estates were sold and covered into the fisc in cases in which the forfeiture is not specified in the sentence. In condemnations of absentees and of the dead, confiscation is occasionally declared, as though in these the State might need some guidance, but even here the practice is not uniform. In a sentence issued by Guillem Arnaud and Ã‰tienne de S. Thibery, November 24, 1241, on two absentees, their estates are adjudged to whom it may concern. In the Register of Bernard de Caux (1246-1248), in thirty-two cases of contumacious absentees confiscation is included in the sentence, and in nine similar ones it is omitted, as well as in one hundred and fifty-nine condemnations to prison in which it was undoubtedly operative.
In the Inquisition of Carcassonne, a sentence of December 12, 1328, on five deceased persons, who would have been imprisoned had they lived, ends with "et consequenter bona ipsorum dicimus confiscanda," while a previous sentence, February 24, 1325, identical in character, on four defunct culprits, has no such corollary appended. In fact, strictly speaking, it was recognized that the inquisitor had no power to remit confiscations without permission from the fisc, and the custom of extending mercy to those who came forward voluntarily and confessed was founded upon a special concession to that effect granted by Raymond of Toulouse to the Inquisition in 1235.
Variations In Practice
As soon as a suspected heretic was cited or arrested the secular officials sequestrated his property and notified his debtors by proclamation. No doubt, when condemnation took place, the inquisitor communicated the result to the proper officials, but as a rule no record of the fact seems to have been kept in the archives of the Holy Office, although an early manual of practice specifies it as part of his duty to see that the confiscation was enforced. At a later period, in 1328, in a record of an assembly of experts held at Pamiers, the presence is specified of Arnaud Assalit, royal procureur des encours of Carcassonne, so that probably by this time it had become customary for that official to attend these deliberations and thus obtain early notice of the sentences to be passed.
In Italy it was long before any settled practice was established. In 1252 a bull of Innocent IV. directs the rulers of Lombardy, Tarvisina, and Romagna to confiscate without fail the property of all who were excommunicated as heretics, or as receivers, defenders, or fautors of heretics, thus recognizing confiscation as a matter belonging to the secular power. Yet soon the papal authority succeeded in obtaining a share of the spoils, even beyond the limits of the States of the Church, as is seen in the bulls Ad extirpanda of Innocent IV. and Alexander IV., and the matter thus became one in which the Inquisition had a direct interest. The indifference which so well became the French tribunals was therefore not readily maintained, and the share of the inquisitor in the results led him to participate in the process of securing them.
Yet there were variations in practice. Zanghino tells us that formerly confiscations were decreed in the States of the Church by the ecclesiastical judges and elsewhere by the secular power, but that in his time (circa 1320) they were everywhere (in Italy) included in the jurisdiction of the episcopal and inquisitorial courts, and the secular authorities had nothing to do with them; but he adds that confiscation is prescribed by law for heresy, and that the inquisitor has no discretion to remit it, except in the case of voluntary converts with the assent of the bishop.
Yet though the forfeiture occurs ipso facto by the commission of the crime, it requires a declaratory sentence of confiscation. This consequently was expressed in the most formal manner in the condemnation of the accused by the Italian Inquisition, and the secular authorities were told not to interfere unless called upon.
At a very early period in some places the Italian inquisitors seem to have undertaken not only to decree but to control the confiscations. About 1245 we find the Florentine inquisitor, Ruggieri Calcagni, sentencing a Catharan named Diotaiuti, for relapse, with a fine of one hundred lire. Ruggieri acknowledges the receipt of this, to be applied to the pope, or to the furtherance of the faith, and formally concedes the rest of the heretic's estate to his wife Jacoba, thus exercising ownership over the whole. Yet this was not maintained, for in 1283 there is a sentence of the PodestÃ of Florence, reciting that the inquisitor FrÃ Salomone da Lucca had notified him that the widow Ruvinosa, lately deceased, had died a heretic, and that her property was to be confiscated; whereupon he orders it to be seized and sold, and the proceeds divided according to the papal constitutions.
At length, however, the inquisitors assumed and exercised full control over the handling of the confiscations. In the conveyance of a confiscated house by the municipal authorities of Florence, in 1327, to the Dominicans, the deed is careful to assert that it is made with the assent of the inquisitor. Even in Naples we see King Robert, in 1324, ordering the inquisitors to pay out of the royal share of the confiscations fifty ounces of gold to the Prior of the Church of San Domenico of Naples, to aid in its completion.
Degrees Of Guilt
In Germany the Diet of Worms, in 1231, indicates the confusion existing in the feudal mind between heresy and treason by allowing the allodial lands and personal property of the condemned to descend to the heirs, while fiefs were confiscated to the suzerain. If he was a serf, his goods inured to his master; but from all personal property was deducted the cost of burning its owner and the droits de justice of the seigneur-justicier. Two years later, in 1233, the Council of Mainz protested against the injustice, which quickly showed itself in Germany as elsewhere, of assuming guilt as soon as a man was accused, and treating his property as though he were convicted. It directed that the estates of those on trial should remain untouched until sentence was rendered, and any one who meanwhile should plunder or partition them should be excommunicated until he made restitution and rendered satisfaction. Finally, however, when the Emperor Charles IV. endeavored to introduce the Inquisition into Germany, in 1369, he adopted the Italian custom and ordered one third of the confiscations to be made over to the inquisitors.
The exact degree of criminality which entailed confiscation is not capable of very rigid definition. Even in states where the inquisitor nominally had no control over it, the arbitrary discretion lodged with him as to the fate of the accused placed the matter practically in his hands, and his notification to the secular authorities would be a virtual sentence. It is probable that custom varied with time and with the temper of the inquisitor. We have seen that Innocent III. commanded it for all heretics, but what constituted technical heresy was not so easily determined. The statutes of Raymond decreed it not only for heretics, but for those who showed them favor. The Council of BÃ©ziers, in 1233, demanded it for all reconciled converts not condemned to wear crosses, and those of BÃ©ziers, in 1246, and Albi, in 1254, prescribed it for all whom the inquisitors should penance with imprisonment.
