The Witchcraft Delusion in Colonial Connecticut, 1647-1697

By John M. Taylor | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III

"A belief in witchcraft had always existed; it was entertained by Coke, Bacon, Hale and even Blackstone. It was a misdemeanor at English common law and made a felony without benefit of clergy by 33 Henry VIII, c. 8, and 5 Eliz., c. 16, and the more severe statute of I Jas. 1, ch. 12." Connecticut -- Origin of her Courts and Laws (N. E. States, Vol I, p. 487-488), HAMERSLEY.

"Selden took up a somewhat peculiar and characteristic position. He maintained that the law condemning women to death for witchcraft was perfectly just, but that it was quite unnecessary to ascertain whether witchcraft was a possibility. A woman might not be able to destroy the life of her neighbor by her incantations; but if she intended to do so, it was right that she should be hung." Rationalism in Europe (Vol. 1, p. 123) LECKY.

THE fundamental authority for legislation, for the decrees of courts and councils as to witchcraft, from the days of the Witch of Endor to those of Mercy Disborough of Fairfield, and Giles Corey of Salem Farms, was the code of the Hebrews and its recognition in the Gospel dispensations. Thereon rest most of the historic precedents, legislative, ecclesiastical, and judicial.

"Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." Exodus xxii, 18.

What law embalmed in ancientry and honored as of divine origin has been more fruitful of sacrifice and suffering? Through the Scriptures, gathering potency as it goes, runs the same grim decree, with widening definitions.

-15-

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The Witchcraft Delusion in Colonial Connecticut, 1647-1697
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • TWO INDICTMENTS FOR WITCHCRAFT viii
  • Contents xi
  • Chapter I 1
  • Chapter II 6
  • Chapter III 15
  • Chapter IV 23
  • Chapter V 35
  • Chapter VI 45
  • Chapter VII 62
  • Chater VIII 79
  • Chapter IX 101
  • Chapter X 122
  • Chapter XI 142
  • HISTORICAL NOTE 161
  • BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 165
  • Index 167
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