Obrázky stránek


tomahawk from his side, and with this While returning from this expediinstrument of death killed and scalped tion, they fell in with the third war him. When I beheld this second scene party from Quebec, and joining forces of inhuman butchery, I fell to the an attack was made on Casco. A part ground senseless, with my infant in my of the garrison having been destroyed,

it being under, and its little hands the remainder surrendered as prisoners in the hair of my head. How long I of war. remained in this state of insensibility The terror produced by these attacks I know not.

on the colonies not only helped to con“The first thing I remember was my firm the rumors and accounts of the raising my head from the ground, and implacable hatred of the French Romy feeling myself exceedingly over- man Catholics against all whom they come with sleep. I cast my eyes esteemed as heretics, but also roused around, and saw the scalp of my dear up a determined spirit of vengeance. little boy, fresh bleeding from his head, Accordingly delegates from Massachuin the hand of one of the savages, and setts, Connecticut, and New York, met sunk down to the earth again, upon my in New York, in May, 1690; and, folinfant child. The first thing I remem- lowing Leisler's suggestion, a plan for ber, after witnessing this spectacle of the conquest of Canada was rewoe, was the severe blows I was receiv- solved upon. A fleet and army ing from the hands of the savages, were to sail from Boston to attack Quethough at this time I was unconscious bec, and nine hundred men were to be of the injury I was sustaining. After raised in Connecticut and New York, a severe castigation, they assisted me to march by land against Montreal. in getting up, and supported me when Sir William Phipps, a man of little up.

competency but considerable previous “In the morning one of them left us, success, having visited and plundered to watch the trail or path we had come, Acadie with a small fleet and some to see if any white people were pursu- seven or eight hundred men, was placed ing us. During the absence of the in command of the expedition by sea. Indian who was the one that claimed It consisted of thirty-two vessels and me, the other, who remained with me, two thousand men, the larger part of and who was the murderer of my last which were pressed into the service. boy, took from his bosom his scalp and Three ships sent by Leisler from New prepared a hoop, and stretched the York joined this enterprise. The land scalp upon it. Those mothers who forces were commanded by Winthrop, have not seen the like done by one of son of the late governor of Connecticut, the scalps of their own children—and Milbourne acting as commissary. few, if any, ever had so much misery The result of both expeditions was to endure—will be able to form but singularly mortifying. Schuyler and faint ideas of the feelings which then the Iroquois who had pressed forward harrowed up my soul!"

to Montreal were repulsed by the ef

Cu. I.]




forts of Frontenac, and the rest of the usurper, who has violated the most saforces advanced but little beyond Lake cred rights of blood and religion.” The George, where they were stopped by British officer requested that this answer the breaking out of the small-pox and should be put in writing. “I will anscarcity of provisions. Crimination and swer your master at the cannon's mouth," recrimination followed the bootless er- replied the exasperated Frenchman,

rand of the land part of the at-“that he may learn that a man of my

tempted invasion; and Leisler rank is not to be summoned in this manwas so outraged by their failure that he ner." Phipps finding that nothing could even arrested Winthrop at Albany. be accomplished, and that winter was

News having been brought to Fron- now approaching, abandoned the entertenac by an Indian runner from Pis- prise with shame and disappointment; cataqua of the meditated attack upon after losing several of his ships among Quebec, the energetic old soldier reach the dangerous shoals of the St. Lawrence, ed that stronghold just three days he arrived at Boston with his damaged before the fleet, under Phipps, made fleet. On his arrival, in December, the its appearance before the walls. With- treasury was empty, and as the troops out pilots or charts, it had been nine threatened a riot, the colonial governweeks making its way up the St. Law- ment found it necessary to meet the rence. Phipps had calculated on sur- emergency by issuing the first paper prising the place, and found it, almost money ever used in the English colonies. impregnable by nature, already placed (The total amount issued was about in a posture of defence by the vigor $130,000.) Frontenac wrote home to and activity of the veteran Frenchman. France in triumph, and to commemoChagrined as he was, he determined to rate his brave defence of Canada, the put a bold front upon the matter, and king ordered a medal to be struck with accordingly summoned Frontenac to this inscription : Francia in novo surrender in the name of King William orbe victrix: Kebeca Liberata.-A. D. of England, demanding his positive M.D.C.X.c," while a church was built in answer within an hour. The British the lower town, and dedicated to officer who bore the summons was “Notre Dame de la Victoire." Not ushered blindfold into the presence of long after a French fleet restored AcaFrontenac and his associates in the die to its original possessors. council-room of the castle of Quebec. It would seem as if this desolating “Read your message,” said Frontenac. struggle were of itself calamity enough Having obeyed, the Englishman laid his for New York and Massachusetts, and watch on the table with these words- yet both these colonies were witnesses “It is now ten: I wait your answer for of tragic scenes and events, even more an hour.” Enraged at his presumption, deplorable than the sanguinary ravages the old soldier answered, “I do not ac- of combined French and Indian ferocity. . knowledge King William, and I well The tragic end of Leisler's career we know that the Prince of Orange is an have already narrated, when there was


