A saga de John Coustos, lapidador de diamantes, pedreiro livre, em Lisboa
Não vou escrever a história da maçonaria em Portugal. É um trabalho que já foi feito por Maria da Graça da Silva Dias e José Sebastião da Silva Dias no livro “Os primórdios da Maçonaria em Portugal”, em 4 volumes. O 3.º volume (ou II-I) transcreve os processos na Inquisição de John Coustos (Pr. n.º 10115), Alexandre Jacques Mouton (Pr. n.º 257), Jean Thomas Bruslé (Pr. n.º 10683), Jean Baptiste Richard (Pr. n.º 4867) e Lambert Boulanger (Pr. n.º 7461) e são estes os únicos processos contra maçónicos na década de quarenta no séc. XVIII. Na altura, nenhum Português se atreveu a fundar Lojas, em face da estrita proibição da Igreja Católica; apenas estrangeiros o fizeram porque pensavam não estar abrangidos pela proibição.
A proibição figura numa severa e algo enigmática Encíclica do Papa Clemente XII (1730-1740), de 1738, designada por In Eminenti Apostolatus Specula:
§ 2.º Nos itaque animo evolventes gravissima damna, quae ut plurimum ex huiusmodi Societatibus, seu Conventiculis nedum temporalis Reipublicae tranquillitati, verum etiam spirituali animarum saluti inferuntur, atque idcirco tum Civilibus, tum Canonicis minime cohaerere Sanctionibus, cum divino eloquio doceamur, die noctuque more servi fidelis, et prudentis Dominicae Familiae praepositi vigilandum esse, ne huiusmodi hominum genus veluti fures Domum perfodiant, atque instar Vulpium vineam demoliri nitantur, ne videlicet simplicium corda pervertant, atque innoxios sagittent in occultis, ad latissimam, quae iniquitatibus impune patrandis inde aperiri posset, viam obstruendam, aliisque de iustis, ac rationabilibus causis nobis notis, easdem Societates, Coetus, Conventus, Collectiones, Aggregationes seu Conventicula de liberi Muratori, seu Francs Massons, aut alio quocumque nomine appellata, de nonnullorum Venerabilium Fratrum Nostrorum Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalium Consilio, ac etiam motu proprio, et ex certa scientia, ac matura deliberatione nostris, deque Apostolicae potestatis plenitudine damnanda, et prohibenda esse statuimus, et decrevimus, prout praesenti nostra perpetuo valitura Constitutione damnamus, et prohibemus.
Por conseguinte, tendo em mente o grande prejuízo que é muitas vezes causado por essas Sociedades ou Convenções não só para a paz do Estado temporal, mas também para o bem-estar das almas, e percebendo que eles não possuem, por qualquer das sanções civis ou canónica; e uma vez que Nós somos inspirados pela palavra divina que é a parte do fiel servo e do comandante da casa do Senhor para assistir dia e noite o açoite de tais homens contra o lar agindo como ladrões e, como raposas que procuram destruir a vinha; de facto, para evitar que os corações dos simples sejam pervertidos e os inocentes sejam feridos secretamente por suas flechas e para bloquear a ampla estrada que poderia ser aberta para a acção de pecado e pelas justas e razoáveis motivações conhecidas por Nós; e por isso, depois de ter tomado conselho de alguns de nossos Veneráveis Irmãos entre os Cardeais da Santa Igreja Romana, e também de nossa própria reflexão , com a plenitude do poder apostólico, que decidimos fazer e decretar que estas mesmas Sociedades, Companhias, Assembleias, Reuniões, Congregações, ou Convenções de ou da Franco-Maçonaria, ou de qualquer outro nome que estas possam vir a possuir, .
O Papa não diz quais os motivos justos e racionais que conhece e que fundamentaram a decisão de publicar a Encíclica. Ficaram para os historiadores adivinharem.
O Inquisidor-Geral D. Nuno da Cunha de Ataíde, mandou afixar a Encíclica na porta das Igrejas e que os celebrantes procedessem à sua leitura nas Missas de Domingo, 28 de Setembro de 1738.
Os estrangeiros presos pela Inquisição foram acusados com base no Livro III, Título VII, n.º XII do Regimento:
XII. Sendo algum herege estrangeiro preso pelo Santo Oficio por delinquir nestes Reinos contra nossa Santa Fé Católica, será castigado, segundo o que se dispõe na Bula de Gregório XIII; e posto que haja concordata, que os hereges estrangeiros, que vierem a estes Reinos, de outros estranhos, não sejam molestados por causa da consciência, se contudo delinquirem com escândalo aqui, poderão ser castigados, conforme á culpa que cometerem.
Foi esta a base legal da Inquisição para acusar Coustos: o escândalo que deu aos católicos ao fundar uma Loja em Lisboa. Uma regra elementar seria que ele tivesse conhecimento do escândalo que dava ou, pelo menos, presumisse que o seu comportamento daria escândalo, mas com isso não se preocuparam os Inquisidores.
Embora fosse falada há uns anos em Portugal, a Maçonaria era ainda um mistério para os Inquisidores. Por isso, e também respeitando o Regimento, averiguaram com muito cuidado o que se sabia na cidade de Lisboa sobre a Maçonaria e, em especial, das actividades dos seus membros.
O primeiro denunciante foi Henrique Machado de Moura, nascido na Ilha da Madeira, procurador de causas. Disse ao Santo Ofício em 6-10-1742 que soubera por Cornelis Lervitte, a mulher deste e dois empregados que John Coustos fundara em Lisboa havia uns dois anos uma Loja maçónica, a qual, porém, apenas tinha membros estrangeiros.
John Coustos, lapidário de diamantes, era natural do Cantão de Basileia, na Suiça, onde nascera de pais franceses. O seu pai era médico e vivia agora em Londres com sua mãe e ambos se tinham naturalizado ingleses. Coustos viera também de Londres para Portugal, com a intenção de eventualmente emigrar para o Brasil. Devido à naturalização de seu pai, tinha agora protecção da Embaixada Britânica.
Machado de Moura nada sabia sobre as cerimónias e doutrinas da Loja que tinha denunciado. Mas a Inquisição iria continuar as suas investigações. Foi ouvido Cornelis Lervitte, que sabia e disse da filiação na Maçonaria de Coustos e de Mouton. Também tinha sido convidado para entrar no grupo, mas recusou. João Liot, caixeiro de Philippe Ballestri, disse ter ouvido falar da Loja a Pedro Bersan e indicou como membros aos dois já referidos e Boulanger, Bruslé e Billart. Mas referiu o rigor do segredo maçónico que não permitia conhecer nada do que se passava na Loja. Ao ser ouvido em 14-2-1743, Pedro Bersan disse que Coustos era o Mestre da Loja, que a iniciação era feita num banquete cujo custo era pago pelo novo membro; que estimava a despesa em 12$800 réis; que não eram admitidas mulheres; que sabe que Coustos é protestante, mas não conhece a religião dos outros; indicou como mais conhecedor do assunto, Joseph Grégoire. Este foi ouvido a 16 de Fevereiro, mas pouco ou nada acrescentou.
Dia 18 de Fevereiro, foi ouvida Marie Rose Clavé. Repetiu o que os outros deponentes tinham dito, que Monsieur Coustos era o Mestre de uma loja de franc-maçons ou Pedreiros Livres, que faziam ajuntamentos nas casas uns dos outros ou em outros locais como, por exemplo, casas de pasto. Que nestes ajuntamentos usavam instrumentos de pedreiros, luvas e também uns aventais de couro que punham diante de si.
A 23 de Fevereiro depôs René Roger, ourives, que nada de novo acrescentou.
No início de Março, o Promotor propôs a detenção dos delatados. A Mesa em Assento de 4-3-1743, limitou as prisões a Coustos e a Mouton. Não tiveram quaisquer dúvidas sobre a jurisdição do Tribunal: “os católicos por seguirem uma congregação que se acha condenada pela Sé Apostólica, e os hereges no escândalo que dão em se publicarem professores (isto é que professam) da dita seita, e prejuízo que com ela causam aos católicos que adquirem por sequazes da mesma”. O Conselho Geral confirmou o parecer da Mesa em 5-3-1743.
