Sidor som bilder

Legislature, relative to the abolition of that horrible tribunal. It is a complete portraiture of that atrocious establishment, and describes the whole system in a truly philosophic manner. The facts which it details, are supported by indisputable authorities, and excite in the reader a powerful, though painful interest. It preserves throughout, the character of a general work, without ever omitting the particular relations which tend to satisfy our curiosity. It displays the spirit of those laws and statutes which constitute the Inquisitorial code; and comparing them with the best and purest rules of conduct, as well as with the temper of a Divine Institute, demonstrates their iniquity, and heinous atrocities. We cannot but exceedingly admire the intrepidity of the Author, in the bold but perfectly sober expressions of his aversion to ecclesiastical tyranny, and in the manly tones of that argument and declamation, with which he pleads the cause of liberty. While perusing bis work, we have frequently been constrained to forget that it is the production of a Spaniard; and as the fact has recurred to our remembrance, we have seemed to have our minds attracted to a light shining in darkness, and spreading its illuminating rays over the very region and shadow of death. It has, we would hope, kindled a flame which, though it for a time burn but dimly, or may be almost extinguished by the gross vapours which gather round it, will never expire, but rather revive and increase in its brilliancy, and enlarge its sphere of light. The work is well adapted to make a strong impression, and to excite to the detestation of priestly usurpation over the consciences and concerns of mankind, and we therefore commit it to the eyes and hearts of all persons capable of reading or even spelling out its contents. Such a book as this should not be lost. Both Author and Translator deserve, and we therefore offer them, our best thanks.

“ The Inquisition Unmasked” is presented in the form of a dissertation ; its object being less the narration of facts, than the discussion of principles, the former being introduced as necessary indeed, but only in subserviency to the latter. It proposes to examine the agreement or inconsistency of the Inquisition, as the pretended guardian of religion, with the spirit of Christianity and the maxiins of sound policy; to compare its whole plan and rules of proceeding with the dictates of justice: an examination which results in the detection of its enormous impieties, and demonstrates its true character as subversive of all principles of equity, and which most justly invokes against it the sentence of total and immediate extermination. The wbole matter is distributed into the following propositions, which are the titles of so many chapters. Ist. The Inquisition being an ecclesiastical tribunal, its rigour is incompatible with the spirit of meekness which ought to distinguish the ministers of the Gospel. Pd. The system of rigour adopted by this Tribunal is opposed to the doctrine of the Holy Fathers, and the discipline of the Church in its most happy times. 3d. The Inquisition, far from contributing to the preservation of the true belief, is only suited to encourage hypocrisy and excite the people to rebellion. Ath. Tbe form of trial used in this tribunal, tramples on all the rights of the citizen. 5th. The Inquisition has not only obstructed the progress of science in the countries wherein it has been established, but has also propagated pernicious errors. 6th. This Tribunal has supported the despotism of kings and has itself exercised it, 7th. As the Inquisition owes its origin to the deeline of the discipline and remissness of the clergy, it opposes obstacles to their reform, which is indispensably necessary if the nation is to prosper. From the results of these reflections the necessity of suppressing the Inquisition is fully proved.

This inhuman and detestable tribunal was established in 1204, by Pope Innocent III. a man of consummate arrogance and most hateful character; the very person who, to the everlasting reproach of the secular powers, his contemporaries, was permitted to fulminate shameful and bloody anathemas against the princes of Europe, and to transfer their sceptres, as in the case of John, King of England; who decreed the reception of Transubstantiation and Auricular confession, as the doctrines and practice of the Church. This wretched and wicked mortal, thirsting for the blood of men, and dissatisfied with the usual methods of Papal persecution, poured the full tide of bis sanguinary vengeance against the inhabitants of the south of France, wbere religion had found its almost exclusive asylum, and established the Inquisition in Toulouse, in 1229, under charge of the Cistercian Monks, who, in 1233, were superseded by the followers of the notorious Dominic, a fit executer of Innocent's infernal projects. Afterwards, under the patronage of lonocent IV. it was extended to all Italy, with the exception of Naples, where its introduction was always resisted. In 1233, it was established in Spain, where it continued within the kingdom of Arragon till after the union of that state with Castile, when it was set up in Seville by Ferdinand and Isabella, under the authority of Sixtus IV. To this establishment Torquemada, Confessor to the Queen, was appointed Inquisitor-general in. 1483. By him, the inquisitorial regulations were formed in an assembly convened for the infamous purpose of reducing the methods of torturing mankind to system. Portugal, in 1536, received the “ Holy Office," by grant from Clement VII, at the solicitation of its sovereign John III. In 1289, it was admitted into Venice, but with some restrictions : afterwards it was extended to Germany and other European states, and in 1571 was introdured by Philip II. into Spanish America. Portugal

