Unable in the past to secure the Council's approval for the imprisonment of Vergara, the Toledo inquisitors in 1533 were presented with an unexpected opportunity to achieve their ambition. They had long suspected, as had the Council itself, that someone was interfering with the operations of the Holy Office, bribing officials of that body to reveal its secret proceedings to unauthorized persons.These suspicions were confirmed when they learned that Vergara was smuggling letters from the outside into Tovar's cell and was revealing to Tovar virtually all the details of Tovar's own trial as well as details of Inquisition proceedings against Tovar's friends. Between April 11 and May 12, 1533, the inquisitors intercepted six such letters smuggled in by Vergara to Tovar. They promptly advised the Council of their findings and with the latter's approval they began a vigorous investigation. A search of Tovar's cell, questioning of Tovar's servant Diego de Aguilar and of Vergara's chaplain Hernan Rodriguez revealed that Vergara and Tovar had been carrying on this secret correspondence for some two years, and that Vergara had bribed several of the officials of the Toledo tribunal to supply him with inside information on Inquisition proceedings and to aid and abet his secret correspondence with Tovar. (1)
r. The intercepted letters of Vergara appear on fols. 97v-98v, 99r-v, lO4v-105r, 118r-v, 119r-12Ov. These same letters
220 JOHN E. LONGHURST
The Fiscal of the Toledo tribunal now felt he had a sufficient case to warrant the seizure of Vergara, and he proceeded to press his case on the basis of these new developments.
also appear in the trial of Maria de Cazalla, on the unnumbered
folios (203r If). They were written in invisible ink (citrus juice), and the
writing could be brought out by holding the paper over a flame. The fact that
Vergara was able to smuggle letters into Tovar's cell was only one example of the
chaotic nature of the security system within the Inquisition jail at Toledo. We
have already seen how the jail attendant ("mozo de carcel") of the Granada
Inquisition had been bribed by Juan Lopez de Calain, who managed to escape jail.
So too, in Toledo, the susceptibility to bribe of the jailer Juan de Ortega and
the attendant Juan Sanchez made a shambles of security. Gaspar de Villafana
escaped in 1529, and in 1531 two cellmates of Francisco Ortiz almost succeeded in
their plot to escape, kill their jailers, and burn the Inquisition's records. It
was not until 1533, however, that the inquisitors at Toledo learned of the extent
to which their jailers had been corrupted. A series of inquiries in May and June
of that year, very probably stemming from the interception of Vergara's letters
to Tovar, revealed some amazing activities in the Toledo jails, under the well
paid benevolence of Juan de Ortega and Juan Sanchez.
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Toledo, May 17, 1533
I, bachiller Diego Ortiz de Angulo, promotor fiscal... denounce Doctor Juan de Vergara, secretary of his lordship (Alonso Fonseca) the archbishop of Toledo, as a fautor and defender of heretics, obstructer of the Holy Office and defamer, debaser and corrupter of its ministers and officers (for the following reasons):
2. Specifically, the licentiate Cristobal de Gumiel and the notary Pedro de Hermosilla, both of whom were found guilty of taking bribes from Vergara in exchange for inside information on Tovar's trial.
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hatred for them and speaking badly of them and of the Holy Office.
May, 1533 - June, 1533
(113r-117v; 10Sv-109v; 121r-123v; 225r)
After the denunciation of Vergara by the Fiscal, the inquisitors called Vergara before them on May 20, 1533, and quizzed him closely on the matter of the smuggled letters. Vergara, unaware that his secret correspondence with Tovar had been discovered, persistent-
3. Inevitably here it comes, and not so incidentally as it is made to appear here.
LUTHER'S GHOST IN SPAIN 223
He denied that he had interfered in any way with Inquisition procedures. The inquisitors then informed him that they knew all about his correspondence with Tovar. Vergara replied that under those circumstances he would readily admit that he and Tovar had been in regular touch with each other, but he wished to make it clear that he had merely been advising Tovar as a lawyer, that he considered Tovar to be innocent of the charges against him, and that therefore he (Vergara) had done nothing wrong in advising an innocent client. Vergara was then released with a warning not to leave town. (113r-117v) In the weeks that followed, the Inquisition worked to strengthen its case against Vergara as a suborner of the Holy Office. Under questioning on June 19, Vergara's chaplain, Hernan Rodriguez, revealed how Vergara had used him as an intermediary in the smuggling of letters to Tovar and admitted that such correspondence had been going on for quite some time (10Sr-109v). On June 21, one Pero Luis, who had been brought as a prisoner to the Toledo tribunal along with Tovar in 1530, testified that Tovar and Vergara had begun their secret correspondence while Tovar was being transported to the jail at Toledo (113r).
