THE LIBRARY OF IBERIAN RESOURCES ONLINE
A History of the Inquistion of Spain
Volume Four
Henry Charles Lea 
BOOK 8: Spheres of Action
CHAPTER 9
WITCHCRAFT

[206] The culmination of sorcery was witchcraft and yet it was not the same. In it there is no longer talk of pact with the demon, express or tacit, to obtain certain results, with the expectation of washing out the sin in the confessional and thus cheating the devil. The witch has abandoned Christianity, has renounced her baptism, has worshipped Satan as her God, has surrendered herself to him, body and soul, and exists only to be his instrument in working the evil to her fellow-creatures, which he cannot accomplish without a human agent. That such a being should excite universal detestation was inevitable, and that no effort should be spared for her extermination was the plainest duty of legislator and judge. There are no pages of European history more filled with horror than those which record the witch-madness of three centuries, from the fifteenth to the eighteenth. No land was more exposed to the contagion of this insanity than Spain where, for more than a hundred years, it was constantly threatening to break forth. That it was repressed and rendered comparatively harmless was due to the wisdom and firmness of the Inquisition.

This witch-madness was essentially a disease of the imagination, created and stimulated by the persecution of witchcraft. Whereever the inquisitor or civil magistrate went to destroy it by fire, a harvest of witches sprang up around his footsteps. If some old crone repaid ill-treatment with a curse, and the cow of the offender chanced to die or his child to fall sick, she was marked as a witch; the judge had no difficulty in compelling such confession as he desired and in obtaining a goodly list of accomplices; everyone who had met with ill-luck hurried forward with his suspicions and accusations. Every prosecution widened the circle, until nearly the whole population might become involved, to be followed by executions numbered, not by the score but by the hundred, in blind obedience to the scriptural injunction "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." All destructive elemental disturbances [207] --droughts or flood, tempests or hail-storms, famine or pestilence--were ascribed to witchcraft, and victims were sought, as though to offer propitiatory holocausts to the infernal gods or expiatory sacrifices to the Creator.

Belief in witchcraft was of comparatively recent origin, dating from the middle of the fourteenth century. Malignant sorcery had been known before, but the distinctive feature of the Sabbat first makes its appearance at this period--the midnight gathering to which the devotees of Satan were carried through the air, where they renounced Christ and worshipped their master, in the shape usually of a goat, but sometimes in that of a handsome or hideous man; where they feasted and danced and indulged in promiscuous intercourse, accommodating demons serving as incubi or succubi, and were conveyed back home, where other demons, assuming their shape, had protected their absence from observation. (1)

The development of this myth would seem ascribable to the increasing rigor of persecution towards the end of the fourteenth century, when, as we have seen, the University of Paris formulated the theory that pact with Satan was inherent in all magic, leading judges, in their eager exploration of cases brought before them, to connect this assumed pact with an old belief of night-riders through the air, who swept along in gathering hosts. With the methods in use, the judge or the inquisitor would have little difficulty in finding what he sought. When once such a belief was disseminated by trials and executions, the accused would seek to escape endless torture by framing confessions in accordance with leading questions and thus a tolerably coherent, though sometimes discordant, formula was developed, to which witches in every land were expected to conform. That this was a new development is shown by the demonologists of the fifteenth century-- Nider and Jaquerius, Sprenger and Bernardo da Como--treating witches as a new sect, unknown before that age, and to this Innocent VIII impliedly gave the sanction of the Holy See in his well-known bull, Summis desiderantes, in 1484. This rapidly growing [208] belief in the power of witchcraft and the duty of its extermination were stimulated by nearly every pope for almost a hundred years-- by Eugenius IV in 1437 and 1445, by Calixtus III in 1457, by Pius II in 1459, and, after the special utterance of Innocent VIII, by Alexander VI in 1494, by Julius II, by Leo X in 1521, by Adrian VI, in 1523 and by Clement VII in 1524. (2)

While, for the most part, the so-called confessions of witches under trial were the result of the torture so unsparingly employed, there can be little doubt that at least a portion were truthful accounts of illusions really entertained. Even as the trances and visions of the mystics, such as Santa Teresa and the Venerable María de Agreda, are attributable to auto-hypnotism and autosuggestion so, when the details of the Sabbat were thoroughly established and became as much a part of popular belief as the glories seen in mystic ecstasy, it is easy to understand how certain temperaments, seeking escape from the sordid miseries of laborious poverty, might acquire the power of inducing trances in which the transport to the meeting-place, the devil-worship and the sensual delights that followed, were impressed upon the imagination as realities. The demonographers give us ample accounts of experiments in which the suspected witch was thrown into a trance by the inunction of her ointment and, on awaking, gave a detailed account of her attendance on the Sabbat and of what she did and saw there. This should be borne in mind when following the long debate between those who upheld the reality of the Sabbat and those who argued that it was generally or always a delusion.

To appreciate the attitude of the Spanish Inquisition in this debate the origin of the myth must be understood. The flying by night of female sorcerers to places of assemblage was an ancient belief, entertained by Hindus, Jews and the classical nations. This was handed down through the middle ages, but was regarded by the Church as a relic of paganism to be suppressed. There was an utterance, not later than the ninth century, which denounced as an error, induced by the devil, the popular belief that wicked women ride through the air at night under the leadership of Diana and Herodias, wherefore priests everywhere were commanded to [209] disabuse the faithful and to teach that those who professed to take part in these nocturnal excursions were deluded by dreams inspired by the demon, so that he who believed in their reality entertained the faith of the devil and not that of God. This utterance was ascribed to an otherwise unknown Council of Anquira; it passed through all the collections of canons--Regino, Burchard and Ivo-- found a place finally in the authoritative Decretum of Gratian, where it became known to canonists as the canon Episcopi. (3)

When, therefore, in the fifteenth century, there was formulated the perfected theory of the witches' Sabbat, it had to struggle for existence. No theologian stood higher than St. Antonino, Archbishop of Florence, yet in his instructions to confessors, he requires them to ascertain from penitents whether they believe that women can be transformed into cats, can fly by night and suck the blood of children, all of which he says is impossible, and to believe it is folly. Nor was he alone in this, for similar instructions are given by Angelo da Chivasso and Bartolommeo de Chaimis in their authoritative manuals. (4) The new school could only meet the definitions of the can. Episcopi by asserting that witchcraft was the product of a new sect, more pernicious than all former inventions of the demon. This brought on a warm discussion between lawyers like Ponzinibio on the one side and papal theologians on the other, such as Silvester Prierias, Master of the Sacred Palace and his successor Bartolommeo Spina, and the authority of the Holy See triumphed over scepticism.

Spain, in the fifteenth century, lay somewhat out of the currents of European thought, and the new doctrine as to the Sabbat found only gradual acceptance there. Alfonso Tostado, Bishop of Avila, the most learned Spanish theologian of the time, in 1436, treats the Sabbat as a delusion caused by the inunction of drugs, but subsequently he argues away the can. Episcopi and says that the truth is proved by innumerable cases and by the judicial penalties inflicted. (5) Even so bigoted and credulous a writer as Alonso de Espina treats it as a delusion wrought by the demon to whom [210] the witch has given herself and so does Cardinal Torquemada, in his Commentary on the Decretum. (6) Martin de Aries, Canon of Pampeluna, speaks of the Broxoe who flourished principally in the Basque provinces, north of the Pyrenees; the belief in them he treats as a false opinion and quotes the can. Episcopi as authoritatively proving it to be a delusion. At the same time he admits that sorcerers can ligature married folk, can injure men and devastate their fields and harvests, which are works of the demon operating through them. (7) Bernardo Basin, of Saragossa, who had studied in Paris, took a middle ground; the Council of Anquira is not authoritative, in some cases there may be illusions sent by the demon, in others the Sabbat is a reality. (8) In 1494, the Repertorium Inquisitorum recognizes the existence of witches, who were popularly known as Xorguinas; it quotes the essential portion of the can. Episcopi in answer to the question whether they are justiciable by the Inquisition, adding that such a belief is an illusion wrought by the demon but, although it is folly, it is infidelity worse than paganism, and can be prosecuted as heresy. (9) The Inquisition itself could have no doubt as to its powers; if the Sabbat was true, the witch was an apostate; if a delusion, she was a heretic and in either case subject to its jurisdiction.

This reference to Xorguinas shows that witches were already well known in Spain, and we can assume from subsequent developments that their principal seat was in the mountainous districts along the Pyrenees, penetrating perhaps from France and favored by the ignorance of the population, its sparseness and poverty. (10) The earliest case, however, that I have met of prosecution by the Inquisition was in 1498, when Gracia la Valle was burnt in Saragossa. This was followed in 1499 by the burning of María, wife [211] of García Biesa and, in January 1500, by that of three women, Nanavina, Estefabrita and Marieta, wife of Aznar Pérez. There was an interval then until 1512, when there were two victims, Martina Gen and María de Arbués. There was no other in Saragossa until 1522, when Sancha de Arbués suffered, and the last one in the record is Catalina de Joan Diez, in 1535. (11) Persecution would seem to be more active in Biscay, for Llorente quotes from a contemporary MS. a statement that in 1507 there were burnt there more than thirty witches, leading Martin de Aries y Andosilla to write a learned treatise on the subject, printed in Paris in 1517. (12) It would seem that, in 1517, there was a persecution on foot in Catalonia, for the Barcelona inquisitors were ordered to visit the mountainous districts, especially in the diocese of Urgel, to publish edicts against the witches and to prosecute them with all rigor. (13) Doubtless there were other developments of which no trace has reached us, and there was every prospect that Spain would be the seat of an epidemic of witchcraft which, if fostered by persecution, would rival the devastation commencing throughout the rest of Europe.

The time had scarce come for a change of policy, but there is a manifestation of a spirit of doubt and inquiry, very different from the unreasoning ferocity prevalent elsewhere. Arnaldo Albertino tells that, in 1521, at Saragossa, by command of Cardinal Adrian, he was called in consultation by the Suprema, over two cases, when he pronounced the Sabbat to be a delusion. (14) Possibly one of these cases may have been the woman who, we have seen, was burnt at Saragossa in 1522, but the effect of such a discussion is visible, in this same year 1522, in an Edict of Grace addressed to the witches of Jaca and Ribagorza, granting them six months in which to come forward and confess their offences. (15) Considering that, about this time, Leo X and Adrian VI were vigorously promoting the massacre by wholesale of witches in the Lombardo-Venitian valleys, and resenting any interference with the operation of the inquisitors, such action on the part of the Suprema is of marked significance.