Ficaram presos no cárcere da custódia, para serem examinadas as suas culpas.
Coustos foi preso a 14 de Março de 1743. Fez longas confissões a 21 e 26 de Março de 1743, que somam 26 páginas no processo.
Começam aqui as divergências entre o que está no processo e a narrativa que escreveu Coustos quando regressou a Londres, que abaixo se transcreve na sua versão inglesa. No seu texto, diz ele que se recusou a revelar os segredos da Maçonaria. Ora, no processo, constata-se que ele confessou ao pormenor tudo o que sabia, as cerimónias, a hierarquia, o vestuário, os instrumentos simbólicos, tudo! Deveria estar transido de medo e por isso nada escondeu. De tal modo pormenorizada a descrição, que dizem José Sebastião e Graça Silva Dias: “O relato dos trâmites seguidos para o ingresso na congregação maçónica, assim como as diferentes fases do ritual de iniciação, é de tal maneira exacto que os mais competentes investigadores ainda hoje se baseiam nele para a reconstituição da maçonaria do século XVIII.” Volume II-I. pag. 53, nota (1).
O Inquisidor, porém, estava ainda céptico e achava que ele não tinha confessado tudo. Como era possível uma sociedade tão secreta, tantas cerimónias, tantas regras, apenas para se ajudarem uns aos outros? Fizeram-lhe então duas rigorosas sessões de exame nos dias 30 de Março e 1 de Abril (o dia 31 foi domingo). Os Inquisidores chamam a tudo “seita”: a Maçonaria é uma seita e uma congregação, a Religião Anglicana de Coustos é também uma seita.
Coustos afirmou ser franc-maçon há 14 ou 15 anos e não sabe o nome de todos os que o ensinaram os segredos da instituição. Não sabia que fazia mal em fundar uma Loja em Lisboa reservada a estrangeiros. Achava que não devia obediência ao Papa.
O que mais enervou o Inquisidor foi os maçónicos aceitarem ao mesmo tempo várias Religiões, não as discutir e até aceitar que eram todas boas.
“Perguntado se nas ditas congregações e ajuntamentos há também algumas regras, estatutos ou doutrina pertencentes à religião, (…) disse que nos sitos ajuntamentos não há leis algumas pertencentes à religião.”
“Perguntado se é permitido aos sócios da dita congregação seguir cada um a religião que quiser ou se é preciso que sigam alguma determinada, e qual é esta, disse que aos sócios da dita congregação é permitido seguir cada um a religião que quiser, e que não só lhe é assim permitido, mas também no juramento que tomam, quando entram de novo, prometem de observar cada um a sua religião.”
O Inquisidor reagiu indignado:
“Perguntado como quer logo persuadir nesta Mesa quem naquela congregação e ajuntamentos, não há coisa culpável e digna de castigo se está reconhecendo e confessando que neles se permite e introduz por este modo a liberdade de consciência, dando assim motivo e ocasião a que todos sigam, com prejuízo irreparável, esta horrenda, escandalosa e abominável permissão?”
O Inquisidor achava que a Inquisição tinha feito a grande descoberta de conseguir vigiar a consciência de cada um!...
“Perguntado se nas ditas congregações se não trata coisa alguma além do que fica expendido, qual é logo o fim e utilidade que os príncipes tiram de se alistarem professores (os que professam) da dita sociedade? Disse que os príncipes não têm mais fim e utilidade que a de quererem saber o segredo que observam os sócios da dita congregação, e por esta causa se alistam por professores dela.
Perguntado para que insiste em desculpar-se com respostas frívolas e inconcludentes, se ele sabe muito bem que os príncipes para saberem tudo o que se passa nas ditas assembleias não era necessário sujeitarem-se a semelhantes acções, indignas do seu estado e pessoa, quando têm pela sua parte o justo e livre poder de obrigar aos seus súbditos a que lhe revelassem com toda a miudeza as matérias que se tratam nos ditos ajuntamentos?
Disse que, como Inglaterra é um reino que permite liberdade aos súbditos, não podia o rei obrigá-los a que lhe declarassem os segredos da dita congregação, sem primeiro lhe constar que nelas se fazia coisa digna de castigo. E como o rei não tinha esta notícia, e os príncipes desejavam saber o que se passava nas ditas assembleias, por essa causa se sujeitavam às cerimónias da sua entrada”.
Que boa resposta!
Disse e repetiu que na Loja de que era Mestre não entrara nenhum Português.
Por Assento da Mesa da Inquisição de 2 de Abril de 1743, confirmado pelo Conselho Geral na mesma data, foi Coustos mandado prender nos cárceres secretos, sem sequestro de bens e ser processado nos termos do Regimento.
Fez-se a sessão da Genealogia e a de in specie, e o Libelo do promotor (este em 11-12-1743), onde entre muita coisa das confissões do réu, se lê:
“Provará que o réu não tem feito inteira e verdadeira confissão de suas culpas, antes muito diminuta, simulada e fingida, porque não confessa a tenção herética, perturbadora e escandalosa com que quis e pretendeu introduzir neste reino católico uma nova seita, nem declara a matéria e pontos a que se dirige tão inviolável segredo, como nela se estipula e observa, presumindo-se conforme o direito que é sobre pontos perniciosos, heréticos e prejudiciais não só ao bem público, temporal e político dos reinos, mas principalmente ao espiritual das almas dos fiéis católicos romanos (…”
Pobre Coustos, onde ele tinha vindo parar!
Notificado do libelo, disse que não tinha defesa com que vir nem para que estar com procurador.
De igual modo, notificado das provas da justiça, disse que não tinha contraditas com que vir nem para que estar com procurador. Perguntado se queria ser doutrinado na Fé Católica, disse que não, que “queria seguir a seita dos protestantes, em que sempre viveu e em que foi criado e instruído por seus pais” (escreveu o Inquisidor).
Por Assento da Mesa de 20-2-1744, confirmado pelo Conselho Geral em 6 de Março seguinte, foi decidido submetê-lo a tormento, “pro aperienda veritate”. Disseram na mesa “com maior razão neste réu por ser mestre e cabeça destas congregações e haver entrado nas que se faziam nos reinos estrangeiros, aonde é mui natural e quase infalível se pratiquem coisas maiores, sobre que assenta aquele pesado e apertado juramento e outras mais circunstâncias que observam; o que ele não há-de ignorar pela sua grande compreensão e viveza.” O Conselho Geral disse que sofreria um tracto corrido.
A sessão do tormento foi a 25 de Abril de 1744. Ao contrário do que ele descreve no livro (onde diz ter ido a três sessões de tormento), foi um tormento ligeiro, com um aperto apenas nos torniquetes dos braços, que durou cerca de um quarto de hora. E ele pôde assinar o Termo de segredo, o que seria impossível se o tormento fosse rigoroso.
No estudo dos processos da Inquisição, o tormento é um pormenor do maior interesse. Até o modo como é dado o tormento deve ser tido em conta, por exemplo, para considerar a relação entre a Mesa da Inquisição e o Conselho Geral.
Eram várias as razões para se dar o tormento ao réu e o próprio Regimento indica duas: “Quando se assentar que o réu seja posto a tormento, ou pelo crime não estar provado, ou pelas diminuições de sua confissão …” (Liv. II. tit. XIII, n.º XIII).
Parece-me encontrar pelo menos quatro razões, podendo cumular-se mais do que uma para cada caso:
1 - O tormento destina-se simplesmente a castigar o réu. Aparece nas sentenças: “a prova da justiça não era bastante para pena ordinária”, o que quer dizer que a prova não é suficiente para relaxar o réu à justiça secular. Por isso, leva-se ao tormento para ficar com uma “lembrança”. São exemplo disso os processos de Simão Lopes Samuda (Pr. n.º 2784 – img. 154), Manuel Soares Brandão, médico (Pr. n.º 2110, img. 491) e Mariana de Morales Penso (Pr. n.º 8412 – img. 128).
