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PROGRESS OF THE WITCHCRAFT DELUSION.
minister, but had for some reason be- place. The accusations began to assume come unpopular both with his flock and too serious and sweeping a shape to his fellow-ministers, whose convictions permit them much longer to be enterand self-conceit he had wounded, by tained, since even the ministers and declaring his entire disbelief in the those in highest place in state and possibility of the crime for which they church were marked out as guilty of were putting so many to death. Among this crime. Many who had confessed other things, he was accused of display- had courage to recant. Having been, as ing preternatural strength--of course they said, suddenly seized as prisoners, through the assistance of the devil. He andby reason of the sudden surprisal staggered, however, the more reason- amazed and affrighted out of their able portion of the crowd present at reason, and exhorted by their nearest his execution, by solemnly and fervently relatives to confess, as the only means repeating the Lord's Prayer, which it of saving their lives, they were thus was supposed no wizard could do. The persuaded into compliance. And intears of the spectators began to flow, deed the confession was no other than and they gave signs of rising to stop what was suggested to them by some the execution, but the dangerous sym- gentlemen, who, telling them that they pathy was arrested by Cotton Mather, were witches and that they knew they who, riding to and fro, carefully re- were so, made them think it was so; minded them that Burroughs was not and their understandings, their reason, an "ordained” minister, and that to their faculties, almost gone, they were deceive the unwary, Satan often put on incapable of judging of their condition; the appearance of an angel of light. and being moreover prevented by hard
At the next two sessions of the court, measures from making their defence, in September, fourteen women and one they confessed to any thing and every man were sentenced to death. One old thing required of them.” The scales man of eighty refused to plead, and by began to fall from the eyes of a deluded that horrible decree of the common people. Remonstrances now poured in law, was pressed to death. Although against condemning persons of exemit was evident that confession was the plary lives upon the idle accusations of only safety in most of cases, some few children; the evident partiality of the had courage to retract their confessions : judges, their cruel methods of compellsome eight of these were sent to execu- ing confessions, their total disregard of tion. Twenty persons had already recantations however sincere, at length been put to death; eight more were appeared in their true light. On the under sentence; the jails were full of opening of the next court, in January, prisoners; and new accusations were 1693, the grand jury dismissed made every day. In such a state of the greater part of the cases, things the court adjourned to the first and those who had already been senMonday in November.
tenced to death were reprieved, and A reaction, however, ere long took | ultimately released. Mather was as
tonished and confounded at this so un- to have changed their views as to the looked-for result, and, although he ad- work in which they had been engaged, mitted that “the most critical and and though some eminent European exquisite caution” was required in dis- opinions helped to confirm them in criminating on this subject, inasmuch their cherished sentiments on this subas the devil might assume the appear-ject, yet a number of the prominent ance of an innocent person; yet he actors did express deep contrition: no stoutly contended for the reality of the more blood was shed; no more horcrime, and the justice which had been rible cruelty was practised on accusadealt both to those who were really tions of witchcraft.“ Thus terminated," guilty, and also those who, by confess- says Grahame, “a scene of fury and deing falsely, had only got what they lusion that justly excited the astonishdeserved. He strove hard to discover ment of the civilized world, and exfresh cases, but received a mortifying hibited a fearful picture of the weakness check from the efforts of one Robert of human nature in the sudden transCalef, a citizen of Boston, “a coal sent formation of a people renowned over all from hell to blacken him, a malignant, the earth for piety and virtue into the calumnious, and reproachful man,
," slaves or associates, the terrified dupes whose stubborn common sense per- or helpless prey, of a band of ferocious sisted in denying the existence of the lunatics and assassins."* crime, and who especially provoked The frontier warfare, meanwhile, con Cotton Mather's ire by exposing the tinued with unsparing severity on both imposture of a girl visited by the sides. Indian cunning, treachery, and Mathers as an “afflicted” one, and rea- cruelty were all urged on and directed dily imposing upon the learned but by French science and skill. “To these credulous ministers. Some two years
Some two years causes of suffering,” says Dr. Dwight, after, a circular was sent out inviting in an interesting passage in his Travels, reports of apparitions and the like; “ were superadded the power of all such but, as Cotton Mather laments, there motives as the ingenuity of the French was hardly, in ten years, half that could invent, their wealth furnish, or number of responses to his application. Thus this fearful scourge was remov
his life to deeds of mercy. Sewall, one of the judges, ed, and heresy and blasphemy, together by the frankness and sincerity of his undisguised con
fession, recovered public esteem. Stoughton and with witchcraft, ceased to appear as Cotton Mather never repented. The former lived capital crimes on the statute book of proud, unsatisfied, and unbeloved; the latter at
tempted to persuade others and himself, that he had Massachusetts. No more lives were
not been specially active in the tragedy. But the sacrificed, and although the Mathers, public mind would not be deceived. His diary proves Stoughton, and others,“ do not appear
that he did not wholly escape the rising impeachment from the monitor within ; and Cotton Mather, who
had sought the foundation of faith in tales of wonders, *“The inexorable indignation of the people of himself had temptations to atheism, and to the abanSalem village, drove Parris from the place; Noyes donment of all religion as a mere delusion.'”_-Banregained favor only by a full confession, asking for- croft's "History of the United States,” vol. iii., giveness always, and consecrating the remainder of History of the Colonies," vol. i., p. 281. .