[212] It evidently felt the matter to be one requiring the most careful consideration and, on the outbreak of a witch-craze in Navarre, stimulated by the secular authorities, it assembled, in 1526, a "congregation" in Granada, laid the papers before it and asked its examination of the whole subject, which was condensed into six questions, going to the root of the matter: 1. Whether witches really commit the crimes confessed, or whether they are deluded. 2. Whether, if these crimes are really committed, the culprits are to be reconciled and imprisoned, or to be delivered to the secular arm. 3. Whether, if they deceive and do not commit these things, they are to be similarly punished, or otherwise. 4. Whether the cognizance of these crimes pertains to the Inquisition and if so, whether this is fitting. 5. Whether the accused are to be judged on their confessions without further evidence and to be condemned to the ordinary punishment. 6. What will be a wholesome remedy to extirpate the pest of these witches. (16) The mere submission to rational discussion of such a series of questions shows a desire to reach a just method of treatment, wholly at variance with practice elsewhere, when legislators and judges were solely occupied with devising schemes to fight the devil with his own weapons and to convict, per fas et nefas, the unfortunates who chanced to incur suspicion. (17)

The ten members of the congregation were all men of consideration and included the Licentiate Valdés, in whom we may recognize the future inquisitor-general. On the first question, as to reality or delusion, the vote stood six to four in favor of reality, Valdés being one of the minority and explaining that he regarded the proofs of the accusations as insufficient, and desired inquisitors to be instructed to make greater efforts at verification. The second question was of the highest importance. For ordinary heresy, confession and repentance ensured exemption from the stake but, in the eagerness to punish witchcraft, when a witch confessed it was customary to abandon her, either formally or informally, to be punished by the secular authorities for the crimes assumed to be proved against her--usually sucking the blood of [213] children or encompassing the death of adults. Obedience to the Scriptural injunction of not suffering a witch to live was general. (18) On this point there was wide variety of opinion, but the majority decided that, when culprits were admitted to reconciliation, they were not to be remitted to the secular judges, to be punished for homicides, for such homicides might be illusory, and there was no proof beyond their confessions; after they had completed the penance assigned to them, if the secular judges chose to try them for homicide, the Inquisition could not interfere. This decision was adopted in practice and, some years later, was cited in justification of protecting convicted witches from the secular courts.

On the third question, votes were too much divided for any definite result. On the fourth there was substantial affirmative agreement. On the fifth, five voted that confession sufficed, but Valdés limited its sufficiency to the minor inflictions of exile, vergüenza and scourging. With regard to the final question, as to remedial measures, it is worthy of remark that only three suggested greater activity and severity of the Inquisition; nearly all favored sending preachers to instruct and enlighten the ignorant population; two proposed reforming the regular clergy, and one the secular beneficed clergy; several thought well of building churches or monasteries on the spots where the Sabbats were held; one recommended an edict promising release from confiscation for those who would come forward within a specified time, and two voted that the Inquisition should give material aid to the poorer suspects, in order to relieve them from temptation. Valdés further presented detailed instructions for inquisitors, the most important of which were that the statements of witches implicating other parties were not to be accepted as satisfactory evidence, and that, when accused to the Inquisition, it should be ascertained [214] whether they had already been tortured by the secular judges. (19) Halting as these deliberations may seem, they manifest gleams of wholesome scepticism and an honest desire to reach the truth, when elsewhere throughout Christendom such questions were regarded as beyond discussion. Yet for awhile the Suprema was not prepared to allow these opinions to influence action. In 1527 there was an outbreak of witchcraft in Navarre, the treatment of which by Inquisitor Avellaneda he reports in a letter written, in response to an inquiry from Iñigo de Velasco, Constable of Castile. Witchcraft, he declared, was the worst evil of the time; he had written to the king and twice to the Suprema urging a remedy, but neither at court nor on the spot was there any one who understood its cure. For six months he had been laboring in the mountains, where, by the help of God, he had discovered many witches. In a raid on the valley of Salazar he had captured a number and brought them to Pampeluna where, with the regent and members of the Royal Council and other doctors and lawyers, the whole subject was discussed; it was agreed that witches could be carried through the air to the Sabbat, and that they committed the crimes ascribed to them--principally, it would seem, on the strength of an experiment which he had tried with one of his prisoners. On a Friday at midnight he allowed her to anoint herself with the magic unguent which they used; she opened a window overhanging a precipice, where a cat would be dashed to pieces, and invoked the demon who came and deposited her safely on the ground--to be recaptured on Monday with seven others, three leagues away. These were all executed, after which he prosecuted his researches and discovered three places of assemblage--one in the valley of Salazar, with two hundred and fifty members, of whom he had captured sixty, another with eighty members in another valley and a third near Roncesvalles with over two hundred. Fifty had been executed and he hoped, with the favor of God to despatch twenty more. He had discovered that which, if proper assistance were given to him, would redound to the great service of God and benefit to the Republic for, without God's mercy, the evil would grow and the life of no one would be safe. To gratify the curiosity of the constable, Avellaneda proceeded to give a detailed account of the wonders and wickedness of the Sabbat and the evils wrought by witches. In spite of all his [215] efforts the demon urged them on to still greater crimes by showing them phantoms of those who had been executed, pretending that he had resuscitated them and would resuscitate all who might be put to death. This evil, he concludes, is general throughout the world. If the constable wishes to ascertain whether there are witches in his district, he has only to observe whether the grain is withered while in bloom, or the acorns fail in the mountains, or there are children smothered, for wherever these things occur, there are witches. (20) Altogether, Avellaneda affords a typical illustration of the manner in which witchcraft was created and spread by the witch-finders.

There is no reason to suppose that Avellaneda was reproved for the exuberance of his zeal, for his policy was continued in 1528, when the witch epidemic was extending to Biscay, and the civil authorities were arresting and trying offenders. More eager to assert the jurisdiction of the Inquisition than to adopt the conclusions of the congregation, on February 22, 1528, Inquisitor-general Manrique ordered Sancho de Carranza de Miranda, Inquisitor of Calahorra, to go thither with full powers to investigate, try and sentence, even to relaxation, the witches who are reported to have abandoned the faith, offered themselves to the devil and wrought much evil in killing infants and ruining the harvests. He is to demand from the civil authorities all who have been arrested and the papers concerning their cases, for this is a matter pertaining to the Inquisition. A thorough inquest is to be made in all infected places, and edicts are to be published summoning within a given time and under such penalties as he sees fit, all culprits to come forward and all cognizant of such offences to denounce them. (21)

[216] There is in this no injunction of prudence and caution, no requirement that the cases are to be submitted for confirmation to the Calahorra tribunal; Carranza is provided with a fiscal and a notary, so that he can execute speedy justice and the Edict of Grace is replaced by an Edict of Faith.

It is not until 1530 that we find evidence that the discussion of 1526 was producing a change in the view taken of witchcraft and of the methods of its repression. A carta acordada, addressed to all the tribunals, enjoined special caution in all witchcraft cases, as it was a very delicate matter to handle, and this was followed by another manifesting a healthy scepticism and desire to repress popular superstition, for it stated that the ensalmadores, who cured diseases by charms, asserted that all sickness was caused by witches, wherefore they were to be asked what they meant and why they said so. (22)

The practical position assumed by this time may be gathered from a letter of December 11, 1530, from the Suprema to the Royal Council of Navarre, when a fresh outbreak of the witch-craze had, as usual, brought dissension between the tribunal and the secular courts, for the latter refused to acknowledge the exclusive jurisdiction of the Inquisition, and complained of its delays and the leniency of its sentences, in comparison with the speedy and unsparing action demanded by popular clamor. The Suprema now, in reply to the complaints of the Royal Council against the Calahorra tribunal, replied that this matter of the witches was not new; on a previous occasion there had been the same altercation; some of the cases which had caused the most complaint had been brought to the court and had, by order of the emperor, been examined by learned men when, after much debate, it was ordered that the prisoners should be delivered to the inquisitors who, after examining them, should try those pertaining to their jurisdiction and surrender the others. There was much doubt felt as to the verification of the crimes alleged, and the Suprema deplored the executions by the secular courts, for the cases were not so clear as had been supposed. In view of all this, inquisitors were enjoined to use caution and moderation, for there is so much ambiguity in these cases that it seems impossible for human reason to reach the truth. When the same questions had arisen elsewhere, the Suprema had ordered the inquisitors to act with the greatest circumspection, [217] for these matters were most delicate and perilous, and some inexperienced judges had been deceived in treating them. The Suprema therefore deprecated a competencia; it entreated the Royal Council to hand all cases over to the tribunal, which would return those not subject to its jurisdiction, and the inquisitors would be ordered to remove the censures and fines--which shows that the quarrel had been pushed to extremes. (23) There was equal determination in resisting the claims of the episcopal courts to jurisdiction. In 1531 the Saragossa tribunal complains of the intrusion of the Bishop of San Angelo, who had refused to surrender a prisoner and had invited the tribunal to join him in prosecuting witches in places under his jurisdiction. To him the Suprema accordingly wrote, asserting the exclusive cognizance of the Inquisition and requiring him to deliver to the tribunal any prisoners whom he had arrested. (24)

The cautious and sceptical attitude assumed by the Suprema was all the more creditable because the leading authorities of the period were firm in their conviction of the reality of witchcraft. Arnaldo Albertino, himself an inquisitor who, in 1521, had deemed the Sabbat an illusion, writing about 1535, says that since then, on mature consideration, he had reached the opposite opinion; he now accepts all the horrors and crimes ascribed to witches and argues away the can. Episcopi. Alfonso de Castro, another writer of the highest distinction at this time, gives full credence to the most extravagant stories of the Sabbat, and he disposes of the can. Episcopi by asserting that it referred to an entirely different sect. (25)

Notwithstanding all this, the Suprema pursued its course in restraining the cruel zeal of the tribunals. The craze was spreading in Catalonia, where it required the Barcelona tribunal to submit to it for confirmation all sentences in these cases. In 1537, it returned, July llth, a number of sentences, with its decisions as to each, and instructions as to the future. The tribunal was chafing under the unaccustomed restriction, and the fiscal was scandalized at the solicitude displayed for the friendless wretches who, everywhere but in Spain, were deprived of the most ordinary safeguards against injustice, but the imperturbable Suprema maintained its [218] temperate wisdom. The utmost care, it said, was to be exercised to verify all testimony and to avoid conviction when this was insufficient. Arrests had been made on the mere reputation of being witches, for which the inquisitors were reproved and told that they must arrest no one on such grounds, nor on the testimony of accomplices, nor must those who denied their guilt be condemned as negativos. When any one confessed to being present at the killing of children or damage to harvests, verification must be sought as to the death of the children at that time, and of what disease, and whether the crops had been injured. When such verification was made, arrests could follow and, if the character of the case and of the accused required it, torture could be employed. (26) It will be noted how much more scrupulous was the care enjoined in these cases than in those of Moriscos and Judaizers, and the limitation on the use of torture is especially observable, as that was the universal resort in witchcraft throughout Europe.

