Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/396

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In the later period there seems to have been occasionally another official with the title of "counsellor." In 1370 the Inquisition of Carcassonne claimed the right to appoint three, who should be exempt from all local taxation. In a document of 1423 the person filling this position is not a Dominican, but is qualified as a licentiate in law; and doubtless such a functionary was a useful and usual member of the tribunal, though with no precise official status. Zanghino informs us that in general inquisitors were utterly ignorant of law. In most cases this made no difference, for, as we shall see, they enjoyed the widest latitude of arbitrary procedure, with little danger that any one would dare to complain, but occasionally they had to deal with victims not entirely unresisting, and then some adviser as to their legal duties and responsibilities was desirable. Eymerich, in fact, recommends that a commissioner should always associate with himself some discreet lawyer to save him from mistakes which may redound to the disadvantage of the Inquisition, call for papal interposition, and perhaps cost him his place.[1]

As absolute secrecy became a main feature of all the proceedings of the Inquisition after its earlier tentative period, it was a universal rule that testimony, whether of witnesses or of accused, should only be taken in the presence of two impartial men, not connected with the institution, but sworn to silence. The inquisitor was empowered to compel the attendance of any one whom he might summon to perform this duty. These representatives of the public were preferably clerics, and usually Dominicans, "discreet and rehgious men," who were expected to sign with the notary the written report of the testimony in attestation of its fidelity. Though not alluded to in the instructions of the Council of Beziers in 1246, a deposition taken in 1244 shows that already the practice had become customary ; and the frequent repetitions of the rule by successive popes and its embodiment in the canon law show what importance was attached to it as a means of prevent-

    da Cremona and Fra Daniele Giussano assembled experts in Piacenza to determine whether they had power to appoint delegates, when the question was decided in the negative (Campi, Dell' Historia Ecclesiastica di Piacenza, P. ii. p. 308-9).

  1. Archives de I'Évêché d'Albi (Boat, XXXV. 136, 187).— Zanchini Tract, de Haeret. c. xv. — Eymerici Direct, p. 407.