Account for the Supreme Counsel of the Holy and General Inquisition of the case of Juan de Acevedo, relaxed in the auto-de-la-fe on February 23, 1639.
He was incarcerated in the secret prisons on the 23rd of February, 1636.
Juan de Acevedo, single, Antonio Gómez de Acosta’s servant, (Gómez was reconciled) born in Lisbon, Portugal, over 25 years of age. Many accessory witnesses of the following ages and attributes testified against him in this Inquisition, accusing him of Judaizing.
1st formal witness – Bartolomé de León, from Badajoz in the provinces of Spain, 19 years of age, merchant by trade, was incarcerated for Judaizing in the secret prisons of this Inquisition on August 11th, 1635, with seizure of his property. Because he is less than 25 years old, he was appointed a lawyer who was present at his ordinary hearings, until the conclusion of his case. He was interrogated under torture, and was then given the ordinary admonition after being brought to the chamber. Upon hearing this, he confessed to being Jewish and a Judaizer, implicating himself, the Defendant and many other accomplices without making any further proceedings necessary. He ratified his confession after 24 hours had passed, in front of his lawyer and later in plenary. Some time having passed, he revoked the testimony he had made against himself and against accomplices, and ultimately reaffirmed his initial confessions regarding Judaism.
In the hearing on December 4th, 1635, the witness said he suspected Juan de Acevedo of being a Jew. He was certain of this because he was Antonio Gómez de Acosta’s close friend; Gómez was a Jew whom the Defendant served, seeing to his affairs and eating with him at his table.
In the hearing of April 12th, 1636, the witness said that he had communicated with the Defendant in the Law of Moses at the end of May, 1635 in this city, claiming that Jorge de Silva was present at one of their other communications. He ratified his testimony before the honest people in plenary, during the hearing of November 27th, 1636. The witness revoked what he had said in his confessions against accomplices, claiming that everything he had said against them was a lie, in particular his testimony against Antonio de los Santos, Pedro de Farias and Francisco Sotelo, because the Defendant Juan de Acevedo had asked that he corroborate the testimony against them. The witness knew nothing of them being Jews, therefore what the witness and the Defendant had said against them was a lie. The witness asked the Defendant why they had accused the aforementioned Antonio de los Santos and Pedro de Farias, claiming that they had recited certain prayers of the Law of Moses. He went on, asking about what they would if they were submitted to torture and did not know them? The Defendant replied, let them say the prayers of the psalms, what did it matter? He ratified these revocations in front of his lawyer and in plenary.
In the hearing on March 23rd, 1637, which the witnesses requested voluntarily, he said that on September 22nd, 1636, the Defendant and the witness communicated through the walls of their cells, agreeing that everything they had confessed they should now claim was a lie: that way their pardon would be certain. And thus the witness revoked his confessions and everything that he said against accomplices, excepting the declaration against Florián de Lucuriaga and Alonso Sánchez Chaparro, against whom he had committed perjury. The rest of what he said against accomplices in the Law of Moses was true and had happened how he described it in his confessions. He ratified this in the presence of his lawyer, and later in plenary before the honest people.
2nd Witness – Pedro Vaez Henrriquez, single, born in Santo Domingo on Hispaniola, accountant by trade, 23 years of age. In a hearing that he requested voluntarily on December 6th, 1635, he testified, on suspicions of Judaism, that Manuel Henrriquez intended to escape with a quantity of gold and pearls belonging to Antonio Gómez de Acosta (imprisoned for Judaizing). He wanted his good friend, the Defendant Juan de Acevedo, to accompany him. Manuel Henrriquez was afraid that he would be arrested by this Inquisition, and to find out about what was happening in this Inquisition and this city, he wrote a letter to the Defendant from Pachacama, four leagues away. He sent it with the witness, saying in the letter that the Defendant should come to see him in Pachacama, where he was waiting for him. He entrusted the witness with this secret, which the witness revealed in its entirety in this Holy Office. He was ordered to hand the letter over to the Defendant as soon as night fell, and while reading it, the Defendant was captured in an inn separate from the secret prisons. The next morning, Manuel Henrriquez was also imprisoned in Pachacama, where he was waiting for the Defendant. The witness ratified his testimony in plenary before the honest people.
3rd Witness (by hearsay) – Manuel de la Rosa, reconciled in this complicity and auto-de-la-fe on January 23rd, 1639 – Portuguese, servant of Doctor López de Fonseca, relaxed. In the hearing on February 9th, 1636, he testified against the Defendant Juan de Acevedo, on the hearsay of Manuel Henrriquez, to many communications that they had regarding the ceremonies of the Law of Moses with the intention of practicing Judaism. These meetings included Manuel Henrriquez, the Defendant Juan de Acevedo, Antonio Gómez de Acosta and another that fled called Doctor López Montesinos, and they used them to declare to each other that they kept the Law, and believed it to be better for the salvation of their souls than that of the Christians. He ratified this in plenary before the honest people.
