THE LIBRARY OF IBERIAN RESOURCES ONLINE
A History of the Inquisition of Spain
Volume 3
Henry Charles Lea

Book 6: Practice
Chapter 7:
Torture
 
 

[1] To the modern mind the judicial use of torture, as a means of ascertaining truth, is so repellant and illogical that we are apt to forget that it has, from the most ancient times, been practised by nearly all civilized nations. With us the device of the jury has relieved the judge of the responsibility resting upon him in other systems of jurisprudence. That responsibility had to be met; a decision had to be reached, even in the most doubtful cases and, where evidence was defective and conflicting, the use of torture as an expedient to obtain a confession, or, by its endurance, to indicate innocence, has seemed, until modern times, after the disuse of compurgation and the judgements of God, to be the only means of relieving the judicial conscience. It was admitted to be dangerous and fallacious, to be employed only with circumspection, but there was nothing to take its place. (1)

That it should be used by the Inquisition was a matter of course, for the crime of heresy was often one peculiarly difficult to prove; confession was sought in all cases and, from the middle of the thirteenth century, the habitual employment of torture by the Holy Office had been the most efficient factor in spreading its use throughout Christendom, at the expense of the obsolescent Barbarian customs. It is true that Spain was loath to admit the innovation. In Castile, which rejected the Inquisition, Alfonso X, notwithstanding his admiration of the Roman law, [2] required that confession must be voluntary and insisted that, if obtained by torture, it must subsequently be freely ratified, without threats or pressure. (2) In the kingdoms of Aragon, which admitted the Inquisition, torture remained illegal, and it was only by the positive commands of Clement V that it was employed, in 1311, on the Templars. (3) By the time that the Spanish Inquisition was organized, however, torture in Castile was in daily use by the criminal courts, and there could be no question as to the propriety of its employment by the Holy Office. In Aragon, Peña tells us that, although it was forbidden in secular jurisprudence, it was freely permitted in matters of faith. Yet its use was jealously watched, for when the aid of torture was sought in the case of a prisoner accused of the murder of a familiar, the Córtes of 1646 complained of it as an unprecedented innovation, which was only prevented by the active intervention of the diputados and viceroy. (4) Valencia had been less rigid in excluding torture from its courts, but so limited its use that, in 1684, the tribunal reported that, in cases of unnatural crime (of which it had cognizance, subject to the condition of trial by secular process), it no longer used torture, because the methods permitted by the fueros were so light that the accused felt no fear of them, and they were useless in extracting confession. (5)

We shall see that occasionally tribunals abused the use of torture, but the popular impression that the inquisitorial torture-chamber was the scene of exceptional refinement in cruelty, of specially ingenious modes of inflicting agony, and of peculiar, persistence in extorting confessions, is an error due to sensational writers who have exploited credulity. The system was evil in conception and in execution, but the Spanish Inquisition, at least, was not responsible for its introduction and, as a rule, was less cruel than the secular courts in its application, and confined itself more strictly to a few well-known methods. In fact, we may reasonably assume that its use of torture was less frequent, for its scientific system of breaking down resistance, in its long-drawn procedure, was more effective than the ruder and speedier practice of the secular courts where, as we are told by [3] Archbishop Pedro de Castro of Granada, it was notorious that no one confessed except when overcome by torture. (6)

In this respect, the comparison between the Spanish and the Roman Inquisition is also eminently in favor of the former. We shall have occasion presently to see the limitations which it placed on the use of torture, while in Rome it was the rule that all who confessed or were convicted in matters of faith were tortured for the further discovery of the truth and the revelation of accomplices. In addition to this there were many classes of cases in which torture was employed by Rome to extort confession and in which it was forbidden in Spain--those involving mere presumption of heresy, such as solicitation, sorcery, blasphemy etc. Moreover in Rome the in arbitrio judicum applied not only to the kind and duration of the torture but also to its repetition. (7) Spanish writers on practice, therefore, were justified in claiming for their own tribunals a sparing use of torture unknown in Italy, while, as regards its severity, the frequency with which in the trials we find that the accused overcame the torture would indicate that habitually it was not carried to extremity, as it so frequently was in the secular courts. No torture-chamber in the Inquisition possessed the resources of the corregidor who labored for three hours, in 1612, to obtain from Diego Duke of Estrada confession of a homicide--the water torture, the mancuerda, the potro, hot irons for the feet, hot bricks for the stomach and buttocks, garrotillos known as bone-breakers, the trampa to tear the legs and the bostezo to distend the mouth--and all this was an every-day matter of criminal justice. (8)

[4] The indirect torture of especially harsh imprisonment was not unknown to the Inquisition, and was occasionally employed for the purpose of breaking down obstinacy. It was not, as in the medieval Inquisition, prescribed as an ordinary resource, but it was at the discretion of the tribunal and could at any time be brought into play, as in the case of a pertinacious heretic, in 1512, who was consigned to the most noisome part of the prison, and afflicted in various ways, in the hope of enlightening his understanding. (9) In the later period of leisurely action, protracted imprisonment was frequently resorted to, in the hope of inducing repentance and conversion, when wearing anxiety and despair weakened the will as effectually as the sharper agonies of the pulley and rack. There was also the ingenious device, frequently effective, by which the fiscal concluded his formal accusation with a demand that, if necessary, the accused should be tortured until he confessed. This was unknown in the earlier period, but the Instructions of 1561 recommend it, giving as a reason its good results, and also that torture requires a demand from the prosecutor and a notification to the defendant, who is unprepared for it at this stage of the trial. (10) After this it became the universal custom in all cases admitting of torture, and the profound impression produced on the unfortunate prisoner can be readily conceived.

Torture itself, however, was regarded as too serious to be left to the arbitrary temper of a baffled or angry inquisitor, and was preceded by formalities designed to prevent its abuse. It was the last resort when the result of a trial left doubts to be satisfied. After the prosecution and defence had closed, and the consulta de fe had assembled to consider the sentence, if the evidence was too weak for condemnation while the innocence of the accused was not clear, it could adopt a vote to torture and postpone the decision to await the outcome. Even in the ferocity of the early period this deliberateness was frequently observed, although in the reckless haste of procedure it was often omitted. Thus, in the case of Diego García, a priest accused of having said twenty years before, when a boy, that the sacrament was bread, the consulta held two meetings, January 18 and 19, 1490, and finally voted torture. There was no haste however and it was [5] not until February 11th that García was exposed to the very moderate water-torture of about a quart of water. No confession was obtained and he was untied, with the protest that he had not been sufficiently tortured, but it was not repeated and, on February 26th, he was acquitted and restored to his fame and honor, though, with the curiously perverse inquisitorial logic, he was made to abjure de vehementi and forbidden to celebrate mass for six months. (11) The vote of the consulta however was not universal and, in 1518, the Suprema ordered it to be always observed, but a clause in the Instructions of 1561, reminding inquisitors that they must not inflict torture until after hearing the defence shows how difficult it was to restrain their arbitrary action. (12) Even in the early eighteenth century, in reviewing a summary of cases of Valencia, from 1705 to 1726, the Suprema rebuked the tribunal for torturing Sebastian Antonio Rodríguez without previous consultation, but at this period the consulta de fe was becoming obsolete and everything was centering in the Suprema. (13)

The vote of the consulta was still only preliminary. After it, the accused was brought into the audience-chamber, where all the inquisitors and the episcopal Ordinary were required to be present. He was notified of the decision of the consulta; if he was a diminuto, the points in which his confession had failed to satisfy the evidence were pointed out; if a negativo, no explanations were necessary; if it was on intention or in caput alienum he was made to understand it. He was adjured, in the name of God and the Blessed Virgin, to confess fully, without false evidence as to himself or others and, if this failed to move him, a formal sentence of torture was signed by all the judges and read to him. It recited that, in view of the suspicions arising against him from the evidence, they condemned him to be tortured for such length of time as they should see fit, in order that he might tell the truth of what had been testified against him, protesting that, if in the torture he should die or suffer effusion of blood or mutilation, it should not be attributed to them, but to him for not telling the truth. If the torture was to discover accomplices, care was taken to make no allusion to him and to give him no [6] chance of clearing himself, for he was assumed to be already convicted. (14)