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It would be a long time, however, before Vergara's case would be settled. The months which followed would be marked by repeated requests and complaints on the parts of both Vergara and his employer the archbishop for a quick end to the case. Vergara would also lodge a great number of appeals to the Council, asking for an end to delays. In vain; the Toledo inquisitors had been trying for several years to jail Juan de Vergara for his support of alleged heterodoxy.
Because of Vergara's prominence and influence, however, they had been unable to do so. Now, with the discovery of the secret letters, followed by Vergara's perjury (for which they had set the trap), they had an excellent opportunity to jail him on a technical charge of subornation. Once Vergara was in jail, the Toledo inquisitors had no intention of letting him go until they demonstrated his complicity in what they would define as a vast Lutheran-Illuminist-Erasmist conspiracy in Spain. And at this very moment, on June 2, 1533, the loquacious Diego Hernandez was brought out for the second time to provide horrendous evidence of just such a conspiracy against the faith.
Toledo, June 2, 1533 (4)
Among five sheets presented by maestro Diego Hernandez, written in his hand, he being a prisoner in the jails of the Holy Office, there is written a page which says as follows:
4. A marginal note reads, "Taken from the trial of maestro Diego Hernandez."
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better than in Germany, who would do the same, and that Juan Lopez (de Calain) would let himself be burned and would die in the sect like a nobleman and that he would not betray anyone.
226 JOHN E. LONGHURST
14. Bachiller Francisco de Vergara, herido de esto
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43. Rodrigo de Bivar, cantor, conocido devoto
7. That is, Francisca Hernandez.
8. For conocido, meaning converso, see Bataillon, Erasmo y
Espana (note 5 above), vol. ii, pp. 67-68, n. 2. But note that Rodrigo de
Bivar, number 43 on his list, whom he calls a conocido devoto, was
definitely an Old Christian.
228 LUTHER'S GHOST IN SPAIN
And I, hearer of his (Tovar's) undercover doctrine, infected by his smooth talk, experimenter with his bad works, in example of him, but not his disciple, in attestation of the truth, wrote this with the blood of my heart and signed it with my name, Diego Hernandez, jurado of Ciudad Real.
June 27-28, 1533
Toledo, June 27, 1533
Asked how he knew and who told him that an informacion in Latin was being prepared in this Holy Office against maestro (Juan del) Castillo, to be sent out of his kingdom in order that Castillo might be seized, he replied that he knew about this informacion and that before he knew about it he learned that maestro Castillo had been reconciled in Paris for certain erroneous propositions. This witness does not know what they were nor did he ever hear what they were, but he recalls that he was told that maestro Peralta, racionero of this church, had been present at the reconciliation or he knew about it. Being certain that the absence of a certain maestro, whom the inquisitors wanted to question about the Tovar matter, was delaying Tovar's case, and not knowing which maestro it was whom the inquisitors wanted to question, this witness suspected that it must be maestro (Mateo) Pascual. So this witness prevailed upon Doctor Bivet, chaplain of his lordship the archbishop of Toledo, because he (Bivet) was a friend and countryman of maestro Pascual, to write Pascual to return to Spain to clear his honor of the blemish put upon it in Alcala at the time of Tovar's imprisonment, and in writing, to give Pascual the hope of accommodation (10) with the archbishop. And this witness believes he also wrote Pascual on this point, although he does not recall it clearly, except that after maestro Pascual had gone to Rome, this witness wrote him that he ought to return for the same reason (as given above).
