Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/531

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511
EMBEZZLEMENT BY INQUISITORS.

to pa.y its stipendiary oiRcials, and therefore praying leave to invest in real estate the sums accruing to the Inquisition from this source — showing accumulations prudently garnered for the future. The request was granted to the extent of one thousand lire, with the proviso that none of the city's share be taken. This latter precaution would seem to argue no great confidence in the integrity of the inquisitors, nor was the insinuation uncalled for. By this time the money-changers had fairly occupied the Temple, and, as we have seen in the last chapter, it seemed almost impossible to preserve official honesty when persecution had become almost as much a financial speculation as a matter of faith. That plain-spoken Franciscan, Alvaro Pelayo, Bishop of Silva, writing about the year 1335, bitterly reproaches those of his brethren who act as inquisitors with their abuse of the funds accruing to the Holy Office. The papal division into thirds he declares was generally disregarded; the inquisitors monopolized the whole and spent it on themselves or enriched their kindred at their pleasure. Chance has preserved in the Florentine archives some documents confirmatory of this accusation. It seems that in 1343 Clement VI. obtained evidence that the inquisitors of both Florence and Lucca were habitually defrauding the papal camera of its third of the fines and confiscartions, and accordingly he sent to Pietro di Yitale, Primicerio of Lucca, authority to collect the sums in arrears and to prosecute the embezzlers. How it fared with them we have no means of knowing, but the camera seems not to have gained much. In filling the vacancies thus occasioned Pietro di Aquila, a Franciscan of high standing, was appointed in Florence, who fell at once into the same evil ways, and within two years was obliged to fly from a prosecution by the primicerio, in addition to the charges of extortion brought against him by the republic.[1]

In Naples, under the Angevines, when the Inquisition was first introduced, Charles of Anjou monopoUzed the confiscations with the same rapacity that was customary in France. As early as March, 1270, we find him writing to his representatives in the Principato Ultra that three heretics had recently been burned at


  1. Nich. PP. IV. Bull. Hdbet vesirce, 3 Oct. 1290.— Raynald. ann. 1438, No. 24.— Lami, Antichita Toscane, pp. 588-9.— Alv. Pelag. de Planctu Eccles. Lib. ii. art. 67.— Archivio di Firenze, Riformagioni, Classe v. No. 110; Classe xi. Distinz. 1, No. 39.