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Title: The Witchcraft Delusion in New England: Its Rise, Progress, and Termination (Vol 2 of 3)

Author: Cotton Mather
        Robert Calef

Editor: Samuel G. Drake

Release Date: May 9, 2016 [EBook #52027]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by Dianna Adair, Louise Davies, Eleni Christofaki
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was made using scans of
public domain works from the University of Michigan Digital

Transcriber's Note.

A list of the changes made can be found at the end of the book.

The Witchcraft Delusion In New England Vol. II


Historical Series.

No. VI.

Witchcraft Delusion

Rise, Progress, and Termination,

Preface, Introduction, and Notes,



More Wonders of the Invisible World.



Entered according to Act of Congress in the Year 1865,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States
for the District of Massachusetts.

Edition in this size 280 Copies.

Munsell, Printer.



MY Object in this Edition of Mr. Calef's Work is similar to that in Dr. Mather's in the preceding Volume, namely, to give a perfectly accurate Reprint of the Work; so that whoever has Occasion to use or consult it may do so with entire Confidence. I have therefore reprinted the original Edition of 1700, with such Notes as was judged might be useful to a certain Class of Readers. And having mentioned the Notes, I will say of them here all I have to say about them. There may be those who have no need of such Additions. They can pass them by unheeded;vi but it was thought generally that a few Explanations and Additions would be a Help to the Party consulting the Work. They have been made as brief as was thought consistent with the Subject.

With respect to the original Text, it is given as exactly like the Original as a much better Type can be made to imitate an old Type of 166 Years ago. As to retaining all the Errors in the original Edition, it was thought incompatible with the general good Taste of the Age. Some, of a peculiar Nature, if judged necessary to show a Peculiarity of the Times, may have been retained, and noted for such Peculiarity; but a broken or imperfect Letter is discarded as unworthy of Imitation; so transposed or inverted Letters are set right, as any good proof Reader would have done, had he noticed them in the Original; but the Orthography of that Day is scrupulously retained.

Why there was no Edition of the More Wonders of the Invisible World, forvii ninety-six Years, will be found elsewhere explained. The Edition of 1796 is the first American Edition. This bears the following Imprint: "Printed in London in the Year 1700. | Reprinted in SALEM, Massachusetts, 1796, | By WILLIAM CARLTON. | Sold at Cushing & Carlton's Book Store, at the Bible | and Heart, Essex-Street." The Volume is in Duodecimo, and contains 318 Pages. The second Salem Edition is in the same Form, and contains 309 Pages, exclusive of the Article headed "Giles Cory," which occupies three Pages; hence Copies of this Edition contain 312 Pages. Its Imprint—all in small Capitals—is thus: "Printed in London, A. D. 1700. | Reprinted in Salem, by John D. and T. C. Cushing, Jr. | for Cushing and Appleton. 1823." The Publishers of this Edition added the Article Giles Cory, at the Suggestion of Mr. David Pulsifer, then employed in the Office where the Witchcraft Records were kept, as he many Years ago informed me.

viii The second Salem Edition appears to have been copied from the first—that of 1796. In some Instances slight Departures are made from the Copy; and in all these, such Departures are also Departures from the Original. As late as 1796, it might be expected that some Uniformity would have been observed, as long as no Exactness was intended in respect to the kind of Type used in reprinting an old Work—Uniformity in denoting Quotations; but there is no Exactness in this respect in either Edition. In the first, as will be seen, sometimes Brackets are used to distinguish Quotations, but generally italic Type is employed for that Purpose. In the second, inverted Commas are generally used, sometimes Brackets. I have followed the Original, bracketing and italicising as I find it. Inverted Commas to denote Extracts, Quotations and the possessive Case of Nouns have been introduced by Writers and Printers mainly, since the Time of Mr. Calef.

ix Nothing appears in the Book to show whether the Author superintended the printing of it or otherwise. He may have resided in London at the Time of its Publication, although there are some Considerations that seem to lead to the Conclusion that it may have passed through the Press without his Supervision; but, as before observed, Nothing is known in regard to it, and it is not very probable that Anything more will ever come to Light; yet equally strange Things as that would be, have happened.

Taking Liberties with old Authors is exceedingly distasteful to me, even where well assured that an Author would have gladly made a Change himself, had a Defect or Deformity been noticed by him; but I have not even assumed that Responsibility in Mr. Calef's Work. I have done one Thing which the Student ought to thank me for, though he may not. I have placed the Headings of the different Sections at the Commencement of those Sections, throughout the Work.x In the original Edition these were omitted, probably on the score of Economy. They also stand at the Commencement of the Book (as in the Original,) entitled "Index." The Benefit to the Reader, in reprinting the Captions or Contents of a Section or Chapter over such Section or Chapter will be too apparent to require Apology.

The Pagination of the Original is Exactly retained; being placed at the top inner Margin in Brackets, and in the Page where the original Page begins and ends, as was done in the previous Volume.



Pedigree of Calef.[1]

Robert Calef, probably from England, settled in Roxbury, Mass., previous to 1700; rented Lands in Dorchester, 1709; is styled Clothier; died 13th April, 1719, aged 71, as by his Grave-stone in the old Burying-ground, Roxbury. = Mary ... died November 12th, 1719.

1. Joseph, went to Ipswich as early as 1692; a Physician; d. 28th Dec., 1707, in his 36th Year. = Mary; ... she m., 2dly, Thomas Choate, of Ipswich.

i. Robert, born 12th Dec., 1693, had a Grant of Mill-privilege in Ipswich, 1715; died 12th July, 1730. = Margaret, da. of Dea. John Staniford; d. 7th October, 1727.

John, b. 1725; Physician of great Respectability; a Loyalist in the Revolution; d. at St. Andrews, N. B., 1812. = Mary, dau. of Nathaniel Rogers, of Ipswich.

ii. Joseph, b. 20th May, 1695, in Ipswich. Administrator on Estate of his Grandfather.

iii. Samuel b. 25th January, 1697; d. Sept. 1st. 1720.

iv. Ebenezer.

v. Peter,[2] (perhaps, Physician, of Charlestown,) d. 11th October, 1735 = Sarah Foster, 19th July, 1723.

vi. Mary.

2. John, living 1719.

3. Jeremiah, living 1719.

4. ROBERT, (Author of More Wonders, &c.); Merchant, of Boston; died near the Close of 1722, or early in 1723, aged about 45. His Children all born in Boston. = Margaret, dau. of James Barton, of Newton, 23d Dec., 1699. She died before 17th Sept., 1744.

vii. Margaret, b. 4th October, 1710, married Star, li. 1722.

viii. James,[3] b. 7th Nov. 1714, li. 1744, but not in the Province; perhaps the Captive of 1757. = Abigail.

5. Martha, m. Solomon Hewes, 28th September, 1700.

6. Mary, m. Sam'l Stevens, 9th of October, 1712.

Robert Calef, probably from England, settled in Roxbury, Mass., previous to 1700; rented Lands in Dorchester, 1709; is styled Clothier; died 13th April, 1719, aged 71, as by his Grave-stone in the old Burying-ground, Roxbury. = Mary ... died November 12th, 1719.
Joseph, went to Ipswich as early as 1692; a Physician; d. 28th Dec., 1707, in his 36th Year. = Mary; ... she m., 2dly, Thomas Choate, of Ipswich. John, living 1719. Jeremiah, living 1719. ROBERT, (Author of More Wonders, &c.); Merchant, of Boston; died near the Close of 1722, or early in 1723, aged about 45. His Children all born in Boston. = Margaret, dau. of James Barton, of Newton, 23d Dec., 1699. She died before 17th Sept., 1744. Martha, m. Solomon Hewes, 28th September, 1700. Mary, m. Sam'l Stevens, 9th of October, 1712.
James, b. 21st Dec., 1702, d. young. James, b. 24th Feb., 1711-12, d. young. Robert, b. 9th Mar., 1716/17, d. young. Elizabeth, b. 7th May, 1704, living in 1722. Mary, born 25th Jan., 1712-13, died young. Anne, b. 7th July, 1708, m. Green, li. 1722. Margaret, b. 4th October, 1710, married Star, li. 1722. James,[3] b. 7th Nov. 1714, li. 1744, but not in the Province; perhaps the Captive of 1757. = Abigail.
            Samuel, a Captive among the Indians with his Father.
  Thomas Green, living 1740. Bethiah Green, living 1740. John Green, living 1740. Mary Green, living 1740. Rebeckah Green, living 1740.
          Jaspar Star, li. 1740. Robert Star, li. 1740. Mary Star, living 1740. Benjamin Star, li. 1740.
Robert, born 12th Dec., 1693, had a Grant of Mill-privilege in Ipswich, 1715; died 12th July, 1730. = Margaret, da. of Dea. John Staniford; d. 7th October, 1727. Joseph, b. 20th May, 1695, in Ipswich. Administrator on Estate of his Grandfather. Samuel b. 25th January, 1697; d. Sept. 1st. 1720. Ebenezer. Peter,[2] (perhaps, Physician, of Charlestown,) d. 11th October, 1735. = Sarah Foster, 19th July, 1723. Mary.
John, b. 1725; Physician of great Respectability; a Loyalist in the Revolution; d. at St. Andrews, N. B., 1812. = Mary, dau. of Nathaniel Rogers, of Ipswich. Joseph, living in 1754.   Joseph, bapt. 3d of May, 1724; a Leather-dresser. Sarah, Mary, both d. early. Peter, bapt. 26th Oct., 1729, died 1749. Mary, bapt. 23d April, 1732, m. Stephen White, in Waltham, 5th June, 1758. Parnel, bapt. 16th February, 1734-5, m. Dr. Edward Coffin.
John, Capt. of a Vessel; drowned at Plum Island on his return Voyage from the W. Indies, 1782. Margaret, born 15th October, 1748; m. Dr. Daniel Scott, of Boston. Mary, bapt. 24th March, 1750; m. Capt. John Dutch, of Ipswich.


[1] This Pedigree is given with the Hope that it will tend to interest some Descendant to investigate the Subject, and to compose a Genealogy worthy of it. The Compiler of this is not acquainted with any of the Name, and has here thrown together such Facts as were among his Memoranda, chiefly made many Years ago.

[2] Not much Confidence is felt that the Family given to this Peter is the correct one.

[3] This James may not be the one mentioned in N. Eng. Hist. and Gen. Reg., xiv, 271; but is supposed to be he.



W HEN any Man has moral Courage enough to speak plainly against any Vices, Follies, or Superstitions surrounding him, he must not only be a bold Man, but he does so regardless of the Cost; for all Experience teaches that whoever undertakes a Reformation of the Kind must experience a Fate not altogether unlike him who waged War with the Philistines.

If the Reformer escapes the Fury of the Deluded, and lives out his natural Time, he often loses his social standing; is maligned, scoffed, and scorned by all whom he exposed, and a Multitude of those who follow them as their Leaders without knowing wherefore. It is much the same now. The Reformer or Corrector of Opinion is hissed and slandered in Proportion to the Effort he makes. That is to say, he is dealt with by Society leniently if he tells the Truth with a Sort of Proviso; maintains his Position without Firmness, and gains but few Followers.

xii Little is known of Robert Calef, aside from his single Book, and what his Enemies have thought proper to say about him in a bitter Spirit of Detraction. He was certainly a Man of good Education; but how he acquired it, where and when, no Mention is found. Dr. Mather, in his Rejoinder to the More Wonders, assails him at every Point; but his Attainments in Literature he probably viewed as not vulnerable, as he has made no Attack on that Quarter. It is true he accuses him of being assisted in his Labors, but gives no Clue by which such Assistance may be known.

Notwithstanding Mr. Calef had, by his Independence in freely arraigning the absurd Proceedings against those charged with imaginary Crimes, he was not without some Popularity in Boston, his Place of Residence, at the Period of those Prosecutions; for in the Records of the Town are found the following Entries concerning him: April 16th, 1694, "Mr. Robert Calfe was chosen Hayward & Fence-viewer, in the Room of Mr. Edward Wyllys, who refused to serve." May 12th, 1702, he was added to the Number of the Overseers of the Poor. On the 19th of April, 1704, Thanks were voted him for his Services in that Office. On March 12th, 1704-5, it was ordered that Mr. Calef be not charged with Interest on Moneys remaining in his Hands. The next Year, March 10th, 1706-7, he was chosen one of the Assessors, but declined the Service.

xiii The Time of the Emigration of the Family of Calef, or Calfe, to this Country has not been ascertained, nor has there been published any considerable Memorial of it. The Name is an old English one; and were Time bestowed upon it, many Items might doubtless be found in old Authors of Persons who have borne it. At Present but a Reference or two must suffice. In the Time of Henry III (1216-1270), a Sir John Calfe flourished, on whom a curious Epitaph may be seen in Camden's Remains. Another John Calfe has an Inscription to his Memory in St. Nicholas's Church, London, giving 1426 as the Year of his Decease.

It is not very remarkable that so little is known of Robert Calef, when it is considered that he had almost the entire Community against him. And less is learned about him than might be expected in the Perusal of his own Book. That his Character was above Reproach is evident from the Replies of Dr. Mather and his Friends, to his Questions respecting the Proofs of Witchcraft. It helps one's Cause but very little, merely to call his Antagonist "a Lyar;" and this appears to have been the heaviest Argument brought against Mr. Calef in Answer to his Statements.

In Dr. Mather's Account of the Afflictions of Margaret Rule, he thus refers to those who differ from him; undoubtedly having special Reference to Mr. Calef: "Yea, to do like Satan himself, by sly, base unpretending Insinuations, as if I wore notxiv the Modesty and Gravity which became a Minister of the Gospel, I could not but think myself unkindly dealt withal, and the Neglects of others to do me Justice in this Affair has caused me to conclude this Narrative in another hearing of such monstrous Injuries."

By "another hearing," is meant that he had or would take legal Steps to silence his Opponent; for about the same Time the Doctor was so annoyed by certain Queries sent him by Mr. Calef, that he returned him Word by his (Mr. Calef's) Bearer, that he would have him arrested for Slander, as he was "one of the worst of Lyars." This the Doctor proclaimed also in his Pulpit. Yet Mr. Calef was always respectful in his Language in return, for anything that appears to the contrary.

On the 29th of September, 1693, Mr. Calef addressed Dr. Mather a Note, requesting that he would meet him at either of the Booksellers, Richard Wilkins or Benjamin Harris. Mr. Calef desired this Meeting that they might examine together the Memoranda of what he had noted after visiting the "possessed" or bewitched Person, Margaret Rule. At that Visit were also both the Doctors Mather, Father and Son. Meantime Mr. Calef was complained of and taken into Custody, on the Charge of having committed a scandalous Libel on Mr. Mather the younger; the Complaint being made by both. Mr. Calef states that he did not remember that he had beenxv charged with Untruth in his Report of the Examination of Margaret; but it was asserted that he had wronged Dr. Mather by his Omissions. To which Mr. Calef replied, that he had reported only what he saw and heard himself.

As to the Prosecution for Libel, Mr. Calef says he was taken to the Court of Sessions, and after waiting a while for his Accusers, none appeared. He was therefore dismissed. He had had a Promise from Dr. Mather to meet him to compare Notes, but it does not appear that any Time was stated; and after several Months had elapsed Mr. Calef wrote, requesting him to fix upon a Time and Place of Meeting. A Meeting however never occurred, of the Kind desired; but, as the only Means of getting the Doctor's Views of what he had written, he sent him a Copy of his Notes on Margaret Rule's Exhibitions, two of which he seems to have witnessed. On the 15th of January, 1693-4, the Doctor wrote him a long Letter, in which he says: "I have this to say, as I have often already said, that do I scarcely find any one Thing in the whole Paper, whether respecting my Father or self, either fairly or truly represented." The Fairness on both Sides may be judged of, as both Papers will be found in the ensuing Work, Pages 13-22.

The Doctor sent the Author, accompanying his Letter, Copies of three Depositions, or Statements from several Persons, to the Effect that what he had stated regarding the strange Conductxvi of Margaret Rule was true; especially as to the Fact, that she was by invisible Hands raised from her Bed up to the Garret Floor, and that strong Men, the Bystanders, could not hold her down. The Height of the Room is not mentioned; but one Witness, Samuel Aves, says it was "a great Way;" that she was lifted "towards the Top of the Room." Three others said, this was "in Substance true." Also, Thomas Thornton, a Paver, said she was lifted up, "so as to touch the Garret Floor;" to which William Hudson assented in "Substance." All of which Testimonies, Mr. Calef ventured to insinuate was about as true, as a Report would be that Iron would swim on Water; that if that Rising in the Air without Hands actually took place, it was a Miracle, and if a Miracle it was wrought by the Devil. And yet it seems that Mr. Calef believed none but God himself could work Miracles.

Between the Date of his last Letter and the 19th of February, 1693-4, instead of answering Mr. Calef's Letter, Dr. Mather sent him Word that his Library was open to him, intimating that he might find there Answers to any and all of his Objections and Difficulties. But Mr. Calef did not avail himself of the Kindness thus tendered, though he thanked him by Letter, and at the same Time complained that he had not written him, pointing out what he conceived to be Errors in his former Communications; adding, "if you think Silence a Virtue in this Case, I shall (Ixvii suppose) so far comply with it as not to loose you any more Time to look over my Papers." This however did not end the Correspondence; for on the 16th of April following he addressed a Letter to the Doctor, calling his Attention to certain Passages in the Wonders of the Invisible World, and some other "late Books of his and his Relations." After stating a few of the Author's strange Assertions, such as that the Devil causes Wars, Plagues, and other Calamities; that the Devil is a great Linguist; that Suicides "are the Effects of a cruel & bloody Witchcraft," and several other similar Quotations. In closing this Letter, he remarks that he is only performing what he believes to be his Duty; that he is far from doing it to gain Applause, or from a Love of Contention; that, on the other Hand, he expected to make many Enemies by it.

The next Letter which he wrote to Mr. Mather was dated March the 1st, 1694-5. In this he says he had waited more than a Year "for the Performance of a reiterated Promise" from him, to reply to Arguments which he had sent for his Refutation or Approval. Instead of that promised Answer, he had received, through the Hand of a third Person, "four Sheets of recinded Papers." These were delivered under an Injunction that no Copy was to be taken of them, and he was allowed to keep them but a Fortnight. He has given some Account of those xviii"four Sheets," and observes that he does not wonder at not being allowed to copy them, as they contained so much "crude Matter and impertinent Absurdities." Among other Things, he sent Mr. Calef Baxter's World of Spirits, characterizing it an ungainsayable Book; upon which Mr. Calef remarks, as aptly as significantly, that he knows of no "ungainsayable" Book but the Bible, and thinks no other Man who had ever read it would so style it except its Author. He is probably correct when he attributes to Mr. Baxter the Weakness incident to old Age, in allowing his Name to appear as the Author of The Certainty of the World of Spirits. But his own Words are more to the Point: "As to the sometime Reverend Author, let his Works praise the Remembrance of him; but for such as are either Erroneous and foisted upon him, or the Effect of an aged Imbecility, let them be detected that they may proceed no further."

The Experience of Mr. Calef was similar, probably, to that of most Reformers, both before and since his Time. To combat similar Superstitions at this Day would be nearly or quite as hazardous as it was then. Indeed, there have been Cases within some thirty Years in New England, in which Individuals have fared much worse than Robert Calef did in Boston more than an hundred Years before, and for no offence worthy of Notice; neither had an Eighth of the Community a Voice in this Persecution, while in xixMr. Calef's Case nine Tenths of the whole People probably were crying out against him. The Villainy of a single Lawyer, and the Imbecility of a Judge may sometimes succeed in ruining for a Time the Character of any Citizen.

Mr. Calef seems to have been almost alone in the Warfare he had undertaken. "How Few," he says, "are willing to be found opposing such a Torrent, as knowing, that in so doing, they shall be sure to meet with Opposition to the utmost, from the many, both of Magistrates, Ministers and people; and the name of Sadducee, Atheist, and perhaps Witch too cast upon them most liberally, by Men of the highest Profession in Godliness."

Owing to the peculiar State of the Times when Mr. Calef wrote, he felt himself obliged to admit a great Deal that a Writer at a later Day would not have found it Necessary. This will account for some heavy Papers introduced into the Body of his Work. He had a most difficult Task to perform. Like the Mariner in a Tempest upon a Lee Shore, he needed an Eye on every Point of the Compass, and a deep Sea Lead ever in Hand.

What Overtures, if any, he made to Printers in Boston to print his Books, are unknown. It is pretty certain, however, that no One would have dared to undertake it. And what Agency, if any, he employed to have it done Abroad, is equally unknown. But one Thing is known; no Bookseller had the Hardihood to offer it for Sale, or dared to give it Shop-room. He had a fewxx Friends who stood by him, ready to shield him, as far as was consistent with their own Safety, but none had the Boldness to come out so openly as he did. Some wrote strongly against the Delusion, but not for Publication; as Brattle of Cambridge, Cary of Charlestown, and Robert Paine. The Work of the last named Gentleman has not been made public, and remains in private Hands. It is said to be a most masterly Refutation of the Arguments made use of against Witches, written in the Time of the Trials. But it seems, on a careful Perusal of Mr. Calef's More Wonders, that not much more can be said (admitting or deferring to a Sort of Authority which cannot be argued from,) to show the utter Absurdity of the Proceedings on the Witch Trials. He has, it must be admitted, exhausted the Subject. It is very easy, it is true, to say the same Thing, using different and more elegant Language, according to the present Standard of Elegance; but for close and succinct Argument, the Author has not been surpassed by his Successors. His Statement of Apology for those poor People who had confessed themselves Witches, and accused others, is highly satisfactory.

Mr. Calef possessed more than ordinary Attainments in Literature; he was no Stranger to legal Forms; and as to theological Learning, was, for Soundness of Argument, quite superior to those who were in the Field against him. These Facts excite a Desire to know more of his History;xxi for all that has been learned about him, is that he was a "Merchant of Boston," and that he was a Dealer in woolen Goods; and hence the Attempt of a narrow minded Opposition to class him among the Ordinary and Illiterate of the Time. They also descended to vulgar Epithets, calling him a Calf; his Book they call a "Firebrand, thrown by a Mad-man;" and, "it was highly rejoycing to us, when we heard that our Booksellers were so well acquainted with the Integrity of our Pastors, as not one of them would admit of those Libels to be vended in their Shops." This was the Language of the Men who published "Some few Remarks, upon a Scandalous Book ... written by one Robert Calef," with the Motto—"Truth will come off Conqueror." This Publication is dated "January 9th, 1700-1," and purports to have been drawn up by Obadiah Gill, John Barnard, John Goodwin, William Robie, Timothy Wadsworth, Robert Cumbey, and George Robinson; none of whom were Men of special Note then or afterwards. It should be observed, however, that they were Members of the Old North Church. Any further Notice of the Answer to the More Wonders is unnecessary here; but it will be used in the Notes occasionally, that the "Slandered" may speak for themselves.

It was probably about the Time of the Issue of the Some Few Remarks that the More Wonders was caused to be burnt in the College Yard atxxii Cambridge, by Order of the President, Dr. Increase Mather. The Burning was doubtless performed with much of Ceremony and Formality, but there does not appear to have been any Record made of it upon the College Books; or if so, the Historians of the Institution have not mentioned it. This Kind of Argument against what is set forth in a Book, is about as effectual as that employed against the Tide of the Ocean by an eastern Monarch. That the President of the College had no great Faith in his Argument, is pretty clear, or so much Pains would not have been taken by him in making another Book to refute the Arguments contained in the one he had burned.

The precise Date of Mr. Calef's Death is not upon any Records which have been examined; and the last Time he appears to have transacted any Business requiring his Signature, was at the Registry of Deeds, then under the official Management of John Ballantine, Esq., when he released a Mortgage which he held of certain Lands in Roxbury; which Mortgage was given by Joseph Holland and his Wife Elizabeth, and dated the 11th of March, 1720. [Of course, 1721, N. S.] The Release was signed by the Mortgagor, April 11th, 1722. His Signature on this Occasion has been copied, and is here presented.

Robert Calfe

xxiii But a short Time previous to this Transaction he deeded certain Property to his Children. In this Instrument, dated February 10th, 1721, [1722, N. S.,] he styles himself Clothier, and names Children, Elizabeth, Ann, Margaret and James. Two Houses and Land; one in present Possession of James Smith; the other in his own Possession; bounded N. W. upon——Street, N. E. upon Thomas Wheeler, S. E. upon William Gold, and S. W. upon Bond Street; also one Tract of Land in Brookline; also a Mortgage from James Barton, Ropemaker, reserving to himself and his now married Wife the Use of the Premises during their Lives.

The following is an Abstract of his Will:

"I Robert Calfe of Boston, being now in sound Body and Minde doe make this my last Will [and] appoint my well beloved Wife Executrix. After funerall Charges and all Other my just Debtts being paide, my Will is that my Wife [have] all my Estate during her Widdowhood; and in Case she see Caus to alter her Condition by Marraig, that then she shall quitt her Administership, and the Improvement of the Estate, wholey to be for the Bennefitt of my Children; only two hundred Pounds I will unto her upon her Marraig, and the whoolly Remainder to be disposte of as followe: Son James £100, when of Age more then any of the Rest of my Children: And allso I give £200 ought of said Estate xxivfor defraying the Charges of bringing him up to the Collig, if he inclines to Larning, but if not then to be equaley divided among him and the Rest of my Children, viz. Elizabeth, Ann and Margaret, together with what Children it shall plees God to give me by my present Wife: And it is my Will that my Daughters, Elizabeth, Ann and Margaret have an equall Proportion of all my Estate, Personall and Reall, only what is before excepted unto my Son James, and that they be paid upon Marraig or at the Discretion of my Executrix, if she remain a Widow, and if it please God to take away my Children by Death before of Age or without Issue the whole of my Estate to return to my Wife or to her Dispose.

2d of Jan., 1720. signature

In Presence of Samll Wentworth, John Alden, Jr. and John Tyler.

Margaret Calfe presented the within Will for Probat and John Alden, Junr and John Tyler made Oath, &c. and they together with Saml Wentworth, who is now out of the Province set to their Hands as Witnesses in the Testator's Presence. Boston, Feb. 18th, 1722-3.

Samuel Sewall J Probt"

The Testator was too ill, it is probable, to draw up his Will himself, or one so unclerical would xxvnot have appeared. The Circumstances, however, under which it was made, are entirely conjectural. His Wife was living, a Widow, till about 1744; as in September of that Year her Will was proved. It was made four Years before, namely, September 17th, 1740. The Items of Interest in it here follow:

"To Grandson Thomas Green £60; to Margaret Green £20, and a silver Porringer which her Father now has. To Ann Green £30, and a gold Necklace. To Bethiah Green £20. To John Green £20. To Mary Green £20, and to Rebeckah Green £30; all the Children of my Daughter Ann Green deceased. To Daughter Margaret Star's four Children, namely, to Joseph, £20; Robert, £20; Mary, £20; and Benjamin Star, £20. Clothing to be divided between Daughter Star, and Grand Daughter, Ann Green. The Remainder of Estate to be divided between Daughter Margaret Star and Son James Calf; said Son to be Executor if in the Province; otherwise, Cousin Thomas Simpkins.

Dated, January 2d, 1720. Signed,

Margaret Calf.

Witnesses—Abigail West, Barnabas Gibbs, John Swinnerton."

It was presented for Probate by Thomas Simpkins; James Calf being out of the Province.

In the General Court Records Notice is given, under Date June 25th, 1723, of a "Petition of Margaret Calef, Widow, and sole Executrix ofxxvi the last Will of Robert Calef, late of Boston, Merchant, deceased," praying for Leave to sell a seventh Part of a House and Land in Roxbury, of which said Robert Calef died seized. The Father of Mr. Calef, also named Robert, had died intestate, April 13th, 1719, and his Wife on the 12th of November following. In the Settlement of his Estate, it is stated that the "Housing and Lands lying in Roxbury, cannot be divided without Prejudice and Injury;" hence the Petition before mentioned.

A few Items here follow, given for the Benefit of those who may hereafter desire to investigate the History of the Calef Family;

Dr. Joseph Calef died at Ipswich, Dec. 31st, 1707, leaving a Wife, and Children, Robert, Joseph, Samuel, Ebenezer, Peter and Mary. This was, doubtless the Emigrant to Ipswich, where, in 1692, he had a Grant for a Fulling-mill. Joseph Calef was a Scout in Capt. John Goff's Company in 1746. Mary, Widow of Joseph Calef, married Thomas Choate of Ipswich; Date of Marriage is not stated. Joseph Calef was of Boston, 1746, in which Year he petitioned, with others, for the Paving of Atkinson Street.

James Calef and his Son Samuel were Captives among the Indians and French; were taken at Fort William Henry, in August, 1757. Abigail, the Wife of James and Mother of Samuel, made Application in their behalf to the Authorities of the Province. No Mention is made ofxxvii their place of Residence. Dr. John Calef, of Ipswich, married Margaret, Daughter of Nathaniel and Mary (Leverett) Rogers, of the same Town. He was born 1725.

After the bloody Fight at Pequawket, Governor Dummer wrote to Eleazer Tyng: "Send down to me forthwith by the Bearer hereof, Mr. Calef, the most intelligent Person among Lovell's Men returned, that I may have a perfect Account of that Action." What Mr. Calef this was, does not with certainty appear.

A Mrs. Mary Calfe died at Concord, N. H., August 10, 1817, aged ninety-eight Years. Her first Husband was Samuel Bradley, who was killed by the Indians, August 11th, 1746. She afterwards married Robert Calfe, Esq., of Chester, in the same State. This is on the Authority of Mr. Bouton, in his History of Concord, who, in another Place, says Calfe's Name was Richard. Whether Richard or Robert, he was probably a Descendant of James, the only surviving Son of Robert, the "Merchant of Boston." The maiden Name of Mrs. Calfe was Folsom.

When the Federal Constitution of New Hampshire was adopted (1788,) John Calfe, Esq., was chosen Secretary of the Convention. He was also Secretary in 1791, when the Constitution was revised. His Son Joseph died at Hampstead, N. H., August 6, 1854, aged 79. A John Calef was in the Old Mill Prison, England, 1789. Jeremiah Calef, a Native of Exeter, N. H., died atxxviii Northfield, 23d February, 1856, aged 73 Years, 10 Months. James, an only Brother of Jeremiah, died at Sanbornton, 30th March, 1856, aged 71.

Robert Calef was an eminent Ship-master between Boston and London before the Revolution. His Arrival on one Occasion is thus noticed in the Gazette and News-Letter of April 5th, 1764: "In Captain Calef came Passengers, the Captains, Edward Wendell, John Marshall, and Doctor Marshall of this Town. Mrs. McTaggart, and her Son Gray of this Town, died of the Smallpox in London." The Autographs of several of the Name of Calef (always so spelt) are in the Writer's Possession from 1755 to 1780. In 1755, Joseph was engaged in supplying Ships with Water. In 1767, Joseph Calef, probably the same, was largely in the leather Trade. He was a Tanner, and his Tan-yard was in the Neighborhood of the Old Boston Theatre.

What Time the Family of Robert Calef came to this Country has not been ascertained. It was probably in the latter Half of the seventeenth Century, and our Author may have had his Education before his Emigration. This View may be considered probable, from a Passage in his Preface to the More Wonders, &c.

After the Above was written, it came to my Notice, that in a Volume issued by the Mass. Hist. Soc., were some Extracts from the Diary of Cotton Mather. Also the following, concerningxxix Robert Calef, in a Memorandum-book of Dr. Belknap: "Robert Calef, Author of More Wonders of the Invisible World, was a Native of England; a young Man of good Sense, and free from Superstition; a Merchant in Boston. He was furnished with Materials for his Work by Mr. Brattle, of Cambridge; and his Brother, of Boston; and other Gentlemen, who were opposed to the Salem Proceedings. E. P." [Ebenezer Pemberton?]

more wonders


Or, The Wonders of the
Invisible World,
Display'd in Five Parts.

Part I. An Account of the Sufferings of Margaret Rule, Written by the Reverend Mr. C. M.

P. II. Several Letters to the Author, &c. And his Reply relating to Witchcraft.

P. III. The Differences between the Inhabitants of Salem Village, and Mr. Parris their Minister, in New-England.

P. IV. Letters of a Gentleman uninterested, Endeavouring to prove the received Opinions about Witchcraft to be Orthodox. With short Essays to their Answers.

P. V. A short Historical Accout of Matters of Fact in that Affair.

To which is added, A Postscript relating to a Book intitled, The Life of Sir WILLIAM PHIPS.

Collected by Robert Calef, Merchant, of Boston in New-England.

Licensed and Entred according to Order.


Printed for Nath. Hillar, at the Princes-Arms, in Leaden-Hall-street, over against St. Mary-Ax, and Joseph Collyer, at the Golden-Bible on London-Bridge. 1700.


[1] The Epistle to the READER.

3 And more especially to the Noble Bereans[4] of this Age, wherever Residing.


YOU that are freed from the Slauery of a corrupt Education; and that in spite of human Precepts, Examples and Precsidents, can hearken to the Dictates of Scripture and Reason:

For your sakes I am content, that these Collections of mine, as also my Sentiments should be exposed to publick view; In hopes that having well considered, and compared them with Scripture, you will see reason, as I do, to question a belief so prevalent (as that here treated of) as also the practice flowing from thence; they standing as nearly connext as cause and effect; it being found wholly impracticable, to extirpate the latter without first curing the former.

And if the Buffoon or Satyrical will be exercising their Talents, or if the Bigots wilfully and blindly reject the Testimonies of their own Reason, and more sure word, it is no more than what I expected from them.

But you Gentlemen, I doubt not are willing to Distinguish between Truth and Error, and if this may be any furtherance to you herein, I shall not miss my Aim.

But if you find the contrary, and that my belief herein is any way Heterodox, I shall be thankful for the Information to any Learned or Reverend Person, or others, that shall take that pains to inform 4 me better by Scripture, or sound Reason, which is what I have been long seeking for in this Country in vain.[5]

In a time when not only England in particular, but almost all Europe had been labouring against the Usurpations of Tyranny and Slavery. The English, America has not been behind in a share in the Common calamities; more especially New-England, has met not only with such calamities as are common to the rest, but with several aggravations enhansing such Afflictions, by the Devastations and Cruelties of the Barbarous Indians in their Eastern borders, &c.

But this is not all, they have been harrast (on many accounts) by a more dreadful Enemy, as will herein appear to the considerate.

P. 66. Were it as we are told in Wonders of the Invisible World, that the Devils were walking about our Streets with lengthned Chains making a dreadful noise in our Ears, and Brimstone, even without a Metaphor, was making a horrid and a hellish stench in our Nostrils.[6] P. 49.

And That the Devil exhibiting himself ordinarily as a black-Man, had decoy'd a fearful knot of Proud, Froward, Ignorant, Envious and Malitious Creatures, to list themselves in his horrid Service, by entring their Names in a Book tendered unto them; and that they have had their Meetings and Sacraments, and associated themselves to destroy the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus 5Christ, in these parts of the World; having each of them their Spectres, or Devils Commissionated by them, and [2] representing of them to be the Engines of their Malice, by these wicked Spectres, siezing poor People about the Country, with various and bloody Torments. And of those evidently preternatural Torments some to have died. And that they have bewitched some even so far, as to make them self destroyers, and others in many Towns, here and there languish'd under their evil hands. The People, thus afflicted, miserably scratch'd and bitten; and that the same Invisible Furies did stick Pins in them, and scal'd them, distort and disjoint them, with a Thousand other Plagues; and sometimes drag them out of their Chambers, and carry them over Trees, and Hills Miles together, many of them being tempted to sign the Devils Laws.

P. 7. Those furies whereof several have killed more People perhaps than would serve to make a Village. If this be the true state of the Afflictions of this Country, it is very deplorable, and beyond all other outward Calamities miserable. But if on the other side, the Matter be as others do understand it, That the Devil has been too hard for us by his Temptations, signs, and lying Wonders, with the help of pernicious notions, formerly imbibed and professed; together with the Accusations of a parcel of possessed, distracted, or lying Wenches, accusing their Innocent Neighbours, pretending they see their Spectres (i. e.) Devils in their likeness Afflicting of them, and that God in righteous Judgement, (after Men had ascribed his Power to Witches, of commissionating Devils to do these things) may have given them over to strong delusions to believe lyes. &c And to let loose the Devils of Envy, Hatred, Pride, Cruelty and Malice against each other; yet still disguised under the Mask of Zeal for God, and left them to the branding one another, with the odious Name of Witch; and upon the Accusation of those 6 above mentioned, Brother to Accuse and Prosecute Brother, Children their Parents, Pastors and Teachers their immediate Flock unto death; Shepherds becoming Wolves, Wise Men Infatuated; People hauled to Prisons, with a bloody noise pursuing to, and insulting over, the (true) Sufferers at Execution, while some are fleeing from that called Justice, Justice itself fleeing before such Accusations, when once it did but begin to refrain further proceedings; and to question such Practises, some making their Escape out of Prisons, rather than by an obstinate Defence of their Innocency, to run so apparent hazard of their Lives; Estates seized, Families of Children and others left to the Mercy of the Wilderness (not to mention here the Numbers prescribed, dead in Prisons, or Executed, &c.)

