Salem Witchcraft, Volumes I and II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,075 pages of information about Salem Witchcraft, Volumes I and II.

Your thoughts have been led through scenes of the most distressing and revolting character.  I leave before your imaginations one bright with all the beauty of Christian virtue,—­that which exhibits Judge Sewall standing forth in the house of his God and in the presence of his fellow-worshippers, making a public declaration of his sorrow and regret for the mistaken judgment he had co-operated with others in pronouncing.  Here you have a representation of a truly great and magnanimous spirit; a spirit to which the divine influence of our religion had given an expansion and a lustre that Roman or Grecian virtue never knew; a spirit that had achieved a greater victory than warrior ever won,—­a victory over itself; a spirit so noble and so pure, that it felt no shame in acknowledging an error, and publicly imploring, for a great wrong done to his fellow-creatures, the forgiveness of God and man.

Our Essex poet, whose beautiful genius has made classical the banks of his own Merrimac, shed a romantic light over the early homes and characters of New England, and brought back to life the spirit, forms, scenes, and men of the past, has not failed to immortalize, in his verse, the profound penitence of the misguided but upright judge:—­

    “Touching and sad, a tale is told,
    Like a penitent hymn of the Psalmist old,
    Of the fast which the good man life-long kept
    With a haunting sorrow that never slept,
    As the circling year brought round the time
    Of an error that left the sting of crime,
    When he sat on the bench of the witchcraft courts,
    With the laws of Moses and ‘Hale’s Reports,’
    And spake, in the name of both, the word
    That gave the witch’s neck to the cord,
    And piled the oaken planks that pressed
    The feeble life from the warlock’s breast! 
    All the day long, from dawn to dawn,
    His door was bolted, his curtain drawn;
    No foot on his silent threshold trod,
    No eye looked on him save that of God,
    As he baffled the ghosts of the dead with charms
    Of penitent tears, and prayers, and psalms,
    And, with precious proofs from the sacred Word
    Of the boundless pity and love of the Lord,
    His faith confirmed and his trust renewed,
    That the sin of his ignorance, sorely rued,
    Might be washed away in the mingled flood
    Of his human sorrow and Christ’s dear blood!”



[The subject of Salem Witchcraft has been traced to its conclusion, and discussed within its proper limits, in the foregoing work.  But whoever is interested in it as a chapter of history or an exhibition of humanity may feel a curiosity, on some points, that reasonably demands gratification.  The questions will naturally arise, Who were the earliest to extricate themselves and the public from
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Salem Witchcraft, Volumes I and II from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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