Chapter Seven
Final Delays and Conclusion

Testimony of
Miguel Ortiz

      Immediately following his written defense Vergara, seeking to discredit further the testimony of Francisca Hernandez, asked that the records of the trials of Miguel de Eguia, Antonio de Medrano and Francisco Ortiz, along with portions of several other trials, be introduced into his own trial, as evidence of the criminal characters of Francisca and her maid Maria Ramirez (292r-v). The fiscal strenuously opposed this procedure, and a lengthy argument followed over the legality of such proceedings. Vergara, realizing that this was only delaying the disposition of his case, finally withdrew his request on April 18, 1534 (1) and asked that his case be concluded without further delay (293r-303v). However, the Toledo inquisitors were still trying to pad out their case; on April 15 they called in Miguel Ortiz to squeeze out more details of the secret correspondence between Tovar and Vergara. The results were most interesting - even the archbishop of Toledo was now implicated in this violation of Inquisition procedures.

Toledo, April 15, 1534

     Asked if he knows that Tovar communicated in any secret way, by writing, to his brother Vergara ... and that Doctor Vergara also wrote

1. Not April 8, as is given in Marcel Bataillon, Erasmo y Espana, Mexico, 1950, voL ii, p. 43.



secretly to Tovar, using orange or lime juice ... he replied that he knows that last June [1533] when the archbishop of Toledo - may he be in glory (2) - left this city, Doctor Vergara remained here [by order of the Inquisition]. One day when this witness and Doctor Vergara were walking about in the upper cloister of the archbishop's quarters, ... [Vergara told Ortiz all about his secret exchange of correspondence with Tovar, and even said that the archbishop himself knew all about it, that in fact the archbishop read the smuggled letters too, personally holding some of them over the heat to bring out the words].

     [Directed to relate these matters in detail], he said he recalls that Doctor Vergara told him ... he had written his brother Tovar asking him to let him know if in truth he [Tovar] had committed any of the errors contained in the accusation against him ... and that if Tovar had held these opinions he should confess them and ask punishment for them, and that if he had not, he should so advise Vergara, as he would his lawyer. Tovar replied in Ii letter written in the same secret way... that never in his life had any such errors crossed his mind.

     Under further questioning on the same day, and also on April 17, Ortiz gave more details of the letter smuggling affair. Vergara, on the suggestion of his chaplain, Hernan Rodriguez, had given some chickens and wheat to the alcaide Juan de Ortega, to ensure his continuing cooperation. Vergara also wrote to licentiate Cristobal de Gumiel and told him that the archbishop of Toledo had granted a benefice to Gumiel as curate of Jumela, through Vergara's intercession. Later, some time after Tovar was imprisoned, licentiate Gumiel became very ill. Thinking he was going to die, he commended certain matters of his conscience to Ortiz, and also entrusted to the care of Ortiz certain papers to be given to Vergara in the event of Gumiel's death. Among these papers was one signed by the arch-

2. Alonso de Fonseca, Archbishop of Toledo, had died just a few weeks before, which might account for Miguel Ortiz' boldness in accusing the archbishop of complicity in the smuggling of letters between Tovar and Vergara. We may be sure that his death did not help Vergara's case either.


bishop of Toledo, which conferred on Gumiel a benefice in a church in Madrid. When Gumiel recovered, Ortiz returned his papers to him.

Accusation by
the Fiscal

Toledo, April 21, 1534

     I, Diego Ortiz de Angulo, hereby make presentation against Vergara ... of all the books and writings found in Vergara's possession and of those which Doctor Vergara sent to the Council of the General Inquisition ... including both the books of Luther and his followers, as well as those of Erasmus and other persons suspected of being opposed to our holy Catholic faith.... [I likewise ask your graces to direct} that a copy be obtained of the propositions of Erasmus which the University of Paris condemned as heretical, scandalous, erroneous, suspect and offensive to pious ears ... because Doctor Vergara has been and is an intimate friend and defender of Erasmus and all his writings and errors. They regularly corresponded with each other as friends, and Doctor Vergara had the archbishop of Toledo send a stipend to Erasmus. Vergara also favored Erasmus in the conference which was held in Valladolid [in 1527] .., and Vergara had such influence and favor with the archbishop of Toledo and other ecclesiastical and secular persons that he had the conference dissolved without condemning ... the said propositions [of Erasmus), and against the wishes of the whole assemblage of friars and learned ecclesiastical persons who wanted to condemn [Erasmus] as heretical, erroneous and suspect.