All which Tragedies, tho begun in one Town, or rather by one Parish, has Plague-like spread more than through that Country. And by its Eccho giving a brand of Infamy to this whole Country, throughout the World.

If this were the Miserable case of this Country in the time thereof, and that the Devil had so far prevailed upon us in our Sentiments and Actions, as to draw us from so much as looking into the Scriptures for our guidance in these pretended Intricacies, leading us to a trusting in blind guides, such as the corrupt practices of some other Countries or the bloody Experiments of Bodin,[7] [3] and such other Authors. Then tho our Case be most miserable, yet it must be said of New-England, Thou hast destroyed thyself, and brought this greatest of Miseries upon thee.

7 And now whether the Witches (such as have made a compact by Explicit Covenant with the Devil, having thereby obtained a power to Commissionate him) have been the cause of our miseries.

Or whether a Zeal governed by blindness and passion, and led by president, has not herein precipitated us into far greater wickedness (if not Witchcrafts) than any have been yet proved against those that suffered.

To be able to distinguish aright in this matter, to which of these two to refer our Miseries is the present Work. As to the former, I know of no sober Man, much less Reverend Christian, that being ask'd dares affirm and abide by it, that Witches have that power; viz. to Commissionate Devils to kill and destroy. And as to the latter, it were well if there were not too much of truth in it, which remains to be demonstrated.

But here it will be said, what need of Raking in the Coals that lay buried in oblivion. We cannot recal those to Life again that have suffered, supposing it were unjustly; it tends but to the exposing the Actors, as if they had proceeded irregularly.

Truly I take this to be just as the Devil would have it, so much to fear disobliging men, as not to endeavour to detect his Wiles, that so he may the sooner, and with the greater Advantages set the same on foot again (either here or elsewhere) so dragging us through the Pond twice by the same Cat.[8] And if Reports do not (herein) deceive us, much the same has been acting this present year in Scotland. And what Kingdom or Country is it, that has not had their bloody fits and turns at it. And if this is such a catching disease, and so universal, I presume I need make no Apology for my Endeavours to prevent, as far as in my power, any more such bloody Victims or 8 Sacrifices; tho indeed I had rather any other would have undertaken so offensive, tho necessary a task; yet all things weighed, I had rather thus Expose myself to Censure, than that it should be wholly omitted. Were the notions in question, innocent and harmless, respecting the glory of God, and well being of Men, I should not have engaged in them, but finding them in my esteem, so intollerably destructive of both. This together with my being by Warrant called before the Justices, in my own Just Vindication, I took it to be a call from God, to my Power, to Vindicate his Truths against the Pagan and Popish Assertions, which are so prevalent; for tho Christians in general do own the Scriptures to be their only Rule of Faith and Doctrine, yet these Notions will tell us, that the Scriptures have not sufficiently, nor at all described the crime of Witchcraft, whereby the culpable might be detected, tho it be positive in the Command to punish it by Death; hence the World has been from time to time perplext in the prosecution of the several Diabolical mediums of Heathenish and Popish Invention, to detect an Imaginary Crime (not but that there are Witches, such as the Law of God [4] describes)[9] which has produced a deluge of Blood; hereby rendering the Commands of God not only void but dangerous.

So also they own Gods Providence and Government of the World, and that Tempests and Storms, Afflictions and Diseases are of his sending; yet these Notions tell us, that the Devil has the power of all these, and can perform them when commission'd by a Witch thereto, and that he has a power at the Witches call to act and do, without and against the course of Nature, and all natural causes, in afflicting and killing of Innocents; and this is that so many have died for.

9 Also it is generally believed, that if any Man has strength, it is from God the Almighty Being: but these notions will tell us, that the Devil can make one Man as strong as many, which was one of the best proofs, as it was counted, against Mr. Burroughs the Minister; tho his contemporaries in the Schools during his Minority could have testified, that his strength was then as much superior to theirs as ever[10] (setting aside incredible Romances) it was discovered to be since. Thus rendering the power of God, and his providence of none Effect.

These are some of the destructive notions of this Age, and however the asserters of them seem sometimes to value themselves much upon sheltring their Neighbors from Spectral Accusations. They may deserve as much thanks as that Tyrant, that having industriously obtained an unintelligible charge against his Subjects, in matters wherein it was impossible they should be Guilty, having thereby their lives in his power, yet suffers them of his meer Grace to live, and will be call'd gracious Lord.

It were too Icarian[11] a task for one unfurnish'd with necessary learning, and Library, to give any Just account, from whence so great delusions have sprung, and so long continued. Yet as an Essay from those scraps of reading that I have had opportunity of; it will be no great venture to say, that Signs and Lying Wonders have been one principal cause.

10 It is written of Justin Martyr,[12] who lived in the second Century, that he was before his conversion a great Philosopher; first in the way of the Stoicks, and after, of the Peripateticks, after that of the Pythagorean, and after that of the Platonists sects; and after all proved of Eminent use in the Church of Christ; yet a certain Author speaking of one Apollonius Tyaneus[13] has these words [That the most Orthodox themselves began to deem him vested with power sufficient for a Deity; which occasioned that so strange a doubt from Justin Martyr, as cited by the learned Gregory, Fol. 37. Ει Θεοςζσι &c. If God be the creator and Lord of the World, how comes it to pass that Apollonius his Telisms, have so much over-ruled the course of things! for we see that they also have stilled the Waves of the Sea; and the raging of the Winds, and prevailed against the Noisome Flies, and Incursions of wild Beasts,] &c. If so Eminent and Early a Christian were by these false shews in such doubt, it is the less wonder in our depraved times, to meet with what is Equivalent thereto: Besides this a certain Author informs me, that [Julian (afterwards called the Apostate) being instructed in the Philosophy and Disciplines of the Heathen, by Libarius his Tutor, by this [5] means he came to love Philosophy better than the Gospel, and so by degrees turn'd from Christianity to Heathenism.]

11 This same Julian did, when Apostate, forbid that Christians should be instructed in the Discipline of the Gentiles, which (it seems) Socrates a Writer of the Ecclesiastical History, does acknowledge to be by the singular Providence of God; Christians having then begun to degenerate from the Gospel, and to betake themselves to Heathenish learning. And in the Mercury for the Month of February, 1695, there is this Account [That the Christian Doctors conversing much with the writings of the Heathen, for the gaining of Eloquence. A Counsel was held at Carthage, which forbad the reading of the Books of the Gentiles.]

From all which it may be easily perceived, that in the Primitive times of Christianity, when not only many Heathen of the Vulgar; but also many learned Men and Philosophers had imbraced the Christian Faith; they still retained a love to their Heathen-learning, to which as one observes being transplanted into a Christian soils, soon proved productive of pernicious weeds, which over-ran the face of the Church, hence it was so deformed as the Reformation found it.

Among other pernicious Weeds arising from this Root, the Doctrine of the power of Devils and Witchcraft as it is now, and long has been understood, is not the least; the Fables of Homer, Virgil, Horace and Ovid, &c. being for the Elegancy of their Language retained then (and so are to this day) in the schools; have not only introduced, but established such Doctrines to the poisoning the Christian World.[14] A certain Author expresses it thus [that as the Christian Schools at first brought Men from Heathenism to the Gospel, so these Schools carry Men from the Gospel to Heathenism, as to their great perfection] and Mr. I. M. in his Remarkable Providences, gives an account that (as he calls it) an old Counsel 12 did Anathematize all those that believed such power of the Devils, accounting it a Damnable Doctrine.[15] But as other Evils did afterwards increase in the Church (partly by such Education) so this insensibly grew up with them, tho not to that degree, as that any Counsel I have ever heard or Read of has to this day taken off those Anathema's; yet after this the Church so far declined, that Witchcraft became a Principal, Ecclesiastical Engine (as also that of Heresy was) to root up all that stood in their way; and besides the ways of Tryal, that we have still in practice, they invented some, which were peculiar to themselves; which whenever they were minded to improve against any Orthodox believer, they could easily make Effectual: That Deluge of Blood which that Scarlet Whore has to answer for, shed under this notion, how amazing is it.

The first in England that I have read of, of any note since the Reformation, that asserts this Doctrine, is the famous Mr. Perkins, he (as also Mr. Gaul, and Mr. Bernard, &c.) seems all of them to have undertaken one Task. They taking notice of the Multiplicity of irregular ways to try them by, invented by Heathen and Papists, made it their business and main work herein to oppose such as they saw to be pernicious. And if they did not look more narrowly into it, but followed the first, viz. Mr. Perkins whose Education (as theirs also) had forestall'd him into such belief, whom they readily followed, it cannot be wondered at: And that they were men liable to Err, and so not to be trusted to as perfect guides, will manifestly appear to him that shall see their several receits laid down to detect them by their Presumptive and Positive ones. And consider how few 13of either have any foundation in Scripture or Reason; and how vastly they differ from each other in both, each having his Art by himself, which Forty or an Hundred more may as well imitate, and give theirs, ad infinitum, being without all manner of proof. [6] But tho this be their main design to take off People from those Evil and bloody ways of trial which they speak so much against. Yet this does not hinder to this day, but the same evil ways or as bad are still used to detect them by, and that even among Protestants; and is so far justified, that a Reverend Person has said lately here, how else shall we detect Witches?[16] And another being urged to prove by Scripture such a sort of Witch as has power to send Devils to kill men, replied that he did as firmly believe it as any article of his Faith. And that he (the Inquirer) did not go to the Scripture; to learn the Mysteries of his trade or Art. What can be said more to Establish there Heathenish notions and to villifie the Scriptures, our only Rule; and that after we have seen such dire effects thereof, as has threatned the utter Extirpation of this whole Country.

And as to most of the Actors in these Tragedies, tho they are so far from defending their Actions that they will readily own, that undue steps have been taken, &c. yet it seems they choose that the same should be Acted over again, inforced by their Example, rather than that it should Remain as a Warning to Posterity, as herein they have mist it. So far are they from giving Glory to God, and taking the due shame to themselves.

And now to sum up all in a few words, we have seen a Biggotted Zeal, stirring up a Blind, and most Bloody rage, not against Enemies, or Irreligious proffligate Persons. But (in Judgment of Charity, and to view) against as Vertuous and Religious as any they 14have left behind them in this Country, which have suffered as Evil doers (with the utmost extent of rigour, not that so high a Character is due to all that Suffered) and this by the Testimony of Vile Varlets as not only were known before, but have been further apparent since by their Manifest Lives, whordoms, incest, &c. The accusations of these, from their Spectral Sight, being the chief Evidence against those that Suffered. In which Accusations they were upheld by both Magistrates and Ministers, so long as they Apprehended themselves in no Danger.[17]

And then tho they could defend neither the Doctrine, nor the Practice, yet none of them have in such a publick manner as the case Requires, testified against either; tho at the same time they could not but be sensible what a Stain and lasting Infamy they have brought upon the whole Country, to the indangering the future welfair not only of this but of other places, induced by their Example; if not, to an intailing the Guilt of all the Righteous Blood that has been by the same means Shed, by Heathen or Papists, &c. upon themselves, whose deeds they have so far justified, occasioning the great Dishonour and Blasphemy of the Name of God, Scandalizing the Heathen, hardning of Enemies; and as a Natural effect thereof, to the great Increase of Atheism.

I shall conclude only with acquainting the Reader, that of these Collections, the first containing more Wonders of the Invisible World, I received of a Gentleman, who had it of the Author, and communicated it to use, with his express consent, of which this is a true Copy.[18] As to the letters, they are for Substance the same I 15sent, tho with some small Variation or Addition. Touching the two Letters from a Gentleman at his request, I have forborn naming him. It is great Pity the matters of Fast, and indeed the whole, had not been done by some abler hana better Accomplished and Advantages with both natural and acquired Judgments, but others not Appearing, I have inforc'd myself to do what is done, my other occasions Will not admit any further Scrutiny therein.

R. C.

Boston in New-England, Aug 11. 1697.



[4] In both the second and third Editions this Name is printed Barons. The Printer probably not knowing what else to make of it. The Inhabitants of ancient Berœa were called Berœans. The present Aleppo occupies the Site. For the Point, see Acts, xvii, 11.

[5] This is the Remark that led me to think the Author was not a Native of New England. An Extract by Dr. Belknap, noted in the accompanying Memoir is corroborative of the Conjecture.

[6] See Vol. I, Pages 121-2. Cotemporary with the Author, we find that eminent Divine, Michael Wigglesworth, thus poetically impressing upon the Readers of his Poem the Horrors spoken of in the Text:

Whom having brought as they are taught,
Unto the Brink of Hell,
(That Dismal Place far from Christs Face,
Where Death and Darkness dwell:
Where Gods fierce Ire kindleth the Fire,
And Vengeance feeds the Flame
With Piles of Wood, and Brimstone Flood,
That none can quench the same.

Day of Doom, Stanza 208.

[7] John Bodin was a Frenchman of great Learning, born at Angers 1530. Some of his Historical Works were formerly in great Repute in England as well as in France. His Work referred to above was published at Paris in 1579, under the Title La Démonomanie, ou Traite des Sorciers, in 4to. It is full of all those Superstitions for which the Age in which the Author lived is celebrated. See Camerarius, Living Library, Page 2, Edition 1625, Fol. See also Mr. Fowler's interesting Note to the last Salem Edition of Salem Witchcraft, P. ix.

[8] That is by the same Cord, or Rope. In nautical Usage, a Rope to do or perform a certain Service. The Anchor was formerly hoisted to the Head of a certain bow Timber to which it was fastened by the Cat Rope; hence the Timber is called the Cat-head.

[9] It will elsewhere be seen that the Author makes it pretty clear, that to discover Witches by that Law, or who they are, has never been done. It was therefore easy to argue that Witches never would be discovered by it. In other Words where nothing is looked for nothing will be found. This Subject will be found discussed elsewhere.

[10] Samuel Webber, aged about 36, testified that some seven or eight Years ago he lived at Casco Bay, where Mr. B. was Minister. Having heard much of his great Strength, and coming to his House, and in Discourse about it, he told the said Webber that he had put his Fingers into the Bung of a Barrel of "Malases" and lifted it up and carried it round him. See Records of Salem Witchcraft (by Woodward) ii, 113. See also sundry other Testimonies about Mr. Burroughs's great Strength, ib., 123-5. Also (Vol. I, 153,) The Wonders of the Invisible World.

[11] The Author's classical Learning was probably not very extensive. The Use of this mythical Name however may have been according to its Acceptation in his Time.

[12] The Reader will not find, as he has a Right to expect, this Name in the common Biographical Works. In the large Work of Chaudon et Delandine is a satisfactory Article under the Head Justin; who was a Martyr of the second Century; yet we meet with the Name constantly in History, as Justin Martyr; Martyr being added to his proper Name, to denote that he had suffered Martyrdom. He is also styled St. Justin.

[13] Apollonius Thyaneus, according to Lempriere. A Pythagorian Philosopher, well skilled in the Arts of Magic; who, "one Day haranguing the Populace at Ephesus, he suddenly exclaimed: 'Strike the Tyrant, strike him; the Blow is given, he is wounded and fallen!' At that very Moment the Emperor Domitian had been stabbed at Rome. The Magician acquired much Reputation when the Circumstance was known."

[14] Although the Stories and Fables of former Ages may, and doubtless did, at the Period under Consideration, have a bad Influence upon the Minds of Scholars, they ought to have none in these Times. This, however, will depend on the Intelligence of Teachers.

[15] It is only necessary to observe that the Title of Dr. I. Mather's Work is An Essay for the Recording of Illustrious Providences, &c., which was printed in a 12mo. 1684. This Work was elegantly reprinted in a Crown 12mo or a 16mo. by John Russell Smith, London, 1856. This, I think, is the first Time the Work was ever reprinted. It shows the Author not less superstitious than his very credulous Son.

[16] It would perhaps be fruitless to attempt a Conjecture as to who were the Persons referred to, the Majority of the Community being of the same Faith.

[17] It seems that for some Time it never occurred to the Rulers that they might be taken for Witches; or "cried out upon," as the Phrase used to be.

[18] Who the Gentleman was that received the Paper from Dr. Mather does not appear. At the Time it was obtained, the Author (Dr. Mather) probably had no Apprehension that any Exposition was to follow. The very vague Note in Proceedings Mass. Hist. Society for 1858, p. 288, enlightens the Reader but little. It is said in that Note—"He [Mr. Calef] was furnished with Materials for his Work by Mr. Brattle, of Cambridge; and his Brother of Boston; and other Gentlemen, who were opposed to the Salem Proceedings." This Extract is signed E. P.; but the Editor of the Article referred to makes no Conjecture as for whom the Initials stand. Perhaps they mean Ebenezer Pemberton, though that Gentleman was comparatively a young Man in 1697; old enough, however, to have been interested in these Affairs.


[7] The

ANOTHER Brand plucked out of the Burnings or More Wonders of the Invisible World; written by Mr. C. M. relating to the Afflictions of Margaret Rule. Page 1
A Letter to Mr. C. M. containing a Narrative of two Visits given by him and others to Margaret Rule. p. 13
With a repetition of a former Letter sent to him, to offer a Meeting with him. p. 16
As also the repetition of a former Letter, requesting Information in some Doctrinalls relating to Witchcraft. Ibid
A Letter of Mr. C. M. wherein he declines speaking to those Doctrinalls; Denying some parts of the Narrative, and defending others. The feeling the Imp owned, &c. p. 19
The Copy of a Paper Subscribed by several, testifying Margaret Rule's being held up by Invisible Hands from the Bed. p. 22
A Letter to Mr. C. M. relating to the Narrative, again Praying, an Answer to the Doctrinalls. p. 23
The Copy of a Paper shewing what Sense the Indians had of the Actions here, and what esteem they had thereby taken up of our Ministers. p. 25
18 A Letter to Mr. C. M. again repeating several Fundamental Doctrinalls, opposite to the Doctrine of Witchcraft, as now understood, praying his Confirmation or Confutation thereof. p. 26
A Letter to Mr C. M. (after minding him of his promise, viz. To give an Answer about Doctrinalls) several Passages quoted in his, and his Relations Books, that need explaining. p. 27
A Letter to Mr B. relating to the belief of Mr. C. M. which he forbad to be Coppyed. p. 30
[8] A Letter to the Ministers repeating those Doctrinalls, sent to Mr. C. M. for his Explanation, with the Summary of his Belief, contained in those Papers, forbidden to be Coppied; as also other Doctrinalls opposite thereto, beseeching them to give their Confirmation or Confutation thereof. p. 33
A Letter to Mr S. W. relating to a Dialogue Written by him about Witchcraft, and to a Paper set forth by the President, &c. of the University, about Possessions and Enchantments. p. 38
A Letter to Mr C. M. relating to the Doctrinalls contained in a Book of Mr. R. B. Printed in London 1691. Some of the Heathen Poets Quoted as the Fountain or Original of such Doctrinalls. p. 43
A Letter to the Ministers mentioning the Doctrine of the Manishees, Demonstrating that the present Age is not free from that Infection, repeating necessary Articles of Faith opposite thereto. p. 48
A Letter to Mr. B. W. relating to the Witches Covenant. p. 52
The Reasons given by some of the People why they withdrew from Communion, &c. with the Church at Salem-Village, and from hearing Mr. Parris their Minister, in whose House the Tragedies of Witchcraft begun. p. 55
19 Mr. Samuel Parris's Acknowledgement. p. 57
The Advice and Determination of the Elders and Messengers, met at Salem-Village, to Compose the Differences there. p. 59
A Letter from the People of the Village to those Elders and Messengers of the several Churches. p. 61
A state of the Controversie between Mr. Parris and his People. p. 62
A Remonstrance, with further Reasons given in by the Attorneys for the People of the Village to the Arbitrators, against Mr. Parris. p. 63
A Letter of a Gentleman endeavouring to prove the received opinions about Witchcraft. p. 64
An Essay to the Answer thereof. p. 77
A Second Letter of the Gentleman's further urging such Doctrines. p. 83
A Rejoinder to the former Answer. p. 87
An Account of the matters of Fact at Salem-Village, &c. p. 90
The Examination of Mrs. Cary. p. 95
The Examination of Mr John Aldin. p. 98
Bishop alias Oliver Condemned. p. 100
An Abstract of the Ministers Advice to the Governour. p. 101
[9] Sarah Good, Rebecca Nurse, Sus. Martin, Eliz. How and Sarah Wildes Condemned. p. 101
The Declaration of the Foreman of the Jury, relating to words spoken by Rebecca Nurse. p. 102
Rebecca Nurses Interpretation of these words. p. 103
Mr George Burroughs, John Procter, Eliz. Procter, John Willard, George Jacobs and Martha Carryer Condemned. Ibid.
A Letter of John Procter to the Ministers. p. 104
20 A Letter of Margaret Jacobs to her Father. p. 105
Martha Cary, Mary Easty, Alice Parker, Ann Pudeater, Dorcas Hore, Mary Bradbery, Margaret Scot, W. Red, Samuel Wardwel, Mary Parker, Abigail Falkner, Rebecca Emes, Mary Lacy, Ann Foster, and Abigail Hobs Condemned. p. 106
Giles Cary Prest to Death. Ibid.
A Petition of Mary Easty to the Judge. p. 107
A Declaration of some that had confest themselves Guilty (at Andover.) p. 111
The Preface of Mr. C. M. in Wonders of the Invisible World, to his Account of the Tryals of five of those that were Executed at Salem. p. 113
The whole of his said Account, with one Indictment added to each Tryal, viz.
The Tryal of Mr. Burroughs. p. 114
The Tryal of Bridget Bishop. p. 120
The Tryal of Susanna Martin. p. 126
The Tryal of Elizabeth How. p. 133
The Tryal of Martha Carryer. p. 136
The Tryal of Wardwes Wife at the first Superior Court in Salem. p. 141
The Tryal of Sarah Daston at Charlestown. Ibid.
The Tryal of Mary Watkins at Boston. p. 142
The Tryal of Mr. Bennom at Hartford, in the Collony of Connecticut. Ibid.
A Proclamation for a Fast in the Province of Massachuset. p. 143
The Acknowledgement of several Jury-Men, relating to the Condemning of some for Witches. p. 144
A Postscript relating to a Book Intituled, The Life of Sir W. Phips. p. 145
Therein an Objection Answered, viz. But what are there no Witches? p. 155


[10] SIR, 21

I NOW lay before you a very Entertaining Story,[19] a Story which relates yet more Wonders of the Invisible World, a Story which tells the Remarkable Afflictions and Deliverance of one that had been Prodigiously handled by the Evil Angels. I was myself a daily Eye Witness to a large part of these Occurrences, and there may be produced Scores of Substantial Witnesses to the most of them; yea, I know not of any one Passage of the Story but what may be sufficiently attested. I do not Write it with a design of throwing it presently into the Press, but only to preserve the Memory of such Memorable things, the forgetting whereof would neither be pleasing to God, nor useful to Men; as also to give you, with some others of peculiar and obliging Friends, a sight of some Curiosities, and I hope this Apology will serve to Excuse me, if I mention, as perhaps I may, when I come to a tenth Paragraph in my Writing, some things which I would have omitted in a farther Publication.

Cotton Mather.


[19] This singular "Story" does not appear to have been published by its Author, nor have I any other History of it than is found in these Pages. Nor do I find anything of a Family of the Name of Rule. Neither Farmer nor Savage have it in their genealogical Works. Yet there was a Family living for some Time at the North End of the Name of Rule. They may not have been long resident. See Note 33.


Pluckt out of the
Or, More Wonders of the Invisible World.

Part I. Section I.

The Afflictions of MARGARET RULE. 23

WIthin these few years there died in the Southern Parts a Christian Indian, who notwithstanding some of his Indian Weakness, had something of a better Character of vertue and Goodness, than many of our People can allow to most of their Country-men, that profess the Christian Religion.[20] He had been a Zealous 24Preacher of the Gospel to his Neighbourhood, and a sort of Overseer, or Officer, to whose Conduct was owing very much of what good order was maintained among those Proselited Savages. This Man returning home from the Funeral of his Son, was complemented by an Englishman, expressing Sorrow for his Loss; now, tho' the Indians use upon the Death of Relations, to be the most Passionate and Outragious Creatures in the World, yet this Converted Indian Handsomly and Chearfully replid, Truly I am sorry, and I am not sorry; I am sorry that I have Buried a dear Son; but I am not sorry that the will of God is done. I know that without the will of God my son could not have died, and I know that the will [2] of God is always just and good, and so I am satisfied. Immediately upon this, even within a few hours, he fell himself Sick of a Disease that quickly kill'd him; in the time of which Disease he called his Folks about him, earnestly perswading them to be Sincere in their Praying unto God, and beware of the Drunkenness, the Idleness, the Lying, whereby so many of that Nation disgrac'd their Profession of Christianity; adding, that he was ashamed, when he thought how little Service he had hitherto done for God; and that if God would prolong his Life he would Labour to do better Service, but that he was fully sure he was now going to the Lord Jesus Christ, who had bought him with his own Precious Blood; and for his part, he long'd to Die that he might be with his25 Glorious Lord; and in the mid'st of such passages he gave up the Ghost, but in such repute, that the English People of good Fashion did not think much of Travelling a great way to his Interment. Lest my Reader do now wonder why I have related this piece of a Story, I will now hasten to abate that Wonder, by telling that whereto this was intended, but for an Introduction: know then, that this remarkable Indian being a little before he Died at work in the Wood making of Tarr, there appeared unto him a Black Man, of a Terrible aspect, and more than humane Dimensions, threatning bittterly to kill him if he would not promise to leave off Preaching as he did to his Countrey-Men, and promise particularly, that if he preached any more, he would say nothing of Jesus Christ unto them? The Indian amaz'd, yet had the courage to answer, I will in spite of you go on to preach Christ more than ever I did, and the God whom I serve will keep me that you shall never hurt me. Hereupon the Apparition abating somewhat of his fierceness, offered to the Indian a Book of a considerable thickness and a Pen and Ink, and said, that if he would now set his hand unto that Book, he would require nothing further of him; but the Man refused the motion with indignation, and fell down upon his knees into a Fervent and Pious Prayer unto God, for help against the Tempter, whereupon the Demon Vanish't.

This is a Story which I would never have tendered unto my Reader, if I had not Receiv'd it26 from an honest and useful English Man,[21] who is at this time a Preacher of the Gospel to the Indians; nor would the probable Truth of it have encouraged me to have tendered it, if this also had not been a fit introduction unto yet a further Narrative.

Sect. 2. 'Twas not much above a year or two, after this Accident (of which no manner of Noise has been made) that there was a Prodigious descent of Devils upon divers places near the Centre of this Province; wherein some scores of Miserable People were Troubled by horrible appearances of a Black-Man, accompanied with Spectres, wearing these and those Humane Shapes, who offer'd them a Book to be by them sign'd, in token of their being Listed for the Service of the Devil, and upon their [3] denying to do it, they were dragoon'd with a thousand Preternatural Torments, which gave no little terror to the beholders of these unhappy Energuments. There was one in the North part of Boston seized by the Evil Angels many Months after the General Storm of the late Inchantments was over, and when the Countrey had long lain pretty quiet, both as to Molestations and Accusations from the INVISIBLE WORLD, her Name was Margaret Rule, a Young Woman, She was born of sober and honest Parents, yet Living, but what her own Character was before her Visitation, I can speak with the 27less confidence of exactness, because I observe that wherever the Devils have been let loose to worry any Poor Creature amongst us, a great part of the Neighbourhood presently set themselves to inquire and relate all the little Vanities of their Childhood, with such unequal exaggerations, as to make them appear greater Sinners than any whom the Pilate of Hell has not yet Preyed upon: But it is affirm'd, that for about half a year before her Visitation, she was observably improved in the hopeful symptoms of a new Creature; She was become furiously concern'd for the everlasting Salvation of her Soul, and careful to avoid the snares of Evil Company. This Young Woman had never seen the affliction of Mercy Short,[22] whereof a Narrative has been already given, and yet about half a year after the glorious and signal deliverance of that poor Damsel, this Margaret fell into an affliction, marvellous, resembling hers in almost all the circumstances of it, indeed the Afflictions were so much alike, that the relation I have given of the one, would almost serve as the full History of the other, this was to that, little more than the second part to the same Tune; indeed Margarets case was in several points less remarkable than Mercies, and in some other things the Entertainment did a little vary.

Sect. 3. 'twas upon the Lords Day the 10th of September, in the Year 1693. that Margaret Rule, 28after some hours of previous disturbance in the Publick Assembly, fell into odd Fits, which caused her Friends to carry her home, where her Fits in a few hours grew into a Figure that satisfied the Spectators of their being preternatural; some of the Neighbours were forward enough to suspect the rise of this Mischief in an House hard-by, where lived a Miserable Woman, who had been formerly Imprisoned on the suspicion of Witchcraft, and who had frequently Cured very painfull Hurts by muttering over them certain Charms, which I shall not indanger the Poysoning of my Reader by repeating. This Woman had the Evening before Margaret fell into her Calamities, very bitterly treated her, and threatn'd her; but the hazard of hurting a poor Woman that might be innocent, notwithstanding Surmizes that might have been more strongly grounded than those, caus'd the pious People in the Vicinity to try rather whether incessant Supplication to God [4] alone, might not procure a quicker and safer Ease to the Afflicted, than hasty Prosecution of any suppos'd Criminal, and accordingly that unexceptionable course was all that was ever followed; yea, which I look'd on as a token for good, the Afflicted Family was as averse as any of us all to entertain thoughts of any other course.

Sect. 4. The Young Woman was assaulted by Eight cruel spectres, whereof she imagin'd that 29she knew three or four, but the rest came still with their Faces cover'd, so that she could never have a distinguishing view of the countenance of those whom she thought she knew; she was very careful of my reitterated charges to forbear blazing the names, lest any good Person should come to suffer any blast of Reputation thro' the cunning Malice of the great Accuser; nevertheless having since privately named them to myself, I will venture to say this of them, that they are a sort of Wretches, who for these many years have gone under as Violent Presumptions of Witchcraft, as perhaps any creatures yet living upon earth; altho' I am farr from thinking that the Visions of this Young Woman were Evidence enough to prove them so. These cursed Spectres now brought unto her a Book about a Cubet long, a Book Red and thick, but not very broad, and they demanded of her that she would set her Hand to that Book, or touch it at least with her Hand, as a Sign of her becoming a Servant of the Devil, upon her peremptory refusal to do what they asked, they did not after renew the profers of the Book unto her, but instead thereof, they fell to Tormenting of her in a manner too Hellish to be sufficiently described, in those Torments confining her to her Bed, for just Six weeks together.

Sect. 5. Sometimes, but not always together with the Spectres, there looke't in upon the Young Woman (according to her account) a short and a Black Man, whom they call'd their Master—a 30Wight exactly of the same Dimensions and Complexion and voice, with the Divel that has exhibited himself unto other infested People, not only in other parts of this Country but also in other Countrys, even of the European World, as the relation of the Enchantments there inform us, they all profest themselves Vassals of this Devil, and in obedience unto him they address themselves unto various ways of Torturing her; accordingly she was cruelly pinch'd with Invisible hands, very often in a Day, and the black and blew marks of the pinches became immediately visible unto the standers by. Besides this, when her attendants had left her without so much as one pin about her, that so they might prevent some fear'd inconveniencies; yet she would ever now and then be miserably hurt with Pins which were found stuck into her Neck, Back and Arms, however the Wounds made by the Pins would in a few minutes ordinarily be cured; she would also be strangely distorted in her Joynts, and thrown into such exorbitant Convulsions as [5] were astonishing unto the Spectators in General; They that could behold the doleful condition of the poor Family without sensible compassions, might have Intrals indeed, but I am sure they could have no true Bowels in them.

Sect. 6. It were a most Unchristian and uncivil, yea a most unreasonable thing to imagine that the Fitt's of the Young Woman were but meer Impostures: And I believe scarce any, but People of a particular Dirtiness, will harbour such an31 Uncharitable Censure,[23] however, because I know not how far the Devil may drive the Imagination of poor Creatures when he has possession of them, that at another time when they are themselves would scorn to Dissemble any thing. I shall now confine my Narrative unto passages, wherein there could be no room left for any Dissimulation. Of these the first that I'll mention shall be this; From the time that Margaret Rule first found herself to be formally besieged by the Spectres untill the Ninth Day following, namely from the Tenth of September to the Eighteenth, she kept an entire Fast, and yet she was unto all appearance as Fresh, as Lively, as Hearty, at the Nine Days End, as before they began; in all this time, tho' she had a very eager Hunger upon her Stomach, yet if any refreshment were brought unto her, her Teeth would be set, and she would be thrown into many Miseries, Indeed once or twice or so in all this time, her Tormentors permitted her to swallow a Mouthful of somewhat that might increase her Miseries, whereof a Spoonful of Rum was the most considerable; but otherwise, as I said, her Fast unto the Ninth day was very extream and rigid: However, afterwards there scarce passed a day wherein she had not liberty to take something or other for her Susttentation, And I must add this further, that this 32business of her Fast was carried so, that it was impossible to be dissembled without a Combination of Multitudes of People unacquainted with one another to support the Juggle, but he that can imagine such a thing of a Neighbourhood, so fill'd with Vertuous People is a base man, I cannot call him any other.

Sect. 7. But if the Sufferings of this Young Woman were not Imposture, yet might they not be pure Distemper? I will not here inquire of our Saducees what sort of Distemper 'tis shall stick the Body full of Pins, without any Hand that could be seen to stick them; or whether all the Pin-makers in the World would be willing to be Evaporated into certain ill habits of Body producing a Distemper, but of the Distemper my Reader shall be Judge when I have told him something further of those unusual Sufferings. I do believe that the Evil Angels do often take Advantage from Natural Distempers in the Children of Men to annoy them with such further Mischiefs as we call preternatural. The Malignant Vapours and Humours of our Diseased Bodies may be used by Devils thereinto insinu[6]ating as engine of the Execution of their Malice upon those Bodies; and perhaps for this reason one Sex may suffer more Troubles of some kinds from the Invisible World than the other, as well as for that reason for which the Old Serpent made where he did his first Adddress. But I Pray what will you say to this, Margaret Rule would33 sometimes have her Jaws forcibly pulled open; whereupon something Invisible would be poured down her throat; we all saw her swallow, and yet we saw her try all she could by Spitting, Coughing and Shriking, that she might not swalow, but one time the standers by plainly saw something of that odd Liquor itself on the outside of her Neck; She cried out of it as of Scalding Brimstone poured into her, and the whole House would Immediately scent so hot of Brimstone that we were scarce able to endure it, whereof there are scores of Witnesses; but the Young Woman herself would be so monstrously Inflam'd that it would have broke a Heart of Stone to have seen her Agonies, this was a thing that several times happen'd and several times when her Mouth was thus pull'd open, the standers by clapping their Hands close thereupon the distresses that otherwise followed would be diverted. Moreover there was a whitish powder to us Invisible somtimes cast upon the Eyes of this Young Woman, whereby her Eyes would be extreamly incommoded, but one time some of this Powder was fallen actually Visible upon her Cheek, from whence the People in the Room wiped it with their Handkerchiefs, and somtimes the Young Woman would also be so bitterly scorched with the unseen Sulphur thrown upon her, that very sensible Blisters would be raised upon her Skin, whereto her Friends found it necessary to apply the Oyl's proper for common Burning, but the most of these Hurts34 would be cured in two or three days at farthest: I think I may without Vanity pretend to have read not a few of the best System's of Physick[24] that have been yet seen in these American Regions, but I must confess that I have never yet learned the Name of the Natural Distemper, whereto these odd symptoms do belong: However I might suggest perhaps many a Natural Medicine, which would be of singular use against many of them.

