Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/475

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455
SUSPICION OF HERESY.

are to be considered suspect of heresy; and he tells us that after diligent consideration he must decide in the affirmative, and order them to purgation. The difficulty of reducing to practice these intangible speculations was realized by Chancellor Gerson, who admits that due allowance should be made for variations of habits and manners in different places and times, but the ordinary inquisitor was troubled with few such scruples. It was easier to treat the suspect as criminals; to classify suspicion into its three grades of light, vehement, and violent ; to prescribe punishment for it, and to inflict the disabilities of heresy on the suspect and their descendants. Even the definition of the three grades of suspicion was abandoned as impossible, and it was left to the arbitrary discretion of the inquisitor to classify each individual case which came before him. Nothing more condemnatory of the whole system can well be imagined than the explanation of Eymerich that suspects are not heretics; that they are not to be condemned for heresy, and that therefore their punishment should be lighter, except in the case of violent suspicion. Against this there was no defence possible, and no evidence to be admitted. The culprit might not be a heretic or entertain any error of belief, but if he would not abjure and give satisfaction (and abjuration included confession), he was to be handed over to the secular arm; if he confessed and sought reconciliation, he was to be imprisoned for life.[1]

For light and vehement suspicion the accused was ordered to furnish con jurat or s in his oath of denial. These were to be men


  1. Hist. Diplom. Frid. II. T. II. p. 4.— Concil. Tolosan. ann. 1229 c. 18.— Concil. Albiens. ann. 1254 c. 16. — Concil. Tarraconens. ann. 1242. — Eymeric. Direct. Inquis. pp. 376-8, 380-4, 494-5, 500.— Concil. Biterrens. ann. 1246, Append, c. 31, 36. — Zanchini Tract, de Haeret. v., vii., xx.— Doctrina de modo procedendi (Martene Thesaur. V. 1802). — Gersonis de Protestatione consid. xii. — Bernardi Comens. Lucerna Inquisit. s. v. Præsumptio, No. 5.— Isambert, Anc. Loix Françaises, IV. 364.
    It is somewhat remarkable that Cornelius Agrippa maintains that the law expressly forbade the Inquisition from meddling with cases involving mere suspicion, or the defending, reception, and favoring of heretics (De Vanitate Scientiarum, cap. xcvi.). — His contemporary, the learned jurist Ponzinibio, calls special attention to the fact that mere suspicion, even when not accompanied by evil report, is sufficient to justify proceedings in case of heresy, though not in other crimes. — (Ponzinihii dc Lauiiis c. 88).