229 JOHN E. LONGHURST
Later someone told this witness that perchance the maestro they (the inquisitors) were seeking to question in the Tovar affair was maestro Castillo. So then this witness made the same efforts to see if it were possible to get Castillo to return here. So this witness spoke several times to Gaspar de Lucena, brother of maestro Castillo, and told him he ought to try to prevail upon his brother to return here. Lucena replied that Castillo was all right where he was. Later, this witness told Lucena that a certain informacion in Latin, against Castillo, was being sent, and that since Castillo already had been reconciled, it was necessary to his honor that he show himself and not give the appearance of flight. Lucena replied that Castillo was (very much) better off where he was and that it was true about the reconciliation.
Toledo, June 28, 1533
The inquisitors pressed Vergara again for the identity of the person who had informed him about the informacion prepared by the Inquisition for the apprehension of Juan del Castillo in Paris. Vergara continued to be evasive, and it took almost another whole year for the Inquisition to extract from him the admission that he had heard about the informacion from licentiate Cristobal de Gumiel, whom Vergara had bribed to reveal secrets of the Holy Office (315r). But Juan del Castillo was not the only person whom the inquisitors suspected had received warnings from Vergara.
Asked if he advised any other persons who had left Spain ... he replied that he wrote Juan de Valdes in Rome to tell him that people were putting a bad light on his absence from Spain, so it was necessary for his honor that he return, and that he (Vergara) advised him to do so. With the letter to Valdes he enclosed another letter for maestro Pascual who, like Valdes, was in Rome at the time, because the same things were being said about Pascual's absence, and this witness was certain that the suspicions about these absences were causing much delay in the Tovar matter.... Juan de Valdes replied to this witness, giving some reasons as an excuse for his not returning (to Spain) and saying that maestro Pascual had already left for
230 JOHN E. LONGHURST
Spain, and that the main reason Pascual had left (for Spain) so suddenly was that he had heard about the rumors being circulated in Spain about the reason for his departure from there, particularly in Alcala where some of his colleagues were inflamed against him because of a great controversy which had occurred there.
Toledo, July 12, 1533
On this date Diego Ortiz de Angulo, promotor fiscal of the Toledo tribunal, appeared before the inquisitors and requested the sequestration of Vergara's goods. He also asked that Vergara be placed in an isolated cell where he could not see or talk with anybody. At present, the Fiscal pointed out, Vergara's cell has windows looking into the street, and Vergara often talks with people in the street, all of which looked very suspicious. The Fiscal then formally denounced Vergara as:
...A heretic and apostate against our holy Catholic faith, following, holding, and believing and teaching the errors and perverse, damnable doctrine of the wicked heresiarch Martin Luther, keeping his (Luther's) books the better to learn and teach (the said errors), holding and believing at the same time the errors of those who are called Illuminists, which (errors) practically coincide with the said Lutheran errors.
(The formal charges against Doctor Juan de Vergara are as follows:)
1. Doctor Juan de Vergara, like a Lutheran, held, approved and greatly favored as
very good the opinions and errors of the said Luther, saying that except for the
matter of confession, all the other opinions held by the said Luther appeared
very good to him, and he greatly praised the said Luther and all his
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both alive and dead, from the treasury of the Church - that Luther spoke the truth when he said they were a joke, and Vergara said the defect lay in the pope, who could not grant such bulls, and not in the persons who took the bulls. He made fun of the bulls, saying "Are they trying to make me believe that when the money clinks in the chest the spirit leaves Purgatory and those indulgences favor and benefit faithful Christians? " He said this while placing one hand over the other like someone who is counting money.
232 JOHN E. LONGHURST
that person not to pray, saying that Erasmus had told him this (i.e., the futility of prayer) in Flanders. As a result of Vergara's counsel, the said person ceased to pray.
11. "Santillos." Mini-saints, perhaps? 12. Long before Erasmus was born. On this point, see at length note nineteen above (pages 178-179).
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14. Doctor Vergara is much too friendly toward Erasmus and has praised him and his works too much. When he was told that in Erasmus' works there are many errors and opinions which are suspect, scandalous and offensive to the faith and the holy mother Church, for which reason they were condemned and rebuked by the doctors maestros and the University of Paris and that Erasmus was a second Luther and a kind of glossarist of Luther, Doctor Vergara in reply said many bad, intemperate and derisive things about the said doctors maestros and the University of Paris because they had condemned the said errors of Erasmus.