Witness [4a] – Pasqual Días, merchant, born in Mirandela, Portugal, 39 years of age, was imprisoned in this Inquisition for Judaizing, with seizure of his property. He claimed innocence until he heard the charges against him, later confessing in the hearing that he requested that he followed the Law of Moses. He named accomplices, among them the Defendant Juan de Acevedo, in whose favor he later revoked this testimony, after he was imprisoned and before he received the evidence in the Defendant’s case. In the hearing on February 14th, 1636, he claimed that he and the Defendant were discussing the imprisonment of Antonio Gómez de Acosta. They spoke words that allowed those who follow the Law of Moses to recognize each other as observers of it, at which point the witness told the Defendant that he was Jewish, which was now already clear to him, and that he kept the Law of Moses. Although this testimony along with that of the others was sufficient to warrant the imprisonment of the Defendant and the seizure of his property, because the witness revoked his testimony before hearing the Defendant’s case, it was not published.
Witness [4b] – Francisco Fernández, peddler of tobacco cases, of Portuguese race, 35 years of age, was incarcerated for Judaizing in the secret prisons of this Inquisition, with seizure of his property. At the first admonition, he pled for mercy and confessed to having kept the Law of Moses because of the teachings of his aunt in Ypes, Spain. In the hearing on February 20th, 1636 he named accomplices, including the Defendant Juan de Acevedo,. He said that over a year ago in this city, the Defendant would come to the witness’s room on some nights, because they lived closed to one another, and that being alone on one of these nights, they communicated in the keeping of the Law of Moses. They spoke of the ceremonies and fasts that they knew of it, which the witness explained in his testimony. He ratified this testimony against the Defendant before the honest people in plenary.
In the hearing on March 6th, 1637, the witness, who was always singular, repeated the aforementioned communications, ratifying them again according to the custom of the Holy Office.
Imprisoned in the secret prisons – Because of the testimonies made against him, the Defendant was moved from the outside prison to the secret prisons of this Inquisition on February 24th, 1636.
Witness 5 – Manuel Henrriquez (intimate friend of the Defendant), peddler, born in Lamego, Portugal, 34 years of age, was incarcerated on suspicions of Judaism on September 12th, 1635, in the secret prisons of this Inquisition. Afterwards, testimony confirming that he was a Judaizer arrived. Before presenting him with the accusation, he confessed that in the Inquisition of Coimbra in Portugal he had been reconciled during a hearing that he requested voluntarily, saying that after said reconciliation he had Judaized.
In the hearing on April 7th, 1636, he said that in 1633 he met the Defendant in Cartagena, and that, newly arrived in the city, he was told that the Defendant was near the witness’s lodgings with some of Antonio Gómez de Acosta’s negroes. He went to find him, and when he did, they communicated in the Law of Moses once they were alone. They discussed the rites and ceremonies of it that they performed, and the Defendant told the witness, among other things, that this land was good for keeping the Law because no one paid attention to the fact that they kept it. He said he kept it for the salvation of his soul. The witness ratified this before the honest people in plenary.
In the hearing of February 4th, 1637, the witness revoked his confessions, saying that he had testified against himself and against the other people he had accused because Antonio de Acuña and the Defendant Juan de Acevedo had talked him into it. In this hearing, like in the others that he requested, he named thirteen people he had testified against, and described many communications in prison that he had with the Defendant and others. He said that the Defendant told him that if he were condemned to death, he should say that he was not baptized, because then he would go free. After the witness was put in the Defendant’s prison cell, he told the Defendant that he had falsely testified against Juan Ramos, mule renter, and that the Defendant should testify against him as well. The Defendant raised testimony against him in the hearing he had requested, and after he was arrested, he had persuaded him to confess that he was Jewish without actually being Jewish, as the aforementioned Juan Ramos had done, though he later revoked this. The Defendant told Luís de Lima, who shared the cell with the witness and the Defendant, that he should make a long confession and testify against absolutely everyone. He ratified all of his revocations before the honest people. The witness was condemned to torture for said revocations, which was carried out on November 21st. On the second turn of the rack, he confessed, saying that he had been reconciled in the Inquisition of Coimbra, but that afterwards he had communicated in the Law of Moses with 43 people, among them the Defendant Juan de Acevedo. Juan Ramos, the mule renter, was among seven of these accomplices that he named. He ratified everything that he confessed under torture after 24 hours had passed.
Witness 6 – Antonio de Vega, single, peddler by trade, born in Fronteira, Portugal, 34 years of age, was incarcerated for Judaizing with seizure of his property. He claimed innocence until his case was tried, after which he voluntarily requested a hearing in which he confessed to being a Jew and to keeping the Law of Moses. He named others that kept it, and he ratified this before the honest people, excepting one in whose favor he retracted his testimony. Afterwards, in another hearing, he retracted the testimony he had previously made against himself and his accomplices, saying that he was not Jewish. He claimed that the act of confessing to being Jewish was due to the persuasion and trickery of the Defendant Juan de Acevedo, Luís de Lima, and other inmates, who had told him that his case would have a good outcome and half of his estate would be returned. Afterwards, he was condemned to torture, during which he again confessed that he and the aforementioned accomplices were Jews; he ratified this after the 24 hours had passed, and in plenary before the honest people. He retracted a second time, and was relaxed to the secular arm.