Even this sentence was not necessarily a finality for, if the accused offered a new defence, it had to be considered and acted upon before proceeding further. (15) Moreover he had theoretically a right to appeal to the inquisitor-general from this, as from all other interlocutory sentences. This right varied at different times. A ruling by the Suprema, in 1538, appears to indicate that it was granted as a matter of right, but the Instructions of 1561 tell inquisitors that, if they feel scruple, they should grant it, but if satisfied that the sentence is justified they should refuse the appeal as frivolous and dilatory. (16) Still the right to ask it was so fully recognized that, if the accused was not twenty-five years of age and thus a minor, his curador or guardian was required to be present, in order to interject an appeal if he saw fit, and I have met with an instance of this in the case of Angela Pérez, a Morisco slave, before the Toledo tribunal in 1575, where it was as usual unsuccessful, for the Suprema confirmed the sentence. (17) Tribunals seem not infrequently to have allowed appeals, but, with the growing centralization in the Suprema, they became superfluous and a formula, drawn up in 1690, directs that no attention be paid to them. (18)

When the indications of guilt were too slender to justify torture, the consulta de fe sometimes voted to threaten torture. (19) Then the sentence was formally drawn up and read to the accused, he was taken to the torture-chamber, stripped and perhaps tied on the potro or escalera, without proceeding further. A curious case of this was that of Leonor Pérez who, at the age of seventy, was sentenced, May 3, 1634, in Valladolid, to be placed in conspectu tormentorum. When stripped, on May 10th, the executioner reported marks of previous torture; the proceedings were suspended and, on May 13th, she admitted that, twenty years before, she had been tortured in Coimbra. On June 14th [7] the sentence was again executed, but, before being stripped, she confessed to some Jewish beliefs and then fainted. A postponement was necessary and two days later she revoked her confession. The case dragged on and it was not until August 1, 1637 that she was condemned to abjure de vehementi, to six years of exile, a fine of two hundred ducats and to be paraded in vergüenza, but we still hear of her as in prison, early in 1639. (20) It required strong nerves to endure this threat of torture, with its terrifying formalities and adjurations, and it was frequently effective.
 

The conditions held to justify torture were that the offence charged was of sufficient gravity, and that the evidence, while not wholly decisive, was such that the accused should have the opportunity of "purging" it, by endurance proportionate to its strength. From the inquisitor's point of view, it was a favor to the accused, as it gave him a chance which was denied to those whose condemnation was resolved upon. This is illustrated by a highly significant case in the Toledo tribunal in 1488. Juan del Rio had lived long in Rome, where he was present in the jubilee of 1475; by the arts of the courtier he won the favor of Sixtus IV and returned to Spain about 1483, loaded with benefices--among them a prebend in the Toledo cathedral-- which excited cupidity and enmity. He was an Old Christian, of pure Biscayan descent, who could not be suspected of Judaism, but he was a loose and inconsiderate chatterer; in the Spain which he had left there was much licence, in the Rome where he had so long sojourned there was more; he could not, on his return, accommodate himself to the new order of things, and his reckless talk gave the opportunity of making vacancies of his numerous preferments. The evidence against him was of the flimsiest; the most serious charge was that, when a tenant had been unable to pay rent on account of the Inquisition, he had petulantly wished it at the devil. At a later period he would have had a chance to purge the evidence by the water-torture, but this was not permitted him; he was hurried to the stake as a pertinacious negativo, leaving his spoils to those who could grasp them. (21)

[8] It was a well-accepted maxim of the civil law that torture should not be employed when the penalty of the crime charged was less severe than the infliction of torture--an equation of suffering which afforded to the doctors ample opportunity of defining the unknown quantity. This was fully accepted by the Inquisition and we are told that torture is not indicated for propositions merely offensive, rash, scandalous or blasphemous, or for the assertion that simple fornication is not a mortal sin, or for heretical blasphemy, or sorcery, or for propositions arising from ignorance, or for bigamy or solicitation in the confessional, or for lying under excommunication for a year, or for other matters which infer only light suspicion of heresy, even though for some of these offences the punishment was scourging and the galleys. Torture is freely alluded to as an irreparable injury the use of which would be unjustifiable in such matters. (22)

This, however, was, like everything else in this nebulous region, open to considerable laxity in application. When Francisco de Tornamira, a boy of eighteen and page of the Duke of Pastrana, was tried in 1592, on the charge of having said that Jews and Moors could be saved if they had faith in their respective beliefs, he denied and was tortured till he confessed, and then the triviality of his offence was admitted by subjecting him only to abjuration de levi, to hearing a mass as a penitent in the audience-chamber, and to a reprimand. The same tribunal in 1579, tried Stefano Grillen, an Italian, who, in a discussion with some chance fellow-travellers, maintained that the miracles at the shrines of Our Lady of Atocha and of la Caridad were wrought by the Virgin herself and not by her images. He freely confessed but was tortured--apparently on intention-- and was dismissed with the same trivial punishment as Tornamira. (23) Even more suggestive is the case of Juan Pereira, a boy of fifteen, tried, in 1646, for Judaism at Valladolid. The proceedings were dilatory and he gradually became demented; nothing could be done with him and opinions were divided as to the reality of his insanity. The Suprema was applied to and sagely ordered torture to find out. It was administered, April 22, 1648, but the method of diagnosis was not as successful as its ingenuity deserved and, in August, he was sent to a hospital [9] for six months, with instructions to observe him carefully. As his name after this disappears from the records, he probably died in the hospital. (24) It is evident that the Inquisition did not take to heart the warning issued by the Suprema, in 1533, that torture was a very delicate matter. (25)

When we come to inquire as to the character of evidence requiring torture for its elucidation, we find how illusory were all the attempts of the legists to lay down absolute rules, and how it all ended in leaving the matter to the discretion of the tribunal. As confession, though desired, was not essential to conviction, the negativo who was convicted on sufficient evidence was not to be tortured, but was to be relaxed. Even this rule, however, could be set aside at the caprice of the judge, though he was warned, in such cases, to put on record a protest that he did not direct the torture against the matters that had been proved, for the very good reason that endurance of torture might purge them and nullify the proof. (26) It was impossible to reduce to a logical formula that which in its essence was illogical, or to frame an accurate definition of evidence that was insufficient for conviction yet sufficient for torture. It was easy to say that semiplena evidence suffices, but what was semiplena? One authority will tell us that a single witness, even an accomplice, justifies torture, another that three accomplice witnesses are requisite. One impartial and unexceptionable witness, again, is sometimes held to require public fame as an adjuvant, but the records are full of cases in which torture was employed on the unsupported testimony of a single witness. The weight of other more or less confirmatory evidence was also keenly debated, without reaching substantial agreement--whether flight before arrest, or breaking gaol, or vacillation and equivocation when examined, or even pallor, was sufficient justification. (27) It is not surprising, therefore, that, as a practical result, we are told that [10] all these questions must be left to the discretion of the judge, to be decided in each individual case. (28) Under such conditions it would be useless to expect consistency of practice in all tribunals and at all periods. We have seen above that cases were sometimes suspended because evidence had not been ratified, yet the Toledo tribunal, in 1584, tortured Lope el Gordo for that very reason, because the chief witness against him had not ratified his testimony, and it is satisfactory to add that Lope endured the torments and thus earned suspension of his case. (29)

The diminuto, whose confession did not cover all the adverse evidence, was, according to rule, to be tortured in order to account for the deficiency. If he endured without further admission, he was to be punished on the basis of what he had confessed, but if he did not thus purge the evidence, he was to be sent to the galleys. This was sometimes done in mere surplusage, apparently to gratify the curiosity of the tribunal, as in the Toledo case of Antonio de Andrada, in 1585, who confessed what was amply sufficient for his punishment, but, as there were some omissions, was tortured to elucidate them. In the seventeenth century, however, we are assured that there was much caution used in torturing diminutos, and that it was not done unless the omitted matters were such as to call for relaxation. If they concerned accomplices, however, whom the culprit was suspected of shielding, he was tortured in caput alienum. Retraction or vacillation of confession necessarily required torture to reconcile the contradiction; this occurred chiefly with timid persons, frightened by the demand of the fiscal for torture, and thus led to make admissions which they subsequently recalled, thus bringing upon themselves what they had sought to avoid. (30) The question of intention, in the performance of acts in themselves indifferent, was, as we have seen, the frequent occasion of torture, as there was no other means known to the jurisprudence of the period, which was bent on ascertaining the secrets of the offender's mind.