BRAVE MRS. DUSTIN.
their bigotry adopt. Here all the im- Pemaquid. The loss of the fort caused plements of war and the means of sus- the breaking up of all the old settletenance were supplied; the expedition ments in the neighborhood. D'Iberwas planned; the price was bidden for ville, in the spring of 1697, sailed for scalps; the aid of European officers Hudson's Bay, recovered a fort from and soldiers was conjoined; the devas- the English, and captured two English tation and slaughter were sanctioned vessels. In March, 1697, the savages by the ministers of religion ; and the fell upon Haverhill, in Massachusetts, blood-hounds, while their fangs were and killed or carried into captivity yet dropping blood, were caressed and some forty persons. The heroism of cherished by men regarded by them as Mrs. Dustin is honorably commemosuperior beings. The intervals between rated in our early history. Only a formal attacks were usually seasons of week before, she had become a mother. desultory mischief, plunder, and butch- The nurse, trying to escape with ery; and always of suspense and dread. the new-born infant, fell into the The solitary family was carried into hands of the savages, who, rushing into captivity; the lonely house burnt to the house, bade the mother arise inthe ground; and the traveller waylaid stantly, while they plundered the house and shot in the forest. It ought, how- and afterwards set it on fire. They ever, to be observed, to the immortal then hurried her away before them, tohonor of these people, distinguished as gether with a number of other captives, they are by so many traits of brutal but ere they had gone many steps, ferocity, that history records no instance dashed out the brains of the infant in which the purity of a female captive against a tree. The mother's heart was violated by them, or even threat-would have sunk, but she thought of ened.” The veteran Colonel Church her surviving children, and summoned was engaged in retaliatory expeditions, up strength to march before the savages in which indiscriminate slaughter was
towards the Canadian frontier. She practised with as little compunction as saw her companions, as they sunk one by the French and Indians. In 1694, by one with exhaustion, brained by the
the settlement at Oyster River tomahawk of the savages, and their
in New Hampshire—the present scalps taken as trophies to the Christian town of Durham-was attacked, and governor of Canada. After sojourning, nearly a hundred persons killed or made in prayerfulness and anguish of spirit, captives of. Two years subsequently, with the Indian family to which she
in 1696, D'Iberville, a distin- was allotted, she pursued with them
guished Canadian naval officer, her onward course towards an Indian arrived from France with two ships and rendezvous, where, as she was told, she some troops, and having been joined by would have to run the gauntlet through the party under command of Villebon a row of savage tormentors. A desand the Baron St. Castin, in August, perate resolution took possession of her 1696, laid siege to and took the fort at mind: might she not lawfully slay the
murderers of her babe, effect thus her hundred tormentors raging about a deown deliverance, and rejoin her hus- crepit old man, from whom, by all their band and children, if haply they were tortures, they could not extract a single yet alive? One night, when now more groan, and who, as long as he lived, did than a hundred miles from Haverhill, not cease to reproach them with being having prevailed upon the nurse and a slaves of the French, of whom he afboy, also a prisoner, to join her, this fected to speak with the utmost disbrave woman arose, and with only such dain. On receiving at last his deathhelp as this, dispatched all the Indians stroke, he exclaimed, "Why shorten with their own hatchets, except two of my life? better improve this opportuthe youngest, took their scalps, and re- nity of learning how to die like a man!!! traced the long journey through the The last year of the war was very woods back to Haverhill.
