Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/549

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529
PERSECUTION DEPENDENT ON CONFISCATION.

that the wages of the inquisitor himself were one hundred and fifty livres per annum, and also that they were very irregularly paid. Frere Otbert had been appointed in Lent, 1316, and thus far had received nothing of his stipend, but now, in consequence of a special letter from King Charles le Bel, the whole accumulation for six years, amounting to nine hundred livres, is paid in a lump. Although by this time persecution was slackening for lack of material, the confiscations were still quite profitable. Assalit charges himself with two thousand two hundred and nineteen livres seven sols ten deniers collected during the year, while his outlays, including heavy legal expenses and the extraordinary payment to Frere Otbert, amounted to one thousand one hundred and sixty-eight livres eleven sols four deniers, leaving about one thousand and fifty livres of profit to the crown.[1]

Persecution, as a steady and continuous policy, rested, after all, upon confiscation. It was this which supplied the fuel to keep up the fires of zeal, and when it was lacking the business of defending the faith languished lamentably. When Catharism disappeared under the brilliant aggressiveness of Bernard Gui, the culminating point of the Inquisition was passed, and thenceforth it steadily declined, although still there were occasional confiscated estates over which king, prelate, and noble quarrelled for some years to come. The Spirituals, Dulcinists, and Fraticelli were Mendicants, who held property to be an abomination; the Waldenses were poor folk — mountain shepherds and lowland peasants — and the only prizes were an occasional sorcerer or usurer. Still, as late as 1337 the office of bailli of the confiscations for heresy in Toulouse was sufficiently lucrative to be worth purchasing under the prevailing custom of selling all such positions, and the collections for the preceding fiscal year amounted to six hundred and forty livres six sols.[2]

The intimate connection between the activity of persecuting zeal and the material results to be derived from it is well illus-


  1. Coll. Doat, XXXIV. 189.— In 1317 the result had been much less. We have the receipt of the royal treasurer of Carcassonne, Lothaire Blanc, to Arnaud Assalit, dated Sept. 24, 1317, for collections during the year ending the previous St. John's day, amounting to four hundred and ninety-five livres six sols eleven deniers, being the balance after deducting wages and expenses (Doat, XXXIV. 141).
  2. Doat, XXXV. 79, 100.— Vaissette, fid. Privat, X. Pr. 705, 777, 783.