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Erasmus were fools, (13) and that some of the words of the Psalms and of Solomon were not translated properly from the Greek in our versions of Scripture.
In his remaining charges, numbers 18 through 22, the Fiscal accused Vergara of bribing officials of the Holy Office, conducting secret correspondence with Tovar, saying nasty things about the inquisitors personally, defending heresy and heretics in general, and spreading heresy throughout Spain. He then concluded his accusations by asking that Vergara be relaxed to the secular arm for burning at the stake.
Charges of the Fiscal
Toledo, July 15, 1533
1. In reply to the first charge ... he said he has never been and is not a Lutheran, nor has he ever given himself to reading or learning Lutheran doctrine in any specific way, except for general talk which he, like everyone else, has heard regarding some aspects of it. In the early days, before Luther's books were prohibited, he could have had them and read them because he is a doctor of theology and it is one of the functions of his profession to read good books and bad ones. However, he never sought to obtain such books and never wished to have them. Furthermore, when this witness was in Germany with the court of his majesty, in the service of the most reverend Cardinal (Guillaume) de Gray, archbishop of Toledo, at the time when Luther came there (to the Diet of Worms in 1521) in person, when everybody, and especially the Spaniards, came there to see him, this witness never took a step to see him. This witness believes that the bishop of Oviedo will recall this, because the two of them were
13. Juan de Valdes, in his Doctrina cristiana (fol. 18r), uses the same word ("necios") to describe the friars who advised people not to read Erasmus.
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together at that time. To this witness nothing is more abominable than Luther and his opinions.
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wrote to tell him he had obtained any of Luther's books. If by chance he had written that he had bought books by any supporter of Luther, he did not say who the authors were, but mentioned only the names of the books. From the names alone one could not tell who were the authors, nor were the names alone sufficient to arouse suspicion about the books. In any event, this witness states that he does not believe Tovar wrote him about any such books. If by chance Tovar did write him and this witness did understand such books to be suspect, there still was no prohibition against them (at that time). Rather it was considered a praiseworthy thing for a theologian, zealous for the faith, to want to see books by modern heretics in order to learn how to criticize and contradict their opinions. And if some edicts (against such books) were in circulation in this archbishopric (of Toledo) at that time, this witness was occupied with his travels with the court and could very well have claimed ignorance about them. And in regard to the charge that this witness revealed his ownership of the said books ( only) after he learned of the imprisonment of Tovar, he replied that the disclosure of the books in question was made while Tovar was still at liberty in Alcala, and that from Alcala Tovar sent the books to this witness in Madrid so that this witness might give them to their lordships of the Council of the Holy General Inquisition, which is what this witness did. And If this witness recalls correctly, (this was done) at the same time that there were read in Madrid the edicts against such books on the part of the Inquisition, because he heard about it at that time.
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8. To the eighth charge, he replied that he denies it and furthermore, never in his life had it come to his attention that anyone disapproved of oral prayer until he saw the charge in the testimony against Tovar. This witness has always maintained that prayer, as it is performed by the ministers of the Church ." should be oral prayer, and that the individual and private prayers of those who are not priests and who do not hold benefices need not be done orally, although such might be helpful in stimulating mental prayer. When in some persons oral prayer disturbs mental prayer, the holy doctors advise that the oral part be dropped, but only in the cases of individual and personal prayer. In regard to the charge that this witness (opposed oral prayer) as an Illuminist, this witness states that nobody in this world has ever known him as such because ." this witness never spoke with or knew any Illuminists, nor did he ever know what their opinions were until he saw them listed in the charges against Tovar. In regard to the charge about (his mocking of) images, he denies it.
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witness knows of no such decision, and Erasmus likewise says he has seen no such decision. If such a decision has been made, it would be reasonable to believe that Pope Adrian (VI), who was so learned and widely read, would have seen any such recent decision. Yet he expressly says ... that anyone who says that confession is of positive law is not a heretic, since to say so is not to deny the obligation of confession, since we are obliged to confess by precept of the Church, which we must obey.