Sect. 8. But there fell out some other matters far beyond the reach of Natural Distemper: This Margaret Rule once in the middle of the Night Lamented sadly that the Spectres threat'ned the Drowning of a Young Man in the Neighbourhood, whom she named unto the Company: well it was afterwards found that at that very time this Young Man, having been prest on Board a Man of War then in the Harbour, was out of some dissatisfaction attempting to swim ashoar, and he had been Drowned in the attempt, if a Boat had not seasonably taken him up; it was by computation a minute or two after the Young Womans discourse of the Drowning, that the Young Man took the Water; At another time she told us that [7] the Spectres bragg'd and laughed in her hearing about an exploit they had lately done, by stealing from a Gentleman his Will soon after he had written it; and within a few hours after she 35had spoken this there came to me a Gentleman with a private complaint, that having written his Will, it was unaccountably gone out of the way, how or where he could not Imagine; and besides all this, there were wonderful Noises every now and then made about the Room, which our People could Ascribe to no other Authors but the Spectres, yea, the Watchers affirm that they heard those fiends clapping of their hands together with an Audibleness, wherein they could not be Imposed upon: And once her Tormentors pull'd her up to the Cieling of the Chamber, and held her there before a very Numerous Company of Spectators, who found it as much as they could all do to pull her down again.[25] There was also another very surprising circumstance about her, agreeable to what we have not only read in several Histories concerning the Imps that have been Imployed in Witchcraft; but also known in some of our own afflicted: We once thought we perceived something stir upon her pillow at a little distance from her, whereupon one present laying his hand there, he to his horror apprehended that he felt, tho' none could see it, a living Creature, not altogether unlike a Rat, which nimbly escap'd from him: and there were diverse other Persons who were thrown into a great consternation by feeling, as they Judg'd, at other times the same Invisible Animal.

36 Sect. 9. As it has been with a Thousand other Inchanted People, so it was with Margaret Rule in this particular, that there were several words which her Tormentors would not let her hear, especially the words Pray or Prayer, and yet she could so hear the letters of those words distinctly mentioned as to know what they ment. The standers by were forced sometimes thus in discourse to spell a word to her, but because there were some so ridiculous as to count it a sort of Spell or a Charm for any thus to accommodate themselves to the capacity of the Sufferer, little of this kind was done. But that which was more singular in this matter, was that she could not use these words in those penetrating discourses, wherewith she would sometimes address the Spectres that were about her. She would sometimes for a long while together apply herself to the Spectres, whom she supposed the Witches, with such Exortations to Repentance as would have melted an Heart of Adamant to have heard them; her strains of Expression and Argument were truly Extraordinary; A person perhaps of the best Education and Experience and of Attainments much beyond hers could not have exceeded them: nevertheless when she came to these Words God, Lord, Christ, Good, Repent, and some other such, her Mouth could not utter them, whereupon she would sometimes in an Angry Parenthesis complain of their Wickedness in stopping that Word, but she would then go [8] on with some other37 Terms that would serve to tell what she ment. And I believe that if the most suspicious Person in the world had beheld all the Circumstances of this matter, he would have said it could not have been dissembled.

Sect. 10. Not only in the Swedish, but also in the Salem Witchcraft the Inchanted People have talked much of a White Spirit from whence they received marvellous Assistances in their Miseries; what lately befel Mercy Short[26] from the Communications of such a Spirit, hath been the just Wonder of us all, but by such a Spirit was Margaret Rule now also visited. She says that she could never see his Face; but that she had a frequent view of his bright, Shining and glorious Garments; he stood by her Bed-side continually heartning and comforting of her and counselling her to maintain her Faith and hope in God, and never comply with the temptations of her Adversaries; she says he told her, that God had permitted her afflictions to befall her for the everlasting and unspeakable good of her own soul, and for the good of many others, and for his own Immortal Glory, and that she should therefore be of good Chear, and be assured of a speedy deliverance; and the wonderful resolution of mind wherewith she encountered her Afflictions were but agreeable to such expectations. Moreover a Minister having one Day with some Importunity Prayed for the deliverance 38 of this Young Woman, and pleaded that she belong'd to his Flock and charge; he had so far a right unto her as that he was to do the part of a Minister of our Lord for the bringing of her home unto God; only now the Devil hindred him in doing that which he had a right thus to do, and whereas He had a better Title unto her to bring her home to God than the Divel could have unto her to carry her away from the Lord, he therefore humbly applied himself unto God, who alone could right this matter, with a suit that she might be rescued out of Satans Hands; Immediately upon this, tho' she heard nothing of this transaction she began to call that Minister her Father, and that was the Name whereby she every day before all sorts of People distinguished him: the occasion of it she says was this, the white Spirit presently upon this transaction did after this manner speak to her, Margaret, you now are to take notice that (such a Man) is your Father, God has given you to him, do you from this time look upon him as your Father, obey him, regard him as your Father, follow his Counsels and you shall do well; And tho' there was one passage more, which I do as little know what to make of as any of the rest, I am now going to relate it; more than three times have I seen it fulfilled in the Deliverance of Inchanted and Possest Persons, whom the Providence of God has cast into my way, that their Deliverance could not be obtained before the third Fast kept39 for them, and the third day still obtain'd the Deliverance, altho' I have thought of beseeching of the Lord thrice, when buffered by Sa[9]tan, yet I must earnestly Intreat all my Readers to beware of any superstitious conceits upon the Number Three, if our God will hear us upon once Praying and Fasting before him 'tis well, and if he will not vouchsafe his Mercy upon our thrice doing so, yet we must not be so discouraged as to throw by our Devotion but if the Soveraign Grace of our God will in any particular Instances count our Patience enough tryed when we have Solemnly waited upon him for any determinate Number of times, who shall say to him, what doest thou, and if there shall be any Number of Instances, wherein this Grace of our God has exactly holden the same course, it may have a room in our humble Observations, I hope, without any Superstition; I say then that after Margaret Rule had been more than five weeks in her Miseries, this White Spirit said unto her, Well this day such a Man (whom he named) has kept a third day for your deliverance, now be of good cheer you shall speedily be delivered. I inquired whether what had been said of that Man were true, and I gained exact and certain information that it was precisely so, but I doubt lest in relating this Passage that I have used more openness than a Friend should be treated with, and for that cause I have concealed several of the most memorable things that have occurred not only in this but in some former40 Histories, altho indeed I am not so well satisfied about the true nature of this white Spirit, as to count that I can do a Friend much Honour by reporting what notice this white Spirit may have thus taken of him.

Sect. 11. On the last day of the Week her Tormentors as she thought and said, approaching towards her, would be forced still to recoil and retire as unaccountably unable to meddle with her, and they would retire to the Fire side with their Poppets; but going to stick Pins into those Poppets, they could not (according to their visions) make the Pins to enter, she insulted over them with a very Proper derision, daring them now to do their worst, whilst she had the satisfaction to see their Black Master strike them and kick them, like an Overseer of so many Negro's, to make them to do their work, and renew the marks of his vengeance on them, when they failed of doing of it.[27] At last being as it were tired with their ineffectual Attempts to mortifie her they furiously said, Well you shant be the last. And after a pause they added, Go, and the Devil go with you, we can do no more; whereupon they flew out of the Room, and she returning perfectly to herself most affectionately gave thanks to God for her deliverance; her Tormentors left her extream weak and faint, and overwhelmed with Vapours, which would not only cause her sometimes to Swoon away, but 41also now and then for a little while discompose the reasonableness of her Thoughts; Nevertheless her former troubles returned not, but we are now waiting to see the good effects of those troubles upon the Souls of all concern'd, And now I suppose that some of our Learned wit[10]lings of the Coffee-House, for fear lest these proofs of an Invisible-world should spoil some of their sport, will endeavour to turn them all into sport, for which Buffoonary their only pretence will be, they cant understand how such things as these could be done whereas indeed he that is but Philosopher enough to have read but one Little Treatise, Published in the Year 1656, by no other Man than the Chyrurgion of an Army, or but one Chap. of Helmont,[28] which I will not quote at this time too particularly, may give a far more intelligible account of these Appearances than most of these Blades can give why and how their Tobacco makes 'em Spit; or which way the flame of their Candle becomes illuminating, as for that cavil, the world would be undone if the Devils could have such power as they seem to have in several of our stories,[29] it may be Answered that as to many things 42the Lying Devils have only known them to be done, and then pretended unto the doing of those things, but the true and best Answer is, that by these things we only see what the Devils could have powers to do, if the great God should give them those powers, whereas now our Histories affords a Glorious Evidence for the being of a God, the World would indeed be undone, and horribly undone, if these Devils, who now and then get liberty to play some very mischievous pranks, were not under a daily restraint of some Almighty Superior from doing more of such Mischiefs. Wherefore instead of all Apish flouts and jeers at Histories, which have such undoubted confirmation, as that no Man that has breeding enough to regard the Common Laws of Humane Society, will offer to doubt of 'em, it becomes us rather to adore the goodness of God, who does not permit such things every day to befall us all, as he sometimes did permit to befall some few of our miserable Neighbours.

Sect. 12. And what after all my unwearied Cares and Pains, to rescue the Miserable from the Lions and Bears of Hell, which had siezed them, and after all my Studies to disappoint the Devils in their designs to confound my Neighbourhood, must I be driven to the necessity of an Apology? Truly the hard representations wherewith some Ill Men have reviled my conduct, and the Countenance which other Men have given to these representations, oblige me to give Mankind some account43 of my Behaviour; No Christian can, I say none but evil workers can criminate my visiting such of my poor flock as have at any time fallen under the terrible and sensible molestations of Evil Angels; let their Afflictions have been what they will, I could not have answered it unto my Glorious Lord, if I had withheld my just Counsels and Comforts from them; and if I have also with some exactness observ'd the methods of the Invisible World, when they have thus become observable, I have been but a Servant of Mankind in doing so; yea no less a Person than the Venerable Baxter, has more than once or twice in the most Publick manner invited Mankind to thank [11] me for that Service. I have not been insensible of a greater danger attending me in this fulfilment of my Ministry, than if I had been to take Ten Thousand steps over a Rocky Mountain fill'd with Rattle-Snakes; but I have consider'd, he that is wise will observe things, and the Surprising Explication and confirmation of the biggest part of the Bible, which I have seen given in these things, has abundantly paid me for observing them. Now in my visiting of the Miserable, I was always of this opinion, that we were Ignorant of what Powers the Devils might have to do their mischiefs in the shapes of some that had never been explicitly engaged in Diabolical Confederacies, and that therefore tho' many Witchcrafts had been fairly detected on Enquiries provoked and begun by Specteral Exhibitions, yet we44 could not easily be too jealous of the Snares laid for us in the devices of Satan; the World knows how many Pages I have Composed and Published, and particular gentlement in the Government know how many Letters I have written to prevent the excessive Credit of Specteral Accusations, wherefore I have still charged the Afflicted that they should Cry out of no body for Afflicting of 'em. But that if this might be any Advantage they might privately tell their minds to some one Person of discretion enough to make no ill use of their communications, accordingly there has been this effect of it, that the Name of No one good Person in the World ever came under any blemish by means of any Afflicted, Person that fell under my particular cognizance, yea no one Man, Woman or Child ever came into any troube for the sake of any that were Afflicted after I had once begun to look after 'em; how often have I had this thrown into my dish, that many years ago I had an opportunity to have brought forth such People as have in the late storm of Witchcraft been complain'd of, but that I smother'd all, and after that storm was rais'd at Salem, I did myself offer to provide Meat, Drink and Lodging for no less than Six of the Afflicted, that so an Experiment might be made, whether Prayer with Fasting upon the removal of the distressed might not put a Period to the trouble then rising, without giving the Civil Authority the trouble of prosecuting those things which nothing but a Conscientious regard unto45 the cries of Miserable Families, could have overcome the Reluctancies of the Honourable Judges to meddle with;[30] In short I do humbly but freely affirm it, there is not that Man living in this World who has been more desirous than the poor Man I to shelter my Neighbours from the Inconveniences of Specteral Outcries, yea I am very jealous I have done so much that way as to Sin in what I have done, such have been the Cowardize and Fearfulness whereunto my regard unto the dissatisfactions of other People has precipitated me. I know a Man in the World, who has thought he has been able to Convict some such Witches as ought to Dye, but his respect unto the Publick Peace has caused him rather to try whether He [12] could not renew them by repentance: and as I have been Studious to defeat the Devils of their expectations to set people together by the Ears, thus, I have also checked and quell'd those forbidden curiosities, which would have given the Devil an invitation to have tarried amongst us, when I have seen wonderful Snares laid for Curious People, by the secret and future things discovered from the Mouths of Damsels possest with a Spirit of divination; Indeed I can 46recollect but one thing wherein there could be given so much as a Shadow of Reason for Exceptions, and that is my allowing of so many to come and see those that were Afflicted,[31] now for that I have this to say, that I have almost a Thousand times intreated the Friends of the Miserable, that they would not permit the Intrusion of any Company, but such as by Prayers or other ways might be helpful to them; Nevertheless I have not absolutely forbid all Company from coming to your Haunted Chambers, partly because the Calamities of the Families were such as required the Assistance of many friends; partly because I have been willing that there should be disinterested Witnesses of all sorts, to confute the Calumnies of such as would say all was but Imposture; and partly because I saw God had Sanctified the Spectacle of the Miseries on the Afflicted unto the Souls of many that were Spectators, and it is a very Glorious thing that I have now to mention—The Devils have with most horrendous operations broke in upon our Neighbourhood, and God has at such a rate over-ruled all the Fury and Malice of those Devils, that all the Afflicted have not only been Delivered, but I hope also savingly brought home unto God, and the Reputation of no one good Person in the World, has been damaged, but 47 instead thereof the Souls of many, especially of the rising Generation, have been thereby awaken'd unto some acquaintance with Religion, our young People who belonged unto the Praying Meetings of both Sexes, a part would ordinarily spend whole Nights by whole Weeks together in Prayers and Psalms upon these occasions, in which Devotions the Devils could get nothing but like Fools a Scourge for their own Backs, and some scores of other young People who were strangers to real Piety, were now struck with the lively demonstrations of Hell evidently set forth before their Eyes, when they saw Persons cruelly Frighted, wounded and Starved by Devils and Scalded with burning Brimstone, and yet so preserved in this tortured estate as that at the end of one Months wretchedness they were as able still to undergo another, so that of these also it might now be said, Behold they Pray in the whole—the Devil got just nothing; but God got praises, Christ got Subjects, the Holy Spirit got Temples, the Church got Addition, and the Souls of Men got everlasting Benefits; I am not so vain as to say that any Wisdome or Vertue of mine did contribute unto this good order of things: But I am so just, as to say I did not hinder this Good. [13] When therefore there have been those that pickt up little incoherent scraps and bits of my Discourses in this fruitful discharge of my Ministry, and so traversted 'em in their abusive Pamphlets, as to perswade the Town that I was their common 48 Enemy in those very points, wherein, if in any one thing whatsoever I have sensibly approved myself as true a Servant unto 'em as possibly I could, tho my Life and Soul had been at Stake for it. Yea to do like Satan himself, by sly, base, unpretending Insinuations, as if I wore not the Modesty and Gravity which became a Minister of the Gospel, I could not but think myself unkindly dealt withal, and the neglects of others to do me justice in this affair has caused me to conclude this Narrative with complaints in another hearing of such Monstrous Injuries.[32]


[20] There were two noted Christian Indians on Martha's Vineyard a little previous to the Time the Above was written; viz., Hiacoomes and John Tokinosh. It is to one of these, probably, that the Writer refers. See Book of the Indians, B. ii, 118; or p. 182, Edition 1851. See also Appendix to Elect. Serm. of 1698, p. 90, et seq.

[21] Perhaps Capt. Thomas Tupper. See Noyes's Election Sermon, 1698, p. 95. There were also Eldad and Samuel T.—Sewall's MSS.

[22] Nothing is learned of this Person beyond what is to be found in this Work. There were Persons early at Newbury of the same Name.

[23] If the learned Author were living at this Day he would doubtless gladly blot out many Pages of his own Matter, as being a more dirty Work than any he then complained of.

[24] It would be curious, if not admirable, at this Day could we know what medical Books the Doctor did possess at that Time. Doubtless Galen and Paracelsus were conspicuous on his Shelves.

[25] Mr. Calef has not commented so severely on this Part of the Story as it merited, and as he might have done with propriety.

[26] Mr. Savage has found quite a Number of Short Families, but gives us no Mercy with them. See his Genealogical Dictionary.

[27] This Relation is pretty nearly equal to anything told of the Swedish Witches by Dr. Horneck. This Author will be further noticed.

[28] Jean-Baptiste Van-Helmont, a Resident of Brussels, born in 1577. He was so noted a Physician and Naturalist, that he was reputed a Magician, for which he was thrown into Prison. He made his Escape and fled into Holland, where he died in 1644.

[29] The Writer nowhere informs us how much Power the Devil has. By some of his Assertions it seems that it is unlimited. Indeed he (Dr. Mather) has told us that this Continent in reality belonged to the Devil. If that was actually the Case, it certainly was an infringement on his Rights for Europeans to intrude themselves here at all.

[30] This will be found remarked upon hereafter. The Author makes a large Handle of Mr. Baxter's Commendations of his Story of the Goodwin Children; which Story he afterwards printed in the Magnalia, Book vi, 71, &c.; and adds: "When it was reprinted at London, the famous Mr. Baxter prefixed a Preface unto it, wherein he says, 'This great Instance comes with such convincing Evidence, that he must be a very obdurate Sadducee, that wilt not believe it.'"—Ibid., 75.

[31] It was besides hinted that there were Times when the Numbers admitted to the Afflicted were not above the singular Number. But this was doubtless a mischievous Attempt of the Sadducees to implicate some one who might be rather zealous to detect Witchcraft when alone with the Afflicted. The Doctor was very indignant at this, as will appear.

[32] It would have been highly gratifying had the Author informed his Readers what he meant by "the neglect of others." The "another hearing" will be found explained by and by.


A Letter to Mr. C. M.

Boston, Jan. 11th, 1693.

Mr. Cotton Mather,

REverend Sir, I finding it needful on many accounts, I here present you with the Copy of that Paper, which has been so much Misrepresented, to the End that what shall be found defective or not fairly Represented, if any such shall appear, they may be set right, which Runs thus.

49 September the 13th, 1693.

IN the Evening when the Sun was withdrawn, giving place to Darkness to succeed, I with some others were drawn by curiosity to see Margaret Rule, and so much the rather because it was reported Mr. M—— would be there that Night: Being come to her Fathers House[33] into the Chamber wherein she was in Bed, found her of a healthy countenance of about seventeen Years Old, lying very still, and speaking very little, what she did say seem'd as if she were Light-headed. Then Mr. M—— Father and Son[34] came up and others with them, in the whole were about 30 or 40 Persons, they being sat, the Father on a Stool, and the Son upon the Bedside by her, the Son began to question her, Margaret Rule, how do you do? then a pause without any answer. Question. What do there a great many Witches sit upon you? Answer. Yes. Q. Do you not know that there is a hard Master? Then she was in a Fit; He laid his hand upon her Face and Nose, but, as he said, without perceiving Breath; then he brush'd her on the Face with his Glove, and rubb'd her Stomach (her breast not covered with the Bedcloaths) and bid others do so too, and said [14] it eased her, then she revived. Q. Don't you know there is a hard Master? A. Yes. Reply; Don't 50serve that hard Master, you know who. Q. Do you believe? Then again she was in a Fit, and he again rub'd her Breast, &c. (about this time Margaret Perd[35] an attendant assisted him in rubbing of her. The Afflicted spake angerely to her saying don't you meddle with me, and hastily put away her hand) he wrought his Fingers before her Eyes and asked her if she saw the Witches? A. No. Q. Do you believe? A. Yes. Q. Do you believe in you know who? A. Yes. Q. Would you have other people do so too, to believe in you know who? A. Yes. Q. Who is it that Afflicts you? A. I know not, there is a great many of them (about this time the Father question'd if she knew the Spectres? An attendant said, if she did she would not tell; The Son proceeded.) Q. You have seen the Black-man, hant you? A. No. Reply, I hope you never shall. Q. You have had a Book offered you, hant you? A. No. Q. The brushing of you gives you ease, don't it? A. Yes. She turn'd herselfe and a little Groan'd. Q. Now the Witches Scratch you and Pinch you, and Bite you, don't they? A. Yes, then he put his hand upon her Breast and Belly, viz. on the Cloaths over her, and felt a Living thing, as he said, which moved the Father also to feel, and some others. Q. Don't you feel the Live thing in the Bed? A. No. Reply, that is only Fancie. Q. the great company of People increase your Torment, don't they? A. Yes. The People about were desired to withdraw. One Woman said, I am sure I 51am no Witch, I will not go; so others, so none withdrew. Q. Shall we go to Prayers, Then she lay in a Fit as before. But this time to revive her, they waved a Hat and brushed her Head and Pillow therewith. Q. Shall we go to PRAY, &c. Spelling the Word. A. Yes. The Father went to Prayer for perhaps half an Hour,[36] chiefly against the Power of the Devil and Witchcraft, and that God would bring out the Afflicters: during Prayer-time, the Son stood by, and when they thought she was in a Fit, rub'd her and brush'd her as before, and beckned to others to do the like, after Prayer he proceeded; Q. You did not hear when we were at Prayer, did you? A. Yes. You dont hear always, you dont hear sometimes past a Word or two, do you? A. No. Then turning him about said, this is just another Mercy Short: Margaret Perd reply'd, she was not like her in her Fits. Q. What does she eat or drink? A. Not eat at all; but drink Rum. Then he admonished the young People to take warning, &c. Saying it was a sad thing to be so Tormented by the Devil and his Instruments: A Young-man present in the habit of a Seaman, reply'd this is the Devil all over, Than the Ministers withdrew. Soon after they were gone the Afflicted desired the Women to be gone, saying, that the Company of the Men was not offensive to her, and having hold of the hand of 52a Young-man, said to have been her Sweetheart formerly, who was withdrawing; she pull'd him again into his Seat, saying he should not go to Night.

[15] September the 19th, 1693.

THIS Night I renew'd my Visit, and found her rather of a fresher Countenance than before, about eight Persons present with her, she was in a Fit Screeming and making a Noise: Three or four Persons rub'd and brush'd her with their hands, they said that the brushing did put them away, if they brush'd or rub'd in the right place; therefore they brushed and rubbed in several places, and said that when they did it in the right place she could fetch her Breath, and by that they knew. She being come to herself was soon in a merry talking Fit. A Young-man came in and ask'd her how she did? She answered very bad, but at present a little better; he soon told her he must be gone and bid her good Night, at which she seem'd troubled, saying that she liked his Company; and said she would not have him go till she was well; adding, for I shall Die when you are gone. Then she complained they did not put her on a clean Cap, but let her ly so like a Beast, saying she should lose her Fellows. She said she wondered any People should be so Wicked as to think she was not Afflicted, but to think she Dissembled, A Young-woman answered Yes, If they were to see you in this merry Fit, they would say you Dissembled indeed; She reply'd, Mr. M—— said this was her laughing time, she must laugh now: She said 53 Mr. M—— had been there this Evening, and she enquired, how long he had been gon? She said he stay'd alone with her in the room half an Hour, and said that he told her there were some that came for Spies, and to report about Town that she was not Afflicted. That during the said time she had no Fit, that he asked her if she knew how many times he had Prayed for her to day? And that she answered that she could not tell; and that he reply'd he had Prayed for her Nine times to Day; the Attendants said that she was sometimes in a Fit that none could open her Joints[37] and that there came an Old Iron-jaw'd Woman and try'd, but could not do it; they likewise said, that her Head could not be moved from the Pillow; I try'd to move her head, and found no more difficulty than another Bodies (and so did others) but was not willing to offend by lifting it up, one being reproved for endeavouring it, they saying Angrily you will break her Neck. The Attendants said Mr. M—— would not go to Prayer with her when People were in the Room, as they did one Night that Night he felt the Live-Creature. Margaret Perd and another, said they smelt brimstone;[38] I and others said we did not smell any; then they said they did not know what it was: This Margaret said, she wish'd she had been here when Mr. M—— was here, another Attendant said, if you 54had been here you might not have been permitted in, for her own Mother was not suffered to be present.

Sir, after the sorest Affliction and greatest blemish to Religion that ever befel this Countrey, and after most Men began to Fear that some undue steps had been taken, and after His Excellency (with their Majestyes Approbation as is said) had put a stop to Executions, and Men began [16] to hope there would never be a return of the like; finding these Accounts to contain in them something extraordinary, I writ them down the same Nights in order to attain the certainty of them, and soon found them so confirmed that I have (besides other Demonstrations) the whole, under the Hands of two Persons are ready to attest the Truth of it, but not satisfied herewith; I shewed them to some of your particular Friends, that so I might have the greater certainty: But was much surprised with the Message you sent me, that I should be Arrested for Slander, and at your calling me one of the worst of Lyars, making it Pulpit-news with the Name of Pernicious Libels, &c. This occasion'd my first Letter.

September the 29th, 1693.

Reverend SIR,

I Having written from the Mouths of several Persons, who affirm they were present with Margaret Rule, the 13th Instant, her Answers and Behaviour, &c. And having shewed it to several of my Friends, as also yours, and understanding you55 are offended at it; This is to acquaint you that if you and any one particular Friend, will please to meet me and some other Indifferent Person with me, at Mr. Wilkinss, or at Ben Harriss,[39] you intimating the time, I shall be ready there to read it to you, as also a further Account of proceedings the 19th Instant, which may be needful to prevent Groundless prejudices, and let deserved blame be cast where it ought; From,

Sir, yours in what I may, R. C.

The effects of which, Sir, (not to mention that long Letter only once read to me) was, you sent me word you would meet me at Mr. Wilkins's but before that Answer, at yours and your Fathers complaint, I was brought before their Majesties Justice, by Warrant, as for Scandalous Libels against yourself, and was bound over to Answer at Sessions; I do not remember you then objected against the Truth of what I had wrote, but asserted it was wronged by omissions, which if it were so was past any Power of mine to remedy, having given a faithful account of all that came to my knowledge; And Sir, that you might not be without some Cognizance of the reasons why I took so much pains in it, as also for my own Information, if it might have been, I wrote to you my second Letter to this effect.

56 November the 24th, 1693.

Reverend SIR,

HAVING expected some Weeks, your meeting me at Mr. Wilkins according to what you intimated to me, J. M—— and the time drawing near for our meeting elsewhere, I thought it not amiss to give you a Summary of my thoughts in the great concern, which as you say has been agitated with so much [17] heat. That there are Witches is not the doubt, the Scriptures else were in vain, which assign their Punishment to be by death; But what this Witchcraft is, or wherein it does consist, seems to be the whole difficulty: And as it may be easily demonstrated, that all that bear that Name cannot be justly so accounted, so that some things and Actions not so esteemed by the most, yet upon due examination will be found to merit no better Character.

In your late Book you lay down a brief Synopsis of what has been written on that Subject, by a Triumvirate of as Eminent Men as ever handled it[40] (as you are pleas'd to call them) viz. Mr. Perkins, Gaule, and Bernard consisting of about 30 Tokens to know them by, many of them distinct from, if not thwarting each other: Among all of which I can find but one decisive, Viz. That of Mr. Gaule, Head IV. and runs thus; Among the most unhappy Circumstances to convict a Witch, one is a maligning and oppugning the Word, Work, or Worship of God, and by any extraordinary Sign seeking to seduce any 57from it, see Deu. 13. 1, 2. Mat. 24. 24. Acts. 13. 8, 10. 2. Tim. 3. 8. Do but mark well the places, and for this very property of thus opposing and perverting, they are all there concluded Arrant and absolute Witches.

This Head as here laid down and inserted by you, either is a Truth or not, if not, why is it here inserted from one of the Triumvirate if it be a Truth. as the Scriptures quoted will abundantly testifie, whence is it that it is so little regarded, tho it be the only Head well proved by Scripture, or that the rest of the Triumvirate should so far forget their Work as not to mention it. It were to be unjust to the Memory of those otherwise Wise Men, to suppose them to have any Sinister design; But perhaps the force of a prevailing opinion, together with an Education thereto Suited, might overshadow their Judgments, as being wont to be but too prevalent in many other cases. But if the above be Truth, then the Scripture is full and plain, What is Witchcraft? And if so, what need of his next Head of Hanging of People without as full and clear Evidence as in other Cases? Or what need of the rest of the Receipts of the Triumvirate? what need of Praying that the Afflicted may be able to discover who 'tis that Afflicts them? or what need of Searching for Tet's for the Devil to Suck in his Old Age, or the Experiment of saying the Lord's Prayer, &c. Which a multitude more practised in some places Superstitiously inclin'd. Other Actions have been practised for easing the Afflicted, less justifiable, if not strongly58 savouring of Witchcraft itself, viz. Fondly Imagining by the Hand, &c. to drive off Spectres, or to knock off Invisible Chains, or by striking in the Air to Wound either the Afflicted or others, &c. I write not this to accuse any, but that all may beware believing, That the Devil's bounds are set, which he cannot pass, That the Devils are so full of Malice, That it cannot be added to by Mankind, That where he hath Power he neither can nor will omit Executing it, That 'tis only the Almighty that sets [18] bounds to his rage, and that only can Commissionate him to hurt or destroy any.

These last, Sir, are such Foundations of Truth, in my esteem, that I cannot but own it to be my duty to ascert them, when call'd, tho' with the hazard of my All.[41] And consequently to detect such as these, That a Witch can Commissionate Devils to Afflict Mortals, That he can at his or the Witches pleasure Assume any Shape, That Hanging or Drawing of Witches can lessen his Power of Afflicting, or restore those that were at a distance Tormented, with many others depending on these; all tending, in my esteem, highly to the Dishonour of God, and the Indangering the well-being of a People, and do further add, that as the Scriptures are full that there is Witchcraft, (ut sup.) so 'tis as plain that there are Possessions, and that the Bodies of the Possest have hence been not only Afflicted, but strangely agitated, if not their 59tongues improved to foretell futurities, &c. and why not to accuse the Innocent, as bewitching them; having pretence to Divination to gain credence. This being reasonable to be expected, from him who is the Father of Lies, to the end he may thereby involve a Countrey in Blood, Mallice, and Evil, surmising which he greedily seeks after, and so finally lead them from their fear and dependance upon God to fear him, and a supposed Witch thereby attaining his end upon Mankind; and not only so, but Natural Distemper, as has been frequently observed by the Judicious, have so operated as to deceive, more than the Vulgar, as is testified by many Famous Physicians, and others. And as for that proof of Multitudes of Confessions, this Countrey may be by this time thought Competent Judges, what credence we ought to give them, having had such numerous Instances, as also how obtain'd.

And now Sir, if herein be any thing in your esteem valuable, let me intreat you, not to account it the worse for coming from so mean a hand; which however you may have receiv'd Prejudices, &c. Am ready to serve you to my Power; but if you Judge otherwise hereof, you may take your own Methods for my better Information. Who am, Sir, yours to command, in what I may,

P. C.[42]

In Answer to this last, Sir, you replyed to the Gentleman that presented it, that you had nothing 60to Prosecute against me; and said as to your Sentiments in your Books, you did not bind any to believe them, and then again renew'd your promise of meeting me, as before, tho' not yet performed. Accordingly, tho' I waited at Sessions, there was none to object ought against me, upon which I was dismissed. This gave me some reason to believe that you intended all should have been forgotten; But instead of that, I find the Coals are fresh blown up, I being supposed to be represented, in a late Manuscript, More Wonders of the, &c. as traversing your Discourse in your Faithful discharge of your Duty, &c. And such as see not with the Authors Eyes, rendred Saducees and Witlins,[43] &c. and the Arguments that square not with the Sentiments [19] therein contain'd, Buffoonary; rarely no doubt, agreeing with the Spirit of Christ, and his dealings with an unbelieving Thomas, yet whose infidelity was without compare less excusable, but the Author having resolved long since, to have no more than one single Grain of Patience, with them that deny, &c. the Wonder is the less. It must needs be that offences come, but wo to him by whom they come. To vindicate myself therefore from such false Imputations, of Satan-like insinuations, and misrepresenting your Actions, &c. and to vindicate yourself, Sir, as much as is in my power from those suggestions, said to be insinuated, as if you wore 61not the Modesty, and Gravity, that becomes a Minister of the Gospel; which it seems, some that never saw the said Narratives, report them to contain; I say, Sir, for these reasons, I here present you with the first Coppy that ever was taken, &c. And purpose for a Weeks time to be ready, if you shall intimate your pleasure to wait upon you, either at the place formerly appointed, or any other that is indifferent to the End; that if there shall appear any defects in that Narrative, they may be amended.

Thus, Sir, I have given you a genuine account of my Sentiments and Actions in this Affair; and do request and pray, that if I err, I may be shewed it from Scripture, or sound Reason, and not by quotations out of Virgil, nor Spanish Rhetorick.[44] For I find the Witlings mentioned, are so far from answering your profound questions, that they cannot so much as pretend to shew a distinction between Witchcraft in the Common notion of it, and Possession; Nor so much as to demonstrate that ever the Jews or primitive Christians did believe, that a Witch could send a Devil to Afflict her Neighbours; but to all these, Sir, (ye being the Salt of the Earth, &c.) I have reason to hope for a Satisfactory Answer to him, who is one that reverences your Person and Office; 62 And am, Sir, yours to Command in what I may,

R. C.

A Letter of Mr. C. M.

Boston, January the 15th, 169¾.

Mr. R. C.

WHEREAS you intimate your desires, that what's not fairly (I take it for granted you mean truly also,) represented in a Paper you lately sent me, containing a pretended Narrative of a Visit by my Father and self to an Afflicted Young woman, whom we apprehended to be under a Diabolical Possession, might be rectified: I have this to say, as I have often already said, that do I scarcely find any one thing in the whole Paper, whether respecting my Father or self, either fairly or truly represented. Nor can I think that any that know my Parents Circumstances, but must think him deserving a better Character by far, than this Narrative can be thought to give him. When the main design we managed in [20] Visiting the poor Afflicted Creature, was to prevent the Accusations of the Neighbourhood; can it be fairly represented that our design was to draw out such Accusations, which is the representation of the Paper. We have Testimonies of the best Witnesses and in Number not a few, That when we asked Rule whether she thought she knew who Tormented her? the Question was but an Introduction to the Solemn charges which we then largely gave, that she should rather Dye than tell the Names of any whom she might Imagine63 that she knew. Your Informers have reported the Question, and report nothing of what follows, as essential to the giving of that Question: And can this be termed a piece of fairness? Fair it cannot be, that when Ministers Faithfully and Carefully discharge their Duty to the Miserable in their Flock, little bits, scraps and shreds of their Discourses, should be tackt together to make them contemtible, when there shall be no notice of all the Necessary, Seasonable, and Profitable things that occurr'd, in those Discourses; And without which, the occasion of the lesser Passages cannot be understood; and yet I am furnished with abundant Evidences, ready to be Sworn, that will possitively prove this part of unfairness, by the above mention'd Narrative, to be done both to my Father and self. Again, it seems not fair or reasonable that I should be expos'd, for which your self (not to say some others) might have expos'd me for, if I had not done, viz. for discouraging so much Company from flocking about the Possest Maid, and yet, as I perswade myself, you cannot but think it to be good advice, to keep much Company from such haunted Chambers; besides the unfairness doth more appear, in that I find nothing repeated of what I said about the advantage, which the Devil takes from too much Observation and Curiosity.[45]

64 In that several of the Questions in the Paper are so Worded, as to carry in them a presupposal of the things inquired after, to say the best of it is very unfair: But this is not all, the Narrative contains a number of Mistakes and Falshoods; which were they wilful and design'd, might justly be termed gross Lies. The representations are far from true, when 'tis affirm'd my Father and self being come into the Room, I began the Discourse; I hope I understand breeding a little better than so: For proof of this, did occasion serve, sundry can depose the contrary.

