Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/399

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379
RECORDS OF THE INQUISITION.

The enormous mass of documents produced by these innumerable busy hands was the object of well-deserved solicitude. At the very inception of the work its value was recognized. In 1235 we hear of the confessions of penitents being sedulously recorded in books kept for the purpose. This speedily became the universal custom, and the inquisitors were instructed to preserve careful records of all their proceedings, from the first summons to the final sentence in every case, together with lists of all who took the oath enforced on every one to defend the faith and persecute heresy. The importance attached to this is shown by the frequent iteration of the command, and by the further precaution that all the papers should be duplicated, and a copy lodged in a safe place or with the bishop. With what elaborate care they were rendered practically useful is shown by the Book of Sentences of the Inquisition of Toulouse, from 1308 to 1323, printed by Limborch, where at the end there is an index of the 636 culprits sentenced, grouped under their places of residence alphabetically arranged, with reference to the pages on which their names occur and brief mention of the several punishments inflicted on each, and of any subsequent modifications of the penalty, thus enabling the official who wished information as to the people of any hamlet to see at a glance who among them had been suspected and what had been done. One case in the same book will illustrate the completeness and the exactitude of the previous records. In 1316 an old woman was brought before the tribunal; on examination it was found that in 1268, nearly fifty years before, she had confessed and abjured heresy and had been reconciled, and as this aggravated her guilt the miserable wretch was condemned to perpetual imprisonment in chains. Thus in process of time the Inquisition accumu-


    ex omnibus, ann. 1262, §§ 6, 7, 8 (Mag. Bull. Roman. I. 122).— C. 1 § 3 Clement v. 3._Coll. Doat, XXX. 109-10.— Eyraeric. Direct. Inq. p. 550.
    The peculiar importance attached to the notariate and the limitations imposed on its- membership are seen in the papal privileges issued for the appointment of notaries. Thus there is one of November 27, 1295, by Boniface VIII. to the Archbishop of Lyons authorizing him to create five; one of January 28, 1296, to the Bishop of Arras to create three, and one of January 22, 1296, to the Bishop of Amiens to create two. (Thomas, Registres de Boniface VIII., I. No. 640 bis, 660, 678 Ms.)
    In 1286 the Provincial of France complained to Honorius IV. of the scarcity of notaries in that kingdom, and was authorized to create two (Ripoll II. 16).