It was difficult to enforce these rules in Barcelona. The result of the visitation of Francisco Vaca was a long series of rebukes, in 1550, largely concerning the procedure in witch cases and eventually leading to the dismissal of Inquisitor Sarmiento, although his offences were simply what was regarded, everywhere but in Spain, as the plain duty of those engaged in a direct contest with Satan, represented by his instrument the witch. Sarmiento is told that he made arrests without sufficient proofs and accepted the evidence taken by secular officials without verifying it, as required by the practice of the Inquisition, and, whereas the Suprema ordered certain precautions taken before concluding cases, he concluded them without doing so, and subjected parties to reconciliation and scourging that were not included in the sentence. Although the Suprema had ordered all sentences of relaxation to be submitted to it, he had relaxed seven persons as witches, in disregard of this, and when repeatedly commanded to present himself, he had never done so. Then the fiscal was taken to task because he had been present at the examination of witches, conducting the interrogation himself, putting leading questions, telling them what to confess and assuring them that this was not like a secular court, where those who confessed were executed. In the case of Juana, daughter of Benedita de Burgosera, he told her that she was a witch, that her mother had made her a witch and had [219] taken her to the Bach de Viterna, and he detailed to her the murders committed by her mother. In witch cases he caused arrests without presenting clamosas or submitting evidence, but when he learned that a visitor was coming he fabricated and inserted them in the papers. In this the notary del secreto was his accomplice besides taking part in the examinations, bullying the accused and making them confess what was wanted by threats and suggestions. The alcaide of the prison had allowed one of the prisoners, who endeavored to save himself by accusing others, to enter the cells and persuade the prisoners to confess and not to revoke; the alcaide had also urged the women to confess, telling them that they were guilty and promising them release if they would confess and, when taking back to his cell a man who had revoked his confession, he so threatened the poor wretch that he returned and withdrew his revocation. (27) Elsewhere than in Spain such methods of securing confession were the veriest commonplaces in witch trials.

Meanwhile the chronic witchcraft troubles in Navarre had called forth, in 1538, a series of enlightened instructions to Inquisitor Valdeolitas, who was sent with a special commission. He was told to pay no attention to the popular demand that all witches should be burnt, but to exercise the utmost discretion, for it was a most delicate matter, in which deception was easy. He was not to confiscate but could impose fines to pay salaries. He was to explain to the more intelligent of the people that the destruction of harvests was due to the weather or to a visitation of God, for it happened where there were no witches, while the accusations of homicide required the most careful verification. The Malleus Maleficarum --that Bible of the witch-finder--was not to be believed in everything, for the writer was liable to be deceived like every one else. The demands of the corregidores for the surrender of penitents, to be subsequently punished for their crimes, were not to be granted, under the decision of the congregation of 1526. Then, a year later, October 27, 1539, the Calahorra tribunal was notified that the Royal Council of Navarre had agreed to surrender thirty-four prisoners; one of the inquisitors was to go to Pampeluna to examine the cases; those pertaining to the Inquisition were to be tried in strict conformity with the instructions and the rest were to be left with the civil authorities. (28)

[220] In the instructions to Valdeolitas there is a phrase of peculiar interest, prescribing special caution with regard to the dreams of the witches when they sally forth to the Sabbat, as these are very deceitful. This, so far as I have observed, is the earliest official admission of the view taken in the can. Episcopi that the midnight flights were illusions. We have seen how this was denied by Albertino and de Castro. Ciruelo admits that there are two ways in which the Xorguina attends the Sabbat, one by personally flying, and the other by anointing herself and falling into a stupor, when she is spiritually conveyed, but both are the work of the demon and he admits of no distinction in the punishment. (29) Bishop Simancas, also an inquisitor, has no doubt as to the bodily transportation of the witch to the Sabbat; he admits that most jurists hold to the theory of illusion, as expressed in the can. Episcopi, but theologians, he says, are unanimous in maintaining the reality; he argues that the can. Episcopi does not refer to witches, and that stupor with illusions is much more difficult to comprehend than the truth of the Sabbat. (30)

With such a consensus of opinion as to the truth of the Sabbat, or Aquelarre as it came to be called (from a Biscayan word signifying "field of the goat") it is not surprising that the Suprema advanced slowly in designating it as an illusion, although practically its instructions assumed that no reliance was to be placed on the multitudinous testimony of its existence, of the foul horrors enacted there and of the presence there of other votaries of Satan. A curious case, occurring at a somewhat later period, may be alluded to here as showing the conclusion reached on the subject, and as throwing light on the auto-suggestion and hypnotic state which lay at the bottom of the Sabbat, although its connection is merely with the carnal indulgence that formed a prominent feature of the nocturnal assemblies. In 1584 Anastasia Soriana, aged 28, wife of a peasant, denounced herself to the Murcia tribunal for having long maintained carnal relations with a demon. The tribunal [221] wisely regarded the matter as an illusion and dismissed the case without action. Twelve years later, in 1596, she presented herself to the tribunal of Toledo, with the same self-accusation and again, after due deliberation, she was discharged, although in any other land it would have gone hard with her. (31)

Meanwhile the Suprema continued the good work of protecting so-called witches from the cruelty of the secular courts and of restraining the intemperate zeal of its own tribunals. The craze, in 1551, had extended to Galicia, where at the time there was no Inquisition. Many arrests had been made and trials were in progress by the magistrates, when a cédula of August 27th, evidently drawn up by the Suprema for the signature of Prince Philip, addressed to all officials, informed them that the matter of witchcraft was a very delicate one in which many judges had been deceived, wherefore, by the advice of the inquisitor-general, he ordered that all the testimony should be sent to the Suprema for its action, pending which the accused were to be kept under guard without proceeding further with their cases or with others of the same nature. (32) Then, in September, 1555, the Suprema forwarded to the Logroño tribunal two memorials from some towns in Guipúzcoa, with an expression of its sorrow that so many persons should [222] have been so suddenly arrested, for, from the testimony at hand and former experience, it thought that there was little basis for such action, and that wrong might be inflicted on many innocent persons. The evidence must be rigidly examined and, if it proved false, the prisoners must be discharged and the witnesses punished; if there was ground for prosecution, the trials might proceed, but the sentences must be submitted for confirmation and no more arrests be made without forwarding the testimony and awaiting orders. Six months later, in March, 1556, the Suprema concluded that the cases had not been substantiated; more careful preliminary investigations were essential for, in so doubtful a matter, greater caution was needed than in other cases. (33)

The secular authorities were restive under the deprivation of their jurisdiction over the crimes imputed to the witches; they continued to assert their claims, and the question came up for formal decision in 1575. The high court of Navarre had caused the arrest of a number of women and was trying them, when the Logroño tribunal, in the customary dictatorial fashion with threats of penalties, issued a summons to deliver all the prisoners and papers. This was duly read, November 24th, to the alcaldes, while sitting in court, to which they replied that the parties had been arrested under information that they had killed children and infants, that the women had had carnal intercourse with goats, and had killed cattle and injured harvests and vineyards with poisons and powders, and had carried off many children at night from their beds, while stupefying the adults with powders, of all of which as alcaldes they were the lawful judges. Therefore they appealed to the inquisitor-general against the penalties threatened and promised that, if the prisoners had committed heresy, they would be remitted to the inquisitors after undergoing punishment according to law. Finally they complained of the disrespect shown them and asked for a competencia.

The alcaldes further sent a memorial to the king, setting forth their claims to jurisdiction for crimes other than heresy, protesting against the assumption of the inquisitors to be sole judges of what pertained to them, to inhibit proceedings in the interim, and to interfere with the death-penalty which the alcaldes might decree. The royal court also petitioned the king in the same sense, adding [223] that the prisoners spoke a dialect unintelligible to the inquisitors and that, if the cases were transferred, the king would lose the confiscations, which promised to be large. All this proved vain. A letter of the Suprema to the tribunal, in 1576, informs it that the alcaldes had been ordered to surrender all the prisoners and the papers in the cases. (34) While this matter was in progress, a similar controversy arose about numerous witches in Santander, for a letter of January 10, 1576, instructs the Logroño tribunal that it can proceed against them for anything savoring of heresy, requiring the secular judges meanwhile to suspend proceedings; the facts are to be carefully verified and everything is to be submitted to the Suprema. (35)

The use made by the tribunals of the jurisdiction thus secured for them, under the cautions so sedulously inculcated, may be gathered from a case in the Toledo tribunal, in 1591, which further shows that witchcraft was not wholly confined to the mountainous districts of the east and north. The vicar of Alcalá had arrested three women of Cazar, Catalina Matheo, Joana Izquierda, and Olalla Sobrina. During the previous four years there had been four or five deaths of children; among the villagers, the three women had the reputation of witches, and sixteen witnesses testified to that effect. The vicar tortured them and obtained from Catalina a confession that, some four or five years before, Olalla asked her whether she would like to become a witch and have carnal intercourse with the demon. Then Joana one night invited her to her house where she found Olalla; the demon came in the shape of a goat, they danced together and after some details unnecessary to repeat, Olalla anointed the joints of her fingers and toes, they stripped themselves and flew through the air to a house which they entered by a window; placing somniferous herbs under the pillows of the parents, they choked to death a female infant, burning its back and breaking its arms. The noise aroused the parents and they flew with the goat back to Olalla's house. All this she ratified after due interval and repeated when confronted with Olalla, who had been tortured without confessing and who denied Catalina's story. As for Joana, she had likewise overcome the torture, but she had told the wife of the gaoler that one night [224] some fifteen witches, male and female, had forcibly anointed her and carried her to a field where they danced, Catalina being one of the leaders and Olalla a follower. This she repeated to the vicar, adding stories of being present when the children were killed, but taking no part in it, after which she duly ratified the whole. At this stage the vicar transferred his prisoners to the tribunal. Catalina, at her first audience, begged mercy for the false witness which, through torture, she had borne against herself and the others. Sixteen witnesses testified to the deaths of the children, and she was sentenced to torture, when, before being stripped, her resolution gave way and she repeated and ratified the confession made to the vicar. Joana asserted that her confession to the vicar had been made through fear of torture and she overcame torture without confessing, as likewise did Olalla. The outcome was that Catalina was sentenced to appear in an auto with the insignia of a witch, to abjure de levi, to be scourged with two hundred lashes, and to be recluded at the discretion of the tribunal. The other two were merely to appear in the auto and to abjure de levi, without further penance. This was not strictly logical, but anywhere else than in Spain, all three would have been tortured until they satisfied their judges, and would then have been burnt after denouncing numerous accomplices and starting a witchcraft panic. As it was, the Toledo tribunal had no more witchcraft cases up to the end of the record in 1610. (36)

The tribunal of Barcelona was more rational in 1597. In a report to the Suprema of a visitation made by Inquisitor Diego Fernández de Heredia, there occur the entries of Ana Ferrera, widow and Gilaberta, widow, both of Villafranca, accused by many witnesses of being reputed as witches and of killing many animals and infants, in revenge for little annoyances. Also, Francisco Cicar, of Bellney, near Villafranca, numerously accused as a wizard using incantations, telling where lost animals could be found, enchanting them so that wolves could not harm them, and killing the cattle of those who offended him. Here was the nucleus of a whole aquelarre for Villafranca, but all these cases are marked on the margin of the report as suspended, and nothing came of them. (37) The Logroño tribunal also showed its good sense, [225] in 1602, when a young woman of 25, named Francisca Buytran, of Alegria, accused herself in much detail, before Don Juan Ramírez, of witchcraft, including attendance at the aquelarre. She was brought before the tribunal, which dropped the whole matter as being destitute of truth; again the magistrates sent it back, asking that it be revived and prosecuted and, when this was refused, they scourged her in Alegria as an impostor who defamed her neighbors. (38)