trying A severe winter and very Through such trying scenes as these, great scarcity of provisions were agwere the mothers of our people called gravated by a constant apprehension upon to pass.
of attack on Boston by a French fleet; Frontenac still continued his strug- but happily no result came of gle with the Iroquois. Although now this expedition; and towards seventy-four years old, he personally con- the close of 1697, the peace of Rysducted an expedition, and carried the wick was proclaimed, and the first inwars into the territory of the Ononda- tercolonial war was brought to an end. gas and Oneidas, cutting up their corn Each party, by the terms of the treaty, and burning their villages. It was a retained the territories possessed before melancholy spectacle to see a man of the war, thus leaving the colonial denoble descent, and of heroic spirit, pendencies of both nations in much the himself near the end of life, giving his same position as they were antecedent sanction to torture an Indian prisoner, to the severe struggle, save that a spirit a hundred years old, with all the re- of deadly hatred had been engendered, finements of savage cruelty! “A most which was ready to break out into singular spectacle indeed it was,” says active cruelty at any favorable moCharlevoix, “ to see upwards of four ment
Board of Trade and Plantations -- Enforcement of acts — Lord Bellamont governor of Massachusetts His address
and popularity - Piracy -- Bellamont's death Dudley his successor - Dispute about the salary of the governor - Second intercolonial war - Preparations - Indians under De Rouville — Deerfield and Haverhill
· Expedition against Canada ---- Unsuccessful — Annapolis taken — Expedition under Walker - Com- . bined attack projected - Failure and loss — Feelings of the colonists - Results of the peace of Utrecht. Parties on the subject of currency and commerce
Public bank in majority Colonel Shute governor -- Disputes — Piracy suppressed -- Small pox and inoculation -- Burnet governor — Dispute about the salary Appeal to the king - Language of the Board of Trade -- Belcher successor of Burnet Colonists victorious in the salary dispute — Troubles on the frontier Rasles and Norridgewock Indians - Lovewell — Retaliation The New England Courant — Franklin — Belcher displaced - Shirley appointed governor A popular magis trate -- Boundary disputes with New Hampshire, Maine, and Rhode Island settled Third intercolonial war Capture of Louisburg - Spirit of the Bostonians — Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.
Just before the peace of Ryswick, | views which then prevailed of the on the complaint of English merchants commercial interests of the mother that the acts of trade had been violated country.” Accordingly the acts of
by the colonists, there was es- trade were urged anew, and the hands
tablished the BOARD OF TRADE of all revenue officers in the colonies AND PLANTATIONS. “This was a perma- strengthened : vice admiralty courts nent commission, consisting of a presi- were also established, with the right of dent and seven members, known as appeal to the king in council. . ‘Lords of Trade,' who succeeded to Lord Bellamont, an Irish nobleman the authority and oversight hitherto of agreeable manners and polished deexercised by plantation committees of meanor, was appointed to the goverthe Privy Council. Subsequently the norship of Massachusetts, the duties of powers of this Board were somewhat which office, after the death of Phipps curtailed, but down to the period of in 1695, had been discharged by the American Revolution it continued | Stoughton, lieutenant governor. Lord to exercise a general oversight of the Bellamont having left New York, arcolonies, watching the Assemblies with rived in Boston in May, 1699, a jealous eye, struggling hard to up- and by his address soon suchold the prerogatives of the king and ceeded in gaining the good will of all the authority of parliament, laboring parties.
parties. In imitation of the practice to, strengthen the hands of the royal of the Irish lord lieutenant, Bellamont governors, and systematically to carry out the policy of rendering America
Hildreth's "History of the United States," vol. completely subservient to the narrow
ii., p. 197.