Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/415

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299
THE TRIAL OF GALILEO.

order to obey," replied Galileo, with some show of terror. The text of the sentence shows that he was treated more rigorously yet. "Inasmuch as it appears to us that you have not told the whole truth as touching your intention, we have deemed it necessary to resort to the examen rigorosum." Now, in the language of the Inquisition, examen rigorosum means just the torture and that alone: it is the law-term approved by jurists and regularly employed in sentences which condemn the accused to the cruel punishment of the strappado. "In case the accused," say the treatises on inquisitorial law, "does not clear himself of the charges, recourse is to be had to the examen rigorosum, torture having been devised to supply the want of witnesses." In two manuscripts of the first half of the seventeenth century, both of them relating to the forms of procedure of the Holy Office, the expression examen rigorosum is pointed out as the formula to be employed by judges in ordering the application of torture.

From the text of the sentence, from the pontifical decree already quoted, and from the summary of the acts of the trial, we might infer that Galileo was actually subjected to torture, if among the documents we found the official record (procès-verbal) of the examen rigorosum, as we find the official record of the previous examinations. The rule of the Inquisition was ever the same: the notary or registrar of the Holy Office was present at all interrogatories, and took down carefully the words of the sufferer; all the details of the examen rigorosum were recorded in a register, from the first intimation to the accused that he was to be taken to the place of punishment, down to the moment when he was released from the torture. On looking over the records of these dread sessions, we find all the words spoken by the sufferer while his clothes are being taken off and while he is being tied to the instrument of torture; all the replies he makes to his judges, all his pleas; every movement he makes is noted with cold precision, nay, even his sighs, his groans, while under the torture. "He was hoisted by the rope," calmly writes the notary, "and while suspended he would cry out in a loud voice, 'O Lord God, have pity! O Our Lady, help me!' repeating these words again and again. Then he was silent, and having for a little while thus held his peace, he began again to cry out, 'O God, O God!'"

If Galileo had been subjected to this mode of trial, the procès-verbal of the proceedings would certainly have been preserved along with the other records of the case. But, then, might not the examen rigorosum have taken place in the absence of the registrar; or might not the registrar, though he was present, have omitted to make a record? Both of these suppositions appear to be equally inadmissible, for they are in flat contradiction to all the precedents and all the rules of the tribunal. Neither can we suppose that the agent of the Holy Office suppressed the procès-verbal of the torture in order that both he and his principals might escape the indignation of posterity.