Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/398

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every question and every answer — each witness and each defendant being obliged to confirm his testimony when read over to him at the close of the interrogatory, and judgment was finally rendered on an inspection of the evidence thus recorded. The function of the notary was no light one, and occasionally scriveners were called in to his assistance, but he formally attested every document. Not only was there the fearful multiplication of papers accumulating in the current business of the tribunal, and their careful transcription for preservation, but the several Inquisitions were continually furnishing each other with copies of their records, so that a considerable force must have been necessarily employed. As in everything else, the inquisitor was empowered to call for gratuitous service on the part of any one whom he might summon, but the continuous business of the office required undivided attention, and its proper despatch rendered desirable the peculiar training acquired by experience. In the earlier periods, the authorization to impress any notary to serve, and the advice to select if possible Dominicans who had been notaries, with the power, if none such could be had, to replace him with two discreet persons, shows that the itinerant tribunals depended for the most part on this chance conscription ; but in the permanent seats of the Inquisition the notary was a regular official, in receipt of a salary. In the attempted reform of Clement V. it was provided that he should take his official oath before the bishop as well as before the inquisitor, and to this Bernard Gui objected on the ground that the exigencies of business sometimes required the force to be suddenly increased to two or three or four, and that in places where no public notaries were to be had, other competent persons were necessarily employed on the spur of the moment, as it often happens that the guilty will confess when in the mood, and if their confession is not promptly taken they draw back, and they are always more given to concealment than to truth. Curiously enough, the power to appoint notaries was regarded with so much jealousy that it was denied to the inquisitor. He may if he choose, says Eymerich, send three or four names to the pope, who will appoint them for him, but this leads to such bad feeling on the part of the local authorities that he had better content himself with the notaries of the bishops or of the secular rulers.[1]

  1. Bern. Guidon. Practica P. iv. (Boat, XXX.).— Urbani PP. IV. Bull. Licet