Nestes casos, o tormento é particularmente violento, a fim de castigar o réu. O réu não consegue assinar de modo nenhum, pelo que a assinatura não aparece na abjuração em forma, nem no termo de segredo. Isto é: o réu não confessou mas é como se tivesse confessado pelo facto de ter ido a tormento. Absurdamente, a ida ao tormento servia ao mesmo tempo como meio de prova e castigo.
2 – Dá-se o tormento para purgar uma culpa – ex. o réu está diminuto mas, com o tormento passa-se por cima disso, mesmo que ele não confesse mais nada. É por exemplo, o caso de Francisco Rodrigues Mogadouro (Pr. n.º 1747 – img. 247)
3 – O tormento destina-se a descobrir se o réu já confessou tudo ou se está a encobrir alguma coisa. É o caso de John Coustos. Os Inquisidores não acreditavam que a sua confissão fosse completa.
4- O tormento destina-se a obrigar o réu a confessar. Será talvez o caso mais frequente.
Voltou ao Visto da Mesa em 15 de Maio de 1744 e propuseram os Inquisidores e Deputados que fosse degredado por seis anos para as galés e pagasse as custas. O Conselho Geral a 19 do mesmo mês contentou-se com quatro anos.
Na altura, já não havia galés. Os degredados para este castigo iam para as cadeias dos presos de direito comum e eram ocupados em trabalhos forçados. Queixa-se Coustos que tinha de transportar pipas de água de cem libras (45 Kg) às costas para as cadeias da cidade.
Foi a sua sentença lida no auto da fé de 21 de Junho de 1744.
Termo de segredo a 23 de Junho de 1744. Termo de ida a 26 do mesmo mês.
Conta de custas: 4$498 réis.
Poucos meses depois, fez um pedido de comutação da pena, dizendo estar na enfermaria com uma lesão num braço e uma inflamação numa perna. Os Inquisidores de Lisboa deram parecer desfavorável, até porque o médico não confirmara as maleitas que ele alegara (mas o parecer do médico não figura no processo). Porém, o Conselho Geral despachou: “Comutam o degredo das galés para a parte que o suplicante escolher. Lisboa, 6 de Outubro de 1644. Lancastro, Silva, Abreu. Amaral”.
O que tinha acontecido fora que um amigo de Coustos, Nonnays, alertara o cunhado dele, servidor do Duque de Harrington. Este falara ao duque de Newcastle, na altura Secretário de Estado e este, por carta de 31 de Julho, recebida pelo destinatário a 8 de Setembro, encarregara o Ministro Inglês em Lisboa, Charles Compton, de conseguir a libertação do preso. O Ministro teve de fazer o pedido ao Cardeal da Mota (D. João da Mota e Silva – 1685-1747), principal Ministro de D. João V, a Marco António de Azevedo Coutinho, Secretário de Estado dos Estrangeiros e finalmente ao Cardeal Inquisidor Geral, D. Nuno da Cunha de Ataíde (o Cardeal da Cunha).
Parece que a comutação da pena foi com a condição de ele partir para o estrangeiro, nem ele desejava outra coisa. Embarcou para Inglaterra no dia 13-11-1744 no navio holandês de guerra “Damietta”.
Logo em 1746, publicou o texto que a seguir vai transcrito. Durante bastante tempo, “lapidário” foi em Portugal sinónimo de “pedreiro livre” (Grande Dicionário, de José Pedro Machado).
Em Anexo, junto uma lista por ordem cronológica dos processos da Inquisição relativos a franc-maçons ou pedreiros livres. Excluo os processos de Coimbra relativos aos militares de Valença porque entendo que não teria havido nenhuma Loja naquela vila. Note-se o processo de Hipólito José da Costa, descoberto recentemente em Setembro de 2009.
Regimento do Santo Ofício da Inquisição de 1640
Celebrated trials, and remarkable cases of criminal Jurisprudence, from the earliest records to the year 1825, in six volumes. – Volume III, London: printed for Knight and Lacey, Paternoster-row. 1825.
Procédures curieuses de l’Inquisition de Portugal contre les Franc-Maçons, par un Frère Maçon sorti de l’Inquisition, revues et publiées par L.T.V.I.L.R.D.M., Dans la Vallée de Josaphat, l’An de la fondation du Temple de Salomon, MM DCCC III
The Mysteries of Popery unveiled in the unparalleled sufferings of John Coustos at the Inquisition of Lisbon to which is added the origin of the Inquisition, and its establishment in various countries; and the Master Key to Popery, by Anthony Gavin, one of the Roman Catholic Priests of Saragossa. The whole concluded with a chronological sketch of the lives of the Popes. Hartford: Printed for the Publisher. W.S. Marsh… Printer. 1820.
Graça da Silva Dias, José Sebastião da Silva Dias, Os primórdios da maçonaria em Portugal, 1.º v., 1.º t.: 420 p.-1.º v., 2.º t., p. 421-925, 2o v., 1.º t.: 438, 2.º v., 2.º t.: p. 439-978 Lisboa, Instituto Nacional de Investigação Científica, 1980-
Bula In Eminenti Apostolatus Specula, de 28 de Abril de 1738
Em Latim e Italiano
Bula Providas Romanorum Pontificum, de 18 de Maio de 1751
Em Latim e Italiano
Maria da Graça Silva Dias, Anglismo na Maçonaria em Portugal no limiar do século XIX", in Análise Social vol .XVI (61-62), 1980-1.º-2.º, 399-405
Breve historial da Maçonaria em Portugal, pelo Irmão Arnaldo M. A. Gonçalves, Mestre Maçom, R.L. Anderson n.º 16, Grande Loja Regular de Portugal/GLLP- 14.º Grau do Rito Escocês Antigo e Aceite
Virgínia Maria Trindade Valadares, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais, Questões conceituais e identitárias entre o Santo Oficio e a Sociedade dos Pedreiros Livres
PROCESSOS DE FRANC-MAÇONS OU PEDREIROS LIVRES NA INQUISIÇÃO DE LISBOA
|N.º do processo||Início||Fim|
João Tomás Bruslé
Jean Baptiste Richard
Alexandre Jacques Mouton
Lourenço José de Medeiros da Silva Carneiro
José Leandro Meliani da Cruz
|8081, de Coimbra||7-1-1778||11-10-1778|
Barthélemy Andrieu du Boulois
Pedro Júlio da Câmara Leme
D. José de Brito
António Nicolau de Sousa e Silva
José Marques da Silva
André de Morais Sarmento
Padre Félix Pacheco Varela
Padre Francisco da Silva Queirós e Vasconcelos
Francisco Maria de Andrade Corvo Camões e Neto
João Luis do Couto
Henrique Correia de Vilhena Henriques
Jerónimo José Nogueira de Andrade
Manuel dos Santos Rocha
Matias José Dias Azedo
Vicente de Oliveira Correia Sampaio
Francisco Joaquim Moreira de Sá
Bernardino Henriques de Ornelas e Vasconcelos
João José Dorkin
Gregório Freire Carneiro
Francisco da Silva Freire
António Correia Bettencourt Henriques
Eusébio Luís de Oliveira
Domingos de Oliveira Álvares – denunciante
Padre João Pereira da Silva –
João de Barros
Vicente Júlio Fernandes
Domingos de Sousa Matos e outros
Manuel Xavier Alves Pereira
Caetano de Velosa e de Miguel de Carvalho
José Paulo da Silva
Francisco de Assis Brum
António Caetano de Freitas
Nicolau José de Atouguia ou de António Correia de Bettencourt Vasconcelos
André Urbano Xavier da Fonseca
Joaquim Filipe Landerset
Hipólito José da Costa Pereira Furtado de Mendonça
Mateus Homem de Noronha e Castro ou do Padre António José Álvares
Padre Bento de São José Ribeiro Pereira
José Inácio de Lateste
João Rafael Nogueira
José Joaquim Vieira Couto
|13339 - 16809||9-7-1803||1807|
Frei Francisco de Assis Cacela ou Processo de Francisco de Avis
Jerónimo Marcos Padavan ou Joaquim José Lopes
José Nicolau de Carvalho
CELEBRATED TRIALS, AND REMARKABLE CASES OF CRIMINAL JURISPRUDENCE, FROM THE EARLIEST RECORDS TO THE YEAR 1825, in six volumes.
