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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Presumably for the same objects as the cruzada


of a supreme council of the

Inquisition have already been mentioned. Xim?nez, who became head of the Inquisition of Castile in 1507, extended its operations to Africa and the Americas. The methods of trial were harsh, though less so if gauged by the standards of that time. Torture was used as a means of obtaining confessions. The accused was kept utterly apart from his family and friends, who did not learn what had become of him until his liberation or his appearance in an _auto de fe_. The same secrecy was employed in dealing with the prisoner, who was informed of the general charge against him, without the details and without knowing his accuser's name. He was allowed to indicate those in whom he lacked confidence, and if he should chance to hit upon an accuser that person's evidence was eliminated. Two witnesses against him were sufficient to outweigh any testimony he might give. He might have a lawyer, but could not confer with him in private. He might also object to a judge whose impartiality he had reason to suspect, and could appeal to the pope. Penalties varied from the imposition of a light penance to imprisonment or burning to death. Burning in effigy of those who escaped or burning of the remains of those who had died was also practised. The _auto de fe_ represented, as the words imply, merely the decision in the given case, and not the imposition of the penalty as has often been stated. The general rule was for the executions to take place on holidays, which in Spain are indeed "holy days," or
days in celebration of events in church history. A procession was held, in which the functionaries of the Inquisition took part. A public announcement of the decisions was made, and those who were condemned to death were turned over to the civil authorities, who carried out the execution in the customary place. As has already been said, the imposition of sentences was accompanied by confiscations or the levy of fines. Since the Inquisition was supported by these amercements there were numerous scandals in connection therewith. Certain royal orders implied, and complaints by men of such standing as Juan de Daza, bishop of Cordova, directly charged, that the Inquisition displayed a too great eagerness to insure its financial standing by confiscations. On one occasion it seems that the estate of a wealthy victim of the Inquisition was divided between Cardinal Carvajal, the inquisitor Lucero, the royal treasurer Morales, and Ferdinand's private secretary. The funds did not belong in law to the Inquisition. That body collected them and turned them over to the king, who granted them back again.

[Sidenote: Financial administration.]

The new Castilian and Aragonese states required greatly increased funds and a royal army, and both of these matters received the careful consideration of Ferdinand and Isabella. In financial affairs their activities were twofold: to procure more revenues; and to bring about greater economy in their collection and administration. The revocation of earlier land grants was one measure productive of income, since the taxes from them now went to the crown rather than to the lords. Two sources of revenue of a religious character were procured by papal grant. One of these was the _cruzada_, or sale of indulgences, based on the crusade (_cruzada_) against the Moslems. Designed for a temporary purpose it became an enduring element in the royal income. The other was the _diezmo_, or tithe, presumably for the same objects as the _cruzada_, although it too was diverted to other uses. Great attention was paid to the administration of the remunerative _alcabala_, and to stamp taxes and customs duties. The treasury department as a modern institution may be said to date from this era. In addition the Catholic Kings corrected abuses in the coinage of money. The final result is shown in the increase in the revenues from about 900,000 _reales_[54] in 1474 to well over 26,000,000 in 1504. Expenses were so heavy, however, that more than once a resort to loans was necessary.


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