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Secret Societies of the Middle Ages

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Author Topic: Secret Societies of the Middle Ages  (Read 2824 times)
Trena Alloway
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« Reply #195 on: February 04, 2009, 01:23:55 pm »

or at least before the court broke up. The parties were allowed to retire for a few minutes, to consult with their friends who had accompanied them. If they did not then say that they would appeal, the sentence was declared absolute, and they were forbidden, under heavy penalties, to oppose it in any other court. If they did resolve to appeal, both parties were obliged to give security de lite prosequenda. Should either party, being poor or a stranger, be unable to give security, his oath was held to be sufficient, that, as the law humanely and justly expresses it, "the stranger or the poor man may be able to seek his right in the Holy Roman Empire as well as the native or the rich man."

The appeal lay to the general chapter of the Secret closed Tribunal of the Imperial Chamber, which usually, if not constantly, sat at Dortmund; or it lay to the emperor, or king, as the supreme head of these tribunals. In case of the monarch being initiated, he could examine into the cause himself; otherwise he was obliged to commit the inquiry to such of his councillors as were initiated, or to initiated commissioners, and that only on Westphalian soil. Of this species of appeal there are numerous instances. Finally, the appeal might be made to the imperial lieutenant, who then inquired into the matter himself, with the aid of some initiated schöppen, or brought it before the general chapter of which he was president. There was no appeal to the emperor from his sentence, or from that of the chapter.

There were, besides the right of appeal, other means of averting the execution of the sentence of a Fehm-court. Such was what was called replacing in the former state, of which, however, it was only the initiated who could avail himself. Sentence having been passed on a person who had not appeared, he might voluntarily and personally repair to

p. 371

where the secret tribunal was sitting, and sue for this favour. He was to appear before the court which had passed the sentence, accompanied by two frei-schöppen, with a halter about his neck, with white gloves on him, and his hands folded, with an imperial coin and a green cross in them. He and his companions were then to fall down on their knees, and pray for him to be placed in the condition which he was in before the proceedings commenced against him. There was also what was called the complaint of nullity, in case the prescribed form of the proceedings had been violated. Some other means shall presently be noticed.


363:* In German, Dienstag, probably Dinstag, i.e. Court-day.


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