Volume III - London: printed for Knight and Lacey, Paternoster-row. 1825.
TRIAL AND SUFFERINGS OF JOHN COUSTOS, IN THE INQUISITION AT LISBON, DESCRIBED BY HIMSELF
I was a native of Berne in Switzerland, and a lapidary by profession. My father came, with his whole family, to London; and, as he proposed to settle in England, he got himself naturalized there. After living twenty-two years in that city, I went at the solicitation of a friend, to Paris, in order to work in the galleries of the Louvre. Five years after I left this capital, and removed to Lisbon, in hopes of finding an opportunity of going to Brasil, where I flattered myself that I should make my fortune.
The inquisitors had usurped so formidable a power in Spain and Portugal, that the monarchs of those kingdoms were no more, if I may be allowed the expression, than as their chief subjects. Those tyrants did not scruple to encroach so far on the privilege of kings, as to stop, by their own authority, at the post-office, the letters of all whom they took it into their heads to suspect. In this manner I myself was served, a year before the inquisitors had ordered me to be seized; the design of which, I suppose, was to see, whether among the letters of my correspondents, some mention would not be made of Free-Masonry; I passing for one of the most zealous members of that art, which they resolved to persecute, upon pretense that enormous crimes were committed by its professors.
The reader is to be informed, that our lodges, in Lisbon, were not kept in taverns, &c. but alternately at the private houses of chosen friends. In these we used to dine together, and practice the secrets of Free-Masonry. As we did not know that our arts were forbidden in Portugal, we were soon discovered by the barbarous zeal of a lady, who declared, at confession, that we were Free-Masons; that is, in her opinion, monsters in nature, who perpetrated the most shocking crimes. This discovery immediately put the vigilant officers of the Inquisition upon the scent after us; on which occasion, my friend, Mr. Mouton, fell the first victim.
Being sensible that he had not committed any crime for which he could incur his Portuguese majesty's displeasure, he gave up his sword the moment it was demanded of him. Immediately several trusty officers of the Inquisition, called familiars, fell upon him to prevent his escaping: they then commanded him not to make the least noise, and began to search him. This being done, and finding he had no weapons, they asked, whether he desired to know in whose name he had been seized? Mr. Mouton answered in the affirmative: We seize you (said they) in the name of the Inquisition; and, in its name we forbid you to speak, or murmur ever so little." Saying these words, a door at the bottom of the jeweler’s shop, and which looked into a narrow bye-lane, being opened, the prisoner, accompanied by a commissary of the holy office, was thrown into a small chaise, where he was so closely shut up, (it being noon day,) that no one could see him. This precaution was used to prevent his friends from getting the least information concerning his imprisonment; and^ consequently, from using their endeavors to procure his liberty. Being come to the prison of the Inquisition, they threw him into a dungeon, and there left him alone; without indulging him the satisfaction they had promised, which was, to let him speak, immediately upon his arrival, to the president of the holy office; to know from him, the reason of his detainer.
I perhaps should have escaped their merciless paws, had I not been betrayed, in the most barbarous manner, by a Portuguese friend of mine, as I falsely supposed him to be; and whom the holy office had ordered to watch me narrowly. This man seeing me in a coffeehouse, the 5th of March, 1742, between nine and ten at night; went and gave notice thereof to nine officers of the Inquisition, who were lying in wait for me, with a chaise, near that place. It was to no purpose that I alleged a thousand things in my own justification. Immediately the wretches took away my sword, hand cuffed me, forced me into a chaise drawn by two mules, and in this condition I was hurried away to the prison of the Inquisition. I was delivered up to one of the officers of this pretended holy place. This officer presently calling four subalterns, or guards, they took me to an apartment, till such time as notice should be given to the president of my being caught in their snare.
A little after, the above-mentioned officer coming again, bid the guards search me, and take away all the gold, silver, papers, knives, scissors, buckles, &c. I might have about me. They then led me to a lonely dungeon, expressly forbidding me to speak loud, or knock at the walls; but that in case I wanted anything, to beat against the door, with a padlock that hung on the outward door, and which T could reach, by thrusting my arm through the iron grates. It was then - that, struck with all the horrors of a place of which I had heard and read such baleful descriptions, I was plunged at once into the blackest melancholy.
I passed a whole day and two nights in these terrors, which are the more difficult to describe, as they were heightened at every little interval, by the complaints, the dismal cries, and hollow groans (echoing through this dreadful mansion,) of several other prisoners, my neighbors; and which the solemn silence of the nightmare infinitely more shocking. I devoted my whole thoughts to the means of my justification. And this I made so familiar to myself, that I was persuaded neither the partiality of my judges, nor the dreadful ideas I had entertained of their cruelty, could intimidate me, when I should be brought before them; which I accordingly was, in a few days, after having been shaved, and had my hair cut by their order.
I was now led, bare-headed, to the president and four inquisitors, who, upon my coming in, bid me kneel down, lay my right hand on the bible, and swear, in the presence of Almighty God, that I would speak truly with regard to all the questions they should ask me. These questions were, my Christian and sir-names, those of my parents, the place of my birth, my profession, religion, and how long I had resided in Lisbon. This being done, they addressed me as follows: '' Son, you have offended and spoken injuriously of the holy office, as we know from very good hands, for which reason we exhort you to make a confession of, and to accuse yourself of the several crimes you may have committed, from the time you were capable of judging between good and evil, to the present moment. In doing this, you will excite the compassion of this tribunal, which is ever merciful and kind to those who speak the truth."
I now implored and besought them, "To let me know the true cause of my imprisonment; that, having been born and educated in the Protestant religion, I had been taught, from my infancy, not to confess myself to men, but to God, who, as he only can see into the inmost recesses of the human heart, knows the sincerity or insincerity of the sinner's repentance, who confessed to him, and being his Creator, it was he only who could absolve him."
The reader will naturally suppose, that they were not satisfied with my answer; they declaring, that it would be indispensably necessary for me to confess myself, what religion soever I might be of, otherwise, that a confession would be forced from me, by the expedients the holy office employed for that purpose."
To this I replied, that I had never spoken in my life against the Romish religion: that I had behaved in such a manner, ever since my living at Lisbon, that I could not be justly accused of saying or doing anything contrary to the laws of the kingdom, either as to spirituals or temporals: that I had also imagined, that the holy office took cognizance of none but those persons who were guilty of sacrilege, blasphemy, and similar crimes, whose delight is to depreciate and ridicule the mysteries received in the Romish church, but of which I was no ways guilty." They then remanded me back to my dungeon, after exhorting me to examine my conscience.
Three days after, they sent for me, to interrogate me a second time, and presently gave orders for my being conveyed into another deep dungeon; the design of which, I suppose, was to terrify me completely; and here I continued seven weeks. It will be naturally supposed, that I now was overwhelmed with grief: I will confess that I then gave myself up for lost.
During my stay in this miserable dungeon, I was taken three times before the inquisitors. The first thing they made me do was, to swear on the bible, that I would not reveal the secrets of the Inquisition; but declare the truth with regard to all such questions as they should put to me: they added, that it was their firm opinion that Masonry could not be founded on such good principles as I, in my former interrogatories, had affirmed; and that, if this society of Freemasons was so virtuous as I pretended, there was no occasion of their concealing so very industriously, the secrets of it." They then insisted upon my revealing to them the secrets of this art. —"The oath (said I) taken by me at my admission, never to divulge them, directly or indirectly, will not permit me to do it; conscience forbids me; and I therefore hope your lordships are too equitable to use compulsion." They declared that my oath was as nothing in their presence, and that they would absolve me from it."—" Your lordships (continued I) are very gracious; but as I am firmly persuaded that, as it is not in the power of any being upon earth to free me from my oath, I am firmly determined never to violate it." This was more than enough to make them remand me back to my dungeon, where, a few days after, I fell sick.