'Tis no less untrue, that either my Father or self put the Question, how many Witches sit upon you? We always cautiously avoided that expression; It being contrary to our inward belief: All the standers by will (I believe) swear they did not hear us use it (your Witnesses excepted) and I tremble to think how hardy those woful Creatures must be, to call the Almighty by an Oath, to so false a thing. As false a representation 'tis, that I rub'd Rule's Stomach, her Breast not being covered. The Oath of the nearest Spectators, giving a true account of that matter [21] will prove this to be little less than a gross (if not a doubled) Lie; and to be somewhat plainer, it carries the Face of a Lie contrived on purpose (by them at least, to whom you are be65holden for the Narrative) Wickedly and Basely to expose me. For you cannot but know how much this representation hath contributed, to make People believe a Smutty thing of me; I am far from thinking, but that in your own Conscience you believe, that no indecent Action of that Nature could then be done by me before such observers, had I been so Wicked as to have been inclin'd to what is Base. It looks next to impossible that a reparation shoud be made me for the wrong done to, I hope, as to any Scandal an unblemish'd, tho' weak and small Servant of the Church of God. Nor is what follows a less untruth, that 'twas an Attendant and not myself who said, if Rule knows who Afflicts her, yet she wont tell. I therefore spoke it that I might encourage her to continue in that concealment of all Names whatsoever; to this I am able to furnish myself with the Attestation of Sufficient Oaths. 'Tis as far from true, that my apprehension of the Imp, about Rule, was on her Belly, for the Oaths of the Spectators, and even of those that thought they felt it, can testify that 'twas upon the Pillow, at a distance from her Body. As untrue a Representation is that which follows, Viz. That it was said unto her, that her not Apprehending of that odd palpable tho' not visible, Mover was from her Fancy, for I endeavoured to perswade her that it might be but Fancy in others, that there was any such thing at all. Witnesses every way sufficient can be produced66 for this also. 'tis falsely represented that my Father felt on the Young-woman after the appearance mentioned, for his hand was never near her; Oath can sufficiently vindicate him. 'Tis very untrue, that my Father Prayed for perhaps half an Hour, against the power of the Devil and Witchcraft, and that God would bring out the Afflictors. Witnesses of the best Credit, can depose, that his Prayer was not a quarter of an Hour, and that there was no more than about one clause towards the close of the Prayer, which was of this import; and this clause also was guarded with a singular wariness and modesty, viz. If there were any evil Instruments in this matter God would please to discover them: And that there was more than common reason for that petition I can satisfie any one that will please to Inquire of me. And strange it is, that a Gentleman that from 18 to 54 hath been an Exemplary Minister of the Gospel; and that besides a station in the Church of God, as considerable as any that his own Country can afford, hath for divers years come off with honour, in his Application to three Crown'd Heads, and the chiefest Nobility of three Kingdoms, knows not yet how to make one short Prayer of a quarter of an hour, but in New-England he must be Libell'd for it. There are divers other down-right mistakes, which you [22] have permitted yourself, I would hope, not knowingly, and with a Malicious design, to be receiver or Compiler of, which I shall now forbear to67 Animadvert upon. As for the Appendix of the Narrative I do find myself therein Injuriously treated, for the utmost of your proof for what you say of me, amounts to little more than, viz. Some People told you, that others told them, that such and such things did pass, but you may assure yourself, that I am not unfurnish'd with Witnesses, that can convict the same. Whereas you would give me to believe the bottom of these your Methods, to be some dissatisfaction about the commonly receiv'd Power of Devils and Witches; I do not only with all freedom offer you the use of any part of my Library, which you may see cause to peruse on that Subject, but also if you and any else, whom you please, will visit me at my Study, yea, or meet me at any other place, less inconvenient than those by you propos'd; I will with all the fairness and calmness in the World dispute the point. I beg of God that he would bestow as many Blessings on you, as ever on myself, and out of a sincere wish, that you may be made yet more capable of these Blessings, I take this occasion to lay before you the faults (not few nor small ones neither) which the Paper contained, you lately sent me, in order to be Examined by me. In case you want a true and full Narrative of my Visit, whereof such an indecent Traversty (to say the best) hath been made, I am not unwilling to communicate it, in mean time must take liberty to say, 'Tis scarcely consistent with Common Civility, much less Christian68 Charity, to offer the Narrative, now with you, for a true one, till you have a truer, or for a full one, till you have a fuller. Your Sincere (tho' Injur'd) Friend and Servant,


The Copy of a Paper Receiv'd with the above Letter.

I DO Testifie that I have seen Margaret Rule in her Afflictions from the Invisible World, lifted up from her Bed, wholly by an Invisible force, a great way towards the top of the Room where she lay; in her being so lifted, she had no Assistance from any use of her own Arms or Hands, or any other part of her Body, not so much as her Heels touching her Bed, or resting on any support whatsoever. And I have seen her thus lifted, when not only a strong Person hath thrown his whole weight a cross her to pull her down; but several other Persons have endeavoured, with all their might, to hinder her from being so raised up, which I suppose that several others will testifie as well as myself, when call'd unto it. Witness my Hand,


69 WE can also Testifie to the substance of what is above Written, and have several times seen [23] Margaret Rule so lifted up from her Bed, as that she had no use of her own Lims to help her up, but it was the declared apprehension of us, as well as others that saw it, impossible for any hands, but some of the Invisible World to lift her.


WE, whose Names are under-writted do testifie, That one Evening when we were in the Chamber where Margaret Rule then lay, in her late Affliction, we observed her to be, by an Invisible Force, lifted up from the Bed whereon she lay, so as to touch the Garret Floor, while yet neither her Feet, nor any other part of her Body rested either on the Bed, or any other support, but were also by the same force, lifted up from all that was under her, and all this for a considerable while, we judg'd it several Minutes; and it was as much as several of us could do, with all our strength to pull her down. All which happened when there was not only we two in the 70Chamber, but we suppose ten or a dozen more, whose Names we have forgotten,



William Hudson[49] Testifies to the substance of Thorntons Testimony, to which he also hath set his Hand.

A Letter to Mr. C. M.

Boston, January 18, 1693.

Mr. Cotton Mather,

Reverend SIR,

YOURS of the 15th Instant, I receiv'd yesterday; and soon found I had promised myself too much by it, viz, Either concurrence with, or a denial of those Fundamentals mentioned in mine, of Novemb. the 24th. finding this waved by an Invitation to your Library, &c. I thank God I have the Bible, and do Judge that sufficient to demonstrate that cited Head of Mr. Gaule, to be a Truth, as also those other Heads mentioned, as the Foundations of Religion. And in my apprehension, if it be asked any Christian, whether God governs the World, and whether it be he only can Commissionate Devils, and such other Fundamentals, He ought to be as ready as in the Question, who made him? (a little Writing certainly might be of more use, to clear up the controverted points, than either looking over many 71Books in a well furnish'd Library, or than a dispute, if I were qualified for it; the Inconveniencies of Passion being this way best avoided) And am not without hopes that you will yet oblige me so far, as to consider that Letter, and if I Err, to let me see it by Scripture, &c.

Yours, almost the whole of it, is concerning the Narrative I sent to you, and you seem to intimate as if I were giving Characters, Reflecti[24]ons, and Libell's, &c. concerning yourself and Relations; all which were as far from my thoughts, as ever they were in writing after either yourself, or any other Minister. In the front you declare your apprehension to be, that the Afflicted was under a Diabolical Possession, and if so, I see not how it should be occasion'd by any Witchcraft (unless we ascribe that Power to a Witch, which is only the Prerogative of the Almighty, of Sending or Commissionating the Devils to Afflict her.) But to your particular Objections against the Narrative; and to the first my intelligence not giving me any further, I could not insert that I knew not. And it seems improbable that a Question should be put, whether she knew (or rather who they were) and at the same time to charge her, and that upon her Life, not to tell, and if you had done so, I see but little good you could promise yourself or others by it, she being Possest, as also having it inculcated so much to her of Witchcraft. And as to the next Objection about company flocking, &c. I do profess my72 Ignorance, not knowing what you mean by it. And Sir, that most of the Questions did carry with them a presupposing the things inquired after, is evident, if there were such as those relating to the Black-man and a Book, and about her hearing the Prayer, &c. (related in the said Narrative, which I find no Objection against.) As to that which is said of mentioning yourself first discoursings and your hopes that your breeding was better (I doubt it not) nor do I doubt your Father might first apply himself to others; but my intelligence is, that you first spake to the Afflicted or Possessed, for which you had the advantage of a nearer approach. The next two Objections are founded upon mistakes: I find not in the Narrative any such Question, as how many Witches sit upon you? and that her Breast was not covered, in which those material words, (with the Bed-Cloaths) are wholly omitted; I am not willing to retort here your own Language upon you; but can tell you, that your own discourse of it publickly, at Sir W. P's Table, has much more contributed to, &c. As to the Reply, if she could she would not tell, whether either or both spake it it matters not much. Neither does the Narrative say you felt the live thing on her Belly; tho I omit now to say what further demonstrations there are of it. As to that Reply, that is only her fancy, I find the word (her) added. And as to your Fathers feeling for the live Creature after you had felt it, if73 it were on the Bed it was not so very far from her. And for the length of his Prayer, possibly your Witnesses might keep a more exact account of the time than those others, and I stand not for a few Minutes. For the rest of the Objections I suppose them of less moment, if less can be (however shall be ready to receive them, those matters of greatest concern I find no Objections against) these being all that yet appear, it may be thought that if the Narrative be not [25] fully exact, it was as near as Memory could bear away; but should be glad to see one more perfect (which yet is not to be expected, seeing none writ at the time.) You mention the appendix, by which I understand the Second Visit, and if you be by the possessed belyed (as being half an hour with her alone (excluding her own Mother) and as telling her you had Prayed for her Nine times that day, and that now was her Laughing time, she must Laugh now) I can see no Wonder in it; what can be expected less from the Father of Lies, by whom, you Judge, she was possest.

And besides the above Letter, you were pleased to send me another Paper containing several Testimonies of the Possessed being lifted up, and held a space of several Minutes to the Garret floor, &c. but they omit giving the account, whether after she was down they bound her down: or kept holding her: And relate not how many were to pull her down, which hinders the knowledge what number they must be to be74 stronger than an Invisible Force. Upon the whole, I suppose you expect I should believe it; and if so, the only advantage gain'd, is that which has been so long controverted between Protestants and Papists, whether miracles are ceast, will hereby seem to be decided for the latter; it being, for ought I can see, if so, as true a Miracle as for Iron to swim, and that the Devil can work such Miracles.

But Sir, leaving these little disputable things, I do again pray that you would let me have the happiness of your approbation or confutation of that Letter before referred to.

And now, Sir, that the God of all Grace may enable us Zealously to own his Truths, and to follow those things that tend to Peace, and that yourself may be as an useful Instrument in his hand, effectually to ruin the remainders of Heathenish and Popish Superstitions, is the earnest desire and prayer of yours to command, in what I may.

R. C.

Postscript—Sir, I here send you the Coppy of a paper that lately came to my Hands, which tho' it contains no Wonders, yet is remarkable, and Runs thus.

75 An account of what an Indian told Captain Hill,[50] at Saco-Fort.

THE Indian told him that the French Ministers were better than the English, for before the French came among them there were a great many Witches among the Indians, but now there were none, and there were much Witches among the English Ministers, as Burroughs, who was Hang'd for it.

Were I disposed to make reflections upon it, I suppose you will Judge the Field large, enough, but I forbear, as above. R. C.

[26] Boston Feb. the 19th, 1693.

Mr. Cotton Mather,

Reverend Sir, Having received as yet no Answer to mine of Novemb. the 24th. except an offer to peruse Books, &c. relating to the Doctrinals therein contain'd: Nor to my last of January 76 the 18th. In which I did again pray that if I err'd I might be shewed it by Scripture, Viz. in believing that the Devils bounds are sett, which he cannot pass; that the Devils are so full of Malice that it cant be added to by Mankind: That where he hath power he neither can nor will omit Executing it; That it's only the Almighty that sets bounds to his rage, and that only can commissionate him to hurt or destroy any; And consequently to detest as erroneous and dangerous, the belief that a Witch can Commissionate Devils to Afflict Mortals; That he can at his or the Witches pleasure assume any shape: That Hanging or Chaining of Witches can lessen his Power of Afflicting, and restore those that were, at a distance, Tormented by him. And whether Witchcraft ought to be understood now in this Age, to be the same that it was when the Divine Oracles were given forth, particularly, those quoted by Mr. Gaule in that cited Head (Wonders of the Invisible World;[51] Mr. Gaules IV. Head, to discover Witches) which do so plainly shew a Witch, in Scripture-sense to be one that maligne, &c. And that pretend to give a Sign in order to seduce, &c. For I have never understood in my time, any such have Suffered as Witches, tho' sufficiently known; But the only Witch now inquired after, is one that is said to become so by making an Explicit Covenant with the Devil, i. e. the Devil appearing to them, and making a compact 77 mutually, promising each to other, testified by their signing his Book, a material Book, which he is said to keep and that thereby they are Intituled to a power, not only to Afflict others, but such as is truly exorbitant, if not highly intrenching upon the prerogative of him, who is the Soveraign being; For who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not.

Such explicit Covenant being as is said in this Age reckoned essential to compleat a Witch: Yet I finding nothing of such covenant (or power thereby obtain'd) in Scripture, and yet a Witch therein so fully describ'd, do pray that if there be any such Scriptures I may be directed to them, for as to the many Legends in this case I make no account of them; I Read indeed of a Covenant with Death and with Hell, but suppose that to be in the Heart (or Mental) only, and see not what use such explicit one can be of between Spirits, any further than as 'tis a Copy of that Mental which is in the Heart. The dire effects and consequences of such notion may be found written in indelible Roman Characters of Blood in all Countryes where they have prevail'd, and what can less be [27] expected when Men are Indicted for that, which, as 'tis impossible to prove so, for any to clear himself of, Viz, Such explicit Covenant with the Devil, and then for want of better Evidence, must take up with such as the Nature of such secret Covenant can bear, as Mr.78 Gaule hath it, i. e. Distracted Stories, and strange and Foreign Events, &c. Thereby endeavouring to find it, though by it's but supposed effects; By the same Rules that one is put to purge himself of such Compact, by the same may all Mankind.[52]

This then being so Important a case, it concerns all to know what Foundations in Scripture is laid for such a Structure; For if they are deficient of that Warrant, the more Eminent the Architects are the more dangerous are they thereby rendered, &c. These are such considerations as I think will vindicate me in the esteem of all Lovers of Humanity, in my endeavours to get them cleared. And to that End, do once more pray, that you would so farr oblige me as to give your Approbation or Confutation of the above Doctrinals; But if you think silence a Vertue in this case, I shall (I suppose) so far comply with it as not to loose you any more time to look over my papers. And if any others will so far oblige me, I shall not be ungrateful to them; Praying God to guide and prosper you, I am, Sir, yours to my power,

R. C.

(He that doth Truth, cometh to the Light.)

79 Boston April the 16th, 1694.

Mr. Cotton Mather.

Reverend Sir,

HAVING as yet Received no Answer to my last, touching the Doctrinals therein referred to, tho' at the delivery of it, you were pleased to promise the Gentleman that presented it, that I should have it, and after that you acqainted the same Gentleman that you were about it. The length of time since those promises, makes me suppose you are preparing something for the Press (for I would not question your veracity) do think it may not be amiss, when you do any thing of that Nature for the publick view, that you also explain some passages of some late Books of yours and your Relations, which are hard to be understood, to Instance in a few of many Wonders of the Invisible World, pag. 17. [Plagues are some of these woes with which the Devil causes our Trouble, pag. 18. Hence come such Plagues as that besom of destruction which within our Memory swept away such a throng of People from one English city, in one Visitation. Wars are some of those woes with which the Devil causes our Trouble, pag. 16. Hence 'tis that the Devil like a Dragon keeping a Guard upon such Fruits as would refresh a Languishing World, has hindered Mankind for many Ages from hitting upon those usefull Inventions. The benighted World must Jogg on for thousands of Years, without the80 knowledge of the Load-stone, Printing and Spectacles, pag. 10, It is [28] not likely that every Devil does know every Language. 'Tis possible the Experience, or if I may call it so, the Education of all Devils is not alike; Cases of conscience, page 63. The Devil has inflicted on many the Disease call'd Lycanthropia.[53]

Memor. provid. Relat. to Witch. Disc. on Wit. pag. 24. I am also apt to think that the Devils are seldom able to hurt us in any of our exteriour concerns, without a Commission from some of our fellow Worms. When foul Mouth'd Men shall wish harm to their Neighbours, they give a Commission to the Devil to perform what they desire, and if God should not Mercifully prevent, they would go thro' with it; Hear this you that in wilde Passion will give every thing to the Devil; Hear it you that bespeak a Rot, a Pox, or a Plague, on all that shall provoke you; I here Indict you as Guilty of Hellish Witchcraft in the Sight of God. More Wonders of the Invisible World, pag. 49. They each of them have their Spectres or Devils Commissioned by them and representing of them, pag. 14. But such a permission from God for the Devil to come down and break in upon Mankind must often times be accompanied with a Commission from some of Mankind itself, Inchantments Encountered. These Witches 81 have driven a Trade of Commissionating their confederate Spirits, to do all sorts of Mischiefs to their Neighbours, pag. 50. They have bewitched some even so farr, as to make them Self-destroyers, pag. 144. As I am abundantly satisfied, that many of the Self-murders committed here, have been the effects of a cruel and Bloody Witchcraft, letting fly Dæmons upon the Miserable Seneca's, pag. 51. We have seen some of their Children so Dedicated to the Devil, that in their Infancy the Imps have sucked them. Cases of conscience, pag. 24. They bequeath their Dæmons to their Children as a Legacy, by whom they are often assisted to see and do things beyond the Power of Nature, pag. 21. There are in Spain a sort of People call'd Zahurs,[54] that can see into the Bowels of the Earth. [On Tuesdays and Fridays,] (and to add) that in pag. 49. The words are [For the Law of God allows of no Revelation from any other Spirit but himself, Isa. viii. 19. It is a Sin against God to make use of the Devils help, to know that which cannot be otherways known; and I testify against it as a great transgression, which may Justly provoke the Holy one of Israel, to let loose Devils on the whole Land.] Altho the Devils Accusation may be so far regarded, as to cause an inquiry into the Truth of things, Job. i. 11, 12, and ii, 5, 6. Yet not so as to be an 82Evidence or Ground of Conviction, for the Devils Testimony ought not to be taken in WHOLE Nor In PART.] It is a known Truth, that some unwary expressions of the primative Fathers, were afterwards improved for the Introducing and establishing of Error, as their calling the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, &c. Hence occasion and Advantage was taken to propagate the Idolizing of her (the like might be said of the Eucha[29]rist, these assertions, above rehearsed, being apparently liable to a like Male Construction, and no less dangerous, are therefore as I said highly needful to be explain'd, and that in a most publick manner. For were they to be understood Litterally and as they are spoken, it must seem as if the Authors were Introducing among Christians very dangerous Doctrines, such, as were they asserted by the best of Men, yet ought to be rejected by all, &c. Viz. That 'tis the Devil that brings the most of Evils upon Mankind, by way of Infliction, that do befall them; And that the Witch can commissionate him to the performance of these, with many others as dangerous Doctrines, and such as seem in their tendency to look favourably upon the Antient Pagan Doctrine of this countrey, who did believe that God did hurt to none, but Good to all, but that the Devil must be pleas'd by Worshipping, &c. From whom came all their Miseries, as they believed. For what were all this but to Rob God of his Glory in the highest manner, and giving it to a Devil83 and a Witch; Is it not he that has said shall there be Evil in a City and the Lord hath not done it? But if any are fond of their own notions because some Eminent Men have before now asserted them; they may do well to compare them with that excellent saying, Wonders of the Invisible World, pag. 7. [About this Devil there are many things, whereof we may reasonably and profitably be inquisitive, such things I mean as are in our Bibles reveal'd to us; according to which if we do not speak on so dark a Subject, but according to our own uncertain and perhaps Humoursom Conjectures, there is no Light in us. Or that other, pag. 75. At every other Weapon the Devil will be too hard for us.] For 'tis most certain that other Notions, Weapons and Practices have been taken up with; And that the event has been answerable, the Devil has been too hard for such as have so done. I shall forbear to instance from the Dogmatical part, and shall mention some practices that as much need explaining. Mem. provid. Relat. to Witch. pag. 29, 30, 31.[55] Where account is given that it was Pray'd for that the afflicted might be able to declare, whom she apprehended herself Afflicted by, together with the Immediate answer of such Prayer. To this you once Reply'd when it was mentioned to you, that you did not then understand the wiles of Satan.

84 To which I have nothing to object, but it might be a good Acknowledgment; But considering that the Book is gone forth into all the World, cannot but think the Salve ought to be proportion'd to the Sore, and the notice of the Devils wiles as Universal, as the means recommending them. Another Practice is pag. 20, 21. [There was one singular passion that frequently attended her, an Invisible Chain would be clapt about her, and she in much pain and fear cry out when they began to put it on, once I did with my own hand knock it off as it began to be fastened about her.] [30] If this were done by the power or Vertue of any ord'nance of Divine Institution, it is well, but would have been much better if the Institution had been demonstrated, or was there any Physical Vertue in that particular Hand. But supposing that neither of these will be asserted by the Author, I do think it very requisite, that the World may be acquainted with the Operation, and to what Art or Craft to refer their Power of Knocking off Invisible Chains.

And thus, Sir, I have Faithfully discharged (what in this I took to be my Duty) and am so far from doing it to gain applause, or from a Spirit of Contradiction, that I expect to procure me many Enemies thereby, (but as in case of a Fire) where the Glory of God, and the Good and Wellfare of Mankind are so nearly concern'd, I thought it my duty to be no longer an Idle Spectator; And can, and do say, to the Glory of85 God, in this whole Affair, I have endeavoured a Conscience voide of offence, both towards God and towards Man; And therein at the least have the advantage of such as are very Jealous they have done so much herein, as to Sin in what they have done, viz. In sheltring the Accused, such have been the Cowardice and Fearfulness, whereunto the regard to the Dissatisfaction of other People have precipitated them; Which by the way must needs acquaint all, that for the future other measures are resolved upon (by such) which how Bloody they may prove when opportunity shall offer, is with him who orders all things, according to the counsel of his own Will: And now that the Song of Angels may be the Emulation of Men, is the earnest Desire, and Prayer, of Sir, Yours to Command in what I may,

R. C.

Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth Peace and good Will towards Men.

A Letter to Mr. B.

Boston, March the 1st. 1694.

Mr. B.[56] Worthy Sir,

AFTER more than a Years waiting for the performance of a reiterated promise from one under singular obligations, and a multitude 86of advantages to have done it sooner, The utmost compliance I have mett with, is (by your Hands) the sight of four Sheets of recinded Papers, but I must first be obliged to return them in a Fortnight, and not Copied, which I have now complied with: And having read them am not at all Surprized at the Authors Caution in it, not to admit of such crude matter and impertinent absurdities, as are to be found in it to spread. He seems concern'd that I take no notice of his several Books, wherein, as he saith, he has unanswerably proved things to which I might reply, that I have sent him letters of quotations out of those Books, to know how much of them he will abide by, for I thought it hard to affix their [31] Natural consequences till he had opportunity to explain them. And saith that he had sent me (Mr. Baxters World of Spirits) an ungainsayable Book, &c. (tho I know no ungainsayable Book, but the Bible) which Book I think no Man that has read it, will give such a Title to but the Author, he speaks of my reproaching his publick Sermons, of which I am not conscious to myself, unless it be about his interpretation of a Thunder Storm (that broke into his House) which favoured so much of Enthusiasm.[57]

87 As to those papers, I have (as I read them) noted in the Margin where, in a hasty reading, I thought it needful, of which it were unreasonable for him to complain; seeing I might not take a Copy, thereby to have been inabled, more at leasure to digest what were needfull to be said on so many Heads; and as I have not flatter'd him, so for telling what was so needful, with the hazard of making so many Enemies by it, I have approved myself one of his best Friends: And besides his own sense of the weakness of his Answer, testified by the prohibition above, he has wholly declined answering to most of those things that I had his promise for, and what he pretends to speak to, after mentioning, without the needful Answer or Proof drops it.

His first main Work is after his definition of a Witch, which he never proves (without saying any thing to Mr. Gauls Scriptural description, tho' so often urged to it, and tho' himself has in his Book recommended and quoted it) is to magnifie the Devils Power, and that as I think beyond 88and against the Scripture, this takes him up about 11 Pages, and yet in Page 22 again returns to it, and as I understand it, takes part with the Pharisees against our Saviour in the Argument, for they charge him that he cast out Devils thro' Beelzebub, Our Saviours Answer is, Mat. xii. 25. Every Kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every City or House divided against itself, shall not stand, and if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself, how shall then his Kingdom stand: And yet notwithstanding this Answer together with what follows, for further Illustration, our Author is it seems resolved to assert that our Saviour did not in this Answer deny that many did so, (viz.) cast out Devils by Beelzebub, and Page 23 grants that the Devils have a Miraculous Power, but yet must not be call'd miracles, and yet can be distinguished, as he intimates, only by the Conscience or Light within, to the no small scandal of the Christian Religion.

Tho' our Saviour and his Apostles accounts this the chief or principal proof of his Godhead, John xx. 30, 31. John x. 37, 38. John v. 30. Mark xvi. 17, 18. Acts ii. 22. and iv. 30. with many others and that Miracles belong only to God, who also Governs the World, Psal. cxxxvi. 4. Jer. xiv. 22. Isa. xxxviii. 8. Psal. lxii. 11. Lam. iii. 37. Amos iii. 6. [32] But to forbear quoting that which the Scripture is most full in, do only say that he that dares assert the Devil to have such a Miraculous Power had need have89 other Scriptures than ever I have seen. In Page 12. our Author proceeds and states a question to this effect, If the Devil has such Powers, and cant exert them without permission from God, what can the Witch contribute thereunto? Instead of an Answer, to this weighty objection, our Author first concedes that the Devil's do ordinarily exert their Powers, without the Witches contributing to it, but yet that to the end to increase their guilt he may cheat a Witch, by making her believe herself the Author of them.[58] His next is, if Witchcraft be, as I suppose it is, the skill of applying the Plastic Spirit of the World, &c. then the consent of the Witch doth naturally contribute to that mischiefs that the Devil does. And his last answer runs to this effect, Is it not the Ordination of God, that where the Devil can get the consent of a Witch for the hurting of others, the hurt shall as certainly be as if they had set Mastiff Dogs upon them, or had given them Poyson into their Bowels; and Gods Providence must be as great in delivering from one as from the other, and this it seems is not only his Belief, but the most Orthodox and most learned answer that our Author could pitch upon. If Witchcraft be as I suppose it is, &c. and is it not the 90Ordination of God, that, &c. What is all this but precarious, and begging the question, and a plain dropping the Argument he cannot manage; however, to amuse the Ignorant, and to confound the Learned, he hooks in a cramp word, if not a nonentity, (viz.) Plastic Spirit of the World, for who is it either knows that there is a Plastic Spirit, or what it is, or how this can any way serve his purpose.[59]

He then proceeds to Scripture Instances of Witches, &c. and where I thought it needful, I have, as I said, shewed my dissent from his Judgment: He accounts it unreasonable to be held to the proof of his definition of a Witch, which he makes to consist in a Covenant with the Devil, and chuses rather a tedious process about a Pistol to defend him from it, which indeed is one particular way whereby Murder has been Committed, and so the Dore becomes Culpable; But his definition of a Witch, which as I said, still remains to be proved, is to this effect, That a Witch is one that Covenants with, and Commissions Devils to 91do mischiefs, that she is one in Covenant, or that by Vertue of such Covenant she can Commissionate him to Kill. The not bringing Scripture to prove these two, is a sufficient demonstration there is none; and so that our Author leaves off just where he began, viz. in a bare Assertion, together with his own Biggoted experiences, hinting also at multitudes of Histories to confirm him in the belief of his definition. Here being all that I take notice of to be considerable.

[33] And now, Sir, if you think fit to improve your Friendship with the Author for the Glory of God, the Sovereign Being, the good and welfare of Mankind, and for his real and true Interest, as you see it convenient, put him in mind, That the Glory of God is the end why Mankind was made, and why He hath so many Advantages to it. That the Flames we have seen threatning the utter extirpation of the Country, must own their Original to these dangerous Errors (if not heresies) which if they remain Unextinguished, may and most likely will be acted over again.

That 'tis more Honour to own an Error in time, than tenaciously after full Conviction to retain it. But if our Author will again Vindicate such matters, please to acquaint him, that I shall not any more receive his Papers, if I may not Copy and use them; and that when he does, instead of such abstruse matters, I still pray his determination in those things I have his promise92 for. And thus begging Pardon for thus long detaining of you, I am, Sir, your to Command,

R. C.

Boston, March 18, 1694.

To the Ministers, whether English, French, or Dutch,

I Having had not only occasion, but renewed provocation to take a view of the Mysterious Doctrines, which have of late been so much contested among us, could not meet with any that had spoken more, or more plainly the sense of those Doctrines (relating to the Witchcraft) than the Reverend Mr. C. M. but how clearly and consistent, either with himself or the truth, I medle not now to say, but cannot but suppose his strenuous and Zealous asserting his opinions, has been one cause of the dismal Convulsions we have here lately fallen into; Supposing that his Books of Memorable Providences, relating to Witchcraft, as also his Wonders of the Invisible World, did contain in them things not warrantable, and very dangerous, I sent to him a Letter of Quotations out of those Books, &c.

That so, if it might have been, I might understand what tollerable Sense he would put upon his own words, which I took to be a better way of Proceeding, than to have affixed what I thought to be their natural consequences, and lest I might be Judged a Sceptic I gave him a full93 and free account of my belief relating to those Doctrines, together with the grounds thereof; And prayed him that if I err'd I might be shewed it by Scripture, and this I had his reiterated promise for. But after more than a Years waiting for the performance thereof, all that is done in compliance therewith, is that in Feb. last, he sent me four sheets of his writing as his belief, but before I might receive it I must engage to deliver it back in a Fortnight and not Copy'd.[60] A Summary account [34] of which I shall give you, when I have first acquainted you what the Doctrines were which I sent to him for his concurrence with, or confutation of, and to which I had his promise, as above.

These by way of Question, (Viz.) whether that fourth Head cited and recommended by himself (In Wonders of the Invisible World, of Mr. Gauls) ought to be believed as a truth, which runs thus; Among the most unhappy circumstances to Convict a Witch, one is a Maligning and Oppugning the Word, Work, and Worship of God, and seeking by any Extraordinary sign to seduce any from it, Deut. xiii. 1, 2. Mat. xxiv. 24. Acts xiii. 8, 10. 2 Tim. iii. 8. do but mark well the 94places, and for this very property of thus oppugning and perverting, they are all there concluded arrant and absolute Witches.

And if in Witchcraft the Devil by means of a Witch does the Mischief, how 'tis possible to distinguish it from Possession, both being said to be performed by the Devil, and yet without an Infallible distinction there can be no certainty in Judgment. And whether it can be proved that the Jewish Church in any Age before, or in our Saviours time, even in the time of their greatest Apostacy did believe that a Witch had power to Commissionate Devils to do Mischief.

So much to the Questions. These were sent as my belief: That the devils bounds are sett, that he cant pass; That the devils are so full of Malice, that it cant be added to by Mankind; That where he hath power he neither can nor will omit executing it; That 'tis only the Almighty that sets bounds to his rage, and that only can Commissionate him to hurt or destroy. And now I shall give you the Summary account of his four sheets above mentioned, as near as memory could recollect, in Ten Particulars.

1. That the Devils have in their Natures a power to work Wonders and Miracles; particularly that the Pharisees were not mistaken in asserting that the Devils might be cast out by Beelzebub; and that our Saviours Answer does not oppose that assertion; and that he hath the Power of Death, that he can make the most Solid things95 Invisible; and can Invisibly bring poyson and force it down Peoples Throats.[61]

2. That to assert this Natural, wonderful Power of the Devil, makes most for the Glory of God, in preserving Man from its effects,

3. Yet this Power is restrained by the Almighty, as pleaseth him.

4. That a Witch is one that makes a Covenant with the Devil.

5. That by vertue of such a Covenant, she arrives at a Power to Commissionate him.

6. That God has ordain'd, that when the Devil is call'd upon by the Witch, tho' he were before restrained by the Almighty, the desired mischiefs 96 ordinarily shall as certainly be performed, as if the Witch had [35] lodged poyson in the Bowels of her Neighbour, or had set Mastiff Dogs on them.

7. That the Witche's Art of applying the Plastic Spirit of the World to unlawful purposes, does Naturally contribute to the mischiefs done by the Devil.

8. That that God which restrain'd an Abimelich and a Laban from hurting, does also restrain the Witch from Calling upon or Improving the Devil, when he will not have his Power so exerted.

9. That to have a Familiar Spirit, is to be able to cause a Devil to take bodily shapes, whereby either to give responses, or to receive orders for doing mischief.

10. That this is the Judgment of most of the Divines in the Countrey, whether English, Dutch or French.[62]

97 This as I said, I took to be most material in the four sheets sent to me as his belief, and is also all the performance he has yet made of his several promises; which ten Articles being done only by memory, lest thro' mistake or want of the Original, I might have committed any errors, I sent them to him that, if there were any, they might be rectified: But instead of such an Answer, as might be expected from a Minister and a learn'd Gentleman, one Mr. W—— shewed me a Letter writ by Mr. C. M—— to himself, which I might read, but neither borrow nor Copy, and so, if I were minded, could give but a short account of it.

And passing over his hard Language, which, as I am conscious to myself; I never deserv'd, (relating to my writing in the margin of the four sheets; and to these ten Articles) so I hope I understand my Duty, better than to imitate him in retorting the like. Among his many words in his said Letters, I meet with two small Objections; one is against the word (Miracle) in the first Article, the word, I say, not the matter, for the works he attributes to the Devil are the same in their being above or against the Course of Nature and all Natural causes, yet he will not admit of these to be call'd Miracles. And hence he reckon's it the greatest difficulty he meets with in this whole affair, to distinguish the works of the Devil from Miracles. And hence also he concedes to the Devil the Power to make the98 most Solid things Invisible, and Invisibly to bring Poyson and force it down Peoples Throats, &c. Which I look upon to be as true Miracles as that. 2 Kings vi. 18. and this is the sense I understand the word in, and in this sense, he himself in the four sheets admits it; for he has an objection to this effect, Viz. [If the Devils have such power, &c. then miracles are not ceas'd; and where are we then? (his Answer is) Where! even just where we were before, say I] so that it seems the only offence here is at my using his words. His second objection (for weight) is against the whole ninth Article, and wonders [36] how 'tis possible for one Man so much to misunderstand another; Yet as I remember, he speaking of the Witch of Endor in the said four sheets says, she had a familiar Spirit, and that [a Spirit belonging to the Invisible World, upon her calling appear'd to Saul] &c. and if so 'tis certain he gave responses, he also tells of Balaam, that it was known that he could set Devils on People to destroy them, and therefore how this objection should bear any Force I see not; The rest of the objections are of so small weight that once reading may be sufficient to clear them up, and if this be not so, he can, when he pleases, by making it Publick together with the Margins I writ, Convince all People of the truth of what he asserts; But here 'tis to be noted, that the 2d. 3rd. 4th. and 5th Articles he concedes to, as having nothing to object against 99 them, but that they are his belief; and that the 6th. and 7th. he puts for Answer to an objection which he thus frames, Viz. If the Devil have such powers but cannot exert them but by permission from God, what can the Witch contribute thereto. And thus I have faithfully performed what I undertook, and do solemnly declare, I have not intentionally in the least wronged the Gentleman concern'd, nor design'd the least blemish to his Reputation; but if it stands in competition with the Glory of God, the only Almighty Being, his truths and his Peoples welfare, I suppose these too valuable to be trampled on for his sake, tho' in other things I am ready to my power (tho' with denying some part of my own interest) to serve him. Had this Gentleman declin'd or detracted his four sheets, I see not but he might have done it, and which I think there was cause enough for him to have done, but to own the four sheets, and at the same time to disown the Doctrine contain'd in them, and this knowing that I have no Copy, renders the whole of the worse aspect.

And now I shall give you a further account of my Belief, when I have first premised, that 'tis a prevailing Belief in this Countrey, and elsewhere, that the Scriptures are not full in the Description of, and in the way and means how to detect a Witch, tho' positive in their Punishment to be by Death; and that hence they have thought themselves under a necessity of taking up with 100 the Sentiments of such Men or Places that are thought worthy to give rules to detect them by: And have accordingly practised, viz. In searching for Tets for the Devil to suck; Trying whether the suspected can say the Lords Prayer; And whether the Afflicted falls at the sight, and rises at the touch of the supposed Witch; As also by the Afflicted or Possessed giving account who is the Witch.

Touching these my belief is, that 'tis highly Derogatory to the wisdom of the Wise Lawgiver, to ascert, That he has given a Law by Moses, the Penalty whereof is Death; and yet no direction to his People, whereby to know and detect the culpable, till our Triumvirate Mr. [37] Perkins, Gaul and Bernard, had given us their receits, and that that fourth Head of Mr. Gauls, being so well prov'd by Scripture is a truth, and contains a full and clear Testimony, who are Witches culpable of Death, and that plainly and from Scripture, yet not excluding any other branch, when as well proved by that infallible rule. And that the going to the Afflicted or Possessed, to have them Divine who are Witches by their Specteral sight, is a great wickedness, even the Sin of Saul (for which he also Died) but with this difference, the one did it for Augury, or to know future Events, the other in order to take away Life; and that the searching for Tets, the experiment of their saying the Lords Prayer; the falling at the sight and rising at the touch of the supposed 101 Criminal, being all of them foreign from Scripture, as well as reason, are abominations to be abhor'd and repented of. And that our Salem Witchcraft, either respecting the Judges and Juries, their tenderness of Life, or the Multitude and pertinency of witnesses, both Afflicted and Confessors, or the Integrity of the Historians, are as Authentic, and made as certain as any ever of that kind in the World; and yet who is it that now sees not through it, and that these were the Sentiments that have procured the sorest Affliction, and most lasting infamy that ever befel this Country, and most like so to do again, if the same notions be still entertain'd and finally that these are those last times, of which the Spirit speaks expressly, Tim. iv. 1. And now ye that are Fathers in the Churches, Guides to the People, and the Salt of the Earth.

