Chapter Four
The Seizure of Vergara

Accusation by the Fiscal

     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



      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.

Not only was Tovar conducting a secret correspondence with Vergara on the outside, but inside the jail itself he was keeping up a voluminous correspondence with his fellow prisoners. The entire cell block itself functioned like a private club: the prisoners' cells were usually left unlocked, and the inmates wandered about freely whenever and wherever they chose; forbidden literature, such as Juan de Valdes' Doctrina cristiana, was passed around among the prisoners; Francisca Hernandez, who naturally enjoyed the fervent admiration of both Ortega and Sanchez, paid regular visits to the cells of her long time companions Antonio de Medrano and Francisco Ortiz. As might have been expected, it was Diego Hernandez who revealed these activities to the inquisitors. AHN, Inquisicion de Toledo, Legajo 110, no. 21, Proceso contra Maria de Cazalla, unnumbered folios (18 7r-19 2v, 218r-233v); AHN, Inquisicion de Toledo, Legajo 101, no. 62, Proceso contra Sebastian Ribeyro, part ii, folios 1r-10r.


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):

     His brother, Bernardino de Tovar, is justly being held prisoner as a heretic in the jail of this Holy Office, and to free him from the punishment which he deserves ... Doctor Vergara has sent him notes and letters from outside the jail ... through the medium at Hernan Rodriguez and Francisco (Gaito), chaplain and servant (respectively I of the said Doctor Vergara, and through other persons (2) ... and through the alcaide (Juan de Ortega) and the mozo de carcel (Juan Sanchez) of the Holy Office, and through the persons who bring meals to the prisoners.

     Vergara says in his letters to his brother Tovar that the said officials at the Holy Office have disclosed to him the secrets of the Holy Office ... for the purpose and goal that Tovar, heretic that he has been and is, may be set free and given a clean bill of health, without pain or punishment, (In his letters) Vergara discredits the evidence (against Tovar) by giving false tachas against the witnesses (who have testified) to the errors and teachings against the faith which Tovar has held, believed and taught o( the heresies of Luther and the Illuminists, to the great offense at our holy Catholic faith.

     Because of the great favor and standing that the said Doctor has with the said lord Archbishop (Fonseca) of Toledo, he will be able to corrupt -- and he will corrupt - and he will find (for his purpose of corruption) -.. whatever witnesses he wants to disprove the truth in favor of Tovar. Because of the standing, credit and favor which he has with the archbishop, he has persecuted and he persecutes the Holy Office and its officials, having and showing

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.


     hatred for them and speaking badly of them and of the Holy Office.

     It is also to be presumed that he has secretly made the vicarios and visitadores of the archbishopric of Toledo place in the edicts which they publish (a requirement) that all persons whatsoever who know of any matters of heresy and of new errors come forth to state such before them (i.e., before Vergara and his cohorts), rather than before the Inquisition in order to make public the affairs of the Inquisition and in order to find out if these witnesses say anything about him and his brother and his accomplices, friends, and adherents, about the errors and teachings of Luther and his followers and of the Illuminists, which they (Vergara and his friends) have held and believed, and about Erasmus. (3) What is worse is that because of the high standing and favor (which Vergara enjoys with the archbishop) he has worked powerfully to make the archbishop an enemy anti hater of the Holy Office of the Inquisition and its ministers and officials. The archbishop (as a result) now speaks badly of the Inquisition and its officials, whereas before Doctor Vergara entered his service, the archbishop used to speak well and affectionately of the Holy Office, and defended it whenever necessary, especially in Barcelona when the conversos were asking for open jails and the (revealing of) the names of witnesses.

     Therefore I ask your graces ... to proceed against Doctor Juan de Vergara as a fautor and defender of heretics and obstructer of the Holy Office, corrupter and defamer of its ministers and officials ... and that you order his seizure as soon as possible.

The Jailing of Vergara
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.


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).

