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La3-mann could not be the author of the Processus iuridicus contra sagas,
and that the work is incorrectly attributed to liim. Most especially, he insists
on the irreconcilability of the views expressed by Laymann in the 3rd
edition of his Theologia Moralis (which are repeated in the later reprints)
with the Processus iuridicus. Riezler nevertheless stuck to liis opinions
in a polemic against Duhr (' Paul Laymann und die Hexenprozesse. Zur
Abwehr,' in the Histor. Zeitschr. lxxxiv.( 1900), 244-256); inexi)lanationof the
contradiction alluded to he assumes, with the usual invectives against the
historical falsifications of Janssen-Pastor, &c., and without any positive
ground, that, between the appearance of the Processus and the 3rd edition
of the Theologia Moralis, ' pressure from above ' was exercised on Laymann.


and otlier ways. In opposition to liis brother Jesuit,

Then again Dulir returns to the question (' Is Father Laymann tlie author of
the 'Processus iuridicus contra sagas?' in the Zeitschr. filr kathol. Theologie,
1900, pp. 585-592) and shows the baselessness of the arguments, once more
exhaustively presenting the reasons against Laymann's authorship. A
Latin original edition imagined by the defenders of this authenticity does
not exist. Nobody has ever seen another edition preceding the German
Aschaffenburg and Cologne editions of 1629, and if the bibliographers of the
Society cite a Latin edition, the place and date of which, however, they do
not give, it is only that they have been misled by the Latin title of the
Cologne edition. The pamphlet itself, as it lies here before us, is, as the
title alone shows, no mere translation of an original by Laymann, for the
very wording of the title and also the dedicatory preface of the publisher,
Quirin Botzer, expressly declare that numerous other sources have been
utilised for its production besides Laymann. The actual doctrines of
Laymann, even in the 1st and 2nd editions of the Theologia Moralis, and
still more in the 3rd, do not coincide with the opinions of the Processus ;
for the assumption of want of consistency in Laymann in consequence of
which he changed ^%-ith every wind, and from year to ycar,[^out of worldly
considerations, took up a different position, there is not a vestige of proof.
Laymann, besides many other authors, is quoted in tliis work ; the passages
cited from him are extracts from his Theologia Moralis ; for all the rest, and
for the whole compilation, he is in no way to be made responsible : the way
in which his name is used on the title-page as that of the most reno\vned
contemporary author, is a mere puff of the publisher's. Laymann himself,
in the 3rd edition of his Theologia Moralis of 1630, has not one word of
allusion to any special treatise published by him in the previous year,
whereas in this very much expanded version he appeals repeatedly to
Tanner. See further Duhr's work, Die Stellung der Jesuiten in den
Deutschen Hexenprozessen (Koln, 19C0), pp. 53-59. On the ground of
his statements Duhr can say here with perfect right (p. 59) : ' It is thus
seen that Father Laymann, though no friend of Delrio, in many points
opposed the witch-trials of that period.' Binz, in a notice, 'P. P.
Laymann und die Hexenprozesse,' in the Histor. Zeitschr. Ixxxv.
(1900), pp. 290-292, agrees -wiih. Riczler, but points to a datum, so far over-
looked in the controversy, furnished by Hartzheim (Biblioiheca Coloniensis.
(1747), p. 182), according to which Johannes Jordanaeus, D.D., Canon and
parish-priest at Bonn and author of a Disputatio de prdba stigmatica (Colon.
16.30), was the editor of the Cologne edition of 1629 of the Processus. ' This,'
says Binz, ' perhaps gives us a hint by which Laymann's connexion with this
bookseller's speculation may be traced.' To us it seems, on the contrary,
that were Hartzheirn's information trustworthy we should have to seek
no further for the veritable author. Now, however, Duhr has succeeded


the Spaniard Delrio,i who * in many points held to the
sterner view,' lie insisted that * if witeh-trials were
eondueted aeeording to the direetions of the more savage
legislators and the practiee of many of the judges, it
nmst inevitaMy happen, as indeed experience showed,
that the innocent would be frequently condemned
with the guilty.'- For the benefit of the witch- judges
Laymann drew up a regular register of sins. Through
their (the judges') proceedings, he said it had come to
this, * that if these trials went on any longer, whole
villages, boroughs and towns would be left empty and
no priests would any longer be safe.'-^ There are some
judges, he said, ' who ask the condemned witches
before execution whether they stick to the statements
made by them about their accomplices, and if the
answer is " yes " these statements are declared correct,
and no account is made of a recantation.' ^ As a rule no
opportunity for defence is granted to the accused.