I beseech you consider these things; and if you find the Glory of God diminisht by ascribing such power to Witches and Devils; His truths oppos'd by these notions; and his People aspersed in their Doctrines and Reputations, and indangered in their Lives; I dare not dictate to you, you know your duty as Watchmen, and the Lord be with you.

But if you find my belief contrary to sound Doctrine, I intreat you to shew it me by the Scripture; And in the mean time blame me not if I cannot believe that there are several Almighties; for to do all sorts of wonders, beyond 102 and above the Course of Nature, is certainly the work of Omnipotency. So also, he that shall Commissionate or Impower to these, must also be Almighty; and I think it not a sufficient salvo, to say they may be restrain'd by the most High; and hope you will not put any hard Construction on these my Endeavours to get information (all other ways failing) in things so needful to be known; praying the Almightys Guidance and protection, I am

Yours to the utmost of my Power,

R. C.

A Letter to Mr. S. W.

[38] Boston, Sept. the 20th, 1695.

Mr. Samuel Willard.

Reverend Sir,

MY former of March the 18th. directed to the Ministers (and which was lodg'd with yourself) containing several Articles, which I sent as my belief, praying them if I erred to shew it me by Scripture, I have as yet had no Answer to, either by word or writing, which makes me gather that they are approved of as Orthodox, or at least that they have such Foundations, as that none are willing to manifest any opposition to them: And therefore with submission, &c. I think that that late seasonable and well-design'd Dialogue intituled, Some miscellany Observations,[63] &c. of which yourself is the 103 suppos'd Author (and which was so serviceable in the time of it) is yet liable to a male construction, even to the endangering to revive what it most opposes, and to bring those practices again on Foot, which in the day thereof were so terrible to this whole Countrey: The words which I suppose so liable to Misconstruction, are pag. 14. B. Who informed them? S. the Spectre. B. very good, and that's the Devil turned Informer. How are good Men like to fare against whom he hath particular Malice!

It is but a Presumption, and Wise Men will weigh Presumptions against Presumptions. There is to be no Examination without grounds of Suspicion. Some Persons Credit ought to be accounted too good to be undermined so far as to be suspected on so flight a ground: and it is an Injury done them to bring them upon Examination, which renders them openly Suspected. I will not deny but for Persons already suspected and of Ill fame, it may occasion their 104being examin'd. In which these words ('tis but a presumption, &c.) (and some Persons credit, &c.) (and I will not deny but for Persons already suspected, &c.) this I take to be waving to discuss those points, the speaking to which might at that time have hindered the usefulness and success of that Book, rather than any declaring the Sentiments of the Author. But notwithstanding many Persons will be ready to understand this, as if the Author did wholly leave it with the Justice, to Judge who are Ill Persons, such as the Devils Accusations may fasten upon; And that the Devils Accusation of a Person, is a Presumption against them of their guilt; and that upon such presumptions, they may be had to Examination, if the Justice counts them Persons of ill fame (for the Author I suppose knows that the bear Examination will leave such a stain upon them, and well if their Posterity escape it!) as the length of a Holy and unblameable Life will be found too short to Extirpate. And if the Justice may go thus far with the Devils Evidence, then the addition of a story or two of some Cart overset, or person taken Sick after a quarrel, might as well be thought sufficient for their Commitment, in order to [39] their Tryal as 'tis call'd (tho' this too often has been more like a Stage Play, or a Tragicomical Scene) and so that other ways useful Book, may prove the greatest Snare to revive the same practices again.

These things being so liable, as I said, to such105 male-construction, it were needful that Men might be undeceiv'd, and the matter more fully demonstrated, (Viz.) That the Devils Accusation is not so much as any presumption against the Life or Reputation of any person, for how are good Men like to fare, if his malicious accusations may be taken as a presumption of their Guilt; and that his accusations as they are no presumption against persons of unspotted Fame, so neither are to be heard, or any ways regarded against persons tho' otherways of ill Life, much less for their having long since had their Names abused by his outcries, or by the Malice of Ill Neighbours; and that Justice knows no difference of Persons; that if this Evidence be sufficient to bring one person 'tis so to bring any other to Examination, and consequently to the utmost extent of odium, which such Examination will certainly expose them to, for who can know any other, but that as the one may be Maliciously accused by Devils and a Devilish report gone before it; so that another who has not been so much as accused before, being more Cunning or more seeming Religious, might yet be more guilty; the whole depending upon Invisible Evidence, of which Invisible stuff, tho' we have had more than sufficient, yet I find (among other Reverend Persons) your Names to a certain Printed Paper, which runs thus.

106 Certain Proposals[64] made by the President and Fellows of Harvard College, to the Reverend Ministers of the Gospel, in the several Churches of New-England.

First. To observe and record the more Illustrious Discoveries of the Divine Providence in the Government of the World, is a design so holy, so useful, so justly approved, that the too general neglect of it in the Churches of God, is as justly to be Lamented.

2. For the redress of that neglect, altho' all Christians have a Duty incumbent on them, yet it is in a peculiar manner to be recommended unto the Ministers of the Gospel, to improve the special advantages which are in their Hands, to obtain and preserve the knowledge of such notable occurrences as are sought out by all that have pleasure in the great Works of the Lord.

3. The things to be esteemed Memorable, are specially all unusual accidents in the Heaven, or Earth, 107or Water, All wonderful Deliverances of the Distressed, Mercies to the Godly, Judgments on the Wicked, and more Glorious fulfilments of either the Promises or Threatnings in the Scriptures of Truth, with Apparitions, Possessions, Enchantments, and all extraordinary things, wherein the Existence and Agency of the Invisible World is more sensibly demonstrated.

[40] 4. It is therefore Proposed, That the Ministers throughout this Land, would manifest their regards unto the Works of the Lord, and the Opperation of his hands, by reviving their cares to take Written Accounts of such Remarkables: But still well Attested with credibled and sufficient Witness.

5. It is desired that the Accounts, thus taken of these Remarkables, may be sent in unto the President,[65] or the Fellows of the Colledge, by whome they shall be carefully reserved for such a use to be made of them, as may by some fit Assembly of Ministers be Judged most conducing to the Glory of God, and the Service of his People.

6. Tho' we doubt not, that love to the Name of God will be motive enough unto all good Men, to Contribute what Assistance they can unto this Undertaking; yet for further Incouragement, some singular Marks of Respects shall be studied for such good Men, as will actually assist it, by taking pains to 108Communicate any Important Passages proper to be inserted in this Collection.

Increase Mather,   President.
James Allen,   Fellows.
Char. Morton,
Sam. Willard,
Cotton Mather,
John Leverett,
Will. Brattle,
Neh. Walter,

Cambr. March 5, 169¾

Here being an Encouragement to all good Men, to send in such remarkables as are therein expressed, I have sent the following, not that I think them a more sensible demonstration of the being of a future State (with Rewards and Punishments) or of Angels good and bad, &c. than the Scriptures of truth hold forth, &c. Or than any of those other demonstrations God hath given us; for this were Treacherously and Perfidiously to quit the Post to the Enemy, the Sadducee, Deist, and Atheist would hereby be put in a condition so Triumphantly to deny the Existence and Agency thereof. As that a few Stories told (which at best must be owned to be fallible and liable to misrepresentations) could not be thought Infallibly sufficient to demonstrate the truth against them. I have heard that in Logick a false Argument is reckon'd much worse than none: Yet supposing that a Collection of In109stances may be many ways useful, not only to the present but succeeding Ages, I have sent you the following remarkables, which have lately occurred, the certainty of which, if any scruple it, will be found no hard matter to get satisfaction therein: But here, not to insist on those less occurrents, as the sudden Death of one of our late Justices,[66] and a like Mortallity that fell upon the two Sons of another of them, with the Fall of a Man that was making provision to raise the New Northern Bell, which, when it was up, the first person, whose death it was to signifie, was said to be a Child of him, who by Printing and speaking, had had as great hand in procur[41]ing the late Actions as any, if not the greatest; and the Splitting the Gun at Salem, where that furious Marshal, and his Father, &c. was rent to pieces,[67] &c. As to all these it must be owned, that no man knows love or hatred by all that is before him, much less can they be more sensible demonstrations of the Existence or Agency of the Invisible World, than the scriptures of Truth afford, &c. 110tho' the Rich Man in the Parable might think otherwise, &c. who was seeking to send some more sensible Demonstrations thereof to his Brethren, &c. In that Tremendous Judgment of God upon this Countrey, by the late amazing Prosecution of the People here, under the Notion of Witches; whereby 20 Suffered as Evil doers (besides those that died in Prison) about ten more Condemned, and a hundred Imprisoned, and about two hundred more Accused, and the Countrey generally in fears, when it would come to their turn to be Accused; and the Prosecution and manner of Tryal such, that most would have chosen to have fallen into the hands of the Barbarous Enemy, rather than (under that notion) into the hands of their Brethren in Church Fellowship; and in short, was such an Affliction as far exceeded all that ever this Countrey hath laboured under.

Yet in this Mount, God is seen; when it was thus bad with this distressed People, a full and a sudden stop is put, not only without, but against the Inclination of many, for out of the Eater came forth Meat: Those very Accusers which had been improved as Witnesses against so many, by the Providence of the most High, and perhaps blinded with Malice, are left to accuse those in most High esteem, both Magistrates and Ministers, as guilty of Witchcraft, which shewed our Rulers, that necessity lay upon them, to confound that which had so long confounded the Countrey,111 as being unwilling themselves to run the same Risque, this that was in the Event of it to this Countrey, as Life from the Dead, is most easie with him, in whose Hands are the Hearts of all Men, and was a very signal deliverance to this whole Countrey. No less Observable was it, that tho' at the time when the Devils Testimony, by the Afflicted, was first laid aside, there were great Numbers of (real or pretended) Afflicted: Yet when this was once not Judged of Validity enough to be any longer brought into the Court against the Accused as Evidence, the Affliction generally ceased, and only some remainders of it in such places, where more Encouragement was given to the Actors, God seeming thereby plainly to Decipher that Sin of going to the Devil, &c. as the rise and foundation of those Punishments.

And thus, Reverend Sir, I have, as I understand it, performed my Duty herein, for the Glory of God, and the well-being of Men. And for my Freedome used in this, and former Writings, relating to the Actors in this Tragedy, I shall not Apologize, but give you the words of one to [42] whom some can afford the title of Venerable (when he is arguing for that which they have undertaken to ascert, tho' at other times, more Diminutive Epithete, must serve) it is the Reverend Mr. R. Baxter in his Book, the Cure of Church Divisions, p. 257, 258. But (I pray you mark it) the way of God is to shame the Sinner, how good soever in other respects, 112 That the sin may have the greater shame, and Religion may not be shamed, as if it allowed men to sin; Nor God the Author of Religion be Dishonoured; Nor others be without the Warning; But the way of the Devil is, to hide or justifie the sin, as if it were for fear of Disparaging the goodness of the Persons that committed it; that so he may hereby Dishonour Religion and Godliness itself, and make men believe it is but a Cover for any Wickedness, and as consistent with it, as a looser Life is, and that he may keep the Sinner from Repenting, and blot out the Memory of that warning, which should have preserved After-Ages from the like falls. Scripture shameth the Professors, (tho' a David, a Solomon, Peter, Noah, or Lot) that the Religion profest may not be shamed but vindicated: Satan would preserve the Honour of Professors, that the Religion professed may bear the shame; and so it may fall on God himself.

And now that all that have had a hand in any horrid and bloody practices may be brought to give glory to God, and take the due shame to themselves; and that our Watchmen may no longer seek to palliate (much less give thanks for) such, &c. (thereby making them their own) and that the people may no longer perish for want of knowledge in the midst of such means of light; Nor God be any longer dishonoured by false sentiments in these matters, is the earnest desire and prayer of, Sir, yours to my power.

R. C.

A Letter to Mr. C. M.

113 Mr. Cotton Mather.

Reverend Sir,

HAVING long since sent you some doctrinals as to my belief, together with my request to you, that if I erred you would be pleased to shew it me by scripture, viz. That the Devils bounds are set which he cannot pass; That the Devils are so full of malice that it cannot be added to by mankind; That where he hath power he neither can nor will omit executing it; That 'tis only the Almighty that sets bounds to his rage, and that only can commissionate him to hurt and destroy, &c. But instead of such an Answer as was promised, and justly expected, you were pleased to send me a Book, which you since call'd an ungainsayable one; which Book till lately I have not had opportunity so fully to consider. And to the end you may see I have now done it, I have sent to you some of the remarkables contained in the said Book, Intituled,

[43] The Certainty of the World of Spirits, written by Mr. R. B.[68] London, Printed. 1691.

IT is therein conceded (Preface) That to see Devils and Spirits ordinarily would not be enough to convince Atheists. Page 88. Atheists are not to 114be convinced by stories, their own senses are not enough to convince them any more than sense will convince a Papist from Transubstantiation. (D. Laderd.) P. 4. No Spirit can do any thing but by God's will and permission. (Preface) 'Tis the free will of Man that gives the Devils their hurting power: And without our own consent they cannot hurt us. (It is asserted. P. 222, 223,) That it is a perverse opposition of Popery which causes many Protestants not to regard the benefits we receive by Angels. And Ministers are faulty, that do not pray and give thanks to God for their Ministry; and that neglect to teach Believers, what love and what thanks they owe to Angels. P. 225. Most good people look so much to God and to Ministers, that they take little notice of Angels, which are God's great Ministers. P. 234. The Author dares not, as some have done, judge the Catholick Church to become Anti-Christian Idolaters, as soon as they gave too much Worship to Saints and Angels. P. 7. The Blessed Souls shall be like the Angels, therefore may appear 115here, P. 3, 4. 'Tis hard to know whether it be a Devil or a human Soul that appears, or whether the Soul of a good or a bad person. P. 61. or the Soul of some dead friend that suffers, and yet retains love, &c. P. 222. No doubt the Souls of the wicked carry with them their former inclinations of Covetousness, Revenge, &c. P. 7. When Revengeful things are done, as on Murderers, Defrauders, &c. it seems to be from the revengeful wrath of some bad Soul, if it be about Money or Lands, then from a Worldly minded one; some significations of God's mercy to wicked Souls after this Life. P. 4. 'Tis a doubt whether besides the Angels (good and bad) and the Souls of men, there is not a third sort, call'd Faries and Goblins. It is unsearchable to us how far God leaves Spirits to freewill in small things, suspending his predetermining motion.

P. 246. The Devils have a Marvellous power, if but a silly wretched Witch consent. P. 10. 202. The stories of Witches and Spirits are many ways useful, particularly to convince Atheists, and confirm Believers, and to prove the Operation of Spirits. P. 232. To help men to understand that Devils make no small number of Laws, and Rulers in the World, and are Authors of most of the Wars, and of many Sermons, and of Books that adorn the Liberaries of learned men. P. 6. 102. The Devil's lying with the Witch is not to be denied, and is more to Exercise the Lust of the Witch than of the Devil, who can also bring in116 another Witch with[44]out opening the door, and so perform it by one Witch with another. P. 105. Witches can raise Storms, sell Winds, &c. as is commonly affirmed. P. 107. In America 'tis a common thing to see Spirits day and night. P. 95, 96, 97, 110. Stories of a Child that could not be cured of Witchcraft, because the Ember[69]-weeks were past, Vomited a Knife a span long, Cart Nails, &c. neither eat nor drank fifteen days and nights together; a long piece of Wood, four Knives, and two sharp pieces of Iron, ev'ry one above a span long, taken out of the Stomach, &c. Hair, Stones, Bones, Vomited, &c. 1000 l. of Blood lost by one person in a years time.

P. 250. A story that makes the Author think it possible that such great things (as he mentions) should be gotten down and up Peoples Throats.

P. 164. Partial credibility spoils many a good story.

P. 125. The Devil's substance enters into the possessed.

P. 174. Distracted are possessed.


P. 149. A sick Woman while she lay in bed went to see her Children.

P. 153. A Dog appeared like a Fly or a Flea.

P. 165. Some knowing Agents directs Thunder storms, tho' the Author knows not who, and that they so often fall on Churches he knows not why.

P. 2, 80. Mr. J. M. and Mr. C. M. Recommended together with Bodin, &tc.

P. 237. A Crispian, if through Ignorance he believes not what he saith, may be a Christian.

In this, Sir, I suppose that if I have not wronged the sense of the Author in the places quoted (which I trust you shall not find I have done) I can't be thought accountable for the Errors or Contradictions to himself or to the truth, if any such be found, particularly what he grants in the Preface (of the freewill of Man, giving the Devil his hurting power.) This being not only more than those call'd Witch-Advocates would desire to be conceded to them: But is a palpable and manifest overturning the Authors design in all his Witch stories. For who would consent to have the Devil afflict himself? As also his concession [that no Spirit can do any thing but by God's will and permission,] I cannot perswade myself but you must be sensible of their apparent contradictoriness to the rest. Others there are of a very ill aspect, as p. 234. the Catholicks are much encouraged in their Adoration of Angels and Saints. If that were so Innocent as not to render them Anti-christian Idolaters; and that p. 4. if118 admitted, will seem to lay an ungainsayable foundation for the Pagan, Indian, and Diabolists Faith; by telling us it is beyond our search to know how far God leaves the Devils to free-will, to do what they please, in this World, with a suspension of God's Predetermination; which if it [45] were a truth, what were more rational than to oblige him that has such power over us. The Atheists also would take encouragement if it were granted that we cannot know how far God suspends his predetermining motion, he would thence affirm, we as little know that there is a predetermining motion, and consequently whether there be a God, and p. 165. would abundantly strengthen them, when such a Learned, experienced, and highly esteemed Christian shall own that he knows not who 'tis that governs the Thunderstorms; for it might as well discover ignorance, who 'tis that disposes of Earthquakes, Gun-shot, and afflictions that befall any, with the rest of Mundane Events. I design not to remark all that in the Book is remarkable, such as the departed Souls wandering again hither to put men upon revenge, &c. savouring so much of Pithagoras his Transmigration of Souls, and the Separation of the Soul from the Body without death, as in the case of her that went to see her Children, while yet she did not stir out of her Bed, which seems to be a new speculation; unless it determins in favour of Transubstantiation, that a Body may be at the same time in several places. Upon the119 whole it is ungainsayable, That that Book, though so highly extol'd, may be justly expected to occasion the staggering of the weak, and the hardening of unbelievers in their Infidelity. And it seems amazing, that you should not only give it such a recommend, but that you should send it to me, in order (as I take it) to pervert me from the belief of those fundamental Doctrinals (above recited) Though I account them more firm than Heaven and Earth. But that which is yet more strange to me, is that Mr. B his Friends did not advise him better, than in his declined Age to emit such crude matter to the public. As to the sometime Reverend Author, let his works praise the Remembrance of him; but for such as are either Erroneous and foisted upon him, or the effect of an aged Imbecillity, let them be detected that they may proceed no further.[70]

I am not ignorant that the manner of Education of Youth in, I think, almost all Christian Schools hath a natural tendency to propagate those Doctrines of Devils heretofore (solely) profest among Ethnicks,[71] and particularly in matters of Witchcraft, &c. For notwithstanding the Council of Carthage their taking notice that the Christian Doctors did converse much with the writings of the Heathens for the gaining of Eloquence, forbad the reading of the Books of the 120Gentiles; yet it seems this was only a Bill without a penalty, which their successors did not look upon to be binding. He that should in this age take a view of the Schools, might be induced to believe that the ages since have thought, that without such Heathen Learning a man cannot be so accomplish'd, as to have any pretence to Academick Literature: and that the vulgar might not be without the benefit of such Learning, some of their Dis[46]ciples have taught them to speak English, which has given me the opportunity to send you these following Verses.

Virg. Bucolicks. Eclog. 13.— Eclog. 8.—
Sure love is not the cause their bones appear.
Some eyes bewitch my tender Lambs I fear.
For me these Herbs in Pontus Maris chose.
There ev'ry powerful Drug in plenty grows;
Transform'd to a Wolf, I often Mæris saw,
Then into shady Woods himself withdraw:
Oft he from deepest Sepulchers would Charm
Departed Souls. And from anothers Farm,
Into his own ground Corn yet standing take.
Now from the Town my Charms bring Daphnis back.
Vanquisht with charms from Heaven the Moon Descends.
Circe with charms transform'd Ulysses friends:
Charms in the Field will burst a Poysonous Snake,
Now from the Town, &c.
Ovid's Metamorphosis. Lib. 7.
Her Arms thrice turns about, thrice wets her crown
With gather'd dew, thrice yawns, and kneeling down;
Oh Night! thou friend to secrets you clear fires,
That with the Moon succeed when day retires.
Great Hecate, thou know'st and aid Imparts,
To our design, your Charms and Magick Arts:
And thou, oh Earth, that to Magicians yields
Thy powerful simples: Airs, Winds, Mountains, Fields,
Soft murmuring Springs, still Lakes and Rivers clear,
You Gods of Woods, you Gods of night appear;
By you at will, I make swift Streams retire,
To their first Fountain, while their Banks admire.
Seas toss and smooth; clear Clouds with Clouds deform,
Storms turn to Calms, and make a Calm a Storm,
With Spells and Charms, I break the Vipers Jaws,
Cleave solid Rocks, Oaks from their fisures draw;
Whole Woods remove, the Airy Mountains shake;
Earth forc'd to groan, and Ghosts from Graves awake.
—— her Journey takes,
Lib. 14.
To Rhegium opposite to Zanle's shore,
And treads the troubled Waves, that loudly roar;
Running with unwet Feet on that profound,
As if Sh' had trod upon the solid ground.
[47] This with portentous poyson she pollutes,
Besprinkled with the juice of wicked roots,
In words dark, and perplext nine times thrice,
Inchantments mutters with her wicked voice, &c.

These Fables of the Heathens (tho' in themselves of no more validity than the idle Tales of an Indian, or the Discourses of a known Romancer) are become the School-learning, not to say the Faith of Christians, and are the Scriptures brought (instead of that most sure Word) if not to prove Doctrine, yet as illustrations thereof. Cases of Conscience concerning Witch pag. 25. 122 Remarkable Providences pag. 250. (This perhaps might be the cause that in England a people otherways sober and Religious) have for some Ages (in a manner wholly) refused admitting those so educated to the work of the Ministry. Such education and practice, have so far prevailed that it has been a means of corrupting the Christian world, almost to that degree as to be ungainsayable; for tho' there is Reason to hope that these Diabolical principles have not so prevail'd (with multitudes of Christians) as that they ascribe to a Witch and a Devil the Attributes peculiar to the Almighty; yet how few are willing to be found opposing such a torrent, as knowing that in so doing they shall be sure to meet with opposition to the utmost, from the many, both of Magistrates, Ministers and People; and the name of Sadducee, Atheist, and perhaps Witch too cast upon them most liberally, by men of the highest profession in Godliness. And if not so learned as some of themselves, then accounted only fit to be trampled on, and their Arguments (tho both Rational and Scriptural) as fit only for contempt. But tho this be the deplorable Dilemma; yet some have dared from time to time (for the glory of God, and the good and safety of Mens lives, &c.) to run all these Risques. And that God who has said, My glory I will not give to another, is able to protect those that are found doing their duty herein against all opposers; and however other ways contemptible can make them useful in his own hand, who has sometimes chosen the 123 weakest Instruments, that his power may be the more Illustrious.

And now, Reverend Sir, if you are conscious to yourself, that you have in your principles, or practices been abetting to such grand Errors, I cannot see how it can consist with sincerity to be so convinc'd in matters so nearly relating to the glory of God, and lives of Innocents; and at the same time so much to fear disparagement among Men, as to stifle Conscience, and dissemble an approving of former sentiments; you know that word, he that honoureth me I will honour, and he that despiseth me shall be lightly esteemed. But if you think that in these matters you have done your duty, and taught people theirs; and that the Doctrines cited from the mentioned [48] Book are ungainsayable: I shall conclude in almost his words, He that teaches such Doctrine, if through Ignorance he believes not what he saith, may be a Christian: But if he believes them, he is in the broad path to Heathenism, Devilism, Popery or Atheism. It is a solemn caution, Gal. i. 8. But tho we or an Angel from Heaven preach any other Gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. I hope you will not misconstrue my Intentions herein, who am, Reverend Sir, Yours to command, in what I may,

R. C.

124 To the Ministers in and near Boston, January 12, 1696.

CHRISTIANITY had been but a short time in the World, when there was raised against it, not only open profest Enemies; but secret and imbred underminers, who sought thereby to effect that which open force had been so often baffled in.

And notwithstanding that primitive purity and sincerity, which in some good measure was still retained; yet the cunning deceivers and Apostate Hereticks found opportunity to beguile the unwary, and this in fundamentals.

Among others which then sprung up, with but too much advantage in the third Century, the Maniche[72] did spread his Pestiferous sentiments, and taught the Existence of two Beings, or Causes of all things, viz. a good and a bad: but these were soon silenced by the more Orthodox Doctors, and Anathematized by General Councels. And at this day the American Indians, another sort of Maniche, entertaining (thus far) the same belief, hold it their prudence and interest to please that evil Being, as well by perpetrating other Murders, as by their Bloody Sacrifices, that so he may not harm them. The Iron teeth of time have now almost devoured the name of 125the former, and as to the latter, it is to be hoped that as Christianity prevails among them, they will abhor such abominable belief.[73]

And as those primitive times, were not priviledged against the spreading of dangerous Heresie, so neither can any now pretend to any such Immunity, tho' professing the enjoyment of a primitive purity.

Might a Judgment be made from the Books of the modern learned Divines, or from the practice of Courts, or from the Faith of many, who call themselves Christians, it might be modestly, tho' sadly concluded, that the Doctrine of the Maniche, at least great part of it, is so far from being forgotten that 'tis almost every where profest. We in these ends of the Earth need not seek far for Instances, in each respect to demonstrate this. The Books here Printed, and recommended not only by the respective Authors, but by many of their Brethren, do set forth that the Devil inflicts Plagues,a Wars,b Diseases,c Tempestsd and can render the most solid things invisible,e and can do things above and against the course of Nature, and all natural causes.

[49] Are these the Expressions of Orthodox believers? or are they not rather expressions becoming a Maniche, or a Heathen, as agreeing far better 126with these than with the sacred Oracles our only rule; the whole current whereof is so Diametrically opposite thereto, that it were almost endless to mention all the Divine cautions against such abominable belief; he that runs may read, Psal. lxii. 11, and cxxxvi. 4. Lam. iii. 37. Amos iii. 6. Jer. iv. 22. Psal. lxxviii. 26, and clxviii. 6. 8. Job xxxviii. 22. to the 34 v.

These places with a multitude more, do abundantly testifie that the Assertors of such power to be in the evil Being, do speak in a dialect different from the scriptures, (laying a firm foundation for the Indians adorations, which agrees well with what A. Ross[74] sets forth, in his Mistag. Poetic, p. 116, that their ancients did Usurp the furies and their God Averinci, that they might forbear to hurt them.)

And have not the Courts in some parts of the World by their practice testified their concurrence with such belief, prosecuting to Death many people upon that notion, of their improving such power of the Evil one, to the raising of Storms; afflicting and 127 killing of others, tho at great distance from them; doing things in their own persons above humane strength, destroying of Cattle, flying in the Air, turning themselves into Cats or Dogs, &c. Which by the way must needs imply some thing of goodness to be in that evil Being, who, tho he has such power, would not exert it, were it not for this people, or else that they can some way add to this mighty power.[75]

And are the people a whit behind in their beliefs? is there any thing (abovementioned,) their strong Faith looks upon to be too hard for this evil Being to effect?

Here it will be answered, God permits it. Which answer is so far an owning the Doctrine, that the Devil has in his nature a power to do all these things, and can exert this power, except when he is restrained, which is in effect to say that God has made Nature to fight against itself. That he has made a Creature, who has it in the power of his Nature to overthrow Nature, and to act above and 128 against it. Which he that can believe may as well believe the greatest contradiction. That Being which can do this in the smallest thing, can do it in the greatest. If Moses with a bare permission might stretch forth his Rod, yet he was not able to bring Plagues upon the Egyptians, or to divide the Waters, without a Commission from the most high; so neither can that evil Being perform any of this without a Commission from the same power. The Scripture recites more Miracles wrought by Men than by Angels good and bad; Tho this Doctrine be so dishonourable to the only Almighty Being, as to ascribe such Attributes to the Evil one, as are the Incommunicable prerogative of him, who is the alone Sovereign Being; yet here is not all: But as he that Steers by a false Compass, the further he Sails the more he is out of his way; so though there is in some things a variation [50] from, there is in others a further progression in, or building upon the said Doctrine of the Maniche.

Men in this Age are not content barely to believe such an exorbitant power to be in the nature of this evil Being; but have imagined that he prevails with many to sign a Book, or make a contract with him, whereby they are inabled to perform all the things abovementioned. Another Account is given hereof, viz. that by vertue of such a Covenant they attain power to Commissionate him. And though the two parties are not agreed which to put it upon, whether the Devil impowers the Witch, or the Witch commissionate him; yet both parties are agreed in 129 this, That one way or other the mischief is effected, and so the Criminal becomes culpable of Death. In the search after such a sort of Criminals, how many Countries have fallen into such Convulsions. That the Devastations made by a Conquering Enemy, nor the Plague itself, has not been so formidable.

That not only good persons have thus been blemish'd in their Reputations, but much innocent Blood hath been shed, is testified even by those very Books, Cases of Conscience, p. 33. Remarkable provid. p. 179. Memor. provid. p. 28.

And (to add) what less can be expected, when Men having taken up such a belief, of a covenanting, afflicting and killing Witch; and comparing it with the Scripture, finding no footsteps therein of such a sort of Witch, have thereupon desperately concluded; that tho the Scripture is full in it, that a Witch should not live; yet that it has not at all described the crime, nor means whereby the culpable might be detected.

And hence they are fallen so far as to reckon it necessary to make use of those Diabolical and Bloody ways, always heretofore practiced for their Discovery. As finding that the Rules given to detect other crimes, are wholly useless for the Discovery of such.

This is that which has produced that deluge of Blood mentioned, and must certainly do so again, the same belief remaining.

And who can wonder, if Christians that are so130 easily prevailed with to lay aside their Swords as useless, and so have lost their Strength (if with Samson) they are led blindfold into an Idol Temple, to make sport for Enemies and Infidels, and to do abominable actions, not only not Christian, but against even the light of Nature and Reason. And now Reverend Fathers, you who are appointed as Guides to the People, and whose Lips should preserve Knowledge; who are set as Shepherds, and as Watchmen, this matter appertains to you. I did write to you formerly upon this head, and acquainted you with my Sentiments, requesting that, if I erred, you would be pleased to shew it me by Scripture; but from your silence, I gather that you approve thereof. For I may reasonably presume, that you would have seen it your duty to have in[51]formed me better, if you had been sensible of any Error. But if in this matter you have acquitted yourselves, becoming the Titles you are dignified with, you have cause of rejoicing in the midst of the calamities that afflict a sinning world.

Particularly, if you have taught the People to fear God, and trust in him, and not to fear a Witch or a Devil. That the Devil has no power to afflict any with Diseases, or loss of Cattle, &c. without a Commission from the most high. That he is so filled with malice, that whatever Commission he may have against any, he will not fail to execute it. That no mortal ever was, or can be able to Commissionate him, or to lengthen his131 Chain in the least, and that he who can Commissionate him is God; and that the Scriptures of truth not only assign the punishment of a Witch; but give sufficient Rules to detect them by, and that (according to Mr. Gauls fourth head,) a Witch is one that hates and opposes the word, work, and worship of God, and seeks by a sign to seduce therefrom. That they who are guilty according to that head, are guilty of Witchcraft, and by the Law given by Moses, were to be put to Death. If you have taught the People the necessity of Charity, and the evil of entertaining so much as a jealousie against their Neighbours for such crimes upon the Devils suggestions to a person pretending to a Spectral (or Diabolical) sight; who utter their Oracles from Malice, frensie, or a Satanical Delusion; that to be inquisitive of such, whose Spectres they see, or who it is that afflicts? In order to put the accused persons life in question, is a wickedness beyond what Saul was guilty of in going to the Witch. That to consult with the dead, by the help of such as pretend to this Spectral sight, and so to get Information against the life of any person, is the worst sort of Necromancy. That the pretending to drive away Spectres, i. e. Devils, with the hand, or by striking these to wound a person at a distance, cannot be without Witchcraft, as pretending to assign in order to deceive in matters of so high a Nature. That 'tis Ridiculous to think by making laws against feeding, imploying, or rewarding 132 of evil Spirits, thereby to get rid of them. That their natures require not sucking to support it.

That it is a horrid Injury and Barbarity to search those parts, which even Nature itself commands the concealing of, to find some Excrescence to be called a Tet for those to suck; which yet is said sometimes to appear as a Flea-bite. Finally if you have taught the People what to believe and practice, as to the probation of the Accused, by their saying, or not saying the Lord's Prayer; and as to praying that the Afflicted may be able to accuse; And have not shunned in these matters to declare the whole mind of God; you have then well acquitted yourselves (in time of General Defection) as faithful Watchmen. But if instead [52] of this, you have some by word and writing propagated; others recommended such writings, and abetted the false Notions, which are so prevalent in this Apostate Age, it is high time to consider it. |Cases of Conscience, ult.|If when Authority found themselves almost non-plust in such prosecutions, and sent to you for your Advice what they ought to do, and you have then thanked them for what they had already done (and thereby encouraged them to proceed in those very by Paths already fallen into) it so much the [more] nearly concerns you, Ezek. xxxiii. 2, to 8.

133 |Vid. The Proclamation for a Fast, to be the 14 Inst. as set forth by Authority.|To conclude, this whole People are invited and commanded to humble their Souls before God, as for other causes, so for the Errors that may have been fallen into in these prosecutions on either hand, and to pray that God would teach us what we know not, and help us wherein we have done amiss, that we may do so no more.

This more immediately concerns yourselves, for 'tis not supposed to be intended, that God would shew us these things by Inspiration. But that such who are called to it, should shew the mind of God in these things on both hands; i. e. whether there has been any Error in Excess or Deficiency, or neither in the one nor the other. And if you do not thus far serve the publick you need not complain of great Sufferings and unrighteous Discouragements; |Vid. The Declaration, as drawn by the Deputies with the Assistance of the Ministers; but receiv'd a Nonconcurrence.|if People do not applaude your conduct, as you might otherways have expected. But if you altogether hold your peace at such a time as this is; your silence at least seemingly will speak this Language; that you are not concerned tho' Men ascribe the power and providence of the Almighty to the worst of his Creatures. That if other Ages or Countries improve the Doctrines and Examples given them, either to the taking away of the Life or Reputations of Innocents you are well satisfied. Which that there may be no shadow134 of a Reason to believe but that your conduct herein may remove all such Jealousies; and that God be with you in declaring his whole mind to the People, is the earnest desire and prayer of, Reverend Sirs,

Yours to my utmost,

R. C.

a Wonders of the Invisible World, p. 17, 18.

b p. 18.

c Cases of Conscience, p. 63.

d Remarkable providences, p. 124.

e Wonders of the Invisible World, p. 141.—Notes in the Original.

A Letter to Mr. B. W.

Mr. Benjamin Wadsworth.[76]

Reverend Sir,

AFTER that dreadful and severe Persecution of such a Multitude of People, under the notion of Witches, which in the day thereof, was the sorest tryal and affliction that ever befel this Country. And after [53] many of the principal Actors had declared their fears and jealousies, that they had greatly erred in those Prosecutions. And after a Solemn day of Fasting had been kept, with Prayers that God would shew us what 135 we knew not; viz. what errors might therein have been fallen into, &c. And after most People were convinc'd of the Evil of some, if not of most of those Actions. At such a time as this it might have been justly expected that the Ministers would make it their work to Explain the Scriptures to the People; and from thence to have shown them, the evil and danger of those false Notions, which not only gave some occasion; but in a blind Zeal hurried them into those unwarrantable practices, so to prevent a falling into the like for the future.