     On June 23, Vergara was summoned once again before the inquisitors, who sought to extract from him some details of the contents of the letters which he had received from Tovar. Vergara's replies were evasive; he remembered nothing. He also kept insisting that there was nothing wrong in what he had done. He did admit that he had sent some wheat to the alcaide Juan de Ortega, but explained that it was not a bribe because it had been his understanding that Ortega would distribute the wheat among the poor. Dissatisfied with Vergara's answers, the inquisitors voted to jail him. This was done immediately, over the strong protests of Vergara, who announced that he would appeal his imprisonment to the Council (121r-123v).

     Two days after Vergara's arrest, Archbishop Alonso Fonseca wrote the Toledo inquisitors, expressing his regret at the news of Vergara's arrest and speaking of Vergara as a man of high quality who had served him well and faithfully. The archbishop asked to be kept informed of the case and further requested that it be expedited with all possible speed (228r).


      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.

Testimony of Diego Hernandez

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:

     Maestro Juan del Castillo told me that if he were seized he would die in the Lutheran sect, praising God and that even if they burned him alive he would not reveal (the names of) any of those whom he knew to be in the sect, so that they might live to expand it and greatly glorify God, and that if it were not for the Inquisition he would preach this, and that there were such fine Lutherans in Spain,

4. A marginal note reads, "Taken from the trial of maestro Diego Hernandez."


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.

     Those who Castillo told me were Lutherans are the following. Others he called "buenos" and nothing else. In my judgment "buenos" means that they had a good feeling toward this evil of Luther's which he called goodness. "Endiosado" (5) means, in Spanish, as I gather from the wicked doctrine in which they are sunk, bold and capable of any evil without considering it to be a sin. I don't know if they used this term among themselves or whether they called themselves by that name, for I do not recall Castillo telling me so. (6)

1. Juan Lopez DE CALAIN, condemned to burning, finisimo luterano
2. The canons of Palencia, PERO GUTIERREZ, PERO HERNANDEZ and FRANCISCO, finos luteranos endiosados
3. Diego del Castillo, merchant, citizen of Burgos, luterano
4. Doctor Vergara, fino luterano endiosado
5. Bachiller Tovar, finisimo luterano endiosado
6. Juan de Valdes, finisimo luterano endiosado
7. Alfonso de Valdes, fino luterano
8. Friar Alonso de Virues, fino luterano
9. Friar Pedro Ortiz, deceased, fino luterano
10. Friar Diego de Barreda, que Ie hizo morir consolado luterano sal
11. Juan Ramirez, que Ie hizo morir alegre luterano sal
12. Maestro MATEO Pascual, luterano
13. Isabel de Vergara, luterani (sic) casera endiosadilla

5. For a definition of endiosado see Marcel Bataillon, Erasmo y Espana, Mexico, 1950, vol. ii, p. 21, n. 25. On the other hand, Diego Hernandez himself defines what he means by both bueno and endiosado (45r). Why didn't Bataillon refer to Diego's own definition? I like Diego's definition better; it reflects the Illuminist tradition that when the spirit is in them they are beyond evil.
6. As in Diego's earlier testimony, I have used capital letters to complete the names on his list.


14. Bachiller Francisco de Vergara, herido de esto
15. The flamenca of the court ANA DEL VALLE, luterana
16. Dona Aldonza, abbess of Santa Isabel, devotisima enferma
17. Gaspar de Lucena, buen hombre que disimula
18. Petronila de Lucena, buena mujer
19. Miguel de Eguia, muy buen hombre
20. Hernando de Espinosa, cleric, muy buen hombre
21. The archpriest of Santa Maria, luterano
22. Juan de Tapia, luterano
23. MARTIN LASO DE Oropesa, herido cierto
24. Maria de Cazalla, sabia atinadora
25. Francisca Hernandez, endiosada necia
26. Bachiller ANTONIO DE Medrano, santo atrevido
27. Diego Lopez HUSILLO, from here (Toledo), luterano
28. Bachiller Francisco Nunez, from here (Toledo), devoto
29. Bachiller Olmedilla, pobre atado
30. Bachiller Francisco OSORNO Gutierrez, necio suelto
31. GASPAR DE VILLAFANA, conocido luterano
32. Diego de Eguia, necio
33. DIEGO DE Villareal, confessor and chaplain of F. H., (7) necio
34. Bachiller Francisco Ortiz, from here (Toledo 1, conocido (8)
35. Maestro GUTIERRE Ortiz, from here, conocido
36. Maestro JUAN Ramirez DE TOLEDO, rhetorician, conocido
37. The comendador griego (Hernan Nunez de Guzman), gentilis vel quasi luteranus
38. Maestro JUAN DE Cazalla, herido por Erasmo
39. Friar Dionisio VAZQUEZ, herido por Erasmo
40. Doctor Hernan Vazquez, herido por Tovar
41. Doctor DIEGO DE Albornoz, redemptus a Valdes
42. ALONSO DE (? ) Carmona, in the service of the archdeacon, herido luterano