[11] Yet it is possible that in some cases, when torture appears to be pure surplusage, there may have been the kindly intention of contributing to the salvation of the sufferer, by inducing or confirming his conversion; for habitual persecution for the greater glory of God induced a state of mind precluding all rational intellectual processes, where the faith was concerned. Thus Rojas tells us that there should be no hesitation in the use of torture, when the salvation of the culprit's soul was involved, so that he might be reconciled to the Church and undergo penance through which he might be saved. (31) This reasoning was urged in the case of Réné Perrault, in 1624, by some of the consultores of the tribunal of Toledo. His crime of maltreating the Host was public and unquestionable, but he had varied in his statements as to his faith; the consulta de fe was unanimous in ordering torture to discover possible accomplices, but some of the members desired a special additional torture in order to confirm him in the faith and save his soul. (32)
 

That witnesses should be tortured, in order to obtain or confirm their testimony, is an abuse which, repulsive as it may seem to us, has been, with more or less disguise, a practice wherever torture has been used. It is true that the Roman law prohibited that one who had admitted his own guilt should be examined as to that of another, and this principle, adopted in the False Decretals, became a part of the early canon law. (33) The Inquisition, however, regarded the conviction of a heretic as only the preliminary to forcing him to denounce his associates; the earliest papal utterance, in 1252, authorizing its use of torture, prescribed the employment of this means to discover accomplices and finally Paul IV and Pius V decreed that all who were convicted and confessed should, at the discretion of the inquisitors, be tortured for this purpose. (34) The question préalable or définitive, in which the convict was tortured to make him reveal his associates, became, through the influence of the Inquisition, a part of the criminal jurisprudence of all lands in which torture was [12] employed. It was, in reality, the torture of witnesses, for the criminal's fate had been decided, and he was thus used only to give testimony against others.

The Spanish Inquisition was, therefore, only following a general practice when it tortured, in caput alienum, those who had confessed their guilt. No confession was accepted as complete unless it revealed the names of those whom the penitent knew to be guilty of heretical acts, if there was reason to suspect that he was not fully discharging his conscience in this respect, torture was the natural resort. Even the impenitent or the relapsed, who was doomed to relaxation, was thus to be tortured and was to be given clearly to understand that it was as a witness and not as a party, and that his endurance of torture would not save him from the stake. The Instructions of 1561, however, warn inquisitors that in these cases much consideration should be exercised and torture in caput alienum was rather the exception in Spain, than the rule as in Rome. (35) In the case of the negativo, against whom conclusive evidence was had, and who thus was to be condemned without torture, the device of torturing him against his presumable accomplices afforded an opportunity of endeavoring to secure his own confession and conversion. We have seen this fail, in 1596, in the Mexican case of Manuel Díaz, nor was it more successful in Lima, in 1639, with Enrique de Paz y Mello, although the final outcome was different. He persistently denied through five successive publications of evidence, as testimony against him accumulated in the trials of his associates. He was sentenced to relaxation and torture in caput alienum; it was administered with great severity without overcoming his fortitude, and he persisted through five other publications as fresh evidence was gathered. Yet at midnight before the auto de fe, in which he was to be burnt, he weakened. He confessed as to himself and others and his sentence was modified to reconciliation and the galleys, while good use was made of his revelations against thirty of his accomplices. (36)

The torture of witnesses who were not themselves under trial was permitted when they varied or retracted, or so contradicted other witnesses that it was deemed necessary thus to ascertain [13] the truth; but whether clerical witnesses could be so treated was a subject of debate. As a rule torture in such cases was directed to be moderate, neither light nor excessive, but when testimony was revoked it could be repeated up to three inflictions. (37) As we have seen above (Vol. II, p. 537) slaves testifying in the cases of their masters could always be tortured if necessary to confirm their evidence. In the prosecution of Juan de la Caballería, in 1488, as accessory to the murder of San Pedro Arbués, his slave-girl Lucia gave compromising evidence which she was persuaded to retract, with the result that she was twice tortured and confirmed it. (38)
 

Like majestas, in heresy there were no privileged classes exempt from torture. Nobles were subject to it and so were ecclesiastics of all ranks, but the latter were to be tortured less severely than laymen, unless the case was very grave, and they were entitled to a clerical torturer if one could be found to perform the office. As in their arrest, so in torture the sentence, by a carta acordada of 1633, had to be submitted to the Suprema for confirmation. (39)

As regards age, there seems to have been none that conferred exemption. Llorente, indeed, in describing a case in which a woman of ninety was tortured at Cuenca, says that this was contrary to the orders of the Suprema which prescribed that the aged should only be placed in conspectu tormentorum (40) but I have never met with such a rule. In 1540 the Suprema ordered that consideration should be given to the quality and age of the accused and, if advisable, the torture should be very moderate, while the Instructions of 1561, which are very full, impose no limit of age and leave everything to the discretion of the tribunal. (41) Cases are by no means infrequent in which age combined with infirmity is given as a reason for omitting torture or inflicting it with moderation, but age alone offered no exemption. At a Toledo auto de fe we find Isabel Ganese, aged seventy-eight, [14] who promptly confessed before the torture had proceeded very far, and Isabel de Jaen, aged eighty who, at the fifth turn of the cords fainted and was revived with difficulty. (42) In 1607, at Valencia, Jaime Chuleyla, aged seventy-six, after confessing certain matters, was accused by a new witness of being an alfaquí; this he denied and was duly tortured. (43)

Not much more respect was paid to youth. In 1607, at Valencia, Isabel Madalena, a girl of thirteen, who was vaguely accused of Moorish practices, was tortured, overcame the torture and was penanced with a hundred lashes. In the same year that tribunal showed more consideration for Joan de Heredia, a boy of ten or eleven, whom a lying witness accused of going to a house where Moorish doctrines were taught. On his steadfast denial, he was sentenced to be placed in conspectu tormenlorum, which was carried out in spite of an appeal by his procurator, but he persisted in asserting his innocence and the case was suspended. (44) Mental incapacity, short of insanity, was not often allowed exemption and it is creditable to the Valencia tribunal that when, about 1710, the Suprema ordered the torture of Joseph Felix, for intention with regard to certain propositions, it remonstrated and represented that he was too ignorant to comprehend the object of the torture. (45)
 

It was a universal law that torture should not endanger life or limb and, although this was often disregarded when the work was under way, it called for a certain amount of preliminary caution to see that the patient was in condition promising endurance--caution admitted in theory but not always observed in practice. When there was doubt, the physician of the Inquisition was sometimes called in, as in the case of Rodrigo Pérez, at Toledo, in 1600, who was sick and weak, and the medical certificate that torture would endanger health and life sufficed to save him, but the Suprema was not so considerate when, in 1636, it ordered the Valencia tribunal to torture Joseph Pujal before transferring him to the hospital, as was done afterwards on account [15] of his illness. (46) Pregnancy has always been deemed a sufficient reason for at least postponing the infliction, but the Madrid tribunal, in instructions of 1690, only makes the concession of placing pregnant women on a seat, in place of binding them on the rack, while applying the exceedingly severe torture of the garrote--sharp cords, two on each arm and two on each leg, bound around the limb and twisted with a short lever. (47) Hernia was regarded, at least in the earlier time, as precluding torture, and I have met with several cases in which it served to exempt the patient but, in 1662, the official instructions of the Suprema order that no exceptions be made on that account, save the omission of the trampazo vigoroso, which causes downward strain; in the other tortures a good strong truss suffices to avert danger and it should always be kept on hand in readiness for such subjects. (48) In accordance with this the Madrid tribunal in 1690, orders for hernia cases the use of the seat provided for pregnant women. As regards women who were suckling, there seems to have been no established rule. In 1575, when the Valencia tribunal proposed to torture Maria Gilo, the physician who was called in reported that it would expose the child to imminent risk and the purpose was abandoned. In 1608, however, at Toledo, when the same question arose in the case of Luisa de Narvaez, the consulta voted in discordia and the Suprema ordered her to be tortured. (49)

Besides these generalities, there were occasional special cases in which torture was abandoned in consequence of the condition of the patient--heart disease, excessive debility, repeated faintings during the administration and other causes. The physician and the surgeon were always called in, when the prisoner was stripped, to examine him and they were kept at hand to be summoned in case of accident. The tribunals seem to have been more tender-hearted than the Suprema which, in its instructions of 1662, reproved inquisitors who avoid sentencing to torture on account of weakness or of a broken arm. This, it says, is not proper, because it forfeits the opportunity of obtaining confession [16] in the various preliminaries of reading the sentence, carrying to the torture-chamber, stripping him and tying him to the trestle; besides, after commencing, the torture is always to be stopped when the physician so orders. (50) There was another salutary precaution--that there should be a proper interval between the last meal and the torture. About 1560, Inquisitor Cervantes says that the patient is not to have food or drink on the evening before or on the morning of the infliction and, in 1722, a writer specifies eight hours for the preliminary fasting. (51)
 