But instead of this, for a Minister of the Gospel (Pastor of the old Meeting[77]) to abet such Notions; and to stir up the Magistrates to such Prosecutions, and this without any cautions given, is what is truly amazing, and of most dangerous consequence.

It is a truth, Witchcraft is, in the Text then insisted on, reckon'd up as a manifest work of the Flesh. Viz. Gal. v. 19. But it is as true, that in recounting those other Works (which are indeed Manifest Fleshly Works) the Magistrate was not stirred up against those others; but as if the rest were either not to be taken notice of by him, or as if all Zeal against Murder, Adulteries, &c. was swallowed up, and over-shadowed by this against Witchcraft.

136 The description that was then given, was that they were such as made a Covenant with the Devil, and sold themselves to the evil Angels. It seems faulty, that when such Minister is inquired of, and requested to give the Reasons, or Grounds in Scripture of such Description; for such Minister to assert that it is the Inquirers work to disprove it. And his saying further, in answer that there are many things true, that are not asserted in Scripture; seems to speak this Language, viz. that the Law of God is imperfect, in not describing this Crime of Witchcraft, though it be therein made Capital.

These perfect Oracles inform us, concerning Ahab, that he sold himself to work Wickedness; which may signifie to us, that great height of Wickedness he had arrived at; which yet might be, without his being properly, or justly accounted a Witch; any more than those that are said to have made a Covenant with Death, and with Hell, &c. Can it be thought that all those, or such as are there spoken of, are Witches, and ought to suffer as Witches?

As the Servants and People of God, have made a Solemn explicit Covenant with him, Josh. xxiv. 25. Nehem. ix. 38. &c. So no doubt a Covenant has been made by Heathen Indian Nations to serve, and adore the Devil; yet even for this, it were very hard to affix the Character of [54] a Witch upon each of those Heathen that so do: And accordingly to Execute them as such. It is137 also possible, that some that have been called Christians, have sealed a Writing, sign'd with their own Blood, or otherways, thereby Covenanting to be the Devil's Servants, &c. but from far other grounds, or inducements than what sways with the Indians; these Heathen hoping to please him, that so he may not harm them. But these having been Educated and Confirmed in the Belief, that by vertue of such Covenant, they shall have a Knowledge and Power more than Humane, assisting of them; this may have prevail'd with some to so horrible a wickedness; for none can seek Evil for Evils sake; but as the Serpent in his first tempting Man, made use of the knowledge of Good and Evil; so to teach Men that such effects do usually follow such Covenant, is properly the work of the Serpent; for without this, what inducement, or temptation could they have to make such a Covenant?

These having thus chosen a false God, may well be accounted the worst sort of Idolaters. Yet it does not hence follow that in a Scripture sense, they are thereby become Witches, till they have, or rather till they pretend to have assistances answerable; and do thereby endeavour to deceive others, which endeavours to deceive, by a sign may be without any previous Covenant.

But supposing none of all those several sorts of Covenants was intended, it remains that the Covenant, that was understood to be intended, in that Discourse at Old Meeting, is agreeable to the late138 dangerous Notion that has so much prevailed, viz. That the Devil appears to the persons, that they and the Devil make mutual engagements each to other, confirmed by signing to the Devil's Book; and are from hence inabled, not only to know futurities, and things done at distance; but are also thereby empowered to do harm to the Neighbours, to raise Storms, and do things above and against a course of Nature: This being the notion that has occasioned the shedding so much Blood in the World, it may be thought to need explaining.

For as Reason knows nothing of an Afflicting, Covenanting Witch; so it seems as Forreign from Scripture in general, as it is from the Text then insisted on; which speaks of such wickednesses as are manifestly the works of the flesh: but such Communication with Spirits, the flesh doth manifestly dread even as death itself. Therefore the usual Salvation of the Holy Angels to the best of Men was, fear not; and experience shews, that the most wicked, are most afrighted at the apprehensions of the appearances of Devils; therefore such an explicit Covenanting cannot be a manfest work of the Flesh.

[55] Yet this is manifest, that the belief of the Witches power to do the things above mentioned, is an ancient belief of the Heathen. And that from them it was received by the Papists, as a part of their Faith, who have since improved upon it, and brought in the notion of a Covenant.139 But it seems yet a further improvement lately made by Protestants, that such Witches can Commissionate Devils to do those mischiefs, thereby setting the Witch in the place of God; for tho few of the Papists are known to be thus absurd; yet when such Doctrines have been Preached, and Printed in New England, they have met with none to oppose; but many to incourage them.[78] Other considerable additions or new improvements have been made here; as the art to knock off invisible chains with the hand, to drive away Spectres (i. e. Devils) by brushing, spelling words to the Afflicted, &c. What has followed upon these notions, and upon such improvements, is needless here to repeat, it were unaccountable to recount the effusion of Blood that has been hereby occasioned, such remaining Scars, and such yet bleeding wounds as are to be found; which none can wholly pretend ignorance of.

140 And if Blood shall be required of that Watchman that seeth the Sword a coming, and gives not the needful warning; how much more of such as join with the Enemy, to bring in the Sword to destroy them, over whom he was placed a Watchman.

And if the law of God be perfect, and exceeding broad, as being given forth by the Omnicient Law-giver; it is exceeding high presumption and arrogance, and highly destructive to the lives of Innocents, for any to pretend to give another, and a pretended better description of a crime made thereby Capital, with new rules to try such offenders by.

Reverend Sir, the matter being of such high concern requires (and it is again prayed) that you would be pleased to consider, and give the grounds from Scripture, or Reason of such Definition, or else that you would explode it, as inconsistent with both. From, Reverend Sir, Yours to my utmost.

R. C.


[33] The Family of Rule appear to have resided at the North End of the Town. Where they came from, or what became of them does not appear. They were, perhaps, transient Sojourners here. Mr. Mather says Margaret's Parents were sober and honest, and living at the Time in Boston. See ante.

[34] Increase and Cotton Mather.

[35] A Name not met with beyond this Affair.

[36] The Doctor was greatly disturbed at this Statement of the Length of the Prayer; averring that it was not above a quarter of an Hour.

[37] The general Inference would naturally be that the Doctor's Prayers were not very effective.

[38] His Satanic Majesty was supposed to be very near, or the Scent of his Dominions would not have been perceptible. It may be that he did not make his Appearance, owing to the Presence of some obdurate Unbelievers. See Note 6.

[39] Richard Wilkins and Benjamin Harris were Booksellers and Publishers in Boston at this Period. They are duly noticed in the History and Antiquities of Boston, out of Dunton's Life and Errors. Harris printed The Wonders of the Invisible World, as will be seen on reference to the Title-page. See Thomas's Hist. Printing, ii, 412.

[40] See Vol. I, Page 37.

[41] The Author seemed to be fully aware of the Danger of asserting the plain Truth. It probably was a means of his ruin, as to any considerable Fortune. See Introductory Memoir.

[42] A misprint. R. C. was intended. The Correction is made in the Salem Editions.

[43] Epithets applied by Mr. Mather to those who dissented from him. "Flashy and fleeting Witlings."—Remarkables of Dr. I. M., 164.

[44] Whittier had, no doubt, been reading Calef recently, when he wrote:

"To garnish the Story, with hear a streak
Of Latîn, and there another of Greek:
And the Tales he heard and the Notes he took
Behold are they not in his Wonder-Book?"

[45] With this View of the Devil, the Author was certainly, according to his own Account, more in the Way of becoming one of his deluded Followers than any other: "Tis a most commendable Cautiousness," he tells us elsewhere, "to be very shy lest the Devil get so far into our Faith, as that for the sake of many Truths which we find he tells us, we come at length to believe any Lies, wherewith he may abuse us!" Faith can hardly remove such a Mountain.

[46] A Family of this Name is supposed to have lived at the Corner of Lynn Street and Henchman's Lane, as that Corner for a long Period was known as Aves's Corner. Savage had never read of Samuel Aves. Whether he was of the Family of John Aves, banished for attempting to burn the Town in 1679, is not known.—Hist. Boston, 431.

[47] Robert Earl was the Prison-keeper or Jailor of the Town at an early Period. John Wilkins was probably the Freeman of 1673. Of Williams, no certain Trace is found. Their Obscurity will probably shield them from further Exposure.

[48] Son of Timothy Thornton. His Occupation was that of a Paver.

[49] Perhaps Son of the first William Hudson, one of the first Settlers of Boston.

[50] Captain John Hill, of whom Dr. Usher Parsons has given an interesting and ample Account in the N. E. Hist. and Gen. Reg. for April and July, 1858.

As a Contrast to the next Sentence of the Text take this: "Some of the Indian Pawawes (i. e., Wizzards) in this Country, have received the Gospel, and given Good Evidence of a True Conversion to God in Christ, have, with much Sorrow of Heart, declared how they had, whilst in their Heathenism by the Hands of Evil Angels Murdered their Neighbors."—Dr. I. Mather, to the Reader in Angelographia. In the valuable Collection of Dr. J. S. H. Fogg, of S. Boston, are many of the Papers of Capt. Hill, of much Interest on the Period referred to.

[51] See Vol. I, Page 37, of these Volumes.

[52] The Absurdity of the Practice of the Courts then in Use, in their shocking Abuses of accused Persons, will be found in all its Deformity, on perusing the Trials of those Days. The Practice of insulting and browbeating those on Trial was according to the Custom of the English Courts of those Days, and for a long Time after.

[53] Nothing was more common among those who imagined themselves bewitched, than the Notion that they were transformed into Cats, and other Animals; and that in those Shapes they attended Witch Meetings. At such Meetings the Devil was always present, and acted as Master of Ceremonies. A very sure Evidence of Insanity.

[54] Called in Captain John Stevens's Spanish and English Dictionary, Cahori, which is defined, "one that pretends to see into the Bowels of the Earth, through Stone Walls, or into a Man's Body; a Cheat put upon the Ignorant." There is something very similar in our Times, even leaving out the Founder of the Mormon Sect.

[55] This Work, here often referred to, was printed in 1689. Its more extended Title is, Memorable Providences relating to Witchcraft and Possessions, in a 16mo. But few Copies are known to exist.

[56] I suppose Mr. Thomas Brattle, the then Treasurer of Harvard College. He was a principal Founder of the Church in Brattle Square, known by his Name. He wrote an Account of the Witchcraft of 1692, which laid in Manuscript about one hundred Years, when Dr. Belknap caused it to be printed in Part, in the Colls. Ms. H. Society, v, 61-80. Mr. Brattle was a Scholar, a Graduate of Harvard College, and, like Mr. Calef, a Merchant of Boston. His Communications to the Royal Society of London procured him the Title of F. R. S.

It is possible that the Initial (Mr. B——) may stand for Gov. Bradstreet; but I presume Mr. Brattle is meant.

[57] It must have been difficult for a common-sense Man, as Mr. Calef was, to hear such Matters treated seriously in the Pulpit, and keep his Risibility under complete Controll. If Thunder and Lightning were the Work of the Devil, as it seems Mr. Mather believed, it is not very strange that he should discover some very odd Pranks in their Operations. The Father (Dr. I. Mather) relates, among his Philosophical Meditations, that as "a Man was walking, in August, 1682, in the Field, near Darking in England, he was struck with a Clap of Thunder; on being taken up, his dead Body was found exceeding hot, and withall smelling strong of Sulphur, insomuch that they were forced to drop him, and let him ly a considerable Time ere he could be removed. It is reported that sometimes Thunder and Lightning has been generated out of the sulphurous and bituminous Matter which the firey Mountain Ætna hath cast forth."

[58] There seems always to have been great Confusion, and no less Perplexity, among Believers in Witchcraft respecting the Parts to be assigned to the Devil and the Witch respectively. Sometimes they assure us that the Devil commissions the Witch, and sometimes that the Witch governs the Devil. Hence, even Believers are very much puzzled to know what to believe. See Vol. I, Introd., Pages xviii, xix.

[59] It would no doubt puzzle the Devil himself to explain that Term, Plastic Spirit. It appears to have been made use of for the same Reason that a certain Fish discolors the Water when pursued by an Enemy.

The following Ideas respecting the Devil then entertained may not be out of Place in this Connection: "The Devil is the oldest Sinner, and the most cursed Creature in all the World. It is said, Isa. 65, 20. That the Sinner of an hundred Years shall be accursed. But then what shall the Sinner be that is more than 5000 Years old? The Devil and all the Angels that sinned with him, are Sinners of above 5000 Years old, and will therefore become the most accursed and damned Creatures in the whole Universe at the Great Day."—Dr. I. Mather, Angelographia, 120.

[60] In Answer to this, the Dr. says: "The Reason that made me unwilling to trust any of my Writings in the Hands of this Man, was because I saw the Weaver (though he presumes to call himself a Merchant) was a Stranger to all the Rules of Civility." This is the Kind of Answer which every impartial Reader will decide, redounds entirely to the Credit of Mr. Calef, and that Civility is also altogether on his Side. Yet, in an Air of Triumph the Doctor adds: "The Antiscriptural Doctrines espoused by this Man do also call for no further Answer."

[61] In this Connection it may be interesting to have the Views of Dr. Increase Mather respecting the Attributes of the Devil.

"There were many of them [the Devils Angels] that were concerned in that first Transgression and Rebellion against the Lord. It is said, Ephes. 2. 3. That the Devil is the Prince of the Power of the Air. So that there is a Power, an Host, a vast Army of those Evil Spirits, that did joyn with the Devil, in setting themselves against the Great God. How many, is not for us to say, the Written Word of God not speaking anything as to the Quantity of their Number; only it is manifest from the Scripture, that there are far more Angels that have sinned, far more Devils than there are Men in all the World. There is not a Man in the whole World but there are Devils to tempt him continually. And if so, they must needs be more in Number than Men are. We read in the Gospel of no less than a Legion of Devils in one poor miserable Man. Luk. 8, 30. You read there of a possesed Man, and Christ demanded of the Evil Spirit what his Name was: The chief Devil among them made Answer, It is Legion for we are many. A Legion is six Thousand six Hundred and Sixty-six. Now then, if the Devil has such vast Numbers of Infernal Spirits under him; if he has such Troops of them, as that he can spare no less than a Legion to afflict, and as it were to keep Garrison in one poor miserable Man: what prodigious Numbers of Evil Angels must there needs be."—Angelographia, 111-112. See also The Devil Discovered, Vol. I, 217-247.

[62] Dr. Mather's Animadversions on these "Ten Articles" should be read in Connection: "When he sent about unto all the Ministers a Libellous Letter against myself, falsely charging me with writing in a Manuscript of mine Ten Articles (which are of his own drawing up) whereof the chief are of his own pure Invention, there was not one of all those reverend Persons, who thought him worthy of an Answer. And now his Book is come abroad, I cannot hear (and many observe the Like) of so much as one vertuous and sensible Man, but let their Opinions about the Salem Troubles be what they will, they detest it, as, a Vile Book; as being an intire Libel upon the whole Government and Ministry in the Land; yea, they think it beneath a Minister of the Gospel to bestow the Pains of an Answer upon it. The Book serves but as an Engine to discover (by their approbation of it) a few Persons in the Land that will distinguish themselves by an exalted Malignity." Some Few Remarks on a Scandalous Book, 34-5.

[63] The Supposition was correct. There was an Edition of the Work referred to, printed in Philadelphia in 1692, in a small Quarto of 16 Pages. Upon this Letter and the Work of Mr. Willard Dr. Mather remarks, evidently under great Excitement and Indignation as respects the Former: "I remember that when this miserable Man sent unto an eminent Minister in the Town, a Libellous Letter, reflecting both on a Judicious Discourse written by him, and on the Holy Proposals made by the Præsident and Fellows of Harvard-College, about recording of Remarkable Providences, and when he demanded and expected an Answer to his Follies, that Reverend Person only said Go tell him That the Answer to him and his Letter is in the Twenty Sixth of the Proverbs, and the Fourth."

Mr. Willard's Silence was undoubtedly owing to a very different Cause than that given by Dr. Mather. It is fairly inferable that Mr. Willard was too good a Logician not to see that Mr. Calef's Argument did not admit of Refutation, and that his own Reputation would be best conserved by Silence.

[64] Concerning this curious Paper, Quincy, in Hist. Harvard College, remarks: "As the Belief in the Agency of the Invisible World began to lessen, and some of those, who were the chief Actors in the Tragedy, to feel the Weight of public Indignation pressing upon them, they being Members of the Corporation, brought this Body into the Field for the Purpose of giving Countenance to that Belief, and of sustaining this decaying Faith." This was "prepared by both the Mathers, and signed by the whole Board, and circulated throughout New England."—Vol. I, Page 62. The Signers will all be found duly noticed in Dr. Allen's Biographical Dictionary.

[65] It will be remembered that the President (Mather) had published a Volume of Remarkable Providences, which, doubtless, met with a ready Sale, and induced a Desire for another.

[66] To which of the Justices the Author refers is not certain, as Mr. Danforth and Mr. Saltonstall, two of them, were dead when he wrote. The Latter died in 1694, and the Former in 1699.

[67] "That furious Marshal" was George Herrick, who, in October, 1692, stated, that "for nine Months his whole Time had been consumed as Marshal and Deputy Sheriff, in Cases of Witchcraft."—Felt, Annals of Salem, ii, 480. The Death of George Herrick is noticed in the Herrick Genealogy, as having occurred in 1695, but nothing is said of any Casualty. Mr. Savage supposes Him to be the same who came over in 1685, in the Ship with John Dunton, who, John says saved his Life at Sea.—Life and Errors, 126-7.

[68] Richard Baxter. William Bates, D.D., preached an excellent Sermon on the Death of the great Divine, and gives an Account of his Books, but says nothing of that whose Title is given above; doubtless for the same Reason mentioned by our Author, namely: that it was written or assented to by him in his Dotage. Dr. Bates was a Friend and Acquaintance of Dr. Increase Mather. In his Sermon, above cited, he says: "I went to Mr. Baxter with a very worthy Friend, Mr. Mather, of New England, the Day before he died; and, speaking some comforting Words to him, he replied, 'I have Pain; there is no arguing against Sense; but I have Peace.' To Mr. Mather, he said, 'I bless God that you have accomplisht your Business, the Lord prolong your Life.'"—Page 129-30. See Page 11 of this Volume for the Author's sensible Remarks on Mr. Baxter's Book.

[69] The Days of certain Weeks set apart by the Roman Catholic Church for Fasting and Prayer, in the four Seasons of the Year. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday after the first Sunday in Lent, the Feast of Whitsuntide, the 14th of September, and the 13th of December, are the Ember-days; and the Weeks in which they occur are Ember-weeks. "Ember-days were so called, from the Word Ember, i. e., Ashes; because in old Times the Fathers us'd to sprinkle themselves with Ashes; or from the Custom of eating nothing on those Days till Night, and then only a Cake, baked under the Embers, which was thence called Ember-bread."—Phillips and Kersey.

[70] See Note 64.

[71] The Ethnics or Ethnicks. The Gentiles of ancient Times were denominated Ethnics. All Unbelievers in the Religion of the Jews and Christians.

[72] A Sect of Philosophers who took their Name from a Person named Manichæus, or Manes. Manes flourished about A.D. 277, and his Doctrine or Philosophy spread chiefly in Arabia, Egypt and Africa. He taught that Light was the Origin of all Good, and that in Darkness originated all Evil. Maniche is not unlike God among the Indians.

[73] Had the Author lived to this Time he would have seen that his Hopes were much further from being realized than he could have anticipated. Many Years ago, a noted Indian Chief, on being importuned respecting Christianity, and urged to adopt it in his Tribe, replied that "It might do for White People, but it did not suit Indians."

[74] Alexander Ross, a Scotchman, a very voluminous Author, though a Prelate and possessed of much and varied Learning, is meagrely noticed in Biographical Works. He continued Sir Walter Ralegh's History of the World, in a large folio; wrote "a View of the Religions of the World;" "Virgilii Evangelisantis Christiados, Librii xiii," &c. little known. The Work referred to in the Text is entitled "Mystagogus Poeticus, or the Muse's Interpreter: Explaining the Historical Mystteries, and Mystical Histories of the Ancient Greek and Latin Poets," &c. a fifth Edition of which was published in 1672. Notwithstanding his immense literary Labours, he is unknown to Thousands of the present Day, beyond those anachronismical Lines in Hudibras:

"There was an ancient sage Philosopher
That had read Alexander Ross over."

[75] Some Person once put into the Hands of the since famous James Howell a Manuscript, attempting to disprove the Existence of Witches. In writing to his Friend, Sir Edward Spencer, soon after, Howell said: "I will not say that this Gentleman is so perverse; but to deny there are any Witches, to deny that there are not ill Spirits which seduce, tamper and converse in divers Shapes with human Creatures, and impel them to Actions of Malice, I say, that he who denies there are such busy Spirits, and such poor passive Creatures upon whom they work, which commonly are called Witches; I say again, that he who denies there are such Spirits, shews that he himself hath a Spirit of Contradiction in him, opposing the current and consentient Opinion of all Antiquity." James wrote this Nonsense in 1647. Most certainly if our Affairs are to be measured by the Laws and Usages of Antiquity, all Advancement in Knowledge is a Crime; and instead of being tolerated, should be prevented by the same sanguinary Laws then in use. Fortunately some Improvement is discernible.

[76] Mr. Wadsworth was Minister of the First Church in Boston from 1696 to 1725, when he became President of Harvard College. He was Son of Capt. Samuel Wadsworth of Milton, who fell in the bloody Fight at Sudbury, April the 21st, 1676. And here it may be noted that President Wadsworth, praiseworthily and in filial Duty, erected a Monument to his father's Memory, at Sudbury, on the Site of the fierce Conflict, in which he ended his Life; but from some Cause easily explained, fixed the Date of his father's Death on April 18th; See N. E. Hist. and Gen. Reg. for 1853, p. 221, where the Cause of the Error is explained. There has been a feeble Attempt to maintain the old Date, because it happened ignorantly to be placed upon a new Monument which replaced the old One in 1852. This Attempt has been admitted into the Register for 1866, page 135-141, as unaccountably as the Date on the New Monument.

President Wadsworth, though a Believer in Witchcraft, did not encourage the Proceedings and Prosecutions.

[77] The Author undoubtedly refers to Dr. Mather the Younger, though his Meaning is left rather obscure. The Old Meeting may be supposed to mean that of the oldest Church; but of that, Mr. Wadsworth himself was the Minister.

[78] The Defenders of Dr. Mather's Wonders, &c., remark: "After that those our Honourable Judges (fearing least wrong Steps might have been taken) had thus set apart a Day for solemn Humiliation before the Lord, humbly Imploring His Pardon for what might have been done amiss; for him to repeat that Matter, and set it out with imperfect Relations and odious Aggravations, thereby intending to render the Land, and the Judges obnoxious (tho all the Learning that he and wiser Men than he, pretend unto, is insufficient to dive to the Bottom of the Matter,) and for him to speak as he does of the Honorable Persons, as Men obstinate in an Error, and involved in the Guilt of the Blood shed by Pagans and Papists before them: what shall we think of it, but that 'tis inhumane, and fit for none but a Servant of the worst Master? One would have thought, that the Fear of God (if he has any) should have darted that Scripture into his Mind, Exod. 22. 28. Thou shalt not speak Evil of the Ruler of thy People."—Answer to a Scandalous Book, &c. Paternity of Extract unmistakable.


An Account of the Differences in SALEM Village.

THE Reasons why we withdraw from Communion with the Church of Salem Village, both as to hearing the word Preached, and from141 partaking with them at the Lord's Table, are as followeth.

Why we attend not on publick Prayer, and preaching the word, there are,

[56] 1. The Distracting, and Disturbing tumults, and noises made by the persons under Diabolical Power and delusions; preventing sometimes our hearing, understanding, and profiting by the word preached. We having after many Trials, and Experiences found no redress in this matter, accountea ourselves under a necessity to go where we might hear the word in quiet.

2. The apprehension of danger of ourselves, being accused as the Devil's Instruments, to afflict the persons complaining, we seeing those that we have reason to esteem better than ourselves thus accused, blemished, and of their lives bereaved: for seeing this, thought it our prudence to withdraw.

3. We found so frequent and positive preaching up some Principles and Practices by Mr. Parris,[79] referring to the dark and dismal mystery of Iniquity working among us, was not profitable, but offensive.

4. Neither could we in Conscience join with Mr. Parris, in many of the Requests which he made in Prayer, referring to the trouble then among us and upon us; therefore thought it our most safe and peaceable way to withdraw.

142 The Reasons why we hold not Communion with them at the Lord's Table, are because we find ourselves justly aggrieved, and offended with the Officer, who does administer, for the Reasons following.

1. From his declared and published Principles, referring to our molestations from the Invisible World: Differing from the Opinion of the generality of the Orthodox Ministers of the Country.

2. His easie and strong Faith and Belief of the before-mentioned Accusations, made by those called the Afflicted.

3. His laying aside that grace (which above all we are to put on,) viz. Charity towards his Neighbours, and especially those of his Church, when there is no apparent reason, but for the contrary.

4. His approving and practicing unwarrantable and ungrounded methods, for discovering what he was desirous to know, referring to the bewitched, or possessed persons, as in bringing some to others, and by them pretending to inform himself and others, who were the Devil's instruments to afflict the sick and maimed.

5. His unsafe unaccountable Oath, given by him against sundry of the accused.

6. His not rendering to the World so fair (if so true) account of what he wrote on Examination of the afflicted.

7. Sundry unsafe (if sound points of Doctrine delivered in his Preaching) which we find not warrantable (if Christian.)

143 8. His persisting in these Principles, and justifying his Practice; not rendering any satisfaction to us, when regularly desired, but rather offending, and dissatisfying ourselves.

[57] We whose Names are under written, heard this Paper read to our Pastor, Mr. Samuel Parris, the 21st of April, 1693.

Mr. Parris's Acknowledgment.

FOR as much as it is the undoubted duty of all Christians to pursue Peace, Psal. xxxiv. 14. even to a reaching of it, if it be possible, Amos xii. 18, 19. And whereas through the righteous, Sovereign, and awful Providence of God, the grand Enemy to all Christian Peace, has been of late tremendously let loose in divers places hereabout, and more especially among our sinful selves, not only to interrupt that partial peace which we did sometimes enjoy, but also through his wiles and temptations, and our weakness, and corruptions, to make wider breaches, and raise more bitter Animosities between too many of us. In which dark and difficult dispensations, we have 144been all or most of us of one mind for a time; and afterwards of differing apprehensions. And at last we are but in the dark, upon serious thoughts of all; and after many Prayers, I have been moved to present to you (my beloved Flock) the following particulars, in way of Contribution towards a regaining of Christian Concord; if so be we be not altogether unappeaseable, irreconcileable, and so destitute of that good Spirit, which is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, James iii. 17. viz.

1. In that the Lord ordered the late horrid calamity[81] (which afterward plague-like spread in many other places) to break out first in my Family, I cannot but look upon as a very sore rebuke, and humbling providence, both to myself and mine, and desire some may improve it.

2. In that also in my Family were some of both parties, viz. Accusers and Accused, I look also upon as an aggravation of that rebuke, as an addition of Wormwood to the Gall.

3. In the means which were used in my Family, though totally unknown to me or mine (except Servants) till afterwards, to raise Spirits and Apparitions in no better than a Diabolical way, I do also look upon as a further rebuke of Divine Providence. And by all, I do humbly own this day before the Lord and his People, that God has been righteously spitting in my face, Numb. 145xii. 14. And I desire to lye low under all this reproach, and to lay my hand on my mouth.

[58] 4. As to the management of these Mysteries, as far as concerns myself, I am very desirous upon further light to own any errors I have therein fallen into, and can come to a discerning of; in the mean while I do acknowledge upon after-considerations, that were the same troubles again, (which the Lord of his rich mercy forever prevent) I should not agree with my former apprehensions in all points. As for Instance,

1. I question not but God sometimes suffers the Devil, as of late, to afflict in shape of not only Innocent, but Pious persons, or so to delude the Senses of the afflicted, that they strongly conceit their hurt is from such persons, when indeed it is not.

2. The improving of one afflicted to inquire by who afflicts the other, I fear may be, and has been unlawfully used to Satan's great Advantage.

3. As to my writing, it was put upon me by Authority, and therein I have been very careful to avoid the wronging of any.

4. As to my Oath I never meant it, nor do I know how it can be otherwise construed, than as vulgarly, and every one understood, yea, and upon inquiry it may be found so worded also.

5. As to any passage in preaching, or praying in the sore hour of distress and darkness, I always intended but due Justice on each hand, and that not according to Men but God; who knows all146 things most perfectly; however through weakness, or sore exercise, I might sometimes, yea and possibly sundry times unadvisedly express myself.

6. As to several that have confessed against themselves, they being wholly strangers to me, but yet of good account with better Men than myself, to whom also they are well known, I do not pass so much as a secret condemnation upon them. But rather seeing God hath so amazingly lengthened out Satan's Chain, in this most formidable outrage, I much more incline to side with the Opinion of those that have grounds to hope better of them.

7. As to all that have unduly suffered in these matters, either in their Persons or Relations, through the clouds of human weakness, and Satan's wiles and sophistry, I do truly sympathize with them, taking it for granted, that such as know themselves clear of this great transgression, or that have sufficient grounds so to look upon their dear Friends, have hereby been under those sore tryals and temptations, that not an ordinary measure of true grace would be sufficient to prevent a bewraying of remaining corruption.

8. I am very much in the mind, and abundantly perswaded that God for holy ends (though for what in particular, is best known to himself) has suffered the Evil Angels to delude us on both hands; but how far on the one side, or the other, is much above me to say, and if we cannot reconcile till we come to a full discerning of these147 things, I fear we shall never come to an agreement, or at soonest not in this World.

[59] Therefore in fine, the matter being so dark and perplexed, as that there is no present appearance, that all God's Servants should be altogether of one mind in all circumstances, touching the same; I do most heartily, fervently, and humbly beseech pardon of the merciful God, through the Blood of Christ for all my mistakes and trespasses in so weighty a matter. And also all your forgiveness of every offence, in this or other affairs, wherein you see or conceived that I have erred and offended, professing in the presence of the Almighty God, that what I have done has been as for substance as I apprehended was [my] duty, however thro' weakness, Ignorance, &c. I may have been mistaken. I also thro' grace promising each of you the like of me; so again I beg, intreat, and beseech you, that Satan, the Devil, the roaring Lion, the old Dragon, the Enemy of all Righteousness, may no longer be served by us, by our Envy and Strifes, where every evil work prevails whilst these bear sway, James iii. 14, 15, 16. But that all from this day forward may be covered with the mantle of love, and we may on all hands forgive each other heartily, sincerely and thoroughly, as we do hope and pray, that God for Christ's sake would forgive each of ourselves, Mat. xviii. 21. to the end. Colos. iii. 12, 13. Put on therefore (as the elect of God, holy and beloved) bowels of mercies, kindness,148 humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any, even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. Eph. iv. 31, 32. Let all bitterness, and anger, and clamour, and evil-speaking be put away from you with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you. Amen. Amen.

Samuel Parris.

Given to the Dissenting Brethren, for their consideration of, at their request. Nov. 26, 1694.

The Elders and Messengers of the churches met at Salem Village, April 3, 1695, to consider and determine what is to be done, for the composure of the present unhappy differences in that place. After solemn invocation of God in Christ for his direction, do unanimously declare, as followeth, viz.

1. WE judge that all be it in the late and dark time of the confusions, wherein Satan had obtained a more than ordinary liberty, to be sifting of this Plantation, there were sundry unwarrantable, and uncomfortable steps, taken by Mr. Samuel Parris, the Pastor of the Church in Salem Village, then under the hurrying distractions149 of amazing Afflictions; yet the said Mr. Parris, by the good hand of God brought unto a better sense of things, hath so fully exprest it, that a Christian charity may and should receive satisfaction therewith.

[60] 2. Inasmuch as diverse Christian Brethren, in the Church of Salem Village, have been offended at Mr. Parris, for his conduct in the time of their difficulties, which have distressed them; we now advise them Charitably to accept the satisfaction which he hath tendered in his Christian acknowledgment of the Errors therein committed; yea to endeavour, as far as it is possible, the fullest reconciliation of their minds unto Communion with him, in the whole Exercise of his Ministry, and with the rest of the Church, Matt. vi. 12, 14. Luke xvii. 3. James v. 16.

3. Considering the extream tryals and troubles, which the dissatisfied Brethren in the Church of Salem Village have undergone, in the day of sore temptation, which hath been upon them; we cannot but advise the Church to treat them with bowels of much compassion, instead of all more critical, or rigorous proceedings against them for the Infirmities discovered by them, in such an heart-breaking day; and if after a patient waiting for it, the said Brethren cannot so far overcome the uneasiness of their Spirits, in the remembrance of the disasters that have hapned, as to sit under his Ministry; we advise the Church with all tenderness to grant them admission to any other150 Society of the Faithful, whereunto they may be desired to be dismist. Gal. vi. 1, 2. Psal. ciii. 13, 14. Job xix. 21.

4. Mr. Parris having (as we understand) with much fidelity and integrity acquitted himself, in the main course of his Ministry, since he hath been Pastor of the Church of Salem Village; about his first call whereunto, we look upon all contestations now to be both unreasonable and unseasonable: And our Lord having made him a blessing to the Souls of not a few, both old and young in this place, we advise that he be accordingly respected, honour'd and supported, with all the regards that are due to a painful Minister of the gospel. 1 Thes. v. 12, 13. 1 Tim. v. 17.

5. Having observed that there is in Salem Village, a Spirit full of contention and animosity, too sadly verifying the blemish which hath heretofore lain upon them: And that some complaints against Mr. Parris have been either causeless, or groundless, or unduly aggravated; we do in the name and fear of the Lord solemnly warn them to consider, whether if they continue to devour one another it will not be bitterness in the latter end, and beware lest the Lord be provoked thereby utterly to deprive them of those (which they should count) their precious and pleasant things, and abandon them to all the desolations of a People that sin away the Mercies of the Gospel. James iii. 16. Gal. v. 15. 2 Sam. ii. 26. Isa. v. 45. Mat. xxi. 43.

151 6. If the Distempers in Salem Village should be (which God forbid) so incurable, that Mr. Parris after all find that he cannot with any comfort and service continue in his present Station, his removal from thence will [61] not expose him to any hard Character with us; nor we hope with the rest of the People of God, among whom we live. Matt. x. 14. Acts xxii. 18. All which advice we follow, with our Prayers that the God of Peace would bruise Satan under our Feet; now the Lord of Peace himself give you Peace always by all means.


To the Reverend Elders of the Three Churches of Christ, at Boston, with others the Elders and Brethren of other Churches, late of a Council at Salem Village.

WE whose Names are hereunto Subscribed, are bold once more to trouble you with our humble Proposals. That whereas there has been long and uncomfortable differences among us, chiefly relating to Mr. Parris; and we having, as we apprehend, attended all probable means for a composure of our troubles; and whereas we had hopes of an happy Issue, by your endeavors among us, but now are utterly frustrated of our Expectations, and that instead of uniting, our rent is made worse, and our breach made wider.

We humbly Query, Whether yourselves being streightned of time, might not omit such satisfactory liberty of debating the whole of our Controversie; whereby yourselves had not so large an opportunity of understanding the Case; nor the offended so much reason to be satisfied in your advice: We therefore humbly propose, and give full liberty of proving and defending of what may be charged on either hand, 153leaving it to yourselves to appoint both time and place.

1. That if yourselves please to take the trouble with patience once more to hear the whole Case.

2. Or that you will more plainly advise Mr. Parris, (the Case being so circumstanced, that he cannot with comfort or profit, to himself or others, abide in the Work of the Ministry among us) to cease his labours, and seek to dispose himself elsewhere, as God in his Providence may direct: and that yourselves would please to help us in advising to such a choice, wherein we may be more unanimous; which we hope would tend much to a composure of our differences.

3. Or, that we may without any offence take the liberty of calling some other proved Minister of the Gospel, to Preach the Word of God to us and ours: [62] and that we may not be denied our proportionable privilege, in our publick disbursments in the place.

So leaving the whole case with the Lord and yourselves, we Subscribe our Names. Signed by 16 young Men, from 16 upwards; and 52 Housholders, and 18 Church Members. This was delivered to the Ministers, May 3, 1695.[83]


The Copy of a Paper that was handed about touching those Differences.

AS to the contest between Mr. Parris and his Hearers, &c. it may be composed by a Satisfactory Answer, to Levit. xx. 6. And the Soul that turneth after such as have familiar Spirits, and after Wizzards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that Soul; and will cut him off from among his People. 1 Chron. x. 13, 14. So Saul died for his transgression, which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking Counsil of one that had a familiar Spirit to inquire of it. And inquired not of the Lord, therefore he slew him, &c.[84]


Some part of the Determination of the Elders and Messengers of the Churches, met at Salem Village, April 3, 1695, relating to the Differences there.