43. Rodrigo de Bivar, cantor, conocido devoto
44. Don Pedro de Mendoza, deceased, devoto Erasmo
45. (Leonor de Quiros), the wife of Cifuentes, conocida
46. (Maria Falcon), wife of the treasurer (Garda de Buytrago), and her daughters (Elvira de Arteaga and the widow of Machicao), conocidas
47. GABRIEL DE Vega and his wife, conocidos
48. PEDRO DE Albadan, conocido devoto
49. Bachiller de la Comadre, devoto
50. Ines de San Juan, Bernardine (Cistercian) nun, devota
51. GASPAR DE Bedoya, cleric, devoto viejo
52. PEDRO RUIZ DE Alcaraz and Isabel de la Cruz, devotos
53. (Hernando Ruiz de Alcaraz), the brother of PEDRO RUIZ DE Alcaraz, conocido
54. Diego Perez, conocido
55. The abbot Friar Antonio, devoto
56. Pedro de Rueda, conocido
57. Gonzalo Paez, conociente
58. GARCIA DE Vargas, conociente with Luis Galas
59. Alcocer, henkeeper of the duke of INFANTADO, conociente
60. Francisco de Avila, cobbler, conociente
61. Friar Pedro de Vitoria, deceased, conociente
62. Diego Espinosa, flageolet player (to the duke of Infantado), devoto
63. Dona Maria Arias, muy devota
64. ORSINAGA DE Mondragon, devoto conocido
65. HERNAN Rodriguez, cleric, conociente
66. The Valverde girls, conocidas suyas
67. Carega and Castro, conocidos suyos
68. The two Pizarro sisters, conocidas
69. Maria Cabrera, mother of the archdeacon, hija
70. Friar Gil LOPEZ DE BEJAR, loco deslenguado, d a F H, ma Dios.(9)

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.
9. That is, "devoto a Francisca Hernandez, madre de Dios."


     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.

Examination of Doctor Vergara
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).


     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

10. "Asiento."


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.

Accusation by the Fiscal Against Vergara

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 teachings.
2. Doctor Vergara said, defended and affirmed that what Luther said about the bulls granted by our holy father to faithful Christians,


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.
3. Doctor Vergara greatly favored the teachings of the said Luther, expressing approval of his person, his errors and ideas, and saying that the reason the pope pursued Luther was because Luther rebuked papal practices, and not because Luther's teachings did not come from God.
4. Doctor Vergara had in his possession forbidden books and pamphlets of the said Luther and his followers, knowing that Luther, his books and followers were reprobated as heretical.... However, Doctor Vergara did not admit to owning such books until he learned that his brother Tovar had been seized by this Holy Office. Then, for fear Tovar might tell the Holy Office about these books, and because he had not brought the said books to the Holy Office within the period specified by the edicts which had been read and published a long time ago, he allowed himself to fall under, and has for a long time continued to be under, the censures contained in the edicts.
5. Doctor Vergara said and affirmed that among other good teachings of Martin Luther was the idea that mass should be said after eating. When he was rebuked for this he replied that it meant nothing because our Lord had consecrated after eating.
6. Doctor Vergara held, said and affirmed that the ceremonies of the mass were not necessary. A certain person disagreed with him and said that such a view was heresy because the Church, governed by the Holy Spirit, had ordained the place, time and ceremonies of the mass, and what Jesus Christ had done He had done in order to put an end to the teachings of the old order and to impose the new law. (Nevertheless) Doctor Vergara persisted in his error and opinion.
7. Doctor Vergara praised those who (according to him) had liberty and said mass without praying, and he gave up fasting, praying and hearing mass. He also indoctrinated a certain person and taught


