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.
The autos da f e of Seville and Madrid, the flames to which Bruno, Dolet and Paleario were flung, the dungeon of Campanella and the seclusion of Galileo, the massacre of St Bartholomew and the faggots of Smithfield, the desolated plains of Germany and the cruelties of Alva in the Netherlands, disillusioned Europe of those golden dreams which had arisen in the earlier days of humanism, and which had been so pleasantly indulged by Rabelais.
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.