Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/527

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DEGREE OF GUILT.


In Germany the Diet of Worms, in 1231, indicates the confusion existing in the feudal mind between heresy and treason by allowing the allodial lands and personal property of the condemned to descend to the heirs, while fiefs were confiscated to the suzerain. If he was a serf, his goods inured to his master; but from all personal property was deducted the cost of burning its owner and the droits de justice of the seigneur-justicier. Two years later, in 1233, the Council of Mainz protested against the injustice, which quickly showed itself in Germany as elsewhere, of assuming guilt as soon as a man was accused, and treating his property as though he were convicted. It directed that the estates of those on trial should remain untouched until sentence was rendered, and any one who meanwhile should plunder or partition them should be excommunicated until he made restitution and rendered satisfaction. Finally, however, when the Emperor Charles IV. endeavored to introduce the Inquisition into Germany, in 1369, he adopted the Italian custom and ordered one third of the confiscations to be made over to the inquisitors.[1]

The exact degree of criminality which entailed confiscation is not capable of very rigid definition. Even in states where the inquisitor nominally had no control over it, the arbitrary discretion lodged with him as to the fate of the accused placed the matter practically in his hands, and his notification to the secular authorities would be a virtual sentence. It is probable that custom varied with time and with the temper of the inquisitor. We have seen that Innocent III. commanded it for all heretics, but what constituted technical heresy was not so easily determined. The statutes of Raymond decreed it not only for heretics, but for those who showed them favor. The Council of Beziers, in 1233, demanded it for all reconciled converts not condemned to wear crosses, and those of Beziers, in 1246, and Albi, in 1254, prescribed it for all whom the inquisitors should penance with imprisonment. Still, in a sentence of February 19, 1237, in which the inquisitors


    Archiv. di Firenze, Prov. S. Maria Novella, Nov. 18, 1327. — Archivio di Napoli, Regist. 253, Lett. A, fol. 63.

  1. Hist. Diplom. Frid. II. T. III. p. 466.— Kaltner, Konrad v. Marburg u. die Inquisition, Prag, 1882, p. 147. — Mosheim de Beghardis, p. 347.