In the administration of torture, all the inquisitors and the episcopal representative were required to be present, with a notary or secretary to record the proceedings. No one else save the executioner was allowed to be present, except when the physician or surgeon was called in. In the earlier period, there was some trouble in providing an official to perform the repulsive work. An effort seems to have been made to compel the minor employees to do it but with doubtful success. Ferdinand, in a letter of July 22, 1486, to Torquemada, complains that the inquisitors of Saragossa had employed a torturer because the messengers had refused to do the work, and he suggests that a messenger be discharged and the torturer serve in his place without increase of salary; if this cannot be done the salary should be reduced. No salaried torturer appears in the pay-rolls; the duties were not constant and doubtless when wanted proper functionaries were called in and paid--but there is suggestiveness in a letter of Ferdinand, in 1498, ordering the restoration of a certain Pedro de Moros, who had been dropped, to serve as messenger and "for such other duties as the inquisitors might order" at five hundred sueldos a year. (52) At one time the alcaide of the prison seems to have been the official torturer for, in 1536, the Suprema writes to the inquisitors of Navarre that, if their alcaide is not skilled in the business, they must find some one who is, and not work the implements themselves, as they seem to have done, for it is not befitting the dignity of their persons or office. (53) In [17] 1587, at Valencia, we hear that the messenger and portero served as assistants and the Suprema ordered the work to be entrusted to a confidential familiar. (54) Eventually however the tribunals employed the public executioner of the town, who was skilled in his vocation. When, in 1646, at Valladolid, Isabel López was ordered to be tortured on November 23d, the alcaide reported that the public functionary was absent and the time of his return was uncertain; the torture was necessarily postponed and, on the 27th, Isabel took it into her head to confess and thus escaped the infliction. (55) In Madrid, from March to August, 1681, Alonso de Alcalá, the city executioner, was paid by the tribunal forty-four ducats, for eleven torturings, at four ducats apiece. (56) It seems strange that objection should be made to the torturer being disguised but, in 1524, the Suprema forbade him to wear a mask or to be wrapped in a sheet; subsequently he was permitted to wear a hood and to change his garments and, in the seventeenth century, a mask and other disguise were permissible, if it were thought best that he should not be recognized. (57)

At every stage in the preliminaries, after reading the sentence, taking the prisoner down to the torture-chamber, calling in the executioner, stripping the prisoner and tying him to the trestle, there was a pause in which he was solemnly adjured to tell the truth for the love of God, as the inquisitors did not desire to see him suffer. (58) The exposure of stripping was not a mere wanton aggravation but was necessary, for the cords around the thighs and arms, the belt at the waist with cords passing from it over the shoulders from front to back, required access to every portion of the body and, at the end of the torture, there was little of the surface that had not had its due share of agony. Women as well as men were subjected to this, the slight concession to decency being the zaragüelles or paños de la vergüenza, a kind of abbreviated bathing-trunks, but the denudation seems to have been complete before these were put on. (59) The patient [18] was admonished not to tell falsehoods about himself or others and, during the torture, the only words to be addressed to him were "Tell the truth." No questions were to be put and no names mentioned to him, for the reason, as we are told, that the sufferers in their agonies were ready to say anything that was in any way suggested, and to bear false-witness against themselves and others. The executioner was not to speak to the patient, or make faces at him, or threaten him, and the inquisitors should see that he so arranged the cords and other devices as not to cause permanent crippling or breaking of the bones. The work was to proceed slowly with due intervals between each turn of the garrotes or hoist in the garrucha, or otherwise the effect was lost, and the patient was apt to overcome the torture.

It was a universal rule that torture could be applied only once, unless new evidence supervened which required purging, but this restriction was easily evaded. Though torture could not be repeated, it could be continued and, when it was over, the patient was told that the inquisitors were not satisfied, but were obliged to suspend it for the present, and that it would be resumed at another time, if he did not tell the whole truth. Thus it could be repeated from time to time as often as the consulta de fe might deem expedient. (60) The secretary faithfully recorded all that passed, even to the shrieks of the victim, his despairing ejaculations and his piteous appeals for mercy or to be put to death, nor would it be easy to conceive anything more fitted to excite the deepest compassion than these cold-blooded, matter-of-fact reports.
 

As for the varieties of torture currently employed, it must be borne in mind that the Inquisition largely depended on the public executioners, and its methods thus were necessarily identical with those of the secular courts; while even when its own officials performed the duty, they would naturally follow the customary routine. The Inquisition thus had no special refinements of torture and indeed, so far as I have had opportunity of investigation, it confined itself to a few methods out of the abundant repertory of the public functionaries.

In the earlier period only two tortures were generally in vogue-- the garrucha or pulleys and the water-torture. These are the [19] only ones alluded to by Pablo García and both of them were old and well-established forms. (61) The former, known in Italy as the strappado, consisted in tying the patient's hands behind his back and then, with a cord around his wrists, hoisting him from the floor, with or without weights to his feet, keeping him suspended as long as was desired and perhaps occasionally letting him fall a short distance with a jerk. About 1620 a writer prescribes that the elevating movement should be slow, for if it is rapid the pain is not lasting; for a time the patient should be kept at tiptoe, so that his feet scarce touch the floor; when hoisted he should be held there while the psalm Miserere is thrice repeated slowly in silence, and he is to be repeatedly admonished to tell the truth. If this fail he is to be lowered, one of the weights is to be attached to his feet and he is to be hoisted for the space of two Misereres, the process being repeated with increasing weights as often and as long as may be judged expedient. (62)

The water-torture was more complicated. The patient was placed on an escalera or potro--a kind of trestle, with sharp-edged rungs across it like a ladder. It slanted so that the head was lower than the feet and, at the lower end was a depression in which the head sank, while an iron band around the forehead or throat kept it immovable. Sharp cords, called cordeles, which cut into the flesh, attached the arms and legs to the side of the trestle and others, known as garrotes, from sticks thrust in them and twisted around like a tourniquet till the cords cut more or less deeply into the flesh, were twined around the upper and lower arms, the thighs and the calves; a bostezo, or iron prong, distended the mouth, a toca, or strip of linen, was thrust down the throat to conduct water trickling slowly from a jarra or jar, holding usually a little more than a quart. The patient strangled and gasped and suffocated and, at intervals, the toca was withdrawn and he was adjured to tell the truth. The severity of the infliction was measured by the number of jars consumed, sometimes reaching to six or eight. In 1490, in the case of the priest Diego García, a single quart satisfied the inquisitors and he was acquitted. (63) In the Mexican case of Manuel Díaz, in 1596, [20] the cordeles were applied; then seven garrotes were twisted around arms and legs, the toca was thrust down his throat and twelve jarras of a pint each were allowed to drip through it, the toca being drawn up four times during the operation. In the Toledo case of Mari Rodríguez, in 1592, the operation was divided, the cordeles being applied while she was seated on the banquillo, and were given eight turns; she was then transferred to the trestle, and the garrotes were used, followed by the water; at the second jarra she vomited profusely; she was untied and fell to the floor. The executioner lifted her up and put on her chemise; she was told that if she would not tell the truth the torture would be continued; she protested that she had told the truth and it was suspended. For nine months she was left in her cell, then the consulta de fe voted to suspend the case and she was told to be gone in God's name. (64)

It was probably not long after this that these forms of torture gradually fell into disuse and were replaced by others which apparently were regarded as more merciful. In 1646 the Suprema applied to the tribunal of Córdova for information concerning the garrucha and silla and for a description of the trampa and trampazo which it used, with an estimate of their severity. The tribunal replied that the silla had been abandoned because it could scarce be called a torture and the garrucha on account of the danger of causing dislocations. For more than thirty years the tribunal, as well as the secular courts, had discontinued its use as also the brazier of coals, heated plates of metal, hot bricks, the toca with seven pints of water, the depiñoncillo, escarabajo, tablillas, sueño and others. The methods in use were the cordeles and garrotes, of which there were three kinds, the vuelta de trampa, the mancuerda and stretching the accused in the potro or rack.