And yet the crime in question is one the very exist-
ence of which it is extremely difficult to establish ; for
the persons concerned are mostly * wavering, hysterical,
often quite crazy w^omen, who from their own confession
might easily be deluded by the evil spirit.^ Recourse
should never be had to the rack until the accused
have been accorded a chance of defending themselves.
Confessions WTung by torture should never be acted on
and never recorded in the minutes. The judge must

in finding a 2nd edition of the Processus in the title of wliich Laymann's
name is omitted, and we can only agree with his conclusion that the
Processus iuridicus should be struck off the list of Laymann's works
{Zeitschr. fur kathol. Theol. 1901, p. 166 ff.).

' See above, p. 401.

-' Theologin moralis (Moguntie, 1723), p. 431.

'■' Ibid. p. 432, No. 3. ' Ibid. p. 425, Nos. 26, 27. = j^^^ p 439.


also be very careful never to say : " You must give
the names of your accomplices, or you will be put on
the rack/' The value of such confessions and statements
is nil ; only what is said voluntarily may be attended
to/ ^ Not in vain did the Coburg lawyers, when attacked
by the preachers of the town for their milder practice in
witch-trials, appeal in self-defence to the authority of
the * renowned Jesuit, Paul Laymann,' and quote
numerous utterances of his to show how little importance
should be attached to the statements of the witches
about their accomphces.-

With even more decisiveness than Laymann did
Father Adam Tanner ' come forward in favour of the
many unfortunate victims who, through the miserable
parodying of justice, were delivered over guiltless to
execution.' Tanner had entered the Society of Jesus
in 1590 ; in 1596 he was appointed to the Chair of
Hebrew at the University of Ingolstadt, and afterwards
to a professorship at Katisbon. In 1601 he took part as
a CathoUc speaker in a religious conference at Ratisbon.
Later on he lectured for fifteen years on scholastic
theology at Ingolstadt, and was afterwards professor in
Vienna and Chancellor of the university at Prague. ^
Already in the period of his tuitional labours at Munich,
he had, as he says in his principal work, 'Theologia
scholastica,' various important questions put before
him relating to the witch-trials. In his work he
spoke out on the subject more fully, ' in order that the

^ Theol. mor. p. 430. - Leib, 38 ; sec above, p. 404.

=• See Rapp., Kropf, 47 ff. Hist. Prov. Soc. Jesu Germ. v. 100-102.
' Tanner was considered the first tjieologian of his day,' it says on the
memorial tablet erected by the theological faculty at Ingolstadt in his
honour. See Mederer, Annales, ii. 145, 178, 2()2. Hurter, Nomenclator,
i. 498-.501.


odiicatod classes of his time, and above all the rulers,
should heeonie acquainted with his opinions and should
take them into mature consideration.'' His serious,
earnest disposition, and small incUnation for joking or
levitv,- may have been the result of the bitter experiences
he went through in the witch-trials, just as similar
experiences prematurely whitened the hair of his brother
Jesuit, Frederick von Spee. Because Tanner stood out
with manly courage against the burning of witches he
was himself declared by the secular judges to be suspect
of witchcraft, and many of them expressed the wish to
get him onto the rack. On this account Frederick
von Spee was afraid later on to publish his Cautio
criminalis under his own name. * I am alarmed,'
he said, ' by the example of the pious theologian Tanner,
who by his remarkably true and clever commentary
incensed many against him.' * For woe unto those
who in this cause ' (that of the persecuted witches) ' think
to become advocates : they turn the litigation against
themselves, just as though they were partakers in the
art of witchcraft. Oh, what freedom there is in these
days ! If any one wants to act as advocate he is at once
suspected ! A man even falls under suspicion if he only
permits himself to admonish the judges in quite a
friendly manner on this question.' ^

' Theologia scholastica, iii. disp. 4, 9, 5, Dub. i. (iii. 981).

- He is described as ' serius, nuUisque iocis unquam vel leviter arridens,
modestissimus.' Mederer, ii. 262. Tanner's ' favourite recreation,' says
the Jesuit Kropf (see p. 471, note 3), 'was the forest and the song of
birds.' In this too he resembled Frederick von Spee.