In the hearing on May 1st, 1636, in which he initially confessed to being Jewish and implicated accomplices, he said he had communicated in the Law of Moses with the Defendant Juan de Acevedo, and with another called Manuel Vel, in September of 1635 in this city. He recited many of the ceremonies that he had performed with the aforementioned Manuel Vel, with the intention of practicing Judaism for the salvation of their souls, claiming that the Defendant did the same, with the same intention. A fortnight later, the three of them had another communication of the same nature. He later retracted this testimony, and in the hearing on October 9th, 1636, and in six other long hearings that were held with the witness, he mentioned many communications that he had had with the Defendant and other inmates regarding testimonies that they had raised, on the persuasion by the Defendant. The testimonies were against many and different people, both Old and New Christians. He said that the Defendant and Luís de Lima had persuaded him to confess to being Jewish, although he was not, by making him afraid of the rigorous tortures that were meted out in this Inquisition. When the witness asked them how he was to deny Jesus Christ, who was his Creator, his Savior and his Redeemer, the Defendant and Luís de Lima responded that he would not be denying him. Convinced by them, the witness testified to being a Jew. Further, the Defendant and the rest of the inmates told the witness to accuse many Castilians, which is the same as telling him to raise testimony against them. They told him to accuse Francisco Sotelo and Antonio de los Sanctos (who appeared in the auto-de-la-fe with palm fronds) saying that he should conspire with them, because the aforementioned, coming from Payta to Lima by land, said that they were coming to burn the witness, whom they knew had been imprisoned by this Inquisition. So it would be wise of him to conspire with them; this way they would know that the witness was falsely imprisoned, like they would be, being arrested as they were on false declarations that the Defendant made against them, among the false declarations he made against many people. The Defendant, coming from the tribunal one day, spoke with Thomas de Lima and the witness, telling them that it would be advantageous if they accused Captain Martín Morata of being a Jew. He urged them so strongly that Thomas of Lima went and testified falsely against said Captain. And although the witness told the Defendant that he too would falsely testify to what he had said, he testified against others and not against said Captain. Upon his return, the witness said that he had already done what he had asked of him, which put the Defendant at ease, and he said that he too had testified against him. The Defendant and other prisoners had convinced Juan Ramos, mule renter, to testify falsely against himself and others, saying that they were Jews; Juan Ramos had done this because he had been persuaded by the Defendant. In his cell, the Defendant bragged in the presence of the witness and the rest of the inmates that he had framed Juan de Salazar and Pedro de Mendoza because they had gotten Cordero arrested for the apple incident, and caused all of this ruin. He described this conspiracy in detail to the witness and the rest of the inmates, and selected the witnesses that were to testify as part of it. The Defendant Juan de Acevedo and his companions said that this (by which they meant the complicity) was a skein that had become entangled, and that there were already Christians conversos among the prisoners, that it would be good to bring Old Christians from the outside who were important, and he named the richest of this city who held positions of authority in it. Further, the Defendant told the witness that he had accused Andrés Muñiz, tailor (who appeared in the auto-de-la-fe with palm fronds), claiming that Muñiz said the saints did not perform miracles, that it was all a lie. He had told the Defendant a story about crutches and cripples and a bull, and that he brazenly perjured himself against Guzmán the barber. The Defendant and Manuel Henrriquez had brought a brother of the aforementioned Guzmán to this city from Guancabélica, and that one accusation was as false as the other. The Defendant persuaded the witness to bring Juan Rodriguez, friar of the habit of Christ, here to the Inquisition along with his brother and another, so that they would not write to Spain saying that the witness and the Defendant had appeared in Sanbenitos. There should not [be] more than three or four friends that knew them, and to which the witness had told the Defendant that he did not want to testify against them because they were Old Christians. The captains of the confederates who raised testimony were Luís de Lima, the Defendant Juan de Acevedo, Melchior de los Reyes and Bartholomé de León, who in the presence of the witness said that they would bring ever single Old Christian still out there into the prisons, and that in Portugal they did not arrest Old Christians in the Inquisitions because there they had not given in to the mania that they had here. He ratified everything that has been referred to in plenary before the honest people.
