Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/544

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upon appealed to Alphonse, who ordered an investigation, but with what result does not appear.[1]

Not only were all alienations made by heretics set aside and the property wrested from the purchasers, but all debts contracted by them, and all hypothecations and liens given to secure loans, were void. Thus doubt was cast upon every obligation that a man could enter into. Even when St. Louis softened the rigor of confiscation in Languedoc, the utmost concession he would make was that creditors should be paid for debts contracted by culprits before they became heretics, while all claims arising subsequently to an act of heresy were rejected. As no man could be certain of the orthodoxy of another, it will be evident how much distrust must have been thrown upon every bargain and every sale in the commonest transactions of life. The blighting influence of this upon the development of commerce and industry can readily be perceived, coming as it did at a time when the commercial and industrial movement of Europe was beginning to usher in the dawn of modern culture. It was not merely the spiritual striving of the thirteenth century that was repressed by the Inquisition; the progress of material improvement was seriously retarded. It was this, among other incidents of persecution, which arrested the promising civilization of the south of France and transferred to England and the Netherlands, where the Inquisition was comparatively unknown, the predominance in commerce and industry which brought freedom and wealth and power and progress in its train.[2]

The quick-witted Italian commonwealths, then rising into mercantile importance, were keen to recognize the disabilities thus inflicted upon them. In Florence a remedy was sought by requiring the seller of real estate always to give security against possible future sentences of confiscation by the Inquisition — the security in general being that of a third party, although there must have been no little difficulty in obtaining it, and though it might likewise be invalidated at any moment by the same cause.

  1. Vaissette, Éd. Privat, VIII. 1641.
  2. Zanchini Tract, de Hseret. c. xxvii. — Isambert, Anc. Loix Françaises, I. 257.
    Yet there is a case in 1269 in which a creditor of two condemned heretics applies to Alphonse of Poitiers to be paid out of the confiscations, and Alphonse orders an inquiry into the circumstances. — Vaissette, Ed. Privat, VIII. 1682.