Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/391

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the method of conducting these inquests as part of the established routine.[1]

Nothing could well be devised more effective than these visitations, and though they may have become neglected when the machinery of spies and familiars was perfected, or when the heretics had been nearly weeded out, during the busy times of the Inquisition they must have formed an important portion of its functions. A few days in advance of his visit to a city, the inquisitor would send notice to the ecclesiastical authorities requiring them to summon the people to assemble at a specified time, with an announcement of the indulgence given to all who should attend. To the populace thus brought together he preached on the faith, urging them to its defence with such eloquence as he could command, summoning every one within a certain radius to come forward within six or twelve days and reveal to him whatever they may have known or heard of any one leading to the belief or suspicion that he might be a heretic, or defamed for heresy, or that he had spoken against any article of faith, or that he differed in life and morals from the common conversation of the faithful. Neglect to comply with this command incurred ipso facto excommunication, removable only by the inquisitor himself; compliance with it was rewarded with an indulgence of three years. At the same time he proclaimed a "time of grace," varying from fifteen to thirty days, during which any heretic coming forward spontaneously, confessing his guilt, abjuring, and giving full information about his fellow-sectaries, was promised mercy. This mercy varied at different times from complete immunity to exemption from the severer penalties of death, imprisonment, exile, or confiscation. The latter Is the grace promised m the earliest allusion to the practice in

  1. Gregor. PP. IX. Bull. Ille humani generis, 20 Mai. 1336 (Eymeric. App. p. 3).— Vaissette, III. 410-11.— Guill. Pod. Laur. c 43. — Concil. Biterrens. ann. 1246, Append, c. 1 —Arch, de ITnq. de Carcassonue (Doat, XXXI. 5). — Raynald. ann. 1243, No. 31.— Innoc PP. IV. Bull. Quia sicut, 19 Nov. 1247 (Potthast 12766.— Doat, XXXI. 112) — Ejusd. Bull. Ad extirpanda § 31— Anon. Passaviens. (Mag. Bib. Pat. XIII. 308). — Doctrina de modo procedendi (Martene Thesaur. V. 1809-11).— Alex. PP. IV. Bull Cupientes, 4 Mart. 1260 (Mag. Bull. Rom. I. 119). — Ripoll I. 128.— Guill. Pelisso Chron. Ed. Molinier, p. 27.— Bernard! Guidoa Practica P. iv. (Doat, XXX.).— Eymeric. Direct. Inquis. pp. 407-9.— MSS. Bib Nat., fonds latin, No. 14930, fol. 220.