Toledo, July 17, 1533
14. In reply to the fourteenth charge, he said it is true that he is a friend and admirer of Erasmus, as are all the celebrated princes of Christendom, both ecclesiastical and secular, and this witness does not believe that Erasmus is a second Luther.... In regard to the comments in this accusation about the doctors of the University of Paris who condemned the errors of Erasmus, this witness said he has seen the condemnation, together with Erasmus' reply to it, and that for the most part (the Sorbonne theologians) seem to have been
LUTHER'S GHOST IN SPAIN 239
motivated by hatred against Erasmus, although in some things the Parisians are correct.... (Nevertheless) the charges and decisions made at Paris are not binding as articles of faith nor as official decisions of the Church; they only require that in Paris one must not preach the contrary. However, here (in Spain) in other universities, such decisions and articles from Paris are daily rejected, a common saying being that Parisian articles do not cross the (Pyrenees) mountains. If this witness spoke out against the decisions of Paris ... it was because he is informed that the committee of the faculty of theology at Paris was convoked surreptitiously for this purpose through the industry of two or three of Erasmus' enemies there, who waited many days for the occasion when the leaders of the university would be out of town. Then when the opportunity arose, they secretly called together all the friars who had graduated from there and who now lived outside of Paris, and so through the absence of the one group and the preponderance of the other, they outnumbered Erasmus' supporters and they were able to arrive at their decisions against him.... An account of this was written from Paris to Doctor Pedro de Lerma (14) abbot of Alcala, who told this witness about it in the presence of other doctors of Alcala.
14. A marginal note reads, "Doctor Pedro de Lerma, abbot of Alcala, is suspect" - of heresy, that is. But this no longer surprises us.
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translated into Latin, by order of Cardinal Francisco Ximenez (de Cisneros), the major part of the philosophy and metaphysics of Aristotle, he noted such a great number of such errors made by expositors of Aristotle that he began to prepare a treatise (on the subject). Later, by order of the cardinal, this witness translated from Greek into Latin, by interlinear rendition, the books of Proverbs, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Ecclesiastes and Job, and other portions or books of Holy Scripture, where he noted the same (kinds of errors). And if in times past, as this accusation states, there were persons very learned in languages, they too noted the same things, as appears to be the case with Saint Jerome. On this very point he (Jerome) labored hard against those ignorant of languages, just as is now the case with Erasmus.... In regard to the accusation that this witness said that Saint Augustine, because he did not know Greek, did not know what he was doing in his book of the Quinquagenae which he wrote on the Psalms, this witness stated that he does not recall having said this in such loose words. He does recall that one night three years ago in Madrid, in the presence of his most reverend lordship the archbishop of Toledo, and in the presence of Rodrigo de Acevedo, canon of this holy church of Toledo, and Pedro de Bazim, who at that time was corregidor of Segovia, this subject of languages came up and a great argument about the matter developed between this witness and Friar Bernardino (de Flores), priest of Pinto. As Friar Bernardino made many silly and heated remarks, this witness became angry with him and said some angry words to him. He particularly recalls calling him an ignoramus and telling him he (Bernardino) shouldn't talk about such a subject since he knew nothing about it.... Friar Bernardino, seeing how highly this witness had praised Saint Jerome in the matter of languages, replied that Saint Vincent Ferrer (15) had done more good in God's church than Saint Jerome, saying this with scorn and disdain for Saint Jerome. This witness, unable to contain himself, angrily replied that his Saint Augustine, because of his lack of languages, especially Hebrew, in which language the Psalter was originally
15. The strong-arm Jew-converter during the massacres of 1391. See pp. 40-43 of John E. Longhurst, The Age of Torquemada, Lawrence, 1964.
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written, had not detected, in many parts of his Quinquagenae, the true meaning of the prophet.... (The charge) that it is contrary to the faith to say that the book in question contains errors (of translation), because the said book is approved by the Church, is a statement resulting from ignorance. For it is clear that the saints contradict each other in their writings, which are approved by the Church, as is demonstrated by (comparing) the writings of Saint Jerome and Saint Augustine, (16) whose opinions contradict each other in very substantial matters.... Even Saint Paul rebuked Saint Peter after receiving the Holy Spirit.(17)
16. Or a host of others, cited by Peter Abelard 400 years