The name given to certain secret tribunals which flourished inGermany from the end of the twelfth century to the middle of the sixteenth, usurpingmany of the functions of tbe governments which were too weak to maintain law andorder, and Inspiring dread in all who came within their jurisdiction. Enc. Brit. Such a<:i>urt existed in Westphalia (though with greatly diminished powers) until finally suppressedin 1811.

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