Still, in a sentence of February 19, 1237, in which the inquisitors of Toulouse condemn some twenty or thirty penitents to perpetual imprisonment, confiscation is only threatened as an additional punishment in case they do not perform the penance. Imprisonment, however, finally was admitted by legists as the invariable test; although St. Louis, when in 1259 he mitigated his Ordonnance of 1229, ordered confiscation not only for those who were condemned to prison, but for those who contumaciously refused obedience to citations and those in whose houses heretics were found, his officials being instructed to ascertain from the inquisitors in all cases, while pending, whether the accused deserved imprisonment, and if so, to retain the sequestrated property.
When he further provided, as a special grace, that the heirs should be restored to possession in cases where the heretic had offered himself for conversion before citation, had entered a religious order, and had worthily died there, he shows how universal confiscation had previously been and how ruthlessly the principle had been enforced that a single act of heresy forfeited all ownership. In fact, even at the close of the fifteenth century, the rule was laid down that confiscation was a matter of course, while restoration of property to a reconciled penitent required an express declaration.
According to the most lenient construction of the law, therefore, the imprisonment of a reconciled convert carried with it the confiscation of his property, and as imprisonment was the ordinary penance, confiscation was general. There may possibly have been exceptions. The six prisoners released in 1248 by Innocent IV. had been in jail for some time--some of them for four years and more after confessing heresy--and yet the liberal contributions to the Holy Land which purchased their pardon show that they or their friends must have had control of property--unless, indeed, the money was raised on a pledge of the estates to be restored. So when Alaman de Roaix was condemned to imprisonment by Bernard de Caux, in 1248, the sentence provided for an annuity to be paid to a person designated, and for compensation to be made for the rapine which he had committed, which would look as though property were left to him; but as he had for ten years been a contumacious and proscribed fugitive, these fines must have been taken out of his estate in the hands of the State.
Apparent exceptions such as these can be accounted for, and the proceedings of the Inquisition as a whole indicate that imprisonment and confiscation were inseparable. Sometimes, even, it is stated in sentences passed upon the dead that they are pronounced worthy of imprisonment in order to deprive the heirs of succession to the estates. At a later date, indeed, Eymerich, who dismisses the whole matter briefly as one with which the inquisitor has no concern, speaks as though confiscation only took place when a heretic did not repent and recant before sentence, but his commentator, Pegna, easily proves this to be an error. Zanghino assumes as a matter of course that property is forfeited by the act of heresy; and he points out that pecuniary penances cannot be imposed because the whole estate is gone, although there may be mercy shown at discretion with the assent of the bishop, and simple suspicion is not subject to confiscation.
In the early zeal of persecution everything was swept away in wholesale seizure, but, in 1237, Gregory IX. assumed that the dowers of Catholic wives ought to be exempt in certain cases, and in 1247 Innocent IV. erected it into a rule that such dowers should be restored to the wives and should not be included in future forfeitures, although heresy would not justify divorce, and, in 1258, St. Louis accepted this rule. It was subject to serious limitations, however, since under the canon law the wife could not claim it if she had been cognizant of the husband's heresy when she married, and, according to some authorities, if she had lived with him after ascertaining it, or even if she had failed to inform against him within forty days after discovering it. As the children were incapable of inheritance, she only held the dower for life, after which it fell into the fisc.
Although in principle confiscation was an affair of the State, the division of the spoils did not follow any invariable rule. Before the organization of the Inquisition, when the Waldenses of Strassburg were burned, it is mentioned that their forfeited property was equally divided between the Church and the secular authorities. Lucius III., as we have just seen, endeavored to turn the forfeitures to the benefit of the Church. In the papal territory there could be little question as to this, and Innocent IV., in his bull Ad extirpanda of 1252, showed disinterestedness in devoting the whole proceeds to the stimulation of persecution. One third was given to the local authorities, one third to the officials of the Inquisition, and one third to the bishop and inquisitor, to be expended in the assault on heresy--provisions which were retained in the subsequent recensions of the bull by Alexander IV. and Clement IV., while forfeited bail went exclusively to the inquisitor. Yet this was speedily held to refer only to the independent states of Italy, for, in 1260, we find Alexander IV. ordering the inquisitors of Rome and Spoleto to sell the confiscated estates of heretics and pay over the proceeds to the pope himself; and a transaction of 1261 shows Urban IV. collecting three hundred and twenty lire from some confiscations at Spoleto.
At length, both in the Roman province and elsewhere throughout Italy, the custom settled down to a tripartite division between the local community, the Inquisition, and the papal camera, the reason for the latter, as given by Benedict XI., being that the bishops appropriated to themselves the share intrusted to them for the persecution of heresy. In Florence a transaction of 1283 shows this to be the received regulation; and documents of various dates during the next half-century indicate that it was the custom of the republic to appoint attorneys or trustees to take seisin of confiscated property in the name of the city, which in 1319 liberally granted its share for the next ten years to the construction of the church of Santa Reparata. That the amounts were not small may be guessed from a petition of the inquisitors to the republic in 1299, setting forth that the Holy Office must have funds wherewith to pay its stipendiary officials, and therefore praying leave to invest in real estate the sums accruing to the Inquisition from this source--showing accumulations prudently garnered for the future. The request was granted to the extent of one thousand lire, with the proviso that none of the city's share be taken.
Embezzlement By Inquisitors
This latter precaution would seem to argue no great confidence in the integrity of the inquisitors, nor was the insinuation uncalled for. By this time the money-changers had fairly occupied the Temple, and, as we have seen in the last chapter, it seemed almost impossible to preserve official honesty when persecution had become almost as much a financial speculation as a matter of faith. That plain-spoken Franciscan, Alvaro Pelayo, Bishop of Silva, writing about the year 1335, bitterly reproaches those of his brethren who act as inquisitors with their abuse of the funds accruing to the Holy Office. The papal division into thirds he declares was generally disregarded; the inquisitors monopolized the whole and spent it on themselves or enriched their kindred at their pleasure. Chance has preserved in the Florentine archives some documents confirmatory of this accusation.
