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A History of Witchcraft in England from 1558 to 17

Yet his agreement with Stearne in numbers is remarkable


[92]

See Stearne, in his preface to the reader, also p. 61; and see also the complete title of Hopkins's book as given in appendix A (p. 362).

[93] A similar case was that of Anne Binkes, to whom Stearne refers on p. 54. He says she confessed to him her guilt. "Was this woman fitting to live?... I am sure she was living not long since, and acquitted upon her trial."

[94] Not until after Stearne was already busy elsewhere. Stearne, 58.

[95] It would seem, too, that Stearne was sued for recovery of sums paid him. "Many rather fall upon me for what hath been received; but I hope such suits will be disannulled." Stearne, 60.

[96] Hopkins, 11.

[97] _County Folk Lore, Suffolk_ (Folk Lore Soc.) 176, quoting from J. T. Varden in the _East Anglian Handbook_ for 1885, p. 89.

[98] James Howell, _Familiar Letters_, II, 551. Howell, of course, may easily have counted convictions as executions. Moreover, it was a time when rumors were flying about, and Howell would not have taken the pains to sift them. Yet his agreement with Stearne in numbers is remarkable. Somewhat earlier, (the letter is dated February 3, 1646/7) Howell had written that "in Essex and Suffolk there were above two hundred indicted within these two years and above the one half executed" (_ibid._, 506). But, as noted above,

his dates are not to be trusted.

[99] See his _History of Rationalism_.

[100] A name no greater, however, than that of Glanvill, who was a prominent Anglican.

[101] It does not belong in this connection, but it should be stated, that one of the strongest reasons for supposing the Presbyterian party largely responsible for the persecution of witches lies in the large number of witches in Scotland throughout the whole period of that party's ascendancy. This is an argument that can hardly be successfully answered. Yet it is a legitimate question whether the witch-hunting proclivities of the north were not as much the outcome of Scottish laws and manners as of Scottish religion.

[102] The _Magazine of Scandall_, speaking of Lowes and another man, says: "Their Religion is either none, or else as the wind blows: If the ceremonies be tending to Popery, none so forward as they, and if there be orders cleane contrary they shall exceed any Round-head in the Ile of great Brittain." See also above, pp. 175-177.

[103] Yet it must not be overlooked that Stearne himself, who must have known well the religious sympathies of his opponents, asks, p. 58, "And who are they that have been against the prosecution ... but onely such as (without offence I may speak it) be enemies to the Church of God?" He dares not mention names, "not onely for fear of offence, but also for suits of Law."

[104] Scott has pictured this very well in _Woodstock_. For a good example of it see _The [D]Ivell in Kent, or His strange Delusions at Sandwitch_ (London, 1647).

[105] See below, note 107.

[106] The witches of Aldeburgh were tried at the "sessions," N. F. Hele, _op. cit._, 43-44. Mother Lakeland was probably condemned by the justices of the peace; see _The Lawes against Witches_. The witches of Huntingdon were tried by the justices of the peace; see above, note 73. As for the trials in Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, and Cambridgeshire, it is fairly safe to reason that they were conducted by the justices of the peace from other evidence which we have that there were no assizes during the last half of 1645 and the first five months of 1646; see Whitelocke, _Memorials_, II, 31, 44, 64.


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