Witness 7 – Juan Ramos, born in Seville, mule renter by trade, 46 years of age, was incarcerated for Judaizing in the secret prisons of this Inquisition, with seizure of his property. And, although he initially testified against himself and accomplices in the hearing of May 27th, 1635, saying that they had Judaized, in another held with him on June 3rd he revoked his testimony regarding Judaism with tears and displays of emotion. He said that the Defendant Juan de Acevedo, Manuel Henrriquez and Pascual Nuñez had tricked and persuaded him while in his cell to pleading for mercy by claiming that he was a Jew. They told him that they would put him in the street within a fortnight, and because he hoped to get out quickly for the sake of his wife and daughters, who were maidens, he testified against himself and against accomplices. The Defendant begged the witness to raise testimony against Captain Morata saying that he was Jewish, and when the witness responded, asking how he was to say this if he did not know it, the Defendant and Manuel Henrriquez replied that it did not matter, that they would look for him: the witness knew that they were desperate for the said Captain Morata. The Defendant said that if they were not afraid of him and Señor Inquisitor Mañoseca’s friends, they should bring eight or ten Basques here, because they wanted there to be Castillians, Basques and Portuguese at the auto-de-la-fe. The witness’s account went on at length, describing many of the other persuasive conversations they had with him, implicating himself and the Defendant in his confession. The aforementioned Manuel Henrriquez corroborated this. He ratified all of the aforementioned persuasive conversations before the honest people in plenary.
Corroborated by the Defendant and Manuel Henrriquez
Witness 8 – Manuel de Espinosa, born in Almagro, merchant by trade, 32 years of age, was incarcerated for Judaizing in the secret prisons of this Holy Office, with seizure of his property. He claimed innocence until the conclusion of his case, in which the judges relaxed him to the secular arm and sentenced him to be tortured in caput alienum.
In a hearing that he voluntarily requested, he confessed to having kept the Law of Moses and testified against accomplices.
In the hearing on June 4th, 1636, he confessed to communicating with the Defendant in the Law of Moses when they were alone. He recited in detail the ceremonies that they had performed, and said that this communication had taken place in this city in January of 1635. He ratified this before the honest people in plenary.
In the hearing on January 8th, 1637, the witness revoked his confession, stating that the testimonies he had given had been at the persuasion of his prison mates, naming the leader of the conspirators, and the captain of the complicity who most persuaded him to raise false testimony against an infinity of people, was the Defendant Juan de Acevedo. This man’s persuasive speeches had caused the witness to raise many false testimonies. He ratified this in the hearing, and in others that were held with him on the matter of these testimonies and prison conversations. He was condemned to be tortured – which was carried out on October 21st, 1637 – and he denied the charges, saying that he had never been Jewish, and that he had perjured himself against the others he had testified against.
In the hearing that he voluntarily requested on September 1st, he claimed again that he was Jewish, and named 38 people he had communicated with in the Law of Moses including the Defendant. He also mentioned others that he had previously testified against. He ratified this before the honest people, and afterwards, revoked everything in the hearing on November 6th, 1638. Because he had ratified these most recent revocations, he was condemned to relaxation in accordance with protocol.
Finally, at ten thirty the night before the auto-de-la-fe, Saturday, January 22nd, 1639, having notified him of his sentence and adorned him with insignias indicating that he was to be relaxed, he pleaded for mercy, demonstrating his repentance. He confessed that he had lived in the Law of Moses, and named the accomplices that he had previously testified against including the Defendant Juan de Acevedo. After the auto-de-la-fe was held and the witness’s sentence of whipping was executed, he accused other people. He ratified all of this before the honest people in the established manner.
Witness 9 – Melchior de los Reyes, merchant, Portuguese by his parents, born in Madrid, 31 years old, was incarcerated for Judaizing in these prisons, with seizure of his property. He claimed innocence until he was formally accused and allowed to respond. In the hearing that he requested, he confessed to having kept the Law of Moses since he was fifteen years old, testifying against various accomplices.
In the hearing on June 6th, 1636, he said that the Defendant Juan de Acevedo, one day after his employer Antonio Gómez de Acosta was imprisoned on August 11th, 1635, arrived at the witness’s stall in this city. Because he was alone, the Defendant spoke certain words to the witness, to which the witness replied in the same language; by these words they knew each other to be observant of the Law of Moses. He ratified this before the honest people in plenary.
After this, the witness was very inconsistent in his confessions, sometimes revoking them, sometimes affirming them in the various hearings that were held with him, until he was condemned to torture. It was carried out on January 21st, 1638: he testified against himself and 22 other people whom he had communicated with in the Law of Moses, one of them being the Defendant Juan de Acevedo. He said that he had committed perjury against 35 other people, and in this last confession he was unwavering. He ratified this before the honest people in plenary after the initial ratification that he had made once the 24 hours had passed.
Witness 10 – Jorge de Espinosa, apprenticing with his brother Manuel de Espinosa, born in Almagro, 24 years old, was incarcerated for Judaizing in the secret prisons, with seizure of his property. He claimed innocence until he received the evidence in his case. And in the hearing that he requested, he confessed to having kept the Law of Moses, naming many accomplices with whom he had communicated.
In the hearing on June 16th, 1636, he said that in June of 1634 he had communicated in the Law of Moses, in its rites and ceremonies, with the Defendant Juan de Acevedo when they were in a Negro house in the San Lázaro neighborhood in this city. Together they performed the ceremonies with the intention of practicing Judaism, for the salvation of their souls, believing it to be better than that of the Christians; he did not comment on this communication. He ratified this before the honest people in plenary.
