The Witchcraft Delusion in Colonial Connecticut (1647-1697) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 161 pages of information about The Witchcraft Delusion in Colonial Connecticut (1647-1697).

These methods were adopted in the proceedings against witches in Connecticut, and it will suffice to cite one of the reports of a committee—­Sarah Burr, Abigail Burr, Abigail Howard, Sarah Wakeman, and Hannah Wilson,—­“apointed (by the court) to make sarch upon ye bodis of Marcy Disbrough and Goodwif Clauson,” at Fairfield, in September and October 1692, sworn to before Jonathan Bell, Commissioner, and John Allyn, Secretary.

“Wee Sarah bur and abigall bur and Abigail howard and Sarah wakman all of fayrfeild with hanna wilson being by order of authority apointed to make sarch upon ye bodis of marcy disbrough and goodwif Clauson to see what they Could find on ye bodies of ether & both of them; and wee retor as followeth and doe testify as to goodwif Clauson forementioned wee found on her secret parts Just within ye lips of ye same growing within sid sumewhat as broad and reach without ye lips of ye same about on Inch and half long lik in shape to a dogs eare which wee apprehend to be vnvsuall to women.

“and as to marcy wee find on marcy foresayd on her secret parts growing within ye lep of ye same a los pees of skin and when puld it is near an Inch long somewhat in form of ye fingar of a glove flatted

“that lose skin wee Judge more than common to women.”

“Octob. 29 1692 The above sworn by the above-named as attests



“Remembering all this, it is not surprising that witches were tried, convicted and put to death in New England; and the manner in which the waning superstition was dealt with by Connecticut lawyers and ministers is the more significant of that robust common sense, rejection of superstition, political and religious, and fearless acceptance of the ethical mandates of the great Law-giver, which influenced the growth of their jurisprudence and stamped it with an unmistakable individuality.” Connecticut; Origin of her Courts and Laws (N.E.  States, 1:  487-488), HAMERSLEY.

“They made witch-hunting a branch of their social police, and desire for social solidarity.  That this was wrong and mischievous is granted; but it is ordinary human conduct now as then.  It was a most illogical, capricious, and dangerous form of enforcing punishment, abating nuisances, and shutting out disagreeable truths; fertile in injustice, oppression, the shedding of innocent blood, and the extinguishing of light.  No one can justify it, or plead beneficial results from it which could not have been secured with far less evil in other ways.  But it was natural that, believing the crime to exist, they should use the belief to strike down offenders or annoyances out of reach of any other legal means.  They did not invent the crime for the purpose, nor did they invent the death penalty for this crime.” Connecticut as a Colony (1:  206), MORGAN.

“As to what you mention, concerning that poor creature in your town that is afflicted and mentioned my name to yourself and son, I return you hearty thanks for your intimation about it, and for your charity therein mentioned; and I have great cause to bless God, who, of his mercy hitherto, hath not left me to fall into such an horrid evil.”  Extract of a Letter from Sec.  Allyn to Increase Mather, Hartford, Mar. 18, 1692-93.

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The Witchcraft Delusion in Colonial Connecticut (1647-1697) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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