and Spain are the countries in which this black product of infernal craft has found its most congenial soil; where it has rooted itself and flourished, spreading its ramifications through all the social combinations of life, and stretching its portentous shade over the inhabitants of a weary land; diffusing in all directions the inspiration of its terrors, and bringing forth the fruits of bitterness and death. The administration of the Marquis de Pombal virtually put a period to the Portuguese Inquis sition, in the reforin which it effected in 1774.

The criminal code of the Inquisition is founded on the laws. of the Decretals, and originally included only crimes of an heretical character, which, in the zenith of Papal iofluence and dominion, allowed a tolerably extensive sphere to the operations of the mischievous miuds it employed, and trained and pampered for its work. In the course of time, the cogaizance of other crimes came within its jurisdiction, in consequence of their beiog supposed to have some affinity with heresy, which, again, was enabling its ministers to enlarge their catalogue of offences much as it vight suit their own inclination. Witchcraft and polygamy were thus brought within the boundaries of its visi, tation. It also vindicates the injuries done to its dependents, as well as against the free use of its jurisdiction, which, besides being privileged, is, at the same time, spiritual and temporal, as being delegated jointly from the pontiff and the king. It is armed with the means of seizing property confiscated by its own determination ; and in the case of persons against whom its sentence of contumacy has gone forth, or who have a second time relapsed, it delivers them over, condemned and excommunicated, to the secular magistrate to burn and destroy them. This is the tribunal which in solemn mockery appropriates to itself the title of Holy-Office;' and in its outrage to the Saviour of the world, and all the spirit and letter of his beneficent laws, lifts up its front to heaven as the guardian of the Christian faith, and marches forth its victims to deathful agonies and flames. Outbraving the very truth of the Gospel, and opposing itself to all its sanctities, it rears its bloody epsigos, apd goes forth to kill and to destroy. Like the burning Apocalyptic star, it mingles its poison with the waters of health, and administers death to mankind. What flagrant insults, what upbounded calumnies against the divine and holy Majesty, of heaven, does this Tribunal publish, in assuming an evangelical Ministry ! Can less be expected from persons whose only knowledge of Christianity is received through the medium of such an institution, so corrupt and cruel, than a deep rooted prejudice against its very name? As it was originally communicated, and as it exists where foreign mixtures have not essentially altered its qualities, the religion of Christ is the richest benefaction ever bestowed upon man; divested of every particle of inhumanity throughout the whole range of its principles, it forms man to a character of benevolence and love, in which meekness, compassion, and all the mild and humane virtues are displaying Their lustre, and producing their effects, which are ever in favour of the good of human beings, how erroneous soever may be their opinions. Mankind never can have learned from the Gospel to treat each other harshly and cruelly. The Inquisition originated in other causes than obedience to Christ could ever have suggested, and its spirit and proceedings unequivocally proclaim its Antichristian nature. How sad is the consideration, that only from this and similar institutes, a large portion of our fellow creatures form their estimate of Christ's religion! As they perceive it, it appears to be a curse rather than a blessing. Angry, and frowning on all attempts to enlighten the human race and extend their liberties, it yokes and chains the mind to its superstitions, and tortures and destroys the inquirers after the reasons of a true faith. The most tremendous visitation of the world has been by the Ministry of a corrupt priesthood, who have been the scourges of the earth. Practising wickedness, and prospering in violence, they have worn out the Saints of the Most High, and scattered the wrecks of their implacable fury against the just and the good, in every place to wbich they could extend their influence. Their atrocities and crimes and the mischiefs which their machinations have produced, make us forget all other perpetrators of evil, and vail the enormities of even giants in wickedness, from our eyes. How much must it excite our astonishment that mankind should ever have given themselves up, bound hand and foot, into the power of an ecclesiastical despotism, whose achievements, before its grand conquests were designated by the land-marks of Inquisitions, bad given warning of its purposes ! Into what ignominious debasement had mankind fallen, what blighted minds and withered hearts were theirs, when this abomination was first permitted to defile the earth!

