Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/397

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377
WITNESSES OF PROCEEDINGS.

ing injustice, and giving at least a color of impartiality to the proceedings. Yet in this, as in everything else, the inquisitors were a law unto themselves, and disregarded at pleasure the very slender restrictions imposed on them. One of the rare cases in which the Inquisition lost a victim turned upon the neglect of this rule. In 1325 a priest named Pierre de Tornamire, accused of Spiritual Franciscanism, was brought to the Inquisition of Carcassonne in a dying state. The inquisitor was absent. His deputy and notary took the deposition in the presence of three laymen who chanced to be present, and the priest died before it was well concluded. Two Dominicans came, after he was speechless, and, without making any inquiry as to its correctness, signed their names to the deposition in attestation. On this irregular evidence a prosecution against Pierre's memory was based, and was contested by his heirs to save his property from confiscation. Thirty-two years the struggle lasted, and when the inquisitor came, in 1357, to ask assent to his sentence of condemnation in the customary assembly of experts, twenty-five jurists unanimously voted against it on the ground of irregularity, and only two, both Dominicans, ventured to uphold it. It was not long after this that Eymerich instructed his brethren how the rule could be evaded, when it was inconvenient, by at least having two honest persons present at the close of the examination, when the testimony was read over to the deponent. No one else was allowed to be present at the trial, except at Avignon for a brief period, about the middle of the thirteenth century, when the magistrates temporarily secured the right of attendance for themselves and a certain number of seigneurs. With this exception, the unfortunates who were wrestling for their lives with their judges were wholly at the discretion of the inquisitor and his creatures.[1]

The personnel of the tribunal was completed by the notary — an official of considerable standing and dignity in the Middle Ages. All the proceedings of the Inquisition were taken down in writing —


  1. Coll. Doat, XXII. 237 sqq.— Innoc. PP. IV. Bull. Licet ex omnibus, 30 Mai. 1254.— Bernardi Guidon. Practica P. iv. (Doat, XXX.).— Clement PP. IV. Bull. Præ cunctis, 23 Feb. 1266.— C. 11, § 1 Sexto v. 2.— Concil. Biterrens. ann. 1246 c. 4.— Alex. PP. IV. Bull. Præ cunctis, 9 Nov. 1256. — Archives de I'Inq. de Carcassonne (Doat, XXXIV. 11).— Molinier, L'Inquis. dans le midi de la France, pp. 219, 287.— Eymcric. Direct. Inq. p. 426.