Salem Witchcraft, Volumes I and II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 888 pages of information about Salem Witchcraft, Volumes I and II.

Wooden Bridge, 234.

Woodbury, Humphrey, 141.

Woodbury, John, 129.

Woodbury, Nicholas, 98.

Woodbury, Peter, 105.

Woodbury, William, 141.

Wooleston River, 23.

Wolf-pits, 212.

Wolves, 211.

Y.

Young, William, 51.

INTRODUCTION.

It is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the human being, that he loves to contemplate the scenes of the past, and desires to have his own history borne down to the future.  This, like all the other propensities of our nature, is accompanied by faculties to secure its gratification.  The gift of speech, by which the parent can convey information to the child—­the old transmit intelligence to the young—­is an indication that it is the design of the Author of our being that we should receive from those passing away the narrative of their experience, and communicate the results of our own to the generations that succeed us.  All nations have, to a greater or less degree, been faithful to their trust in using the gift to fulfil the design of the Giver.  It is impossible to name a people who do not possess cherished traditions that have descended from their early ancestors.

Although it is generally considered that the invention of a system of arbitrary and external signs to communicate thought is one of the greatest and most arduous achievements of human ingenuity, yet so universal is the disposition to make future generations acquainted with our condition and history,—­a disposition the efficient cause of which can only be found in a sense of the value of such knowledge,—­that you can scarcely find a people on the face of the globe, who have not contrived, by some means or other, from the rude monument of shapeless rock to the most perfect alphabetical language, to communicate with posterity; thus declaring, as with the voice of Nature herself, that it is desirable and proper that all men should know as much as possible of the character, actions, and fortunes of their predecessors on the stage of life.

It is not difficult to discern the end for which this disposition to preserve for the future and contemplate the past was imparted to us.  If all that we knew were what is taught by our individual experience, our minds would have but little, comparatively, to exercise and expand them, and our characters would be the result of the limited influences embraced within the narrow sphere of our particular and immediate relations and circumstances.  But, as our notice is extended in the observation of those who have lived before us, our materials for reflection and sources of instruction are multiplied.  The virtues we admire in our ancestors not only adorn and dignify their names, but win us to their imitation.  Their prosperity and happiness spread abroad a diffusive light that reaches us, and brightens our condition. 

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Salem Witchcraft, Volumes I and II from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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