^ Cautio criminalis. Dub, 18 ; cf. Franck, 81-82. ** Concerning
Tanner, cf. also Riezler, pp. 248-259. Riezler thinks it necessary to
rectify the favourable opinion of Rapp {Hezenprozcsse in Tirol) and
Janssen-Pastor, which he calls one-sided, p. 248 ff. : 'In the matter
of witches he deserves the double praise that in two important points


' Enthusiasts for God/ who for the honour of the
Ahnighty desired in the sense of Bodin and Fischart * to
root out the accursed race of witches,' thought it highly
suspicious and worthy of torture that writers hke Weyer
and Tanner should throw doubts on the reality of the
witch-flights and declare them to be for the most part
pure illusion and imposture : ' such conceited and
over-clever writers/ they said, ' ought to be punished as
contemners of divine justice and law. ' ^ Tanner regarded

at least he did not share unconditionally and fully in the terrible
superstition of his time ; and still more that he recommended modi-
fications in the trials, especially in the use of tortui-e, which if carried
out would have put an end to the hon-ible wholesale slaughtering. But
on the other hand he also proposed a measure which could only have
led to the multiplication of witch-trials, [the appointment of officials who
should watch for and give information of the signs of witchcraft] — and it
is impossible to assign a place on the glory roll of the combat against the
witch-superstition and witch-persecution to a man who has revealed his
mental attitude by the following utterance {Theol. schol. iii. e. 1019, § 126) :
"Judicial severity against witchcraft is necessary, on the one hand in order
to prevent the danger of simple-minded folk thinking there is no such
crime ; on the other hand to avenge the honoiir of God and to punish as
it deserves the heinous offence committed against God." ' At p. 264 ff.
Riezler alludes to an undated and unsigned memorandum on witch-trials,
which corresponds with the extracts on the same subject in Tanner's
Theologia scholastica, and which in his (Riezler's opinion) was written by
Tanner between 1626 and 1630. Cf. Dulu- [Die Stellung der Jesuiten, pp. 45-
53), who in opposition to Riezler remarks (p. 53) : ' That Tanner, in spite of
these authors (Delrio, the Malleus moleficarum, Binsfeld), and in spite of his
times, arrived in many respects at a more reasonable standpoint, and
defended it manfully in spite of the manifold dangers bound up with it,
will always redound to his high renown, and neitlier exaggerated praise
nor unjiLst depreciation can interfere with this renown.' ' Tanner, as the
most distinguished among German Jesuit theologians, and a university
professor of many years' standing in the German and Austrian province
of the Society, undoubtedly exercised a lasting influence on the opinions
of his fellow-members.' To learn how entirely Spec bases himself on
Tanner, see below, p. 477, and Duhr, p. 59.

' K. Engelhardt, Wider Zdithereien, &c. aus goltlicher Schrift, kaiser-
lichen und andern Rechien, hohen JJoktoren tind wohlgegriindeter Praxi
(1637), p. 14.


the witches' flights as dreams and self-deception on
the part of the women and as the residt of demoniacal
delusion, even though the * witches ' themselves should
declare in court that they had been carried of^ body
and soul by the devil. Very Uttle importance was to
be attached to statements of this sort, especially as the
confessions of the witches contradicted each other.
Even though these women declared that they had been
carried away by Satan in the shape of a cat, a mouse,
or a bird, there was no reason for thinking anything
otherwise than that they had been the victims of sheer
hallucination ; for neither a wicked spirit nor a good
angel had the power to change a human body into
the shape of an animal. Of themselves, without the
permission of God, the demons had no power to injure
human beings either in their bodies or in their goods ;
neither could they injure anybody or anything through
the instrumentality of witches and sorcerers, unless the
latter made use of salves and other means which from
natural causes were injurious to human beings. ^

The greatest caution must be exercised when the
accused were wilhng to make known the names of
accomphces. 'For either these denouncers are really,
as they assert, witches and sorcerers, or they are not.
If they are not they are making lying statements about
themselves and know nothing about others whom
they make out to be accomphces, especially as this
crime is a secret one and supposed to be known only
to the perpetrators. If, however, they are witches,
then they are people whose object is to injure all human
beings, especially those who are guiltless, yea verily to
bring them to perdition, let it cost what calumnious