Yet it was reserved for this same tribunal to give occasion to an agitation resulting in a clearer understanding than had hitherto been reached of the nature of the witch-craze, and rendering it impossible for the future that Spain should be disgraced by the judicial murders, or rather massacres, which elsewhere blacken the annals of the seventeenth century. One of the customary panics arose in Navarre. The secular authorities were prompt and zealous; they made many arrests, they extorted confessions and hastily executed their victims, apparently to forestall the Inquisition. The tribunal reported to the Suprema, which ordered one of the inquisitors to make a visitation of the infected district. Juan Valle de Alvarado accordingly spent several months in Cigarramundi and its vicinity, where he gathered evidence inculpating more than two hundred and eighty persons of having apostatized to the demon, besides multitudes of children, who were becoming witches, but who were yet too young for prosecution. The leaders and those who had wrought the most evil, to the number of forty, were seized and brought before the tribunal. By June 8, 1610, it was ready to hold the consulta de fe, consisting of the three inquisitors, Alonso Becerra, Juan Valle de Alvarado and Alonso de Salazar Frias, with the episcopal Ordinary and four consultors. In his vote, Salazar analyzed the testimony and showed its flimsy and inconclusive character; he seems to have had no scruples as to the reality of witchcraft, but he desired more competent proof, while his colleagues apparently had no misgivings. (39)

This was not the only retrograde step. For seventy-five years the Suprema had consistently repressed the ardor of persecution and had favored, without absolutely asserting, the theory of illusion, but its membership was constantly changing and it now [226] seems to have had a majority of blind believers. On August 3d it presented to Philip III a consulta relating, with profound grief, the conditions in the mountains of Navarre and the steps already taken. Since then further reports showed that the demon was busier than ever in misleading these poor ignorant folk, and the evil had increased so that there now were more than twenty aquelarres to which they gather, and the evil was still spreading; the people were greatly afflicted with the damages endured, and parents who saw their children misled were so desperate that they wanted to put them to death. An Edict of Grace was published, but the demon so blinded them that few took advantage of it, and these speedily relapsed. The progress of the infection was such that the powerful hand of the king was absolutely required for its rigorous repression, and the popular ignorance was so dense that orders should be issued to the Archbishop of Burgos and the Bishops of Calahorra, Pampeluna and Tarazona, whose dioceses were concerned, and to the Provincials of the Religious Orders, to send pious and learned men to instruct the people, while the vigilance would not be lacking of the inquisitors, who would shrink from no labor. (40) The Suprema evidently regarded the emergency as most serious, calling for united effort to withstand the victorious onslaught of the demon. It had wholly forgotten the wholesome caution which it had inculcated so sedulously since 1530 and there was imminent danger that Spain would be swept into the European current of witch-extermination.

Whether the pleasure-loving king organized the projected preaching crusade we do not know, but he was sufficiently impressed to promise that he would honor with his presence the coming auto de fe, which was fixed for November 7th. Something distracted his attention and, at the last moment, it was announced that important affairs would prevent his attendence. The disappointed inquisitors, on November 1st, wrote to the Suprema expressing their regret and reporting that there would be thirty-one persons in the auto, besides a large number of prisoners whose trials were under way.

Thus far twenty-two aquelarres had been discovered, and the accused were so numerous that the special favor of heaven would be necessary to overcome the evil. Accompanying this was a letter to the king, enclosing two of the sentences con méritos, [227] to enlighten him as to the ravages of the devil among his subjects. This sect of witches, they said, was of old date in the Pyrenees, and had of late spread over the whole region; the inquisitors were devoting their lives to its suppression; they were fighting the devil at close quarters, and they hoped to excite the royal zeal to lend the Inquisition efficient support. These letters bore the signature of Salazar as well as those of his colleagues. (41)

Great preparations had been made to render the auto impressive. Crowds assembled from a distance, and it was reckoned that in the processions there were a thousand familiars and officials. Two days were required for the solemnities and on the second day, to finish the work between dawn and sunset, many of the sentences had to be curtailed for, as usual, they were con méritos, with full details of the abominations of the aquelarres and the crimes of the culprits. All the grotesque obscenities, which the foul imaginations of the accused could invent to satisfy their prosecutors, were given at length, and doubtless impressed the gaping multitudes with the horror and detestation desired. One novelty in the sensual delights of the aquelarre was that the feast was usually composed of decaying corpses, which the witches dug up and conveyed there--especially those of their kindred, so that the father sometimes ate the son and the son the father--and it was stated that male flesh had a higher flavor than female. There were also the usual stories of the destruction of harvests by means of powders, of sucking the blood of infants, of bringing sickness and death by poisons so subtile that a single touch, in a pretended caress, would work its end. When the demon reproached them with slackness in evil-doing, two sisters, María Presona and María Joanto, agreed to kill the son and the daughter of the other, aged 8 and 9, and they did so with the powders. It was natural that a population, placing full credence in the existence of malignity armed with these powers, should be merciless in the resolve for its extermination. Yet the auto, in its absolute outcome, could scarce be classed with the murderous exhibitions to which the Spaniard had grown accustomed. In all there were fifty-three culprits, of whom but twenty-nine were witches of either sex. Of these there were eleven relaxed--five, who had died in prison, in effigy with their bones, and five negativos who had not been induced to confess. There was but one relaxation of a buen confitente, [228]María Zozaya, whose terrible confession overshot the mark, as it showed her to be a dogmatizer. Even under this excitement the Inquisition maintained its rule not to execute those who confessed and repented; under any other jurisdiction the eighteen who were reconciled would have been burnt, and of these apparently only five were scourged. (42)

Merciful as was this, the effect of the auto was to cause a revulsion of feeling among the more intelligent. When the local magistrates were proceeding as usual to arrest suspects, the alcaldes of the Royal Court of Navarre, early in 1611, interposed by arresting them in turn for exceeding their powers and prosecuted them to punishment. This incensed the Logroño tribunal which, on May 17th, addressed an energetic protest to the viceroy; the action of the local authorities had been of the utmost service, not only in sending culprits to the Inquisition, but in leading to many spontaneous self-accusations; this had now all ceased, and those who had confessed were beginning to retract; the tribunal had relied upon the court for aid in exterminating this accursed race and now it was protecting them. Possibly the tribunal may also have invoked the authority of the Suprema but, if so, it can have found no sympathy, for there also had there been a change of heart and a return to the old policy. On March 26th it had ordered the publication of an Edict of Grace, which Salazar was deputed to carry with him on a visitation to the infected districts and, after some delay, he started with it, May 22d, on a mission destined to open his eyes and put a permanent end to the danger of witchcraft epidemics in Spain. (43)

[229] To this a contribution of some weight, though by no means so influential as has been reckoned, was made by Pedro de Valencia, a disciple of Arias Montano, and one of the most learned men of his time. At the request of Inquisitor-general Sandoval y Rojas, he composed an elaborate "discourse" on witchcraft, addressed to Sandoval under date of April 20th. In this, after premising the great grief and compassion with which he had read the relations of the auto of the previous November, he proceeds to discuss three hypotheses. The first is rationalistic; there is no demon, the aquelarres are assemblages for sensual indulgence, to which the members go on foot, and the presiding demon is a man disguised. The second is illusion, produced by a pact with the demon, who gives to the witch an ointment throwing her into a stupor during which she imagines all that is related of the aquelarres, whence it follows that the evidence of the witch as to those whom she has seen there is not to be accepted. The destruction of cattle and harvests is the work of the demon, or may be accomplished by poisons. The third supposition, believed by the vulgar, in conformity with the evidence and confessions, is the most prodigious and horrible of all, and against this he brings his strongest arguments in full detail. Pedro does not express any positive conclusion of his own, but his reasoning all tends to support the second hypothesis--of stupor and illusion produced by the demonic ointment, and from this he deduces the result that witches are by no means innocent. They delight in the crimes which they believe themselves to commit, and desire to persevere in their apostasy from God and their servitude to the devil. Men sometimes become heretics through ignorance and mistaken zeal, but these seek the devil in all his hideousness for the purpose of partaking in foul and unhallowed pleasures. They merit any punishment that can be inflicted on them, for such rotten limbs should be lopped off, and the cancer be extirpated with fire and blood. Their conspiracies to kill and the crimes which they commit and the injuries inflicted on their neighbors, before and after these dreams deserve all this and greater rigor.

This virtual equalization of criminality in illusive and actual witchcraft was not likely to be of benefit to so-called witches, but there was wisdom in the caution which Pedro urged on judges, to assure themselves of the reality of alleged crimes and not, through preconceived views, to so direct their interrogatories as to lead ignorant, foolish, crazy or demoniac persons, like the [230] witnesses and the accused in these cases, to testify or to confess to extravagances, because they see that it is expected and hope to gain the favor of those holding the power of life or death. Similar stories were told of the early Christians and, in view of all this, and the utter legal insufficiency of the witnesses, the whole tissue of evidence and confessions vanishes into smoke. Amid all these deceits, the prudence of the judge should seek the true and the probable, rather than monstrous fictions for, if he desires to find the latter, he will be fully satisfied by the miserable lying women before him--disciples, by their own confession, of the father of lies. (44)

The inconsistencies in this discourse suggest that probably Pedro had stronger convictions than he deemed it wise to express. It is possible that Inquisitor Salazar may have read the paper and have been somewhat influenced by it, when he started in May on the visitation which proved to be the turning-point in the history of Spanish witchcraft, but we have seen that, in the consulta de fe of the previous June 10th, his attention had already been aroused by the contradictions and unsatisfactory character of the evidence on which the tribunal was accustomed to act and, when once his mind was directed to investigating the problems thus suggested, the close acquaintance with facts afforded by the visitation enabled him to reach conclusions vastly more definite than any which his predecessors ventured to form.

He started, as we have seen, on May 22, 1611, with the Edict of Grace; his work was thoroughly conscientious and he did not return until January 10, 1612, after which he employed himself, until March 24th, in drawing up his report to the Suprema, which was accompanied with the original papers, amounting to more than five thousand folios. It will be remembered that an Edict of Grace was published in 1610 with little or no result. In contrast with this, showing the effect of a different spirit in its administration, Salazar received eighteen hundred and two applicants, of whom thirteen hundred and eighty-four were children of from twelve to fourteen years of age and, besides these, there were eighty-one who revoked confessions previously made. All applicants for reconciliation made full confessions of misdeeds, after kindly warning of the obligation to tell the truth and the danger [231] of committing perjury, and were promised secrecy to relieve them of fear. The enormous mass of evidence thus collected Salazar carefully analyzed and presented under four heads--I, the manner in which witches go to the aquelarre, remain and return; II, the things they do and endure; III, the external proofs of these things; IV, the evidence resulting for the punishment of the guilty. The first two of these present a curious medley of marvels, such as holding aquelarres in the sea without being wet, and the testimony of three women that, after intercourse with the demon, in a few hours they gave birth to large toads; but we need not dwell on these feats of imaginative invention. The importance of the report lies in the last two sections.