In the hearing on October 30th, 1636, the witness retracted everything that he had said against himself and accomplices, and testified on hearsay against the Defendant to many communications within the prison cells. Because of the number of inconsistencies in his testimony, he was condemned to torture, which was carried out on December 5th, 1637, and confessed to being Jewish and communicating in the Law of Moses with the Defendant and 18 other people. He also confessed that he had falsely testified against 35 people that he named. He ratified this after the 24 hours – and before the honest people in plenary.
Witness 11 – Pasqual Nuñez, born in Berganza, Portugal, mercader de cajón by trade, 24 years of age, was incarcerated for Judaizing in the secret prisons of this Inquisition, with seizure of his property. Before the second admonition, he confessed to having followed the Law of Moses, and named many accomplices he had communicated with in its law.
In the hearing on June 25th, 1636, he said that in March or April of 1634, he had communicated with the Defendant Juan de Acevedo in the Law of Moses in the city’s main square. He went on, saying that on three or four occasions in varying locations, they again communicated in its law, how it is kept and observed; they performed its rites and ceremonies, believing, and being certain that in their belief they would be saved. He ratified these confessions before his lawyer, and in plenary before the honest people; and although he never revoked what he had done, he was unreliable because of the problems with his testimony, for which he was tortured. Under torture he said that he had always spoken the truth about himself and his accomplices.
In the hearing on September 30th, 1637 – the Defendant Juan de Acevedo and other prison mates told the witness that they had falsely testified about certain things against certain people, and the witness told him that if [Juan de Acevedo] had perjured himself, he should revoke it in the tribunal. He ratified this in plenary.
Witness 12 – Antonio Gómez de Acosta, merchant by trade, born in Berganza, Portugal, 38 years old, was incarcerated for Judaizing in the secret prisons of this Inquisition, with seizure of his property. He claimed innocence until his case was closed. In the hearing that he voluntarily requested, he testified to following the Law of Moses, and named accomplices that he had communicated with in this law.
In the hearing on June 25th, 1636, the witness mentioned his servant, the Defendant Juan de Acevedo, saying that in 1633 he had employed him as such while in Cartagena, and that he had brought him with him to Lima. In April of 1634, the witness noticed that on Saturdays the Defendant wore clean clothes, and it seemed that the Defendant had noticed the same in the witness. He asked him if he kept the Law of Moses, and the Defendant had responded to the aforementioned, his employer, that yes he did keep it, and with this, they communicated in the Law from that moment on. The witness saw the Defendant do some of the fasts of the Law, and said that he did not eat pork nor fish without scales, and that he did not work on Saturdays because of the celebration of the Law of Moses. The Defendant told the witness about others that kept the Law. He never revoked his confessions, and he ratified them against the Defendant before the honest people in plenary.
Witness 13 – Thomas de Lima, soldier by occupation, born in Osuna, son of Portuguese parents, brother of Luís de Lima, relaxed, 30 years old, was incarcerated for Judaizing in the secret prisons, with seizure of his property. He claimed innocence until the third admonition, wherein he confessed to having Judaized through the teachings of his parents, and he named some accomplices.
In the hearing on June 26th, 1636, he testified to having communicated in the Law of Moses with the Defendant Juan de Acevedo when they were alone, in this city on the eve of Santa Isabel, 1635. He ratified this before the honest people in plenary. In the hearing that he voluntarily requested on October 20th of said year, he claimed that what he had described of his own Judaism and that of his parents and siblings was true, and that he had falsely testified against the others. Having made his first true confession about what he had committed against Our Holy Faith in the tribunal, he returned to his cell; upon entering, the Defendant, in the presence of Luís de Lima, asked him what he had confessed, and the witness told him the truth about what he knew. The Defendant again said that he needed to accuse all of his friends, not leaving out any one of them; in this wa,y the confession would be good, otherwise, it would be bad. The witness, fooled by the reasoning of the Defendant, testified falsely against all of his friends, and named others including Captain Morata and Andrés Muñiz, tailor (who was one of the ones who appeared with palm fronds) which he did without the Defendant’s knowing him, and asking for a description of him, he had falsely accused him with the story of a Portuguese king and some cripples and amputees who were cured by a bull. In this hearing and in others, he mentioned other testimonies that he had falsified because he had been persuaded to do so by the Defendant, which other witnesses confirmed, and which the Defendant confessed to in his confessions. The witness ratified this before the honest people in plenary.
Muñiz and the story of the bull
Witness 14 – Manuel Álbarez, merchant, son of Portuguese parents, born in Ruiseco, having reached 25 years of age, was incarcerated for Judazing in this Inquisition, with seizure of his property. Before an initial hearing could be held with him, he requested one voluntarily, in which he confessed to having kept the Law of Moses that had been taught to him by his mother, and he named other accomplices.
In the hearing on July 4th, 1636, he said that more than a year ago he was in Santa Ana Square with the Defendant, Juan de Acevedo. They declared themselves fearful of the Lord, telling each other that they kept the Law of Moses and then reciting some of its ceremonie. He ratified this before the honest people in plenary.