IF the Distemper in Salem Village should be (which God forbid) so incurable that Mr. Parris after all, find that he cannot with any comfort and service continue in this present station, his removal from thence will not expose him to any hard Character with us (nor we hope) with the rest of the People of God, among whom we live, Mat. x. 14. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words; when you depart out of that house, or city, shake off the dust of your feet, &c. Acts xxii. 18. All which Advice we follow with our Prayers, that the God of Peace would bruise Satan under our feet, Now the Lord of Peace give you Peace always, by all means, &c.

Quest. Whether Mr. Parris his going to Abi156gail Williams[85] (and others) whom he supposed to have a Spectral sight (to be informed who were Witches and who afflicted those pretended sufferers by Witchcraft) in order to their being questioned upon their lives for it, were not a turning after such as had familiar Spirits; and a greater wickedness than Saul was guilty of (in that he did not intend thereby bodily hurt to any others.)

And whether in a crime of such a high nature, the making a slender and general confession, without any proposals of reparations, or due time of probation, ought so far to be accounted sufficient, from such a Pastor to his People.

[63] And whether such as were accused, or the surviving Friends and Relations of those that were any ways sufferers, by Accusations so by him proved, are in duty and conscience bound to continue their respect, honour and support to him, in the Ministry, after such known departures from the Rule of Gods word, and after such dire effects as followed thereupon, under the penalty of the dust shaken from his feet, testifying against them, even so as to render them in a worse case than those of Sodom and Gomorrah.


To the Honourable Wait Winthrop,[86] Elisha Cook,[87] and Samuel Sewall, Esquires, Arbitrators indifferently chosen, between Mr. Samuel Parris, and the inhabitants of Salem Village.

THE Remonstrances of several aggrieved persons in the said Village, with further reasons why they conceive they ought not to hear Mr. Parris, nor to own him as a Minister of the Gospel, nor to contribute any support to him as such, for several Years past; humbly offered as fit for consideration.

We humbly conceive that having in April 1693, given our Reasons why we could not join with Mr. Parris in Prayer, Preaching, or Sacraments. If these Reasons are found sufficient for our withdrawing, (and we cannot yet find but they are) Then we conceive ourselves virtually discharged, not only in Conscience, but also in Law; which requires maintenance to be given to such as are Orthodox, and blameless. The said Mr. Parris having been teaching such dangerous Errors, and preached such scandalous Immoralities, as ought 158to discharge any (tho ever so gifted otherways) from the work of the Ministry.

Particularly in his Oath against the lives of several, wherein he swears that the Prisoners with their looks knock down those pretended sufferers. We humbly conceive, that he that Swears to more than he is certain of, is equally guilty of Perjury, with him that Swears to what is false. And tho they did fall at such a time, yet it could not be known that they did it, much less could they be certain of it; yet did Swear positively against the lives of such, as he could not have any knowledge but they might be Innocent.

His believing the Devil's Accusations, and readily departing from all Charity to persons, tho of blameless and godly lives, upon such suggestions, his promoting such Accusations, as also his partiality therein, in stifling the Accusations of some, and the same time vigilantly promoting others; as we conceive are just causes for our refusal, &c.

That Mr. Parris's going to Mary Walcut,[88] or Abigail Williams, and directing others to them, to know who afflicted the People in their illnesses; [64] we understand this to be a dealing with them that have a familiar spirit, and an implicit denying the providence of God, which alone, as we believe, can send Afflictions, or cause Devils to Afflict any; this we also conceive sufficient to justifie such refusal.


That Mr. Parris by these Practices and Principles, has been the beginner and procurer of the sorest Afflictions, not to this Village only, but to this whole Country, that did ever befal them.

We the Subscribers, in behalf of ourselves, and of several others of the same mind with us (touching these things) having some of us had our Relations by these practices taken off by an untimely Death; others have been imprisoned, and suffered in our Persons, Reputations, and Estates; submit the whole to your Honours decision, to determine whether we are or ought to be any ways obliged to honour, respect and support such an Instrument of our miseries; praying God to guide your Honours, to act herein, as may be for his Glory, and the future settlement of our Village, in Amity and Unity.

John Tarball,[89]   Attornies for the people of the Village.
Samuel Nurse,
Jos. Putnam,
Dan. Andrew,

Boston, July 21, 1697.

According to the order of the aforesaid arbitrators, the said Mr. Parris, had some of his arrears paid him, as also a sum of money for his repairs of the ministerial house of the said Village, and is dismissed therefrom.


[79] A brief Article on this deluded Man will be seen in Dr. Allen's Amer. Biog. Dictionary. He will be found further noticed in these Pages. He possesed considerable Ability, but was very weak minded.

[80] Perhaps a typographical Error. Nathaniel Ingerson or Ingersoll is undoubtedly meant. Edward Pulman is Edward Putman; Nurce is since Nourse; Jarboll is Tarbell.

[81] This flatly contradicts those who have charged all to the Devil.

[82] Joseph Bridgham was probably the Son of Henry, of Dorchester, and afterwards of Boston, born in 1651. He was a Member of the Artillery Company, Representative, and in other Walks a prominent Man. He died about 1709. Samuel Checkley was the Minister of the New South Church, Boston. Jeremiah Dummer was the well known Author, the Defence of the New England Charters. Nehemiah Jewett, I suppose, was of Ipswich, a Representative, and, at one Time, Speaker of the House, and died about 1720. James Allen was Minister of the First Church, Boston. Samuel Torrey was Minister of Weymouth, and died in 1707. William Torrey was also of Weymouth, and Brother of the Rev. Samuel. Joseph Boynton was of Rowley. Richard Middlecott was of Boston. John Walley was probably the Major Walley who shared the Disgrace of the ill advised and iller executed Expedition against Canada, under Sir William Phips. Hunt was another of Phips's Colonels, &c., was of Weymouth, and died 1713. Williams was probably the Nathaniel Williams, of Boston, a Commissary in Philip's War. Samuel Phillips was the Minister of Rowley, perhaps, who died in 1696. Samuel Willard, of the Old South, Author of A Body of Divinity, and other theological Work, Vice-President of Harvard College, &c.; he died in 1707. See Note ante. Edward Payson was Minister of Rowley, and was Father of seventeen Children, and died 1732.

[83] Whether the Original manuscript of this Paper is in existence I have not learned. The Names of the Signers would be of much interest at this Time, and the Historian of Salem should not cease his Labours until it is found, if anywhere preserved.

[84] One who was as firm a Believer as Dr. Mather in Witch Mysteries, remarks in Justification of what was done—"That I may satisfy such as are not resolved to the Contrary; that there may be (and are) such Operations of the Powers of Darkness on the Bodies and Minds of Mankind; by Divine Permission; and that those who sate Judges in those Cases, may by the serious Consideration of the formidable Aspect and perplexed Circumstances, of that Afflictive Providence; be in some measure excused; or at least be less censured, for passing Sentence on several Persons, as being the Instruments of Satan in those Diabolical Operations, when they were involved in such a Dark and Dismal scene of Providence, in which Satan did seem to Spin a finer Thred of Spiritual Wickedness than in the ordinary methods of Witchcraft; hence the Judges desiring to bear due Testimony, against such Diabolical Practices, were inclined to admit the validity of such a sort of Evidence, as was not so clearly and directly demonstrable to Human Senses, as in other Cases is required or else they could not discover the Mysteries of Witchcraft; I presume not to impose upon my Christian or Learned Reader; any opinion of mine, how far Satan was an Instrument in God's Hand, in those amazing Afflictions, which were on many Persons there, [at Salem] about that time; but I am certainly convinced, that the Great God was pleased to lengthen his Chain to a very great Degree, for the hurting of Some and reproaching of Others, as far as he was permitted to do so."—Lawson, pages 93-4.

From this Author's uncertain view of the Operations of the Devil (which was the View of a great majority of the World), it is not at all strange that some among the very Conscientious people inquired as to the Difference between the Malignant and Supreme Power; that is, if the Supreme controlled the Malignant, there was no question to whom the Consequences were to be charged; and hence it is in no wise to be wondered at that some in their Simplicity could not understand what use there was for any Devil at all, mutch less for Witches.

[85] Mr. Lawson says she was "about twelve Years of Age."—Brief and True Nar., P. 3. Much more concerning her will be found.

[86] Wait Still was his full Name. He was Son of Gov. John Winthrop, of Connecticut; died in Boston about 1717.

[87] Mr. Cook was one of the very distinguished Men of the Period under Notice. He wrote his Name Cooke. I need only refer to Allen's Biographical Dictionary and the Hist. and Antiq's of Boston for an Account of him. He agreed with Mr. Calef about the New Charter.

[88] She was a Daughter, I suppose, of Jonathan Walcut, by Wife Mary, Daughter of John Sibley. Walcut was an early Salem Family, some of whom went to Rhode Island, where Descendants are yet found.

[89] Tarball and Nurse are the same mentioned at Note 80. The others will be noticed onward, in the Account of the Trials.



A Letter of a Gentleman[90] endeavouring to prove the received Opinions about Witchcraft.


I Told you, I had some thoughts concerning Witchcraft, and an Intention of conferring with the Gentleman,[91] who has published several Treatises about Witchcraft, and persons afflicted by them, lately here in New-England; but since you have put those three Books into my hands, I find myself engaged in a very hard Province, to give you my opinion of them. I plainly foresee, that should this scribling of mine come to [65] publick view, it would displease all Parties, but that 161is the least; moreover it is so far out of my Road to set my thoughts to consider a matter on every side, which in itself is so abstruce, and every step I advance therein, if I miss truth (which is a narrow and undivided line) I must tumble down headlong into the Gulph of dangerous error; yet notwithstanding I have forced myself to send these few lines, if so be I may clear to you a truth, you now seem to be offended at, because of the ill consequences, which (you think) lately have and again may be drawn from it, by the ill conduct of some Men. I am not ignorant that the pious frauds of the Ancient, and the inbred fire (I do not call it pride) of many of our Modern Divines have precipitated them to propagate, and maintain truth as well as falsehood, in such an unfair manner, as has given advantage to the Enemy, to suspect the whole Doctrine, these Men have profest to be nothing but a meer trick. But it is certain, that as no lover of truth will justifie an Illegitimate Corollary, tho drawn from a true Proposition; so neither will he reject a truth, because some or many Men take unfair mediums to prove it, or draw false consequences from it: The many Heresies among Christians, must not give a mortal wound to the Essence of the Christian Religion; neither must any one Christian Doctrine be exterminated, because Evil Men make use of it, as a Cloak to cover their own self-ends; particularly, because some men perhaps among all sorts of Christians, have under162 pretence of Witchcraft coloured their own Malice, Pride and Popularity; we must not therefore conclude (first) that there are no Witches (2.) or that Witches cannot be Convicted by such clear and undeniable proof, as the Law of God requires in the case of Death (3.) Or that a Witch so Convicted ought not to be put to death. 1. That there are Witches is manfest from the precept of Moses, Thou shalt not suffer a Witch to live. Exod. xxii. 18. for it is certain God would not have given a vain and unintelligible Law, as this must be of putting Witches to death, if there are no Witches. But you object that this doth not answer our Case, for we have formed another Idea of Witches than what can be gathered from Scriptures; you quote four places, viz. Deut. xiii. Mat. xxiv. Acts xiii. 2. Tim. iii. from all which you infer that Witchcraft is a maligning and oppugning the Word, Works and Worship of God; and by an extraordinary sign, seeking to seduce any from it, and this you readily grant. But then you say, What is this to Witches now a days? who are said to have made an explicit Covenant with the Devil, and to be impowered by him, to the doing of things strange in themselves, and besides their natural course. This you say does not follow, and herein indeed consists the whole Controversie. Therefore it is necessary, that first of all we clear this point, laying aside those prejudices we may have from the fatal application 163of this Doctrine, [66] to some (who were in your judgment) really at least in Law, and before Men Innocent. In a word, we are seeking after truth, and truth shall and will be truth, in spite of Men and Devils. I do not repeat this caution to forestall you, to believe the Doctrine of Witchcraft, as it is above defined, without inquiring into the reason and truth of it; only I desire you to enquire into it, as a thing doubtful. For no Man can be certain of a Negative, unless either the Affirmative imply a contradiction, or he can prove it by certain testimony, to neither of which you pretend; only you alledge it cannot be proved by Scripture, i. e. you cannot prove it, nor have seen it proved by any other you have read on that Subject. I am not so vain as to think I can do better than the learned Authors you have consulted with (though I know not what they have done, for I had no other Book but the Bible, to make use of on this occasion;) but because I am satisfied myself, I am willing to communicate my Reasons, which I divide into Three heads. 1. The appearance of Angels. 2. The nature of Possession. 3 and the scripture notion of Witchcraft. 1. Good Angels did appear to Abraham, and did eat, Gen. xv. it seems he wash'd their Feet, it is certain he saw and heard them, therefore there is no impossibility in Angels being conversant with men. God is true, and whatever is contained in Sacred Writ is true; if we poor shallow Mortals do not comprehend the manner how, that argues only our164 weakness and ignorance in this dark Prison of Flesh, wherein we are inclosed, during our abode in this vale of misery, but doth not in the least infringe the verity of the Scripture; it is sufficient that we undoubtedly know they have appeared unto Men in bodily shape, and done their Errand they were sent on from God. Now if good Angels have appeared, why may not bad? Surely the Devils, because fallen and Evil, have not therefore lost the Nature of Angels, neither is there any contradiction in their appearing in a bodily shape, now after any more than before their Fall. But you will say you must allow of the appearances of Good Angels, because of the Scripture testimony; but not of bad, seeing there is no place of Scripture that clearly proves it. Mat. 4. The words in the Gospel do as plainly signifie the Devils outward appearance to our Saviour, when he was tempted, as can be express'd, and when the tempter came to him he saidbut he answered—the same form St. Luke useth to signifie the appearance of Moses and Elias, in the transfiguration, And behold there talked with him two men: for what follows, ver. 31, who appeared is used to signifie (not their appearance, but) the manner of their appearance in great Glory. But you'l urge that 'tis very easie to be understood, that Moses and Elias did appear, because they had human bodies; but that it is unintelligible to you, how the Devil being a Spirit can appear, a Spirit, i. e. a substance void of all165 dimensions; therefore the words in [67] the History must not be taken in a literal Sense. Do not mistake; tho some Philosophers are of opinion (which whether true or false, is all one to our present Argument) that a Spirits substance is extended, and hath besides length, breadth and depth, a fourth dimension, viz. essential spissitude; yet the same do not say, that pure substance is perceptible by our bodily senses; on the contrary, they tell us, that Spirits are cloathed with vehicles, i. e. they are united to certain portions of matter, which they inform, move and actuate. Now this we must not reject as impossible, because we cannot comprehend the formal reason, how a Spirit acts upon matter: For who can give the Reason, that upon the Volition of the human Soul, the Hand should be lifted up, or any ways moved? for to say the Contraction of the Muscles is the Mechanick cause of voluntary motion, is not to solve the Question which recurs, why upon Volition should that Contraction ensue which causes that motion? all that I know the wisest Man ever said upon this head, is, that it is the will of the Creator; who hath ordered such a species of thinking Creatures, by a Catholick Law to be united to such portions of matter, so and so disposed, or, if you will in the vulgar Phrase, to Organiz'd bodies, and that there should be between them and the several bodies, they are united to, a mutual re-action and passion: Now you see how little we know of the reason, of that166 which is most near to us, and most certain, viz. The Souls informing the Body, yet you would think it a bad Argument, if one should, as some have done, include from this our Ignorance, that there was nothing in us but matter, it is no otherways to deny a Spirits acting a Vehicle. The plainest and most certain things when denied are hardest to be proved, therefore the Axiom saith well, contra principa, &c. There are some certain truths which are rather to be explained to young beginners than proved, upon which yet all Science is built, as every whole is more than his part, and of this sort I take these two following. 1. That there are two substances, Corpus & Mens, Body and Spirit, altogether different, for the Ideas we have of them are quite distinct. 2. That a Spirit can Actuate, Animate, or inform a certain portion of matter, and be united to it: from whence it is very evident, that the Devil united to a portion of matter (which hereafter I'll call a Vehicle) may fall under the cognizance of our Senses, and be conversant with us in a bodily shape. Where then is the reason or need to run to a Metaphorical, and forced Interpretation, when the words are so plain, and the literal sense implieth no contradiction, nor any greater difficulty than (as has been said) what ariseth from the Union of the Soul and Body, which is most certain. Now after all to say, God will not permit the Devil so to appear, is to beg the question without saying any thing to the preceeding Ar167gument, and it is against the sense of almost all mankind; [68] for in all Ages, and all places there have been many Witnesses of the appearances of Dæmons, all of whom that taught any thing contrary to the right Worship of the true God, were certainly evil ones: and it were most presumptuous, barely to assert that all these witnesses were always deceived, and it is impossible they could all agree to deceive. 2. We come to consider the nature of Possession. The Man possest, Luk. viii. 27. had a Power more than Natural, for he break the bands, which he could not have done by his own strength: Now from whom had he this Power? The Scripture saith, he had Devils along time, and oftentimes it had caught him, &c. he was kept bound with Chains and in Fetters, and he break the bands, and was driven of the Devil into the Wilderness; this Power then was immediately from the Devil, and whatsoever possessed persons does, or suffers things beyond his natural power; he is inabled by the Dæmon so to do: or to speak more properly, it is the Dæemon who acteth the same, as is plain from St. Mark's Relation of this passage, v. 5. 2. A Man with an unclean Spirit, v. 3. 2. and no Man could bind him, no, not with Chains, 6. v. but when he saw Jesus afar off he ran and worshiped him, and the same He. v. 7. said I adjure thee by God that thou torment me not, and v. 10. My name is Legion, for we are many, v. 11. and he besought him much, that he would168 not send them away out of the Countrey: it is manifest from hence, that it was not the poor Man who was possest, but the Devils who possessed him, by whom the Chains had been pluck'd asunder, and the Fetters broken in pieces; now here is Divine testimony, that the Devils have actuated a Humane body to the doing of things beyond the Natural strength of that Body, as it was simply united to its humane Soul; how much more then can the Devil actuate any other proportion of simple Matter, Earth, Air, Fire or Water; and make it a fit organ for himself to act in.

But enough of this already, let us rather enquire how the Devil enters into the body of the possestt, to move it at his pleasure; this I think he cannot do as a meer Spirit, or by any never so strict Union with the Humane Soul, for in that case he is only a tempter or seducer; and nothing above humane strength can be done: But here there being something performed (the bonds broken) by a force which could not proceed from humane strength, it necessarily follows that the Devils entered into the possest, otherways qualified than as a meer Spirit, he did not enter without some portion of matter, to which he was united by the Intermedium whereof he acted upon and actuated the humane body. Again if it is said that the Devil entered as a meer Spirit, and immediately aced upon and moved that body; it follows the Devil hath a Vehicle, a certain portion of matter (that Body) to actuate and dispose of at will; 169 which is absurd. 1. Because it asserts what it seems to deny, viz. the Devils having a Vehicle to act immediately upon, and to be united to a portion of matter (as [69] has been said before) is the same thing. 2. It fights against the Catholick Law of the Union of Soul and Body, by which the Omnipotent hath ordained the voluntary motion of a humane body to depend upon the Will of its humane Soul, and those that are not voluntary to proceed either from its own Mechanison, or from material force, hence we may certainly conclude, that it is by the Intervening of the Devils Vehicle, that he enters into the Body of the possest. But what if you and I cannot agree about this Notion of Possession, must we therefore reject the truth itself, and run to a far fetched and intolerable sense of the words: No, our opinions do not alter the Nature of things, it is certain there were persons possest, and it is as certain that the Devil enteed into them, either with or without a Vehicle, it is all one which part of the contradiction you take, the consequence is the same, viz.

That the Devil doth act immediately upon matter, there is another acceptation of the word possession in Scripture, Acts xvi. 16, where one is said to be possest with a Spirit of Divination, (πνεῦμα Πύθωνος) the word commonly used to the Priestess of Apollo, who gave responses; and it seems this Damsel was such an one, for she brought her Masters much Money, or gain by soothsaying. Now if the History of them be true that they were demented, and knew not themselves what they uttered, donec erant Deo170 plenæ, (as they word it) their case is not different, but the same with the foregoing; but if they understood what they spoke, then had they familiar Spirits, whereof there is frequent mention made in the Old Testament, and one good King is commended for having cut off them that had such, therefore I think the meaning of the word was very obvious in his time, neither was it ever controverted, being joyned with any other name than spirit Familiar, one of our own Family, that is oft, every day conversant with us, and almost ever ready upon call to attend us. But the consideration of them, who have familiar Spirits falleth under the head of Witchcraft, which we are to consider in the third place. 3. Witchcraft, to inquire into the Scripture Notion of it, and compare whether it be the same with that above defined; the Cabalistick learning would be of great use in this search, and afford us much light; there is little doubt but that there are many great truths not commonly known. (Non est Religio ubi omnia patent.) And our Saviour expressly cautions his Disciples that they do not throw their Pearl before Swine; therefore it is no wonder that some Doctrines, tho' unquestionably true are not so fully described, because the Authors who treat of them are afraid, lest evil Men should be the more depraved by being informed; but I am in no such fear; nor can I give you any other thoughts but what are obvious to any Man, from the plain sense of the Scripture. Our definition we'l divide into two Propositions, and handle them severally. 1. Proposition.171 The Witch is impower'd by the Devil to do things strange in themselves, and beside their natural course. 2. Prop. The manner how the Witch is impowered to do those strange things, is by Explicit Com[70]pact, or Covenant with the Devil. For clearing of the first, we will consider the four places above cited, wherein a Witch is called a false Prophet, a false Christ, a Sorcerer, a resister of the truth, and is said to shew signs to seduce the People to seek after other Gods: whence let us note, 3 things. 1. That those terms Witch, false Christ, false Prophet, and Sorcerer, are all Synonimous; i. e. signifie the same thing. 2. That a Witch doth do things strange in themselves, and beyond their Natural course: for it were most ridiculous, to alledge that our blessed Saviour, when he said, there shall arise false Christs, and shall shew great signs and wonders, in so much that (if it were possible) they should deceive the very Elect meant that cunning cheats should arise and shew Legerdemain tricks; the words will in no wise bear it, and I believe you are from interpreting them, so it is manifest, they signifie not a feign'd, but a real doing of things, beyond their Natural course; therefore the Sorceries of Elimas[92] and Simon were not simple delusions, but real effects that could not have been produced by Physical causes in the ordinary course of nature. 3. That the end of the Witches shewing these signs, is to seduce the People to seek after other Gods, from which premises 172I infer, that the Witches have the power of doing those wonders, or strange things immediately from the Devil: they are without the reach of Nature, and therefore above humane power, and no meer Man can effect them; the Witch then who does them must have the power of doing them from another; but who is the other? God will not give his testimony to a lye, and to say God did at any time impower a Witch to work wonders to gain belief to the Doctrine of Devils were with one breath to destroy root and branch of all revealed Religion; no, it cannot be, it is only God's permission, who proveth his People, whether they love him with all their heart, and with all their Soul. Therefore the Witch has a power of doing Wonders, or strange things immediately from the Devil. 2. Proposit. we'll subdivide into these two. 1. That there is an express Covenant between the Witch and the Devil. 2. That 'tis not reasonable to suppose this Covenant to be transacted mentally. 1. The Devil cannot communicate this power, by never so strict a Union with the Soul of the Witch; for in that case he is only a tempter, and nothing above humane power can be done, as has been already proved; therefore the Devil who improves the Witch to do things above humane power, must either appear in an External shape, and instruct him how, and upon what terms he will inable him to do those Wonders; or else he must enter into the body of the Witch and possess it. The Demoniacs in the Gospel are such whom the Devils invade, by main force, their Soul having no further command 173 of their bodies, which are subjected to the Will of the Devils; whose end is to wound and torment those miserable Creatures, to throw them into the fire, and into the water; but the Witch, who likewise is possessed, is not treated in such an outrageous manner; his Dæmon is tame and familiar unto him, and suffers him for [71] a time to live quietly, without any further molestation, then prompting him to do his utmost endeavour to withdraw Men from God; he is not bereaved of his Senses as the poor lunatick, but is conscious of all he does, and willeth all his crimes, he receiveth power from the Devil to do wonders, and doth them to serve the Devils turn. Therefore there must be a Covenant, an express Covenant between the Devil and him, viz. that he shall obey the Devil and serve him, and that the Devil shall both enable him so to do, and also reward him for so doing; for if there is no contract between them, How comes the Witch to know he has a supernatural power? or how can he so peremptorily pretend to do that which is so much above his natural power, not knowing he has a supernatural one inabling him to do the same: There can be no doubt but there was a very intimate commerce between Satan and him; who is call'd by St. Paul thou child of the Devil (not as other unholy men) but in an especial manner, as being the Enemy of all righteousness, who would not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord, it is not to be supposed that he enter'd into this so near a Relation with Satan, with which he is stigmatized, that others may beware of him, without his own knowledge and con174sent; and is not this a Covenant, an express Covenant on his part to serve the Devil incessantly, and on the Devils to impower him to act his Sorceries wherewith he bewitched the People; now I think, I have from Scripture fully satisfied you of the truth of what I offered, in a Discourse at—— but since you have told me an Explicit Covenant with the Devil, signifying the Devil's appearing in a bodily shape to the Witch, and their signing an express Covenant, which you say cannot be proved from Scripture. It were most unreasonable to imagine that the ceremonies of this hellish mystery are particularly set down in the word of God; therefore we must gather by Analogy and Reason the manner how this express Covenant is transacted: and to that end I'le set down these following Considerations.

1. Under the Law God did ordain his People in all their matters to have recourse immediately to himself, and depend upon him for Counsil, which they were ready to obey, with full assurance of aid and protection from him against their Enemies; this the Devil imitateth by setting up of Oracles among the Heathen, to which all the Kings, Nations, and mighty Conquerors, upon Earth did come, and paid their humblest adoration to the God (as the Devil blasphemously call'd himself) of the Temple, in which they were imploring his direction and assistance in their doubtful and prosperous affairs. Again, God instituted Sacrifices to put Men in mind of their duty to their Creator, to whom they owe175 all things, even themselves; but the Devil is not contented with the bare imitation hereof; the acknowledgment and worship he receiveth from the deluded World is not enough, tho' they offer up unto him innumerable Hecatombs, unless they cause their Children to pass through the [72] fire unto him, to whom no sacrifice is so well pleasing as that of humane blood. And there is no reason to think, that now under the Œconomy of the Gospel, the Devil hath left off to vie with God, and thereby to ensnare Men. No, it is rather to be feared that his Kingdom doth now more prevail, for by how much the light is greater; so much greater is their condemnation, who do not receive it: it is reasonable to suppose that (seeing the Son of God, when he came to transact with Men, the wonderful Covenant of their Redemption, took upon him their Nature, and was perfect Man) the Devil likewise doth counterfeit the same, in appearing in an humane shape to them, who receive him, and confederate themselves with him, and become his Vassals.

2. Consider, It is not probable that those false Apostles mention'd, 2 Cor. xi. 13. erred only in Ceremonies or Circumstances, or that their Errors, tho' great, did proceed rather from their Ignorance, than from the perverseness of their minds. 1 Cor. iii. 15. For, for such we may have charity and hope, that God will be merciful unto them, if they sincerely do the best they know, tho' they dissent in some, nay many things,176 from the practices and belief of the Christian Church; but those St. Paul threatens with a heavy curse, that their end shall be according to their works; therefore it seems they immediately struck at the very root and being of the Christian Religion, and were the same with them spoken of, 2 Tim. iii. 6. but with this difference, that they did not resist, but beholding the Miracles and Signs which were done by the true Apostle of our Lord, wondered and believed also, and were Baptized; yet being Sorcerers they were unwilling to lose that great esteem they had obtained; as it is related of Simon, who had bewitched the People of Samaria, giving out that he himself was some great one, to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, this Man is the great Power of God, therefore he could not brook that Peter or John should have a greater Power than himself; but offered them Money, that on whomsoever he laid hands, he (that person) should receive the Holy Ghost; which shews him, who thus designed to make Merchandize of the B. Spirit, tho' Baptized, to have been no true believer, but still a Sorcerer in the Gall of bitterness, and in the bond of Iniquity; such were those deceitful workers, who not being able barefaced to resist, did put on Christianity as a Mask, that they might undermine the truth, and introduce the Doctrines of Devils. Samaria and Paphos, were not the only two places where the Devil had such Agents,177 there was no part of the Earth where his Kingdom was not Established, and where he had not his Emissaries before the preaching of the Gospel; and since the Text telleth us he hath his Ministers, who do imitate their Master, by being transformed into the Apostles of Christ, as he himself is transformed into an [73] Angel of light: whose design in being thus transformed, cannot be to impose upon the Almighty; for whatever shape he appears in, he cannot hide his ugliness from the Eyes of him who is Omniscent, therefore he appeareth thus in the shape of an Angel of light, either to tempt and seduce the blessed Spirits to rebel against God, or to ensnare wicked Men, who by their hainous crimes (being lovers of themselves, covetous, boasters, proud blasphemers) were before disposed to be fit Instruments to serve him and to enter into league with him. Surely I, who am ignorant of the Laws by which the Intellectual World is govern'd, dare not affirm that it is impossible for Satan so to appear, as to hide his deformities from the good Angels, and under that vail to tempt them: But certain I am that it is more consonant to Reason, to think that the Apostles intention here was to teach that the Devil appear'd as a glorified Angel unto Men to gain Ministers, whom he might imbue with the Poyson of his Black-Art, and (when he had gotten full possession of them) instruct them by his own Example to transform themselves into the Apostles of178 Christ, that under that Vizard they might with the greater Advantage promote his ends, and join with him in doing the utmost despite to the Spirit of Grace.

3. Consideration, It is against the Nature of this Covenant, that it should be consummated by a mental Colloquy, between the Devil and the Witch. I know not how many Articles it consists of, but it is certain from what has been already proved, that the renouncing of Christ to be the Son of God, and owning the Devil to be, and worshipping him as God, are the two chief, to which our Saviour who was accused of casting out Devils by Beelzebub (i. e.) of being confederated with Beelzebub, was tempted to consent: If thou be the Son of God command that these stones be made bread: And again, throw thyself down from hence, for it is written, he will give his Angels charge over thee; and again all these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me: Whence it is evident that here the Devil Laboured to insinuate into our Lord, either to do things rash and unwarrantable, or to suspect his Sonship, revolt from God his father, and worship Satan, that he might obtain the glory of the World. Now it has been already said, that when Jesus was tempted, the Devil appeared unto him in a bodily shape; therefore it is agreeable to Reason, that he doth appear in the same manner to all them, whom he also tempteth to worship him; moreover the form of renouncing a Cove179nant ought to bear resemblance to the form of entring into the same Covenant; therefore Men who are received into the Mystical Body of Christ by God's Minister, who in God's stead expressly covenanteth with and then Administereth the Sacrament of Baptism unto them, must in the like manner go out of, or renounce the said Covenant; and of them there are [74] two sorts, one who through the perverseness of their own hearts, the lucre of the world, the fear of Men more than of God, abjure their Saviour, turn Apostates, Turks, or Pagans; The other sort is of them who do contract with the Devil to be his Subjects, in the imitation of whom, it is not to be supposed that the Devil will omit any material Circumstances, which tend both to bring them into and confirm them in his Service. To effect which his outward appearance, when he receives his Catechumens is of greater force than any mental contract, for many wicked men who have denied God and Christ not only in their practice, but also blasphemously in profession, yet have repented, and at last obtained some hope of mercy; I dare not say it is impossible for a Witch to repent and find mercy, the secrets of the Almighty are too high for me; but it is certain, these wretches are strangely hardned, by what passes between them and the Devil, in a bodily shape, particularly their worshipping him, which necessarily implies his outward appearance unto them; for no man can apete Evil as Evil, because180 the Law of self-preservation deeply rooted in all men, determineth their wills to pursue that which seems good, and fly from that which seems evil unto them, but the inbred notions that every man has of the Devil, is that he is an Enemy and destroyer of mankind, therefore every man hath a Natural aversion from him, and consequently cannot formally worship him as such, because the object of worship must be esteemed to be propitious and placable by the worshippers, otherwise if fear alone be the adequate cause of Adoration, it follows that the Devils and damned in Hell do worship God, which is contrary to Scripture, which saith they blasphemed, because of their pains, whence it follows that they who worship the Devil must have changed the innate Idea that they had of him, viz. that he is an implacable Worrier of Men, and take him to be benign at least to his own; but this change cannot be wrought by any suggestion of Satan unto the minds of Men, whom indeed he mentally tempteth to Lust, Pride and Malice; but it is his greatest Artifice to cause his Insinuations to arise in the hearts of Men, as their own natural thoughts, and if conscience discovers their Author and opposes them, then he varnishes them over with the specious colours of pleasure, honour and glory; and so represents them as really good, to be willed and desired by the Soul, which judgeth of all things without according to the Ideas she hath of them; but because most objects have181 two, and some many faces, and she not always attends, therefore she often errs in her choice, nevertheless it is impossible for her to apete an object, whose simple Idea is Evil; but the Idea we have of the Devil is such, for we cannot represent him in our minds any otherwise than the great destroyer of Men, therefore no mental temptation can make us believe this our grand Enemy to be [75] ever Exorable by, or in any measure favourable to us, whence it evidently follows, that the Devil to work this change of opinion his worshippers have of him, must appear unto them in a bodily shape, and impose upon them, whom because of their great Corruption and Sinfulness, God hath wholly left and given up [to] strong delusions that they should believe a lye, and the Father of lyes; who now appearing in a humane shape, telleth them that he is no such Monster, as he has been represented to them by his Enemy, who calls himself God, which Title of right belongs to him, and that he (if they contract to be his Servants) will both amply reward them by giving them power to do many things very suitable to their abominable depraved Nature, that the Christians, whatever opinion they may pretend to have of their God, cannot so much as pretend to, and also that he will protect and defend them against him, whom heretofore they have mistaken for the Almighty, and his pretended Son Christ, whom they must abjure ere they can be received by or expect any benefit from182 him. Upon no other consideration is it possible for any man to worship the Devil; for the Atheists, who deny the being of a God, do likewise deny the existence of any Spirit good or bad; therefore their drinking the Devils health, even upon their knees (tho' a most horrid Crime) cannot be construed any part of worship paid to him, whom they assert to be a Chimera, a meer figment of Statesmen to keep the vulgar in awe. Now I have evinced to you that there are Witches, that the Witch receiveth power from the Devil to do strange things, that there is an express Covenant between the Devil and the Witch, that this Covenant cannot be transacted mentally, but that the Devil must appear in a bodily shape to the Witch; therefore I conclude, that a Witch in the Scripture is such, who has made an Explicit Covenant with the Devil, and is impowered by him to do things strange in themselves, and beside their natural course.

2. I perswade myself you do not expect from me any Essay concerning the methods, how Witches may or ought to be convinced; I wish that those Gentlemen, whose Eminent station both inables them to perform it, and likewise makes it their duty so to do, may take this Province upon them, and handle it so fully as to satisfie you herein. I once intended to have provided some materials for this Work, by defining four principal things relating to Witchcraft, viz. 1. Witch-fits. 2. The Imps that are said to attend183 on the Witch. 3. The transportation of the Witch through the Air. 4. Lastly, the invisibility of the Witch; but upon second thoughts that it was foreign from my purpose, who am not concerned to compose a just Treatise of Witchcraft, which would require more vacant time, than my present Circumstances will allow, only I did promise you to give you my Opinion privately; therefore I'le [76] venture to make use of an Argument, which sheweth neither Art nor Learning in the Author, and it is this, that seeing there are Witches, and that the Law of God doth command them to be put to death; therefore there must be means to convict them, by clear and certain Proof, otherwise the Law were in vain; for no Man can be justly condemned, who is not fairly convicted by full and certain Evidence.

