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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Godoy was accused on three occasions


the throne of Spain. One of

his earliest acts as king of Spain was the banishment of the inquisitor general when the latter protested against the royal edict in the already mentioned Mesenghi case, followed by the legislation of 1761 and 1762 referred to above. When the inquisitor was allowed to return, Charles warned the other officers of the Inquisition not to disobey the king in future. In 1770 many of the cases of a secular character were removed from inquisitorial jurisdiction, and in 1784 it was ordered that all processes against grandees or the ministers or employes of the king should be submitted to the monarch. The reduction of the Inquisition was carried still further under Charles IV. Godoy, Jovellanos, and Urquijo thought of abolishing it, but fortunate turns in the political situation intervened to postpone such action. It was provided in 1799 that no subject of the king should be arrested by the Inquisition without royal authorization, and the methods of trial employed by that institution were modified in the interests of doing away with the former secrecy and the seclusion of the accused. In 1804 the king banished several members of the Inquisition who had opposed the freeing of an individual whom one of the lesser branches of that organization had pronounced guiltless. Its decline was also evidenced by the falling off in its revenues as compared with the yield of earlier times. Many of its buildings were in a state of bad repair, and its employees often died in poverty. Nevertheless, its
properties were said to be worth nearly 170,000,000 _reales_ (over $10,000,000) at the end of the era, and a state offer of 2,000,000 a year ($125,000), in exchange for its right to confiscate the goods of persons convicted of crimes against religion, was refused. In addition, there was the wealth of the Inquisition in the colonies; the great German traveler and naturalist, Alexander von Humboldt, estimated that the annual income of the Inquisition in New Spain alone was 800,000 _reales_ ($50,000). Although the Inquisition of the eighteenth century had but a shadow of its former power, it was able to bring influential persons to trial, including great churchmen, members of the higher nobility, and ministers of state, but it did not always take effective action in these cases. Godoy was accused on three occasions, being charged with atheism, immorality, and bigamy, but the queen would not consent to his arrest, and he was able to procure the banishment of several of those who had intervened in this matter.

[Sidenote: Increased hostility against the Jesuits.]

The case of the Jesuit order was similar to that of the Inquisition, but the result of royal action was even more decisive. The hostility to the Jesuits in Catholic countries, already very great in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, was even more intense in the eighteenth. The other religious orders and the secular clergy were almost a unit in opposing them, for the Jesuits occupied a dominant place in church affairs, and were charged with tyrannizing over the others both in matters of theology and in questions of a temporal character. The ranks of their enemies were swelled by the continued adhesion of the universities to the Jesuit opposition and by the encyclopedists. The former complained because the youth were attending the Jesuit colleges, especially the nobility, from whom the leading ministers of state were chosen, thus continuing the Jesuit influence, while those who were more or less addicted to encyclopedist views were hostile to the order both because of its power in the church and because of its partisanship in favor of papal jurisdiction and authority. In defending themselves the Jesuits had the support of many royal ministers and of the kings themselves for over half a century; Philip V and Ferdinand VI as well as Isabel Farnesio and the children of Charles III had Jesuit confessors. Furthermore, the once hostile Inquisition became an instrument in Jesuit hands when that order got control of the institution. Finally, the Jesuits had achieved vast power as a result of their hold on the affections of great numbers of the people, high and low, and in consequence of the extraordinary wealth which they had accumulated.


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