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.
8. Doctor Vergara said and affirmed, like an Illuminist, that oral prayer was not necessary and that mental prayer was sufficient, because praying aloud only broke one's head, and that there was no point to saying an Ave Maria to a saint, for that was only breaking one's head; that thought was enough to make contact with God. When he was rebuked for this he persisted in his bad opinion and error. Also, like a Lutheran, he has little regard for the images of the saints, referring to them derisively as "saintlets."(11)
9. Doctor Vergara said and affirmed, like an Illuminist, that the exterior works of fasting, discipline and giving alms, and all other such things, were superfluous.
1O. Doctor Vergara, like an Illuminist, said on other occasions that praying and fasting were superfluous and had been ordered for ignoramuses.
11. Doctor Vergara held, believed and affirmed the opinions and errors of those who are called Illuminists, especially in regard to the above mentioned matters and others as well, and since he is a man of high reputation and standing, it is believed that much damage to the faith has been caused by these and similar remarks.
12. Doctor Vergara said and affirmed that confession was not of divine law and that Erasmus maintained the same view.
13. When Doctor Vergara was told that there were in Erasmus errors condemned by the Council of Constance, (12) he replied that he swore in the name of God that there were no such errors nor would the said council decide that there were. He became very angry about this with a certain person who contradicted him, even though there are many errors and suspect, scandalous and offensive errors against the faith and the holy mother Church in the works of Erasmus.

11. "Santillos." Mini-saints, perhaps? 12. Long before Erasmus was born. On this point, see at length note nineteen above (pages 178-179).


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.
15. Doctor Vergara, as a fautor and defender of heretics, and as a person hostile to the Holy Office of the Inquisition and the santa cruzada and the bulls granted by our very holy father, said mockingly that there were two superfluous saints in the world who had been neither baptized nor canonized and who did little to serve God - the santa inquisicion and the santa cruzada. When rebuked for this he persisted obstinately in his opinion.
16. Doctor Vergara, as a teacher and dogmatizer of the errors of Luther and the Illuminists, worked hard to indoctrinate and instruct a certain person in such errors, and he would have held that person in high regard if that person had wished to follow Vergara's teaching and accept such errors.
17. Doctor Vergara, speaking with another person about the translations that had been made from Greek into Latin, said that Saint Augustine, not knowing Greek, did not know what he was doing in his explanation of the Psalms of David and in his book of the Quinquagenae. When this person replied that it seemed wrong to speak such words, because the latter book was held in great devotion by the entire universal Church, and that anyone who spoke as Vergara did seemed not to think well of the faith, since the book in question was an approved one and Saint Augustine wrote it when he was filled with the Holy Spirit, Doctor Vergara answered with many insults, saying that anyone who said the contrary to what he said did not know what the Holy Spirit was and that the friars who spoke against


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.

Vergara Replies to the
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.


together at that time. To this witness nothing is more abominable than Luther and his opinions.
2. In reply to the second charge (that Vergara made fun of papal bulls) .,. he said he remembers that this charge here made against him was included among the propositions which Inquisitor Mejia sent to the most reverend archbishop of Toledo at the time of Tovar's imprisonment, saying that these were the propositions testified against Tovar. And as these propositions were, in the belief of this witness, the result of the testimony of Francisca Hernandez, it seems then that this proposition was reproduced to the letter from those which originated with her testimony. Especially (does this seem to be the case) since later on, in the publication (of the charges) against Tovar, this particular proposition was not included with the others. From this one gathers that Francisca Hernandez, after having testified to the propositions against Tovar, decided to reserve a portion of her accusations for this witness, because this witness had been the cause of Tovar's break with Francisca, as well as the break of others with Francisca, as a result of which she lost her authority. 3. He said he denies the third charge (that he is a partisan of Martin Luther). And because it was very late, the rest (of his reply) was left for the first audience (of the next day).