Being again ordered to be brought before the inquisitors, they insisted on my letting them into the secrets of Masonry; threatening me in case I did not comply. I persisted as before, in refusing to break my oath; and besought them, either to write, or give orders for writing, to his Portuguese majesty's ministers, both at London and Paris, to know from them, whether anything was ever done in the assemblies of the Freemasons, repugnant to decency and morality; to the dictates of the Romish faith; or to the obedience which every good Christian owes to the injunctions of the monarch, in whose dominions he lives." I observed farther, that the king of France, who is the eldest son of the church, and despotic in his dominions, would not have bid his favorite enter into a society proscribed by the mother church; had he not been firmly persuaded that nothing was transacted in their meetings, contrary to the state, to religion, and to the church." I afterwards referred them to Mr. Dogood, an Englishman, who was born a Roman Catholic and a Freemason. This gentleman had travelled with, and was greatly beloved by, Don Pedro Antonio, the king's favorite; and who, I observed farther, having settled a lodge in Lisbon fifteen years before, could acquaint them, in case he thought proper, with the nature and secrets of Masonry." The inquisitors then commanded me to be taken back to my dismal abode.
Appearing again before them, they did not once mention the secrets of Masonry; but reminded me that I, in one of my examinations, had said, "that it was a duty incumbent on Freemasons to assist the needy;" upon which they asked, "whether I had ever relieved a poor object?"—I named to them a lying-in-woman, a Romanist, who being reduced to the extremes of misery, and hearing that the Freemasons were very liberal of[ their alms, she addressed herself to me, and I gave her a moidore: I added, " that the convent of the Franciscans, having been burnt down, the fathers made a gathering, and I gave them, upon the Exchange, three quarters of a moidore:" I declared farther, " that a poor Roman Catholic, who had a large family, and could get no work, being in the utmost distress, had been recommended to me by some Freemasons, with a request that we would make a purse among ourselves, in order to set him up again, and thereby enable him to support his family: that accordingly we raised among seven of us who were Freemasons, ten moidores; which money I myself put into his hands."
They then employed all the powers of their rhetoric to prove, "that it became me to consider my imprisonment, by order of the holy office, as an effect of the goodness of God; who (added they) intended to bring me to a serious way of thinking; and by this means, lead me into the paths of truth, in order that I might labor efficaciously at the salvation of my soul: that I ought to know, that Jesus Christ had said to St. Peter, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it;" whence it was my duty to obey the injunctions of his holiness, he being St. Peter's successor."—I replied, with spirit and resolution, that I did not acknowledge the Roman pontiff, either as successor to St. Peter, or as infallible that I relied entirely, with regard to doctrine, on the Holy Scriptures, these being the sole guide of our faith: I besought them to let me enjoy, undisturbed, the privileges allowed the English in Portugal: that I was resolved to live and die in the communion of the church of England; and, therefore, that all the pains they might take to make a convert of me, would be ineffectual." I was ordered back by the inquisitors, to my dismal abode; after they had declared to me, " that if I turned Roman Catholic, it would be of great advantage to my cause; otherwise, that I perhaps might repent of my obstinacy when it was too late." I replied in a respectful manner, that I could not accept of their offer.
A few days after, I was again brought before the president of the holy office, who said, "that the proctor would read, in presence of the court, the heads of the indictment, or charge, brought against me." The inquisitors now offered me a counselor, in case I desired one, to plead my cause. Being sensible that the person whom they would send me for this purpose, was himself an inquisitor, I chose rather to make my own defense in the best manner I could. I therefore desired, "that leave should be granted me to deliver my defense in writing;" but this they refused, saying, "that the holy office did not allow prisoners the use of pen, ink, and paper." I then begged they would permit me to dictate my justification in their presence, to any person whom they should appoint; which favor was granted me.
The heads of the charge or indictment brought against me, were, " That I had infringed on the Pope's orders, by my belonging to the sect of the Freemasons; this sect being a horrid compound of sacrilege, sodomy, and many other abominable crimes; of which the inviolable secrecy observed therein, and the exclusion of women, were but too manifest indications; a circumstance that gave the highest offence to the whole kingdom: and the said Coustos having refused to discover to the inquisitors, the true tendency and design of the meetings of Freemasons; and persisting, on the contrary, in asserting that Freemasonry was good in itself: wherefore the proctor of the Inquisition requires, that the said prisoner may be prosecuted with the utmost rigor; and for this purpose, desires the court would exert its whole authority, and even proceed to tortures, to extort from him a confession, viz. that the several articles of which he stands accused, are true."
The inquisitors then gave me the above heads, ordering me to sign them, which I absolutely refused. They thereupon commanded me to be taken back to my dungeon, without permitting me to say a single word in my justification. Six weeks after, I appeared in presence of two inquisitors, and the person whom they had appointed to take down my defense; which was little more than a recapitulation of what I before had asserted with regard to Masonry.
A few days after, I was brought before his Eminence, Cardinal da Cunha, Inquisitor and Director-General of all the Inquisitions dependant on the Portuguese monarchy. The president, addressing himself to me, declared, " that the holy tribunal were assembled, purposely to hear and determine my cause; that I therefore should examine my own mind, and see whether I had no other arguments to offer in my justification."—I replied, " that I had none; but relied wholly on their rectitude and equity." Having spoken these words, they sent me back to my sad abode, and judged me among themselves.
Sometime after, the president sent for me again; when, being brought before him, he ordered a paper, containing part of my sentence, to be read . I thereby was doomed to suffer the tortures employed by the holy office, for refusing to tell the truth (as they falsely affirmed); for my not discovering the secrets of Masonry, with the true tendency and purpose of the meetings of the brethren.
I hereupon was instantly conveyed to the torture room, built in form of a square tower, where no light appeared but that from two candles; and, to prevent the dreadful cries and shocking groans of the unhappy victims from reaching the ears of the other prisoners, the doors were lined with a sort of quilt. The reader will naturally suppose, that I must be seized with horror, when, at my entering this infernal place, I saw myself on a sudden surrounded by six wretches, who, after preparing the tortures, stripped me naked, (all to linen drawers,) when, laying me on my back, they began to lay hold of every part of my body. First, they put round my neck an iron collar, which was fastened to the scaffold; they then fixed a ring to each foot, and this being done, they stretched my limbs with all their might: they next wound two ropes round each arm, and two round each thigh, which ropes passed under the scaffold, through holes made for that purpose; and were all drawn tight at the same time, by four men, upon a signal made for this purpose.
The reader will believe that my pains must be intolerable, when I solemnly declare, that these ropes, which were of the size of one's little finger, pierced through my flesh quite to the bone; making the blood gush out at the eight different places that were thus bound. As I persisted in refusing to discover any more than what has been seen in the interrogatories above mentioned; the ropes were thus drawn together four different times. At my side stood a physician and surgeon, who often felt my temples, to judge of the danger I might be in; by which means my tortures were suspended at intervals, that I might have an opportunity of recovering myself a little.
Whilst I was thus suffering, they were so barbarously unjust as to declare, that, were I to die under the torture, I should be guilty, by my obstinacy, of self-murder. In fine, the last time the ropes were drawn tight, I grew so exceedingly weak, occasioned by the blood's circulation being stopped, and the pains I endured, that I fainted quite away; insomuch, that I was carried back to my dungeon without my once perceiving it.
These barbarians finding that the tortures above described could not extort any farther discovery from me, but that, the more they made me suffer, the more fervently I addressed my supplications for patience to Heaven: they were so inhuman, six weeks after, as to expose me to another kind of torture more grievous, if possible, than the former. They made me stretch my arms in such a manner, that the palms of my hands were turned outward, when, by the help of a rope that fastened them together at the wrist, and which they turned by an engine, they drew them gently nearer to one another behind, in such a manner, that the back of each hand touched, and stood exactly parallel one to the other; whereby both my shoulders were dislocated, and a considerable quantity of blood issued from my mouth. This torture was repeated thrice; after which I was again taken to my dungeon, and put into the hands of physicians and surgeons, who, in setting my bones, put me to exquisite pain.