It seems that in 1343 Clement VI. obtained evidence that the inquisitors of both Florence and Lucca were habitually defrauding the papal camera of its third of the fines and confiscations, and accordingly he sent to Pietro di Vitale, Primicerio of Lucca, authority to collect the sums in arrears and to prosecute the embezzlers.
How it fared with them we have no means of knowing, but the camera seems not to have gained much. In filling the vacancies thus occasioned Pietro di Aquila, a Franciscan of high standing, was appointed in Florence, who fell at once into the same evil ways, and within two years was obliged to fly from a prosecution by the primicerio, in addition to the charges of extortion brought against him by the republic.
In Naples, under the Angevines, when the Inquisition was first introduced, Charles of Anjou monopolized the confiscations with the same rapacity that was customary in France. As early as March, 1270, we find him writing to his representatives in the Principato Ultra that three heretics had recently been burned at Benevento, whose estates he orders looked after and accounted for in detail. In 1290, however, Charles II. ordered the fines and confiscations to be divided into thirds, of which one should inure to the royal fisc, one be used for the promotion of the faith, and one be given to the Inquisition. Feudal lands, however, were to revert to the crown or to the immediate lord as the case might require.
In Venice the compromise reached in 1289 between the signiory and Nicholas IV., whereby the republic permitted the introduction of the Inquisition, provided that all receipts of the Holy Office should be for the benefit of the State, and this arrangement seems to have been maintained. In Piedmont the confiscations were divided between the State and the Inquisition until, in the latter half of the fifteenth century, Amedeo IX. took the whole, allowing to the Holy Office only the expenses of the proceedings.
In the other Italian states the papal curia grew dissatisfied with its share, when there was no longer a necessity of purchasing the co-operation of the civil power with a third of the spoils. It is a disputed point with the jurists when and how the change was effected, but in the first quarter of the fourteenth century the Church succeeded in grasping the whole of the confiscations, which were divided equally between the Inquisition and the papal camera. The rapacity with which this source of income was exploited is illustrated in a case occurring at Pisa in 1304.
The inquisitor Angelo da Reggio had condemned the memory of a deceased citizen, Loterio Bonamici, and confiscated his property, part of which he then gave away and part he sold at prices which the papal curia esteemed too low. Benedict XI. thereupon ordered the Bishop of Ostia not to punish the inquisitor, but to use freely the censures of the Church in hunting up the assets in the hands of the holders and to take it from them.
Finally, in 1438, Eugenius IV. generously handed back to the bishops the share of the papal camera in order to stimulate their slackness in persecution, and, where the bishop was also the temporal lord of his see, the confiscations were to be equally divided between him and the Inquisition. Bernardo di Como, however, writing about the year 1500, asserts that the whole confiscations inure to the inquisitor to be expended at his discretion; but he subsequently admits that the subject is confused and uncertain, owing to contradictory papal decisions and conflicting jurisdictions in different territories.
Quarrels Over The Spoils
In Spain the rule was laid down that if the heretic were a clerk, or a lay vassal of the Church, the confiscation went to the Church; if otherwise, to the temporal seigneur.
This greed for the plunder of the wretched victims of persecution is peculiarly repulsive as exhibited by the Church, and may to some extent palliate the similar action by the State in countries where the latter was strong enough to seize and retain it. The threats of coercion, which at first were necessary to induce the temporal princes to confiscate the property of their heretical subjects, soon became superfluous, and history has few displays of man's eagerness to profit by his fellow's misfortunes more deplorable than that of the vultures which followed in the wake of the Inquisition to batten on the ruin which it wrought.
In Languedoc at first the Inquisition endeavored to control the confiscations for the purpose of building prisons and maintaining prisoners, but these pretensions received no attention. Under the feudal system, the confiscations were for the benefit of the seigneur haut-justicier. The rapid extension of the royal jurisdiction, in the second half of the thirteenth century in France, ended by practically placing them in the hands of the king, but during the earlier and more profitable period there were quarrels over the spoils. After the treaty of Paris, in 1229, St. Louis, in granting fiefs in the newly-acquired territories, seems to have endeavored to provide for these questions by reserving the confiscations for heresy.
The prudence of this is shown by the suit brought by the Marãchaux de Mirepoix--one of the few families founded by the adventurers who accompanied de Montfort--who claimed the movables of all heretics captured in their lands, even if the goods were in the lands of the king--a demand which was rejected by the Parlement of Paris, in 1269. The bishops put in a claim to the confiscations of all real and personal property of heretics living under their jurisdiction, and at the Council of Lille (Comtat Venaissin) in 1251, they threatened with excommunication any one who should dispute it.
The groundlessness of this claim is seen in an agreement made under the auspices of the Legate Romano in December, 1229, between the Bishop of Bãziers and the king, in which the royal right to the confiscations is recognized as incontestable, and the bishop only stipulates that in case of fiefs they shall, if granted, be held subject to his seignorial rights, or if the king retains them some compensation shall be made for the loss of the suzerainty.
This indicates a source of reasonable complaint, for, in the annexation of fiefs to the crown, the bishops found themselves losing in place of profiting by persecution.
Various efforts were made to adjust these conflicting claims over the spoil. By a transaction of 1234 we see that the king had subjected himself to the stipulation of parting with all confiscated property within a year and a day. The Council of BÃ©ziers, in 1246, adopted a canon on the subject, but it could not be enforced, and at length, about 1255, St. Louis agreed upon a compromise, whereby all confiscated lands subject to the bishops were equally divided, with a right on the part of the prelates to buy out, within two months, the royal share at a price fixed by arbitration; if this right was not exercised the king was bound, within a year and a day, to pass the lands out of his hands into those of a person of the same condition as the former owner, to be held under the same terms of service or villeinage; but all movables were declared to belong unreservedly to the crown. Under this arrangement the temporalities of the sees grew rapidly. We have seen the apostolic poverty which afflicted the bishops of Toulouse prior to the crusades: during the succeeding century the whole land was impoverished and the cities suffered especially, yet when, in 1317, John XXII. carved six new bishoprics out of the see of Toulouse, his reason was found in the excessive revenues of the bishop, amounting to forty thousand livres Tournois per annum, although it had already been shorn of nearly half of its territory by Boniface VIII. to form the see of Pamiers.