The letter proceeds to describe at great length and in much detail these somewhat complicated processes. In abandoning the pulleys and the water-jar, the patient gained little. He was adjusted for torment by a belt or girdle with which he was swung from the ground; his arms were tied together across his breast and were attached by cords to rings in the wall. For the trampa or trampazo the ladder in the potro had one of its rungs removed [21] so as to enable the legs to pass through; another bar with a sharp edge was set below it and through this narrow opening the legs were forcibly pulled by means of a cord fastened around the toes with a turn around the ankle. Each vuelta, or turn given to the cord, gained about three inches; five vueltas were reckoned a most rigorous torture, and three were the ordinary practice, even with the most robust. Leaving him stretched in this position, the next step was the mancuerda, in which a cord was passed around the arms, which the executioner wound around himself and threw himself backward, casting his whole weight and pushing with his foot against the potro. The cord, we are told, would cut through skin and muscle to the bone, while the body of the patient was stretched as in a rack, between it and the cords at the feet. The belt or girdle at the waist, subjected to these alternate forces was forced back and forth and contributed further to the suffering. This was repeated six or eight times with the mancuerda, on different parts of the arms, and the patients usually fainted, especially if they were women.

After this the potro came in play. The patient was released from the trampa and mancuerda and placed on the eleven sharp rungs of the potro, his ankles rigidly tied to the sides and his head sinking into a depression where it was held immovable by a cord across the forehead. The belt was loosened so that it would slip around. Three cords were passed around each upper arm, the ends being carried into rings on the sides of the potro and furnished with garrotes or sticks to twist them tight; two similar ones were put on each thigh and one on each calf, making twelve in all. The ends were carried to a maestra garrote by which the executioner could control all at once. These worked not only by compression but by travelling around the limbs, carrying away skin and flesh. Each half round was reckoned a vuelta or turn, six or seven of which was the maximum, but it was usual not to exceed five, even with strong men. Formerly the same was done with the cord around the forehead, but this was abandoned as it was apt to start the eyes from their sockets. All this, the Cordova tribunal concludes, is very violent, but it is less so and less dangerous than the abandoned methods.

These remained practically the tortures in use. In 1662 the Suprema, in ordering the tribunal of Galicia to "continue" the torture of Antonio Méndez, called upon it to report as to its manner of administering torture. Its answer of May 13th shows [22] that it was using the mancuerda and potro, though after a somewhat primitive fashion. To this, by order of the Suprema, Gonzalo Bravo replied, May 22d with elaborate instructions, especially as to the trampazo, indicating that substantially the methods described by Córdova were recognized officially. Galicia appears to have puzzled over this until September 19th, when it apologized for its lack of experience and asked for detailed plans and drawings of the form of potro required. It is fairly presumable from all this that thenceforward these new methods were adopted in all the tribunals. (65)
 
There was and could be no absolute limitation on the severity of torture. The Instructions of 1561 say that the law recognizes it as uncertain and dangerous in view of the difference in bodily and mental strength among men, wherefore no certain rule can be given, but it must be left to the discretion of judges, to be governed by law, reason and conscience. (66) All that Gonzalo Bravo can say, in the Instructions of 1662, is that its proper regulation determines the just decision of cases, and the verification of truth; the discretion and prudence of the judges must look to this, tempered by the customary compassion of the Holy Office, in such way that it shall neither exceed nor fall short. How this discretion was exercised depended wholly on the temper of the tribunal. One authority tells us that torture should never be prolonged more than half an hour, but the cases are numerous in which it lasted for two and even three hours. In that of Antonio López, at Valladolid, in 1648, it commenced at eight o'clock and continued until eleven, leaving him with a crippled arm; in a fortnight he endeavored to strangle himself, and he died within a month. (67) Such cases were by no means rare. Gabriel Rodríguez, at Valencia, about 1710, was tortured [23] thrice and condemned to the galleys, but this was commuted on finding that he was crippled "por la violencia de la tortura." (68) Nor was death by any means unknown. In 1623, Diego Enriquez, at Valladolid, was tortured December 13th. In the process an "accident" occurred and he was carried to his cell. On the 15th the physician reported that he should be removed to a hospital, which was done with the greatest secrecy and he died there. There is something hideously suggestive in such a matter of fact record as that of Blanca Rodríguez Matos, at Valladolid, which simply says that she was voted to torture, May 21, 1655, and it having been executed she died the same day; the case was continued against her fame and memory and, in due course, was suspended, November 19th. (69)

The very large number of cases recorded in which the accused overcame the torture without confession would argue that it was frequently light. This is doubtless true to a great extent, but the surprising endurance sometimes displayed shows that this was not always the case. Thus Tomás de Leon, at Valladolid, November 5, 1638, was subjected to all the successive varieties and overcame them, although at the end it was found that his left arm was broken. So, in 1643, in the same tribunal, Engracia Rodríguez, a woman sixty years of age, had a toe wrenched off while in the balestilla. Nevertheless the torture proceeded until, in the first turn of the mancuerda, an arm was broken. It then was stopped without having extorted a confession, but her fortitude availed her little, for fresh evidence supervened against her and, some ten months later, she confessed to Jewish practices. Another of the same group, Florencia de Leon, endured the balestilla, three turns of the mancuerda and the potro without confessing, but she did not escape without reconciliation and prison. (70)

The process and its effects on the patient can best be understood from the passionless business-like reports of the secretary, in which the incidents are recorded to enable the consulta de fe to vote intelligently. They are of various degrees of horror and I select one which omits the screams and cries of the victim that are usually set forth. It is a very moderate case of water-torture, [24] carried only to a single jarra, administered in 1568 by the tribunal of Toledo to Elvira del Campo, accused of not eating pork and of putting on "clean linen on Saturdays. She admitted the acts but denied heretical intent and was tortured on intention. On April 6th she was brought before the inquisitors and episcopal vicar and, after some preliminaries, was told that it was determined to torture her, and in view of this peril she should tell the truth, to which she replied that she had done so. The sentence of torture was then read, when she fell on her knees and begged to know what they wanted her to say. The report proceeds:
 

It is scarce worth while to continue this pitiful detail. Four days were allowed to elapse, for experience showed that an interval, by stiffening the limbs, rendered repetition more painful. She was again brought to the torture-chamber but she broke down when stripped and piteously begged to have her nakedness covered. The interrogatory went on, when her replies under torture were more rambling and incoherent than before, but her limit of endurance was reached and the inquisitors finally had the satisfaction of eliciting a confession of Judaism and a prayer for mercy and penance. (71)

It is impossible to read these melancholy records without amazement that the incoherent and contradictory admissions [27] through which the victim, in his increasing agonies, sought to devise some statement in satisfaction of the monotonous command to tell the truth, should have been regarded by statesmen and lawgivers as possessed of intrinsic value. The result was a test of endurance and not of veracity. In one case we find a man of such fibres and nerves that all the efforts of the torturer fail to elicit aught but denial--the cords may rasp through the flesh to the bone and limbs be wrenched to the breaking without affecting his constancy. In another, when a few turns of the garrote have twisted a single cord into his arm--or even at the mere aspect of the torture-chamber, with its grimly suggestive machinery--he will yield and confess all that is wanted as to himself and all the comrades whose names he can recall in the dizziness of his suffering. Yet, with full knowledge of this, for centuries the secular and ecclesiastical courts of the greater part of Christendom persisted in the use of a system which, in the name of justice, perpetrated an infinite series of atrocities.
 

Yet, as though still more effectually to deprive the system of all excuse, the confession obtained at such cost was practically admitted to be in itself worthless. To legalize it, a ratification was required, after an interval of at least twenty-four hours, to be freely made, without threats and apart from the torture-chamber. This was essential in all jurisdictions, and the formula in the Inquisition was to bring the prisoner into the audience-chamber, where his confession was read to him as it had been written down. He was asked whether it was true or whether he had anything to add or to omit and, under his oath, he was expected to declare that it was properly recorded, that he had no change to make and that he ratified it, not through fear of torture, or from any other cause, but solely because it was the truth. Such ratification was required even when the confession was made on hearing the sentence of torture read or when placed in conspectu tormentorum. (72) This was customarily done on the afternoon of the next day, to allow the full twenty-four hours to expire, but there was sometimes a longer interval. Thus, in the case of Catalina Hernández, at Toledo, who confessed on being stripped, July 13, 1541, it was not until the 27th that her [28] ratification was taken, the inquisitors explaining that press of business had prevented it earlier. (73)