After this, he was very inconsistent in his testimony, revoking and then reaffirming what he had said. He was tortured twice, and both times confessed to both himself and to accomplices [being Jewish]. At the ratification of his confessions held 24 hours later, he again revoked his claims.
A third time he was brought to the tribunal, in accordance with the inquiry, and tortured a third time. He was only given two turns the first time, and the second just one, and he was asked if he had conspired with anyone in this matter. He confessed to being Jewish, and testified against himself and accomplices, among them the Defendant Juan de Acevedo. He ratified this after 24 hours had passed, and before the honest people in plenary.
In the hearing on July 7th, 1637, in which this witness began to revoke his testimony, he said that he had heard Juan de Acevedo boast about the perjury that he had committed against many people, whom he named in the Law of Moses. Persuaded by the Defendant, the witness had made false testimony, after which they carried on with the aforementioned tortures.
Witness 15 – Luís de Bega, Portuguese, merchant, born in Lisbon, over 40 years of age, incarcerated for Judaizing in these secret prisons, with seizure of his property. After having confessed to being a Jew in the culmination of the torture, he was always perseverant with his confessions.
In the hearing on September 16th, 1636, he said that [he had heard the Defendant Juan de Acevedo, through a hole in the wall between the Defendant’s cell and the witness’s, say] that he had given Vergarilla (whose name is Francisco de Vergara, imprisoned, and whose case was suspended) a blow that had split his head wide open. The witness asked Antonio de Acuña, his cellmate, what the Defendant meant by these words, and Acuña responded that the Defendant had accused him and then had this testimony corroborated by a second witness. On another occasion, the witness overheard the Defendant say that he had gone to the tribunal and confessed, falsely testifying against many Castilians, three of whom he named. He ratified this before the honest people in plenary.
Witness 17 – Luís de Lima, merchant, born in Tower of Moncorvo, Portugal, 40 years of age. His person was relaxed for Judaizing, inconsistent testimony, revoking ratified testimony, perjury, Jewish proselytizing, and for many false testimonies that he raised against various people.
In the hearing on October 17th, 1636, which is when the witness began to revoke his confessions and falsely testify against many people, he said that the Defendant Juan de Acevedo had told him that the witness needed to make a long confession, implicating many people although they were not guilty. He persuaded him repeatedly, telling him that if he had to do it eventually, he may as well not delay, and that the Defendant did the same. The witness described many of the false testimonies that the Defendant had raised, against Antonio Perez Henrriquez, Fernando de Alarcón, wealthy and distinguished people in Lima, and many others, including Andrés Muñiz, the tailor (that appeared in the auto-de-la-fe with palm fronds), whom the witness had also testified against. There are witnesses who confirm this, and the Defendant confessed to it. The Defendant also confessed to having falsely testified against Antonio de los Santos, one of the officers of this Holy Office. The witness ratified everything before the honest people.
Witness 18 – Rodrigo Váez Pereyra, merchant, born in Monsanto, Portugal, over 34 years of age, was incarcerated for Judaizing in these secret prisons, with seizure of his property. His person was relaxed for inconsistency in his confessions of Judaism, revoking ratified testimony, perjury, Jewish proselytizing, and for the many false testimonies he had raised against various people.
In the hearing on January 28th, 1637, the witness, in one of the prisons of this Inquisition, [was told by the Defendant] through a hole in the wall between his and the Defendant’s cell, among other communications that they had, that things were bad. He said that fifteen Castilians had been charged, and when the witness asked the Defendant how he knew, he responded that he knew everything that happened in the Inquisition. He told the witness that they were going to torture him, and that he would suffer because the torture here was severe, he knew because he had already undergone it. To avoid suffering, he had confessed.
In other hearings, the witness said that he had raised false testimony against many other people during his trial, saying that they were Jews. He claimed had falsely testified against all of them at the persuasion of Juan de Acevedo, the Defendant, who had, along with his companions, told the witness to confess and to accuse whomsoever. The Defendant told the witness about many wicked false testimonies he had raised, making fun of everything that was done in this Inquisition and saying that he knew about everyone who was imprisoned, because he had falsely testified against them. He ratified this before the honest people in plenary.
On February 26th, 1636, the first hearing with the Defendant was held: he said his name was Juan de Acevedo, was born in Lisbon, over 25 years of age, single, and that while residing in this city he had been a servant of Antonio Gómez de Acosta’s, who was reconciled in the auto-de-la-fe. Further, he stated that he was a baptized and confirmed Christian, and that his parents and grandparents had been Old Christians, clean of any bad race. Having left Lisbon for Madrid when he was 10, five or six years later he embarked for Angola, making two voyages in different ships. On the last one he went to Cartagena, and from there to Peru in the employ of said Antonio Gómez de Acosta. The Defendant did not know the creed of the Christian doctrine that he was ordered to recite, and claimed that he did not know the reason for his imprisonment.