Testimony of
Alonso de Virues

Toledo, April 30, 1534

     He said that about four years ago ... in the apartment of Doctor Vergara [in Madrid] ... this witness and Vergara were discussing theological questions dealing with matters of conscience. They began


to dispute. This witness does not recall to what purpose he did so, but [in the course of the dispute} he maintained the general doctrine that the sacraments give grace ex opere opera to. (3) Doctor Juan de Vergara denied this, scoffing at it ... and describing such an opinion as fantasy [and mocking the schools of theologians as hardly suitable to quote as authorities in support of any religious opinions}.

Votes on the Case of Vergara

Toledo, December 11-14, 1534

      From April to December of 1534, Vergara's trial remained virtually at a standstill. On May 2, Vergara replied to the most recent charges against him. He pointed out that if friendship with Erasmus was.a sign of heresy then most of the great princes of Europe were heretics, including both pope and emperor. Nor was it a crime to suggest that the archbishop of Toledo give Erasmus a stipend. Cardinal Ximenez de Cisneros, many years before, had offered Erasmus a stipend to come to Alcala. The accusation that Vergara was responsible for the dissolution of the Valladolid conference in 1527 was simply ludicrous. How could Vergara, who was not even present, have dissolved a conference presided over by Inquisitor General Manrique and graced by a host of high Church dignitaries (313r-314v)? On May 4 and again on May 12, Vergara denied the accusation of Alonso de Virues, insisting that he had never discussed the sacraments with anybody. His denial was supported by Antonio Rodriguez, whom Virues had named as the only witness to his purported conversation with Vergara on the sacraments. Rodriguez stated he had never heard any such argument in the quarters of the archbishop or anywhere else (316v-320r).

3. The final decision on this point, as with the argument over the origin of confession, was not made until later, when the Council of Trent (Session VII, Chap. VIII) adopted the view that the sacraments do have virtue in themselves - ex opere operato - to confer grace.


      It was not until the end of October that action picked up again. On October 30, it was decided to seize Pedro de Cazalla as an accomplice of Vergara (323v). On November 3, three theologians - Juan Ruiz de Ubago, Juan de Medina and Juan de Villareal - having examined the propositions of which Vergara was accused, rendered their verdict. They found a large number of them to be heretical, erroneous, scandalous, pernicious and/or suspect. Others, however, were not serious.

      Vergara's alleged praises of Luther and his possession of Lutheran books would have to be viewed in the light of the time when they occurred; it could be true that one might neglect his prayers when studying something important; it would be necessary to have more details on Vergara's alleged denial of the Holy Spirit before passing judgment; it is fallacious at the most, but not heretical, to insist that the Church did not condemn any errors in Erasmus; it was bold, but not heretical, to question Saint Augustine's knowledge of Greek; to question the authenticity of certain Latin translations of the Psalms and Solomon was "passable" ("puede pasar") (324r-325r). Finally, on December 11, 1534, the voting began on the disposition of Vergara's case. Doctor Diego RodrIguez and Doctor Juan Ruiz de Ubago voted without hesitation to put Vergara to torture to ascertain the truth of the charges against him. Doctor Juan de Medina, however, disagreed:

     Three things occur to me. First, it has not been completely proven that Vergara is a heretic, because except for the first two witnesses [Francisca Hernandez and Maria Ramirez], almost all the others, in their accusations against Vergara, either exculpate him or say nothing prejudicial to him, or they depose on the basis of hearsay, or on matters of personal belief, or their testimony is unsubstantiated. In regard to the first two witnesses [Francisca and Maria} ... it likewise seems that they do not give complete proof. First, because they are women, and one of them [Francisca} appears to have perjured herself... [and besides, her own difficulties with the Inquisition indicate that she is a criminous person}.... Furthermore, bear in mind the quality of the person against whom these two women depose, Vergara being a priest and a person of esteem and generally regarded as a truthful man, as would be required in the office of secretary


which he has held under the two previous archbishops of Toledo [Francisco Ximemez de Cisneros and Alonso Fonseca).

