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A History of Witchcraft in England from 1558 to 17

Displaying of Supposed Witchcraft


[36]

The book had been written four years earlier.

[37] See G. L. Kittredge, "Notes on Witchcraft," in American Antiquarian Soc., _Proceedings_, n. s., XVIII (1906-1907), 169-176.

[38] There is, however, no little brilliance and insight in some of Webster's reasoning.

[39] _Displaying of Supposed Witchcraft_, 38-41.

[40] _Displaying of Supposed Witchcraft_, 53.

[41] _Ibid._, 68.

[42] _The Witch-Persecutions_ (University of Pennsylvania Translations and Reprints, vol. III, no. 4), revised ed. (Philadelphia, 1903), p. 1.

[43] _Displaying of Supposed Witchcraft_, 247-248.

[44] _Displaying of Supposed Witchcraft_, 308, 312 ff. The astral spirit which he conceived was not unlike More's and Glanvill's "thin and tenuous substance."

[45] _Ibid._, 294 ff.

[46] _Ibid._, 219-228.

[47] The author of _The Doctrine of Devils_ (see above, note 32), was thorough-going enough, but his work seems to have attracted much less attention.

[48] London, 1678.

[49] John Brinley, "Gentleman," brought out in 1680 _A Discovery of the Impostures of Witches and Astrologers_.

Portions of his book would pass for good thinking until one awakens to the feeling that he has read something like this before. As a matter of fact Brinley had stolen the line of thought and much of the phrasing from Richard Bernard (1627, see above, pp. 234-236), and without giving any credit. A second edition of Brinley's work was issued in 1686. It was the same in every respect save that the dedication was omitted and the title changed to _A Discourse Proving by Scripture and Reason and the Best Authors Ancient and Modern that there are Witches_.

Henry Hallywell, a Cambridge master of arts and sometime fellow of Christ's College, issued in 1681 _Melampronoea, or a Discourse of the Polity and Kingdom of Darkness, Together with a Solution of the chiefest Objections brought against the Being of Witches_. Hallywell was another in the long list of Cambridge men who defended superstition. He set about to assail the "over-confident Exploders of Immaterial Substances" by a course of logical deductions from Scripture. His treatise is slow reading.

Richard Bovet, "Gentleman," gave the world in 1684 _Pandaemonium, or the Devil's Cloyster; being a further Blow to Modern Sadduceism_. There was nothing new about his discussion, which he dedicates to Dr. Henry More. His attitude was defensive in the extreme. He was consumed with indignation at disbelievers: "They oppose their simple _ipse dixit_ against the most unquestionable Testimonies"; they even dare to "affront that relation of the Daemon of Tedworth." He was indeed cast down over the situation. He himself relates a very patent instance of witchcraft in Somerset; yet, despite the fact that numerous physicians agreed on the matter, no "justice was applyed." One of Bovet's chief purposes in his work was to show "the Confederacy of several Popes and Roman Priests with the Devil." He makes one important admission in regard to witchcraft; namely, that the confessions of witches might sometimes be the result of "a Deep Melancholy, or some Terrour that they may have been under."

[50] _Works_, ed. of 1835-1836, IV, 389.

[51] For Boyle's opinions see also Webster, _Displaying of Supposed Witchcraft_, 248.


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