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Barrington, in his Observations on our Ancient Statutes, p. 107, tells us of an old man who was witness in a cause, and averred that when Queen Anne was at Oxford, she touched him whilst a child for the evil. Mr. Barrington, when he had finished his evidence, “asked him whether he was really cured. Upon which he answered, with a significant smile, that he believed himself never to have had a complaint that deserved to be considered as the evil, but that his parents were poor, and had no objection to the bit of gold.” This accounts well for the great resort of patients and supposed miraculous cures on this occasion.
This now-exploded royal gift is thus described by Shakespeare in Macbeth :
strangely visited people,
Put on with holy prayers.” In the Gent. Mag. for 1751, xxi. 415, we read: “The solemn words, 'I touch, but God healeth,' were those our former kings always pronouņced when they touched for the evil; but this was never done but in the presence of a bishop or priest, who introduced the patient to the royal presence for that salutary intention. Then also, a form of prayer for the divine blessing was used, and the king hung a small piece of silver about the person's neck, which he was required to wear during his life.” For a proclamation concerning the cure of the king's evil, see Rushworth's Collections, Part II. i. 47. The
1 In the Statistical Account of Scotland, xiv. 210, parishes of Kilfynichen and Kilviceuen, co. of Argyll, we read : “ A man in I. of the name of Mr. Innis, touches for the king's evil. He is the seventh son ; and it is firmly believed in the country that he has this gift of curing. He touches or rubs over the sore with his hand, two Thursdays and two Sundays successively, in the name of the Trinity, and says, “ It is God that cures.' He asks nothing for his trouble. It is believed if he did, there would be no
He is often sent for out of the country; and, though he asks nothing, yet the patients, or their friends, make him presents. He is perfectly illiterate, and says he does not know how the cure is effected, but that God is pleased to work it in consequence of his touch.” The same supposed quality of curing the king's evil by touch in a seventh male child, has been before noticed among the charms in Odd Numbers. See an account of Mr. Valentine Greatrakes' stroking for different disorders, in the Gent. Mag. for Jan. 1779, xlix. 22.
small piece of silver noticed in the quotation from Gent. Mag. appears erroneous : “As often as the king putteth the angel about their necks, repeat these words : "That light was the true light which lighteth every man into the world. After this the Lord's Prayer is said, and another prayer on the behalf of the diseased, that they, receiving health, may give thanks to God,” &c.
In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vii. 560, parishes of Kirkwall and St. Ola, we read : “In the time of sickness or danger, they often make vows to this or the other favourite saint, at whose church or chapel in the place they lodge a piece of money, as a reward for their protection ; and they imagine that if any person steals or carries off that money, he will instantly fall into the same danger from which they, by their pious offering, had been so lately delivered."
Camden, in his Ancient and Modern Manners of the Irish, says:
“ If they never give fire out of their houses to their neighbours, they fancy their horses will live the longer and be more healthy. If the owners of horses eat eggs, they must take care to eat an even number, otherwise some mischief will betide the horses. Grooms are not allowed eggs, and the riders are obliged to wasb their hands after eating them When a horse dies, his feet and legs are hung up in the house, and even the hoofs are accounted sacred. It is by no means allowable to praise a horse or any other animal, unless you say “God save him,' or spit upon him. If any mischance befalls the horse in three days after, they find out the person who commended him, that he may whisper the Lord's Prayer in his right ear. They believe some men's
eyes power of bewitching horses ; and then they send for certain old women, who by muttering short prayers restore them to health. Their horses' feet are subject to a worm, which, gradually creeping upwards, produces others of its own species, and corrupts the body. Against this worm they call in a witch, who must come to the horse two Mondays and one Thursday, and breathe upon the place where the worm lodges, and after repeating a charm the horse recovers. This charm they will, for a sum of money, teach to many people, after first swearing them never to disclose it.”
