|António Feio de Horta
|Mesa da Inquisição de Coimbra
Accusation letter from the priest António Feio d'Orta.
The author denounces the acts of bigamy practised by the bearer of this letter.
Francisco Rodrigues left his first wife, Maria Rodrigues, in Portugal and went to Castile, where he lived with Ana Paladina for nine years. Francisco and Ana had two children together and she was expecting another one. As soon as he discovered that his first wife was alive, he left the second one. He was condemned to three years of exile working in the galleys, and the fact that he voluntarily went back to his first wife and also that he presented himself to the Inquisition helped him avoid a heavier punishment.
«The holder of this letter is Francisco Rodrigues, and in Castile his name was Francisco de Campos. He is a wool carder, he is married by the Holy Mother Church to Maria Rodrigues, from this Melo town, a very poor woman who gets the means to maintain herself with her [...]. She is so virtuous that, even after many years of scarcity, there's never been any other man for her but the one above, and at first I was tempted to help arresting her husband by the secular justice, so that he wouldn't go away without warning you. However, I haven't done that in favour of this good woman. He left this village about eleven years ago. And then, after a few years (I don't know how many) he got married in Villacastín, in the [...] Castile Kingdom, 14 leagues away from Madrid, on the road leading to the Royal Court, and he lives under the church of that Villacastín and he has got a farm, which they call there a "corral". But I don't know the wife's name, he will say it, and he has got a son from her, and he had another one who died, and this last January the Castilian woman was pregnant. And, having been told by a certain João Rodrigues, married in this town, known as the oven owner, that his wife, Maria Rodrigues, was alive, he came with him and he arrived at this Melo town the day before the Palm Sunday and he came to confess to me, due to the Lent. Since I knew the case and I awaited for the first chance to write to you, I didn't want to confess him and so I sent him to other confessors, and one of them sent him back to me, and for that he persisted and searched twice for his wife, who I'm friends with, for being so good as I said. And one of her brothers-in-law, and he himself said to me, because I was a "pisquisidor" of the Holy Office, as they call it in Castile, that I should forgive him. And all of this is a good sign that he isn't a bad man, only an ignorant that didn't know better. I declared everything to him and that I wouldn't confess him, and what God will do, and he's going by his own free will to confess his guilt to the Inquisition and in the [...] I will confess her, as long as you approve of it. I ask you, for the service of Our Lord, and because this man is so willing, that he will be favoured in justice [...] Vila de Melo, 2nd octave of Easter, 1610. António Feio De Horta»