Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/473

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453
ACQUITTAL PROHIBITED.

This kind of papal intervention, however, was in contravention of the law and not in its fulfilment, and need not be weighed in considering the results of the inquisitorial process. That result, as might be expected, was condemnation in some form or other so uniformly that it may be regarded as inevitable. In the register of Carcassonne from 1249 to 1258, comprising about two hundred cases, there does not occur a single instance of a prisoner discharged as innocent. It is true that the interrogatory of Alizais Debax, March 27, 1249, is followed by the note "she was not heard a second time because she was considered innocent," but this apparent exception is nullified by a second memorandum "crucesignata est" — she was condemned to the public infamy of wearing crosses, probably to confirm the popular impression that the Inquisition never missed its mark. A man against whom there was no evidence to justify conviction and who yet would not confess himself guilty, was kept in prison indefinitely at the discretion of the inquisitor ; at length, if the proof against him was only incidental and not direct, and the suspicion was light, he might be mercifully discharged under bail, with orders to stand at the door of the Inquisition from breakfast-time until dinner, and from dinner until supper, until some further testimony should turn up against him, and the inquisitor be able to prove the guilt so confidently assumed. On this side of the Alps it was a recognized rule that no one should be acquitted. The utmost stretch of justice, when the accusation failed entirely, was a sentence of not proven. The charges were simply declared not to be substantiated, and the inquisitors were carefully warned never to pronounce a man innocent, so that there might be no bar to subsequent proceedings in case of further evidence. Possibly in Italy, in the fourteenth century, this rule may have been neglected, for Zanghino gives a formula of acquittal, based, significantly enough, on the evidence being proved to be malicious.[1]

Clement V. recognized the injustice wrought under this system when he embodied in the canon law a declaration that inquisitors abused to the injury of the faithful the wise provisions made for the defence of the faith ; when he forbade them from falsely con-


  1. Molinier, L'Inquisition dans le midi de la France, pp. 332-33.— Responsa Prudentum (Dont, XXXVII.).— Bern. Guidon. Practica P. v. (Doat, XXX.).— Eymeric. Direct. In(|Liis. p. 474. — Zanchini Tract, de Haeret. c. xli.