III. In the last place we are to inquire whether a Witch ought to be put to death or no? you Answer in the Negative; because you say that that Law, thou shalt not suffer a Witch to live, is Judicial, and extendeth only to the People of the Jews; but our Saviour, or his Apostles have not delivered any where any such command, therefore they ought to be suffered to live, this indeed seems somewhat plausible at first view, but upon through Examination hath no weight in it at all for these Reasons, 1. All Penal Laws receive their Sanction from him or them, who have the Sovereign Power in any state, as thou shalt not184 commit Adultery, is a Moral-law, and obligatory over the Consciences of Men in all places and Ages; but the Adulterers shall be put to death is a judicial law, and in force only in that state, where it is enacted by the Sovereign. 2. The Government of the Jews was a Theocracy, and God himself did condescend to be their King, not only as he is King of Kings; for in that sense he is, always was, and ever will be supreme Lord, and Governour of all his Creatures; but in an especial manner to give them Laws for the Government of their State, and to protect them against their Enemies; in one word to be immediately their Sovereign. 3. Our Saviour's Kingdom was not of this World, he was no Judge to divide so much as an Inheritance between two Brethren; nay, he himself submitted patiently to the unjust Sentence of the Governour of the Country in which he lived; therefore both the rewards and punishments annexed to his Laws are Spiritual, and then shall have their full accomplishment, when the Son of Man at the last day shall pronounce, Come unto me ye blessed, and depart ye cursed into Everlasting fire. 4. That Soveraigns, who have received the Gospel of our Lord, have not therefore lost their Power of enacting Laws for the ruling and preserving their People, and punishing Malefactors even with Death; so that the Criminal is as justly condemned to die by our Municipal, as he was heretofore by the Judicial Law among the Jews: How much more then185 ought our Law to advert against the highest of all Criminals, those execrable Men and Women, who tho yet alive, have listed themselves under Satan's banner, and explicitly Sworn Allegiance to him, to fight against God and Christ; indeed all unholy Men afford great matter to the Devils of Blaspheming, but these wretches have confederated themselves with the Devils, to blaspheme and destroy all they can; and do you think that these common [77] Enemies of God and Mankind ought to be suffered to live in a Christian Common wealth, especially considering that we have a President of putting them to death from God himself, when he acted as King over his own peculiar People. But methinks I hear you saying, all this doth not satisfie me, for I am sure nothing can be added to the Devils malice, and if he could, he certainly would appear and frighten all Men out of their wits. I answer, 1. We must not reject a truth, because we cannot resolve all the Questions that may be proposed about it; otherwise all our Science must be turned into Scepticism, for we have not a comprehensive knowledge of any one thing. 2. When you say, that if the Devil could, he would appear and frighten all Men; the Lawful consequence is not that he cannot appear at all, for we have undoubtedly proved the contrary; but that we are Ignorant of the bounds that the Almighty hath set to him, whose malice indeed, if he were not restrain'd, is so great as to destroy all Men; but186 the goodness of our God is greater, who hath given us means to escape his fury, if we will give earnest heed to the Gospel of our Saviour, which only is able to comfort us against the sad and miserable condition of our present state, for not only the Devils, but likewise all do conspire against us to work our ruine. The deluge came and swept away all the race (save eight persons) of mankind: the Fire will in time devour what the Water has left, and all this cometh to pass because of Sin; but we who have received the Lord Jesus, look for new Heavens, and a new Earth, wherein dwelleth Righteousness. Therefore he, if we purifie ourselves as he is pure, will save us (for when he appears we shall be made like unto him; to whom be Glory for ever, Amen) from the great destruction that must come upon all the World, and the Inhabitants thereof. Farewell.

March, 8th 169¾.

Boston, March 20, 1693.

Worthy Sir,

THE great pains you have taken for my Information and Satisfaction in those controverted points relating to Witchcraft, whether it attain the end or not, cannot require less than suitable acknowledgments and gratitude, especially considering you had no particular obligation of office to it, and when others, whose proper Province it was had declined it. It is a great truth, [that the many Heresies among 187 the Christians (nor the lying Miracles, or Witchcrafts used by some to induce to the worship of Images, &c.) must not give a Mortal wound to Christianity or Truth;] but the great question in these con[78]troverted points still is, what is truth. And in this search being agreed in the Judge or Rule, there is great hopes of the Issue. That there are Witches is plain from that Rule of Truth, the Scriptures, which commands their punishment by Death. But what that Witchcraft is, or wherein it does consist is the whole difficulty. That head cited from Mr. Gaule,[93] and so well proved thereby (not denied by any) makes the work yet shorter; so that it is agreed to consist in a Malignity, &c. and seeking by a sign to seduce, &c. not excluding any other sorts or branches, when as well proved by that infallible Rule. That good Angels have appeared, is certain, tho that instance of those to Abraham may admit of a various construction; some Divines supposing them to be the Trinity, others that they were Men-messengers, as Judges ii. 1. and others that they were Angels; but tho this as I said might admit of a debate, yet I see no question of the Angel Gabriel's appearance, particularly to the B. Virgin; for tho the Angels are Spirits, and so not perceptible by our bodily Eyes without the appointment of the most high, yet he who made all things by his word in the Creation, can with a word speak things into Being. And whether the Angels did assume matter (or a Vehicle) 188and by that appear to the bodily Eye; or whether by the same word there were an Idea fram'd in the mind, which needed no Vehicle to represent them to the Intellects, is with the All-wise, and not for me to dispute. If we poor shallow Mortals do not comprehend the manner how, that argues only our weakness. Two other times did this glorious Angel appear. Dan. viii. 16. Dan. ix. 21. The first of these times was in Vision, as by the text and context will appear. The second was the same as at the first; which being considered, as it will ascertain that Angels have appear'd; so that 'tis at the will of the Sender how they shall appear, whether to the bodily Eye, or Intellect only. Mat. i. 20. The appearance of the Angel to Joseph was in a Dream, and yet a real appearance; so was there a real appearance to the Apostle, but whether in the body or out of the body he could not tell; and that they are sent and come not of their own motion. Luke i. 26. And in the sixth Month the Angel Gabriel was sent from God. Dan. ix. 23. At the beginning of thy supplication the commandment came forth, and I am come, v. 21. Being caused to fly swiftly, &c. but from these places may be set down as undoubted truths or conclusions,

1. That the glorious Angels have their Mission and Commission from the most high.

2. That without this they cannot appear to mankind. And from these two will necessarily flow a third.

3. That if the glorious Angels have not that189 power to go till commissioned, or to appear to Mortals, then not the fallen Angels; who are held in Chains of darkness, to the Judgment of the great day. Therefore to argue, that because the good Angels have appeared, the evil may or can, is to me as if—[79] because the dead have been raised to life by Holy Prophets, therefore Men, wicked Men can raise the dead. As the sufferings, so the temptations of our Saviour were (in degree) beyond those common to Man; he being the second Adam, or publick head, the strongest assaults were now improved; and we read that he was tempted, that he might be able to succour those that are tempted, as also that he was led of the Spirit into the Wilderness, that he might be tempted, &c. But how the tempter appeared to him who was God Omniscient; whether to the bodily Eye or to the Intellect, is as far beyond my cognizance as for a blind Man to judge of Colours. But from the whole set down this fourth conclusion,

4. That when the Almighty free Agent has a work to bring about for his own glory, or Man's good; he can Imploy not only Blessed Angels, but the evil ones in it, as 2 Cor. xii. 7. And lest I should be exalted above measure, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the Messenger of Satan to buffet me. 1. Sam. 10. xiv, xv, xxiii. An evil Spirit from the Lord troubled him. It is a great truth, we understand little, very little, and that in common things, how much less then in spirituals, such as are above humane cognizance. But tho' upon the strictest Scrutiny in some natural things, we can only discover 190 our own Ignorance, yet we must not hence deny what we do know, or suffer a Rape to be committed upon our Reason and Senses in the Dark; and say that the Devil by his ordinary Power can act a Vehicle (i. e.) some matter distinct from himself, who is wholly a Spirit, and yet this matter not to be felt nor heard, and at the same time to be seen; or may be felt, and not heard nor seen, &c. seems to me to be a Chimera, invented at first to puzzle the belief of reasonable Creatures, and since Calculated to a Roman Latitude, to uphold the Doctrine of Transubstantiation; who teach, that under the Accidents of Bread, is contained the Body of our Saviour, his humane Body, as long, and as broad, &c. for here the Power of the Almighty must not be confined to be less than the Devil's, and 'tis he that has said, hoc est meum Corpus. As to the consent of almost all Ages, I meddle not now with it, but come to the fifth Conclusion.

5. That when the Divine Being will imploy the Agency of Evil Spirits for any service, 'tis with him the manner how they shall exhibit themselves, whether to the bodily Eye, or Intellect only; and whether it shall be more or less formidable—To deny these three last were to make the Devil an Independent Power and consequently a God. As to the nature of possessions by Evil Spirits, for the better understanding of it, it may be needful to compare it with its contraries; and to instance in Samson, of whom it was foretold, that he should begin to deliver Israel, and how was he inabled to this work? Judges xiii. 25. The Spirit of the Lord began to move him 191 at times in the Camp, &c. ch. xv. 13, 14. v. and they bound him with two new cords, and brought him up from the rock, and when they came to Lehi, [80] the Philistines shouted against him, and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his Arms became as Flax, that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from his hands, &c. I might instance further, but this may suffice to show that he had more than a natural strength, as also whence his strength was, viz. he was impowered by the Spirit from God. And now will any say, that it was not Samson, but the Spirit that did these things, or that there being things done, bonds broken, &c. by a force that could not proceed from human strength, and that therefore the Spirit entered into him otherwise qualified than as meer Spirit; or that the Spirit entered not without some Portion of Matter, and by the Intermediation thereof acted Samson's body. If any say this and more too, this doth not alter the truth, which remains, viz. that the Spirit of God did inable Samson to the doing of things beyond his Natural strength. And now what remains but upon parity of Reason, to apply this to the case of Possession, which may be summ'd up in this sixth Conclusion.

6. That God for wise ends, only known to himself, may and has impowered Devils to Possess and strangely to act humane Bodies, even to the doing of things beyond the Natural strength of that body. And for any to tell of a Vehicle, or matter used in192 it, I must observe that General Rule, Colos. ii. 8. Beware lest any spoil you through Philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of Men, after the Rudiments of the World, and not after Christ. To come next to that of Witchcraft, and here taking that cited head of Mr. Gaul, to be uncontroverted, set it as a seventh Conclusion.

7. That Witchcraft consists in a maligning and oppugning the Word, Work and Worship of God, and seeking by any extraordinary sign to seduce any from it. Deut. xiii. 12. Matt. xxiv. 24. Acts xiii. 8. 10. 2 Tim. iii. 8. Do but mark well the places, and for this very property of thus opposing and perverting, they are all there concluded arrant and absolute Witches; and it will be easily granted, that the same that is call'd Witch, is call'd a false Christ, a false Prophet, and a Sorcerer, and that the terms are Synonimous; and that what the Witches aim at is, to seduce the People to seek after other Gods. But here the Question will be, whether the Witch do really do things strange in themselves, and beyond their natural course, and all this by a Power immediately from the Devil. In this inquiry, as we have nothing to do with unwritten verities, so but little with Cabalistick Learning, which might perhaps but lead us more astray, as in the Instance of their charging our Saviour with casting out Devils by Beelzebub, his Answer is, if Satan be divided against himself, his Kingdom hath an end: But seeing all are agreed, set this eighth Conclusion.

8. That God will not give his testimony to a lye. 193 To say that God did at any time impower a Witch to work Wonders, to gain belief to the Doctrine of Devils, were with one breath to destroy root and branch of all revealed Re[81]ligion. And hence 'tis clear the Witch has no such wonder-working power from God; and must we then conclude she has such a Miraculous Power from the Devil; if so, then it follows that either God gives the Devil leave to impower the Witch to make use of this Seal, in order to deceive, or else that the Devil has this Power independent of himself;[94] to assert the first of these were in effect to say, that tho God will not give his testimony to a lye, yet that he may impower the Devil to set to God's own Seal, in order to deceive; and what were this but to overthrow all revealed Religion. The last if asserted must be to own the Devil to be an unconquered Enemy, and consequently a Sovereign Deity, and deserving much thanks, that he exerts his Power no more. Therefore in this Dilemma it is Wisdom for shallow Mortals to have recourse to their only guide, and impartially to inquire, whether the Witches really have such a Miraculous or Wonder-working Power? And 'tis remarkable that the Apostle, Gal. v. 20. reckons up Witchcraft among the Works of the flesh, which were it indeed a Wonder-working Power, received immediately from the Devil, and wholly beyond the Power of Nature; it were very improper to place it with Drunkennness, Murthers, Adulteries, &c. all manifest 194 fleshly works. 'Tis also remarkable, that Witchcraft is generally in Scripture joined with spiritual Whordom, i. e. Idolatry. This thence will plainly appear to be the same, only pretending to a sign, in order to deceive, seems to be yet a further degree, and in this sense Manassah and Jezebel, 2 Chron. xxxiii. 6. 2 Kings ix. 22. used Witchcraft and Whoredoms, Nahum iii. 4. The Idolatrous City is called Mistress of Witchcrafts. But to instance in one place instead of many, that 2 Thes. ii. from the 3 to the 12 v. particularly 9 and 10 v. Even him whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs, and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusions that they should believe a lye, that they all might be damned, who believe not the truth, &c. This, that then was spoken in the Prophesie of that man of Sin, that was to appear, how abundantly does History testifie the fulfilment of it; particularly to seduce to the Worship of Images: Have not the Images been made to move? to smile, &c. too tedious were it to mention the hundredth part of what undoubted History doth abundantly testifie. And hence do set down this nineth Conclusion.

9. That the Man of Sin, or Seducer, &c. makes use of lying wonders to the end to deceive, and that God in Righteous Judgment, may send strong delusions that they should believe a lye, that they might be damn'd, who believe not the truth, &c.

195 'Tis certain that the Devil is a proud Being, and would be thought to have a Power equal to the Almighty; and it cannot but be very grateful to him to see Mortals charging one another of doing such works by the Devil's Power, as in truth is the proper prerogative of the Almighty, Omnipotent Being. The [82] next head should have been about an Explicit Covenant, between the Witch and the Devil, &c. But in this, the whole of it, I cannot perswade myself but you must be sensible of an apparent leaning to Education (or tradition) the Scriptures being wholly silent in it; and supposing this to fall in as a dependent on what went before shall say the less to it; for if the Devil has no such Power to communicate, upon such compact, then the whole is a fiction; tho I cannot but acknowledge you have said so much to uphold that Doctrine, that I know not how any could have done more; however, as I said, I find not myself ingaged (unless Scripture proof were offered) to meddle with it. For as you have in such cases your Reason for your guide, so I must be allowed to use that little that I have, do only say that as God is a Spirit, so he must be worship'd in spirit and truth. So also that the Devil is a Spirit, and that his rule is in the hearts of the Children of Disobedience, and that an Explicit Covenant of one Nature or another can have little force, any further than as the heart is engaged in it. And so I pass to the last, viz. Whether a Witch ought to be put to death. And without accumulation of the offence do Judge, that where the Law of any Countrey is to punish by death such as seduce and196 tempt to the worship of strange Gods (or idols, or Statues) by as good Authority may they (no doubt) punish these as Capital Offenders, who are distinguished by that one remove, viz. to their seducing is added a sign, i. e. they pretend to a sign in order to seduce. And thus worthy Sir, I have freely given you my thoughts upon yours, which you so much obliged me with the sight of and upon the whole, tho I cannot in the general but commend your Caution in not asserting many things contended for by others; yet must say, that in my esteem there is retain'd so much as will secure all the rest; (to instance) if a Spirit has a Vehicle, i. e. some portion of matter which it acts, &c. hence as necessarily may be inferred that Doctrine of Incubus and Succubus, and why not also that of Procreation by Spirits both good and bad? Thus was Alexander the Great, the Brittish Merlin,[95] and Martin Luther, and many others said to be begotten. Again if the Witch has such a Wonder-working Power, why not to afflict? will not the Devil thus far gratifie her? And have none this Miraculous Power, but the Covenanting Witch? then the offence lyes in the Covenant, 197 then 'tis not only hard, but Impossible to find a Witch by such Evidence as the Law of God requires; for it will not be supposed that they call Witness to this Covenant; therefore it will here be necessary to admit of such as the nature of such Covenant will bear (as Mr. Gaul hath it in his 5th head, i. e.) the testimony of the afflicted, with their Spectral sight, to tell who afflicts themselves or others; the experiment of saying the Lords Prayer, falling at the sight, and rising at the touch, searching for Tets (i. e. Excrescencies of Nature) strange and foreign stories of the Death of some Cattle, or over-setting some Cart; and what can Juries have better to guide them to find out this Covenant by.

[83] 'Tis matter of lamentation, and let it be for a lamentation, to consider how these things have open'd the Floodgates of Malice, Revenge, Uncharitableness, and Bloodshed, what Multitudes have been swept away by this Torrent.

In Germany, Countries depopulated; In Scotland no less than 4000 have said to have suffered by Fire and Halter at one heat.[96]

Thus we may say with the Prophet, Isa. lix. 10. We grope for the Wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no Eyes: we stumble at Noon-day as in the Night, we are in desolate places as dead Men: and this by seeking to be wise above what is written, in framing to ourselves such crimes and such Ordels (or ways of Tryal) as are 198wholly foreign from the direction of our only guide, which should be a light to our feet, and a Lanthorn to our paths; but instead of this, if we have not followed the direction we have followed the Example of Pagan and Papal Rome, thereby rendering us contemptable, and base before all People, according as we have not kept his ways, but have been partial in his Law.

And now that we may in all our sentiments and ways, have regard to his testimonies, and give to the Almighty the glory due to his Name, is the earnest desire and Prayer of, Sir,

Yours to Command,

R. C.

A second Letter of a Gentleman,[97] endeavouring to prove the received Opinions about Witchcraft.


SINCE your design of giving Copies of our Papers (if not to the publick at least) out of your hands, I find myself obliged to make a Reply to your Answer, lest silence should be construed an Assent to the positions whereby (I think) truth would be scandaliz'd. I remember that some have taught that it is not certain there is any such thing really in being as matter; because the Ideas which we have of our own, and all other bodies, may be caused to arise in us by 199 God, without the real existence of the objects they represent. But this opinion is not only absurd and false, but likewise Atheistical, destroying the veracity of the Almighty, whom it asserts to have determined us by a fatal necessity to believe things to be, which are not; and I wonder that you should allude unto it, because that Angels have appeared in a Dream, in a vision; for we dream also of Trees, Birds, &c. are there therefore no such things in nature, because we sometimes Dream to see and hear them, when we are asleep? St. Paul in his Vision was so far from believing the Objects that were represented to him, to come by the intermedium of his Senses, that he declares, he [84] does not know whether he was in the body, or out of the body; therefore the Instance is in no wise proper. For Abraham and the B. Virgin did see and hear; and if there were not such things really, as were represented to them by their Senses, they were deluded, by being made to believe they saw and heard what was not. There is none who denieth God causing thoughts to arise in Mens minds: but thence to infer he maketh Objects which are not, by forming their Ideas in our minds, to appear to us through the Ministry of our Senses as though they were, is a piece not only of vain, but very dangerous Philosophy. It is true, the good Angels will not appear without the appointment of God, they will not do any one Action, but according to the laws he has prescribed to 200 them. But you say they cannot (which does not follow from your premises) supposing their not appearing to proceed from the defect of their power, and not the rectitude of their will, which fallacy has deceived you into a third Conclusion. For the fallen Angels are not so held under Chains of darkness; but that they can and do go to [and] fro on the earth seeking whom they may devour. Before their fall they could have appeared if sent, and would not then do any thing without a Divine Command But now they have rebell'd against God, and do all they can to despise him, therefore their not appearing now (if it were true they never did, they never shall appear) must proceed from a restraint they are under, which is accidental, not Essential to their nature; so that the true Conclusion is, the fallen Angels, while they are under forcible restraint from God to the contrary cannot appear. But what this (being cleared from the Ambiguity you express it in) maketh to the purpose I know not, unless God had promised for a determinate time to detain them under this restraint. I do not understand what you intend by the dead being raised by Holy Men; the most natural inference is, that in imitation of them wicked men by their Inchantments calling on a Dæmon to appear in the shape of the dead, will pretend that they also can raise the dead. The Romanists are much obliged to you for making Transubstantiation (so much contended for by them) to be 201 of as old a date as the appearance of Devils, and that the one implieth no more contradiction than the other: If so we do well to think seriously whether we are not guilty of great sin in separating from them; for certainly whatever private Mens Notions in this Age may be, yet it is matter of great moment, that all Antiquity (the Saducees the Elder Brethren of our Hobbists[98] excepted) hath believed the appearance of Evil Spirits and their Illusions. I should be too officious if I offered to explain, how matter, real matter may fall under the cognisance of one of our senses, and not the rest. It is for you to shew the impossibility thereof, if you will build any thing upon your Assertion, to prove which your first Argument is (it seems to me) a Chimera, which [85] is not enough, when there are many to whom it seems to be a truth: Your second is very dangerous, and highly derogatory of the honour of God, between whom and the Devil you make comparison more than once as the power of the Almighty must not be confined to be less than the Devils. And again, to deny these three last were to make the Devil an Independent Power and consequently a God. These expressions (which cannot but be very pleasing to the Devil, who vainly boasts himself to be a Being 202 without dependance) are altogether groundless, and very unmeet to proceed from a Christian: Consider what you are a doing, to establish a Doctrine (the contrary whereof the greatest part of mankind does believe) you run upon such precipices, as if you are mistaken, and that is not impossible, must totally destroy all Religion, Natural and Revealed; for suppose it were generally believed according to you, that the Devil cannot appear, because if he could he must be a God, independent, an unconquer'd enemy, and he doth appear to us as we hear he hath to multitudes, both of the past and present ages: In such a case what remains for us to do; but to fall down and worship him. Upon the head of possession, you have recourse to that instance of Samson, who was impowered by God, to the doing of things beyond the Natural strength of common Men, and thence you say, we may least learn the Nature of Possession by evil Spirits, this comparison is indeed very odious, and I had rather think you have fallen into it unawares; for what greater Blasphemy than that God and the Devil do act the bodies, which the one and the other do possess in the same manner; if the hypothesis I laid down had not pleased you, yet you ought not (for fear of being deceiv'd by vain Philosophy, to have run so horrible an extream, as to assimulate God's manner of working to the Devils, which necessarily implies, that either their Powers are equal, or at least that they do 203 not differ in kind but in degree only; than which nothing can be more impious or absurd; for the most possibly perfect Creature, is infinitely distant from the Creator, and there can be no Comparison between them. On the head of Witchcraft, you acknowledge the Witch has not his Wonder-working Power from God; but then you say, the Devil has no such power to give; for if he had, he must be——This way of reasoning as I noted before, is very dangerous, and I think ought not to be used; besides there is a great fallacy in your Dilemma; which because I perceive, you lay the whole weight of the matter upon it, I will evince unto you. The Devil tho superlatively Arrogant and Proud, nevertheless depends on the first cause for his being, and all his Powers, without whose Influx he or any other Creature cannot subsist a moment, but must either return to their primitive Nothing, or be continually preserved by the same Power, by the which they were at first produced; therefore the [86] Beings and Powers of all Creatures (because they immediately flow from God) are good, and consequently the simple Actions, as they proceed from those Powers, are in their own nature likewise good, the Evil proceeding only from the Rebellious will of the Creature, wherefore 'tis no Paradox, but a certain truth, that the same action in respect to the first cause is good, but in respect of the second is Evil; for instance, the act of Copulation is in itself good, instituted 204 by God, and may be willed and desired by the Soul, which sinneth not for exerting the simple act; but for exerting it contrary to the Laws prescribe'd by God: as in Wedlock and Adultery there is the same special natural Action, which consider'd simply, as flowing from a Power given to Man by God is certainly good; but considered with relation to the rebellious will of the Adulterer (who lieth with his Neighbours Wife, whom he is forbad to touch) is a very great Evil. We may say the same of all humane Actions, the Executioner and the Murtherer do the same natural Act of striking and killing: The difference consists in the rectitude of the ones and depravation of the others will. These things premised, what more reason have we to conclude that the Devil (because he shews signs and wonders to gain belief to lyes, which is very contrary to the will of God) must be therefore an Independent Power; than that the Adulterer, the Murtherer, or any other sinner (because their Actions being Evil, of which God cannot be the cause) must be Independent beings: The deceit of the last is very palpable, and I doubt not you will readily acknowledge it, for it is obvious from what has been said to the meanest Capacity, to distinguish between the Action itself, which is good, and flows from God, and the Circumstances of the Action, the choice whereof proceeds from the Iniquity of the Will, wherein doth solely consist the Sin; the parallel is so exact, 205 that I cannot see the least shadow of reason, why we ought not in like manner to distinguish whatever effect is produced by the Devil; to whom (as to Man) God having given Powers, and a Will to Rule them Powers, is truly and properly the cause of all the Actions (in a Natural, but not Moral Sense) that flow from the Powers he has given. Therefore the Wonder-working Power of the Devil, and the effects thereof, considered as Acts of one of God's Creatures, are not Evil but Good; the using that Power (which proceeds from the Rebellion of Satan) to bear testimony to a lye, is that one, which constitutes the Evil thereof.

And now I have done with your Argument, wherein you have indeed shewn great skill and dexterity in turning to your Advantage, what being fairly stated makes against you, as the Appearance of Angels, &c. observing nicely the rules of Art, and particularly that grand one of concealing, nay dissembling the same Art, as when you quote that Scripture [87] concerning vain Philosophy (of which tho altogether foreign from the matter in hand yet) you intend to serve yourself with the Unthinking, who measure the Sense of words by their Jingle, not knowing how to weigh the things they signifie, and truly herein your end is very Artificial; for you intend both to throw dirt at them that differ from you, and at the same time to cover yourself with such a subtle web, through which you may see, and 206 not be seen. What follows, is rather a Rhetorical Lecture, such as the Patriots of Sects (who commonly Explain the Holy Scriptures according to their own Dogma's, and so obtrude humane Invention for the pure word of God) use with their Auditors, to recommend any Principle they have a mind to establish, than an Impartial and through disquisition of a controverted point; wherefore I do not think myself obliged to take any further notice of it; especially seeing truth, which for the most part is little regarded in such florid Discourses, and not any prejudice of Education, Interest, or Party, did set me about this subject. I have never been used to Complement in points of Controversy, therefore I hope you'l not be angry, because I have given you my thoughts naked and plain. I have not the least motion in my mind of accusing you of any formal design to injure Religion; I only observe unto you, that your over eager contention to maintain your Principle, has hurried you to assert many things of much greater danger, both in themselves and their consequences, than those you would seem to avoid; which do amount to no more than that, Men being (in the ordinary course of Providence) the Depositories of both Divine and Humane Laws, may (instead of using them to preserve) pervert them to destroy; which indeed is very lamentable.

But it is the inevitable consequent of our depraved nature, and cannot be wholly remedied,207 till Sin, and the grand Author of Sin, the Devil, be entirely conquered, and God be all in all; to whom, with the Son, and Holy Ghost, be glory for ever, Amen.

Sir, your Affectionate Friend to serve you.

Boston, July 25, 1694.

Boston, August 17, 1694.

Worthy Sir,

YOURS of July 25, being in some sort surprising to me, I could do no less than say somewhat, as well to vindicate myself from those many Reflections, mistakes and hard censures therein; as also to vindicate what I conceive to be Important truth, and to that end find it needful to repeat some part of mine, Viz. Conclusion.

[88] 1. That the glorious Angels have their Mission and Commission from the most High.

2. That without this they cannot appear to mankind.

3. That if the glorious Angels have not that power to go till commission'd, or to appear to Mortals, then not the fallen Angels, who are held in Chains of Darkness to the Judgment of the great Day.

4. That when the Almighty free Agent has a work to bring about for his own glory, or Mans good, he can employ not only the Blessed Angels, but evil ones in it.

5. That when the Divine Being will imploy the Agency of Evil Spirits for any service, 'tis208 with him the manner how they shall exhibit themselves, whether to the bodily Eye, or Intellect only, or whether it shall be more or less formidable.

To deny these three last, were to make the Devil an Independent Power, and consequently a God.

The bare recital of these is sufficient to vindicate me from that reitterated charge, of denying all appearances of Angels or Devils.

That the good Angels cannot appear without Mission and Commission from the most high, is you say more than follows from the premises; but if you like not such Negative deduction, though so natural, it concerns you (if you will assert this Power to be in their Natures, and their non appearance only to proceed from the rectitude of their wills, and that without such Commission they have a Power to appear to Mortals, and upon this to build so prodigious a Structure, &c.) very clearly to prove it by Scripture, for Christians have good reason to take the Apostles warning (if some Philosophers have taught that Man is nothing but matter. And others that 'tis not certain there is any Matter at all) to take heed least they should be spoiled through vain Philosophy, &c. but that this should be alluded to by such as never heard of either Notion, or that it was asserted that those real appearances to Joseph, and to the Apostle, was through the Ministry of the Senses, is as vain as such Philosophy. As to the 209 Dead being raised, had I used Art or Rhetorick enough to explain my meaning to you, I needed not now to rejoin. That 'tis as good an Argument to say, that because Holy Prophets have raised the dead, therefore wicked Men have a Power to raise the dead: As 'tis to say, because good Angels have appeared, therefore the Evil have a Power to appear; for who can doubt, but if the Almighty shall Commissionate a wicked Man to it, he also shall raise the dead, as is intimated, Mat. vii. 22. And in thy name done many wonderful Works. As to comparisons being odious, particularly that concerning Samson, I think it needful here to add these Scriptures further to confirm the fourth Conclusion. 2 Sam. xxiv. 1. compared with 1 Chron. xxi. 1. In one 'tis God moved, &c. and in the o[89]ther Satan provoked David to number the People. 2 Chron. xviii. 21. And the Lord said, thou shalt intice him, and thou shalt also prevail, go out and do even so; all which, with many more that might be produc'd, as they will shew the truth of the Conclusion; so that 'tis no odious comparison to say, that as the Almighty can make use of Good, so also of Evil Spirits, for the accomplishing of his own wise ends, and can impower either without the help of a Vehicle. For possessions must be numbred among Gods afflictive dispensations, who also orders all the Circumstances thereof. But if any object God is not the Author of Evil, &c. you have furnish'd me with a very learned Answer, by 210 distinguishing between the Act and the Evil of the Act, and to which 'tis adapt, but will no wise sute where it is placed, till it be first proved that the Devil hath of himself such Power not only of appearing at pleasure, but of working Miracles, and to the Almighty reserved only the power of restraining; for till this be proved the Dilemma must remain stable. He that asserts that—Because good Angels have appeared, that therefore the fallen Angels have a Power of themselves to appear to Mortals; And that they cannot be employed by the Almighty; nor that he does not order the manner and Circumstances of such appearance, what doth he less than make the Devil an Independent Power, and consequently a God! So he that asserts that the Devil hath a Power of himself, and Independent to work Wonders, and Miracles, and to impower Witches to do like in order to deceive, &c. What doth he less than own him to be an unconquered Enemy, and consequently a Sovereign Deity![99] and who is it that is culpable? he that ascribes such Attributes to the Evil one, or he that asserts that the so doing gives him (or ascribes to him) such Power as is the prerogative of him only who is Almighty? and here Sir, it highly concerns you to consider your foundations, what proof from 211Scripture is to be found for your Assertions, and who it is you are contending for. For hitherto nothing like a proof hath been offer'd from Scripture, which abounds so with the contrary, that he that runs may read, As shall there be evil in the City, and the Lord hath not done it? who is he that saith, and it cameth to pass when the Lord commandeth it not. Who among the Gods of the Heathen (of which the Devil is one) can give Rain, &c.

But I shall not be tedious in multiplying proofs, to that which all seem to own. For as to that stale plea of Universality, do say that I have read of one, if not several, general Councels, that have not only disapproved, but Anathematiz'd them that have ascribed such Power to the Devils. And several National Protestant Churches at this day in their Exhortation before the Sacrament (among other Enormous Crimes) admonish all that believe any such Power in the Witch, &c. to withdraw as unmeet to partake at the Lord's Table.

[90] And I believe Christians in general, if they were asked, would own that what Powers the Devil may at any time have to appear, to afflict, destroy, or cause tempests, &c. must be by Power or Commission from the Sovereign Being. And that having such a Commission, not only Hail, but Frogs, Lice, or Flies shall be impowered to plague a great King and Kingdom. And if so, this Sandy Structure of the Devils appearance,212 and working Wonders at pleasure, and of Impowering Witches to afflict, &c. (for to this narrow Crisis is that whole Doctrine reduc'd) the whole disappears at the first shaking.[100]

Thus worthy Sir, I have given you my sentiments, and the grounds thereof, as plainly and as concise as I was able, tho 'tis indeed a subject that calls for the ablest Pens to discuss, acknowledging myself to be insufficient for these things; however I think I have done but my duty for the glory of God, the Sovereign Being; and have purposely avoided such a reply as some parts of yours required.

And pray that not only you and I, but all mankind may give to the Almighty the glory due unto his name. From, Sir, Yours to Command,

R. C.

Witchcraft is manifestly a Work of the Flesh.

[End of Vol. II.]


[90] The only Mention of the Author of these Letters I have met with is contained in the Answer to the More Wonders, by Dr. Mather, and is in this Passage: "The Anti-scriptural Doctrines espoused by this Man [Calef] do also call for no further Answer; for a certain Scotchman (one Stuart) of no very great Circumstances, aboard one of our Frigates then in our Harbour, sent him Two Letters, which he has been so silly as to insert in his wretched Volume." This "one Stuart" was, perhaps, Chaplain on board the Man-of-war. The Doctor thinks Mr. Calef was very silly to print the Letters, because they were, in his Judgment, a complete Vindication of Witchcraft. Mr. Calef was willing all should be said on that side that could be said. He felt fully convinced that,

"Falsehoods which we spurn To-day
Were the Truths of Long-ago;
Let the dead Bough fall away,
Fresher shall the living grow."


[91] Doctor Mather.

[92] See Remarkable Providences, 128, by Dr. I. Mather.

[93] See Volume I, Pages 39-41.

[94] See concluding Part of Note 84.

[95] If not a mythical Character, he is surrounded with much Mystery. There, however, seems to have been, at some remote Period, a Man named Ambrose Merlin, living in Carmarthenshire, in Wales; and it will pay the Reader well to turn to Thomas Fuller, and see what he says about him in his Worthies, Vol. III, 524. Among other things he says: "His Extraction is very Incredible, reported to have an Incubus to his Father, pretending to a Pedigree older than Adam, even from the Serpent himself. But a learned Pen demonstrateth the Impossibility of such Conjunctions. And let us not load Satan with groundless Sins, whom I believe the Father of Lies, but no Father of Bastards." A witty Conceit, but ruinous to the Theory of Witchcraft.

[96] See Vol. I, Introduction, Page xv. The Executions in Scotland were but few Years before those in New England.

[97] The same Gentleman mentioned in Note 86, Page 157.

[98] Thomas Hobbes, a Native of Malmsbury in Wiltshire, England, born in 1588, and died in 1679. He has been stigmatized as an Unbeliever in Divine Revelation; was a Man of extensive learning, published Works on Philosophy, and translated Homer.

[99] Finding themselves in this Dilemma (many of the Believers in Witchcraft never having thought of it, it would seem,) the Advocates must have been sadly puzzled. Nor is it easy to see how, by turning to Locke, Le Clerc, or Cudworth, they are helped at all.

[100] Le Clerc has one sensible Remark, among many weak ones, about the Existence of Witches. He says: "Those Opinions or Diseases of the Brain which Witches have, who think they go to Feasts and Dancings, upon their talking of it to others, that are of a timorous Disposition and weak Brains, bring others into the same Fits of Fury, and, like a Contagion, spread far and near, infesting many Heads; though it is observable those Diseases are more frequent amongst the Inhabitants of Mountains and solitary Places, than amongst those that live in Cities." It must occur to the judicious Reader, that Mons. Le Clerc took a roundabout Way to tell him that Witchcraft flourished best among ignorant People. See A Compleat History of Magick, Sorcery, and Witchcraft, London, 1715, 2 Vols. 12mo.


NOTE.—As the small Roman Numerals in this Index denote both the Volumes and the Pages of the Introductions, those who consult it may observe, that when the Introductory Pages are referred to, the Reference to the Volume is in large or Roman Capitals:—For Example, I, xx, refer to the first Volume, and to Page 20 of the Introduction to the same Volume; II, xxii, refer to Volume second, and Page 22 of that Volume.

Transcriber's Note.

Variable spelling and hyphenation have been retained. Minor punctuation inconsistencies have been silently repaired. Footnotes were renumbered and placed at the end of each section. The Index was copied from the third volume. The entry Tockinosh, John, ii, 23. does not correspond to the text.


The first line indicates the original, the second the correction.

p. 80:

p. 116:

p. 125:

p. 193:

Footnote 72:

Footnote 78:

Footnote 89:

Footnote 97:


The first line indicates the original, the second how it should read.

p. 25:

p. 32:

p. 103:

p. 141:

p. 193:

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England: Its Rise, Progress, a, by Cotton Mather and Robert Calef


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