The Bishops Of Albi
The bishops of Albi were especially active and fortunate in this saturnalia of plunder. During the confusion of the wars and the settlement they assumed rights, including haute justice and the confiscations, which led to contests with the representatives of the crown, lasting for thirty years. They were specially active in the pursuit of heretics, which they thus found profitable as well as praiseworthy. In 1247 Bishop Bertrand procured from Innocent IV. a special deputation of inquisitorial power, probably to strengthen his claims, and the next year he drove a thriving business in selling commutations for confiscation to condemned and repentant heretics--an expedient more lucrative than regular, for when Alphonse of Poitiers, in 1253, endeavored to speculate in the confiscations in the same way, he was compelled to desist by the Archbishop of Narbonne and the Bishop of Toulouse, who declared that it would lead to the scandal of the faithful and the destruction of religion.
Finally, to settle the claims of the bishop on the confiscations, St. Louis, in December, 1264, made with Bernard de Combret, the incumbent of the see, a convention, promptly confirmed by Urban IV., by which the prelate was entitled to one half of all confiscations of realty and personalty within the diocese, with the further advantage that the king's share of the real estate passed into possession of the bishop if it was not sold within a twelvemonth, and became his absolute property if not sold within three years.
Accordingly in the accounts of the royal procureurs des encours of Carcassonne we constantly find the confiscations in Albi shared with the bishop. Although between St. John's day 1322 and 1323 this share in money amounted only to one hundred and sixty livres, there were times when it was much greater. About the year 1300 Bishop Bernard de Castanet generously gave to the Dominican Church of Albi his portion of the estates of two citizens, Guillem Aymeric and Jean de Castanet, condemned after death, which amounted to more than one thousand livres. It can readily be imagined that this arrangement with the crown gave rise to constant quarrels.
In vain Philippe le Bel, in 1307, ordered the observance of the agreement with restitution for any infractions. In 1316 we find the bishop claiming properties which had not been sold within the three years, and Arnaud Assalit, the procureur, arguing that he had been prevented from effecting sales by just and legitimate causes, when the seneschal, Aymeric de Croso, decided that the impediments had been legitimate, and that the rights of the king were not forfeited.
These were not the only questions arising from this wholesale spoliation which afforded an ample harvest to the legal profession. A suit brought by the bishops of Rodez for some lands held by the crown as heretic confiscations dragged on for thirty years until it reached the Parlement of Paris, which coolly annulled all the proceedings on the ground that those who had acted for the crown had lacked the requisite authority. Almost equally protracted and confused was a suit between Eleanor de Montfort, Countess of VendÃ´me, and the king over the lands of Jean Baudier and Raymond Calverie. The confiscations occurred in 1300; in 1327 the suit was still pursuing its weary way, to be finally compromised in 1335.
All prelates were not as rapacious as those of Albi, one of whom we find still, in 1328, complaining of the evasions resorted to by the victims to save a fragment of their property for their families; but the princes and their representatives were relentless in grasping all that they could lay their hands on. I have mentioned that as soon as a suspect was cited before the Inquisition his property was sequestrated to await the result, and proclamation was made to all his debtors and those who held his effects to bring everything to the king. Charles of Anjou carried this practice to Naples, where a royal order, in 1269, to arrest sixty-nine heretics contains instructions to seize simultaneously their goods, which are to be held for the king. So assured were the officials that condemnation would follow trial that they frequently did not await the result, but carried out the confiscation in advance. This abuse was coeval with the founding of the Inquisition.
In 1237 Gregory IX. complained of it and forbade it, but to little purpose, for in 1246 the Council of BÃ©ziers again prohibited it, unless, indeed, the offender had knowingly adhered to those who were known to be heretics, in which case, apparently, it was sanctioned. When, in 1259, St. Louis mitigated the rigors of confiscation, he indirectly forbade this wrong by instructing his officials that, when the accused was not condemned to imprisonment, they should give him or his heirs a hearing to reclaim the property; but, if there was any suspicion of heresy, it was not to be restored without taking security that it should be surrendered if anything was proved within five years, during which period it was not to be alienated.
Yet still the outrage of confiscation before conviction continued with sufficient frequency to induce Boniface VIII. to embody its prohibition in the canon law. Even this did not put a stop to it. The Inquisition had so habituated men's minds to the belief that no one escaped who had once fallen into its hands, that the officials considered themselves safe in acting upon the presumption. By an unusual coincidence we have the data from various sources in a single case of this kind which is doubtless the type of many others. In the prosecutions at Albi in 1300, a certain Jean Baudier was first examined January 20, when he acknowledged nothing.
At a second hearing, February 5, he confessed to acts of heresy, and he was condemned March 7. Yet his confiscated property was sold January 29, not only before his sentence, but before his confession. Guillem Garric, charged with complicity in the plot to destroy the inquisitorial records of Carcassonne in 1284, was not sentenced until 1319, but in 1301 we find the Count of Foix and the royal officials quarrelling over his confiscated castle of Monteirat.
Rapacity Of The Princes
The ferocious rapacity with which this process of confiscation was carried on may be conceived from a report made by Jean d'Arsis, Seneschal of Rouergue, to Alphonse of Poitiers, about 1253, as an evidence of the zeal with which he was guarding the interests of his suzerain. The Bishop of Rodez was conducting a vigorous episcopal inquisition, and at Najac had handed over a certain Hugues Paraire as a heretic, whom the seneschal burned "incontinently" and collected over one thousand livres Tournois from his estate.