[ocr errors]

poured out the blood of the first politi- thew Hale, revered no less in the colocal martyr on the soil of New York. nies than the mother country for piety Massachusetts, worn down by her pre- and wisdom, had adjudged to death vious military efforts, was exposed to two poor old women in Suffolk, for this

frequent incursions. Sir Wil- supposed crime. Witch stories and

liam Phipps, in 1692, returned printed narratives were widely current. from England, where he had gone to It need not excite surprise, then, that solicit an expedition against Quebec, a people like that of New England, with the new charter of Massachusetts whose temperament was naturally seriand his commission as governor. In ous, to whom every incident of life was some respects the charter was gratify- looked upon as a special providence, ing, and in others not at all so. The and who were filled with a large extent of the province was very con- measure of faith in spiritual influences siderably increased ; the governor was and manifestations, should have been to be appointed by the crown with a ready to embrace a delusion of this veto power on the acts of the General kind. Court; to the king was reserved the Notwithstanding the general imprespower of annulling any law within sion in favor of the reality of witchthree years after its passage ; and craft, it had been many years now since toleration was secured to all except any execution had taken place papists, thus giving a death-blow to the for this offence. In 1688, howtheocratic absolutism which had so ever, while Andros was still governor, long prevailed. Plymouth was joined four children of pious parents in Boston to Massachusetts, and New Hampshire suddenly began to display every appearseparated from it, in both cases con- ance of having been bewitched. The trary to their wishes. Phipps found eldest, a girl of thirteen, had charged on his arrival not only many and severe an Irish servant girl with stealing, a trials awaiting him, in consequence of charge which was bitterly resented by the continued inroads from Canada and the girl's mother. Soon after, to revenge the heavy expenses of the war, but herself, as it would seem, upon the old alas, other and more terrible trials, the Irishwoman, the girl and three youngvery account of which appears to be er children took occasion to bark like almost incredible.

dogs, or purr like cats, to scream and A belief in witchcraft was at this shout, or appear to be deaf, blind, or date very prevalent in England, and it dumb. Cotton Mather, a man of mulwas adjudged a capital offence, particu- titudinous learning, but very vain, larly by a statute of James I., who had credulous, and fanatically inclined, in himself written a treatise on the art of company with other ministers, kept a detecting witches. During the Long day of fasting and prayer, and sucParliament, a vast number of persons ceeded in relieving the youngest child. fell victims to the popular delusion. The others persevered and accused the Shortly after the Restoration, Sir Mat- old woman of bewitching them. She

CH. 1.)





was apprehended and put on trial, and case noted above, three young girls in though it seems almost certain that she the family of Mr. Parris, miniswas more than half crazy or silly, yet ter of Salem-now Danversthe physicians having certified her began to act in a way which, the docsanity she was condemned and executed. tors declared, showed that they were Cotton Mather took the eldest girl bewitched. Tituba, an old Indian serhome to his house, where she continued vant, who had used some superstitious to act in the same extraordinary man- rites to discover the witch, was herself

