Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/312

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298
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

brain and played havoc with the anthropomorphic conceptions of orthodox theology, including the humanity of Christ. This had been going on for several years, when early in 1640 the attention of the archiepiscopal visitor, Bernardo Garcia de San Pedro, was called to it on his reaching Cobeña. He promptly threw Benito into the village jail, where many priests and friars visited him and labored fruitlessly to convince him of his error. Then, in July, Dr. Buendia, the physician of Cobeña, denounced him to the nearest commissioner of the Inquisition, Juan Burgalez Diaz, at Fuente el Saz. The affair was now fully in train. Diaz hastened to Cobeña, took testimony of some of the chief inhabitants, and forwarded the papers to the tribunal of Toledo. The inquisitors submitted to calificadores the propositions contained in the reports of Benito's talk, and they were duly condemned as heretical and Manichæan. The Inquisition, however, appears to have thought little of the matter, and it would probably have gone no further, had not a zealous cleric of Cobeña, toward the end of the year, written that the people were scandalized at the delay in acting in an affair so notorious. Thus stimulated, on January 25, 1041, the inquisitors issued an order to bring Benito to Toledo, and to sequestrate his property—the latter being the customary precaution for the event of a sentence of confiscation.

It was the invariable practice of the Inquisition, whenever possible, to make the accused, whether innocent or guilty, pay all the expenses attending his trial. The familiar to whom the order was sent was therefore required, in sequestrating Benito's property and placing it in the hands of a receiver, to keep thirty ducats for expenses; if there was no money or grain, then he was to sell at auction enough to realize this amount, and he was also to reserve a bed and bring it with him for Benito's use in prison. These customary instructions were rigidly carried out as far as practicable. A reversionary interest in some money left by a dead brother was garnisheed, and security taken to await the result of the trial. The only ready money in Benito's possession amounted to nineteen copper coins or cuartos, worth in all about two reales and a half; so on Sunday, February 10th, his pitiful store of furniture, tools, and clothing was sold by auction in the public square after high mass, reserving only the garments on his back and one of two old shirts for him to wear; even the rosary in his hands


    he must pray to the Virgin for her child. He also said that God was the heifer Io, who converted Jews; that wherever God trod he left his footprints, which are his works; asking who made these admirable works of the sun, the moon, etc., the answer, Yo Yo, gave the name, which is God—the name impressed by the steps of the heifer. It is therefore by no means improbable that Benito Peñas may have heard a sermon which conveyed to him the impression he described and led to his misfortunes.