Hearing, subsequently, that the bishop had cited before him at Rodez six other citizens of Najac, d'Arsis hastened thither to see that no fraud was practised on the count. The bishop told him that these men were all heretics, and that he would make the count gain one hundred thousand sols from their confiscations, but both he and his assessors begged the seneschal to forego a portion to the culprits or their children, which that loyal servitor bluntly refused. Then the bishop, following evil counsel, and in fraud of the rights of the count, endeavored to elude the forfeiture by condemning the heretics to some lighter penance. The seneschal, however, knew his master's rights and seized the property, after which he allowed some pittance to the penitents and their children, reporting that in addition to this he was in possession of about one thousand livres; and he winds up by advising the count, if he wishes not to be defrauded, to appoint some one to watch and supervise the further inquisitions of the bishop. On the other hand the bishops complained that the officials of Alphonse permitted heretics, for a pecuniary consideration, to retain a part or the whole of their confiscated property, or else condemned to the flames those who did not deserve it in order to seize their estates. These frightful abuses grew so unbearable that, in 1254, the officials of Alphonse, including Gui Foucoix, endeavored to reform them by issuing general regulations on the subject, but the matter was one which in its inherent nature scarce admitted of reform. Y
et Alphonse, with all his greed, was not unwilling to share the plunder with those who secured it for him, and several of his not wholly disinterested liberalities of this kind are on record. In 1268 we have a letter of his assigning to the Inquisition a revenue of one hundred livres per annum on the confiscated estate of a heretic; and in 1270 another, confirming the foundation of a chapel from a similar source.
Nothing could exceed the minute thoroughness with which every fragment of a confiscated estate was followed up and seized. The account of the collections of confiscated property from 1302 to 1313 by the procureurs des encours of Carcassone is extant in MS., and shows how carefully the debts due to the condemned were looked after, even to a few pence for a measure of corn. In the case of one wealthy prisoner, Guillem de Fenasse, the estate was not wound up for eight or ten years, and the whole number of debts collected foots up to eight hundred and fifty-nine, in amounts ranging from five deniers upward.
As the collectors never credit themselves with amounts paid in discharge of debts due by these estates, it is evident that the rule that a heretic could give no valid obligations was strictly construed and that creditors were shamelessly cheated. In this seizure of debts the nobles asserted a right to claim any sums due by debtors who were their vassals, but Philippe de Valois, in 1329, decided that when the debts were payable at the domicile of the heretic they inured to the royal fisc, irrespective of the allegiance of the debtor. Another illustration of the remorseless greed which seized everything is found in a suit decided by the Parlement of Paris in 1302. On the death of the Chevalier Guillem PrunÃ¨le and his wife Isabelle, the guardianship of their orphans would legally vest in the next of kin, the Chevalier Bernard de Montesquieu, but he had been burned some years before for heresy, and his estate, of course, confiscated.
The Seneschal of Carcassonne insisted that the guardianship which thus subsequently fell in formed part of the assets of the estate, and he accordingly assumed it, but a nephew, an Esquire Bernard de Montesquieu, contested the matter and finally obtained a decision in his favor.
Equal care was exercised in recovering alienated property. As, in obedience to the Roman law of majestas, forfeiture occurred ipso facto as soon as the crime of heresy was committed, the heretic could convey no legal title, and any assignments which he might have made were void, no matter through how many hands the property might have passed. The holder was forced to surrender it, nor could he demand restitution of what he had paid, unless the money or other consideration were found among the goods of the heretic. The eagerness with which, in such cases, the rigor of the law was enforced may be estimated from one occurring in 1272.
Charles of Anjou had written from Naples to his viguier and sous-viguier at Marseilles telling them that a certain Maria Roberta, before condemnation to prison for heresy, had sold a house which was subject to confiscation; this he ordered them to seize, to sell by auction, and to report the proceeds; but they neglected to do so. The viguiers were changed, and now the unforgetful Charles writes to the new officials, repeating his orders and holding them personally responsible for obedience. At the same time he writes to his seneschal with instructions to look after the matter, as it lies very near to his heart.
The cruelty of the process of confiscation was enhanced by the pitiless methods employed. As soon as a man was arrested for suspicion of heresy his property was sequestrated and seized by the officials, to be returned to him in the rare cases in which his guilt might be declared not proven. This rule was enforced in the most rigorous manner, every article of his household gear and provisions being inventoried, as well as his real estate.
Thus, whether innocent or guilty, his family were turned out-of-doors to starve or to depend upon the precarious charity of others--a charity chilled by the fact that any manifestation of sympathy was dangerous. It would be difficult to estimate the amount of human misery arising from this source alone.
In this chaos of plunder we may readily imagine that those who were engaged in such work were not over-nice as to securing a share of the spoliations. In 1304 Jacques de Polignac, who had been for twenty years keeper of the inquisitorial jail at Carcassonne, and several of the officials employed on the confiscations, were found to have converted and detained a large amount of valuable property, including a castle, several farms and other lands, vineyards, orchards, and movables, all of which they were compelled to disgorge and to suffer punishment at the king's pleasure.
It is pleasant to turn from this cruel greed to a case which excited much interest in Flanders at a time when in that region the Inquisition had become so nearly dormant that the usages of confiscation were almost forgotten. The Bishop of Tournay and the Vicar of the Inquisition condemned at Lille a number of heretics, who were duly burned. They confiscated the property, claiming the movables for the Church and the inquisitor, and the realty for the fisc. The magistrates of Lille boldly interposed, declaring that among the liberties of their town was the privilege that no burgher could forfeit both body and goods; and, acting for the children of one of the victims, they took out apostoli and appealed to the pope.
The counsellors of the suzerain, Philippe le Bon of Burgundy, with a clearer perception of the law, claimed that the whole confiscations inured to him, while the ecclesiastics declared the rule to be invariable that the personalty went to the Church and only the real estate to the fisc. The triangular quarrel threatened long and costly litigation, and finally all parties agreed to leave the decision to the duke himself. With rare wisdom, in 1430, he settled the matter, with general consent, by deciding that the sentence of confiscation should be treated as not rendered, and the property be left to the heirs, at the same time expressly declaring that the rights of Church, Inquisition, city, and state, were reserved without prejudice, in any case that might arise in future, which was, he said, not likely to occur.
He did not manifest the same disinterestedness in 1460, however, in the terrible persecution of the sorcerers of Arras, when the movables were confiscated to the episcopal treasury, and he seized the landed property in spite of the privileges alleged by the city.
In addition to the misery inflicted by these wholesale confiscations on the thousands of innocent and helpless women and children thus stripped of everything, it would be almost impossible to exaggerate the evil which they entailed upon all classes in the business of daily life. All safeguards were withdrawn from every transaction. No creditor or purchaser could be sure of the orthodoxy of him with whom he was dealing; and, even more than the principle that ownership was forfeited as soon as heresy had been committed by the living, the practice of proceeding against the memory of the dead after an interval virtually unlimited, rendered it impossible for any man to feel secure in the possession of property, whether it had descended in his family for generations, or had been acquired within an ordinary lifetime.
