This Day in History -- Final Victim of the Spanish Inquisition

On July 26, 1826, Cayetano Ripoll was hanged in Rizaffa, Spain, becoming the last victim of the Spanish Inquisition.   

Ripoll had fought in the Napoleonic Wars, was taken prisoner by the French, and lived for a time in France.  There he was exposed to Deism, the belief that God created the world and established its laws, but then left it alone to operate according to those laws.  Some of America's founding fathers were deists, as was William Miller before he was converted to Christianity.  Ripoll did not believe in Christianity, nor in the teachings of the Catholic Church, but believed that keeping the Ten Commandments was the only binding religious duty.  

Ripoll was imprisoned for two years, but the inquisition wanted him burned at the stake, the traditional punishment imposed on heretics.  Much to the consternation of the clerics, the civil authorities decided to execute Ripoll by hanging rather than by the auto-da-fé ("act of faith"), which is what the Inquisition called it when they burned people alive.  The churchmen were so angry that they reportedly put Ripoll's body in a barrell and burned the barrell.  A more humorous version has it that they only painted flames on the barrel.

Ripoll's last words were, "I die reconciled to God and to Man."  

The Spanish Inquisition was finally suppressed in 1834, 8 years later.