Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/448

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four hours between the torture and the confession, or its confirmation, but this was commonly disregarded. Silence indicated asssent, and the length of silence to be allowed for was, as usual, left to the discretion of the judge, with warning to consider the condition of the prisoner, whether young or old, male or female, simple or learned. In any case the record was carefully made that the confession was free and spontaneous, without the pressure of force or fear. If the confession was retracted, the accused could be taken back for a contunuance of the torture - not, as we are carefully told, for a repetition - provided always that he had not been "sufficiently" tortured before.[1]

The question as to the retraction of confession was one which exercised to no small degree the inquisitorial jurists, and practice was not wholly uniform. It placed the inquisitor in a disagreeable position, and, in view of the methods adopted to secure confession, it was so likely to occur that naturally stringent measures were adopted to prevent it. Some authorities draw a distinction between confessions made "spontaneously" and those extorted by torture or its threat, but in practice the difference was disregarded. The most merciful view taken of revocation is that of Eymerich, who says that if the torture had been sufficient, the accused who persistently revokes is entitled to a discharge. In this Eymerich is alone. Some authorities recommend that the accused be forced to withdraw his revocation by repetition of torture. Others content themselves with regarding it as impeding the Inquisition, and as such including it in the excommunication regularly published by parish priests and at the opening of every auto de fé, and this excommunication included notaries who might wickedly aid in drawing up such revocations. The general presumption of law, how-

  1. Eymeric. Direct. In. pp. 480-2.-MSS. Bib. Nat., fonds latin, No. 4270, fol, 101, 146.-Responsa prudentum (Doat, XXXVIL 88 sqq.).-Bernardi Comens. Lucerna Inquis. s. vv. Confessio, Tortura.
    The care with which the inquisitors concealed the mcans by which confessions were procured is illustrated in the ratification obtained from Guilem Salavert in 1808, of his eonfession made three years beforc. IIe is made to declare it esse veram, non factam vi tormentorum, amore, gratia, odio, timore, rel favore alicujus, non subornatus ncc inductus minis vel blanditiis, seu seductus per ali quem, non ancns nec stultus sed bona mente," ete. (MSS. Bib. Nat., fonds latin, No. 11847). Yet Salavert belonged to a group of victims on whom, as we shall see hereafter, torture was unsparingly used