The.credulous divine set himself accused by the children, and being well seriously to study this subject, and then scourged by her master, confessed herput forth a sermon and narrative under self the guilty agent. A fast day was the title of “Memorable Providences appointed by the neighboring minisrelating to Witchcrafts and Posses- ters, among whom appeared Cotton sions.” “There are multitudes of Sad- Mather, glorying in the confirmation ducees, in our days," says the recom- of his previous statements. The exmendatory preface, signed by the citement rapidly spread—the girls acother four ministers of Boston, “and cused others—the ministers implicitly we shall come, in the opinion of these received their statements. The divisions mighty acute philosophers, to credit among the people of Parris's congreganothing but what we can see and feel. tion, if indeed they did not prompt to How much this fond opinion hath got accusations wilfully false, at least faciliten ground in this debauched age is tated the belief of them. Parris selected awfully observable. God is therefore for his Sunday's text the words, “ Have pleased, besides his witness borne to I not chosen you twelve, and one of this truth in sacred writ, to suffer devils you is a devil ?" At this a sister of to do such things in the world, as shall one of the accused, being offended, rose stop the mouths of gainsayers and ex- up and left the place, and was herself tort a confession from them.” The immediately denounced and sent to book was republished in England and prison as an accomplice. Richard Baxter even was led to preface Matters began to look very serious. it and give in his adhesion to the truth So much importance was attached to of these wonderful stories. The girl who what had taken place, that in April had given rise to all this does not seem the deputy governor—this was before to have attracted attention for any Phipps's arrival-proceeded to Salem, length of time, and, so far as appears, and with five other magistrates held a became soon after very much like other court in the meeting-house. Parris, perverse and troublesome children of acting as both clerk and accuser, was

very diligent in hunting out witches But the matter was by no means to and suggesting fresh accusations. The end here. The seed had been sown afflicted were placed on one hand, and and the fruit was not long in coming to the accused on the other, the latter maturity. Nearly four years after the being held by the arms lest they should

her age.

inflict torment on the former, who The new governor, who was very declared themselves haunted by their considerably under the influence of spectres, and solicited to subscribe a Increase Mather and his son Cotton covenant with the devil, and on their Mather, proceeded vigorously in the refusal pricked and injured. The hus- work which he found ready to his band of Elizabeth Procter, one of the hands. He put the prisoners in irons, accused, having boldly accompanied her and organized a special court for the into court, the possessed cried out upon trial of cases, with Stoughton, the lieuhim also. “There is Goodman Procter tenant governor as president. In the going to take up Mrs. Pope's feet !" beginning of June, the court assembled, cries one of them, and “her feet are and in a few days ordered for hanging immediately taken up." “He is going an old woman, convicted on evidence to Mrs. Pope !" cries another, and such as we have noted above, evidence “ straightway Mrs. Pope falls into fits." --if the word be not prostituted by this One Bishop, a farmer, had brought use of it—which to people in the posround a possessed servant by the appli- session of their senses, seems to be the cation of a horsewhip, and had rashly perfection of nonsense and absurdity. hinted that he could with the like At a second session of the court, June remedy cure the whole company of the 30th, five women were tried and conafflicted. For this scoffing, as it was victed. One of these, Rebecca Nurse, a denounced, he soon found himself in woman of excellent character, was acprison. Between fanaticism and terror quitted at first, but at the outcry of the the minds of the accused appear to accuser, was condemned and hung with have become unhinged; many, stag- the rest. Some few dared to resist and gered by the results ascribed to their hurl defiance at their accusers. agency, for a while believed themselves, are a witch, you know you are !” said it would seem, to be what they were minister Noyes to Sarah Good. You called ; and others, finding no safety are a liar !" was the indignant retort; but in confession, gave fraudulent and “and if you take my life God will give circumstantial narratives of interviews you blood to drink!" But most of with the devil

, and of riding through those accused made confession or set the air on a broomstick; and these afloat new accusations. confessions, reacting upon minds al- At the third session of the court, ready fully persuaded of the reality of early in August, six prisoners were the crime, tended to fortify them still tried and convicted, the husband of further in their delusion, and to give Elizabeth Procter and John Willard birth to a still widening circle of accu- being of the number. The conduct of sations and confessions. By the time Willard and Procter, at the time of that Governor Phipps arrived, there execution, was well calculated to arouse were nearly a hundred persons already | a maddened and deluded community in prison, and the excitement was still to reflection. The case of Burroughs rapidly on the increase.

is very remarkable. He was himself a

66 You

« PředchozíPokračovat »