In Dr. Jorden's Briefe Discourse of a Disease called the Suffocation of the Mother, 4to. 1603, p. 24, we have the folo
owing on the subject of physical charms: "If we cannot
In Osbourne's Advice to a Son, also, 1656, p. 125, we read : “ Be not therefore hasty to register all you understand not in the black calendar of hell, as some have done the weapon salve, passing by the cure of the king's evill altogether, as improbable to sense ; lest
who anathematized the Bishop of Saltzburge for maintaining Antipodes; or the Consistory for decreeing against the probable opinion of the earth's motion.”
Werenfels, p. 8, says: “If the superstitious person be wounded by any chance, he applies the salve, not to the wound, but, what is more effectual, to the weapon by which he received it. By a new kind of art, he will transplant his disease, like a scion, and graft it into what tree he pleases. The
fever he will not drive away by medicines, but what is a more certain remedy, having paired his nails, and tied them to a cray-fish, he will turn his back, and, as Deucalion did the stones from which a new progeny of men arose, throw them behind him into the next river.”
In Warner's Topographical Remarks relating to the Southwestern Parts of Hampshire, 1793, ii. 131, speaking of the old register of Christchurch, that author tells us : The same register affords, also, several very curious receipts, or modes of cure, in some singular cases of indisposition: they are apparently of the beginning of the seventeenth century, and couched in the uncouth phraseology of that time. I forbear, however to insert them, from motives of delicacy.”
SOME years ago, says the Connoisseur, No. 56, there was publicly advertised among the other extraordinary medicines whose wonderful qualities are daily related in the last page of a newspaper, a most efficacious love powder, by which a despairing lover might create affection in the bosom of the most cruel mistress. Lovers, indeed, have always been fond of enchantment. Shakespeare has represented Othello as accused of winning his Desdemona "by conjuration and mighty magic;" and Theocritus and Virgil have both introduced women into their pastorals, using charms and incanta
1“ Thou hast practis'd on her with foul charms;
Abus'd her delicate youth with drugs, or minerals
Act i. sc. 2. Again, sc. 3.
“ She is abus'd, stol’n from me, and corrupted
By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks."
“I therefore vouch again,
tions to recover the affections of their sweethearts. Thus also, in Gay's Shepherd's Week:
“Strait to the 'pothecary's shop I went,
And soon the swain with fervent love shall glow.” Newton, in his Tryall of a Man's owne Selfe, 1602, p. 116, inquires, under Breaches of the Seventh Commandment, “Whether by any secret sleight, or cunning, as drinkes, drugges, medicines, charmed potions, amatorious philters, figures, characters, or any such like paltering instruments, devises, or practices, thou hast gone about to procure others to doate for love of thee.” Dr. Ferrand, in his Love Melancholy, 1640, p. 176, tells
“We have sometimes among our silly wenches some that, out of a foolish curiosity they have, must needs be putting in practice some of those feats that they have received by tradition from their mother, perhaps, or nurse, and so, not thinking forsooth to doe any harme, as they hope, they paganize it to their own damnation. For it is most certain that botanomancy, which is done by the noise or crackling that kneeholme, box, or bay-leaves make when they are crushed betwixt one's hands, or cast into the fire, was of old in use among the Pagans, who were wont to bruise poppy flowres betwixt their hands, by this means thinking to know their loves ; and for this cause Theocritus cals this hearb Tindipidov, quasi Andupilov, as if we should say tel-love."
In the same work, p. 310, Dr. Ferrand, speaking of the ancient love charmes, characters, amulets, or such like periapses, says, they are “such as no Christian physitian ought to use ; notwithstanding that the common people doe to this day too superstitiously believe and put in practice many of these paganish devices.”
In the Character of a Quack Astrologer, 1673, we are told : “ He trappans a young heiress to run away with a footman, by perswading a young girl 'tis her destiny; and sells the old and ugly philtres and love-powder to procure them sweetharts."
An early instance of the use of love powder may be read in