Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/533

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513
QUARRELS OVER THE SPOILS.

whole coniiscations inure to the inquisitor to be expended at his discretion ; but he subsequently admits that the subject is confused and uncertain, owing to contradictory papal decisions and conflicting jurisdictions in different territories.[1]

In Spain the rule was laid down that if the heretic were a clerk, or a lay vassal of the Church, the confiscation went to the Church; if otherwise, to the temporal seigneur.[2]

This greed for the plunder of the wretched victims of persecution is peculiarly repulsive as exhibited by the Church, and may to some extent palliate the similar action by the State in countries where the latter was strong enough to seize and retain it. The threats of coercion, which at first were necessary to induce the temporal princes to confiscate the property of their heretical subjects, soon became superfluous, and history has few displays of man's eagerness to profit by his fellow's misfortunes more deplorable than that of the vultures which followed in the wake of the Inquisition to batten on the ruin which it wrought.

In Languedoc at first the Inquisition endeavored to control the confiscations for the purpose of building prisons and maintaining prisoners, but these pretensions received no attention. Under the feudal system, the confiscations were for the benefit of the seigneur haut-justicier. The rapid extension of the royal jurisdiction, in the second half of the thirteenth century in France, ended by practically placing them in the hands of the king, but during the earlier and more profitable period there were quarrels over the spoils. After the treaty of Paris, in 1229, St. Louis, in granting fiefs in the newly-acquired territories, seems to have endeavored to provide for these questions by reserving the confiscations for heresy. The prudence


  1. Zanchini Tract, de Haeret. c. xix., xxvi., xli. Cf. Pegnae Comment, in Eymeric. p. 659.— Grandjean, Registre de Benoit XL No. 299.— Raynald. ann. 1438, No. 24. — Bernard! Comens. Lucerna Inquis. s. v. Bona hcereticorum, No. 6, 8. As early as 1387, in the sentences of Antonio Secco on the Waldenses of the Alpine valleys, the confiscations are declared to be solely for the benefit of the Inquisition (Archivio Storico Italiano, No. 38, pp. 29, 36, 50).
    It must be placed to the credit of Benedict XI. that, in 1304, he authorized Fra Simone, Inquisitor of Rome, to restore confiscations unjustly made by his predecessors and to moderate punishments inflicted by them if he considered them too severe (Grandjean, No. 474).
  2. Alonsi de Spina Fortalicii Fidei, Lib. ii. Consid. xi. (fol. 74 Ed. 1594).