Many instances are given to prove the illusory character of cases in which the penitent truthfully believed what she confessed. María de Echaverria, aged 80, one of the relapsed, made copious confessions, with abundant tears and heart-felt grief, seeking to save her soul through the Inquisition. Without her consent, she said, she was every night--even the preceding one--carried to the aquelarre, awaking during the transit and returning awake. No one saw her in going and coming, even her daughter, a witch of the same aquelarre, sleeping in the same bed. All the frailes present at her confession had a long discussion with her and the conviction was unanimous that what this good woman said of her witchcraft was a dream. Catalina de Sastrearena declared that, while she was waiting to be reconciled, she was suddenly carried to the aquelarre, but her companions said that they were talking to her during the time when she claimed to be absent. The mother of María de Tamborin testified to the girl telling her of going to the aquelarre, so she maintained close watch on her and kept a hand on her but was unaware of her absence. Physical examination, in several instances, showed that girls were virgins who had confessed to intercourse with demons. Many boys testified that, when Salazar went to San Esteban, there was a great aquelarre held, but his two secretaries happened that night to be on the spot indicated and they saw nothing. Thirty-six persons were examined as to the localities of nine aquelarres, but some said they did not know and others contradicted what they had confessed, so that none of the nine could be identified. As for the broths and unguents and powders so often described as used for flying to the aquelarres and working evil, nothing whatever could be learned. Twenty ollas had been brought forward during the [232] visitation, but investigation showed them all to be frauds, for physicians and apothecaries used the materials on animals without producing the slightest injury. From all this Salazar concludes that the matters confessed were delusions of the demon, and the accusations against accomplices were likewise induced by the demon. No testimony could be had from those not accomplices and he holds it a great marvel that, in a thing reputed to be of so wide an extent, there should be no external evidence accessible. (45)

Equally destructive to credibility, he says, were the threats and violence employed to extort confessions. One stated that he was burned with blazing coals and it inspires horror even to imagine how they were thus forced to pervert the truth. Sometimes the father or husband or brother would combine with the magistrate or the commissioner of the Inquisition. Thus all were forced to confess and to bear witness against their neighbors, so that it seems marvellous that any one escaped. The groundlessness of the whole was further exemplified by the fact that many who applied importunately to be admitted as witches to reconciliation were unable to confess anything requiring it. The belief was general that no one was safe who did not come forward and take the benefit of the edict, so that some invented confessions, while others admitted that they had nothing to confess, but all wanted certificates, for one of the violences committed had been to deny the sacraments to all reputed to be witches or testified against, and when they applied to Salazar their greatest anxiety was to obtain certificates entitling them to the sacraments.

As for the eighty-one who revoked their confessions, Salazar is sure that they did so to relieve their consciences. At first he refused to receive their revocations in compliance with the views of his colleagues, but he had subsequently orders from the Suprema to admit them. There would have been many more had it been generally understood that they could do so with safety; it was individual action on the part of each, for every care was taken not to let it be known who revoked, and some of them said that they must revoke if they had to burn for it, as they had wrongfully [233] accused others. One especially distressing case was that of Marquita de Jaurri, an old woman who had been reconciled at Logroño. She returned home with her conscience heavily burthened about those whom she had unjustly inculpated and, at her daughter's instance, she applied to her confessor. He ordered her to revoke her confession before Phelipe Díaz, the commissioner of Maeztu, but he rejected her with insult, telling her that she would have to be burnt for maliciously revoking what she had truthfully confessed, whereupon in a few days she drowned herself. It will be remembered (Vol. II, p. 582) that revocation of confession was held to prove impenitence, punishable by relaxation.

Salazar adds that the value of the evidence was still further diminished by the command of the demon to accuse the innocent and exonerate the guilty, and by the fact that bribes were given in order to have enemies prosecuted. In Vera, each of several boys accused about two hundred accomplices and, in Fuenterrabia a beggar boy of 12 accused a hundred and forty-seven. Besides those who revoked there were many who asked to have stricken out the names of those whom they had falsely accused so that, in all, there were sixteen hundred and seventy-two persons known as having had false witness borne against them, so that, when there were this many acknowledged perjuries, there could be little faith placed in the other accusations. The cause of the wide-extended and profound popular belief in the reality of witchcraft he ascribes solely to the auto de fe of Logroño, the Edict of Faith and the sending of an inquisitor through the district, which had caused such apprehension that there was no fainting-fit, no death and no accident that was not attributed to witchcraft. Fray Domingo de Velasco of San Sebastian, after preaching the Edict, told Salazar that for four months there had not been a natural tempest or hailstorm, but all had been the work of witches, yet when questioned he had no evidence save the gossip of the streets. Sailors exaggerated these reports and they were fomented by the knaves known as santigueadores, who professed to know the witches and sold charms and spells to counteract them.

In summing up the results of his experience Salazar declares that "Considering the above with all the Christian attention in my power, I have not found even indications from which to infer that a single act of witchcraft has really occurred, whether as to going to aquelarres, being present at them, inflicting injuries, [234] or other of the asserted facts. This enlightenment has greatly strengthened my former suspicions that the evidence of accomplices, without external proof from other parties, is insufficient to justify even arrest. Moreover, my experience leads to the conviction that, of those availing themselves of the Edict of Grace, three-quarters and more have accused themselves and their accomplices falsely. I further believe that they would freely come to the Inquisition to revoke their confessions, if they thought that they would be received kindly without punishment, for I fear that my efforts to induce this have not been properly made known, and I further fear that, in my absence, the commissioners whom, by your command, I have ordered to do the same, do not act with due fidelity, but, with increasing zeal are discovering every hour more witches and aquelarres, in the same way as before.

"I also feel certain that, under present conditions, there is no need of fresh edicts or the prolongation of those existing, but rather that, in the diseased state of the public mind, every agitation of the matter is harmful and increases the evil. I deduce the importance of silence and reserve from the experience that there were neither witches nor bewitched until they were talked and written about. This impressed me recently at Olague, near Pampeluna, where those who confessed stated that the matter started there after Fray Domingo de Sardo carne there to preach about these things. So, when I went to Valderro, near Roncesvalles, to reconcile some who had confessed, when about to return the alcaldes begged me to go to the Valle de Ahescoa, two leagues distant, not that any witchcraft had been discovered there, but only that it might be honored equally with the other. I only sent there the Edict of Grace and, eight days after its publication, I learned that already there were boys confessing. After receiving the report of a commissioner whom I deputed, I sent from Azpeitia to the Prior of San Sebastian of Urdax to absolve them with Secretary Peralta. This quieted them but, since my return to Logroño the tribunal has been asked to remedy the affliction of new evils and witchcrafts, all originating from the above."

Salazar's colleagues did not agree with him and attempted to answer his reasoning, but the Suprema was convinced. It followed his advice in imposing silence on the past, while the Court of Navarre continued to prosecute and punish the local officials whose superserviceable zeal had occasioned so much misery. A second [235] visitation was made in 1613 and we find Salazar urging a third one to cover the remaining portion of the infected region, and pointing out the peace which reigned in the district that he had visited. His next step was to draw up a series of suggestions covering the policy of the Inquisition with regard to witchcraft, covering both amends for the past and future action. It would scarce seem that he would venture to do this without orders, but the paper purports to be volunteered in view of the urgent necessity of the matter. Be this as it may, the suggestions were the basis of an elaborate instruction, issued by the Suprema August 31, 1614, which remained the permanent policy of the Inquisition. It adopted nearly every suggestion of Salazar's, often in his very words, and is an enduring monument to his calm good sense, which saved his country from the devastation of the witch-madness then ravaging the rest of Europe.

These instructions consist of thirty-two articles and commence by stating that the Suprema, after careful consideration of all the documents, fully recognized the grave wrong committed in obscuring the truth in a matter so difficult of proof, and it sent the following articles, both for the verification of future cases and in reparation of the past.

This is followed by a series of regulations pointing out in detail the external evidence which must be sought in every case, both as to attendance on the aquelarres and the murder of children, the killing of cattle, and the damage of harvests, and no one was to be arrested without strict observance of these precautions. There is careful abstention from denial of the powers attributed to witches, but the whole tenor is that of scepticism, and preachers were ordered to make the people understand that the destruction of harvests is sent for our sins, or is caused by the weather, and that it is a grievous error to imagine that such things and sickness, which are customary throughout the world, are caused by witches. The powers of commissioners were strictly limited to taking depositions and ascertaining whether these could be verified by external evidence. When witnesses or accused came to make revocations, whether before or after sentence, they were to be kindly received and permitted to discharge their consciences, free from the fear so commonly entertained, that they would be punished for revoking [as we have seen was the case in other crimes], and this was to be communicated to the commissioners, who were to forward all revocations received. Those who spontaneously denounced [236] themselves were to be asked whether, in the day-time, they had persevered in the renunciation of God and adoration of the demon; if they admitted having done so, they were to be reconciled but, in view of the doubt and deceit surrounding the matter, this reconciliation was not to entail confiscation or liability to the penalties of relapse, the latter being discretional with the tribunal after consulting the Suprema, and further the Suprema was to be consulted before action taken against those confessing to relapse. Those who denied perseverance in apostasy were to be absolved ad cautelam and reconciled by commissioners, in the same way as foreign heretics applying for conversion. In view of the doubts and difficulties concerning witchcraft, no action was to be taken save by unanimous vote of all the inquisitors, followed by consultation with the Suprema. All pending cases were to be suspended, without disqualification for office. On all evidence, the violence or torture used in procuring it was to be noted, so that its credibility could be estimated; when a vote was taken, unless it was for suspension, the case was to be submitted to the Suprema. All cases were to be dropped of those dying during their pendency, without disability of their descendants. As regarded the auto de fe of 1610, the sanbenitos of those relaxed or reconciled were never to be hung in the churches, their property was not to be confiscated; an itemized statement of it and of the fines levied, with an account of the expenses, was to be submitted to the Suprema, and this was to be noted in the records of their cases, so that they should not be liable in case of relapse, nor should their descendants be disabled for office, nor should those be disqualified who had since then been penanced with abjuration.

Having thus provided reparation for the past and caution for the future, the Suprema sought to protect reputed witches from the inordinate zeal of the local authorities and to vindicate its exclusive jurisdiction. The commissioners were to be summoned, one by one, and made to understand the grief and just resentment of the Holy Office at the violence of the alcaldes and others towards those reported to be witches. They were to publish this and let it be known that, as the High Court of Navarre had undertaken to punish these intermeddlers, it would be permitted to do so, but that in future the Inquisition would adopt rigorous measures to chastise all who intruded on its jurisdiction, as perturbers and impeders of the Holy Office. Confessors were instructed to require all who were guilty of defaming others to denounce themselves [237] to the tribunal, for the discharge of their conscience and the restoration to honor of the injured, and priests were notified not to refuse the sacraments to those reputed as witches, while commissioners were warned to confine themselves to their instructions and to act with all moderation. (46)

In this admirable paper we cannot help applauding especially the moral courage evinced in making reparation for the Logroño auto, which must have had the sanction of the Suprema. The whole witch epidemic of Navarre and the Provinces of Biscay was evidently regarded as a delusion but, in view of the attitude of the Church for the last two centuries, this could not be openly proclaimed and the wisest course was adopted to repress, as far as possible, popular fanaticism, and to protect its victims for the future. The superstition was too inveterate to be easily eradicated, but the effort to protect its victims was not abandoned. There is the formula of an edict, dated 162- (the year left blank to be filled in) issued by Salazar, now senior inquisitor, and his colleagues, reciting that the prosecutions for many years had given them ample experience of the grave evils and obscuration of the truth, resulting from the threats and violence offered to those who confessed or were suspected of witchcraft, as many persons, under pretext of kinship to the suspect, or to the persons said to be injured, endeavor to force them to confess publicly as to themselves and others, wherefore all persons were ordered to abstain from threats or inducements, so that every one might have free access to the tribunal and its commissioners, under penalty of rigorous punishment according to the circumstances of the offence. (47) It is inferable from this, that the people, distrusting the leniency of the Inquisition, discouraged application to it, and sought rather to obtain satisfaction extra-judicially.

