Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/541

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521
DISINTERESTEDNESS OF PHILIPPE LE BON.

chilled by the fact that any manifestation of sympathy was dangerous. It would be difficult to estimate the amount of human misery arising from this source alone.

In this chaos of plunder we may readily imagine that those who were engaged in such work were not over-nice as to securing a share of the spoliations. In 1304 Jacques de Polignac, who had been for twenty years keeper of the inquisitorial jail at Carcassonne, and several of the officials employed on the confiscations, were found to have converted and detained a large amount of valuable property, including a castle, several farms and other lands, vineyards, orchards, and movables, all of which they were compelled to disgorge and to suffer punishment at the king's pleasure.[1]

It is pleasant to turn from this cruel greed to a case which excited much interest in Flanders at a time when in that region the Inquisition had become so nearly dormant that the usages of confiscation were almost forgotten. The Bishop of Tournay and the Vicar of the Inquisition condemned at Lille a number of heretics, who were duly burned. They confiscated the property, claiming the movables for the Church and the inquisitor, and the realty for the fisc. The magistrates of Lille boldly interposed, declaring that among the liberties of their town was the privilege that no burgher could forfeit both body and goods ; and, acting for the children of one of the victims, they took out apostoli and appealed to the pope. The counsellors of the suzerain, Philippe le Bon of Burgundy, with a clearer perception of the law, claimed that the whole confiscations inured to him, while the ecclesiastics declared the rule to be invariable that the personalty went to the Church and only the real estate to the fisc. The triangular quarrel threatened long and costly litigation, and finally all parties agreed to leave the decision to the duke himself. With rare wisdom, in 1430, he settled the matter, with general consent, by deciding that the sentence of confiscation should be treated as not rendered, and the property be left to the heirs, at the same time expressly declaring that the rights of Church, Inquisition, city, and state, were reserved without prejudice, in any case that might arise in future, which was, he said, not likely to occur. He did not manifest the same disinterestedness in 1460, however, in the terrible persecution


  1. Les Olim, II. 147.— Doat, XXVI. 253.