Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/395

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375
COMMISSIONERS AND VICARS.

to be a permanent feature of the Holy Office. Even in the twelfth century it was determined that a judicial delegate of the Holy See could delegate his powers ; and in 1246 the Council of Béziers authorized the inquisitor to appoint a deputy whenever he wished to have an inquest made in any place to which he could not himself proceed. Special commissions were sometimes issued, as when, in 1276, Pons de Pornac, Inquisitor of Toulouse, authorized the Dominican Prior of Montauban to take testimony against Bernard de Solhac and forward it to him under seal. In the extensive districts of the Inquisition the work must necessarily have been divided in this manner, especially during the earlier period, when the harvest of heresy was abundant and numerous laborers were requisite. Yet the formal authority to appoint commissioners with full powers does not seem to have been granted to inquisitors until 1262 by Urban IV., and this had to be confirmed by Boniface VIII. towards the close of the century. These commissioners, or vicars, differed from the assistants, inasmuch as they were appointed and discharged at the discretion of the inquisitor. They became a permanent feature of the institution, and conducted its business in places remote from the main tribunal ; or, in case of the absence or incapacity of the inquisitor, one of them might be summoned to replace him temporarily, or the inquisitor could appoint a vicar-general. Like their principal, they had, after the Clementine reforms in 1317, to be at least forty years of age, and they wielded full inquisitorial powers, in the citation, arrest, and examination of witnesses and prisoners, even to the infliction of torture and condemnation to imprisonment. Whether they could proceed to final sentence in capital cases was a disputed question, and Eymerich recommends that such authority should always be reserved to the inquisitor himself; but, as we shall see, the cases of Joan of Arc and of the Vaudois of Arras show that this reservation was rarely observed. A further limitation on their powers was the inability to appoint deputies.[1]


  1. C. 11, 19, 20 Extra i. 29.— Concil. Biterrens. ann. 1246 c. 3.— Coll. Doat, XXV. 230.— Urbani PP. IV. Bull. Licet ex omnibus, 20 Mart. 1262.— Quid. Fulcod. Quaest. iv. — C. 11 Sexto v. 2.— C. 2 Clement, v. 3. — Bernard! Guidon. Practica P. IV. (Doat, XXX.).— Eymerici Direct, pp. 403-6. — Zanchini Tract, de Hasret. C. XXX.
    It is not easy to understand why, in 1276, the Lombard Inquisitors Fri Niccolà