Two months after, being a little recovered, I was again conveyed to the torture-room, and there made to undergo another kind of punishment twice. The reader may judge of its horror from the following description:
The torturers turned twice round my body, a thick iron chain, which, crossing upon my stomach, terminated afterwards at my wrists: they next set my back against a thick board, at each extremity whereof was a pulley, through which there ran a rope, that catched the ends of the chains at my wrists: the tormentors then stretching these ropes by means of a roller, pressed or bruised my stomach, in proportion as the ropes were drawn tighter. They tortured me on this occasion to such a degree, that my wrists and shoulders were put out of joint: the surgeons, however, set them presently after; but the barbarians not having yet satiated their cruelty, made me undergo this torture a second time, which I did with fresh pains, though with equal constancy and resolution. I then was remanded back to my dungeon, attended by the surgeons who dressed my bruises; and here I continued till their Auto da Fe, or gaol delivery.
The reader may judge, from the faint description, of the dreadful anguish I must have labored under, the nine different times they put me to the torture. Most of my limbs were put out of joint, and bruised in such a manner, that I was unable, during some weeks, to lift my hand to my mouth; my body being much swollen, by the inflammations caused by the frequent dislocations. I have but too much reason to fear, that I shall feel the sad effects of this cruelty so long as I live; as I am seized, from time to time, with thrilling pains, with which I never was afflicted, till I had the misfortune of falling into the merciless and bloody hands of the inquisitors.
On the day of the Auto da Fe, I was made to walk in the procession, with the other victims of this tribunal. On arriving at St. Dominic's church, my sentence was read, by which, I was condemned to the galley (as it is termed) during four years.
A fortnight before the solemnization of this Auto da Fe, notice was given in all the churches, that it would be celebrated on Sunday the 21st of June, 1744. At the same time, all who intended to be spectators thereof, were exhorted not to ridicule the prisoners, but rather pray to God for their conversion. On Saturday, the 20th of the mouth above mentioned, we were all ordered to get ready by next morning: and, at the same time, a band was given each of us, and old black clothes to such as had none.
Those accused of Judaism, and who, through fear of the torture, confessed their being such, were distinguished by large scapulars called sanbenitos. This is a piece of yellow stuff about two ells long; and in the middle of which, a hole is made to put the head through; on it were sewed stripes of red stuff, and this falls behind and before, in form of a St. Andrew's cross. Those who are condemned for sorcery, magic, and such like, wear the same kind of scapulary described above. 'They are distinguished only by wearing a pasteboard cap, about a foot and a half high, on which devils and flames are painted; and at the bottom, the word WIZARD is written in large characters.
I must observe that all such persons as are not sentenced to die, carry a lighted yellow wax-taper in their hands. I was the only person to whom one was not given, on account of my being an obstinate protestant.
The relapsed Jews, and such heretical Roman Catholics, as are sentenced to die for refusing to confess the crimes whereof they are accused, are dressed in grey samaras, much shorter than the sanbenitos above mentioned. The face of the person who wears it, is copied (before and behind) from the life, standing on firebrands, with flames curling upwards, and devils round it. At the bottom of the samara, their names and surnames are written.
Blasphemers are dressed as above, and are distinguished only by a gag in their mouths. The prisoner being thus habited, the procession opened with the Dominican friars, preceded by the banner of their order: afterwards came the banner and crucifix of the Inquisition, which was followed by the criminals, each whereof walked between two familiars, who were to be answerable for them, and bring back to prison such as were not to be executed, after the procession was ended.
Next came the Jewish converts, followed by such as were indicted for witchcraft and magic, and had confessed their crimes. The procession closed with the unhappy wretches who were sentenced to the flames. The march then began, when the whole procession walked round the court of the chief inquisitor's palace, in presence of the king, the royal family, and the whole court, who were come thither for this purpose. The prisoners having all gone through the court just mentioned, proceeded along one of the sides of Rocio square; and went down Odreirosstreet; when, returning by Escudeiros-street, and up another side of Rocio-square, they came, at last, to St. Dominic's church, which was hung, from top to bottom, with red and yellow tapestry.
Before the high altar was built an amphitheater, with a pretty considerable number of steps, in order to seat all the prisoners and their attendant familiars. Opposite was raised another greater altar, after the Romish fashion, on which was placed a crucifix surrounded with several lighted tapers, and mass-books. To the right of this was a pulpit, and to the left, a gallery, magnificently adorned, for the king, the royal family, the great men of the kingdom, and the foreign ministers, to sit in. To the right of this gallery was a long one for the inquisitors; and between these two galleries a room, whither the inquisitors retire to hear the confessions of those who, terrified at the horrors of impending death, may be prompted to confess what they had before persisted in denying; they sometimes gladly snatching this last moment allowed them to escape a cruel exit. Every person being thus seated in the church, the preacher ascended the pulpit, whence he made a panegyric on the Inquisition; exhorted such prisoners as were not sentenced to die, to make good use of the clemency indulged them, by sincerely renouncing that instant, 'the heresies, and crimes, of which they stood convicted. Then addressing himself to the prisoners who were to be burnt, he exhorted them to make good use of the little time left them, by a sincere confession of their crimes, and thereby avoiding a cruel death.
During the sermon, the prisoners have some refreshments; the open air having a very strong effect on most, and the length of the march fatiguing them greatly: on this occasion dry fruits were given them, and as much water as they could drink.
The preacher having come from the pulpit, some priests belonging to the Inquisition ascend it successively, to read the trial of each prisoner, who was standing all the time holding a lighted taper; each prisoner, after hearing it, returned to his place: this lasted till ten at night. The trials of all the prisoners not sentenced to die, being read, the president of the Inquisition, dressed in his sacerdotal vestments, appeared with a book in his hand; after which, five or six priests, in surplices, tapped with a sort of wands, the heads and shoulders of the prisoners in question; saying certain prayers used in the Romish church, when the excommunication is taken off": then another priest went up into the pulpit, to read the trials of the ill-fated persons sentenced to the flames; after which these sad victims were delivered up to the secular power, whose officers take them to the Relação, whither the king comes. Thus the Inquisition, to conceal their cruelties, calls in the secular arm, which condemns the prisoners to die; or rather ratifies the sentence passed by the inquisitors: this lasted till six in the morning.
At last these miserable creatures, accompanied by the familiars and priests, were conducted, under the guard of a detachment of foot, to Campo da Lã, or the Woolfield. Here they were fastened with chains to posts, and seated on pitch barrels: afterwards the king appeared in a sorry coach, at which were ropes instead of harnesses. He then ordered the friars to exhort each of the victims in question, to die in the Romish faith, upon pain of being burnt alive; but to declare, that such as complied with the exhortation of the priest, should be strangled b^ fore they were committed to the flames. His majesty staid till all the prisoners were executed.
In this Auto da Fe, were burnt the following persons:
1. Father Joseph de Siqueira (Processo n.º 11162), a priest, convicted of various heresies, and obstinate.
2. Teresa Carvalha (Processo n.º 4872), a widow, found guilty of different heresies, and confessing them.
3. Francis Dias Cabaço (Processo n.º 5327), a scrivener, convicted of heresy, and obstinate.
4. Charles Joseph (sic, é Carlos José) (Processo n.º 4937), a barber, convicted of heresy, and obstinate.
5. Gabriel Rodrigues Bicudo (Processos n.º 3273 e 3273A, de Évora), a shoemaker, who, after publicly abjuring Judaism in a former Auto da Fé, and being taken up a second time for committing a similar crime, was convicted, and proved obstinate.
6. Pedro de Rates Henequim (Processo n.º 4864), living on his estate, condemned for inventing, writing, following, and defending, the doctrines of heretics; for turning heresiarch with execrable blasphemies; convicted, false, dissembling, confident, varying, and impenitent.
7. Josepha Maria (Processos n.º 825 e 10048, de Évora), spinster, daughter of Gabriel Rodrigues Bicudo, abjuring in the same manner as her father (above) and convicted a second time; false, dissembling, and impenitent.
8. Mécia da Costa (Processo n.º 6973 e 6973-1), a widow, reconciled in a former Auto du Fe, for the crime of witchcraft, and living apart from the Catholic faith; making a contract with the devil, whom she worshipped as God; convicted, denying, obstinato, and relapsed.
The instant the sad victims above mentioned were delivered up to the secular arm, all the rest of the prisoners were led back, with the same ceremony, about ten at night, from St. Dominic's church to the Inquisition. On arriving there, we were carried through several galleries, till we came to the abode allotted us. Here wore several chambers, the doors of which were open, when each of us chose that which he liked best: there then were given to each a straw bed, a blanket, and sheets which had been lain in: most of these things were far from being clean, there not having been an Auto da Fe for two years before. The women were lodged a story above us.
