Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/10

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

adapted for their realization. I have accordingly devoted much space to the origin and development of the inquisitorial process, feeling convinced that in this manner only can we understand the operations of the Holy Office and the influence which it exercised on successive generations. By the application of the results thus obtained it has seemed to me that many points which have been misunderstood or imperfectly appreciated can be elucidated. If in this I have occasionally been led to conclusions differing from those currently accepted, I beg the reader to believe that the views presented have not been hastily formed, but that are the outcome of a conscientious survey of all the original sources accessible to me.

No serious historical work is worth the writing or the reading unless it conveys a moral, but to be useful the moral must develop itself in the mind of the reader without being obtruded upon him. Especially is this the case in a history treating of a subject which has called forth the fiercest passions of man, arousing alternately his highest and his basest impulses. I have not paused to moralize, but I have missed my aim if the events narrated are not so presented as to teach their appropriate lesson.

It only remains for me to express my thanks to the numerous friends and correspondents who have rendered me assistance in the arduous labor of collecting the very varied material, much of it inedited, on which the present work is based. Especially do I desire to record my gratitude gentleman and earnest scholar, the late Hon. George I. Marsh, who for so many years worthily represented the United States at the Italian court. I never had the fortune to look upon his face, but the courteous readiness with which he aided my researches in Italy merit my warmest acknowledgments. To Professor Charles Molinier, of the University of Toulouse, moreover, my special thanks are due as to one who has always been ready to share with a fellow-student his own unrivalled knowledge of the In-