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originated in folly and delusion. All these are fddts. All those executed, the first excepted, protested their innocence with their dying breath, when a confession would have saved their lives. Several years after, persons who had been accusers, when admitted to the church, confessed their delusion in such condu£l,-and asked " pardon for having brought the guilt of innocent blood on the land." The following is an extract from the confession of six persons belonging to Andover, wko had owned themselves witches; "We were all seized as prisoners; knowing ourselves altogether innocent, we were all exceedingly astonished, and amazed, and affrighted out of our reason ; and our dearest relations, seeing us in this dreadful condition, and knowing our great danger, apprehend-, ingthere was no other way to save our lives, persuaded us to confess; wre said any thing and every thing which they desired."
On the day of a public fast, in the south meeting house of Boston, one of the judges, who had been concerned in the condemnation of these unhappy victims at Salem, delivered in a paper, and while'it was reading stood up: it was to desire prayers, &c. "being apprehensive he might have fallen into some errors at Salem."
The following is from the declaration of twelve men, who had been jurymen at some of these trials: "We do therefore signify our deep sense of, and sorrow for, our errors in afting on such evidence; we pray that we may be considered canWitchcraft. 315
didly and aright, by the living sufferers, as being then under the power of a strong and general delusion." Mr. Paris * who was active in the prosecution, and evidently a serious and conscientious man, in his public confession, November 26th, 1694, says, " I do acknowledge, upon after consideration, that were the same troubles again to happen, which the Lord of his mercy forever prevent, I should not agree with my former apprehensions in all points; as for instance," &x.
Martha Cory,, a member of the church in Salem village, admitted April 27th, 1690, was, after examination upon suspicion of witchcraft, March 21st, 1692, committed to prison, and condemned to the gallows yesterday. This day in public, by general consent, she was voted to be excommunicated out of the church. The following will show, in a most affe&ing manner, the light in which the church viewed this vote, ten 5~ears after. In u December^ 1702, the pastor spoke to the church on the sabbathasfolloweth. Brethren, I find in your church book a record of Martha Cory's being excommunicated for witchcraft; and the generality of the land being sensible of the errors that prevailed in that day, some of her friends have moved me several times to propose to this church, whether it be not our duty torecal that sentence, that so it may not stand against her to all generations. And I myself being a stranger to her, and being ignorant of what was alleged against her, I 316 Witchcraft.
shall now only leave it to your consideration, and shall determine the matter by a vote, the next convenient opportunity. February 14th, the pastor moved the church to revoke Martha Cory's excommunication: a majority voted for revoking it."* So deep was the people's sense of the errors of those transa&ions, that a great part of Mr. Paris's congregation could not persuade themselves to sit under his ministry. Accordingly, after great difficulty r after a respeflable council had laboured in vain for their reconciliation, after an arbitration respecting the business, Mr. Paris was dismissed, July 24th, 1697, as the aggrieved state to the arbitrators, "for being an instrument to their miseries."
If any reader point the finger of scorn at the people of Essex, or the judiciary of Massachusetts, for their credulity and errors, he is informed they acted in conformity to the public opinion of the world at that time-; that they were guided in their judicial proceedings by the writings of Keeble on the common law, Sir Mathew Hale, Glanvil, Bernard, Baxter, &x. He is informed that while the people of this once devoted neighbourhood soon saw and retraced their errors, and would now be the last people to fall into such a delusion, other parts of the world have been more slowly convinced. At Tring, in Hertfordshire, twenty miles from London, in 1751, two aged persons were drowned, supposed to be guilty of witchcraft. At French War. 317
* Church Records of Danvcrs*
Huntingdon the anniversary of the execution of a family for witchcraft is celebrated to this day. A preacher from Cambridge delivers a discourse against witchcraft. At Embo, in Scotland, a person was executed for witchcraft, in 1727. At Rome, the Rev. Father Aliizza was lately seized for the crime of sorcery.
C H A P. XXIV.
French War, Complaint against Gov. Flips, his character, Indian and French ravages, Tale College, Indian War, Peace, Death of S>uem Ann, George I crowned, Small pox, Earthquake, Burnet governor his death*
IN 1694, the sword was drawn again after being sheathed about a year. The Sietir Villion, commander of the French at Penobscot, with 250 Indians from the tribes of St. John, Penobscot, and Norridgwock, assaulted the people on Oyster river, in New Hampshire; killed and cap. tured about 100 persons, and burned twenty houses, five of which were garrisons.
During: these distresses, the people became uneasy; ascribing their sufferings to the government, and a number made complaint tothe king against governor Phips. He and his accusers'were sumcc2
318 Character of Gov, Phips.
moned to Whitehall. In November he embarked for England. A majority of the general court being in his favour, he carried a recommendation from the legislature, that they might not be deprived of so excellent a governor. But before his trial he was seized with a malignant fever, of which he died, in the 54th year of his age. Sir William Phips was born of poor parents, on the bank of the Kennebec. He wasfirst a shepherd, then aship carpenter, then a seaman. By discovering a Spanish wreck, near Port De La Plata, he became rich, and was brought into notice. He was a man of enterprise, diligence, and perseverance, religious himself, and disposed to promote piety in others. .
The Indians continued to ravage the frontiers, and in O&ober, 1695, a party penetrated to Newbury, and made captives of John Brown and his family, excepting one girl, who escaped and ran five miles to the water side, near Newburyport, and alarmed the people. Capt. Greenleaf instantly pursued, and, before it was light the next day, overtook and rescued the captives, nine in number. The Indians, when they found it impossible to carry them off, had determined and attempted to kill them; but such was their hurry, the wounds they gave them were not mortal; all recovered. Capt. Greenleaf received a musket ball in his arm, when he made this attack, which is now preserved in the family.