Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/580

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forms of criminal practice, harsh enough, indeed, to modern eyes, but wholly divested of the more hideous atrocities which characterized the habitual investigation into crime in other regions.[1]

Of all the curses which the Inquisition brought in its train this, perhaps, was the greatest - that, until the closing years of the eighteenth century, throughout the greater part of Europe, the inquisitorial process, as developed for the destruction of heresy, became the customary method of dealing with all who were under accusation; that the accused was treated as one having no rights, whose guilt was assumed in advance, and from whom confession was to be extorted by guile or force. Even witnesses were treated in the same fashion; and the prisoner who acknowledged guilt under torture was tortured again to obtain information about any other evil-doers of whom he perchance might have knowledge. So, also, the crime of "suspicion" was imported from the Inquisition into ordinary practice, and the accused who could not be convinced of the crime laid to his door could be punished for being suspected of it, not with the penalty legally provided for the offence, but with some other, at the fancy and discretion of the judge. It would be impossible to compute the amount of misery and wrong, inflicted on the defenceless up to the present century, which may de directly traced to the arbitrary and unrestricted methods introduced by the Inquisition and adopted by the jurists why fash-

  1. I have treated this subject at some lengtı in an cssay on torture (Superstition and Force, 3d Edition, 1878), and need not here dwell further on its details The student who desires to sec the shape which the inquisitorial process assumed in later times can consult Brunnemann (Tractatus Juridicus de Inquisitionis Processu, Ed. octava, Francof. 1704), who attributes its origin to the Mosaic law (Dent. XII. 12; VI. 4), and vastly prefers it to the procecding per accusationem. Indeed, a case in which accusatio failed or threatened to fail could be resumed or continued by inguisitio (op. cit. Cap. I. No. 2, 15-18). It supplied all deficiencies and gave the judge almost unlimited power to convict.
    The manner in which the civil power was led to adopt the abuscs of the Inquisition is well illustrated in a Milancsc edict of 1393, where the magistrates, in proccedings against malcefactors, are ordercd to employ the inquisitorial process ummaric et de plano sine strepitu et figura juditii," and to supply all defects of fact ex certa scientia" (Antiq. Ducum Mediolan. Decreta. Mediolani, 1654, p. 188) A comparison of this with the Milanese jurisprudence of sixty years earlier, quoted above (p. 401), will show how rapidly in the interval force had usurpel the place of justice.