Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/101

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81
THE WALDENSES.


to which their missions were addressed. The Poor Men of Lyons multiplied with incredible rapidity throughout Europe ; the Church became seriously alarmed, and not without reason, for an ancient document of the sectaries shows a tradition among them that under Waldo, or immediately afterwards, their councils had an average attendance of about seven hundred members present. Not long after the Colloquy of Narbonne, in 1194, the note of persecution was sounded by Alonso II. of Aragon, in an edict which is worthy of note as the first secular legislation, with the exception of the Assizes of Clarendon, in the modern world against heresy. The Waldenses and all other heretics anathematized by the Church are ordered, as public enemies, to quit his dominions by the day after All-Saints'. Any one who receives them on his lands, listens to their preaching, or gives them food shall incur the penalties of treason, with confiscation of all his goods and possessions. The decree is to be published by all pastors on Sundays, and all public officials are ordered to enforce it. Any heretic remaining after three days' notice of the law can be despoiled by any one, and any injury inflicted on him, short of death or mutilation, so far from being an offence, shall be regarded as meriting the royal favor. The ferocious atrocity of these provisions, which rendered the heretic an outlaw, which condemned him in advance, and which exposed him without a trial to the cupidity or malice of every man, was exceeded three years later by Alonso's son, Pedro 11. In a national council of Girona, in 1197, he renewed his father's legislation, adding the penalty of the stake for the heretic. If any noble failed to eject these enemies of the Church, the officials and people of the diocese were ordered to proceed to his castle and seize them without responsibility for any damages committed, and any one failing to join in the foray was subjected to the heavy fine of twenty pieces of gold to the royal fisc. Moreover, all officials were commanded, within eight days after summons, to present themselves before their bishop, or his representative, and take an oath to enforce the law.[1]

The character of this legislation reveals the spirit in which


  1. Rivista Cristiana, Marzo, 1887, p. 92— Pegnae Comment. 39 in Eymerici Director, p. 281.— Steph. de Borbone 1. c— Concil. Gerundens. ann. 1197 (Aguirre, V. 102, 103). — Marca Hispunica, p. lotji.