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hair, close stop't, over the fire, that the witch would thereupon come and break it. It does not mention the success; but a poor old woman in the neighbourhood was taken up, and the old trial by water-ordeal reviv'd. They dragg'd her, shiv'ring with an ague, out of her house, set her astride on the pommel of a saddle, and carried her about two miles to a millpond, stript off her upper cloaths, tied her legs, and with a rope about her middle, threw her in, two hundred spectators aiding and abetting the riot. They affirm she swam like a cork, though forced several times under the water; and no wonder, for, when they strained the line, the ends thereof being held on each side of the pond, she must of necessity rise; but by haling and often plunging she drank water enough, and when almost spent they poured in brandy to revive her, drew her to a stable, threw her on some litter in her wet cloaths, where in an hour after she expired. The coroner, upon her inquest, could make no discovery of the ringleaders: although above forty persons assisted in the fact, yet none of them could be persuaded to accuse his neighbour, so that they were able to charge only three of them with manslaughter."
Dr. Zouch, in a note to his edition of Walton's Lives, 1796, p. 482, says: "The opinion concerning the reality of witchcraft was not exploded even at the end of the seventeenth century. The prejudices of popular credulity are not easily effaced. Men of learning, either from conviction or some other equally powerful motive, adopted the system of Dæmonology advanced by James I.; and it was only at a recent period that the Legislature repealed the Act made in the first year of the reign of that monarch, entitled an Act against Conjuration, Witchcraft, and dealing with Evil and Wicked Spirits."
Lord Verulam's reflections on witches, in the tenth century of his Natural History, form a fine contrast to the narrow and bigoted ideas of the royal author of the Dæmonology. "Men may not too rashly believe the confession of witches, nor yet the evidence against them; for the witches themselves are imaginative, and believe oftentimes they do that which they do not; and people are credulous in that point, and ready to impute accidents and natural operations to witchcraft. It is worthy the observing that, both in ancient and late times (as in the Thessalian witches, and the meetings of witches that have been recorded by so many late confessions),
the great wonders which they tell, of carrying in the air, transforming themselves into other bodies, &c. are still reported to be wrought, not by incantations or ceremonies, but by ointments and anointing themselves all over. This may justly move a man to think that these fables are the effects of imagination; for it is certain that ointments do all (if they be laid on anything thick), by stopping of the pores, shut in the vapours, and send them to the head extremely. And for the particular ingredients of those magical ointments, it is like they are opiate and soporiferous: for anointing of the forehead, neck, feet, backbone, we know is used for procuring dead sleeps. And if any man say that this effect would be better done by inward potions, answer may be made that the medicines which go to the ointments are so strong, that if they were used inwards they would kill those that use them, and therefore they work potently though outwards."
In the play of the Witch of Edmonton, by Rowley, Dekker, Ford, &c. 1658, already quoted, act ii. sc. 1, the witch, Elizabeth Sawyer, is introduced gathering sticks, with this soliloquy :
"Why should the envious world
Mr. Warner, in his Topographical Remarks relating to the South-western parts of Hampshire, already quoted, says: "It would be a curious speculation to trace the origin and progress of that mode of thinking among the northern nations which gave the faculty of divination to females in ancient ages, and the gift of witchgraft to them in more modern times. The learned reader will receive great satisfaction in the perusal of a dissertation of Keysler, entitled De Mulieribus fatidicis, ad
calc. Antiq. Select. Septen. p. 371. Much information on the same subject is also to be had in M. Mallet's Northern Antiquities, vol. i.; and in the Notes of the Edda, vol. ii."
In an account of witchcraft, the cat, who is the sine quâ non of a witch, deserves particular consideration. If I mistake not, this is a connexion which has cost our domestic animal all that persecution with which it is, by idle boys at least, incessantly pursued. In ancient times the case was very different. These animals were anciently revered as emblems of the moon, and among the Egyptians were on that account so highly honoured as to receive sacrifices and devotions, and had stately temples erected to their honour.2 It is said that in whatever house a cat died, all the family shaved their eyebrows. No favorite lap-dog among the moderns had received such posthumous honours. Diodorus Siculus relates that a Roman happening accidentally to kill a cat, the mob immediately gathered about the house where he was, and neither the entreaties of some principal men sent by the king, nor the fear of the Romans, with whom the Egyptians were then negotiating a peace, could save the man's life.