The virtual supervision assumed by the Suprema over all cases of witchcraft was exercised with a moderation which must have [238] been greatly discouraging to believers. Under this impulsion, the tribunals became exceedingly lenient, frequently exercising the power left to them of suspending cases. One that is exceedingly significant occurred at Valladolid, in 1622. At the instance of her confessor, Casilda de Pabanes, a girl of 19, from Villamiel, near Burgos, presented herself and confessed that, at Christmas 1615 (when she was 12 or 13 years old) she was sick in bed with a fever, and her parents had gone to mass, leaving the house locked up. Suddenly a neighbor, a widow named Marina Vela, appeared at her bed-side and, with threats of killing her, forced her to rise and dress and accompany her to a hermitage in the vicinage, where they found a tall, naked man, dark and with horns like a bull, who welcomed them and made them strip to their shifts, with an exchange of indecent kisses. Then they dressed and returned; although the house doors were locked they entered, and she was again in bed before her parents came back. Then followed long details of other similar adventures, in which the presiding demon usually wore the form of a goat. He made her renounce God and wrote with her blood her name on a paper; she was provided with an incubus demon whom she could summon by breaking a stick; with Marina she entered houses at night, killing children with powders or by sucking their fingers. There is no allusion to the aquelarre, but all other features of witchcraft are minutely detailed. By Marina's advice, she pretended to be possessed, and was taken to San Toribio de Liebara to be exorcised by Fray Gonzalo de San Millan, to whom she confessed. The inquisitors examined and cross-examined her closely, without her varying in her story; they sought, without success, for evidence of illusion or fantasy, but, on investigation it was found that she was really sick of a fever at Christmas, 1615, and that subsequently she seemed to tremble and be as one possessed. Confirmatory statements were procured from the frailes, and evidently in accordance with the instructions, all means were exhausted of testing her confession. In any other land this victim of hysteric auto-suggestion would have been, if not burnt, at least made an exhibition that would have spread the craze, but the tribunal, after carrying the case through the preliminary stages, voted to suspend it without rendering sentence and to reconcile and absolve her in the audience chamber without confiscation. (48) The same policy was followed in [239] the few other cases brought before the tribunal. María de Melgar of Osorno, who died during trial, was given Christian burial in 1637; in 1640, it suspended the case of María Sanz of Trigueros, against whom there was testimony of witchcraft and, in 1641, it discharged with a reprimand María Alfonsa de la Torre, accused of killing cattle, although a witness swore to seeing her at midnight riding on a stick over a rye-field, with a noise as though accompanied by a multitude of demons. (49)

When we compare these cases with the penalties inflicted at the period on vulgar sorceresses and poor old curanderas, for implied pact, it is evident that the Inquisition had reached the conclusion that witchcraft was virtually a delusion, or that incriminating testimony was perjured. This could not be openly published; the belief was of too long standing and too firmly asserted by the Church to be pronounced false; witchcraft was still a crime to be punished when proved but, under the regulations, proof was becoming impossible and confessions were regarded as illusions.

It was difficult for the conservatives to abandon their cherished beliefs, and the can. Episcopi remained a bone of contention. Torreblanca has no inklings of doubt; to him the aquelarre and all its obscene horrors are a reality; the witch is to be burnt, not for illusions but for acts, as the Church has decreed in so many constitutions. (50) His book was duly licensed by the Council of Castile in 1613, but some censor presented a learned criticism of it, calling especial attention to this point, citing the can. Episcopi and the experience of the Inquisition, and arguing that the feats attributed to witches transcended the powers of the demon. This was so effective that the licence was withdrawn. Then Torreblanca produced a verbose and discursive "Defensa," in which he argued that the can. Episcopi was apocryphal; he showed that the Church had always punished such malefactors with death, so that either his critic or the Church must err, and the Church cannot, for it is illuminated by God. (51) This was successful, his licence was restored in 1615 and his work saw the light in 1618. Jofreu in his notes on Ciruelo's "Reprovacion," defends the can. Episcopi, but finds in it three kinds of witches--those who [240] renounce God and seek the aid of the devil, those who are superstitious and know that their illusions are the work of the evil spirit, and those who are deceived by them--and the witches of today are the same, whence he argues in favor of caution amid a policy of clemency. (52) Alberghini, about 1640, admits that the aquelarre is a phantasm, but he holds that none the less are witches apostates from God and devil-worshippers, and he seems to think it still an open question whether those who kill by sorcery are to be relaxed, even if they truly repent and are converted. (53) About the same time, all that an old inquisitor will grant is that, even if there is illusion in the aquelarre, the witch ratifies all that is done there, when awake, dwelling on it with pleasure and anointing herself for the purpose, but he concedes that the deceits of the devil render necessary stronger evidence than in other crimes and that, as he represents in the aquelarre phantoms of innocent persons, the testimony of accomplices must be fortified with other proofs. (54) Nearly the same ground was taken, in 1650, by Padre Diego Tello, S. J., as calificador in the case of an unlucky monomaniac on trial by the Granada tribunal, whom he sought to prove responsible by showing that the witches who fly with Diana and Herodias, as in the can. Episcopi, had free-will, rendering them culpable for their commerce with the demon. (55) Even as late as towards the close of the seventeenth century, a systematic writer holds it as certain that witches renounce the faith, adore the demon and enter into a pact with him and, if this can be proved by confession or witnesses, they are to be punished as heretics with the regular penalties. (56)

Yet the Inquisition imperturbably pursued its way. It did not deny the existence of witchcraft, or modify the penalties of the crime but, as we have seen, it practically rendered proof impossible, thus discouraging formal accusations, while its prohibition of preliminary proceedings by its commissioners and by the local officials, secular and ecclesiastical, was effectual in preventing the outbreak of witchcraft epidemics. So far as the records before me show, cases became very few after the Logroño experience of 1610. Scattering ones occur occasionally, such as those alluded [241] to above but, in the Valladolid record from which they are derived, embracing in all six hundred and sixty-seven cases between 1622 and 1662, there are but five of witchcraft, of which the latest is in 1641. (57) In Toledo, from 1648 to 1794, there is not a single one, nor is there one among the nine hundred and sixty-two cases in the sixty-four autos celebrated by all the tribunals of Spain between 1721 and 1727. (58) It was not that popular belief was eradicated, for this is ineradicable and still exists among all nations, but its deadly effects were prevented. Some fragmentary papers show that, from 1728 to 1735, there was a tolerably active investigation, in Valencia and Castellon de la Plana, into cases of mingled sorcery and witchcraft. There was evidence as to the use of ointments by which persons could transport themselves through the air and pass through walls, and as to people being bewitched and rendered sick, showing that the superstition had as firm a hold as ever on the lower classes. (59) In 1765, at Callosa de Ensarria (Alicante) when some young children disappeared, it was attributed to Angela Piera who had the reputation of a witch, able to fly to Tortosa and back, and who was supposed to have killed them for her incantations. (60) These scattering cases become rarer with time. In a record of all the operations of the Spanish tribunals, from 1780 to 1820, there are but four. In 1781, Isabel Cascar of Malpica was accused as a witch to the tribunal of Saragossa. In 1791, at Barcelona, María Vidal y Decardó of Tamarit, a widow aged 45, accused herself of express pact with the demon, of carnal intercourse with him, of presence four times a week at the aquelarres, where she adored him as a God, and of having trampled on a consecrated host and flung it on a dung-hill--a case which forcibly recalls that of Casilda de Pabanes, in 1622, as an illustration of the hypnotic illusions which aided so greatly in the dissemination of the belief. The latest cases are two, occurring in 1815, of which details are lacking except that they were not brought to trial. (61)

[242] Thus the belief, so persistently affirmed by the Church, continued to exist among theologians. Even one so learned as Fray Maestro Alvarado, in 1813, when defending the Inquisition against the Cortes of Cádiz, told the deputies that Cervantes was better authority in favor of the belief than they were against it, and he instanced a recent case in Llerena, where two women in a church, and in sight of all the people, were carried through the air by demons. (62) Still, so long as the belief was academical and did not lead to the stake, it was comparatively harmless, and the Inquisition deserves full credit for depriving it of its power for evil.

In this, there is a remarkable coincidence between the Holy Offices of Spain and of Rome, although the latter was somewhat tardy in the good work. After the organization of the Congregation, in 1542, by Paul III., there was a considerable interval before it asserted exclusive jurisdiction over witchcraft. It is true that, in 1582, in the papal city of Avignon, it relaxed to the secular arm eighteen witches in a single sentence, (63) but the next year, 1583, when the people of the Val Mesolcina found themselves ruined by the numerous witches among them, they applied for relief not to the Inquisition but to their archbishop, San Carlo Borromeo. After a preliminary investigation he came with a group of learned theologians and so worked on the consciences of the culprits that he won nearly all to repentance--more than a hundred and fifty are said to have confessed and abjured at one time. There were, however, twelve pertinacious ones, including the Provost of Roveredo; he was degraded from Orders and all were duly burnt--they of course being negativos who refused to admit their guilt. (64) The Inquisition, in fact, was willing to share its jurisdiction with the bishops, but not with the secular courts, with which, in 1588 and 1589 we find it in controversy. It contended that, as witchcraft infers apostasy, its cognizance is ecclesiastical, residing either in the bishop or the Inquisition, and further that, when a civil court has commenced a prosecution, the inquisitor has the right to inspect the proceedings and decide as to whether or not the case belongs to him. Various decisions and instructions from this time until 1603 indicate the line of action. The jurisdiction is only spiritual, for the heresy and apostasy, and takes no [243] count of alleged murders or other crimes; the penalty is therefore merely penance, usually scourging, and inquisitors are told not to exile witches to places where they were not known, but to settle them where they could be kept under watch. That this leniency did not satisfy the people was shown at Gubbio, in 1633, where a woman undergoing the scourge was set upon by the populace and stoned to death. Nor was the Inquisition itself always consistent for, in 1641, the tribunal of Milan relaxed Anna Maria Pamolea to the secular arm for witchcraft and homicide. (65)

When murders were charged, the rule was that, if a secular court had commenced prosecution, the culprit was returned to it for due punishment, after the spiritual offence had been penanced but, if the Inquisition had been the first to act, it was not to abandon its penitent to the secular arm, except in case of relapse. The practical working of this is seen in a case at Padua, in 1629, where three witches, imprisoned in the public gaol, were handed over to the tribunal, which made them abjure formally, and then returned them, when the magistrates burnt them. That there was considerable scepticism as to the truth of the Sabbat may be assumed from the rule that the evidence of witches about persons seen in these assemblies was not to be received to the prejudice of such persons, as it is all held to be an illusion. (66)

This scepticism increased and there was a desire to train the people to disbelief, as appears from a highly creditable act in 1631. The Inquisitor of Novara reported that his vicar in " Vallis Vigelli" had commenced proceedings for witchcraft against a woman, when she hanged herself in prison, and he asked instructions whether to continue the prosecution against the corpse or whether she had been strangled by the demon or other witches; also whether he [244] should proceed against a girl and her accomplices who had confessed extra-judicially to have been at the Sabbat. In reply the Congregation ordered him to send the proceedings in the case of the suicide and also the deposition of the girl; meanwhile he was to remove the vicar and replace him with a proper person and take pains himself, by means of the parish priests, to instruct the people as to the fallacies of witchcraft. The same spirit was manifested, in 1641, when an affirmative answer was given to the Inquisitor of Mantua, who asked whether he should prosecute those who beat and insulted witches on the pretext of their being witches. (67) The Congregation, however, did not place on the Index the Compendium Maleficarum of Fray Francesco María Guaccio (2d Edition, Milan, 1626) which taught all the beliefs concerning witches and was adorned with wood cuts representing them as riding on demons through the air and worshipping Satan in the Sabbat.