(Confession) On the 27th of said month and year, the Defendant voluntarily requested a hearing, in which he said that the Lord our God had touched him, illuminating his understanding so that he would emerge from the blindness that he had been in and return to the pale of the Holy Mother Church. He declared that for the mistakes he had made in the Law of Moses, he wanted to confess, so that they would give him penitence with mercy.
The Defendant confessed that the first time he had gone to Angola was when he was 16, where he fell ill in a house that he had rented. He went to see a doctor named Manuel Álvarez, Portuguese, and understanding during the course of the conversation of his illness that the Defendant lived in the faith of Jesus Christ, he told him that he was misguided: in the law of the Christians, they worshipped idols of stone and wood. If Jesus Christ were God, like the Christians said, he would not have had to die by crucifixion, to which the Defendant replied that the veneration of images of stone and wood was not for the images, but for what they represented and that Jesus Christ, as God, could not die. To redeem mankind and atone for man’s sins, he had been made flesh and taken human form to be able to die like he did. The doctor continued to say things in proof of his Law of Moses, telling the Defendant that if he knew Latin, he could use his same holy scripture to prove the error of his ways, freeing him from all of the falsities that he had. At this, the Defendant told the doctor that he was leaving, warning him that if he did not stop he would cry out. As he stood up to go report him, the doctor left. Another day, after the event described, the Defendant was visited by a priest named Padre Tigre, a learned man and a confessor, whom the Defendant told about what had happened with the doctor, saying that because of his illness he had not been able to denounce him and reminding the cleric that he had an obligation to report this man to the commissary [of the Inquisition]. Padre Tigre told the Defendant that the doctor had wanted to illuminate the true path, which was the Law of Moses, and that he should not wrong him because the cleric was as much an Old Christian as the witness. God wanted to illuminate the true path for his salvation, because nobody could be saved except in the Law of Moses. The Defendant told the cleric to go with God, affirming that he would live and die in the law of our lord Jesus Christ, at which he was threatened by the cleric, who told him that his friends would kill him the moment he reported any of what had occurred. More than twenty days had passed, during which the Defendant had already recovered from his illness. He walked the streets of the city without daring to say anything about what had happened with the doctor and the cleric so that they did not kill him. A widowed woman of said city, Juana Méndez, came to visit the Defendant, and she spent a long time with him, making clear during the course of their conversation that she wanted to spend the night with him. Having spent the night they were talking, and Juana Méndez asked him if he knew said doctor and cleric Tigre, telling the Defendant that the doctor had cured her, and that she talked to the cleric when they ran into one another; she mentioned that she knew about some of the other things they had talked about, and that he should describe them to her. So the Defendant told her what had happened with the aforementioned, and Juana Méndez told the Defendant that she cared for him deeply: being a rich and beautiful young woman, and fond of him, she begged him to come to her house. It troubled her that the Defendant’s soul was condemned, because what the doctor and cleric had said was right. Both learned men followed and kept the Law of Moses, and she said she would not leave until the Defendant gave her his word that he would follow it as they did. So, at the persuasion of Juana Méndez, the Defendant said that he would follow the Law, at which she left.
Three or four days later, they invited the Defendant to dine in her house, where she, the cleric, the doctor, the Defendant and another person had all gathered. Once the tables had been cleared, the others left, and the Defendant stayed with said Juana Méndez, who took him to a room that had many lamps lit with oil and wicks. She told the Defendant that because they were to keep the great one the next day, both would spend part of the night fasting and praying in accordance with the Law of Moses.
The next morning the doctor, the cleric and others went to Juana Méndez’s house, and they all began to pray in the aforementioned lamp room, the doctor taking up a book from which he read the prayers of the Law of Moses. Everyone present responded with the same words, and when the doctor tired, the cleric took up the book and continued the reading. They carried on like this until midday without extinguishing the lamps, until they burned all the oil, saying that they were sacrifices that God had made to give them life and good fortune. They also said that in those 24 hours of fasting, there was one but they did not know which, in which they received everything that they asked for from God, and to better assure that they prayed during it, they had to pray the whole 24 hours or the majority of them. When the sun had set and the stars had come out, they came together and ate what they had prepared the night before in new pots and new plates, because they could not light a cooking fire that day. The dinner was of fish and fruit, and not of meat, because it cannot be eaten in the fasts of the Law of Moses. They spent a long time teaching the Defendant the rest of the ceremonies and fasts of the Law; he had to recite the prayer that begins “Blessed are you Adonai our God” to gain their trust. Before reciting this prayer, they had to wash their hands.
The Defendant did all of the rituals of the Law of Moses that the aforementioned had taught him with the intention of practicing Judaism, hoping to be saved through it, although he knew it to be contrary to Jesus Christ our Lord.