During the course of the week, some of the prisoners were banished; such as had more husbands or wives than one, were whipt through the streets of Lisbon; and others sent to the galley, among whom I was included.
The Portuguese galley is a prison standing by the river side, and consists of two very spacious rooms, built one over the other; that on the ground floor is the apartment of the slaves, and the other is for the sick, and the officers of this prison: it being the receptacle, not only of such as are condemned by the inquisitors, but likewise by the lay judges. Among these prisoners are Turks and Moors, taken on board the corsair vessels; together with fugitive slaves, and dishonest servants, whom their masters send to this galley, as a chastisement.
These several prisoners, of what quality soever, are employed in toils equally low and grievous. Some work in the dock-yards others carry timber to the carpenters, unload the ships, and provide water and provisions for victualling such as are outward bound: they likewise carry water to the prisons in Lisbon, and to the king's gardens, in order for refreshing them; in a word, they are obliged to submit to any labors, how ignominious and painful soever, for the service of his Portuguese majesty, or of the officers who command them. These slaves are treated with the greatest severity and cruelty, except they find means to bribe their overseers to gentleness.
In this galley, all the slaves are fastened two and two, by one foot only, with a chain eight foot long. At their girdle is an iron hook, by which they shorten or lengthen their chain, to make the weight of it less troublesome. Their heads and beards are shaved once a month: they wear coarse blue clothes, caps, and coats; and have a great coat made of coarse serge of the same color, which serves them as a cloak in the daytime, and a coverlet at night. They lie in a sort of frame of boards raised a little from the ground, over which a mat is spread.
To every galley-slave is given, each day, a pound and a half of very dry, black biscuit, with six pounds of salt meat every month, and a bushel of pease, lentils, or beans, which they are allowed to sell, in order to purchase better provisions, if they can afford it. They are led early every morning, a few festivals excepted, whithersoever their drudgery may be wanted: they then toil incessantly till eleven, when they leave work, in order to eat and rest themselves till one; after which they again renew their miserable labors, and these they continue till night, when they are conducted back to the galley. Such is the life which these unhappy wretches lead daily.
Four days after this procession, I was conveyed to this galley, and joined, on the morrow, in the painful occupations of my fellow slaves. However, the liberty I had of speaking to my friends, after having been deprived of even the sight of them, during my tedious, wretched abode in the prison of the Inquisition; the open air I now breathed, with the satisfaction I felt in being freed from the dreadful apprehensions which always overspread my mind, whenever I reflected on the uncertainty of my fate; these circumstances united, made me find the toils of the galley much less irksome.
As I had suffered greatly in my body, by the tortures inflicted on me in the prison of the Inquisition, I was unfit to go about the painful labor that was immediately allotted me, viz. the carrying of water (an hundred pounds' weight) to the prisons of the city: but, the fear I was under, of being exposed to the inhumanity of the guards or overseers, who accompanied the galley-slaves, caused me to exert myself so far beyond my strength, that, twelve days after, I fell grievously sick; I then was sent to the Infirmary, where I continued two months. During my abode in this place, I was often visited by the Irish friars belonging to the convent of Corpo Santo, who offered to get my release, provided I would turn Roman Catholic. Being unable, after this, to go through the toils to which I had been sentenced, I was excused by my amply rewarding the overseers. It was now that I had full leisure to reflect seriously on the means of obtaining my liberty; and, for this purpose, I desired a friend to write to my brother-in-law, Mr. Barbu, to inform him of my deplorable state; and to inform him, humbly to address the Earl of Harrington in my favour; my brother-in-law at that time living in his lordship's family. This nobleman, whose humanity and generosity have been the theme of infinitely abler pens than mine, was so good as to declare, that he would endeavor to procure my freedom. Accordingly, his lordship spoke to his grace the duke of Newcastle, one of the principal secretaries of state, in order to supplicate for leave, from our Sovereign, that his minister at Lisbon might demand me, as a subject of Great Britain.
His Majesty was so gracious as to interpose in my favor. Accordingly his commands being dispatched to Mr. Compton, the British minister at Lisbon, that gentleman demanded my liberty of the King of Portugal, in his Britannic Majesty's name; which accordingly I obtained in the latter end of October, 1744. The person who came and freed me from the galley, by order of the inquisitors, took me before them: the president then told me, that Cardinal da Cunha had given orders for my being released; at the same time, he bid me return to the holy office in three or four days.
I now imagined, that prudence required me to secure myself from a second persecution. As there was at this time no English ship in the port of Lisbon, I waited upon Mr. Vantil, the resident of Holland, and besought him to speak to the Dutch admiral to admit me on board his fleet. The resident, moved with my calamities, hinted my request to the admiral, who generously complied with it. I then went, together with a friend, and informed the inquisitor, that I designed to embark for England, in the Damietta, commanded by Viceadmiral Cornelius Screiver, who was to sail in a few days: upon the inquisitor's enquiring the exact time when I intended to go on board, I replied, at nine o'clock the next morning: he then bid me come to him precisely at that hour; adding, that he would send some officers of the Inquisition to see me on ship-board.
I therefore thought it would be safest for me to go on board immediately, without giving any notice of it to the inquisitors: we lay at anchor, after this, near three weeks before Lisbon. The inquisitor no sooner found that I failed coming to him at the time appointed, in order to be conducted to the ship, than he sent out about thirty spies. Nine of these coming to enquire after me at the house where I used to lodge, searched it from top to bottom, examining every trunk, chest of drawers, and closet. But their endeavors to find me being fruitless, some of the officers of the Inquisition getting into a boat, rowed several times round three Dutch men-of-war lying at anchor.
I arrived in London on the 15th of Dec. 1744, after a long and dangerous voyage.
Under the name of heretics are comprehended all persons who have spoken, written, taught, or practiced any tenets contrary to the scriptures; to the articles of the creed; and, especially, to the traditions of the Church of Rome. Likewise such as have denied the catholic faith, by going over to some other religion; or who, though they do not quit the Romish communion, praise the customs and ceremonies of other churches; practice some of them; or believe that persons may be saved in all religions, provided they profess them with sincerity.
They likewise consider as heretics, all who disapprove any ceremonies, usages, or customs received, not only by the church, but even by the Inquisition.
All who think, say, or teach anything contrary to the opinion received at Rome, with regard to the Pope's supreme, unlimited authority, and his superiority over general councils; as likewise such as speak, teach, or write, anything contrary to the papal decisions, on what occasion soever, are looked upon as heretics: that person is likewise suspected of heresy, who contemns, insults or mutilates any images: likewise all those who read books condemned by the Inquisition, or who lend them to others.
Persons are not only forbidden to save heretics, but are obliged to discover them, though a father, brother, husband, or wife; and this upon pain of excommunication; of incurring a suspicion of heresy; and of being obnoxious to the rigors of the tribunal in question, as fautors or abettors of heresy.
The fourth case, subject to the judgment of the Inquisition, includes magicians, wizards, soothsayers, and others, of whom there are supposed to be more in Italy than in any other country, the Italian women being strangely curious and credulous. Though neither Jews, nor Mohammedans, are subject to the Inquisition in many points, they yet are obnoxious to it, in all the cases above mentioned.
The sixth and last case, subject to the judgment© the Inquisition, is of those who resist its officers, or in any way oppose ifs jurisdiction. As one of the chief maxims of this tribunal is to strike terror, and to awe such as are subject to it, it punishes with the utmost severity all who offend its agents and officers.
The most formidable of all the tribunals is that of the Inquisition, whose bare name strikes universal terror. I. Because the informer is admitted as a witness. II. As the persons impeached never know those who inform against them. III. As the witnesses are never confronted. Hence innocent people are daily seized, whose only crime is, that certain persons are bent upon their destruction.
When a person is once imprisoned by the inquisitors, his treatment is most cruel. Ho is thoroughly searched, to discover, if possible, any books or papers which will serve to convict him; or some instrument he may employ to put an end to his life, in order to escape the torture, &c. Of this there are but too many sad examples; and some prisoners have been so rash, as to dash their brains out against the wall, upon their being unprovided with scissors, a knife, a rope, &c.
