Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/313

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299
THE SPANISH INQUISITION AS AN ALIENIST.

was taken and sold. The total proceeds amounted only to two hundred and forty and a half reales, or less than twenty-two ducats, and, after deducting costs, the commissioner handed over to the familiar twenty ducats. The expenses of guards and the journey to Toledo consumed more than half of this; and when Benito was delivered on February 16th at the carceles secretas, there were but one hundred and five and a half reales left, which were duly entered on the prison books. The timid suggestion of the familiar of some remuneration for his time was left unnoticed.

When on February 18th Benito was examined, he willingly repeated all the articles of the creed except "suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried, and on the third day arose from the dead," which, he obstinately refused to utter. It was easy to entangle him in a theological discussion in which he was led to deny the incarnation and conception by virtue of the Holy Ghost, the birth and death, and the second advent. The efforts made to convince him of his error of course only hardened him in his belief, and he resolutely accepted the inferences drawn from it until he came virtually to deny the Trinity—the three names were but three different designations for the one God. He was ready, he declared, to die in defense of his belief, and all the theologians in France and Spain could not convert him. When the counsel assigned to him by the Inquisition found him immovable, he formally withdrew from the defense in order not to incur the penalties decreed against advocates who undertook to defend heretics.

In March the inquisitors began to entertain doubts as to Benito's sanity, and sent to Cobeña to obtain testimony respecting it. The evidence was emphatic as to his soundness of mind. The cura had known him for forty years, and had never entertained a doubt of it; the alcalde and others who knew him said the same. It was true that for a year or more prior to his arrest he had grown very devout, praying much and frequenting the church; moreover, on one occasion he had remained shut up in his house for some days, until the alcalde and cura broke in and found him lying with a rosary in his hand in a trance, from which they aroused him with a rope's end, and he had repeated this in a hermitage near the town, but in all the relations of life he had shown himself in full posession of his faculties.

Thus the case went on with the deliberation customary in the Inquisition, until in July it was resolved to make a more thorough investigation as to his sanity. Two learned theologians were deputed to examine him, who reported him to be crazy: his answers bore no relation to the questions put to him; he talked of the omnipotent God and the sweet name of Jesus; the Virgin was created without father and mother, and was anterior to Eve; when