« This institution has a council established at court, under the title of Supreme and General Inquisition, and the other provincial tribunals are dependent on this council. This is composed of a president, the Inquisitor General of Spain and the Indies, who is generally a bishop or archbishop, and of eight ecclesiastical counsellors as members, six belonging to the secular clergy, of whom the youngest officiates as fiscal-proctor in behalf of the bench. Of the other two, ode is always a Dominican, according to privilege granted to that order by Philip III.; and the other is chosen by turns out of the other religious orders, as regulated by Charles III. Besides the above, two counsellors of Castile attend when they are called, which is only in cases purely civil, Its officers and subalterns are a fiscal-proctor; two secretaries; two, and sometimes three, reporters ; a treasurer usually called receiver

an accomptant; one chief, and two inferior bailiffs; and also several theologians called qualificators, who decide on matters of faith, and examine all doctrines and propositions. The provincial tribunals have three and sometimes four inquisitors of the secular clergy; one proctor, who is always the youngest of the above; three or four secretaries of the chamber of secrecy; another for sequestrations and all civil matters; a receiver or treasurer; one accomptant; one chief bailiff; and two inferior ones; together with other dependents called commissaries and familiars, who, scattered throughout the district of each of the tribunals, serve to fulfil their orders. They have also qualificators, similar to those described as belonging to the supreme council, as well as counsellors, who are lawyers, and are consulted on points of law; however, at present, these only are on the establishments of America, and are generally members of the Audiencias og high courts of justice in that country.

Of these tribunals there are sixteen in Spain, viz. the territorial one of Madrid, also called that of the court; one in Seville, Toledo, Cordova, Zaragoza, Barcelona, Valencia, Santiago, Murcia, Valla: dolid, Cuenca, Granada, Llerena, Logrono, Majorca, and the Canary Islands. In America there are three, viz. in Mexico, Lima, and Car thagena.

• The Inquisitor General is named by the king and confirmed by the pope ; but the simple approbation of his Majesty is sufficient to confer the dignity of counsellor or member of the supreme council ; and the inquisitors themselves, without any previous consultation, elect their own officers and other dependents. The diocesan bishop also sends his coadjutor or some other ecclesiastic, to the tribunal within his district, as his own representative, who acts in the quality of associate judge, jointly with those named by the Inquisitor General, Such in substance are the origin and form of the establishment we are about to consider, under the various heads pointed out.' Introd. pp. 14–17.

In the first chapter, the meekness which ought to distinguish the Ministers of the Gospel, is well defined and argued, and the incompatibility of a rigorous tribunal, with the spirit of the Gospel, is clearly demonstrated. Measures of meekness and persuasion alone ought to be adopted, worthily to sustain the religion of Jesus Christ; coercion and rigour, far from contributing to its support, only render it odious. Nothing is more palpable in the Gospel, and other books of the New Testament, than the benignity therein breathed. In the second chapter, the Author perplexes himself, and entangles his argument by adducing the authority of the Fathers in support of his discussions. A very laboured but untenable apology for Augustin, is offered by the Author in this part of his work, which only serves to shew the utter impropriety of collecting precedents in favour of his principle from the dicta or practice of the Holy Fathers,' men frequently of strange opinions and indefensible conduct. Augustin allowed of every degree and kind of religious persecution not extending to deprivation of life; and this melancholy and

[ocr errors]
« FöregåendeFortsätt »