In the 22 hearings that were held with the Defendant (the majority of which he voluntarily requested) from February 26th to August 22nd, 1636, he described under oath the communications that he had in said Law of Moses: the ceremonies that he performed, the fasts that he fasted, the prayers that he recited, the holidays that he observed with many different people in the city of Cartagena, in Havana, twice in Angola, in the city of São Paulo and here in Lima, where he arrived during Holy Week of 1634. In said hearings, he testified against more than sixty people, Portuguese and Castilian, including a clergyman in Cartagena named Francisco de Ortega. He ratified these testimonies against all of the aforementioned people in four hearings before the honest people. And, after this, the second and third canonical admonitions were made, and he submitted himself to judgment for what he had testified to in said hearings.
Accusation – On August 27th, 1636, the Defendant was formally accused, and responding under oath, he identified himself as the accused and said that all of the content in the accusation, about how he had made his confessions, was true. He said that he abominated the Law of Moses that they had taught him in Angola, and that he wanted to live and die in the faith of Jesus Christ our Lord; he was repentant of the time that he had spent keeping said Law of Moses. It was ordered that he be presented with the charges against him. A lawyer was appointed to defend him and counsel him, with whose counsel he pled his case and was received on trial along with the implicated parties. The witness’s testimonies were ratified and shared with the Defendant. Before presenting the Defendant with the testimony against him in the hearing on September 18th, 1636, he again ratified his testimony under oath and before the honest people, testifying against 44 accomplices in this city that were both within and outside of the prisons of this Inquisition. He claimed that everything he had testified against them regarding the Law of Moses was correct and true.
(Publication) (____that everything is fiction and well thought-out testimony by the Defendant) – Responding to 18 witnesses, who testified against the Defendant in the charges, he added new communications that he had in the Law of Moses with the people he had testified against, renewing his testimonies against others throughout ten hearings. He claimed that in September of 1635, he had been discussing some arrests that had recently been made by this Inquisition with Andrés Muñiz, tailor (and a very wise man). Trying to cheer up the Defendant, he told him that in such times it was necessary to be steadfast in keeping the Law and enduring these afflictions because God said that they had to be persecuted. Foreseeing the trials that they would endure, he had ordered that his ____ be brought the hands of clergymen to where it no was, that nobody knew of it so that these idolaters (speaking of the Christians) would not come to desecrate it, touching it with their hands, and that upon finishing with so many tasks (which according to the word of God, which could not be false, would come to an end) everything would be one law, and there would be no other than that of Moses, which was the right one. Then God would restore the arc, and they would have temples, rabbis, and make sacrifices to the Lord like before, and they would have prophets, true miracles would be seen, worked by the hand of the Hebrews in virtue of the Lord. He told the Defendant that he should not think that the images that the Christians adored could perform miracles, because nobody had seen them. He said they were mere stories like the one that had happened [in Portugal] to a king, who ordered all of the cripples and amputees to gather in the palace so that he could give them alms. He had forewarned people in the palace to help the real cripples and amputees, and then ordered a ferocious bull released. Those that pretended to be disabled, which were more than two thirds, dropped their crutches and escaped. They told the Defendant this story to prove that miracles did not exist, that the people who made them were those who pretended to be cripples and amputees: angered by the King’s trick, they went to a church, and devotedly kneeled before the image that appeared to them. After praying for awhile, they tossed aside their crutches, calling it a miracle, and in this way earned many alms. Thus they did not starve, and did not take into consideration the numerous miracles that the bull had performed in Portugal. These men were so blind that they did were not aware of the aforementioned, and stopped following the Law of Moses, which was the good one, and again they told the Defendant not to stray from the Law. In the ten hearings of the publication, the Defendant continued to testify to other tales that had happened to various people regarding the Law of Moses, and testified to many communications that several inmates had effected using the letters A_B_C, expressed by tapping rocks, in order to suspend the celebration of the auto-de-la-fe. They retraced their steps as a remedy, which meant revoking the confessions that they had made in the tribunal.
(Revocation) – The trial thus, and before the Defendant Juan de Acevedo had finished responding to the publication of the 18 witnesses who accused him, he voluntarily requested a hearing one Ash Wednesday on February 25th, 1637. Crying and sobbing, he said that he had come to beg for mercy for the mistakes that he had made, and to tell the truth completely to clear his conscience. He did not want anyone to perish because of his misdeeds, and affirmed that all of the confessions that he had made in Angola, where they had taught him the Law of Moses, were true. He had performed its ceremonies with the doctor, cleric, woman and others, these ceremonies being attended only by the Portuguese. He said that his testimony against Francisco de Ortega, cleric of the minor orders of the city of Cartagena of the Indies, had been a lie and false testimony. He named 49 other people against whom he had falsely testified, saying that he had communicated with them in the Law of Moses, one in Cartagena, and the rest in this city, many of whom were reputable, honored people of this republic, and Old Christians. In particular, the tale of the cripples and amputees of the king of Portugal that he had imputed to Andrés Muñiz, master tailor, had been a lie and false testimony, because the communication that he claimed they had had in the Law of Moses had not occurred; he would not even know the said Muñiz if he were standing in front of him. That which he had sworn against him, had been done at the behest of Luís de Lima, whom had conspired along with the Defendant [and other prisoners] to raise false testimony against many Castilians…