     Second, Francisca Hernandez appears to be a vindictive woman, and one who puts into execution the anger she feels against others, as appears in the proceso of [Miguel de) Eguia, [where it is stated that Francisca}, being angry with Eguia, had two of her servants tell Eguia to leave town or else. It is to be presumed that this was done according to her order or wish, since in that place [Valladolid) she had so much authority that whatever she wished, it was done. Also, many years passed before these two women deposed against Vergara, [remaining silent) until Tovar was separated from Francisca's company [by Vergara). Whence it appears that it was not the desire to unburden their consciences that prompted them to depose ... but rather it was anger which moved them, or the thought that Francisca might win an early release from prison [by testifying against others).

     Also, it hardly seems probable that these two women could both recall, after so many years, the exact same words of which they accuse Vergara. Rather, it seems that they must have consulted beforehand on their proposed accusations, especially since one of them is the maid of the other and the two of them were in the same cell together at the time of their depositions. Also, they accuse Vergara of things which are not likely, saying they heard him maintain and discuss all the opinions of Luther and the Illuminists, when if they were to testify truthfully they would have to know themselves what were all the opinions of Luther and the Illuminists. This is hardly probable, because at the time of which they speak, [the early 1520's}, the works of Luther were new and hardly known, and there was not even any information about the Illuminists.

     Also, this first witness, Francisca Hernandez, says she heard Vergara say that alms giving and all the other exterior things were superfluous. It is hardly plausible that Vergara said such a thing, because alms giving is not disapproved of either by Luther or the Illuminists; rather they consider it to be a good thing. This appears to contradict this witness' charge ... that Vergara held all the opinions of Luther as good, except for [Luther's rejection of) confession.


     Also, these women seem to be inconsistent. Francisca Hernandez deposed against Miguel de Eguia that he doubted the existence of Hell. She later stated she had not heard him express such an opinion.... Then her maid deposed on one occasion against Vergara that she had heard Vergara say that Luther was a servant of God and indulgences were a joke. Yet on another occasion she said she did not hear him say this.

     Also, my confidence in the truthfulness of these women is diminished by the fact that both women have made some serious accusations against Pedro de Cazalla. But their lordships of the Council have not allowed the imprisonment of Cazalla on the basis of these charges; instead, they have demanded more proof. Also, these same women have made serious accusations against [Miguel de) Eguia, and even though Eguia could not disprove their charges, and even though he was negative in his replies - as is evident from his proceso - he was not condemned by the testimony of these women, which indicates that little confidence was placed in them.

     Nevertheless, and despite what I have stated, it seems to me that these testimonies make Vergara suspect. First, because their lordships of the Council, and other inquisitors, have questioned these women many times about the substance of their depositions, and they appear always, or at least most of the time, to stick to their stories. Also, their lordships of the Council approved of the maid as trustworthy in her deposition, as appears from the proceso of Tovar. Consequently, they seem to be giving the same approval by implication to Francisca Hernandez, at least in those parts of her testimony substantiated by her maid.... Also, other persons - doctors and religious - who were present in Valladolid when these women were examined, gave as their opinion that they were trustworthy, as appears from the proceso of Eguia. Also, judging from other procesos in which they have deposed about many persons, they have always been found to be in accord with them, despite the fact that in explaining their own activities, one or both of them have perjured themselves. When they deposed against others, however, they apparently told only the truth. Furthermore, they have deposed willy-nilly against their friends and against others who claim enmity with them, as appears in the procesos of Vergara, Tovar, Medrano and [Maria de] Cazalla. This


shows that neither did love impel them to conceal what they knew nor did hatred or enmity impel them to state what they did not know {to be true}. Also, in this proceso of Vergara there are other witnesses who allude to what these women charge, such as the third witness {Francisco Ortiz} and the eleventh witness {Gil Lopez de Bejar] and the last witness { Alonso de Virues] and others.

      Therefore, Doctor Medina concluded, it was his opinion that Vergara was suspect on several counts: his attitude toward oral prayer, fasting, mass, Church ceremonies, indulgences, the sacraments, and his approval of the opinions of Erasmus. However, Medina felt that in view of Vergara's high office and reputation, as well as the questionable nature of some of the charges against him, and the suffering he had already undergone in jail, he should not be put to torture. Instead, he should be required to abjure de vehement!" the errors of which he was suspect, and should then be confined in a monastery for one year, and should pay a fine of two thousand ducats.