The prescription of time against the Church had to be at least forty years--against the Roman Church, a hundred, and this prescription ran, not from the commission of the crime, but from its detection. Though some legists held that proceedings against the deceased had to be commenced within five years after death, others asserted that there was no limit, and the practice of the Inquisition shows that the latter opinion was followed. The prescription of forty years' possession by good Catholics was further limited by the conditions that they must at no time have had a knowledge that the former owner was a heretic, and, moreover, he must have died with an unsullied reputation for orthodoxy--both points which might cast a grave doubt on titles.
Disinterestedness Of Philippe Le Bon
Prosecution of the dead, as we have seen, was a mockery in which virtually defence was impossible and confiscation inevitable. How unexpectedly the blow might fall is seen in the case of Gherardo of Florence. He was rich and powerful, a member of one of the noblest and oldest houses, and was consul of the city in 1218. Secretly a heretic, he was hereticated on his death-bed between 1246 and 1250, but the matter lay dormant until 1313, when FrÃ Grimaldo, the Inquisitor of Florence, brought a successful prosecution against his memory.
In the condemnation were included his children Ugolino, Cante, Nerlo, and Bertuccio, and his grandchildren, Goccia, Coppo, FrÃ Giovanni, Gherardo, prior of S. Quirico, Goccino, Baldino, and Marco--not that they were heretics, but that they were disinherited and subjected to the disabilities of descendants of heretics. When such proceedings were hailed as pre-eminent exhibitions of holy zeal, no man could feel secure in his possessions, whether derived from descent or purchase.
An instance of a different character, but equally illustrative, is furnished by the case of GÃ©raud de Puy-Germer. His father had been condemned for heresy in the times of Raymond VII. of Toulouse, who generously restored the confiscated estates. Yet, twenty years after the death of the count, in 1268, the zealous agents of Alphonse seized them as still liable to forfeiture. Gãraud thereupon appealed to Alphonse, who ordered an investigation, but with what result does not appear.
Not only were all alienations made by heretics set aside and the property wrested from the purchasers, but all debts contracted by them, and all hypothecations and liens given to secure loans, were void. Thus doubt was cast upon every obligation that a man could enter into. Even when St. Louis softened the rigor of confiscation in Languedoc, the utmost concession he would make was that creditors should be paid for debts contracted by culprits before they became heretics, while all claims arising subsequently to an act of heresy were rejected. As no man could be certain of the orthodoxy of another, it will be evident how much distrust must have been thrown upon every bargain and every sale in the commonest transactions of life.
The blighting influence of this upon the development of commerce and industry can readily be perceived, coming as it did at a time when the commercial and industrial movement of Europe was beginning to usher in the dawn of modern culture. It was not merely the spiritual striving of the thirteenth century that was repressed by the Inquisition; the progress of material improvement was seriously retarded. It was this, among other incidents of persecution, which arrested the promising civilization of the south of France and transferred to England and the Netherlands, where the Inquisition was comparatively unknown, the predominance in commerce and industry which brought freedom and wealth and power and progress in its train.
The quick-witted Italian commonwealths, then rising into mercantile importance, were keen to recognize the disabilities thus inflicted upon them. In Florence a remedy was sought by requiring the seller of real estate always to give security against possible future sentences of confiscation by the Inquisition--the security in general being that of a third party, although there must have been no little difficulty in obtaining it, and though it might likewise be invalidated at any moment by the same cause.
Even in contracts for personalty, security was also often demanded and given. This was, at least, only replacing one evil by another of scarcely less magnitude, and the trouble grew so intolerable that a remedy was sought for one of its worst features. The republic solemnly represented to Martin IV. the scandals which had occurred and the yet greater ones threatened, in consequence of the confiscation of the real estate of heretics in the hands of bona fide purchasers, and by a special bull of Nov. 22, 1283, the pontiff graciously ordered the Florentine inquisitors in future not to seize such property.
The princes who enjoyed the results of confiscations recognized that they carried with them the correlative duty of defraying the expenses of the Inquisition; indeed, self-interest alone would have prompted them to maintain in a state of the highest efficiency an instrumentality so profitable. Theoretically, it could not be denied that the bishops were liable for these expenses, and at first the inquisitors of Languedoc sought to obtain funds from them, suggesting that at least pecuniary penances inflicted for pious uses should be devoted to paying their notaries and clerks. This was fruitless, for, as Gui Foucoix (Clement IV.) remarks, their hands were tenacious and their purses constipated, and as it was useless to look to them for resources, he advises that the pecuniary penances be used for the purpose, providing it be done decently and without scandalizing the people. Throughout central and northern Italy, as we have seen, the fines and confiscations rendered the Inquisition fully self-supporting, and the inquisitors were eager to make business out of which they could reap a pecuniary harvest. In Venice the State defrayed all expenses and took all profits. In Naples the same policy was at first pursued by the Angevine monarchs, who took the confiscations and, in addition to maintaining prisoners, paid to each inquisitor one augustale (one quarter ounce of gold) per diem for the expenses of himself and his associate, his notary, and three familiars, with their horses.
These stipends were assigned upon the Naples customs on iron, pitch, and salt; the orders for their payment ran usually for six months at a time and had to be renewed; there was considerable delay in the settlements, and the inquisitors had substantial cause of complaint, although the officials were threatened with fines for lack of promptness. In 1272, however, I find a letter issued to the inquisitor, FrÃ Matteo di Castellamare, providing him with a year's salary, payable six months in advance. When, as mentioned above, Charles II., in 1290, divided the proceeds according to the papal prescription, he liberally continued to contribute to the expenses, though on a somewhat reduced scale. In letters of May 16, 1294, he orders the payment to FrÃ Bartolomeo di Aquila of four tareni per diem (the tareno was one thirtieth of an ounce of gold), and July 7 of the same year he provides that five ounces per month be paid to him for the expenses of his official family.