The following particulars relating to a game in which a cat was treated with savage cruelty by our barbarous ancestors,
The curious reader may also consult Andrew's Contin. of Henry's Hist. of Great Britain, 4to. 35, 196, 198, 207, 303, 374; a Discourse of the subtill Practises of Devilles by Witches and Sorcerers, by G. Gyfford, 4to. Lond., 1587; a Philosophical Endeavour towards the Defence of the Being of Witches and Apparitions, in a letter to the much honoured Robert Hunt, Esq., by a member of the Royal Society, 4to. Lond. 1666; and an Historical Essay concerning witchcraft, by Francis Hutchinson, D.D., 8vo. Lond. 1718; the second chapter of which contains a chronological table of the executions or trials of supposed witches. An account of the New England witches will be found in Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, vol. viii. p. 261. Among foreign publications, De Lamiis et Phitonicis Mulieribus ad illustrissimum Principem Dominum Sigismundum Archiducem Austrie Tractatus dulcherrimus, 4to.  b. l.; Compendium Maleficarum, 4to. Mediol. 1626; Tractatus duo singulares de examine Sagarum super Aquam frigidam projectarum, 4to. Franc. et Lips, 1686; and Specimen Juridicum de nefando Lamiarum cum Diabolo Coitu, per J. Hen. Pott, 4to. Jenæ, 1689. Some curious notes on witchcraft, illustrated by authorities from the classics, occur at the end of the 1st, 2d, and 3d acts of the Lancashire Witches, a comedy, by Thomas Shadwell, 4to. London, 1691. See also, Confessions of Witchcraft, in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, vol. i. pp. 167, 497, 498.
2 Compare Savary's Letters, vol. ii. p. 438.
still or lately retained at Kelso1, are extracted from a Particular Description of the Town of Kelso, &c., by Ebenezer Lazarus, 8vo. Kelso, 1789, p. 144: "There is a society or brotherhood in the town of Kelso, which consists of farmers' servants, ploughmen, husbandmen, or whip-men, who hold a meeting once a-year for the purpose of merriment and diverting themselves: being all finely dressed out in their best clothes, and adorned with great bunches of beautiful ribands on the crown of their heads, which hang down over their shoulders like so many streamers. By the beating of a drum they repair to the market-place, well mounted upon fine horses, armed with large clubs and great wooden hammers, about eleven o'clock in the forenoon, when they proceeded to a common field about half a mile from the town, attended all the way with music and an undisciplined rabble of men, women, and children, for the purpose of viewing the merriment of a cat in barrel, which is highly esteemed by many for excellent sport. The generalissimo of this regiment of whipmen, who has the honorable style and title of my lord, being arrived with the brotherhood at the place of rendezvous, the music playing, the drum beating, and their flag waving in the air, the poor timorous cat is put into a barrel partly stuffed with soot, and then hung up between two high poles, upon a cross-beam, below which they ride in succession, one after another, besieging poor puss with their large clubs and wooden hammers. The barrel, after many a frantic blow, being broken, the wretched animal makes her reluctant appearance amidst a great concourse of spectators, who seem to enjoy much pleasure at the poor animal's shocking figure, and terminate her life and misery by barbarous cruelty." The author, having called the perpetrators of this deed by a name no softer than that of the "Savages of Kelso," concludes the first act with the following miserable couplet:
"The cat in the barrel exhibits such a farce
That he who can relish it is worse than an ass."
The second act is described as follows: "The cruel brotherhood having sacrificed this useful and domestic animal to the idol of cruelty, they next gallantly, and with great heroism,
A town only, not in England, being situated on the northern bank of the Tweed.
proceeded with their sport to the destruction of a poor simple goose, which is next hung up by the heels, like the worst of malefactors, with a convulsed breast, in the most pungent distress and struggling for liberty; when this merciless and profligate society, marching in succession, one after another, each in his turn takes a barbarous pluck at the head, quite regardless of its misery. After the miserable creature has received many a rude twitch, the head is carried away." They conclude their sports with a clumsy horse-race. Our author has omitted to mention on what day of the year all this was done. He says, however, it is now left off.
In the remarkable account of witches in Scotland (before James the First's coming to the crown of England), about 1591, entitled News from Scotland: the damnable Life and Death of Dr. Fian (printed from the old copy in the Gent. Mag. for 1779, xlix. 449), is the following: "Agnis Thompson confessed that, at the time when his Majesty was in Denmark, she being accompanied with the parties before specially named, took a cat and christened it, and afterwards bound to each part of that cat the chiefest parts of a dead man, and several joints of his body; and that in the night following the said cat was conveyed into the midst of the sea by all these witches sailing in their riddles or cieves, as is aforesaid, and so left the said cat right before the town of Leith, in Scotland; this done, there did arise such a tempest in the sea as a greater hath not been seen; which tempest was the cause of the perishing of a boat or vessel coming over from the town of Brunt Island to the town of Leith, wherein were sundry jewels and rich gifts, which should have been presented to the now Queen of Scotland, at her Majesty's coming to Leith. Again it is confessed that the said christened cat was the cause that the King's Majesty's ship, at his coming forth of Denmark, had a contrary wind to the rest of his ships then being in his company; which thing was most strange and true, as the King's Majesty acknowledgeth."
One plainly sees in this publication the foundation-stones of the royal treatise on Dæmonology; and it is said "these con
This Doctor Fian was registrar to the devil, and sundry times preached at North Baricke Kirke to a number of notorious witches; the very persons who in this work are said to have pretended to bewitch and drown his Majesty in the sea coming from Denmark.