Toledo, July 16, 1533

4. This witness said he never had any books of Luther's, despite the fact that in the beginning (before Luther was condemned) he had the right to have them. Even though in Germany the court of his majesty was full of Luther's books, this witness never tried to buy or obtain any of them. Later, in Spain, while this witness was following the court in the service of the archbishop of Toledo, his brother Tovar, who was living in Alcala in this witness' house, seemed to have had such books included among some good ones which he used to buy. During this witness' absence he did not know what books his brother Tovar was buying, except that he knew his brother was always in the habit of buying new books, and perhaps on some occasions used to write this witness to tell him about some of the books he had obtained. But this witness does not recall that Tovar


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.
5. To the fifth charge, he replied that he denies having said any such thing, although he might well have quoted Luther on the subject mentioned therein (that it was all right to say mass after eating). However, he never said that Luther spoke well (on this point), nor did anyone ever rebuke him about this.
6. To the sixth charge, he replied that he never in all his life spoke on such a matter (as the ceremonies of the mass not being necessary), and that this appears to be another of the charges of Francisca Hernandez, because he believes it also appears in her statement against Tovar.
7. To the seventh charge, he replied that he denies it, because never in his life did he speak on such a matter
(as the inutility of prayer).


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.
9. To the ninth charge (that he said exterior works were superfluous) , he replied that he denies it (and attributes it to Francisca Hernandez) ".. This witness never spoke to Francisca Hernandez more than four or five times ". and always in the presence of many persons ". and the reason he spoke to her on these occasions was to separate her from Tovar"" This was in 1522 in Valladolid.
10. To the tenth charge (that he said praying and fasting were superfluous), he replied that he denies this also (as further false testimony of Francisca Hernandez).
11. To the eleventh charge, he replied that he denies it and that no evidence will be found that this witness has spoken in any gatherings nor with any persons of the Illuminist movement).
12. To the twelfth charge, this witness replied that he has always maintained as his most certain opinion that confession is of divine law. He has sometimes said that he would not consider the contrary opinion to be erroneous until an official decision of the Church has been made on the matter, for it seems a rash thing to condemn so readily the many doctors who have maintained this contrary view.... This witness has always maintained that such a view may be held, (at least) until the Church should determine the contrary. However, this


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.
13. To the thirteenth charge, he replied that he does not remember having said or sworn that there were no errors in the works of Erasmus. What he said was that he had not found that such (so-called) errors had been condemned by the Council of Constance....
     As for this person who, according to the charge, became angry with him over this, this witness does not recall who it could be nor what occurred with the person in question, except that he does recall that one day in Madrid Doctor (Pedro) Ortiz, who is presently in Rome, disputed with this witness and maintained that the opinion which maintains that confession is of positive law was condemned by the Council of Constance and that therefore Erasmus erred in holding such an opinion. This witness disputed the point, maintaining that no such condemnation had been made at the Council of Constance....
     Later, this witness examined all the records of the Council of Constance and found no such condemnation. This witness believes his failure to find such condemnation by the Council of Constance was not the result of his own negligence, since Pope Adrian (VI) did not find it either.

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


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.
15. To the fifteenth charge of the accusation, he replied that he denies it (
as one of the false charges first made by Francisca Hernandez against Tovar).
16. To the sixteenth charge of the accusation, he replied that he denies it and that it is a great lie because this witness never dogmatized to anybody about good doctrine or bad.
17. To the seventeenth charge of the accusation, he replied that as a theologian, and reasonably well learned in languages, especially Greek and Latin, he has often said that in the most authentic doctors there can be found errors committed because of their lack of Greek and Hebrew. Likewise in translations made from these languages into Latin there are errors.... So this witness might well have said
(that Saint Augustine made errors in his translations from Greek into Latin), as one of experience in such matters, because besides having

14. A marginal note reads, "Doctor Pedro de Lerma, abbot of Alcala, is suspect" - of heresy, that is. But this no longer surprises us.


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.


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)
     Vergara then made a general denial of the remaining charges, with the exception of the accusation that he corresponded secretly with Tovar. He admitted this charge, but insisted he was acting in good faith and with no intent to subvert the workings of the Holy Office.

16. Or a host of others, cited by Peter Abelard 400 years before.
17. Galatians, 2: 14.