In France there was at first some question as to the responsibility for the charges attendant upon persecution. The duty of the bishops to suppress heresy was so plain that they could not refuse to meet the expenses, at least in part.
Expenses Of The Inquisition
Before the establishment of the Inquisition this consisted almost wholly in the maintenance of imprisoned converts, and at the Council of Toulouse they agreed to defray this in the case of those who had no money, while those who had property to be confiscated they claimed should be supported by the princes who obtained it.
This proposition, like the subsequent one of the Council of Albi, in 1254, was altogether too cumbrous to work. The statutes of Raymond, in 1234, while dwelling elaborately on the subject of confiscation, made no provision for meeting the cost of the new Inquisition, and the matter remained unsettled. In 1237 we find Gregory IX. complaining that the royal officials contributed nothing for the support of the prisoners whose property they had confiscated. When, in 1246, the Council of BÃ©ziers was assembled, the Cardinal Legate of Albano reminded the bishops that it was their business to provide for it, according to the instructions of the Council of Montpellier, whose proceedings have not reached us. The good bishops were not disposed to do this.
As we have seen, they claimed that prisons should be built at the expense of the recipients of the confiscations, and suggested that the fines should be used for their maintenance and for that of the inquisitors. The piety of St. Louis, however, would not see the good work halt for lack of the necessary means; with a more worldly prince we might assume that he recognized the money spent on inquisitors as profitably invested. In 1248 we find him defraying their expenses in all the domains of the crown, and we have shown above how he assumed the cost of prisons and prisoners; in addition to which, in 1246, he ordered his Seneschal of Carcassonne to pay out of the confiscations ten sols per diem to the inquisitors for their expenses.
It may fairly be presumed that Count Raymond contributed with a grudging hand to the support of an institution which he had opposed so long as he dared; but when he was succeeded, in 1249, by Jeanne and Alphonse of Poitiers, the latter politic and avaricious prince saw his account in stimulating the zeal of those to whom he owed his harvest of confiscations. Not only did he defray the cost of the fixed tribunals, but his seneschals had orders to pay the expenses of the inquisitors and their familiars in their movements throughout his territories. He paid close attention to detail. In 1268 we find Guillem de Montreuil, Inquisitor of Toulouse, reporting to him the engagement of a notary at six deniers per diem and of a servitor at four, and Alphonse graciously ordering the payment of their wages. Charles of Anjou, who was equally greedy, found time amid his Italian distractions to see that his Seneschal of Provence and Forcalquier kept the Inquisition supplied on the same basis as did the king in the royal dominions.
Large as were the returns to the fisc from the industry of the Inquisition, the inquisitors were sometimes disposed to presume upon their usefulness, and to spend money with a freedom which seemed unnecessary to those who paid the bills. Even in the fresh zeal of 1242 and 1244, before the princes had made provision for the Holy Office, and while the bishops were yet zealously maintaining their claims to the fines, the luxury and extravagance of the inquisitors called down upon them the reproof of their own Order as expressed in the Dominican provincial chapters of Montpellier and Avignon.
It would be, of course, unjust to cast such reproach upon all inquisitors, but no doubt many deserved it, and we have seen that there were numerous ways in which they could supply their wants, legitimate or otherwise. It might, indeed, be a curious question to determine the source whence Bernard de Caux, who presided over the tribunal of Toulouse until his death, in 1252, and who, as a Dominican, could have owned no property, obtained the means which enabled him to be a great benefactor to the convent of Agen, founded in 1249. Even Alphonse of Poitiers sometimes grew tired of ministering to the wishes of those who served him so well. In a confidential letter of 1268 he complains of the vast expenditures of Pons de Poyet and Ã‰tienne de GÃ¢tine, the inquisitors of Toulouse, and instructs his agent to try to persuade them to remove to Lavaur, where less extravagance might be hoped for. He offered to put at their disposal the castle of Lavaur, or any other that might be fit to serve as a prison; and at the same time he craftily wrote to them direct, explaining that, in order to enable them to extend their operations, he would place an enormous castle in their hands.
Some very curious details as to the expenses of the Inquisition, thus defrayed from the confiscations, from St. John's day, 1322, to 1323, are afforded by the accounts of Arnaud Assalit, procureur des encours of Carcassonne and BÃ©ziers, which have fortunately been preserved. From the sums thus coming into his hands the procureur met the outlays of the Inquisition to the minutest item--the cost of maintaining prisoners, the hunting up of witnesses, the tracking of fugitives, and the charges for an auto de fÃ©, including the banquets for the assembly of experts and the saffron-colored cloth for the crosses of the penitents. We learn from this that the wages of the inquisitor himself were one hundred and fifty livres per annum, and also that they were very irregularly paid.
FrÃ¨re Otbert had been appointed in Lent, 1316, and thus far had received nothing of his stipend, but now, in consequence of a special letter from King Charles le Bel, the whole accumulation for six years, amounting to nine hundred livres, is paid in a lump. Although by this time persecution was slackening for lack of material, the confiscations were still quite profitable. Assalit charges himself with two thousand two hundred and nineteen livres seven sols ten deniers collected during the year, while his outlays, including heavy legal expenses and the extraordinary payment to FrÃ¨re Otbert, amounted to one thousand one hundred and sixty-eight livres eleven sols four deniers, leaving about one thousand and fifty livres of profit to the crown.
Persecution Dependent On Confiscation
Persecution, as a steady and continuous policy, rested, after all, upon confiscation. It was this which supplied the fuel to keep up the fires of zeal, and when it was lacking the business of defending the faith languished lamentably. When Catharism disappeared under the brilliant aggressiveness of Bernard Gui, the culminating point of the Inquisition was passed, and thenceforth it steadily declined, although still there were occasional confiscated estates over which king, prelate, and noble quarrelled for some years to come. The Spirituals, Dulcinists, and Fraticelli were Mendicants, who held property to be an abomination; the Waldenses were poor folk--mountain shepherds and lowland peasants--and the only prizes were an occasional sorcerer or usurer. Still, as late as 1337 the office of bailli of the confiscations for heresy in Toulouse was sufficiently lucrative to be worth purchasing under the prevailing custom of selling all such positions, and the collections for the preceding fiscal year amounted to six hundred and forty livres six sols.
