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These penalties are to be traced into later periods. Sometimes the parties were tied together to receive the merited castigation, and the fine was inflicted besides :* but this was made to depend upon their being caught in flagrante delicto; and if they could effect their escape they were exempt. This was the case in the ancient and populous city of Agen, in the Province of Garonne, the birth-place of the celebrated Joseph Scaliger.†
By the customs of Bayonne, in the Province of the Pyrenees; and of the Chatellerie d'Iprès, in Flanders, in 1535, the first, second, and third offences were successively visited by augmented penalties; and from fining, and running the gauntlet, they amounted to a seven
* Customs of St. Severe, in the Province of Landes, 1514:
"Homme et femme trouvés en Adultère doivent être fustigés par la dite ville, tous deux ensemble et payer au seigneur, 7 liv. 8 sol. 6 den. tournoi." Tit. iii. Art. 3.
+ "L'homme ou femme pris en Adultère doivent courir la ville leurs mains lieés tous deux avec une corde, et le seigneur doit avoir 5 sols arnaudens. Comme aussi doivent être pris l'un sur l'autre tous deux dans un lit, ou qu'ils ayent les haut-de-chausses avalez, (their apparel in such a condition as to afford a presumptive proof,) non en autre manière; et s'ils peuvent evader avant qu'ils soient pris, ils sont quittes." Art. 15.
years, or even a perpetual, banishment. A provision was also made by the latter code, that, in case the parties were poor, (n'etoient pas solvable,) the flogging might be substituted for the fine, and the offenders might suffer in their persons, when they could not in their purse.
The last of these customs, which shall be noticed, is that of Bearn, a ci-devant Province of France, now of the Lower Pyrenees, bordering on Spain, and which is curious, likewise, for its mixed language. It is taken from
*" Crime d'Adultère pour la premiere fois est puni a peine de courir la ville sans fustigation et de banissement arbitraire de la ville et jurisdiction." Tit. xxv. Art. 1.
"Et la seconde fois par fustigation publique et banissement perpetuelle." Ibid. Art. 2.
"S'il est trouvé que quelque homme ou femme etant mariée venut en Adultère, chacun encourroit l'amende de 60 liv. parisés pour la première fois; et quiconque seroit trouvé une autre fois vivant en Adultère, par dessus la dite peine ce seroit a peine de deux fois 60 liv. parisés; et pour la troisieme fois, ce seroit a peine de banissement de 7 ans. Quant a l'homme, ce seroit a peine de la potence, (gibbet,) et la femme a peine d'être jettée dans les puits. Et si les dites personnes n'etoient pas solvables pour la premiere fois pour payer la susdite peine, en ce cas elles seront punies, comme pour crime par le fouet, ou autrement arbitrairement à la discretion du juge." Art. 58.
their Rubric of rewards and punishments in 1551.*
But the severity of these penalties was by degrees abated, or, more properly speaking, relaxed; and, after the lapse of some time, the heinousness of the crime appeared to the mind, habituated to the view of its repetition, considerably diminished. At length, in parts of the neighbouring continent, it was scarcely punished at all.
In some Provinces, (Rochelle, for instance,) an adulteress was severed indeed from her husband, but she was liberally alimented, and allotted even to the extent of one-half of the estate purchased by her husband. But Pope Honorius III. in a Decretal Epistle, which he sent to the magistrates and inhabitants of that place, reformed that scandalous custom, as one alike repugnant to justice and reason, and which must have operated as a premium upon the crime.†
* Rubrica de penas et emendas:
"Prees en Adultery, sia mascle ô femela touts dus deben corrè la vila, et estar affuetaby per lo executo de la hauta justicia." Art. 17.
Apud Rupellanos jam olim invaluère nonnullæ consuetudines quorum duo capita à jure et honestate publicâ abhorrentia damnavit Hon. III. P. in Epist. Decretali ad
Considerable laxity, however, with regard to this crime, continued to prevail on the Continent, and particularly in France. The Civilian Faber, quoted by Thuanus, states, that "it was never heard that any body had been punished for Adultery in that country." It would seem, therefore, that the flagellations and the fines, recently noticed, were either rarely inflicted, or, what is more probable, that the offenders were but seldom caught. He makes the observation in consequence of a circumstance which occurred at Orleans, in the reign of Charles IX. in 1563; and which occasioned considerable emotion.
The celebrated warrior and Protestant St. Cyr, not less virtuous than valiant, was then Governor of that place, and one Deslandes, Sieur du Moulin, who had been formerly Secretary to the King, having committed Adultery with Godarde, the wife of John Godin, a Lieutenant to the Provost Marshal of Blois, the Governor, whom Thuanus describes as a
Majorem et Burgenses de Rupella: primum fuit,
Alteserra rerum Aquitanic. lib. iii. cap. 18, p. 227.
man of primitive manners and severity, caused both the offenders to be publicly executed in the square of Martroy, affirming, that the raging vices of the time required such an example to be made.*
This unusual proceeding provoked much animadversion on the principles of Protestantism, to which this conduct of St. Cyr's was attributed; and at court many were heard to declare that they would always hate that religion, if for no other reason, yet for this, that it made a capital crime of that, which, till then, had not been so much as punished. The courtiers were but too correct in saying that this virtue was out of fashion. The historian admits it to be "nova et inaudita severitas pœnam capitis pro hoc vitio statuere."
But St. Cyr was not the only one who made this attempt to resist the increase of profligacy by rigorous punishment. It is remarkable, that the father of Thuanus himself, when he was in power, had caused several persons, guilty of that crime, to be punished; and Brissonius, in dedicating his book to Monsieur de Thou, comments strongly on this circumstance." In former days, one's ears rung with
*Both Beza and Thuanus relate this fact.
Beza. Hist. Eccles. vi. p. 336.