A partisan of French methods, Moratin published in 1762 his Desengano al teatro espanol, a severe criticism of the national drama, particularly of the auto sacramental; and his protests were partly responsible for the prohibition of autos three years afterwards (June 1765).
Between 1581 and 1776 as many as fifty-nine heretics were burned at Lima, and there were twenty-nine " autos "; but the Inquisition affected Europeans rather than natives, for the Indians, as catechumens, were exempted from its terrors.
Autos-da fe were rare events; their victims were not as a rule serious thinkers, but persons accused of sorcery or Judaizing, nor were they more numerous than the victims of the English laws relating to witchcraft and heresy.
Another poet of the same school is Balthazar Dias, the blind poet, whose simple religious autos are still performed in the villages, and are continually reprinted, the best liked being the Auto of St Alexis, and the Auto of St Catherine.
At the same time the old dramatists had to face the opposition of the classical school, which appealed to the cultured, and the hostility of the Inquisition, which early declared war on the popular plays on account of their grossness, and afterwards through the index prohibited altogether even the religious autos, as it had condemned the Italian comedies.