The intimate connection between the activity of persecuting zeal and the material results to be derived from it is well illustrated in the failure of the first attempt to extend the Inquisition into Franche Comtã. John, Count of Burgundy, in 1248, represented to Innocent IV. the alarming spread of Waldensianism throughout the province of Besanon and begged for its repression.
Apparently the zeal of Count John did not lead him to pay for the purgation of his dominions, and the plunder to be gained was inconsiderable, for, in 1255, Alexander IV. granted the petition of the friars to be relieved from the duty, in which they averred that they had exhausted themselves fruitlessly for lack of money.
The same lesson is taught by the want of success which attended all attempts to establish the Inquisition in Portugal. When, in 1376, Gregory XI. ordered the Bishop of Lisbon to appoint a Franciscan inquisitor for the kingdom, recognizing apparently that there would be small receipts from confiscations, he provided that the incumbent should be paid a salary of two hundred gold florins per annum, assessed upon the various sees in the proportion of their forced contributions to the papal camera. The resistance of inertia, which rendered this command resultless, doubtless arose from the objection of the prelates to being thus taxed; and the same may be said of the effort of Boniface IX., when he appointed Fray Vicente de Lisboa as Inquisitor of Spain and ordered his expenses defrayed by the bishops.
Disputes Over The Expenses
Perhaps the most unscrupulous attempt to provide for the maintenance of the Inquisition was that made by the Emperor Charles IV. when, in 1369, he endeavored to establish it in Germany on a permanent basis. Heretics were neither numerous nor rich, and little could be gained from their confiscations to sustain the zeal of Kerlinger and his brethren; and we shall see hereafter how the houses of the orthodox and inoffensive Beghards and Beguines were summarily confiscated in order to provide domiciles and prisons for the inquisitors, while the cities were invited to share in the spoils in order to enlist popular support for the odious measure; we shall see also how it failed in consequence of the steady repugnance of prelates and people for the Holy Office.
Eymerich, writing in Aragon, about 1375, says that the source whence the expenses of the Inquisition should be met is a question which has been long debated and never settled. The most popular view among churchmen was that the burden should fall on the temporal princes, since they obtained the confiscations and should accept the charge with the benefit; but in these times, he sorrowfully adds, there are few obstinate heretics, fewer still relapsed, and scarce any rich ones, so that, as there is little to be gained, the princes are not willing to defray the expenses. Some other means ought to be found, but of all the devices which have been proposed each has its insuperable objection; and he concludes by regretting that an institution so wholesome and so necessary to Christendom should be so badly provided.
It was probably while Eymerich was saddened with these unpalatable truths that the question was raising itself in the most practical shape elsewhere. As late as 1337 in the accounts of the SÃnÃ©chaussÃe of Toulouse there are expenditures for an auto de fÃ and for repairs to the buildings and prison of the Inquisition, the salaries of the inquisitor and his officials, and the maintenance of prisoners, but the confusion and bankruptcy entailed by the English war doubtless soon afterwards caused this duty to be neglected. In 1375 Gregory XI. persuaded King Frederic of Sicily to allow the confiscations to inure to the benefit of the Inquisition, so that funds might not be lacking for the prosecution of the good work. At the same time he made a vigorous effort to exterminate the Waldenses who were multiplying in Dauphinã.
There were prisons to be built and crowds of prisoners to be supported, and he directed that the expenses should be defrayed by the prelates whose negligence had given opportunity for the growth of heresy. Although he ordered this to be enforced by excommunication, it would seem that the constipated purses of the bishops could not be relaxed, for soon after we find the inquisitor laying claim to a share in the confiscations, on the reasonable ground of his having no other source whence to defray the necessary expenses of his tribunal. The royal officials insisted on keeping the whole, and a lively contest arose, which was referred to King Charles le Sage.
The monarch dutifully conferred with the Holy See, and, in 1378, issued an Ordonnance retaining the whole of the confiscations and assigning to the inquisitor a yearly stipend--the same as that paid to the tribunals of Toulouse and Carcassonne--of one hundred and ninety livres Tournois, out of which all the expenses of the Inquisition were to be met; with a proviso that if the allowance was not regularly paid then the inquisitor should be at liberty to detain a portion of the forfeitures. No doubt this agreement was observed for a time, but it lapsed in the terrible disorders which ensued on the insanity of Charles VI.
In 1409 Alexander V. left to his legate to decide whether the Inquisitor of Dauphinã should receive three hundred gold florins a year, to be levied on the Jews of Avignon, or ten florins a year from each of the bishops of his extensive district, or whether the bishops should be compelled to support him and his officials in his journeys through the country. These precarious resources disappeared in the confusion of the civil wars and invasion which so nearly wrecked the monarchy. In 1432, when FrÃ¨re Pierre Fabri, Inquisitor of Embrun, was summoned to attend the Council of Basle, he excused himself on account of his preoccupation with the stubborn Waldenses, and also on the ground of his indescribable poverty, "for never have I had a penny from the Church of God, nor have I a stipend from any other source."
Of course it would be unjust to say that greed and thirst for plunder were the impelling motives of the Inquisition, though, when complaints were made that the fisc was defrauded of its dues by the immunity promised to those who would come in and confess during the time of grace, and when Bernard Gui met this objection by pointing out that these penitents were obliged to betray their associates, and thus, in the long run, the fisc was the gainer, we see how largely the minds of those who urged on persecution were occupied by its profits.
We therefore are perfectly safe in asserting that but for the gains to be made out of fines and confiscations its work would have been much less thorough, and that it would have sunk into comparative insignificance as soon as the first frantic zeal of bigotry had exhausted itself.
This zeal might have lasted for a generation, to be followed by a period of comparative inaction, until a fresh onslaught would have been excited by the recrudescence of heresy. Under a succession of such spasmodic attacks Catharism might perhaps have never been completely rooted out. By confiscation the heretics were forced to furnish the means for their own destruction. Avarice joined hands with fanaticism, and between them they supplied motive power for a hundred years of fierce, unremitting, unrelenting persecution, which in the end accomplished its main purpose.