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The position of the Holy Office in Venice was so far peculiar as to justify a digression upon its special constitution. Always jealous of ecclesiastical interference, the Republic insisted on the Inquisition Leing made dependent on the State. Three nobles of senatorial rank were chosen to act as Assessors of the Holy Office in the capital; and in the subject cities this function was assigned to the Rectors, or lieutenants of S. Mark. It was the duty of these lay members to see that justice was impartially dealt by the ecclesiastical tribunal, to defend the State against clerical encroachments, and to refer dubious cases to the Doge in Council. They were forbidden to swear oaths of allegiance or of secrecy to the Holy Office, and were bound to be present at all trials, even in the case of ecclesiastical offenders. No causes could be avvocated to Rome, and no crimes except heresy were held to lie within the jurisdiction of the court. The State reserved to it.

volved in this trial, viz. Nic. Bucello of Padua and Alessio of Bellin. zona, upon recantation, were subjected to public penances and cunfessions for different terms of years. Sega's fate must, therefore, be considered doubtful; since the fact that no commutation of sentence is on record lends some weight to the hypothesis that he withdrew his recantation, and submitted to martyrdom. I will close this note by expressing my hope that Mr. Brown, who is already engaged upon the papers of the Venetian Holy Office, will make them shortly the subject of a special publication. Considering how rare are the full and authentic records of any Inquisition, this would be of incalculable value for students of history. The series of trials in the Frari extends from 1541 to 1794. embracing 1562 processi for the sixteenth century. 1469 for the seventeenth, 541 for the eighteenth, and 25 of no date. Nearly all the towns and ric of the Venetian State are involved.

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STATE RESERVATIONS.

191

self witchcraft, profane swearing, bigamy and usury; allowed no interference with Jews, infidels and Greeks; forbade the confiscation of goods in which the heirs of condemned persons had interest; and made separate stipulations with regard to the Index of Prohibited Books. It precluded the Inquisition from extending its authority in any way, direct or indirect, over trades, arts, guilds, magistrates, and communal officials. The tenor of this system was to repress ecclesiastical encroachments on the State prerogatives, and to secure equity in the proceedings of the Holy Office. Had practice answered to theory in the Venetian Inquisition, by far the worst abuses of the institution would have been avoided. But as a matter of fact, causes were not unfrequently transferred to Rome; confiscations were permitted; and the lists of the condemned include Mussulmans, witches, conjurors, men of scandalous life, etc., showing that the jurisdiction of the Holy Office extended beyond heresy in Venice.?

The truth is that the Venetians, though they were willing to risk an open rupture with Rome, remained at heart sound Churchmen devoted to the principles of the Catholic Reaction. The Republic conceded the fact of Inquisitorial authority, while it reserved the letter of State-supervision. Venetian decadence was marked by this hypocrisy of pride;

See Sarpi's • Discourse on the Inquisition,' Opere, vol. iv. • I owe to Mr. H. F. Brown details about the register of criminals condemned by the Holy Office, which substantiate my statement regarding the various types of cases in its jurisdiction.

and so long as appearances were saved, the Holy Office exercised its functions freely. The nobles who acted as assessors had no sympathy with religious toleration, being themselves under the influence of confessors and directors.

How little the subjects of S. Mark at this epoch trusted the good faith of laws securing liberty of thought in Venice, may be gathered from what happened immediately after the publication of the Index Expurgatorius in 1596. From an official report upon the decline of the printing trade in Venice, it appears that within the space of a few months the number of presses fell from 125 to 40." Printers were afraid to undertake either old or new works, and the trade languished for lack of books to publish. Yet an edict had been issued announcing that by the terms of the Concordat with Clement VIII., the Venetian press would only be subject to State control and not to the Roman tribunals. The truth is that, in regard both to the Holy Office and to the Index, Venice was never strong enough to maintain the independence which she boasted. By cunning use of the confessional, and by unscrupulous control of opinion, the Church succeeded in doing there much the same as in any

other Italian city. Successive Popes made, indeed, a show of respecting the liberties of the Republic. On material

The document in question, prepared for the use of the Signoria, erists in MS. in the Marcian Library, Misc. Eccl. et Civ. Class. VII.

Cad. MDCCLXI.

This edict is dated August 24, 1596.

THE INDEX AT VENICE.

193

points, touching revenue and State-administration, they felt it wise to concede even more than complimentary privileges; and when Paul V. encroached upon these privileges, the Venetians were ready to resist him. Yet the quarrels between the Vatican and San Marco were, after all, but family disputes. The Venetians at the close of the sixteenth century proved themselves no better friends to spiritual freedom than were the Grand Dukes of Tuscany. Their political jealousies, commercial anxieties, and feints of maintaining a power that was rapidly decaying, denoted no partiality for the opponents of Rome-unless, like Sarpi, these wore the livery of the State, and defended with the pen its secular prerogatives. Therefore, when the Signory published Clement VIII.'s Index, when copies of that Index were sown broadcast, while only an edition of sixty was granted to the Concordat, authors and publishers felt, and felt rightly, that their day had passed. The art of printing sank at once to less than a third of its productivity. The city where it had flourished so long, and where it had effected so much of enduring value for European culture, was gagged in scarcely a less degrec than Rome. We have full right to insist upon these facts, and to draw from them a stringent corollary. If Venice allowed the trade in books, which had brought her so much profit and such honor in the past, to be paralyzed by Clement's Index, what must have happened in other Italian towns ? The blow which maiined

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Venetian literature, was mortal elsewhere; and the finest works of genius in the first half of the seventeenth century had to find their publishers in Paris.' But these reflections have led me to anticipate the proper development of the subject of this chapter.

In Italy at large, the forces of the Inquisition were directed, not as in Spain against heretics in masses, but against the leaders of heretical opinion; and less against personalities than against ideas. Italy during the Renaissance had been the workshop of ideas for Europe. It was the business of the Counter-Reformation to check the industry of that officina scientiarum, to numb the nervous centers which had previouslyvemitted thought of pregnant import for the modern world, and to prevent the . reflux of ideas, elaborated by the northern races in fresh forms, upon the intelligence which had evolved them. To do so now was comparatively easy. It only needed to put the engine of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum into working order in concert with the Inquisition.

Throughout the Middle Ages it had been customary to burn heretical writings. The bishops, the universities, and the Dominican Inquisitors exercised this privilege; and by their means, in the age of manuscripts, the life of a book was soon extinguished. Whole libraries were sometimes sacrificed

· This will be apparent when I come to treat of Marino and 'Tassoni.

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