The declaration in the ratification, that it was not made through fear of torture was a falsehood, for, in all jurisdictions, a retraction of the confession called for a repetition of torment, and in fact we sometimes find that when the confession was made the prisoner was warned not to retract for, if he did so, the torture would be "continued." (74) This was possibly to evade a singularly humane provision in the Instructions of 1484, to the effect that, if the confession is ratified, the accused is to be duly punished, but if he retracts, in view of the infamy resulting from the trial, he is to abjure publicly the heresy of which he is suspect and be subjected to such penance as the inquisitors may compassionately assign. The mercy of this, however, is considerably modified by a succeeding clause that it is not to deprive them of the right to repeat the torture in cases where by law they can and ought to do so. (75) Still, it was probably the first portion of the provision that guided the Toledo tribunal, in 1528, in the case of Diego de Uceda, on trial for Lutheranism. At the sight of the torture-chamber he broke down and admitted all that the witnesses had testified, but could not remember what it was. As this was evidently inspired by fear, the torture went on when, at the first turn of the garrote, he inculpated himself so eagerly that he was warned not to bear false-witness against himself. He declared it to be the truth and was untied. Before he was called upon to ratify, he asked for an audience in which he ascribed his confession to fear and declared himself ready to die for the faith of the Church, and a week later he ratified this revocation, saying that he was out of his senses under the torture. He was not tortured again and his sentence, some months later, was in accordance with the Instructions of 1484--to appear in an auto de fe, to abjure de vehementi and to be fined at the discretion of the inquisitors. (76)

Such cases, however, were exceptional and the regular practice was to repeat the torture, when a confession followed by another [29] revocation, subjected the victim to a third torture. (77) Whether the process could be carried on indefinitely was a doubtful question which some legists answered in the negative on the general philosophic assumption that nature and justice abhorred infinity, but this reasoning, however, academically conclusive, was not respected in practice when a conviction was desired. There was one dissuasive from revocation, which was brought to bear when culprits gave unreasonable trouble, which was the penalty incurred by revocantes. This is illustrated, as also the troublesome questions which sometimes perplexed the tribunals, by the case of Miguel de Castro, tried for Judaism, at Valladolid, in 1644. As a negativo, he was tortured and confessed, after which he ratified, revoked and ratified again. A process was commenced against him for revoking; he was tortured again, until an arm was dislocated and he lost two fingers, during which he confessed and then revoked the confession. He would have been tortured a third time had not the physician and surgeon declared him to be unable to endure it. The Suprema ordered him to be relaxed to the secular arm, if he could not be induced to repent and return to the Church, when, under the persuasion of two calificadores, he begged for mercy and confessed as to himself and others. Finally he was sentenced to reconciliation and irremissible prison and sanbenito, with a hundred lashes as a special punishment for revocation, which was executed January 21, 1646. (78)

Some culprits, we are told, cunningly took advantage of the opportunity of retraction, by confessing at once, as soon as subjected to torture, then recanting and repeating this process indefinitely, to the no small disgust of the inquisitors. A writer of the close of the seventeenth century, who mentions this, shows that the subject was then in an indeterminate condition, by suggesting as a remedy that they should be subjected to extraordinary penalties. (79) A case at Cuenca, in 1725, in which these tactics were successful, indicates that by that time a third torture was not recognized as lawful. Dr. Diego Matheo López [30] Zapata, as soon as the torturer was ready to begin, exclaimed that he was ready to confess, and made a detailed confession of Judaic practices followed for nearly fifty years. The next day he revoked and, when the torture was resumed, he repeated his confession, only to revoke it as before. The tribunal appears to have been powerless and contented itself with making him appear in an auto de fe as a penitent, with a sanbenito to be immediately removed, abjuration de vehementi and twenty years' exile from Cuenca, Murcia and Madrid. (80) At an earlier period he would scarce have escaped without scourging, galleys and irremissible prison.
 

When torture was administered, without eliciting a confession, the logical conclusion, if torture proved anything, was that the accused was innocent. In legal phrase, he had purged the evidence and was entitled to acquittal. (81) Such, indeed, was the law, but there was a natural repugnance to being baffled, or to admit that innocence had been so cruelly persecuted, and excuses were readily found to evade the law. On such a subject there could be no definite line of practice prescribed, and the situation is reflected by the Instructions of 1561, which tell the inquisitor that, in such cases, he must consider the nature of the evidence, the degree of torture employed, and the age and disposition of the accused; if it appears that he has fully purged the evidence, he should be fully acquitted, but if it seems that he has not been sufficiently tortured he can be required to abjure either for light or vehement suspicion, or some pecuniary penalty can be imposed, although this should be done only with great consideration. (82) Thus the matter was practically left to the discretion of the tribunal, with the implied admission that, when torture proved unsuccessful, it was merely surplusage.

The authorities naturally are not wholly at one with regard to the practical applications of these principles--except that acquittal should rarely be granted and, in fact, while the records are full of cases in which torture was overcome, it is somewhat unusual to find the parties acquitted, or their cases even suspended. [31] About 1600 a writer tells us that these cases are to be treated with some extraordinary penalty or with acquittal or suspension, according to the degree of suspicion that remains, but that Moriscos, however light the suspicion, must appear in an auto de fe and abjure de vehementi and, if there has been evidence by single witnesses, they must be sent to the galleys for three years or more; with other culprits, if the suspicion is light, there may be acquittal or suspension, but suspension is the more usual. It all depends upon the degree in which the evidence has been purged by the torture. (83) As this degree was a matter purely conjectural, inquisitorial discretion was unlimited.

The rule as to Moriscos is borne out by the Valencia auto de fe of 1607, in which there appeared sixteen who had overcome the torture, most of whom were visited with imprisonment, scourging or fines. (84) With their expulsion in 1609-10, there was no further call for discrimination, and the general practice is expressed about 1640, by an experienced inquisitor, who tells us that, when there have been several single witnesses, the accused who overcomes the torture should be subjected to some severe extraordinary punishment, such as abjuring de vehementi, with confiscation of half his property, or a heavy fine--the latter being preferable as it is more easily collected and the culprit endures it better in order to preserve his credit. (85) That this reflects the current practice would appear from a Cuenca auto de fe, June 29, 1654. Don Andrés de Fonseca had been required to abjure de vehementi, at Valladolid in 1628; the evidence of his relapse was strong, but insufficient for conviction; he endured torture without confessing; then further evidence supervened and he was again tortured with the same ill-success; he appeared in the auto as a penitent, abjured de levi, with ten years' exile and a fine of five hundred ducats. Doña Theodora Paula had overcome the torture and had abjuration de levi, six years' exile and a fine of three hundred ducats. Doña Isabel de Miranda had been unsuccessfully tortured and was sentenced to two years' exile and three hundred ducats. So, after fruitless torture, Doña Isabel Henriquez had the same punishment, and Manuel Lorenzo Madureyra was sentenced to abjuration de vehementi, [32] ten years' exile and five hundred ducats fine. (86) It is to the credit of the Valladolid tribunal that, in 1624, it showed itself more lenient and suspended six cases in which torture proved fruitless, inflicting no punishment except six years of exile on María Pérez, who was charged with false-witness. (87)

Perhaps the frequency with which torture was overcome may be partially explained by bribery of the executioner. This was rendered difficult by the secrecy surrounding all the operations of the tribunals, yet it was possible, and the kindred of one who was arrested would naturally seek to propitiate the minister of justice in case the prisoner should fall into his hands. At a Valencia auto de fe, in 1594, there appeared ninety-six Morisco penitents of whom fifty-three had been tortured without extracting confessions. (88) It may possibly be only a coincidence that, in 1604, Luis de Jesus, the torturer of the tribunal was prosecuted for receiving money from Moriscos, but we may readily imagine that communities, living in perpetual dread of the Inquisition, might tax themselves to subsidize the executioner regularly. (89) A similar case occurs in the Córdova auto of June 13, 1723, in which appeared the executioner, Carlos Felipe, whose offence is discreetly described as fautorship of heretics and unfaithfulness in their favor, in the discharge of his office. (90)
 

It is a little remarkable that, although the use of torture was so frequent and must have been generally known, there appears to have been a shrinking from admitting it in the sentences publicly read in the autos de fe, which habitually recited the details, of the trials--possibly attributable, in part at least, to a desire to preserve secrecy, although it is particularly marked in the early period when secrecy had not become so rigid as it was subsequently. Indeed, in the sentence of Juan González Daza, who confessed under torture in 1484, at Ciudad Real, it is mendaciously asserted that he pertinaciously denied until he learned that his accomplice, Fernando de Theba, had confessed, when he did so freely. (91) This continued as a rule, though occasionally [33] there is less reticence. In one sentence I have found it alluded to--that of Mari Gómez, at Toledo, in 1551. (92) Sometimes there is a veiled allusion to it, as though the inquisitors could not conceal it wholly, but felt a certain shame in admitting it openly. Thus in the sentence of Elvira del Campo (see p. 24), which gives a very detailed account of the incidents of the trial, it is stated that, on using "mas diligencias," with her she admitted the charges, and in the sentence of Doctor Zapata, in 1725, "cierta diligencia" is alluded to as having been employed. (93)
 