After a prisoner has been carefully searched, and his money, papers, buckles, rings, &c. have been taken from him, he is conveyed to a dungeon, the bare sight of which must fill him with horror. Torn from his family and his friends, who are not allowed access to, or even to send him one consolatory letter; or to take the least step in his favor, in order to prove his innocence; he sees himself instantly abandoned to his inflexible judges, to his melancholy, to his despair; and even often to his most inveterate enemies, quite uncertain of his fate.
On his arrival at the prison, the inquisitor, attended by the officers of this mock holy tribunal, goes to the prisoner's abode; and there causes an exact inventory to be taken of all his papers, effects, and of everything found in his house. They frequently seize all the prisoner's other goods; at least the greatest part of them, to pay themselves the fine to which he may be sentenced; for very few escape the Inquisition, without being half ruined.
The house of the Inquisition in Lisbon is a spacious edifice. There are four courts, each about forty foot square, round which are galleries (in the dormitory form) two stories high. In these galleries are the cells or prisons, being about three hundred. Those on the ground floor are allotted for the vilest of criminals (as they are termed,) and are so many frightful dungeons, all of free-stone, arched, and very gloomy. The cells on the first floor are filled with persons considered less guilty; and women are commonly lodged in those of the second story: these several galleries are hidden from view, both within and without, by a wall above fifty feet high, and built a few feet distant from the cells, which darkens them exceedingly.
The furniture of these miserable dungeons is a straw bed, a blanket, sheets, and sometimes a mattress. The prisoner has likewise a frame of wood about six feet long, and three or four wide; this he lays on the ground, and spreads his bed upon it: he also has an earthen pan for washing himself; two pitchers, one for clean and the other for foul water; a plate, and a little vessel with oil to light his lamp: he is not, however, allowed any books, not even those of devotion.
Sometimes a prisoner passes several months in his cell, without hearing a single word of his being brought to trial; without his knowing the crime of which he stands impeached, or a single witness who swore against him: at last the gaoler tells him, as of his own accord, that it will be proper for him to sue to be admitted to audience.
The ceremony of the Auto da Fé, or act of faith, solemnized at Madrid, in 1682, took place as follows: — The officers of the Inquisition, preceded by trumpets, kettle-drums, and their banner, marched. May 30, 1682, in cavalcade to the palace of the great square, where they declared by proclamation, that on the 30th of June, the sentences of the prisoners condemned to the flames, and to other punishments, would be put in execution. There had not been a spectacle of this kind in Madrid, during forty years before, for which reason it was expected, by the inhabitants, with as much impatience, as though it had been the merriest holiday. On the 30th of June, numberless multitudes of people appeared, splendidly dressed, as for a royal wedding. In the great square was raised a high scaffold: into this square, from seven in the morning, till nine at night, came criminals of both sexes; all the inquisitions in the kingdom having sent their prisoners to Madrid. The prosecutions and sentences were read aloud. There were twenty Jews, men and women, and one renegade Mohammedan, all of whom were burnt. Fifty Jews and Jewesses having never been imprisoned before, and repenting of their crimes, were sentenced to a long imprisonment, and to wear a yellow scapulary: ten more, indicted for bigamy, witchcraft, and other crimes, were sentenced to be whipped, and afterwards sent to the gallies; the latter wore large pasteboard caps on their heads, with inscriptions on them; having halters about their necks, and torches in their hands.
The whole court was present; the king, the queen, the ambassadors, courtiers, and immense crowds of people: the inquisitor's chair was placed in a sort of tribunal above that of the king. The unhappy victims were executed so near to the place where the king stood, that he might hear their groans; the scaffold on which they stood, touching his balcony: the nobles of Spain, acted here the same part as the sheriffs officers in England. Those noblemen led such criminals as were to be burnt, and held them when they were fast bound with thick cords; the rest of the criminals being conducted by the familiars, or common servants of the Inquisition. Several friars, both learned and ignorant, argued with great vehemence, to convince these unhappy creatures of the truth of the Christian religion.
Some of the criminals (Jews) were perfectly well skilled in their religion; and made argumentative replies, and that without the least emotion.
Among them was a young maiden of exquisite beauty, about seventeen years of age; who being on the same side with the queen, addressed her, in the hope of obtaining her pardon, as follows: "Great queen ! will not your royal presence be of some service to me in my miserable condition ? consider my youth; and that I profess a religion which I imbibed from my infancy." The queen turned away her eyes, and though she seemed to pity her distress, yet she did not dare to speak a word in her behalf. Mass now began, in the midst of which, the priest came from the altar, and seated himself in a chair prepared for that purpose: the chief inquisitor descended from the amphitheatre, dressed in his cope, and wearing a mitre on his head; when, after bowing to the altar, he advanced towards the king's balcony, ascended to it by the stairs, at the end of the scaffold, attended by some of the officers of the Inquisition, carrying the cross and the gospels; with a book containing the oath by which the kings of Spain oblige themselves to protect the Catholic faith; to extirpate heretics; and to support, with all their power, the prosecutions of the Inquisition.
Doctor Geddes thus describes an Auto da Fe in Lisbon, of which he himself was a spectator.
"The prisoners are no sooner in the hands of the civil magistrate, than they are loaded with chains, before the eyes of the inquisitors; and being carried first to the secular gaol, are, within an hour or two, brought from thence before the Lord Chief Justice; who, without knowing anything of their particular crimes, or of the evidence that was given in against them, asks them, one by one, in what religion they intend to die? If they answer that they will die in the communion of the church of Rome, they are condemned by him, to be carried forthwith to the place of execution, and there to be first strangled, and afterwards burnt to ashes:—but if they say, they will die in the protestant, or any other faith that is contrary to the Romish, they then are sentenced by him to be carried forthwith to the place of execution, and there to be burnt alive.
At the place of execution, which, at Lisbon, is the Ribera, there are so many stakes set up, as there are prisoners to be burnt, with a good quantity of dry furze about them. The stakes of the professed, as the inquisitors call them, may be about four yards high, and have a small board, whereon the prisoner is to be seated within half a yard of the top. The negative and relapsed being first strangled and burnt; the professed go up a ladder, betwixt the two Jesuits, who attended them all day; and, when they are come even with the before mentioned board, they turn about to the people, and the Jesuits spend hear a quarter of an hour, in exhorting the professed to be reconciled to the Church of Rome; which, if they refuse to be, the Jesuits come down, and the executioner ascends, and having turned the professed off the ladder upon the seat, and chained their bodies close to the stake, he leaves them; and the Jesuits go up to them a second time, to renew their exhortation to them, and at parting, tell them, that they leave them to the devil, who is at their elbow to receive their souls, and carry them with him into the flames of hell-fire, so soon as they are out of their bodies. Upon this a great shout is raised; and, as soon as the Jesuits are got off the ladder, the cry is,—let the dogs' beards be made,— let the dogs' beards be made; which is done by thrusting flaming furzes fastened to a long pole, against their faces: and this inhumanity is commonly continued till their faces are burnt to a coal and is always accompanied with such loud acclamations of joy, as are not to be heard upon any other occasion; a bull feast, or a farce, being dull entertainments, to this inhuman treatment of a professed heretic.
The professed beards being thus made, or trimmed, as they jocosely call it; fire is set to the furze, which is at the bottom of the stake, and above which the professed are chained so high, that the top of the flame seldom reaches higher than the seat they sit on; and if there happens to be a wind, to which that place is much exposed, it seldom reaches so high as their knees; so that, if there is a calm, the professed are commonly dead in about half an hour after the furze is set on fire; but, if the weather is windy, they are not, after that, dead in an hour and a half, or two hours; and so are really roasted and not burnt to death. But though, out of hell, there cannot possibly be a more lamentable spectacle than this, being joined with the sufferers, (so long as they are able to speak,) cries, viz. ' Misericórdia por amor de Deus,—Mercy, for the love of God;' yet it is beheld by people of both sexes, and all ages, with such transports of joy and satisfaction, as are not, on any other occasion, to be witnessed."