Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/400

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lated a store of information which not only increased greatly its efficiency, but which rendered it an object of terror to every man. The confiscations and disabilities which, as we shall see hereafter, were inflicted on descendants, rendered the secrets of family history so carefully preserved in its archives the means by which a crushing blow might at any moment fall on the head of any one; and the Inquisition had an awkward way of discovering disagreeable facts about the ancestry of those who provoked its ill-will, and possibly its cupidity. Thus, in 1306, during the troubles at Albi, when the royal viguier, or governor, supported the cause of the people, the inquisitor, Geoff roi d'Ablis, issued letters declaring that he had found among the records that the grandfather of the viguier had been a heretic, and his grandson consequently was incapable of holding office. The whole population was thus at the mercy of the Holy Office.[1]

The temptation to falsify the records when an enemy was to be struck down was exceedingly strong, and the opponents of the Inquisition had no hesitation in declaring that it was freely yielded to. Friar Bernard Delicieux, speaking for the whole Franciscan Order of Languedoc, in a formal document of the year 1300, not only declared that the records were unworthy of trust, but that they were generally believed to be so. "We shall see hereafter facts which fully justified this assertion, and the popular mistrust was intensified by the jealous secrecy which rendered it an offence punishable with excommunication for any one to possess any papers relating to the proceedings of the Inquisition or to prosecutions against heretics. On the other hand, the temptation on the part of those who were endangered to destroy the archives was equally strong, and the attempts to effect this show the importance attached to their possession. As early as 1235 we find the citizens of Narbonne, in an insurrection against the Inquisition, carefully destroying all the books and records. The order of the Council of Albi in 1254, to make duplicates and lodge them in some safe place was doubtless caused by another successful

  1. Guill. Pelisso Chron. Ed. Molinier p. 28.— Concil. Narbonn. ann. 1244 c. 6. — Concil. Biterrens. ann. 1246 c. 31, 37. — Concil. Albiens. ann. 1254 c. 21. — Alex. PP. IV. Bull. Licet vodis, 7 Dec. 1255 ; Ejusd. Bull. Prm cunctis, 9 Nov. 1255, 13 Dec. 1255.— Lib. Sentt. Inq. Tolosau. pp. 198-9.— Coll. Doat, XXXIV. 104.