' Theol. schol. iii. 1501, 1508-1509.


accusations it may. How then can tlieir word have
such weight that on the strength of it people who have
hitherto borne an irreproachable character should be
imprisoned and subjected to the severest torture ? ' ^

From these considerations Tanner drew a series of
practical conclusions. On the mere evidence of one or
more witches, whether given on the rack or attested by
oath, no one, he said, should be put in prison, still
less tortured and condemned to death.- Further, every
supposed witch must be allowed counsel to defend her,
as indeed the natural law prescribes.^ As regards torture,
this was apphed with such brutahty that it might be
considered certain from the outset that the accused
would declare themselves guilty. ' A courageous,
learned, pious and clever man who had long concerned
himself about these matters, said once to me that he
did not credit himself with sufficient strength of mind
to hold out against such agonies in defence of his
innocence.' A so-called ' confession ' made during such
suffering went for nothing, even though it should be
confirmed by the accused after torture ; for such a
confirmation rested on a statement which had been
illegitimately extorted and was therefore invalid.'

On the whole Tanner demanded a thorough legal
remodelling of the judicial procedure against witches.^
Very httle scope was to be left to the judgment of the
judges ; the most intelligent and conscientious judges
were to be employed, and where possible they should
have the assistance of a qualified theologian.

The principle estabhshed, among others, by Binsfeld

1 Theol. schol. iii. 993-994. - Ibid. iii. 989, 997, 1000.

■' Ibid. iii. 1005. ' Ibid. iii. 987.

' Ihid. iii. 1904. Tanner rejects (iii. 1001 sqq.) a .series of suggestions
of Dekio as too detrimental to the accused witches.


and Delrio, that ' God would not suffer innocent persons
to be condemned at the witch-trials,' Tanner declared
to be false and empty. It had neither inward proof
nor the assent of eminent teachers. Experience, too,
taught the contrary. Moreover, rapacious judges had
been executed. But even if with ten or twenty guilty
people one innocent person only should have to suffer, it
would be better that the whole trial should be cancelled
and even the guilty ones let off, or indeed not even
brought to trial. God Himself had been ready to
spare the whole city of Sodom if only ten righteous
persons had been found in it, and the householder in
the parable had told his servants not to pull up the tares
lest haply they might root up the wheat also. If every-
thing that reason and justice demanded was not insisted
on at witch-trials they would bring disgrace, frightful
suffering, and even death on multitudes of innocent
people, infamy and irreparable ignominy on the most
respectable famihes, and dishonour and scandal on the
Cathohc rehgion, because people had been sentenced
to death who to all appearance had always hved up-
rightly and used diUgently the means of grace of which
the Church is the dispenser.^

* Moreover,' Tanner went on, ' these ^\dtch trials are
of no real benefit ; they do not put a stop to witchcraft,
on the contrary they tend to increase it. The evil
must be got rid of by other means. The rulers, for
instance, must prevent certain gatherings in which
sodomy and every kind of immorahty are practised ;
for such gatherings are the actual breeding-places and
nests of witchcraft. Penitent " witches " must not be
handed over to trial, and their names must be struck

' Theol. sc.hol. iii. 984-986.


off the list of suspected people. Even for those who
were already condemned, church penalties, framed
according to the pubHc penances of Christian antiquity,
would be more profitable than punishment by the
secular arm : the devil would be far more disconcerted
and abashed by these than by thousands of death
sentences. Above all, however, witchcraft must be
combated by purely spiritual means : by the Christian
reUgion and the open confession of it, by general prayer,
general attendance at Mass and invocation of the
saints for their intercession. To the spiritual weapons,
which are more powerful than carnal ones, belonged
further careful education of the young, zeal for a well-
regulated household, dihgent attendance at sermons and
catechetical instruction.' ^

So taught Tanner concerning witchcraft. His work
met with the approbation of the provincial of the
Society, Mundbrot ; the members of the Society
accounted him one of their ' most discerning and pious
theologians." He found no opponents amongst them.
It was on him that Frederick von Spec, full of child-
like gratitude to his master, based himself, and
became one of the noblest champions of reason and
humanity. Christian justice and love. Amid the horrors
of the Thirty Years' War, amid all the distress and misery
of the people, he constantly reminded the rulers that
it was justice so-called, administered in the name of
God and of right, which was mainly responsible for
all the brutality and abominations with which an
inhuman soldiery disgraced the German land.