      The other two theologians, Doctor Juan de Villareal and Doctor Bias Ortiz indicated their concurrence with the recommendations of Medina. All three then, together with the inquisitors, voted unanimously that Vergara be required to appear as a penitent at a forthcoming auto de fe, where he would abjure de vehementi the heresies of which he was suspect, that he then be confined in a monastery for a period of one year, and that he be fined fifteen hundred ducats.

Conclusion of the Case

January, 1535 to January, 1536

      Under ordinary circumstances, one would have expected a reasonably rapid conclusion to Vergara's case once the voting had been completed. However, Vergara was not an ordinary person, and a great deal of animosity existed between him and his judges. The inquisitors, still looking for more evidence against Vergara, dragged the case out for another year, despite the protests not only of Vergara, but of the Council and even of the new archbishop of Toledo, Juan Pardo de Tavera. During the early months of 1535, more details were extracted from Cristobal de Gumiel and Pedro de Hermosilla regarding Vergara's efforts to obtain Inquisition secrets. Gaspar de Lucena was questioned again about Vergara's attempt to warn Juan del Castillo about the Inquisition's efforts to have the latter seized in Paris. These investigations, however, resulted in no significant additions to the case.

      In June, the inquisitors made a final effort. They noted that almost two years before, in August of 1533, Diego Hernandez had accused Vergara of criticizing a sermon given by Diego de Albornoz in 1526 or 1527, and of saying that he did not believe in the holy spirit which Albornoz allegedly claimed had spoken through him. Albornoz, in December of 1533, had failed to substantiate the accusation of Hernandez. According to him, Vergara had praised his sermon, saying nothing at all about the Holy Spirit.

      Four persons had been named by Albornoz as witnesses to his conversation with Vergara. Under questioning, one of them had denied being present. Two others had never heard Vergara say any such words about the Holy Spirit. But one witness - Alonso Sanchez - had said he had heard Vergara deny the Holy Spirit (93r-95r). Now, a year and a half later, the Toledo inquisitors, still raking through the debris in hopes of finding more "evidence," decided to question Albornoz again to see if his memory had improved with the passage of time. On June 22, 1535, Inquisitor Vaguer journeyed to Alcala to interview Albornoz about the conversation which had supposedly taken place eight or nine years before. At first, Albornoz could not remember even testifying before the Inquisition. When Inquisitor Vaguer helpfully repeated Diego Hernandez' charge about the Holy Spirit, Albornoz' memory improved immediately. He now remembered clearly that in 1531 - no longer 1526 or 1527 Vergara had indeed rebuked him for his sermon, and had denied the existence of the Holy Spirit too. How was it that Albornoz' memory had so improved? It seems that after Albornoz testified in December of 1533, he told Alonso Sanchez about his testimony. Sanchez


replied that Vergara had denied the Holy Spirit when he rebuked Albornoz, because Sanchez had heard the whole conversation.

      Further delays brought forth no more accusations. On November 16, 1535, Inquisitor Giron de Loaysa suggested that since Vergara's case had been concluded and voted on almost a year ago, the sentence should be carried out. Further delays might prompt the Council to remove Vergara from the jurisdiction of the Toledo tribunal, which would result in the loss of the fine of fifteen hundred ducats imposed on the defendant.

      On December 20 Doctor Bias Ortiz modified his vote of the year before. Vergara, he pointed out, had spent a full year in jail since the original votes had been cast. Therefore, he felt, Vergara ought not to be required to appear in a public auto de fe; instead he should be permitted to make his abjuration in the privacy of a church. However, in view of such a consideration on Vergara's behalf, the fine of fifteen hundred ducats should be raised to two thousand.

      Inquisitors Vaguer, Yanes, and Giron de Loaysa disagreed. The year's delay was nobody's fault but Vergara's. The original sentence must be carried out in full. After all, Giron de Loaysa pointed out, among those who approved of the original sentence were two of Vergara's own colleagues from Alcala, Juan Ruiz de Ubago and Juan de Medina. Besides, there was an auto de fe scheduled for the following day and it would not be much of an affair without Juan de Vergara as the main attraction. BIas Ortiz was overruled.