What renders the leniency of the Congregation especially remarkable is that it was in contravention of a decree of Gregory XV, in 1623, sharpening the penalties of those entering into compacts with the demon; if they caused death by sorcery they were to be relaxed to the secular arm, even for a first offence, while, for causing impotence, or infirmity, or injury to harvests or cattle, they were to be imprisoned for life. (68) Without, of course, venturing formally to mitigate the harshness of these penalties, the Congregation could at least elude them practically, by interposing difficulties in the way of conviction, and this it did, in 1657, in a series of instructions to inquisitors. Full belief in the reality of witchcraft was assumed, but there was a hideous enumeration of the abuses [245] through which so many innocent women were condemned. The mode of procedure prescribed was based largely on the Spanish instructions of 1614, and special stress was laid upon moderation in the use of torture, which was never to be employed until all the papers in the case had been submitted to the Congregation and its assent had been obtained, while common fame was not to be considered an indication justifying arrest. The injunction of 1593, which prohibited accepting testimony as to those seen in the Sabbat, was renewed for the reason that these assemblages were mostly an illusion and justice did not demand prosecution of those recognized through illusion. (69)

While thus there was no concession in principle, in practice the persecution of witchcraft became much less deadly. A manual, dating about 1700, states that in these cases the Inquisition is accustomed to move slowly and with the greatest circumspection, for the indications are generally indirect and the corpus delicti most difficult to prove. If the evidence is strong, torture is employed both for the fact and the intention; if apostasy is confessed, formal abjuration is required; if it or evil belief is denied, the abjuration is de vehementi; the accomplices are prosecuted, but not those named as seen in the Sabbat, on account of the illusions of the demon. Relaxation is the penalty for heretical sorcery causing death, but the difficulty of proving this is very great. (70)

Thus gradually the worst features of witch persecution disappeared in Italy, while yet belief in the reality of witchcraft was untouched. As late as 1743, Benedict XIV manifests complete acceptance of it, when discussing the nice question whether a witch, terrified by threats and blows, commits a fresh sin by transferring to an ox the deadly spell which she has cast upon the son of the man who beat her. He concludes that she is guilty of a fresh sin, while the father is excusable, for he presumably does not know that she has to have recourse to the demon to effect the transfer, and his only object is to save his son. Moreover Benedict, in his great work on canonization, not only admits the common opinion [246] as to incubi and succubi, but he does not deny that in some way such unions may result in offspring. (71) In fact, the supreme authority of the modern Catholic Church, St. Alphonso Liguori, repeats without disapproval the common opinion of the doctors, that witches are transported through the air and that the theory of illusion is very pernicious to the Church, as it relieves them from the punishment prescribed for them. (72)
 

Thus the two lands in Christendom, in which the Inquisition I was thoroughly organized, escaped the worst horrors of the witch-craze. The service rendered, especially by the Spanish Holy Office, in arresting the development of the epidemics so constantly reappearing, can only be estimated by considering the ravages in other lands where Protestants, who had not the excuse of obedience to papal authority, were as ruthless as Catholics in the deadly work. Did space permit, it would be interesting to trace the development and decline of the madness throughout Europe, but it must suffice to allude to Nicholas Remy, a witch-judge in Lorraine, who boasts that his work on the subject is based on about nine hundred cases executed within fifteen years (73) and to the estimate that the total number in Germany, during the seventeenth century, was a hundred thousand. (74) In these, burning alive was often considered an insufficient penalty, and the victims were torn with hot pincers or roasted over slow fires. France was less a prey to the delusion than Germany, but, in 1609, Henry IV sent a commission to cleanse the Pays de Labour of witches, which, in the hurried work of four months, burnt nearly a hundred, including several priests, and was obliged to leave its task uncompleted, for the land was full of them; two thousand children were transported to the aquellares almost every night and the assemblages consisted of a hundred thousand, though some of these were phantoms. (75) For Great Britain the total estimate [247] of victims is thirty thousand, of whom about a fourth may be credited to Scotland. (76) When, in 1775, Sir William Blackstone could deliberately write "To deny the possibility, nay, actual existence, of witchcraft and sorcery is at once flatly to contradict the revealed word of God.... and the thing itself is a truth to which every nation in the world hath in its turn borne testimony," (77) we cannot judge the Inquisition harshly for maintaining to the last its existence in theory, while refusing to reduce that theory to practice.
 

 ***
 
    NOTE.--Since this chapter was in type, the indefatigable Don Manuel Serrano y Sanz has printed in the Revista de Archivos (Nov.-Dic. de 1906) the second discourse by Pedro de Valencia on the Auto de fe of Logroño. In this he states that in the previous one he had only had opportunity for a cursory glance at the proceedings of the auto, and had taken into consideration exceptional cases which God may have permitted of old. Now that he had thoroughly examined the confessions of the culprits he proceeds to give in much detail the monstrosities which they relate and concludes with a brief expression of the convictions resulting therefrom. This is that the aquelarre has nothing supernatural about it, such as flying through the air and the presidency of the demon in the shape of a goat. It is merely a nocturnal assemblage on foot of men and women to gratify disorderly appetites, inflamed perhaps by the instigation of the devil, and that their confessions are fictions invented to cover their wickedness. From this he concludes that they should be held not as confessing but as denying-- which, under the inquisitorial code, would expose them to the fiery death of the negativo impenitente. He is careful, moreover, not to discredit the poisonings and the inunctions to cause sleep and dreams. Unfortunately the paper is not dated; it may have been seen by Salazar Frias, but if so it exercised no influence on him, as appears from the different conclusion reached in his report.

Señor Serrano y Sanz states that in 1900 he printed the first discourse of Pedro de Valencia in the Revista de Extremadura.


Notes for Book 8, Chapter 9
 
 1. The earliest appearance of the Sabbat in inquisitorial records would seem to be in some trials, between 1330 and 1340 in Carcassonne and Toulouse, where it connects itself curiously with remnants of the Dualism of the Cathari.--Hansen, Zauberwahn, Inquisition und Hexenprozess im Mittelalter, p. 315 (München, 1900).

2. Raynald. Annal., ann. 1437, n. 27; ann. 1457, n. 90; arm. 1459, n. 30.--Ripoll, Bullar. Ord. Praedic. III, 193.--Bullar. Roman. I, 429.--Septimi Decretal, Lib. v, Tit. xii, cap. 1, 3, 6.--Bart. Spinaei de Strigibus, p. 14 (Romae, 1576).

3. Frag. Capitular, cap. 13 (Baluze, II, 365).--Reginon. de Eccles. Discip. n 364.--Burchard. Decret. xi, i; xix, 5.--Ivon. Decret., xi, 30.--Gratian. Decret. II, xxvi, v, 12.

4. S. Antonini Confessionals.--Angeli de Clavasio Summa Angelica, s. v. Interrogationes.--Bart. de Chaimis Interrogatorium, fol. 22 (Venetiis, 1480).

5. Hansen, Quellen und Untersuchungen, zur Geschichte des Hexenwahns und der Hexenverfolgung im Mittelalter, pp. 105-9 (Bonn, 1901).

6. Fortalicium Fidei, Lib. v, Consid. x.--Hansen, op. cit., pp. 113-17.

7. Martini de Arles, Tractatus de Superstitionibus, pp. 362-5, 413-15 (Francofurti ad Moenam, 1581).

Hansen (op. cit., p. 308) says that Martin of Arles is known only through this tract, of which the first edition is of 1517. Martin cites no authority later than John Nider, who died in 1438, and makes no allusion to the Inquisition, which he could scarce have failed to do had it been in existence when he wrote. His work may probably be assigned to the third quarter of the fifteenth century.

8. Bernardi Basin, Tract, de Magicis Artibus, Prop. ix.

9. Repert. Inquisitor, s. v. Xorguinœ.

10. Alonso de Spina, however (loc. cit.), knows of no gatherings at the Sabbat nearer than Dauphiny and Gascony, and these he learned from paintings of them in the Inquisition at Toulouse, which had burnt many of those concerned.

11. Libro Verde de Aragon (Revista de España, CVI, 573-6, 581-3).

12. Llorente, Añales, I, 340; Hist. crít., cap. xxxvii, art. ii, n. 41.

13. Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 72, P. I, fol. 120; P. ii, fol. 50.

14. Arn. Albertini de agnoscendis Assertionibus, Q. xxiv, n. 13 (Romae, 1572, fol. 114).

15. Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 73, fol. 215.

16. MSS. of Bodleian Library, Arch Seld. 130.

17. For the inhuman methods employed to secure confession and conviction, on the flimsiest evidence, see the very instructive essay "The Fate of Dietrich Flade" by Professor George Burr (New York, 1891), reprinted from the Transactions of the American Historical Association.

18. Mallei Malificar. P. I, Q. xiv; P. II, Q. i, C. 3, 16.--Prieriat. de Strigimagarum Lib. III, cap. 3.

The rule that the heretic or apostate who confessed and recanted was to be admitted to reconciliation was at the bottom of the anxiety of the secular magistrates to maintain their jurisdiction over witchcraft, and the relations between them and the Inquisition were the subject of much debate. Arn. Albertino argues that the Inquisition can make no distinction between witches who have and who have not committed murder; they must all be reconciled, but can again be accused of homicide before a competent judge; yet the inquisitor, to escape irregularity, must not transmit to the secular court the confessions and evidence, nor must he, in the sentences, mention these crimes, as that would be setting the judge on the track,--De agnosc. Assertionibus, Q. xxiv, n. 28, 66, 67, 68, 70, 72, 75.

19. MSS. of Bodleian Library, Arch Seld. 130.--Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 78, fol. 216.

20. Bibl. nacional, MSS., II, 88.--MSS. of Bodleian Library, Arch Seld. 130.

This document may safely be assumed as the source from which Prudencio de Sandoval, himself Bishop of Pampeluna and historiographer of Charles V, drew his account of the persecution of 1527 (Hist. del Emp. Carlos V, Lib. xvi, § 15) copied by Llorente (Hist. crít., cap. xv, art. 1, n. 6-9).

21. Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 76, fol. 51, 53.

There seems to have been a somewhat earlier persecution of the witches of Biscay by Fray Juan de Zumarraga, a native of Durango. At the suggestion of Charles V, who greatly admired him, he was sent there for that purpose as commissioner of the Inquisition, being specially qualified by his knowledge of the language. After discharging this duty with much ability, Charles, in 1528, sent him to Mexico as its first bishop. He took with him Fray Andrés de Olmos, who had been his assistant in Biscay. In 1548, at the age of 80 he died in the odor of sanctity and his death was miraculously known the same day over all Mexico.--Mendieta, Hist. ecles. Indiana, pp. 629, 636, 644 (Mexico, 1870)

22. Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 939, fol. 108.

23. Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 76, fol. 369.

24. Ibidem, fol. 388.

25. Arn. Albertini de agnosc. Assertionibus, Q. xxiv.--Alph. de Castro de justa haereticor. Punitione, Lib. I, cap. xvi.

26. Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 78, fol. 144.

27. Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Sala 40, Lib. 4, fol. 191-5.

28. Ibidem, Lib. 78, fol. 215-17, 226, 258.

29. Reprovacion de las Supersticiones, P. I, cap. ii, n. 6; P. II, cap. i, n. 5-7.

30. De Cath. Institt., Tit. xxxvii, n. 6-12.

On the other hand Azpilcueta adheres to the theory of illusion and asserts it to be a mortal sin to believe that witches are transported to the Sabbat.--Manuale Confessariorum, cap. xi, n. 38.

Cardinal Toletus asserts the bodily transport of witches and all the horrors of the Sabbat, but adds that sometimes it is imaginary. Demons have power to introduce witches into houses through closed doors, where they slay infants.-- Summae Casuum Conscientiae, Lib. iv, cap. xv.

31. MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 20, T. I.--This case is not unexampled. In 1686, Sor Teresa Gabriel de Vargas, a Bernardine Recollect, charged herself with the same crime before the Madrid tribunal, but, as she added the denial of the power of God, she was reconciled for the heresy.--Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 1024, fol. 31.

Even more significant is the case of Sor Rosa de San Joseph Barrios, a Clare of the convent of San Diego, Garachico, Canaries, a woman of 25 who, in July 1773, in sacramental confession to Fray Nicolás Peraza, related how, through desire to gratify her lust, she had given herself to Satan, in a writing which disappeared from her hand, and at his command had renounced God and the Virgin and had treated the consecrated host and a crucifix with the foulest indignities. In reward for this during four years he had served her as an incubus, coming at her call about twice a month. Fray Peraza applied to the tribunal for a commission to absolve her which was granted and, on August 15th, he reported having done so, with fuller details as to her apostasy. The tribunal then decided that he had exceeded his powers; it evidently did not regard the case as hallucination for it required her to be formally reconciled and prescribed a course of life-long spiritual penance, which she gratefully accepted. An incident not readily explicable is that the bishop deprived Fray Peraza of the faculty of hearing confessions.--Birch, Catalogue of MSS. of the Inquisition in the Canary Islands, I, p. 21; II, pp. 922-30.

32. Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 927, fol. 462.

33. Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 79, fol. 226; Inq. de Logroño, Procesos de fe, Leg. 1, n. 8; Sala 40, Lib. 4, fol. 221.

34. Archivo de Simancas, Patronato Real, Leg. único, fol. 86, 87; Inq., Lib. 83, fol. 7.

35. Ibidem, Lib. 83, fol. 1.

36. MSS. of Library of University of Halle, Yc, 20, T. I.--Bibl. nacional, MSS., D, 111, fol. 127.--See Appendix.

37. Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Visitas de Barcelona, Leg. 15, fol. 5.

38. Archivo de Simancas, Inq. de Logroño, Leg. 1, Procesos de fe, n. 8.

39. Ibidem, Leg. 1, Procesos de fe, n. 8; Lib. 19, fol. 85.

40. Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 19, fol. 85.

41. Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 564, fol. 341, 343.

42. A narrative, not an official report, of this auto was printed in Logroño in 1611, a copy of which is in the Bibl. nacional, D, 118, p. 271. It was reprinted in Cádiz in 1812 and again in Madrid, in 1820, with notes by Moratin el hijo under the pseudonym of the Bachiller Gines de Pesadilla (Menéndez y Pelayo, III, 281). There is another abstract of the auto, compiled from various relations by Pedro of Valencia, in the MSS. of the Bodleian Library, Arch Seld. A, Subt. 10.

Pierre de Lancre of Bordeaux, in his contemporary book on witchcraft, assumes that the outbreak in Navarre was caused by the flight of witches from the Pays de Labour, which he and his colleague had purified with merciless severity. He comments on the difference shown, in the auto of Logroño, between inquisitorial practice in Spain, where the offence was treated as spiritual and those who confessed and professed repentance were admitted to reconciliation, and that of France where it was a crime and those who confessed were burnt by the secular authorities.--Pierre de Lancre, Tableau de l'Inconstance des mauvais Angels et Demons, pp. 391, 561-2 (Paris, 1613).

43. Archivo de Simancas, Inq. de Logroño, Leg. 1, Procesos de fe, n. 8.

44. This discourse was not printed but was circulated in MS. Nicholas Antonio had two copies (Bib. nova, II, 244). There is one in the Simancas archives, Lib. 939, fol. 608, and another in the Bodleian Library, Arch Seld. A, Subt, 10.

45. The most prolific source of evidence against individuals was that obtained by requiring those who confessed to enumerate the persons whom they had seen in the aquelarres. This explains the enormous numbers of the accused during epidemics of the witchcraft craze. The value of such evidence was a disputed question, as it was argued that the demon frequently caused deception by making spectres appear in the guise of absent persons.

46. Archivo de Simancas, Inq. de Logroño, Leg. 1, Procesos de fe, n. 8.

In the Royal Library of Copenhagen (MS. 218b, p. 3791 there is a printed four-page set of instructions to commissioners on receiving confession and testimony as to witchcraft. It is in conformity with the above, but goes into much detail as to the interrogatories to be put, after carefully writing down the confession or deposition--a kind of cross-examination evidently suggestive of complete incredulity. It is without date, but the typography seems to be that of the seventeenth century.

47. Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 30, fol. 1.

48. Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 552, fol 1.

49. Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 552, fol. 26, 28.

50. Epitome Delictorum, Lib. ii, cap. xxviii, xxxix, xl; Lib. iii, cap. xiii.

51. Ibidem, Defensa, p. 517; cap. ii, n. 4, 7.

52. Reprovacion de las Supersticiones, pp. 251-63 (Ed. 1628).

53. Manuale Qualificatorum, cap. xviii, Sect 3, § 9.

54. Bibl. nacional, MSS., V, 377, cap. xiii, §§ 1, 2.

55. MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 17.

56. Elucidationes S. Officii, § 42 (Archivo de Alcalá, Hacienda, Leg. 544J, Lib. 4).

57. Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Leg. 552.

58. Archivo hist. nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 1.--Royal Library of Berlin, Qt. 9548.

59. Archivo hist. nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 390.

60. Ibidem, Leg. 365, n. 45, fol. 34.

61. Ibidem, Leg. 100.

It is asserted by some writers that a woman was burnt as a witch at Seville in 1780, but this is an erroneous reference to María de Dolores, relaxed there in 1780 for Molinism (supra, p. 89).

62. Cartas del Filósofo rancio, II, 493.

63. The sentence is printed by Frère Michaelis, at the end of his Pneumatologie (Paris, 1587).

64. Ragguaglio su la Sentenza di Morte in Salesburgo, p. 173 (Venezia, 1751).

65. Collect. Decret. S. Congr. Sti Inquisit., p. 333 (MS. penes me),--Decret. S. Congr. S. Inquisit. pp. 385-88 (Bibl. del R. Archivio di Stato in Roma, Fondo Camerale, Congr. del S. Officio, Vol. 3).

The inquisitor of Milan took no part in the trials of those accused of causing and spreading the terrible pestilence of 1630, by the use of unguents and powders furnished by the demon. His only act was to return a negative answer to the question whether it was licit to employ diabolic arts to save the city. The reckless prosecutions and savage punishments were wholly the work of the civil magistracy.--Processo origínale degli Untori (Milano, 1839).

The pestilence did not extend to Spain, but the panic did, leading to the most extravagant precautions against all foreigners.--MSS. of Bodleian Library, Arch Seld. A, Subt. 11.

66. Decret. S. Congr. S. Inquis., ubi sup.

67. Decret. S. Congr. S. Inquis., ubi sup.

68. Gregor. PP. XV, Const. Omnipotentis Dei, 20 Mart. 1623 (Bullar. Roman., III, 498).

Urban VIII was equally savage in 1631, in ordering relaxation for any one who should consult diviners or astrologers about the state of the Christian Republic, or the life of the pope or of any of his kindred to the third degree (Bullar. IV, 184).

It was probably under this that the Inquisition, in 1634, relaxed Giacinto Centini and two of his accomplices and condemned four others to the galleys. He was nephew of the Cardinal of Ascoli, and procured from a diviner a forecast that Urban would die in a few years and would be succeeded by his uncle. To hasten accomplishment, figurines of wax were made representing Urban and were melted. Centini, as a noble, was beheaded and his two most guilty accomplices were hanged, before being burnt.--Royal Library of Munich, Cod. Ital. 29, fol. 104-18.

69. Instractio pro formandis processibus in causis Strygum, cum Carenae; Annotationibus (Carenae Tract, de Off. SS. Inquisit., Lugduni, 1669, pp. 487 sqq). Carena's comments show how differently these cases were treated in Italy from the practice beyond the Alps.

See also Masini's rule forbidding action on the denunciation of those seen in the Sabbat.--Sacro Arscnale, Decima Parte, n. 141.

70. Ristretto circa li Delitti più frequenti nel S. Offizio, pp. 57-9 (MS. penes me).

71. Casus Conscientiae Benedicti XIV, Dec. 1743, Cas. iii (Ferrarriae, 1764, p. 155). --De Servorum Dei Beatificatione, Lib. iv, P. i, cap. 3, n. 3.

72. S. Alphonsi Liguori Theol. Moralis, Lib. III, n. 26.

73. Nic. Remigii Demonolatreiae Libri Tres. Colon. Agrip. 1596.

74. G. Plitt Henke in Realencyclopädie, VI, 97.

75. Pierre de Lancre, Tableau de l'inconstance des mauvais Anges, pp. 114, 119 (Paris, 1613).

De Lancre was a learned conseiller of the Parlement of Bordeaux and his colleague on the commission was the President d' Espaignet. It is instructive to observe that while he was drawing up his terrific relation of the manner in which they had intensified the witchcraft craze, until the churches at night would be filled with children brought there by their mothers to prevent their being carried off to the aquellares (p. 193), Inquisitor Salazar, on the other side of the Pyrenees, was extinguishing it by simple rational treatment.

76. Rogers, Scotland, Social and Domestic, p. 302. (London, 1869).

77. Commentaries, IV, 60 (Oxford, 1775).