' Theol. schol. iii. 1021-1022.




Among the Protestants since the last third of the six-
teenth century the most frequent and cruel persecutions
of witches occurred in North Germany, but in the south
also, and in Switzerland, many thousands of witches
perished at the stake.

Thus, for instance, in the canton of Bern in the years
1591-1600 many more than 300 persons, in the years
1601-1610 more than 240, in 1613, in one single district,
27 were executed as witches or sorcerers. i

A persecution which began in 1590 in the imperial
town of Nordlingen was crowded with barbarous in-
cidents. At the instigation of the Burgomaster Pf eringer
the council determined ' to destroy all the witches root
and branch.' Amongst the three who were executed on
May 15 there was a demented woman who declared that
she had poisoned some burgher men and women, al-
though the people in question had never been ill. On
July 15 there followed another triple witch-burning,
and on September 9 five were burnt together. One of
the four who were burnt on January 15, 1591, had been

^ See Trechsel, 'Das Hexenwesenim Kanton Bern,' Werner Taschenhuch
fiir 1870.


on the rack twenty-two times, fourteen times without
having had a single confession extorted from her. Not
till the fifteenth trial did she give way and answer * yes '
to all the questions put to her. Among the women
brought to trial was the wife of a paymaster, a woman
of the best character, a good wife and mother, against
whom there was no reproach but the mere statement
of some women that they had seen her at the witches'
dance. She had nothing to confess, for she had done
nothing. At the second trial her thumbs were crushed
and her shin-bone quite flattened down. Under the
most excruciating agony she protested her innocence.
At the third examination there was fresh torture and
fresh denial. The fourth time she was drawn up and
down on the rope ; her strength gave way and she ' con-
fessed ' that she had subscribed herself to the devil and
received from him a salve w^ith which she had killed
numbers of people. But to her husband she secretly
sent a note which ran as follows : ' I was obliged to say
it, they tortured me so dreadfully, but I am as innocent
as God in Heaven. If I knew the least little trifle about
such things I should wish that God would shut me out
of Heaven. Oh, thou my beloved treasure, how my
heart is breaking ! Oh, woe for my poor orphans ! Oh,
treasure of your innocent Magdalen, they are taking me
from you by violence. My God, how can I bear it ! '
The judges, not content with her ' confession,' next
insisted on being told with what persons she had been at
the witch-gathering, when she conscientiously declared
that she was ready to bear any pain, but she could not
liave it on her conscience that she had denounced inno-
cent persons and brought them to like misery; the rack
was applied again. In consequence of repeated tortures


more and inoiv oxnuciat iiii>;,she at last 'confessed' totwo
other witches aiul with lluMiuMuh>(I hoi lifeatthestake.^

There was no end to tlie accusations, said the super-
intendent and town pastor, Wilham Lutz, from the
pulpit : he himself had received from several persons
accusations against their own mothers-in-law, husbands,
and wives even. What would come of it all ? Boldly
he inveighed against the inhuman proceedings, and other
preachers also spoke out against persecution ; the
magistrate, however, took it in very ill part, and asked
' what interest the clergy had in thus meddling with the
matter ? ' In consequence of the superintendent's
saying ' they had now caught a few poor beggars, but
would let the right ones slip out,' the magistracy thought
fit to show that they did not spare distinguished women :
the wife of a burgomaster, the wife of a councillor, the
wife of the towm clerk and the wife of the warden were all
stretched on the rack and burnt to death as whores of the
devil. It seemed almost as though half of the female sex
would be destroyed by fire in Nordlingen. Of the
victims of the rack one always denounced ten others :
the prisons were overflowing, and it became a matter of
perplexity where to stow aw^ay the ever multiplying
' devil's brood.' ~

Not till 1593 did this frenzied state of things come to a
standstill, when the climax of brutality was reached in a
trial which is among the most barbarous of the century,
and which serves also to show how it fared with those
victims — few indeed in number — who escaped condem-
nation. The ' accused ' in question was Maria Hollin,

' Weng, Heft vi. 17-42. Cf. Wiichter, 106-107. Soldan-Heppe, i.

■ Weng, Heft vi. 42-60.


landlady of the ' Crown ' inn at Nordlingen, one of the

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