It would of course be impossible to compile statistics of the torture-chamber, or to form a reasonably accurate estimate of the number of cases in which it was employed during the career of the Inquisition. Some fragmentary data, however, can be had, as in the record of the Toledo tribunal between 1575 and 1610. During this period it tried four hundred and eleven persons for heretical offences admitting of the use of torture, and in these it was used once on one hundred and nine, and twice on eight, besides two cases in which it had to be stopped on account of the fainting of the patient, and seven in which confession was obtained before it commenced. There were also five cases in which the accused was placed in conspectu tormentorum. (94) In all, we may say that here its agency was invoked in about thirty-two per cent, of heretical prosecutions. This is probably less than the average. In a number of cases tried by the tribunal of Lima between 1635 and 1639, nearly all the accused appear to have been tortured, while the report of the tribunal of Valladolid for 1624 shows that of eleven cases of Judaism and one of Protestantism, eleven were tortured and, in 1655, every case of Judaism, nine in number, was subjected to torture. (95)

After all, numbers, however they may impress the imagination, are not supremely important. They are simply a measure of the greater or less activity of the tribunals and not of the principles involved. Whenever there was a doubt to solve, whether as [34] to the sufficiency of the evidence, the intention of the accused, the completeness with which he had denounced his associates, or other inscrutable matter, recourse to torture was a thing of course. In not a few cases, indeed, there seems to have been an almost infantile confidence in its power as a universal solvent. About 1710, Fernando Castellon, on trial at Valencia for Judaism, claimed not to be baptized and was promptly tortured to find out, but without success. (96) In 1579 the Toledo tribunal had to deal with Anton Moreno, an aged peasant, accused of entertaining views too liberal as to salvation; torture seemed the only means of definition and, between the turns of the garrote, he was made to express his opinions as to the saving effects of death-bed repentance and the viaticum on a sinner who had been duly baptized with the water of the Holy Ghost. There was ghastly ludicrousness in the attempt, under such persuasion, to ascertain the beliefs of an untutored old man, on these subtle questions of scholastic theology, ending with the result that he was adjudged to be worthy only of abjuration de levi, with a reprimand and hearing of a mass in the audience-chamber. (97)

As the activity of the Inquisition diminished, in the latter half of the eighteenth century, the use of torture naturally decreased but, until the suppression in 1813, the formal demand for it was preserved in the accusation presented by the fiscal. One of the early acts of Fernando VII, on his restoration in 1814, was the issue of a cédula, July 25th, addressed to all officers of justice, reciting that, in 1798, when the Royal Council learned that, in the courts of Madrid, the accused were subjected to the severest pressure to extort confessions, it investigated the matter and found that thumb-screws and other methods more or less rigorous were employed, and that this was without authority of law: consequently on February 5, 1803, the discontinuance of these was ordered, except fetters to the feet, and at the same time inquiries made of all courts in the kingdom showed that various kinds of compulsion were used whereby the innocent were sometimes compelled to convict themselves falsely. In view of all of this Fernando now ordered that in future no judge should use any kind of pressure or torment to obtain confession from the accused or testimony from witnesses, all usages to the contrary being [35] abolished. (98) This can scarce have applied to the Inquisition but, under the Restoration, it had little to do with actual heresy and, before it was thoroughly reorganized, all doubts were removed by Pius VII. Llorente tells us that the Gazette de France of April 14, 1816, contained a letter from Rome of March 31st, stating that the pope had forbidden the use of torture in all tribunals of the Inquisition, and had ordered that this be communicated to the ambassadors of France and Portugal. (99) I see no reason for doubting this, although no such brief appears in the Bullarium of Pius VII, and we may assume that at last the Spanish Holy Office closed its career relieved of this disgrace.
 

According to an arancel, or fee-list, of 1553, the executioner was entitled to one real for administering torture, or to half a real if the infliction was only threatened. In the lay courts the sufferer was obliged to pay his tormentor, for there is a provision that, if he is poor, the executioner is to receive nothing and is not allowed to take his garments in lieu of the money. (100) In the Inquisition where, for offences justifying torture, arrest was accompanied with sequestration, the tribunal necessarily took upon itself the payment and, as we have seen, in 1681, the fee had increased to four ducats. In cases which did not end with confiscation, the outlay was undoubtedly included among the costs of the trial charged against the sequestrated estate. In the Roman Inquisition, where torture was used so much more indiscriminately, a decision of the Congregation, in 1614, relieved the accused from payment of the fee. (101)
 


Notes for Book 6, Chapter 7

1. "Res est fragilis et periculosa et quse veritatem fallit."--L. 1, § 23, Dig. XLVIII, xviii.

2. Partidas, P. III, Tit. xiii, leyes 4, 5.

3. See "History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages," III, 313, 315.

4. Pegnae Comment. 110 in Eymerici Director. P. III.--Bibl. nacional, MSS., Mm., 122.

5. Archivo hist, nacional, Inquisicion de Valencia, Leg. 61.

6. Pedraza, Hist, eccles. de Granada, fol. 275 (Granada, 1638).

7. Collectio Decretor. S. Congr. Sti Officii, p. 407 (MS. penes me).--Decreta Sac. Congr. Sti  Officii, p. 569 (Bibl. del R. Archivio di Stato in Roma, Fondo camerale, Congr. del S. Officio, vol. 3).--Ristretto cerca li Delitti più frequenti nel S. Officio, p. 18, 148 (MS. penes me).--Praxis procedendi, Cap. 18, n. 2, 3, 5 (Archivo hist, nacional, Inquisicion de Valencia).

8. Vida de Don Diego Duque de Estrada (Mem. hist, español, XIII, 55-60.

Estrada relates that, after the torture, he paid the executioner two hundred ducats to preserve him from being crippled. The process was very painful, consisting of stretching the limbs and rubbing with an ointment composed of equal parts of fat of man, snake, bear, lion, viper and frog, melted over a slow fire with oil of sweet almonds, of pericon, camomile, rosado and balsam of the East. The treatment was successful.

For a frightful case of torture in Antwerp, as late as 1792, extending at intervals over more than a year, see Eugene Hubert, La Torture dans les Pays-Bas Autrichiens, pp. 124-9 (Bruxelles, 1897).

9. Archivo de Simancas, Inquisicion, Libro 939, fol. 121.

10. Instrucciones de 1561,  §21 (Arguello, fol. 30)

11. Archivo hist, nacional, Inquisicion de Toledo, Leg. 99, n. 25.

12. Ibidem, Leg. 54, n. 356.--Boletín, XXIII, 335-7.--Instrucciones de 1561, § 50 (Arguello, fol. 34).

13. Archivo hist, nacional, Inquisicion de Valencia, Leg. 3, n. 7, fol. 393.

14. Pablo García, Orden de Proeessar, fol. 27-8.

15. Archivo hist, nacional, Inquisicion de Valencia, Leg. 299, fol. 80.

16. Archivo de Simancas, Inquisicion, Leg, 939. fol. 113.--Instrucciones de 1561, 50 (Arguello, fol. 34).

17. Archivo de Alcalá, Hacienda, Leg. 5442 (Lib. 6).--MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 20, T. I.

18. Archivo de Simancas, Inquisicion, Lib 934.

19. Simancas Enchirid., Tit. LII, n. 33.

20. Archivo de Simancas, Inquisicion, Leg. 552, fol. 17, 22, 23.

21. Archivo hist. nacional, Inquisicion de Toledo, Leg. 176, n. 679.

22. Archivo hist. nacional, Inquisicion de Toledo, Leg. 299, fol. 80 ; Leg. 61.-- Archivo de Simancas, Inquisicion, Lib. 939, fol. 342

23. MSB. of Library of Univ. of Halle, YC, 20. T. I

24. Archivo de Simancas, Inquisicion, Leg. 552, fol. 36

25. Ibidem, Lib. 939, fol 110 Lib. 4).

26. Elucidationes Sti  Officii, §21 (Archivo de Alcalá, Hacienda, Leg. 2442.

27. Archivo hist, nacional, Inquisicion de Valencia, Leg. 299, fol. 80.--Elucidationes Sancti Officii, 22 (ubi sup).--Bibl. nacional, MSS., V, 377, Cap. §§ii, 3, 4; Cap. v, § 4.--Pegnae, Comment. 110 in Eymerici Direct. P.III.--Simancas de Cath. Institt. Tit. LXV, n. 23-34; Ejusd. Enchirid. Tit. LIII, n. 17, 19.-- Archivo de Simancas, Inquisicion, Lib. 933.

28. Archivo hist. nacional, Inquisicion de Valencia, Leg. 299, fol. 80.--Pegnae, loc. cit.--Simancae de Cath. Institt., loc. cit.

29. MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 20. T. I.

30. Archivo hist. nacional, Inquisicion de Valencia, Leg. 299, fol. 80.--MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 20, T. I.--Bibl. nacional, MSS., Pp, 28; Ibidem, V, 377, Cap. ii,§§ II 6, 7; Cap. v.

31. Rojas de Haeret, P. I, n. 374.

32. MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 20, T. VI.

33. Const. 17, Cod. ix, ii.--Pseudo-Julii Epist. II, Cap. xviii.--Gratiani Decret. P. II, Caus. v, q. 3, c. 5.

34. Innocent. P P. IV Bull. Ad extirpando, §26 (Bullar. Roman. I, 91).--Locati Opus judiciale Inquisitor, p. 477 (Romae, 1570).

35. Praxis procedendi, Cap, 18, n. 16-21 (Archivo hist, nacional, Inquisicion de Valencia).--Simancse Enchirid. Tit. LII, n. 31.--Instrucciones del 561, §45 (Arguello, fol. 33).

36. Archivo de Simancas, Inquisicion, Lib. 812, Lima, fol. 20-24.

37. Archivo hist, nacional, Inquisicion de Valencia, Leg. 61.--Praxis procedendi, Cap. 18, n. 13 (Ibidem).

38. Bibl. nationale de France, fonds espagnol, n. 81.

39. Pegnae Comment. 110 in Eymerici Director. P. III.--Simancas de Cath. Institt, Tit. LXV, n. 50.--MSS. of Royal Library of Copenhagen, 218b, p. 269.

40. Llorente, Hist, crít., Cap. XVIII, Art. 1, n. 24.

41. Archivo de Simancas, Inquisicion, Lib. 939, fol. 110.--Instrucciones de 1561, §§ 48-55 (Arguello, fol. 33-4).

42. MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 20, T. I.

43. Archivo hist, nacional. Inquisicion de Valencia, Leg. 2, n. 10, fol. 74.

44. Ibidem, Leg. 2, n. 7, fol. 5; n. 10, fol. 37. 79.

45. Archivo hist. nacional, Inquisicion de Valencia, Leg. 3, n. 7, fol. 346.

46. MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 20, T. I.--Archivo hist, nacional, Inquisicion de Valencia, Leg. 9, n. 1, fol. 102, 148.

47. Archivo de Simancas, Inquisicion, Lib. 934.

48. Ibidem, Lib. 977, fol. 267.

49. Archivo hist. nacional, Inquisicion de Valencia, Leg. 396.--MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 20. T. I.

50. Archivo de Simancas, Inquisicion, Lib. 934.

51. Ibidem, loc. cit.--Praxis procedendi, Cap. 18, n. 29 (Archivo hist. nacional, Inquisicion de Valencia).

52. Archivo gen. de la C. de Aragon, Regist. 3684, fol. 102.--Archivo de Simancas, Inquisicion, Lib. I.

53. Archivo de Simancas, Inquisicion, Lib. 78, fol. 56.

54. Archivo hist. nacional, Inquisicion de Valencia, Leg. 5, n. 3, fol. 143.

55. Archivo de Simancas, Inquisicion, Leg. 552, fol. 35.

56. Ibidem, Leg. 1480, fol. 13. In the accounts these are mostly described discreetly as "diligencias secretas."

57. Ibidem, Lib. 939, fol. 110.--Archivo hist. nacional, Inquisicion de Valencia, Leg. 299, fol. 80.

58. Archivo de Simancas, Inquisicion, Lib. 934.

59. Thus in the trial of Isabel de Montoya, after she is stripped "luego se le mandaron poner los paños de la vergüenza" (MS. penes me).

60. Instrucciones de 1561, §49 (Arguello, fol. 34).--Archivo hist. nacional, Inquisicion de Valencia, Leg. 299, fol. 80.

61. Pablo García, Orden de Processar, fol. 29.

62. Archivo hist, nacional, Inquisicion de Valencia, Leg. 299, fol. 80.

63. Archivo hist. nacional, Inquisicion de Toledo, Leg. 99, n. 25.--In the record there is on the margin a rude outline of the escalera, thus IIIII.

64. Proceso contra Manuel Diaz; Proceso contra Mari Rodríguez (MSS. penes me).

65. I owe a copy of the Córdova letter and Galicia correspondence to the kindness of the late General Don Vicente Riva Palacio of Mexico. Their existence there would indicate that they were sent to all the tribunals. The 1662 instructions of the Suprema are in the Simancas archives, Inquisicion, Lib. 934; Lib. 977, fol. 267.

66. Instrucciones de 1561, §48 (Arguello, fol. 33).

67. Praxis procedendi, Cap. 18, n. 29 (Archivo hist,.nacional, Inquisicion de Valencia).--Archivo de Simancas, Inquisicion, Leg. 552, fol. 36.

Paul III when regulating, in 1548, criminal practice in Rome forbade torture prolonged for an hour or more, or that it should be interrupted for dinner or supper.--Pauli PP. III Const. Ad onus Apostolicoe, § 6 (Bullar. I. 776).

68. Archivo hist. nacional, Inquisicion de Valencia, Leg. 3, n. 7, fol. 436.

69. Archivo de Simancas, Inquisicion, Leg. 552, fol. 2, 40.

70. Ibidem, Leg. 552, fol. 23, 31.

71. Archivo hist. nacional, Inquisicion de Toledo, Leg. 138.

72. Pablo García, Orden de Processar, fol. 30.

73. Proceso contra Mari López la Salzeda, fol. 7 (MS. penes me).

74. See the case of Manuel González, at Guadalupe, in 1485 (Boletín, XXIII, 337).

75. Instrucciones de 1484, §15 (Arguello, fol. 6).

76. Archivo hist. nacional, Inquisicion de Toledo, Leg. 112, n. 74, fol. 82-5.

77. Simancas (De Cath. Instt. Tit. LXV, n. 81) pronounces decidedly against a third torture, though he says that many authorities favor it and I have met with such cases, e. g., Manuel Henríquez at Toledo in 1585 (MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 20, T. I.).

78. Archivo de Simancas, Inquisicion, Leg. 552, fol. 33.

79. Elucidationes Sti Officii, § 22 (Archivo hist, nacional, Leg. 544 2, Lib. 4).

80. Bibl. nacional, MSS., Kk, 53.

81. Simancas de Cath. Instt. Tit. LXV, n. 74-75.--Elucidationes Sti Officii, 22 (Archivo de Alcalá, Hacienda, Leg. 544 2, Lib. 4)

82. Instrucciones de 1561, §54 (Arguello, fol. 34).

83. Archivo de Alcalá, Hacienda, Leg. 544 2 (Lib. 4).

84. Archivo hist, nacional, Inquisicion de Valencia, Leg. 2, n. 10, fol. 13, 14, 16, 28, 38, 39, 79.

85. Bibl. nacional, MSS., V, 377, Cap. 4, 5.

86. Bibl. nacional, MSS., S. 294, fol. 375.

87. Archivo de Simancas, Inquisicion, Leg. 552, fol. 2, 6.

88. Danvila y Collado, Expulsión de los Moriscos, p. 227.

89. Archivo hist, nacional, Inquisicion de Valencia, Leg. 387.

90. Royal Library of Berlin, Qt. 9548.

91. Archivo hist. nacional, Inquisicion de Toledo, Leg. 154, n. 356.

92. Proceso contra Mari Gómez (MS. penes me).

93. Archivo hist,=. nacional, Inquisicion de Toledo, Leg. 138.--Bibl. nacional, MSS., Kk, 53.

94. MSS. of Library of University of Halle, Yc, 20, T. I.

95. Archivo de Simancas, Inquisicion, Libro 812, Lima, fol. 20-1; Leg. 552.

96. Archivo hist. nacional, Inquisicion de Valencia, Leg. 3, n. 7, fol. 443.

97. MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 20, T. I.

98. Cédulas de Fernando VII, n. 78, p. 99 (Valencia, 1814)

99. Llorente, Hist. crít. Cap. XLIV, Art. 1, n. 38.

100. Ordenanzas del concejo Real de su Magestad y los Aranzeles que han de guardar los Relatores, etc., fol. xxv (Valladolid, 1556).

101. Deer. Sac. Cong. Sti Officii, p. 508 (Bibl. del R. Archivio di Stato in Roma, Fondo Camerale, Congr. del S. Officio, Vol. 3.